Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END RACISM, MARCH 21

Posted by strattof on March 22, 2019

Last Friday, a white supremacist murdered 50 Muslims in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand during Friday prayers. 48 others were injured.

Today, we at Making Peace Vigil stand in solidarity with Muslim communities in Regina and throughout Canada and the world as we remember the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack—men, women, and children who were murdered as they worshipped.

As we know, Canada is not immune to such attacks. On January 29, 2017, a gunman opened fire in the Islamic Cultural Centre in Québec City, killing six men while they were praying.

It would seem that one act of terrorism inspires another. Along with neo-Nazi symbols, the New Zealand gunman had the names of other white supremacists etched on his weapons. Those names included that of the Québec City gunman.

Today, March 21, is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Expressions of solidarity are not enough. We must also actively struggle against anti-Muslim prejudice, also known as Islamophobia, as well as all other forms of white supremacy and hate.

ISLAMOPHOBIA  

DEFINITION

A closed-minded prejudice against or hatred of Muslims and Islam.

PROMOTING HATE & BIGOTRY

Acts of terrorism against Muslims, like the Québec City Mosque Massacre, do not come out of the blue. They occur in a climate of increasing hate. Nor is it just President Donald Trump’s hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric creeping across the border. Canada has produced plenty of its own Islamophobic rhetoric. For example:

2015   The Harper government’s Barbaric Cultural Practices Act passed into law, supported by the Liberals.

2015   Brad Wall identified Syrian refugees with terrorism.

2017   Rallies were held in cities across Canada, including Regina, at which speakers dehumanized Muslims and called for the defeat of a motion in the House of Commons condemning “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism.”

2018   Canadian Yellow Vests began to rally and spread their anti-immigrant, Islamophobic message. Some Canadian politicians, both federal and provincial, attended these rallies, thus facilitating the promotion of hatred and violence.

2019   Some Canadian politicians, in their initial response to the Christchurch attacks, chose not to use the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘mosque’ or ‘terrorism or ‘Islamophobia’ and hence did not clearly identify or condemn the underlying ideology.

2019   Canada’s Border Security Minister is talking to US officials about closing “a loophole” in Canada’s border agreement with the US so as to prevent asylum seekers entering Canada from the US from claiming refugee protection.

CONSEQUENCES

Islamophobia has very real consequences, laying the ground work for anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents. 

Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada increased by 151% in 2017, the last year for which figures are available.

We are one community and everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other—that all has consequences even if we’re not the ones with our fingers on the trigger.” Waleed Aly, an Australian television host, March 15 2019

ANTISEMITISM

In 2017, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes jumped 63%.

In the 1930s and 40s, Jewish people were the main target of Canadian anti-immigration rhetoric. “None is too many” became the policy of the Canadian government toward Jewish refugees during the Nazi era. Canada was thus complicit in the Holocaust.

The way Muslims are represented today, with dehumanizing stereotypes, is similar to the way Jewish people were represented in the 20th century.

Today, Antisemitism remains a pervasive problem in Canada.

ANTI-INDIGENOUS RACISM

From the beginning, Canadian colonialism has been a form of white supremacy: a political, economic, and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and resources.

Today, white supremacy continues its reign. For example:

  • First Nations reserves occupy only 0.2% of the Canadian land mass. 99.8% of Canada is reserved for settler Canadians.
  • Through the Indian Act, first passed in 1876, the Canadian state continues to claim the right to exercise 100% control over every aspect of the lives of Indigenous peoples.
  • As demonstrated by the acquittal of Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie, there is a lack of justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada.

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST HATE & INTOLERANCE

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling for January 29, the anniversary of the Québec City Mosque Massacre, to be designated a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance.

To read the letter NCCM sent to the Canadian government in November 2018, google “NCCM national day.”

TAKE ACTION TO END RACISM

  1. Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you support the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) in its call for January 29, the anniversary of the Québec City Mosque Massacre, to be designated a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance: trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211.
  2. Call on all political leaders ●to stand up against hate; ●to call incidents such as the Christchurch and Québec City mosque killings what they are: terrorist acts carried out by white supremacists against Muslims; and ●to distance themselves from, as well as condemn, any groups or individuals that engage in anti-immigration rhetoric or hate speech of any kind.
  3. Call out Islamophobic statements and all other forms of hate speech whenever you encounter them.
  4. Visit the NCCM website and learn more about Islamophobia: nccm.ca 
  5. Learn more about Antisemitic hate crimes in North America. Google “briarpatch new Jewish left.”
  6. Learn more about Canadian colonialism by reading
  • The Reconciliation Manifesto, by Arthur Manuel
  • 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act, by Bob Joseph
Advertisements

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019

Posted by strattof on March 7, 2019

Tomorrow, March 8, is International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911, International Women’s Day is an occasion for celebrating women’s social, economic, and political achievements.

