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April 12, 2009 Opinion

Through Canada’s Rez Zone Looking Glass

Israeli Apartheid Week

April 8, 2009 Weblog:

Reaction to Apartheid Week in Lethbridge?

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[Photos of the Anti-Apartheid Week displays and posters put out by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (Lethbridge)]

When one thinks of Lethbridge, Alberta-- some 2.5 hours drive southeast of Calgary-- one doesn't think of a hotbed of radicalism. In the time since I arrived last night to participate in a student lecture and display series to be held at the local University, some of the signs as to what one might expect from Lethbridge in general have been on display. There was the sign posted near a restaurant that reads "We still (heart) Alberta beef!" for example, and the student at the university who was literally taking his hockey stick with him to class. The beautiful rolling gully known as the Coulies in this traditional Blackfoot Nation territory divides the town, but something else has been dividing the students at both the primary college and the aforementioned University. Now, it is Palestine-- and the resistance to any mention of their plight.

» continue reading "Reaction to Apartheid Week in Lethbridge?"

» view more photos in"Reaction to Apartheid Week in Lethbridge?"

April 6, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Submissions Now Formally Registered with Office of Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

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Friends, Kichesipirini Citizens

Kichesipirini leadership, in accordance with our uncompromised and specific Title and Jurisdiction, and with reference to the principles established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, after years of assertions and refusing in any way to abrogate or derogate our inherent rights, is pleased to announce that the various documents and letters submitted by the Kichesipirini to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, have now been, as of March 30, 2009, "duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office."

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is specifically mandated to respond to crimes against humanity, most specifically genocide, discrimination and persecution in accordance to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Thank you to all those who have supported and encouraged us through this difficult process.

Chi migwetch.

Paula LaPierre

Principal Sachem

Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation

Kichi Sibi Anishnabe

Canada

March 30, 2009 Weblog:

Canada Colombia FTA: Making a Bad situation Worse

The Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement was introduced to parliament on March 26th by the Conservative Government. It will sit until it is tabled, likely after the Easter recess, after which time it will sit for 21 days before ratification (or defeat).

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation released an exhaustive investigation into the trade deal on the day it was tabled.

For their part, the Conservatives have gotten so desperate to sell the deal that they're not even talking about human rights for Colombians anymore. Now it's about jobs for Canadians.

**CORRECTION: I mistakenly wrote that the deal has been tabled already. The bill has been introduced, not tabled. Sorry for any confusion.**

March 20, 2009 Ideas

The Profit Behind the Myths

New documentary refutes "benevolent" Canada

March 18, 2009 Weblog:

Calderón's Ambassador to Canada has Blood on his Hands

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Francisco Barrio Terrazas, Mexico's new ambassador to Canada, assumed the cushy diplomatic posting on February 26th, 2009. He had previously served as mayor of Ciudad Juarez, known as the Murder Capital of North America, and later as governor of Chihuahua state.

That's right ladies and gents.

Representing the regime of Felipe Calderón in Canada is a man who governed a city where more four hundred women have been killed since 1993. Many of the women killed were sexually assaulted first. Barrio Terrazas refused to call for an investigation until 1998.

"We can't accept that Canada, a model country that's culture is based on the respect of human rights and rule of law, could shelter a person who tolerated the murder and rapes of women and girls," reads a statement concerning Barrio Terrazas' appointment from May our Daughters Come Home, a women's group based in Juarez.

As if that weren't bad enough (because it certainly is), Barrio Terrazas has an equally distinguished past as governor of Chihuahua:

"During the Fox administration, the drug cartels penetrated the federal police and the security apparatus in Mexico in unprecedented levels, when (Barrio Terrazas) was the man in charge of making sure the federal bureaucracy operated without fraud, waste and abuse," Tony Payan from the University of Texas at El Paso told the Canadian Press.

