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April 23, 2009 Weblog:

Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

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{{reposting of Ecosociete bulletin}}

INFORMATION BULLETIN

First anniversary of Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique

Montreal, April 23rd 2009

It was just over a year ago, on April 15th 2008, that Alain Deneault, Deplhine Abadie and William Sacher officially launched Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, published by Les Éditions Écosociété, despite legal threats of lawsuits by Canadian multinational Barrick Gold (see demand letter sent by Barrick Gold).

Two defamation lawsuits followed, with Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro claiming damages amounting to $11 million dollars. The authors and publisher of Noir Canada have since had to deal with amendments to these claims, multiple and cumbersome judicial proceedings (requests for documents, endless interviews conducted by opposing counsel, etc.), the preparation of voluminous defence records for two different jurisdictions, numerous commutes to Toronto, the rejection of a request to transfer Banro’s Ontario lawsuit to Quebec, the appeal of that decision, along with the considerable costs that such proceedings require and the psychological and moral strain that comes with being put under such pressure.

In the meantime, the authors of Noir Canada remind us that “the Canadian pillage of Africa continues”, while “the Canadian government has just consecrated Canada as being a judicial haven for extraction corporations worldwide” (see the communiqué by the Collectif Ressources d’Afrique below).

» continue reading "Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada"

April 21, 2009 Weblog:

Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back

Since the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was tabled on March 26th, people across Canada have been getting the word out and showing their opposition to the deal.

Popular rejection of the deal has spread far and wide, and has even reached Prime Minister Harper.

"There is a view in some groups that they don't like modern economic policy. They think you can make progress without it. They're entitled to their view," said Harper while in Trinidad and Tobago for the the Summit of the Americas.

Protest against the FTA is not limited to Canada. In Colombia, though the deal was essentially negotiated in secret, people are speaking out.

"To sign this deal would not only make Canada complicit in the innumerable crimes committed by the Colombian government, which crimes have been denounced by the United Nations and the Interamerican Court of Human Rights," reads a letter sent by dozens of Colombian organizations and individuals to MPs yesterday.

» continue reading "Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back"

April 20, 2009 Weblog:

The Simple Art of Terror

by Anamitra Deb

The Simple Art of Terror

On November 26th, 2008, Bombay was the target of a terrorist attack allegedly carried out by men from the jihadi organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), meaning 'Army of the Pure.' Armed with AK-47s, hand grenades, and RDX (an explosive chemical used in military applications), the terrorists targeted civilians, killing over 200 men, women and children.

Ten men came to my city by the sea and docked their rubber dinghy in a forgotten fisher-people’s slum. Ten men, armed with guns and grenades, headed nonchalantly in the direction of the city’s main attractions. Dressed in jeans and t-shirts, and carrying backpacks, ten men split into four groups, maybe five, and started the shooting later that evening.

In an attritional siege that lasted more than 60 hours, severe damage was done to the inhabitants of a city that is no stranger to terror.

Over half of the casualties took place within the first few hours, all at frequented landmarks – at the touristy Leopold Café, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Train Station, used by millions of local commuters daily. At the already-overflowing Cama Hospital and outside of Bombay's oldest cinema, the Metro. Inside of the city’s best-known five-star hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident, men fired guns in lobbies and staircases, bars and restaurants, chambers and kitchens.

» continue reading "The Simple Art of Terror"

April 18, 2009 Weblog:

Haiti's Senatorial Elections Already a Fiasco

April 18th, 2009

By Wander Pierre*-www.haitianalysis.com

Election or Selection?

Two days before they are due to occur, Haiti's senatorial elections are already a fiasco. According to a nationwide survey by The Haitian Priorities Project (HPP),“...only 5% of eligible voters would turn out on Apr. 19, based on polling conducted of some 65,000 people by 70 investigators during eight days in early April.”

Famni Lavalas (FL) the party of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide has had all its candidates disqualified by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

Rene Civil, a long time Aristide supporter and former political prisoner, said in a telephone interview “There will be a selection on April 19, not an election.” He said that demonstrations against the government and the CEP would be relentless. He believes that with FL banned from the senate President Preval will be able to force through unpopular economic policies such as the privatization of state institutions such as TELCO (Haiti's phone company) and the National Port Authority.

Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis declared a recent donor conference in Washington a success. But it is doubtful that this will inspire Haitians to turn out for the election.

Comments gathered below from people living and working in Haiti seem to confirm this.

Romy, a young labourer said in a telephone interview that he would not vote because FL has been banned. However, he also said that he wished FL were less internally divided.

Dave, a young vocational student who has worked with foreign journalists, also lamented FL's exclusion as a “lost opportunity” for Haitians.

» continue reading "Haiti's Senatorial Elections Already a Fiasco"

April 17, 2009 Weblog:

HAITI: Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread

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By Jeb Sprague -IPS

NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) - Weekend senatorial elections in Haiti are mired in controversy as Fanmi Lavalas (FL), the political party widely backed by the poor majority, has been disqualified.
Read the rest of this story on:

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=46537

*Wadner Pierre in Miami contributed to this story.

(END/2009)

April 16, 2009 Weblog:

Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry

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WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad

WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am - 7:30pm

WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

» continue reading "Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry"

April 14, 2009 Weblog:

K'Naan interviewed about Somali Pirates

"Whenever Somalis get together and talk about pirates, the pirate scenario, we talk about them as if they're coast guards of the country."
April 12, 2009 Weblog:

April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home

[[Reposting of Project Fly Home update & call for action]]

Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home!
Cross-Canada Campaign 7 April to 7 May
Update and Call for Action

On Friday, 3 April, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon refused to give a passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. The flight Abousfian was due to board left without him, and he remains in the same situation of forced exile that he has been in for six years - living for almost a year in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.

On Tuesday, 7 May, his lawyers will go to the courts to ask for a mandatory order to compel the government to bring Abousfian back by "any safe means at its disposal". This is being argued on the basis of section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada."

If they wanted to, government officials could, literally, send a plane today to bring him home tomorrow. But the government's actions have flown in the face of the law and public opinion, and officials have refused to do what is both within their means and within their legal obligation - to bring Abousfian home. Without public pressure, there is no guarantee that they
will even respect a court order.

Project Fly Home is thus calling for a public campaign leading up to 7 May to push the government to act NOW to bring Abousfian home.

It is imperative that the level of pressure and public scrutiny remain very high. The government has clearly proven its capacity for duplicity and its strong resistance to upholding Abousfian's rights. This is a case which is important not only for Abousfian but for all of us who are concerned about preserving the rights and freedoms - and most importantly, the dignity and equality - of all.

» continue reading "April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home"

April 9, 2009 Weblog:

Voices of Tamil-Canadians on Parliament Hill

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The following are words from Tamil-Canadians who have been part of an ongoing protest in downtown Ottawa since Tuesday afternoon. The Tamils protests have continued day and night, bringing downtown traffic to a standstill. Demonstrators have focused upon attacks carried out by the Sri Lankan government in the so-called "safe zone" in the northwest region of the country, within which are situated as many as 190,000 civilians and internally-displaced people.

Photo #1: Senathan Nadarajah

"Since January, hundreds have been killed every day, including civilians – women and children! The dead are being left on the ground. There is no burial. The bunkers are full of blood because it is the rainy season so people cannot go inside the bunker. The Safety Zone is not being respected. The Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been saying that hospitals are a legitimate target, which is a war crime under the Geneva Convention."

"We have asked the Canadian government peacefully over the last four months by writing letters and petitions, gathering in numbers peacefully but nothing has happened. After the news [last week] that 1800 people had been killed, we could not stand it any longer. So we had to come and bring it to their attention. Until the Canadian government takes political and economic action and declares an embargo on Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government is not going to listen."

Photo #2: Kumughan Nallarhenm

» continue reading "Voices of Tamil-Canadians on Parliament Hill"

» view more photos in"Voices of Tamil-Canadians on Parliament Hill"

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 8, 2009 Weblog:

Tamils Paralyze Downtown Ottawa

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Approximately 500 Tamil protestors from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and elsewhere converged on downtown Ottawa, blocking several major intersections and bus routes. Beginning with a rally on Parliament Hill, protestors broke off into several coordinated groups and proceeded to squat several intersections throughout the afternoon and evening until approximately 7:30 PM, when they were pushed onto the sidewalks by police. Up until late tonight, 100-150 demonstrators continued to rally at the corner of Metcalfe and Wellington in front of Parliament Hill. Many said they would continue an "indefinite protest" until the Canadian government brought "forth an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka."

