On the Progress of Canada’s Civilizing Mission in the Colony of Nunavut

with 40 comments


Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

-Rudyard Kipling

Iqaluit, year of grace 2009

My fellow Canadians,

It is my pleasure to report that my long and perilous voyage has ended without any serious mishap and that I have now reached the desolate camp that, I am told, is the capital of our newest colony.  I write this letter from my frugal apartments overlooking a few hundred rooftops and the barren no man’s land beyond.  There is not much here in terms of civilised comfort- except for hard liquor which is plentiful – but a gentleman does not travel to a foreign country 2500 kilometers from his loving wife and family for frivolous entertainment.

Barely had I set foot on this land that I was served an effusive greeting by an Eskimo, not a word of which I understood.  Mercifully one of his fellow people, who spoke English, came to my rescue and helped me locate transportation to my offices.  For some strange reason it seems that the first chap had come to believe that my position as a senior administrator of the colony somehow meant I was required to speak their language!

On the topic of language, I am extremely pleased to report that we are making tremendous progress and  that the local people are abandoning their tongue and learning English at a faster rate than achieved anywhere else in the Empire.  In a single decade the number of Inuit who speak their own language at home has gone from 76% to 64%!  With 24 of the 25 schools in the colony giving out education in the English tongue, the adoption of our language by the local youth should only accelerate.

In the immortal words of Toronto’s Reverend James George, the “rich freightage with which this Argosy is so majestically sailing down the stream of time’ could be borne to all people, and as a means of combating the evils the Lord had brought on humans after the building of the Tower of Babel.”

It’s amusing to note that because of the great constitution of Canada and the Charter of Human Rights – that brilliant piece of law-making- we were obligated to build a French school, but not to build any for the Inuit!

What were we going to do?  Teach the children in the vernacular and treat English speaking people like a vulgar minority?   Oh my, what a dreadful thought.  No, the French school was expensive but it keeps them quiet.  In the end the French are just like the Scots:  let them play “nation” with their costumes, flags, schools, foul national dishes and bogus “resolutions” in the House of Commons and they’ll become the fiercest defenders of our country and of the English language you’ll ever find.

Today they’re the one forcing the Inuit to speak English in the restaurants an shops about town!  That good Dr. Laurin must be spinning in his grave.

Speaking of Dr. Laurin, I know there was worry back home after the Native council passed that legislation suspiciously similar to Québec’s Bill 101 that purposed to make the local tongue the language of education, administration and business.  Mercifully our great leader Stephen Harper has made it clear that the Empire is not bound by the laws of the colonies.  Since the 700 million dollar budget of Nunavut comes almost exclusively from the Federal coffers, we probably won’t have to start chewing eel fat with the elders just as yet!

The Native youth is learning English but still seems to be struggling with some of our more modern knowledge.  The drop-out rate is quite high, with but a quarter of them finishing secondary education.  My personal opinion is that it is all the better as the tasks for which they are destined do not require to be well versed in science and literature.  To paraphrase Macaulay who served on the Supreme Council of India in Calcutta in 1835:  « It is impossible for us with our limited means to attempt to educate the body of the people.  We must at present do our best to form a class who may be the interpreters between us and the thousands whom we govern – a class of persons Inuit in blood and colour, but Canadian in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. »

The many gold, iron and diamond mine projects in the area are moving along nicely and we’ve set aside a quarter of the jobs for the locals.  Now that their English skills are improving we are able to train them to drive trucks and work for the skilled labourers who will come from the South to operate the mines.

In any case, they’ve been living a purposeless life of government handouts ever since we killed their hunting dogs and relocated them all over the territory in the 1950’s, so they are ripe and ready to begin working for the mining companies.  It’s not like there is a « traditional lifestyle » left to save.

We’ve also begun training and arming many of them to serve as Rangers and patrol the colony.  As you know, some rival countries like the United States, Denmark and Russia don’t fully recognize our sovereignty over these lands on the pretext that we never bothered to build any infrastructure whatsoever over here until the last few years!  (Some Inuit are actually suing us over this! Don’t they understand how much more urgent it was that we distribute Canadian flags all over Québec?)

Well let them try to take our land from us now that we’ve taught a few hundred natives to speak English and parade around with the Maple Leaf flag held up high!

