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July in Review, Part I

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Issue: 70 Section: Month in Review

July 15, 2010

July in Review, Part I

Tax breaks for pipelines, bail for G20 arrestees, court win for war resistor

by Dominion Staff

Residents of Kanesatà:ke and allies from surrounding communities marched to commemorate 20 years since the Oka Crisis. Photo: Dru Oja Jay

The Canadian government cancelled an 18-month investigation into water pollution from the Alberta tar sands. No reason was given for the cancellation, or for the destruction of preliminary reports from the investigation.

At least 200 tonnes of fuel spilled into the St. Lawrence Seaway when a freighter ran aground at the southern edge of Montreal during a thunderstorm.

The government of Quebec announced it would be increasing tax breaks for oil and gas pipeline projects from eight to 30 per cent, citing pipelines as a more "ecological" mode for transporting petroleum products.

In England seven anti-war activists were found not guilty for "decomissioning" a weapons factory in Brighton during the 2009 Israeli siege of Gaza. The activists destroyed equipment at a factory run by EDO ITT, a major weapons manufacturer and supplier of weapons to Israel.

Solidarity marches with those arrested during the G20 protests in Toronto were held in Vancouver (seen here) and across Canada. Photo: Tami Starlight

Protests were held across the country in oppostion to the mass violation of civil liberties in Toronto during the G20 protests, where 1,105 people were arrested. The vast majority have been released, but several hundred still face charges. As of deadline, 14 of the 17 people co-accused for allegedly being leaders and organizers of protests which resulted in property damage had bail hearings; all but one were granted bail. Charges include conspiring to assault police officers and conspiring to commit mischief, and bail was set as high as $85,000.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed five official complaints with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director concerning policing at the G20 summits. They include illegal mass arrests of 1,105 persons, illegal detentions, unlawful dispersal of peaceful protests, unlawful use of excessive force on peaceful protesters and passersby, and unlawful and inadequate conditions of detention.

In response to Toronto Police Services appealing to the public to submit images and video of G20 protesters in order to identify them for charges or arrest, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN) asked the public to submit images and help identify police caught committing acts of brutality and violating civil liberties during the G20 protests. The following day, Toronto Police Services released photos of their "Top 10 Most Wanted" from the G20 protests, encouraging Toronto residents to provide information on their whereabouts. The TCMN denounced the move as continuing a "witch hunt."

After 93 years, the Canadian Press announced it will switch from being a co-operative to a for-profit corporation. The decision was made in order to cover a more than $34 million shortfall in the agency's pension plan. Revenues at CP dropped significantly after the departures of Canwest and Quebecor newspaper chains from the organization to form their own respective newswires.

Quebecor, which accounts for 40 per cent of news production in Quebec, pulled out of the Quebec Press Council (QPC), the provincial body dealing with public complaints over print news coverage, due to its dissatisfaction with recent QPC rulings. The council criticized the move, saying it threatened the existence and moral authority of the council and posed a "very serious crisis for the free flow of information in this province."

The Los Angeles BART police officer charged with the shooting and killing of 22-year-old African American Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009 was found guilty of involuntary man-slaughter by an all-white jury, the lightest of the three possible charges he was facing. The officer was caught on cell phone video shooting the unarmed Grant in the back as he lay on the ground.

Fishermen on PEI have joined a lawsuit filed against BP demanding compensation for lost revenue as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Bluefin tuna spawn off the Gulf of Mexico before migrating north, where they are a major catch for east coast fishermen. The lawsuit claims the spill could damage the tuna catch of over 300 fishermen on PEI in the coming years.

More than 230 people were killed and over 100 injured when an oil tanker overturned and exploded in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most died when the explosion tore through nearby homes where families were watching the World Cup.

A Canadian Federal Court of Appeal overturned the decision by an immigration official rejecting the asylum request of a US war resister, saying the official's decision was “significantly flawed” and “unreasonable.” Jeremy Hinzman and his family will have their case reviewed on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Hinzman was the first US soldier to seek refuge in Canada over objections to the war in Iraq.

A Mayan woman was shot in the head in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala. Diodora Antonia Hernandez Cinto publicly opposed the Marlin mine, operated by Montana Exploradora, subsidiary of Canadian mining company Goldcorp. In the same town, another anti-mining activist and two activists' children narrowly escaped being run over by Montana/Goldcorp company cars. Marlin has been ordered suspended by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and the government announced its intention to comply with the order. Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes refused to agree to suspend operations.

Indigenous people and allies marked the 20th anniversary of the Oka Crisis, marching through the town of Oka and the community of Kanesatà:ke. Organizers highlighted that 20 years after the highest profile armed land struggle in recent history, conflicts over traditional lands continue.

The Canadian Pension Plan invested $250 million in Calgary-based Laricina Energy, which plans to begin operations in the Alberta tar sands by the end of this year. The 17 per cent stake acquired by the CPP marks the first time it has invested directly in tar sands developments.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry bitumen overland from the tar sands to Texas, has met with resistance from Henry Waxman, head of the House Energy and Commerce committee in the United States Congress. Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach penned a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in response, urging her to support the project. The Stelmach government also paid $50,000 for an ad in the Washington Post promoting Alberta and the tar sands.

Private Bradley Manning, a United States soldier, has been charged with two counts of misconduct and placing national security at risk for releasing a video to Wikileaks showing a 2007 attack by a US Apache gunship on Iraqi citizens.

Three Members of Parliament, all sworn to secrecy, have began to sift through over 40,000 previously classified documents as a part of the Afghan Detainee Comission. The NDP boycotted the process, claiming that its closed-door nature violates an earlier decision by House Speaker Peter Milliken granting MPs full access to government documents.

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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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