Canada: Attawapiskat Citizens In Desperate Need of Housing -Some are Living in Tents

Canada: Attawapiskat Housing Crisis A Serious Risk To Women, Children, Elders

By Ahni Nov 22, 2011

Children living in un-insulated tents; families relying on buckets for toilets; elders living in sheds–these are some of the conditions witnessed by Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson on a tour through Attawapiskat this month.

For almost two years, the Attawapiskat First Nation has been facing a severe housing shortage. As MP Charlie Angus recently witnessed first-hand, there are several families on the reserve who are living in makeshift shelters including uninsulated tents, converted garages, temporary trailers and deteriorating homes filled with Stachybotrys chartarum–a fungi more commonly known as black mold.

Some of the shelters have no heat, electricity, or plumbing of any kind. Some don’t even have toilets, so instead people are using plastic buckets, which they are dumping into nearby ditches.

With winter fast approaching, the housing shortage is turning into the kind of crisis that humanitarian aid groups would normally flock to in droves, if it was happening in Haiti or Darfur. But the Cree Fist Nation isn’t in Haiti, it’s in Canada. And Canada is basically doing nothing. In fact, these days the government seems more interested in spying on Cindy Blackstock and shutting down native healing centres than actually helping and working with Indigenous Peoples.

In response to the ongoing crisis, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence recently declared a state of emergency, in which she pleaded for the government to step in and, if necessary, lead an emergency evacuation to ensure everyone’s health and safety. The government said no.

It probably came as no surprise to Chief Spence, given the way Canada has dealt with Attawapiskat in recent years. For instance, in 2009, another state of emergency was declared after INAC finally stepped in to clean up a 30,000 gallon oil spill from the 1970s. The mass of oil had accumulated directly beneath the community’s school grounds.

Some 30 years later, children at the school started getting sick, leaving Attawapiskat with no choice but to abandon the building. INAC responded by providing a new makeshift school a few metres away; but the actual clean up didn’t begin for another nine years.

In 2009, INAC demolished the old school and left an “open wound” at the center of the community, which it covered with a tarp.

Soon after that, community members started complaining of headaches, nausea, skin rashes, nosebleeds and chronic diarrhea. In the makeshift school, some children were said to be just “passing out”.

Canada did nothing. In fact, then-INAC Minster Chuck Strahl even went so far as to say that the whole situation was little more than a publicity stunt being propped up “on the backs of needy aboriginal people.”

This time around, the Canadian government appears to be acting a shade more reasonably, but only a shade. They recently promised to give the First Nation $500,000 to renovate 15 houses; but that’s it. Federal officials haven’t even bothered to visit the community. And who knows how long that will take for that fund to go through; never mind the fact that almost half of the houses on the reserve need renovations or are condemned.

In a frustrating twist, Attawapiskat happens to be in the shadow of the De Beers Victor Diamond Mine, which extracts about 600,000 carats per year.

Attawapiskat is getting an undisclosed amount of money from De Beers; however, Chief Spence says the bulk of that money goes directly into a trust fund which they can’t access for housing. Chief Spence is trying to renegotiate with De Beers, but those negotiations don’t appear to be going anywhere. Source

The Canadian government says it has given Attawapiskat roughly $90 million since 2006. However, documents from the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada show Attawapiskat only received $4.3 million in funding for housing since 2006. Source

Someone is not being truthful. Which is it?

I am guessing they only received $4.3 million.

Harper’s government is not to reliable when it comes to facts.

Even if they did get $90,000,000

Divided by 6 years

=  $15,000.000 per year

Divided by 1,800 citizens

= $8,333 per person per year = about

$694 per month per person

When you bring it down to reality it really isn’t very much.

That money of course does not go to the people. Some does, but not it all.

A few things money is used for in Northern Communities.

They have to bring in most of what they use.

Shipping is a huge cost.

Snow Removal.

Building maintenance for schools or should I say school and portables.

They need an air port.

Have to pay the teachers, janitors etc.

Have to pay for the Health Care workers.

Have to pay the airport personnel and maintenance.

Have to pay for road maintenance employees.

Those are just a few of the things not all. There are many more if I took the time to really think about it.

The cost of living in Attawapiskat is quite high, due to the expense of shipping goods to the community.

Local stores include the Northern Store and M. Koostachin & Sons (1976). More than a third of the residents occasionally place orders for perishables and other goods which are shipped in via aircraft from Timmins, and for which the residents make prepayments with money orders. When their orders arrive, the residents have to pick them up at the local airport. For example, 6 apples and 4 small bottles of juice cost $23.50 (2011-12-01).

The price of gasoline is considerably higher than the provincial average. When the fuel is shipped via winter road, the prices of gasoline and propane tend to drop slightly.

It costs $250,000 to build a house in Attawapiskat and only the Federal Government can build houses on the reserve. . The cost of renovating one condemned house is $50,000-$100,000. A majority of the community members have updated their heating needs, while many households still use dry firewood. Firewood in Attawapiskat costs $150 and $200 a cord, and a cord will heat a winter-bound tent for only a week, or at most 10 days. More information at  Source

Charlie Angus, scrum on Attawapiskat – 111201

Dec 1, 2011

Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay answered questions about the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in crisis – recorded by Samantha Bayard and Ish Theilheimer for Straight Goods News on December 1, 2011 during a scrum on Parliament Hill.

Canadian leadership in Attawapiskat

NDP Canada on Dec 1, 2011

ATTAWAPISKAT HOUSING-CRISIS

Attawapiskat First Nation is on the shores of James Bay Ontario.

