Tag Archive: Stephen Harper

Canada to include the North Pole in its claim for Arctic territory, resources

Published time: December 10, 2013 00:27
AFP Photo / Affanassy Makovnev

AFP Photo / Affanassy Makovnev

Canadian officials confirmed Monday that the nation is preparing to include the North Pole as part of its Arctic Ocean seabed claim in the multi-country push to prove jurisdiction over further territory in the resource-rich area.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Arctic Council chair Leona Aglukkaq officially announced Monday Canada’s claim to the extended continental shelf in the Arctic. It was reported by The Globe and Mail last week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested a government board charged with assessing Canada’s claims beyond its territorial waterways, per United Nations rules, to seek a more expansive stake of Arctic area to include the North Pole.

“We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the North Pole,” Baird said during a press conference at the House of Commons.

Pursuant to its status as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Canada submitted Friday only a partial application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf showing scientific evidence that it should be able to assert its privileges over territory and resources – namely oil and gas rights – within waterways well beyond its borders. Under the Convention, a nation can claim up to 200 nautical miles of seabed beyond its territorial markers. A country can demand 350 nautical miles if it can prove a natural extension of its land area. The UN requires comprehensive mapping evidence to justify any declaration of rights.

The preliminary application outlines complete scientific evidence regarding Canada’s Atlantic Ocean requests and a portion of its Arctic claim all while reserving the nation’s right to make further submissions at a later date.

Canada’s application was due based on UN requirements that a country that has ratified the Convention make its claim within ten years. Canada ratified the UN Convention in 2003.

The North Pole is 817 kilometers north of Canada’s – and the world’s – northernmost settlement, Alert, Nunavut. The town is home to a Canadian Forces station and Environment Canada station.

“Fundamentally, we are drawing the last lines of Canada. We are defending our sovereignty,” Aglukkaq said, according to CBC News.

Resources bring competition

Canada has spent nearly US$200 million on the scientific-discovery process of the area, including dozens of icebreaker and helicopter trips for teams of scientists. An unmanned submarine was used to collect data below the frigid Arctic water. The United States, which is also expected to claim further seabed territory, aided Canada in the research phase, though the US has not ratified the UN Convention yet.

“If the US doesn’t ratify, then we don’t know what happens if there’s a dispute,” Rob Huebert, associate director of the Center for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, told The Verge. “What do you do about a contested area with the US if there isn’t an agreement that governs how that dispute is resolved?”


AFP Photo / Darren Hauck

AFP Photo / Darren Hauck

The US isn’t the only country Canada may clash with its territorial and resource claims. About 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie in the largely untapped 18-million-square-mile Arctic region, according to the US Geological Survey, making up about 10 percent of the world’s petroleum resources. The dominant portion of these resources are hidden beneath the ice that is shared between five nations bordering the Arctic: Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the US.

“It’s a dangerous and difficult region to drill, but the idea of profits seem to exceed those risks for governments,” Huebert said of the volatile Arctic. “We’re not seeing anyone pull away.”


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Canada to claim north pole as its own

UN submission will seek to redefine Canada’s continental shelf to capture more Arctic oil and gas resources
  • theguardian.com, Monday 9 December 2013 21.50 ES
A Canadian ranger making a patrol on Ellesmere Island, part of the country's existing Arctic land.

A Canadian ranger making a patrol on Ellesmere Island, part of the country’s existing Arctic territories. Photograph: Jess Mcintosh/AP

Canada plans to make a claim to the north pole in an effort to assert its sovereignty in the resource-rich Arctic, the country’s foreign affairs minister has said.

John Baird said the government had asked scientists to work on a future submission to the United Nations arguing that the outer limits of the country’s continental shelf include the pole, which so far has been claimed by no one.

Canada last week applied to extend its seabed claims in the Atlantic Ocean, including some preliminary Arctic claims, but wants more time to prepare a claim that would include the pole.

Asserting Canada’s rights in the Arctic has been a popular domestic issue for the prime minister, Stephen Harper, though at least one expert on the issue has described the planned claim as a long shot.

Baird said: “We are determined to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the tremendous resources that are to be found in Canada’s far north.”

