Thursday, December 23, 2010

Native Leaders Reject New Child Welfare Agency

Child Welfare has become my nemesis. I am disgusted by the entire “policy” that directs services on reserve and by the Child Welfare Act in general. I think the system is broken for ALL children but we see the worst of it more often in First Nation communities because (for the most part) we are clustered on reserves.

It's my most cynical belief that the current issue has nothing to with the wellness of children but with money. Or in the words of a current Human Rights complaint the absence of “equitable funds” for “equitable services”.

The problem is more complex that adjusting a budget-line but hey when you're the head of an advocacy organization for First Nation Child Welfare Agencies and receive a mandate and a salary to do these things for your Board of Directors then hey any action is an action; right?.................Unfortunately my concern is that more funds will mean more children in the care of a Child Welfare Agency......Aboriginal or not.

I agree with the Chiefs quoted in the Globe and Mail story. I wouldn’t have attended any “signing” event of the transfer of the responsibilities of a policy either. It really doesn’t matter anymore who administers the policy because whomever delivers will inherit the same conditions. In my humble view First Nation families should advocate that ALL authorities be transferred to a Provincial Agency.

Part of the story reads:

"His brother’s grandchildren had been taken and placed with a foster family in a different town. He tried to advocate on behalf of his family, proposing to authorities that they put the children in the home of a relative or at least keep the children in the same town where they could have contact with family members. His suggestions were ignored.

His experience was not unusual, he said. Several other Sto:lo families have told him of similar problems. That was one of the main reasons why he stayed away from the official ceremony last Friday. “To me, nothing has changed,” he said. “Why should we support it if nothing has changed?”

Tribal chief Tyrone McNeil of the Sto:lo Tribal Council said he is looking for more accountability in the new agency. Although the agency operates under authority delegated by the government allowing it to apprehend children, it still operates under the government’s rules, he said.

“It’s fine if an aboriginal person is there, but if all they are doing is following the ministry guidelines, it does not really matter if they are aboriginal or not,” he said."

All the Nations as a collective need to create and build a webbed system that can provide an array services to address the many complex issues that come into play when a child needs protection. It’s possible to do but it might mean a huge change in how things are done and nobody likes change.

There are a heck of a lot of people out there that would agree that the current system fails nearly ALL children. And that children from a First Nation family living on some reserves stand a greater chance of being taken into care than non-Aboriginal children.

In fact a truth often quoted by Cindy Blackstock, Director of the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society,(FNCFCS) is that there are more children in institutional care now than at the height of the Residential Schools. And this is evidenced from the numbers in from Aboriginal child welfare agencies themselves. The FNCFCS advocates for those Aboriginal Child Welfare Agencies. The board members are all Directors of various agencies.

Cindy's organization launched a Human Rights complaint that argued the rights of children on reserve are not being protected because of a funding inequity. It’s true there should not be a 22% funding gap and the gap should be closed. But I argue it won’t reduce the number of children in care in fact I’d be prepared to state that the numbers will increase. And frankly 22% is actually nothing in a Federal Budget to fix. One day a government will adjust the budget – and whatever government that does it will want a big signing ceremony to show off at a photo op. The big laugh will be on the children. More money, more access to children, more need to return for “equitable funding” for training, administration blah blah .

It’s also a truth Aboriginal children are more highly represented in Child Welfare services in some clustered areas than others in Canada. So to just blanket a 22% increase across the board might not be the solution AND because some conditions are not the same then to compare a budget from one service to another is inequity at it’s finest. It reminds me of this quote by an American lawyer I don’t recall his name but I never forgot the quote “There is no greater injustice than to treat unequal’s as equals”. The same should be said about funding the delivering or administering a “policy” for children on reserve vs the administration of an Act everywhere else.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

John Reilly: Shut down the native industry and spend the money on natives

Former judge, John Reilly wrote a book: Writing Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community and he say’s if he had the power he would “Shut down the native industry and spend the money on natives”

It’s posted over at the National Post. The NP is not a paper I frequent and I have no idea how I originally found this story/comment but I did. I was drawn to the comment because I agreed with the broader statement John Reilly writes (people make big money off the misery of the First People) and in fact just finished ranting over at Non-Status Indian my views on the “Indian Industry” .

But.................I hate it when I learn that I disagree with everything else but that statement. And that sucks cause the statement itself is easy to hate along with and will easily draw attention but say something new or intelligent afterward or why say anything at all...unless its to make some quick cash.