» continue reading "Calderón's Ambassador to Canada has Blood on his Hands"

March 18, 2009 Weblog:

A media in crisis

The CBC's board of directors have approved a budget that will result in deep cuts.

"[CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix] has said that selling assets, increasing advertising and cutting jobs and programs could help bridge part of the budget shortfall. Media reports circulating this week indicated the broadcaster was looking at 600 to 1,200 job cuts, although this has not been confirmed."

and...

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer - the 12th most read newspaper in the US - printed its last newspaper.

"The crisis in the US newspaper industry has accelerated in the past few weeks. The collapse in advertising revenue, along with the longer-term problem of declining readership, is the major reason."

March 18, 2009 Canadian News

Rhetoric and Reality Clash

Obama's first foreign visit

March 16, 2009 Weblog:

Harper's Private Thoughts

Harper attacks Liberals, Obama in private speech to party

Jennifer Ditchburn
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper made two very different sales pitches for his economic plan this week: one a public pep talk to jittery Canadians, the other a private smoothing-of-the-feathers for uneasy conservatives.

The marquee speech Canadians saw on television Tuesday or read about the next day was about how the economy would recover swiftly and strongly through targeted spending in the budget.

The other was behind closed doors Thursday evening to a group of key conservatives – sharply partisan remarks that ripped into the Liberals, libertarians, the Obama administration's tax policies and Wall Street.

The prime minister spoke at a conference sponsored by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, a conservative think-tank run by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning.

The prime minister's office did not signal beforehand that he was giving the speech, and refused to make his remarks available afterward.

In a recording obtained by The Canadian Press, Harper goes after the Liberals in a election-campaign style attack, saying the current situation would be much worse had they been in power.

"Imagine the stance Canada would have taken when Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists attacked Israel. Imagine how many Liberal insiders and ideologues would be now in the Senate, the courts and countless other federal institutions and agencies – I should say, how many more," Harper said to laughter.

"Imagine the costs of going through with the Kyoto and Kelowna accords with no plan to actually achieve anything on either the environment or aboriginal affairs. Imagine what a carbon tax would be doing to our economy in the middle of a global recession."

» continue reading "Harper's Private Thoughts"

March 11, 2009 Foreign Policy

Intellectual Author

Michael Ignatieff's potent mix of imperialism and human rights

February 25, 2009 Business

Crude Business in Colombia

Alberta's oil and gas sector gets behind the Free Trade push

February 8, 2009 Weblog:

EU & Canada Free Trade Deal: Huh?

Was reading the less-than-stellar analysis of Globe Opinion writer Jeffrey Simpson the other day when I noticed this little gem:

France and Canada are on the same wavelength on issue after issue, including Afghanistan and trade (Canada and the European Union are entering serious talks about a free-trade agreement). They both opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Canada and EU free trade deal? I read a lot of news so I was wondering why I hadn't seen more of this before.

A quick google search found a couple of news pieces here, here and here about the issue, but this could potentially be major.

I'm no fan of free trade and think NAFTA should be abolished, but do believe in the benefits of fair trade as long as never-ending growth isn't part of the deal.

Canada's trade has been almost entirely dependent on the US since colonization. Would a free trade agreement with the EU mean less dependence? Would Canadian standards plummet on certain issues? What would the impacts on social justice, the tar sands, mining and other issues be?

February 4, 2009 Canadian News

Changes to Vancouver Charter may Infringe on Right to Protest

Bylaw fines to rise from $50 to $10,000 in lead-up to 2010

January 30, 2009 Business

More Than Just a Beef

South Koreans push back against Free Trade Agreements with Canada, US

January 28, 2009 Foreign Policy

Canadian Drones Patrol Afghan Airspace

Unmanned warplanes stretch the definition of "nation building"

January 27, 2009 Weblog:

New York Times Safe; Canwest Still Sinking

As previously reported, both the New York Times and CanWest Global have been facing steep economic challenges recently.

