Montreal’s all-Mohawk Charter of Rights and Responsibilities a passion project for Kanesatake cultural center

APTN News (Canada) - 12 hours 33 min ago

Lindsay Richardson
In a symbolic move to kick off the week leading up to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the City of Montreal unveiled a new version of its Charter of Rights and Responsibilities – one written entirely in the Mohawk language of Kanien’keha.

The charter – a North American first at the time of its inception – is “a form of social contract providing for the municipal administration’s firm commitment to constantly improving citizen services,” according to the city’s website.

“This is just the beginning because today we’re launching the version in the Mohawk language, but we do want to make sure that we can translate it in all the many languages that are present here in the province of Quebec, and we’re really proud of that,” explained Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante.

“Tiohtia:ke Aoianerenhsera ne Iakonianerenhsera:wis tanon Iakoterihwaien:nis,” in Kanien’keha is the 13th translation of the document, behind other languages like Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Haitian Creole, and Tagalog.

Outside of promoting reconciliation, Plante says the intent is to make the charter accessible to all of the city’s citizens to promote civil engagement and inform them of their rights.

But as the oldest of the dialects spoken among the Six Nations, Kanien’keha is a complex language to maintain and promote.

Originally a spoken language – its written form was only standardized in the mid-1990s – Kanien’keha has consistently evolved over the generations in order to incorporate modern terms.

As a result, the city reached out to the Tsi Ronterihwanónhnha ne Kanien’kéha Language and Cultural Center in Kanesatake – a Mohawk community 90 minutes outside of Montreal – for help translating the document.

For several years, the centre – a museum and cultural hub for the people of Kanesatake – has operated solely on grant or project-based funds, receiving little support from the Federal government, and none from the Kanesatake band council.

That said, the cultural centre’s three-year language immersion program – offered for free to community members – is one of the most extensive available to the Mohawk population.

Unlike their counterparts in the community of Kahnawà:ke, located just outside Montreal, Kanesatake does not have an immersion program for elementary and high school students.

“We’ve been learning and trying to keep our language going with our language classes, bringing the youth up and trying to get the youth to learn more and get more interested in their culture and language – especially to teach it, to keep it going,” explained Kanesatake Chief Victor Bonspille.

“It’s been a long, hard road trying to get to this point, and we’re finally here, and hopefully this can continue in other roads, other directions,” he added.

This year, the centre celebrated the first class of graduates from their immersion program – a total of seven in all.

Right now, the centre is on its summer break while they await funding confirmation ahead of the back-to-school rush.

Oftentimes, according to Director Hilda Kanerahtenhawy Nicholas, the centre has to rally to establish curriculums and recruit teachers just weeks before classes begin.

And most of the teachers, she says, are past retirement age.

Mina Beauvais, who led the translation of the charter with her students, is in her early 80s.

Warisose, who takes care of the cultural education, is in her late 70s.

The hope is to train students thoroughly enough so that they can take up the torch for the elders and continue to teach Kanien’keha

“The language is connected with your identity, and this venture today gives us that.

People that are watching realize ‘yes, we do exist’ – that we’re out there, that we still speak our language but it’s not many of us,” Nicholas said.

While she concedes that the availability of a Mohawk charter is an honour and a proud moment for Kanien’keha:ka, the program that made the initiative possible cannot function without concrete funding.

She hopes that the Federal government will inject some funding into language preservation when Bill C-91, the Liberal government’s language legislation, is brought into effect.

Not only because it’s UNESCO’s Year of Indigenous Languages, but because the Mohawk people need a funding boost for language classes now more than ever.

“The young students right now are looking forward to speaking their language, and they’re very interested in all the different initiatives that happen towards the language. They are very happy,” she said.

“We have a waiting list of people that want to get into the immersion program. I’m happy to say that.”


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Billboards honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women go up across the country

APTN News (Canada) - 12 hours 48 min ago

Artist Jackie Traverse stands by her billboard in Winnipeg. Photo: Brittany Hobson/APTN

Brittany Hobson
Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are the subject of a new national billboard campaign making its way across Canada this week.

Artists Against Racism, a Canadian-based charity, commissioned the project, which will see 13 cities from coast to coast host artwork from prominent Indigenous artists.

“This issue is huge and requires a huge response,” said Lisa Cherry, executive director of Artists Against Racism.

“We just wanted to be right in people’s faces…and we wanted them not to be able to miss it so we decided to do the largest thing we could think of.”

The campaign follows the release of the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls earlier this month.

Cherry said the group wanted to keep the dialogue going on the issue of the missing and murdered.

“We hope it creates more empathy and compassion in people so that they start to think about the issue,” said Cherry. “And then hopefully go even further and start to take action whether they are looking at Indigenous women differently or writing to their MPs.”

Billboards went up on Monday and will stay up for a week.

The campaign features artwork from Metis artist Christi Belcourt, Dakota-Sioux artist Maxine Noel, Anishinaabe artists Frank Polson and Jackie Traverse.

