Just five months following the Toronto AIDS Conference, which drew over 20,000 delegates from around the world, Canadians marked World AIDS Day 2006 with little fanfare. Perhaps we should not be surprised that the event garnered so little attention. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend the Toronto AIDS Conference, and thus appears unwilling to see AIDS as a Canadian problem that demands urgent attention. Prime Minister Harper did not attend because the conference had become “too politicized” (Ubelacker, 2006). Of course AIDS is politicized, could an issue that magnifies oppression and poverty be anything but political? Such inaction further contributes to the notion that AIDS is an “African problem,” not important enough for consideration within the borders of the developed world (Larkin and Mitchell, 2004). Consequently, the many faces of AIDS in Canada, especially those of Aboriginal women and Aboriginal youth, remained hidden and silenced. This sad glimpse into the Government of Canada’s priorities gives insight into the postcolonial legacy of shame, blame, and silence that plagues the AIDS epidemic as it sweeps the globe and makes its indelible mark on Canadian history.
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