Saturday, March 26, 2022

Discussing: How Canada Will Fall.

I added the following as a comment to a YouTube video.  I find it interesting and I learn from people who I wouldn't normally hear from, and who have ideas ideas I don't agree with.

For a different take that is closer to my own thinking, check out MEDIA INDIGENA : U.S.A. R.I.P. ?



Interesting ideas, but I think there was a core issue not included.

Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy, meaning the constitution which was passed by British (11 British North America Acts, and then the Canada Act 1982) are a stand-in for a monarchy.  This isn't how Canada describes it, and it claims it is more like the British which has a living monarchy.  Given the deliberate modifications of the amending formula for Canada's Constitution when the British relinquished the right to change Canadian law in 1982, the Constitution is nearly impossible to change. That document is now the real head of Canada rather than the federal and provincial parliaments which are restricted by the Constitution.  Canada isn't the democracy people think it is, and the current "leadership" doesn't have the authority to change any laws they wish.



This comes into play with your discussion of the Wet'suwet'en government and their representatives, which are not European-style top-down hierarchical.  Indian Act band councils are part of the Canadian Federal bureaucracy, delegated power that the federal government is granted in section 91 of the Constitution. Section 91 grants the federal government jurisdiction over "24. Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians."  These Indian Act bureaucracies do not have jurisdiction over land outside of reservations, or any other authority not delegated to them by the federal government, and thus do not have the legal authority to authorise the activities which some claim they have.  Some entity having an "election" is not sufficient for it to legitimately be considered a democracy -- far more is needed.

The oldest Participatory Democracy on the planet is the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, so it isn't correct to believe that there aren't working governments on this continent other than those which European settlers brought with them.  Whether other governments acknowledge their jurisdiction is separate from recognizing their existence.

For Six Nations of the Grand River, the Confederacy exists in parallel with the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC), the latter imposed by Canada through force carried out by the RCMP in 1924.  Why?  Because that elder League of Nations went to the younger League of Nations forming in Europe to gain full membership. The European League of Nations became the United Nations, and appropriate membership of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy is still being denied.

It is the Confederacy that is a democratic government, while SNEC is merely a group of Canadian federal bureaucrats : the bureaucrats may do good work, but are not part of an Indigenous government. To understand what an Indian Act band council is requires people read the Canadian Constitution, Charter, and Indian Act.



Historic Treaties Canada

Part of the 1982 changes is section 25 of the Canadian Charter which clarifies that the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763 is part of Canadian law, and section 35 of the Canadian Constitution that clarifies treaties as part of Canadian Law. Treaties are with nations, so that clarifies in Canadian law that Indigenous Governments must be treated as separate nations from Canadian federal and provincial governments.

British Columbia, similar to large parts of Quebec, lack treaties and thus come into conflict with the Royal Proclamation when trying to determine which bodies have jurisdiction to make certain decisions.  Again, Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy, so exactly what the Canadian Constitution says really matters.

 

Individuals can believe Canada is a republic, and that everything is up for the government debate, and that these legal documents don't matter. That isn't true, and that will always cause confusion and problems. I agree there is a division between the East and West on this continent, just as there is in Europe and should be expected for a continent this size.  I think it is an oversimplification to suggest the division is "left" vs "right", a concept that hasn't offered much clarity outside the French Revolution.

European settlers have had two civil wars so far on this continent, largely along north-south divisions. The separatists lost the second civil war, so that second one isn't being called a "War of Independence" by anyone. I doubt the next civil war will play out that way -- it is far more likely that east-west will be how things divide.  I have watched the growing tension over my lifetime, and I believe another civil war is inevitable -- just not the one people who believe the current imaginary line is fixed believe it will be. There are too many smug Canadians that believe what happens in the United States is somehow disconnected from them.  That British separatist/loyalist division from that first civil war is further in the distant past than people seem willing to recognize.


The fact that Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy and few Canadians are even aware of the contents of Canada's Constitution will likely cause a collapse of "Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada" (to again quote from section 91 of the constitution).  I noticed that in the "Freedom Convoy", where there was a lack of understanding of jurisdiction and the fact that the federal government had little to do with the issues people were protesting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Problems I see in discussions about the Sovereignty of Nations

It is hard not to have a conversation with anyone for very long without the subject of Ukraine coming up these days.


I'm told what's happening in Ukraine is simple: Putin Bad.

 

When I look at the history of the area currently called Ukraine, I don't remotely see something simple.  I see an area stuck in the constant war between Eastern and Western Europe. The current borders encompass a population where the native language is Ukrainian (an East Slavic language) in the west, and a third of the population largely in the east where native language is Russian.  These divides are seen in presidential elections, as well as surveys on which economic unions the country should join.  This is a country that recently declared independence in 1991, and is not clearly pro-West, anti-East as the western media and politicians claim it is.

 

I am anti-war, anti-conquest, anti-colonial and anti-genocide.

I don't want any warring in Ukraine, but it is not as simple to me as it seems to others as to what the underlying cause of the warfare is.


Ottawa Siege: Trudeau Bad


I had started a series of articles discussing the Ottawa Siege, with the most recent being titled Why didn't "dictator Trudeau" just remove all mandates?

I am fully aware that the President of Russia has far more power, constitutionally and personally, than the Prime Minister of Canada.  Vladimir Putin was a former intelligence officer, and learned quite a bit about people and how to influence them.

Justin Trudeau was... umm...  a substitute teacher, who withdrew from university to seek public office. He was put into the position by a corrupt party system that wanted to launch another "Trudeau Mania" such as happened under Justin's father.

That said, I had to live through a siege on my hometown by people receiving international support for the myth that Trudeau was a dictator, rather than just being an idiot.  Some of the "Putin Bad" simplistic way of looking at things have seemed very similar.

I'm tired of this overly simplistic nonsense. Western European worldviews have a cult over individuals, which hides from most westerners the complex systemic realities of the world they inhabit.


How do people choose which attack on Sovereignty matters?

 

I live in on a continent that some call North America, while others call it Turtle Island.  I wrote in January my current feelings on what being a Canadian means to me, after focusing some learning on this continent for a few years.  The short-form is that Canada is not what I thought it was, and is in fact a series of governments (not a place) which is part of an ongoing act of colonialism and genocide.

Canada isn't unique. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States are collectively known as CANZUS in international circles. These are British Colonies, all of which claim independence from Britain, but where colonists greatly outnumber Indigenous peoples and where governments built on British worldviews. In the case of Canada, these governments were directly created and maintained by the British parliament, and an amending formula to allow a body on this side of the Atlantic to change the constitution was created in 1982.


I have noticed that there are many nations whose sovereignty has been subdued by another nation, but where the general population in Western European countries, and their colonies, don't pay attention.  I am not the only person who noticed this, and on social media a simple pattern has emerged.



 

Westerners only seem to care if the Nation whose sovereignty is being attacked is:

  • European, or European Descent -- Contrary to what some people think, North America, Australia and New Zealand are not part of Europe, but any threat to the sovereignty of these colonial governments is still considered "important".
  • Christian
  • Capitalist

Russia is only two out of three, so they are bad.  Apparently if you adopt the British/Scottish (Adam Smith) Eurocentric economic system you are good, but if you adopt the derivative German (Karl Marx, etc) Eurocentric economic system you are bad.

In the formation as it has existed in recent decades Ukraine qualifies under all three requirements, so therefore it is claimed that a threat on it is a threat to "democracy".

 

Threats to Democracy


When the subjects of European Christian Monarchies first visited this continent, what they found were advanced civilized nations. Some of the nations had joined to create confederacies such as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which had already been an advanced Participatory Democracy for centuries.


Quoting from the Onondoga Nation website:

In 1613, the Mohawks noticed people coming into their territory unannounced. The visitors had begun to cut trees and clear land for their homes and farms. They had entered the lands of the Haudenosaunee and were now occupying some of their empty rooms (land). The newcomers dressed oddly and had hair on their faces. They had iron pots and pans and had their families with them. These people needed a place to live. The Mohawks sent a runner to Onondaga to convene a meeting of the Haudenosaunee.

 

I regularly write about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. From my brief on Bill C-15.

The process that eventually led to UNDRIP started in 1923. This is when Deskaheh, Chief of the Iroquois League, representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, left Canada to go on a mission to Geneva (Switzerland). At that time the elder league of nations (Iroquois 6 nations in 1722, and a confederacy of 5 nations possibly since 1142) wanted to address the younger league of nations (formed at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, which later became the United Nations) to have the younger league adequately recognize the elder.
...

In response to the attempt to get appropriate international recognition for the Iroquois league of nations, the British subsidiary called Canada sent in the RCMP to depose the centuries old participatory democratic Confederacy Council. Canada installed an "Indian Act" band council which is only responsible to the Canadian crown and not citizens. This is not a Representative Government, and the ongoing refusal of Canadian governments to recognize the Confederacy Council and not fold the band council is in my mind an obvious violation of UNDRIP Article 3.

 


Almost 100 years later, and British allies (including but beyond CANZUS) are still blocking recognition of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy at the United Nations. Canada still refuses to recognize the confederacy as the governing body of that league of Nations.

Land theft is ongoing, as Canada and its provincial governments like Ontario believe that if they continue to put squatters on land which they don't have title over that this will eventually eradicate the sovereign nation entirely.

Watching the weak corporate-party-centric democratic institutions of Canada, it is clear these governing bodies are many generations away from having as advanced democratic institutions as what the Haudenosaunee had at European contact in the 1500's. That is if they are going to advance to being stronger democracies, as opposed to becoming even weaker over time.


Other than "stop bombing", trying to figure out what should happen in Ukraine seems complex.  What is needed is neutral third parties to get involved to help Ukraine. I am aware there is a good relationship between the Ukrainian people and several of the Indigenous peoples of this continent, but see no helpful role for excessively biased European governments or their colonies.


What Canada should be doing on this continent is far simpler, and there have been a stack of commissions and other reports over decades (longer than Ukraine has been independent) giving the Canadian governments blueprints.

 

Canada fully recognizing the elder democracy of the elder League of Nations seems obvious, as well as transferring all assets and financial transfers currently received by the imposed Indian Act band council bureaucracy. Then there is the matter of all the trust money which Canada "borrowed", and should get onto a payment plan to return with interest.

Six Nations of the Grand River understands that Canada does not have enough money to bring historic land issues to resolution under the existing land claims policies. 
This booklet is an explanation of Six Nations’ land and financial grievances against the Crowns of Canada and Ontario and the need for the establishment of a new perpetual care and maintenance mechanism. A mechanism that would benefit the Six Nations People and their posterity to enjoy forever, while continuing to share the Haldimand Tract lands and resources with our neighbours.


Trade and other Sanctions

When will the trade and other sanctions against Canada finally start?

Is it really as simple as the fact that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy isn't European, Christian and Capitalist?


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Please stop repeating CGL's misdirection: "The company says they have 20 signed agreements with elected bands..."

The following was a letter to APTN News, which I copied to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and my MP in Ottawa South.

It is repeated on their website: Land rights defenders weigh in on CGL incident on Wet’suwet’en territory



I'm a settler of Irish, Scottish and French descent, currently living on unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. My mother was born in Paris, Ontario, part of the Haldimand Tract. I have loyalty to this land that has sustained me, and solidarity with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (the oldest participatory democracy, not the Six Nations band council bureaucrats) and Anishinabek nations.

Even I, who fully recognizes I am not Indigenous and have never been naturalized to this continent, find it offensive each time APTN repeats the colonial misdirection about Indian Act Band Councils without the required disclaimers. This offensive misdirection was repeated again on this evening's newscast, apparently to remind viewers of the existence of worthless "agreements" that CGL has with "elected bands".

Indian Act band councils are created, regulated and funded by the Government of Canada.
https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/i-5/


The phrase "elected" should never be repeated, as that is colonial propaganda to falsely suggest since there was an "election" that the body might be democratic. These councils are responsible to the Canadian Government, not Indigenous citizens, and thus are not representative governments. Elected parts of the federal government bureaucracy are still federal government bureaucrats.

These councils are in a trivially obvious conflict of interest when it comes to any issue where there may be conflict between the interests of the Canadian Crown (and its corporations) and Indigenous governments. This was the entire purpose of the additions of s.25 and s.35 of the Canada Act 1982, to clarify that the Canadian federal government, or any of its delegates, cannot simply take control over Indigenous lands.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/11/contents

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/11/schedule/B/paragraph/25
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/11/schedule/B/paragraph/35


Some of the same individual people may be part of an Indigenous government and a band council. However, an Indian Act band council as that council does not have jurisdiction outside of what the Federal Government has jurisdiction on and has delegated to part of its own bureaucracy. An Indian Act band council, a subsidiary part of the Canadian Federal government, constitutionally cannot have jurisdiction over treaty land under Constitution s.35 or land where treaties were not created under Charter s.25 which clarifies the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763 is part of Canadian law.

The fact that Indian Act Band councils administrate policy on reservations is because the British granted the Canadian Federal government jurisdiction over "24. Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians."

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/30-31/3/section/91



Please stop helping ongoing colonization on this continent. If you are quoting from a government or corporate statement, please make use of a disclaimer before or after to clarify that Indian Act band councils are part of the Canadian Government bureaucracy, and thus can not have jurisdiction over issues not part of federal responsibility.



There may not currently be clarity about who represents the Wet'suwet'en peoples. This is a problem caused by the Government of Canada, so the Governments of Canada (federal or provincial - with Municipal governments being provincial corporations) should never benefit from harm to existing Indigenous governance that the federal government caused.

Settler governments which had any respect for their own laws or internationally recognized human rights would have had federal courts issue an injunction against CGL and the British Columbia government. The injunction would be to cease all authorizations of land use and operations until the s.25/s.35 Indigenous Government representatives are lawfully clarified and the correct governing bodies have granted Free, Prior and Informed Consent for any activities on their land. If the appropriate bodies don't exist currently, then the fiduciary duty of the Canadian Crown is to help them be re-established, with the injunction remaining in place.


This isn't only a matter of recognizing UNDRIP, but of recognition of the Royal Proclamation 1763, the Canadian Constitution, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Thank you for reading,

 


 
For anyone who read this and didn't know before that the Canadian Constitution granted the federal government jurisdiction over "Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians", please think about that for a moment.

Could you imagine the German constitution granted a specific level of government jurisdiction over "Jews, and lands reserved for the Jews"?

This is the real Canada, and not the "Canada the good" marketing material most of us settlers grew up with.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Ottawa Siege: Why didn't "dictator Trudeau" just remove all mandates?

One of the very visible features of this protest was a lack of understanding by most of the supporters I heard from of how Canada's legal and governance systems work.

Tamara Lich's husband provided an obvious example in court.

Canada's First Amendment

"Honestly? I thought it was a peaceful protest and based on my first amendment, I thought that was part of our rights," he told the court.

"What do you mean, first amendment? What's that?" Judge Julie Bourgeois asked him.

 

As my high school teaching wife would say: This is a good teachable moment.



I suspect many Canadians get their ideas of domestic law from watching police and courtroom dramas from the United States.

Tamara Lich's husband, who admitted he wasn't very politically or legally literate, was making an obvious reference to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. That amendment protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can read on social media all the discussion this drew. These are people who claim they aren't political, demonstrate a lack of basic knowledge of Canadian politics and law, and yet helped organize an illegal siege supported primarily by foreign money and backing. They even think of themselves as patriots, although I'm not sure of which country.

What was the first amendment to the Canadian Constitution?

The official Governments of Canada answer: Manitoba Act 1870.  A more complete list is available on the Department of Justice website.

The accompanying map is helpful for context, given many Canadians believe a myth that these "provinces" democratically joined "The Dominion of Canada", and in the form they are today. There is some very important history to learn to understand what Canada is and how it operates.

Canada's Origin Story

The answer of the Manitoba Act is only part of the story.

Canada was created and maintained by the British through a series of Acts of the British (later UK) parliament.

In 1867 it was a small number of British citizens (Western European, white, men) in a white minority part of the world who asked their government (Britain) to pass a law to create a new subsidiary of the British Empire. It wasn't the democratic will of the inhabitants, the majority of which weren't European and had their own existing (many democratic for centuries) governments. Many weren't even informed.



Some key acts to be aware of:

  • The 11 British North America Acts:  It is actually BNA 1871 that confirmed Manitoba in the Constitution, as the British retained more control over Canadian law than they granted to the subsidiary governments on this side of the Atlantic. While Part VI of BNA 1867 (Sections 91-95 of the Canadian Constitution) created separate jurisdiction for federal and provincial responsibility, that limitation didn't apply to the British who could legislate at any level they wished - including the Canadian Constitution which only the British government could amend.
  • Statute of Westminster 1931 - this is when Britain granted several of its colonies, including Canada, the ability to have foreign policy. Technically Canada never declared war during the First World War, and "Canadians" participated in that war as British Subjects.
  • Canada Act 1982 : This is where the British terminated their power to legislate for Canada.  This is the (most likely) final British amendment to Canada's Constitution, and the creation of a new amending formula allowing governments on this side of the Atlantic to amend the Canadian Constitution.

    SCHEDULE B, Part I, is the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    While the existing Constitution sections 91-95 clarified jurisdiction for federal and provincial governments, the new Constitution section 35 as well as Charter section 25 clarified jurisdiction and rights for Indigenous governments.

    If you don't yet know what the Royal Proclamation 1763, Treaty of Niagara 1764, or the Quebec Act 1774 is, then you don't yet know the foundations of Canada or Canadian law.



Government jurisdiction

This origin story of Canada, which we should all have been taught, is critically important to understanding what happened during the Ottawa Siege.

I discussed earlier that there weren't mandates (to vaccinate, wear masks, "lock down", etc) that were targeted at individuals, only workplaces. Individual rights were not being restricted as no individual has a right to enter other people's homes or workplace and ignore policies set for those locations.
 
Multiple levels of government have created workplace and other health and safety policy relating to the current COVID pandemic: provincial (municipal), federal (Indian Act band councils), and Indigenous governments.

I use brackets in the above as the constitution separates jurisdictional powers between Canadian Federal, Canadian Provincial, and Indigenous governments. Municipal governments are provincially created and regulated corporations, and Indian Act band councils are federally created/regulated entities. These are not independent levels of responsible government, but bodies responsible to the level of government which created and regulates them.

The vast majority of what people think the protesters were asking for, to "end all mandates", was outside of the jurisdiction of the Canadian Federal government. Even if the Government of Canada wanted to end all mandates, they do not have the power under the Canadian Constitution to do so.

To say that in the reverse: The federal government, and Trudeau as Prime Minister, has nothing to do with a vast majority of the mandates protesters were angry about. These are independent decisions being made by multiple independent levels of government, primarily making use of independent public health units to help direct them during a critical time.

The type of centralized decision making that the protesters believed was happening is simply not possible. Public health mandates were not in any way a top-down decision made by a single individual, and health is primarily a provincial responsibility.

Canadian Parliaments: and what is a "minority government"


I believe our Democratic Institutions have been weakened by the transition of Political Parties from being a caucus formed within and accountable to elected parliamentarians, to being unaccountable corporations operating outside of parliament that manipulate parliamentarians.

That said, our Democratic Institutions are currently still far stronger than the protesters were alleging.

Justin Trudeau is currently the Prime Minister of Canada.  He is not the King of Canada, and does not have the level of control that protesters seemed to believe he has.

Justin Trudeau is the current leader of the political party that has a plurality of seats in the House of Commons.  This is a plurality, as the Liberal party of Canada would have needed 11 more seats to have a majority.  The governing party must get support from at least one of the other larger parties (Green Party with 2 seats not sufficient) in order to pass any specific legislation. The opposition has a majority, and can force an election nearly any time (there are some minor procedural limitations) if they wish to discontinue the current parliament and try again at changing the makeup of parliament.

For those who don't pay attention, the most recent general election was in September 2021. Canada has general elections (for all seats) and by-elections (for a subset), and doesn't actually have a "federal election" with a common ballot question for all voters. The House of Commons is not an electoral college like the USA has to chose their President, although you couldn't tell from how the media (foreign or domestic) misreports Canadian elections as if they were in any way similar to US presidential elections!

 

So, is it possible for Trudeau to act as a Dictator?  No, not in the slightest.

He can act like a petulant child, and constantly say unhelpful things when in front of a microphone, but he can't act as a dictator.

 

Is Trudeau the best person to be representing Canada's federal government as the Prime Minister?  For this my personal opinion is strongly: No!

I don't like Trudeau for many reasons, and consider him an embarrassment as Prime Minister. Not liking Trudeau is not the same thing as believing he has power that he doesn't have, or that I will blame him for things which he has no control over.

I also want a better Prime Minister, but I want that accomplished through stronger democratic institutions and not by an angry mob of people who didn't spend any time trying to understand the basics of how governments work making DEMANDS of any democratically elected government.

Advise for First Time Protesters


When listening to interviews of protesters (live streams, more formal media, etc), or reading things said by supporters on social media, I got the distinct impression that this is the first time they have protested or paid attention to any government policy.

I can't recall exactly, but I started getting more politically involved in the early 1990's.  I've been to many protests over the decades, some which I now recognize as ineffective as I didn't really understand the relevant governance institutions in my youth. I've since met many politicians (before, during and after they were parliamentarians), some of which I even consider friends.

 

I would love to share as much as I can, and encourage others to get more politically informed and involved.  I do, however, believe it is critical that you do your homework if you want to be effective.

 

  • Research if the policy concern is real. There are many political opportunists out there, politicians and the media, who want to use you as a pawn for their own special interests. They will abuse confusion to create anger, and then point you at a target of their choosing which likely has nothing to do with the alleged problem.
  • Learn about the organizers of any political movement or protest.  Don't assume that their "marketing brochure" is actually their goal. Don't take actions based on marketing which is regularly deceptive, but based on actual goals of the organizers.
  • Learn what level of government, and sometimes exactly which department or ministry, the policy you are critical of originates from. The easiest way to get dismissed by anyone involved in governance is to come to them with problems which have nothing to do with them: they are very busy, and teaching you basic civics is not part of their job.

 

 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Ottawa Siege: Health and Safety in federally regulated workplaces

I have been wanting to write something about the protest since it started on January 28.  I wanted to get my thoughts together before I posted, but the longer I wait the more facets emerge which are worthy of discussion.


I will start with the federal government regulation that is claimed to have sparked these protests.  I say "claim" because most of what I hear from protesters and supporters has nothing to do with this policy, but larger social issues I'll put into separate articles.

What is this "vaccine mandate" about?


News release: Government of Canada will require employees in all federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated against COVID-19

This is a simple/boring workplace health and safety policy.

Throughout this pandemic, politicians and the media have done a very poor job in explaining public health policy. This isn't a left-vs-right politician or left-vs-right media issue, as I feel they have all done a poor job.

You will see politicians and media discussing "lockdowns", "mask mandates" and "vaccination mandates" without any context given to clarify the meaning of these phrases.


There is a percentage of the population, higher in western countries, who think of themselves as individuals and not members of a larger society.  When they hear these phrases it means "I am being locked down", "I am being mandated to wear a mask", and "I am being mandated to get a vaccine".

When you look at the policies that have been put in place by Canadian municipal, provincial/territorial and federal governments (and the parallel First Nations governments) they have all been workplace policies:  "this workplace is temporarily closed", "this workplace requires masks", "this workplace requires vaccines".


These two concepts are not remotely the same thing, and yet politicians and the media have been conflating the two.  Given few people read the policies, they incorrectly believe individuals are being regulated rather than workplaces. 

If individuals were mandated, then their individual rights and freedoms may be impacted.  However, since no individual has a right to enter someone else's workplace, their individual rights have not been impacted.

I am unaware of a jurisdiction within what most people call Canada where essential services that citizens require to survive being temporarily closed or requiring vaccinations, and thus am unaware of any scenario where individual rights are in question.

Ignoring unusual political ideology, putting on a mask to enter other people's workplaces shouldn't be any more controversial than a requirement to put on pants. I am so glad there isn't a big movement to protest "workplace clothing mandates".


What does this have to do with Justin Trudeau?

Example: October 6, 2021 announcement by the Prime Minister.

I may not be a fan of the specific language the Prime Minister decided to use in his announcements or media releases, or how other politicians and the media reported on it. I think many individuals in these professions aren't very good at their jobs.

I may find Justin Trudeau embarrassing as Prime Minister, and want to change the seriously flawed Democratic Institutions that puts someone with his lack of qualifications into that position, but that doesn't impact my opinion on this workplace health and safety policy.

Health and Safety policy for Truckers

Once you recognize we are talking about workplaces and not individuals, then how this relates to the trucking industry becomes more obvious.

As part of their work, truckers need to enter other peoples workplaces: their trailers get loaded and unloaded, and along the route they travel for days do as all humans do: eat, sleep, go to bathrooms, etc.  Not all of these things are done entirely inside their cab, and involve entering people's workplaces.

The regulation is not specifically about the health & safety of the truckers, but of all those people whose workplaces they must enter to do their job.

 

There is a claim truckers are being fired or their individual charter rights are being infringed if they are not vaccinated. While this may be how some individuals feel due to their political biases, this is not what the policy is saying.

Nobody has a right to enter other people's workplaces and ignore the health & safety policy of those workplaces.  Truckers who individually decide to disqualify themselves from entering workplaces required for their job have made a personal choice.

Truckers have special drivers licenses, and many other regulations which simply do not apply to people in other professions. These regulations, many of which were lobbied for by truckers unions to protect truckers individual and collective rights, are all quite normal.

Someone with only a class G1 Ontario drivers license isn't being "fired" or their rights somehow impacted if the job requires that they have a valid Class A (full or restricted) or Class D Ontario drivers license. Not all truck drivers are allowed to drive all types of trucks.


This specific policy has been highly politicized for reasons that can be discussed later, as they relate to the broader political issues at the heart of these protests. Under normal political circumstances I seriously doubt these workplace health & safety policies would have been controversial for anyone.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Review: The Tinder Swindler

My wife and I watched The Tinder Swindler last night on Netflix.

Part of the story was some journalists who published an article of the same title in 2019.  You should read the synopsis and story if you haven't already watched the documentary.

I quietly watched, not feeling I could express my thoughts out loud as I knew I was seeing the documentary different than was intended by the documentations.  It wasn't until my wife expressed similar feelings that I felt I could share.


I could not see this story outside the context of my recent anti-racism learning. The story was to me an example of the outcomes of what was discussed in White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad.

My alternative Synopsis

Three Western European (of Western European descent, not immigrants to region), due to the sheltered lives they have lived, fell prey to a simple Ponzie scheme.

When the police did not take the case of one of the women as seriously as she believed it deserved, she brought the issue to some journalists who widely published her case. That journalism lead to some of the victims connecting and sharing stories, and one of them finally took some responsibility for her actions and helped police to catch the perpetrator.

White Privilege

I have only recently become aware of my privileges.

It is a privilege to live within a country where the laws were created by people who have some of my democratic traits (Men of Western European descent).  While I live in what most people call Canada, in a continent which is clearly not Europe, my European ancestry has meant these European created/derived systems have never targeted me as being different.  I wasn't well-off growing up, but having the systems not help me individually is entirely a separate concept from the systems not attacking me due to having different demographic traits.

The fact that the story was about three white women matters.  Having never been targets before, they had the privilege of not being very aware of the complexity of the world around them. They made trivially obvious mistakes in their personal finances, mistakes which if someone of a different demographic background made them would have been entirely blamed on the individual.

Many BIPOC people are treated as if any financial issues they have ever had are entirely their own fault even when it is clearly systemic, but if a non-BIPOC person actually makes serious personal mistakes they are treated purely as victims.

The women have set up a GoFundMe to help them pay back some of their debt. No thanks, I'm going to continue to support Pay Your Rent which is far more deserving of my support.  (See: Nii’kinaaganaa Foundation).

(Social) Media

The end the documentary made it clear they do not assign any blame to Tinder as a social media platform. The first women we were introduced to is back on the platform, as if nothing happened.

There are serious systemic problems with media and social media. Due to a cult of individuality and anonymity originating primarily out of the United States, online platforms shield their users from accountability. A sense of entitlement without responsibilities is regularly listed as part of Western-European worldviews.

I have been arguing for decades that a variety of trusted authorities should be maintaining identity services. It could be a combination of government agencies and private sector, but communications on the Internet generally, and social medial platforms specifically, should not be unaccountable by default.

Social media platforms can offer aliases, but the individual citizen should be known to these communications proxies and able to be trivially identified if required by court order.

Anonymous sources have always been possible, long before the Internet. What this meant is that another human operated as an intermediary: you would be hearing from the proxy and not directly from the individual, and that human would be offering the anonymity. This proxy system provides accountability, which should be required of communications platforms.

 

Gold Diggers, or victims of systems?

They included some references to what the journalists thought were angry people on the Internet calling the women Gold Diggers.

What I see are systemic problems, even if those systemic problems have lead to a lack of individual responsibility. These women are attracted to what the society around them has indoctrinated them to be attracted to, and that includes blind desire of money.
 
Since they are blindly following cultural systems, it makes them easy targets for individuals or systems which want to harness those systemic flaws.
 
 
  An Israeli man born into a poor family and neighborhood wants to live what we are all told is "the good life".

I can easily picture him noticing that so most wealthy people extracted it from others rather than earning it, and decided to get in on that racket.

The fact that his Get Rich Quick schemes are clearly illegal, yet other equally dishonest schemes are still considered perfectly legal, is another systemic issue worthy of discussion.

As important as I think it is that the women are Western European, I believe it is important that the man was a Jewish Israeli. I see the history of the treatment by European Christian countries/systems of European Jews to be part of the story.

There is a common narrative coming out of Europe after the Second World War that during the early 1900's there was a "good" and a "bad" side of the treatment of European Jews. The reality is that there was a "bad" side and a "much worse" side.

The German Christian solution to the alleged "European Jew problem" is now known as the Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews.

The British Christian solution was to allow Jewish people to live, but ensure that they lived somewhere else. Britain caused the partition of Palestine, at the time under British occupation, after the war in 1947.  This is the same year Britain partitioned India, which was also until then under British occupation. The serious consequences of these British induced partitions are ongoing in both regions.

The United States, like Canada, was not created out of the democratic interests of the inhabitants. A small group of white-European men in British colonies, in minority-white regions of the world, imposed systems of government. They used racist immigration policies, gerrymandering and genocide to minimize domestic Indigenous populations.


Today four-fifths of the remaining Jews live in two regions that were formally or currently under British or British colony occupation: Israel (41%) and United States (41%).
 

My review?


While the documentary sparked thought, I disagreed with the narrative that the documentary was intending.  The media is once again patting themselves on the back, not recognizing their own complicity in perpetuating the systems that these individuals were all victims of in one way or another.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a lens different than the journalists involved. The documentary is seriously flawed.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

What does being a Canadian mean to me?

Two years ago, starting on January 7’th, there were a series of protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nations. At the time I did not know what was happening, and did not have a clue what people could mean by “Shut Down Canada.”

This launched a journey for me to learn more about what Canada is and is not, which corrected many myths I was told growing up.
 

1492

While there is considerable evidence that pacific islanders had been doing trade with this continent for centuries, this is when Italian Christopher Columbus is claimed to have “Discovered” what some now call the Americas. Contrary to myth he never traveled to the northern continent, even though the USA celebrates him. It was Italian Amerigo Vespucci that is the source of the name that European colonialists called these continents.

1493

The Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope, issued a series of Papel bulls where he created the “Doctrine of Discovery''. This is the offensive concept that if land was not claimed by a European Christian Monarchy, that Christians could claim it for themselves. While this policy led to centuries of colonialism, slavery and genocide, this institution has yet to apologize or pay reparations for the harm it causes.

Some people are finally upset at what is now called the Catholic Church, what the original Christian branch was called when other branches were formed. They are finally aware of what this institution did in Indian Residential Schools, but that is merely the surface of what this institution is responsible for.

Late 1500's and early 1600's

In the early years there was trade being done with the peoples of this land. Larger problems emerged in the late 1500's and early 1600's when Europeans started to form settlements.

The correct way to immigrate into another nation is to naturalize to the existing laws and customs. While some Europeans did that, most did not. When they traveled across the ocean, they brought with them a series of barbaric cultural practices and beliefs which they then fought to impose on the more socially advanced nations and peoples of these continents.

It is important to remember that the Europeans forming settlements were subjects of Christian Monarchies, while some nations as well as leagues of Nations such as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy has been an advanced participatory democracy since 1192CE. In 2022, Canada's top-down hierarchical systems of governance are still generations away from catching up.

 

What do I consider to be some of the top barbaric beliefs and practices that Europeans brought?

 

  • Religious supremacy, and with it forced religious conversion and genocide. Christians fought with other religious branches that prayed to the same God of Abraham (Judaism, Islam, etc), but did not treat as human those not of Abrahamic faiths which they called "pagans".
  • Male supremacy, also known as Androcentrism -- the notion that males should have all political power, and women should be treated as property.
  • Human supremacy, also known as Anthropocentrism - the notion that humans are above the rest of creation, and that the rest of creation only has value in how it benefits humans.
  • The notion that land is something that can be "owned" rather than "stewarded". From this grew the concept of "exclusivity without responsibility", the core of western European notions of property law.
  • The notion that descendants should inherit privileges (monetary or otherwise) but never obligations. If a grandparent or other ancestor steals something, the grandchild or other descendant believes they are owed value from that theft rather than have responsibility for reparations.
 

Late 1600's through 1700's

Spanish, British, French, and Dutch colonists came. Through the 1600's and 1700's these Europeans fought with each other for exclusive European involvement in these continents, sometimes with Indigenous Nations as allies.

While the British were the last European nation that officially remained, as all others ceded any claims to the mainland, the British settlers were divided in how much respect for their own laws and the laws of the land they were willing to accept. Lack of respect (for other peoples, for the rule of law, for international treaties and law, etc) remains a defining trait of the European involvement on this continent.


1701

Great Peace of Montreal, also known as the Dish With One Spoon treaty, included the French signing a peace agreement with the (then) Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Nations.

The Tuscaroras joined the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in 1722 to become the 6th Nation.

1763

After the Seven Years War (1756-1763), The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III. This established the basis for governing territories on this continent surrendered by France to Britain, as well as the constitutional structure requiring respect for treaties with Indigenous Nations.

1764

Treaty of Niagara at Fort Niagara, when approximately 2000 First Nations chiefs gathered to create a peace and friendship treaty with the British. This was intended to bring the British into normal relationship with Nations on this continent. If the British had any respect for the laws of the land or their own laws this continent would be a very different place than it is today.

1774

Additional concessions were granted to French loyalists via the Quebec Act of 1774.

1775

The British government had granted concessions to French settlers and recognized inherent rights of Indigenous Nations. The British crown also required that the colonist beneficiaries of the inter-European wars on this continent should pay for the wars.

This is all that was required for the most barbaric thirteen of the British colonies to launch a war to separate from the British crown.

The British, claiming they were protecting everyone from the British separatists in those 13 colonies, violated the Royal Proclamation through their own western expansion. This will feel ironic today given so many "Canadians" claim that the United States is "our" closest ally, when in fact Canada was largely formed through claiming that the United States was the greatest threat.

1784

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy allied with the British against the separatists that formed the United States. As compensation for the loss of land south of the Great Lakes, Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Quebec, granted the Confederacy Six miles each side of the Grand River in 1784

"Canada" has been denying this grant since that British subsidiary was created, and continues its dishonest attempts to steal land and wealth to this day. (See: Haudenosaunee Confederacy Announce Moratorium on Haldimand Tract, April 20, 2021)

1812

Further disrespect by the southern separatists, although it is widely reported that after this war the British no longer felt the need to respect Indigenous treaty allies as the British no longer felt the need for military allies as they ceased pursuing disputes with the separatists.

1861-1865

Wars get named by the victor, so when a subset of the separatists tried to further separate it was only called a civil war rather than a revolutionary war.


Territorial Expansion from 1867

In 1867, a small number of white men in a white minority part of the world asked the British parliament to pass the first of 11 bills entitled "British North America Act", which the British used to manage what they branded as "Canada".

The Canadian Government offers a series of maps of key points in the history of this British colony. It comes with descriptions which read as colonial propaganda, and do not match any less biased interpretation of history. Maps discuss land, but the British never had title to this land so what these maps are discussing is regions which British created governments claimed some alleged right to govern.

 

  • 1867: The non-separatist British colonies of "Canada" (Previously Quebec, and then Upper/Lower Canada), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were joined. The colony of "Canada" was separated into "Ontario" and "Quebec". This new set of governments was formed to be part of the British Empire, effectively a corporate subsidiary of the British government.
  • 1870: Canada claims it acquires land from the Hudson's Bay Company, even though the Hudson's Bay Company did not own any land. What they owned was an exclusive patent granted by the British Crown to do business in a region. Manitoba created from this area the British called the North-West Territories.
  • 1871: In violation of the Royal Proclamation, the small number of white men who had no title to an area they called British Columbia are alleged to join the "federation".
  • 1873: British colonialists in an area they called Prince Edward Island join the "federation".
  • 1874: Boundaries of Ontario are extended into NWT. The Ontario government also provides a series of maps from 1774-1912 of regions they claim to govern.
  • 1876: District of Keewatin created within NWT.
  • 1880: British unilaterally claim the rest of the North, other than colonies of Newfoundland and those claimed by the United States and France (St Pierre and Miquelon).
  • 1881: Manitoba territorial expansion.
  • 1882: Districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Athabaska and Alberta formed out of NWT, to install settler governments to impose British rule in areas where a railway was being built.
  • 1886: Keewatin and Saskatchewan boundaries adjusted.
  • 1889: Ontario expanded yet again.
  • 1895: Districts of Ungava, Mackenzie, Yukon, and Franklin created from NWT. Athabasca and Keewatin enlarged. 
  • 1897: Adjustments of NWT district boundaries.
  • 1898: Yukon separated from NWT to become a separate territorial government. Boundaries of Quebec unilaterally extended into NWT Ungava district.
  • 1901: Yukon territory expanded into NWT
  • 1905: Alberta and Saskatchewan unilaterally imposed, granting southern colonialist control over northern district of Athabasca. The anti-democratic gerrymandering involved in this is obvious, given the so-called Alberta oil sands are in the district of Athabasca.
  • 1912: Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba imposed northward, again an obvious gerrymandering to grant southern colonial power over the north. As with Alberta and Saskatchewan, much of the resource extraction in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are on lands which these "provinces" were allegedly granted control over via this gerrymandering.
  • 1920: Boundary expansions into NWT formalized.
  • 1927: Newfoundland, still a separate British colony, is granted expansion into "Quebec" by the British government.
  • 1949: Newfoundland government joins the federation; some say because the British starved them out and were given no choice. (See: British North America Act 1949)
  • 1982: While not listed on the map, this is when the Canada Act was passed by the British parliament. Up until this termination of power to legislate for Canada, the British government had more control over the laws of Canada than any body on this continent. This is the point at which Canada became eligible to be considered a democracy, although I don't consider it sufficient. 
  • 1999: Nunavut becomes territory out of land previously part of NWT.

 

What do I take from what I have learned over the last two years?

I will use point-form


  • Canada is not what I was told growing up.
  • Canada is a set of governments unilaterally imposed on this homeland by the British to be a subsidiary of the British Empire and promote British laws and worldviews.
  • I am not British, and I don't live in Europe.
  • While my Irish, Scottish and French ancestors have been treated very badly by the British (and those who assimilated and became loyal to the British), that does not allow me or other non-Indigenous people to claim to be victims of colonialism or British conquest on this continent.
  • I do not have to be stuck in the past, and can move beyond the fact that I am a descendant of European colonists.
  • If I am not Indigenous, and not fighting for Indigenous Rights, then I am complicit with the ongoing violation of those rights. It doesn't matter when my ancestors immigrated and didn't naturalize to a domestic Indigenous government, I am still complicit.
  • I do not consider "Canada" to be the name of this place, which has retained many names since long before European contact.
  • I do not consider "Canada" to be the group of people who currently live on these lands, nor do I consider those governments to be democratic.
  • Canada is not a protector of human rights and democracy, but is guilty of ongoing genocide.
  • I do not have to adhere to what I now consider to be the barbaric cultural practices that European colonists brought with them. I can instead reject them, and politically work both as an individual and a member of the larger society to naturalise to Indigenous worldviews and laws.
  • While the Canadian and Ontario governments claim me as a citizen, there is no reason for me to be loyal to them. I have loyalty to the land that has sustained me my entire life, and the peoples who have stewarded these lands for thousands of years.