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.

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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
following:
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.

Racist Screed by Con MP Peter Goldring

This racist screed was sent to Edmonton East constituents by their Conservative MP, Peter Goldring, in his householder in December 2009.  Yes, folks, your tax dollars paid for racist literature!

There are those today who want to change the historical record regarding 19th century Metis leader Louis Riel. Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East says that such historical revisionism is wrong and sets the record straight on Riel and his crimes.

Concerned?

Wait, there’s more!

Revisionist “time travel” ignores the reality of human suffering. History is there to be learned, not to be revised or reinter-preted today by persons who do not like the outcomes of over a century ago. “Time travelling” back to the Riel era and erasing this judgement from our history books as if it were wrong, would in itself be wrong. How can we possibly know what was in the minds of people 100 years ago, to re-judge them today, years af-ter the fact. How can we obtain a true ap-preciation for those issues, without the sweat of fear and the odour of death that those events caused across the West in that era?

His prejudice certainly shows through in that paragraph, eh?  How about considering the suffering of the Metis, Peter?  Or is that to Peter Goldring, the Metis Nation is not part of humanity?

He also says that a pardon for Riel would mean Canada was insulting the soldiers who fought against Riel on behalf of Canada.

So many people today appear to know little of and care less for the sacrifice of those very first Canadian war veterans who fought against Riel and saved our country from disin-tegration, so long ago.

“Saved our country?”  Puh-leeze!  More like helped turn it into the racist country it is!

Apparently, admitting mistakes of the past is not something Peter’s into:

To “unhang” Riel today is illogical for those who remember the true history of Riel’s revo-lutionary role and who also respect the au-thority of historical jury decisions. To posthu-mously “pardon” Riel would amount to a ret-roactive miscarriage of justice.

But hey, folks, Peter wants to know what you think.  So how about you download and print this file, cut off that bottom portion and send it, free of charge, to the MP.  Tell him how you really feel!

Hey, even his boss man, PMS, has left him to fend for himself!  And that’s very interesting because the current PM has had strict control over messaging in recent years.

So, the immediate questions that arise for me are:

  1. Was the Prime Minister’s Office part of sending out this racist screed?
  2. Why hasn’t the Member of Parliament been charged with the publication and distribution of hate propaganda?

I asked the last question of Iggy, Jack and Gilles and await their replies.  I encourage you to do likewise.  And please let me know what questions I’ve missed asking.

Is the PM losing control?

There is so much weirdness going on in federal politics this week, I have to wonder if Mr. Harper is losing control of his rightwing radicals.  Or, perhaps he’s under pressure to give those radicals more voice and has allowed these things to occur to appease that faction of his party, to hold his rightwing coalition together.  It certainly looks strategic.

Wonder what I’m talking about?  Well, just take a look:

My favourite cowboys, those Cowboys for Social Responsibility, took time to fill us in on the latest story about the gun-crazy Yorkton-Melville MP, Garry Breitkreuz.  News was that he would speak at the AGM of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, but that was kiboshed by the PMO.  Now the PM, himself, will speak at the event.

And speaking of speaking, MP Jason Kenney has banned an MP from Britain from entering Canada.  Outspoken anti-war activist and Scotsman, George Galloway, is scheduled to speak at an anti-war rally next week, but the Canadian Border Services Agency has deemed him “a threat to national security”!  Go figure?  Those pacifists, eh?  Never know when they might peace out a place, huh?

Alison@Creekside has the dirty on the mouthpiece who’s been speaking for MP Jason Kenney,  Alykhan Velshi, and his ties to the radical right in the USA.

I’m thinking Galloway’s really under attack here because he is articulate.  See how Galloway eviscerated former Bush speechwriter, David Frum.

Oh, and there’s a petition asking for Galloway to be allowed to speak in Canada here.  Sign it now, please, then come back for more.

Yes, there’s more!  Moron Kenney has been freewheeling this past week.  Get a load of the racism inherent in this idiocy:

Immigrants who can’t speak English or French well enough should be denied citizenship, a federal cabinet minister says.

Canada needs to improve its efforts to integrate newcomers, Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, said Friday.

“I believe one area that we can ask immigrants in the country to make a greater effort [in] is that of language,” Kenney said in a speech to an immigration conference in Calgary.

