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JUSTICE FOR COLTEN BOUSHIE

Posted by strattof on August 8, 2019

Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of the shooting death of Colten Boushie. On August 9, 2016, Boushie, a 22 year-old member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, died from a gunshot to his head after the vehicle in which he was travelling pulled into a farmyard near Biggar. Gerald Stanley, a 56-year-old white farmer, fatally shot Boushie, at point-blank range, in the back of the head.

On February 9 2018, an all-white jury found Stanley not guilty in the shooting death of Boushie—a verdict that highlighted the systemic racism in the Canadian justice system. Since that date, Boushie’s family have been seeking justice.

Has anything changed in the 18 months since Stanley’s acquittal? Not much—at least not for the better.

Those of us who are settler Canadians must take responsibility for the failure of our justice system and stand with Indigenous Peoples in their calls for justice.

THERE WILL BE NO RECONCILIATION UNTIL THERE IS JUSTICE!

INJUSTICE IN SASKATCHEWAN

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

AN ALL WHITE JURY

It was an all-white jury that found Gerald Stanley not guilty. How did this happen? Indigenous Peoples make up over 25% of the population of the Battlefords where the trial was held.

The answer is peremptory challenges. During jury selection, lawyers can dismiss potential jurors without giving any reason. In the case of the Stanley trial, Stanley’s lawyers dismissed all visibly Indigenous potential jurors.

The Canadian government is in the process of abolishing peremptory challenges. It is the only positive step that has been taken toward justice since Stanley was found not guilty. England, the birthplace of peremptory challenges, abolished them in 1988.

CANADIAN COLONIALISM 1.0

This is what Canadian colonialism looks like.

  • When, on August 9, 2016, the RCMP went to Red Pheasant Cree Nation to inform Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, of her son’s death, officers behaved as if Boushie’s family members were criminals. RCMP vehicles surrounded the home. Officers searched the home, some with their guns drawn. An officer ordered a grieving Baptiste to “get it together” and asked her if she had been drinking.
  • In 2017, the RCMP, in an internal investigation, cleared itself of any wrong-doing when its officers visited the home of Debbie Baptiste the day her son was killed.
  • The arrest of Gerald Stanley ignited a firestorm of racism against Indigenous Peoples, much of it promoting even more violence against them. The RCMP laid no hate speech charges against those who posted hate-speech online.

JUSTIFYING THE VIOLENCE

Canadian colonial society has always found ways to justify violence against Indigenous Peoples. Here are a couple of the tried and true strategies used in relation to the killing of Colten Boushie.

PROMOTING RACISM

  • The RCMP’s first media release linked the news of Boushie’s death to a recent surge in thefts in the area—providing, as FISN Chief Bobby Cameron put it, “just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified.”
  • In covering of the case, the Canadian media all too often reproduced the usual stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples, thus helping to justify the not guilty verdict. 

PLAYING VICTIM

The response of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) to the killing of Colten Boushie was to make it look like rural landowners were the real victims. The provincial government followed suit.

  • In March 2017, SARM voted 93% in favour of lobbying the federal government for more relaxed self-defence laws.
  • In January 2019, the provincial government purchased 147 carbine rifles to arm rural conservation officers.
  • In May 2019, the provincial government passed new trespassing laws “to reduce rural crime,” thus sending a signal that vigilante justice against Indigenous Peoples has government approval.

Ever since Canada’s inception, the Canadian justice system has been deployed to protect the use of land for European settlement.

WHOSE LAND IS IT ANYWAY?

According to white settler mythology, hardy pioneers made unoccupied and unused land productive. In fact:

  • Indigenous Peoples had been occupying the land for 1000s of years and making very Oproductive use of it.
  • The Canadian government signed treaties with First Nations, under which the land was to be shared. First Nations have honoured the treaties. The Canadian government has not.

