Posts Tagged ‘legal’

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Technology and Words Changing First Nations – Right or Wrong?

25/08/2012

I was offered the opportunity to participate in an Ontario Power Authority initiative  – Giibimidowing Gidakiiminaan – Keeping, Respecting & Caring For Our Land Treaty #3 Conference – August 21 – 23, 2012 in Kenora, Ontario at which I jumped readily.  It was my opportunity to motivate, encourage & talk about possibilities – in renewables, but even beyond.

My dealings with First Nations, in the past, have taught me that I am but a stranger, an outsider to them.  How would I know anything about who they are or how they live?  Perception & reality are significantly different in my books.  However, I always make it a point to speak from the heart and this opportunity was no exception.

So off I flew to Thunder Bay where I met some of the other speakers and together we set off by car to Kenora, Ontario.

Trees, grass, water.  Clean air. True blue skies.  Not like the haze many have grown to become accustomed to in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sunset in Kenora, Ontario – beautiful, priceless

However, this area is not without its environmental – economical – technological – societal problems, quite the contrary.  Another type of unhealthy haze has been inflicted, and it is one that separates us huge concentration of southerners from the realities & truths of those living in the true north (which people in Kenora laugh and say they consider themselves in the south of the the north!).

Kenora, Ontario, some 5 hours drive from Thunder Bay – 3 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, lies in Treaty #3 First Nations area.  Unfamiliar with Treaty #3 and its’ important historical significance in Canada?

“Treaty 3 was an agreement entered into on October 3, 1873, by the Ojibway Nation and Queen Victoria. The treaty ceded a vast tract of Ojibway territory, including large parts of what is now northwestern Ontario and a small part of eastern Manitoba, to the Government of Canada. Treaty 3 also provided for rights for the Métis and other Ojibway, through a series of adhesions signed over the next year.

It was the third in a series of eleven numbered treaties between the Crown and North American First Nations. Despite being the third of these treaties it is in fact more historically significant in that its text and terms served as the model for the remainder of the numbered treaties. Treaties 1 and 2 covered an area about the same size and in fact had to be amended to reflect some of the developments arising out of the negotiation of Treaty 3. At the time that it was negotiated it was anticipated that the terms of Treaty 3 would serve as a model for future treaties and would require the amendment of Treaties 1 and 2 [Letter from Minister of the Interior Campbell to Lieutenant-Governor Morris, 5 August 1873, Public Archives of Canada (“PAC”), RG10, vol. 1904].

Treaty 3 has particular historical significance because of the litigation that ensued between the Crown in Right of Ontario and the Crown in Right of Canada over the significance of the treaty and the respective roles of Canada and the provinces in relation to aboriginal peoples. The first of these cases is the St. Catharines Milling v. The Queen [(1888), 14 App. Cas. 65 (P.C.)] which dealt with the question of the ownership of lands subject to a treaty (a question that was decided in favour of the Province). The second, A.G. (Canada) v. A.G. (Ontario), [(1910) A.C. (P.C.)], dealt with the question of whether or not Ontario had to indemnify Canada for the expenses incurred in negotiating the treaty and the ongoing costs of fulfilling the treaty obligations. Canada lost this case as well with the Supreme Court of Canada and the Privy Council holding that Canada was responsible for Indian affairs and the welfare of Indians and that the treaty had been negotiated to achieve broad national purposes (such as the building of the transcontinental railway) rather than to benefit Ontario. The significance of these decisions is still a matter of discussion in the Canadian courts.

Treaty 3 is also significant as there exists a written record of the native peoples understanding of the treaty. This is known as the Paypom document. It is a series of notes that were written for Chief Powassin during the treaty negotiations, and documents the promises that were made to the First Nations people. The promises in the Paypom document differ in a number of ways from the printed version available from the Canadian government.” – wikipedia

As a result, First Nations has no trust in outsiders and their talk about this and about that.  Not just with this treaty, but with a number of ‘agreements’ and/or ‘contracts’ and/or ‘initiatives’, many First Nations takes the stance that others don’t live up to their end of the ‘bargains’.  This is not to say there are no First Nations people who develop trust or ally themselves with others, however, they do with much caution.  In either case, I don’t blame them.

