The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

DESMOGBLOG, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

 

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protest camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.mikmaq

The Unist’ot’en clan continues to hold their ground along these GPS coordinates today. Not coincidentally, they are members of a nation that took its assertions of jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in 1997, establishing in Canadian case law the underlying proprietary interest of Indigenous peoples to their unceded lands.

Continue reading

Canada: The Settler Colonial-Security State’s Eyes on the First Nations

[The colonial suppression of indigenous peoples is at the foundation of settler-colonial states from Azania, Polynesia, Palestine, and on and on from South Asia to and through the Western Hemisphere.  At the foundation, and continuing, without respite.  Here, a report on the surveillance and efforts to suppress the risings anew of the First Nations in the land the settlers call Canada. — Frontlines ed.]

CSIS, Aboriginal Affairs kept close watch on First Nations protest movement

 Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Stephen Spencer Davis, Canada.com

Published: August 11, 2013

A federal department and the country’s spy agency closely monitored the activities of the aboriginal “Idle No More” movement in late 2012 and early 2013, with the intelligence agency claiming it was doing so not over fear of protests getting out of hand, but to protect the activists from potential violence by others.

A series of “weekly situational awareness reports” from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada reveals a rigorous cataloguing of Idle No More’s activities.

Each report begins: “This is a weekly report that provides current information and the status of activities that threaten public safety in relation to issues affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.” Continue reading

Greek opponents of Eldorado mine take message to company’s Canadian HQ: ‘Leave us alone’

Anti-gold mining protest — Halkidiki, March 25, 2013

More than 3.000 people chanting slogans against Eldorado Gold marched three kilometres from the village of Megali Panagia to the location where the first clash of anti-mining protestors with the riot police took place one year ago. This was the last in a series of powerful demonstrations against gold mining that took place in the last couple of weeks in Alexandroupoli, Komotini and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, where an unprecedented 20.000 people chanted “Eldorado Gold go away now!”.

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Greek activists outside Eldorado's Vancouver headquarters May 31. [Photo: Greek activists outside Eldorado’s Vancouver headquarters May 31 / David P. Ball.]

Greek villagers brought their region’s fierce battle against Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold to the firm’s headquarters Friday, marking the end of the activists’ cross-Canada tour opposing open-pit gold mining in their homeland.

Over the past year, a growing conflict in Greece’s Halkidiki region — birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle –has seen thousands of residents blockade roads, raid mine sites, and skirmish with police they say are corrupt and beholden to the company. Another demonstration brought 20,000 protesters to the streets of Thessaloniki.

“Our will will not be curbed,” said Maria Kadoglou, a resident of Ierissos village, Greece. “We will keep on fighting until Eldorado Gold goes away.” Continue reading

First Nations lead the way in Victoria protest against pipelines and oil sands

October 23rd, 2012
First Nations are leading the way in British Columbia’s opposition to pipelines, tankers and exploitation of the climate damaging oil sands

Protesters trickled in like salmon heading home—a few signs on the Canada Line at 5:30 in the morning, a big line up at the Bridgeport bus stop, a ferry full of protesters, all ages, a few costumes, lots of signs. I asked a man on the ferry if he planned on committing civil disobedience. “They’re having trouble figuring out what to do,” he said. “They’ve been given permission to protest on the lawn. Now they’re thinking about driving stakes into the lawn because that’s illegal.”

Eric Boyum, an eco-tourism operator in the Great Bear Rainforest offered a ride to several of us so we could avoid the over packed buses in Schwartz Bay. Boyum stated that tankers would destroy his business, Ocean Adventures, without an oil spill.

“The tankers would travel right through where I operate. They won’t be attractive to tourists.” Protecting his business is not his primary motivation.

“The First Nations in the area are like family to me,” he said. “They’ve subsisted there for thousands of years. Tankers are the biggest threat to their way of life that they’ve ever had.” He also feels responsible for the natural world. “Someone has to speak out for the animals,” he said. “The whales, bears and salmon don’t have a voice in this, but we can fight for them.” Continue reading

Filipino-Canadian internationalists declare: Migrants are inseparable from the Canadian working class struggle

[Hundreds of millions of migrants worldwide, driven and displaced from their homelands by brutal repression, hunger, trafficking, and other crushing forms of oppression, are major parts of the exploited workforces in their new homes, where they continue to suffer racist and xenophobic attacks, brutalities, and exclusions in new conditions.  Historically, the struggle against such conditions has been framed by resistance to the oppressive treatment of migrants, by solidarity among migrants of different origins, and by steadfast support for the struggles in their homelands.  But, in time, these migrants have brought their anger and resistance–and their experience in struggle–into the peoples movements and class struggles in their new lands of residence, where they play an ever increasing role as transnationals in raising the banners of resistance, internationalism, and revolution.  Now, in Canada, an organized group of Filipino-Canadians, has announced their unity with a Maoist Canadian Party, the PCR-RCP (not to be confused with the RCP-USA which has no organizational or political commonality with the Canadian group).
    We are not able to assess other aspects of the Filipino-Canadian group, or of the PCR-RCP at this time; but we think this announcement is a potentially important development and crosssing of a threshold, in the relations between migrants and working class forces–not only in Canada, but in every country where significant migrant forces endure exploitation and oppression, and whose resistance is reshaping the class struggle to reshape the world in revolutionary and internationalist ways. — Frontlines ed.]
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http://theredflag.ca

