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September 12, 2008 Weblog:

Less Democratic than Thou

Democracy Watch has compiled a list of some of the legal loopholes and omissions that make the election process less democratic.

September 10, 2008 Weblog:

Election Coverage Coverage Echo Echo


Globe: "A Web ad featuring a defecating bird and fallout over the Greens' exclusion from a televised leaders debate dominated Day 3 of the federal election campaign on Tuesday despite efforts by the two major parties to supplement nasty attacks with weightier content."

The media during an election is a bizarre spectacle indeed. The media decide that bird poop is a huge deal, and discuss it endlessly. Then, at the end of the day, they summarize their own coverage by saying that the substantial announcement were "dominated" or "overshadowed." The summary of their own reporting nonetheless gives top billing to the bird poop, and passing, insubstantial reference to the issues that it concedes are the only ones having any "weight".

In related news, Jack Layton flew a bunch of journalists over the biggest and most destructive industrial project in human history and we get a brief story with a few quotes. And we can be sure that without further prompting, no one will look into it further. The hundreds of journalists assigned to cover the election prefer, undoubtedly, to cover the latest gaffe or bird poop mini-scandal.

I would like to make one modest suggestion: election coverage doesn't have to look like this.

September 9, 2008 Weblog:

La Presse v. Harper

On the cover of yesterday's La Presse: Harper polling at 43% nationally, if election was held today he'd likely have a majority.

On the cover of today's La Presse: Julie Couillard's new book.

Inside spread: one of the Conservative candidates in Quebec is a member of Opus Dei, a secretive Catholic cult that seeks to place its members in positions of power, may or may not engage in ritual self-flagellation, keeps brainwashed women as wage slaves, and did they mention that they're very secretive?

Next page: ex-PMs and celebrities deplore Canada's "lack of action" on climate change. Also: Sierra Club gives Cons an "F+" grade on the environment.

Next page: Interview with a Liberal candidate and actor who was appointed by Conservatives, and was there just long enough to see how ideologically flawed the whole Conservative machine is. He quit to run for the Liberals.

Next full spread: Duceppe appeals to federalists to vote for the Bloc to stop Harper; Dion calls Harper a liar.

Arts and Culture section, front page: Interview with Liza Frulla, former Heritage Minister, discusses at length how inexperienced and damaging Josée Verner is.

September 6, 2008 Weblog:

Conservative Image Problem

An anonymous "award-winning Canadian documentary filmmaker and screenwriter" shows the Conservative Party of Canada why it might be a problem to cut $44 million in arts funding before an election.

September 5, 2008 Foreign Policy

Free Trade or False Logic?

Exploring the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

September 3, 2008 Literature & Ideas

September Books

New works by Venart and Stiles

September 1, 2008 Month in Review

August in Review

$12 billion spent on Olympic security, $40 million cut to Canadian arts, 100 arrested in climate action

August 31, 2008 Weblog:

The Conservative message on the North? Militarize it.


The Conservatives have already identified seven issues for what seems like an imminent election this fall: Health Care, Child care, Tackling Crime, Lower Taxes, Environment, Accountability and Arctic Sovereignty.

Afghanistan, according to the Conservatives, isn't an election priority for Canadians. Filling the North with soldiers, warplanes, and tanks, apparently, is.

Snippets from Conservative messaging on the Arctic, meant to be sent by Canadians as letters to editors, include:

"I’m glad our government is finally seeing the potential of the Canadian Arctic and is making real plans to protect and defend it... A serious military presence is what we need and that’s what Stephen Harper is giving us... we have to show the world we have the military means to assert our sovereignty... Conservatives are talking about respect for our Northern governments, economic development, environmental protection and increased military presence as means to assert sovereignty in our Arctic..."

Photo art by Matt Davis.

August 29, 2008 Labour

Free Trade will not Lift All Boats

Trade deal with Colombia criticized by Canadian labour leaders

August 25, 2008 Canadian News

Sobering Statistics

Downtown Eastside survey paints grim picture

August 15, 2008 Weblog:

DN interview with Jeremy Hinzman


This morning on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez did an excellent interview with Jeremy Hinzman, the first US war resister to seek asylum in Canada. Last Wednesday, Canadian border services ordered Jeremy and his family to leave Canada by September 23rd.

From the interview: "...on June 3rd, the Canadian parliament passed a non-binding motion by a vote of 137-to-110 saying that US war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. However, the conservative government is refusing to enact the legislation."

"Right now, there’s a conservative minority government. Canada has a parliamentary system, and they hold the balance of power. And I wouldn’t say they’re lapdogs to the US, but they share many of the same values of the Bush administration and aren’t really sympathetic to what we’re doing."

Photo by R. Whitlock.