Yet it’s 2019, and we still live in a world of gender inequality. Moreover, women frequently experience multiple forms of discrimination: race, class, ability/ disability, sexuality, and religion, as well as gender.

International Women’s Day is, therefore, also a time for reflecting on the action needed for making more progress toward realizing justice in the face of the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination women encounter. There are many challenges ahead.

GENDER INEQUALITY IN CANADA: 6 KEY FACTS

Equality between women and men is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and yet:

  1. Canadian women continue to experience wage discrimination. Those who work full-time earn 74 cents for every dollar earned by men, a figure that has barely budged in the last two decades. This is the case even though women’s educational attainment has now surpassed that of men.
  2. The pay gap for racialized women, trans women, and women with disabilities is even wider. For example, Indigenous women working full-time earn 67 cents for every dollar earned by white men.
  3. At the current rate of progress, Canada will not close the gender wage gap until 2240.
  4. 65% of minimum wage workers in Saskatchewan are women. The minimum wage in Saskatchewan is $11.06 per hour.
  5. Women constitute 50.4% of Canada’s population. They hold only 26% of the seats in the House of Commons.
  6. Canada ranks 16th in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 global gender gap index—well ahead of the US, but behind Iceland, Norway, Finland, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and 10 other countries.

MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence of all the provinces.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, Regina saw a 7% increase in the rate of sexual assaults.
  • Women account for over half of all victims of violent crime in Canada, while they make up only about one quarter of all the offenders.
  • In 2018, a woman or girl was killed every 2.5 days in Canada.
  • Indigenous women make up only 4% of the Canadian population, yet they account for 24% of female homicide victims.

MISSING & MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN

“Indigenous women in Canada have historically been devalued not only as Indigenous people but also simply because they are women. It is important to acknowledge the impacts of colonization and recognize that they currently exist and affect Indigenous women and girls.” Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).

  • 2010: NWAC published its Sisters In Spirit report, documenting 514 missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls and calling for a national public inquiry.
  • 2014: Amnesty International published its report, Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada and called for a national public inquiry.
  • 2014: The RCMP published a report documenting 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada between 1980 and 2012.
  • 2015: The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women released a damning report on the situation of missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women in Canada.
  • 2015: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for a national public inquiry into the “disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls.”
  • 2010 – 2015: The Harper government consistently refused demands to hold a public inquiry.
  • 2016: The Trudeau government launched an inquiry.
  • 2016 – 2019: The work of the inquiry was hindered by a narrow mandate, a tight budget, a too short timeline, and inadequate support for families.
  • 2019: The report of the inquiry is due in April.

In the meantime, Indigenous women and girls continue to experience violence, go missing, and be murdered, far more than other women and girls in Canada.

EVENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

SUNDAY MARCH 10, 1 – 3 pm: WOMEN & FEMININE SPACE, MACKENZIE ART GALLERY, 3475 ALBERT STREET: Celebrate connection, inspiration, support, & empowerment. Women only.

SUNDAY MARCH 10, 3:15 – 3:45 pm: CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY ON THE ALBERT STREET BRIDGE: Everyone is welcome. If you have a red scarf, please wear it.

TUESDAY MARCH 12, 7 pm: WE DON’T NEED A VOICE, WE NEED MORE MICROPHONES, A PRE-SENTATION BY CONNIE WALKER, EDUCATION AUDITORIUM, U OF R: Connie Walker is an investigative reporter and host of the CBC podcast, Missing & Murdered. Her work on missing and murdered Indigenous women has won many awards. She is from the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

5 MYTHS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS

Posted by strattof on March 7, 2019

There are many myths about homelessness. “Homelessness is a choice” is one example. These myths do a lot of damage.

  • They influence government policy in such a way that little or nothing is done to end homelessness.
  • They influence how we as individuals think about people who are homeless.
  • They further contribute to the stigmatization of people who are already marginalized.

In Regina’s 2018 homelessness count, 286 people were identified as homeless. That’s 54 more people than were identified in the 2015 count—a 23% increase.

These figures do not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing—groups that could double or even triple the number of homeless people in Regina.

We need to change the way we think about homelessness so we can end homelessness in our community.

NO ONE SHOULD BE HOMELESS IN REGINA—OR ANYWHERE!

MYTH # 1

HOMELESSNESS IS A CHOICE.

No one wants to be homeless when they grow up. Rather, homelessness is sometimes the only option in the face of circumstances such as: a job loss a rent increase a government cut to an income assistance program a relationship breakdown domestic violence.

What people who are homeless want and need is affordable housing. While apartments are currently available in Regina, for many people they are not affordable.

MYTH # 2

HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE LAZY.

Being homeless is very hard work. Survival while homeless means:

  • Spending all day getting to food.
  • Searching out a safe place to sleep.
  • Navigating the maze of social service agencies.

This is not to mention the difficulty of finding public washrooms, making sanitation an issue homeless people face on a daily basis. There is also the challenge of arranging for a shower and change of clothes.