LEARN MORE ABOUT  CANADIAN RACISM & COLONIALISM

FILMS

NÎPAWISTAMÂSOWIN: WE WILL STAND UP–A DOCUMENTARY FILM ABOUT COLTEN BOUSHIE

WHEN: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14, 7 pm

WHERE: CINEPLEX CINEMAS, NORMANVIEW

The film looks at the racism in the Canadian justice system that came to light through the trial of Gerald Stanley and the Boushie family’s pursuit of justice. Everyone in Canada needs to see it.

JUSTICE FOR OUR STOLEN CHILDREN

WHEN: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14, 7 pm

WHERE: CINEPLEX CINEMAS, NORMANVIEW

A 20 minute documentary about Camp Justice For Our Stolen Children, which stood on the Legislative grounds from February to September 2018: This film will be screened in conjunction with six other short films as part of an “Indigenous Showcase” program.

All the films are part of the Regina International Film Festival. To see the full program, go to: http://riffa.ca/screening-schedule.html

BOOKS (available at Regina Public Library)

  • The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline
  • Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual For Decolonization, with essays by Pam Palmater and Arthur Manuel (online)
  • Children of the Broken Treaty, by Charlie Angus
  • Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers, by Mark Anderson and Carmen Robertson
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CONFRONTING RACISM

Posted by strattof on July 26, 2019

Many Canadians believe that racism is not a part of Canadian society. We may be feeling particularly smug in the wake of Donald Trump’s racist “Go back where you came from” tweet, attacking four Congresswomen of colour.

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, “That’s not how we do things in Canada.” Perhaps this is his aspirational goal. Regrettably racism is alive and well in Canada.

  • Canada was founded on the racist idea of white supremacy, which provided the justification for European occupation of Indigenous Peoples land.
  • 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.
  • “Go back where you came from” is an anti-immigrant sentiment heard over the decades in Canada, as well as today. Its core message is “Canada belongs to white people.”

A first step in confronting racism is to understand what it is and how it operates. This will allow us to recognize its existence in our society. Only then can we take the next step: standing up against racism both as individuals and as a society.

“GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM”

“Go back where you came from” has a variety of meanings, including “You are not allowed here.” This taunt has long and deeply entrenched roots in Canadian society and has had a powerful influence on immigration and refugee policy.

1914: THE KOMAGATA MARU

When the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying 376 Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim passengers, arrived in Vancouver harbour, Canadian authorities did not permit it to dock. Nor did they allow food and water to be provided for passengers. Eventually the ship was forced to return to India where 19 of the passengers were shot and killed by British India police. 

1923: THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT

Passed by the Canadian government, this act completely banned Chinese immigration to Canada. It remained in force until 1947.

1939: THE ST. LOUIS

When the St. Louis arrived in Halifax harbour, Canadian officials refused to allow any of its 739 German Jewish refugee passengers to land, forcing the ship to return to Europe where a third of its passengers ended up being murdered in the Nazi death camps.

2010: TAMIL ASYLUM SEEKERS

When the Sun Sea arrived off the BC coast, government authorities labelled the passengers—492 Sri Lankan men, women, and children—“terrorists” and detained them in a provincial prison for a prolonged period. Ultimately, a majority of the passengers were found to be in legitimate need of Canada’s protection.

2019: SAFE THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, signed by Canada and the US in 2004, if a person makes a refugee claim at a Canadian port of entry on the US-Canada border, they will be sent back to the US. If, however, they enter Canada at unofficial crossings, they can make a claim.

The Trudeau government is in the process of closing this “loophole,” thus stripping away the legal rights of refugees to have their claims heard.

1867 – 2019: GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM Why isn’t this taunt ever directed at white Canadians?

RACISM IN SASKATCHEWAN

GENOCIDAL POLICIES

Saskatchewan was founded on genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples:

  • John A. Macdonald’s policy, implemented in 1878, of the deliberate starvation of Indigenous Peoples living across the plains, including where Regina now stands, until they moved onto the tiny reserves the government assigned to them.
  • The residential school system, which functioned from 1880 to 1996, when the last residential school in Canada, the Gordon Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, closed.

