Tag Archive | Canada

Keystone XL Foes Brace for Battle*

Keystone XL pipeline segments Credit:Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Keystone XL Foes Brace for Battle


President Donald Trump approves permit for Keystone XL Pipeline across Canadian border re-igniting opposition

President Donald Trump’s approval of the cross-border permit that would allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be laid across the 49th Parallel eliminates the hurdle that stopped it in 2015. But other obstacles have cropped up in the meantime, and opponents of the TransCanada project in both the U.S. and Canada are joining forces to fight the pipeline—led by Indigenous Peoples.

“Today, the fight to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline begins anew—and Donald Trump should expect far greater resistance than ever before,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“Indigenous people are rising up and fighting like our lives, sovereignty, and climate depend on it—because they do. Over and over again, we’ve seen Trump choose the profits of his billionaire friends over our sovereign, treaty and human rights. It shows a clear disregard of our tribal rights to consent and self-determination, and it is unacceptable in this day and age.”

Trump had signed executive orders and memoranda days after taking office that were designed to move forward both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Soon afterward the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave Energy Transfer Partners the last permit it needed to drill under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. And on Friday March 24, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon signed a permit for TransCanada “to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border in Phillips County, Montana for the importation of crude oil,” according to a State Department press release. (Newly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, had recused himself from the decision, according to McClatchy newswire.)

“Today we begin to make things right,” Trump said on Friday March 24, according to The New York Times.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said the approval would do anything but. Chairman David Archambault II decried the Keystone XL approval and vowed that the tribe would fight it as vociferously as it had stood ground against DAPL.

“Once again, the treaty lands of the Great Sioux Nation are threatened by Keystone—a perilous pipeline,” Archambault said in a statement.

“President Trump has described the proposed pipeline as ‘the greatest technology known to man or woman.’ If that is the case, then I would encourage him to do some research and look at the number of oil spills we’ve experienced throughout this country, the levels of water pollution, and the science behind climate change. This is not the way of the future.”

The $8 billion pipeline is slated to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of viscous bitumen from the Alberta Oil Sands in Canada, to the U.S. and eventually to the Gulf Coast for likely export. Given the need to reduce fossil fuel extraction and consumption, Obama in 2015 declared it was not in the best interests of the United States.

The project has been hit with resistance in both the U.S. and Canada.

“Governments should be supporting action to fight climate change and support Indigenous rights, not trying to ram through projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart in a statement from the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, a consortium of 122 First Nations and tribes on both sides of the border.

“Indigenous peoples across the continent will stand together to protect our rights and our traditional territories.”

The indigenous groups oppose expansion of the Alberta oil sands in general and has been working to block passage of various pipeline and rail projects to transport crude from that region.

Trump’s actions do not ensure that the pipeline will be built. It lacks permits in key areas, and some of its existing permits have expired elsewhere, meaning the company will have to reapply. And opponents such as Bold Nebraska, where the route remains unapproved, plan to step up their game.

“TransCanada still has no state permit or approved route in Nebraska,” Bold Nebraska said in a statement. “The Nebraska Public Service Commission just launched an 8-12 month review of their pipeline route permit application. The process includes public hearings and formal ‘intervenor’ proceedings that will take legal, Treaty and water experts.”

Also standing between TransCanada and approval “is the core group of brave farmers and ranchers, who for seven years have refused to give in to TransCanada’s threats of using eminent domain for their private gain,” Bold Nebraska said.

“Landowners have fought the TransCanada’s attempts to seize their land against their will and continue to fight this abuse of eminent domain for private gain in the courts.”

With exemptions to Trump’s stated requirement that Keystone XL be made with U.S. instead of foreign steel, plus the minimal number of jobs that would be created, are not engendering much faith in the project’s necessity.

“The Trump Administration’s review of this toxic pipeline was tainted from the beginning, leaving no doubt that Trump would try to force this pipeline through regardless of the consequences it would have on the communities it touches, or on our climate,” Goldtooth said. “We’ve stopped the toxic Keystone XL Pipeline once, and we will do it again. Indigenous nations stand united not just here in the U.S. but around the world. This fight is not over, it is just beginning.”