Homeless people manage all of these things while lugging their few possessions around with them.

Homelessness is not for the faint-of-heart—or the lazy!

MYTH # 3

G E T A J O B !

Many homeless people already have a job. But Saskatchewan’s minimum wage—a measly $11.06 per hour—is too low to cover rent. In Regina, a minimum wage worker would have to work 67 hours each week to afford a one-bedroom apartment—defining affordable as 30% of a person’s income.

Besides, it is hard to find a job while homeless. Obstacles include: Lack of a permanent address Lack of regular access to a computer or a phone Lack of regular access to a shower or clean clothes Transportation challenges.

MYTH # 4

IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE!

How much would it cost to end homelessness in Canada? In 2017, the Trudeau government promised that, with $42 billion in spending, it would cut Canada’s homelessness in half by 2030.

Do the math. According to the Trudeau government figure, it would cost $84 billion to end homlessness in Canada by 2030.

It is estimated that 235,000 people are currently homeless in Canada. What kind of country would purposely condemn 117,500 of its citizens to homelessness?

How much does Canada spend on war? Right now, it’s about $25 billion annually. And the Liberals have promised to increase military spending to $32 billion annually by 2030.

We can well afford to end homelessness!

MYTH # 5

HOMELESSNESS WILL NEVER END.

Homelessness does end, one life at a time. The life expectancy of a person who is homeless in Canada is 39 years, about half the national average.

Public policy is the leading cause of homelessness. There are a number of policies governments (federal, provincial, and municipal) can adopt which, together, will end homelessness. These include providing

  • A Living Wage
  • Adequate Income Assistance Rates
  • Enough Affordable Housing
  • Enough Supportive Housing

If ending homelessness is a matter of political will, then it is our responsibility to ensure that our political leaders have that will.

Let your City Councillor, MLA, and MP know you do not want to live in a city, a province, or a country where even one person is homeless.

TOGETHER WE CAN END HOMELESSNESS!

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

WE LOVE PEACE!

Posted by strattof on February 14, 2019

We love peace, but the Canadian government seems to prefer war. Since 2001, Canada has been endlessly at war!

AFGHANISTAN          October 2001—March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                          March 2011—October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                           October 2014—ongoing

SYRIA                         March 2015—ongoing

UKRAINE                    September 2015—ongoing

LATVIA                       June 2017—ongoing

War is a disaster for everyone it touches! War is also very stupid!! When will Canada stop making war and start making peace in the world?

MAKING PEACE VIGIL WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY & P E A C E I N 2019!

MORE WAR MAKING

  • 2017: Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • 2017: Canada extended its military missions in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria until March 2019.
  • 2017: Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • 2018: Canada extended its commitment to the NATO battle group in Latvia to 2023.
  • 2018: Canada sent troops to Iraq to head up a NATO training mission.
  • 2018: Canada exported between $2 and $3 billion worth of military equipment.

WHY IS CANADA NOT WORKING FOR PEACE?

Why, instead of working for peace, has Canada chosen an ongoing seemingly never-ending involvement in war? There are three main reasons:

  1. Canada’s dependence on the US for its foreign policy.
  2. Canada’s membership in the US-led military alliance NATO.
  3. Profits for the Canadian arms industry.

WAR IS A DISASTER

War is a disaster for everyone it touches.

  • Soldiers are killed, maimed, traumatized.
  • Civilians in the war zone pay a tremendous price: death, injury, bereavement, displacement, trauma.
  • Citizens of countries engaged in war elsewhere also pay a price: Dead or injured loved ones. Money that could have been spent on education, affordable housing, and healthcare.

WAR IS STUPID

You see children fighting. What do you do?

  1. Encourage them to keep on fighting.
  2. Break up the fight and ask them to work out their differences in a non-violent manner.

WE WANT PEACE

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy?—Mahatma Gandhi

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.—Albert Einstein 

Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their difference themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.—Harry Patch, World War I Veteran 

You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.—Michael Franti 

May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace. It is always a defeat for humanity.—Pope Francis 

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.—US Major General Smedley Butler 

Violence begets more violence, war begets further wars, more enemies, and more suffering. War does not work, not even for the warriors.—Ursula Franklin 

All we are saying is give peace a chance.—John Lennon

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS

  1. Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to stop making war and to start making peace in the world. This would mean:
  • Withdrawing from the military missions in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Latvia.
  • Signing the treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • Getting out of NATO.
  • Getting out of the arms industry.
  • Developing a foreign policy independent of the US.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

  1. Send the same message to Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan: sajjan@parl.gc.ca or 613-996-3100.

ENTER THE PEACE SYMBOL CONTEST

Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk, a snowbank, a cake or cookies using icing.

Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to makingpeace@sasktel.net You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize.

The deadline is August 31, 2019.

