Category - Canada

In Canada, a Surprise Victory for Justin Trudeau

New York Times, By Ian Austen, October 19

Ottawa – The nine-year reign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party came to a sudden and stunning end on Monday night at the hands of Justin Trudeau, the young leader of the Liberal Party, according to projections by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and other networks.

Starting with a sweep of the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals went on to capture 191 of the 338 seats in the next House of Commons. The upset victory occurred 47 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, first swept to power in a pivotal moment that became known as Trudeaumania.

If the projections are correct, Justin Trudeau, who will be 44 on Christmas Day, will become Canada’s second-youngest prime minister and the first to follow a parent into office. The youngest prime minister, Joe Clark, a Conservative, took office in 1979 the day before he turned 40.

Canada Votes: CBC projects a Liberal majority government
Ian Welsh: Canadian Election Today Monday October 19th

The Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, have voted for most of Harper’s signature bills, including C51 (which gutted civil liberties.) If the Liberals get into office, they will be 90 percent as neo-liberal as the Conservatives, but less obnoxious about it.

The best chance now for a decent government is if the Liberals get a minority and make a deal with the NDP for support.

CBC: Justin Trudeau to be prime minister as Liberals surge to majority

While the results are a stinging rebuke to Harper, who based his party’s campaign largely on questioning Trudeau’s readiness to lead, it’s a total reversal of political fortunes for the Liberals. The party suffered a crushing loss in 2011 and held only 36 seats at the time of Parliament’s dissolution.

Now, the Liberals are leading or elected in more than 180 ridings, having won seats in every province and taking the lead in all provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Tories were leading or elected in more than 100 seats, while the NDP was at 35. The Bloc, meanwhile, was leading or elected in 10 seats.

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Canada’s indigenous schools policy was ‘cultural genocide’, says report

Truth commission delivers verdict on church-run residential institutions – Schools were one of Canadian history’s ‘darkest and most troubling chapters’

The Guardian, By John Barber, June 2

Canadian governments and churches pursued a policy of “cultural genocide” against the country’s aboriginal people throughout the 20th century, according to an investigation into a long-suppressed history that saw 150,000 Native, or First Nations, children forcibly removed from their families and incarcerated in residential schools rife with abuse.

After seven years of hearings, and testimony from thousands of witnesses, the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on Tuesday for a new era of forgiveness and understanding even as it exposed the cultural and personal devastation inflicted by the residential schools policy in excruciating detail.

“These measures were part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will,” the commission’s final report declares.

“The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”

388-page Commission Report Executive Summary:Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future
Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Findings

The Toronto Star: Canada’s residential schools cultural genocide, Truth and Reconciliation commission says
New York Times: Canada’s Forced Schooling of Aboriginal Children Was ‘Cultural Genocide,’ Report Finds
Al Jazeera: Canada accused of ‘cultural genocide’
BBC: The schools that had cemeteries instead of playgrounds, By Sian Griffiths BBC News, Ottawa, June 13

Thus far, the government has agreed to just one. However, in a sure sign that an election is looming, opposition parties agreed, if elected, to implement all the recommendations.

One of those key demands is that this shameful chapter of Canadian history be taught as a mandatory subject in all Canadian schools. No doubt one key date students will never forget will be the day Judge Sinclair made Canadians face up to their past.


Canada commission issues details abuse of native children
Canada’s native people get a formal apology
RCMP ‘herded’ native kids to residential schools
Canada reopens its “most disgraceful” act
Well! It’s not just the Catholic Church…

Bill C-51: Canada’s new McCarthy era where advocating for action against climate change is terrorism, By John Bennett, Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada, May 31

First, I’d like to acknowledge the terrible incidents that took place last fall here in Ottawa and in Quebec and share our deepest sympathies for the families. We are very much aware of the threats and support all appropriate measures to protect Canadians. However, we are concerned about Bill C-51 because it casts too broad a net and will very likely undermine the freedoms it is supposed to protect.

The Sierra Club Canada was founded back in 1892, making us probably the oldest conservation organization in North America. We’ve been active in Canada for over 50 years, and we have a number of chapters and groups across the country. We are a volunteer-led, democratic organization. Our members elect the board of directors in annual elections, and our volunteers work along with staff to preserve and protect our natural environment.

Although we employ a wide range of tactics to draw attention to important issues, it’s a clear policy of Sierra Club Canada Foundation to only engage in legal activities. To my knowledge, no one has broken the law in the name of the club in the last hundred years.
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Canada reneges on emissions targets as tar sands production takes its toll

A new pledge to cut greenhouse gases by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 is less ambitious than previous goal and lags far behind US and EU targets.

The Guardian, By Suzanne Goldenberg, May 15

Canada has retreated on past promises to fight climate change, setting out lower targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions than any other industralised country so far ahead of a critical conference in Paris.

The announcement was a setback to efforts to reach a deal in the French capital that would limit warming to 2C (3.6F), the threshold for dangerous climate change.

Under the announcement, Canada committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Globe and Mail: Ottawa commits to 30-per-cent cut in emissions, but not for oil sands

The Guardian (multimedia): The New Coal Frontier

Around 27bn tonnes of coal are thought to be locked under the ground of the Galilee Basin in the outback of Queensland. A huge proposed complex of coal mines is planned here, including the world’s largest thermal coal project.

So are railway lines and a massive expansion of the Abbot Point port on the Great Barrier Reef.

What will this mean for the Aboriginal community, the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s climate?


Now the rapacious outsiders are back. Massive mining operations are looking to plunder a gigantic new coal frontier in the Galilee Basin. There are 247,000 sq km (95,400 sq miles) of coal: a land mass the size of Britain.

This is a story about the indigenous people – and the loss of Aboriginal lands. It is about Queensland’s fragile environment and the damage a massive new port and thousands of coal container journeys exporting coal would cause to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most precious ecosystems on earth.

And it is about the world’s climate – if the complex is fully developed, greenhouse gas emissions from the burned coal would top 700m tonnes a year, bringing irreversible climate change ever closer.

Were the Galilee Basin a country, it would be the seventh largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world, just behind Germany.

Vox: The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit
The Ecologist: Thawing Arctic carbon threatens ‘runaway’ global warming
Siberian Times: New warning about climate change linked to peat bogs
Huffington Post: [Larsen B] Antarctic Ice Shelf Is A Few Years From Disintegration: NASA
Live Science: Antarctica’s Ice Attacked from Above and Below

Harper Government Threatens BDS Supporters with Hate Crime Charges

Rights groups say newly revealed policy change is meant to “scare” critics of Palestinian oppression

Common Dreams, By Lauren McCauley, May 11

The Canadian government is threatening to charge those participating in boycotts of Israel with a hate crime, CBC revealed on Monday.

The information came following an attempt by the news agency to obtain clarification on statements made by federal ministers about a “zero tolerance” approach to supporters of the international Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement protesting Israeli apartheid and occupation of Palestinian land.

In response to the query, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, who is in charge of federal law enforcement, sent reporters “a detailed list of Canada’s updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws ‘anywhere in the world.'”

“Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions,” CBC reports. “If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government’s lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The Intercept: Canadian Government Says Free Speech is for Offending Muslims — Not Opposing Israel

Broken Covenant: Blistering report on 9 years of Harper agenda

The Council of Canadians, May 8

Ottawa – Hot on the heels of the Conservative defeat in Alberta, Maude Barlow is calling on Canadians to send the federal Tories packing as well. Her new report, Broken Covenant: How Stephen Harper Set out to Silence Dissent and Curtail Democratic Participation, outlines the damage done to all aspects of Canada’s democracy under Harper’s watch.

“Stephen Harper has clear-cut an entire movement. Like an old growth forest, the complex and intricate landscape that made up the civil society/federal government relationship took decades to create. Like a clear-cut, the damage was meant to be absolute. And like a clear-cut, there is no easy blueprint for how to rebuild the rich and multifaceted diversity that made it unique,” writes Barlow in the report.

A scathing indictment of nine years of the Harper agenda, Broken Covenant examines the Harper government’s impact on our democratic institutions, families and workers, women, First Nations, the environment, health care, arts and culture, farmers, human rights and social equality.

Passport Canada To Crack Down On Terror Suspects, Sex Offenders

The Canadian Press, May 7

Montreal – Ottawa says it is introducing passport measures to prevent people they call would-be terrorists and sex offenders from travelling abroad.

The changes would allow authorities to cancel, revoke or refuse passports for national security or terrorism purposes.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander made the announcement on Thursday at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.


Blaney and Alexander also said people who have their passports revoked or cancelled will have to wait 10 years before applying for another.


“We won’t allow the Canadian passport to be used as a tool by terrorists to carry out unspeakable acts of violence, criminal acts, and Canada will not tolerate this type of behaviour,” he told a news conference at the airport.

Canada passes law expanding spy agency powers

AFP, May 7

Canadian lawmakers passed a new anti-terror law on Wednesday dramatically expanding the powers and reach of Canada’s spy agency, allowing it to operate overseas for the first time.

The move came in response to the first terror attacks on Canadian soil last October, when a gunman killed a ceremonial guard and stormed parliament, and a soldier was run over in rural Quebec.

A large number of critics — including celebrated author Margaret Atwood — have vehemently decried bill C-51 as an unprecedented assault on civil rights, saying it lacks oversight and is overly broad.

It criminalizes the promotion of terrorism, makes it easier for police to arrest and detain individuals without charge and expands the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) mandate from intelligence-collection to actively thwarting terror plots and spying outside Canada.


The government insists the new measures target “terrorists” and not law-abiding citizens.

But the opposition New Democratic Party said the law is “vague, dangerous and won’t make Canadians safer.”

“Thousands of Canadians took to the streets to protest this bill which will erode our rights and freedoms,” NDP MP Randall Garrison said.

Wait a minute… All this time they were spying on themselves?

Alberta election 2015 results: NDP wave sweeps across province in historic win

Wildrose Party, led by newly elected leader Brian Jean, once again Alberta’s Official Opposition

CBC, May 5

It’s a massive shock that turns Canadian politics on its head: the NDP has won a majority government in Alberta.

“I think we might have made a little bit of history tonight,” leader Rachel Notley told her supporters Tuesday night. “Friends, I believe, that change has finally come to Alberta. New people, new ideas and a fresh start for our great province.”

The NDP won 53 ridings. Wildrose took 21 seats, while the PCs took 10. There was a tie in one Calgary riding — Calgary-Glenmore — between the PCs and NDP. A recount will take place in the next few days.

The Liberals and the Alberta Party each claimed one seat.

Notley believes the election was record-setting in terms of the number of women elected.

National Post: Electorate anger combined with strong NDP campaign brought end to Alberta PC dynasty
National Post: Alberta Tories’ 43-year reign ends: Prentice quits party, resigns his seat as NDP sweeps to majority

“There’s no greater fortune in life than to be a Canadian and an Albertan. We are all so very, very lucky.”

National Post: Alberta election results 2015: A riding-by-riding breakdown of the vote
CBC: Alberta Election 2015: Voters pick Wildrose Party as Official Opposition
Ian Welsh: Alberta Elects the New Democratic Party (NDP)

Thousands march in evening protest in downtown Montreal

Police quickly declared the demonstration illegal, arrests made

CBC, March 24

Thousands of protesters hit the streets of downtown Montreal Tuesday night as part of student protests against the province’s austerity measures.

Crowds gathered at Parc Émilie-Gamelin at 9 p.m. before marching along the downtown streets.

Police quickly declared the protest illegal, saying an itinerary of the route was not provided, and began making arrests.

CTV News: Montreal students protest for second night, police disperse crowds