TORONTO, January 22, 2002 - Ontario Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty has apologized for remarks he reportedly made referring to Aboriginal peoples as not "real people." The minister, who is also seeking his party's nod to become the premier of the province, was commenting on the federal Department of Health's staffing priorities.
Mr. Flaherty is reported to have said: " The federal department of Health delivers health care services to Aboriginals. All the provinces have the responsibility for delivering health care services to real people in real towns: hospitals, doctors, nurses - that's where the dollars should be."
"The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is tired of hearing 'apologies' from Canadian political leaders for statements that portray a fundamental and destructive ignorance of contemporary Canadian society. Within the past few months we had to endure these apologies and move on.
Attitudes like those voiced by Mr Flaherty have become far too commonplace in our political landscape.
Moreover, it is an absolute atrocity that someone seeking to lead a Canadian province can betray such a profound ignorance of the lives of Canada's first peoples. And, while an apology may attest to sober second thought, it suggests that the instincts that are necessary on the job day-by-day is not there. This type of callous disregard is not what we want from our political leaders.
Perhaps it's time for someone to be immediately fired for these comments before they start taking the matter seriously.