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November in Review, Part II

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Issue: 74 Section: Month in Review Canada

December 1, 2010

November in Review, Part II

Climate bill killed in Senate, thesis filed in Mi'gmaw, apples preserved in BC?

by Dominion Staff

Climate Justice Ottawa (CJO) dropped a banner and held a sit-in in the rotunda of the House of Commons. CJO members called on the Canadian government to take stronger action to combat climate change. Photo: Climate Justice Ottawa

Immigration police were barred from entering Toronto women's shelters, drop-in centres, rape crisis centres, group counselling homes and community organizations that treat abused women. "This is just one small step as part of a broader city campaign to make the city safer for women with undocumented or precarious immigrant status," said Fariah Chowdhury, an organizer with Shelter Sanctuary Status.

Over 130 migrant farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean were cheated of thousands of dollars in pay after the owner of the Ontario farm they worked for filed an intent to get creditor protection. “What I don’t understand is how a farm that was known to have money problems can be part of the program," said farm worker Francis Gibson from Barbados. "We came here and worked hard and put money in the farmer’s pocket. But now we’re going home and our pockets are empty."

About 200 people marched to Parliament Hill on November 20 for Trans Day of Remembrance, commemorating trans- people who have been victimized by violence. Two were arrested during the dropping of a banner, which read "Remember Stonewall," a reference to a New York riot against police led by drag queens.

The Calgary Herald refused to run this memorial to anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca. Abarca was shot dead on November 27, 2009. Employees of a Calgary-based company are being held in connection to the murder. Photo: Common Frontiers

Canadian mining corporation Pacific Rim filed criminal charges against Salvadoran anti-mining activists in connection to a protest in 2006, which temporarily halted mining exploration at the Santa Rita mine in Cerro Limon.

Documents obtained by Postmedia News revealed that Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have collaborated with industry partners to create an international lobbying strategy to promote the tar sands and discourage environmental protection legislation and policies in other countries.

Unelected Conservative senators in Ottawa killed Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, passed by a majority of elected MPs in Parliament. This marks the first time in 70 years that Senate has killed legislation from the Commons without debate.

Climate Justice Ottawa organizers conducted a sit-in in the rotunda inside the House of Commons in Ottawa in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico. They called on the Canadian government to take strong action to combat climate change by shutting down the Alberta tar sands, cutting oil subsidies, investing in green, community-based climate change solutions and accepting the Cochabamba, Bolivia, Declaration as a negotiating framework at the Cancun UN Summit.

The Waycobah First Nation became the first community in Atlantic Canada to install an Elders Council to help guide the Band Council.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake continued to agitate against the Department of Indian Affairs' attempt to abolish their traditional government, imposing an Indian Act electoral system on the community. Community representatives say the imposed Indian Act council, though lacking a chief, has been dealing with forestry companies and signing away their lands to be clear-cut without community consent.

A PhD student at York University filed his thesis in Mi'gmaw.

A PhD graduate, Masrour Zoghi, rejected his diploma at the University of Toronto's convocation ceremony, citing the university's increasing corporatization, pointing in particular to a large donation by Peter Munk, chairman of Barrick Gold. Barrick Gold is a Canadian mining company accused of a host of environmental and human rights abuses.

The Carleton University administration threatened to withhold funding to student groups in an attempt to pressure the student union to sign an agreement which would "enable the administration to overrule decisions on the internal spending of the student unions," according to Graduate Student Association President Kimalee Phillip.

In a wave of militancy that could help revitalise the labour movement in the US, hotel workers across the country mobilized in the thousands for better working conditions.

Haitian protesters barricaded the streets of Cap-Haïtien with coffins for three days to express their anger at the United Nations, whose Nepalese peacekeepers caused the cholera outbreak that has left, so far, 1,721 dead.

The day after Haitian elections, which excluded the country's most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, thousands protested the elections' legitimacy, accusing Jules Celestin, the candidate backed by outgoing president Rene Preval, of massive fraud. Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon called for "calm."

New Orleans police officers went on trial for the death of Henry Glover, whose corpse was allegedly lit on fire by police after they shot him. Twenty New Orleans police officers have been charged in recent months over "killings, assaults and fabrication of evidence during Hurricane Katrina."

Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stated the country will not attend next year's United Nations conference on racism, which he has deemed a "hatefest" and "anti-Semitic."

The Calgary Herald refused to publish the obituary of leading anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca on the one-year anniversary of his death. Abarca, a leading organizer against a barite mine owned by Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Ltd's, was assassinated in Chicomuselo, Mexico. Former employees of Blackfire have been arrested in relation to Abarca's murder.

Seventy-six Canada Post workers in Winnipeg walked off the job to protest a new mail delivery method, which requires mail carriers to carry a second bundle of mail on their forearms, and which has caused injuries to skyrocket.

The Ontario Superior Court postponed social justice activist Jaggi Singh's constitutional challenge against his bail conditions stemming from G20 charges. The bail conditions include a ban on participating, organizing or attending "any public demonstration," which PEN Canada, an organization that campaigns for freedom of expression and an intervenor in his case, has said will do "nothing to ensure the safety of a single Canadian."

Whistle-blower organization Wikileaks began its release of over 250,000 diplomatic cables from 274 American embassies. Of these, almost 3,000 concern Canada, though only a handful of those released so far have mentioned the country. One cable dated from 2008 and sent from Washington sums up a meeting between former CSIS director Jim Judd and a US State Department official, in which Judd lambasts Canadian courts for their “Alice in Wonderland” worldview, which he claims has paralyzed CSIS, and criticizes Canadians for their “knee-jerk anti-Americanism” and “paroxysms of moral outrage.”

Canada's Privacy Commissioner warned that information about Canadian airline passengers on flights that do not touch American soil could be shared with American police and immigration officials under a new aviation safety program.

A British Columbia fruit company announced it has developed non-browning Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples. Critics warned against the genetically-modified fruit, which they say will support industrial farming and not address any consumer need.

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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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