'This article is so spectacularly ignorant' Reaction to former judge's Thunder Bay editorial - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘This article is so spectacularly ignorant’ Reaction to former judge’s Thunder Bay editorial


Ashley Brandson
APTN National News

A contentious article written by a former Manitoba judge and published this week in a Thunder Bay paper has angered people across the country because it hits on all the misconceptions Canadians have about Indigenous peoples.

“System that rewards Status Indians is spectacularly unfair,” wrote Brian Giesbrecht in his 500-word article. “A person with Indian Status might never have to pay income tax and can pass this million dollar exemption on to their descendants.”

“This article is so spectacularly ignorant,” said Niigaan Sinclair a professor of Native studies at the University of Manitoba when contacted by APTN National News.

“Indigenous people don’t get free education. It’s that Indigenous peoples have access to education at the post secondary level in relation to an exchange that Canadians of Indigenous peoples have shared through an agreement called the Treaties.

“And the treaties are an agreement in order to share land and benefit each other equally.  And so part of that is providing education and health and – and access to land for example and that’s what the treaties were intended to do.”

Giesbrecht is now a fellow at Frontier Centre for Public Policy, often considered a right wing think tank.

In his article, Giesbrecht goes on to assert that Métis and non-status Indians are lining up by the millions to be granted the same benefits – or gravy train as he puts it.

“The system is spectacularly unfair, and things are going to get a whole lot worse as more people are added to the list of the entitled.”

People were also tweeting about Giesbrecht’s article.

“This piece is full of the most ignorant and blatant myths and lies about status Indians,” wrote Chelsea Vowel, a Métis lawyer, writer and educator from Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta.

APTN requested an interview with Brian Giesbrecht, but a spokesperson at the Frontier Centre said he was not available.

The article’s posting in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal came on an interesting day – World Indigenous Day.

Pattison would not make himself available for an interview but did speak briefly with APTN on the phone.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision to run the piece on the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples,” he wrote.


Thunder Bay is currently struggling with a racism problems with First Nations people.

Its police force is being investigated by both civilian and outside police forces and its chief stepped aside after being charged with obstruction of justice.

The city’s mayor, Keith Hobbs, also had to step down after being charged with extortion.



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10 Responses to “‘This article is so spectacularly ignorant’ Reaction to former judge’s Thunder Bay editorial”

  1. Sewindian@yahoo.ca'
    Tsionoktiio August 11, 2017 at 12:01 am #

    How did he ever become a Judge is beyond me! What a racist smuck, he,s on the gravy train too long, get rid of him.

    • postmastergeneral0@gmail.com'
      Bugwajinini August 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

      That kind of opinion is EXACTLY HOW he became a judge. In Canada laws are shaped by the courts and by putting people like him in the legal system can be used against the First Nations.

  2. gwmclean@yahoo.com'
    Gord August 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    Its the Chronicle Journal – Not the Chronicle Herald. But aside from that, their is also the fact that very few people in town actually pay for this paper. Several business have stopped advertising with the CJ, as a result of their slanted, view. There is a reason this paper is reffered to as the Crockful Urinal.

    • Mark Blackburn August 11, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. barbjohnson@hotmail.com'
    Barbara Johnson August 11, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    The education needs to be changed. I learnt about the useless Punic Wars so we cannot include Indigenous Studies at every level of the Public School Programs. As a teacher, I would like to see treaties as major portion of all provincial PSPs. The who, what, when, where, and why regarding treaties need to be included plus more. There is no shortage of teachers within our communities who can teach is this specialty. We are generally the last, if ever, to be hired withn the provincial school systems. The settlers claim that we do not pay taxes so we do not deserve to be employed. We are the ones who are paying the highest taxes in all forms of taxes. This is our land and we need to be first in priviledges not the White priviledged.

  4. cjpetoskey@msn.com'
    cjpetoskey August 11, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    Its spectacularly ignorant and to think this man was a judge.

  5. dave.erwin@sympatico.ca'
    Dave. August 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Time journal seems to have been running a number of articles lately that originate from the western provinces and are blatantly racist in slant. no wonder Thunder Bay has received such a bad reputation as a city that quietly endorse racism towards it native members.

  6. Shmohawk@hotmail.com'
    Dan David August 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    Please don’t stop trying to put Giesbrecht , the Frontier Centre, and Troy Media on. They share a shameful record.

  7. lindastacey1@Hotmail.com'
    Linda August 12, 2017 at 7:30 am #

    This Judge needs education and training on how to respect First Nations People .He should learn about their culture & apologize for his racist comments. The justice system needs an overhaul change and rid itself of racism from judges, police, schools ,workplace, hospitals, prison systems.

  8. Isaac1960@msn.com'
    Dennis August 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    This is a judge wow didn’t he get too be a judge by knowing is history of Canada