These genocidal policies continue today. For example:

  • The over-apprehension of Indigenous children in the child welfare system: 85% of the children in state care in Saskatchewan are Indigenous.
  • The failure of provincial police services to provide protection for Indigenous women.

THE KU KLUX KLAN

In the 1920s, the KKK flourished in Saskatchewan, with a membership of 25,000. Asserting white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy, it targeted Catholics and Jews and opposed immigration to the province from anywhere but Britain.

The KKK was so mainstream in Saskatchewan that in Regina it held its meetings in City Hall.

THE YELLOW VEST MOVEMENT

In its promotion of racist, anti-immigrant views, Saskatchewan’s yellow vest movement is the 21st century equivalent of the KKK. It too wants to “Keep Saskatchewan White,” in its case by limiting immigration to people of European ancestry.

Like the KKK too, the yellow vesters have acquired mainstream legitimacy, with political leaders—Premier Scott Moe and federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer—speaking at rallies and thus giving the yellow vesters licence to carry on with their racism.

TAKE ACTION: CONFRONT RACISM

  1. Call out racist statements, along with all other forms of hate speech, whenever you encounter them.
  2. Call on all political leaders to stand up against hate 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. Learn more about racism and white supremacy in Canada. Add the following to your summer reading list (available at Regina Public Library or online).
  • Keeping Canada British: The Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan, by James Pitsula
  • The Reconciliation Manifesto, by Arthur Manuel
  • Undoing Border Imperialism, by Harsha Walia
  • A Dangerous Crossing, by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: A Legal Analysis of Genocide

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HOMELESS IN REGINA

Posted by strattof on July 23, 2019

The long-awaited plan to end homelessness in Regina has finally been released. Titled Everyone is Home: A 5-Year Plan to End Chronic and Episodic Homelessness in Regina, the plan reveals “the depth of homelessness in Regina.”

The figures are shocking—much worse than we had been led to believe.2,200 people were homeless in Regina in 2018.

Imagine the daily, even hourly, trials these 2,200 people faced:

  • Where am I going to sleep tonight?
  • Where can I find some food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
  • Where can I find a public washroom? 

The plan also reveals the cost of ending homelessness in Regina—which turns out to be quite modest: an investment of $63 million over five years in a Housing First program.

Where will the money come from? According to the plan, about $25 million will come from the federal government and $38 million from the provincial government. The problem is that these contributions “have not yet been confirmed.”

NO ONE SHOULD BE HOMELESS IN REGINA!

HOMELESS IN REGINA: 8 KEY FACTS FROM THE PLAN  

  1. Regina has more homeless people per capita than most other Canadian cities. Over the course of a year, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Regina is conservatively estimated at about 2,000.
  2. While Indigenous Peoples only make up 9% of Regina’s population, they accounted for 80% of the homeless people in the 2018 homelessness count. In other words, Indigenous Peoples are grossly over-represented in Regina’s homeless population—a reflection of the systemic racism in our country, province, and city.
  3. Women made up 51% of Regina’s homeless people in the 2018 count. More than 20% of the women had dependent children. 33% reported spousal abuse as their reason for being homeless. The rate of violence against women in Saskatchewan is double the national average.
  4. More than 25% of the homeless people in the 2018 count were youth. Most of the homeless people in the count began experiencing homelessness as youth.
  5. The main cause of homelessness in Regina is economic: the inability to find housing that is affordable. The standard definition of affordable housing is housing that costs residents 30% or less of their income.
  6. Of Regina households with a total income below $30,000, over 50% are spending more than half of their income on housing.
  7. Worse still, 54% of renter households spend more than half of their income on rent.
  8. 9% of renter households in Regina are in what is termed extreme core housing need, which is defined as living in poverty with more than 50% of income going to housing.

