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March in Review, Part II

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Issue: 69 Section: Month in Review

April 1, 2010

March in Review, Part II

Coulter cancelled, racists blocked, and INAC occupied

by Dominion Staff

An Anne Coulter supporter (left) argues with a protester. Over 2,000 people rallied against Coulter's "racist and homophobic" statements at the University of Ottawa where she was slated to speak. Her security detail eventually cancelled the event. Photo: Chris Bisson

Students at the University of Ottawa forced the cancellation of a speech by American neo-Conservative pundit Anne Coulter. Over 2,000 people answered the call from the school's student federation to declare her "unwelcome" on campus based on Coulter's previous racist and homophobic statements.

In Vancouver, 300 people gathered for an anti-racist demonstration to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The rally was scheduled to occur at the same location as a rumoured neo-Nazi rally in order to confront and denounce the group. The anti-racist rally declared success when no white supremacists appeared, apparently cancelling their rally.

On the same day in Caledonia, ON, approximately 50 people rallied to denounce a demonstration protesting perceived pro-Aboriginal, anti-white racism on the part of the Canadian government and the Ontario Provincial Police. The anti-OPP rally was organized by the same people who had earlier called for a controversial "Caledonia Militia" to police the area against perceived illegal Aboriginal actions. The counter-protest succeeded in blocking the first rally, with reports that many who came out to attend the anti-Native rally stayed to mingle with the second group and discuss their concerns.

Over 300 people gathered for an anti-racist rally in Vancouver at Braid Skytrain station. A neo-Nazi rally supposedly scheduled for the same time and place never occurred. Photo: Isaac Oommen

A video of a Victoria police officer kicking two men while they were on the ground was released on YouTube sparking a formal investigation into charges of excessive force and brutality. This comes on the heels of the 14th Annual International Day Against Police Brutality, marked by protests in Montreal and Vancouver.

Representatives of the oil and gas industries in northern Alberta offered tainted bison meat to the residents of the Indigenous communities of Fort Chipewyan and Fort McKay. The meat was recalled for containing lead levels above what is considered safe for human consumption. For several years, Indigenous people have maintained that tar sands development is poisoning plants and animals throughout the ecosystem, undermining their traditional diet. The tainted meat also casts more doubt on the validity of industry claims that Indigenous people are able to reclaim land once extraction has run its course.

The United Nations marked World Water Week by releasing a report that claims a lack of access to clean drinking water kills more people per year than war. More than 900 million people around the globe lack clean, safe and easily accessible drinking water, a situation that results in approximately 3.6 million deaths each year.

A coalition of Indigenous Mayan communities and organizations filed a Constitutional Petition with the government of Guatemala, calling for an immediate suspension of all gold mining operations on traditional Mayan lands, citing the International Labour Organization's Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, which Guatemala has ratified. According to the convention, Guatemala is expected to respect “the integrity of the values, practices and institutions” of Indigenous peoples. If recognized, this treaty would shut down mining operations currently run by Canadian companies Goldcorp and HudBay.

Near the Southern Saskatchewan community of Willow Bunch, a SaskPower contractor bulldozed a sacred Indigenous site: an area home to over 300 ancient teepee rings, which, until around 1910, was used as a rest point by travellers headed from Cypress Hills to Fort Qu'Appelle. The incident—which is being blamed on snow cover—occurred at the site where SaskPower is installing a series of high-voltage power lines.

A recent study of environmental contamination in the Gaza Strip revealed unusually high levels of toxic heavy metals in hair samples from Palestinians following Operation Cast Lead. The study found carcinogenic and toxic metals such as chromium, cadmium, cobalt, tungsten, uranium and lead in levels two to three times that of control subjects, suggesting persistent environmental pollution and potential long-term health problems as a result of the siege of Gaza.

A report from The Co-operative group of companies and the World Wildlife Fund found that the level of funding earmarked for the expansion of the Alberta tar sands over the next 15 years—over $380 billion—could finance a program to de-carbonize western economies, as well as provide enough funds to achieve half the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was caught with his foot in his mouth referring to emissions intensity reductions as real cuts. He stated that the tar sands had reduced emissions by 38 per cent since 1990, while emissions have actually increased by over 300 per cent since 1990. Emissions are currently 38 million tonnes a year and expected to reach over 100 million tonnes per year by 2025.