Protestors decried the heavy civilian toll in the so-called "safe zone" in northern Sri Lanka, which UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay has estimated at 2800. Many decried the banning of access of NGO's and journalists from the 14 kilometre-wide "safe zone" by the Sri Lankan government, within which 100,000 civilians are trapped.

The demonstration was vocally supportive of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam(LTTE). In recent days, the Sri Lankan military has claimed that it has killed hundreds of LTTE fighters, and that the rebel force has been cornered.

Although the recent death toll has been overwhelmingly composed of Tamils, various human rights groups have accused the LTTE of committing human rights abuses over the course of Sri Lanka's 26 years of civil war.

» continue reading "Tamils Paralyze Downtown Ottawa"

» view more photos in"Tamils Paralyze Downtown Ottawa"

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

April 6, 2009 Weblog:

URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area

[[Reposting]]

Dear friends and supporters,

This is an URGENT NATIONAL ALERT being sent out by our allies in No One Is Illegal Toronto.

Approximately 100 (exact figures unconfirmed) migrant and
non-status workers have been detained in large-scale workplace enforcement
actions in Ontario, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area district.

There has been minimal media reporting on these huge-scale operations, a
local report on one of the raids in Bradford is available
here
.

* DETAILS ON THE RAIDS:

April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East
Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford/Simcoe County, the Canada Border
Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across
Southern Ontario, who are now languishing in detention centres.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved
ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status
people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Kanada.

On early Thursday morning, enforcement officers stormed into three
different businesses in Bradford and Markham where they arrested migrant
workers. CBSA even followed workers to their homes throughout the GTA and
surrounding areas. In total 80 people were arrested. They were placed on
GO buses, handcuffed and held immobile for hours.

"One of my relatives was arrested in the raid. She called me from jail
this morning. She and her co-workers are terrified that they may be
deported at any time," said Jonathan Canchela, chair of the Filipino
Migrant Workers Movement- and member of Migrante-Ontario.

» continue reading "URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area"

April 1, 2009 Weblog:

NSPIRG, the Stop NSPIRG campaign, and the Dalhouise Student Union

Live Blogging from the Dalhousie Student Union Annual General Meeting (Part Deux)

Does the fate of NSPIRG hang in the balance?

April 1st, 2009

Dalhousie Student Union Building, MacInnes Auditorium

Halifax.

6:32 pm - People are filing into the room. Approximately 40 pizzas have arrived, and they are being eaten as quickly as they are brought in. Attendance is at least 100 students, media, Sodexho staff, security, and others. The auditorium is three quarters full.

6:45 pm - Some students have faces painted from the carnival and concert, held earlier in the day in front of the Killam library, featuring bands, stilt walkers, clowns, and more. The line-up, according to Shannon Zimmerman (incoming DSU president), extends out to first floor lobby and out the front door.

6:57 pm - Mat Brechtel, chair of the meeting, has begun his preamble. "There was a tool called the challenge to the chair that was abused at the last meeting (March 11th).... It is not intended to procedurally do what you democratically cannot do. I encourage you all to achieve your democratic ends, through the use of a vote."

7:03: From the back of the room in the press booth, it looks like all the chairs are full.

7:28 pm - DSU Vice President Education Mark Coffin is presenting his portfolio, consisting mostly of lobbying nationally and provincially through CASA and ANSSA. Tony Seed, editor of Shunpiking Magazine and former candidate of the Marxist-Leninist Party, sitting beside me, says the lobbying model is selling out students' interests.

» continue reading "NSPIRG, the Stop NSPIRG campaign, and the Dalhouise Student Union"

April 1, 2009 Weblog:

Blockade on Unceded Secwepemc Territory between Chase & Kamloops

[[Update]]

Wednedsay April 1, 11 am UPDATE:

The blockade itself has been postponed to a later time based on spiritual guidance and advice. A continuous camp presence, however, is currently being maintained and ceremonies for protection and guidance are being conducted. Police helicopters are circling above and RCMP is around the area.