Gilles on Attawapiskat Housing crisis

Nov 23 2011

Timmins James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson calls on provincial government to help residents of Attawapiskat

Canada AM – Attawapiskat

This video was taken fall 2010 when my family and I had visited Attawapiskat. Canada AM followed us up, and created this documentary to bring awareness to the housing, food, and ect. crises. since then not much has changed. and the people continue to lose more, and more hope.

Attawapiskat

This video was taken fall 2010

Attawapiskat – where are the promises?

Apr 14, 2009

Attawapiskat is the home of the Mushkegowuk (swampy) Cree that is situated on the west coast of James Bay. The community has been exposed to toxic fumes dating back to 30 years. Since 1979, about 30, 000 gallons of hydrocarbon oil spill has occured underneath the old school grounds. In the year 2000, there were health concerns of children and the staff getting sick. This resulted the closure of the old school. INAC build temporary portables near the contamination site til the new school was build. The community worked hard in negotiations with INAC and the government to get a new school and finally came to light! There was Hope once again for the children. Everything was in the process until the the new government stepped in 2007. On August 2007, Minister Chuck Strahl became the new Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada under the leadership of the Conservatives. On December 2007, Minister of INAC decided to halt the deal, that left the community devastated. But that didn’t stop the community and the Children, they went as far to having a Human Rights Conference in Toronto. The students argue for a right to a quality education in safe environment in November 2008. Mr. Chuck Strahl was invited but didn’t show up?

Finally on March of 2009 , the old school was demolish under the direction of INAC, exposing the ground once capped by the old building. The contaminated debris wasn’t properly contained and was dump too closed to the community. As for the old building, it wasn’t capped leaving the fumes exposed to the residence. A stench was reported making the students, teachers and the community sick which then resulted to the closing of the schools, shortly by a declared state of emergency from the leaders. A few days later, INAC and Health Canada flew in to meet with the community and listen to the community’s testimonies of getting nausea, headaches, dizziness and skin rashes? The community felt it had to do with the contaminated ground and their water source.

INAC responded that they would take the information back to their Superiors and report back of their decision for further immediate action. Three days later, Attawapiskat was devastated when INAC and Health Canada went to the media and said “There was no iniminent dangers and that the community’s air tested normal?”. The Leaders didn’t buy it! As of April 9, 2009, Attawapiskat is still under state of emergency and have no trust in the government officials. They suspected that something wasn’t right with their findingsl because of all the testimonies that were given at the meeting of people getting sick? That people were dying from cancer too fast, children having skin rashes and the stench of the contaminated oil can still be smell.

Later that week, MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson responded to the urgent call of the Attawapiskat Chief and Council and did their own investigations. They were shock to find out the extent of this urgent matter and confirm the seriousness of addressing the health concerns right away.The next day, Both parties called for a National Press Conference and share their findings. Shortly after, INAC responded by saying, it was just a grandstanding photo-op? Which is not true. The Reps of James Bay-Timmins took soil samples with them and send them to Ottawa to get tested right away, doing INAC and Health Canada’s job for them?? They are calling on independent study by the medical and environmental team. As of today, INAC still refuses to evacuate the reserve even though they asked for immediate action until the remediation was completed and safe. The community was very upset to find out it would take INAC 2 more years to clean up the contamination site which wasn’t acceptable.

Ask yourself this question? Would you find it acceptable from INAC (Indian Northern Affairs of Canada) if they told you everything is fine in your community and there is nothing to worry about? While the children are breaking up in rashes, people getting sick and alot of reports of cancers since 30 years ago? Think about it…..Would you be willing to accept returning your children back to the toxic zone for their education? Would this happen down south? Is it acceptable to be told that it would take 2 years to finish cleaning up the toxic soil after it has been there for 30 years. These schools were under INAC’s watch when the spills happened…… If this reaches you, please help the community and put your government to shame!! Spread this video and let the world know what our Government is doing to their Indigenous People!

Shannen’s Dream of a new school may become reality in 2013. Will it really happen? Well I guess we will have to wait and see.

There have been promises before and still no school for the children.

After 2000, three successive INAC ministers — Robert Nault, Andy Scott and Jim Prentice — promised a new school for Attawapiskat. You can read the full chronology of seven years of negotiations on the departmental website. On April 1, 2008, the new minister, Chuck Strahl, informed AFNEA that Ottawa would not finance the new school after all. Well wasn’t that just the worst slap in the face a bunch of kids could get.
Shannen Koostachin at the National Day of Action on Parliament Hill in May 2008, a rally calling for better schools for First Nations children. The Attawapiskat teenager organized children in her community to lobby for a school to replace the portable classrooms she grew up attending. She was killed in a car accident on June 1 2010 at the age of 15. Photo Courtesy of 8th Fire

8th Fire: Aboriginal Peoples, Canada and the Way Forward. The four-part series begins airing on CBC television and Radio-Canada on Jan. 12, 2012.

Nov 30, 2011 VIDEO: A view from Attawapiskat before the crisis plus 2 other videos

Canadian Red Cross provides relief in Attawapiskat

The Canadian Red Cross is on the ground in Attawapiskat providing urgently needed aid to vulnerable families in the community.

“Our goal in Attawapiskat is to ensure that the immediate needs of the community are met, which includes making sure families have the supplies they need to survive the winter,” said John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management with the Canadian Red Cross. “We are focused on providing short-term relief to the community.”

The Canadian Red Cross is helping the families of Attawapiskat on the request of the local chief, Theresa Spence, and will continue to work alongside public authorities.

On November 29, a Red Cross team consisting of Saunders and two volunteers from Timmins arrived with preliminary supplies including sleeping bags, heaters and winter clothing. The team is conducting assessments to determine exactly what items and quantities are needed for short-term relief. Once the assessment is complete, the Canadian Red Cross will distribute those supplies.

