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Archive for October, 2008

CANADIAN ELECTION: MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on October 5, 2008

THE CANADIAN ELECTION

MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK THE CANDIDATES IN YOUR CONSTITUENCY

 

What are you prepared to do to address First Nations poverty?

●50% of First Nations people in Canada live in poverty. ●Overcrowding among First Nations families is double the rate of that of other Canadian families. ●40 First Nations reserve communities have no school. ●The average Canadian student receives 2.5 times more in education support than First Nations children. ●100 First Nations communities must boil their water. ●In the meantime, Canada is spending $22 billion on the war in Afghanistan.

 

When should Canada withdraw from Afghanistan?

56% of Canadians disapprove of Canada’s military role in Afghanistan, according to a recent Environics poll. According to another poll, 60% of Afghans want foreign troops out of Afghanistan.  97 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. A minimum of 8,000 to 10,000 Afghan civilians have also been killed since the war began in late 2001. Promised development is not taking place. There is no hope for a military solution in Afghanistan.

 

What do you think of Canada’s current role as a major military exporter?

Canada is the 6th largest military exporter in the world, just behind China. Over the past 7 years, $3.6 billion of military goods were exported from Canada. This is over 3 times Canada’s 2000 military exports and 10 times 1997’s. Canada’s involvement in the global arms trade may be greater still. Since a 2002 report, Liberal and Conservative governments have not released annual reports to Parliament detailing the full extent of Canada’s arms exports.

 

Would you speak out against civil rights violations involving Canadian authorities?

●The name Maher Arar is now well-known in Canada. With the complicity of Canadian authorities, a number of other Canadian citizens have also been taken to foreign prisons where they have been abused and tortured. ●Omar Khadr is the last citizen from a western country still to be imprisoned at Guantanamo. Britain, Australia, Germany, and Sweden all intervened successfully on behalf of their citizens, leading to their repatriation. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the conditions at Guantanamo violate “fundamental human rights protected by international law.” ●In the last decade, Canadian authorities have deported individuals with the knowledge that they could be tortured.

 

Will your party push for a major and designated investment in public transit?

Cars are a major source of air pollution in Canada. Concern for the environment, along with sky-rocketing gas prices, has caused a surge in demand for public transportation. However, over the past five years, financial support for public transportation from all government sources has declined by 25 percent. As a result, public transit systems are starved for funding.

 

LIVE CANDIDATE FORUMS

Access Channel 7 will be presenting Live Candidate Forums for all four Regina-area ridings. Audience questions will be accepted via e-email (decision2008@accesscomm.ca) and telephone (565-5376).

 

Palliser: October 8 at 6:00 pm                                     Regina Qu’Appelle: October 9 at 6:00 pm

Regina Lumsden Lake Centre: October 8 at 8:00 pm            Regina Wascana: October 9 at 8:00 pm

 

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CANADIAN ELECTION: QUESTIONS TO ASK CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on October 5, 2008

 

THE CANADIAN ELECTION

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE CANDIDATES IN YOUR CONSTITUENCY

 

When should Canada withdraw from Afghanistan?

Canada’s role in Afghanistan is not its traditional one of peace-making. Rather Canada is making war in Afghanistan. Everyday more people die as a result of the fighting. 97 Canadian soldiers have already been killed. So too have untold thousands of Afghans, many of them civilians. Promised development is not taking place. There is no hope for a military solution in Afghanistan.

 

Do you think Omar Khadr should be returned to Canada?

Omar Khadr was 15 years old at the time of his capture by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002. If his case goes to trial, he will be the first ever child soldier to be tried for war crimes. Omar Khadr is also the last citizen from a western country still to be imprisoned at Guantanamo. He has been beaten, choked, drugged, denied the use of a toilet, and subjected to sleep deprivation and solitary confinement. By refusing to negotiate with US authorities for his release, the Canadian government has been complicit in his abuse and torture.

 

What is your view of the funding cap on First Nations post-secondary education?

Education at all levels is a First Nations treaty right. In 1996, the federal government placed a 2% growth cap on funding for First Nations post-secondary education. Since 1996, the number of First Nations in post-secondary education has fallen by 9%. This is despite growing demographics. In the last 3 years, 2,100 eligible Saskatchewan First Nations students were denied education grants due to the cap.

 

If your party wins the election, what action will you take to reduce poverty in Canada?

Between 1980 and 2005, the income of the poorest Canadians fell by 20.6%. Over the same period, the income of the richest Canadians increased by 16.4%. The current child poverty rate is exactly the same as it was in 1989 when an all-party resolution to end child poverty unanimously passed the House of Commons: 11%. Today 788,000 Canadian children live in poverty. Over the last decade Canadian corporations have posted record profits. (Statistics Canada)

 

Where do you and your party stand on nuclear power?

● Nuclear power is not clean power. The nuclear industry is very energy-intensive, using massive fossil fuels—from mining, refining, and enriching uranium, to transporting and storing nuclear wastes. ● Nuclear power is uneconomic. For example, it costs about 3 times as much as wind power. No nuclear plant has ever been built without millions of dollars in government subsidies. ● Nuclear is a cancer industry. A 2007 German study found that children under 5 living within 5 kilometres of a nuclear plant had twice the risk of leukemia. ●Nuclear reactors produce ever-accumulating radioactive wastes as spent fuel that will have to be managed for millennia. No safe and secure system for storing nuclear wastes in perpetuity has been created.

