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Archive for May 27th, 2008

Native leaders vow to fight mining law in Ontario

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Jordana Huber, Canwest News Service
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TORONTO – Six First Nations leaders from northern Ontario, who were incarcerated for defying a court order allowing a mining company to explore on their traditional territory, will be in an appeal court Wednesday to argue against their six-month jail sentences.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Chief Donny Morris along with five other community members have already spent 68 day in jail for contempt of court, but will continue to fight for their right to say no to mining, KI lawyer Chris Reid said.

Ontario’s mining legislation, which dates from 1873 and allows prospectors “free entry” to stake claims granting mineral rights, regardless of who owns the surface land, made the arrests of the aboriginal leaders “inevitable,” he said.

“We hope the Court of Appeal will send a message to the government that the mining law needs to be reformed,” Reid said. “Communities need to be able to have the right to say no to exploration and mining on their land or this kind of thing is going to happen again and again.”

With more than a half-million square kilometres of mineral claims currently staked across Canada’s boreal forest under the “free-entry” system used in most provinces, Larry Innes, executive director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative said the potential for conflict with First Nations is rising.

“We’re caught in a situation where old laws are catching up to new realities,” Innes said. “Society is demanding different things when it comes to dealing fairly with Aboriginal People and one is ensuring broad public policy objectives are achieved before private interests are granted on public land.”

The group dubbed the KI 6 were sentenced in March to six months for disobeying a court order allowing Platinex Inc. to conduct exploratory drilling near Big Trout Lake, 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Last Friday, pending the outcome of their appeal, they were released from jail after Platinex agreed not to access KI territory for mining exploration until May 29.

In turn, Reid said his clients agreed to obey the court injunction instructing them to not interfere with Platinex exploration for the same period.

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McGuinty considers banning use of cellphones while driving

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Karen Howlett, The Globe and Mail
May 27, 2008 at 4:26 AM EDT

TORONTO – Drivers in Ontario soon could be banned from chatting on a hand-held cellphone, text-messaging on a BlackBerry or hunting for street addresses on a GPS navigation device while behind the wheel.

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced yesterday that he is considering joining many other jurisdictions that have introduced legislation requiring drivers to use a headset or speaker system when talking on cellphones. But he wants to go much further by banning not just hand-held cellphones but every other electronic device that has the potential to distract drivers.

As recently as April, Mr. McGuinty said banning drivers from using cellphones in Canada’s most populous province was not on his agenda. He said there was little point in such a ban because drivers engage in all kinds of other activities behind the wheel that are just as distracting, including drinking coffee or applying lipstick.

But he has changed his mind after a recent spate of fatal automobile accidents in which drivers were suspected of talking on the phone.

“I’ve always said I’ll do what the police think is important and make our roads safer,” Mr. McGuinty said yesterday.

Police officials in Ontario have advised him not to zero in on just cellphones, but all the other gadgets used by multitasking drivers.

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Signs point to PMO in NAFTA leak

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

James Travers, The Toronto Star
May 27, 2008 04:30 AM

Controversial memo slipped to Republican, several sources say

OTTAWA—Fingers are pointing at Conservatives close to Stephen Harper for leaking a diplomatic memo that badly embarrassed Barack Obama and put Canada’s vital cross-border interests at risk. Multiple sources say the Canadian note questioning the Democrat frontrunner’s public promise to reopen NAFTA was leaked from the Prime Minister’s Office to a Republican contact before it made American headline news.

Their claims come days after an internal probe threw up its hands at finding the source. Contradicting Friday’s inconclusive report, they claim the controversial memo was slipped to the son of Wisconsin Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner. Frank Sensenbrenner is well connected to Harper’s inner circle and, at Ottawa’s insistence, was briefly on contract with Canada’s Washington embassy to work on congressional relations.

Contacted yesterday morning, Frank Sensenbrenner did not seem surprised and agreed to an afternoon interview. But he did not call at the agreed time and did not respond to repeated emails.

A determined reader will find many of the dots — but not the conclusion — in the probe report strategically released on the cusp of a spring weekend. It confirms a few U.S. citizens could have been in contact with government officials who had the report, but finds no evidence of irregularities. Instead, the report makes a distracting fuss about clearing Ian Brodie, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, and Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador in Washington, of revealing classified information that never carried that secretive label.