ENDING HOMELESSNESS

THE PROBLEM

The problem is, of course, the money—the $63 million needed to end homelessness in Regina. Neither the federal nor the provincial government has pledged support.

Nor is it likely either will do so without a lot of additional pressure.

  • The $25 million in federal funding is meant to come from the Liberal government’s National Housing Strategy, which the parliamentary budget officer recently announced is not adequately funded.
  • For over a decade, the provincial government has been implementing austerity measures.

THE PARADOX

Mayor Fougere is the force behind the plan to end homelessness. ●In the 2016 municipal election, he ran on a platform to end homelessness. ●In 2017, he brought the motion before City Council that launched the plan.

Paradoxically, Mayor Fougere refuses to put any city money into ending homelessness in Regina. According to the Mayor, “affordable housing is not a municipal responsibility.”

THE STADIUM

There is always money for sports facilities. The new Mosaic Stadium cost $278 million of our tax dollars to build. In contrast, the cost of ending homelessness in Regina is a mere $63 million.

In 2012, when the new stadium was in the planning stages, city officials promised that Taylor Field, where the old stadium stood, would be redeveloped to include 700 new affordable housing units. Now is the time to keep that promise. How about if the city allocated $4 million annually to this project for the next five years.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Ending homelessness in Regina would actually reduce costs for all levels of government. Indeed, according to the plan, the investment would return 50 cents for every dollar invested, reducing the cost of the plan from $63 million to $37 million.

Where will the savings come from? From decreases in demand for other public services, including health care, social support, policing, and corrections.

TAKE ACTION TO END HOMELESSNESS

We need to end homelessness in Regina. As Mayor Fougere put it: “With all the prosperity we have in this city and this province, with all the wealth and opportunity, we should not be facing this issue.”

The City of Regina cannot on its own solve Regina’s homelessness crisis. That will require all three levels of government. But the City can at least do its part and provide a model.

CONTACT MAYOR FOUGERE

Let Mayor Fougere know

  • You want the City to contribute to the cost of ending homeless-ness in Regina—say $4 million annually for the next 5 years.
  • You want the City to keep its promise to redevelop Taylor Field to include 700 new affordable housing units.
  • You do not want the plan to end homelessness to end up gathering dust on a shelf, along with all the previous plans.

 777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

CONTACT FEDERAL HOUSING MINISTER JEAN-YVES DUCLOS

Let Minister Duclos know you want the federal government to provide financial support for Regina’s plan to end homelessness:

613-992-8865 or Jean-Yves.Duclos@parl.gc.ca

CONTACT SASKATCHEWAN MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES PAUL MERRIMAN

Let Minister Merriman know you want the provincial government to provide financial support for Regina’s plan to end homelessness.

306-787-3661or ss.minister@gov.sk.ca

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PIPELINE DISASTER

Posted by strattof on June 27, 2019

On June 16, the Trudeau government declared a “national climate emergency.” The very next day, this same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX).

Is this blatant hypocrisy? Or might it be Orwellian doublethink: the act of holding two mutually exclusive beliefs as true. Without question, the approval of a new tar sands pipeline is not compatible with a responsible climate policy.

  • The rightly declared climate emergency is caused by rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • The leading cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • TMX will almost triple the pipeline’s capacity to carry tar sands oil.
  • Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of CO2 emissions in Canada.
  • Currently Canada is warming at twice the global rate.

WE MUST STOP THE TMX PIPELINE!