Countries including the US and Russia are increasingly looking to the Arctic as a source of natural resources and shipping lanes. The US Geological Survey says the region contains 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 15% of oil. If Canada’s claim is accepted by the UN commission it would dramatically grow its share.


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Drilling company seeking extension to injuction as reports of violence, arrests mount along Highway 11 blockade

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Protesters rally outside the Canadian Parliament building Monday November 2 in support of the Elsipogtog protesters. (Photo: Hml inktomilady/ Twitter)Anti-fracking activists across Canada have taken to the streets Monday, answering a rallying call by the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation who have called for an Emergency Day of Action to protest assault on native lands and right to protest.

After a series of weekend anti-fracking blockades where members of the Elsipogtog community and their allies faced off against energy company SWN Resources in New Brunswick, supporters of the indigenous protest movement are rallying outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.

Elsewhere, answering a call by the activists known as the “Highway 11 Land Defenders,” supporters across the globe are expressing their solidarity in the ongoing battle between the fossil fuel industry with backing by the provincial government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and those who are stepping up to protect the land.

“[The Elsipogtog] are standing up against brutal police repression, and continued theft of Indigenous lands and ongoing colonization. Show them they are not alone!” the protesters wrote on their website. “Where possible, highway shutdowns are encouraged however any action of support, such as banner drops, are welcome. #ShutDownCanada

Ahead of the rally, supporters flooded twitter with pictures of banners and other shows of solidarity:

Among other actions, supporters erected a morning blockade at the Port of Metro Vancouver and “photo-bombed” a local news broadcast where Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was interviewed Monday.

In the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton, protesters are gathered outside the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench where drilling company SWN Resources is seeking an extension to the temporary injunction originally granted on November 22.

The injunction prohibits protesters from coming within 20 meters from the side of roads where the company is working and 250 meters from the front or back of its trucks. Updates to the hearing are being tweeted by CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell.

Meanwhile, along New Brunswick’s Highway 11, protesters continue to brave cold, slushy weather in their ongoing standoff against the RCMP and SWN Resources trucks. Demonstrators tweeted early reports of arrests and said the “RCMP are going crazy. ”

You can watch clips from a live stream from Monday’s blockade here.

“The struggle against exploitations, especially in indigenous lands, is growing. Everywhere the dominant culture demands more land, more resources, at the expense of the locals and the rest of nature. And everywhere, we fight back,” wrote a coalition of Northern European environmentalists and indigenous groups, who themselves have fended off the opening of new mines in traditional reindeer herding areas, gathered in Sweden on Monday to show their support for the Elsipogtog’s struggle.

“Your fighting spirit gives us hope and inspiration,” they added. “Same struggle, different battles.”


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OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office quickly distanced themselves from former Harper aide Tom Flanagan on Wednesday after the political commentator said viewing child pornography did not harm others.

Flanagan was a campaign manager and chief of staff for Harper or the Conservative Party at various times before the Conservatives took power in 2006, and has long been a commentator for CBC.

At a seminar at Alberta’s University of Lethbridge on Wednesday, he took issue with the Conservative “jihad” on child pornography.

The CBC dumped him as a political commentator and Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall said his remarks were repugnant and did not reflect the Conservative government’s view.

“…you know a lot of people on my side of the spectrum, a certain side of the spectrum, are bent on kind of a jihad against pornography and child pornography in particular, and I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures,” Flanagan, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, told the seminar on Wednesday night.

He said there was a real issue as “to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

Flanagan apologized, but not before the CBC fired him and Alberta’s conservative Wildrose Party, for which he was campaign manager last year, said he would have no future role.

CBC News Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire said: “While we support and encourage free speech across the country and a diverse range of voices, we believe Mr. Flanagan’s comments to have crossed the line and impacted his credibility as a commentator for us.”

MacDougall tweeted: “Tom Flanagan’s comments on child pornography are repugnant, ignorant, and appalling.”

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Published on Feb 15, 2013

A Canadian aboriginal spokeswoman says native woman physically abused by police live in fear of retaliation under a fascist Harper government.