For Traverse the issue hits close to home.

“I’ve lost many friends, I’m an Indigenous woman, I have three daughters, I have one granddaughter,” said Traverse.

“This is really where my heart is.”


(Dakota-Sioux artist Maxine Noel’s piece Not Forgotten)

Traverse’s piece titled Tied Butterfly is on display in one of Winnipeg’s oldest francophone neighbourhoods.

“I’m pretty happy…to see if in this area where people can view the work and maybe think about it,” said Traverse.

“What does it mean? Create some dialogue and raise some awareness of the issue.”

Billboards can be seen at the following locations:

HALIFAX: 132 Main St. east of Gordon Ave.

MONCTON: Paul St. north of Kennedy

MONTREAL: Boul Rene Levesque and Delorimier

OTTAWA: Regional Road 174 Orleans just west of Trim Road

TORONTO: Gardiner Expressway east of Islington Ave.

THUNDER BAY: Memorial Ave. north of Harbour Expressway

WINNIPEG: St. Mary’s Rd. north of Vivian Ave.

SASKATOON: Idylwyld Dr.N.

REGINA: Victoria Ave. west of Park St.

EDMONTON 50 St.south of Sherwood Park Freeway

VANCOUVER: Scott Rd. south of Larson Rd.

KAMLOOPS: Highway 5 south of Halston Ave.



Cherry said it was important to include larger cities as well as places that have a high number of missing and murdered such as Kamloops and Prince George.

While the campaign aims to raise awareness and keep the conversation going, it also aims to provide support for those at the heart of it.

“We’re trying to make [women] feel better and realize there’s people behind them,” said Cherry.


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Monopoly Air: Canadian North and First Air receive Cabinet clearance to merge

APTN News (Canada) - 16 hours 39 min ago

Kent Driscoll
The federal cabinet has approved a controversial merger between Canada’s biggest Northern airlines, leaving much of the Arctic with only one option to fly.

In an Order in Council dated June 16th, the governor general officially approved the cabinet decision to allow Bradley Air Services (First Air) and Canadian North to merge; with 31 terms and conditions attached over a seven year period.

The conditions include a provision that airfares do not rise more than increases to operating costs, no changes to Inuit specific special fares or baggage allowances, service to communities the same number of days a week, minimum standards for cargo and more.

In February, the Competition Bureau of Canada recommended against the merger in a report to Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

They called the proposed merger a monopoly in the report saying, “The Commissioner is of the view that the Proposed Transaction can be characterized as a merger to monopoly…”

The report also states, “the proposed merger of First Air and Canadian North is likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the provision of passenger travel and cargo services.”

Both airlines are owned by the business arms of Inuit Land Claims organizations.

Canadian North is owned by the Inuvialuit Regional Corp and First Air by Makivik Corp.

The two airlines first announced their intention to merge in July 2018.

First Air operates routes to 32 northern communities, including the Northwest Territories (NWT), Nunavut and Nunavik.

Canadian North serves 16 communities in Nunavut and the NWT.

For Nunavut and Nunavik, air travel is essential, as most communities are only accessed by plane. Iqaluit to Ottawa return on First Air costs between $2,000 and $3,000.

Canadian North has nearly identical pricing.

More remote communities pay the most, a return trip for one from Resolute, NU to Ottawa is over $7,000.

When the Competition Bureau report was released in February, the two Inuit owned airlines released a joint statement evoking that Inuit heritage as a major reason the merger should be allowed to go through.

“Before Inuit can be meaningful participants in the national economy, they must be meaningful participants in the northern economy; an efficient Pan-Arctic airline is the only long-term viable answer that will provide immediate benefits.”

Fast forward to June, the two Inuit organizations that own the airlines – the NWT’s Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Nunavik’s Makivik Corporation – were pleased at the announcement.

“Travellers can be confident that there will be no degradation in service during the merger process, nor following its completion,” a statement from both companies said.

“The parties are committed to ensuring that the merger creates a sustainable airline which provides exceptional customer experience at the best possible prices.”


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Eight Hard Questions for the PM of Pipelines and Climate Emergency (in Opinion)

Tyee, The (BC, Canada) - 18 hours 2 min ago

He says Canadians can have it both ways. The facts say otherwise.

Dene First Nations say they have been betrayed by the federal government

APTN News (Canada) - 18 hours 17 min ago

Todd Lamirande
Five Dene First Nations from northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba came looking for answers on Parliament Hill Wednesday.

“Prime Minister Trudeau and minister Bennett you have betrayed us, you are not honourable, you are not true to your words,” said Athabasca Denesuline Chief Negotiator Ron Robillard.

In 2000, the Dene set aside a court case that started in 1991 and began negotiating a comprehensive claim over lands and resources.

Last week they were about to initial an agreement in principle when they received an email from Bennett cancelling.

“Followed by that, received a letter from minister Bennett saying her commitment to initializing was deferred until further notice, without explanation,” said Robillard.