Amusing anecdote:  A ranger I was talking to asked me why the maple leaf on the flag (which he thought was a snowflake) was red.  It turns out the closest maple tree is at least 1,500 km away!

Isn’t it just glorious?  The Inuit are giving up their native language and culture for English, a Maple Leaf and a badly translated version of a an old French-Canadian resistance song while the emblem of this once proud arctic people, the Inukshuk, now symbolises Vancouver, a city 3500 km away where a snowstorm is an aberration!

God Bless Canada!

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

40 Responses

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  1. first and foremost – i admire your hard work.


    i am a capitalist also – and obstensibly i’m sure we share other things in common – but these tags or identifiers don’t have much to do with the burden of human experience.

    you have singled out being british and white in this current piece as if imperialism was invented somewhere near hadrian’s wall – mixed the english language into a confusing piece that ends in ridiculing Canada. well done.

    i say this is not well done, but half-baked. i did not accuse you of being a hypocrite – and i’m sorry your play in the markets didn’t work out the way you wanted it to. i can appreciate how you’re resentful about that the guy in the next inlet wolfing down blubber and you’re stuck with dried char from last year.

    and honestly i don’t care if you’re a godless communist with a crystal ball or a guy with a keyboard and an axe to grind – we’re all in the same kayak.

    would you be a conservative and would you have done your best to preserve a nomadic way of life? would you have imposed a hands off policy condemning people to the vagaries of climate, polar bears’ appetites, famine and no health care? do you expect time to stand still?

    do you think things are getting worse?

    why don’t you praise the exploration that brings bloodless diamonds to market?

    do you honestly think the guys on the Franklin expedition 150 years ago were thinking about how to thieve oil and diamonds while they went mad, froze and starved to death?

    why do you denigrate the 2000 year old western legacy that has brought our civilisation to this point? subvert the system if that’s your calling but leave the colour of skin and language out of it – please.


    April 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  2. That sounds great in principle, but…

    Fon, I know this is not what you’re saying cause that’s not your style, but why should non-Inuit (mostly anglos but also some francos) in Nunavut be treated with kid gloves when Inuktitut speakers get no such consideration when they move elsewhere in Canada? The same goes for English in Quebec. With a few exceptions, when a francophone or Inuit person moves to the ROC, it’s “sink or swim, mon ami”.

    So does anyone have any justification for doing everything to help the poor Euro-language speakers in Nunavut and English speakers in Quebec get over the shock of feeling like they are in a foreign place for the first time in their lives (although some may actually have been born there but lived oblivious to the culture surrounding them), but very little is done to help the poor migrant from Pangnirtung or Ste-Eulalie in Calgary feel at home?

    Why the double-standard? Please, don’t anyone say that it’s simply because English is the majority language in Canada, as that doesn’t jive at all with Canada’s diversity dogma. I know people are probably tired of this example but imagine how the French or Italian Swiss would react if the German Swiss (a 60+% majority in the country) had personal, transportable language rights in German when they moved to francophone Geneva or italophone Lugano, but that their people on the other hand were told “speak Swiss German or die” if they happened to move to Zurich. Well, that’s not the way it works there, and maybe that’s why they have language peace.

    As well, both Inuktitut and French were around in these areas way before the first English speakers ever set foot there.

    So I fail to see why non-Inuit people in Iqaluit or non-francophones in Montreal have to be treated any more specially that Russians who move to Copenhagen or someone from Thailand who moves to Tokyo.

    Unless there is some type of unwritten language hierarchy in Canada that makes certain languages and their speakers deemed superior to others.


    April 22, 2009 at 8:21 am

  3. I am sure you’ll all have a blast for the first little while, until all the genetic defects inherent to your species start to become hyper-exacerbated from all that inbreeding over a few generations, and eventually wipe anglo-only paradise off the face of the earth.


    April 22, 2009 at 8:27 am

  4. the other school of thought on this suggests that the best and dominant genes will eventually produce an optimal pool – however it’s the polar bears you have to worry about – the ones that don’t understand please don’t eat me in any language.


    April 22, 2009 at 8:44 am

  5. That’s only if you pick the best of what the entire human species has to offer: the best Asians, the best Africans, etc. Every sub-group of the human species, even those perceived by some to be superior, has genetic weaknesses and vulnerabilities that are inherent to it, and that get watered down when they mix with other groups where their occurrences aren’t as frequent.


