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July 8, 2008 Weblog:

The Longest Walk 2 in Baltimore, Quechan Sacred Sites, and Other Wanderings


Greetings from a teepee in Delaplane, Virginia...

The Longest Walk 2 (www.longestwalk.org) for Mother Earth, health, sacred sites & indigenous rights is rapidly approaching Washington, DC, after thousands of miles of walking and running from Alcatraz on the west coast. Thirty years ago, in 1978, the American Indian Movement's original Longest Walk walked into DC to present their manifesto: Affirmation of Sovereignty of the Indigenous People of the Western Hemisphere.

Four days from now, the 2008 Longest Walk 2's Manifesto for Change "All Life is Sacred" will be presented to the United States government when both the southern and northern routes of the Walk converge in DC, after the July 8-10 Cultural Survival Summit in Greenbelt, MD.

The day before yesterday, a small group of us from the southern route traveled to Baltimore to meet up with the northern route for a press conference in the middle of a plaza in the city's Inner Harbour district. A photo-essay about the event will be online on my other blog - thistidehasnoheartbeat.wordpress.com - very soon, likely before you read this one. The photograph above was taken at the press conference of the young girl who carries the lead staff of the northern route: the children's staff, for the future generations.

I was invited to go along to Baltimore to take a break from the 18-hour workdays. I haven't been able to walk for over a week now because of a foot injury (the doc says achilles tendonitis, but then again he also tried to inject me with something I had just told him I was allergic to), so I've been working with the Manifesto writing & editing team. Luckily there's usually a steady stream of coffee.

» continue reading "The Longest Walk 2 in Baltimore, Quechan Sacred Sites, and Other Wanderings"

July 7, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins Interviews

GATINEAU- on June 26th, 2008 Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake reserve in Quebec came to Gatineau. A protest was called outside the Northern and Indian Affairs building to demand the governemnt reverse the recent coup d'etat it imposed on the reserve. The protest turned out to be a diversion for a peaceful sit-in which took place in MP Lawrence Cannon's office in Buckingham, QC. In spite of the indigenous and solidarity activists demands to see the MP they were ignored and six members were arrested. They were released later in the night.

Correction: unnamed Algonquin representative of Barriere Lake in video is former Customary Chief Jean-Maurice Matchewan, under whose leadership Canada and Quebec signed the reserve's Trilateral Agreement in 1991.

July 6, 2008 Weblog:

G-8 Protests in Japan- Photographs

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Attending the Indigenous People's Summit in Ainu Mosir, Benjamin Powless, an Ottawa-based independent photojournalist and indigneous activist, remained in Japan to document resistence to the annual Group of 8 meeting. Please see his photoessay for more photographs.

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!"

July 2, 2008 Weblog:

Standing Committee Report on Canada - Colombia FTA

The Report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, "Human Rights, the Environment and Free Trade with Colombia," is a hastily written document based on the Committee's work around the Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

The report in itself is not great, but the recommendations are important. It will be key for Canadians to pressure the Harper government to abide by the recommendations, which are an obstacle to the signing of the FTA, but which the Conservatives are likely to try and bypass.

The recommendations are reproduced below.

Meanwhile, the scandals continue to pile up for the Uribe regime. See: Declaration of Carlos Gaviria (PDA) on Uribe's declaration of a 'Populist Dictatorship,'.

UPDATE: Justin Podur on the release of Ingrid Betancourt.

» continue reading "Standing Committee Report on Canada - Colombia FTA"

July 2, 2008 Weblog:

Explosive Lamenting

Walking among the smiling, excited crowds, it’s almost possible to forget that we’re at war. It's eerie and bewildering to be so far from it. During the first Gulf War we were sitting in bunkers in gas masks, and even though Haifa was only lightly bombed, it wasn't this removed. Then there's of course suicide bombings, but I refuse to think about that considering the constant carpet bombing Palestinians endure. But in this country, I find so easy to forget that I'm at war. That we're at war in my name. It's easy to forget, that is, until that first firework goes off. Nightfall amazement among half-open mouths, staring into an illuminated sky.