[[Reposting]]

NATIVE YOUTH MOVEMENT
INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT
APRIL 1ST, 2009

Unceded Secwepemc Territory, between Kamloops and Chase, bc, kkkanada

KKKANADA--STOP THE NEW WESTWARD EXPANSION

THE GENOCIDE CONTINUES WITH THE DESECRATION OF OUR ANCIENT SECWEPEMC BURIAL AND VILLAGE SITES FOR HIGHWAY & RAILWAY EXPANSION

The Secwepemc Peoples and their allies will be conducting a roadblock today to demand the halt of the Trans Canada Highway and Canadian Pacific Railway expansion through the highway corridor along the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lakes. The expansion of these two major federal and provincial transportation systems has been involved in the desecration of our ancestral burial and village sites, as well as, the continued genocide of our Peoples.

We, as Indigenous Peoples, have the right to have the spirits of our ancestors rest in peace in their original resting place. We will not give up our principles and values for the benefits of a highway or railway. The desecration to our graves and burial sites is considered a hate crime against humanity and a violation of our Indigenous and human rights.

» continue reading "Blockade on Unceded Secwepemc Territory between Chase & Kamloops"

March 31, 2009 Weblog:

Fredericton rallies together for women of Afghanistan

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Fredericton rallies together for women of Afghanistan
March 24, 2009
By Jessi MacEachern

This past Saturday, people of the Fredericton community gathered together for a cause that hits hard locally, but is in fact dedicated to communities nearly 10,000 kilometres away.

The Fredericton Peace Coalition, the UNB/STU University Women’s Centre, NB RebELLEs-Fredericton, and CUSO-VSO joined together to host Fredericton’s third Annual Benefit for the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan (RAWA).

RAWA began in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1977 under the leadership of Meena, an activist who was eventually assassinated for her advocacy against Afghanistan’s fundamentalist forces.

Today, RAWA continues to thrive as a political and social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy, and women’s rights. Knowing freedom and democracy can never be donated, what is needed from members of a community like Fredericton is solidarity and support.

Saturday’s lineup brought local talent to the auditorium stage of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. The evening started off with a reception of free beverages and finger foods, accompanied by the soothing musical notes of Mark Currie, Tom Whidden, Brian Calder, and Matt Leger.

As these first musicians played, guests were encouraged to bid on the silent auction items displayed along one side of the room—a collection of art supplies, reading materials, tea sets, jewelry, kids’ items, gift certificates and more, entirely donated by the greater Fredericton community.

» continue reading "Fredericton rallies together for women of Afghanistan"

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 29, 2009 Weblog:

Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders

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For artists, songwriters, storytellers, and dreamers that are reading this, you are in luck. Creativity has won out against the darkness and monotony of neoliberalism. Imagination is revolutionary. The world has good reason to hope. The affirmative and liberatory project of the Zapatistas has spread its message around the globe: un otro mundo es posible. This credo can guide our imaginations onto new terrains, but the work of building and constructing worlds remains in front of us, daunting and formidable. How do we move forward, and what weapons will our creativity arm us with? Alex Khasnabish gives us some guidance in his book, but choices remain to be taken, and we will measure our success only from the viewpoint of the end of a lifetime of imaginative struggle.

Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (Alex Khasnabish, University of Toronto Press, 2008) explores the transnational resonance of Zapatismo - the guiding principles, tactics and beliefs of the Zapatistas - that has invigorated and inspired social activism and anti-capitalist struggles in North America. Khasnabish is a professor of sociology and anthropology at Mount St. Vincent University and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The book comes on the heels of his recent papers “A Tear in the Fabric of the Present” in the Journal for the Study of Radicalism (2009) and “Insurgent Imaginations” in Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization (2007), among other essays. Khasnabish's style reads like an academic thesis: rigorously documented, lengthy citations, and careful argumentation. Most accessible to academics, readers may find themselves wishing for a more palatable and digestible read.

» continue reading "Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders"

March 28, 2009 Weblog:

Students Battle Over Nova Scotia PIRG

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HALIFAX – “We need to trust that people will be honest”, said Mat Brechtel, chair of the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU), referring to a ballot vote after two votes by hand count had failed to determine whether or not a motion concerning the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) would be added to the meeting's agenda. Brechtel was chairing the DSU's Annual General Meeting to a packed auditorium of 200 students.

The motion called on the DSU to make NSPIRG vacate their offices within 30 days, that NSPIRG make a public apology for "wasting students' money," and also stated that all funds should be with held from NSPIRG and held in trust by the DSU.

