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February in Review, Part II

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Issue: 58 Section: Month in Review Geography: Earth

March 1, 2009

February in Review, Part II

Security Certificates, Shareholder Insurgency and State Secrets

by Dominion Staff

This poster advertising Israeli Apartheid Week was taken down by staff at Carleton University and Ottawa University.

A federal court ruling lessened the heavy level of state surveillance that Adil Charkaoui will be subjected to. He has been under a security certificate since he was released from a federal maximum security prison in 2005. Charkaoui was held without charge for almost two years. He will still be required to wear a GPS tracking device and notify the Canadian Border Services Agency about his whereabouts if he leaves Montreal. Security certificates have been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada, yet they continue to be used on five men in Canada.

Canadian soldiers shot and killed two children in Afghanistan. More than 60 Afghan civilians were killed between January 20 and February 20.

HMCS Winnipeg launched five test missiles at drones from near the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The ship will travel toward Korea for further weapons testing before beginning a six-month deployment with NATO in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, Canada's highest ranked soldier, announced that soldiers will be receiving a new counterinsurgency manual prepared for them by soldiers and academics. "The key point is that it's a blend of political, diplomatic, economic [and] societal activities that all lead to successful conclusion," he said.

The federal government released the revised security budget for the 2010 Olympics. Costs have soared from the original estimate of $175 million to over $900 million. The contribution from BC rose $165 million to $252.5 million, and the feds will pay $647.5 million plus any unforeseen costs.

The federal government's Olympic Secretariat identified protesters as the most likely disruption during the games.

The government of Nova Scotia announced it would contribute $1.5 million to the 2010 Olympics. The payment will bring some perks, including hotel and ticket reservations, to government officials.

Canada's federal Information Commissioner denounced the Harper Conservatives' record on transparency. The results of the Information Commissioner's review "provide a grim picture of the federal government's access to information regime,” said Information Commissioner Robert Marleau.

"Something's wrong when you have to fight like this just to keep your friggin' harbour," says Eugene Broome, a fisherman from Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia. Photo: Friends of Port Mouton Bay

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff responded to a photo essay and article exposing the environmental and social problems caused by the tar sands in National Geographic by saying, "National Geographic is not going to teach me any lessons about the oilsands." "I don't think they're going to change. I don't think so because Mr. Harper is totally linked to the oil companies, if not completely owned by them," said Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe in response to the article.

Co-operative Financial Services, a mutually owned financial group in Manchester, UK, announced it will give over $90,000 to the Beaver Lake Cree nation to help pay for a lawsuit against the government of Alberta to prevent new tar sands developments on their territory. The Co-operative Financial Services recently updated their ethical policy, according to which they "will not finance any business whose core activity contributes to global climate change, via the extraction or production of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas), with an extension to the distribution of those fuels that have a higher global warming impact (e.g. tar sands and certain biofuels)."

Royal Bank shareholders protested in what the Financial Post called "across-the-board insurgency against Bay Street" as the company held annual general meetings across Canada. The Royal Bank is a sponsor of the 2010 Olympic Games, and finances many projects in the extractive industries, including the Trans Canada Pipeline in Northern Alberta. "If RBC is serious about supporting clean water...why are they financing projects that are contaminating the lakes and rivers around my community?" asked Melina Laboucan-Massimo, from the Lubicon Cree Nation, during the company's AGM in Vancouver.

The US government disclosed that the US economy shrank by 6.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2008, marking the largest economic contraction since 1982. The New York Times reported that "economists are using the word depression — a subjective term with no academic definition — to describe a condition of broad and extreme economic distress that remains stubbornly in place for much longer than a typical downturn."

Nova Scotia's education minister ordered an end to a racist school assignment at École Mont-Carmel in Ste-Marie-de-Kent. "The students had three spaces in a rocket ship and they had to decide which person they would save among the following: an Acadian francophone, a Chinese person, a black African, an English person and an aboriginal person," reported the CBC.