What the report conspicuously avoids is following the suspicious trail from the PMO to America’s dominant newswire service, the Associated Press, through a Republican conduit. Instead of fulfilling Harper’s pledge to trace the source, the report by Kevin Lynch, Canada’s top civil servant and Harper’s deputy minister, blames bureaucrats for circulating the memo too widely and failing to identify the information as classified.

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Miller wants shooting ranges shut down

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

John Spears, Robert Benzie, Toronto Star
May 27, 2008 04:30 AM

Mayor David Miller wants to close recreational shooting ranges in Toronto, along with giving the city power to block gun manufacturers and wholesalers from opening new plants or warehouses.

“Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city,” Miller said of sport shooting yesterday, amid debate on a possible gun bylaw.

Canadian Olympic pistol shooter and downtown resident Avianna Chao begs to differ. She says that if Miller gets his way, it could mean an end to her sport — and it won’t make the streets one bit safer.

Miller wants to terminate leases with two gun clubs that have shooting ranges on city property, one at Union Station, the other at Don Montgomery community centre.

Chao, who will head to Beijing this summer to compete for Canada at the Olympics, began shooting at Don Montgomery and now trains primarily at the Union range.

“When I heard about this city proposal today it just absolutely knocked the wind out of me,” Chao said yesterday.

The gun debate erupted on a day when provincial Attorney General Chris Bentley and Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci were writing to their federal counterparts, seeking co-operation on curbing firearm violence.

“As you know, the people of Ontario continue to have serious concerns about the threat posed by guns and gun-related crime in our communities, particularly on the streets of downtown Toronto,” Bentley and Bartolucci wrote in a five-page letter to federal Attorney General Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

Recommendations would apply to all firearms, including rifles and shotguns. But in a scrum with reporters, Miller directed most of his comments toward handguns.

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Tasering violated suspect’s rights, judge rules

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Emily Mathieu, The Toronto Star
May 27, 2008 04:30 AM

Local police forced man to lie on broken glass

A judge has ruled that city police used excessive force and violated the Charter rights of a young man who was Tasered and forced to lie face down on broken glass during an arrest in the city’s club district.

“I believe that the Taser’s implementation at that point was premature and excessive,” Justice William Bassel said yesterday.

Bassel said he was “mystified” why police would force a suspect, Irshad Ahmed, onto broken glass after stopping a car on Spadina Ave. in February 2006. “To continue prosecution against Ahmed for any charge flowing from events at Spadina would cause irreparable prejudice to the reputation of the administration of justice.”

Any evidence stemming from that event will not be allowed during proceedings, he ruled, “to foster and maintain respect in and for core Charter values.”

But charges stemming from an earlier confrontation between police and Ahmed and another young man will be upheld, he added.

Ahmed’s lawyer, Emma Rhodes, said: “We are going to review the judgment closely to see whether or not it is specific to these officers in this circumstance or whether it is a more troublesome incident.”

While he was still in the car, Ahmed called his lawyer on his cellphone, recording surrounding voices after he was lying on the ground including: “You f—ing lost. Don’t f— with us. I’ll break your f—ing ponytail.”

The tape was presented as evidence. All officers questioned denied saying or hearing the remarks.

Bassel called the verbal abuse “serious,” “distasteful” and “unprofessional” and said he found the collective denial of officers “disturbing.”

Bassel said Betty’s immediate cooperation to the threat of Tasering showed it was likely Ahmed would have done the same. Pepper spray would also have been a suitable alternative, he said.

“I think it goes without question that the police abused their power and that they were excessive in their force,” said Rhodes.

“One can only imagine where we would be if there wasn’t a tape recording so we are thankful that there was a tape recording made.”

Ahmed called being pushed onto glass a “horrible incident” that left him with several cuts on his face.

“I didn’t think police conducted themselves in that way and now I have another point of view.”

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“North American Parliament” Meets At Integration Forum

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Steve Watson,
May 27, 2008

Students trained in “sense of belonging to North America”

A simulation of a North American Parliament, designed to “develop the participants’ sense of belonging to North America” and “and promote the creation of North American academia networks” is currently taking place in Montreal.

100 selected students from universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico have been selected to take on the roles of Legislators, Journalists and Lobbyists, in the fourth annual Triumvirate of the North American Forum on Integration.

The meeting represents another example of an overarching movement on behalf of globalist business leaders and politicians to merge the three nations of North America into an EU like federation.

Participants at the Triumvirate discuss draft bills on issues such as trade corridors, immigration, NAFTA’s Chapter 11 and renewable energy.

