Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
February 14, 2002
Natives want judge fired over heroin comment
Quebec jurist tells mother to give children heroin if she wants them to be happy
OTTAWA (CP) — A judge who told an aboriginal mother if she wanted her children to be happy she could give them heroin should be removed from the bench and quickly, the Assembly of First Nations demanded today.
The assembly, which speaks for Canada's Aboriginal Peoples, contends the Canadian Judicial Council has been dragging its feet for 14 months in dealing with a complaint against Justice Frank Barakett, of the family division of Quebec Superior Court.
"We seriously question whether the Canadian Judicial Council has adequate powers to promptly discipline its judges," national Chief Matthew Coon Come said at a news conference.
"In cases involving aboriginal people, is the council truly willing to take effective action?"
The assembly filed 10 complaints against Barakett in October 2000 and a further 12 complaints against three appeal court judges in June 2001.
The complaints stem from a custody battle that started in 1996 over twin girls born in the United States to an aboriginal woman and her former non-aboriginal husband. The mother isn't being named to protect the identities of the children.
According to court transcripts, Barakett asked if the Mi'kmaq woman wanted her daughters to be happy. She said yes.
"That is easy," the judge said, according to the court transcript.
"Just put them on heroin, they'll be happy all the time."
Custody was awarded to the girls' father.
I don't know what this judge was thinking, but I'd guess he meant to imply that 1) aboriginal children are too wild and "savage" to pacify by other means, or 2) they're not human enough to deserve humane treatment. Either way, his comments are stereotypical.
. . .
All material © copyright its original owners, except where noted.
Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
Copyrighted material is posted under the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act,
which allows copying for nonprofit educational uses including criticism and commentary.
Comments sent to the publisher become the property of Blue Corn Comics
and may be used in other postings without permission.