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April in Review, Part I

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Issue: 77 Section: Month in Review

April 15, 2011

April in Review, Part I

Out against war, oil patch uproar, 10,000 vs. Ford

by The Dominion

Montrealers rallied outside the deportation hearings of Dany Villanueva. Dany's brother Fredy was shot and killed by Montreal police in 2008 while playing dice in a park with Dany and other friends. Photo: J Stevens

Hundreds of people marched in anti-war demonstrations across Canada on April 7, including in Halifax, Montreal and Toronto. Participants spoke out against Canada's involvement in bombing Libya and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

People protested in Halifax and more than 100 other cities around the world on April 12 to mark the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. Halifax protesters called on the Canadian government to re-direct money from the military to social spending on health care, education and housing initiatives.

Embassy magazine reported that military officials have observed little attention being paid to Canada's central role in the international military intervention in Libya, including that Canada has the highest commitment of military personnel—531—of any middle-sized country, and that a Canadian general is running the operation.

Protesters fight proposed high-rise condominiums in Vancouver's Chinatown and Downtown East Side. Photo: Murray Bush - Flux Photo

Despite a three-year-old uranium mining ban in the Nunatsiavut region of northern Labrador, mining companies continued to explore and push for a reversal of the moratorium, which is scheduled for review this year.

One hundred fifty people turned out for the first of a series of public forums convened by the Government of Nunavut to review the region's uranium policy.

Oil company Enbridge's CEO denounced opposition to the company's planned Northern Gateway Pipeline as a "coalition of hard-line activists and their political allies." The pipeline would deliver oil from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast and is being opposed by a coalition of 61 First Nations and Inuit communities along the pipeline route. The CEO also said that he expects the federal Liberals, if elected, to renege on their election promise to ban oil tankers off the coast of BC.

A groups of US mayors called on Canadians to make "dirty oil" part of the election debate, and the New York Times ran an editorial calling on the US government to reject the permits needed for Enbridge to construct its Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude from the tar sands to US refineries.

The Alberta government introduced a draft proposal to reclaim two million hectares of land from tar sands development for conservation. Oil companies have declared they will lobby heavily against the reclamation of any of their leased lands, but industry observers say the proposals will have little impact on tar sands production, since the government is only targetting the least productive land in the area.

Allies of the Forest Action Network, known as "free miners," bought up the mining rights on the properties owned by luxury house developer Ender Ilkay along the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island. Ilkay wants to build high-priced housing along the trail next to a provincial park, and has threatened to build a gravel quarry if his permit is not approved. The free miners say any mining will be impossible, now that he has lost the sub-soil rights on his property.

Members of the Lake St Martin First Nation 225 kilometres north of Manitoba marched through Winnipeg and into local offices of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The 60 participants denounced living conditions in their community, saying that flooding from a nearby dam had caused damage to housing and mold problems.

Residents of Vancouver's Chinatown and Downtown East Side took over the city council chambers with a musical protest to highlight concerns over plans to build high-rise condos in the two neighbourhoods. The meeting was the second in a series of consultations on height limits on new Vancouver developments.

Dozens of protesters in Quebec occupied the campaign offices of outgoing Conservative MP Christian Paradis in Thetford Mines, and more than 100 others protested outside the offices of outgoing minister of foreign affairs Lawrence Cannon in Gatineau. The protesters, organized by housing rights group FRAPRU, called for more money to be invested in housing, saying the cost of one F-35 fighter jet would equal 6,400 units of social housing.

A week after a vigil to mark the birthday of Fredy Villanueva, who was shot and killed by Montreal police on August 8, 2008, deportation proceedings began against his brother, Dany Villanueva. Dany, a permanent resident of Canada, faces deportation to Honduras over a robbery and gun possession charge from 2006. Several dozen Montrealers held a rally outside the hearings.

Outgoing immigration minister Jason Kenney was denounced for his statement that it isn't up to politicians to decide who does or does not get deported. In fact, deportation requests from immigration agents are filed directly with the minister of public security.

More than 100 University of Toronto students held a raucous protest denouncing controversial mining magnate Peter Munk's $35 million donation to the school. Spurred on by speeches by professor Noam Chomsky and journalist Linda McQuaig, the students called on the university to reverse course on the corporatization of education.

A book commemorating Canada's longest running co-operative in Canada was released in Sussex, NB. The Sussex and Studholm Agricultural Society #21 turned 170 this year; its success is credited to "generations of farmers who have worked collectively for all those years to help each other, their businesses, and their community."

A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives concluded that corporate tax cuts over the past decade did not in fact lead to job creation, a common argument for reducing business taxes. For the 198 corporations studied, profits rose 50 per cent and taxes dropped 20 per cent from 2000 to 2009. The number of jobs created by these companies, though, rose by only five per cent from 2005 to 2010.

More than 10,000 people turned out for the Rally for Respect in Toronto, calling on the municipal government to reverse course on Mayor Rob Ford's push to privatize services, freeze wages and consolidate power in city hall.

SlutWalks were held in Toronto, London and Ottawa. The rallies denounced statements by a Toronto police officer that how a woman dresses influences whether or not she is raped or sexually assaulted.

A proposed Vancouver city bylaw that would severely restrict the use of structures during protests, including shelters and tents, was rejected by Mayor Gregor Robertson and sent back to committee for revision. The bylaw was meant to replace a 2006 bylaw, struck down by BC courts, that was implemented in response to complaints from the Chinese consulate about a Falun Gong protest tent in place since 2001. The proposed amendments would have, among other things, barred any protest structures from residential areas and charged deposits for a permit.

A leaked draft of the Auditor General's report on G8 and G20 spending criticized the Conservatives for misleading parliament on spending for the summits. The final report was meant to be released in early April, but has been postponed until after the elections. Many people are now calling for the early release of the final report, but the Auditor General has said she can only legally release the report to a sitting parliament.

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Eleven-year-old tasered in

Eleven-year-old tasered in Prince George: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/canada/Investigators+probing+Tasering+child+haven+spoken+Mounties+involved/4628550/story.html

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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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