In the background of this Prime minister Harper of Canada has directed aboriginal women to go to the police in the case of them receiving abuse. The problem is that it is the police who are the perpetrators of the abuse against aboriginal women in Canada and these abused women are living in fear of retaliation by police if they speak out about this issue. A report from Human Rights Watch includes accusations that members of the CRMP Canadian Royal Mounted Police have sodomized aboriginal women and in some cases, girls under the age of 18. The report also includes accusations of rape, intimidation and even threatening children with drawn hand guns. The Harper government’s response to the HRW report has been one of denial of knowledge of police abuses and a promise to launch a commission. Aboriginal groups are demanding justice for the victims of police abuse.

First Nations chiefs, demonstrators threaten to escalate protest movement

CBC News

Hundreds of chanting Idle No More demonstrators are marching on a rainy Parliament Hill this afternoon, waving flags and briefly blocking the main entrance to the Prime Minister’s Office, as members of the government and the First Nations community meet.

The protests are part of the larger Idle No More demonstrations organized across the country on Friday.

In rural Nova Scotia, members of the Millbrook First Nations set up wooden palettes and a car on railway tracks, delaying passenger and freight trains.

Chief Bob Gloade says the blockade of trains that travel through the reserve’s land has been planned for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m AT.

In brief remarks to the media on Victoria Island on Friday morning, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence remained firm on not attending the “working meeting” later with Prime Minister Stephen Harper unless the Governor General is also in the room.

Spence has been living on the Ottawa River island during her month-long hunger strike.

Questions lingered ahead of the meeting over which First Nations chiefs would meet with Harper after the Governor General said he would not be there as the Crown’s representative.

Demonstrations across country

Demonstrations are expected in major cities across Canada as part of the Idle No More movement, including Winnipeg, Calgary and Lethbridge, Alta., and Charlottetown, P.E.I.


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By Tobold Rollo

[This post first appeared on Tobold Rollo’s website.]

As Chief Theresa Spence continues her hunger strike, her request that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor General meet with Chiefs to discuss treaties has many Canadians wondering what relevance treaties could possibly hold today. Anticipating this uncertainty, I wrote a pamphlet with the Mohawk scholar, Taiaiake Alfred, which was widely distributed both in the US and in Canada during recent ‘Idle No More’ events. The pamphlet laid out in clear and concise language the concrete practical and legislative steps necessary to advance the goal of reconciliation. The outline was based on the recommendations laid out in the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. This Royal Commission, the most comprehensive and expensive in Canada’s history, determined that achieving the goal of reconciliation necessarily entails the restoration of a ‘treaty relationship’.

I recall being a bit confused but mostly just ambivalent the first time I heard Indigenous peoples in Canada invoke the concept of a ‘treaty relationship’. I was twelve years old and it was the height of what would come to be known as the Oka Crisis. To me, treaties were boring relics – artifacts excavated from Canadian history – of interest to history teachers. As I grew older, I was fairly certain that treaties were irrelevant to modern Canada and to modern citizens like myself. What relevance they might hold did not seem to bear on my life in the same way as did taxes or elections. That youthful confusion and ambivalence was displaced over the years by a realization in my adult life that if Canada was to claim legitimacy as a nation as opposed to a complex colonial encampment, that legitimacy must derive from the founding treaties that made Canada possible. Accordingly, I recognized that my identity as a Canadian, as opposed to a mere occupier or colonizer, was dependent on the status of those treaties. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

I had always understood that agreements made before I was born formed the conditions of my Canadian citizenship and identity. I am Canadian by pure accident of birth, yet still I recognized that I was born into a society constituted by certain historical events, acts, and agreements that more or less structure the obligations we have to others. Take our relationship to the United States and to Americans, for example. I acknowledge that Canada has no right to impose any territorial, political or cultural arrangement upon them. Likewise, they have no right to impose theirs upon us. Why? Because of treaties and agreements, some old and some new. Specifically, because of the 1814 Treaty of Ghent, the Convention of 1818, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, and the Oregon Treaty of 1846, which established the territories and borders of Canada. Within this context, Canada was constituted as a nation through various acts and declarations, e.g., The Royal Proclamation of 1763, the British North America Act of 1867, and the Constitution Act of 1982.

These treaties and constitutional events reflect historical compacts between peoples – agreements that established our right to exist autonomously as Canadians rather than as British subjects or Americans. Of course, there are still a handful of disagreements over the details of the treaties between the US and Canada (e.g. the Dixon Entrance), but the lack of precise territorial borders, or cultural borders for that matter, does not take away from the spirit of the agreement. A number of international agreements detail our right to cultural integrity as well. The US is obliged by virtue of being a signatory to various international treaties and UN declarations not to organize any political assault on other cultures. We are distinct nations – our covenants are nation-to-nation. Our disagreements – including our very borders – are not settled, even after centuries of dialogue. Yet we respect each other as legitimate and autonomous in the absence of perfect borders.


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Founder and Director, Culture Collective

What started as a murmur in early October from First Nations People in Canada in response to Bill C45 has become a movement that echoes the sentiments of people all over the world, a battle cry of love for the planet, “Idle No More.” At first glance it might appear that this movement is isolated and doesn’t effect you if you are not native or if you don’t live in Canada, yet it does. It may appear that this resistance is not related to The Occupy Movement, The Arab Spring, The Unify Movement, Anonymous, or any of the other popular uprisings sparked by social unrest, but it is.

At its very core, all of these movements have very common threads and are born from common issues facing people everywhere. Those who represent financial interests that value money over life itself, that are devoid of basic respect for human decency, and for nature have dictated the future for too long and people everywhere are standing up to say, “No more.” This non-violent social uprising is viral in the minds and hearts of everyone across the planet determined to bring healing to our troubled communities, our planet, and the corruption that is eroding the highest places of governments around the world.

Image by Andy EversonFlashmobs with dancing and drumming at a malls in Olympia, Wash. Tempe, Ariz., Denver, Colo., a giant circle dance blocking a large intersection in Winnipeg, rail blockades in Quebec, this movement is using cultural expression combined with modern activism to get attention, and it is working. From their website, “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water.”

Idle No More was started in October by four ladies; Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean who felt it was “urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects First Nations people but the rest of Canada’s citizens, lands and waters.” On December 11 Attawapiskat Chief, Theresa Spence, launched a hunger strike requesting a face-to-face meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss broken treaties and protection of natural resources. Spence is staying in a tipi on the frozen Ottawa River facing Parliament Hill and has gained the support from many natives and non-natives who are in solidarity with this movement.

Chief Arvol Lookinghorse from South Dakota recently expressed his support in a letter posted on Facebook that states, “As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, I would like to send out support for the efforts of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, for giving of herself through fasting with prayers for the protection of Mother Earth.” He goes on to say,

This effort to protect Mother Earth is all Humanity’s responsibility, not just Aboriginal People. Every human being has had Ancestors in their lineage that understood their umbilical cord to the Earth, understanding the need to always protect and thank her. Therefore, all Humanity has to re-connect to their own Indigenous Roots of their lineage — to heal their connection and responsibility with Mother Earth and become a united voice… All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer.

Society and nature work in similar ways to our own body’s immune system. We are given a symptom that causes us to be aware that there is an illness that needs to be addressed. We can try to suppress the symptom, but that does not heal the illness. Popular uprisings with very core commonalities are spreading all over the planet. Exploitation of our environment, as well as the exploitation of people and cultures for the sake of financial gain is immoral and must be stopped at the highest levels of our governments. It is possible to have a thriving economy and environmental ethics.

Here in America, the response to Occupy is tucked into NDAA as Washington prepares ways to suppress the symptoms of social discord. Without addressing the illness at its root nothing will change. It is like the mythical Many-Headed Hydra, if you cut one head off, two more will grow back. Popular uprisings will continue here and all over the world until leaders understand that people want real fundamental change in policy. Governments should lead by example if they want to be respected.


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Chief Theresa Spence

Launched in the shadows of Parliament Hill two weeks ago, the hunger strike by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence goes on. There is little to be heard from the federal government or Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but a cowardly silence.

Chief Spence said she is willing to die in an attempt to get the federal government and aboriginal leaders to discuss the treaty process and make fundamental changes.

Spence’s protest was ignited by the recent passage of the government’s second omnibus budget bill and has the support of “Idle No More.” Through flash mobs and round dances in shopping centres around the country, they have shown their ability to disrupt, to make noise, celebrate and engage thousands of people across the country.