Filipino Canadian Proletarians Join Forces With the PCR-RCP!
Partisan #25 • August 24, 2012

We, the Filipino Canadian Proletarian Committee of Cote-des-Neiges,
Montréal have announced our intention to add our forces to the
growing strength of the Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire –
Revolutionary Communist Party (Canada). The leadership and contributions
of the PCR-RCP are to be found in the building of the proletarian
movement that is needed in Canada and the necessary international
communist movement and it is with revolutionary pride and social
responsibility to the Canadian working class that Filipino Canadian
proletarians based in the west end of Montréal join the dynamism of
their Marxist-Leninist-Maoist comrades.

Since the 1970s there has been a rich revolutionary movement among the
Filipino Canadian proletariat, largely because of the solidarity built
around the struggle against Marcos’ dictatorship in the Philippines.
Through the 1980s and 1990s and early 2000s support and solidarity work
by Filipino Canadian comrades continued for the Philippine revolutionary
movement. As the consciousness of Filipino Canadian proletariat
continued to be raised about the struggle “back home” there was
a growing need to resolve the issues of the Filipino Canadian people as
part of Canadian working class. Continue reading

Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

A draconian law to quell demonstrations has only galvanised public support for young Quebecois protesting tuition fee hikes

, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24 May 2012

Thousands of demonstrators march to mark the 100th day of a student strike against tuition hikes in Montreal, Quebec, 22 May 2012. Photograph: Olivier Jean/Reuters

At a tiny church tucked away in a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal’s east end, Quebec’s new outlaws gathered on Sunday for a day of deliberations. Aged mostly between 18 and 22, their membership in a progressive student union has made them a target of government scorn and scrutiny. And they have been branded a menace to society because of their weapons: ideas of social justice and equal opportunity in education, alongside the ability to persuade hundreds of thousands to join them in the streets.

Under a draconian law passed by the Quebec government on Friday, their very meeting could be considered a criminal act. Law 78 – unprecedented in recent Canadian history – is the latest, most desperate manoeuvre of a provincial government that is afraid it has lost control over a conflict that began as a student strike against tuition hikes but has since spread into a protest movement with wide-ranging social and environmental demands.

Labelled a “truncheon law” by its critics, it imposes severe restrictions on the right to protest. Any group of 50 or more protesters must submit plans to police eight hours ahead of time; they can be denied the right to proceed. Picket lines at universities and colleges are forbidden, and illegal protests are punishable by fines from $5,000 to $125,000 for individuals and unions – as well as by the seizure of union dues and the dissolution of their associations.

In other words, the government has decided to smash the student movement by force.

The government quickly launched a public relations offensive to defend itself. Full-page ads in local newspapers ran with the headline: “For the sake of democracy and citizenship.” Quebec’s minister of public security, Robert Dutil, prattled about the many countries that have passed similar laws:

“Other societies with rights and freedoms to protect have found it reasonable to impose certain constraints – first of all to protect protesters, and also to protect the public.”

Such language is designed to make violence sound benevolent and infamy honourable. But it did nothing to mask reality for those who have flooded the streets since the weekend and encountered police emboldened by the new legislation. Riot squads beat and tear-gassed people indiscriminately, targeted journalists, pepper-sprayed bystanders in restaurants, and mass-arrested hundreds, including more than 500 Wednesday night – bringing the tally from the last three months of protest to a record Canadian high of more than 2,500. The endless night-time drone of helicopters has become the serenade song of a police state. Continue reading

On Day 100 of student strikes, Montreal protest goes international

Several thousand people gather in Montreal on May 22, 2012 to protest against legislation setting rules for protests and promising stiff financial penalties for transgressors.

By Myles Dolphin, THE CANADIAN PRESS, Calgary Herald,  May 22, 2012

MONTREAL — A river of red-clad protesters is rippling through downtown Montreal on this, the 100th day of Quebec’s student strikes, with smaller events being held in other cities.

Parallel events are being held in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and New York. In Paris, a few hundred supporters, including many Quebecers, congregated near the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

In New York City, two demonstrations were scheduled Tuesday: one at Rockefeller Plaza where Quebec government offices are located, and another at Washington Park in the evening.

Organized by the Occupy Wall Street movement and by the group Strike Everywhere, the first New York event was designed to raise awareness about the Quebec protests while the second was about opposing anti-protest laws all over the world.

The events came several days after the Quebec government introduced a law setting rules for protests and promising stiff financial penalties for transgressors — a move that appears to have fanned the flames of the Quebec student movement.

“An increase in the powers of police and the state anywhere is an attack on us everywhere,” said the release for the New York event.

Within Canada, organizers of the Calgary gathering described Quebec’s law as draconian, and encouraged people to meet in support of Quebec students.

There are other hints the student unrest could spread outside the province. The Canadian Federation of Students wants to call an Ontario-wide strike vote this fall in a show of solidarity with Quebec students. Continue reading