Indigenous technologists using tech tools as path to self-determination

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A Musqueam student from one of the cohorts involved in a tech training program organized by the First Nations Technology Council, 2018. Photo supplied by the First Nations Technology Council

Ward said Indigenous peoples have always exercised sovereignty, but that many forms of self-determination, whether cultural or economic, got stripped away through colonial systems that Canada is only beginning to meaningfully grasp.

“As we reclaim the label of inventors and technologists, we’re able to put an Indigenous lens and worldview on the creation of these technologies,” he said.

Ward said Indigenous self-determination in a technologically-advanced world necessarily involves data sovereignty.

Animikii focuses on developing custom software that empowers their clients rather than relying on off-the-shelf software and online services from the likes of Google and Facebook, which often claim data as their own. MORE

Noam Chomsky: ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive.’

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Noam Chomsky: Take a standard story. There are reports on what’s happening. So, if you look at the New York Times today, for example, there’s a pretty good article on the new discoveries on the melting of the polar ice caps which happens to be, as usual, more drastic than the (earlier) estimates; that’s been typical for a long time. And it discusses the probable impact on sea level rise, albeit conservatively, given how dramatic it has obviously been. So, there are regular articles that appear — it’s not that global warming is ignored. On the other hand, if you look at a standard article on oil exploration, the New York Times can have a big front page article on how the U.S. is moving towards what they call energy independence, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia in fossil fuel production, opening up new areas, Wyoming, the Midwest, for fracking. They do a long article, maybe 1,000 words — I have one particular example in mind — it will mention environmental consequences, it may harm the local water resources for ranchers, but literally not a word on the effect on global warming. And that happens in article after article in every outlet — the Financial Times, the New York Times, all the major newspapers. So, it’s as if on the one hand, there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying look, ‘this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular coverage simply disregards it, and says, ‘well, isn’t this wonderful, we won’t have to import oil, we’ll be more powerful,’ and so on.

Noam Chomsky: ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive. That has to be drilled into people’s heads constantly.’

So, they’re not making the connection?

It’s a kind of schizophrenia, and it runs right through society. Take the big banks, JP Morgan Chase, for example. They’re the biggest bank and CEO Jamie Diamond is an intelligent man. I’m sure he knows the basic facts about the dire threat of global warming, yet at the same time they’re pouring investments into fossil fuel extraction, because that’s the business model. They have to make a profit tomorrow. MORE

Howard Levitt: Trudeau’s ‘sunny ways’ brand can’t survive allegations of full-scale criminality

Make no mistake: interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter


Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet this week.Justin Tang /THE CANADIAN PRESS

People naturally react more adversely to the misconduct they don’t expect than any bad behaviour they do. That is why the SNC-Lavalin scandal could be the downfall of the Trudeau government: Canadians expected sunny ways from this prime minister and his office — not alleged criminal deception.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weathered scandals before. They did little real damage. Taking advantage of a billionaire’s private island, prancing around India in native garb while partying with a former Sikh terrorist, even allegations that he once sexually harassed a young reporter at a keg party didn’t ruin his reputation. After all, he was already viewed as callow, intellectually lightweight and entitled. All those mistakes were consistent with Canadians’ existing view of him.

But they were also led to believe he was open and accountable, which makes suggestions someone in the Prime Minister’s Office may have breached the Criminal Code quite another matter. And make no mistake: allegations of interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter. And it increasingly appears that he or a member of his staff did just that. SOURCE

Liberals’ Indigenous child welfare bill just about ‘politics,’ says prof who saw draft

Draft bill suggests only Indigenous groups with provincial, federal agreements could create own rules


Dennis McPherson, associate professor of Indigenous learning at Lakehead University, said the draft child welfare bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities. (Submitted)

Ottawa’s promised “turning point” Indigenous child welfare legislation seems to have been designed with politics in mind because it sounds good but doesn’t change much, according to an Ojibway academic who reviewed a draft version of the bill.

Dennis McPherson, associate professor for Indigenous Learning at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University, said the draft version of the bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities.

“It doesn’t change a whole lot as far as I can see, in that the ultimate voice is still the minister,” said McPherson. MORE

Principles Of The Sunrise Movement: Antidotes To Neoliberalism

The term “neoliberalism” isn’t new. It was coined in 1938 at a meeting in which social democracy was framed as analogous to a collectivism like Nazism and communism. But neoliberalism today is a conundrum: its slimy tendrils claw into everyday Western life, yet it is so anonymous that we seldom even recognize it as a pervasive ideology. Neoliberalism pushes deregulation on economies around the world, forces open national markets to trade and capital, and demands that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatization.

neoliberalismNeoliberalism’s anonymity is its essential symptom and cause of its power, and the Sunrise movement is seeking to make the consequences of neoliberalism transparent in society. You know Sunrise, even if you can’t immediately grasp why. They’re the cohort of primarily college-aged activists who are promoting the Green New Deal. You saw pictures of their sit-in in front of Nancy Pelosi’s congressional office in the news and on 60 Minutes when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined them in support of objectives to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a decade.