The Canadian government released spending projections for the next three years that contain a 27 per cent increase for Corrections Canada, bringing their funding for fiscal year 2012-13 to $3.1 billion and translating into 4,000 new positions at correctional institutions and parole offices. The increase will come into effect simultaneous to 25 per cent and 42 per cent cuts to Environment Canada's and Agriculture Canada's respective budgets.

In Northern British Columbia a coalition of Indigenous nations issued a declaration barring the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project from crossing their territories. The 1,170-km pipeline would link the Alberta tar sands to a port in Kitimat, BC. The oil would there be loaded onto supertankers bound for ports in China and the United States. Critics claim the project presents a threat to ecosystems along its entire path—including the Great Bear Rainforest, more than 1,000 rivers, and the Northern BC coast.

The fallout from the Copenhagen climate summit continued as two activists, Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss, appeared in court to face charges of "terrorism" under Danish law for their role organizing non-violent civil disobedience. Demonstrations during the summit drew thousands of people, and Danish police are currently processing close to 200 complaints about police misconduct and the treatment of arrestees.

People arrested during the anti-Olympic Heart Attack march during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics appeared in court to face charges, including mischief, possessing a prohibited weapon without a licence and assaulting a police officer. Most of the cases were adjourned to future dates, where the defendants are expected to enter pleas.

Nearly 300 residents of Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, New York, marched along Church Street, which runs through both towns and is split by the US-Canada border. Neighbours usually cross at will to visit each other, but residents from both sides of the border have recently been detained and arrested after crossing the street.

Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining company, successfully pressured Talon Books into cancelling an upcoming book investigating the actions of Canadian mining companies. Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World's Mining Industries was still in the manuscript phase when Barrick Gold sent legal notice demanding the book not be published and that all documents relating to the company be handed over. The collective work was to focus on Canada's role as a tax and regulatory haven for the world's mining companies. Authors of Imperial Canada included the three writers of Noir Canada, a critical look at Canadian mining operations in Africa, who are currently being sued by Barrick Gold and mining company Banro.

Six non-Native women occupied the office of Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Chuck Strahl in Ottawa, demanding funding be restored to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation after funding was not renewed in the latest federal budget. All six protesters were arrested within the hour, without response from Strahl. The foundation was established in 1998 to fund programs for Aboriginal survivors of violence and abuse in the Residential School system. Over 130 organizations funded services with AHF money, whose budget officially expired March 31.

Students and faculty at the First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan began a "live-in", refusing to leave the university until the federal and provincial governments restore their combined $12 million in funding to the school. Both governments cut funding, citing concerns about financial and administrative mismanagement. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, in partnership with the University of Regina, has established a transitional board to address governance concerns that go beyond the requirements set out by the two governments, say the FNUC's backers.

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Comments

Lead in Meat Statements INACCURATE and MISLEADING

Nice reporting. The lead levels were shown to be due to the fact that it took more than 6 bullets to put the animal down and the meat tested was taken from too close to the bullet wounds. It had nothing to do with anything other than the bullets. Try some accurate reporting, please. Otherwise you are worse than those you accuse of taking from the land without regard for the health of the environment.

"For several years, Indigenous people have maintained that tar sands development is poisoning plants and animals throughout the ecosystem, undermining their traditional diet. The tainted meat also casts more doubt on the validity of industry claims that Indigenous people are able to reclaim land once extraction has run its course."

On the etiquette of news-bashing...

Hey!

Thanks for pointing out a potential gaps in coverage. Unfortunately when you make anonymous comments and fail to provide a link to any source that confirms your statements, no one can check the validity of your claims.

Please provide back up sources for all accusations of journalistic failings and placement of The Dominion below Suncor on the continuum of exploitative, destructive actions. Otherwise you kind of come off sounding like an oil industry shill, climate change denier, or sandwich board wearing oracle calling on the religious apocalypse.

Thanks!

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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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