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Opinion

A genocide by any other name would still smell as foul

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Apparently, the worst thing you can do these days is make someone uncomfortable.

There’s really no other explanation for why there was such a hue and cry over the conclusions from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In the commission’s final report, “Reclaiming Power and Place,” there were 231 individual calls for justice, aimed at every major facet of society. But these calls were quickly overshadowed by the fragility of the masses who objected to the commission’s findings that the persistent violence against Indigenous women and girls amounts to genocide.

“The hard truth is that we live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of fundamental rights, amounting to a genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” Chief Commissioner Marion Buller said in a press release.

And a hard truth it is, with people, including former Conservative Aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt, going out of their way to diminish it. On Twitter over the weekend, Mr. Valcourt called the finding “propagandist.”

The fact that anyone could so easily latch on to one word out of a report of more than 1,000 pages means they were just looking for an excuse not to pay attention, or to brush off the entire exercise.

It is, however, refreshing to see so many people coming out of the woodwork, in staunch defence of the English language, claiming that by using the word “genocide” in this way, it strips it of meaning. Because an abuse of language definitely overpowers the actual abuse of people.

“Who feels better in Canada among First Nations for that thunderous silly conclusion that all we wanted was to kill them all?” Mr. Valcourt asked his Twitter followers.

Yes, whenever someone wants to make themselves feel better, just go through generations of trauma and then relive it in government-commissioned hearings. It’s a sure-fire mood booster.

Being confronted with the fact that there is something systemic in this country that has directly contributed to people losing their lives is not an easy pill to swallow. But avoiding that medicine doesn’t make the ailment go away.

Nor does the out-of-sight, out-of-mind strategy Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer seems to be employing with Alberta MP Michael Cooper. Mr. Cooper was removed from the House Justice Committee after deciding that the time to read the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter’s manifesto was during a May 28 meeting, to rebut a Muslim witness who had the temerity to say that recent mass shooters had conservative-leaning talking heads in their search history as part of the group’s study into online hate.

Mr. Cooper said the witness, Faisal Khan Suri, should be “ashamed” for his comments, which he said were drawing a link between conservatism and “violent extremist attacks.”

Mr. Scheer said that after removing Mr. Cooper—who later apologized online and said it was a “mistake”—from the committee, he considers the matter closed. Mr. Cooper remains the Conservatives’ deputy justice critic.

Putting aside the fact that Mr. Cooper had the material at the ready, it’s incredible that he felt the right time to bring it to the fore was the moment anyone said something that hit a little too close to home for him, regardless of how it was meant.

Hurt feelings aren’t an excuse for hate.

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