Better to Give

On the bedroom wall of the diminutive eighth grader Jack is a poster of hockey player Sidney Crosby in full stride and beside is another poster of a bikini-clad Kate Upton. Jack is sitting at his desk surfing the net on his notebook.

He clicks a link sent by a classmate, and he begins to watch a Sun News video titled “First Nations millionaires club.” It sounds boring to Jack, but he watches anyway.

On his monitor a bespectacled man is excitedly gyrating his arms and blustering in rapid oratory.

Ezra Levant: “… most exclusive club in Canada … and elite fraternity limited to 633 millionaires … if you’re the wrong race, you’re not allowed to buy in at any price …”

Jack: [thinking to himself] So these Injun guys are racist.

EL: “You and I pay for it through our taxes. We’re the reason they’re millionaires.”

Jack is glued to the controversial words coming from the notebook. He wonders how these chiefs get away with it.

EL: “Now non-Aboriginal Canadians would never accept this. It would be morally repulsive to us …”

Levant rants on about the Third World shanty towns that Indians live in.

EL: “… not surprising because private property is illegal under the Indian Act … so of course they don’t care about a home they don’t own, of course they don’t invest in them or keep them maintained …”

Jack: [thinking about loud about his socially conscious classmate Forest Wild] Wait till I tell Forest tomorrow.

The next day Jack, wearing a Blue Jays baseball cap, jeans, and lemon sneakers, arrives home and dumps his knapsack on the mat by the door. His father hearing the commotion looks up from his computer and resets his glasses back on the bridge of his nose.

Dad: Hi Son, home early from school. How was your day?

Jack: It was kind’a weird, Dad.

Dad: Why do you say that?

Jack: Hey Dad, isn’t giving a good thing?

Dad: Sure it is, Jack. Why the good Lord Jesus said so himself in the Bible that giving is better than gettin’.

Jack: I want to give Sam $10, so that’s a good thing right?

Dad: Why the urge to give Sam $10? He’s the rich kid in the neighborhood. What’s up?

Jack: [Jack looks sheepishly at his feet] Ummm … you see … I found his wallet on the way home. It has over a hundred dollars in it. And finders-keepers, yes? But I thought I would do the good thing, so I’ll give Sam $10.

Dad: Now son, you can’t call giving someone back what is theirs giving?

Jack: What is it then?

Dad: It’s … uh … it’s returning.

Jack: Huh? Now I’m really confused.

Dad: Why is that?

Jack: Hey Dad, I got this link about some guy Ezra LeRant talking about how Injun chiefs are to blame for ripping off everybody so they can become millionaires.

Dad: Ezra Levant — not Lerant.

Jack: Yeah, anyway, the runt guy talked about how the Injun chiefs were scamming the government and their own people. He said that the government was giving the Injuns lots of money.

Dad: What does this have to do with finding Sam’s wallet?

Jack: Well, our teacher posed a question to us in school today. She asked us how we would feel if someone stole something that belonged to us. We all said we’d be angry. Then she asked us why we’d be angry. So we said because that’s stealing, and stealing is bad. It even says so in the Bible.

Dad: Okay, and …?

Jack: Then she asked what the thief should do to make things right. And we all said the thief should return what he stole and say sorry.

Dad: Sounds right.

Jack: Then Forest Wild said the school was on Injun territory, territory stolen from Injuns, the Sarso…, Zasko…, Zarsask, … whatever. I can’t remember that difficult name… but some First Nation. Anyway, Forest asked the teacher if the stolen land shouldn’t be returned too. Ms. Yang said that was an excellent question. And then she asked, “Wouldn’t everyone have to give up their homes and businesses?”

Dad: Sounds right.

Jack: But Forest said to Ms. Yang, either thieves get to keep what they have stolen or they should return it.

Dad: So what is the point? We all should move?

Jack: Ezra said there were 6oo and something millionaire Injun chiefs in Canada. He even said they were racist because only Injuns could join. He said that we pay for those Injun chiefs to become millionaires through our taxes.

Dad: You don’t son, but I sure do through my taxes. I watch every episode of Ezra. He also said that the chiefs earned more money than prime minister Harper. Heck, he even said they didn’t “earn” the money but took advantage of the political system.

Jack’s father shifted his ample girth in his reclining chair. The hairs on the back of his florid neck stood.

Jack: He even said that these chiefs were more like our high school principal cuz the reservations are so small. But Forest said that was racist. He said the only reason the reservations were so small was because the White men had stolen their land, pushed them on to reservations, and tried to assimilate them. He even said he wasn’t an Injun like Ezra Lerant … Levant, whatever-his-name called them. He said that was rude and that his people were not from India.

Dad: That’s true. It is better to call them First Nations. But the fact is, Levant — his name is Levant – said 64% of Canadians think we give too much money to Indians … er, First Nations.

Jack: Yeah, so Levant thinks the White men didn’t take the First Nation people’s land? Otherwise how could he talk like the government gives money to them? Forest said since the money comes from the territories of the First Nations that the money belongs to the owners of the land. And you said you can’t call it giving when you give something that belongs to someone else, right? So that means the government can’t give to the First Nations because it already was theirs?

Dad: Hmmm. Well the Indians … the First Nation people didn’t have title to their lands. So how was the White people supposed to know who owned the land? So it was kind of like finders-keepers.

Anyway, you just go ahead and give … return … only don’t say “return” … say “give.” Anyway, you just give Sam $10 tomorrow, but better not to say anything about finding his wallet.

And while you are at it, could you give your old Dad $15 for a six-pack?

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.