News for progressives

Syrian War Report – February 23, 2018: Syrian Army Enters YPG-held Part Of Aleppo, Turkey Strikes Convoy Entering Afrin On February 22, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered into and established a full control of the YPG-held neighborhoods of Aleppo city, according to pro-government sources. A
Categories: News for progressives

Gatherings across the country call for Justice for Tina Fontaine

Rabble News - Sat, 2018-02-24 04:53
Brent Patterson

#JusticeForTinaFontaine gatherings are taking place today in Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax, on February 24 in Victoria, Vancouver, Montreal, Oriliia and Regina, and on February 25 in Guelph, Calgary and London. There is also an ongoing presence of people camped outside the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg.

Late yesterday, a jury in Winnipeg found 56-year-old Raymond Cormier not guilty of the murder of the 15-year-old girl.

The Globe and Mail reports:

"The Winnipeg court heard from Thelma Favel that Tina left Sagkeeng, 115 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, on June 30, 2014, to spend a week with her mother. It was her reward for an exceptional report card from École Powerview, her new, off-reserve school, where she had just finished Grade 9. Ms. Favel had been caring for Tina and her sister Sarah, one year her junior, since they were 3 and 4 in her home in Powerview-Pine Falls, just beyond Sagkeeng's northeast border."

APTN adds:

"The court heard Tina had a happy childhood raised by a great-aunt on the Sagkeeng First Nation, but the girl began to spiral downward when her father was murdered in October 2011. Tina's mother, who had not been part of her life, re-emerged and Tina started going to Winnipeg to visit her. The girl ended up on the street and was being sexually exploited [by Cormier after he took her to a house where he said she could sleep]. Tina's body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg several days after she disappeared in August 2014."

And the CBC notes:

"Tina interacted with [Manitoba's Child and Family Services system] and Winnipeg police in the weeks before her death. Thelma Favel, a great-aunt who raised Tina for much of her life, asked in July 2014 for the agency to take custody of her after she left Sagkeeng First Nation for Winnipeg to find her birth mother. CFS placed her in an area hotel, but she ran away and later told a social worker she was staying at a group home. She was reported missing on July 30. Two Winnipeg police officers spoke to Tina as part of a traffic stop on Aug. 8. She was in a car being driven by a man [Richard Mohammed] who was allegedly drunk. He was taken into custody, but the officers let Tina go."

The Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Arlen Dumas says, "There's no shield against negligence, there's no shield against incompetence. All the systems that were to protect Tina failed her. It is unacceptable. Everything has failed. How can we talk about reconciliation when the very nets that we're asked to participate in do not fulfil what they're supposed to fulfil?"

The Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Sheila North says, "[The system] ultimately killed Tina. There's no denying that. We want justice for Tina. We want to see what failed in this system and how did it lead to this person? And if it's not [Cormier]… someone's still out there responsible for taking her life, including all of the systems that were involved in her life, including everything from child welfare to the policing to the poverty levels that her and her family were subjected to."

Mi'kmaw citizen Pam Palmater has written about "the pipeline from Canada's foster-care system to murdered, missing and exploited Indigenous women and girls."

Palmater says, "Although Indigenous children make up only seven per cent of the population in Canada, they represent 48 per cent of all children in foster care." In Manitoba, 85 per cent of all children in care are Indigenous.

Palmater adds, "There are three times more Indigenous children in care today than there were during the height of residential schools. And most Indigenous children are taken into care for reasons of neglect and structural factors beyond the parents' control, like conditions of poverty and poor housing, and less likely than non-Indigenous children to be taken into care for reasons of physical or sexual abuse."

Palmater also says, "Indigenous women and girls experience seven times the homicide rate as non-Indigenous women."

And artist Christi Belcourt has tweeted, "Canada's injustice system isn't broken. It's been humming along just fine for 150 years as justice was something clearly never intended for Indigenous people."

Please attend one of the gatherings taking place today and tomorrow.

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Categories: News for progressives

How to pursue justice for Tina Fontaine and all Indigenous youth

Rabble News - Sat, 2018-02-24 04:09
Maya Bhullar

The person who killed Colten Boushie was not found guilty of any crime and will receive $200K from a GoFundMe campaign. Now we hear that the person who was charged with killing Tina Fontaine has been found not guilty.

According to the CBC, after the verdict was announced, Kevin Hart, regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said, "The CFS [Manitoba Child and Family Services] system has definitely failed Tina Fontaine, the Winnipeg Police Service has failed Tina Fontaine. Canadian society failed Tina Fontaine."

The same article by the CBC reported that Jerry Daniels, grand chief of the Southern Chiefs' Organization, said, "every single member of this country and this province is responsible for what's happening here today, and you have to stand up and take part in making reconciliation a reality. It is about all of us."

On Friday’s march in Winnipeg in support of justice for Tina Fontaine, the same calls were echoed as marchers walked for love, peace and change. Marches took place throughout the country from the February 23 to 25. Here is a great post by Brent Patterson from the Council of Canadians with links to all of them.

This toolkit blog is about the efforts being made to address the system which failed Tina and so many others. Reach out to support these efforts and let us know about efforts we have missed at

Child and Family Services (CFS): Of the 10,714 children in care in Manitoba, 89 per cent are Indigenous, according CFS. The CFS admits to not meeting the needs of children in care and, in 2017, Manitoba Child and Family Service proposed reforms to the system which has met with criticism from the federal government and First Nations leaders. The Indigenous child welfare agreement between federal and provincial governments remains stalled, as of February 2018. Child advocates like Cindy Blackstock are saying that the federal government is guilty of forging a crisis in Indigenous foster care.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs officially opened the Manitoba First Nations Family Advocate Office (FNFAO) on June 1, 2015. The office opened in ceremony, where the office was gifted the name "Abinoojiyak Bigiiwewag" which translates to "our children are coming home." According to the CBC Manitoba, the Sagkeeng First Nation, Tina Fontaine’s home community, "is taking part in a pilot project called Circle of Care where instead of having children apprehended by CFS, resources are offered to help the family stay together. If protection is needed, members of the extended family are encouraged to take the children in."

There are efforts being made in the community. Keep an eye on what the government is proposing in terms of child and family services reforms and look to groups like FNFAO to see what First Nations communities want.

Justice system: Twenty-seven years ago, after two high-profile murders in Manitoba, Senator Murray Sinclair served as commissioner for an inquiry called the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba. The recommendations made in 1991 included jury selection and representation and policing recommendations, many of which were not adopted. Senator Sinclair is going to Ottawa to ask that the government take a new look at these recommendations as part of their promise to reform the Criminal Code and the justice system.

Meanwhile the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women hearings continue in communities across Canada.  Here is the report from the hearing in the Sagkeeng First Nation.

However, as the unresolved case of Tina Fontaine shows, there is much to be done before Canada is able to deliver justice for Indigenous women and systems which support communites.

Photo: Memaxmarz/flickr

Like this article? Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Categories: News for progressives

Moveable Feast Cafe 2018/02/23 … Open Thread

2018/02/23 18:00:01 Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions
Categories: News for progressives

Globally Top-Respected Experts on Middle East Warn Syrian War May Produce WW III

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker blog Abdel Bari Atwan, the retired editor-in-chief (1989-2013) of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi and author of widely respected books on the
Categories: News for progressives

23 February 2014, SitRep Sevastopol

Today, 23 February, is the anniversary of the City of Sevastopol cementing it’s course of leaving Ukraine. I personally think that soon this will be a holiday in this City
Categories: News for progressives

Syria - The Two East-Ghouta Campaigns - One Is For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists

Daily mortar and missile attacks against the Syrian capital Damascus have been ongoing for years but intensified in recent months. The often quoted Syrian Observatory notes: ... raising to 116 persons at least including 18 children and 14 citizen women,...
Categories: News for progressives

The NDP can learn from Trudeau's India-trip debacle

Rabble News - Fri, 2018-02-23 15:04
February 23, 2018Politics in CanadaWorldAfter a successful convention NDPers should not rest on their laurelsJustin Trudeau's current troubles should remind NDPers how easy it is in politics to step right into a cow pie.NDPJagmeet Singh
Categories: News for progressives

Black Panther blockbuster brings depth to superhero

Rabble News - Fri, 2018-02-23 14:08
Penney Kome

About halfway through watching the new blockbuster Black Panther, I realized that I no longer noticed that the characters have dark skin. This was white privilege, of course; reviewers who are persons of colour relish every exquisite moment of a hidden world where sophisticated, innovative African peoples are in the majority.

Getting respect for all the right reasons, Black Panther is a huge box office hit, raking in $192 million its first weekend, and overtaking first-place competitor The Avengers by midweek, with $200 million in earnings.