    April 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

  6. acajack,

    pretty much a guessing game when humans get “bright” ideas although this has not stopped anyone from trying.

    the cream will always rise to the top. natural selection is always humming away in the background with a healthy/unhealthy dose of hazard ready to interfere with even the most adaptable.

    not much rhyme or reason – which explains why some people get hit by a bus and others get eaten by polar bears. personally, i’d prefer a quick hit from a bus any day of the week over being brunch a la mode.

    and ideally i will be released from these goofy conversations at a ripe old age in the comfort of my own bed surrounded by loved ones. hey, you never know! – each week somebody wins the lottery.


    April 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  7. Yep, that the Canadian’s Charter of Freedoms and Liberties is there to protect minorities and disadvantaged groups from your own bigotry!


    May 2, 2009 at 9:02 am

  8. Territories are not provinces. Nunavut, NWT and Yukon are territorial entities created by virtue of federal statutes. In the case of Nunavut, the establishment of a territory and public government was further called by the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement signed between Inuit and her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada!

    Nunavut passed its own official language act last year, which will give Inuit of Nunavut a clear legal statement of their inherent right to use the Inuit language in full equality with English and French.

    HOWEVER, the Nunavut Act (approved by Parliament in 1993), requires the new Act to be “concurred” by Parliament before it can be brought into force in Nunavut. Draw your own conclusions. The same federal statute further prevents the territory from making any law that would diminish the status and rights of English and French.

    If one would try to make Inuktitut the ONLY official language in Nunavut, even if it gets approved at the territorial level, both House of Commons and Senate are keeping the final word for themselves, and both would have to agree. But even before getting there, Nunavut does not have the legislative authority to do so. The federal Nunavut Act would have to be changed first.

    It is interesting to note that Maori was made an official language of New Zealand, along with English. Paraguy recognizes Guarani. Venezuala passed last Summer a national legislation that requires government offices to provide services in the regional indigenous languages.

    In Greenland, Nunavut’s neighbor, Greenlandic (a regional variant of Inuktitut) has been agreed to become the ONLY official language of Greenland, with the support of Denmark, on June 21, 2009. Greenlanders will be entrusted with the powers to regulate on their own terms, without imposed restrictions, the use of other languages (and they do believe in learning other languages, as most Europeans do, and several speak not only Danish as a second language, but a growing number speak English, and some speak French and German).

    On matter of sovereignty, wouldn’t it reinforced Canada’s position in the Arctic if Inuktitut was to be recognized a national official language in the Arctic? Or do Inuit have to assimilate and speak English or French to be true Canadian citizens, their guttural language being silenced during our flag parades?


    May 2, 2009 at 9:59 am



    August 29, 2009 at 9:48 am

  10. AFG: You`re an ass.

    The whole reason for the creation of the territory of Nunavut was for the sake of greater Inuit control of their local affairs. The conditions in the north have never been great, because they cannot be great. Ever try erecting perment structures with solid foundations when you need to get your materials from thousands of miles away and the ground is either permafrost or quicksand-like and unsuitable for construction? I thought so.

    Before you decry me as an “Angryphone”, please note that I support Québec’s secession, and yes, I am a Canadian. I do so because Québec and Canada are polar opposites, and no democratic state can function properly if two sections of its population are so opposed to each other. Once Québec goes, we can reform the Canadian Constitution and overhaul the federation into something that is tangibly workable rather than the non-democratic dystopia we have now. And I think you will agree with me that both Québec and Canada would be happier as seperate nation-states.

    I support you because I am sick of you. I am sick and tired of watching the shamelessly biased and ignorant federalistes grapple with the equally shamelessly biased and ignorant sovereigntistes (eg: you) while the whole country and both of our nations suffer under political stagnation. I am also sick and tired of the Canadians constantly debasing and ripping on Québec, while les Québecois constantly are debasing and ripping on Canada. (I have tried to explain countless times that Québec has been a selfless friend in our development as a nation to my Canadian friends, and OUI, Monsieur Bouchard, le Canada EST un pays et un nation….)

    My point is, thanks for all your support Québec, but for the good of both of us, you gotta go!


    February 13, 2010 at 12:17 am

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