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.