“It’s a slap towards the Sayisi Dene First Nation,” said Chief Tony Powderhorn. “There’s a promise been broken. Where’s the honesty? Why would she do this?”

Crown Indigenous Relations has yet to provide APTN News with an answer.

However, the area the Dene are negotiating over is in the southeast part of the Northwest Territories.

Both the NWT Metis and Akaitcho Dene have competing claims in that area.

In 2017 Thomas Isaac, Bennett’s special representative, prepared a report on all the competing Indigenous claims in the southeastern NWT.

Isaac wrote that the status quo isn’t working.

“Collectively, the claims and issues of the Aboriginal groups noted above represent a dynamic and challenging legal, political and negotiating environment not easily resolved,” said Isaac.

“The current negotiations and related processes applicable in the Southeast NWT appear stagnant and are not resulting in sustainable, lasting solutions that all of the relevant parties, Aboriginal peoples, the government of the NWT, and Canada, can live with.”

In 2016 other Indigenous groups in the NWT were able to look at the Dene’s draft agreement and expressed concerns.

Robillard believed they had been addressed.

“We even changed some of the draft wording in our agreement and we thought everything was settled until this last minute that came up,” he said.

“We do not have any idea what the Minister…why the Minister decided to pull the plug on us.”

The Dene had reached a memorandum of understanding with the Inuit, where their claim overlapped into Nunavut. The agreement would allow the Dene’s one to proceed with the promise of talks at a later date to resolve outstanding issues.

“So that was something that was very successful,” said Robillard. “And we tried to do that with the Indigenous groups in the NWT with no success.”

The Dene First Nations’ demonstration moved across the street from Parliament Hill to the Prime Minister’s Office, where they were joined by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and a few of his Members of Parliament.

If they don’t get answers soon, the Dene are threatening to re-start their long-dormant lawsuit against Ottawa.

“We demand the minister, minister Bennett to reverse her decision and stay true to her word and the promise to my people,” said Chief Simon Denechezhe of the Northlands Denesuline First Nation.


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TMX gets the nod from Justin Trudeau's cabinet -- masterstroke or master blunder?

Rabble News - 19 hours 16 min ago
June 19, 2019TMX gets the nod from Justin Trudeau's cabinet -- masterstroke or master blunder? The PM's comments in 2016 about why he approved the TMX suggest Liberal talk's as cheap as gasoline in Edmonton after Premier Jason Kenney tore up the NDP's carbon levy.

Commissioner says RCMP has no cases of alleged coerced sterilization, but invites victims to come forward

APTN News (Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 23:13

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told the House of Commons health committee Tuesday that her force is not aware of any cases, past or present, involving coerced sterilization. APTN file photo.

The RCMP is seeking the names of potential victims of coerced sterilization procedures and wants lawyers to help in the process, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Tuesday.

In testimony before the House of Commons health committee, Lucki said the RCMP is willing to meet with victims, adding it would be helpful if lawyers could talk to complainants about coming forward.

“The lawyers…if they were to speak with those victims and provide them the options of coming to the police, we would absolutely sit down with each and every victim that they had to look at it from a criminal point of view,” she said.

“Obviously they are not going to release their names without their consent as well. But…if we were to have those conversations, and possibly we could convince victims to come forward through the lawyers, that would be one avenue that we could explore.”

MPs asked Lucki to testify as part of a study about ongoing concerns from predominantly Indigenous women who allege they were coerced or forced into tubal ligation procedures during childbirth.

Her testimony also followed a letter sent this spring by NDP health critic Don Davies who asked the RCMP to conduct an investigation of serious and credible allegations that have been brought forward.

APTN Investigates has reported a number of alleged coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women.

One woman who can’t be named because of a court imposed publication ban, told APTN that, when she gave birth to a baby girl at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon in 2010, she was pressured into consenting to permanent sterilization by a physician, a social worker, and hospital staff because she was a recovering addict.

An incident of coerced sterilization of an Indigenous women is alleged to have taken place at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Sask. in 2010. APTN file photo.

“They clearly heard me say I do not want to do this,” she said. “It was clear I didn’t want to do this. They kept harassing me and harassing me every time they came in my room.”

After she went public with her story, other Indigenous women began to come forward with similar accounts.

Another woman, who also can’t be named, told APTN told she was pressured into sterilization at the hospital while in full labour with her second child in 2008.

“I didn’t have any family or friends with me,” she said. “One of the nurses had approached me and she said, “You know, clearly you don’t want to be in this kind of position again and there’s this option available of having your tubes tied.”

She said staff told her there were no side effects and that the procedure could be reversed.

Lucki told Davies in a March letter that the force would work with commanding officers in each province and territory as well as other police agencies to see if any complaints have been reported.

“To date, we have no allegations that are on file for forced or coerced sterilization that were found to be reported to the RCMP directly,” Lucki said Tuesday, explaining the RCMP takes all criminal allegations very seriously and that the force has reached out to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to raise awareness.