It’s easy to develop policies when all you have to do is draw a straight line between A and B. My friend Balbulican is always reminding people of this over at StageLeft. It’s a little more complex if you want to design policies that work. Similarly, it’s easy to sell book and make a big profit if you write a book about misery, blame government, choose easy to spot villains, and then throw out new titles and new offices like new recipes created on some Chef TV show. It’s a formula designed to make profits otherwise publishers wouldn’t touch it. The reality is solutions are complex, take time, effort, work, patience, trust, and more hard work, and more effort than most people want to give.

The reality is that the former Judge John Reilly is still just sucking at the teat of misery and only too happy to make a profit while he pontificates from an “I know best” attitude.

His simplistic statement to “dissolve INAC and repeal the Indian Act” says it all for me. It was here I began to loose interest. I mean seriously don’t we all love to hate a government office? But when answering what he would do if he had the power he said would :

“...terminate funding to the Assembly of First Nations. In my view, the AFN is a chiefs club that looks after chiefs, many of whom just look after themselves and do very little for the poor and the children of their reserves.
Then I would enact a Canadian First Peoples Enhancement Act, to preserve and maintain the cultures of the descendants of Canada’s original inhabitants, to ensure their health and well-being and foster the independence and sustainability of their communities. I would create a Department of First Peoples Services. Non-natives and former employees of INAC should be ineligible for employment in this department. INAC was created for the assimilation of Canada’s First Peoples and the eventual elimination of their communities. That purpose lives on in the corporate memory of the department and must be changed.
I would spend the $7-billion on doctors and healthcare workers, addictions counsellors and healing lodges, teachers and improved schools, so that our First Peoples could become a healthy and happy part of Canadian society....”

It’s just such an easy target but really – what is or has John Reilly doing – on the ground to improve or make comfortable the lives of people around him. Sounds to me like he like many people worked hard, payed their bills, maybe raised newspapers, formed opinions voted in elections and now in his stately years can tell us what he has learned and how it should be done.

It’s ok for him but wrong for “non-Aboriginal employees former and present at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada” to make a living off misery (he was a lawyer first, then a judge in the system, and now writes a book) – WTF? I’m all for taking to task wasted time and effort but it’s simplistic and so talk radio to blame the bureaucrats (this time "non-Aborignal" bureaucrats like it's racial or something) and the Chiefs.

And his solution is to enact a “Canadian First Peoples Enhancement Act and a Department of First Peoples Services... so he can spend the $7-billion on doctors and healthcare workers, addictions counsellors and healing lodges, teachers and improved schools, so that our First Peoples could become a healthy and happy part of Canadian society....”

I’m the first to admit I believe in faeries and I love long tales but is anybody else shaking their heads in wonder?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

An oldie but a goodie

I tripped across this a while ago- a radio interview with Tony Prudori- INAC flack in Thunder Bay in a CBC radio interview about the Attawapiskat school issue. It's an older issue now, but I just played it for Wideye and she laughed and said YOU MUST POST THIS. So here is a link to the best CBC interview that I have personally heard to date on the subject. An oldie but a goodie. Kudos to the reporter only identified as "Marcos" in this interview. Click here to hear it.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another McIvor update

Sorry folks I've known about this for a while - but it seems I never posted the info. (Only thought I did. Signs of aging.)

A while ago the government asked the courts for another extension. The new date they have to meet to pass the amendments on Indian Status contained in Bill C-3: January 31, 2011. Not much news on whether the government has made the changes NWAC and Sharon McIvor want to see. When I hear I'll keep you posted. In other news some of my family and friends are already sending in their applications to try and get a head of the rush. Not a bad idea.


A funny from Indian Country.

A friend of mine who works at a First Nations organization gets an email asking for an application for a status card. She is typing a reply explaining why she cannot help out, when she notes the email address is from


Monday, November 1, 2010

First Nations accountability story - now this is more like it.

In response to A toronto Star article criticizing chief's salaries - as if that were the only accountability issue in Indian Country I wrote: "Yet no one shames the Minister of Indian Affairs or his army of bureaucrats – lawyers, policy analysts, spin doctors – many of whom earn more than the average chief -- and who are also on the tax payers dime." Well, I pleased to note this excellent follow up by the Toronto Star which exposes exactly what's afoot in Indian Country and takes a much more even-handed look at the many places accountability is needed. Much better than the last one, Mr. Popplewell. Hat's off to you.