Related Topics:

Two Major Pipelines Spill the Same Week Trump Advances KXL, DAPL*

Trump Signing Executive Order Forcing Continuation of DAPL and Keystone XL*

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

Native Tribes in U.S. and Canada Sign Treaty Again Opposing Oil Pipelines*

In Alaska, Indigenous Voices Raised in the Struggle Between Life and Oil*


Canadian First Nations Battle Pipelines on Ground, in Court*

Canadian First Nations Battle Pipelines on Ground, in Court*

Indigenous leaders gather on Lelu island where the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation has set up camp to protest the construction of the Petronas LNG terminal. | Photo: Skeena Watershed Coalition


Salmon — an important source of food and culture for the Gitxsan First Nation — will be in danger.

The Gitxsan First Nation in Canada is blocking oil pipeline construction on two fronts, blocking construction of one on their territory and launching four lawsuits against another one that they argue would endanger its salmon, rest on an improper consent process and violate their fishing rights.

The Luutkudziiwus house of the Gitxsan Nation has been occupying a part of their territory since 2014 to prevent the construction of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, which they say did not consult the right people before approving the project.

Meanwhile, the US$36 billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility has been hit with four judicial reviews, including by the Gitanyow and Gitwilgyoots First Nations, to challenge the federal government’s approval of the project.

The site of the planned off-loading terminal has already been evaluated and deemed unsuitable for development, and it would threaten the Skeena watershed, which holds the second-largest salmon run, according to DeSmog Blog.Salmon — an important source of food and culture for the Gitxsan First Nation — will be in danger.

“If we do not have Lelu island, if we do not have the eelgrass, our salmon will not survive,”  Yvonne Lattie, one of the plaintiffs in the judicial review and member of the Gitxsan First Nation told DeSmog Blog.

“Lelu island is vital in the survival of the salmon and in the survival of the aboriginal people that live on the Skeena.”

They argue that since it’s their territory,

We have the right and ability to manage our own rights and resources, and they’re going to have to recognize that,” said Wright.

The First Nations have launched fundraisers and ran an event last week to cover legal fees, while the companies behind the pipeline have even been subsidized by the Canadian government., The Sierra Club will soon release a study on how the government of British Columbia has reduced corporate tax rates for LNG, bolstering the Gitxsan analysis of the interests behind the pipeline despite the limited economic gains it will bring.


Related Topics:

The Annual March Demand Justice for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada*

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

First Nations in Canada and U.S. Sign Treaty Opposing Pipelines*

A Ruling that Highlights Indigenous Love of the Land and Canada’s Destruction of It*

Canada’s Bishops blast Trudeau: $650M Global Abortion Fund as ‘cultural imperialism,’ ‘exploits women’*

Canada’s Bishops blast Trudeau: $650M Global Abortion Fund as ‘cultural imperialism,’ ‘exploits women’*

Canada’s Bishops blast Trudeau: $650M Global Abortion Fund as ‘cultural imperialism,’ ‘exploits women’*

Prime Minister Trudeau announcing $650 million commitment to increase global access to abortion


By Lianne Laurence

Canada’s Catholic bishops have slammed Justin Trudeau and his Liberals for their $650 million commitment to increase global access to abortion as “a reprehensible example of Western cultural imperialism” that “exploits women.”

And they castigated the Catholic prime minister for a “policy and vision” that is in “conflict” with the Catholic Church’s teaching “to defend and protect human life from conception to natural death.”

On International Women’s Day, Trudeau announced his Liberal government will spend $650 million over three years to “address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.”

But in an open letter to Trudeau released Friday, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) pointed to a government media background document. It stated that “a major part of the funding will be toward removing ‘judicial and legal barriers to the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights’.”

The bishops also cited a March 17 Globe and Mail article reporting a federal official had confirmed “these barriers include the anti-abortion laws in many countries.”

“Such a policy is a reprehensible example of Western cultural imperialism and an attempt to impose misplaced but so-called Canadian ‘values’ on other nations and people,” wrote the bishops.

“It exploits women when they are most in need of care and support, and tragically subverts true prenatal health care,” read the letter signed by CCCB president Bishop John Crosby of Hamilton.

“It negates our country’s laudable efforts to welcome refugees and offer protection to the world’s homeless, when the youngest of human lives will instead be exterminated and the most vulnerable of human beings discarded as unwanted human tissue,” the bishops wrote.