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

EVERY THURSDAY–until PEACE breaks out

From 12 noon to 12:30 pm

On Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

 EVERYONE IS WELCOME

For further information, please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com 

MAKING PEACE VIGIL February 14, 2019

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

WHAT’S WRONG WITH A CARBON TAX?

Posted by strattof on February 8, 2019

In October 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that a carbon tax would be imposed on all provinces that do not have a carbon emissions pricing plan of their own. Those provinces are Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

The tax will be on emissions from fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and coal-fired electricity. It will come into effect on April 1 2019.

The carbon tax plan has set off a firestorm of controversy. Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe has even launched a court challenge on whether a federal carbon tax is constitutional—a case that will be heard in Regina on February 13 and 14. (For details see the back page of this pamphlet.)

What is the truth about the carbon tax plan?

  • Is it a Liberal tax grab, as its opponents say?
  • Or is it, as Trudeau insists, the best way to fight climate change?

The answer: It is neither.

THE CARBON TAX: A TAX GRAB?

The carbon tax plan comes in two parts:

  1. THE TAX: The tax on emissions will start at $20 a tonne and increase by $10 a year until it reaches $50 a tonne in 2022.
  2. THE REBATE: To offset the cost of the carbon tax to those living in Saskatchewan and the other affected provinces, the Trudeau government has promised to return to residents 90% of the money it collects from the tax.

The rebate will vary depending on the province and household size. In Saskatchewan, a family of four will receive a rebate of $609 in 2019, while a single adult will receive $305.

Residents will start getting the rebate on their 2019 tax return where it will either be added to the refund payment or deducted from tax owing.

If the Trudeau government keeps its promise to return 90% of the carbon tax as a rebate, then the carbon tax is not a tax grab. (The remaining 10 per cent will be given to small and medium-sized businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations that can’t pass on their costs from the carbon tax directly to consumers.) 

THE CARBON TAX & CARBON EMISSIONS?

Is the carbon tax an effective means of reducing carbon emissions? The short answer to this question is ‘no.’

According to the UN, Canada’s carbon price would have to reach between $140 and $590 a tonne by 2030 for Canada to meet the commitments it made under the Paris Climate Agreement: to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This does not mean the carbon tax as it stands is totally useless. It will have some (small) effect on emissions, possibly accounting for up to 7% of the required 30% reduction.

So let’s keep the carbon tax. But, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, it must not be Canada’s main climate policy. We must also implement policies that will radically reduce emissions.

RADICALLY REDUCING EMISSIONS

Here are four climate policies the federal government could implement that would radically reduce carbon emissions:

  1. Stop all new tar sands pipelines, including Trans Mountain and Energy East.
  2. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels—estimated at $3.3 trillion a year.
  3. Start investing in renewable energy industries.
  4. Fund public transportation, both urban and inter-city options.

CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE

We have just 12 years left before catastrophic climate change. That is the grim warning issued last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate science body.

According to the IPCC, our burning of fossil fuels has already resulted in a 1°C increase in global temperature. We are already seeing the damaging consequences of global warming:

  • Deadly heatwaves ● Devastating droughts
  • Raging wildfires ● Record floods
  • Rising sea levels ● Extreme weather events

If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. This would mean

► A 45% reduction in CO2 emissions from 2010 levels by 2030.

► Zero emissions by 2050.

CLIMATE CHANGE, by Kristen Bowen

 

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

JUSTICE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Posted by strattof on February 1, 2019

Next week will mark the first anniversary of the verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial. On February 9, 2018, an all-white jury found Stanley not guilty in the shooting death of Colten Boushie.

On August 9, 2016, the car in which Boushie was travelling pulled into a farmyard near Biggar. Stanley, a 56-year-old white farmer, shot Boushie, at close range, in the back of the head. Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, was 22-years-old when he was killed.

Stanley’s defence hinged on the argument that the bullet that killed Boushie was “a hang fire”—a delay between when the trigger was pulled and the shot fired. This argument was discredited by expert witnesses. The office of Saskatchewan’s Attorney General declined to appeal the not guilty verdict.

There was no justice for Colten Boushie in the Canadian justice system.

RACISM & INJUSTICE IN SASKATCHEWAN

The tragic death of Colten Boushie continues to shine a light on racism and injustice in our society. For example:

  • The arrest of Gerald Stanley ignited a firestorm of racism against Indigenous Peoples, much of it promoting even more violence against Indigenous Peoples. The RCMP laid no hate-speech charges against those who posted hate-speech online.
  • In 2017, the RCMP, in an internal investigation, cleared itself of any wrong-doing when its officers visited the home of Colten Boushie’s mother, immediately following his death, and behaved as if Boushie’s family members were the criminals.
  • In 2017, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling for an expansion of self-defence laws to include property rights.
  • In 2018, the Saskatchewan government started arming rural conservation officers with semi-automatic carbine rifles.
  • In 2018, the Saskatchewan government introduced new trespassing laws “to reduce rural crime.” Much of the discussion of rural crime is thinly-veiled racism. The legislation sends a signal that vigilante justice against Indigenous people has government approval.
  • In February 2018, partly in response to the not guilty verdict in the Stanley trial, the Justice For Our Stolen Children Camp was set up in front of the Legislative Building. From the moment the Camp was established, the provincial government wanted it gone, offering a number of flimsy reasons for its removal, including lawn maintenance and space for a Canada Day beer garden.
  • Premier Scott Moe refused to meet with members of the Camp to discuss the issues they were raising, saying he hasn’t “conversed with anyone directly that is running a protest…in front of the Legislature.” Funny, earlier this month, Premier Moe was more than happy to meet with the pro-pipeline protesters in front of the Legislature.

