jump to content
In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxTorontoVancouverMontreal

dru's blog

July 27, 2007 Weblog:

Gord Hill on the Indian Act and the AFN

I just transcribed these remarks by Gord Hill in this interview for a story, and thought they might be worth posting. The whole interview is worth listening to.

» continue reading "Gord Hill on the Indian Act and the AFN"

July 24, 2007 Weblog:

Toxic Alberta

VBS.tv has a surprisingly good documentary series about the tar sands, watchable online. It rings true with the experiences I had in Fort McMurray--in fact, it's uncanny how many of the exchanges with workers are almost identical... only we didn't have a camera running the whole time.

July 23, 2007 Weblog:

Algonquin Response to Ottawa Citizen Article

[Received via email]

by Paula LaPierre

In Response to “Our natives must evolve into an economic force in Canada”, The Ottawa Citizen, published: Friday, July 06, 2007, by Fred Maroun of Ottawa, Re: “Turning guilt into billions of dollars”, July 1, and “We can't keep native communities on life-support forever”, June 29.

» continue reading "Algonquin Response to Ottawa Citizen Article"

July 23, 2007 Weblog:

Canadians Want Media Choice

An op/ed from Steve Anderson, published a little late, but it's relevant nonetheless.

by Steve Anderson

Several major media mergers are threatening to make the Canadian media scene an even more-concentrated affair. A few examples: CTVglobemedia has inhaled CHUM (with Rogers taking the spoils), Alliance Atlantis is on the brink of becoming a part of Canwest, and Quebecor Media is poised to take over Osprey Media.

» continue reading "Canadians Want Media Choice"

July 2, 2007 Weblog:

Media Democracy in Canada

The folks at Democratic Media are asking for help in pushing the CRTC to stop the rollback of media ownership regulations.

July 2, 2007 Weblog:

Effects of the Tar Sands: Interview with Celina Harpe

An interview with Celina Harpe, an elder in the Cree community of Fort Mackay, downstream from Suncor and Syncrude strip mines and tar sands extraction plants near Fort McMurray.

For those who prefer YouTube, there's a shorter version there.

June 27, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: Flyover


Photos from an overflight of the tar sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: Flyover"

June 14, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: Tar Sands from Space


Courtesy of Google, some satellite images of the strip mining of tar sands near Fort McMurray. The large gray areas are tailing ponds.

Explore for yourself, starting here.

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: Tar Sands from Space"

June 14, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: The Tar Sands



1. Syncrude's bitumen processing plant is not accessible, though it is visible from the highway. Apparently, there are plans to move the highway so that the road past Syncrude will be a private road.

» continue reading "Fort McMurray: The Tar Sands"

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: The Tar Sands"

June 12, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: On the Street


Top: patrons at the "Oil Can". Above: not under the same roof; a clandestine camper between a fence and a highway, and a syncrude-sponsored tent where hot tubs are sold

Today, we received our first real Fort McMurray experience: after two nights, the roommates of the one person we know in town decided that they didn't want us sleeping on their floor anymore. We now face what anyone coming to town or working a job that pays less than $100k/year faces: housing. It's not so bad, as we had planned to camp anyway, but even finding a spot to pitch a tent will be challenging.

» continue reading "Fort McMurray: On the Street"

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: On the Street"

June 11, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: Homeless, Working Poor, and Welfare Recipients


We had a brief conversation with Flex Turner, a twenty-five year resident of Fort McMurray, Syncrude employee, and soup kitchen volunteer.

Turner said that since the kitchen where he volunteers started 13 years ago, he has "seen the numbers explode" every year. In addition to the city's homeless population, which he estimates at around 500, the church-based kitchen serves the working poor--mainly those "at McDonald's," cleaning jobs and the hotel industry--and welfare recipients. Once people pay their rent, he said, "there's not a lot left over for food."

» continue reading "Fort McMurray: Homeless, Working Poor, and Welfare Recipients"

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: Homeless, Working Poor, and Welfare Recipients"

June 11, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: Campers and Trucks


From top:

Campers in the Abasands Heights neighbourhood. A small bungalow here can sell for $400,000, it's said, and thousands of workers are living in trucks, vans, tents and corporate-run camps.

Quad tracks on a local trail.

Trucks bring in new equipment daily.

» continue reading "Fort McMurray: Campers and Trucks"

» view more photos in"Fort McMurray: Campers and Trucks"

June 11, 2007 Weblog:

Fort McMurray: We have the Energy


When you're traveling to Fort McMurray, Alberta--five hours north of Edmonton--people assume you're going there to work. The average income here is around $90,000/year. Presented with "we're going just to find out what's going on," people are baffled. The northern city is known for being an expensive, rough place with nothing to do, too much traffic and a lack of services.

So why are people coming up here by the thousands?

» continue reading "Fort McMurray: We have the Energy"

June 10, 2007 Weblog:

The Price of Aid

I wrote an opinion piece for the most recent issue of This Magazine about the historical background of Canada's foreign aid, and what that means for current efforts to "reform" and increase foreign aid. It's available online, though for some reason it's missing include apostrophes and quotation marks.