While the meeting is billed as an exercise to debate these areas of policy, there is no simulated opposition to the overall agenda and the documents provided to participants represent little more than essays debunking opponents of NAFTA, attacking traders who do not adhere to a North American union model, presenting methods of control such as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative which considers biometric RFID cards for border crossings, and promoting the agenda of NAFI itself which it makes clear is to forge North American integration.

The Triumvirate also has its own Constitution and Participant’s handbook which calls for the creation of a “Trilateral Legislative Commission” and even outlines the need for more “secret meetings” (pg20-21) in the vain of the controversial Security and Prosperity Partnership.

“Legislators” are set the task of “representing a country other than their own” in a parliament at the federal level or at the state/provincial level. While “lobbyists” must ensure that the interests of their organization (assigned to them by NAFI) are upheld in drafted resolutions.

The Triumvirate even has its own mock newspaper, operated by the students playing the roles of journalists. According to NAFI, the TrilatHerald, “covers the developments and evolution of the debates, the press conferences, and interviews with conference speakers, legislators and lobbyists.”

This highlights the importance the architects of the North American union agenda place upon the role of the media. Public perception is key, reporting on the movement must be strictly framed to project a positive image and this is why the role of journalists is placed on a par with that of legislators and lobbyists by the organizers.

The main objectives of the Triumvirate are listed as:

* To bring future Canadian, American and Mexican leaders together in order to experience and take part in an international negotiation exercise.
* To allow participants to familiarize themselves with the functioning of democratic institutions as well as North American political, economic, environmental and social realities.
* To develop the participants’ sense of belonging to North America.
* To increase intercultural exchanges and promote the creation of North American academia networks.
* To inform the current decision makers of the priorities and concerns of North American youth.

Speakers at the meeting this year include Former Premier of Québec, Pierre Marc Johnson, Leader of the Bloc Québécois Gilles Duceppe, Dr. Ruby Dhalla Member of Parliament (Liberal Party) Member of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, and Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party.

The universities taking part this year include The State University of New York, Brigham Young University, University of Texas at Dallas, Universidad de Monterrey, Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México, University of Alberta, Arizona State University, Centre d’Études et de Recherche Internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM), University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Cincinnati.

According to their website, NAFI “aims to address the issues raised by North American integration as well as identify new ideas and strategies to reinforce the North American region,” and hold “NAFI organized conferences which brought together government and academic figures as well as business people.”

The first conference was held in Montreal in 2003, the second in 2004 in Mexico, of which was stated on the organization’s website: “About 200 participants and conference speakers took part in the conference, [including] former Energy Minister, Mr. Felipe Calderon,” the current President of Mexico.

The NAFI Triumvirate exercise first began in May 2005, shortly after the initial Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement was signed by President Bush, then-Mexican President Vicente Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas, on March 23.

The first Triumvirate took place in the Canadian Senate and was hosted by the Triumvirate president and former ambassador to both Mexico and the U.S Raymond Chrétien, the son of Jean Chrétien.

At the time NAFI authored a press release entitled “A North American Parliament is Born”.

“The creation of a North American parliament, such as the one being simulated by these young people, should be considered,” commented Chretien.

The board of directors of NAFI includes Stephen Blank, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Robert Pastor, vice chairman of the CFR Task Force on North America and professor and director of the Center for North American Studies at American University.

Pastor has previously testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the idea of merging the United States, Mexico and Canada in a North American union stretching from Prudhoe Bay to Guatemala.

Pastor, one of the architects of the plan for a regional government, has also authored a book titled “Toward a North American Community,” and speaks at confabs in front of governmental officials, promoting the adoption of the amero as a common monetary currency to replace the dollar and the peso.

In his role at the CFR, Pastor oversaw the publication of the 2005 CFR document called “Building a North American Community” which bragged that its recommendations are “explicitly linked” to SPP. The document called for establishing a “common perimeter” around North America by 2010, the development of a biometric North American border pass, and the adoption of a North American tariff.”

Further CFR documents have revealed that the group wants to “establish private bodies that would meet regularly or annually to buttress North American relationships, along the lines of the Bilderberg conferences.” (Bilderberg are the power brokers behind the formation of the EU and the single European currency)

The document presents itself as a blueprint for using bureaucratic action within the executive branches of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada to transform the current trilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America into a North American union regional government.