An Indian Industry has emerged amid the wreckage of many Canadian reserves

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The economic crisis on many of Canada’s Indian reserves has become a meal ticket for the “Indian industry” — an army of consultants, lawyers and accountants who are sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of First Nations and from federal government coffers.

One-quarter of the country’s 616 First Nations are in trouble, many of them crippled by “unmanageably high” debt. Ottawa has resorted to dispatching the Indian industry to partly or completely take over 83 of the 157 most indebted First Nations.

In some cases, the financial problems stem from mismanagement by the chiefs and councils charged with dispensing federal funds on their reserves. In others, it’s the result of chronic underfunding from Ottawa. Often it’s both factors combined with a lack of oversight from the more than 5,130 employees of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Officially, the Canadian government doesn’t collect information on how much debt First Nations are actually in. Nor can it say how much money is being spent to try to fix the problem.

But a Star investigation has found the situation on many reserves is becoming increasingly dire.

This, even though the federal government gives about $7 billion a year to First Nations and has added 2,000 bureaucrats to Indian Affairs over the past 15 years.

Mismanagement and poverty have long been problems on many reserves. As has the reality that the daily efforts of the country’s fifth largest bureaucracy — Indian and Northern Affairs — have failed to better the lives of the 430,000 status Indians on those reserves, many of whom live in Canada’s most deprived communities.

And now, Indian Affairs statistics show the gap in quality of life between those living on reserves and the rest of Canada is getting worse.

This despite decades of criticism and recommendations from entities including the Auditor General of Canada, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the United Nations Human Rights Council, conditions on Canada’s reserves remain a blight on the country.

“It’s a national disgrace,” says Bob Watts, a Harvard-educated Mohawk from Caledonia, Ont., one-time bureaucrat with Indian Affairs and former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, the mouthpiece for Canada’s Indian chiefs.

“We’re a country that holds ourselves out to the rest of the world as a great place to live. But in this country there are people that are living in the Third World. At what point are we going to actually look at these issues and demand real change?”


By looking at government funding records and building a database of every contract and grant (valued at more than $10,000) that was awarded to the Indian Act bands, the Star has discovered massive disparities in funding among bands.

Example: the Toquaht First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island has received $18 million over the past three years to support an on-reserve community of just 16 status Indians. That works out to $1.1 million per band member living on reserve. Meanwhile, the Pessamit First Nation in Quebec has received $23 million for 2,877 status Indians living on its reserve on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. That works out to roughly $8,000 per band member.

But the disparity among First Nations tells only part of the story. Relying on census data, Indian Affairs researchers have developed a “Community Well-Being Index” — a spreadsheet that gives every community, native and non-native alike, scores on education, employment, housing and income.

Among the bottom 100 communities on that list, 96 are First Nations.

Yet senior executives within Indian Affairs are loath to acknowledge what their own statisticians have discovered: that the gap between well-being on reserves and in the rest of Canada has been growing since 1996. Gina Wilson, a senior assistant deputy minister at Indian Affairs who is responsible for 1,800 bureaucrats working in the department’s regional offices, says: “There’s a lot of progress being made. I wouldn’t say that’s the case in every community, but to overall say the situation is getting worse, that’s probably a personal opinion.”


The financial plight of Canada’s First Nations has given rise to a brigade of consultants, lawyers and accountants who, the Star has found, collectively secure more than 1,500 contracts from Indian Affairs, valued at roughly $125 million a year.

As the disparity between the First Nations and the rest of Canada grows, so does this Indian industry built to combat it.

Take, for example, the federal department of Indian Affairs which, despite having had its funding to First Nations capped at a two per cent increase per year since 1996, has seen its full-time staff balloon from 3,300 employees in 1995 to 5,137 today.

Outside of Ottawa, the Indian industry can best be spotted on the ground in 83 of the country’s most debt-laden First Nations, where consulting companies from across the country are being individually paid as much as $1 million a year — according to Marc Langlois, an Indian Affairs regional manager in Quebec — to either partially or completely take over the daily duties of the chiefs and councils.

Such firms include Lemieux Nolet of Quebec City, which — according to two former chiefs — gets about $600,000 a year to administer all government services for the 450 Algonquins living in Third World conditions on Barriere Lake reserve, 270 kilometres north of Ottawa.

Putting a band like Barriere Lake under third-party management is a controversial tactic which challenges the idea of self-governance on reserves, and which has placed more than 77,000 status Indians either completely or partially in the control of private consultants and accounting firms from across the country.