In Attawapiskat, the Canadian Red Cross has identified families living in tents and wooden sheds without electricity and plumbing in most dwellings. Some homes have power by running extension cords. Some have created make shift wood stoves out of old oil drums, which is a threat to public safety and health.

Government and community officials continue to work to determine long-term solutions.

At the further request of the community, the Canadian Red Cross has taken on a donation management role. Canadians wishing to support immediate needs can make a donation through the Red Cross online, by phone by calling 1-800-418-111 or in person at their local Red Cross office. Red Cross.Ca

Libya took better care of it’s people then Canada does.  Canada helped Carpet Bomb them back to the stone ages and could afford to do that but not help their own people.

Did You Know

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.
3. Having a home considered a human right in Libya.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.
8. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.
12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.
15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
17 Women’s Rights: Under Gaddafi, gender discrimination was officially banned and the literacy rate for women climbed to 83 per cent. The rights of Black’s were also improved. Source

All that has been destroyed.

Recent

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Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

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Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

November 10 2011

The Harper Government wants to create more Criminals.
The total crime rate for serious offences fell by 19% between 2000 and 2010. The crime severity rate has fallen 6% since 1998, which means that Canadians commit fewer violent crimes like murders, attempted murders and serious assaults. There are also fewer brake-ins, car thefts, robberies and drunk driving charges — still Harper wants to spend massive amounts of our money locking up more Canadians.

Crime rates in Canada have been falling steadily for over a decade yet Harper insists on spending our money to lock up our most vulnerable citizens like youth and aboriginals. Spending billions on bad crime laws means that our taxes will rise or valuable social programs like Employment Insurance will be cut. Quebec and Ontario have already said they won’t pay.

Creating mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana smokers and putting kids who make mistakes behind bars is not the way to make Canada a better place. Join the call to show Harper that we’d rather invest in social programs that really help Canadians.

This week, experts are speaking out against the massive crime bill that our Conservative government is rushing through Parliament.1 Even conservative Texans are warning Canada not to follow American’s failed path of mandatory sentences and massive prison expansion.2 Now, we need a massive public outcry to stop the bill, and make Canada safer, not meaner.

Experts agree that the crime bill would make Canada a more dangerous place by filling new prisons with people who should not be there. Instead, experience shows that we should focus on proven strategies to prevent crime, rehabilitate people and reintegrate them into society.1,3 The stakes are huge: if this bill passes we will be spending billions to trap people and create a permanent underclass of Canadians with little hope for a better life.4

The good news is that more and more Canadians are speaking out and public opinion is close to a decisive shift. The Conservatives want to be “Canada’s natural governing party” and they care about public opinion. We need to show the Conservative government that they can either choose a better path, or they will pay a serious political cost for making Canada a meaner and more dangerous place.

Mandatory sentences and prison expansion backfired in the United States, a country with only 5% of the global population and 25% of all the world’s prisoners. Today, state after state is in crisis and is repealing those laws.2

One conservative Texan, Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court, has warned us, saying: You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up. And there will come a point in time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.” 2

We all want to make Canada safer. Yes, there is a role for punishment that is proportionate to the crime and wisely chosen for the circumstance. However, in the vast majority of cases, rehabilitation is better than long jail sentences. Canada âs focus on prevention and rehabilitation has already brought crime rates to historic lows.3,5

Every billion dollars our federal government forces our provinces to spend on new prisons is a billion dollars that could have been spent preventing crimes by supporting programs for at-risk youth, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and strategies for mental health.

The crime bill represents a creeping erosion of Canada’s social fabric. We know that millions of Canadians believe that prevention and restorative justice – approaches that make sure the victim’s needs are met and the community is healed – should be the heart of Canadian justice.

This crime bill would move us in the wrong direction. Who benefits from one-size-fits-all punishments? Who benefits from massive prison expansion? Who benefits from throwing more of Canada’s youth, poor, and mentally ill in prison?

It’s time we speak out together. This petition is an essential first step in a major campaign. Will you join us?

Click here to tell Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and your MP you want a new strategy for Canadian justice:

So far 22,413 strong.

As of Nov 13 2011 22,823 messages sent

http://www.leadnow.ca/keep-canada-safe

You can also sign this Petition over  80,765 strong

As of Nov 13 2011 96,960 have signed

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_harpers_cruel_crime_bill/?cl=1378432192&v=11036

Both only take a minute of your life to sign..

Please do pass this on.

Bill  S-10

Sources:

[1] Critics of omnibus bill advocate for criminals,Conservatives charge (Globe and Mail):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/critics-of-omnibus-bill-advocate-for-criminals-conservatives-charge/article2205213/

[2] Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan – ‘Been there; done that; didn’t work,’ say Texas crime-fighters (CBC):
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/17/pol-vp-milewski-texas-crime.html

[3] Study: Prevention Fights Crime Better Than Jail (Seattle Times):
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960620&slug=2335526

[4] Tough on crime will likely lead to more crime, bigger deficit (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives):
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/tough-crime-will-likely-lead-more-crime-bigger-deficit-report

[5] Crime rates fall to lowest level since 1973
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/21/crime-rates.html

[6] Open letter to the Government opposing mandatory sentences from over 550 Canadian experts and public health professionals (Urban Health Research Initiative):
http://uhri.cfenet.ubc.ca/content/view/90

[7] A Meaner Canada : Junk Politics and the Omnibus Crime Bill (Alex Himelfarb)
http://afhimelfarb.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/a-meaner-canada-junk-politics-and-the-omnibus-crime-bill/

[8] What is Wrong With Harper’s Omnibus Crime Bill (Behind the Numbers)
http://www.behindthenumbers.ca/2011/09/20/whats-wrong-with-harpers-omnibus-crime-bill/

[9] Rough Justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners – Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little (The Economist):
http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

[10] Salvaging a faulty crime bill (Irvin Waller)
http://www.themarknews.com/articles/6942-salvaging-a-faulty-crime-bill

[11] Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship, (The Sentencing Project)
http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_iandc_complex.pdf

[12] The cartoon is by Malcolm Mayes, in the Edmonton Journal.

The Harper Government in Canada wants to create Legislation similar to the Drug offenses in the US. Lets hope Canadians do not get coerced into this. Marijuana is not that bad. It has many uses medically and fewer violent crimes if any are committed because of it. Alcohol is far worse as far as crimes.  Those who use Marijuana are non violent.

If a police officer had a choice of going into a room with 20 Marijuana users or 20 drunk people the room with the Marijuana uses would be a much safer room. Drunk people are much more violent and much more dangerous. Marijuana users would be listening to music and eating. They don’t even bother to argue they just enjoy themselves. Drunk people fight and argue and alcohol is addictive where as Marijuana is not.

So I have to say Harper’s bill is wrong on many counts. If anything Marijuana should be legalized and the Government could regulate it and make profits/taxes on it. Open stores to have it sold etc.

It would eliminate grow ops and many other problems now associated with Marijuana.

If individuals grew their own or buy it from a Government store there would be no need for dealers and all the other problems now faced by police at this time.

Then the police could spend their time looking for dangerous criminals.

It would save a lot of money and make a lot of money.

End of a lot of problems.

Check the link below and get some insight as to how Medical Marijuana helps people and it is safer then many Pharmaceuticals.

It will even get rid of a headache.

The lobby groups who want to prevent the legalization of Marijuana are the Pharmaceutical companies. Not because it is dangerous, but because it would cut into their profits.

Medical Marijuana


Legalizing Marijuana  would create a lot of jobs something we all can agree on is needed. Maybe the drinkers would take up smoking Marijuana and make the world a safer place especially for women who are beaten by their drunken spouses.

What’s wrong with Harper’s omnibus crime bill

By Paula Mallea

September 20, 2011

Prime Minister Harper will be launching his tough-on-crime agenda today. Our criminal justice system is by no means perfect, but the omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model. Here are some reasons why Canadians need to speak out against this legislation.

The former U.S. drug czar (Asa Hutchinson) has encouraged Canada not to make the same mistakes the U.S. made. The two mistakes he cited were mandatory minimum sentences, and insufficient attention to rehabilitative programs.

1. The cost of the Harper crime agenda will be colossal, and a large part of it (some say most) will be borne by the provinces, who are responsible for implementing whatever the feds pass. So provinces and territories (many of them in elections as we speak) will be expected to pay for additional courts, clerks, prisons, Crown Attorneys, judges, sheriffs, court reporters and so on. And the numbers are high-$5 billion over 5 years for the one piece of legislation which was examined by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The new drug sentences alone will increase numbers of offenders by a huge amount. The Corrections department is one of the few which is receiving huge increases in its budget as we speak.

2. Virtually all of the crime legislation is directed towards increasing punishment by way of more prison terms for more people and for longer. Virtually nothing in any of the legislation does anything to prevent crime (as the Conservatives claim), help victims (as they claim) or target guns, gangs, drugs and organized crime (as they claim). The Harper government’s stated objectives will not be met by the omnibus crime bill.

3. Other jurisdictions, notably the United States, have rejected the Harper approach. Newt Gingrich is fronting a group called Right on Crime which advocates for less incarceration. Ronald Reagan presided over a huge reduction in incarceration when he was governor of California. Maggie Thatcher refused to allow incarceration rates to rise in Britain. Many states are abolishing mandatory minimum sentences and reducing the proportion of sentences which must be served before release.

4. Canada is moving in the wrong direction, and the results will not be pretty. I predict there will be expanding deficits at all levels, an increase in misery for all parties, including offenders’ families and communities, and victims (who in fact advocate for improvements in preventive and rehabilitative programs). The picture becomes darker when you consider that up to 80 to 90 per cent of offenders in some institutions are addicts (mostly to alcohol), and up to 40 per cent have mental illnesses. A huge proportion are Aborignal people. Many offenders are homeless, illiterate, victims of sexual abuse, and so on. What is significant is that we have the means to deal with all of these conditions-we know how, and the resources required would be a fraction of the budget necessary to incarcerate so many new inmates. Dealing with these issues would not only reduce crime but would also make for a healthier community. Because the Conservatives are so concentrated on the punishment model, there will be no resources (and no inclination) to fund the programs necessary to deal with these fundamental problems.

5. Journalists continually state that the omnibus crime bill is considered necessary by the Harper government because the crime legislation was otherwise “unpassable” or because of “obstructive measures” taken by the opposition. This is demonstrably not true. The opposition never got a chance to oppose most of the crime legislation because it never came to a vote: most of the laws died on the order paper when Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament twice and when he called the 2008 election. Most of the rest of them were never brought forward in a timely manner.

The Conservatives have the majority they need to pass this legislation. The only thing that might give them pause would be a public groundswell against the law. If for no other reason than financial, we should be making our voices heard.

 

Paula Mallea, B.A., M.A., Ll.B, practised criminal law for 15 years in Toronto, Kingston, and Manitoba. She acted mainly as defence counsel, with a part-time stint as prosecutor, and spent hundreds of hours in penitentiaries representing inmates. She is a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is the author of The Fear Factor: Stephen Harper’s Tough On Crime Agenda and Lorimer Publishing will be releasing her book on the tough-on-crime agenda this fall.

This article first appeared on Behind the Numbers.

 

Ceasefire in the War on Drugs?

CIA Drug Trafficking over 50 years

Why do you think American troops are Guarding the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan? Afghanistan went from no Heroin to tons of Heroin.

Plus the US got their pipeline.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Cost of the war on Drugs in US

Canadians do not want the American system. Check link below to see why.

The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

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Published in: on November 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm  Comments Off on Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill  
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Abdullah Khadr released as extradition request denied

By Linda Nguyen

August 4, 2010

TORONTO — An Ontario court on Wednesday quashed a bid to extradite Abdullah Khadr to the U.S. on terrorism charges following a lengthy legal battle between the federal government and one of Canada’s most controversial families.

Khadr, 29, who has been held for the past five years at a Toronto detention centre, was immediately released following the decision by Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer.

Khadr is the eldest son of Ahmed Said Khadr, an al-Qaida financier who was killed by Pakistan forces in a shootout near the Afghanistan border in 2003. His family had immigrated to Canada in 1977.

“(I want to) try and get on with my life. I feel very happy,” Abdullah Khadr told reporters outside the downtown Toronto courthouse. “I always believed that it would happen one day, and thank God it happened.”

His release comes days before his younger brother, Omar, begins his military trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Omar Khadr, 23, the only Canadian still held at the U.S. prison, has been detained there since 2002 following a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He is charged with throwing a grenade that killed American medic Christopher Speer. He was 15 years old at the time.

From the start, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused to seek the repatriation of the terror suspect back to Canada but, notably, Canada’s legal system has sided many times with the Khadr family in its battles with the Canadian government.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Omar Khadr’s charter rights had been violated by Canadian officials who had questioned him at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 and 2004. Khadr had been exposed to sleep deprivation and denied his right to legal counsel by American interrogators.

Last month, a Federal Court judge ruled that the Conservative government had a week to come up with a list of “all untried remedies” that could help eradicate the breach of Khadr’s rights as a Canadian citizen. That victory was short-lived — a few weeks later, a Federal Appeals judge stayed the decision, arguing that the previous judge overstepped his boundaries and was essentially dictating the government foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. case against Abdullah Khadr was based on a number of statements he made to the FBI and RCMP about procuring weapons for al-Qaida and allegedly being involved in an assassination plot against the prime minister of Pakistan. He said those confessions were made while he was detained and tortured in Pakistan in 2005.

During his extradition hearing last fall, Khadr told a Toronto court that authorities had also threatened violence against his family.

“If someone tells you, if you don’t tell us you are selling missiles to al-Qaida, we are going to rape your sister, what would you say?” Khadr had asked, breaking down.

He told the court that he attended a camp in Afghanistan when he was 13 years old and learned how to use guns, explosives and rocket and grenade launchers. Khadr said these were not terrorism camps run by al-Qaida but were part of “Muslim culture.” He denied that his father had any influence over his ideology.

Nathan Whitling, one of the Edmonton-based defence lawyers representing Khadr, said this victory may have been the best-case scenario possible for his client but the battle is far from finished.

“We don’t feel that it’s over,” he said. “We see it as one good step in the process. Obviously we’re pleased about it but we’ll keep fighting this thing.”

The Canadian government has been on the “wrong side” these past five years by “actively pursuing” the extradition of his client to the U.S., added Whitling.

He and his colleague Dennis Edney had argued that Canada would be supporting interrogation methods against international law if it granted the extradition request. They also argued that the information was given under extreme duress.

Ultimately, Justice Speyer’s ruling was based on how the U.S. detained and drew a confession out of Khadr, who to this day maintains his innocence.

Khadr was arrested in Pakistan in 2004 after the U.S. government issued a $500,000 U.S. bounty for his capture. He was denied access to a lawyer for three months and held a total of 14 months in Pakistan without charges. During this time he was interrogated by Pakistani, Canadian and American officials.

Whitling said Khadr, fearing arrest by U.S. authorities, plans to stay in Canada.

In the meantime, he will enjoy the small pleasures in life. For his first meal outside of detention in five years, he ate an Asian stir-fry and drank a Pepsi.

“He’s getting married. He’s engaged,” said Whitling. “He just wants to settle down and live a quiet life.”

The federal government has 30 days to appeal the Ontario Superior Court ruling.

Carole Faindon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said it was too soon to say whether an appeal will be launched.

“We are reviewing the decision,” she said. “A decision on an appeal will be determined in due time.” Source

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Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

May 5 2010

The federal government’s decision not to fund abortion as part of its new G8 maternal health initiative will contribute to the loss of life of women and young girls, says Maureen McTeer, wife of former Progressive Conservative prime minister Joe Clark.

McTeer, who works with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, said she was at first “delighted” to hear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper planned to make reducing maternal and childhood morbidity and mortality in the developing world a key initiative when he hosts next month’s G8 and G20 summits in Ontario.

However, the federal government’s plan to exclude abortion from its funding for the initiative means women who live in conflict zones where rape is a tool of war, or young girls who are married off to older men and find themselves pregnant at age 10 or 11, will be left to their own devices when trying to access a safe abortion, McTeer said.

“In situations where they are pregnant against their will, (help is about) providing them with a safe abortion,” McTeer told CTV’s Power Play Wednesday afternoon. “Because women will continue to abort if the situation is as dire as it is for so many of these women. They die, the fetus dies. What in the world are we saying to our partners around the world? Why are we so smug about saying to them, ‘Well, figure it out as best you can?'”

The government’s stance on abortion as it pertains to the maternal health initiative has become a hot topic on Parliament Hill, and gained steam earlier this week when Conservative Sen. Nancy Ruth advised a gathering of women’s groups to “shut the f–k up” on the abortion issue or risk a blacklash from the government.

The day after Ruth’s contentious comments, it was revealed the government had cut funding to 11 women’s groups over the past two weeks. On Wednesday, Liberal status of women critic Anita Neville said by her count, 24 groups have had their funding cut, including groups that have long been funded by Status of Women Canada.

“I think it’s politics at its worst,” Neville said, adding that funding was slashed to groups that “had the temerity to speak out against” the government on abortion or other issues.

Government defends spending

Rona Ambrose, the minister responsible for the status of women, responded that the government is spending the most it has ever spent on women’s programs, but cannot fund all 400 groups that apply for funding.

According to Ambrose, 78 groups have had their funding requests approved, and 40 per cent of them are “brand new groups that have never received funding before.”

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff criticized the funding cuts in the House Wednesday, saying the government is trying to bully and bankrupt its critics.

“This is a big issue here. It is about whether the government respects democracy,” Ignatieff said.

“That is the fundamental issue. When will the Conservatives stop the smears, stop the attacks, stop the intimidation and start showing the Canadian people some respect?”

Transport Minister John Baird replied by charging Ignatieff with bullying his MPs for forcing them to vote against a bill to scrap the long gun registry.

“Let us let members of Parliament honour the sacred trust, the promises that they made to their electorate,” Baird said.

Shift in policy

McTeer accused the government of backing away from a foreign aid policy that has long supported access to safe abortions as part of maternal and reproductive health initiatives.

“Maternal health, and sexual and reproductive health, which is what we’re talking about here, is about providing a basket of services that are needed by women because they happen to be able to bear babies,” McTeer said.

“So that’s what we’re talking about here. This is a brand new shift in our foreign policy, because our foreign policy since the Nairobi Conference has been quite clear: we have supported women’s access to all necessary medical procedures related to reproduction and sexuality where they are legal.”

McTeer said the goal is always to provide women with health services so they can avoid having to make the “terrible decisions” that many women have to make every day. The initiative must include funding for health facilities, trained health workers and equipment, she said.

But she wondered what will come of the negotiations at the two summits, when the Canadian government will be facing countries such as Britain, the U.S. and France, all of which support abortion as part of maternal health.

“The larger question is:

Is our government willing to do what’s needed to be done to save women’s lives? Historically Canada has,” McTeer said. “We seem to be moving away from that policy now. We don’t know what the final agenda will look like, we don’t know how it will play out.” Source

Articles of interest

Canada unfairly blocked British MP George Galloway, court hears

Canada and the European Union: Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda

Defend Canadian Free Speech from Israel’s representatives who would criminalize it -Updated April 4 2010

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Canada unfairly blocked British MP George Galloway, court hears

Brendan Kennedy
April 28 2010

Senior government officials, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, acted unfairly, with political bias and an intent to punish George Galloway and his supporters when they banned the controversial British MP from Canada last year, lawyers for a coalition of groups opposed to the ban told a Federal Court hearing Wednesday.

“There was no threat to national security,” said Hadayt Nazami, who is working with human rights and immigration lawyer Barbara Jackman for the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War and other groups who had organized Galloway’s 2009 Canadian speaking tour.

Nazami and Jackman argued that the decision to bar Galloway from the country was made by senior officials in the Immigration and Public Safety Ministries because they did not agree with Galloway’s views on the Afghanistan war.

Galloway, a controversial anti-war politician, was supposed to make a four-city Canadian speaking tour in March 2009, but was barred from the country for allegedly providing financial and material support for Hamas, the political and paramilitary group that governs Gaza and is denounced by Canada and several other countries as a terrorist organization.

He was allowed into the U.S. last year, ended up addressing Canadian audiences from New York City via a video link.

“This was clearly an exercise in taunting Mr. Galloway by senior levels of government,” Jackman said.

The lawyers argued the government’s decision to ban Galloway was inconsistent with immigration policy and politically motivated. It also infringed on Canadians’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly by preventing them from hearing Galloway speak.

“Freedom to speak and freedom to hear are inseparable,” Jackman told Justice Mosley.

Jackman said while Galloway is not a Canadian citizen, he is still entitled to fair treatment by immigration officials, regardless of his political opinions, and if Canada is to follow its own laws, Galloway must be allowed to enter and speak in Canada.

Labelling the polarizing politician a terrorist is a misuse of Canada’s anti-terror laws, Jackman said.

“When our parliament passed that legislation it was to protect our country from people who throw bombs, not people who buy incubators,” she said, referring to the medical supplies Galloway’s envoy delivered to Hamas.

Government lawyers will make their arguments when court resumes Wednesday afternoon.

Galloway’s 2009 envoy mission to Gaza was humanitarian in nature, and does not make him a member of Hamas or complicit in their paramilitary activities, Jackman argued, noting that Canada also provided aid to the region after it was attacked by Israel.

“If in fact Mr. Galloway is a terrorist for providing aid to the elected government of Gaza, then our Prime Minister is as well.”

The Conservative government says it regards Galloway as a security threat based on allegations he provided humanitarian goods and $35,000 in aid money to Hamas when he led an envoy to Gaza in February 2009.

In upholding the ban last year, the federal court judge cited a letter written to Galloway by Canada’s high commission in London that cited “information that indicates you organized a convoy worth over one million British pounds in aid and vehicles, and personally donated vehicles and financing to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.”

Galloway, who denied supporting terrorism, has argued he could only show his support for people in Gaza by dealing with its elected Hamas government. An MP for 23 years, Galloway was expelled from Britain’s Labour Party in 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq.

Source

I guess every one who donates or is a member of the United Nations is also guilty of helping those in Gaza. Boy that would be a long list of folks to bar from Canada. Canada would have to bar all Canadians as well.

Well now that is interesting isn’t it. How foolish to bar  George from Canada. George is a good man.

George a terrorist now that’s funny.  Somehow I don’t see any connection to him being a terrorist.

Well if there was ever a terrorist one must say is a wonderful man, it would be George.  Yup George is my kind of terrorist for sure.

Talk about a total abuse of power by the Canadian Government officials who did this. Shame on them. They should be charged with a few crimes.

It does make one wonder when they use the word “terrorist” what it really means.

If George is considered a terrorist then so are billions of others who have helped or spoken in favor of those in Gaza.

So there must be a few billion terrorists in the world and most of those billions are like George Galloway.  Awesome. Take pride in being a Terrorist my friends seems they are the “Good Guys”.

Gives the word a whole new meaning doesn’t it?

I guess if you support someone like George Galloway you too are also considered a terrorist.

Oh my God I just realized I am a terrorist too.  How profound.

The lesson we can learn from this is just because some one in Government  calls someone a terrorist does not make it true.

One has to wonder how many people have been accused of being a Terrorist, but are simply just very nice respectable people.

Many Canadians were furious with the Canadian Government over this incident, so I guess since they supported George they too are also terrorists as well…. Imagine that.

I do hope the Legal system in Canada does see fit, to have those responsible for this outrageous action prosecuted.

They are the real criminals in all of this.

George is the victim, as is the freedom of Speech in Canada.

If Israel would remove the blockade none of this would be happening.

The people in Gaza do not have what most take from Granted in their live. Enough food, clothing, medical care etc. The list is very long.

The most ridiculous thing Israel has done is ban shoes from Gaza.

Finally last month they allowed shoes into Gaza. Now is that not a bit strange, to ban shoes of all things. You really have to wonder about a countries Government, when they do something so utterly insane.

Imagine your country without shoes for three years.

Israel to Allow Shoes into Gaza Strip After Three Year Ban

Canada’s Freedom Of speech is under attack. The Canadian Government need to be told in no uncertain terms, that Canadians  Freedom of Speech is not negotiable..

Without “Freedom of Speech” the country it is no longer a “Free Country”.  It would become, just anther Dictatorship Country.

A Book: “The Shepherd’s Granddaughter” to remain in Toronto schools

Defend Canadian Free Speech from Israel’s representatives who would criminalize it -Updated April 4 2010

The Israeli Lobby Groups should be banned from all countries in my opinion, not good people Like George Galloway.

Gaza War ?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

Gaza : A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

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How George Galloway was barred from Canada in less than 2 hours

Defend Canadian Free Speech from Israel’s representatives who would criminalize it -Updated April 4 2010

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm  Comments Off on Canada unfairly blocked British MP George Galloway, court hears  
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Jan 7: Canadian Jewish women protesting against Gaza War, Arrested after occupying the Israeli Consulate


Protest ends at Israeli consulate

January 07, 2009

TORONTO
Eight women protesting Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip were arrested after occupying the Israeli Consulate in Toronto Wednesday, police said.

“Eight women were arrested for breach of the peace and released,” said Const. Tony Vella. “They were removed from the building and released with no charges.”

Vella said the women occupied the consulate for several hours Wednesday, but were not violent.

“The call came across as several unwanted guests,” he said.

He said a number of police officers monitored the situation at the consulate on the seventh floor of a commercial building at 180 Bloor St. West in Toronto.

In a news release, the group said the action was “in protest against the ongoing Israeli assault on the people of Gaza. The group is carrying out this occupation in solidarity with the 1.5 million people of Gaza and to ensure that Jewish voices against the massacre in Gaza are being heard.”

Violence broke out in Gaza almost two weeks ago and has killed more than 600 people.

The news release said the group is demanding Israel end “its military assault and lift the 18-month siege on the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian aid into the territory.”

A spokesman at the Israeli Consulate in Toronto said he could not provide any further information about the occupation.

The protesters said they want to “send a clear statement that many Jewish-Canadians, do not support Israel’s violence and apartheid policies.”

Source

Jewish Women Occupy Israeli Consulate in Toronto

January 7, 2009

Toronto,
A diverse group of Jewish Canadian women are currently occupying the Israeli consulate at 180 Bloor Street West in Toronto.  This action is in protest against the ongoing Israeli assault on the people of Gaza.

The group is carrying out this occupation in solidarity with the 1.5 million people of Gaza and to ensure that Jewish voices against the massacre in Gaza are being heard.  They are demanding that Israel end its military assault and lift the 18-month siege on the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian aid into the territory.

Israel has been carrying out a full-scale military assault on the Gaza Strip since December 27, 2008.  At least 660 people have been killed and 3000 injured in the air strikes and in the ground invasion that began on January 3, 2009.  Israel has ignored international calls for a ceasefire and is refusing to allow food, adequate medical supplies and other necessities of life into the Gaza Strip.

Protesters are outraged at Israel’s latest assault on the Palestinian people and by the Canadian government’s refusal to condemn these massacres.  They are deeply concerned that Canadians are hearing the views of pro-Israel groups who are being represented as the only voice of Jewish Canadians.  The protesters have occupied the consulate to send a clear statement that many Jewish-Canadians do not support Israel’s violence and apartheid policies.  They are joining with people of conscience all across the world who are demanding an end to Israeli aggression and justice for the Palestinian people.