Making a long story short, I spoke my presentation from the heart and managed to connect with many, like Willy – a 74 year old elder, who has been attending all kinds of meetings and gatherings about the community, “… since 1981.” he said.

“I’m not afraid of progress. But.  There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it.” he almost whispered at me, as his aged wise eyes looked at me, the breeze blowing about his straw coloured, long hair.

Willy, an Elder from Treaty #3 has been attending community meetings since 1981.

First Nations Treaty #3 has a number of issues that are affecting their communities, and in no small manner.

3 hydro electric dams stand at the centre of much controversy.  First Nations describe how the frogs have disappeared.  No longer do the sturgeon grow.  In September of 2011, Grand Council Treaty #3 filed an application for judicial review. Respondents are the Province of Ontario as represented by the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).  The main issue at the centre of this review is the Respondents failure to perform their “duty to consult” in good faith with First Nations.

“… the Ontario Energy Minister’s direction to the OPA to develop the Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI) without Aboriginal consultation. In question is the OPA’s development and implementation of the  HCI, the decision by OPA to enter into an HCI contract for existing hydroelectric generating facilities (Calm Lake, Sturgeon Falls, Fort Frances, Kenora, and Norman) in Treaty 3 territory with ACH Limited Partnership (ACH). As of May 2011, these dams are owned by Calgary based BluEarth Renewables Inc.” – GCT3  (Please read here for full text)

Sounds as though, once again, people are not living up to their ends of ‘bargains’ … and so the cycle continues.

How about the proposed ‘solution’ of dumping toxic nuclear waste into the communities up there?  (Click here for full text of story.)  Nuclear Waste Management was on the agenda for the discussions as well.  Their displays, which likely cost thousands and thousands of dollars, took a whole day to put up, I watched it.  They were complicated, showed large pictures of business people and were overwhelming, even for me.

In no way is this an effective way of communicating to First Nations … and again, the cycle continues.

There’s more.

In December of 2011, Treaty #3 launched an education lawsuit against the federal government – the reason? ” … a breach of their treaty right to education.”

Inexperienced teachers & disintegrating schools.  Yes, it’s real and not fixed, even if Mike Holmes has drawn attention to the appalling living conditions, as he did in his December 2011 CBC article entitled, “Stop building junk on reserves.”

And if that doesn’t get you, let’s just go deeper down the rabbit hole and talk about how shocking Pikangikum truly is.

If you have never heard of this place, you need to.

In 2000, this First Nation was given the horrible and terribly sad title of, “Highest Suicide Rate in the WORLD” (I used wikipedia as a reference, but that info is not complete & certainly paints a picture leaning toward female inhalant abuse. It’s way more than that, affecting all.)  And, it hasn’t stopped.

In fact, this area is especially worse than ever.

I met a local from the area who shall remain nameless, due to the sensitivity of this information.

In March of 2012, MacLean’s published a story called, “Living and dying in Pikangikum.”  While it does speak to the horrors of life up in the area, it surely isn’t giving up the whole picture.

Picture a home, barely a structure, empty. No beds, no appliances, nothing.  A First Nations woman, standing in the middle of it, with utter desperation in her eyes.

Where to get another $500.00 together for just one more tab of Oxycontin.

Yes, comfortable ladies and gentlemen, reading this online, having encountered this sad article somehow through the internet because you are able to.

One tab of Oxy goes for $500.00, usually split into 4 – so 1/4 tab per person at $125.00.

How about a mickey?  A mickey of alcohol is $250.00.

Who controls all this?  I won’t write it out loud, but they surely are not angels.

We should all be ashamed of ourselves, allowing such injustices to continue to First Nations.  In fact, one of the Elders, a ‘Grandma’ said,

“First it was smallpox.  Now this.  Why not just give them smallpox and be done with it.”

It is not right to have our eyes shut for us to this, or for us to shut our eyes to it ourselves.

So, if you didn’t know about all this, dig deep.

Go even deeper and talk to First Nations.  What?  You can’t or don’t know how to? That’s bull. Keeping us separate is an excellent way to keep the cycle of abuse going.  I have and no, I don’t always believe everything … whether it’s from the government or from First Nations.  But I have observed this now myself having been there and there is no denying that while technology can most definitely be used to improve the quality of all of our lives, it has also become apparent that it can also create great problems that cannot be swept under the rug: it’s as simple as having the power to transport in drugs and alcohol to remote locations and turn viable people into zombies walking around ghost towns, as some really evil people are capitalizing on the genocide of a people.

But don’t believe me.  As I said, go find out for yourself.  And if you do not find this sad, shocking, angering, then perhaps all is lost and we live in a soul-less, money loving people filled country.

I hope that some of you reading this can connect even more dots in between with the mind-bending and twisted way some of our communities are merely being given perceptions, words & stories that makes the “jobs & prosperity” buzz over resources & technologies sound so great.

If we have such wonderful communication technologies, how come we seem to have difficulty in communicating, educating, negotiating & consulting with First Nations?  If guns kill people, spoons are making Harper fat.

It is also my hope that heartfull, responsible people will step-up and champion the introduction of new ways that are right, to the benefit of our communities and the children of our future.

But what do I know?

OPA Conference for Treaty #3 – Youth & Elders Forum

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Canadian Environment Law Assc. Publishes Report About CETA Negative Environmental Effects

14/10/2011

Improve the Canadian and European-Union trade agreement to better protect the environment, says Canadian Environmental Law Association

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2011 /CNW/ -Today, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) published a report about the negative environmental effects that could result from the Canadian and European-Union trade agreement, currently in its final stages of negotiations. The proposed trade agreement is the most comprehensive trade agreement to which Canada has ever been a party. It is set to be negotiated in Ottawa from October 17 – 21; its 10th and likely final round. According to CELA’s report, if major drafting changes are not made, the ability of government, both national and local, to enact public interest environmental measures could be compromised.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY CETA IS BAD

Theresa McClenaghan, CELA’s Executive Director, says “it is critical that trade agreements to which Canada is a party are carefully drafted so that public interest environmental laws are protected. Otherwise, economic arguments can be used against enacting or enforcing strong environmental laws.”

Some of the most controversial elements potentially proposed for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) include the unprecedented liberalization of essential public services, such as water, and the inclusion of a controversial investor-state dispute settlement clause. The narrow definition of ‘environmental laws’ and narrow exceptions for those ‘environmental laws’ from stringent liberalization provisions are also of concern. All of these proposals would restrict national and sub-national levels of Canadian government from enacting environmental laws in the public interest.

CETA is only the second time in Canadian history where parties to a trade agreement include provinces, and the first time that municipalities are bound. These cause CELA further concern because CETA, as presently drafted, will open up local regulations and policies of provinces and municipalities to direct competition and challenge from European corporations.

CETA’s impact on future economic, social, and environmental development in Canada and the EU will be considerable. For these reasons, the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s report insists that this agreement presents a critical opportunity for the inclusion of clear and strong environmental safeguards to ensure sustainable economic development in Canada and improve on environmental standards established in pre-existing trade agreements.

For the CELA analysis and drafting recommendations, see the report at
http://www.cela.ca/publications/report-environmental-impact-canadian-european-union-comprehensiveeconomic-
and-trade-ag.

For further information:Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 416-960-2284 ext. 219, c: (416) 662-8341

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Not Recycled! Study: Used Roofing Shingles Disposal in Niagara, Ontario – Environment Heads Buried in Landfill

12/10/2011

Had a discussion with a local roofer & scrapper from the Niagara Falls area.

The first thing he told me when he found out I am a sustainability consultant is that used roofing shingles in this area are simply buried in the landfill.

No recycle. No program. Nothing.

Since my focus recently has been looking at legislation & impacts of it across not only Ontario and Canada, but pretty much the entire globe, that I sometimes tend to forget about my own backyard.

I simply cannot overlook and ignore what this local small business owner had to say.

So this is where my daily study on simply one product, used roofing shingles and their disposal procedures in Niagara (& Ontario) begins.  The vision at the end of the day is to have secured some type of logical procedure to recycle & clean-up that which has already been compromised, namely the Walker Industries landfill here in Niagara Falls.

My discussion with this local roofer led me to his father, an 83 year old gentleman, who served on the Niagara Falls City Council and has been privy to much knowledge about the goings on in the environment of Niagara and Ontario.  This very knowledgeable, experienced man has pointed to the watershed destruction & compromise that has occurred as a result of shingle burial (combined with other un-biodegradeable junk) at the landfill site, affecting the townships surrounding it.  He spoke of having once approached the City to have an incineration technology put in to deal with it (a number of years ago) but that this had been dismissed.

Now it’s homework time.

1) Shingles: traditional ingredients; any scientific data available

2) Walker Industries: owns biggest landfill in Ontario; list of policies and procedures re: used shingles; description or copy of future plans

3) Understanding the local law, local traditions, local politics (OMG!) & their effects;

4) Research into history of environment of area and surrounding areas; any scientific data available

5) Creating a plan, proposal and/or solution; research into effective shingle recycling programs; research into potential of small business creation

The probability that these 5 first areas will expand into more is high.  Ask a question, get an answer = 100 more questions.

Please stay tuned and join me in observing, researching & perhaps even changing how one waste product, used roofing shingles, are disposed of in Niagara and Ontario.

But what do I know? 🙂

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The British Are Coming! Future Policy: Canada Cracked Open – Business, Environment, Laws

29/09/2011

One of Canadian Newswire’s headlines read: Ties Between UK & Canada Show Plenty of Potential.

It obviously points to the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy as clearly touted throughout the release, along with the interesting video attached as well. Go read and see it here, however, it pointed towards something else that seems to have surfaced in an underlying way.

A lean towards influencing students towards a future of ‘sustainable’ oil & gas. It’s no secret how the Feds want to double oil production in the next 10 years or so.

Feds want to double production. How can that be? POLICY. or (PC OILY)

The School of Public Policy website [indicated quite clearly in the background throughout the video] leads one to all the wonderful descriptions of enrolling and educating oneself to public policy and its intricacies and how to deal.  But as you delve deeper into who’s behind it, it makes one wonder how these students will be taught, and what they will believe is “for the better of the public interest” policy.

The credits listed for the professors are extensive and glare back of a more ominous tone that tends to lean towards a future of big business, oil & gas and re-affirming within the minds of these students that, as defined under the Canadian Federal Sustainable Development Act, these not so green and not so environmentally friendly types of energy, are sustainable.  Sustainability & Sustainable Development are such interesting definitions under that Act (OIL & GAS INCLUDED!!!) and carry such broad scope of argument that always out-shadows the precautionary principle, which is the only written terminology (as a definition) that eludes to the environment.

Here are the cracks. A list of the course Instructors, Lecturers & Supervisors.

SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

“Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies”

“… coauthor of a book on the regulation of natural gas pipelines in Canada, a text in industrial organization …”

“co-author, or co-editor of a number of books, including Human Rights and Social Technology: The New War on Discrimination (with T. E. Flanagan), … Current projects include Courting Controversy, a book that explores the rhetorical strategies used by courts to manage highly contentious public issues.”

“published extensively on Metis lands, Louis Riel, Native land rights and self determination, game theory and on recent political movements in Canada (such as the Reform party and the Conservative rise to power)”

or how about this choice credit:

“on the Energy Strategy Advisory Committee for the Government of Alberta; as an advisor to the Government of Canada on the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline Project; on the Canadian Academy of Engineering Energy Pathways Taskforce; on the Council of Canadian Academies Study on Hydrates; and, on the Boards of Directors of the Alberta Chamber of Resources, the Alberta Energy Research Institute, the Canadian Energy Research Institute, and the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for In Situ Energy. ”

“research associate at Cornell University and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy.”

These professors are merely knowledge testers and gatherers and regurgitators.  They provide all this information back to our government.  The government in turn, gets the bigger picture. Information technology is surely one of the highest forms of power in the world.

The lean here seems to be towards, energy, economy, business, sustainability (always a questionable Act) that rings of oil & gas, amongst others and it just so happens to be in Alberta.

The question here should not be what credentials are being demonstrated, but the real lack of truly important credentials = any and all the ones that have to do with social issues. Are they any Dr. David Suzuki’s on the list? Since this blog leans more towards green & science & technology, let’s just go there.

No.

Cracked open, these students are most likely in for a future of believing that oil & gas are sustainable or in the worst case scenario, understand that in order to play the money and power game, they will regurgitate what their leaders are saying, and the best demonstration or acting skills always win.

This blogger understands that transition from forms of fuel that are truly not environmentally friendly or friendly to our health is not easily accomplished, but it is very possible.  This type of undue policy influence perpetuates a future of oil & gas, when we all know there are solutions, that many Canadians in fact have created/designed, exist.

The atmosphere that has been created, with our Federal Government cancelling the Oceans Management program a few weeks ago (see here) or kicking out 700 Environment Canada people (who cares what they think if they don’t do as “taught”) and keeping up a pretense that oil, gas & nuclear can somehow be sustained environmentally.

Again, it is very important to understand the real meanings, definitions and the actual laws that have been laid out in the Federal Sustainable Development Act. It is not quite what it seems to be.

And as far as the British tie, if you pay attention to the video, you will here many references to gas, business, economy etc.

This blogger just wanted to point out the possible one-sided influence at the school. Where students are taught. That run the future later. From Alberta.

As for the Military credit, one must consider all the activists, who only want to truly protect the environment and make non-violent civil dissent (which is absolutely necessary to the health of a society).  We are being ruled by a bunch of corporate oligarchs in cultural hegemony.

#NoKXL #NoTarSands

But what do I know?

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Landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Mark on Land of Sustainability

15/09/2011

An Agreement Making Its Mark on the Land of Sustainability

The Forest Products Association of Canada announced today that on the occasion of the International Year of the Forests and Canada’s National Forest Week, The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Royal Geographic Society of Canada will hold a panel discussion on the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Info further in post about this landmark agreement that united big forest companies and staunch environmentalists and perhaps gives us an opportunity to learn about the challenges ahead.

The panel includes Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC, Richard Brooks, Forest Campaign Director, Greenpeace Canada and Tim Gray, Program Director, the Ivey Foundation. The panel discussion will be held at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St. in Ottawa on September 19th.

In past posts, I have discussed some of the difficulties with language and interpretation of sustainability and sustainable development under the law in Canada.  Forest & property management has been a very large focal point of the UN’s Agenda 21, the model for sustainability throughout the world.  I can only stress the value of becoming familiar with the agreement and the positions taken by all the parties that have been working on it.

It is being billed as a “landmark” agreement.  I stress, that means important.

Here is the link to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement website:

http://canadianborealforestagreement.com/

Here is the link to the actual Agreement itself in .PDF format:

http://canadianborealforestagreement.com/media-kit/Boreal-Agreement-Full.pdf

I encourage all to really try to appreciate the language that has been placed into the document.  Irregardless of anything you may believe in, have seen, read or heard, it is still very important to see for yourselves, engage and communicate.  Please take the time to watch over our beautiful land here in Canada.

But what do I know?

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Sustainable Environment in Canada: Coming Down the Pipelines

12/09/2011

I have suggested in several of my past posts, here & here, that sustainability in Canada is a really slippery slope, especially when it comes to the law.  And right now, it most certainly appears that oil & gas pipelines are higher on the sustainability agenda than the actual environment & truly erring on the side of caution.  It was announced in the media that the Harper government has backed off a very good initiative for properly managing the oceans in British Columbia a few days ago.

There are a few important things to note about this article and what it points to:

1) “environmental groups are using U.S. money to try to thwart development projects including Enbridge Inc’s $5.5-billion proposal to pump Alberta bitumen crude by pipeline to the West Coast for Asia-bound tankers”

What is sustainability in Canada?Anyone else find it aggravating that to keep on producing & expanding the oil & gas industry does not seem to align itself with what many believe to be a more sustainably developed world? Electric cars & solar power (along with a slew of other truly eco-saving energies) can easily be made available.  But hey, its always about the money almost everywhere seems.

Oh ya, and don’t forget about how it seems to be of great concern that environmental groups are thwarting (gas, oil) development projects. Holy human waste, batman but isn’t it effectively the agenda of environmental groups to save the environment? I am losing my mind here. Are we such oil & gas addicts that we cannot use fantastic alternatives & solutions right out of nature? We know this continued use of oil & gas & its development kills nature.  I’m smelling some human waste issues here that point to a certain kind of green – called greenbacks.

2) “The federal government’s letter, dated Sept. 1, 2011, declared that Ottawa is walking away from the $8.3-million funding agreement because it wants an oceans plan for the north coast based on a more “focused” and “sustainable and effective” process.”

Four words. “Focused”. “Sustainable”. “Effective”. “Process”.

Again, I will stress, that if one “FOCUSES”, it can be seen in the Federal Sustainable Development Act of Canada, the terms ‘sustainable’ & ‘sustainability’ are purely about “the capacity of a thing, action, activity, or process to be maintained indefinitely“.  In our government’s point of view & under the law, because the oil & gas industry are actions or activities or processes (that have already been around & will be for future generations!) to be maintained indefinitely. I will also stress that the precautionary principle is again, just a principle and/or a guide.  It is not specifically written into the legislation. I encourage you to look it up for yourself & read the Act.  Google it. Bing it. Share it. But make sure you don’t just take my word for granted.

Also, please view PNCIMA’s website.  Familiarize yourself with it. This plan has a steering committee comprised of government officials as well as First Nations & others.  First Nations are important & they comprise a large number of the population in BC. We also cannot forget that irregardless of any stereotypes, First Nations people understand nature & its circle, of that I have not doubt.  I have worked with First Nations in Ontario, talked to them.  I know what is going on.  This type of support withdrawal is nothing new to First Nations, but it is a big slap & direspect to them here as far as their involvement & it is indicative of control over their future involvement.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

If we really want to save our beautiful environment in Canada, let’s use some logic here.  It is not unreasonable for us to want to wean ourselves off of oil & gas & other dirty methods of energy production & to start the stoppage of these kinds of developments.  There are alternatives.  Are they at the top of the sustainable list in Canada?  I’m just not seeing that really.

What is coming is a lot more of oil, gas etc. developments unless we do something.

Roman historian & poet Juvenal posed this question:

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Translation:  Who will guard the guards themselves?

It is up to up to us to work within the system & fight for the proper wording & defense of our environment, animals, food, water etc. because sustainable seems somewhat a Trojan horse.

We hope & want & believe sustainability will save our environment. In global political economical terms, its all really about money, technology & resources.

But what do I know?

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POLL: How is Sustainability Defined Legally in Canada?

05/09/2011

Do you know what sustainability is under the Canadian Federal Sustainable Development Act?

Was hoping to get an idea from interested participants by responding to the following:

 

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