The issue of whether the student-funded social justice organization NSPIRG should continue to receive funding was the hot debate item of the evening. Though the item was added to the agenda, it now needs to be voted on by the Dalhousie student body at a subsequent general meeting, to be held April 1st in the Dalhousie Student Union Building at 6:30 pm. It will require a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to either pass or fail.

The meeting began with a tightly controlled security check at the doors of the McInnes Room, the auditorium where the AGM was held. As per orders of DSU President, Courtney Larkin, no non-Dalhousie students were allowed into the AGM, including NSPIRG members and a staff, despite precedence during past AGMs.

According to supporters of NSPIRG inside the meeting, several non-students were still in attendance, including former members of the DSU council and executive.

» continue reading "Students Battle Over Nova Scotia PIRG"

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March 26, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Algonquins challenge Harper to make equal revenues available as is legally required

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Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation post open letter to Stephen Harper insisting he honour their numerous expressions of interests in unceded territory without their having to agree to domestic policy and title extinquishment. Kichesipirini insists that at least equal resources are owed those Indigenous Nations wishing to remain sovereign as is given other communities for claims.

Kichesipirini asserts that these are international rights. If these processes are supposed to be nation-to-nation treaty negotiations then they are of international character and deserve appropriate third party adjunction by appropriate third party experts. Otherwise these negotiations are a breach of Constitutional and international law and are a misappropriation of public monies and would require an investigation.

If they are not genuinely nation-to-nation and are not of international character then be honest and clearly state so, and then explain to taxpayers why you have been misleading them into thinking that the expenditure of billions of dollars is legitimate when it is actually of no lasting or legal merit, and create a process that will reimburse Canadians' their wasted monies.

Kichesipirini further asserts that since these discriminations and persecutions have the effective result of exterminating actual nations there is a moral and legal responsibility to protect required of Mr. Harper, and because of their "crimes against humanity" nature these discriminations become a matter of concern for the world, that could result in financial sanctions. Taking such risks at this time of fiscal challenge would be extremely irresponsible.

» continue reading "Kichesipirini Algonquins challenge Harper to make equal revenues available as is legally required"

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 16, 2009 Weblog:

Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel

This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and
Mail (as an op-ed). It is reprinted here in full.

Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of
Israel

We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism,
anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy
"Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of
history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its
dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable
suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and
leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of
Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that
those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott
of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist
terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect
attention from Israel's flagrant violations of international humanitarian
law.

» continue reading "Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel"

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 14, 2009 Weblog:

Tory student groups hijack democracy on Ontario campuses

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A series of documents posted on Wikileaks show that the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association, a Tory-connected student group, held workshops at which participants were taught how to take over various student organizations on Ontario campuses.

"Presenters and participants are caught on tape advocating for the creation of front groups for the Conservative Party to masquerade as non-partisan grassroots organizations, influencing the political discourse on campus, stacking student elections with Party members, and conspiring to defeat non-profit organizations because of political differences, all with the intention of hiding their affiliations to the Party in the process," reads a release put out by the anonymous source who posted the documents.

The OPCCA hosted events on campuses in Ottawa, Toronto, and Waterloo that targeted Public Interest Research Groups in particular (see photo above).

"Sometimes you can't attach the party's name to something. You just can't. If it's a really controversial issue on campus or something that might show up in the newspaper, you want to be careful. You just have your shell organization and have the Campus Coalition for Liberty and two other Tory front groups which are front organizations, all of those groups might actually qualify for funding too," said Ryan O'Connor, a workshop facilitator and former member of the OPCCA.

Nick Smith, a student activist from Toronto, has written about the attempts of Conservative student groups to hijack student politics in the past.

» continue reading "Tory student groups hijack democracy on Ontario campuses "

March 9, 2009 Weblog:

If AIG Goes Down...Yikes!

Fours days before receiving a second bailout to the tune of $30 Billion, AIG issued a confidential internal memo regarding what could happen if the insurance company failed.

Doomsday scenarios included:

  • The potential for cascading failure of US insurance companies
  • The potential that US companies in foreign companies could be permanently lost to nationalization
  • A run on the US dollar
  • Destroy US retirement savings
  • General economic meltdown similar to that of Lehman Brothers

Happy reading!