Residents protested a proposed salmon farm near Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia. "The area that they want to take has been so valuable to us for years and years and years, for a safe haven, and it's deep water and there's lobster there," Robert Swim, a lobster fisherman, told the CBC. According to the Friends of Port Mouton Bay, the proposed open net salmon farm would pollute the water and damage the local economy.

Amnesty International called for an international arms embargo against Israel.

Posters advertising Israeli Apartheid Week were banned from Ottawa University and Carleton University. Carleton University staff took the posters down, stating that they "could be seen to incite others to infringe rights protected in the Ontario Human Rights code" and are "insensitive to the norms of civil discourse in a free and democratic society." Hundreds of students at both campuses protested the Universities' decision to ban the poster.

University workers in Ontario who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel. "It's just unconscionable for us not to take some sort of action," said Tyler Shipley, a spokesperson for CUPE local 3903 at York University.

An unconfirmed report in the Jeruselam Post stated that "Israel's interests in Caracas will now be represented by the Canadian Embassy." Venezuela expelled the Israeli diplomatic corps during the attacks on Gaza earlier this year.

Venezuelans voted in a referendum to abolish term limits for elected officials.

British police predicted this summer will be a "summer of rage," as people affected by the recession join forces with activists to create street disorder. Among the targets for people's outrage include banks, headquarters of multinational corporations, and other financial institutions. Protests marking the "summer of rage" are expected to kick off at the G-20 summit in London this April.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a study that found the risk of catastrophic climate change is getting worse.

Twenty-six scientists researching the effects of genetically modified crops submitted a statement to the US government claiming that they are being blocked from carrying out their research by biotechnology companies. "Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry," reads part of the statement.

Indigenous leaders from the US, Niger and Australia joined together in Washington, DC to call for and end to uranium mining and nuclear power programs. "Uranium mining, necessary to extract the metal ore needed to produce nuclear weapons and fuel for nuclear reactors, has, for decades, targeted both low-income and majority Indigenous communities around the globe," reads a press release put out by the delegation.

Community leaders from Ecuador traveled to Toronto to announce a lawsuit against a Canadian mining company and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Long-time Indigenous rights activist Robert Robideau died at age 61. Robideau was active with the American Indian Movement and participated in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

US Secretary of War Robert Gates announced that the ban on photographing the flag-draped coffins of US soldiers will be lifted by the Pentagon. The ban has been in place since the First Gulf War in 1991.

A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that coverage of human rights in Colombia and Venezuela in US media over the last decade has served the interests of US foreign policy by being harsh on abuses in Venezuela and lax on Colombia's appalling human rights record.

Two prisoners were freed from a Greek jail in a daring helicopter rescue. It was the second time the pair had been freed from jail by helicopter in three years.

UFO trackers in Manitoba reported a spike in UFO sightings in Canada. One thousand four unidentified flying objects were reported in 2008, the highest number in the 20 years since statistics have been kept.

Attendees of the Academy Awards wiped with 100 per cent recycled toilet paper, and Greenpeace rated toilet paper brands on environmental soundness. Millions of trees are cut each year to produce the thick, fluffy toilet paper preferred by American consumers. Recycled TP tends to be rougher and thinner because of shorter wood fibers. Kimberly Clark (Cottonelle and Scott) gets between 14 and 22 per cent of its pulp from the Canadian boreal forest.

Traffic was shut down at Memphis International Airport after a bicycle with the sticker reading, "this bike is a pipe bomb" was found chained outside Terminal C. This Bike is a Pipe Bomb is the name of a popular punk band.

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Comments

Bob Robideau

It is simply too bad that Robideau spent the last few years of his life shilling for the US and Canadian governments, publicly (and without evidence) accusing political prisoner John Graham of murder. Graham is now being held in a South Dakota prison and the fact is sadly that Robideau played no small part in this. When one becomes a rat, nothing they did prior should any longer matter-- such behaviour cannot be forgiven.

Link to soldiers kill Afghan children story

The link to our source for the story about how Canadian soldiers killed two children in Afghanistan led to an article from 2008. Here is an updated link, where the death toll is up to three.

The Canadian government has since denied that it was the soldiers that killed the kids. "Investigators underscored their conclusion arguing that people don't kill people. Bombs kill people."

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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