Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for August, 2016

CANADIAN COLONIALISM: OUR HOME ON NATIVE LAND

Posted by strattof on August 23, 2016

Many Canadians—including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—believe Canada is not a colonial state. In Harper’s words, Canada “has no history of colonialism.” Or as Trudeau put it: Canada is “without some of the baggage that so many other Western countries have—either colonial pasts or perceptions of American imperialism.”

How, then, do we account for:

  • The 1876 Indian Act which enshrines white settler domination and supremacy and Indigenous subjugation?
  • The forced dispossession, displacement, and containment of Indigenous peoples under Canada’s reserve and pass systems—systems that made Indigenous lands available for European settlement?
  • The genocidal residential school system, for which Harper himself apologized?

COLONIALISM TODAY

White settler supremacy remains intact. In childcare, education, housing, health, employment, the justice system—indeed, almost everywhere in Canadian society—whiteness is an advantage and Indigenous identity a disadvantage. For example:

CHILD POVERTY

Figures up to June 2016:

  • 51% of First Nations children live in poverty.
  • The rate rises to 60% for children who live on-reserve.
  • The numbers are even worse for Saskatchewan where 69% of on-reserve First Nations children live in poverty.
  • The poverty rate for non-Indigenous children is 13%.

July 2016:

The Trudeau government introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a non-taxable payment which the government claims will help 90% of Canadian families. Here are the figures for a family of four:

HOUSEHOLD INCOME            CCB                 PREVIOUS PLAN        

$15,000                                   $11,800           $10, 175         

$45,000                                   $9,850             $5,900

$90,000                                   $5,875             $3,330

$140,000                                 $3,125             $2,050

$200,000                                 $0                    $1,959

Questions:

  1. How many First Nations families will the CCB pull out of poverty? To be eligible for the benefit, you have to have filled out an income tax return—which, according to government figures, means about 50% of on-reserve families could miss out on the benefit.
  2. Will an income of $26,800 pull a family of four out of poverty?

EDUCATION

  • A child who attends a First Nations school receives 33% – 50% less funding than a child in a provincial school.
  • Many on-reserve schools are in poor condition and present health concerns.

HOUSING

46     Percent of dwellings on Saskatchewan First Nations that are in poor condition.

23     Percent of off-reserve First Nations households living in Core Housing Need—that is housing that falls below the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards. The incidence of Core Housing Need for off-reserve First Nations households is almost double that of non-Indigenous households.

37     Percent of off-reserve First Nations households in Regina living in Core Housing Need—the highest incidence among Canadian municipalities.

WATER QUALITY

93     Percent of Saskatchewan First Nations that have had at least one Boil Water Advisory since 2004. 

HEALTH

39     TB incidence rate per 100,000 people on Saskatchewan First Nations, as compared to 7.5 cases per 100,000 people in the province as a whole.

52     Community Well-Being Index for Saskatchewan First Nations: Scores can range from a low of 0 to a high of 100. Most non-First Nations Saskatchewan communities score in the 80s and 90s.

COLONIALISM NO MORE!

Prime Minister Trudeau says his government is going to reset Canada’s relationship with First Nations peoples. In his words: “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation.”

What would such a renewed relationship look like? Here are a few of the demands of Regina’s Colonialism No More Camp:

  • Revoke the Indian Act
  • Uphold the true spirit and intent of the Treaties
  • Uphold and respect the Treaty rights of urban, off-reserve Indigenous peoples.

COLONIALISM NO MORE TOWN HALL: Q & A WITH INAC 

WHEN:          SATURDAY AUGUST 20, 1 – 7 pm

WHERE:        ALBERT-SCOTT COMMUNITY CENTRE, 1264 ATHOL STREET

Are you concerned about the treatment of Indigenous people in Saskatchewan and Canada? Do you have questions for representatives from INAC (formerly “Indian Affairs”)? Do you want more information about what INAC does and what services are available to you?

On August 20th, INAC and Health Canada have agreed to participate in an open Question and Answer session at Albert-Scott Community Centre in North Central. It’s a Town Hall for the people!

Everyone who has questions or concerns and wants answers is invited to attend this family event! Food will be provided.

IN MEMORIAM

This flyer is being distributed in memory of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who, on August 9, was shot and killed in the Battlefords area when the car he was in pulled into a farm yard after having a flat tire. The owner of the property, Gerald Stanley, is charged with second-degree murder.

