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Jun-11-2012 00:35printcomments

The Great Canadian Genocide Debate... Trent University And The 9-Ball Hustle

Canada has no colonial history. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper

(SASKATCHEWAN) - Let's face it, we Canadians emulate our American cousins. They're cool. We're nerds. Check out the Battle of Queenston Heights, where the American commander was named Brigadier General Zebulon Pike. Nobody remembers the name of the Canadian CO – probably something like Angus MacDougall.

You must remember that classic screen masterpiece, “The Hustler,” and Jackie Gleason's immortal role as Minnesota Fats, the pool hall impresario who aced Paul Newman's character, Fast Eddie Felton. Minnesota Fats was Gleason at his best, with the possible exception of his chartering a train to party all the way from New York to L.A., on arrival proclaiming: “It's the only way to travel.”

But recently, we've come up with the final Canadian triumph in this war of cool. We no longer need to take a back seat to anybody in the realm of hustling.

We introduce for your reading enjoyment Professor John Milloy, aka Trent University Fats, master of the Canadian version of that hustler's genre – Rez School 9-Ball.

You know the plot. The hustler arrives in a hick town, takes his delicately balanced cue out of its Moroccan leather case, assembles it like an assassin's rifle and starts to get the farm boys on the hook by dropping two or three games to the yokels in Kelly's pool room. Then, as the gape-mouthed crowd gathers and the ante gets up to around one hundred and fifty bucks per game – dependent on what the traffic will bear, not counting side bets - he cleans the table. His favorite medium is 9-ball, a fast-moving jeu, offering wide-open opportunity for hooks and bank shots.

It's just an analogy, but we introduce our boy, Fats Milloy, cracking his knuckles, balancing a beaker of Molson's on the table edge, shirtsleeved, maybe even an unlit cigar gracing his scholarly jowls as he chalks up and squints at the table. Unfortunately, the best we can offer to fill in the Paul Newman role, Fast Eddie Felton, is the Reverend Kevin Annett, and Kevin will admit he's no match for the Trent hustler.

The actual game that ensues is not 9-Ball, but a real-life drama that's even more convincing; the ancient Canadian tradition we've been referring to lately as absolving with faint blame. And in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's mealy-mouthed pronouncement of what's good for the Indians, the Trent version gets on board skillfully – pretending that we're all prone to human weakness, but cleaning the table with self-justification.

The narrative goes something like this, and we're quoting from our own Canadian Shield newsletter of about a year and a half ago:

“If you were the Prime Minister creating a Royal Commission in the grand old Canadian tradition, that anachronistic device imported from Mother England. designed to sweep a major problem under Parliament's broadloom for four or five years, you'd want an historical consultant (read hustler, in our little mixed metaphor) to give it the right tone, and make the whole thing legit.

“The TRC was anointed to report on 141 church-run Indian Residential Schools which, over 120 years, managed to bury at least 50% of the 150,000 kids kidnapped legally and delivered to the tender loving care of assorted missionaries, priests, nuns, and other pedophiles. The delivering agency was made up of your friends and mine, the Musical Ride boys.

“As for the history buff appointed at great cost, the script called for an academic who would maintain that grand old Canadian tradition of devoting five years to studying a problem, with no particular penchant for doing anything about it. (In American politics, this is known as punting on first down, but they don't understand Canadian football with our 55-by-110 yard field, with much more room for evasiveness.) By default, you'd come up with Professor John Milloy of Trent University. Not too big (except for Fats himself), like McGill; nor yet too small, like Plum Coulee College. Hopelessly Canadian. In other words, just right.

“A few years ago when Fats was still fingering his tenure at Trent and hustling for more lucrative opportunities, Reverend Kevin Annett delivered a lecture at that (Trent) University, and at his mention of the 50% death rate of the Indian children attending the rez schools, Milloy rumbled to his feet and declared: 'All that’s been debunked!'

“Kevin pointed out that Fats himself had cited the 50% rate in his own book, 'A National Crime,' and that he had perhaps lifted it from the report Kevin himself had unearthed, written by Dr. Peter Bryce, the Canadian government's own medical director in 1907.

