September – December 2005 (archive)


December, 16, 2005 Campaign Day 18:
Leaders entrench positions during lively debate

VANCOUVER – There was no clear-cut winner in this evening’s debate which at times was quite lively.
Liberal leader and Prime Minister Paul Martin managed to uphold his government’s record despite being attacked on all sides on Gomery and the softwood lumber dispute.
“In Canada today our economy is H3; deficits are history,” said Prime Minister Paul Martin. “The Liberals and the other parties don’t believe in the same things, we would take Canada down very different paths.”
He was inspiring and positive at times. In particular, in his late-evening attack on Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe over a question about national unity and Quebec separation.
“This is my country, and my children were born and raise in Quebec,” said Martin addressing the Bloc leader. “You’re not going to divide my country and put Quebec family against Quebec family.”
Conservative leader Stephen Harper was attacked right at the start over same sex marriage. He denied he would use the notwithstanding clause but would hold a “free vote” in Parliament to deal with his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“Mr. Harper, let me tell you, it is the responsibility of the prime minister to defend the Charter of Rights,” said Prime Minister Martin.
“If you can’t defend the Charter of Rights, you’ve got to ask why you want to be prime minister. I will defend the Charter of Rights and I will not bring forth new legislation.”
Duceppe took the opportunity to remind Mr. Harper that this vote had already taken place.
We already had a free vote on that, and we don’t need to bring that up again,” said Duceppe in response to Mr. Harper’s plan.
Duceppe, who has performed well in the past has shown the Bloc to be inconsequential in broader National perspective but will likely remain a major player in the next minority parliament. Duceppe was weak in answering questions on maritime unemployment and western alienation.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper performed a lot better than he had in the past but continues to be rather subdued. His constant references “as Prime Minister” was tiring and unconvincing.
NDP leader Jack Layton attempted to hit a few ‘out of the park’ by was cut off again and again by the moderator Trina McQueen, looking amateurish in the process. His timing was very poor on almost every question but ensured that his constant target was Prime Minister Martin. He had one successful exchange directed at Martin over greenhouse gas emissions.
US relations, conduct in Parliament and minority government also incited interesting discussions.

Bob Goulais’ Thoughts of the Day:

It is obvious to me that each party has some good leadership, but only Prime Minister Paul Martin showed convincing leadership.

Despite the Stephen Harper’s position and now this same sex law has been proclaimed – the only method available to the Conservatives is through the controversial notwithstanding clause.


Dec. 13/05 LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
from Hansard Tuesday 13 December 2005

Ms. Monique M. Smith (Nipissing): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I’d like to invite the members of the Legislature to join me in welcoming Grand Chief John Beaucage of the Anishinabek Nation and the Union of Ontario Indians —

Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): Oh, he’s here.

Ms. Smith: He is here, Gilles — as well as Bob Goulais and the health adviser of the Anishinabek Nation.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): That is not a point of order, but welcome, gentlemen.


Dec. 9/05 Campaign Day 11:

Liberals maintain lead in latest poll

The governing Liberal party remains ahead in Canada, according to a three-day rolling poll released today by SES Research and CPAC. 40 per cent of respondents would vote for the Liberals in next month’s federal election.
The opposition Conservative party is second with 26 per cent, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 18 per cent, the Bloc Québécois with 11 per cent, and the Green party with four per cent. Support for the Tories fell by two points, while backing for the NDP increased by one point. Canadians will elect a new government on Jan. 23, 2006.
In the preferred prime minister category, 30 per cent of respondents prefer Liberal leader and current prime minister Paul Martin. Conservative leader Stephen Harper is second with 19 per cent, followed by the NDP’s Jack Layton with 11 per cent, Bloc leader Giles Duceppe with six per cent, and Green leader Jim Harris with three per cent.

Four Day Progression:
Liberal: Dec 5 – 37%, Dec 6 – 38% Dec 7 – 40%, Dec 8 – 40%
Conservative Dec 5 – 30%, Dec 6 – 30%, Dec 7 – 28%, Dec 8 – 26%
NDP: Dec 5 – 16%, Dec 6 – 16%, Dec 7 – 17%, Dec 8 – 18%
Bloc: Dec 5 – 11%, Dec 6 – 11%, Dec 7 – 12%, Dec 8 – 13%

Other Polls:
Angus Reid-Global Scan Lib 40 Con 26 NDP 18 Bloc 11
Strategic Counsel Lib 36 Con 30 NDP 15 Bloc 14
Decima Research Lib 34 Con 26 NDP 20 Bloc 14.


Addressing Urban Crime:
“Martin’s gun ban a bold, good step”

Toronto Star Editorial – Prime Minister Paul Martin’s promise yesterday to ban handguns in Canada if his Liberals are re-elected might better be described as a crackdown than a full-fledged ban. But it is welcome all the same. It is the boldest bid yet by a federal party leader to stem a toxic social problem.
In Toronto, 50 of the 75 homicides this year were committed with handguns. Many involved young black men. Left unchecked, this violence will spread. That would be intolerable. It must be suppressed. As Martin says, Canadians “do not accept the rising threat these weapons pose.”
Martin proposes to enact federal legislation empowering the provinces to prohibit handguns. If they balk, Martin should go further and unilaterally enact a nationwide ban. A patchwork quilt won’t solve the problem. That’s why Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty should throw his full support behind combining tight new restrictions on legitimate handgun ownership with a get-tough approach to gun crime.
Martin will also invest in more policing, criminal prosecution and community development to get illegal guns and gangs off the streets.
He would double the mandatory minimum sentences for key crimes: trafficking in firearms, smuggling, and unlawful possession of loaded handguns in public places. He would also invest $400 million over five years to beef up the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, other police forces and the Canada Border Services Agency to better target gangs, smugglers and organized crime. And he’d spend more on youth services and skills training to give urban teens positive alternatives to gang membership.
While Canadians legally own nearly 400,000 handguns, few of us regard handgun ownership as a fundamental right.
Under Martin’s proposal, only “legitimate target shooters” in “major multidisciplinary sporting competitions” would be granted a “narrow exemption.” That means many, perhaps most, handgun owners would have to give up their guns.
In effect, he wants to create a non-permissive climate toward handgun ownership, reversing current policy. People would get licences as an exemption, not as a rule, and only for demonstrably competitive purposes.
Lawful handgun owners will no doubt complain they are being targeted when the main problem lies elsewhere. There is some truth in that. But there is also no denying that far too many Canadians own handguns for which they have no real use. That is hard to justify.
In reality, many Canadian handgun owners are anything but competitive. Only an elite handful compete in the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. A few thousand belong to well-organized, safety-conscious groups like the International Practical Shooting Confederation, which has members in 60 countries. And many compete in casual fun “shoots” at their local gun clubs. But many handgun owners show up occasionally to shoot at paper targets, competing only with themselves.
And many “collectors” simply want to keep a gun in the house.
While Canadians may sympathize with bona fide sport shooters, it is hard to see how anyone has a “right” to store a .45 calibre handgun in the basement, just to have it there. That invites theft, accidents and worse.
Martin’s approach sensibly favours active sport shooters over passive gun owners. It includes a buyback plan for those who must surrender guns. And it is tough on criminals. It is a rounded package.
It is worth noting, too, that the owners of the country’s more than 6 million rifles and shotguns, mostly to protect farm families and livestock or to hunt, won’t be affected by this ban. They get a break. Martin will waive relicensing fees to encourage them to register and safely store guns.
Martin is taking some political risk with this approach. There is also some question as to who, exactly, will be allowed to retain handguns for competitive purposes. And provincial co-operation is required.
But Martin deserves credit for trying to make our communities safer. His ideas should spark a healthy campaign debate.


Dec. 7/05 Federal Government endorses
First Nations’ implementation plan

OTTAWA – At the historic First Ministers Meeting (FMM) on Aboriginal Issues held in Kelowna B.C. on November 24-25, 2005, the Government of Canada announced several commitments to First Nations in the areas of relationships, health, education, housing and economic opportunities. To further solidify federal commitments that will benefit First Nations across Canada, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Andy Scott agreed to a specific First
Nations Implementation Plan.
“This Implementation Plan outlines commitments to First Nations as presented in the First Ministers Meeting Communiqué released on November 25, 2005,” states National Chief Fontaine, “These commitments are consistent with the principles and objectives of the First Nations-Federal Crown Political Accord on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Governments.
These new federal commitments will strengthen our special relationship with the federal Crown, as well as our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Implementation Plan recognizes the importance to First Nations of self-government in achieving political, social economic and cultural development and improved quality of life.”
“The First Ministers Meeting underlined key bread-and-butter issues of better access to health care, rich educational environments for First Nations learners and safe homes and communities,” says Minister Scott. “The First Nations Implementation Plan includes commitments that will improve conditions for First Nations living away from their communities.”
To monitor progress and to undertake work associated with these commitments, an annual meeting of a specific First Nations Multilateral Forum will take place between First Nations leaders, Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and other sectoral Ministers. Perhaps most critical is the commitment outlined in the First Ministers Meeting Communiqué to follow up on the FMM with leaders in the next two to three years.
“This will allow us to maintain our momentum and continue the unprecedented collaboration and progress achieved at the First Ministers Meeting,” says National Chief Fontaine. “In the past week alone we reached a historic agreement in principle on residential schools and now we have made tremendous progress for the future at the First Ministers Meeting. Imagine what we can achieve in ten years.”


Dec. 5/05 Campaign Day 7:

Bezhbiihged:
“The Anishinabek Nation Votes!”

“As a citizen of the Anishinabek Nation, I have the right to vote.
My ancestors fought hard for this recognition and this right.
It took until 1960 to obtain this right.
I honour my ancestors by practicing this right that they gave to me.”

Did you know that there are over 60 ridings in Canada that could be “swing ridings” depending on the Aboriginal vote.

In the last federal election:

In 22 Ridings, the Aboriginal vote exceeded the margin of victory in the last election.

8 Ridings have an Aboriginal voting age population exceeding 10,000.

29 Ridings have an Aboriginal voting age population exceeding 5,000.

45 Ridings will have voting populations have an Aboriginal voting age population in excess of 5% of the total population.

Your vote can make a difference.


Make an informed choice

For a non-partisan list of constituencies and candidates visit:

Elections Canada www.elections.ca

For campaign messages and election platforms visit:

Liberal Party of Canada www.liberal.ca
Conservative Party of Canada www.conservative.ca
New Democratic Party of Canada www.ndp.ca
Bloc Québécois www.blocquebecois.org

Anishinabek Nation issues

First Ministers’ Commitments
Whatever government takes power following the federal election, it is important the the commitment given at the First Ministers’ Meeting are lived up to. These include significant investment in Housing, Health, Life Long Learning and Economic Opportunities.

Health and Social Indicators
We want to see a government take significant steps to work in partnership with First Nations government to improve the living conditions for our people, both on reserve and in urban centers. We want to see marked improvements in health and social indicators such as addressing unemployment, child poverty, overcrowding, diabetes, addictions.

Water and Infrastructure
It is essential that steps be taken to address the poor public infrastructure in First Nation communities. We have the right to clean and healthy drinking water like the rest of Canadian society. We want to make these improvements ourselves, in partnership with government and by setting our own standards for water, wastewater and infrastructure systems.

First Nations Self-government
It is important for the National government to understand our right to self-determination and self-government. The Prime Minister has already promised that “no longer will government policy be developed in isolation of aboriginal people.” We want to foster a new relationship with Canada, based on a Nation-to-Nation relationship.

Recognition and Implementation of our Rights
Above all, any National government will require to respect and work in partnership with First Nations to recognize and implement our aboriginal and treaty rights, including the right to harvesting, our inherent right to self-government, our right to determine our own laws and jurisdiction, our right of tax exemption, and respect of our governance structures and authorities.

Messages from Elections Canada

To make the electoral process as welcoming as possible to Aboriginal people, Elections Canada has expanded the Aboriginal Community Relations Officer Program. These officers, working under the direction of returning officers, will develop key contacts in the Aboriginal communities to make sure their members are aware of their right to vote and how to exercise it. We intend to have more polling stations in locations accessible to Aboriginal people, particularly in urban areas. More Aboriginal people will be hired as election officers, and our Aboriginal Elder and Youth Program will again provide interpretation and identification services to electors who are unfamiliar with the election process.

Why Vote?
In an election, we vote for the candidate of our choice in our electoral district. The candidate with the most votes is elected. He or she then becomes the Member of Parliament. Voting is our fundamental right that was fought for by our ancestors. We have earned that right and we honour them by practicing that right.

The Election – I Make a Choice
When there is an election, I should receive a voter information card in the mail, which confirms that my
name is on the voters list. This card is important. It tells me how, when and where I can vote. If I do not receive my card, I will contact Elections Canada to find out how to get my name on the voters list so that I can vote.

How Do I Vote?

There are three ways I can vote.

I can vote at an advance poll.
Advance polls are for those who cannot or do not wish to vote on election day. All electors can vote at an advance poll. I can find out the place and times for advance voting on my voter information card or by
contacting Elections Canada at the telephone number on the card.

I can vote by special ballot.
Voting by special ballot is done by mail or at the office of the returning officer in my electoral district. I can contact Elections Canada for more information.

I can vote in person on election day.
On election day, I go to my polling station to vote. The dates, times and polling station address are on the voter information card.

Our people have earned it. Exercise you rights. Bezhbiihged.
The Anishinabek Nation Votes!

For more information or assistance call:
Elections Canada (800) 463-6868
Union of Ontario Indians (877) 702-5200


Dec. 3/05 Campaign Day 5:

Minority government in the works: Polls

TORONTO – The latest public opinion surveys are out. And they indicate another Liberal minority government in the works.
The Liberals have the support of 33 percent of voters, while the Conservatives, headed by Stephen Harper, are at 31 percent, according to an Ipsos-Reid survey published in the National Post.
A poll by Ekos Research published in the Toronto Star and Montreal’s La Presse newspapers on Saturday had support for the Liberals at 34 percent, 5 percentage points lower than the previous week. It put the Conservatives at 27 percent, down two points for a week earlier. The New Democrats were at 18 percent in the Ekos poll, up 1 point.

Harper announces justice platform

BURNABY, BC – Criticism is mounting over the Conservative Party’s announcement of their criminal justice strategy. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper outlined their platform that includes mandatory, minimum sentences of at least two years for trafficking, exporting, importing or producing heroin, cocaine and crystal meth, as well as more than three kilograms of marijuana or hashish. They also favour eliminating conditional sentences, or house arrest, for all indictable drug offences and to close safe-injection sites in Vancouver.
Over the past few years, several studies have shown minimum mandatory sentences add an enormous cost burden to the corrections system without offering any clear deterrent.
Criticism was leveled by the Liberals stating that by forcing this election campaign, effectively killed eight bills that would have strengthened law enforcement in Canada. Among those bills was a proposed law that would have established new criminal offences and tougher sentences to target marijuana grow-ops.

Bob Goulais’ thought of the day

The Conservative Party has once again shown their decades-old ‘lock em up and forget em’ approach to the criminal justice system. It’s no wonder that people still see them as the party of the Old West.

PM wades in on terrorism, hostages

MONTREAL – Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has condemned threats to the lives of four Western hostages in Iraq, two of them Canadians.
“This is a callous act of terror against innocent people,” Prime Minister Martin said at a campaign stop in Quebec. “Let us remember these people are in the country on a humanitarian mission. They came to help the Iraqi people rebuild their society, they came to help build peace.”
“I can reassure Canadians tonight that the full resources of the federal government are being made available. We will do all we can to get these men back home, home to their families,” Martin said.
This combonation of photos released by the Christian Peacemaker Teams shows from L to R clockwise: Kidnapped US national Tom Fox, British national Norman Kember, and Canadian nationals James Loney, and Harmeet Singh Sooden.


Dec. 2/05 Campaign Day 4:

A Day at the Office

NORTH BAY – I enjoyed my day in the local campaign office, spending some time with our local Liberal candidate Anthony Rota, our campaign manager Peter Gavan and some old friends from my school days, Gerry and Greg Kolz.
Spent most of my day stuffing and licking envelopes to some 3000 members of the Liberal Party of Canada living in our riding. This is just a start. The renewals and ancillary lists include thousands more. It seems our campaign team is on the ball!
In contrast, local Conservative candidate Peter Chirico’s campaign office is still in the construction phase. Apparently, they are only putting up drywall.

Bob Goulais’ thought for the day:
Here is some good advice: stick to the drywall, Peter! Isn’t that what Al McDonald is doing now?

Liberals deserve to go back to Ottawa, CAW Boss
CAW boss Buzz Hargrove gave Martin a qualified endorsement, saying the minority Liberal government “deserves to go back to Ottawa with even bigger numbers.”
Hargrove said there should be a H3 NDP opposition, but urged members to vote Liberal in ridings in which the NDP has no chance of winning.
“Whether you elect a Liberal or an NDP, the overall numbers don’t change in terms of the ability to form a coalition government,” he said. “We’re out to stop the Tories.”
“We’re saying to people don’t waste your vote. Make sure we don’t send any more Tories to Ottawa. We don’t need them.”
It was an unprecedented call for a president of the CAW, which usually stands behind the union-affiliated NDP.

Election ads encourage snowbirds to vote
About 200,000 snowbirds are planning to escape the Canadian winter south of the border — but they may not be able to escape Elections Canada.
An Elections Canada ad campaign will be launched in newspapers in the American states and the parts of Mexico most frequented by Canadian snowbirds to tell people how to vote by mail.
Consular offices in Florida, Arizona, Texas, California and some areas of Mexico will also send people out to encourage sun-seeking Canadians to vote in the Jan. 23 election.
Elections Canada is also putting up posters at airports, passport offices and at Canadian Automobile Association locations, all aimed at snowbirds.

Good times
My friends Gerry Kolz (my grade six teacher) and his son Greg, Anthony’s executive assistant apparently appreciate good humour. I’ve been enticed to watch The Trailer Park Boys. In return, I offer this humous anti-government satire at Greg’s expense:

SCIENTISTS DISCOVER NEW ELEMENT

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the
heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element has been named “Governmentium”. Governmentium has one
neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant
deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These 311 particles are
held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast
quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be
detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A
minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to
complete, when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium
has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but, instead
undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons
and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each
reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming
isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to
believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain
quantity in concentration.
This hypothetical quantity is referred to as “Critical Morass”. When
catalyzed with money Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element
which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but
twice as many morons.


Dec. 2/05 Beaucage responds to inflammatory column:
“In defence of residential schools”

Editor, Parry Sound North Star

John MacFie saves his most important statement for last in his Nov. 30 assessment of Indian Residential Schools.
“I never experienced the system from the inside,” he admits, after devoting several hundred words to offer his opinion to North Star readers that the church-operated and government-mandated schools were not “the hellholes…they are now made out to be.”
That opinion is apparently based on his personal acquaintance over a brief period with a handful of survivors – we don’t call them students – of just one of the notorious program’s 80-plus residential schools. I’m guessing that he would agree that his evidence is not as scientifically-gathered – or as credible – as that given by some of the 80,000 survivors to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
Perhaps he hasn’t talked to people who, as children, had pins stuck in their tongues when they spoke their Native languages, who were continually raped by clergy and school caretakers, or who were beaten into unconsciousness for such grievous sins as bed-wetting.
But then, Mr. MacFie concedes, perhaps the reason why none of his small circle of Native friends “hinted at mistreatment” is because “it would have been uncharacteristic of them to reveal such things to an outsider like me.”
Like most Canadians, John MacFie owes it to himself to look a little deeper into Canada’s deplorable record with regard to dealings with aboriginal peoples, a record for which the federal government apologized on Jan. 7, 1998 in a Statement of Reconciliation. In that document, copies of which should hang in every school and newsroom in Canada, the government said its official policy in dealing with aboriginal peoples had smacked of “attitudes of racial superiority” – i.e. racism – and that it was “deeply sorry” for the residential school survivors who experienced sexual and physical abuse.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission promised at the recent First Ministers Meeting is designed to provide the missing chapter in the history most Canadians learned in school — not to make them feel guilty about what happened in the past — but to help give them the knowledge and wisdom to ensure that such shameful acts are not repeated in the future.
Yes, Mr. MacFie, you may well be able to find survivors who escaped the horrific child abuse that was systemic in Indian Residential Schools, just as you can find Holocaust survivors who escaped the Nazi death camps.
Those survival skills have served aboriginal people well since time immemorial. Despite decades of broken promises and policies designed to make us disappear, we are still here. And a growing number of our children and grandchildren are learning and speaking the languages you refer to as “extinct”.
Those who truly want Canada to be the best country in the world need to have a better understanding of our past in order to know how important it is for aboriginal peoples to have a successful future.
We invite John MacFie to contact his neighbours at Wasauksing First Nation to learn more about their history and plans for their future.

All my relations

John Beaucage
Grand Council Chief
Anishinabek Nation


Dec. 1/05 Campaign Day 3:

Anthony opens his campaign office

NORTH BAY – It was a pleasure to be a part of the opening of Anthony Rota’s campaign office and the launch of the local campaign in Nipissing-Temiscaming. A number of his supporters, including the students of the aboriginal governance class at Nbisiing Education Centre attend to hear Anthony’s record in Nipissing-Temiskaming.
“In 2004, I campaigned on the slogan ‘Determined to Deliver’ and I believe that I have done that,” said Rota. “In this election the voters will be asked to elect an MP and a Prime Minister who are best suited to work on behalf of all the people of this riding and Canada.
“I believe that Paul Martin and I are the candidates who have shown the integrity and determination to do this.”
Rota’s first term may have been short, but he has brought significant federal investments to the area. He estimates that the Government of Canada has invested in the CP rail-lands development, including over 8 million from FEDNOR and approximately $16 million from the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, a partnership between Canada, Ontario and local municipalities. Both programs are administered by Industry Canada.

Economists dump on Harper’s GST plan
Some economists have come out against Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s election campaign promise to lower the GST to 5 per cent. Bill Robson, senior vice-president of the CD Howe Institute, said: “If you want tax cuts that are going to promote work, going to promote saving, help us invest more and raise living standards in the future, the GST is not the tax you would go after.”
Robson said it would be better to cut personal income taxes just as the Liberal Party has planned.
Jason Clemens, an economist with the Fraser Institute, and Jim Davies, of UWO also opposed the plan. New Brunswick Finance Minister Jeannot Volpe says Harper’s promise to slash the GST would hurt this province

Former PM says Harper won’t win
Former Tory PM Kim Campbell says she doesn’t think Stephen Harper will win the federal election because Canadians are too afraid of his party’s social conservative agenda. “People may like their fiscal policies but they’re frightened by their social conservatism,” she said.

Bob Goulais’ thought for the day:

On a personal basis, Anthony is a very special man. He is dedicated and truly caring about his home community and his constituency. I am very pleased to be a part of his team.
For me, the needs of the aboriginal community are paramount in this election. On numerous occasions, Anthony has demonstrated his support for our issues and a genuine commitment to learning more about First Nations people and our communities.


Nov. 30/05 Campaign Day 2:

Let the intolerance begin:
Harper would roll back Charter rights

OTTAWA – Conservative leader Stephen Harper took less than an hour into the federal election campaign to confirm that, as Prime Minister, he would attempt to roll back the Charter rights of Canadian minority groups beginning with gay and lesbians.
“We will simply ask the House of Commons through a motion whether they want the government to table legislation on the marriage issue – to change the definition of marriage,” Harper said in a scrum in Ottawa on November 29, 2005. “If it is passed, we will proceed.”
Reinstating the traditional definition of marriage would require the use of the notwithstanding clause to override a Charter right.
No Canadian Prime Minister in history has invoked the notwithstanding clause to override a Charter right – Stephen Harper would be the first to take this radical step.
The Liberal Party’s position is clear, they are committed to upholding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – both the rights of all individuals to equality and the fundamental freedom of religion.
Defending rights is a government’s most important responsibility – not just those that happen to apply to us, not just those that everyone agrees with, but all fundamental rights.
Our principles of equality and tolerance are at the very heart of what it means to be Canadian, and it is these values that the Canadian government must continue to nurture and protect.

Latest Poll Numbers:
Nov. 29 Strategic/Globe Liberal 35 Conservatives 29 NDP 17 Bloc 14
Nov. 29 Ipso-Reid/Canwest Liberal 31 Conservatives 31 NDP 19

Candidates:

IN: Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space and President of the Canadian Space Agency will be the Liberal candidate for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

“We’re very proud to see Marc Garneau with us here. He is a representative voice for the future of Quebec in Canada,” Prime Minister Paul Martin said in announcing Mr. Garneau’s candidacy.

OUT: Gurmant Grewal, the Conservative MP caught up in last spring’s taping scandal, won’t be seeking re-election.

Bob Goulais’ thought for the day:

I wrote back in June about the gay marriage bill and in particular about the Conservative Party’s intolerance of gays and lesbians and their right to marry.
I wrote: “At the heart of this issue is the protection of the rights of a minority, which should never be defined by the majority. In this case, it is the rights of gay and lesbian people to be married and obtain the same legal status that the rest of us enjoy.”
“This law won’t redefine traditional marriage nor force churches to marry anyone. Nor will gay marriage lead to polygamy, dissolve Canadian society, steal your children in the middle of the night or lead to blindness.”
“However, throughout history, various movements including right-wing conservatives-types have waged war against the rights of blacks, Jews and First Nations peoples.”
We have already heard the intolerant and sometimes racist Conservative view of aboriginal and minority rights by the likes of Tom Flanagan, Jim Pankiw, Cheryl Gallant, Rob Anders, Bryan Fitzpatrick, Jack Ramsey, Mike Scott, Herb Grubel, Leon Benoit, a few of which have been known to consort with the likes of neo-nazi group Heritage Front.


Nov. 30/05 My Relatives in Spirit

For my brothers and sisters of Trinidad
Especially Chief Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez,
Eintou Pearl Springer and Dara Healy.

Maabiijaa niikaanisadook
Gaa niimidaa
Come over here and dance with me.
You are my relatives in Spirit.

Brothers and sisters with faces
In different shades of brown
Come away from that line
That may lead you astray
From you spiritual bounty
And everlasting life.

That line is conscripted, spaced and rehearsed.
Though that path is well-travelled
It is muddy and lined with pain
Injustice and inhuman indignities.

Move off that path
Bend that line
Turn and see me, my relatives
When we form the circle
We all see one another
The circle has no corners
No one is excluded
No one can hide
There is no head, no tail
No front, No back
We all share a voice within
its sacred design

Our oratory of revolution
Transcends race, color
age, religion
Latitude, longitude
and nation-state.

Self-become our understanding
Of each others’ discord, fate
Circumstance and happenstance.

Rise up, my cousins
We are the proprietors of the land
Stewards of Mother Earth
Protectors of the Spirit
Defenders of the faith
And warriors of our people.

Maabiijaa niikaanisadook
Gaa niimidaa
Come over here and dance with me.
You are my relatives in Spirit.

Calypso rhythms
Of song and dance
The bright ring of the pans
Feathers and masquerade
In reds, yellows, blues and blacks.
Though full of beauty, energy and celebration
It does not mask your need and push for change

Emancipation is remembered
While civil rights run human rights unclean
Poverty, crime
Modern day slavery
Locks and chains
While society claims freedom.

A reckoned acknowledgement
A plight of understanding
Supporting each other
Speaking our objection of morality
Contravention of nature
Our sense of purpose
Will and resolve.

May we rise up
in billowed gusts of conscience
A tide of Spirit
To sing each others song.


Nov. 30/05 A Revolution of Youth

Da Nish kidz they will
Hip-hop, pop, lock and jamz
A lil’ bit will fit
Culture popped from a can.

Wasup my homey?
But you’ll never really know me.

Until ya know ma peeps
From the Cree to da Creeks
Our treaty rights we fight for
Run more than skin deep.

Using all the words
Dat unfurl for da girlz
May not swirl or curl
Or be inspired by Pearl.

But its not a waste
Or something written in haste
Its an outlet been tried
that’s caught on
And been wise

A revolution of youth,
it’s the truth
From the tooth.
Playing at hundreds of pow-wows
Booth after booth.


Nov. 29/05 Pagan prayers for kidnapped Christians

Jim Loney speaking with a Iraqi man.
Jim and three others were kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents on Saturday.

My personal prayers go out to the members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who have been reported kidnapped in Iraq.
Kidnapped are James Loney, 41, of Toronto who leads the CPT delegation in Iraq; Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 also of Toronto. An American and a British national are also being held. The world learned of the hostage taking when a video appeared on Al Jezeera television. The four were taken at gunpoint on Saturday.
I have a great respect for this group, led by my friend Mr. Doug Prichard. The Christian Peacemaker Teams are not evangelists or missionaries – rather a well-intentioned group of Christian people working hard to preserve world peace. They were instrumental during the Burnt Church First Nation fisheries crisis in 2001 and fought alongside First Nations people in reporting the truth out of Burnt Church. They have also work alongside First Nations near Kenora against forest giant Abitibi-Consolidated over clear-cutting.
Christian Peacemaker Teams are in Iraq in an effort to promote peace by revealing the truth about Iraqis living under American military rule. The group has monitored elections, advocated for prisoners of the Abu Ghraib jail, and helped with human rights activities.


Nov. 29/05 Anthony Rota seeks moratorium
on holiday campaigning

Although being disappointed that the opposition has chosen to send the country to the polls at this time, Anthony Rota, MP and Liberal candidate for Nipissing-Timiskaming accepts the challenge and looks forward to a positive local campaign that will see the candidates debate the issues and listen to the concerns of the people in this great riding.
“In 2004 I campaigned on the slogan ‘determined to deliver,’ and I believe that I have done that. Over the past 18 months I have worked hard for the people of Nipissing-Timiskaming and I am also proud of the record of the government led by our Prime Minister Paul Martin,” Rota said.
“Integrity and determination continue to be the key components of my platform. In this election the voters will be asked to elect an MP and a Prime Minister who are best suited to work on behalf of all the people of this riding and Canada,” stated Rota. “And I believe that Paul Martin and I am the candidates who have shown the integrity and determination to do this.”
“l look forward to taking my record and the record of this government to the people of Nipissing-Timiskaming, and to doing this in a positive and respectful fashion,” concluded Rota.
As such, Anthony Rota has instructed his campaign manager to approach the other local campaign teams to arrange a moratorium on all electronic and print media, along with any door-to-door campaigning during the period December 23 to January 2.


Nov. 29/05 Campaign Day 1:

Pop goes the weasels (and up go the signs)

OTTAWA – Last night, one by one, the opposition party members beginning with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton stood to vote in non-confidence of the Government thereby forcing an early election. Prime Minister Paul Martin will visit the Governor General today to dissolve Parliament and file the writ that will schedule the election for January 23.
Listening to the retiring (and thusly inconsequential) Ed Broadbent last night, I was taken aback by the audacity of the NDP to begin campaign messaging that they will “run on a record”. Of course, they are referring to a deal made with the Liberal government last spring. On the very same day, to vote non-confidence in the Government while riding the coat-tails of the Liberal record gives Jack Layton the title of “Weasel” for the rest of the campaign.

Day One prediction:
A Liberal minority, a little H3er than the 2004 election. Ontario will continue to be the Liberal H3hold. Conservatives will lose seats thanks to a H3 poll-by-poll showing by the NDP. Bloc will hold steady in Quebec. Liberals will win 141 seats. Conservatives 87. Bloc Quebecois, 52. NDP, 27.

Latest Poll Numbers:
Nov. 29 Strategic/Globe Liberal 35 Conservatives 29 NDP 17 Bloc 14
Nov. 26 Ekos/Toronto Star Liberal 39 Conservative 29 NDP 17 Bloc 11

Bob Goulais’ thought for the day:

It is well known that the new Conservative Party of Canada had courted their favorite son, Mike Harris to lead their party back in 2003. Such blatant intolerant attitudes displayed by Mike Harris during the Ipperwash crisis – and now confirmed by former Attorney General of Ontario – is indicative of the streak of intolerance towards aboriginals and minorities within the core Conservative value system. We have seen this time and time again. We don’t label them as boogeymen, they do well enough labelling themselves. If by one statement, the leader of a provincial Conservative government could order the OPP into Ipperwash Provincial Park, which ultimately led to the killing of a First Nation man – we have to ask ourselves what a national Conservative government might be capable of?


Nov. 28/05 Harris: “Get those fucking Indians out of the Park”
Ipperwash truth finally revealed

(With Files from the Canadian Press)

FOREST – Charles Harnick says loyalty to former Ontario premier Mike Harris led him to keep secret for 10 years shocking comments Mr. Harris is alleged to have made about a native occupation.
The former attorney-general stunned the Ipperwash inquiry on Monday by testifying that he heard Harris use profanity in saying he wanted the protesters out of the park just hours before police shot dead Dudley George on Sept. 6, 1995.
According to Harnick, Mike Harris was quoted as saying: “Get those fucking Indians out of the Park.”
During an interview with CBC I provided First Nations’ response: “This does not come as a surprise to us, and we have known all along what Harris said and the secrets that have been kept by the former Conservative government. This is the attitude that directly led to the storming of the Park and the shooting death of Dudley George,” said Bob Goulais.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Sam George and the late-Dudley George. Now that the truth of Harris’ involvement is known, perhaps all of these questions can be answered and give this family and the community of Kettle and Stony Point some peace,” added Goulais.
Mr. Harnick told the inquiry Tuesday that it took 10 years to come forward, simply because no one ever asked him about the comments.
Under cross-examination, lawyer Julian Falconer cited numerous occasions in 1996 when opposition politicians put questions to both Mr. Harris and Mr. Harnick about those comments in the provincial legislature.
Mr. Harnick conceded he faced those questions and said loyalty, friendship and political issues kept him from revealing his account of Mr. Harris’s words.
The former attorney general says he agonized over his testimony at the inquiry, but felt he had to tell the truth.
Still, Mr. Harnick was quick to defend his former boss in testifying that Mr. Harris immediately fell silent after making the alleged comments, then calmly proceeded to approve a legal remedy to the standoff.
Mr. Harris’s lawyer has told the inquiry the former premier will deny swearing when he testifies in January.
The extent to which Mr. Harris directed the police response to the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park has been a key issue at the judicial inquiry into shooting death of Mr. George – the first native killed in Canada over a land dispute in 100 years.
Mr. Harnick’s testimony that Harris used profanity in angrily demanding that the occupiers be removed represents the first time someone who attended the emergency meeting at the provincial legislature has supported second- and third-hand accounts of Mr. Harris’s making those remarks.
Eight witnesses at the meeting, which was also attended by provincial police, have already testified that they have no memory of Mr. Harris’s using profanity.
Former deputy solicitor-general Elaine Todres, who also attended that meeting, was to testify after Mr. Harnick.


Nov. 26/05 Leaders now focus on implementing
the First Ministers’ agenda

Disappointment with Government of Ontario’s approach

KELOWNA, BC – Now that the First Ministers’ Meeting is over and speculation of a New Year election looms, First Nations across Canada are moving their thoughts towards implementing the agenda agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers.
Grand Council Chief John Beaucage was the lead First Nations representative for Housing at the First Ministers’ Meeting and has co-chaired both First Ministers’ Working Group on Housing and Relationships.
“I am very pleased with the result of the First Ministers’ meeting and in particular with the genuine resolve of Canada’s First Ministers to work with First Nations towards a solutions-based approach to improving key social indicators in our communities,” said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, speaking from Kelowna, BC. “We must now focus on implementing our plan as put forward by First Nations. Government will not be implementing this plan, ultimately, that responsibility will fall on our shoulders and we are ready for the challenge.”
Specifically, Beaucage stated that the “new investment and agreement at the First Ministers’ meeting was a significant beginning to improving living conditions in Canada’s First Nations.” Over $5 billion in new investments was announced as part of a national consensus to move forward in five areas: housing, health, life long learning, relationships and economic opportunity.
“This will certainly do a lot to improving the socio-economic situation of First Nations people across the country,” said Beaucage. “However, that effort will have to be ongoing with continual vigilance to reviewing, assessing and monitoring key indicators in these areas. I applaud the commitment to an additional First Ministers’ Meeting on aboriginal issues and the First Ministers’ resolve to reviewing the progress for the duration of the strategy.”
As the senior First Nations representative for Housing, Grand Council Chief Beaucage sat at the main table with the Prime Minister and the Premiers during that specific discussion in which $1.2 billion was agreed upon specifically for aboriginal housing. A new investment of $400 million was specifically committed to infrastructure in First Nations communities.
“Housing is one of the best examples of how First Nations have taken the lead in proposing a comprehensive 10-year strategy to improve First Nations housing in Canada, both on and off-reserve,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. “These improvements include over 60,000 new housing starts in the next ten years.”
The housing strategy also includes the development of a capital fund, a market-based housing approach, addressing the continued need for social housing, but also maintaining the status quo for those First Nations who cannot support or take advantage of these significant developments. First Nations will also made a significant 10-year proposal to administer these housing programs themselves.
“For decades, our leaders have called for solutions to address our housing crisis, to see fundamental change in programs and to lobby for a substantial increase in investment. These achievements are just on the horizon,” he said.
When asked about the response from the Premiers, Grand Council Chief Beaucage commented that certain Premiers were H3er and more supportive of the plan than others, mentioning specifically Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia and Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba. He expressed disappointment in the remarks and participation of his own Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario.
“Some of our Chiefs were disappointed in the remarks of Mr. McGuinty, who could have shown a lot more strength and leadership with regards to the recognition of First Nations governance and position of implementing our aboriginal and treaty rights,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
More specifically, Beaucage was critical of the Government of Ontario’s “new relationship” which appears to lump First Nations, Métis, service providers and even certain illegitimate aboriginal interests into the decision-making process.
“The pan-aboriginal approach Ontario is taking does not respect the Nation-to-Nation relationship that is expected between the government and First Nations. This homogenous approach to implementing the First Ministers’ agenda is not going to fly,” added Beaucage.
First Nations and Métis leader have unanimously condemned this approach. Métis Nation of Ontario Tony Belcourt has also reinforced the same message to Premier McGuinty and Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


Nov. 24/05 Ontario Grand Chief now hopeful

By Grand Council Chief John Beaucage

At long last, it seems value is being placed on the improvement of First Nations’ living conditions and the overall quality of life for aboriginal people.
With the First Ministers’ meeting this week, and the landmark announcement yesterday of residential school compensation along with the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, Canada may be taking significant steps to improving its shameful U.N. world ranking of 65th in the indigenous quality of life index.
Although the federal government is taking strides toward improved relationships with aboriginal peoples, it is First Nations people themselves who are pushing the envelope. They are doing so through a comprehensive, solutions-based approach toward improving their own circumstances and quality of life.
The unprecedented opportunity to address the premiers came about through direct First Nations engagement with Prime Minister Paul Martin. The initiative was an effort to heal relationships strained by former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his Indian Affairs minister Bob Nault.
When Martin quashed the First Nations Governance Act, and thus Nault’s legislative agenda, he signalled that he wanted to engage aboriginal people, pledging that “government policy will no longer be developed in isolation of aboriginal people.”
First Nations leaders have played a significant role in the establishment of the Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtables last year, a high-level cabinet retreat last May, and this First Ministers’ meeting being held today and tomorrow in Kelowna, B.C.
Over the past eight months, native leaders, policy advisers and technicians have met with government officials to work on various aspects of a solutions-based approach to the Kelowna meeting.
The five areas that will be discussed include housing, health, lifelong learning, relationships, and economic opportunities.
Housing is one of the best examples of how First Nations have taken the lead in proposing a comprehensive 10-year strategy to improve aboriginal accommodation in Canada, both on and off-reserve. As a senior representative for the First Ministers Housing Agenda, I am confident our co-operative, solutions-based plan will see marked improvements over the next decade.
These improvements include thousands of new housing starts, development of a capital fund, a market-based housing approach, addressing the continued need for social housing, but also maintaining the status quo for those First Nations who cannot support or take advantage of these significant developments. We will also made a significant 10-year proposal to administer these housing programs ourselves.
For decades, our leaders have called for solutions to address our housing crisis, to see fundamental change in programs and to lobby for a substantial increase in investment. These achievements are just on the horizon.
Last month in Regina, the Assembly of First Nations convened a special chiefs meeting to plan our strategy for the First Ministers’ meeting.
Although National Chief Phil Fontaine’s approach was overwhelmingly approved, several aboriginal groups in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec were unhappy with the AFN proposal and argued for a more focused “treaty-based, rights-based” strategy. In other words, chiefs want to see movement in these areas, based not on legislation, or even negotiation, but on the rule of law: implementing our aboriginal and treaty rights.
The message is clear: The fundamental argument of aboriginal and treaty rights — more specifically, the inherent right to self-determination — must begin to be applied in the broader sense within Canadian society.
However, the rights-based argument must not replace the value of a comprehensive, solutions-based approach. First Nations must take the opportunities that present themselves now in order to create real, measurable change to the various social indicators in our communities.
Inevitably, we will have to co-operate with various governments while continuing to push the legal boundaries toward recognition of our aboriginal and treaty rights.

Grand Council Chief John Beaucage is leader of the 42-member First Nations of the Union of Ontario Indians. He is the AFN’s senior representative for housing at the First Ministers’ meeting.


Nov. 23/05 Abuse payout for Native Canadians

OTTAWA – Canada has offered to pay more than $2 billion compensation to indigenous people who were abused at government-funded residential schools.
Some 80,000 people who attended the schools over decades are eligible. About 15,000 of them have begun legal claims against the government and Church, which ran the schools – to be dropped if they accept the deal.
The draft package must still be agreed by the courts but has been welcomed by indigenous leaders.
Thousands of former pupils at the 130 boarding schools have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse spanning seven decades.

Fast-track payments
The schools were set up in sparsely populated areas in an attempt to assimilate Canada’s indigenous peoples – known as the First Nations – into mainstream society.
Attendance was mandatory and children were forcibly removed from their families and forbidden from speaking their language.
Most of the schools were shut down by the mid-1970s, with surviving students now 60 years old on average. Many victims have already died.
Under the terms of the draft deal, each claimant will be eligible to receive C$10,000 and then an additional $3,000 for each year they attended beyond their first year.
Those aged over 65 can apply for a fast-track advance payment of $8,000.
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine said the settlement was the biggest in Canadian history.
“Today marks the first step towards closure on a terrible, tragic legacy for the thousands of First Nations individuals who suffered physical, sexual or psychological abuse,” he said.
“While no money will ever heal the scars, we hope this settlement package will bring comfort and a sense of victory and vindication for the children and grandchildren of survivors… It’s been a wonderful day.”

‘Disgraceful act’
The deal also includes C$60m for a truth and reconciliation process designed to promote awareness of what happened in the schools.
John Beaucage, Grand Council Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, said talking about “this dark chapter in Canadian history” was an important part of the healing process.
Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he hoped the package would bring a “just and lasting solution” for the victims.
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler described the abuse which took place as “the single most disgraceful, racist and harmful act in our history”.
He said he hoped the settlement would mark a turning point for Canada.
The government has already settled about 2,800 of the 15,000 lawsuits already filed, paying out C$110m in compensation.


Nov. 23/05 Peace and healing for Residential School survivors

STATEMENT FROM GRAND COUNCIL CHIEF JOHN BEAUCAGE

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – “We are very pleased with the announcement of a reconciliation and compensation agreement on Residential Schools. This is very long overdue, almost seven years after the ‘Statement of Reconciliation’, the government’s official apology over the Residential School policy. Sadly, many of our elders have passed into the Spirit world during that time.”
“The greatest value of this settlement, is it may bring peace and healing to generations of elders. I certainly feel the truth and reconciliation commission will be a positive step toward raising awareness, telling our Elder’s stories, and brining First Nations and Canadians closer together.”
“Hundreds of thousands of our children were forcibly removed from their communities, forbidden and punished for speaking their language. They were abused physically, emotionally and sexually. Sadly, very little is known about the Residential School tragedy within the broader Canadian society. Canadians must understand that this was a mandatory government assimilation policy which ultimately constitutes government-instituted abuse. Canadian children need to learn about this in school and all of us need to talk about this dark chapter in Canadian history. No longer should these events be swept under the rug, or whispered about in hushed tones.”


Nov. 22/05 Mutual understanding bottom line at conference

TB News Source
Thunder Bay’s local media went back to school Tuesday. Representatives from all media outlets joined aboriginal communication leaders at Lakehead University for a conference aimed at improving the understanding of each other’s needs.
It was a day of engaged debate, discussion, and hopefully in the end more understanding. Local media members joined aboriginal media and communication leaders to discuss the gap in understanding often felt by both sides.
Education, background and cultural differences were identified as part of the problem. Switzer says both sides must work harder to simply get to know each other better.
Grand Council Chief for the Union of Ontario Indians John Beaucage was the guest speaker for the lunch time address. Beaucage talked about the importance of self governance and the need for media to better understand and communicate the importance of treaty rights. He’s says there’s still a lot of work to be done on both sides but there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Nov. 18/05 MP Rota not impressed with Harper

OTTAWA – Member of Parliament Anthony Rota, says that he was “less than impressed” by a speech given today in North Bay by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
“In his speech, Mr. Harper tried to dismiss claims that a Conservative Government would scrap regional programs such as FedNor as nothing more than Liberal propaganda,” says Mr. Rota. “This is in stark contrast to statements he has made on many previous occasions, when he made it very clear that he does not believe in the effectiveness of such programs, and that the Conservatives would in fact eliminate them altogether.”
According to Mr. Rota, “The people of Nipissing-Timiskaming have benefited greatly from FedNor investment, and there is no doubt in my mind that the program should continue.” He also pointed out the fact that since he was first elected in June 2004, Nipissing-Timiskaming has received in excess of $6 million in FedNor assistance, and over $15 million in infrastructure investment through COMRIF.
“Communities throughout the riding have received a great deal of support from the Federal Liberal Government,” says Mr. Rota, “and as the Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming, it is my duty to ensure that my constituents receive maximum government support in all areas.”
Mr. Rota indicates that his political opponent in Nipissing-Timiskaming may also have reason to be concerned about the Conservative Party Leader’s intentions going into the next election. “Mr. Harper has stated previously that a Conservative Government would scrap the Federal Business Development Bank,” says Mr. Rota. “Given that my political opponent is currently employed by the BDC, and can undoubtedly justify the work he does there, he would certainly seem to be at odds with his party leader’s position.”


Nov. 15/05 An Evening of Elegance A Lifetime of Hope

By Angela Johnston

NORTH BAY – The First Annual Snowflakes, Stars & Hope JDRF Gala was a great success, with support from sponsors, Champagne Extravagance, 50 Silent Auction Items from expensive trips to Autographed Cap of Northern Ontario’s Stanley Cup winners spanning 10 years, Floral Fantasy Competition, a Gourmet Dinner and Serenade by Richard Levesque, Music by Whitney Whalley, Michael Landloni, Saxophonist and Dance with all Proceeds to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Appreciation Awards for years of dedication to help bring JDRF closer to a cure were presented to Alice Goodship and Judi Jessen in recognition for their contribution to the founding of the Walk for Cure Diabetes. Bob Goulais for his tremendous efforts in increasing awareness of Diabetes, his dedication as Corporate Recruitment and effective fundraising.
Daniel Godfrey, youth Ambassador for the past few years was recognized for his outstanding work as JDRF’s spokes person and a role model of young people, for his passion to fight for a cure. Daniel received special recognition from our MPP, Anthony Rota, presented by Monique Smith our MP who also presented Daniel with a certificate of achievement award. JDRF Vice President Frank Cersano presented Daniel with a computer which had been donated to be rewarded to the Youth Ambassador. Daniel will be working with Bob Goulais as the Speakers Bureau that will help bring more awareness to all levels of our leaders both in communities and the government.
The impressive list of visitors from MPP Anthony Rota, MP Monique Smith, Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, North Bay City Councilor Mac Bain, Lisa & Tony Demarco, Deputy Chief North Bay Police Services Al Williams, Dean Belanger of CKAT Radio, Laura Ypya Executive Director Ontario’s Near North where among the 130 attendees plus the JDRF volunteers and committee members.
Don’t feel bad if you missed this year as next years event is already set, so mark you calendar for their 2nd Annual Snowflakes, Stars and Hope Gala for Saturday November 4th, 2006 to be held at the Best Western North Bay to reserve your tickets please contact Nipissing JDRF office at 744-0160, northbay@jdrf.ca
Year to date Nipissing JDRF has raised over $140,000 to support diabetic research. The theme for 2006 is “Destination to a Cure” with more events planned including the 2006 Walk to Cure Diabetes June 3rd, 2006 6 km Lee Park.


Nov. 13/05 Snowflakes, Stars and Hope honours volunteers

BEST WESTERN, NORTH BAY – It was truly a pleasure to be honoured by my peers, friends and community at the first annual “Snowflakes, Stars and Hope” Gala. The proceeds of the fundraiser, expected to top $20,000, will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
At the gala event last night, Alice Goodship, Judy Jessen, Daniel Godfrey and myself were recognized for our volunteer work with the JDRF.
It was an inspiration to hear the story of Alice Goodship, who started the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes in North Bay. She did not have diabetes in here family, but took on the task through her work at a local pharmacy. Her dedication is truly remarkable.
Judy Jessen’s world changed immensely when her daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Type-1 diabetes. After a few months of contemplation she, through the support of her family have committed to supporting the search for a cure.
Daniel Godfrey has been a personal hero of mine. He is a tremendous youth ambassador for young people living with juvenile diabetes. He is an amazing motivator, and was recognized by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario last night.
In accepting my honour, I told my personal story of ‘what motivates me’. I do this work for our people, through Gzhemnidoo (our Creator) through my teachings of mno-bimaadiziwin (the good life). I do this for myself and my children – to take care of my own Type-2 diabetes and so my children may never have to experience its complications. Most of all, I do this as a means to begin to “take matters into our own hands”. Anishinabe people must take a hands-on role in working towards a cure. We have to do this work for ourselves.
Personally, I have proposed the development and establishment of a National Aboriginal Diabetes Research Project, possibly hosted by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. I look to all our supporters, including the JDRF, to see this vision succeed.
It is important that we continue to contribute financially to the JDRF. Its also vital that we we seek the support of our employers, local companies, industry and organizations to get involved. But we must also “take matters into our own hands” and do this work. We have to get out there and volunteer. Encourage others to donate and participate.

I want to thank:

Susan Shouwstra and her family, sons Daniel and Dakotah;

Venise Levesque and her daughter Laura;

Campaign Co-Chairs Mac Bain and Angela Johnston.

Ron and Cindy Laplante, two of the most generous people I know – whose company, Creative Impressions supports the JDRF and the Anishinabek Nation Seventh Generation Charities;

Grand Council Chief John Beaucage and his wife Bonnie;

The Union of Ontario Indians, for allowing me to do this work with the JDRF;

To the First Nations communities of Nipissing and Dokis;

My family. My children Katherine Faith, Miigwans and Griffin. They motivate me to be better. My mom and the memory of my Dad who was always proud of me. As well as my brothers and sister, especially Dennis Jr. and Katherine who attended the Gala with me last night.

Although it is always nice to be recognized and honoured by others – there are those who deserve a lot more recognition.
It is those young people, living with Juvenile Diabetes, who truly deserve to be honoured. People like Daniel Godfrey, MacKenzie Reid, and Laura Levesque. They live every day with this disease. They endure tens of thousands of finger pricks, thousands upon thousands of insulin injections. They have to do this day-in and day-out. They never get a break.
But they show us their tremendous Spirit. They are out there, playing with their friends, participating in organized sports, getting summer jobs. And at every JDRF event, they are always out there volunteering and doing this important work. If they can do this for themselves, and show us their tremendous Spirit of Hope — Your damn right we can do that too!
They are our heroes. And we do this for them.


Nov. 13/05 Improving Canada’s Third World

10-year Challenge: Empowering First Nations through self-government

By National Chief Phil Fontaine
Assembly of First Nations
Special to Time Magazine

Canadians were shocked last month by articles and images on the crisis in Kashechewan, a First Nation community in northern Ontario. Media reported that residents were sick because of toxic drinking water, noting the community has been under a boil water advisory since 2003. It became clear in subsequent days that the real story was about more than water – it was about dilapidated housing, over-crowded homes, sickness, chronic unemployment and near-third world living conditions.
What is most shocking is that this is far from an isolated incident. There are dozens of Kashechewans in Canada, and dozens more teetering on the edge of crisis every day. While Canada enjoys a consistent Top 10 ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index, the conditions in our communities would place First Nations 63rd on that list.
Canada has a third world in its front yard and back alleys. This is a national tragedy and an international embarrassment.
The question is: what do we do? At the upcoming First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues, to be held in Kelowna, BC, on November 24 and 25, we will be sitting down with the Prime Minister and provincial leaders to answer this question.
We must avoid lazy thinking. Some pundits are calling for an end to the reserve system. Let these communities whither and die, they say, so everyone can move to urban centres.
The problem is not location. Remote reserves are in some of the most resource-rich areas of the country. There are ample opportunities for development and partnerships. Other communities are creating urban reserves as extensions of their jurisdiction, where businesses and services can flourish. Others are pooling resources and establishing loan funds. There are creative solutions, but the straitjacket of federal policy limits our creativity.
What we really need is a new approach and new thinking. Dr. Stephen Cornell, co-founder of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, stated that: “the keys to sustainable development on Indigenous lands have to do with genuine decision-making power that is backed up by capable governing institutions that match Indigenous notions of how authorities should be organized and exercised.”
In other words, progress on economic and social development is directly linked to progress on self-government.
This means First Nations and Canada must make new commitments if we are going to move forward.
For Canada, this means relinquishing control and micro-management of our people and governments. It means resource and revenue sharing in our traditional territories. It means honouring the historic Treaties and our inherent, constitutionally-recognized rights. It means stepping back and letting First Nations make the decisions that affect their lives.
For First Nations, it means articulating our vision of self-government. It means building a capable and independent First Nations public service to manage our affairs. It means establishing our own institutions of responsible governance, such as a First Nations Auditor General and a First Nations Ombudsman. It means re-constituting our nations and moving beyond band governance.
And it means saying clearly to all of Canada that we fully recognize that as we take more control we assume more responsibility for the outcomes.
At the First Ministers Meeting we will be presenting action plans to deal with housing, health, education, economic opportunities and self-government. Equally important, we are seeking a comprehensive plan that is strategic and sequenced.
While new investments are important, we must not focus solely on dollar amounts. Investments without a plan is like a plan without investments. We can free up resources by bringing sense to the current state of scattershot programs and patchwork policies. We can streamline programs to make them more effective and efficient. We can invest new resources to create First Nations citizens and governments that are active participants in the economy.
This is crucial to the future of First Nations, and also to the future of the country. Within ten years, more Canadians will be leaving the workforce than entering it. But as Canada ages, our population is coming of age. More than half our people are under the age of 25. We are one key to Canada’s future productivity and competitiveness.
I have issued a “10 Year Challenge” to the First Ministers to work with us to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians. This is a challenge for a decade and a lifetime. It is a legacy project for all Canadians. We cannot afford to lose another generation of First Nations youth. Now, more than ever, our future is Canada’s future.


Nov. 7/05 Layton won’t prop up PM

Tories, Bloc put onus on NDP Leader to bring down minority government

By Bill Curry and Cambell Clark
Globe and Mail

TORONTO, OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jack Layton said yesterday that his party will no longer prop up the Liberal government, a decision that could plunge the country into an election campaign through the winter holidays for the first time in 26 years.
But neither he nor any other opposition leader would vow to bring forward a no-confidence motion to defeat the government and trigger an election.
Saying his party rejected the Liberal government’s proposal for a deal on health care as “unacceptable,” he insisted the New Democratic Party cannot support the government any longer.
But Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe put the onus on Mr. Layton to make the first move in the House of Commons, although they indicated their parties will probably vote to defeat the government if he takes the initiative.
Mr. Harper said he believes Mr. Layton is still merely seeking to strengthen his negotiating position to extract concessions from the minority Liberal government. However, the NDP Leader said his threat is real.
“We’ve indicated that we will not be supporting the government in a confidence motion when it comes forward. I don’t know how much clearer I could be than that,” Mr. Layton said.
The more bellicose tone from the NDP opens a period of instability in the Commons and speculation on election timing. There are many dates when the opposition could vote no-confidence in the government — starting as soon as next week — which would trigger a general election between Dec. 27 and Jan. 16.
Prime Minister Paul Martin has said he will trigger a vote to occur two or three months later — promising last spring that he will call an election within 30 days of the second report of the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, due Feb. 1.
I think the onus is clearly on the opposition on whether they decide to force an election over the holiday season and then justify that to Canadians. You know, how does that move in the public interest when we’re about 90 days from the call of the next general election,” Government House Leader Tony Valeri said, warning of a backlash.
He said one constituent told him: “Don’t bother me when I’m putting my Christmas lights up. I get very angry.”
Mr. Valeri said the opposition is responding to a bounce in the polls after last week’s release of the first Gomery inquiry report on spending irregularities in the sponsorship program, but the public dislikes the instability and gamesmanship that will follow.
Yesterday, Mr. Harper, who has said repeatedly that his intention is to bring down the Liberal minority at the earliest possible opportunity, made no leap to join Mr. Layton in that — unless he leaps first. Mr. Harper said his party would vote against the Liberal government, but noted it would have to be an NDP no-confidence motion on Liberal corruption.
Mr. Duceppe said it’s only a matter of weeks between the possible election dates, and that Liberals will be beaten in Quebec, anyway. But the Bloc believes the Liberals have lost the moral authority to govern and will not support them, he said.
“But it’s up to the NDP and the Conservatives now to take action, because the two are saying that it has to be done through the federalist parties. So fine, we will go along with whatever they decide.”
Mr. Layton, meanwhile, said the Prime Minister can ensure that the winter vote will not take place between Christmas and New Year and defended his push for an election during such an unusual time in the calendar year.
“Canadians have done a wide variety of things in the winter before. Canadians are accustomed to winter issues, but the precise timing is something that is very much in the hands of the Prime Minister, it’s in the hands of Parliament in terms of the various opposition day motions. We’ll see how things unfold,” said Mr. Layton, who was speaking in Toronto.
The NDP move marked a break in an alliance that spawned a $4.6-billion budget deal and kept the Liberals alive in the spring. But with an election coming one way or the other, the NDP last month delivered the Liberals an ultimatum on a crackdown on the privatization of health care.
Mr. Layton rejected as “unacceptable” the four-page letter from Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh outlining the government’s response.
“There is no meaningful accountability or even a real effort to monitor and track public medicare’s decline and private care’s rise. And today’s Liberal Party is unwilling to attach any conditions to prevent privatization to the funds it currently invests in health,” he said.
He left only a small opening for the Liberals to reconsider, if they do a “180-degree turn.”
Mr. Dosanjh vowed to move ahead on the proposals anyway, and criticized the NDP for refusing to offer specific counterproposals. Liberal strategists said they view the NDP move as a political decision that it was timed to break the Liberals, and that the issue they wanted to split on was health care.
If the opposition parties make a deal, the NDP could trade so-called “opposition days” with the Conservatives or Bloc and put forward a no-confidence motion next week, to trigger a Dec. 27 election, or wait until their opposition day on Nov. 24.
Mr. Layton took pains to note the Liberals must schedule a vote on a money bill — an automatic no-confidence motion, by Dec. 8. That would normally lead to a Jan. 6 election.
Under Canada’s elections law, a campaign must last at least 36 days, but the Prime Minister can extend it.
Liberal strategists said they see no reason to take the blame for a longer campaign, and alleviate the opposition’s blame for campaigning through Christmas. But they said the NDP will be blamed for killing public business slated for the fall, possibly including a first ministers meeting with first nations chiefs scheduled for late this month.
Several first nations groups made that case immediately.
“I must H3ly protest such a decision as it is not in the best interests of first nations across Canada,” wrote Union of Ontario Indians Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, who has a leading role in developing a new aboriginal housing plan that was to be announced at the meeting.
But Mr. Layton dismissed the Liberal argument as lacking credibility.
“If [the Prime Minister’s] now saying that everything hinges on a particular meeting that he and his party waited 12 years to have happen, shame on Mr. Martin,” he said.


Nov. 7/05 Statement from Grand Council Chief John Beaucage

NDP Party prepare to vote against government
which will lead to early election

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – “I have come to understand that the New Democratic Party has rejected a deal with the Liberal Government and the NDP caucus in the House of Commons is prepared to vote against the government which will ultimately lead to an early election. I must H3ly protest such a decision as it is not in the best interests of First Nations across Canada” said Anishinabek Grand Council Chief John Beaucage.
“First Nation health and social indicators are once again at a point of credible concern. The best example is the most recent water quality crisis and health issues plaguing Kashechewan First Nation. First Nations are taking a leadership role in calling for changes and improvements to our health and social development, and we have spent significant energy and effort at bringing these issues to the attention of the Prime Minister, Canada’s First Ministers and to all Canadians. These efforts include a significant solutions-based strategy that calls for a 10-year plan to improve indicators in Housing, Health, Life-long Learning, Relationships, and Economic Opportunities. This is what is on the agenda for the upcoming First Ministers’ Meeting.
“As a senior First Nations representative for the FMM Housing Agenda, I am confident in our cooperative solutions-based plan that will see marked improvements over the next ten years. These improvements include thousands of new housing starts, improved housing program delivery, meeting social housing needs, and a national approach to market-based housing ownership. With the First Ministers Meeting in jeopardy, so are the chances of making landmark improvements to First Nations housing deficit, shortages of units, unsafe homes, health and safety concerns, overcrowding, and unsafe water.
“The First Ministers Meeting is the most significant opportunity that First Nations have to raise these issues at such a high level. This fundamental opportunity and multi-lateral support for our solutions-based plan is unprecedented in Canadian history. This plan is in serious jeopardy.
“The New Democratic Party has always understood the goals, aspirations and needs of First Nations people. We have always counted on the NDP to fight for the necessary health and social changes and investments needed to improve the quality of life for our people.
“A politically-motivated decision of the NDP to support the Bloc and the Conservatives in bringing down the Liberal Governments flies in the face of First Nations goals, and even jeopardizes the NDPs’ goals of improving the lives of all Canadians. This unacceptable compromise in your values will ultimately jeopardize the proactive social agenda of you own party.
“I urge you to reconsider any decision that would empower the opposition, and sideline our proactive health and social agenda. I ask you to meet with First Nations leadership to discuss our concerns prior to making such a vital decision.
“Mr. Layton, your decision carries with it our hopes for positive, cooperative change for our First Nations communities.”


Nov. 4/05

37 First Nations in Ontario, or 27 per cent of Ontario

First Nations are under constant boil water advisories.

Troubles Waters in First Nations

With Files from the Globe and Mail – In 2001, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada undertook a comprehensive, on-site evaluation of the water treatment facilities on native reserves.
In conjunction with the First Nations, the government assessed 740 of the 761 drinking water systems. It also assessed 462 wastewater systems on 459 native reserves. In all 691 reserves were looked at.
The findings were released in the National Assessment of Water and Wastewater Systems in First Nations Communities.
About 30 per cent of the drinking water systems were found to exceed in some amount the accepted sentiment, minerals, chemicals, and in some cases, faecal coliform, allowed in drinking water.
Nearly 30 per cent of the systems, the ministry said, posed “a potential high risk.”
Only a quarter of the sites inspected posed little or no risk to the community.
The sewage systems on 459 reserves were also evaluated by the ministry. Nearly 45 per cent were found to be a medium risk, and roughly 16 per cent failed to even meet lowest standards, and were considered a considerable risk to those in the community.
But the report also found that not only were the systems themselves flawed, but the people operating the systems were not properly trained either. Only approximately 10 per cent of the operators met industry certification requirements. Roughly 35 per cent of operators had received no formal training whatsoever.


Nov. 3/05 Letter to the Globe and Mail

Editor:

In your Nov. 3 editorial, you propose a ludicrous solution to the woes of Native poverty in our remote communities, suggesting that perhaps “residents get help to move to towns or cities.” We are bona fide Nations, and these communities will always be our homes and traditional territories. Our spirit will be forever connected to the lands.
Whatever “government money” is being spent by Canada to honour its constitutional and fiduciary obligations to First Nations is a pittance to the wealth and prosperity enjoyed by other Canadians because their treaty rights have been implemented, while ours have not. Much of the money Canada allocates to First Nations issues is used for damage control and band-aid solutions for crises like the one currently confronting the people of Kashechewan.
What is really required is for the country’s premiers and prime ministers to sit down with First Nations leaders and get serious about discussing a comprehensive approach to Indian Affairs, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples almost a decade ago. The RCAP report — which few politicians and journalists bothered to read — contained 440 recommendations that are even more applicable today, including proposals to resolve the residential school morass, and ways to help First Nations develop healthier and more economically viable communities.
First Nations people can be as diverse in our opinions as we are in our traditions, but on one point we are unanimous — we must be a part of solutions to our own problems, and those solutions — effectively resourcing our economies, governments and Nations — must begin with the Rest of Canada recognizing and respecting our treaty rights.

John Beaucage
Grand Council Chief
Anishinabek Nation


Nov. 2/05 Anishinabek launch Kashechewan relief fund

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – The Anishinabek Nation Credit Union is assisting fund-raising efforts to support evacuated residents of Kashechewan First Nation.
The Union of Ontario Indians co-ordinated the establishment of the relief fund, to be made available for disbursement as needed by leadership of the James Bay Cree community, half of whose members have been evacuated to Sudbury, Ottawa, and Cochrane because their community water supply was unsafe.
The fund was launched with a $5,000 donation from the Union of Ontario Indians, and Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage has urged each of the organization’s 42 member communities to donate $500 to $1,000 from Casino Rama revenues.
Beaucage praised contributions already made by Anishinabek communities, including a traditional feast hosted for Sudbury-area evacuees by Whitefish Lake First Nation, some of whose staff are working with evacuees in the area. Whitefish River First Nation contributed food to the feast. Nipissing First Nation has planned a fund-raising spaghetti dinner and are accepting donations of food, clothing, blankets, etc. from their members. Wahnapitae First Nation made a substantial cash donation and have volunteered staff to work with Kashechewan guests. Wikwemikong, the largest Anishinabek community, has also organized the collection of cash and essential items.
Donations can be made directly at the head office of the Anishinabek Nation Credit Union or mailed to: Anishinabek Nation Credit Union, 7 Shingwauk St., Garden River, Ontario P6A 6Z8. For inter-credit union courier donations, the transit number of the credit union is 21442. For further information, contact Allan Moffatt or Jeannine Poulin at (705) 942-7655.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


Nov. 2/05 Chiefs warn of nuclear waste plans for native territory

Some are worried at possible moves to bury
spent fuel in the Canadian Shield

By Bill Curry
Globe and Mail

REGINA – Aboriginal chiefs gathered from across the country are being put on notice that plans are afoot to bury nuclear waste in their traditional territory.
Outside the Regina convention room where more than 600 chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations are gathered this week, the AFN has set up a large display, complete with pictures, of how nuclear waste could be buried inside the Canadian Shield in the coming decades.
“Yikes,” said one woman at the convention as she scanned the display outlining the AFN’s “Nuclear Waste Dialogue.”
David Gorman, one of the AFN’s four co-ordinators for the dialogue, has been visiting reserves to let chiefs and tribal council members know that key decisions are being made about storing nuclear waste that could affect native reserves in the coming decades.
“I’ll talk about radiation and a little bit of the science. I’ll talk about the proposed options for economic opportunities for regions,” Mr. Gorman said, in describing his presentations.
“I would just say, ‘Be aware that industry might approach [your community] to build a facility on your territory and they might sweeten the deal with economic opportunities and money.’ ”
The issue is being driven by the impact of the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, passed by Parliament in 2002. The law created a new Nuclear Waste Management Organization, led by representatives of Canada’s nuclear industry. The organization is scheduled to report in two weeks on its long-term plan for storing nuclear waste.
Mr. Gorman said earlier reports from the organization suggest it will likely propose that the current system of storing waste at the site of nuclear reactors should be continued for the next 60 years, after which deep storage facilities in the Canadian Shield should be ready for use.
The Canadian Shield is the deep rock bed that lies underneath most of Quebec and Northern Ontario. Parts of Saskatchewan are also being considered as potential locations for nuclear deep storage.
The AFN’s nuclear dialogue is being paid for with money from the nuclear organization and Natural Resources Canada.
Mr. Gorman would not say how much money the AFN received from the nuclear organization, but the AFN’s own summary report of its dialogue reveals the funding arrangement doesn’t sit well with some.
“Some participants expressed discomfort at the idea that the AFN was there to promote the [nuclear organization’s] objectives and obtain ‘buy in’ to the current process,” says the summary report from the AFN to Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the nuclear organization’s president.
John Beaucage, the grand council chief for the Union of Ontario Indians, which represents several native reserves on the Canadian Shield, said he would advise any community not to store nuclear waste on its territory.
Mr. Beaucage said promises of large amounts of money may be enticing for poorer communities, but the long-term impact should be considered.
“It might look good in the short term but when you’re talking about nuclear waste, there’s no such thing as short-term,” he said. “It’s just a very, very scary thought.”
While reserves are relatively small and it would be highly unlikely that such facilities would be built on reserve land, each aboriginal community considers the broader surrounding area to be part of its “traditional territory,” which may also be specifically defined by treaties.
Such land is also owned by the Crown, creating the possibility that such facilities could be built against the wishes of the closest reserve.
Mr. Gorman said that, so far, no community has volunteered to work with the nuclear industry.
He said his presentation is normally met with “a sense of shock” given there is little knowledge of nuclear-waste issues or that a plan is in the works that could involve traditional lands.
The debate comes as the Ontario government has signalled it will become more dependent on nuclear energy as it phases out coal power.
As chiefs wandered by the AFN display, Mr. Gorman said he has been told of many negative experiences that reserves have had with the uranium-mining industry.
One aboriginal community in the Northwest Territories, for example, used to be referred to as the Village of Widows after most of the men in the area died because they were hired to carry uranium from a local mine without any protection.


Oct. 31/05 Anishinabek call for joint action on
First Nation water supplies

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – The emergency evacuation of Kashechewan First Nation demonstrates the need for First Nations citizens to be more involved in government decisions directly affecting them, says Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, political leader of the Anishinabek Nation.
“We are extending support to our Mushkegowuk cousins during this trying time,” said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, “and one of the best ways we can do that is to continue to challenge the government of Canada to work with us to seek comprehensive solutions to such life-threatening situations.
This morning, at a Special Assembly of First Nation Chiefs Meeting in Regina, Chief Beaucage was asked to participate in a comprehensive national review of First Nations drinking water across Canada. The Anishinabek leader, who holds the AFN Ontario portfolio for Capital and Infrastructure, called for stringent national standards for drinking water on First Nations. “The new First Nations’ standards would exceed the minimum provincial standards for clean drinking water,” he said.
Just last month, Beaucage publicly urged federal officials to heed warnings in a report by Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development which expressed concern about the lack of laws and regulations governing the provision of drinking water to First Nations residents.
“We need substantially more training opportunities to improve water plant operations and the skill sets necessary to monitor, manage and treat our drinking water,” he said today. “We need the government to support our own training programs by ensuring all First Nations’ plant operators have received that training and have some form of endorsement certificate.”
Beaucage said a joint planning and monitoring process involving First Nations is essential to ensure that political will takes the form of meaningful action. “Too many good intentions from cabinet ministers simply don’t translate into actions by government bureaucrats. The messages aren’t working their way down through the system.”
He noted that the views of Kashechewan citizens were ignored in the original selection by federal officials of their community site and the subsequent construction of a system that permits raw sewage to flow directly into the drinking water supply.
“This is what happens when others think they know better than the very people they claim to be trying to help.”
Beaucage said his political office staff and several Anishinabek Chiefs were working with Nishnawbe-Aski Nation leaders and representatives of the Red Cross, City of Greater Sudbury, and N’Swakamok Friendship Centre to determine how best to assist over 250 Kashechewan residents evacuated to Sudbury because of a tainted-water crisis in the James Bay Cree community.
“The Kashechewan tragedy might be a news story to many Canadians,” said Beaucage, “but there are First Nations citizens who live with unsafe sources of drinking water each and every day.” Beaucage noted that his home community of Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound is one of a number of Anishinabek Nation members whose citizens have been living under the constant threat of boil-water advisories.
“Everyone needs the same water source protection and standards, whether they live in Wasauksing or Walkerton,’ said Beaucage, referring to the southern Ontario town where the death of seven citizens from a bacteria-infected water supply triggered a provincial inquiry and subsequent changes to regulation of Ontario’s municipal water systems.
“The conditions of our drinking water, and the health and safety of our people is of the utmost concern,” said the Grand Council Chief. “For First Nations people, water is considered our lifeblood. It is the source of life for us all.”
He will address these requirements with both National Chief Phil Fontaine and Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Andy Scott in the coming weeks.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


Oct. 24/05 Dedication to a supportive family

I’d like to take this opportunity to dedicate a few words to Susan Shouwstra, her family, and especially her sons Daniel and Dakotah. I’ve attached her correspondence below of her observations of her teenage son, Daniel Godfrey, who is a Youth Ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Nipissing Region.
It is only through the leadership of Daniel and all those living with juvenile diabetes that we maintain our vision, and focus on fundraising and finding a cure. Also, it is only through the support and creative expertise of his mother Susan, who coordinates all of our activities.
Often times your e-mail and your acknowledgements go unanswered, especially during such busy times for the Anishinabek Nation – but I want you to know that your hard work, friendship and persistence is appreciated.
Without you, and your family, and supportive friends like you, we cannot do the good work that we are doing.

Miigwetch (thank you). Forever, to the Seventh Generation.

————————————

—–Original Message—–
From: Susan Schouwstra [mailto:mattawa@jdrf.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 8:37 AM
To: Bob Goulais
Subject: the Blog

Good morning Bob,

This is totally non-JDRF related and I apologize. This is long winded and in short a huge THANK YOU! The work that you do is for a specific community but I wanted you to know that your passion, your calm drive to increase awareness for many important issues has effected many people in many positive ways.
Your Daily Blog has become part of my family’s daily reading. Daniel brought a print out of your recent Blog to breakfast this morning. And his words were, “See mom, I’ve always said it, I would like to know more about the Native culture and history….Bob’s right! There should be more aboriginal history in schools all schools….and you could take it further and argue the French were not here first so why should we learn their language as a second language…. (Daniel thoroughly enjoys a good debate). Look what Bob is doing for his history…his community and others….. even in a totally different country…this is awesome…. If I can learn to speak like that to create awareness about stuff and against injustices…..
From the first time Daniel heard you speak at the Clarion at the Corporate Lunch, he has said that and you have become a silent mentor to him. Daniel was very shy and unconfident to let you know that. To see this growing is very nice.
Daniel’s interest in this has in turn sparked my husband’s interest in his own Native history which had been neglected. This has been eagerly encouraged by both my boys and myself. It is nice to see him go to council meetings and take part in the elections etc.
JDRF is very honoured to have you as a spokesperson. THANK YOU just doesn’t seem enough.

Kindest regards,
Susan Schouwstra
Fundraising Coordinator, Nipissing Region
North Eastern Ontario Region
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation


Oct. 22/05 Funding sought to study aboriginal diabetes rate

By Jennifer Hamilton, North Bay Nugget
www.nugget.ca
Local News – Friday, October 21, 2005 @ 08:00

Funding for a long-term project is being lobbied for to help the aboriginal community understand why the incidence of diabetes among them is six times the national average.
Bob Goulais, chief of staff of the Union of Ontario Indians political office and corporate chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, told The Nugget Thursday diabetes is a “very recent disease” in the aboriginal community.
“Fifty years ago it (diabetes) was nonexistent in the native community and now every single one of our people have experience with diabetes whether its personal or a friend or family member is addressing it,” he said.
“Now we’re seeing the infection rate reach epidemic proportions — 36 to 40 per cent.
Goulais, who is a diabetic and requires medication daily, said the question needs to be asked why there is such a high incidence among the aboriginal community.
He added that a previous short-term project identified the change in diet as a link to the disease, as well, a lack of exercise and different preservatives could also be contributing factors.
“It’s also in our genetics. We’ve never had to deal with these infections before and this is something we can’t change.”
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Foundation, Four Feathers Foundation, Union of Ontario Indians and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine is looking into various measures of research.
Goulais said preliminary discussions are underway and next year an advisory board will be formed.
Long-term plans include a designated medicine lab in the Sudbury campus at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, as well as researchers and a director working full-time on the issue.
“This is a personal endeavor and I’m working on this for our children who are affected by juvenile diabetes and the 70 and 80-year-old’s who are dealing with complications.”
A small group of parents, known as the Snowflakes, Stars and Hope committee, have been raising money for diabetes research for more than eight years.
The committee, comprised of parents of diabetic children, expect to raise $100,000 over the next five years through their annual gala.
Kelly Moseley Williams, committee co-chair, stated in a media release that they decided on a gala to help raise more money and to also extend our sincerest thanks to our tireless outstanding volunteers who they will honour each year.
The event, An Evening of Elegance, A Lifetime of Hope, will be held Nov. 12 at the Best Western.


Oct. 22/05 Canada AM coming to Nipissing

From Geraldine McLeod, Nipissing First Nation Education Unit:

Hi Bob, I have some awesome news! Muriel Sawyer had entered a Canada AM contest recently. They contacted her on Tuesday informing her that they were so impressed with her submission that they will be doing a live broadcast at Nbisiing Secondary School on Thursday, November 17th commencing at 6:30 a.m. in the school gymnasium. Isn’t this AWESOME! We’ll be on NATIONAL TV for others to see how great our community really is and how proud we are of our school, and also, what we’re trying to accomplish for Aboriginal Education…..Mark your calendars for November 17th – 6:30 a.m.


Oct. 18/05 Canadian First Nations’ Mission to Trinidad & Tobago

ARIMA, TRINIDAD – There were a lot of early mornings and a lot of hard work, but my experience last week in Arima, Trinidad was certainly the time of my life. I have never felt such a close kinship with any other Indigenous Nation that I felt with the First Peoples of Trinidad.
I arrived in Trinidad on a red eye from Toronto, landing in Piarcos International Airport south of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. I was fortunate to be travelling with Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, his son Falcon Skye, and Professor Nuhim Kanhai who were also a part of the delegation from Canada.
Our diplomatic mission was put together very hastily by the representatives of the Santa Rosa Carib Community and my office and details had not been forthcoming until late Friday afternoon. My information didn’t indicate any accommodations for the first two days, nor did it indicate that someone was to meet us at the airport. Obviously, I had some concerns over our first 48 hours.
I was certainly relieved and pleased to see that Santa Rosa president himself, Chief Ricardo Bharath-Hernendez was at the airport early on October 10 to greet us warmly at the airport and lead us to our accommodations in St. Augustine.

CHIEF RICARDO BHARATH-HERNENDEZ

My affinity for Chief Bharath-Hernendez, who is also the Deputy Mayor of Arima, was immediate upon his very first greeting. He was a kind, soft-spoken, humble man. He was extremely likable and we got to know each other right away. Later, I would also experience his leadership qualities of courage and determination that have served both the Indigenous people and Borough of Arima so well over the years. I observed that he could easily been any one of our Chiefs and would serve very well.
On our first day in Arima, we took part in a news conference announcing details of the Amerindian Heritage Day. I had the chance to speak on behalf of the Canadian delegation — addressing the “shared vision of indigenous people across the Americas, including seeking recognition and rights that are afforded to all indigenous peoples.”
Perry McLeod, Falcon Skye and myself sang a song as part of the invocation. Skye delivered a prayer in the Anishinabemowin langauge.
The ensuing media blitz was the most successful campaign I ever took part in. We were featured on three National Television networks, three daily newspapers and a tabloid weekly.
At the news conference I had the pleasure to meet Ms. ‘Enuoi’ Pearl Springer. This friendly, and kindly woman assisted Chief Bharath in coordinating the news conference and events of the week which would culminate in the Amerindian Heritage Day on Friday, October 14. She would later become a key figure in the Canadian mission to Trinidad.

MEETING WITH THE CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER

That evening our Canadian delegation, which included Chief Bharath-Hernandez met with Canadian High Commissioner Mr. Howard Strauss at his residence in Port-of-Spain. It was only the second reception he has hosted at the residence. Although the head of our delegation, Deputy Grand Chief Nelson Toulouse, was not arriving until later that evening, I had the chance to meet with Mr. Strauss about the new relationship that was developing between Canadian First Nations and the First Peoples of Trinidad. I sought the support of his office, as well as the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs to host an exchange between our organizations. We would look into a collaboration that involved political, cultural and economic opportunities between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.
The evening with High Commissioner Strauss was a success and ended with a gift being presented by Falcon Skye.

NEW FRIENDS

On the following day, our delegation took part in the opening of an exhibition with the National Library Information Service (NLIS) in Port of Spain. I had a chance to meet the National Librarian as well as the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. It was also the time I was re-acquainted with ‘Enuoi’ Pearl Springer, who was introduced as the Poet Lauriat of Port of Spain.
She asked us to be a part in the reading of her latest performance poem about the Amerindian victory over the Spanish. Perry and I were more the pleased to be a part of her performance. I was very thankful to her for the opportunity and asked her to create a poem of Canada’s First Nations which she agreed. My personal love of poetry was affirmed as I met, and hugged Ms. Pearl Springer.
It turns out that she will be in Toronto during the Canadian Aboriginal Festival, performing at another function. However, I immediately invited her to be my personal guest at Canada’s largest aboriginal festival on the weekend of November 25-27. She has agreed and a new friendship had emerged.
I had the chance to meet her highness, Mrs. Valentina Medina, the Carib Queen of Trinidad and Tobago. I was honoured to serve her lunch and exchange small gifts at the Arima Town Hall.

AMERINDIAN HERITAGE DAY

The Amerindian Heritage Day was easily the most amazing part of this six day mission.
The morning of October 14 began with a traditional smoke ceremony of the First Peoples of Trinidad. Following a moving ceremony, a procession of approximately 200 people marched from the Statue of Chief Hyarima to Santa Rose Park near the Arima Roman Catholic Mission. Earlier in the week, we were surprised and saddened to hear that the local Parish had denied the request to observe his National day of recognition in the central park. Chief Bharath-Hernendez showed incredible courage by marching to this square and speaking up in the media about feeling like “squatters in our own land”. He pledged to “take back the park” and hold the Amerindian Heritage Day celebrations at Santa Rose Park from how on. Given the H3 influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and his own roots as a Catholic, his speech in the large assembled circle and to the media was inspiration, powerful and very moving.
Later that afternoon, the Anishinabek Nation and the First Peoples of Trinidad signed a Collaboration Agreement to pursue further partnership opportunities including a foreign exchange. The agreement was signed by Deputy Grand Chief Nelson Toulouse, Chief Ricardo Bharath-Hernendez, and witnessed by Carib Queen Valentina Medina, The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Public Utilities and the Environment, Professor Nahim Kanhai, and Falcon Sky Shabogesic.

FESTIVITIES

I had agreed to attend to enhance this special day feeling that Chief Bharath-Hernandez needed from cultural performances as well as political support in his country. As it turned out, this day was highly organized, very well supported and indeed, very, very big. Performers from across the Caribbean provided a daylong celebration of dancing, singing, theatre and festivities that resembled a Caribbean carnival. Troups from Gyana, El Salvador, Puetro Rica, Haiti, Dominica, and Jamaica all took part, including some incredible performance by Trinidad and Tobago dancers, flamenco guitarist, latin-american merengue singer, and incredible african rhythms. The most impressive performance was done by a the top steel drum ensembles of Trinidad. Our Canadian delegation presented a fancy feather dance and an audience-participation round dance. A dance troupe from the Seminole Nation of Florida performed a Stomp Dance.

I wish to say miigwetch (thank you) to Chief Ricardo Bharath-Hernendez for his gracious and kind hospitality. We were very well taken care of during our time in Trinidad.


Oct. 18/05 Protecting First Nation Education

No one wants to hear it, no one wants to be reminded. But I’ll be speaking of inherent Treaty Rights, specifically Indian Rights. People wince at the idea…but I’ll be speaking on my rights; even more specifically, with the Rights of Indians to an Education; Rights that were entrenched in the Indian Act. We must not let the Canadian federal government forget their obligations to First Nations.
Our ancestors sacrificed a way of life to provide us this gift, Treaty Rights. They didn’t have much, as they lived from day to day (not unlike some of us even today) not knowing what the future looked like. This was all they had to give to their people, our communities, wherever we live today – on or off-reserve. It makes no difference – I can say that, this is my pontification, my blog.
I’ve seen many new First Nation’s websites popping up all over and many with fancy photo galleries showing images of ancestors. This is a good thing. We mustn’t forget. Take a look, study the photos. We are real. We were not made up.
Remember when the National Indian Brotherhood came up with the 1972 policy paper, Indian Control of Indian Education? This was in direct response to the infamous and discredited 1972 federal White Paper which proposed to eliminate constitutional and statutory recognition of Indians in Canada. That was a close call. NIB rose up then and said no. It was a milestone in Indian politics.


Oct. 13/05

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, left, of the Canadian delegation, and Falcon Skye-Shabogesic listen to colleague Bob Goulais at Tuesday’s launching of the Amerindian Heritage celebrations in Arima, Trinidad.


Caribs of Trinidad & Tobago celebrate

By Caldeo Sookram, Trinidad & Tobago Daily Express – Tomorrow, members of the local Carib community will celebrate Amerindian Heritage Day in Arima.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of their celebrations and the Caribs will be joined by overseas delegations of indigenous peoples from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean for the big occasion.
At a press conference held last Tuesday at the Arima Town Hall, Ricardo Bharath, deputy Mayor of Arima and president of the Arima Carib Community, announced plans for this year’s celebrations.
In his turn at the podium, Mayor Eustace Nancis praised Bharath’s work in keeping alive the rich tradition of the Carib community in Arima.
He said the Arima Borough would continue to support the celebrations of the “First People” of this nation.
An invocation chant by three members of the Canadian delegation launched the proceedings.
Bob Goulais, Perry McLeod-Shabogesic and Falcon Skye-Shabogesic pounded little drums and chanted praises for the gifts bestowed by the Creator.
Hayacinth Ruffino of the Guyanese delegation spoke briefly and said she looked foward to the big celebrations.
In a ceremony taking place today, Nancis will formally welcome the indigenous peoples, while an address will be delivered by Senator Joan Yuille-Williams to the delegates.
Deputy Chief Nelson Toulouse of the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario, Canada, will deliver the feature address.
Tomorrow morning the celebrants will take part in a Smoke Ceremony at Hyarima Park and then proceed to the Arima Town Hall, where distinguished speakers will address the gathering.
A gala cultural performance tomorrow evening will bring down the curtains on the celebrations.
Parang music, folk music, calypso, steelpan, chutney dancing, Spanish dance and poetry reading will be part of the grand cultural concert at the Basket Ball Court, near the Arima market.
The Canadian delegates will also perform an Amerindian dance, while dances by other groups include the may pole, snake dance, Aboriginal dance and Seminole Stomp dance.
Last Friday, a display of artifacts of the local indigenous people was launched at the National Library, Port of Spain, and, according to Ricardo Bharath, these artifacts were worth viewing.
A lecture by Dr Basil Reid entitled “First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago, History and Impact, Archaeological Perspective” was scheduled for October 12 at the National Library, Port of Spain as part of the celebrations.
There was also a lecture by Ricardo Bharath on “Indigenous Rituals” and a performance from Brother Resistance.


Oct. 4/05 North Bay City Councillor joins fight against Diabetes

NORTH BAY – Following a record-setting year of fundraising in the Nipissing region, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has taken steps to enhance their corporate profile with the introduction of a new corporate co-chair.
Bob Goulais, returning Corporate Recruitment Co-Chair is pleased to introduce Mac Bain as Corporate Recruitment Co-Chair for JDRF Nipissing.
Mr. Bain joins the JDRF Corporate Cabinet, which includes Bob Goulais of the Union of Ontario Indians, Angela Johnson, Director of Marketing for the Best Western, Venise Levesque, Family Chair, and Mackenzie Reid, Youth Ambassador.
Carol Reid returns as Community Walk Coordinator for Mattawa and Temiscaming welcomes Cathy Moreau as Community Walk Coordinator. JDRF’s Nipissing office is staffed by Susan Schouwstra.
Mac Bain is a sitting North Bay City Councillor, as well as Director of the Martyn Funeral Home.
Mac will be soliciting further support from the corporate community of North Bay and area.
“We are fortunate that Mac has accepted this position with the JDRF and will be sure to raise our profile in a significant way,î said Goulais, Chief of Staff for the Anishinabek Nation Political Office.
“Mac has been a champion for JDRF and has always been socially conscious.”
Mac Bain has been a part of the annual JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes for several years.
“Diabetes has affected my life in the most profound way,” said Mac Bain, whose wife Debbie has Type-1 diabetes.
“Through my commitment as Corporate Recruitment Co-Chair, I have taken personal responsibility to support the JDRF.
It is my hope that through the generous spirit of the Nipissing area, and a continuation of last year’s success, that we will have directly contributed to diabetes research and finding a cure for diabetes.”
The phenomenal success of the 2005 Campaign to date has seen over $130,000 given to JDRF Nipissing to support diabetic research. And the team of volunteers for JDRF is not stopping there. The theme for 2006 is ‘Destination to a Cure’.
JDRF International has introduced its Global Campaign of raising, in five years, $1 billion dollars for diabetic research. JDRF Canada has committed to raising 10% of this total. This acceleration is to accommodate the increasing pace of research success of the JDRF investigators and put research into treatments, interventions and a cure that can benefit diabetics. For more information or to volunteer, please contact the JDRF Office at 744-0160 or northbay@jdrf.ca.


Sep. 23/05 Another Pow-Wow Season comes to an end…

Dancing an inter-tribal at the Curve Lake Pow-Wow, September 17-18.

Vicky Laforge (centre left) and friends at the Curve Lake Pow-Wow.

Traditional dancers: Wayne ‘Kinz’ Monague, Glenn Dayfox, and Bernard Nelson.

A young lil’ dancer, just givin’ er!

The ‘Young Bucks’ of North Bay, Ontario.


Sep. 23/05 My Big Fat Indian Wedding

Nobody has invitations…only maps.

The family orders invitations 3 months in advance but only mail them out a day before.

An average of 12 people attend per invitation. Indians never RSVP.

No one goes to Church for the wedding, but everyone goes to the reception.

All the centerpieces are gone…and the reception has just started.

Everyone’s kids are running around like crazy, including the Bride and Groom’s kids.

Meal includes beans and fry bread.

People are taking food plates home… “for those Indians that didn’t come”.

People are taking huge pieces of cake home.

There are STILL people partying at the Reception the next morning, even though the Band has left.

Not sure what to get the Bride and Groom; they’ve been shacked up for a while and already have everything!


Sep. 22/05
The students and staff of the Dokis First Nation School took part in their Community mini-Walk To Cure Diabetes.


Sep. 21/05 Anishinabek Grand Chief wants expansion of
First Nation perspective in Ontario’s new school curriculum

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – The Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief says that, while it is encouraging to see more First Nation perspectives included in Ontario’s new school curriculum, the province should go further and include a significant focus on treaties and treaty rights, the history of residential schools and mandatory Native language instruction for First Nation students.
The province announced that First Nations culture and history would be taught in all classrooms across Ontario with the introduction of an improved curriculum launched this week. Ontario teachers will be required to teach a more detailed Aboriginal perspective in every grade.
“Our history and culture has been excluded from Canada’s education system for far too long,” said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage. “We’ve always been simply a token unit in social studies and Canadian history classes. Even that limited curriculum was developed by non-native historians and lacked the perspectives of the First Nations people themselves.”
The province has introduced a First Nations perspective as part of revamped social studies and revised history and geography program and in senior grades it will be part of a new Canadian and world studies course.
Many said the previous curriculum overlooked First Nation subjects. After mounting criticism, native educators were brought in to re-write new curriculum guidelines with the First Nation perspective in mind.
“We all remember the Bering Strait theory and how the curriculum classified us as hunter-gatherers, Paleo-Indians or Eastern Woodland people,” said Beaucage. “This is not how we see ourselves. We want to see all children learning about us as the Anishinabek Nation, whose contributions to modern society are far-reaching and consequential.”
Contemporary Native people like Inuit hockey star Jordin Tootoo are now included in the Grade 6 social studies curriculum. Study units on pioneer life with references to “Aboriginals” now mention specific Nations such as the Iroquois and the Ojibway.
“We want to see the province take this a step further,” said Beaucage. “An expanded First Nations studies curriculum should include a significant focus on cultural awareness, treaties and treaty rights, the history of residential schools and mandatory Native language instruction for our own children in public schools.
“First Nations educators must continue to play a lead role in the development of curriculum and teaching these lessons in our schools. I would recommend that the government continue to revise and expand on these developments by ensuring adequate resources to this curriculum development initiative and include further involvement by Anishinabek, Mushkegowuk (Cree), Haudenasaunee (Iroquois), and Metis teachers.”
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.


Sep. 18/05 Stefanie and Klause

I am very fortunate to have such good friends in the world. This statement is certainly typical of my friends Stefanie and Klaus Benver of Berlin, Germany. Each and every year, I have been welcomed into their home near Curve Lake First Nation while I attend the Curve Lake Pow-wow in mid-September. Each year they welcome me in a very good way to stay in their ‘meeting place’.


Sep. 8/05 Robinson Treaty promises broken for 155 years

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – It has been over a century and a half since First Nations signed the Robinson Treaties, but Anishinabek people continue to struggle for rights to land and resources promised in those treaties.
First Nations in two regions of Ontario are commemorating the 155th anniversary of the signing of two historic and important treaties this week. The Robinson-Superior Treaty was signed on September 7, 1850 while the Robinson-Huron Treaty was signed two days later on September 9, 1850.
“There are many important and outstanding issues related to the Treaties. Our right to hunt and fish has been restricted by constant government harassment and interference, and annuities have not increased to reflect the resource development on traditional lands,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage.
“Most importantly, the Government of Canada has not respected the government-to-government relationship established under the treaties, so our jurisdiction and the authority of First Nation government has been undermined,” added Beaucage.
Interest in Indian lands along the north shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron began in the 1840’s as many mining companies began to send prospectors, surveyors and engineers into the region. As mining companies successfully obtained licences to extract resources, many First Nations people in the region began to complain to the Crown that their claims to the land were being ignored.
The Robinson Treaties marked the beginning of an emphasis on a “cash-for-land” treaty approach by the Crown, which was to have far-reaching effects on First Nations, who regarded money just as they had regarded the trade goods offered in previous treaties – as gifts in exchange for their agreement to share the use of their traditional territories with settler populations.
To assist in the settlement and commercial development of the region, Lord Elgin, Governor General of Canada, ensured that treaty commissioner – and former fur trader — William Benjamin Robinson was given a budget of 7500 pounds Sterling (approx. $30,000 Cdn in 1850) to purchase as much land as possible. He was successful in obtaining title to approximately 50,000 square miles (32 million acres) of Indian territory for approximately 66 cents for every square mile, or 640 acres.
Chief Michael “Eagle” Dokis of Lake Nipissing said after attending the treaty negotiations, “When Mr. Robinson came to the Indians to make a Treaty for their lands, they were not willing to give up their lands and would not sign a Treaty. He then told them they need not be afraid to give up their rights because Government would never do anything to make them suffer, he said you know yourselves where you have the best lands and there is where you have your reserves for yourselves and your children and their children ever after.”
Every Chief’s consent to the terms of the treaties was indicated by his “mark” – usually a totem or clan symbol – on the official document. The First Nations leaders could neither read nor write English and relied totally on the honesty of the treaty commissioner about what they were agreeing to.
The Robinson-Superior Treaty was negotiated with the Chippewas of the Sault Ste. Marie area and gave the Crown, “the shoreline of Lake Superior, including islands from Batchewana Bay to the Pigeon River, inland as far as the height of land.” The Treaty stipulated an upfront payment of $8,000 (all amounts Cdn) and an annual payment of $200 each year thereafter. This is an area of over 20,000 square miles, stretching approximately from present day Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in the east, past Thunder Bay, Ontario, in the west.
Two days after William Robinson had negotiated the Robinson-Superior Treaty, he negotiated with Chief Shinguacouse and the Lake Huron Chippewa Indians for the Lake Huron shoreline, “including the islands, from Matchedash Bay to Batchewana Bay and inland as far as the height of the land.”
An agreement was made to surrender territory, except for the reserves, for $8000 and an annual payment of $240 for over 30,000 square miles.
In addition to the cash, each Robinson Treaty included a list of reserved lands, indicating size and location of each reserve assigned to each Chief. The Huron Treaty included 21 such reserves but Superior only listed three.
The Robinson Treaties also guaranteed to First Nations the “full and free privilege to hunt over the territory now ceded by them and to fish in the waters thereof as they have heretofore been in the habit of doing.”
However, said Beaucage, “First Nations continue to be subject to harassment by provincial Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers in the field, and there are instances of First Nations people being prosecuted under provincial legislation despite these treaty rights.”
“The government of Canada does not honour our treaties in the spirit they were entered into,” said the Anishinabek Nation leader.


Sep. 6/05 First Nations leaders pledge support for George family on 10th anniversary of Ipperwash tragedy

NIPISSING FIRST NATION – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage and AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine will sit alongside the family of Dudley George when former Ontario premier Mike Harris testifies before the Ipperwash Inquiry.
“We stand in solidarity with the George family and our brothers and sisters of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations,” said Beaucage on the tenth anniversary of George’s killing by an OPP sniper. “We must not forget these incidents of hate, intolerance and unjustified violence. Questions cannot be left unanswered and actions cannot go unpunished.”
Beaucage confirmed that Fontaine, and Angus Toulouse, Ontario regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, intend to join him at the arena in Forest, Ontario for Harris’ anticipated November appearance before the inquiry, which began hearings in April, 2004. This is believed to be the first time for such a display of solidarity by senior First Nations leaders at a public inquiry in Canada.
Anthony Dudley George was killed late on Sept. 6, 1995 when a heavily-armed tactical unit of the Ontario Provincial Police attacked a small group of unarmed First Nation men, women, and children protesting Canada’s failure to return traditional Chippewa territory that had been expropriated for a military training base over 50 years earlier. Acting OPP sergeant Kenneth Deane was convicted of criminal negligence but did not serve any jail time or lose any pay or pension.
An inquiry was called by the McGuinty Liberals after eight years of refusal by Conservative regimes led by Harris and successor Ernie Eves. Recent evidence at the inquiry points to political pressure being exerted on the OPP by then-premier Harris and his senior advisors to end the Ipperwash Park protest by whatever means possible.
Since it opened in April 2004, the inquiry has cost $11.2 million and heard from 77 witnesses. George became the first Indigenous person in over a century to be killed in a land rights dispute in Canada.
“As the inquiry winds down, it just stresses the fact that our struggle for justice and land rights is ongoing,” said John Beaucage, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation.
“We have to know that the death of Dudley George was not in vain and that he died for a cause that he believed in, and one that we must all stand behind.”
The Union of Ontario Indians made a submission to the inquiry that outlined ways to improve the relationship between police and the First Nations and how to raise public awareness of treaty and land rights.
“Recognizing the anniversary of the incident is vital because it not only serves to support the citizens of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point but also demonstrates our solidarity as a people,” Beaucage said.
Over 2,500 people attended the Union of Ontario Indians 2005 Unity Gathering and Grand Council Assembly this past summer at Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point in a show of support and solidarity.


Sep. 2/05 Summer’s Over… back to work

A workweek in the life of Anishinawbe

Reset the trip odometre at National Car Rental in North Bay, Ontario…

Sunday, August 28 – Depart for Sault Ste. Marie
Monday, August 29 – Chiefs Committee on Governance meeting, Sault Ste. Marie
Tuesday, August 30 – Headquarters, North Bay. Depart for Toronto
Wednesday, August 31 – Indian and Northern Affairs Canada meeting, Toronto
Thursday, September 1 – Ojibwe Cultural Foundation board meeting, Manitoulin Island
Friday, September 2 – Depart for Home, to write this Blog.

For a grand total of 1964 kms on my rental car odometre.

Rental Car: 2005 Buick Allure
E-mails typed while driving: four
What I did in the evenings? This week, I seen two movies: The Wedding Crashers and the 40 Year Old Virgin.
Book of the Week: White Hot, Sandra Brown
Best Meal: Pasta Perfection, Yonge Street Toronto Chicken Tetrizinni Fusilli.
Worse Meal: Busy Bee Restaurant, Hwy. 17 Nairn Centre. The diabetic meal from hell. Two Scoops of Butter Pecan, and an ice cold chocolate milk.
Most I paid for gas? $1.27 cents per litre, R&J Whitefish Lake
Old Acquaintances I seen this week: James Taylor, fellow celebrity singer namesake.
Times I heard Olivia Newton-John on the radio: Twice.
i-Coke credits this week: 3500 points.
50″ LCD TV’s won with i-Coke Points: 0
Total i-Coke Points to date: 19000.
Weekend Activity: I am the M.C. for the weekend at the Nipissing First Nation annual traditional Pow-Wow, September 3-4 at the Jocko Point Traditional Lands. Highway 17 between North Bay and Sturgeon Falls, exit south on Jocko Point Road.

Sources-
www.sideeffectsofxarelto.org

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