TMX FACT SHEET

  1. TMX would run roughly parallel to the already existing Trans Mountain pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby, on the BC coast, where it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to Asia for processing.
  2. TMX would increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of bitumen a day, thus facilitating the growth of Alberta’s tar sands, Canada’s greatest and fastest growing source of CO2 .
  3. Diluted bitumen, sometimes called dilbit, is tar sands oil that has been diluted with chemicals, many of them toxic, so the thick sticky substance will flow through a pipe.
  4. TMX would cross 15 First Nations, Jasper National Park, and 800 waterways. It would also run directly under a number of schools, shopping centres, and residential neighbourhoods.
  5. TMX would quadruple the number of tankers to more than 400 a year along the BC coast.
  6. In 2018, when Kinder Morgan, the US oil company that owned Trans Mountain, threatened to walk away from the expansion project, the Trudeau government bought the already existing 65-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline, along with the proposed expansion, for $4.5 billion. This figure does not include the cost of constructing the expansion, an estimated $10 billion.

CLIMATE DISASTER

What is it that the Trudeau government does not understand about a climate emergency? For over three decades, climate scientists have been warning us that if we did not make significant reductions in CO2 emissions, we would face the worst effects of climate change.

Those worst effects are already very much with us:

►Deadly heatwaves               ►Devastating droughts

►Raging wildfires                 ►Record floods

►Rising sea levels                  ►Extreme weather events

If TMX is built, Canada will miss by a long shot its 2030 Paris Agreement emissions target—to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels.

ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

PIPELINES: Pipelines are accidents waiting to happen. Between 2005 and 2018, there were 14 spills along the already existing Trans Mountain pipeline.

TANKERS: Increased tanker traffic will put the BC coast at increased risk of an ocean tanker spill.

TOXICITY: Diluted bitumen spills are particularly toxic because of the chemicals used to thin the bitumen. 

FINANCIAL DISASTER

  • The price was exorbitant. Ottawa spent $4.5 billion of our tax dollars for a 65-year-old leaky pipeline, along with the proposed expansion. According to the company’s 2017 annual report, all its pipeline assets in Canada were worth a mere $1.03 billion. It was a great deal for Kinder Morgan!
  • TMX may never be built. According to the federal government, construction is expected to start in September. But that is unlikely. ●TMX still faces some regulatory hurdles. ●Some First Nations and settler environmental groups plan to block the project through court challenges and protests. ●The BC government opposes the project.
  • TMX is not financially viable. To be cost-effective, TMX would have to be in use for 30 years. Like it or not, the end of the fossil fuel era is near. Wind and solar energy are now cost-competitive. The fossil fuel industry has already started to weaken. That is why no private sector offer was made to Kinder Morgan for its Trans Mountain pipeline assets.

4 BETTER WAYS TO SPEND $4.5 BILLION

  1. Invest in a clean-energy future.
  2. Help oil workers transition to other forms of employment.
  3. Invest in public transportation.
  4. Fix the drinking water on every First Nation = $3.2 billion.

TAKE ACTION FOR THE CLIMATE

In the words of Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish school girl who started the School Strike for Climate movement:

“Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.  

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%…. 

Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. 

I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” 

  • Thank Prime Minister Trudeau for declaring a “national climate emergency.” Let him know that you now want him to act as he would in an emergency. Such action does not include building TMX: trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211.
  • Make TMX an election issue. Let all the candidates in your riding know a) you do not want the pipeline built and b) you want the federal government to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and to start investing in solar and wind power.

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NUCLEAR POWER: SHOULD SASKATCHEWAN GO FOR IT?

Posted by strattof on June 15, 2019

Here we go again. The Government of Saskatchewan is once more speaking openly about the possibility of nuclear power for the province. The last time the province considered nuclear power was in 2008 – 2009. Public opposition was so fierce that the government backed away from the idea.

The major difference between the two proposals is size of reactor:

  • 2008 – 2009: Two large nuclear reactors
  • 2019: A number of small modular reactors

According to Premier Scott Moe, small modular reactors are, unlike large nuclear reactors, safe. In 2008, then Premier Brad Wall made the same safety claim—about large nuclear reactors.

Like Brad Wall a decade earlier, Premier Moe is also promoting nuclear energy as clean—a way for Saskatchewan to replace coal power stations and reduce its carbon emissions.