The earth is on track for 3-4 C degrees of warming, which would cause sea level rise of several feet and make extreme weather more frequent and dangerous, among other consequences. The next 4 to 12 years are critical if the world wants to limit that warming. Waiting to reduce greenhouse gases will make the challenge harder.

The Sunrise Movement is working to build a cohort of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across the US, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. MORE

Change Everything A new podcast from The Leap

Change Everything is a podcast by people who are freaking out about climate, racism, and inequality… and thinking through solutions as big as the crises we face.

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Each month, hosts Maya Menezes and Avi Lewis will dig into a theme related to the intersecting crises of climate, racism and inequality, with the help of guests from movements across Canada and around the world.

They’ll discuss politics and policy, social movements and social change, and how they fit together. It’s time to change everything. So join us, subscribe to the podcast, and tell us what you think.

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Oil and gas companies owe Albertans $20 million in unpaid land rents

Payments to landowners made by government on behalf of delinquent companies up 840 per cent since 2010

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When oil and gas companies drill wells on private property, they enter into a contract with landowners to pay an annual fee — rent for the land.

However, when companies don’t pay, landowners can apply to a government tribunal — called the Surface Rights Board — that steps in and pays the rent using taxpayer money. The government is supposed to recoup that money from the companies, so taxpayers aren’t footing the bill.

“If people are worried about 3,000 [current orphan wells] then they won’t know what hit them with 80,000 coming.”

“The vast majority of operators [whose rents are being paid by taxpayers] are in bankruptcy proceedings, receivership or insolvent,” Mike Hartfield, spokesperson for the Surface Rights Board, told The Narwhal.

The Narwhal reported in January that Alberta recouped less than two per cent of all money paid on behalf of delinquent oil and gas companies in 2017 . MORE

‘Shocking’: Jason Kenney Railed Against Wealthy ‘WASPs’ For Providing Birth Control to ‘Brown People’

Community leaders are describing Kenney’s resurfaced comments as “vulgar,” “racist” and “offensive on very many levels”

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Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, is under fire for a newly resurfaced video in which he condemned wealthy “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants” who fund initiatives providing “condoms and birth control pills and abortion clinics” to people in the developing world.

The video, filmed at a Catholic home school conference in the early 2000s, shows the then-Canadian Alliance MP telling a room full of social conservatives these public health initiatives are an effort to “remove the moral code” in developing countries and replace it with a “libertine worldview.”

Jason Kenney to Catholic home school conference

Standing behind a podium adorned with an image of the Virgin Mary, Kenney railed against foreign foundations – including the “Rockefeller Foundation” and the “Ford Foundation” – for backing birth control initiatives around the world. MORE

The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil

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Oil exports to Asia. Illustration by Carol Linnitt.

For years, we’ve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns.

The way it’s been framed makes it seem like it’s the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold.

Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline — but they’re not using it.

“Virtually no exports go to any markets other than the U.S.,” economist Robyn Allan told DeSmog Canada. “The entire narrative perpetrated by Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta Premier Notley is fabricated.” MORE

 

TRANS MOUNTAIN’S FEE PLAN FOR FOSSIL CUSTOMERS REPRESENTS $2-BILLION TAXPAYER SUBSIDY


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Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for another $2-billion fossil fuel subsidy if the National Energy Board accepts the latest request from the federal Crown corporation that now operates the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, economist Robyn Allan reports in a National Observer exposé.

“If the NEB approves the toll application Trans Mountain has filed with it, it will shift the burden for the roughly $3 billion Ottawa paid to buy the regulated assets onto Canadians, rather than into tolls charged to shippers where the recovery of these costs belongs,” Allan writes. She discovered that “unacceptable burden” after reviewing Trans Mountain’s January 4 application for toll rates between 2019 and 2021.

“Pipeline companies make money by charging tolls to fossil fuel companies that ship oil and gas on their pipelines,” Allan explains. “Trans Mountain entered into private discussions with its shippers last fall to determine the tolls that would be charged from 2019 to 2021 since its most recent three-year settlement expired December 31, 2018. The outcome of those discussions resulted in favourable terms for the oil industry borne on the backs of hard-working Canadians.” MORE