But the fix was obviously in. The hustler had spotted the official government line and was getting himself on board even before the TRC had been created as Stephen Harper's favored game of 9-ball. If the Prime Minister had decided that the G-word was not to be included in the official rez school story, Fats was cool with altering his own research to fit. (For American readers, a sort of Mitt Romney dodge.)

Since then, his nimble cue has shot him right into the official line of both the TRC and the Prime Minister's Office. "To truly argue (he infinitively splits, in true scholarly fashion) that this was a conscious federal policy to wipe out the Indian population genocidally with the cooperation of the Christian churches - the documents don't prove it. The evidence just isn't there."

No kidding. At least 10 years prior to Fats Milloy's entry into the hustle, Kevin Annett had produced a 400-page document, working primarily in UBC's own archival stacks, proving the prevalence of tuberculosis-infected blankets, medical experimentation, Canadian and provincial laws at “His Majesty's” instigation ordering the sterilization of hundreds of native people, dozens of personal testimonies and eye-witness accounts of murder, and the existence of at least 28 proven mass grave sites, attested to by observers with substantial experience in Kosovo and Rwanda.

And to quote an expert that even Fats Milloy would recognize, Professor Anthony Hall of the University of Lethbridge: "North America represents the most ethnically cleansed part of the world — no other part of the world has been this totally re-engineered."

Milloy, and Sinclair, and Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper all declare that the whole Indian thing is distressingly complex – that's why it's shuffled off into a Commission – the Canadian way of dealing with complex problems. They think it's – well, sort of a game of 9-ball. Once you can sink the smaller numbers, the Canadian public concludes that everything is accounted for, and either goes back to sleep or drops something on the collection plate, which of course can be considered a side bet.

Just recently, a different hustle has taken place. In his recent interim report, TRC chairman Justice Murray Sinclair has decided there WAS genocide after all. But it was the nice kind. Instead of killing people like those crude Rwandans or Nazis, you assimilate them into your culture by uneducating their kiddies, familiarizing them with superior white society and its realities of sodomy, flu shots and foster homes. Bad, but not so bad. And then add equal opportunity educational facilities, such as scholarships to Trent University.

Fats goes along with all that. He also likes the elaborate smorgasbords that Murray dishes up at the TRC's gala fetes at Winnipeg, Inuvik, Halifax and Port Alberni. No Indians allowed, of course.

Hard on the heels of Sinclair's landmark report delivered in Vancouver recently, Milloy presented his own talk, entitled “Survivor’s Narratives: Voices from Inside the Circle of Civilized Conditions.” It was “an historical perspective on residential schools: their creation, conditions within them, the harm done by them, and the ways in which that legacy is being addressed by the TRC.”

In the rarified world of Harper and Fats Milloy, problems are never tackled or solved, they're always “addressed.” Child-raping animals are never hung up by their thumbs, as they should be. They aren't even to be named.

“The power of the schools which teachers, missionaries and administrators brought to bear on the children was deeply corrosive. It seriously incapacitated thousands of young men and women.”

Yes, sir, there's nothing like being sodomized daily for four or five years or watching your baby sister being thrown out of a third storey window by a nun to incapacitate you. It sounds like a problem that should be addressed.

It seems that “the explicit aim was assimilating Indigenous people by removing them from their parents’ and their community’s influence.” Well, yeah. More importantly, if you knock off 75,000 kids, the next generation won't need all that valuable land, so the Crown might as well take it over.

“These students could not fuse two conflicting cultural influences in any positive way,” explained Prof. Milloy. Astute observation, that. You can't fuse anything if you're brain-dead. Or just dead.

Had enough of the TRC's whitewash of murder and Trent University's band-aids over our genocidal history? So has your editor, but we're in for much more of it, as payroll chiefs, the AFN biggies in the finest tradition of Flyin' Phil Fontaine, and especially our applauding Canadian media, are all busy lining up to congratulate Justice Murray Sinclair for his most recent pronouncement.

Canadian 9-Ball. We're accustomed to being hustled. And this time it only cost us $68 million.


Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address:

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