I force myself to keep my eyes open so my brain overrides my mind and reminds me that it is, indeed, just fireworks. Each one, large one, awe-inducing one, sends shivers through me. Each one, large one, forcing me into the foetal position, covering my head with my arms, trying as hard as I can to not twitch every time, fear someone sees. Fear someone sees I’m not enjoying this. Fear someone sees that some of us remember we are at war.

I look at the exploding sky and note the difference. The ground doesn’t shake. There are no fires. The screaming all around is that of joy and not of agony. No ambulances and black smoke in the distance. No anxious speeding of your heart as you hear that screech through the sky with one propelling flame- whisking, zipping up, louder, louder, louder- EXPLOSION.

» continue reading "Explosive Lamenting"

June 30, 2008 Weblog:

Merida Initiative: More US backed militarization in Mexico, Central America and DR-Haiti

The War Funding Bill was signed into law by President Bush today, allocating another $162 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without a timeline for troop withdrawl.

Buried away in the Bill is $465 million for the first year of the 'Merida Initiative.'

The Merida Initiative, formerly known as 'Plan Mexico,' is a military plan whose aim, according to the Bush Administration, is to "combat the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime, and terrorism in the Western Hemisphere."

The Merida Initiative will further militarize Mexico and Central America, and will likely mark an increase in the criminalization of migrants heading towards the US.

The total budget for the Merida Initiative is 1.6 billion dollars. During the first year, $400 million is destined for Mexico, and $65 million will be divided between Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, Panamá, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The budget is destined for: helicopters and surveillance aircraft, increased US participation in policing, communications surveillance technologies, and "non-intrusive" inspection equipment, ion scanners and canine units for Mexican customs, the new federal police and military to "interdict trafficked drugs, arms, cash and persons."

The War Funding Bill, which was rejected by Democrats in May, was passed by 311-106 last week by the Democrat led House of Representatives.

» continue reading "Merida Initiative: More US backed militarization in Mexico, Central America and DR-Haiti"

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 27, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins arrested, jailed, and released

Short video of the arrests, by Bill Clenet, ROCG

After a six hour occupation of MP Lawrence Cannon's Office in Buckingham, QC, yesterday, six Algonquin activists and allies were arrested by Sûreté du Québec police officers.

The arrestees were detained for four hours and were finally released at 9:30 p.m. into the arms of cheering family and friends outside the Gatineau Police Department building.

Among the awaiting crowd was Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway (seen in video) whom the government attempted to revoke from power in the Barriere Lake reserve by imposing a minority appointed government. The so called Coup D'etat was the latest in a long series of governmental interventions in the impoverished reserve and led to the office occupation which took place yesterday. Previously, the indigenous representatives attempted to raise awareness of neo-Colonial internvention in their community by camping on Parliament Hill one year ago.

More information soon...

June 26, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office

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GATINEAU - On Thursday, June 26th, Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake and allies assembled outside the Gatineau offices of Indian Affairs, across the river from Ottawa. The demonstration was a diversion, intended to draw attention from peaceful occupation of Lawrence Cannon's office, MP for the Barriere Lake region. The Algonquins demanded a meeting with Cannon to discuss the recent government ousting of the Customary Chief and Council as well as a re-election monitored by outside observers.

The Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective, based in Montreal, as well as Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake itself have vowed they will not leave the office until their demands are met. They have been threatened with arrest, and are welcoming support from anyone willing or able to assemble in Buckingham, QC.

Algonquin media liaisons inside the office occupation were unreachable, but Django, a spokesperson of the Solidarity Collective answered a few questions. Speaking to the situation on the ground he noted that “on the inside the police have asked some of the people to leave peacefully. There were three people that left [because they] weren’t willing to be arrested. [Those were] a cameraman and two Algonquins.” When asked what he predicts will take place later in the day, he replied “we’re still waiting for the demands to be met. The office normally closes at 4:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. so we’re thinking that’s probably the time [the police are] going to try and do the arrests.”

