Doug Ford cuts 70 per cent of money for centre helping First Nations protect wildlife and resources

Perhaps the Ford Government was best described by T. S. Eliot in 1925:

“We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. “


Ontario Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski seen at his swearing-in ceremony on June 29, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario government has cut 70 per cent of provincial funding to a non-profit organization that helps more than three dozen Indigenous communities protect endangered wildlife and natural resources, National Observer has learned.

The organization, the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (A/OFRC), provides independent scientific information to the communities in order to help them manage both resources and wildlife. But the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told it on April 12, the day after the Ford government delivered its first budget, that “the Ministry is seeking changes to the existing three-year Transfer Payment Agreement.”

The money was part of a critical program designed to help about 40 First Nations participate in government decision-making related to conservation policies.

The payment agreement was in its second year, providing a budget of $860,000 for the arms-length organization to continue to provide independent, non-partisan information relevant to resource management in First Nations territories. This involves providing scientific recommendations to sustain the health and habitat of Ontario’s fish population and other species like moose, turtles and wild rice, and offering technical support to First Nations to help protect their natural resources. MORE

First Nations leaders at odds over potential pipeline ownership

Is the Trudeau government cynically trying to pass over liability to First Nations?

‘The bottom line is that there is no certainty in this investment,’ says Judy Wilson


Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project at a stockpile site in Kamloops, B.C. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

An Indigenous group is urging other First Nations to not invest in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, arguing it is not a sound investment.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has penned an open letter to some leaders who are exploring the idea of partial ownership in the project.

It warns of potential financial risks tied to the proposed pipeline expansion if it gets the ultimate green light from Ottawa.

“The bottom line is that there is no certainty in this investment,” said Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer with the UBCIC. She co-signed the letter with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“A lot of the communities may not have the full financial information and a lot of things they should know if they are going to be investing.”

Chief Judy Wilson with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says that she chooses the health of the southern resident killer whales over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

The letter outlines concerns around ballooning constructions costs of the project, citing total cost estimates upwards of $15 billion.

“When people start doing the actual number crunching they’ll see there’s no real return,” said Wilson, referencing last year’s buy-out by the federal government. MORE

RELATED:

Letter: Trans Mountain poses significant financial risks for First Nations

First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

This warning by Russ Diabo posted in Ricochet, July, 2015 is even more timely today.

Image result for Ricochet: First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

For the past several weeks, I have observed with increasing frequency a call for First Peoples to get out for the upcoming federal election. The mainstream media and now the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, are urging Indigenous people to vote, particularly since it is looking like a three-way race between the federal leaders and their parties (sorry, Elizabeth May).

…I took particular notice of an opinion piece by Tasha Kheiriddin in the National Post. Kheiriddin was responding to Regina Crowchild, a councillor with Alberta’s Tsuu T’ina Nation, who said that she would not want to see “an alien government’s polling station” on her reserve, adding that “if we join Canada in their election system, that’s a part of genocide.”

Here was Kheiriddin’s counterargument:

The reality is that, paradoxically, if First Nations are truly interested in more autonomy, they will never get it without cooperation from the federal government. That means electing a government that is sympathetic to their perspective — and they will never do so unless they go to the polls. Voting is not capitulation, but a recognition that in a democracy, you need to participate if you want your voice to be heard.

Despite the mainstream media’s pleas, we must remember as First Nation individuals we are connected to our families, communities and nations. Therefore we have collective or group rights, which Canadian citizens — whether founding settlers or recent immigrants — cannot claim.

In fact, Canada (including the Supreme Court of Canada) bases its asserted sovereignty and territorial integrity on the racist, colonial Christian doctrine of discovery. Kheiriddin’s argument makes sense only if Indigenous peoples already consider themselves as “Canadians.” MORE

Fishers, First Nations fight Northern Pulp mill’s proposed effluent pipeline into ocean

After half a century of discharging contaminated waste into Boat Harbour, the Nova Scotia mill is proposing a new plan to pipe 85 million litres a day of warm treated effluent further into the ocean — where locals fear risks to a critical seafood industry

Northern Pulp mill Nova Scotia
The Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia, pictured December 6, 2018. Photo: Darren Calabrese

Greg Egilsson, who is chair of the Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation, has been fishing here in Caribou Harbour for more than 30 years. He says Caribou Harbour is an important spawning ground for herring and lobsters, a nursery area for rock crabs and scallops.

He points along the shoreline to a fish plant he says employs about 100 people during fishing season.

Egilsson — like hundreds of others who fish the waters of the Northumberland Strait from Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick — is eagerly awaiting May 1 when lobster season starts, and after that, seasons for all the other seafood treasures that come out of these waters.

But this year, the fishers and all the local industries that depend on the inshore fishery, are also waiting for something else — albeit nervously.

On March 29, Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister Margaret Miller will deliver her verdict on the plan by the 52-year-old Northern Pulp mill on Abercrombie Point for a new effluent treatment facility. The minister can either accept it as is, reject it outright, or ask for more information about the planned project. MORE

 

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – The Pied Piper Strikes Again!


Source: ‘A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors’ (NRCan, November 2018).

Without any adequate consultation with Canadians,
including First Nations, the Government of Canada is
unilaterally moving ahead with the development and
deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors
all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging
on indigenous lands and rights.

These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high
level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the
low & intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning
wastes (radioactive rubble from dismantling shut-down
reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)

Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying
to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to
EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement
of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment
Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government
officials behind closed doors without any public process,
debate, oversight or discussion. MORE

RELATED:

Cost to US taxpayers to clean up nuclear waste jumps $100 billion in a year

Rights Recognition Framework” Delayed For Now

Russell Diabo (right), pictured here with Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde, is warning all First Nations in Canada about dealings with Ottawa. (Courtesy Russell Diabo)

During the 2015 federal campaign the Liberal party of Justin Trudeau made a number of big promises in their Indigenous Platform, notably that a Liberal government will:

  • establish a new Nation-to-Nation relationship;
  • establish a reconciliation process;
  • conduct a law and policy review to “de-colonize” Canada’s laws;
  • establish an inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG);
  • implement the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action;
  • implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and
  • remove the 2 percent cap (which has been in place since 1995) on First Nations programs.

Aside from the MMIWG inquiry, which has been handed off to a federally-appointed commission that, according to critics, seems to be floundering, the Trudeau government has operated in secret and in a top down unilateral approach to interpreting and implementing the Liberal 2015 Indigenous Platform promises by entering into agreements with the three National Indigenous organizations (First Nations, Metis, Inuit). 

The First Nation rights holders – the people – have been bypassed and misled in the process for the past three years by a Liberal public relations campaign of slogans and funding announcements. MORE

Canada Chooses Oil Over People (Again)

The confrontations with the Wet’suwet’en Nation show the Federal Government isn’t interested in real reconciliation


Photo Maggie McCutchen

The relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous peoples continues to be one of reconciliation only when it serves federal interests…

The nearby ecosystem, as well as the 20 First Nations surrounding the pipeline will constantly be at risk of pollution and environmental destruction from normal use and from accidents, but that’s not all.

The aggression shown by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police demonstrates just how hypocritical Canadians are when people brag about Canada’s human rights record. While we uplift this idea that we are everyone’s “friendly and progressive neighbors to the north”, it is finally becoming increasingly clear that it is a very selective kind of progressivism. The kind that inexplicably still does not extend to the peoples that have lived on this land for centuries longer than the oldest of colonizers. MORE

RELATED:

‘No consent, no pipeline’: UBCIC President says Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been ignored