What is the truth of these and other claims being made for nuclear power?

  • Is nuclear power clean?
  • Is nuclear power safe?
  • Is nuclear energy economical?
  • Are there other energy options for Saskatchewan? Or is it time for Saskatchewan to go nuclear?

THE TRUTH ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER

NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT CLEAN.

Carbon Emissions

While nuclear power is cleaner than coal power, it is not free of carbon emissions. Vast amounts of fossil fuels are used to mine, mill, refine, enrich and transport uranium; and to process, transport, and store nuclear wastes.

Radiation

There is also nothing “clean” about the radiation that nuclear spreads: from uranium mine tailings, to reactor radiation, to radioactive wastes.

Nuclear Wastes

Nuclear reactors produce ever-accumulating radioactive wastes as spent fuel that has to be managed for millennia—essentially forever. No safe and secure system of storing nuclear wastes permanently has been created.

Remember back in 2010, when the federal government’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization was thinking that Northern Saskatchewan would be a good place to dump Ontario’s nuclear wastes? Thanks to the Committee For Future Generations and their 820 kilometre walk from Pinehouse to Regina it never happened.

NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT SAFE.

Since the first nuclear power reactors were constructed in 1954, there have been more than 100 serious accidents from the use of nuclear power. These include:

1979    Three Mile Island      US

1985    Chernobyl                  Russia

2011    Fukushima                 Japan 

Canada has had its share of nuclear accidents, nine in Ontario and one in Manitoba. The most recent was in 2011 in Pickering. 

NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT ECONOMICAL.

  • Even small modular reactors are expensive to build and maintain, especially given safety requirements.
  • No nuclear plant has ever been built without massive taxpayer subsidies.
  • Renewables are now cheaper than nuclear power.

WHAT IS NUCLEAR POWER GOOD FOR?

Why is the provincial government promoting nuclear power? The short answer to this question is to support Saskatchewan’s uranium industry. As Premier Moe put it: “We have the uranium.”

The opportunity to once again promote nuclear power arose from the federal government’s recent mandate that all coal-fired generators must be shut down by 2030, unless they have carbon capture sequestration technology.

  • 40% of Saskatchewan’s electricity comes from coal.
  • Three of the province’s generators are coal-fired.
  • Only one of these generators, Boundary Dam 3, has carbon capture and sequestration technology. 

WHAT IS SASKATCHEWAN’S URANIUM INDUSTRY GOOD FOR?

Nothing much is the answer to this question.

  • Located on traditional Dene, Cree, and Métis territories, the mines are part of Canada’s on-going colonization of Indigen-ous peoples. They operate at the expense of the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Northern Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan uranium is used by the US to develop its nuclear weaponry. Nuclear wastes from nuclear power generators are also used to produce nuclear weapons.
  • Uranium enjoys very low royalty rates in Saskatchewan.

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

RENEWABLES ARE THE ANSWER

Saskatchewan carbon emissions are, per capita, the highest in Canada– 244% above the national average. Electricity generation accounts for 20% of Saskatchewan emissions.

As part of the struggle against catastrophic climate change, Saskatchewan must shut down its coal-fired generators. It also needs to eliminate all its natural gas generators.

Saskatchewan has an (over) abundance of sun and wind. Wind and sun power have a low carbon footprint. Let’s become a leader in solar and wind power generation!

TAKE ACTION

SAY ‘NO’ TO NUCLEAR POWER

Let Premier Scott Moe know you do not want nuclear power in Saskatchewan: premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433.