TODAY I GRIEVE FOR MY COUNTRY

by Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission–in response to the verdict in the Stanley murder trial

Today I grieve for my country.
I grieve for a family
that has seen only injustice
from the moment a farmer with a handgun
(why does a farmer need a handgun?)
killed their son.
I grieve for a mother
who saw the police raid her house
and treat her like a criminal
and not the victim she was.
I grieve for other mothers
with empty arms
who are reminded of their own loss
at the hands of others
and the lack of answers that haunt them still.
I grieve for the youth
who now see no hope,
and whose hunger for justice
gives rise to anger.
I grieve for the children
whose lives now have
one more jeopardy.
I grieve for the elders
who have seen this before.
And whose wisdom holds no means
to get through this evenly.
I may grieve for some time.
But then again…
we have been grieving a long time.
This is why
we can’t “just get over it and move on”.
My country won’t let me.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CANADIAN INJUSTICE 

INDIGENOUS FUTURISMS: APOCALYPTIC SURVIVAL WITH PRECEDENT

WHEN           FRIDAY FEBRUARY 8, 4 pm

WHERE         RESEARCH & INNOVATION 117, U OF R

WHAT           A LECTURE BY MÉTIS AUTHOR, CHERIE DIMALINE

Cherie Dimaline is the author of The Marrow Thieves, winner of a 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award. Set in a dystopian future, the novel features a group of Indigenous people who are being hunted for their bone marrow as a cure for what non-Indigenous people have lost.

Dimaline will discuss The Marrow Thieves, along with works by other Indigenous writers. Her focus will be on how Indigenous stories address dystopian potentials and speak to an uncertain future with authority born of recent and ongoing experience.

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

SOLIDARITY WITH THE WET’SUWET’EN

Posted by strattof on January 24, 2019

Making Peace Vigil joins Mother Earth Justice Advocates in standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people in their struggle to protect their land and water, as well as Mother Earth herself, from environmental destruction and to save them for future generations.  

On January 7, RCMP officers, carrying assault rifles, descended on to unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC and arrested 14 peaceful Wet’suwet’en land defenders. The RCMP was enforcing a BC Supreme Court injunction ordering the removal of blockades the Wet’suwet’en had set up to stop the construction of a pipeline on their traditional territory.

The pipeline, Coastal GasLink, is owned by TransCanada. This pipeline is meant to carry fracked natural gas from northeastern BC, across Wet’suwet’en territory, to a LNG Canada facility in Kitimat.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline

  • Threatens Wet’suwet’en land and water.
  • Will be detrimental to the climate.
  • Violates the1997 Supreme Court ruling in the Delgamuukw case.
  • Violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, signed by Canada in 2016.

Nevertheless, both the BC government and the federal government support the pipeline. Is this what reconciliation looks like?

WHO CONTROLS THE LAND?

ELECTED VS HEREDITARY CHIEFS

  • Wet’suwet’en are represented by both elected and hereditary chiefs. The elected chief and council system was introduced in 1869 under the Indian Act, as part of a set of colonial policies aimed at undermining traditional governance systems that had lasted thousands of years.
  • Elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs have signed on to the pipeline.
  • However, Coastal GasLink has failed to get consent from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
  • Under Canadian law, Wet’suwet’en elected chiefs have authority over the reserves created by the Crown, while authority over the much larger area—22,000 square kilometres — that comprises the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory belongs to the hereditary chiefs.

DELGAMUUKW VS THE QUEEN

Most BC First Nations, including the Wet’suwet’en, have never signed Treaties or otherwise surrendered their land. The ground- breaking 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision confirmed

  • That Wet’suwet’en title to traditional Wet’suwet’en territory has never been extinguished; and
  • That title is based on hereditary governance systems.

Despite the Delgamuukw decision, the governments of BC and Canada claim agreements with elected chiefs and band councils constitute consent in the case of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (UNDRIP)

UNDRIP requires that governments must seek Indigenous communities’ “free, prior and informed consent” before approving resource development projects on their land.

  • One of Prime Minister Trudeau’s 2016 election promises was to implement UNDRIP.
  • The BC government has committed to implementing UNDRIP.