The bishops concluded their letter by telling Trudeau:

“Your policy and vision, contrary to the fundamental ethic of protecting the most vulnerable and assisting the weakest, are in conflict with the principles instinctively shared by the majority of the world’s population and consistently upheld by the Catholic Church: to defend and protect human life from conception to natural death.”

Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson lauded the forceful statement.

“The bishops have courageously exposed Trudeau’s so-called feminism for what it really is: an exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable women,” Gunnarson said.

“They also implicitly reveal Trudeau’s arrogance by rebuking his ‘Western cultural imperialism’,” he added.

“Trudeau is convinced he knows what’s best for women around the world, and so he doesn’t even bother to ask women in developing countries what they need and want,” Gunnarson said. “He’s using Canadian tax dollars to underwrite a global culture of death.”

“I hope and pray that Trudeau, who has said in the past that his Catholic faith is important to him, will listen to his bishops,” he added.

“We urge all people of good will, especially now that it’s Lent, to pray and fast daily for the conversion of our prime minister, who seems obsessed with abortion, and for the conversion of his Liberal minions.”

According to Trudeau, women around world the world “are denied legal control over their bodies and reproductive health.”

And that is “why we will continue to place gender equality and rights, and the empowerment of women and girls, at the heart of our international development work,” he said Wednesday when announcing the fund.

The Global Affairs backgrounder details what Canada’s $650 million global “sexual and reproductive health and rights” investment will pay for:

  • comprehensive sexuality education;
  • reproductive health services;
  • family planning services, including contraception;
  • safe and legal abortion services and post-abortion care;
  • preventing and managing HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections;
  • preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence, including the prevention of harmful practices such as child and early forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting, and the provision of psycho-social services for survivors;
  • training health care professionals in the provision of sexual and reproductive health-care services and family planning;
  • advocacy activities of women’s, youth, Indigenous and LGBTI civil society groups;
  • addressing social norms that limit women’s and adolescents’ control over their bodies and reproductive decision-making; and
  • removing judicial and legal barriers to the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights

The Liberal “sexual and reproductive health and rights investment will contribute to the attainment of the U.N.’s sustainable development goal 3.7,” it states.

That goal is to ensure “universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning and information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs by 2030.”

The Canadian bishops’ open letter to Trudeau can be read here.


Related Topics:

African Woman Schools U.N. Delegate on Why Pushing Abortion is ‘neo-colonialism’*

VIDEO: Bioethics, Eugenics and the “after-birth abortion” of newborns

European Parliament Abortion Campaign Seeks to Indoctrinate Children*

New U.S. Law Lets Families Sue Doctors to Prevent Dismemberment Abortions*

Trump to end Obama Funding of Foreign Abortions by Sunday, Claims Report*

Abortions Banned in Russian City for 1 Day in memory of Biblical ‘massacre of innocents’*

Abortion Survivor to Congress – ‘I was Born Alive after Being Burned in My Mother’s Womb’*

‘This baby won’t stop breathing!’: Abortionist Strangled Baby Born Alive While Nurses Stood and Watched*

Poland Debates Banning Abortion After Live Baby Cries Itself to Death*

Canada’s Telecom made $37mn Last Year Charging to Unlock Cellphones*

Canada’s Telecom made $37mn Last Year Charging to Unlock Cellphones*

By Sophia Harris

Canadian telecoms made a total of $37.7 million last year by charging customers to unlock their cellphones. That’s a whopping 75% jump in this source of revenue compared to 2014.

Telecoms often order locked phones from manufacturers that are programmed to work only with their service. Then they charge a fee — typically $50 — to unlock the phone if a customer wants to switch providers.

The charge is unpopular with consumers. It has even been referred to it as a ‘ransom fee.’

The unlocking revenue total was provided by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The CRTC said it could not confirm the exact number of providers in the tally, other than to say, it was “up to seven.”

It also wouldn’t provide company names or the breakdown from each one. That’s because the wireless carriers argued that releasing their unlocking revenues publicly would put them at a competitive disadvantage.

CBC News did confirm that the $37.7 million total included Bell, Rogers and Telus, which own a lion’s share of the Canadian wireless market.

Unlocking charge described as ‘hostage fee’

The CRTC is looking into the issue of unlocking fees following much criticism about the fairness of the charge.