In other countries of the world, citizens can speak four or five languages by early adulthood.  So what if English or French isn’t one of them?  Maybe Kenney should be promoting multi-lingualism in Canada instead of racism.

And he’s attempting to embrace Black Canadians, too, according to BCL:

Now he’s hosting “National Black Engagement Days”

Blogging Tory Canadian Blue Lemons … describes the event as “the most patronizing thing I have seen in my many, many years of observing politics”.

As if that’s not bad enough!  No, we’re not yet through with Kenney.  Sorry to say, but his homophobia hit the waves this week, too, even though it’s old news.  (Strategic or what?)  The appointment of a radical homophobe to the Immigration Refuge Board should not be surprising coming from this government:

Doug Cryer, a former director of public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has also publicly defended the right of churches to denounce homosexuality.

“Doug Cryer of the EFC said the church has a right to say that homosexual behaviour is sinful, just as it can say that adultery is sinful,” according to a November 2006 edition of CanadianChristianity.com.

“It is part of God’s teaching,” Cryer told the publication.

Cryer is among a dozen people appointed by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last month to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board — an independent administrative tribunal that hears applications for refugee status.

And Doug Cryer used to work for Ed Komarnicki, MP for Souris-Moose Mountain.  Oh, isn’t this just what we need, eh?  Religious zealots deciding the makeup of our country?  I think not!

But wait, there’s more Kenney!  (I know, it’s over the top!!!)  But this has to do with the Zionist trend among Canada’s political right (and on that right I include Iggy, btw).

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made no apologies yesterday for ending the flow of funds to the Canadian Arab Federation, which he says has expressed support for terror groups.

CAF president Khaled Mouammar believes Canada should regard Hamas and Hezbollah as “legitimate organizations,” Kenney said.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are on the Canadian government’s list of groups “associated with terrorism,” according to the public safety department’s website.

“Here we have in Canada, someone who, until the end of this month at least, was receiving public subsidies from my department, who says … these organizations that are essentially anti-Semitic and seek the destruction of Israel … should be able to operate in Canada,” Kenney said.

People in Canada “need to exercise freedom of expression responsibly” and should be wary of the rise of a new form of anti-Semitism cloaked in debates about Israel’s actions in the Middle East, Kenney said in a speech to University of Toronto students.

There is no room for non-violent extremism in Canada that is “beyond the pale,” he said. “When I say beyond the pale I don’t mean illegal. But these are the kinds of organizations that should receive no formal support from the organs of the Canadian state.”

I would expect my country to extend support to all voices and not just those of the state.  To do otherwise smacks of censorship which, we all know, is a tenet of fascism.

Now, just in case you thought this long post would end here, there’s one more tidbit to add.  Minister of Heritage, James Moore, is pitting the government against the CBC, our public broadcaster:

…Moore has taken a hard line against the CBC in recent public statements.

“The question of financing for this fiscal year is closed. They’re receiving $1.1 billion, the largest amount in straight dollars from the federal government that they’ve ever received.”

That’s we, bubba.  That’s the people of Canada, that’s our broadcaster, paid for by our tax dollars!  And we deserve better than you, Jackass!

The sooner we rid ourselves of this rightwing idiocy, the better for our country!  I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Liberals to take them on, however.  They’re a non-entity when it comes to preserving all that is Canadiana.

RBE runs with an axe

The Racist Regina Public School Board of Education (RBE) let the axe fly and proceeded with school and program closures outlined in their foolhardy plan of renewal.

It seems that the regina mom’s last post on the racist and classist tones of the 10-year plan for renewal upset a few of the board members.

Garry Schenher saw fit to blather on and on about the great policies the RBE has developed around aboriginal education. What a yawner he is to listen to! You’ll get no argument from me that the policies are good. They are, and that’s great! But policies are entirely useless when they’re implemented in ways that do not serve the best interests of the students for whom they are intended. Herchmer School, for example, offers one of the most “instructionally innovative” – if not the most instructionally innovative – array of programming and delivery in the entire school division, but Mr. Schenher voted to close the school. He entirely misses the point, that the RBE contravenes its own policy by implementing the closure of schools in catchment areas which contain neighbourhoods where the aboriginal population is higher than average. But he surely loved clinging to that policy to to as he spoke. Too bad for the kids at Herchmer that he does not see his own hypocrisy.