Cross-referencing data from the community well-being index with a list of bands currently struggling with debt issues, the Star found no evidence that the quality of life in communities governing themselves was worse than in those being controlled by consultants.

The process of putting a First Nation under third-party management has attracted the attention of Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada. Fraser criticized the department’s intervention strategies in 2004, slamming Indian Affairs for not paying attention to the warning signs before several First Nations had spiralled deeper into “unmanageably high” debts.

Exactly how those communities managed to build up such debts while each filing an average of 160 reports to the government each year is hard to understand.

And for all the reports pouring into Indian Affairs’ 28-storey headquarters in Gatineau, Que., the department seems unable to answer some of the simplest questions about the Indian file.

Like how much debt are First Nations actually in?

The official answer: “The department does not collect the total accumulated deficit (debt) of all First Nations in Canada.”

It’s an interesting answer, considering that internal documents released to the Star accidentally by Indian Affairs’ staff in Winnipeg show the department does in fact collect the total “accumulated deficit” for individual First Nations in Canada.

It’s from those internal documents that the Star is able to report that some First Nations are operating at more than $20 million in debt.


To investigate the despair and disparity on Canada’s Indian reserves, a Star reporter ventured to eight reserves in three provinces to talk to six culturally distinct tribal groups.

Some represented the poorest of the poor. Like the 450 Algonquins of Quebec’s Barriere Lake. Or the Ojibwa, Cree and Sioux of Manitoba, who live in some of the most deprived and remote communities in North America.

Others are held out by Indian Affairs as success stories. Like the relatively well-to-doMohawks of Tyendinaga who, despite living 30 kilometres from Belleville, can’t drink their tap water. Or the Chippewas of Rama, near Orillia, who benefit from the gambling habits of nearby Toronto residents.

Together they represent a collection of peoples who live within the confines of a broken Indian Act system.

Understanding the causes of the mismanagement and lack of oversight at the core of Canada’s First Nations policies requires an understanding of the Indian Act, a piece of colonial legislation passed by Parliament in October 1876.

Its goal: to protect, civilize and ultimately assimilate the Indian population.

Some 134 years later, the world has changed. But the act, still more or less intact, remains a barrier to real improvement in Indians’ standard of living.

Politicians, bureaucrats and native leaders agree that the system is broken and that the Indian Act needs to be either scrapped or replaced.

And yet it remains.


“Because no politician ever got his or her bread buttered by taking on the Indian issue,” says Harry Swain.

As deputy minister of Indian Affairs during the 1990 Oka Crisis, Swain made it his goal to kill the Indian Act, something he calls “a Victorian horror insufficiently updated and now in urgent need of replacement.”

He failed.

Now he and other former bureaucrats from Indian Affairs say the only way to kill the act and fix the system is to rally the Canadian public to care enough to do so.

But nearly everyone from Watts to Swain to the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations to the elders of some of the most troubled communities in the country say the greatest barrier to real change is that the average Canadian doesn’t care about the situation on reserves.

People see a headline on the front of a newspaper about the multi-billion-dollar mess that is this country’s Indian affairs and they turn the page, move on.

But visit a reserve and the residents will tell you exactly why you should care.

It’s your tax dollars, and it’s everyone’s mess.

Data analysis by the Star’s Andrew Bailey


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Signs of sanity

Just watching some of the rally to restore sanity videos being posted by regular folks on Youtube.
Signs of sanity: looks at some of the signs protestors are using. My faves: "Spread peanut butter not hate - unless you're allergic." And "Not a fan of Airplane middle seats."
A few folks have vlogs - but as Jon Stewart and his team have pointed out, moderates make terrible television - not much better on youtube - although some of the costumes are hilarious. Live coverage starts at noon, on Comedy central and CNN. If you don't get those stations the Washington Post is also supposed to live webcast. I am personally looking forward to feeling saner by 3 pm.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Todd Russell vs Brazman

Ah its been way too long since we've posted about the Brazman. It's a guilty pleasure to point out- in case you missed it - this exchange of letters in the National Post between our favourite Senator and Liberal MP Todd Russell. Enjoy.

Why do some chiefs oppose accountability …

Re: First Nations Last In Openness, John Ivison, Oct. 7.

John Ivison’s column on the recently introduced private member’s bill that would compel First Nations to publish chiefs and band councillors salaries sheds light on a very important matter.

That there is resistance from the Liberal party and the Assembly of First Nations is no surprise. Let us recall that the Liberal party purposefully torpedoed its own minister’s legislation in 2003 when Bob Nault’s bill on First Nations Governance came too close to passage.

The Liberal party received over $350,000 in political contributions from 2000 to 2006, donated by aboriginal contributors, according to Elections Canada’s online database. Who would wish to stem such a tide of income to the party coffers by pursuing any efforts at reform of the status quo?

What is baffling is why the legislation is required at all. If the chiefs are as accountable, transparent and responsible as the AFN claims them to be, why is salary information not readily available and already proffered to First Nations citizens?

How can the idea of accounting of the investment of public funds towards political salaries be seen as an example of government-knows-best prescription, as AFN Chief Shawn Atleo contends?

Let’s be clear. Not all chiefs are unaccountable. Not all communities lack transparency. All First Nations citizens and indeed all Canadians have a right to know how much their politicians are being paid.

Such disclosure is necessary. Such openness reflects democracy. Relative silence on this matter such as there has been speaks louder than words.

Senator Patrick Brazeau, Ottawa.

Thanks for the donation

The only Aboriginal contributors who may now make political donations to federal parties or candidates are individual contributors. To my knowledge, neither Elections Canada, nor the Liberal party, keep data on the ethnic origin of individual political donors.

In any case, I imagine that the motives of individual Aboriginal political donors, or those of Aboriginal organizations under the old rules, are, and were, no different from those of any other donor, including Senator Brazeau himself.

The same Elections Canada databases which he so diligently searched, reveal that the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples donated politically while the Senator was its president, while Mr. Brazeau has personally contributed both to the Liberal party (of which he was formerly a member), and to the Harper Conservatives after he was appointed to the Senate by Stephen Harper in 2008.

For the sake of full disclosure, Patrick Brazeau also made a contribution to my federal Liberal by-election nomination campaign in 2005, for which I thank him.

Todd Russell, MP, Labrador.


Chiefs, Salaries. Moving beyond double standards.

The Toronto Star recently ran an expose on chiefs salaries.

The article focused on 9 chiefs who earned more than federal cabinet ministers and 30 chiefs who earned more than provincial premiers. (The article also admits that on average chiefs earned a reasonable $60,000 a year, 5 chiefs do their work pro-bono and 77 chiefs earned less than $30,000. However "Majority of Chiefs earn reasonable salary while some work for free" is not an eye-catching headline.)

The article led with a thinly-veiled racist slant. Reporter Brett Popplewell wrote: The best paid politicians in Canada aren’t in Stephen Harper’s cabinet. They’re in some of this country’s most impoverished communities — the First Nations.”

The not-so-subtle suggestion here is chiefs should not be salaried on their merit, skills, or education. It's too embarrassing to see a First Nations leader earning a decent salary next to people living in third world conditions. Our chiefs are told to hang their head in shame for not also being poor, regardless of how hard they work.

Yet no one shames the Minister of Indian Affairs or his army of bureaucrats – lawyers, policy analysts, spin doctors – many of whom earn more than the average chief -- and who are also on the tax payers dime.

So yes, let's discuss the 39 bad-apple-chiefs, but let's do it in context, without double standards or snide racist whispers.

39 chiefs out of 633 pay themselves too much. They should not earn more than a Cabinet Minister or a premier.

Its a mystery to me why the other 594 chiefs - and National Chief Shawn Atleo for that matter - don't gang up and lynch some sense into them. So far only FSIN and a few chiefs in Ontario are supporting a bill that would force chiefs to make their salaries public.

After all it's hard enough to get a reasonable plea for equal access to education in the papers without having to compete with Indian Country's crazy's for the headlines. It makes even less sense that the majority of chiefs want to keep their salaries secret. Publishing the salaries of elected officials is a matter of public trust.

Besides - if it's true that on average chiefs only earn about 60,000 a year, no one could argue that these are not very reasonable salaries indeed. If we agree that Chiefs should not be salaried at the level of a Premier, we can also agree that they deserve more than a policy analyst working in the Department of Indian Affairs.

So what's fair? Maybe the equivalent of a Mayor? If we were to agree to that, a number of chiefs would be in for a raise.

  • Mayor of Toronto $142,538,
  • Mayor of Mississauga/Councillor,
  • Peel Region $153,468,
  • Mayor of Calgary $155,000,
  • Mayor of Edmonton $142,000,
  • Mayor Winnipeg $123,000
  • Mayor of Markham/Councillor, York Region, $133,570,
  • Chair - Region of York $155,105

(and let’s not forget that in some cities, portions of a Mayor’s salaries is tax-exempt.)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mr. Teneycke, your IP address is showing

Ha ha ha ha. They may be "lame stream media" but they were clever enough to catch your dumb ass Mr. Teneycke.

TTAWA — Kory Teneycke, the former chief spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper who became the driving force behind Quebecor's proposed Sun TV News Channel, has resigned, admitting he contributed to "debasing the debate" over the right-wing news channel.

The task of securing a broadcasting licence for Sun TV News — dubbed "Fox News North" by its critics and hailed by its admirers as a breath of fresh air in the Canadian media landscape — now falls to Luc Lavoie, a veteran Quebecor executive and former aide to Brian Mulroney.

In a statement delivered on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, Teneycke said his continued involvement in the project would only "further inflame" the controversy over the network. As a result, he tendered his resignation to Quebecor on Tuesday afternoon.

"Over the summer, this controversy has gotten out of hand. It has morphed from one of market differentiation to something more vicious and vitriolic. And yes, at times I have contributed to the debasing of the debate myself," said Teneycke, who served as vice-president of development for Quebecor Media as well as head of the parliamentary bureau for the Sun Media chain of newspapers and websites.

The announcement came a day after a U.S.-based online advocacy group called Avaaz sent letters to the RCMP and Ottawa police asking them to launch criminal investigations into the adding of "fraudulent" signatures to the organization's "Stop Fox News North" petition.

The online petition has garnered more than 80,000 signatures, including that of Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

According to Avaaz, someone connected to the Internet from an Ottawa IP address signed up a series of real and fictitious names and email addresses to the petition on the evening of Sept. 2. The entries included "Snuffleupagus" of Sesame Street fame and the Star Wars character "Boba Fett," but also members of the media such as Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin, Macleans columnist Paul Wells, and CBC blogger Kady O'Malley — much to their surprise.

Teneycke has frequently criticized what he perceives to be the left-wing bias of mainstream media organizations, which he calls the "lamestream" media.

In its letters to the RCMP and Ottawa police, Avaaz notes that, the day after the names were added, the Sun chain published an editorial by Teneycke in which he dismissed Avaaz as "professional Yankee agitators," accused Atwood of putting her "political agenda ahead of principles and patriotism," and noted that the petition has been signed by "Snuffleupagus" and "Boba Fett."

It is an offence under the Criminal Code to impersonate someone "with the intent to cause disadvantage to the person."

Const. Jean-Paul Vincelette, a spokesman for the Ottawa police, said Avaaz's letter was still being assessed to determine if an investigation will be initiated. A spokeswoman for the RCMP said the force doesn't confirm or deny whether investigations are under way.

In his statement, Teneycke didn't mention Avaaz's allegations.

The Canadian co-founder of Avaaz said the organization would continue its campaign calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to deny a licence to Sun TV News. "What we're concerned about here is crony media. It's the incestuous relationship between politicians and the media," said Ricken Patel said in an interview. "We can see on our televisions every night that Fox News pushes an extremely biased, deceptive, often hate-filled content to Americans, which really poisons American democracy."

The departure of Teneycke, 36, marks the end of a two-year run in which he established himself as one of the most colourful — and fiercely partisan — players in federal politics, first as Harper's director of communications, then as an aspiring media mogul.

Last year he left the Prime Minister's Office and then in June joined Quebecor, whose media properties including the Sun newspaper chain and the French-language TVA television network. After being rebuffed in its first attempt to acquire a licence that would compel cable and satellite TV providers to carry Sun TV News, Quebecor recently applied to the CRTC for a special licence under which TV providers would have to offer the channel in at least one of their packages.

But while Teneycke gave the network instant profile, his close connections to the Harper government raised questions about Sun's journalistic independence and accusations of political interference in the regulation of the broadcasting industry issues he acknowledged himself on Wednesday.

"While most of these criticisms are not based in fact, it has become increasingly clear that my continued involvement in the project will only serve to further inflame these issues and misconceptions about what Sun TV News aspires to offer Canadians," said Teneycke. "If this continues, as I believe it will, it could deeply harm the public perception of the channel before it even goes to air, and may even put at risk our licence application itself."

On Wednesday, the company announced that radio-show host Charles Adler will anchor a prime-time show on Sun TV News when the channel launches next year, as hoped. Sources close to Quebecor said members of Sun's parliamentary bureau were expecting the Adler announcement, but were caught off guard by Teneycke's resignation.

Teneycke said he still believes in the value of adding a channel that reflects the brand of Sun papers, with their "populist, irreverent" tone and "conservative editorial stance."

A Quebecor spokesman said Lavoie wasn't available for an interview.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quran burning...

Ah yes, welcome to the Terry Jones church of "Jesus hates you."

WDBO Local News

WATCH: Pastor says Jesus would burn Quran

Brittny Krause
@ September 8, 2010 7:50 AM

Days before his scheduled Quran burning, Gainesville Pastor Terry Jones says he will go through with burning over 200 Quran's on Sept. 11.

In a special interview Jones tells ABC News that if Jesus Christ were here today, he would support burning the Quran.


We're back

Sorry for those who waited to have their comments published- powwow season often takes us away from the blog. They are up now.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

People are just so cool.

Friday June 11 will be the second anniversary of the Apology to residentical school survivors. There is a group on Facebook with 1000 members who are going to set their status to I'm sorry to commemorate the day. That is just so cool and touching I don't know what to say.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A special thanks to...

...Dawg, Thwap and Canadian Cynic, for sharing my outrage about Harris receiving an honourary degree. And to Troy's Journal too.

And Retired Educator, if you haven't heard about First Nations protesting McGuinty, you need to read the news.

But I don't want to delve into an argument about policies. That's not the issue. Dudley's tragic death should not be marginalized into a partisan debate about the merits of Conservative public policy verses Liberal verses NDP. Your efforts to twist it into one are just plain sick. Shame on you.

I suggest you review the findings of the Ipperwash Inquiry before you further embarrass yourself. Go read Dawg's Blawg which has an excellent summary of the findings.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chiefs sucking it up for the greater good: Nipissing U, Mike Harris

I am sick of First Nations politicians sucking it up for the allegedly greater good.

Nipissing University plans to confer an honorary doctor of letters on former Ontario Premier Mike “I want the fucking Indians out of the park” Harris in a June 11 convocation ceremony. Yes. June 11. (Two-year anniversary of the Apology for residential schools that is supposed to celebrate the beginning of healing between First Nations and Canadian governments. Sick eh?)

Chief Marianna Couchie of Nipissing First Nation says her community will withdraw funding support for a new university library over the issue and Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says he supports that move.

However, AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo who is also receiving a honourary degree, considered declining, but after chatting with Ontario chiefs chose instead to snap it up because he didn’t want the whole Harris thing to overshadow the more important issue of First Nations education.

Harris’s actions inflamed a peaceful protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park and led to the fatal shooting of Dudley George in 1995. Harris has never accepted responsibility for the death nor admitted that he did anything wrong. Former premier Mike Harris wanted “the fucking Indians out of the park” so badly that he ignored recommendations of civil servants in Ontario, which closed off a number of options including negotiations, mediation, and other means of opening communications and dialogue with protestors in Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The above is not my personal view, but the actual findings of a public inquiry into Ipperwash.

My personal view is that Harris turned his back on advice that would have diffused the situation because he wanted to make an example of those “fucking Indians” and had the protestors been middle class non-native folk Harris would have paid more attention to his advisors who were calling for negotiations and mediation.

I am not one to run around crying racism every time there’s a confrontation, but this is one is just so fucking obvious.

But most importantly, Harris is not sorry. The day the public inquiry released its findings, Harris tried to save face by spinning the inquiry's findings in media statement which concluded that since he’d not been caught directly interfering with the OPP, Harris had "no influence" on George's death and was completely absolved.

So in my ever humble opinion, the fact that Harris is getting an honorary degree at Nipissing University does overshadow all other issues. And so it should. It’s outrageous that Nipissing University is honouring Mike Harris on June 11 and we should be responding with outrage. Damn right Nipissing First Nation should be yanking back their funding for a university library. Students should be threatening to withdraw, chiefs should be writing very angry letters letting the University know their youth will not be back in September.

And the National Chief should certainly be making a public statement by turning down this degree.

------------------------------full story below-------------------------------------

First Nations oppose honourary degree for Mike Harris The Canadian Press TORONTO — The fatal shooting of a First Nations protester in 1995 at Ipperwash Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario continues to haunt former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Nipissing University's plan to confer an honorary doctor of letters on Harris in a June 11 convocation ceremony isn't sitting well with the province's aboriginal groups. Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says, in the view of Ontario's First Nations, Harris does not deserve any honorary treatment. "He doesn't deserve titles or tributes of any kind," said Madahbee. "I can think of some appropriate letters Mike Harris should have in front of his name, not after it," he said. Chief Marianna Couchie of Nipissing First Nation says her community will withdraw funding support for the new university library over the issue. Madahbee said he supports that decision. "You don't reward a person who was directly responsible for so much economic hardship and divisiveness in this province," he said. The "hostile relationship" between the Harris government and Ontario's First Nations "led to the death of Dudley George at Ipperwash on Sept. 6, 1995," said Madhabee. "That is what Mike Harris will always be remembered for." National Chief Shawn Atleo will be also be honoured by Nipissing University as a recipient of an honorary education doctorate. It had been reported that he would decline because of the former premier's involvement. However, after Atleo consulted with chiefs, it was agreed that education is too important an issue to be overshadowed the controversy over Harris.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Vote for our definition of crazy bitch

After seeing the other less flattering definitions of "crazy bitch" defined on the online urban dictionary site, I got jealous that OUR definition was not included. So I added it. I just checked, and its it's up. If you want to pop by and make it your favourite definition of a "crazy bitch" just pop by at and click on the handy thumbs up button.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

URGENT: Non-status Indians -Women's groups are poised to kill C-3, the Sharon McIvor Bill

Bill C-3 aka the Sharon McIvor Bill is being threatened from an unlikely source: First Nations women, particularly Sharon McIvor and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. They have been lobbying MPs hard to kill C-3, sent every MP a letter and it looks like they have the support of the BQ and the Liberals to defeat C-3. Read Sharon's letter here.

While I have long supported Sharon McIvor, I do not agree with these latest actions. So many of our people have been watching this Bill with hope and excitement. I cannot support any action that puts their chance to finally regain status at risk. Read my analysis, if you agree with me, you'd better start emailing MPs and fast. (I have email addresses at the bottom of this post.)

If you remember this bill is the government’s response to the McIvor court decision forcing the government to remove gender discrimination from the Indian Act. An estimated 45,000 individuals could gain status and see their rights restored. However Bill C-3 is not perfect. It does not end all gender discrimination in the Indian Act. For example issues of unstated paternity remain, and there are other limits as well, see Sharon’s Testimony here, and the Quebec Native Women Association’s analysis here.

Sharon and several other witnesses brought these issues to the attention of Parliament's Aboriginal Affairs Committee, however Parliamentary rules restrict how far a committee can amend a bill. Several changes the committee would have liked to make to address Sharon's concerns were ruled out of order.

So Bill C-3 would restore status to at least 45,000 individuals, but it's not perfect and because it's not perfect McIvor and NWAC want it killed. My understanding is that if it is killed Parliamentary rules will prohibit the conservatives from introducing a similar Bill. This means those 45,000 who were hopeful of regaining status will be delayed indefinitely and could lose their chance all together.

Some speculate that killing C-3 would even create a doomsday scenario allowing no new people to register as Status Indians at all until a remedy is found.

It's my opinion that trying to kill C-3 is a dangerous game and that too much can go wrong. I do not believe that the 45,000 people poised to gain status would support killing C-3. But some MPs I have contacted told me I am the very first person to email them in support of the Bill, and unless they hear from others they will do what NWAC and McIvor are asking and kill it.

My two cents: I know Bill C-3 is not perfection… but too many people have waited too long for their rights to be recognized for us to gamble on their chance for justice. We can continue to fight for our other brothers and sisters through other means. If you agree (or I suppose even if you disagree) here's who you can email at Parliament. You don't have to email them individually, one massive email telling them where you stand should be enough.


Jean Crowder, NDP Indian Affairs Critic:
Jack Layton, NDP Leader

BQ :

Marc Lemay. Bloc Québécois Indian Affairs critic. EMail: Lemay.M@parl.gc.caGilles Duceppe, M.P.. Chef du Bloc Québécois

Liberals :

Indian Affairs Critic Todd Russell

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Party leader Email:

Conservatives :

Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl :

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Other Posts on this topic include:

  • Wednesday November 3, 2010 Another McIvor Update
  • Wednesday, April 7, 2010 More on McIvor- Canada Given 3-Month Extension to Implement McIvor decision
  • Thursday, March 11, 2010 McIvor update!!!! How Do the New Legislative Changes to the Indian Act Affect Me?
  • Saturday, March 6, 2010 Update on McIvor/Indian Status.


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