PM TRUDEAU & THE RULE OF LAW

Prime Minister Trudeau has stated that the arrest of Wet’suwet’en land protectors is “not an ideal situation,” but that “the rule of law” must be upheld. Whose “rule of law” is he talking about?

PIPELINE PROBLEMS

PIPELINE SPILLS

Pipelines are accidents waiting to happen. TransCanada, the owner of Coastal GasLink, claims its pipelines are safe. Its safety record tells a different story. For example, TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline has had three major spills since it began operating in 2010.

Pipeline spills contaminate land, water, and air. They also kill wildlife and sicken people.

FRACKED NATURAL GAS

The Coastal GasLink pipeline will carry fracked natural gas. The fracking process—the injection of water, chemicals, and sand underground at high pressure—depletes water sources and contaminates groundwater with methane and chemicals.

Although political and industry officials promote natural gas as a “clean, green” fuel, it is anything but. Indeed, fracking has a heavy carbon footprint.

  • The fracking process requires more energy than the conventional gas extraction process.
  • Fracking releases large amounts of natural gas—CO2 and methane—directly into the atmosphere.

CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

We have just 12 years left before climate catastrophe. This is the grim warning issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations’ leading body for climate change.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline will lead to the expansion of the fracking industry. Fracking, along with the rest of the fossil fuel industry, is preventing Canada from reducing its carbon emissions and thus from doing its part to stop climate catastrophe.

A HUGE DEBT OF GRATITUDE

We are all in the debt of the Wet’suwet’en people who have taken up the struggle to protect the land, water, and climate from the dangers of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. THANK YOU!

STAND WITH THE WET’SUWET’EN

  1. RALLY IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE WET’SUWET’EN: JANUARY 31, 5 pm, ALBERT STREET BRIDGE

Let’s all join Mother Earth Justice Advocates (MEJA) and show our support for the Wet’suwet’en people in their struggle to protect their land and water, as well as Mother Earth herself.

  1. Sign the Sierra Club Petition: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wetsuweten-solidarity/ 
  2. Call a Minister for Leadnow: Google “leadnow call federal minister to support the Wet’suwet’en.”
  3. Take action using the Wet’suwet’en Strong Toolkit: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/

LEARN MORE ABOUT CANADIAN COLONIALISM

  • 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, by Bob Joseph
  • The Inconvenient Indian, by Thomas King
  • The Reconciliation Manifesto, by Arthur Manuel

FOR MORE INFORMATION

MAKING PEACE VIGIL             

Email               makingpeace@sasktel.net

Facebook         www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web     https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

MOTHER EARTH JUSTICE ADVOCATES

Email               mejasask@gmail.com

Facebook         www.facebook.com/groups/158222590888992/

On the web     https://motherearthjusticeadvocates.wordpress.com/

 

 

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

WHAT’S WRONG WITH A CARBON TAX?

Posted by strattof on January 10, 2019

In October 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that a carbon tax would be imposed on all provinces that do not have a carbon emissions pricing plan of their own. Those provinces are Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

The tax will be on emissions from fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and coal-fired electricity. It will come into effect on April 1 2019.

The carbon tax plan has set off a firestorm of controversy. Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe has even launched a court challenge on whether a federal carbon tax is constitutional—a case that will be heard in Regina in mid-February.

What is the truth about the carbon tax plan?

  • Is it a Liberal tax grab, as its opponents say?
  • Or is it, as Trudeau insists, the best way to fight climate change?

The answer: It is neither.

THE CARBON TAX: A TAX GRAB?

The carbon tax plan comes in two parts:

  1. THE TAX: The tax on emissions will start at $20 a tonne and increase by $10 a year until it reaches $50 a tonne in 2022.
  2. THE REBATE: To offset the cost of the carbon tax to those living in Saskatchewan and the other affected provinces, the Trudeau government has promised to return to residents 90% of the money it collects from the tax.

The rebate will vary depending on the province and household size. In Saskatchewan, a family of four will receive a rebate of $609 in 2019, while a single adult will receive $305.

Residents will start getting the rebate on their 2019 tax return where it will either be added to the refund payment or deducted from tax owing.

If the Trudeau government keeps its promise to return 90% of the carbon tax as a rebate, then the carbon tax is not a tax grab. (The remaining 10 per cent will be given to small and medium-sized businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations that can’t pass on their costs from the carbon tax directly to consumers.) 

THE CARBON TAX & CARBON EMISSIONS?

Is the carbon tax an effective means of reducing carbon emissions? The short answer to this question is ‘no.’

According to the UN, Canada’s carbon price would have to reach between $140 and $590 a tonne by 2030 for Canada to meet the commitments it made under the Paris Climate Agreement: to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This does not mean the carbon tax as it stands is totally useless. It will have some (small) effect on emissions, possibly accounting for up to 7% of the required 30% reduction.

So let’s keep the carbon tax. But, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, it must not be Canada’s main climate policy. We must also implement policies that will radically reduce emissions.

