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The Common Sense Canadian: First Nation slams coverup of mercury poisoning report

Grassy Narrows First Nation member protests suspected mercury poisoning in 2013 (Kevin Konnyu / Flickr)

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO – A northern Ontario First Nation says it has obtained an unreleased report that shows the federal and provincial governments failed to properly address widespread mercury poisoning among its members.

Water around the Grassy Narrows First Nation near Kenora, Ont., has been contaminated with mercury since a local paper mill dumped an estimated 10 tonnes of neurotoxins into the system between 1962 and 1970.

Grassy Narrows and the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations negotiated an out-of-court settlement with Ottawa, the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Inuit, Greenpeace team up to battle Arctic seismic testing

Greenpeace’s Les Stroud Les working with Inuit in Pond Inlet (Photo: Laura Bombier / Greenpeace)

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Greenpeace and the Inuit have joined forces to protest Arctic seismic testing, warning that plans to gauge oil and gas reserves with high-intensity sound waves in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait pose grave dangers to marine life.

Inuit activists are staging a protest Wednesday in Nunavut’s Clyde River, a tiny Baffin Island hamlet just above the Arctic Circle, a week after Greenpeace took their cause to the United Nations.

Inuit takes aim at Aglukkaq

An Inuit (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Website for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women Launched

New website launched on first anniversary of the death of Bella Laboucan-McLean, whose case remains unsolved and is listed as suspicious.

The post Website for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women Launched appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Government teaching new Canadians to hate Louis Riel

The government is rewriting Canadian history by poisoning the minds of new Canadians with an egregious misrepresentation of Louis Riel, the nineteenth-century leader of the Métis people and the founder of Manitoba province.

The post Government teaching new Canadians to hate Louis Riel appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Politics, Re-Spun: Just How Many BC Government Comms Staff Are There?

Below are all the job titles of all the comms staff in the BC Government Communications and Public Engagement bodies as of last week. Count with me!

There are 278 people!

278. That’s more than a few. The records include folks in these two areas:

Government Communications: which tends to the day-to-day communications functions, including strategic communications, media relations and issues management; and Strategic Initiatives Division: which largely consists of technical experts who provide corporate online and data services to government.

But don’t take my word for it; count for yourself. I might be off by a few. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Boothe responds to the C.D. Howe Institute’s unwarranted bias against public-sector investment: Is the public sector holding back provincial growth rates by crowding out private sector investment?  That’s the contention of a recent C.D. Howe paper by Philip Cross.  The paper provides a great case study of the danger of confusing correlation with causality.

Let’s begin with the simple arithmetic.  Gross domestic product (GDP) is the sum of spending on consumption, investment, government services and net exports.  Whether the investment spending is initiated by the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Supreme Court’s Grassy Narrows Verdict Dismays First Nations

In a 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Ontario had the right to issue industrial loggers permits to operate on the Grassy Narrows First Nation’s traditional lands.

The post Supreme Court’s Grassy Narrows Verdict Dismays First Nations appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Two legal challenges filed against Northern Gateway

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Two legal challenges were filed Friday against the federal cabinet’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Gitxaala (git-HAT’-lah) First Nations, who hail from the North Coast of British Columbia, filed an application for judicial review with the Federal Court of Appeal.

Ecojustice filed a separate application on behalf of ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

The environmental groups are asking for a court order quashing the approval of the pipeline proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB).

Ecojustice lawyer Barry Robinson says the federal approval was a flawed decision based on a (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Rafe: First Nations, Constitution are Canadians’ best defence

Chiefs of the Tsimshian First Nation speak out against Enrbidge at a 2012 Prince Rupert rally

Big money now rules the world. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class gets squeezed. No government in the world is doing anything about this – least of all the Conservative government in Canada.

The only people fighting this, and for their own reasons, are First Nations. We all do things for our own selfish reasons so that was not meant to be a criticism, but simply a statement of fact.

It is time we looked at the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: BC’s Deep Deep Racism, Shhhh!

Shhh, this is uncomfortable. It might make you ashamed.

Hopefully it will anger you to action?

First Nations burial grounds in BC have less protection than settler cemeteries.

Along with desecration at a Musqueam burial site, someone is building their home on top of another burial ground on Grace Islet off Saltspring Island. On stilts [see the horrible details below]. And the person building this home was once fined $150,000 for putting fake safety labels on retail products. Sigh. Morality much? Ever?

The minister responsible said in the legislature that Grace Islet’s “owner” “and the archaeology branch had (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report

A new study confirms that pollutants from the Alberta tar sands contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods.

The post Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Stephen Hwang and Kwame McKenzie discuss the connection between affordable housing and public health and wellness: In 2009, researchers followed 1,200 people in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. It was found that they experience a high burden of serious health problems like asthma, high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They are also at high risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, and of going hungry.