The controversial fee was a hot topic at a CRTC hearing last month. Consumer groups argued customers shouldn’t be dinged for the service — especially if they’ve paid off their phone.

“You should be able to unlock it [for free] at the very least once you’ve paid off the device. You own it,” says John Lawford, executive director with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa.

He also points out that it’s the provider who supplies the locked phone in the first place, and then charges the consumer to undo the process.

“Who’s the author of whose misfortune here?” says Lawford.

The CRTC also invited the public to comment online during the hearing. Many took the opportunity to gripe about the charge.

“Now after paying for the phones we are held ransom to unlock them to go to another provider. Totally ridiculous,” stated one person.

“Excuse me, but I own the phone.”

“That’s called a ‘Ransom Fee’ or ‘Hostage Fee’ in any other business,” wrote another individual.

“It is unbelievable how the government allows these companies to extort money like this!”

Keep them from straying

“I think the CRTC wanted to see if it was a money grab,” Toronto consumer advocate Dennis Hogarth says of why the commission compiled the revenue data.

But Hogarth believes the fee is less about a cash grab and more about providers trying to prevent customers from straying.

“It’s a major demotivating factor in having people move their plans from one provider to another,” says Hogarth, vice president of the Consumers Council of Canada.

But many providers, including Bell, Rogers and Telus, stand by their unlocking fees.

The big three each charge $50 for the service. During the CRTC hearing, Telus and Bell argued that phones need to be locked in the first place to stop third party dealers from reselling coveted models, like the latest iPhone, overseas.

“We want them to stay in the country which they were intended for, ” said Claire Gillies, Bell Mobility’s vice president of marketing.

Bell and Rogers also said that locked phones help protect them against consumers walking away from their contracts. That’s because customers must wait 90 days for a provider to unlock their phone — time that a provider can use to establish that a customer is legitimate and paying the bills.

Bell, Rogers, and Telus also warned that if they didn’t charge an unlocking fee for the few customers who want it done, the cost would have to be passed on to everyone.

“We think it’s a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking,” said Howard Slawner, vice president of regulatory telecom at Rogers.

‘Toxic revenue’

However, upstart Freedom Mobile — formerly Wind — isn’t onside. It wants the CRTC to get rid of unlocking fees.

During the hearing, Freedom’s vice president of regulatory relations Ed Antecol called unlocking charges “toxic revenue” because “it’s revenue that we earn that basically angers and displeases customers.”

Banning the charge could benefit a smaller provider like Freedom by making it easier for customers to switch from more established players.

Freedom charges customers $30 for unlocking and says it can’t afford to drop the fee unless its competitors do so as well.

Freedom Mobile wants the CRTC to eliminate unblocking fees. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)


The provider also argued a locked phone doesn’t deter hucksters or fraudsters. That’s because people can bypass the provider and get their phone unlocked by numerous cellular-related businesses that also offer the service.

“A customer can go to … your local computer shop or whatever and get that phone unlocked anyway and perhaps in a dangerous way,” said Antecol.

Stop locking phones?

As for concerns about paying for other customers’ unlocking services, Freedom argues the solution is simple — don’t lock phones.

In its final submission to the CRTC, the company said that device locking is an optional feature offered by cellphone manufacturers. So Freedom recommended that the commission mandate that telecoms only provide unlocked phones to customers.

“If all phones are sold unlocked, all costs incurred by carriers that are currently associated with unlocking fees will disappear,” stated Freedom.

The CRTC is currently reviewing Canada’s Wireless Code, which also covers unlocking rules.

It will have to weigh not only the contradictory arguments from providers, but also arguments from consumers.

Consumers appear united on their stance on unlocking fees.

“This is gouging at its worst,” said one cellphone customer in response to CRTC’s invitation to comment.


Related Topics:

Is Your Cellphone Tapped!

How Wi-Fi Will Be Used to Erase Civil Liberties*

Canada Parliament Committee Calls for “Protection of Vulnerable Groups” from Wi-fi*

The Cell Phone is in Its 40th Year. Meet the Black Man Dr. Henry Sampson Who Played a Key Role in Its Invention*

Conscientious Scientists Make an Int’l Appeal on the Wide-scale Problem of Wi-fi*

What They Don’t Want You to Know About the E.U.-Canada Trade Deal*

What They Don’t Want You to Know About the E.U.-Canada Trade Deal*

By Amy Hall

Canadian Tar Sands: CETA may force the EU to accept this dirty fossil fuel. Image: Greenpeace

Canadian Tar Sands: CETA may force the EU to accept this dirty fossil fuel. Image: Greenpeace

Canadian Tar Sands: CETA may force the EU to accept this dirty fossil fuel. Image: Greenpeace.