» continue reading "Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office"

June 24, 2008 Weblog:

McCain visits Ottawa in vain- Footage

On June 21st, 2008, American presidential candidate, Senator John McCain visited Ottawa. Speaking to a packed luncheon at the prestigeous Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the Senator was met coldly both by Ottawa citizens and the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. See Article here

June 21, 2008 Weblog:

McCain visits Ottawa in vain

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OTTAWA- on Friday, June 20th, Senator John McCain visited Ottawa to meet with officials and business representatives. Speaking to a sold out luncheon at the prestigious Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel, Sen. McCain addressed such noteworthy guests as Thomas D’Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Invited by the Economic Club of Toronto, the candidate was met with a vocal and articulate opposition outside hotel’s entrance. A press conference organized by the Council of Canadians outside the main doors saw the attention of such news service agencies as the CBC, the A Channel, and even CNN.

A crowd of roughly 100 protesters from the Student Coalition Against War, No War/Paix, Graduate Students Association of the University of Ottawa, and even Babies Against McCain assembled to show their disdain to the visit. Maude Barlow, president of the Council explained NAFTA and free trade are a major part of the reason for the protest. “We are particularly concerned about three things. One is the energy provisions that disproportionately force us to share our energy with the U.S. The second is water, and the third major issue is that corporations have a right to sue [as individuals] under NAFTA.” If McCain is elected, Ms. Barlow predicts it will be “more of the Bush agenda.” She warns that
the world cannot afford another George [W.] Bush, it cannot afford the presidency of Senator McCain.”

» continue reading "McCain visits Ottawa in vain"

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 21, 2008 Weblog:

Coup d’État en Haïti revisité

L'implication de la France, du Canada et des États-Unis dans la déstabilisation et l'éventuel renversement du gouvernement haïtien en 2004 est maintenant pleinement documentée dans le dernier livre de Peter Hallward: Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment. Dans cette revue, Pierre Dubuc explore tous les éléments majeurs de ce livre et n'hésite pas à dire que le livre "deviendra sûrement un classique de l’analyse des politiques et des méthodes de déstabilisation." Voici la revue...

June 18, 2008 Weblog:

Haïti: mythes et réalité

Dans cette entrevue, le professeur Peter Hallward déconstruit les principaux mensonges au sujet du coup d'état de 2004 en Haïti: le soi-disant "dictateur" Aristide et son "régime de terreur" ainsi que l'aspect "humanitaire" de l'intervention militaire de l'ONU en 2004, une occupation avec laquelle les Haïtens vivent encore de nos jours. Hallward expose l'implication des puissances étrangères (USA, Canada, France) ainsi que leurs homologues de l'élite haïtienne dans cette période catastrophique de l'histoire haïtenne. Il met tout dans un contexte colonial où on fait tout pour empêcher une vraie souveraineté en Haïti. Voici le lien.

June 17, 2008 Weblog:

From an Israeli to Jack Layton

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Dear Jack Layton,

I would like to commend you on your decision to participate in the Durban Review Conference in April 2009. Canada's boycott of this Geneva conference goes to demonstrate the government's recent change in foreign relations to Israel. It goes hand in hand with the recently signed Canada-Israel Free Trade agreement, and the Security Agreement between our two countries.

I am a Canadian Israeli and have previously lived in the West Bank in an illegal settlement (on Palestinian land). In spite of the fact that the entire world has again and again agreed the occupation of the West Bank, the building of Settlements, and the construction of the Wall are contradictory to international law, Israel has proceeded to ignore them. In spite of the International Court of Justice decision, and the annual voting by the United Nations on the Palestinian Refugee's right of return, Israel has been implementing racist, apartheid laws and enforcing them year after year.

As a former refugee from the Soviet Union, I remember not belonging anywhere, I remember the complete dire poverty, and the deafening fear of persecution. We have been faced with centuries of anti-Semitism in the former USSR and have lived through immense discriminatory violence within our lifetimes. That is why when we escaped to Israel we were at first blind to the political significance of our presence there and what our new nation was doing to its indigenous population. It took living in the West Bank as economic settlers to see the system of apartheid for what it really is.

» continue reading "From an Israeli to Jack Layton"

June 17, 2008 Weblog:


Arlo Yuzicapi Fayant response to the apology

Well here I am recovering 36 hours after receiving the Apology.

