STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Archive for June 13th, 2008

Racism in the Tar Sands: exploiting foreign workers and poisoning indigenous people

Posted by mhudema on June 13, 2008

June 12, 2008

By Macdonald Stainsby

The giant corporations that are determined to exploit the Alberta tar sands face a major problem — a serious shortage of local labour to do the actual work. So the Canadian and Albertan governments have a plan, ideal in their eyes, to solve the crunch.

Currently, employers desperate to find needed hands, backs and minds for the vast production targets of the “Gigaproject” are flying workers from the Maritimes from their homes for shift stretches and then back again, but that effort faces limits in terms of workers available. Nary a day goes without a business page article somewhere in Alberta bemoaning the lack of workers. Many of the Newfoundlanders who would have come out this way in the past will now work in Newfoundland premier Dany Williams’ new off shore oil and gas ventures, using skills learned in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

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Dirty Fuels not Exempt from Dirty Fuel Law

Posted by mhudema on June 13, 2008

Write your letters NOW!!!!!
Bingaman: Defense bill resolves Canadian oil sands issue

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 12 — The US Senate’s Democratic energy leader does not expect a provision of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to restrict sales of oil produced from Canadian oil sands to US refiners, he told a Canadian-US business conference on June 11.

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said on May 22 the US House adopted a clarifying amendment offered by Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) to the fiscal 2009 Department of Defense budget which establishes that the controversial Section 526 of EISA 2007 does not apply to already available fuels.

Section 526 bars federal agencies from buying alternative or synthetic fuels that produce more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels (OGJ Online, Apr. 29, 2007).

While he said he did not presume to speak for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who promoted the provision’s addition to the 2007 energy bill, Bingaman said that he understood Waxman intended it to keep the federal government from using its substantial purchasing power to promote development of alternative fuels with more greenhouse gases than current conventional resources.

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We will Apologize Again….Later

Posted by mhudema on June 13, 2008

Vuepoint – We’ll apologize again later


Of the multitude of shameful actions in the history of Canada, the federal Indian Residential Schools system, which saw some 150 000 Aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children forcibly removed from their communities and put into federally run schools, surely ranks as one of the most egregious.
So the recent steps by the federal government, however tentative, to atone for this century-long attempt at cultural genocide are long overdue and welcome. The elements of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, including a $2 billion compensation package for survivors, the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Jun 11 official apology by the Government of Canada show that the government has at least begun to recognize the scale of a crime which continued until 1996, when the Gordon Residential School in Saskatchewan finally closed.
But while the federal government is busily making apologies and amends for this historic injustice, we as a nation continue to ignore and even compound the numerous contemporary injustices faced by Aboriginal peoples. It’s a reality which suggests that, like a child who offers an apology to a wronged sibling only at the urging of their parents, we haven’t really internalized what it is that we’ve done wrong in any meaningful way.
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First Nations Voices are Raising

Posted by mhudema on June 13, 2008

Canada delivers an official apology to its increasingly assertive indigenous peoples

FEW would dispute that Canada’s shameful treatment of many of its aboriginals has left a stain on its image. Between 1870 and 1996, an estimated 150,000 indigenous children were wrenched from their homes and sent to Christian boarding schools, where many were sexually and physically abused. Yet until Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, rose in the House of Commons on June 11th to deliver an unqualified official apology to assembled leaders of Canada’s 1m First Nation, Inuit and mixed-race Métis people, no Canadian leader had taken this step.

Parallels will be drawn with a similar act of contrition by Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Labor prime minister in February. But the two differ in important respects. Australia offered an apology, but no compensation, to 55,000 mixed-race children forced into white foster homes. Mr Harper’s apology follows a C$2 billion ($2 billion) settlement in 2005 of a lawsuit by former students of schools set up, in Mr Harper’s words, “to kill the Indian in the child” by assimilating them into the dominant culture.

Mr Harper’s decision to apologise now is probably aimed in part at curtailing future lawsuits by Indian victims of abuse, who chose not to take part in the earlier settlement. But it is also shows that he understands the value of saying sorry when the state has harmed its citizens. He recently apologised to Maher Arar, a Canadian tortured in Syria after wrongly being identified as a terrorist; and to Chinese-Canadians for the government’s punitive Chinese head-tax policy of 1885-1923.

But this week’s ceremony is also testimony to the increasingly sophisticated use made by Canada’s indigenous tribes, who make up a mere 3.8% of the population, of the courts, alliances with environmental groups and targeted protests against mining companies to strengthen their otherwise limited influence.

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