In 2017, the Saskatchewan Health Region issued a public apology after complaints from Indigenous women, and a proposed class-action lawsuit was launched naming as defendants the Saskatoon Health Authority, the provincial and federal governments, and a handful of medical professionals.

Dr. Judith Bartlett, a Métis physician who co-authored the external review, told the committee on Tuesday that Indigenous women interviewed for the report often felt invisible, profiled and powerless.

She also said she does not believe women will come forward to the RCMP because there is “no safety there for them.”

Those interviewed for the report were granted anonymity, she said, noting they often felt much better having been able to express the harm done to them.

Much more research is needed to understand the scope of the problem because any time an individual is asked to make a decision when they’re not in the state of mind to weigh pros and cons constitutes coercion, Bartlett said.

Dr. Jennifer Blake, chief executive of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, told MPs that obtaining consent for tubal ligations at the time of delivery should be avoided at all costs. She also noted that when she first learned of allegations a forced sterilizations, she thought it was in reference to a historical issue.

Last Tuesday, lawyer Alisa Lombard, a partner with the firm Semaganis Worme Lombard, told the health committee she represents a client, referred to as D.D.S., was sterilized without proper and informed consent in December 2018 at a Moose Jaw, Sask., hospital.

That same month, the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged Canada to act to address the issue of coerced sterilization, setting a one-year deadline to report back on progress.

In response, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Jane Philpott, then Indigenous services minister, sent a letter to provinces and territories proposing a working group of officials to discuss the concerns.

Health Canada said Tuesday the group has had “productive discussions” about the scope and purpose of the federal-provincial-territorial plan to “advance cultural safety and humility in the health system.”

As a first step, officials decided Health Canada would take the lead on “an environmental scan of cultural safety initiatives and practices across Canada,” the agency said in a statement.

Lucki told the health committee the level of trust of the RCMP among Indigenous peoples “varies…depending on the community,” and that RCMP is working at developing empathy in addition to compassion.

“It falls in line not just with reconciliation,” she said. “But if…our organization can learn to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes I think we would have a better understanding of their circumstance. And they would be treated differently if we had that understanding.”

The commissioner also noted that investigations of alleged coerced sterilization “would fall under the mandate of the police of jurisdiction,” which in areas with municipal or provincial forces may not be the RCMP.

Earlier this month the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, citing coerced sterilization as one of the forms of violence against Indigenous women contributing to the inquiry’s findings of genocide.

Among its calls for justice, which its Chief Commissioner Marion Buller referred to as “legal imperatives” for governments and other stakeholders, the inquiry called upon “all governments and health service providers to recognize that Indigenous Peoples…are the experts in caring for and healing themselves, and that health and wellness services are most effective when they are designed and delivered by the Indigenous Peoples they are supposed to serve.”

The inquiry also called on institutions and health service providers “to ensure that all persons involved in the provision of health services to Indigenous Peoples receive ongoing training, education, and awareness in areas including, but not limited to: the history of colonialism in the oppression and genocide of Inuit, Métis, and First Nations Peoples.”

With files from Cullen Crozier and The Canadian Press.

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Conservative MP Michael Cooper threatens to sue former classmates over allegations

Rabble News - Wed, 2019-06-19 21:17
David J. Climenhaga

The CBC reported yesterday that Conservative Michael Cooper was threatening to sue two of his former law school classmates for publicly alleging the St. Albert-Edmonton MP once made disparaging comments about immigrants from places insufficiently steeped in Judeo-Christian values.

But first the CBC reported the two other lawyers' allegations at length, a story you can read for yourselves here. The lawyers quoted by the CBC said they decided to go public after reading of Cooper's behaviour before the House of Commons Justice Committee on May 28.

Cooper told the CBC he recalled the class discussion 11 years ago, but denied making the comments. "I have instructed my counsel to take all necessary legal measures," he warned.

Politically alert residents of Cooper's riding are advised to keep an eye on how the threatened legal action unfolds. Threatening to sue for defamation can be a tricky strategy for politicians, as Justin Trudeau discovered recently when he said he planned to sue Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for comments he made during the days of the SNC-Lavalin brouhaha was bedevilling the prime minister.

Scheer, of course, was the understanding boss who gently tapped Cooper on the wrist in late May for his offensive performance before the Justice Committee, in which he read into the record the anti-Muslim screed of the terrorist who murdered 51 people in March as they prayed in their mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand yesterday, a judge sentenced a Christchurch white supremacist to 21 months in prison for sharing a banned video of the terrorist attack. New Zealand has also banned the publication of the terrorist's rambling manifesto, the one Cooper read to the committee.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog,

Photo: Andrew Scheer/Flickr

Parking for Greater Social Equity? (in Analysis)

Tyee, The (BC, Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 14:20

It’s possible! Current debates on parking costs miss the chance to build a stronger, more inclusive city.

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TMX gets the nod from Justin Trudeau's cabinet -- masterstroke or master blunder?