Apparently, I appear to be one of few who felt quite unsatisfied with the long awaited and quite eloquent script from Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It was like one of those moments where one truly needs, and is ready, to sneeze and then is suddenly circumvented.

I guess it is because in any other country, these past actions would be considered genocidal, outright war crimes or just plain mean.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not doubt the sincerity in every word issued in the Apology. It brought tears to my eyes along with most everyone who witnessed this epic event at the House of Commons or on big screens throughout Canada. Or for others who faithfully reviewed and re-winded for hours on CPAC and CBC just to make sure one heard it accurately.

The pomp and pageantry just made me want to weep with pride. Especially the old Inuit doing his first drum dance ever, live on national TV with a humidex of 38 degrees to boot. And the beautiful Metis violinist who defied the code by playing something other than the Red River Jig.

The interviews with the survivors were especially poignant. I would know, I come from 4 generations of them.

What makes me crazy is they only said sorry. I should feel elated like my many relations who travelled here to our nation’s capital to hear the mea culpa in person. We have been demanding some kind of a formal apology since the 80’s and yesterday we got what we wanted. A big fat one.

» continue reading "APOLOGIZE THIS"

June 13, 2008 Weblog:

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

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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 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?

June 1, 2008 Weblog:

FTA Canada-Colombia: days before the ink dries?


South American news agencies are reporting that the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Colombia could be signed this week in Bogotá.

A Canadian "technical team" is participating in the 5th -and potentially final- round of negotiations in Bogotá from 1-6 June.

Bloomberg quoted U of T political "scientist" John Kirton as saying: "An agreement 'will give aid and comfort to all the liberalizing forces within the United States who are instantly going to notice it and say if the Canadians are doing Colombia, why can't we.'"

An excellent background article, "Building its Ties to Colombia: Canada's Imperial Adventure in the Andes," explains some of the major problems related to a Canada-Colombia FTA.

Photo from No Colombia FTA rally in Toronto in November, 2007.

May 30, 2008 Weblog:

From Chile to the Quinte Detention Centre

Sandra Cuffe has an epic, but very worthwhile article that starts with an Indigenous rights activist from Chile visiting Shawn Brant in jail and follows the concentric circles of mining and indigenous resistance outwards.

May 28, 2008 Weblog:

CRTC preparing to regulate the internet

They said they wouldn't do it 1999. And they said it again in 2003. But now the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommmunication Commission is getting set to regulate the internet and they want Canadians to help them set the terms for an upcoming hearing into the matter.

The CRTC is Canada’s federal communications regulator. In 1999, they took the position that the internet was mostly alphanumeric text, not technically sophisticated enough to provide audio and visual content easily, and not of sufficient interest to consumers of audio and visual content to warrant regulation. Well, that’s changed, and regulations are coming. In Broadcasting Public Notice 2008-44, the CRTC has announced a major investigation into the feasibility and scope of regulating content on the internet.

But before they rip open the discussion, they want input from Canadians about what questions to ask -- What areas to focus on? What concerns should get priority? For example, should questions about net neutrality be raised?

This is a chance to have legislation put into place that will protect net neutrality.

The Commission wants to know if the upcoming hearing should ask questions like:

Are there practices that effect distribution of and access to Canadian new media broadcasting?

Is the new media broadcasting environment contributing sufficiently to the achievement of the broadcasting policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act?

Who are the relevant stakeholders in the creation and distribution of Canadian programming in the new media environment?

» continue reading "CRTC preparing to regulate the internet"

May 22, 2008 Weblog:

Solidarité avec Écosociété


A new website, Solidarité avec Écosociété, has been launched in support of the publishers of Noir Canada, who are facing a SLAPP suit from Barrick Gold, to the tune of $6 million.

In related news, recent protests at Barrick's May 6th AGM in Toronto are documented at protestbarrick.net.

Similar protests took place in front of Goldcorp's AGM in Toronto on May 20th.

May 22, 2008 Weblog:

Rally on Parliament Hill for Net Neutrality


Canadians outraged by the slow strangling of the internet are invited to share their outrage with the Parliament of Canada on May 27th.

The Net Neutrality Rally will demand legislation to protect the internet from predatory practices like traffic shaping and data management, and to encourage transparency among ISP companies.

