Algonquin Chief imprisoned for two months: Quebec criminalizes Barriere Lake Algonquins for peaceful protest, ignores signed agreements

December 11, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quebec judge imprisons Algonquin Chief for two months for peaceful protest: Crown asks for one year to send “clear message” to impoverished community

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – On Thursday December 4th a Quebec judge sentenced Barriere Lake Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway to forty-five days in jail, in addition to fifteen already served in pre-trial detention, for participating in peaceful blockades intended to draw attention to violations of Barriere Lake’s rights by the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Barriere Lake has been demanding that Canada and Quebec honour signed agreements and that Canada appoint an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in accordance with Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code.

“It’s shameful that the government of Quebec would rather throw me in jail than fulfill their legal obligations by implementing signed agreements,” said Acting Chief Nottaway, a father of six who passed his twenty-eighth birthday in jail last Thursday. “Meanwhile, the Government of Canada continues to interfere in our internal affairs while trying to wash its hands of responsibility for this situation.”

Nottaway was charged with three counts of mischief and breach of conditions stemming from March blockades on Barriere Lake’s access road and a November blockade on highway 117 outside the community’s reserve in Northern Quebec. Another blockade in October was violently dismantled by Quebec riot police, who used tear-gas on a crowd that included Elders, youth, and children. More than 40 members of the community of 450 have been charged for these actions.

“Quebec has now joined the company of Ontario, which put the leaders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation behind bars for peaceful protest. It seems like the provinces’ preferred method for dealing with our rights is to use the police and the courts to punish us until we forget about them,” said Marylynn Poucachiche, a community spokesperson who was arrested during the November blockade.

Crown Attorney France Deschamps asked Judge Jules Barriere for a sentence of 12 months, saying a “clear message” was required “to make sure Nottaway has no desire to do this again, and to discourage the group – because his supporters are waiting to hear what happens here.” Judge Barriere noted that the Crown’s request was “partly illegal,” as 6 months is the maximum possible sentence for summary convictions. But he agreed with Deschamps that a prison sentence was necessary, saying it was “important to pass a clear message to the community.”

The only message the Canadian and Quebec governments are sending is that they are willing to criminalize our community and split apart our families in order to avoid implementing precedent-setting agreements and respecting our leadership customs,” added Nottaway.

Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral agreement in 1998, but has stalled despite the 2006 recommendations of two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented.

On March 10th, 2008, the Canadian government rescinded recognition of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council and recognized individuals from a minority faction whom the Barriere Lake Elder’s Council says were not selected in accordance with their Customary Governance Code. On March 2nd and 3rd, community members had set up blockades on their access road to prevent members of this minority faction from entering the reservation, anticipating the Canadian government would try to illegally interfere in Barriere Lake’s internal customary governance for the third time in 12 years.

In 2007, Quebec Superior Court Judge Rejean Paul issued a report that concluded that the current faction recognized by the federal government was a “small minority” that “didn’t respect the Customary Governance Code” in an alleged leadership selection in 2006 [1]. The federal government recognized this minority faction after they conducted another alleged leadership selection in January 2008, even though an observer’s report the government relied on stated there was no “guarantee” that the Customary Governance Code was respected [2].

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to recognize and work with Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council.

-30-

Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2113

Notes

[1] http://web.resist.ca/~barrierelakesolidarity/resources/Rapport_du_Juge_Paul-versionANGLAISEcomplete.doc, pg 26-27
[2] http://web.resist.ca/~barrierelakesolidarity/resources/Riel_Translation_Letter_2.doc , pg 2

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière
*******************************************
www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

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VIDEO: ‘WHO k i l l e d CANADA?’

December 10, 2008

Canadians who prefer truth over propaganda — and would like to have an idea why we are in this current crisis — should view this short, compelling, very informative video.  This is info that you won’t see anywhere in our mainstream media.   It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to be fully informed and inform your friends, family, neighbours, community. Ignorance is not an excuse!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8632069635967998175


Another crisis that Harper is promoting

December 6, 2008

Sierra Club Canada News Release

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Four Fossil Awards for Canada at UN Climate Conference

OTTAWA—Today, during international climate talks in Poznan, Poland, Canada was given an unprecedented four “Fossil of the Day” awards by the international community.

The awards are given to governments taking positions that stall or block the progress of climate negotiations. At the climate talks, the Canadian delegation has failed to take a constructive approach to negotiations – at the same time as the Harper government prorogued Parliament, shutting down debate until next year.

“Canada must take a more constructive approach to international climate talks. With ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, time is running out,” said Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner. “We need deep reductions in emissions to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.”

Canada tied for first place with Japan and Russia in failing to support deep reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. Reductions of at least 25-40% are needed by 2020, in order to avoid dangerous global warming that threatens most of the world’s plant and animal species.

For the second place Fossil of the Day Award, the international community awarded Canada two awards of shame – an unusual tie for second place. Canada’s negotiators argued that the country should get a break on its emissions targets, because the tar sands release a lot of carbon.

“The tar sands should not be exempted from targets for reductions. Quite the contrary, Canada and the international community need to apply disincentives for the burning of dirty oil from the tar sands,” said Stephen Hazell, Executive Director.

Canada also insisted that rich countries should get special treatment for “welfare loss” – the “hardship” of using smaller cars, or public transit.

Canada picked up a third place award, for a total of four prizes of shame in arguing that special “national circumstances” (i.e., Canada is cold and big) are the reason for Canada being 29% above its Kyoto target. This argument ignores the fact that other cold countries such as Sweden have been able to meet their Kyoto targets.

“Canada is missing the chance to create thousands of new green jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors,” said Hazell. “Other countries with northern climates have invested in a sustainable economy, and the investments have paid off – with the creation of thousands of new jobs.”

– 30 –

For more information contact:

Stephen Hazell, Executive Director 613-241-4611 ext. 238 or 613-724-1908 (cell)

Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner, 613-241-4611 ext. 235


Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in Ottawa

August 11, 2008

I have been a longtime member of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI). Earlier this year, I started up the Brampton Chapter. In the meantime, I had been campaigning my City of Brampton to join the 2020 Vision Campaign and become a Peace City. My efforts were successful: in August of last year, Mayor Susan Fennell filled out the paperwork to join the global Mayors for Peace, making Brampton officially a Peace City. Canada has 70 Peace Cities so far. If your city is not on this list, I strongly urge you to read about this campaign and get your mayor on board. Working together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, we can ensure that the horrible devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated again. If humans have any hope of survival on this planet, we must work together to abolish nuclear weapons.

The message below from CDPI Co-Chair, Bill Bhaneja, is an update about the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemorations that were held last week in Ottawa, which is also a Peace City.

Friends,

Ottawa CDPI chapter together with members of other Ottawa peace groups under the umbrella of Ottawa Peace Assembly marked Aug 6 and 9 days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations. On Aug 6, a petition signing campaign in downtown Byeward Market on nuclear weapons abolition got signatures from over 350 people (plus 50 more on Aug 9). On Aug 9 event at Friends/Quaker House in Glebe the commemoration was attended by over 100 people. The event included preparing of lanterns and the reading of statement from Mayor Akiba, the current Chair, Mayors of Peace. The following excerpt from the statement may be of interest:

“….We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth’s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan’s UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the President of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival. To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty….”

Mayor Akiba visited Ottawa four years ago and got support of then Ottawa Mayor for declaration of Ottawa as City of Peace.

Two powerful inspiring presentations were made by the First Nations anti-Uranium mining activist Professor Robert Lovelace and by Murray Thomson on the imminent need of unity among those campaigning to save the planet from environmental degrardation and nuclear destruction. Murray Thomson PowerPoint presentation prepared together with former PGS Director Debbie Grisdale is available for presentations elsewhere. Later in the evening, the group carrying lanterns singing peace songs walked to the nearby pond inlet to float lanterns to commemorate innocent civilian victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by dropping of atom bombs 63 years ago.

In Nonkilling Peace
Bill

Bill Bhaneja
Co-Chair, Ottawa Chapter
Canadian Department of Peace Initiative(CDPI)