Rabble News - Wed, 2019-06-19 13:23
David J. Climenhaga

With his cabinet's second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has either proved the Liberal Party of Canada's old mojo is still intact or blown it all to smithereens.

It's too soon to tell.

Alberta Conservatives and their legion of media cheerleaders obviously feared the first explanation was the truth, that Trudeau had somehow found the magic middle on this contentious issue and voters throughout the land would soon be flocking back to his side.

Why else would they be so cranky about an outcome that should have been easy for them to portray as a huge victory for their side?

Rather than celebrate, the Conservative commentariat spent the afternoon carping and moaning that Trudeau didn't really mean it (a patently false narrative), that he didn't go far enough and drop other legislation they don't like (an argument you can make, I guess, but so what?), or that he didn't look cheerful enough at his news conference in Ottawa.

The latter point is just pathetic. What was the prime minister supposed to do? Dance a jig? If he'd done that, these nabobs of negativity would have complained he was nothing but a flaky drama teacher!

The general tone was set by the Calgary Herald's Don Braid, who had the cheek to publish his attack on the prime minister for doing what the columnist had demanded before the decision had even been announced. "Ottawa won't deserve Alberta's thanks for pipeline OK," barked the headline, neatly summarizing this province's inevitably ungracious reaction to anything Trudeau does.

But the idea yesterday's decision was a strategic masterstroke by the Liberals, long faces and all, is based on the assumption there is a middle left in Canada, and that we're not becoming as polarized as Donald Trump's America thanks to the efforts of those now-worried conservative bloviators.

It certainly assumes that no one is paying any attention any more to what Trudeau said the last time his cabinet approved the TMX, back on November 29, 2016 -- to wit, that "we could not have approved this project without the leadership of Premier (Rachel) Notley and Alberta's climate leadership plan."

"We said that major pipelines could only get built if we had a price on carbon and strong environmental protection in place," Trudeau said then. His assembled cabinet ministers that day, then including Jody Wilson-Reybould, didn't look all that cheerful either, whatever that meant.

For those who do remember such things, this would suggest that Liberal talk is as cheap as gasoline in Edmonton after Premier Jason Kenney tore up the NDP's carbon levy.

And there are plenty of people in parts of Canada that, unlike Alberta and Saskatchewan, are inclined to vote Liberal in a pinch, who now likely won't.

They won't vote for Andrew Scheer's Conservatives either, of course. But this does suggest that if Jagmeet Singh and the NDP can't come up soon with a compelling pitch, a lot of them are going to vote for Elizabeth May's Green Party, perhaps providing it with the breakthrough May keeps predicting.

Well, like I say, it's too soon to tell. I've been wrong about this stuff before, but you'd have to put me in the group that wonders if Trudeau has just blown it all to smithereens.

Two things are guaranteed, though:

  1. Building a bigger pipeline to "new markets" via the West Coast will never raise the price of Alberta bitumen as long as the law of supply and demand remains in effect.
  2. Shipping more bitumen from Alberta's tarsands through a bigger pipe to whatever markets will buy it will not lower Canada's carbon emissions.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog,

Photo: Adam Scotti/PMO

Trans Mountain approval met with promised resistance by First Nations

APTN News (Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 09:08

Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday the government has fulfilled its duty to consult Indigenous peoples and will move ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline despite opposition from several First Nations who say they do not consent to the project.

Justin Brake
The Trudeau government has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and is promising to have shovels in the ground this summer.

But First Nations are responding swiftly with commitments to resist the pipeline in order to protect the land, Indigenous rights, and to address the climate emergency.

The long-awaited decision was announced Tuesday in Ottawa, following months of renewed consultations with Indigenous communities as ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal last August.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau justified the government’s decision on the basis it “has the potential to create thousands of solid middle class jobs for Canadians,” and that expanding the existing Trans Mountain pipeline’s oil sands output remains within the government’s carbon emission targets under the Paris agreement.

On Monday parliament passed a non-binding motion from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna declaring a climate emergency in Canada.

Trudeau announced Tuesday the government will work with Indigenous stakeholders who have expressed interest in purchasing the pipeline in part or in whole.

He said up to 100 per cent of the pipeline could end up in Indigenous investors’ hands.

But the government’s consultations with First Nations, and its interpretation of free, prior and informed consent — a principle it has vowed to respect to through its commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) — fall far short of Indigenous peoples expectations.’

Speaking at a press conference in Vancouver Tuesday, Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) Chief Leah George-Wilson responded to the government’s decision to approve the pipeline with a promise of renewed litigation in the Federal Court of Appeal.

“We believe that the consultation, once again, missed the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada — and we will defend our rights,” she said.

“TWN continues to withhold our free, prior and informed consent and are prepared to use all legal tools to ensure our governance rights are respected.”

First Nation leaders in B.C. also predicted a swell of grassroots resistance if the government attempts to begin construction in territories where consent has not been granted.

