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COMMENTARY · 12th March 2013
Merv Ritchie
January 31, 2013,
It has come to my attention, after a trip through the Northwest, from Prince Rupert, through the Hazeltons and north through Iskut to Telegraph Creek, a majority of the elected and appointed leaders have serious drug abuse problems, cocaine being the common ingredient.

I have been upset recently at the news of the firing of most of the local workers at the Imperial Metals Red Chris Mine due to indications of drug use through testing.

Two factors cause this discomfort. First this was reportedly determined not just by a simple urine test; hair samples and saliva swabs were also taken. Urine is used to determine recent history and this is fair. Hair on the other hand would show drug use even if the individual had been clean for a year.

The second issue is how, in previous days of a society which used to be kind and compassionate, treatment programs were always offered prior to the firing of a staff member. When it comes to the primarily Indian workers fired, drug and alcohol abuse is epidemic. In this case the care and compassion to assist the local native population to rise above their generational hardships should be at the forefront. Firing all the locals and importing East Indian workers is an insult.

Therefore when the drug abuse activities of the elected and appointed Indians and non-Indian leaders were detailed to me by the locals on my travels a solution became clear. If the workers are tested the leaders must be also.

The Band Councils, the Municipal Councils, the Mine Managers and corporate executives all must be tested.

There is a clear necessity for this. It is these leaders who provide the instructions and directions for the workers. The workers must perform the tasks they are assigned. If the leadership is delusional due to the excessive consumption of a mind altering substance these instructions may in fact put everyone’s lives in danger.

There is no excuse to deny this reality. The axiom, “What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander” is aptly applied here.

We have been told Native Economic Development organizations have been signing international deals while completely stoned and drunk, white powder still on their noses. One native chief has it on video tape. All leaders of all organizations must consent, native and non-native. We all need to be reassured.

How many of the deals are signed due to the compromised leadership, how many are corrupted by the intoxicants? We do not know. What we can be certain of from the numerous reports, this is more than just a couple of bad apples, it is as epidemic as is the drug and alcohol abuse with the workers who were fired from Red Chris.

Is there justice or is it still the ‘Just Us’ system. While the leadership buys homes in Vancouver, attends Hawaii for ‘medical treatment’, presents travel and entertainment budgets in the tens of thousands of dollars, accepts hundreds of thousands from corporations for access to their territories without any accountability, the regular poor working stiff is told they must consent to a pee test for drug use.

I say, all refuse until all consent. That’ll put and end to the idiocy. All councils, economic development organizations and chamber of commerce executives and directors must consent, Native and non-native; GDC, TNDC, KDC, TEDA, KTIDS, TDCC, SNCIRE, NCIT, BVED, MIED, etc, etc. Now wouldn’t those results be fun to read?
Do as I say not as I do?
Comment by Catherine on 11th March 2013
Why shouldn't the "Leaders" be tested? To truly be a leader is to set and live an example of leadership.

The challenge is in - perform or resign
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 11th March 2013
We demand all politicians and executives of all agencies and corporations in charge of directing people or any facit of our society in any manner, to provide urine and hair samples.

We as a people must be reassured we are being led by competent, unadulterated people.

There will be no excuse for any one not complying.

Get the test done or resign.

Comment by Peter j on 5th February 2013
Hey what's up with attack on Aboriginal leaders is this your way of saying" all Indians are drunks and drug addicts"! Kind of funny this article comes out days before the sacred headwaters celebration and timely with the idle nomore movement? Your showing your true colors

Ed Note: Not at all. We have, and still do, offer support to those who stand with respect and dignity. What we do not support, as we have written numerous times, those who abuse. The abused becoming the abuser to their fellow abused. This is a bothersome reality. The point was to put some on notice. We know. And should they not resign we will expose them.

Drug that all?
Comment by Nisga'a on 2nd February 2013

We all know the problems that some leaders have, gambling, they can be found in the casino gambling away our monies while some people starve, their greed pushes them to gamble, the more money they can get a hold off for their substance abuse and this does not have anything to do with journalism. Once you seek the help that you definetely need, maybe you will think straight.

Mind you, there are some good leaders but please show me one.
Drug addicts in the Senate
Comment by David on 1st February 2013
We need legislation requiring all Senators to undergo regular, random drug testing. We, the people who pay for Senators' salaries, have a right to know whether any of our Senators have suffered brain damage from their prolonged "casual" alcohol use.

Try Googling: "Low to moderate alcohol use causes brain damage" to find the MRI study funded by the American Heart and Lung Foundation that shows alarming results. Middle aged people who who drank as little as 1 - 3 drinks PER WEEK were found to have suffered significant brain shrinkage.

Surely, many, if not most, of our Senators have been"casual" drinkers for decades, so most of them must have shrunken brains. We should not be allowing brain damaged individuals to be making serious political decisions.

Mandatory MRI brain scans for all Senators NOW!

And while we're at it, we should ensure that all the drug dealers on Parliament Hill and in Ottawa are sent packing. All liquor stores and bars must be closed to stop the carnage.
Drug addicted Chiefs
Comment by Pam Bevan on 1st February 2013
Seriously, you call that journalism? Where is your proof? Or is just on your say so? Seems pretty irresponsible to paint them all with the "drug addict" label with no proof. Maybe you should be drug tested because what your reporting is totally whack!!
Comment by me on 31st January 2013
merv should be drug tested fucking cracker
Here Here
Comment by Moe Naguib on 31st January 2013
Great Idea, add Judges and senior GOVERMENT executive to the list.