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Revolt, Grassy Narrows, the Vancouver housing crisis, McGill sexual assault and survivors: What's new in the news

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There was a lot of news to discuss this week from environmental disasters to the housing crisis to how our country's universities handle sexual assault. Once again our rabble.ca bloggers offer insight and intellect on the issues affecting our nation. 

Many are dismayed that the National Energy Board recently approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. With fears that the federal government will also approve the project Sarah Beuhler wonders how people will fight against the decision. She reminds us of nine popular ways to revolt against oppressive governments and unpopular decisions from rallies to full-on confederacy. This is a fun and informal piece that reminds us we need not stand idly by when governments don't act in our best interest. 

Another environmental concern is the mercury poisoned English-Wabigoon river system and how it has impacted the Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek people. David Suzuki details the history of how the pulp and paper mill in Dryden dumped untreated waste into the river and how it has affected the environment and First Nations people. Citing Rachel Spring’s influential book Silent Spring he says that the fight to clean the river is a struggle for environmental justice.

Krystalline Kraus explains that while research has shown a cleanup may be able to eradicate the negative effects of pollution the government doesn’t seem to care. She posits that it may be the result of "Attiwapiskat syndrome" or how First Nations far from seats of power tend to be neglected. She invites those government officials who aren't concerned about the levels of mercury poisioning to sit down and enjoy some fish from the area. 

From an environmental crisis to the housing one in Vancouver, Michael Stewart criticizes Mayor Gregor Robertson's apologia dismissing the problem. He says that we need to recognize that the housing price problem is real and that it's not going away. One of the most moving statements in his piece reads, "astronomical housing prices, it's regularly prophesied, will drive out regular families and workers and hollow Vancouver out until it's nothing but a carved-out playground for jetsetters and wealthy retirees." He also notes that Vancouver was built on the stolen and unceded land of the Coast Salish First Nations and money made from plundering its resources.

Another problem that has been facing our nation is the way post-secondary institutions handle sexual assault. McGill University in Montreal is one institution that has been criticized for their lack of resources and sexual assault policy. While the university has promised a policy by the end of the year Albert Van Santvoort writes about how the student working group that called on the school to develop such a policy is concerned that student input is not being included. As McGill's policy could set a precedent for other institutions it is concerning that those who will be directly affected by it are not being consulted in its creation. 

Also concerning when it comes to assault and abuse is how we treat survivors when they come forward. We said that we learned our lesson when it came to how we treated and judged Ghomeshi and Cosby accusers. However, Amber Heard has recently come out with abuse allegations against estranged husband Johnny Depp and we see the same cycle of victim blaming repeat itself. Disappointed with media and public reaction, I wrote how this is another unfortunate teachable case of how we unfairly judge those allege abuse. While it's important to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty we need to stop holding survivors to impossible standards and start treating them with equality and respect. 

That's it for this week's blog roundup, make sure to check out more rabble.ca blogs to find out what's happening in your world.

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