 

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Support US Iraq War Resisters

Posted by strattof on October 5, 2008

Pan-Canadian Day of Action

Support US Iraq War Resisters

 

“Canada should be a refuge from militarism.”

 

Today, on September 11th, we remember those killed in the 2001 attacks in the United States.  These crimes took the lives of nearly 3,000 people, causing enormous pain and suffering.

 

Following the attacks, the US administration launched its “Global War on Terror,” leading to the invasion of Afghanistan and, ultimately, the war in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11.

 

Two days from now, on Saturday, September 13th, Canadians from across the country will be showing their support for US war resisters, an estimated 200 people who have come to Canada to avoid fighting in the Iraq war, a conflict many consider to be illegal and immoral.

 

During the Vietnam War, more than 50,000 Americans made their way to Canada, refusing to participate in the conflict.  Pierre Trudeau said this at the time:

 

Those  who make a conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war… have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism.” 

 

In June of this year, the Canadian Parliament voted to continue the tradition of offering refuge to US citizens who conscientiously refuse to participate in war, voting 137-110 to allow Iraq war resisters to remain in Canada.

 

Unfortunately, the current federal government has ignored the parliamentary vote, refusing to grant resisters asylum, and ordering their deportation instead.  After he was returned to the US, one such resister, Robin Long, was sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment and given a felony record for life—all for refusing to be what he called “a tool of destruction.”

 

 

The Voice of the Resisters

 

·         “I feel that if a soldier is given an order that he knows to not only be illegal, but immoral as well, then it is his responsibility to refuse that order.“–Brandon Hughey.

 

·         “Ninety per cent of what the recruiters tell you is a pack of lies.” Clifford Cornell

 

·         “The atrocities that were happening to the innocent people of Iraq. I didn’t want to be part of it no more. I came home and I deserted.”–Joshua Key

 

 

Show your support for the War Resisters

 

E-mail your MP (or your local election candidate) and say you think Canada should be a refuge from militarism:

Ralph Goodale: goodale@sasktel.net

Andrew Scheer: Scheer.A@parl.gc.ca

Tom Lukiwski: Lukiwski.T@parl.gc.ca

Visit www.resisters.ca for more information.

 

 

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First Nations Post-Secondary Education in Canada

Posted by strattof on October 5, 2008

First Nations Post-Secondary Education in Canada:

Treaty Rights and Broken Promises

 

Many Canadians believe that the federal government funds all First Nations post-secondary education. The facts reveal a far different reality. Here are some of those facts:

 

  • Education at all levels is a First Nations treaty right.

 

  • All Canadians benefit from the treaties signed between First Nations and the Canadian government. Regina, for example, is situated on land ceded under Treaty 4 in 1874. Under Treaty 4, the Cree and Salteaux First Nations relinquished most of current day southern Saskatchewan. In return, they received small parcels of land and other benefits, including medical care and education.

 

  • While First Nations have kept their side of the treaty agreements, the Canadian government has frequently broken the promises it made to First Nations peoples.

 

  • In Treaty 4, for example, the Canadian government pledged to build and maintain a school on each reserve. Instead of keeping this promise, the government began, in the 1880s, to remove children from their families and communities to Indian residential schools. As Prime Minister Harper said in his recent apology to former students of Indian residential schools, “the objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.”

 

  • Assimilation was also the goal of the enfranchisement clause in the Indian Act. Under the clause, any First Nations person obtaining a university degree was automatically enfranchised–that is stripped of their Indian status and treaty rights. First introduced in 1880, the clause remained in effect until 1960, the year First Nations received the right to vote federally without having to give up their Indian status.  

 

  • In 1987, the federal government began to cap First Nations higher education funding. The cap coincided with a growing demand by First Nations students for post-secondary education and rising rates of tuition.

 

  • Since 1996, a 2% growth cap has been in place on funding for First Nations post-secondary education. Since 1996, the number of First Nations in post-secondary education has fallen by 9%. This is despite growing demographics.

 

  • Number of eligible First Nations students denied education grants due to the 2% cap:

2,100               in Saskatchewan in the last 3 years

2,858               across Canada in 2007-2008

13,447             across Canada since 2001

 

  • The education provided at Indian residential schools was intended to assimilate First Nations into the lower strata of Canadian society. The 2% cap has the same economic effect. As the Assembly of First Nations puts it: “The federal government is… engaging in a modern form of oppression by disenfranchising so many young First Nations youth from their pursuit of post-secondary education and escape from lower class poverty.”

 

  • Percent of those between 15-24 who have a post-secondary education:

Non-Aboriginal Canadians: 40%

First Nations: 17%

 

Sources: Blair Stonechild, The New Buffalo; Assembly of First Nations websites; Canadian Federation of Students; Globe and Mail.

 

Make the cap on funding for First Nations post-secondary education an election issue:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0A2; or Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

Hon. Stéphane Dion, House of Commons, Ottawa, K1A 0A6; or DionS@parl.gc.ca

Hon. Jack Layton, House of Commons, Ottawa, K1A 0A6; or Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

 

 

“Today, elders say that education, rather than the bison, needs to be relied upon for survival.”                                                                                        –Blair Stonechild, The New Buffalo

 

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