There’s more. We know that housing in disrepair can lead to accidents, fires and infestations. That overcrowding can lead (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Canada politics news roundup: Harper Conservatives’ lack of good governance

The Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling on the Harper Conservatives’ cancellation of refugee health care tops the list of my favorite Canada politics news headlines this week.

The post Canada politics news roundup: Harper Conservatives’ lack of good governance appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Cowichan Conversations: Tsilhqot’in Nation Gives Canada a New Chance to Do It Right

Step by step the Canada’s Supreme Court is humanizing Canada in spite of our mean spirited Prime Minister and our chequered past treatment of First Nations peoples, culture and values.

This Mitchell Anderson Opinion piece ran in the Tyee recently and is well worth your attention.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs: the terms of the deal are no longer the same. Photo credit Times Colonist

Culture and natural resources may seem to have little in common, but their intersection is about to become very important in Canada.

The sweeping decision by the Supreme (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape

For Canadian activist Brigette DePape, participating in last weekend’s final tar sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was akin to “witnessing a war on the earth, and being part of a growing movement to stop it.”

The post Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

The Common Sense Canadian: Lead lawyer explains Tsilhqot’in case, aboriginal title and rights

In early 2008, on the heels of BC Supreme Court Justice David Vickers’ initial ruling in favour of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s Williams case, I interviewed the plaintiff’s lead lawyer, Jack Woodward at his office in Victoria.

Throughout this in-depth discussion, Woodward details the case itself, the intersection of aboriginal title and rights with BC’s fascinating colonial history, and the implications of the decision on the future of resource development in the province and across the country – everything from mines to hydroelectric development and oil and gas.

Nearly seven years later, Woodward’s comments prove every bit as insightful and relevant, with (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape

For Canadian activist Brigette DePape, participating in last weekend’s final tar sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was akin to “witnessing a war on the earth, and being part of a growing movement to stop it.”

The post Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

The Common Sense Canadian: Rafe: Time Canadians get used to Tsilhqot’in case, Aboriginal title

Chief Roger Williams (left) at the the Supreme Court of Canada (Photo: Pei-Ju Wang)

The Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s Roger Williams case victory settles the question once and for all: there is aboriginal title, it is effective, and it can be enforced by aboriginal peoples.

This is a long way from where the law was 25 years ago and for many people that will take some getting used to. No doubt there will be gnashing of teeth and suggestions that perhaps Parliament should change this. Forget it – get used to it – Parliament has no such power as this was a (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Peter McKay and this week’s Canada politics news roundup

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, Supreme Court of Canada, First Nations and the rest of the politics news which made the headlines in Canada this past week.

The post Peter McKay and this week’s Canada politics news roundup appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Susan on the Soapbox: A Gift from Chief Justice McLachlin: The Tsilhqot’in Decision on Aboriginal Rights*

On June 26, 2014, in a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin gave the First Nations (and the rest of Canada) a treasure map.

Chief Justice McLachlin

It wasn’t a crumpled piece of paper covered with a cryptic scrawl, but a comprehensive legal analysis that defines the elements of Aboriginal title to land and sets out how the federal and provincial governments must act if they intend to intrude on Aboriginal lands.

And here’s the best part. By forcing the government and industry to respect Aboriginal title to ancestral lands the Supreme Court of (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta

Hundreds of people from all over Turtle Island are currently participating in this weekend’s fifth and “final” tar sands Healing Walk, taking place in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The post Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Opponents Vow To Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline

First Nations groups say that the pipeline would disrupt their traditional seafood harvest and endanger their culture.

The post Opponents Vow To Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

CuriosityCat: First Nations & The Supreme Court Land Title Case: What does it mean?

Chief Roger William: The Man who changed Canada

This has been one of the most dramatic weeks in the history of Canada, with the highest court in the land shifting the tectonic plates underlying the country. Very little economic activity that involves any kind of resource exploration or development in areas where the First Nations have or might obtain title will be carried out in the same way from this day on. Power equation altered by Supreme Court: You can find the Supreme Court decision here. It is very clearly written, follows the logical development and extension of the laws (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: First Nations & The Supreme Court Land Title Case: What does it mean?

The Common Sense Canadian: Liberal govt hubris handed Tsilhqot’in Nation bigger legal victory

The statue ‘Ivstitia’ (Justice) guards the entrance of the Supreme Court of Canada (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

The BC Liberal Government just couldn’t leave well enough alone. In choosing to appeal the Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s BC Supreme Court victory over land title and rights, the government set in motion a chain of events that could have profound consequences for its future resource development plans.

The Tsilhqot’in won a landmark legal victory affirming title and rights over 200,000 hectares of their traditional territory, west of Williams Lake, at the BC Supreme Court in 2007 (with limited rights to an even larger area). The 17-year case was the longest (Read more…)