Transportation assistance is available -- check out the Net Neutrality Rally website for more details.

This is an important first step in the battle to save the internet -- a strong showing at this rally could be the beginning of legislative protection for net neutrality in Canada.

For more info on the net neutrality movement in Canada, check out savethenet.ca.

May 15, 2008 Weblog:

New Orleans: America's Palestine

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Once the catastrophe hit it was a long time before people started to understand what was really going on. By then, the world had abandoned the already marginalized communities, leaving them to fend for themselves while being largely displaced and devoid of rights.

Walking through the still devastated neighbourhoods, the poverty is simply striking. Abandoned, barely standing homes are interspersed with a few renovated ones here and there. International and national volunteers converge to pour their efforts into single projects, but what they leave behind is perhaps even more telling than what they've originally found.

As they scrape together the resources to rebuild, others see an opportunity in the devastation. A large evacuation, such as that of the 9th Ward of whose 17,000 original residents 14,000 remain displaced, produces quite a business opening. Cheap real estate has become the market of choice for opportunists as every abandoned plot boasts a "for sale" sign.

Effectively, an ethic cleansing is underway as the predominantly black population of such neighbourhoods as New Orleans East and the 9th Ward has disappeared. In the former, it is actively and aggressively being replaced by suburban, predominantly white residents. In the latter, the destruction is still too significant for a strong gentrification to take place. In the city's centre, public housing projects have decreased by 80 per cent largely thanks to home demolitions.

» continue reading "New Orleans: America's Palestine"

May 14, 2008 Weblog:

Lovinsky Pierre Antoine - Still Missing After Nine Months

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By: Wadner Pierre and Jean-Ristil Jean Baptiste -

By:Wadner Pierre


Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, a prominent human rights worker and Famni Lavalas activist, has been missing since August 12, 2007. He is the founder of Trant Septanm Organizasyon (September 30 Foundation) an organization that assists victims of the coup that took place September 30th, 1991. That coup ousted Haiti's first democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide only seven months after his inauguration. According to human rights groups there were five thousand people killed by the military regime of Raul Cedras. Thousands were also raped and tortured by the Cedras regime, and hundreds of thousands driven into hiding.

Pierre-Antoine worked with many national and international human rights organizations to promote the rights of all people, particularly the right to justice. The perpetrators of the 1991 coup (the Haitian elite and their ex-military allies) gradually regrouped and in 2004 managed to overthrow Aristide again - this time with the overt backing of the US, France and Canada. In October 2005, at the first “International Tribunal on Haiti” that investigated the 2004 coup, Pierre-Antoine explained to an audience of hundreds in Washington how he had been arrested, assaulted and expelled from the country by authorities at the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince.

» continue reading "Lovinsky Pierre Antoine - Still Missing After Nine Months"

» view more photos in"Lovinsky Pierre Antoine - Still Missing After Nine Months"

May 4, 2008 Weblog:

Haiti Appoints Free Market Economist as Prime Minister

From Haiti Liberte, via Haiti Analysis:

Preval was also pressured to choose Ericq Pierre by several visiting foreign officials such as Alain Joyandel, French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophonie, Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

...Pierre also eloquently expressed his technocratic vision when he said: "There is no reform of the left or the right, there are only necessary reforms." The greatest outcry against Ericq Pierre's nomination may come from the Haitian people themselves. The uprising that began of April 3 and swept away Alexis was not just against food's high cost but against neoliberal austerity policies in general. In this light, Pierre's nomination is likely to provoke more anger and demonstrations in the weeks ahead.

Canada's Response? Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine Bernier stated that his government "welcomes this first step in forming a new government in Haiti, in keeping with the provisions of the Haitian constitution."

First step? As if the Haitian people had never elected their own governments before. Wasn't the appointment of Jacques Edouard Alexis back in 2006 the "first step in forming a new government?"

» continue reading "Haiti Appoints Free Market Economist as Prime Minister"

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Dominion Weblogs compiles the weblogs of Dominion editors and writers. The topics discussed are wide-ranging, but Canadian Foreign Policy, grassroots politics, and independent media are chief among them.

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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