The Times has been thrown a lifeline by Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican Communications Billionaire who's loaning them $250 million to help them cope with the $l.1 billion in debts they already have.

Things however, seem to have gotten a whole lot worse for CanWest. David Beers, editor-in-chief at the Tyee, managed to get an internal memo from CanWest about 'cost containment'.

It's seems everything is being cut at the chain including:

A freeze on all hiring,
A freeze on salaries,
A freeze on meals, catering and entertainment expenses,
Ceasing engagements with external consultants,
A freeze on conference/seminar attendance,
Equipment expense and capital purchase delays,
Limiting the use of mobile devices by 20-25%,
Reducing energy usage.

January 27, 2009 Weblog:

Canada Post and Telus Censoring Youtube

According to the Tyee, both Canada Post and Telus have been censoring Youtube.

The story claims that video's by angry union members have been at the centre of attempts by both censor the free video uploader.

Telus 'cleansed' 23 video's in 2007, while Canada Post took a strong exception to CEO Moya Greene being portrayed as The Greench Who Stole Xmas" in late 2008.

Guess she never saw this video.

What's surprising is that these massive employers seem to be using a well-known loophole to remove the material:

"The case highlights a common occurrence under U.S. law, which allows copyright owners to file complaints with web hosts such as YouTube if they believe that the site is hosting infringing content. Under the law, the web host avoids liability if it immediately removes the content. No court or independent third party reviews the infringement claim since nothing more than a complaint that meets certain criteria is needed."

January 27, 2009 Weblog:

In El Salvador, Kent visits TSE before FMLN victory

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Finishing off his first overseas trip as a Canadian official, Peter Kent visited El Salvador, Central America's most densely populated country, and home to the delectable pupusa.

There, he fulfilled a foreign policy agenda that seeks to ensure stability for Canadian investors in El Salvador, while guaranteeing a consistent stream of temporary migrant workers from El Salvador to Canada.

Kent met with representatives from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the body which oversees elections, and underlined the importance of transparent and free elections.

Days after his visit, Salvadorans voted in legislative and municipal elections, with the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) taking the majority of legislative seats in what experts consider "an auspicious prelude to the presidential vote," which is to take place in March.

There is little doubt that the rise of the FMLN in some way mirrors that of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, who now govern Nicaragua.

» continue reading "In El Salvador, Kent visits TSE before FMLN victory"

January 24, 2009 Weblog:

Metal is sweeter than sugar in Canada - Central America FTA

After a visit to Nicaragua, Peter Kent, Canada's junior foreign affairs minister continued on to Guatemala, Central America's most populous country, and the site of one of the most horrific wars in the Western Hemisphere.

Kent participated in a high profile ceremony with President Alvaro Colom, where he announced a $10 million donation from the Canadian International Development Agency destined for rural development in the Sololá region.

Getting down to business, Kent concentrated on expanding Canada's trade relations with Guatemala, through the Central America Four free trade deal.

Kent allegedly agreed that Canada would loosen some of the terms in the deal, long seen as having been killed by Canada's refusal to open up the sugar market.

Today, Canadian mining interests are of utmost importance in Guatemala, and it may be politically expedient for Canada to agree to up sugar quotas in order to guarantee that the mining sector has better investment conditions.

» continue reading "Metal is sweeter than sugar in Canada - Central America FTA"

January 20, 2009 Weblog:

It's official: Canada is in recession

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After months of denial, the Bank of Canada has finally admitted that Canada has entered into a period of recession.

"Major advanced economies, including Canada's, are now in recession and emerging-market economies are increasingly affected," reads today's release from the BoC. It continues:

Canadian exports are down sharply, and domestic demand is shrinking as a result of declines in real income, household wealth, and consumer and business confidence. Canada's economy is projected to contract through mid-2009, with real GDP dropping by 1.2 per cent this year on an annual average basis. As policy actions begin to take hold in Canada and globally, and with support from the past depreciation of the Canadian dollar, real GDP is expected to rebound, growing by 3.8 per cent in 2010.

