Jonas: "It’s important to note that the residential school programs were disgraceful ...[even]from the perspective of their own [times]."
Then he contradicts himself with: "The reason we didn’t view our own conduct in this light at the time was due to civilizational arrogance ..."
While the latter bit ("civilizational arrogance") rings true, the former is unsupportable nonsense. Boarding schools were hardly a novel concept in the 1800's and early 1900's. In fact they were common. So were the methods of discipline. Regimentation and corporal punishment were pretty much the norm in British schools both at home and in the colonies (and from my own experience, in public schools in the 1950s and beyond). That it was applied in Indian residential schools is hardly surprising and certainly wouldn’t have been thought "disgraceful" by anyone at the time. Sexual abuse is another matter but it would have been considered criminal then and more severely punished than it is today.
Jonas’, in arguing from the perspective of his own supposedly ‘more enlightened’ times is guilty of ...what? Temporal arrogance? It would be interesting to hear from those who ran the schools back then but, luckily for George, they’re not here to defend themselves.
That's mainly in the first part of his column. But he works his way to a reasonable, politically incorrect conclusion:
The ultimate solution, if there is one: ... A good version of the same model of which the residential schools were a bad ... example. The alternative, which is having the government maintain some sort of Paleolithic Garden of Eden for natives in post-industrial Canada, isn’t just unaffordable but unworkable. Unless people join the century in which they live, they will be alienated and displaced. For aboriginals no less than everyone else, Canada must be a first nation.