Speaking of an old village and burial site on his people’s lands, Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver said, “should any equipment come on to that site, we’ll be there to meet them.”

A coalition of First Nations leaders in B.C. responded to the June 18 announcement by vowing legal and grassroots resistance. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band said the Liberals’ second attempt to consult with First Nations “still doesn’t uphold the United Nations Declaration o the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ minimum human rights standards.

“Clearly, there has been no adequate consultation…and also, most importantly, no consent,” she added, speaking at the joint First Nations’ press conference in Vancouver.

Wilson referenced citizens of the Secwepemc Nation who have asserted themselves on their unceded lands.

“I wanted to acknowledge our land defenders that are out on the land, I want to acknowledge our water keepers that are out on the land, that are continuing to uphold our Secwepemc and our Indigenous laws and legal orders and jurisdiction,” she said.

“Because we hold the underlying title to the land. It has not been ceded, surrendered or sold, or relinquished in any way, shape or form to the provincial government or to the federal government.”

Wilson called Trudeau’s approval of the pipeline “a continuation of the colonial acts of genocide” against Indigenous peoples.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Tuesday that the government’s renewed process fulfilled the Federal Court of Appeal’s conditions on Indigenous consultation.

“Our consultation was very thoughtful, meaningful, two-way, and we listened very carefully to the concerns from the communities,” he said.

“We are satisfied that we have discharged our duty to consult with Indigenous communities.”

Asked by APTN News what definition of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) the government adhered to in determining whether it had adequately consulted with First Nations, Trudeau said FPIC “is what we engaged in doing with Indigenous communities over the past number of months.

“It is engaging, looking with them, listening to the issues they have, and responding meaningfully to the concerns they have wherever possible,” he explained.

The prime minister said the consultations resulted in “changes to the process, to the NEB conditions…and that is an essential part of free, prior and informed consent.”

The NDP came out strong against the government’s decision.

In question period Tuesday, before Trudeau’s anticipated green light of Trans Mountain, New Westminster—Burnaby MP Peter Julian said “climate leaders don’t try to ram through raw bitumen pipelines and they don’t run roughshod over Indigenous rights. Just one spill could wipe out thousands of jobs in the fisheries and tourism for a generation.”

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said the Liberals should have gone further than the Federal Court of Appeal’s order on Indigenous consultation and instead used UNDRIP as the “roadmap” for engaging with Indigenous nations on the project.

He referenced Cree MP Romeo Saganash’s private member’s bill, C-262, which has reached the final stages of the legislative process but is up against significant resistance from the Conservative Party.

If passed the bill would require Canada to align its laws with UNDRIP.

“That’s the roadmap that we’ve presented in law, and that law has been passed in the House; it’s being held up in the Senate,” said Singh. “But that’s the law that lays out the ground plan for how we move ahead with any project, and how we move forward in a way that respects Indigenous sovereignty and in a way that respects the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer criticized the Liberals on Tuesday over their “failure…to get the Indigenous consultations done properly.”

He said consultation “has to be more than someone just showing up with a notebook and ticking a box. It has to be a dynamic consultation that actually addresses the concerns of Indigenous communities and takes those into account.”

Scheer also said if the “very high standards” laid out by the courts “are met by project proponents, that the project has to be able to proceed.

“We don’t live in a country where any one person or any one group has a veto,” he continued. “We have an obligation to do consultations properly, and as the government we will continue to find avenues to ensure that Indigenous communities benefit from these projects, like the dozens and dozens of Indigenous communities who signed benefit agreements with both Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway.”

Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous-led organization vying for a majority stake in the pipeline, applauded the Liberals’ decision Tuesday.

“We see the possibility to make this a pipeline to reconciliation,” the group’s executive chair and founder, former Thunderbird First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass, said in a written statement Tuesday.

“It’s high time Indigenous Peoples had a seat. This is about us taking the lead on protecting the environment and controlling the revenue that will allow us to move from poverty to prosperity.”

While some Indigenous leaders see the fossil fuel industry as an avenue out of poverty, others argue addressing the climate crisis and strengthening Indigenous rights are more pressing issues to ensure the well-being of future generations.

Khelsilem, a councillor with the Squamish Nation, said Tuesday that the feds’ second attempt at consulting with Indigenous groups was inadequate.

“This government is not committed to reconciliation when they choose to fight us in court, when they choose to approve these pipelines without our consent, and when they choose to behave in such a dishonourable way.”

Trudeau said that regardless of how much Canada tries to get consent, some First Nations just don’t want to give it.

“There are people out there for whom no amount of accommodations or conditions or changes to the plan would have made the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, acceptable,” he said.

Trudeau was joined by several cabinet ministers at Tuesday’s announcement in Ottawa. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN.

“Those people will not be convinced by the arguments that we have put forward. We accept that, and they will use the legal means at their disposal to advance that argument.

“But we also know…that people expect us to move forward that both create good jobs for the future and protect our environment for our kids.”

