Much of the research on the topic of Aboriginal colonization and policy focuses around child welfare programs. It has been noted that there are disproportionate rates of children in the welfare system and out-of-home care in Canada, which is seen as “perpetuating a historical pattern of removing Aboriginal children from their homes that started with the residential school system of the past” (Sinha and Kozlowski, 2013: 1). Canada has decentralized child welfare systems to the provincial level and has focused on fostering the Aboriginal culture, customs and spirituality. Self-governance in Aboriginal communities is also a factor in making local communities more responsible for provision of child welfare services to Aboriginal people living on and off reserves (Sinha and Kozlowski, 2013).
Neoliberalism is very rarely analyzed policies pertaining to Aboriginals and its effects on communities, groups or families. However, some Aboriginal scholars believe the “recent shift towards an economic development agenda as a solution to the socio-economic, political, cultural and social despair that their communities are experiencing as a result of colonization is a natural extension of these liberal values and marks a significant and troubling shift away from Indigenous values (Alteo, 2012: 4).
Neoliberal ideals remain central to the theories on geneses of poverty as they revolve around individual responsibility, and may include issues like “deficiencies of character, intelligence, [or] social capital” (Lindhorst and Mancoske, 2003: 29). There is an emphasis on personal responsibility in regards to participation in labour force. Focusing on the individual pathologizes people who are economically disenfranchised, or a “disentitling of the unentitled” (Lindhorst and Mancoske, 2003: 29). Personal responsibility also affects the idea of an underserving poor and defends privilege (race, sex, and class) without overt discrimination by means of new language (Lindhorst and Mancoske, 2003).
As neoliberalism and federal policymakers push towards “personal responsibility”, women’s “social responsibilities”, such as child and elder care, are ignored. This creates a conflict for women as this set of responsibilities are often at odds with each other. Neoliberal “gender blind” approaches ignore women’s disadvantage in the labour market, disproportionate responsibilities for childcare and inadequate support systems. Too, women are more likely to sacrifice careers advancement in order to meet gender role expectations of care for home and family.
Working mothers need flexible schedules to accommodate family care responsibilities but they are less likely to have jobs with such flexibility, and the jobs they have tend to pay less than those with more flexibility. Single mothers are at risk of coming across additional barriers when child become sick (no pay for missed work and negative employment evaluations). Neoliberalism looks to marriage as the institution to fix the...