Dale West practically shouted his anger that Bernadette Wagner (that’s me, hahaha) had publicly stated that the RBE’s plan was racist and classist. Well, duh. If the shoe fits, Mr. West, it’s yours. I can only surmise that he doesn’t understand the meanings of the words. He used to be a school teacher, but he clearly doesn’t get the gist of my commentary. It is really too bad he doesn’t have a better grasp of those concepts, because it would certainly have benefitted the kids whose schools he voted to close tonight. It’s sad that the kids he taught likely learned nothing about racism and classism from him. It’s worse than sad. It’s shameful. So, I suggest he and any of the students he taught visit dictionary.com and look at the definitions for racism and classism. And then he may want to do a google search for institutional racism in education. One of the documents he will find there contains this nugget:

Institutional racism or systemic racism describes forms of racism which are structured into political and social institutions. It occurs when organisations, institutions or governments discriminate, either deliberately or indirectly, against certain groups of people to limit their rights.

This form of racism reflects the cultural assumptions of the dominant group, so that the practices of that group are seen as the norm to which other cultural practices should conform. It regularly and systematically advantages some ethnic and cultural groups and disadvantages and marginalises others.

Institutional racism is often the most difficult to recognise and counter, particularly when it is perpetrated by institutions and governments who do not view themselves as racist. When present in a range of social contexts, this form of racism reinforces the disadvantage already experienced by some members of the community.

Dr. Barbara Young, for all her fancy education, also knows nothing about institutional racism. But she sure knows how to use false logic. I had to leave the meeting room so that I wouldn’t get kicked out for disrupting it. Oh, she had absolutely nothing but her calm, white privilege to add to the discussion.

Mr. Marchuk, however, appeared to be entirely riled up! Wow! He let out a lot of hot air, most particularly to defend himself as a former teacher and as a former principal of Herchmer School, which makes his vote to close it all the more shameful. His show of righteous indignation was almost convincing! And he was so full of arrogance I again had to leave the room. Apparently, just because he can’t see the classist and racist overtones in the 10-year plan for renewal, they simply aren’t there. It seems poor Mr. Marchuk needs also to study up on a few things, too. (Perhaps he and Mr. West could be study-buddies.) It was clear that he’s all about “sound processes” and keeping the “house in order” and his fear that local school boards may lose their authority if they don’t toe some kind of imaginary line that no one will publicly define. Anyway, it’s entirely too clear that he is not about what is best for the children and the communities in which they live.

And furthermore, why does he think that just because folks oppose this foolish, old-school and backwards plan that folks are all right with the status quo? His black-and-white, dualistic thinking makes me wonder where these privileged white folks find the blinders they wear.

Rhonda Parisian, on the other hand, stole my heart. She was absolutely sick about her decisions to support those closures she did support. And she knew she voted incorrectly on them; her body language gave her away. But the Chamber of Commerce and the Taxpayers Federation must have got to her enough that she sided with their Friedmanesque logic instead of her heart. I hope she finds the courage to stand up for her heart. She has the potential to be an excellent member of the board.

I have to say that Barb Saylor almost impressed me. But she still buys into that ridiculous Friedman mind-set, too, believing that money matters more than kids (or libraries, for that matter) and can cure social ills. She has a long way to go to fully impress me after her escapades on the Library Board a few years ago (when they tried to close inner city libraries). Saskboy reports on the chat he had with her after the meeting.

I introduced myself to Mr. West after the meeting, and assured him that he ensured he would fail the test at the school board elections in the fall of 2009. Those who would like to assist in ensuring the defeat of West, Marchuk, Young and Schenher, please email me. We have work to do!

Oh, and just before I left that room full of very sad people, I thanked Dr. John Conway for his steadfast belief in doing what is best for our kids. We are very fortunate to have a voice for the children serving on our public school board.

Now, before I sign off, can someone please explain to me why the RBE website has a link to the Regina Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Economic Development Authority? Do they provide some kind of guiding principles for the RBE? Are they the culprits drawing that imaginary line that the Chair of the Board believes he must toe? I mean, what on earth do they have to do with the education of our children, except to express support for school closures? Good grief! They’re the types who would probably like to privatize schools so they can make more money!