August 10, 2008 Weblog:

DFAIT ministers: a defector and a senator


A low profile June 25th federal cabinet shuffle saw David Emerson, a businessperson who was a star candidate for the Liberal Party and crossed the floor into a cabinet post with the Conservatives shortly after the 2006 election, become the minister of foreign affairs.

Montréal banker and Harper appointed senator Michel Fortier (pictured) was moved from minister of public works and government services to minister of international trade.

Christian Paradis became minister of public works and government services.

August 9, 2008 Weblog:

3000 women missing. They're saying we should do something.

A dedicated group is walking across the country to demand an inquiry into the 3000 women, mostly Indigenous, who have gone missing.

August 8, 2008 Weblog:

Extraction! now available online


Extraction! Comix Reportage, winner of the 2008 Expozine Alternative Press Award for best English language book & published by the now defunct Cumulus Press, has just been released online as a series of PDFs.


July 30, 2008 Original Peoples

Boiling Point!

Polaris report finds water in First Nations communities a “violation of fundamental human rights”

July 18, 2008 Opinion

"Sorry" For Genocide?

Residential school apology in context

July 14, 2008 Business

Meeting Crashers

Anti-mining activists confront shareholders at AGM

July 9, 2008 Original Peoples

Imaginary Lines

Mohawk grandmothers assaulted at border, refuse court charges

July 7, 2008 Media Analysis

Apology Accepted?

Survivors, Indigenous observers respond to apology

July 3, 2008 Weblog:

Writing on the Tar Sands... for Pay!


Call for submissions

In Western Canada-- Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan-- mega projects, massive developments and international events are bringing vast changes across the entire region. From nuclear power plants to Ski Hills and the world's largest ever industrial project, there are many components of similarity throughout Western Canada that can be and must be connected.

From the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) through to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) the provinces are streamlining the vast changes and degradations in human rights, living conditions and environmental health.

In the Fall 2008, OilSandsTruth.org (OST) will be releasing a one time magazine on many of the issues being faced by the populations living within both provinces.

OST is looking for articles on the following:

How the SPP facilitates the tar sands;
How the SPP facilitates the 2010 Games;

Tar sands and the impact of the boom on indigenous self-determination;
2010 and the impact of the Games on indigenous self-determination;

Tar sands and the impact of the boom on housing;
2010 and the impact of the Games on housing;

Tar sands and how the impacts of the boom are gendered;
2010 and how the impacts of the Games are gendered;

Tar sands and the effects on migrant rights and temporary foreign workers;
2010 and the effects of the Games on migrant rights and temporary foreign workers;

Tar sands and trade union rights;
2010 and the effects on labour rights;

Tar sands development and what it means for land and the forests;
2010 and the impacts on lands and the forests;

Tar sands development and the impact on water quality;
Olympic development and the impact on water quality;

» continue reading "Writing on the Tar Sands... for Pay!"

June 27, 2008 Weblog:

National Post, Toronto Star: "Assailing a tycoon"


Corporate executives in Canada are not used to being called out in public for their actions, or the actions of their companies.

But that's what happened a couple nights ago in Toronto, when Barrick boss Peter Munk and his daughter Nina appeared at an event at Indigo bookstore.

According to the Toronto Spectator blog, "a nondescript gent stood up and, in a wan tone, began to ask a question that seemed to turn on what he claimed was Barrick’s spotty environmental record... The fellow simply carried on like a low-key high school English teacher addressing morning assembly. As he gathered pace, the tenor of his accusations grew more and more inflammatory: 'Murder…slaughter…rape…Peter Munk has blood on his hands.'"

The story in the Spectator was later picked up by the National Post and the Toronto Star.

The National Post's self professed "B-list" pundit Jonathan Kay could do no better than speculatively slander the rebel interlocuter based on his tennis shoes:

"Anyone who makes a regular appearance at such bookish soirées will know this breed well. I wasn't there when the Munks got ambushed. But here's what I'm guessing the verbal assailant looked like: ill-fitting jacket, t-shirt advertizing a political party that no longer exists, focused stare, tote bag full of leaflets and odd homemade food items, and, of course, the shoes."

» continue reading "National Post, Toronto Star: "Assailing a tycoon""

June 25, 2008 Media Analysis

Missing Voices

Media coverage of Harper's apology left obvious holes

June 22, 2008 Features

A Nation of Carefully Selected Immigrants

Liberal MPs abstain, leading to major changes to immigration policy

June 21, 2008 Weblog:

Goldcorp: Occupation and Resistance in Guatemala (and Beyond)


Goldcorp Inc.'s Marlin mine in Guatemala has been a hotbed of controversy since locals became aware of the presence of the company (then Glamis Gold) in their municipalities.