Meet the corporate sell off trade deal that Dr. Liam Fox snuck through a back-room of parliament as the Commons debated Brexit.

It is one of a ‘new generation‘ of trade deals agreed in secretive negotiations around the world. It has been described as the ‘ugly brother‘ of TTIP, the E.U-U.S trade deal, and the ‘most ambitious’ trade agreement that the E.U. has concluded.

The E.U/Canada trade deal threatens to put corporate interests over many things that we in Britain take for granted. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – to give it its official name – risks our food standards, undermines our rights at work, and fails to adequately protect the environment or bolster efforts to stop runaway climate change.

While civil society has largely been left out of negotiations, it seems that corporate lobbyists have been closer to the action.

If the European parliament votes CETA through (voted through 15th Feb), much of the deal can be provisionally implemented without the agreement of member states. While Britain remains part of the E.U., we will be bound by this. If our parliament ratifies CETA before we leave the E.U. we will be bound by the whole thing.

Brexit or not Britain faces CETA, or something that resembles it uncannily. Determined to prove that leaving the European Union does not mean that the UK’s free trade hopes are dashed, the way the government has dealt with the CETA process could be an indicator of how trade and investment policy works post-Brexit – and it isn’t looking good.

CETA is being seen as something to emulate in future free trade agreements, including with the European Union and Canada.

“We can pick up the almost complete agreement between the E.U. and Canada, and if anything liberalise it,” wrote David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on the for Conservative Home.

For now though, the government is not giving up on CETA. Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who is no stranger to the world of corporate lobbying, had committed to debating CETA on the main floor of the House of Commons. But he managed to bury this long awaited session to a House of Commons committee room on Monday 6 February: the same time as the Brexit Bill vote.

Fox, who has long made clear he feels the U.K. should have fewer trade ties with Europe and more with North America has been accused of “disregard for proper scrutiny of parliament” over CETA.

It’s not surprising the trade minister was so keen to sneak this deal past MPs. CETA challenges our already flawed democratic system by handing over more power to multinational corporations through the Investment Court System. This has replaced the notorious Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in E.U. investment negotiations, and can force governments to compensate corporations over public interest policies that threaten their profits, bypassing national legal systems and courts, and hugely undermining the ability of MPs to legislate on vital matters of public interest.

It’s these corporate courts which have been one of the things most rattling people about trade deals like CETA. A European Commission consultation on investment protection and TTIP in 2014, which had nearly 150,000 replies, found ‘wide-spread opposition’ to ISDS.

U.N. Independent Expert Alfred de Zayas has described ICS as “a zombie of ISDS” and argued that ICS and ISDS should be abolished.

“It is States, particularly developing States, and their populations that need protection from predatory investors, speculators and transnational corporations, who do not hesitate to engage in frivolous and vexatious litigation, which are extremely expensive and have resulted in awards in the billions of dollars and millions in legal costs,” he said in a U.N. press release.

CETA will increase the number of companies able to sue the E.U. and its member states. Research by Gus Van Harten of York University and lawyer Pavel Malysheuski published in 2016 found that the beneficiaries of ISDS have “overwhelmingly been companies with more than USD1 billion in annual revenue – especially extra-large companies with more than USD10 billion – and individuals with more than USD100 million in net wealth.”

As well as threats to democracy, food safety, public services and workers’ rights, CETA is a massive danger to environmental protection. The European Commission argues that the agreement contains ‘strong rules‘ to protect the environment, but environmental experts who have seen it argue that it can’t be enforced adequately if they are violated and the language is weak.

One of the major threats comes from industries like mining and fossil fuel extraction. As highlighted by a group of NGOs earlier this year,

“The extractive industry is prolific in launching arbitration lawsuits. Over 50% of global mining companies are based in Canada.”

Canadian companies already have form. For example, in 2016 Canadian energy company TransCanada launched a US$15-billion lawsuit against the U.S. government under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because of the pre-Trump decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline.