According to French philosopher Alain Badiou, only from outside the traditional political frame, outside the logic of the state, can a true political sequence begin. Only through the opening of such an event can we begin to see a new possibility that was not there before. This rupture that has been opened up has the profoundest of implications precisely because of its affirmative demands. A true negation of the present political order needs to begin with an affirmative logic if it is to bypass the crisis of negativity that regularly befalls social movements. That is why the political sequence that has been initiated by Chief Spence and Idle No More is threatening to the Stephen Harper government and could fundamentally reshape the political landscape in a meaningful way.

By this point in the hunger strike, it becomes difficult to concentrate. Muscle mass is weakened and emaciation starts to set in. A critical accumulation of toxic components from the metabolism process build up and can lead to death from liver and kidney damage and brain toxins if the strike continues for a few more weeks. Unlike Occupy, Idle No More and Chief Spence have demands. She has become a national symbol and has bravely highlighted the gross public policy extremes of the Harper government and has deservedly shamed them nationally and internationally.

If Occupy meant anything at all, people from that movement should be supporting the indigenous community. While there has been some support from the labour movement, environmental movement and the student movement, it has not yet been loud enough. There is so much at stake here, that the non-indigenous community must speak louder and support the demands of Chief Spence and Idle No More.

This movement, like Occupy, is decentralized, is multi-site and has the commitment for duration that is necessary to make a political opening real and substantive. Furthermore, If there’s going to be an environmental justice movement in this country that’s going to mean anything at all and have any kind of legitimate moral position, it needs to be led by the original inhabitants of this land, the people most closely connected to the land. Aboriginal people have been largely tokenized in the environmental movement and that needs to change. What has just been unleashed is not just about a political moment, but is in fact a message that has over 500 years of indigenous resistance to colonialism at its core. At its heart is a universal claim for justice and a radically open message for support and solidarity from non-indigenous Canadians and from supporters around the world. This movement, more than many that have come before it, has the opportunity to radically shift the relationship between First Nations and government — it also has the opportunity to re-educate a complacent and passive Canadian public that has all too frequently closed its eyes to the injustices faced by the aboriginal communities around them and have too often sought the false safety of a polite, made-in-Canada, armchair amnesia.


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Native group urges PM to end Chief's hunger strikeCredits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY


Chief’s hunger strike fuels Canada aboriginal drive

by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP)

A native chief’s hunger strike in view of Canada’s parliament has inspired an aboriginal rights movement and massive protests across Canada and far beyond its borders.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike on tiny Victoria Island on the Ottawa River, which flows past parliament perched atop a hill, is in its second week.

She refuses to eat until Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Governor General David Johnston, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in this former British colony, agrees to meet with her.

Spence sleeps in a teepee, warming herself by an open fire and drinking a bit of fish broth to keep up her strength.

Her breath crystallized in the cold winter air, as a severe storm blanketing the capital city with snow.

Beyond the island, Spence’s strike has become the focal point for Idle No More, an aboriginal rights movement strung together last month by four native women who met online.

The campaign has since exploded into dozens of small protests and highway blockades, and has inspired thousands to demand their treaty rights.

Several solidarity hunger strikes were also launched last week and a man was arrested in easternmost Canada on Tuesday after chopping down a hydro pole to support Idle No More.

“Chief Theresa Spence is not alone, the chiefs of… indigenous people across this country support her efforts to bring our treaty partners to the table,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Yesno.

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Attawapiskat chief begins first day of hunger strike with sacred fire, sweetgrass, tobacco

Jorge Barrera APTN National News Discussion »

OTTAWA, CANADA – With the crescent moon still gleaming like an icy scar cut into the pre-dawn darkness, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence walked toward the sacred fire on Victoria Island to wait for the sun on her first day of the hunger strike.

The small fire burned in an area framed by a tall fence of weather-beaten wooden poles and the Ottawa River. The gate was closed Tuesday morning and the only way in was through gaps in the fence or up from the shore of the river.

Dressed in a parka, touque and fur-lined leather mitts, Spence stood by the fire facing east, facing the river and just beyond Parliament Hill, aglow.

About a dozen people gathered with Spence around the fire for a Sunrise Ceremony held in her honour. The elder leading the ceremony ordered all recording devices turned off before he lit a bowl of sweetgrass for the cleansing to begin. Then he pressed a clump of tobacco into the bowl of a pipe he passed around, allowing only those of First Nations ancestry to draw on and smoke.


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