June 9, 2007 Weblog:

Alberta: A quick visit to a feedlot


On our way to the tar sands in Northern Alberta, one of our rides gave us an impromptu tour of a feedlot, where the storied Alberta Beef is raised.

» continue reading "Alberta: A quick visit to a feedlot"

» view more photos in"Alberta: A quick visit to a feedlot"

May 30, 2007 Weblog:

"Indian Act is Racist": Owen Sound Sun Times

The editor at the Owen Sound Sun Times wrote an amazingly frank editorial (for a CanWest-owned paper), entitled "Indian Act is racist at heart and should be abolished". His opening line: "Canada is a an apartheid state."


Most reserves (the exceptions are communities that have negotiated self-government) still operate under the rule of the Indian Act, first authored in 1876 and "updated" several times since then.

» continue reading ""Indian Act is Racist": Owen Sound Sun Times"

May 28, 2007 Weblog:


BoingBoing calls the RCTV decision "a political decision through which Chavez seeks to gain total control of the basic freedoms of the country's citizens."

Is that sort of like a military coup that overthrows a democratically elected government?

» continue reading "More RCTV"

May 28, 2007 Weblog:

Reporting and Credibility: RCTV

There's another round of coverage of the expiry of RCTV's broadcast license in Venezuela.

It's entirely understandable that there would be concern about this, but news agencies are only damaging their own credibility by not reporting the relevant facts.

» continue reading "Reporting and Credibility: RCTV"

May 28, 2007 Weblog:

More Homeless than Athletes in Vancouver in 2010

The Tyee has published the first in a series about the 2010 Olympics.

People of Aboriginal identity accounted for 30 per cent of the region's homeless population, while making up only two per cent of the total population.

May 28, 2007 Weblog:

We are all against free speech

FAIR makes the obvious point that if a television channel participated in a military coup against an elected government in the US (or Canada, I'd say), its proprietors would be put in jail.

In this case, nothing like that is being proposed. It's a simple matter of revoking the broadcasting license of a channel that did in fact support a military coup against an elected government.

» continue reading "We are all against free speech"

May 17, 2007 Weblog:


While interesting, the coverage of the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Estonia's web and internet servers (I was wondering why the Postimees website was down for the last two weeks) leaves out some pretty important technical explanations.

» continue reading "DDoStonia"

May 15, 2007 Weblog:

Six of Colonialism, Half Dozen of Capitalism

Phil Fontaine, who is about as un-radical as it gets:

"The number of First Nations children today who have been removed from families and placed into state care is now three times the number of children that were in residential schools at the height of this terrible experience.

» continue reading "Six of Colonialism, Half Dozen of Capitalism"

May 11, 2007 Weblog:

Underreported Indigenous Struggles

Ahni at Intercontinental Cry has compiled a list of links to underreported indigenous struggles around the world.

May 10, 2007 Weblog:

Noble and Podur on Climate Change

Historian of technology David Noble wrote an interesting article detailing the corporate turnaround on climate change--from denial to appropriation.

Subsequently, Justin Podur zeroes in on three recent articles by leftists expressing different levels of skepticism or denial about climate change (of which Noble's is one), and responds to them at length.

May 9, 2007 Weblog:

The needs of Nepal overshadowed by the UN’s guise for peace and security.


By Amy Miller [1] and Mahmood ALI [2]

The world hasn’t been paying attention to Nepal lately. Why would they? As the plan of action seems to go for the Goliath International Institution, the UN comfortably settled into the poor South Asian country last year ready to play its usual role of peace broker, supplier and judge and the global gaze moved on to newer, more exciting stories. The few stories that we can read are often published from New Delhi, and follow the UN line.

» continue reading "The needs of Nepal overshadowed by the UN’s guise for peace and security."

May 7, 2007 Weblog:

Independent Journalism in the Philipines


Independent journalist Stefan Christoff is holding a film screening tomorrow night of turbulent waters, a documentary about the international shipping industry--a topic familiar to former Prime Minister, Paul Martin.

May 6, 2007 Weblog:

Climate Debate?

At the request of ZNet, George Monbiot has written a rebuttal to Alex Cockburn's persistent contrarianism on the topic of climate change.

May 2, 2007 Weblog:

Barrick Gold Protest Today

Today was an international day of action against Toronto's Barrick Gold, said to be the largest gold mining company in the world. Here's one activist with a concise summary:

» continue reading "Barrick Gold Protest Today"

May 2, 2007 Weblog:

Russian Riots in Estonia, Estonian Humour in English


Estonia isn't in the news much, but after the government decided to implement a controversial law to move a Soviet memorial to soldiers who died fighting the Nazis, and unearth the bodies of several soldiers buried near the monument--which is referred to in the Estonian press simply as pronkssõdur, or bronze soldier--an international furor has ensued, with German, US, Russian and other governments weighing in.

» continue reading "Russian Riots in Estonia, Estonian Humour in English"

» view more photos in"Russian Riots in Estonia, Estonian Humour in English"