Before I start, let’s be clear here: I’m not suggesting that the Harper government give Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia, or that New Brunswick shold be forcibly merged with Newfoundland and Labrador, I’m just struck by some numbers.
So, here goes:
If you go here you’ll land on the main page for the 2006 Statistics Canada Aboriginal peoples census. There you’ll find that, as of 2006, there were 1, 172, 790 people in Canada who identified at aboriginal (IE: First Nations [North American Indian], Inuit and Métis). If you head over here you’ll land on Population Growth page of the Aboriginal Stats at a Glance section. The population growth numbers are, frankly, amazing. So, and I”m no expert here, one could assume that the population has continued to grow.
Here’s the thing, 1.17 million people are having/are about to have the laws that govern vast chunks of their relationship with the Federal Government/The Crown changed with no consultation.
I was also thinking that one of the arguments made by some fairly mainstream/prominent members of the pundit class is that (and I’m paraphrasing here) “these communities are so small and remote and they don’t make economic sense and you should listen to me because I’m a terribly important white haired, white dude” (that last bit was implied, but I thought it was important to add it). Let’s set aside (for the sake of this argument only) discussions of why they are not economically viable, about land use agreements trashed, about the treatment of people’s who never ceded their land rights etc for a second and just look at size and such.
For this exercise I went to Wikipedia because I’m hot (it’s 31C here today) and lazy (see: hot) and because I didn’t feel like faffing about on the Stats Can site (see: hot and lazy). So I looked up the populations of the various Canadian provinces and got to this article. Now, I don’t have current aboriginal stats (the most recent ones, as noted, seem to be from 2006 – the rest are projections based on trends) so I’ll go with the 1.172 number (this is confusing, frankly, there is a 1.3 number being foisted about, both by Stats Can and the media – no one seems to source it so I’ll stick with the low one).
So, and again, maths isn’t my strong suit, it seems to me that the aboriginal population of Canada is larger than all but five of the thirteen provinces or territories. Now, it seems to me that if you have 140K people and your main export is a fictional red head girl and potatoes and you’re an island or if 40% of your population is in St John’s… well, you’re pretty bloody isolated. And yet no one is calling for these places to be ignored or moved or assimilated with Toronto.
I find this all very.. vexing.