Advertisements

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI: 71 YEARS AFTER

Posted by strattof on August 4, 2016

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a uranium bomb on Hiroshima, a city of 350.000. The bomb instantly killed a third of the population, most of them civilians. Three days later, it dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki. It too killed tens of thousands of people. In both cities many more would be dead by the year’s end, as a result of injuries and radiation poisoning.  

On the 71st anniversary of these horrific events, we remember:

  • The victims of the 1945 bombings.
  • Those who have died or been injured in nuclear accidents.
  • Those who have died or been injured from working in the uranium industry.
  • Those whose lives, land, and resources have been impacted by uranium mining.

71 YEARS AFTER

71 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear war still looms over humanity. Indeed, it is at its highest since the Cold War.

The world’s nine nuclear powers—the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—together possess some 16,000 nuclear weapons, 95% of which  belong to the US and Russia.

Now, the US is embarking on a “modernization” of its nuclear arsenal, a euphemism for the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons. Russia and China are following suit.

According to former US Secretary of Defence, William Perry, “the possibility of a nuclear calamity is higher today than it was during the Cold War.”

CANADA & NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Canada has never produced a nuclear bomb. However, Canada’s nuclear record is not innocent. Indeed, Canada has been very much involved in nuclear arms from the beginning. For example:

1945: Canada was the primary source for the uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The uranium came from Port Radium, NWT, and was refined at Port Hope, Ontario. 

1945 – 1969: Canada was the main supplier of uranium for the Cold War atomic arsenals of the US and Britain.

1970: Canada signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Officially Canada now exports uranium exclusively for the generation of electricity. However, much of that uranium, whether exported raw or as fuel in a nuclear reactor, ends up being used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. 

1974: India used a Canadian nuclear reactor, a gift from the Canadian government, to produce plutonium for its first atomic bomb, setting off a nuclear arms race with Pakistan.

2016: Today, Canada is the world’s second largest producer of uranium, exporting it to the US, Europe, China, and India.

THE SASKATCHEWAN CONNECTION

Northern Saskatchewan is, today, Canada’s only producer of uranium, with Cameco and AREVA dominating the landscape and accounting for about 20% of world uranium production.

What is the impact of Saskatchewan uranium mining on humanity on the communities in the mining area on national and provincial revenue?

IMPACT ON HUMANITY

Most of Saskatchewan uranium is exported to the US. This uranium is the initial source of much of the depleted uranium (DU) used by the US military for the production of DU weaponry. The demonstrated health effects of DU weaponry include cancer, immune system failing, kidney damage, and birth defects.

The US is also likely to use Saskatchewan uranium to develop its new generation of nuclear bombs, as is China.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the hand on the Doomsday Clock is now at three minutes to midnight, meaning that “the probability of global catastrophe is very high.” Nuclear weapons are foremost among the threats to the continued existence of humanity.

IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES IN THE MINING AREA

The uranium mining industry in Northern Saskatchewan is part of the on-going colonization of Indigenous peoples and lands in Canada. Located on traditional Dene, Cree, and Métis territories, the mines were established after minimal consultation and at the expense of traditional Indigenous land-based economies. No account was or is being taken of the effect of uranium mining on human health, wildlife, water, and land. While some jobs are on offer, most are at the lowest levels of employment. In the meantime, the uranium industry is making billions.

IMPACT ON NATIONAL & PROVINCIAL REVENUE

  • Uranium, a non-renewable resource, enjoys very low royalty rates in Saskatchewan.
  • In 1999, Cameco set up a subsidiary in Zug, Switzerland, a well-known tax-haven. Now, the Canada Revenue Agency has taken Cameco to court for tax avoidance of up to $2.1 billion. Saskatchewan’s portion of the tax bill would likely wipe out the 2016-2017 provincial deficit of $434 million.

TAKE ACTION FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

MAYORS FOR PEACE

Mayors for Peace is an initiative of the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It works for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

As of July 1 2016, 7,095 cities had joined the movement, including 105 cities in Canada—among them Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

Regina’s Mayor has been invited to join, but has declined to reply.

PEACE SYMBOL CONTEST

The peace symbol featured on the front of this pamphlet was designed for the nuclear disarmament movement. It is based on semaphore signals for the letters N and D, which, when put together, make the shape at the centre of the peace symbol.

Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk using chalk; your garden using flowers or rocks; a cake 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.

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »