Signs of hope for reconciliation in Northern Alberta
Despite the many challenges of reconciliation with First Nations across Canada, whether in the pipeline battles, the lack of safe drinking water or the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, there are some signs of hope.
While the road to reconciliation is a long and arduous one, delayed by government after government who have failed to make it a priority, one particular municipality in Northern Alberta is making substantial strides in the right direction.
The Municipal District of Opportunity #17 is teaming up with local Indigenous groups to apply for recognition as an Indigenous municipality.
With 90% of the municipality’s population identifying as Indigenous, the move to obtain recognition and improve local funding opportunities makes good sense to local leadership.
Local MP David Yurdiga has been encouraging the move in the community over the past few years and is happy to see both municipal and Indigenous leaders teaming up to take action on this issue.
“This will help the next generation of moving forward,” Yurdiga told The Post Millennial in a phone interview. Citing the prospect of increased funding for the region, Yurdiga pointed out that this move could help increase educational opportunities for local youth, possibly in the form of upgraded schools and community centres.
“When they’re coming up in school, they will get the tools they need to be prosperous, and safe. I think that that will make a big difference.”
While Canada routinely lands on the top 10 lists for “Best countries to live in,” the high standards of Canadian living often do not extend to reserve communities. Poor infrastructure, lack of local education opportunities, exacerbated by a 47 percent child poverty rate amongst Indigenous Canadians have left many living in unacceptable conditions.
On reserves, that number increases to about three times the national average, at 53 percent.
Better roads, education and healthcare facilities are among the many needs that can be addressed along with higher funding and a more efficient partnership between the municipality and local reserves.
The special recognition “would allow us to access to grant and maybe even operating dollars to help service people,” says Bigstone Cree Nation member, Marcel Auger.
Auger also mentioned that the provincial government is aware of the effort to achieve official Indigenous recognition and is looking into the matter.
“We’ve actually shared this idea with our Premier Mr. Kenney already, to maybe look at doing a joint project and making one really good junior and high school in the community,” said Auger.
In addition, a $25-million long-term care facility is being considered after half-a-decade of ‘nickel negotiating’ with the previous government.
“It’s been too long that we’ve been kind of a little bit neglected and in the shadow all the time. We almost feel like the forgotten people in this north-central part of the province.”
The timely government evacuations from the recent Alberta wildfires was a testament to the government remembering its obligations to all Albertans. And yes, those on reserve lands matter too.
Their resiliency demonstrated volumes in the aftermath of tragedy. The peoples of Bigstone Cree Nation remain resilient, holding renewed optimism in the future, under a new leadership.
“We’re seeing a lot more positive [developments] that way than we have, you know, from the changeover in government in the province. Kenney’s Conservative government, you know, they’ve actually been really good in being forthcoming with us, even getting in touch before the election,” said Auger.
While Reconciliation still has a long way to go across the country, it’s encouraging to see small steps like this one take place.
Numerous advocacy groups are attempting to pressure the CBC to host a debate on climate change.
According to the National Observer, a petition signed by almost 48,000 individuals organized by four advocacy groups: Leadnow.ca, North99, 350 Canada, and Our Time was presented to the CBC on Friday.
In a statement available on National Observer, LeadNow said the CBC has a responsibility as a public broadcaster to “provide a platform about this unprecedented national emergency so voters can clearly see where leaders stand on climate and what they’re prepared to do about it.”
“We look to political leaders to lead on serious issues like climate change, but there’s so much misinformation and confusion,” said Amara Possian, Canada Campaigns Manager with 350.org.
“A federal leaders’ debate focused on climate change and a made-in-Canada Green New Deal will give voters much-needed clarity on which parties have the best strategy to tackle the climate crisis head on.”
While the number of signatures is high, it is by no means surprising as the environment has rapidly become one of the hottest issues in Canada.
According to a study released by the Digital Democracy Project, climate change is on the top of the election agenda for most Canadians.
The groups pointed to wildfires in Western Canada, heatwaves in the east and north, disappearing shorelines, and severe floods. They say all these events are becoming more frequent due to the climate emergency.
CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said the company would make sure to cover climate change as part of its debates.
“As I’m sure you are aware, CBC News has covered climate change extensively, and we will continue to do so,” Thompson said in an emailed statement. “As to whether or not there will be a debate specifically about climate change, that question is best asked of the Leaders’ Debates Commission.”
Currently, two debates are expected ahead of the federal election, which must happen on or before October 21st.
The English debate is tentatively scheduled for October 7th, while the French alternative is set for October 10th.
While the dates have not been finalized, the location, Ottawa, has.
The Manitoba RCMP will provide an update today regarding the case of the B.C. fugitives whose bodies were found last week.
The update comes roughly one week after the RCMP found the body’s believed to be of Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod near Gillam, Manitoba, and after the RCMP announced that they had found an interesting item nearby the bodies.
The two men were previously on the run after allegedly killing three people in northern British Columbia.
McLeod and Schmegelsky were both charged with the second-degree murder in the death of B.C. lecturer Leonard Dyck and had also been named as suspects in the fatal shootings of Lucas Fowler and his girlfriend Chynna Deese.
According to one CTV reporter, in their update, the B.C. RCMP may put forward some of the results found in the autopsy, such as time of death.
This article will be updated following the RCMP announcement.
The past few days saw a flurry of mass shootings in the United States. However, what was interesting to see was that while two shooters were far-right, the Dayton shooter displayed far-left sympathies. This perfectly shuts the case on the gun debate being that of a left-right argument. In fact, the gun debate is an argument between authoritarianism and liberty.
The argument for gun rights is not a new one. In 1776, America passed its 2nd amendment.
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”The 2nd Amendment of the United States’ Constitution
With the American Revolutionary War, this amendment was sacred to the left and right of America’s past political environment.
On the left, surprisingly to many, one of the fiercest advocates for gun rights was Karl Marx himself.
“Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”Karl Marx
This was well clear in the past itself and, as the horrors of these mass shootings have encapsulated America and its mainstream media, its clarity has resurfaced today.
Donald Trump, a right-wing Republican, is proposing stricter gun control. Many Democrats on the left such as Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang are also vouching for a similar proposal.
No longer can The Young Turks claim Republicans love guns; no longer can Steven Crowder claim the left wants to take away your guns.
So if right-wingers and left-wingers are somehow reaching a consensus that “guns aren’t good,” then where does the divide of the debate lie? The answer is authoritarianism versus liberty.
If we go back to the words of the 2nd amendment and Karl Marx, their reasoning for gun rights is to protect the people/the workers against the tyranny of the state/bourgeoisie. Today, with increased overlapping of corporate bourgeoisie interests in the state, it is fair to say we can take them on as one.
In that case, the case for guns rights is a case for the liberty of man. And in my view, this liberty should be protected.
There are two main criticisms of gun rights. One, that “tyranny can never happen here.” This has been thrown in the bin ever since Donald Trump got elected in 2016, as numerous persons across the spectrum refer to him as a “tyrant.” And two, that you “can’t fight the army/state with small arms.” This, again, has been disproven throughout history may it be the American war of independence or the Russian revolution, the Vietnam war or the Afghanistan war.
The point of gun rights is armed self-defence. Self-defence from those that threaten our well-being and existence. The police is not an organization for your protection, but rather for the protection of the state, as is evident with their indiscriminate killing of minorities in America and complacency towards Antifa and Proud Boys marches.
Of course, not everyone should own a gun. Domestic abusers, those with extremist sympathies, and those that don’t want a gun, shouldn’t get one.
It is with such sensibility that any sane person would agree for stronger background checks and regulation for gun ownership. May it be Ben Shapiro or Cenk Uygur, it’s something every end of the spectrum believes in.
The reason, though, that people turn to violence is because of alienation. Sometimes the alienation (as in the historical cases for America with Britain and the Russian people with their Tsar) can be justified, as it is against the state and is felt by a majority of people. Other times, such as the case with these fringe mass shooters, the alienation can not be justified.
These mass shooters are a minority. Their extremist beliefs are a perilous periphery of what leftist and rightist beliefs stand for. As my colleagues, Barrett Wilson and Libby Emmons, write,
“This kind of violence doesn’t stem from either an exclusively left or right perspective, but from an undercurrent of tribalism in our society that can cause young people to feel worthless and hopeless. When people feel isolated, they reach out desperately for somewhere to belong.”Barrett Wilson and Libby Emmons
Adding a flex-tape of a gun ban won’t solve the alienation crisis, a crisis that is reaching a boiling point in the US. The main reasons for the crisis need to be addressed. Alienated peoples need to be given integration as economic inequality in America widens.
White supremacists and Antifa sympathizers need to be spoken to. They need to be explained why their views are wrong, not simply that their views are wrong. Guns are their last resort outlet for letting out their frustration.
Mass shootings in America have never been as high as they are today, and the reason is more to do with everything other than guns.
For the boomers, I’m sorry but video games are not the reason for these shootings.
As Republicans including Trump and Cranshaw accept more gun regulation, and as Democrats reach a consensus on this issue, the power of the corporate-state hybrid grows evermore.
The issue of alienation is being used to curtail freedoms in a horrid case of authoritarianism. The lack of bipartisan willpower to address the root cause of the issue takes away not only our liberties but will alienate us further with perhaps more disastrous consequences.
The gun debate no longer has a left versus right divide. It is now a divide between authoritarianism and liberty.
The International Consortium of Independent Journalists, the organization that brought us the Panama Papers, has come out with a new leak.
ICIJ is famous for leaking the Panama Papers, Implant Files, Paradise Papers, and other offshore tax-haven related frauds being committed by multinational corporations worldwide.
Figures from Statistics Canada reveal a darker picture. The island of Mauritius is home to 35% of “foreign investment” from Canadian countries in Africa. It is estimated the total sum of this “investment” is around $2.5 billion. Mauritius is smaller than the city of Ottawa and barely represents 1% of Africa’s total GDP.
According to TaxFairness.ca, SNC-Lavalin established a shell corporation in Mauritius which enabled it to avoid paying up to $8.9 million in taxes for mining operations in Senegal.
SNC-Lavalin was able to avoid these taxes due to a tax treaty signed between Senegal and Mauritius, which allows corporations to shift profits to Mauritius tax-free.
Ousmane Souko, a former tax inspector, now an MP in Senegal says, “A tax haven might be heaven for multinational companies to avoid taxes, but, for the country, it’s hell.”
Senegal is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with half its population below the poverty line.
A document with the list of every firm using Mauritius as a tax haven shows the situation is bigger than just SNC-Lavalin.
Other Canadian companies involved in this include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. CPPIB invests the funds of Canadians held in the Canada Pension Plan. The organization is using money from the Canada Pension Plan in offshore tax havens.
Canadian-based Sun Life Financial insurance and investment giant is also mentioned in the #MauritiusLeaks.