Ottawa lauds ‘amazing’ Mi’kmaq graduation rate, signs new $600-million agreement

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett was among those who rushed past reporters, saying little about an emergency cabinet meeting on April 10 in Ottawa about the Kinder Morgan pipeline. File photo by Alex Tétreault

Twenty years ago, only 30 per cent of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq students were graduating from high school.

Today, that number stands at 90 per cent — the highest on-reserve graduation rate in the country.

The federal government recognized the province’s Mi’kmaq community for leading the country on Indigenous education on Thursday by signing a new, 10-year education agreement worth $600 million. MORE


Forced sterilizations of Indigenous women: One more act of genocide

Image result for Forced sterilizations of Indigenous women: One more act of genocide
Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Metis lawyer and former nurse called tubal ligations carried out on unwilling Indigenous women one of the “most heinous” practices in health care happening across Canada.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Last fall, a group of Indigenous women in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan brought a class-action suit against the Saskatoon Health Authority. They also sued the provincial and federal governments and some medical professionals.

They asserted that some Indigenous women had been forcibly sterilized. Others had been tricked into giving consent for sterilization when they were under stress or heavily drugged. They claimed that doctors did this over several decades, up to the 2000s.

The UN Committee on Torture recommended in late 2018 that the Canadian government investigate all allegations of enforced sterilization and adopt legislation criminalizing it.

Indigenous activists want a new law specifically outlawing forced sterilization, but the federal government argues it’s already illegal.

Morningstar Mercredi named in the proposed class action law suit says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone. What remained was an incision from her panty line to her belly button, cut without her permission. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson


Canada doesn’t have a good history with regard to forced sterilization. The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia forcibly sterilized people from the 1930s to the 1970s. MORE


When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

In a recent op-edOttawa Citizen columnist Andrew Cohen blames the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin (SNC-L) affair on two women: Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. According to Cohen, their impulsiveness, disloyalty, and short-sightedness “have put the achievements of the Trudeau government at real risk.”

By tarnishing the Liberal brand, these women have ruined everything.

While searching in earnest for scapegoats, Cohen forgot to mention the real villains in this soap opera.

SNC-L has never really warmed up to the “sunny ways” approach. The company has been debarred for 10 years by the World Bank, forbidden to bid on global projects as a result of high-level corruption in Bangladesh in 2009-2010.

Moreover, SNC-L faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001-2011. This does not include the $1.95 million spent on booze, nude dancers, porn stars and sex workers to spoil Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saadi, when he was invited to Canada in 2008 by SNC-L.  MORE

Canada: Trans Mountain Decision: Application Of Existing Principles Or Evolving Standard?

Expectation  that courts will continue to place an increasing emphasis on the meaningfulness of consultation

two person writing on paper on brown wooden tableNik MacMillan@nikarthur /unsplash

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that there is a duty to consult Indigenous groups whenever the Crown is contemplating conduct that could adversely impact asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. Since this time, there have been hundreds of court cases in which Indigenous groups have gone to court to challenge the adequacy of consultation and/or accommodation for certain Crown decisions, particularly in the context of resource development. This has been a challenging area for proponents, with many feeling that the standard to be met is a continually moving goal post.

In 2018, the most widely discussed duty to consult case was the Federal Court of Appeal’s (FCA) decision to quash the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX Project) based, in part, on inadequate consultation with Indigenous groups. While some feel that the Court simply applied existing duty to consult jurisprudence, a closer examination arguably reveals that the FCA applied a stricter standard on certain issues, including accommodation, the standard of review, and the adequacy of written reasons. While it remains to be seen whether other courts will take a similar approach to these issues in the future, the decision highlights the challenges that proponents can face with an evolving standard and some measures that should be taken to minimize risk going forward.

Background on the TMX Project and the FCA Decision

The TMX Project is a proposed twinning of an existing pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. designed to bring more of Alberta’s oil to tidewater for export to Asian markets. The project involves the construction of 987 kilometres of new pipeline segments and associated facilities, with approximately 89% of the pipeline route running parallel to existing disturbances. The operation of the proposed expanded pipeline system would increase overall capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 890,000 barrels a day. It is also projected to increase the number of tankers at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby from approximately five per month to 34 per month. The tanker traffic would be within an established shipping route with significant vessel traffic. MORE

B.C., feds struggle to close money laundering loophole

Lawyers cite solicitor-client privilege in opposing efforts to compel them to report suspicious transactions

House Canadian cash money

While criminal money laundering charges against the proprietors of Richmond-based Silver International Ltd. were stayed late last year, court documents filed in mid-February reveal a former suspect in that case is facing a tax evasion investigation and fighting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to keep her banking records secret.

Caixuan Qin filed an application in the Federal Court of Canada to quash CRA requirements to produce banking records from the Bank of Montreal, the Bank of China, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Canada Trust and Canadian Western Bank.

She claims the minister of national revenue is wrongfully seeking the records “for the improper purpose of compelling evidence in relation to the Applicant as part of a criminal investigation.” MORE


Money laundering and fraud offences in Canada


Ottawa gets sealing order on court document that undercuts ‘reconciliation agenda,’ says NDP MP

Case addressed reopening of residential school abuse compensation cases if new evidence surfaces

NDP MP Charlie Angus rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday February 21, 2019 in Ottawa.(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

A British Columbia judge has sealed a document filed by Ottawa in a court case over the residential school compensation process that an NDP MP says would ‘blow apart’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reconciliation agenda.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown issued an order on March 6 sealing a “request for direction (RFD)” filed by Ottawa laying out their legal arguments against the reopening of residential school abuse compensation cases if new evidence surfaced.

