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May in Review, Part I

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Issue: 69 Section: Month in Review

May 15, 2010

May in Review, Part I

Manon remembered, Queers Against Apartheid ousted, mining companies tried and decried

by Dominion Staff

Pride Toronto is being accused of trying to block Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participating in this year's parade. [cc 2.0] Photo: ocad123

Canadian mining company Goldcorp faced the third session of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal on the role of "The European Union and Transnational corporations in Latin America" in Madrid, Spain. Goldcorp is accused of violating the land use rights and right to self-determination of the Indigenous Mayan people in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala, through their Marlin gold mine operations.

Indigenous leaders from Papua New Guinea flew to Canada to encourage parliament to support Bill C-300. They claim their land is being degraded by Barrick Gold's Porgera mine, and people no longer have enough land to grow food. “On top of that, we are threatened and harassed by the mine’s security forces and by our own military that is supporting the mine,” Mark Ekepa told members of parliament. Bill C-300 would deny Canadian public investments to Canadian corporations found to be abusing human rights overseas.

In Toronto, 18-year-old Junior Alexander Manon was allegedly beaten to death by police officers after fleeing a random pull-over near York University. Official police and corporate media accounts claimed that Manon collapsed from a heart attack, but witnesses described a much more gruesome scene. "They beat him up, he was on the floor, he wasn’t resisting. Two officers on him, punching him in the face, one kicking him in the ribs... And then five more come and jump on him… He’s not that big for seven boy’dem [cops] to be on him like that,” said one witness. In response, over 200 residents of the Jane Finch community took to the streets to demand justice for Manon.

Over 200 people rallied to a call for justice for Junior Manon. Manon died under suspicious circumstances earlier this month. Witnesses say he was beaten to death by police, while the Toronto Police claim he died of a heart attack. Photo: No One Is Illegal Toronto

A Yukon civil lawsuit has been brought against 11 RCMP officers and prison guards by the daughter of Raymond Silverfox, a 43-year-old member of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, who died after 13 hours in RCMP custody in Whitehorse in 2008.

The federal government has extended an offshore drilling moratorium in the Grand Banks southwest of Nova Scotia for three years, continuing a ban which has existed since 1988.

Alberta's Law Enforcement Review Board ruled the Edmonton Police Service were "inappropriately preoccupied with 'keeping a lid on' the public knowledge" of an email written in 2002 by an Edmonton constable. The email was an attempt at "humour gone wrong" but offensive "beyond question" according the the board. It made such statements as "An 'Aboriginal' is actually just an Indian." The board found the Edmonton Police was more concerned about the "media circus" should the email become public than dealing with the racist nature of its contents.

A Quebec student was strip searched and turned away from the US border when she told border officials she was planning to volunteer on an organic farm in California. US Immigration views working on a farm, even as an unpaid volunteer, to be work an American should be paid for.

A group of professors at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick are protesting the university's decision to award Chapters and Indigo bookstores' head Heather Reisman with an honourary degree. Reisman created the Heseg Foundation, which gives full academic scholarships to non-Israeli-born individuals who travel to Israel to join the military. "This is a military that has been accused and found guilty on several occasions of gross violations of international humanitarian law," said David Thomas, a professor of International Relations at Mt. A.

Access to information documents revealed Pride Toronto has been in communication with city officials about how to keep Queers Against Israeli Apartheid out of this year's Pride Parade. Pride has come under fire for bending to corporate sponsors and city pressure.

Pride Toronto will not receive funding from the Conservative government this year, a move opposition MPs say is in line with the government's anti-gay ideology. NDP MP Olivia Chow questioned why the Agricultural Winter Fair—which has a far smaller turnout than Pride—received $1.9 million and Pride was turned down for $400,000.

In Ecuador, over 1,000 Kichwa Indigenous people came together and agreed to mobilize against developments on their traditional territory by Calgary based oil company, Ivanhoe Energy. The decision was spurred by the Ecuadorian government's concession of land to Ivanhoe within the UNESCO Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, considered one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, and home to over 20,000 Indigenous people who were not consulted about the drilling.

A panel in Halifax warned the Nova Scotia government against dependence on bio-mass to meet their goal of 40 per cent renewable energy production by 2020 because of the stress it would place on the forest biome. The government has plans for a $200 million, 60-megawatt biomass facility in Cape Breton, which many fear would result in the clear cutting of forests in order to fuel the facility.

Bill C-311, the federal NDP's Climate Change Accountability Act, passed its last vote in the House of Commons, and will proceed to the Senate for debate. The bill aims to set Canada's greenhouse gas reduction targets at 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 per cent cuts by 2050, going much further than the Conservative government's current goals.

First Nations opposed to oil pipeline company Enbrdige's Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline, which would run through their territory, announced they have strengthened their conviction to fight the project in the wake of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Wet'suwet'en and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council delivered a statement to Enbridge executives in Calgary, saying, “Oil spills on the land and waters are inevitable—it’s just a matter of time... All the state-of-the-art technology claimed by oil companies can never eliminate human error. We will oppose this pipeline project to protect our lands, and our waters."

In Calgary over 300 people have signed a petition opposing the invitation of known anti-native militia leaders Mark Vandermaas and Gary McHale, who have organized against the Six Nations people of the Grand River Territory in south-western Ontario, to the "New Directions in Aboriginal Policy” conference at Mount Royal University.

Over 15,000 people came out in Ottawa for a rally against abortion rights, including 20 MPs from the Conservative party's pro-life caucus. This comes as Stephen Harper continues to state he does not wish to re-open the abortion debate and as he moves forward with his campaign for "maternal and child health." The program, to be discussed at the G8 and G20 summits this summer, will not include provisions for family planning.

According to documents acquired by the Canadian Friends of Burma, the University of Ottawa attempted to subvert a talk by Burmese human-rights activist Ka Hsaw Wa entitled "BURMA Blood Profits: Was Ottawa U's new Desmarais building paid for with cash tainted by the blood of innocent Burmese citizens?" The talk would link atrocities in Burma to the financiers of a new building on the campus.

United States government officials announced CIA drone attacks in Pakistan will be expanding to include what are called "low level combatants." Many worry this will increase the civilian death toll from drone strikes, which Pakistani press report is in excess of 600 since mid-2008.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood accepted her share of the $1 million Dan David Prize from Tel Aviv University despite a campaign from Palestinian students, launched by the Palestinian Students Campaign for a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel, asking her to boycott the prize in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Atwood acknowledged seeing the letter, but responded that a cultural boycott was equivalent to censorship.

A Sudbury Superior Court decision declared barricades erected by striking Vale Inco workers illegal, resulting in a bolstering of strength by striking workers and rising fears of police violence. According to Brian Shell, a lawyer for Local 6500 of the United Steelworkers, police have been encouraged by Vale Inco to use "war-like conduct," equated to "busting skulls" in order to break the stalemate.

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I think it's detrimental to

I think it's detrimental to the discussion to use terms like "pro-life." This term is used by those who wish to frame the debate within their own oppressive confines. I think this website fills a gap in the Canadian political discourse that is desperately needed-thank you-but i'm surprised that a progressive outlet would overlook this. These discussions and debates are shaped by the terms we use to talk about them. Who's not pro-life? It's kind of stupid and it simplifies something much more complex. It also panders to anti abortion establishment, cabal-whatever you prefer to call them. I prefer anti-choicers. Way she goes.

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