The Daily GRRR! – December 25, 2014 – So this is Christmas

Welcome, I am your host Trish Holmes and you are listening to The Daily GRRR! on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, soundfm.ca on the web.

Today is December 25, 2014. It’s Christmas day, happy Christmas if you celebrate, if not, happy Thursday. That was the Pogues and Kirsty McColl with Fairytale of New York.

This show is going to be rather Christmas oriented, the songs will be Christmassy and the headlines are all about giving and taking. And if you’ve been listening to the show over the last few weeks, you might understand that idea in terms of the current oil crisis.

The Daily GRRR!

HEADLINES for December 25, 2014

*For Info on the Bill Cosby Alternative: Contact Shirley Lichti at (519) 745-0247 or slichti@marketingmagic.ca or Mike Farwell farwell@voicescarry.ca for more information. Tickets are now available at http://voicescarry.eventbrite.ca.

1. Oil Watch

2. Enbridge Line 4 spills 1,350 barrels at Regina Terminal

3. Income inequality condemned by one of the ‘Big Five’ banks

4. Bill Cosby Alternate Event - Tickets are now available at http://voicescarry.eventbrite.ca.

5. Comprehensive land claims interim treaty.

6. Santa lives!

Closing Music: Mike Oldfield In Dulci Jubilo from Tubular Bells

1. Oil Watch

55-60. Hang on tight. Oil watch: As of December 24, oil ranged from $55-60 per gallon. The fall is slowing but it’s still falling. (almost 50% from this time last year)
End of oil watch

2. Enbridge Line 4 spills 1,350 barrels at Regina Terminal

And I bet Enbridge is a happy camper with the price of oil this week. The company reported an oil spill of an estimated 1,350 barrels of oil from its Line 4 pipeline at the Regina Terminal in Saskatchewan.
Given the price of oil, the spill itself would have cost Enbridge either $74,250 (lowballing) or $81,000 (high). But if the spill happened, six months ago it would have cost aul’ Enbridge $198,480. Lucky company. Enbridge says the pipeline and pumping station were safely shut down after the spill, which occurred Tuesday night.

It says the release occurred entirely within the pumping station and was contained on-site in designated catchment areas. Enbridge said a cleanup of the oil was expected to be completed Thursday, but there was no estimate for when Line 4 would be restarted.

3. Income inequality condemned by one of the ‘Big Five’ banks

Ryan Meili wrote a nice piece for Troy Media describing the TD report ‘The Case for Leaning Against Income Inequality’ and the context surrounding it.

The Broadbent Institute also recently released a report that shows while the majority of Canadians want action on income inequality, most people underestimate just how unbalanced the distribution actually is in this country. The Broadbent Institute reports that the richest 20% now control over 67.4% of all wealth in Canada. In the report, the authors show how health and quality of life and life expectancy are dramatically different depending on where you fall within the inequality spectrum, but little has been done to counter this. While the health and wellbeing of individuals seem to matter little, the slowdown of financial markets seems to be stimulating change.

Meili writes ‘According to the OECD, income inequality is at the highest level in 30 years, and, as a result, economic growth has been slowed by as much as 10% in some countries. And a 2014 IMF study showed that redistributive policies through tax and transfers not only do no harm to the economy but can improve performance in the long-term. In fact, according to CUPE, public investments in child care and other services are far more effective in creating jobs and increasing economic growth than corporate or income tax cuts.’

And it is these more socially oriented investments that the TD report recommends, including affordable housing, health and social services, early childhood development. The report, however, is a bit sparse in recommendations on how to pay for the social investment required. There is a reference to increasing income taxes on the top 1% of Canadian earners (as per Picketty’s suggestion), but no mention of corporate taxation.

4. Bill Cosby Alternate Event

The Bill Cosby circus rolls into Kitchener on January 7, 2015. A group of dedicated volunteers has organized a fundraiser on that same night for anyone who chooses not to attend the Bill Cosby show at Centre in the Square. All entertainment, t-shirts, prizes and much more are being provided at no charge. 100% of proceeds are being donated to the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region and Women's Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. Tickets are now available at http://voicescarry.eventbrite.ca.

Contact Shirley Lichti at (519) 745-0247 or slichti@marketingmagic.ca or

Mike Farwell farwell@voicescarry.ca for more information.

5. Comprehensive land claims interim treaty.

A couple weeks ago in discussing oil and resource extraction, I mentioned the Comprehensive land claims interim treaty. This is the new approach the government has come up with to deal with outstanding and non-ceded land claims by indigenous people.

The Canadian government’s track record is terrible. We all know what happened when the Europeans rocked up. A recent report on the struggle of Indigenous people in Canada details how initially the government’s approach to indigenous people was one of assimilation. The Canadian government had the group legally categorized as children, and although there was no official policy, property restrictions imposed on voting essentially ensured that indigenous peoples could not vote. The policy was essentially to “change the Indians of Canada into ‘useful’ citizens” (Surtees 1971 quoted in Maciel). So forcing them to hold privately the same land that was stolen from them.

The UN laid out principles by which to approach treaty and inclusion of indigenous people in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ("UNDRIP"). The Canadian government initially rejected the declaration, but in 2008 changed their tune and endorsed the declaration. An important point here is that endorsement is not legally binding.

Then In June this year, The Supreme Court of Canada issued a groundbreaking declaration of Aboriginal title. The Court's decision in Roger William (on behalf of the Tsilhqot'in Nation) v BC was the first time that a court has granted Aboriginal title to a specific land area in Canada. The Court also found that the province of British Columbia breached its duty to consult when it made land use planning decisions and issued forestry licences over the lands where title was claimed by the Tsilhqot'in First Nation. The SCC said that Aboriginal title confers the right to the exclusive use and occupation of the land for a variety of purposes. This means that the Tsilhqot'in can decide how their titled land is used and have the right to benefit from those uses.

There are many unsettled land claims and resource development throughout Canada. In Ontario there are a few unsettled claims. The largest is the Algonquin land claim over 36,000 square kilometres of eastern Ontario. The Algonquins of Ontario assert that they have Aboriginal rights and title to the Ontario portions of the Ottawa and Mattawa River watersheds.

In response to these building narrative plot points, for the first time in almost 30 years, the Government of Canada is renewing its comprehensive land claims policy. Released in September of this year all parties involved agree that an updated approach to treaty negotiations is needed in order to make the process more efficient and fair. However, this Interim Policy largely summarizes what has already been the Federal government's practice in treaty negotiations in recent years, and without reference to the current state of the law as reflected in Tsilhqot'in.

Some of the more controversial points in the Interim Policy can be briefly summarized as follows:
The first is the need to create predictability addressed by requiring 'certainty clauses' which prohibits any exercise or claim outside of the parameters of the treaty, whether it is related to land or other types of rights, such as the right to self-governance. These Certainty provisions are the modern equivalent of the 'extinguishment' or "cede, release and surrender" clauses from earlier treaties.

Another point is that for natural resources on these lands, Canada is prepared to negotiate revenue sharing arrangements, within predetermined limits, and Canada will not negotiate joint management boards of such resources.

Another point is that within its jurisdiction, Canada will consider the creation of advisory boards, or participation by Aboriginal nations on decision-making boards for wildlife, water or land management.
So basically European settlers grabbed the land and now the government is forcing the First nations to negotiate use, restrict revenues and allow them no role in the decision-making process of their own land.
This isn’t a partnership or a collaboration; this is unilateral agreement, where one group of people dictating what is going to happen. There is very little given to recognition of the state of the law as reflected in the Tsihlqot'in decision and in UNDRIP.

Government states it values consultation, negotiation, respect and cooperation as laid out in UNDRIP. But clearly this is not the case. Coming to the table with a pre-determined strict limit on numerous key negotiation issues is inconsistent with the principles of reconciliation.

There is a lack of first nation laws and decision-making strategies reflected in negotiations or the treaty itself that the Interim Policy only provides for an advisory role or limited participation for Aboriginal nations on environmental management issues is evident that there is also a lack of recognition of consent-based decision-making. In this regard, the Supreme Court has ruled that the government should attempt to seek consent for development that would infringe upon certain Aboriginal rights. This is particularly true for infringements upon lands that are subject to strong Aboriginal title claims. A similar need to seek consent is set out in UNDRIP. However, there is no place for consent-based decision making in the Interim Policy.

This is a clip from Idlenomore about the interim land claims policy, one important element to note is that the announcer states the consultation period is over November 30, but it is still open for another week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmWYKZwONBg

In this Interim treaty, the First Nations are not recognised as equals, they are considered a nuisance and a possible deterrent to the government achieving, securing and obtaining the significant monetary rewards of resource extraction. The interim policy, is insulting in the face of the Supreme court’s judgement, but this also follows in the steps of bill C36 (the prostitution bill) (which also flouted a SCC decision, and while there are several newspapers that are in contradiction of this bill (NOW magazine in Toronto is still publishing sex ads) no arrests have been made as yet, probably due to the fact that the police and the government do not want to force the bill back to the courts as yet). The Canadian government could take a page from Evo Morales’ government in Boliva who have changed the name of the country to the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Here Morales understands there is not one nation, there are many, and while there may be political realities that reflect power differentials, the different nations are equal in both the law and the approach outside the law. It is imperative that different nations engage with the other through recognition. Even at an individual level, external recognition as meaningful members of a community is an important component of how we engage with others but also for our own health and esteem. This idea emerges from Hegel’s “master-slave dialectic” which examines the relationship between a master and slave, in particular how both want recognition as self conscious beings. But meaningful recognition is impossible. The slave cannot offer the master recognition without one or the other giving up their position as master or slave.

In addition to recognition as a unique and contributory individual, the desire to be recognised as different is extremely important. These interactions, are extremely difficult, it is where I believe Sartre’s idea of Hell is Other People, emerges but recognition (as Maciel describes), both in and of itself and recognition of difference can help inform state-indigenous relations, especially in cases where there are clear fundamental ontological differences at stake. Recognition of difference does not lead to a fractured society. It does not lead us to the conclusion that since you are different from us we cannot work together. Rather, it can help lead to a more meaningful engagement and create a new direction forward.
Remember there are six days remaining to voice your opinion to the Comprehensive land claims consultation.

References:

Catherine Fagan (Gowling, Henderson LLP) , December 16, ‘Canada Updates its Comprehensive Land Claims Policy for the First Time in Three Decades.’ http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/360950/indigenous+peoples/Canada+Updates+...

Mandell Pinder (Mandell Pinder LLP), September 24, ‘Canada’s Interim Comprehensive Claims Policy – Same Old, Same Old.’ http://www.mandellpinder.com/canadas-interim-comprehensive-claims-policy....

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, ‘Comprehensive Claims.’ http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100030577/1100100030578.

Robert Maciel, ‘Conflicting Ontologies and Balancing Perspectives’ in the ‘Internationalization Of Indigenous Rights: UNDRIP in the Canadian Context’ edited by Terry Mitchell.

Roberta Rice, ‘UNDRIP and the 2009 Bolivian Constitution: Lessons for Canada’ in the ‘Internationalization Of Indigenous Rights: UNDRIP in the Canadian Context’ edited by Terry Mitchell.

6. Santa Lives!

Now it is Christmas Day, and one of my favorite discussion points in Santa Claus. In 1897, a young girl Virginia O’Hanlon, wrote to the New York Sun asking about Santa. Here, to read Virginia’s letter and the Sun’s response is the Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Closing Music: Mike Oldfield In Dulci Jubilo from Tubular Bells

You are listening to the The Daily GRRR! Today is Christmas Day 2014 or December 25, if your somewhat more Gregorian about these things. My name is Trish Holmes. Check out all our past shows and other Grand River Media Collective work on our webpage grandrivermc.ca. The Daily GRRR! is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS. To send us out the first half hour of the show is In Dulci Jubilo from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

Thanks for Listening. And Happy Christmas.

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