The group includes: Judy Rebick, professor; Judith Deutsch, psychoanalyst and president of Science for Peace; B.H. Yael, filmmaker; Smadar Carmon, a Canadian Israeli peace activist and others.

Source

Kudos to the Ladies.

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Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 4:29 am  Comments Off on Jan 7: Canadian Jewish women protesting against Gaza War, Arrested after occupying the Israeli Consulate  
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Students bring awareness to Congo

Day of Action, November 27 2008

by Jillian Steger
News Writer

November 25 2008

There is an unparalleled humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today. Five UBC students are taking a stand and have created the Africa Canada Accountability Coalition. Their goal is to call students to action. I spoke with Annabel Wong, one of the founding students of the operation.

J: What was it that interested you in this cause?
Annabel: It was because of this course I’m taking, POLI 360 Security Studies. For a project we were doing I chose to study the DRC and now I question why we don’t hear more about it. The first and second Congo Wars killed approximately five million people and it’s basically World War Three. It involves a regional dynamic. Each of us is a participant in this war, mainly those of us who own cell phones. As part of the larger problem we think we are learning world history when we are mostly learning about Western Europe. Also conflict erupted as we were doing our proposal so I found that we have the responsibility to do something.

J: What has your coalition established so far?
A: We have been talking to MPs. We have established a letter with three points we want the Canadian Government to address. We have been in contact with MPs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo area and Peter MacKay. We have been talking to Philip Lancaster, who was Romeo Dallaire’s right hand man, about the realities on the ground. We have been talking to professors and a lot of NGO’S. And we have our petition up so sign it!

J: Tell me generally about what your coalition hopes to establish.
A: In our letter we have established three points which are humanitarian aid; basically increasing CIDA’s funding, training personnel about sexual violence and ending the misdoings of Canadian companies in the region.

J: Are women’s issues important in this conflict? What is the connection between rape and the conflict?
A: I believe the situation in the DRC has incited the UN to declare rape a weapon of war. You really have to think about what that means. It’s not just a matter of semantics. It’s impactful to me that humans are used for sex and then they’re further stripped of their dignity. The rapists of a lot of women put a gun in their vagina in a way that they don’t die. I think that this is trying to send a message of threat. All forms of sexual violence can be found in this conflict. I think that’s so unfair.

J: What can UBC students do to support your cause?
A: Sign our petition and join our Facebook group. Talk to your politicians, friends and politician friends. Come out to our day of action on Thursday November 27 at 10:55am outside the SUB.

Source
I think this is wonderful that students, take the time to build awareness to this crisis.

Every Voice makes a difference.

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Ottawa to buy $50B in mortgages, hopes to spur loans

November 12 2008

The federal government is purchasing another $50 billion in residential mortgages to further stabilize the lending industry and encourage lower interest rates, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Wednesday.

The Canadian economy has stalled and is on the brink of a recession. The government hopes that its cash injection will keep consumers spending and keep businesses afloat.

The announcement follows a similar move last month in which Ottawa bought $25 billion in mortgages.

The combined mortgage debt, both purchased through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), will bring the maximum value of bought securities to $75 billion.

“At a time of considerable uncertainty in global financial markets, this action will provide Canada’s financial institutions with significant and stable access to longer-term funding,” Flaherty said at a press conference in Toronto.

“This extension of the program to purchase insured mortgages will further support the availability of credit, which will benefit Canadian households, businesses and the economy.

“In addition, it will earn a modest rate of return for the Government with no additional risk to the taxpayer.”

Flaherty said the government “will not allow Canada’s financial system, which has been ranked as the soundest in the world, to be put at risk by global events.”

Patrick Grady of Global Economics LTD told CTV News, “the banking system would weather this storm whether the government provided assistance or not. But what it would do is cut back on loans it made.”

Will the move help average Canadians?

It is hoped that the announcement will be a boon to entrepreneurs like Joseph Saikely, the owner of an upscale hair salon in Ottawa.

He said despite the economic downtown, business at his salon, Byblos, is booming.

Saikely says he wants to expand his operation, but can’t get a loan from the banks.

“We have been trying to expand for the last few months, even trickling it down to a minor renovation and there is just not one dollar to be given out or lent,” he told CTV News.

Flaherty says that the $50 billion in mortgage purchases should allow banks to start lending again with greater ease.

“It is up to private sector lenders to keep on doing their jobs, making loans to credit worthy people and enterprises of all sizes,” he said.

But Saikely isn’t hopeful that the banks will start passing on the loans anytime soon.

“Put it in the hands of people that will do something with it, the banks are doing absolutely nothing will it,” he said.

Last month, Canada’s big banks lowered their prime lending rates following the announcement about the $25 billion buyout.

Not a bailout, gov’t says

The Tories have been quick to indicate that the deal to buy mortgages is an asset swap, not a bailout.

The idea is that banks can take good assets, in this case the mortgages, and turn them into cash — which can then be made available to people seeking mortgages or to small business.

The “high-quality” assets are already guaranteed by the Canadian government, Flaherty said.

“It is an efficient, cost-effective and safe way to support lending in Canada at a time of extraordinary strain in global credit markets,” he said.

Despite the global financial crisis, Flaherty said he still expects to report a budget surplus.

“We’re still on track for a small, and I emphasize small, surplus in the current fiscal year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday it will inject an added $8 billion into Canada’s tight money markets.

The Bank said it plans to introduce a Canadian Dollar Term Loan Facility (TLF) in four auctions of $2 billion each in the coming weeks.

Under the plan, qualifying financial institutions will be able to offer non-mortgage loans as collateral — meaning they can offer most loans currently on their books.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announces that Ottawa will be purchasing another 50 billion dollars in residential mortgages. View Video

Source