Dear Editor:

I have lived and worked in three countries and seven provinces. This country, no matter what Kim Baker says (see last weeks letter to editor: What version of Canada do you want?), has an admirable history and present. We are a free enterprise and democratic society. We all have the opportunity for choices in education, career, employment and, yes, political leadership. Yes, these opportunities may require work and effort, even more for some than others but our society is mobile and they are obtainable.

Democracy is not just about voting, it is about choice in the consumer goods we buy or dont buy, in where or how we live. If you dont like the job choices out there, start your own business, contribute. If you dont like the political figures out there, join a political party and help nominate those you think should be there. With regards to the aboriginal community, the two things that are needed are democracy and socio-economic development. Current Chiefs are based more on inheritance and family patronage rather than functioning democracy.

Prime Minster Stephen Harper and Shawn Atleo put together a solid plan for aboriginal education, etc., and the Chiefs shot it down. We need the present paternal federal reserves to be changed to democratic municipalities with individual property ownership. The answer to most aboriginal situations is socio-economic. Poverty, substance abuse and domestic issues would all be reduced with real jobs and income.

This is ready to happen with resource and recreational development and, yet, too many aboriginal leaders are in opposition of this.

Aboriginal issues need internal not Ottawa answers.

Closing with a brief history lesson: without a doubt, there were Chinese who suffered exploitation on the railroads. Original settlers, soldiers, missionaries and voyageurs also built this country under gigantic hardship and succeeded admirably, where others failed.

Walter Benstead