» continue reading "If AIG Goes Down...Yikes!"

March 6, 2009 Weblog:

The war against the people continues in Colombia: new threats against journalists and activists

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Emails from the magic laptops found in a FARC camp that was bombed in Ecuador last March have surfaced yet again.

Accusations linking Hollman Morris, one of Colombia's top investigative journalists, to the FARC were published in Cambio Magazine* yesterday.

"In October, "Sara" says to "Reyes" that "Aníbal" - the apparent leader of the front - is worried because the ELN is taking his territory and because some of his recruits are touring around with [Hollman] Morris and Manuel Rozenthal [sic], a friend of [Morris]. In these moments, the FARC and the ELN are waging a bloody battle for territorial control in Cauca and Arauca."

The alleged emails from the magic laptops have led to threats against Morris which put him and his colleagues in danger.

Manuel Rozental, named in the above passage in Cambio, is active with Indigenous movements in Northern Cauca, and has played a high profile role in opposing the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

» continue reading "The war against the people continues in Colombia: new threats against journalists and activists"

March 5, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, end of tour

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Picture 1: Our presentation at Just Us cafe on Spring Garden had a really good turnout, one of the highest, at 13 people. The tour, on average brought about 8-10 people out to each of its events. The thing about touring a city (as opposed to a country) is that, while touring a much smaller area, small groups of people make it out to whichever event is the easiest one for them to attend. With each event, a different group of people comes out, and most are there for really good reasons, making every presentation interesting in the sense that the people in attendance dictate its terms.

Picture 2: "The revolution starts here!" shouted Dominion editor, Dru Oja Jay, in the midst of a presentation at the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). Those in attendance were highly enthused, amazingly supportive individuals, ready to take a stand on Canadian media. It was a rejuvenating experience to be in the same room as these folks, older than myself, who see the big picture with blatant confidence. In this picture: Errol Sharpe of Fernwood Publishing (middle), and Dave Shaw of PSAC (right).

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, end of tour"

March 1, 2009 Weblog:

February Economic Armageddon: Recap

The meltdown of the economy is becoming so common and widespread it has been hard to keep track of everything that is going on. Briefly:

  • In Canada, media empires including
    CTV, Torstar, Quebecor and Canwest continue to flounder along with a whole host of other media outlets across the continent.
  • At the same time, Canadian pension funds, most of the big banks, Nortel, Walmart Canada, GM and a number of agricultural and mining industries are being hit with massive losses.

South of the border, thing are looking a little rough for the folks in the halls of power.

  • Barack Obama is strutting out the biggest budget in US history which looks to (supposedly) raise taxes on the upper classes, cut Medicare to give more people health care and rip into Pentagon spending, military contractors and agri-business. The US economy meanwhile contracted 6.2% in the last 3 months of 2008.
  • The "Sage of Omaha", Warren Buffet is sage-no-more having admitted to $11.5 billion in losses.

» continue reading "February Economic Armageddon: Recap"

February 25, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22

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Picture 1: A public presentation in the North End was held upstairs from Anchor Archive, a growing local library of zines on every topic available. Besides being the most well-attended event this month, a journalist from the Chronicle Herald described how he had survived the paper's brutal cuts, and expressed interest in being involved in the co-op.

Picture 2: Our presentation in Bedford, aka 'an attempt at branching out,' proved a little less than fruitful in spite of concerted attempts at postering in bus stops and sticking flyers under people's windshield wipers nearby the community's shopping mall. There is a lack of public space in Bedford. We are told that the ice rink is the favorite public hangout by our solo contact there to date, Mark, who, when he's not helping build media co-ops, is driving a Zamboni.

Picture 3: The 7th annual Homelessness Marathon, which airs every year in Montreal, aims to raise awareness about homelessness with 14 hours straight of live broadcasting. This year, CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax hosts a listening booth at St. Matthews United Church of Canada, serving food and drinks all night long. In collaboration, women from the Roberts Street "Stitch and Bitch" have a KNIT-A-THON to raise funds for the Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter.

Picture 4: The Media Co-op's own traveling videographer, Van Ferrier. Van has returned to Montreal since this photo was taken, but before he did, was instrumental in documenting the process of building the co-op. Here, he flims The Dominion's first annual AGM.

» continue reading "Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22"

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22"

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