Send the same message to Minister of Energy and Resources, Bronwyn Eyre, and Minister of the Environment, Dustin Duncan:

Minister Eyre: minister.er@gov.sk.ca  or 306-787-0804

Minister Duncan: env.minister@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-0393

LEARN MORE ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER

BOOKS: Available at Regina Public Library

Canada’s Deadly Secret, by Jim Harding

From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You, by Dale Dewar & Florián Oelck

Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, by Helen Caldicott

ONLINE SOURCES

Candyce Paul on uranium mining

Committee For Future Generations

Clean Green Saskatchewan; No Nuke News; Canadian Coalition

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JUSTICE FOR INDIGENOUS WOMEN

Posted by strattof on June 15, 2019

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) released its final report last week. It is a powerful and damning document.

Basing its findings on the testimonies of over 2,380 witnesses, as well as on extensive research, the commission concluded that Canada is guilty of genocide:

  • That the high rate of violence perpetrated against Indigenous girls and women and Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) people “amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples”; and
  • That this genocide has been perpetuated historically and is maintained today by the Canadian state.

The report also provides 231 recommendations or Calls For Justice that tell us what we must do to end and redress this genocide.

The work of the commission is over. The work of Canada and Canadians is just beginning.

MMIWG: 8 KEY FACTS

  1. In 2014, the RCMP published a report documenting 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada between 1980 and 2012.
  2. Current estimates put the number at around 4,000.
  3. According to the MMIWG report, “There is no reliable estimate of the numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA persons in Canada,” the reason being that “prejudice, stereotypes, and inaccurate beliefs and attitudes…negatively influence police investigations, and therefore death and disappearances are investigated and treated differently from other cases” (1b, 234).
  4. Indigenous women and girls make up about 4% of the female population of Canada. According to the RCMP report, Indigenous women and girls accounted for 16% of all female homicides.
  5. The figure for Saskatchewan is much higher: 55% of the women and girls murdered in Saskatchewan were Indigenous. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of murdered Indigenous women and girls among the provinces.
  6. According to the MMIWG report, “Indigenous girls and women now make up almost 25% of female homicide victims” (1b, 55).
  7. “Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than other women in Canada and 16 times more likely than Caucasian women” (MMIW 1b, 55).
  8. The violence has not diminished over the course of the 2.5 years of the National Inquiry. Indigenous women and girls are still being killed in disproportionate numbers and many are still vanishing without a trace.

CANADIAN GENOCIDE

“The violence the National Inquiry heard amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which especially targets women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people” (MMIWG 1a, 50).

Genocide, as defined by the United Nations includes:

  • Killing members of the group
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to group members
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calcula-ted to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Canadian settler colonialism was and is genocidal. For example:

  • 1880s: John A. Macdonald’s deliberate starvation of Indigenous Peoples on the Plains of Canada
  • 1876 – Today: The racist and sexist Indian Act
  • 1880 – Today: The forced removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities
  • Ongoing: Coerced sterilization of Indigenous women
  • Ongoing: The link between resource extraction projects, man camps, and violence against Indigenous women and girls
  • Ongoing: The impact of resource extraction on First Nations communities: uranium, tar sands, and mercury contamination
  • Ongoing: The vast over-representation of Indigenous women and girls among female homicide victims

CALLS FOR JUSTICE

It is past time to end and redress this genocide. Here are three of the report’s 231 Calls For Justice. Please read all of them. They are, the report states, “legal imperatives—they are not optional.”

1.1: All levels of government, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, “to develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

9.5: Police services “to ensure that all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are thoroughly investigated.”

15.1: All Canadians “to denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

TAKE ACTION

The lives, well-being, and safety of Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are still very much at risk. We need to educate ourselves and each other. Then we need to take action. 

LEARN MORE

  • Attend A Conversation with the Commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Friday June 14, 8:30 – 10 am, CB 308, College Avenue Campus. Three of the Inquiry’s commissioners will share the insights and perspectives found in the report. 
  • Read the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is available online. Start with the Supplementary Report on Genocide and the Calls For Justice.

2 ACTIONS TO GET US STARTED

CALL FOR JUSTICE 1.1: Call on the federal government to start working immediately (before the federal election) “to develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

CALL FOR JUSTICE 15.1: “Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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