A week later, momentum is still building, with $500 million in box office. Welcome to the gamechanging movie that gently subverts the superhero genre to make it more meaningful.

The movie disproves industry myths -- yet again. "The lessons of Black Panther are obvious," writes Scott Mendelson in Forbes Magazine. "Big movies with and for Black people are not remotely box office poison. Big movies with, for and by Black people can absolutely pull in good to great overseas grosses as well. It's a rebuttal of conventional wisdom." 

The movie brings a new viewpoint and aesthetic because "[t]here has never in the history of cinema been a film that allows an ensemble of Black characters to take charge on a global scale quite like this," as Peter Debruge wrote in Variety, "and many have waited their entire lives to witness just such a feat (the way that Wonder Woman was a hugely empowering game changer for women)."    

The movie frames superhero T'Challa's life with strong autonomous women who guide and support him, while fulfilling their own roles and goals. Lupita Nyong'o told Black Entertainment Television that "what I love about the women of Wakanda that Ryan wrote into this movie is that they're all so specific and all so powerful in their own way. And they occupy very different roles and influences on the king, you know. And that is important to see, especially for young girls."

BET notes that "Letitia Wright's Shuri, the teenage genius and sibling of T'Challa, steals every scene she's in and has some of the most memorable lines in the film." Also, as Variety comments about General Gurira, a "scene in which she tosses aside a bad wig [and attacks with a spear while wearing a scarlet dress] ranks as the most gay-friendly Marvel moment to date."

The movie inspires deep philosophical interpretations from one African-American critic who feels desperately torn from his African roots. "Black Panther is a love letter to people of African descent all over the world," writes Adam Serwer in The Atlantic. Even the villain, Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is a tragic figure with his own strong argument for justice.

"Killmonger's stated purpose, to liberate Black people all over the world, has sparked a lively discussion over whether he is a bad guy to begin with," writes Serwer. "What could be so bad about Black liberation?" He cites a friend who reflexively fist-pumped agreement to Killmonger's speech about his goals. My heart leaped too, when he spoke so boldly.

Black Panther's hidden land of Wakanda, fuelled by the miraculous mineral Vibranium, features cities with towers and minerets as well as lush jungles reminiscent of Avatar. The royal family, recently bereaved, travels in a round flat airplane that looks like a spacecraft.  

As the heir apparent, T'Challa must be prepared to fight hand-to-hand to claim his throne -- and his responsibilities. The wrestling ring is a pool of water jutting over a steep cliff, part of a tall mountain looming overhead, with Wakandans standing on ledges all the way up, cheering.     

Vivid imagery and a practically literary narrative aside, Black Panther's appeal to certain market segments indicates just how much they've been neglected. "In the U.S., celebrities like Octavia Spencer, Serena Williams and Travis Scott have pitched in and bought out theatres, eager for kids to see the Afrofuturistic world of Wakanda," the CBC reported.

In Toronto, the Black Business and Professional Association raised enough money in 24 hours to offer free showings to 350 children and 100 parents and guardians. In the U.S., Black Lives Matter organizers created #WakandaTheVote, which is catching on nationally, with movie lobby registrations and a local number anyone could text to register to vote.

In New York, former Black Panther Party member Sekou Odinga (who served 33 years in prison) is using the movie to renew calls for clemency for the remaining Black Panther Party members who are languishing in prisons. I remember when the Chicago police shot Fred Hampton in his bed -- some say, in his sleep.

And still, the movie's story is what draws the audience. "I took my nephews to see Black Panther this week," writes Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton. "To them, he was simply another superhero. While I was totally engrossed in the excitement over a film featuring the first Black comic book superhero -- a king with superhuman powers who rules over a technologically advanced African nation -- the racial component went right over the heads of the six-, eight- and nine-year-olds...."

Of course, these are boys too young for their parents to have given them "the talk," about how people of colour are routinely shunted aside and how some white people will try to treat them. They've  lived with President Barack Obama for most of their lives, she said, and for them, "A Black president and even a Black superhero are the norm. What makes me most hopeful, though, is that it also is the norm for white children of their age." 

Image: Marvel studios

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Categories: News for progressives

There are plenty of reasons to doubt B.C. and Alberta's differences are settled

Rabble News - Fri, 2018-02-23 13:14
David J. Climenhaga

No sooner was a truce declared in the Alberta-British Columbia war of wine and oil yesterday afternoon than claims of victory were proclaimed. 

"In a small way today, B.C. blinked," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told reporters yesterday afternoon.

Thanks to that B.C. blink, Premier Notley explained, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will start buying B.C. wine again.

The supposed blink, in Alberta's reading of the affair, was B.C. Premier John Horgan's statement yesterday that his province won't try to put any restrictions on pipeline shipments of diluted bitumen from Alberta to the West Coast until B.C.'s constitutional reference case has determined if the province has any jurisdiction to regulate what gets piped through its territory.

Not sure how this is a blink, since he said basically the same thing at a news conference two weeks ago, but politics is 90 per cent perception, so that may well be how it turns out to be remembered.

So, is that the end of this saga of two warring western NDP governments?

Don't count on it.

Let's review the key events till now:

Back at the end of January, with B.C. Premier John Horgan abroad touting the quality of B.C. wine among other things, his environment minister announced the province was contemplating restrictions on diluted bitumen coming through existing and planned pipelines from Alberta to British Columbia.

The restrictions would be in place, George Heyman said, until the behaviour of spilled bitumen could be studied and understood, and a new scientific panel the government would appoint could make recommendations.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project of Texas-based Kinder Morgan Inc., which is hotly opposed on the B.C. Coast and approved by Ottawa through a highly controversial process, was the proximate cause of the dispute. The B.C. NDP's reliance on three Green Party MLAs to remain in power, increased pressure on the Horgan government to act.

Heyman's announcement caused the bitumen to hit the fan here in Alberta, where there is now a nearly universal elite consensus that we must have a pipeline to tidewater. But the fact the NDP is trailing the Opposition United Conservative Party led by former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney in public approval put similar pressure on the Notley government.

Premier Notley hotly declared B.C.'s move unconstitutional and illegal. Constitutional experts generally agreed, although since B.C. hadn't actually announced a policy -- just talked about it -- there wasn't really anything to test in the courts.

On Feb. 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stepped into the fray declaring unequivocally that the pipeline would be built. Shortly thereafter, he took off on a distracting Asian trade mission of his own.

Ms. Notley then began to channel Margaret Thatcher in the hours after the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. On Feb. 6 she announced the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission -- Alberta's government-owned booze wholesaling monopoly -- would retaliate with an embargo of wine from B.C. Potentially, that could have resulted in a $70-million annual hit on the B.C. wine industry.

That move got rave reviews in Alberta -- much to the distress of Kenney's UCP, which had been making hay claiming the NDP wasn't being tough enough with B.C.

One newspaper columnist even called Notley Alberta's Iron Lady! (Which makes Kenney, an actual admirer of Thatcher, what? The Iron Maiden?)

The next day, Horgan gave a news conference at which, as noted, he didn't say anything much different from what he repeated yesterday. Whatever had been proposed earlier by Heyman -- who was there only to answer technical questions, the B.C. premier pointedly noted -- there was no suggestion in Horgan's remarks that B.C. would attempt to restrict diluted bitumen until the courts had determined if the province had jurisdiction to do so.

"We are currently in court with respect to the Kinder Morgan process, the pipeline, and until we get a resolution from the Federal Court, that is an open question," Horgan said at the Feb. 7 newser. "When it comes to our right … to consult with British Columbians about putting in place protections for our environment and our economy, I see no grounds for the premier (of Alberta) to stand on.

"I would suggest that issuing a press release talking about our intention to consult with British Columbians is not provocative, it's not starting anything!"

As the dust begins to settle for the moment, it's not clear just yet if B.C.'s complaint to a Canada Free Trade Agreement panel, which Alberta Trade Minister Deron Bilous had basically promised to ignore, will proceed.

And even though Notley got pretty much what Kenney demanded, pretty much the way he demanded it, you can count on him to continue to complain loudly the NDP isn't doing enough, and isn't being tough enough. Ho-hum

Meanwhile, in Coastal B.C., opposition to pipelines from Alberta is so strong any government ignores it at its peril. So Horgan's shaky government -- unlike the strong, stable majority the NDP has for the time-being in Alberta -- will continue to depend on the three Greens for survival.

And the price of oil will continue to do what the price of oil is going to do, without much consideration of the preferences of Alberta or Canada, or their politicians.

As for Trudeau's recent talk about Canada's climate change strategy depending on B.C.'s co-operation with Alberta's pipeline desires, the country cannot meet its Paris Agreement commitments if the rate of oil sands growth contemplated by Ottawa and Edmonton continues. This has been noticed in B.C.

So the uncertainty about the future of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline -- and, indeed, Alberta's entire Athabasca bitumen sands industry -- is going to continue for a long time yet.

And that means it will only take the perception of a setback for the First Wine War to be followed by a Second Wine War.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog,

Photo: Premier of Alberta/flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism.


Categories: News for progressives

Syrian War Report – February 22, 2018: Russia Moves Its Advanced Su-57 Stealth Fighters Into Syria On February 21, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the villages of Qara Baba, Kirbet Siluki and Vergan from the Kurdish People’s Protection
Categories: News for progressives

Russian Presidential Elections: boring, useless and necessary?

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review] As the Presidential elections in Russia are drawing near I am amazed to see how much interest this event is generating in
Categories: News for progressives

The Venezuelan “Petro” – Towards a New World Reserve Currency?

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog Imagine an international currency backed by energy? By a raw material that the entire world needs, not gold – which has hardly any
Categories: News for progressives

Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog As Assad-backed troops enter Afrin to fight Turkish invaders, the Syrian conflict has entered its decisive crossroads: Will Northern Syria cooperate with Damascus,
Categories: News for progressives

The Rothschild Organ And Octoputin - Projection or Envy?

The title page of this weeks Economist: bigger Now consider where the meme of the octopus is coming from: The Rothschild banking family of England, Coin’s Financial School, (1894) - bigger At least 26% of the British Economist is owned...
Categories: News for progressives

The Working Poor and the Working Income Tax Benefit

Progressive economics forum - Thu, 2018-02-22 22:51

Here is a short research paper I wrote for the Broadbent Institute.’s_Working_poor_and_the_Working_Tax_Benefit_-_Report.pdf?1519312305

And here is a short summary:

The Liberal government have promised to make progressive changes to the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) in next week’s budget.

Let’s hope that they deliver. The increased insecurity of work and low hourly wages for many workers mean that many Canadians live in poverty even though they have a significant attachment to the paid work force.

The WITB is directed to the working poor, that is, individuals and families who have significant earnings, and sometimes even work full-time for a full year, but still live in poverty. About one half of all working age persons living in poverty have significant earnings.

Higher minimum wages in some provinces mean that a single person working full time for a full year will earn enough to be above the poverty line. But most of the working poor can only find part-time and insecure jobs, and need additional income support

The WITB currently delivers a meagre average benefit of just $807 per year, and the benefits for a single person are phased out once income passes a very low threshold of just $12,000, well below the poverty line.

The benefit should be significantly increased, and phased out at a much higher level of earnings.

The WITB was also intended to make work pay and to help people transition from social assistance. But just 8.8% of social assistance recipients get any benefit from the program.

Many social assistance recipients would like to work, but face multiple barriers such as loss of health and housing benefits and high claw back rates on every dollar of earnings. The WITB could help, but benefits are paid only after a long lag of up to one year.

The WITB could, together with decent minimum wages, help lift the working poor out of poverty.

But major changes are needed.




Categories: News for progressives

Rafil Dhafir remains jailed after decades of non-stop warfare

Rabble News - Thu, 2018-02-22 15:59
February 22, 2018Politics in CanadaUS PoliticsWorldCrimes of compassion, Iraq's long war and Canada's bloody handsIt has been 38 years of almost non-stop warfare and repression, with thousands killed, billions wasted, and Dr. Rafil Dhafir still in jail for violating sanctionsiraq invasion and occupationwar in IraqBill Clinton
Categories: News for progressives

How is Biblical Zionism

by Laurent Guyénot for the Saker Blog Laurent Guyénot is the author of From Yahweh to Zion: Jealous God, Chosen People, Promised Land … Clash of Civilizations, 2018 The biblical
Categories: News for progressives

Syrian War Report – February 21, 2018: Government Forces Entered Afrin Over the last few days, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army have captured over a dozen villages from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)
Categories: News for progressives


Subscribe to Brian Robinson Public Relations aggregator - News for progressives


Brian Robinson Public Relations
104 Hiawatha Road
Toronto M4L 2X8
(in Cambodia)

Contact 2.0

Skype: bbbrobin
Brian on Facebook
Follow Brian on Twitter