We have previously highlighted the role NAFI has played in identifying four bands of NAFTA corridors (Pacific, West, East and Atlantic), all relying primarily upon internationalizing north-south existing interstate highways into NAFTA trade corridors.

The NAFI website states the following:

“Following the implementation of NAFTA, coalitions of interest have been formed in order to promote specific transport channels, to develop the infrastructures of these channels and to propose jurisdictional amendments to facilitate the crossing of borders. These coalitions include businesses, government agencies, civil organizations, metropolitan areas, rural communities and also individuals, wishing to strengthen the commercial hubs of their regions.”

“The North American trade corridors are bi- or tri-national channels for which various cross-border interests have grouped together in order to develop or consolidate the infrastructures. The North American corridors are considered multimodal in the sense that they bring into play different modes of transport in succession.”

“The infrastructures may include roads, highways, transit routes, airports, pipelines, railways and train stations, river canal systems and port facilities, telecommunications networks and teleports.”

The architects of this unification are not just in name merging the agencies and the laws and the regulations, they are physically getting rid of the borders by buying off and lobbying the politicians at the state level, who then hand the roads and other public amenities over to international bodies and their subsidiary companies.

This is all being made possible by “public-private partnerships” under the stewardship of the SPP. These agreements are essentially Government-sanctioned monopolies that operate without Congressional oversight. PPP’s are contracts between public agencies and private entities that enable private sector participation in public amenities.

Most recently, a Spanish toll road operator won the right to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a 75-year lease in a $12.8 billion proposal, the largest ever bid for the private operation of a U.S. toll road.

The North American Integration agenda represents a final culling of what remaining power the people have, via democratic sovereign institutions. The SPP operates in stealth as an organized infrastructure outside the governmental framework of the three countries it encompasses, and is literally re-writing administrative law to “integrate” and “harmonize” the processes of government across the borders.

It constitutes the handing over of power to an unelected elite few, a gaggle of unaccountable bureaucrats whose strings are operated by global corporations and international banks.

Integration meetings such as the NAFI Triumvirate are simulations of the exact practices currently being undertaken by the SPP and it’s offshoot organizations. The NAFI Triumvirate is designed to familiarize “future Canadian, American and Mexican leaders” with the processes involved in such practices.

The simulated process mirrors the activities of entities such as the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), an advisory Council Comprised of 30 senior private sector representatives of North American corporations that were selected by the American, Canadian and Mexican governments at the June 2006 trilateral meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

Recently, internal memos from Canada’s Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade ministry revealed that heads of state of the U.S., Mexico and Canada beseeched business leaders at the NACC to launch public relations campaigns in order to counter critics of the SPP and the North American Union agenda.

However, the mainstream media will keep telling you the North American Union agenda is not real, that its on a par with invading space aliens and that if you believe in any of it you are totally crazy.

Full Story | See Also: | New bridge slated for Windsor-Detroit corridor: sources | Student Mock Parliament to be held in Montreal Parallels Integrationist Aims of SPP | Continental Business Lobby Releases List of Priorities for Government to Address at SPP Talks | North American ID card in the works through SPP | Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies | Consider a continental currency: Jarislowsky | Fraser Institute: The Case for the Amero

Over 100 complaints about access to govt. info on Afghan mission: report

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

CBC News
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More than 100 complaints related to requests for government information about Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan were registered with the country’s information watchdog in 2007-2008, according to its annual report.

Released Tuesday, the report details the first full year in office of Information Commissioner Robert Marleau, which was characterized by heavy debate about public access to government information – particularly in regard to the Afghan mission.

Among the notable cases mentioned, the report points to investigations involving the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which faced allegations of concealment, heavy censuring and political interference regarding information about human rights abuses of Afghan detainees.

It also singles out the Department of National Defence, which was accused of refusing to disclose information about detainees.

The commissioner’s office found there was no evidence foreign affairs officials had concealed an internal report on Afghan detainees or of political interference to suppress the information, chalking the problems up to administrative delays in processing the requests.

The probe of DND, however, revealed the department had created a potentially problematic group called the Tiger Team to vet all requests for information about the mission in Afghanistan.

“Concerns were raised that this additional layer of review was causing delays in responding in a timely fashion to requesters,” the commissioner’s report reads, “that the team was in fact deciding whether to release or withhold information rather than the access to information and privacy co-ordinator doing so, and that no information about the mission was being disclosed.”

The report said the number of new complaints received rose by 1,070, or 80 per cent, from the year before.