The government hired former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to ensure Canada met the Federal Court of Appeal’s requirements for the renewed consultation process with Indigenous communities.

“We are confident that we have responded to what the court laid out as the right pathway forward towards an approval for this project,” Trudeau said. “And that is the determination we made this morning in cabinet.”

Responding to Tuesday’s announcement, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who represents communities that both support and oppose Trans Mountain, reiterated AFN’s position that First Nations “are the rights and title holders and our rights, title and jurisdiction must be respected.”

Bellegarde said in the written statement that Trans Mountain “is an important reminder why the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and free, prior and informed consent is the way forward.

“It’s the way we avoid conflict, lengthy and costly court cases. It’s how we create peaceful approaches and economic certainty for everyone.”

He reiterated his call that Senators pass Bill C-262 before Parliament rises for the summer.

“Implementing this basic international standard should not delay development. It’s a way forward and a way to better ensure economic certainty. Avoiding it actually creates economic instability for the country.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs remarked Tuesday that the government’s response to Indigenous concerns is cyclical.

“It’s amazing that governments never learn. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again and somehow they expect a different result,” he said.

“The springtime is a time when the land renews itself, the land reawakens. And in regard to the Trans Mountain expansion project, I think what you’re witnessing here is a reawakening of the spirit of resistance,” Phillip continued.

“And like the sun that brings forward the spring, this decision today will bring forward that growing resistance on the part of Indigenous peoples walking once again in solidarity with their friends and neighbours, and their allies.”

The post Trans Mountain approval met with promised resistance by First Nations appeared first on APTN News.

Ginger Goodwin grave vandalized ahead of memorial

People's Voice - Wed, 2019-06-19 08:08
Labour leader murdered by police in 1918 In an apparent act of far-right vandalism, the gravestone of labour leader Albert “Ginger” Goodwin has been defaced in Cumberland, BC. The grave, which is the site of an annual memorial vigil each June, had a hammer and sickle ornament chiseled off of it. Goodwin was a migrant...

First Nations woman needs out of country surgery but Manitoba government says it won’t pay

APTN News (Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 06:50

Brittany Hobson
Every night Niki Dumas feeds herself through a tube.

The 30-year-old can no longer stomach solid food.

For the past four months Dumas has been relying on a daily tube feed to receive the nutrients she needs to live.

Dumas lives with a rare abnormality called intestinal malrotation, which is a condition where the intestines are not in the correct anatomical position.

“My organs are in the wrong place. My large and small bowels are completely twisted,” Dumas told APTN News from her home in Carberry, Man.

People living with intestinal malrotation have a hard time digesting things.

Because of this people can experience intense bouts of vomiting, nausea and overall discomfort.

(“I run out of energy. I get really tired fast,” says Niki Dumas seen here in the hospital. Submitted photo)

Dumas, who is originally from Mathias Colomb First Nation in northern Manitoba, has been sick since she was an infant but was only diagnosed with the condition in 2017.

She was four months pregnant with her youngest at the time when she started experiencing violent spells of vomiting.

She was hospitalized numerous times before doctors were finally able to determine what was wrong.

Since then Dumas has been in and out hospitals every month.

She has to travel from her home in Carberry to either Brandon or Winnipeg to receive treatment to help alleviate the pain.

“I run out of energy. I get really tired fast,” said Dumas. “Half of the time I’m sleeping because I’m so uncomfortable.”

“I just can’t be a mother to my children because I don’t have the energy.”

Dumas has three children aged six, four and her youngest is now 15 months.

She has undergone numerous surgeries to correct the issue including laparoscopic and open bowel surgery; she’s had her gall bladder and appendix removed; and the Ladd procedure, which is the most commonly used procedure to treat intestinal malrotation.

Dumas had all but given up hope of a solution when through a Facebook support group, she learned about a specialized surgery option based at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States – the only problem is Manitoba Health won’t pay for it, she said.

This appears to be an issue across the country.

Last year Andrea Taylor, 32, traveled from her home in Prince Edward County, Ont., to the Cleveland Clinic on her own dime after the Ontario government refused to pay for the surgery.

“The procedure has given me my life back,” Taylor said over the phone from her home. “It has given me more than what I had before.”

Taylor was the first to tell Dumas about the surgery.

She was diagnosed as a newborn and received the Ladd procedure at 12-weeks-old.

“The Ladd procedure is a bit of a band-aide on a bullet hole. It’s really good in emergency situations but for overall gut function it kind of just sets things up for problems down the road,” said Taylor.

(“The procedure has given me my life back,” says Andrea Taylor. Submitted photo)

Those problems came throughout the years ultimately leading to complete gut failure in 2017.

Taylor was placed on IV nutrition support for nine months. She had to quit her job as a teacher and move back home with her parents.

Both Taylor and Dumas were essentially told the surgery is considered experimental and therefore would not be covered.

Taylor’s family and friends spent months fundraising to cover costs.