CETA could also increase imports into Europe of oil from Canada’s destructive tar sands. As well as a devastating impact on the climate through emissions and deforestation, these are also causing destruction in and risk the health of First Nations communities, including poisoning their water supplies and destroying sacred territories.

It was hoped that the E.U.’s Fuel Quality Directive could have stopped tar sands oil coming into Britain because of its much higher emissions, compared to conventional oil.

But lobbying from the Canadian government, supported by the likes of BP and Shell, contributed significantly to weakening the directive and leaving the possibilities for tar sands oil in Europe open.

Pressure from campaigners killed TPP and TTIP. Whatever happens with today’s vote on CETA, now is not the time to hold off the pressure. Although there can be provisional application of most of the deal if it passes, there does still need to be ratification in regional and national E.U. parliaments for it to take full effect.

In Britain there is important work to do when it comes to future trade deals negotiated with countries like the US and Canada, but also others around the world.

Mark Dearn, War on Want’s senior trade campaigner says that the movement is looking out for what comes next, including a potential US-UK trade deal post-Brexit. “Is the movement ready?… (I) very much so,” he says. “People have become very wise to the threat of trade deals off the back of TTIP and CETA so they’re very mindful of what comes next.”

As Dearn says, trade mechanisms, and the process of their negotiation, need to be transparent and accountable as we need to make sure things are done in the best interests of people, animals and the planet, and not just profit. We need to look at what it is that could be “negotiated away.”

There are many ways we can try and ‘take back control’ in post-Brexit Britain, including working from the grassroots to challenge neoliberal politics and the power of multinational corporations in the ways we work and live. There also needs to be more pressure on our politicians to stop them treating environmental protection, safety and public services as troublesome ‘red tape’ to be slashed away.


Related Topics:

European Parliament Demands Legal Scrutiny of CETA’s ‘Corporate Court’ System*

British Gov’t Silent on Secret E.U. Meetings with Lobbyists*

Eurocrats Making Record Number of Laws in Secret*

Growing Opposition Forces E.U. into a Humiliating Climb-down on CETA*

GMO Wheat Trials to Begin in Europe*

E.U. Bullies its Way through an Reciprocal Trade Access in Africa*

Indigenous Women Shut Down Tar Sands Pipeline Hearing*

BP, Trafigura and Vitol Export Dirty Oil to Africa to Kill People*

On the Rights of Nature*

The Annual March Demand Justice for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada*

The Annual March Demand Justice for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada*

Indigenous protesters march before the start of a meeting between chiefs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa January 11, 2013. | Photo: Reuters

Indigenous protesters march before the start of a meeting between chiefs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa January 11, 2013. | Photo: Reuters

As many as thousands of Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada — a crisis finally being investigated with a national inquiry.

Hundreds of women marched Tuesday for the Annual Women’s Memorial March held on Valentine’s Day in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to honor the memory of all women who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence as part of a national crisis of at least 1,200 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada.

“Increasing deaths of many vulnerable women from the Downtown Eastside still leaves family, friends, loved ones, and community members with an overwhelming sense of grief and loss,” the Women’s Memorial March Committee said in a statement.

“Indigenous women disproportionately continue to go missing or be murdered with minimal action to address these tragedies or the systemic nature of gendered violence, poverty, racism, or colonialism.”

The march was founded 25 years ago when Cheryl Ann Joe, 26-years-old and mother of three, was assaulted for two hours, mutilated and then murdered in East Vancouver. Her killing was one among what advocates estimate could be thousands of cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women — much higher than the official police estimate of 1,200 victims.

The annual march is held in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, known for its high rate of poverty, sex work and for being home to North America’s first safe injection site that supports drug users in the area with a focus on public health. The neighbourhood is also an epicenter of activism around issues of affordable housing, poverty and inequality, and movements have been organizing in the area to raise awareness about violence toward Indigenous women for decades.

“We didn’t want it just to be about Cheryl — her mother Linda Joe wanted it to be about all of the women whose lives were taken,” Joe’s cousin Melodie Casella told Canada’s CBC.

Brian Allender, Cheryl’s killer, is currently serving a life sentence at the Mountain Institution in Agassiz, British Colombia, but the victim’s family is still deploring with what they see as many “flaws” in the justice system.

Among those challenges is the fact that Allender has already been on 59 work releases, according to CBC, including seven releases within the community under escort. The family says Cheryl’s killer is still “not accountable” for the crime after 25 years, and they hope that the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women — launched in 2015 — will grapple with the problems they have faced in the justice system.

The annual march is a long-standing public display of the anger and frustration around the issue of systematic and colonial violence toward First Nations communities, especially women. For years it has been one of many initiatives aimed at drawing attention to the lack of government action on the crisis.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government finally launched in 2015 a national inquiry to investigate the hundreds of cases after widespread calls were unanswered for years under conservative former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Though welcomed by First Nations communities and allies, the national inquiry — and Trudeau’s larger promise to renew relations with Indigenous people — has also faced criticism.

In 2014, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that 1,017 Aboriginal women had been murdered in the country between 1980 and 2012, and another 108 are still missing under suspicious circumstances. Trudeau’s ministers of women and Indigenous affairs have said that the accurate number of victims is likely much higher.

Rights groups have long been demanding that law enforcement agencies do more to prevent and solve crimes directed at the community.



Related Topics:

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

Disappearing and Murdered: Canada’s Indigenous Women*

A Ruling that Highlights Indigenous Love of the Land and Canada’s Destruction of It*

Native Tribes in U.S. and Canada Sign Treaty Again Opposing Oil Pipelines*

Nestlé to Control Canadian Water Supply that Effect 6 Indigenous Tribes*

Indigenous Women Shut Down Tar Sands Pipeline Hearing*


Cloned Cattle Entering the E.U.*

Cloned Cattle Entering the E.U.*

CETA is putting transparency and consumer choice at risk

Research conducted by Testbiotech has shown that cows and their offspring stemming from cloned bulls are registered in a professional breeders database in the U.K. It is likely that a considerable number of animals stemming from clones have already entered the E.U. At present, the E.U. has no labelling or registration requirements for these kinds of imports, which makes it almost impossible to identify breeding material stemming from cloned bulls. The research was commissioned by the Greens/EFA Group in the E.U. Parliament.

The Testbiotech report shows that every year around 30 to 40 tons of bull sperm enter the E.U. from the US for the purpose of cattle breeding. Further imports originate from Canada. These imports might include breeding material from cloned bulls, particularly as the U.S. is known to be one of the countries actively engaged in cloning in the cattle breeding sector. The semen is frozen and traded globally. Only the breeders know if material from cloned bulls is used, and they choose not to make their breeding registers accessible to the public. Access to the U.K. data remains an exception.

The European Parliament, as well as the German Bundestag and the German government all advocate a ban on cloned animals for food production in the E.U. The reasons are mostly ethical concerns, since cloning involves a high degree of animal suffering due to interference in the gene regulation of the animals. For this reason, the E.U. Parliament is amongst those institutions demanding that systems are established to gain more transparency and to register the clones, their offspring, relevant products and breeding material. Without such measures, the animals and food derived thereof can enter the market unnoticed. As yet, there is a complete lack of transparency, and there is no information available to competent authorities, farmers, food producers or consumers.

As the research from Testbiotech shows, the upcoming free trade agreement CETA might obstruct greater levels of transparency in future. Mandatory labelling of relevant products might, according to CETA, simply be regarded an unjustified barrier to trade. Testbiotech recommends that the E.U. Parliament seeks legal certainty and clarity before a final vote on the free trade agreement is taken. Otherwise, adopting CETA might lead to the E.U. parliament being in conflict with its own resolutions, political goals and previous achievements.

“Our report shows that after all the discussions on CETA, farmers, food producers, and consumers will, in future, be left in a state of continuing uncertainty if transparency and freedom of choice cannot be ensured. Unless this crucial question is resolved, CETA remains a nightmare in the making for everyone who believes that free trade should never override the interests of consumers,” says Christoph Then for Testbiotech.

The new report from Testbiotech: www.testbiotech.org/node/1840


Related Topics:

European Parliament Demands Legal Scrutiny of CETA’s ‘Corporate Court’ System*

E.U. Council Decides to Sign CETA Trade Agreement and Celebrate with Canada*

CETA: Your Life, Their Choice

Study Finds Clear Differences between Organic and non-Organic Milk and Meat*

Investors Demand that McDonald’s Ban Antibiotics in its Meat*

Poisoned Meat Returned to Where it Comes from – the U.S!

Meat By Any Means