Full Story | See Also: Information lockdown: How Harper Controls the Spin | Tories kill access to information database

Government could have planted Couillard bug: former CSIS agent

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

CBC News
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday cast doubt on allegations someone planted electronic listening devices in the home of Maxime Bernier’s former girlfriend, Julie Couillard.

“I have absolutely no information that would suggest that is true,” Harper said in Paris, where he started a three-day European trip.

Couillard, the woman at the centre of the controversy that led to Maxime Bernier’s resignation as foreign affairs minister on Monday, said in a television interview that a private security firm found evidence that an electronic listening device had been removed from her bed.

“They came to my house and they swept my house to see if they could find any bugs. They could not find any bugs, but they definitely came to the professional conclusion that there was proof of a bug that [was] there that [had been] taken out,” Couillard said.

Speaking in question period Tuesday, government house leader Peter Van Loan was asked whether the RCMP or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) bugged Couillard’s home.

“I have no information … but I can tell you that this government is not in the business of investigating the private lives of private citizens,” said Van Loan.

Experts disagree on claim

Former Canadian intelligence agent and RCMP officer Michel Juneau-Katsuya, now a private consultant, told CBC News that if the allegations were true, the bug could have been planted by government security operatives.

Juneau-Katsuya said a government agency could have gone into damage control mode.

“It definitely could have been the government because here we need to know exactly what was going on,” he said, adding the agency could have been his own former employer, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Other security experts said they were dubious any listening devices had been planted.

“I think it’s somebody’s 15 minutes of fame, listening to her interviews on the thing,” said Reid Morden, a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

‘Not a biker chick’: Couillard

Couillard insisted she was doing the interview to re-establish her dignity and credibility after intense media scrutiny following revelations she had links to Quebec bikers. “I’ve never been accused of any criminal wrongdoing,” she said. “I am definitely not a biker’s chick.”

Couillard lived with Gilles Giguère, a well-known Montreal crime figure, for three years beginning in 1993. He was gunned down in 1996 when he decided to become a police informer after being arrested with a cache of submachine guns and marijuana.

Couillard insisted that Giguère was not a biker and only knew Bob Savard, who knew Hells Angels kingpin Maurice (Mom) Boucher.

In 1997, she began dating and later married Stéphane Sirois, who admitted to being an enforcer for the Rockers, a Hells Angels puppet club. He later turned informant and testified against a dozen of his former colleagues in a 2002 trial.

Full Story | See Also: Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach | Harper shrugs off new concerns about minister’s ex-flame

Every adult in Britain should be forced to carry ‘carbon ration cards’, say MPs

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

David Derbyshire, The Daily Mail
Last updated at 1:08 AM on 27th May 2008

Every adult should be forced to use a ‘carbon ration card’ when they pay for petrol, airline tickets or household energy, MPs say.

The influential Environmental Audit Committee says a personal carbon trading scheme is the best and fairest way of cutting Britain’s CO2 emissions without penalising the poor.

Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.

Anyone who exceeds their entitlement would have to buy top-up credits from individuals who haven’t used up their allowance. The amount paid would be driven by market forces and the deal done through a specialist company.

MPs, led by Tory Tim Yeo, say the scheme could be more effective at cutting greenhouse gas emissions than green taxes.

But critics say the idea is deeply flawed. The scheme would penalise those living in the countryside who were dependent on their cars, as well as the elderly or housebound who need to heat their homes in the day.

Large families would suffer, as would those working at nights when little public transport is available.

It would need to take into account the size of families, and their ages. There is huge potential for fraud.

Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said the cards would be hugely unpopular. ‘The Government has shown itself incapable of managing any huge, complex IT system.’ he said.

How the Scheme Would Work

Every adult in the UK would be given an annual carbon dioxide allowance in kgs and a special carbon card.

The scheme would cover road fuel, flights and energy bills.

Every time someone paid for road fuel, flights or energy, their carbon account would be docked.

A litre of petrol would use up 2.3kg in carbon, while every 1.3 miles of airline flight would use another 1kg.

When paying for petrol, the card would need to swiped at the till. It would be a legal offence to buy petrol without using a card.

When paying online, or by direct debit, the carbon account would be debited directly.

Anyone who doesn’t use up their credits in a year can sell them to someone who wants more credits. Trading would be done through specialist companies.

Full Story | See Also: CEOs call for ‘aggressive’ action on climate change