The nearby Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory also helped fundraise for the family. Taylor, who is non-Indigenous, worked at the school as well as her mother for most of her life.

Taylor says governments need to be held accountable because lives are at risk if the surgery isn’t covered.

Dumas has also started her own fundraising efforts through GoFundMe.

She says doctors in Cleveland have estimated it could cost up to half a million dollars for travel and surgery.

Last month, Dumas completed a five-day awareness walk from Carberry to Winnipeg where she ended at the Legislative Building.

She called on the government to intervene.

“I’m hoping…they help me get on my way to receive this life saving surgery that I need,” Dumas told reporters at the time.

Since then, Dumas says she has received numerous messages of support but little has changed.

Manitoba Health did send a Winnipeg man to Cleveland for the surgery last year.

According to a government spokesperson, out of province procedures can be covered if a physician deems it necessary.

Dumas says she hasn’t had much luck with her previous doctors. She has since been assigned a new one and is working to meet with a specialist.


The post First Nations woman needs out of country surgery but Manitoba government says it won’t pay appeared first on APTN News.

Just like the Canadian Rangers, the new C-19 rifle is designed to thrive in Canada’s Arctic

APTN News (Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 06:20

Kent Driscoll
The loud report of a rifle echoes through Iqaluit’s makeshift shooting range.

The Canadian Rangers have their new piece of kit, and it replaces something older than most of the Rangers themselves.

Rangers across the North are now receiving their brand new C-19 rifles, designed to replace the World War II era Lee Enfield .303’s.

The C-19 is a .308, and has special changes to make it Arctic ready.

The trigger guard is bigger to allow for gloves, it can be fired from either the left or right hand side, and it can take regular ammunition right off the shelf.

Plus, there is the distinctive stock.

(The Canadian military has ordered 6,000 new C-19 rifles to replace the Lee Enfield in the Arctic. Photo: Kent Driscoll)

When asked if he thought the bold colour design on the stock was “pretty”, Iqaluit Ranger Sgt. Kevin Kullualik laughed and said, “maybe a little too pretty” before extolling the new rifle’s virtues.

“They’re a lot better than the .303. They’re shorter, lighter and have better sights,” Kullualik said.

In addition to better sights on the actual rifle, Rangers will be able to add their own personal scopes to the barrel.

Rangers can shoot well under the worst circumstances, now they have scopes.

The new rifles also keep one important feature of the Enfields, the single bolt action.

The Arctic breaks machines; simple machines work best here.

Anything more complicated than single bolt is asking for a problem.

“It’s going to take a while to find out how good they are, how much better they are than the .303s shooting wise.

“They seem to be an awesome rifle, easier to take care of, to clean and stuff,” said Kullualik.

(Sgt. Kevin Kullualik tries out his new c-19 at Iqaluit’s firing range. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)

As the sergeant takes some practice with the Iqaluit media hovering, his fellow Rangers take the opportunity to gently heckle their leader, with catcalls of “You a celebrity now.”

Rangers are different than most armed forces world-wide, in that they elect their sergeants.

Kullualik may be getting a hard time from his troops, but they picked him to be the guy taking the hard time.

Kullualik is hitting the target, and his shots are staying together in a nice group.

For now, he is just working to finesse the sights and get a little closer to the middle of the target.

(When the rest of Canada’s military comes North, the Rangers are the ones who make sure they are safe. A big part of that is making sure polar bears don’t get anywhere near the soldiers. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)

That distance could be life or death someday; when Canada’s military comes North, the Rangers are the ones who provide “animal control”, they make sure the Polar bears don’t get to eat a soldier.

The C-19 is a .308, stronger than the Enfield.

As a Ranger for 14 years, Kullualik knows just what the old Enfields could do.

“The Enfield, if they’re sighted right, they’re sighted for about 800 yards or so, but with no scope, you can’t see far, so it is just what you can see with your eyes.”

The Canadian Armed Forces have purchased over 6,000 C-19s and they will all be in the hands of Rangers by 2021.


The post Just like the Canadian Rangers, the new C-19 rifle is designed to thrive in Canada’s Arctic appeared first on APTN News.

Thunder Bay police board announces nine investigations will be reopened

APTN News (Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 06:17

Willow Fiddler
After a scathing report that found systemic racism in the Thunder Bay police last year, the service is moving ahead with some of the recommendations that were made including reopening nine investigations.


The post Thunder Bay police board announces nine investigations will be reopened appeared first on APTN News.

Is This Really Us? (in Culture)

Tyee, The (BC, Canada) - Wed, 2019-06-19 00:08

Vancouver falls prey to the architecture of globalism. Do we deserve better?

Support the People’s Voice Fund Drive!

People's Voice - Tue, 2019-06-18 23:21
Here’s a wake-up call about the importance of the socialist media: the federal Conservative Party has broken Canadian political fundraising records, taking in a total of $8 million during the first quarter of 2019. The working class desperately needs to fight back against the right-wing propaganda machine, including by making sure that People’s Voice remains...