A Scotiabank analyst called the projected rebound by 2010 "overly optimistic."

Image by Paul Wicks.

January 19, 2009 Environment

Survival is Non-Negotiable!

Are climate talks the new World Trade Organization?

January 13, 2009 Weblog:

Canada vs. Gaza, Peter Kent leads the charge

Canada's junior minister of foreign affairs has made a point of pointing fingers lately. For that matter, so has Canada, which was the only country on the United Nations' Human Rights Council that voted against a motion condemning Israel for its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The vote before the Geneva-based body shows the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel, reads an article in today's Toronto Star.

Peter Kent, a former anchor with CBC Newsworld and foreign correspondent for NBC, seems to be settling right into his role as Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's sidekick in an increasingly reactionary Ottawa. His outspoken condemnation of Hamas has rippled through the news as Israel continues its attacks on the Gaza Strip.

"The government of Canada has been very clear since the beginning of this crisis that it believes that the Hamas rocketing was responsible for the initial development of this crisis and for the continuing deepening humanitarian tragedy," Kent told the CBC little more than a week after Israel began Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

» continue reading "Canada vs. Gaza, Peter Kent leads the charge"

January 13, 2009 Weblog:

New York Times & Canwest Almost Bankrupt

It seems the New York Times could no longer be in circulation as soon as May. According to The Atlantic:

Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400 million in debt. With more than $1billion in debt already on the books, only $46million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good.

Things are not much better for Canwest, which Jen & Fitz report has a:

High debt load of $3.6 billion, falling ad revenues for Canadian newspapers and broadcasters, and precipitously falling value of Australian TV stations it might try to sell to raise cash.

Could be ripe timing for some other kind of alternative media giant to emerge...

January 9, 2009 Accounts

Disappeared Before the Courts

Internationals accompany witnesses to forced disappearance in Guatemala

January 5, 2009 Original Peoples

Land & Jail Part II

Canada's incarceration strategy

December 28, 2008 Opinion

Pushing the Debate

Noir Canada’s critical perspective

December 23, 2008 Weblog:

Breaking the Propaganda Model: Colombia, Venezuela and Canada

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A couple of new pieces up recently by the North American Congress on Latin America shine a necessary light on political happenings in Colombia and Venezuela.

Colombia and Venezuela: Testing the Propaganda Model looks at the two countries vis-a-vis coverage in the NY Times and Washington Post, and effectively advances the hypothesis put forth by Chomsky and Herman in their classic Manufacturing Consent.

In Free Trade, the Good Cop, and Other Myths, Pablo Vivanco examines the Canada - Colombia Free Trade Agreement through a critical lens.

Finally, NACLA has published the full text of an excellent open letter to Human Rights Watch criticizing HRW's recent report on Venezuela. "By publishing such a grossly flawed report, and acknowledging a political motivation in doing so, [Jose Miguel Vivanco, the lead author of the report] has undermined the credibility of an important human rights organization," reads the letter.

Image: "Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción 1984" by Jaume d'Urgell.

December 21, 2008 Weblog:

Wark on Iggy

Bruce Wark: "And that's the trouble with our PM-in-waiting. He's usually on the side of the powerful. Ignatieff fervently supported Bush's invasion of Iraq, then when Bush's illegal war turned to shit and tens of thousands were dying, he claimed he'd been blinded by his humanitarian concern for the plight of Iraqi people. He had mistakenly believed, he said, that Bush was carrying on the grand American tradition of sowing the seeds of democracy and peace. On the use of torture, he was equivocal, finally pronouncing that while it was morally wrong, it could yield valuable information, save innocent lives and besides, he had to admit that most people were in favour of it. So much for supporting the UN convention that outlaws torture under any circumstances."

December 2, 2008 Accounts

A Mining Refugee in Canada

Can one country be the hero and the villain?

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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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