Ottawa asked for the document to be sealed.

Sealed court documents are not available to the public. Sealing orders are generally seen in civil cases on matters involving national security or specific types of commercial information. They are also commonly used during criminal investigations for wiretap, search warrants and production orders.  MORE

B.C. community raises $50K to save a beloved forest, but it may be too little, too late

Caught off guard by a plan to log more than 600 hectares of treasured local forest, residents near Cottonwood Lake discovered that privately owned lands can be clearcut without public notice, consultation with neighbours or the requirement to replant logged areas

Logging private land B.C.

Against a dramatic backdrop of steeply forested slopes, Cottonwood Lake near Nelson draws thousands of summer visitors for swimming, picnics, lolling around on floaties or kayaks and fishing from the dock, while in winter the shallow lake is used for hockey games, community get-togethers and ice-fishing.

“Last year it was almost like a Norman Rockwell painting out there. It’s a really special little place,” said Andrew McBurney, spokesman for the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society, a non-profit group formed in December to fight logging plans that residents believe threaten the widely used park and the nearby Apex Nordic ski trails.

Residents fear clearcut logging on adjacent privately owned land will destroy the scenic value of the small park and cross-country ski trails and, because of the steep terrain, could destroy unique wildlife habitat and cause landslides and flooding.

“It’s not just the lake, it’s wetlands and grizzly habitat and ski trails. There’s a whole pile of environmental and recreational values.”

Local support for stopping the logging and expanding the park has been overwhelming. Within a month the Preservation Society exceeded its goal of raising $50,000 in seed money. Underlining the public support, a meeting, organized by the society, drew a standing-room only crowd of more than 400 people including wildlife, environmental, hydrology and tourism experts. MORE

Canada’s official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, pictured here in Ottawa on Dec. 6, 2018, has not released a climate plan. Photo by Alex Tétreault

We are at a critical juncture in our country’s history.

In the years to come, our children and grandchildren will ask us how our generation’s leaders could be so short-sighted, so selfish, as to spout the rhetoric of climate leadership, reconciliation, and even economic prosperity to the public, knowing full well that they were condemning future generations to a planet with crumbling life support systems.

“Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern.” writes @ColtonKasteel

Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern. Opposition politicians vaguely acknowledge the realities of climate change, yet advocate for corporate-friendly policies that large industrial emitters would have been hard-pressed to write themselves. These members of Parliament claim to accept the realities and urgency of the climate crisis, yet pander to extremist and uninformed views out of some misguided and dated sense of party/doctrinal devotion. Ottawa has been populated with MPs who offer no credible solutions to our climate challenges and do little except recite their favoured ideology.

Politicians who capitalize on public frustration by masking their agendas in ‘for the people’ rhetoric may pretend to care about Canadians, but in reality they rely on spurious statements and scapegoating tactics. Their refutation of carbon taxation combined with a dedication to ideologies of neo-liberalism and free market economics are entirely incongruous. Market-based solutions are, after all, rooted in conservative ideology. Peer-reviewed research has shown time and time again that this policy offers the lowest-cost method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only alternatives would be to impose direct regulations on emitters and households, or do nothing to mitigate climate change; both of which will cost taxpayers far more than a carbon price. MORE


A new think tank is formed specifically to support the Green New Deal

person holding black and brown globe ball while standing on grass land golden hour photography

A truly beautiful world is possible—one without poverty or pollution, and with prosperity and dignity for everyone. Humanity has everything it needs to build that world in a single generation: billions of creative, hard working people, technology that already can allow us to make a comfortable living safely and sustainably, and unlimited energy from the sun that we can now harness to power that technology.

The obstacles to getting there are political, not technical. Entrenched, backward-looking political elites fight to keep the world as it is. An equally-powerful blocker is their reigning consensus—called neoliberalism or “the Washington Consensus”—that drives their thinking on economics, government, technology, labor and business. Over a period when multiple existential threats to life as we know it have emerged into plain view, the Washington Consensus has deliberately sought to paralyze societies to prevent them from acting collectively.

Finally a new consensus is rising. It is driven by a new generation of thinkers and leaders who recognize that governments and other public institutions have played a critical role every time a national economy has renewed and reinvented itself—not only by setting rules, but also by setting goals; not only by building infrastructure, but also by investing in new industries; not only by protecting rights, but also by materially correcting historic injustices.

New consensus thinkers are exploring how government and other public institutions can lead the transition to a green economy, close wealth and income gaps between groups, spearhead innovation and research, kick-start new high wage industries, and more. MORE

Maybe it’s really time to break up the post-industrial monopolies: Don Pittis

Anti-Google statement by News Corp proves it is no longer just a project of the left

Giving Google a shove. Workers move a Google logo during the opening of the new Alphabet’s Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany earlier this year. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Who would have guessed that Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire conservative media mogul who helped make Fox News what it is today, would be on the same side as left-leaning Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren?

Yesterday, Murdoch’s News Corp added its voice to complaints that tech giants, including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, have become too dominant in the sectors they control.

News Corp, itself implicated in the past for having too big a stake in its own industry, took a position surprisingly similar to that of Warren, the U.S. presidential candidate who accuses big tech of being anti-competitive and therefore harmful to consumers.

Hurts consumers, advertisers and publishers

The media company’s focus was on Google, and specifically in the Australian market, but complaints about the advertising search company’s influence apply just as well in other sectors and other markets.

“Google leverages its market power in both general search services and ad tech services to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and news publishers,” said the Murdoch company in a filing to an Australian competition commission. “To remedy these harms, Google could either sell Google Search, or retain Google Search and divest the rest of its businesses to a third party.” MORE

The death of competition