Adding weight to the resistance to the mine is a ruling made public on June 9th by the Constitutional Court in Guatemala, which has found eight Articles (or sections thereof) of the Mining Law to be unconstitutional. (full text of the ruling in pdf format).

Among the Articles deemed unconstitutional are 19 and 20, which allow mining activities to start while the corresponding paperwork is still being processed, Articles 21, 24 and 27, which allow mining activity to take place to unlimited depths of the subsurface, Article 75, which allows mining companies to discharge water from their tailings pond directly into surface water, as well as Articles 81 and 86.

Goldcorp has refused to comment on the ruling, as they are in this case unable to use their regular discourse about the importance of the "rule of law."

Lawyers and environmentalists in Guatemala hope that the ruling will prevent Goldcorp from discharging untreated water from the tailings pond at the Marlin Mine (pictured) into local rivers, which the company had planned to begin doing in the next few months.

¡Viva la Consulta Comunitaria, Bajo la Represión!

» continue reading "Goldcorp: Occupation and Resistance in Guatemala (and Beyond)"

June 21, 2008 Weblog:

Sandra's new blog, Tyendinaga & the Longest Walk 2


Hello fellow Dominion readers!

I thought I'd get this blog started while standing in an office store with free wireless somewhere in North Carolina while the American Indian Movement driver of the trash pick-up crew van sleeps a while in the parking lot...

Thanks to the Dominion for editing & posting 'Gravel and Gold', a narrative article about a prison visit with Tyendinaga Mohawk spokesperson Shawn Brant, Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama project in Diaguita territory ('Chile'), and related issues.

The longer (as in 16-page long) version (PRISON NOTES: They Came First For the Mohawk, and I Didn't Speak Up Because I Wasn't Mohawk...) is available on my other blog.

My most recent article, THE ROAD BEGINS AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FEET: The Longest Walk 2 Speaks Out for Mother Earth) is about the Longest Walk 2, the Dooda Desert Rock resistance and uranium mining in the Navajo Nation, the Y-12 National Security Complex & nuclear plant, and the bombing and mining of Western Shoshone territory.

» continue reading "Sandra's new blog, Tyendinaga & the Longest Walk 2"

June 13, 2008 Weblog:

Québec Native Women's Association responds to Harper's apology for residential schools

Ellen Gabriel.jpg

The Québec Native Women's Association has called upon the Canadian government to acknowledge that residential schools were an act of genocide.

Statement by Quebec Native Women's Association/Femmes Autochtones du Québec

Re : Government of Canada's Residential School Apology
June 11, 2008, Kahnawake

Quebec Native Women recognizes the Prime Minister's official apology concerning the genocidal experience of Aboriginal people in the history of the Residential School system. While the apology to Aboriginal peoples is long overdue it is contradicted by the oppressive policies of the Indian

The heinous crimes committed against Aboriginal children who were victims and survivors of the Residential School experience must be dealt with beyond mere apologies and monetary compensation.

» continue reading "Québec Native Women's Association responds to Harper's apology for residential schools"

June 11, 2008 Weblog:

Canada - Colombia FTA: ¡Viva la Muerte!

On June 7th, Foreign Affairs Canada announced that the negotiations for the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement have been concluded.

The entire negotiation process has been secret and there is no public draft text of the agreement to speak of.

According to FAC, "Before signing the agreements and making them public, Canada and Colombia will undertake a detailed legal review of the texts in English, French and Spanish. In Canada, the treaties will then be tabled in the House of Commons for a period of 21 sitting days. During that time, members of parliament will be able to review, debate, vote on a motion, or send the agreements to committee for further review. Following the 21-day period, the Government plans to introduce draft legislation to implement the agreements."

Both countries are playing up the labour and environmental agreements that accompany the FTA, this at a time when the legitimacy of the Colombian Congress is questionable due to ongoing scandals, and the Canadian Liberal party is charging that the FTA was announced with "no respect for parliament."

While the Democrat controlled congress in the US has managed to block the ratification of the US-Colombia FTA, there is no such mechanism in Canada, and according to NDP MP Peter Julian, "Canada is pushing ahead with a trade agreement simply to satisfy George Bush and that is entirely inappropriate."

» continue reading "Canada - Colombia FTA: ¡Viva la Muerte!"

June 9, 2008 Foreign Policy

See No Evil

Canada removes Israel from list of countries suspected of using torture

June 1, 2008 Weblog:

Two Christie Blatchfords?

"A National Day of Action? After yesterday, a national day of insurrection sounds more in order."

Is it possible that this article and this one (and what about this one?) were written by the same former National Post senior columnist named "Christie Blatchford" who once penned one-sided racist sob stories about the Caledonia occupation?

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