RADICALLY REDUCING EMISSIONS

Here are five climate policies the federal government could implement that would radically reduce carbon emissions:

  1. Stop all new tar sands pipelines, including Trans Mountain and Energy East.
  2. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels—estimated at $3.3 trillion a year.
  3. Start investing in renewable energy industries.
  4. Fund public transportation, including urban, rural, and inter-city options.
  5. Invest in energy-efficient social housing.

CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE

We have just 12 years left before catastrophic climate change. That is the grim warning issued last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate science body.

According to the IPCC, our burning of fossil fuels has already resulted in a 1°C increase in global temperature. We are already seeing the damaging consequences of global warming:

  • Deadly heatwaves ● Devastating droughts
  • Raging wildfires ● Record floods
  • Rising sea levels ● Extreme weather events

If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. This would mean

► A 45% reduction in CO2 emissions from 2010 levels by 2030.

► Zero emissions by 2050.

From A Poem To My Daughter, by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, performed at the 2014 UN Climate Summit

and there are thousands out on the street

marching with signs

hand in hand

chanting for change NOW

and they’re marching for you, baby

they’re marching for us

CLIMATE ACTION

CONTACT POLITICAL LEADERS

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you want his government to implement policies that will radically reduce carbon emissions.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

Let Premier Moe know you do not want to live in a province where short-term gains from exploiting fossil fuels are valued over the well-being of the planet and all who live here.

premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

  • See Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, screening at the Library Film Theatre, 2311 12th Avenue: Friday January 11, 8:30 pm; Saturday January 12, 6:30 pm; Sunday January 13, 8:30 pm. 
  • Watch Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner perform A Poem To My Daughter: Google “Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner United Nations.”
  • Read “The Leftists’ Case Against the Carbon Tax,” by James Wilt, in Briarpatch: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/ view/the-leftists-case-against-the-carbon-tax 
  • Listen to No No No Keshagesh (which means “greedy guts”), by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Buffy tells us what we must say to oil and pipeline companies and the governments that kowtow to them: youtube.com/watch?v=XKmAb1gNN74

MAKING PEACE VIGIL, EVERY THURSDAY–UNTIL PEACE BREAKS OUT

From noon to 12:30 pm, on Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

For further information please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

MAKING PEACE VIGIL January 10 2019

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

PEACE IN 2019

Posted by strattof on January 3, 2019

Rather than making peace, Canada keeps on making war:

  • 2017: Canada extended its military mission in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria until March 2019.
  • 2017: Canadian troops arrived in Latvia to lead a NATO mission against “Russian aggression.”
  • 2017: Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • 2017: Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • 2018: Canada exported between $2 and $3 billion worth of military equipment.
  • 2018: Canada sent troops to Iraq to head up a NATO training mission.

ENDLESS WAR: 2001 – 2018

CANADIAN ENGAGEMENT

AFGHANISTAN     October 2001 – March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                     March 2011 – October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                      October 2014 – ongoing

SYRIA                     March 2015 – ongoing

UKRAINE               September 2015 – ongoing

LATVIA                  June 2017 – ongoing

 As this table indicates, since 2001, there have been only a few months—March to October 2014—that Canada has not been engaged in war.           

 Why, instead of working for peace, has Canada chosen this ongoing, seemingly never-ending involvement in war? There are three main reasons:

  1. Canada’s dependence on the US for its foreign policy.
  2. Canada’s membership in the US-led military alliance NATO.
  3. Profits for the Canadian arms industry.

 THE HUMAN COSTS OF WAR

WAR AND SUFFERING IN SYRIA

In armed conflict of any kind, people suffer. To take Syria as an example, with the war there now well into its eighth year, the human calamity is terrible and ongoing.

  • Over 480,000 Syrians have been killed in the war.
  • In the first half of 2018 alone, 4,796 civilians were killed, including 1,104 children.
  • More than 5 million Syrians are refugees outside Syria, while another 6.3 million are internally displaced. That’s more than half of Syria’s estimated pre-war population of 22 million.

CANADA MAKES WAR IN SYRIA

Canada bears some responsibility for the suffering. We have been making war in Syria as part of the US-led coalition since 2015, when the Harper government expanded Canada’s military mission in Iraq into Syria.

The Trudeau government has twice extended Canada’s military mission in Syria, most recently until March 31, 2019.

WAR IS A DISASTER

War is a disaster for everyone it touches.

  • Soldiers are killed, maimed, traumatized.
  • Civilians in the war zone pay a tremendous price: death, injury, bereavement, displacement, trauma, poverty.
  • Citizens of countries engaged in war elsewhere also pay a price: Dead or injured loved ones. Money that could have been spent on education, affordable housing, and healthcare.

WAR IS STUPID

You see children fighting. What do you do?

  1. Encourage them to keep on fighting.
  2. Or break up the fight and ask them to work out their differences in a non-violent manner. 

ENDLESS WAR: WHO BENEFITS?

