Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Racist Campaign?

This landed in my inbox today and I thought it best to share it out.  Please note that in no way do I or have I ever supported the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


Dear Supporter:

How do you feel about a politician from a Native reserve of 304 people receiving a $978,468 tax free salary?  BTW … that’s equivalent to $1.8-million if they lived off-reserve and paid taxes.

Or what about a reserve politician from a community of 615 making $567,935 tax free?

If those true stories of tax dollars being spent wildly on reserves makes you sick to your stomach, then take note of the cure: Bill C-575.

It’s a private members bill in Ottawa right now that aims to give the federal government the legal authority to place reserve politicians’ salaries on the internet each year. That would bring reserve politicians in-line with all other politicians in the country who have to disclose their pay to taxpayers.

Bill C-575 was in response to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation helping band members blow the whistle on case after case of reserve politicians living high on the hog while their people suffered.

The CTF has learned that over 600 Native politicians in Canada are earning a taxable equivalent of over $100,000 to govern average reserve populations of 1,142 – yet the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs does not have the legal authority to release the names.

Bill C-575 – supported by the government – would change that.  But in order for it to pass, it must be supported by Opposition MPs.  Currently, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff are opposed to these salaries being disclosed. Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has yet to declare a position.

We need to send them a message:  let Natives and non-Natives see how tax dollars are being spent on reserves.  The status quo is unacceptable. Pass Bill C-575.

  1. Sign our petition and forward it to your contact list
  2. Contact Michael IgnatieffJack Layton, and Gilles Duceppe directly

You may hear non-sense excuses about privacy matters and other gobbledygook, but at the end of the day, we’re talking about public funds – salaries should be made public, especially when those dollars are supposed to be helping on-reserve citizens.

Let’s make this happen!

— Colin, Courtenay, Troy and the rest of the CTF team

PS: The only reason that wasteful spending like this comes to light is because of your donation. If you like what the CTF is doing to blow the whistle on abuse of your tax dollars, please consider making a donation.


Anti-violence work

I have been invited to be the guest speaker at the Moose Jaw Transition House event to commemorate The National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women. When I received the invite to this event I thought, Wow!  Yes! And then I thought, Why me? I’ve never used the services of a T-House or a shelter.  I’ve never been harmed, not really.moose jaw event poster

And then I stopped myself, because I realized that yes, I have been harmed.  I have been sexually abused and sexually assaulted and I have stories — poems — which relate to those experiences.  Yes, they’re embellished, but still, they speak truth, truths which hold true for many women, I’m sure.  We are victims of violence, yes.  And if we can live past the abuse and assault, we become survivors, too.  We can live rich and full lives.

And so, the focus of my talk will be on our survival and it will be a talk that is both personal and political, prosaic and poetic, as well as earthy and spiritual.  And who knows, I might even break into song!

I hope you can be there.

Here are the details:

A poetry reading and talk to commemorate
The National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women
with Bernadette Wagner

5:30 PM, Monday, December 6
Public Library Theatre
Moose Jaw SK

Sponsored by Moose Jaw Transition House

Sisters In Spirit Under Attack

The HarperCons have gone much too far now!  Apparently, the Sisters In Spirit Campaign, organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has been too successful in raising the awareness about murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada.  Or something.  They’ve done a lot, that’s for sure, including heightening awareness throughout the country, establishing a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and co-ordinating vigils in more than 80 communities across the country.  APTN reports that

Status of Women officials had asked the organization [NWAC]  not to use any government money for projects under the name Sisters in Spirit or for work on their vaunted missing and murdered Aboriginal women database.

Alison@Creekside has a thorough post addressing the many issues involved in that, as well as the Cons posturing around it.  Please go read her post!  And the links!  Then come back here and take action:

NDP MP and Critic on the Status of Women, Irene Mathyssen, says that

[D]espite the Conservative government’s praise of Sisters in Spirit (SIS), the recent $10 million announcement to address the issue of violence against Aboriginal women left SIS out. The main voice calling for action on how missing women cases are reported and investigated has been excluded. Many fear this means the end of Sisters in Spirit since the government made it very clear that SIS will not receive any more funding for this project.

Sisters in Spirit, a project under the umbrella of the Native Women’s Association of Canada since 2005, led the way in research regarding missing and murdered aboriginal women. Their April 2010 report, “What Their Stories Tell Us”, identified knowledge gaps that hindered the creation of effective policies and programming to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Problems such as different jurisdictions not communicating as happened with the victims of Robert Pickton, delays in starting missing persons investigations if the woman was Aboriginal or in the sex trade, lack of resources for family members to deal with the aftermath of murder, and not enough investments in anti-violence programs and front-line community workers, were all identified by SIS.

Since SIS didn’t receive any of the $10 million, the research they did may be lost as they cannot get funding from any other government department. The minister needs to make it known how this data will be protected and maintained. Sisters in Spirit is the voice for the most vulnerable in Canadian society. Shutting them down after they demonstrated how we are failing Aboriginal women is another example of Conservative bully tactics, and the common conservative practice of trying to cover up embarrassing truths.

She has prepared a petition she will present to the House of Commons. All we have to do is to get the signatories.  Here’s the text.

Petition to the House of Commons –“Sisters in Spirit”
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the
THAT for the past five years, the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Sisters In Spirit initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to disappearance and death of Aboriginal women and girls;
THAT in March 2010, NWAC released the report “What Their Stories Tell Us” which provided evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada; and
THAT the fact that so many mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers have been lost to violence in this country makes this the most pervasive human rights crisis facing Canada today.
THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to renew funding for the Sisters In Spirit initiative Phase II “Evidence to Action” and to invest in an “Action Plan for Aboriginal women”, which NWAC has developed, to stop the devastating number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.


It’s a paper petition, so it’s a bit more work that we digital activists are used to.  But, it’s a must.  It’s a must for more than partisan reasons.  It’s a must for the betterment of our country and, most importantly, it’s a must for demonstrating our support of and to Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.  Download it now!

Take it to work, take it everywhere you go and get folks to sign it.  Then send it to Irene, free of charge.