Harper Watch – January 1 to 7, 2013

CBC – Penashue records removed from election spending file
Letters shedding light on the election spending and deal-wrangling by a cabinet minister’s top campaign official have been removed from a public Elections Canada file. CBC News had reported on the letters in the course of an investigation into  spending and fundraising by the campaign of Labrador MP and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.

ipolitics (Frances Russell) – The age of the billion-dollar global corporate shakedown
The North American Free Trade Agreement was the first of a New World Order of trade agreements designed, to borrow the words of the Trilateral Commission in 1975, to repeal “an excess of democracy in the western world.” It set a precedent never before dreamed of, let alone achieved, in international trade: the right of private investors to sue nations. And not just for millions, but billions, robbing national treasuries of the means to address the social and economic needs of their citizens and, in many cases, pushing them back into extreme poverty.

Toronto Star (Editorial) – 2012: A bleak year for environmental policy
The government explicitly invited resource companies to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the world’s largest estuary, and amended the Coasting Trade Act to make it easier for them to do so. This despite the fact that the seismic method of exploratory drilling that would be used in the area is known often to maim or kill some of the 2,000 species of marine wildlife that live in the Gulf and are essential to the Atlantic and Great Lakes fisheries.


(This is what happens when you develop legislation based on ideology, don’t permit proper debate in committee or accept amendments put before the House).

CBC – Mandatory minimum sentence for banned firearm struck down
The federal government’s mandatory-minimum sentence of three years imprisonment for the possession of a loaded and prohibited firearm is unconstitutional, says a provincial court judge in Surrey, B.C.

Ottawa Citizen – Tories sued for back rent on former “Fear Factory” campaign headquarters
The Conservative Party skipped out on paying the rent due on its campaign headquarters in Ottawa¹s east end last month, according to a lawsuit filed by a property management company. The party last year shut down the sprawling 19,000 square foot campaign office in a two-storey Lancaster Road office building that it had rented since 2007.


Financial Post – 170 legal victories empower First Nations in fight over resource development
The wakeup call: Corporate interests need to accept what the courts already have — that First Nations now hold the balance of power in deciding the fate of Canada’s resource projects because they have rights that others don’t


Yahoo News – Critics slam Tories’ $250 million auto investment as corporate welfare
The federal government is doling out another huge chunk of taxpayer money. On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a $250 million investment into the Automotive Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2008 to help the Canada’s automotive industry become more innovative and competitive.


Ottawa Citizen (Richard Van Loon) -The treaty relationship must evolve
(I doubt that even 1% of Canadians know that we have treaties with First Nations, how much land they cover and and what they are about. I never learned about it in school and never encountered it while helping either of my children with homework. Please forward this article far and wide.)
Then, between 1871 and 1906, 10 “numbered treaties” were quickly negotiated, covering all of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Treaty 11, covering parts of the Northwest Territories, was completed in 1921. In all of these, First Nations were required to “cede, release, surrender and yield up to the Government of the Dominion of Canada, for Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors forever, all their rights, titles and privileges, whatsoever, to the lands included within the following limits” in return for land, money, equipment, supplies, some services such as schools and the “right to pursue their avocations of hunting and fishing throughout the tract.”

Elyse Bruce Blog – Idle No More: About Those Indians
So many have the mistaken belief that the ONLY thing that matters with the Idle No More movement are First Nation rights, and that Indigenous peoples are just whining and carrying on for no good reason. The Idle No More movement is so much more than just First Nations rights, but it certainly begins with First Nation rights, and there are most certainly a number of good reasons as to why people around the world should involve themselves in this movement….
Canadians and First Nations people had no say in the changes the government made to the  Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and scrapping the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

ipolitics (Michael Harris) – Why Theresa Spence’s struggle matters
Theresa Spence’s resolve versus Stephen Harper’s stony silence: it is still the only really big story in Canada right now.
Why is she so important? For one thing, she’s has young people interested in politics again. For another, she believes in standing up for her rights in a peaceable way. For a third, she knows that official BS is still BS.

ipolitics (Paul Adams) – Should aboriginal Canadians have their own seats in Parliament?
Perhaps this sounds crazy, but this is exactly what happens in New Zealand, where seven MPs (out of a usual total of 120) are elected from constituencies of Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people who inhabited the islands before the arrival of “Pakeha”, the Maori term now used by most New Zealanders for those of European descent.


Huffington Post – Paul Martin: Theresa Spence, Hunger-Striking Chief, Is An Inspiration
An aboriginal chief who has gone without solid food for close to a month in a bid to force renewed talks between First Nations and the federal government is an inspiration to all Canadians, says former prime minister Paul Martin. Martin visited Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence at her camp on Ottawa’s Victoria Island on Saturday.

Anglican leaders ask Harper to meet with Theresa Spence
We write to you in the midst of the crisis concerning Chief Theresa Spence’s request for a meeting between you, Governor General David Johnston, and the leadership of First Nations. We urge you to meet with Chief Spence and immediately begin a process of consultation regarding the Nation to Nation relationship between Canada and First Nations. We ask this as a part of our own urgent commitment to reconciliation.

Amnesty International – Joint Statement Supporting Chief Spence and “Idle No More”
(Signed by 24 church, environmental and First Nations groups).

The omnibus budget bill C-45 introduced far-reaching changes. Amendments include changes to complex land provisions in the Indian Act that compound existing problems. It also re-writes environmental laws, including Navigable Waters Protection Act, Fisheries Act and Hazardous Materials Information Review Act, which were used to promote and protect a sustainable environment, clean water and healthy oceans. The integrity of the environment is being assaulted, to the detriment of present and future generations.


Unions of BC Chiefs – Standing for What is Right: Harper Government attacked First Nations rights in 2012
Multi-national corporations and industry are desperately seeking certainty, unobstructed convenience of access and unfettered control of their government-granted tenures….

The reality is the dismissive and unilateral actions of the Harper Government have not brought certainty to mega-projects like Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain Pipeline, Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity Mine proposal or BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam project. First Nations and local communities are vigorously opposing these mega-projects because of the detrimental long-term impacts on their territories and on their communities outweigh the fleeting, short-term economic gain promised by government and industry. As billions flow into industry and government coffers, First Nations and local communities are left to deal with the long-term social, economic and environmental consequences.

Vancouver Observer – Harper government bills that enraged First Nations and sparked Idle No More
One of the first questions that people ask about the Idle No More movement is what the movement is all about. While the historical injustices experienced by First Nations are too many to list, activists say the current government is pushing through a range of new bills that violate treaty rights.

Attawapiskat: Firing back at the racist rants and ignorant responses with facts
But $90 million could have built the community 360 brand new houses!! An important fact that many commentators forget (or are unaware of) is that section 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867 gives the Federal Crown exclusive powers over “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.” You see, for non-natives, the provinces are in charge of funding things like education, health-care, social services and so on. For example, the Province of Ontario allocated $10,730 in education funding per non-native pupil in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. For most First Nations, particularly those on reserve, the federal government through INAC is responsible for providing funds for native education.


About TheAlektera

I am a Canadian who, like many is upset at the state of our country under the Harper Regime. I do not wish to see Canada change into Harperland under the Harper Government. This blog will help document the actions of the Harper government which are eroding Canada's democratic process.
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