War is big business and Canada is making a killing off it— between $2 and $3 billion annually in military exports.

  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.
  • The US, “the most warlike country on earth,” according to former president Jimmy Carter, is the recipient of more than half of all Canadian military exports.
  • Saudi Arabia, despite its human rights violations and involvement in the war in Yemen, is the next largest buyer of Canadian military exports.

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious….It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” —US Major General Smedley Butler, 1935

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE IN 2019

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS

  1. Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to stop making war and to start making peace in the world. This would mean:
  • Withdrawing from the military missions in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Latvia.
  • Signing the treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • Getting out of NATO.
  • Getting out of the arms industry.
  • Developing a foreign policy independent of the US.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

  1. Send the same message to Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan: sajjan@parl.gc.ca or 613-996-3100.

ATTEND A MOVIE FOR PEACE

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 16, 6:30 pm: DR STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB, LIBRARY FILM THEATRE, 2311 12th AVE

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film is a satire about nuclear war. Starring Peter Sellers, it tells the story of an unhinged US general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

Dr. Strangelove is being screened at the request of PeaceQuest Regina. Admission is free.

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR SASKATCHEWAN

Posted by strattof on December 27, 2018

In five days’ time, it will be 2019. A new year is a time for new beginnings. 

Let’s reflect on the changes we need to bring about in our province to make life better for all who live here. We also need to resolve to follow through on those changes. 

A vast number of New Year’s resolutions – 88% – typically fail. What do we need to do to become part of the 12% that succeed?

5 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN  

  1. MAKE THE MINIMUM WAGE A LIVING WAGE.

On October 1, the Saskatchewan government raised the minimum wage by a whole dime—to $11.06 / hour. Now, rather than having the lowest minimum wage in Canada, we have the 2nd lowest.

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is a poverty wage. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983 / month, hardly affordable for even a full-time minimum wage worker earning $1,917 / month.

A Living Wage for Saskatchewan is about $16 / hour. A Living Wage ensures that workers are paid above the poverty line.

Of the 1.1 million people who live in Saskatchewan, 125,000 of them live in poverty. Some of these poor people are minimum wage workers.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Cameco president and CEO Timothy Gitzel made $6.3 million. Why isn’t there a maximum wage?

  1. RESTORE THE SASKATCHEWAN RENTAL HOUSING SUPPLEMENT.

The Rental Housing Supplement is a monthly payment that assists low income families and persons with disabilities with their rent.

  • 4,000 recipients were dropped from the Rental Housing Supplement program in 2017 and 2018.
  • On July 1 2018, the provincial government stopped taking new applications for the Rental Housing Supplement.

The reason the provincial government gives for making this cut is that vacancy rates have risen and thus rents will be more affordable. In fact, rents have not come down and would have to decrease substantially to be affordable for those unable to access the supplement.

Without the supplement, a family with two children is left with only $711 for rent. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,141.

  1. STOP STEALING INDIGENOUS CHILDREN

The genocidal policy of removing Indigenous childlren from their families did not end with the residental school system. It carries on even today.

Today, there are approximately 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan. 80% of these children are Indigenous. Today there are more Indigenous children in care in Saskatchewan than there were at the height of the residential school system.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s first Call to Action is “Commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care.”

Rather than working to make this recommendation a reality, the Saskatchewan government spent much of 2018 looking for ways to get rid of the Justice For Our Stolen Children Camp located in front of the Legislative building. A peaceful camp, its main goal was to engage the provincial government in a conversation about the over-representation of Indigenous children in Saskatchewan’s child welfare system.

  1. STOP LINE 3.

Line 3 is a tar sands pipeline owned by Enbridge. It will run through southern Saskatchewan, passing just a few kilometres south of Regina, carrying toxic tar sand oil from Hardisty Alberta to Superior Wisconsin.

Enbridge calls Line 3 a replacement pipeline. It is not. It is a new, larger diameter pipeline that will convey nearly one million barrels of tar sands oil a day, more than double the volume of the old Line 3.

Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of CO2 emissions in Canada, thus driving dangerous climate change. If Line 3 goes through, Canada will not be able to meet the commitments it made under the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.

We have just 12 years left before climate catastrophe. This is the grim warning issued in October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nation’s leading body for climate science.

5. STOP COMMERICAL DEVELOPMENT IN WASCANA PARK

Conexus is already building in Wascana Park. Brandt Developments has put out a call for tenants for the building it is proposing to build on the current site of the CNIB in the Park.

According to its founding charter, the 1962 Wascana Centre Act, Wascana Park was never intended to be used for commercial development.

Wascana Park is a public park. It is our park, paid for by generations of Regina citizens. 

MAKING PEACE VIGIL WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

EVERY THURSDAY

until PEACE breaks out 

From 12 noon to 12:30 pm

On Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

EVERYONE IS WELCOME 

For further information please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

MAKING PEACE VIGIL December 27 2018

 

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »