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The Regina Mom

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Bernadette Wagner is an award-winning writer, a community activist and a singer. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, chapbooks and anthologies, on radio, television, CD and film, as well as online. Her first collection of poetry is available from Thistledown Press. This summer, she participated in an international women's recording project, A Widening Embrace, a collection of love songs for Earth and all its beings.

Opposing the Enbridge pipeline: Saying no to corptocracy

| January 31, 2012

According to the Earth Policy Institute, direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry worldwide amount to half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) annually. That's a lot of zeroes for an industry that is killing people, plants, animals and whole ecosystems. That's more than $1.4 billion per day impacting the climate. Fortunately, Canada is not in the top 10, not even the top 25 of the countries most generous to the fossil fuel industry. But given the Davos outing of the real HarperCon corptocratic agenda to "remake Canada," The Regina Mom shall be ever vigilant. If Americans are asking what has happened to their northern neighbour, it's a sign. Chris Hedges, in an op-ed published at Truthdig, asks outright, "What has happened to Canada?" He goes on to answer:

I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010's G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist. The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.

And the new Canada Inc. will stop at nothing to get what it wants. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal is a case in point. Citing the economy as the reason for the vast devastation which will occur if the pipeline is allowed to proceed, Enbridge has charged ahead. Geoff Dembicki offers up a detailed explanation of just what Enbridge has done in B.C. as it tried to gain the support of First Nations and small communities. The Haisla Peoples do not believe they have been consulted, as is required. Enbridge has walked all over them and not heard their views, despite promising -- twice -- to listen. With the government of Canada's charge forward on the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Enbridge pipeline proposal despite the concerns and reservations of the Haisla People, came a sense of distrust. There is now real concern that the HarperCon government will inappropriately use the Aboriginal Consultation Framework piece of the JRP as its "duty to consult" regarding development on unceded lands. First Nations leaders are not, however, standing idly by. Blogger 350 or bust has reprinted, with permission, an open letter to Harper and Oliver by a former Chief Councillor of the Haisla People, Gerald Amos. He says:

Now we face Enbridge and their proposal to bring dirty oil from the tarsands through our territory via a pipeline, and ship it through our waters via super tankers. This is the largest and most insidious threat to our culture that has ever existed, with the possible exception of the Canadian governments violent imposition of the residential school system.

TRM doesn't see these folks backing down. The same goes for the Dene people. Saik'uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas said, "We will be the wall that Enbridge cannot break through." This came after signing the Save the Fraser Declaration, "a formal legal declaration that protects the world's most critical salmon rivers, and the Pacific North Coast, from the threat of oil spills posed by the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline and supertankers." Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said that First Nations have a right to say no to pipeline development on their territories, based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is not a signatory. It would ensure Canada's First Nations "right to free, prior and informed consent" in all matters, be they political, social or economic. Given that Canada did not sign onto that Declaration, The Regina Mom will not hold forth much hope that the HarperCons will keep to their word. And, like Chief Thomas, she is prepared to lay her body down in front of the bulldozers to stop this insanity, should need be.

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Comments

Oops. Fixed.

Contrary to what is stated above, Canada is not a signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada voted against the Declaration.

Years later, the Harper government issued a falsely-titled "Statement of Support" for the Declaration, a largely self-congratulatory document which committed it to do absolutely nothing, and described the Declaration as "a non-legally binding document that does not reflect customary international law nor change Canadian laws". It was more a statement of disapproval than a statement of support.

It does not "ensure Canada's First Nations 'right to free, prior and informed consent' in all matters, be they political, social or economic", as the above article alleges. In fact, the Harper government's statement of "support" expressly disapproves of such a proposition:

Quote:
In 2007, at the time of the vote during the United Nations General Assembly, and since, Canada placed on record its concerns with various provisions of the Declaration, including provisions dealing with lands, territories and resources; free, prior and informed consent when used as a veto; self-government without recognition of the importance of negotiations; intellectual property; military issues; and the need to achieve an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations of Indigenous peoples, States and third parties. These concerns are well known and remain. (my emphasis)

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