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Canadian News: February

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Issue: 14 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada Topics: trade agreements, Indigenous, forestry

February 3, 2004

Canadian News: February

Ipperwash Surveillance Tape Records Racist Comments

The September 1995 Ipperwash, Ontario, land dispute that resulted in the death of a Stoney Point First Nations man has resurfaced due to a surveillance tape-its existence previously denied by the provincial government-being released by the Ontario Privacy Commissioner.

In the tape, two Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers at the 1995 scene refer to a native as a "big fat fuck Indian," and joke about how they could bait natives with beer, much like how they could bait blacks in the southern US with watermelon. The officers recorded these comments just one day before the OPP's Kenneth Deane shot and killed native Dudley George.

Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death, but he never lost any pay from his position with the OPP and he now instructs other officers. CSIS and an OPP intelligence spy determined that the natives were unarmed at the time of the shooting.

--Kim Petersen

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Prohibiting PCBs from Crossing Border Violates "Investors' Rights": Court Ruling

The Peace Arch at the US-Canada border in BC. A NAFTA tribunal has ruled that Canada violated "investor's rights" by preventing the import of hazardous chemicals.
A federal court ruling will result in Canada paying S.D. Meyers of Tallmudge, Ohio, $9 million US under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The ruling states that Canada violates the US company's "investors' rights" by attemptimg to prohibit the export of hazardous waste contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The United Nations Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste, ratified by 130 countries, restricts hazardous waste from crossing borders. However, an earlier trade tribunal decision on the S.D. Meyers case refused to acknowledge the convention because the US is not one of the 130 countries.

The Council of Canadians and Sierra Club of Canada are asking the Canadian government to appeal the ruling, and were unsuccessful in applying for intervener status-in the public interest-before the federal court

"Astonishingly, the fact that the importation of this hazardous waste was illegal under US law didn't deter the tribunal from ruling that Canada had nevertheless offended the rights of the US company," commented Andrea Peart of the Sierra Club of Canada.


* * *

Anti-Terrorism Act Worries Minorities: Study

A recent study entitled "Minority Views on the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act" has found that ethnic minorities have strong concerns about the act. The study was conducted by the Montreal consulting Createc and was commissioned by the federal justice department. Focus groups were held in five cities, and 138 people of 60 different ethnicities participated.

A main concern of participants was that people of ethnic backgrounds may no longer be considered innocent until proven guilty-a basic legal tenet. The act, enacted as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, enables the government to brand individuals as terrorists, and enables police to make "preventative arrests" of people suspected of planning a terrorist act.

Most people involved in the study felt racial discrimination had risen since the World Trade Center attacks, and that the new act will lead to increased ethnic stereotyping. Participants were specifically concerned about terrorist lists being made public, broad powers of arrest, and new powers of authorities to seize suspicious property. This last provision made it possible for the RCMP to recently confiscate materials of Ottawa Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill in the ongoing Maher Arar case.

(Canadian Press)

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NB to Potentially Increase Logging Land and Decrease Environmental Protection

Canadian conservation organizations are asking the NB government to reject a proposal put forth by six major forest companies that, if implemented, would greatly increase logging rates and weaken environmental protection measures.

The proposal is based on a government and industry sponsored report prepared by Finnish-based Jaako Poyry Consulting. The report recommends immediate reductions in environmental protection measures on public lands, spending over $1 billion over 30 years in order to double the taxpayer tree-growing subsidies to industry, and increasing the amount of public land available for softwood tree harvest to 40 per cent-double the current percentage available.

The recommendations in the Jaako Poyry report go against Maritime conservation organizations' attempts to respect nature's limits, produce a variety of forestry products, and sustain community employment through forestry for generations to come.

A Select Committee of the New Brunswick Legislature is currently studying the report and the industry proposal. Its recommendations are expected in the spring of 2004.

(Sierra Club Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canadian Nature Federation)

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