Sunday, 23 August 2015

new blogs

Two new blogs to bring to your attention: 

the first, a celebration of our local collective, the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast. Watch this site for a review of past accomplishments and occasional updates, showcase of work from collective members, and links to the blogs and sites of participating artists.

second, a new blog for my own whimsical thoughts and artistic impulses, joanne arnott too.

Here I am at Queen Charlotte City library, posing beside a poster that features a book that i wrote, another that i edited, and two more by friends: a happy find!

top, logo by Russell Wallace
below, A Campbell photo

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Aaron Paquette: real, positive, and lasting change

Art work by Aaron Paquette | Image source: Aaron Paquette
MM: Why should Native Peoples vote or get involved in Canadian politics?
AP: The Original Peoples are involved in politics from the moment they first draw breath in this world. As we saw with the Idle No More movement and the government’s refusal to even talk about Bill C-45, we can shout from the sidelines all we want but will not be heard. There are a few ways to get around this. One is the slow and careful process of lawsuits, petitions, protests, appeals, and so on. Another is what we see happen in moments of frustration: roadblocks, sit-ins, sabotage. But it’s the third way that holds the most hope – that we engage in the process. Look, you can get involved in Canadian society, still retain your culture and identity yet have the opportunity to make real, positive, and lasting change. Personally, I like the third way. Get involved. Be the legislator instead of the perpetually legislated against.
Aaron Paquette, Edmonton-Manning, photo: Amanda Freistadt
full list of indigenous candidates:

Sunday, 2 August 2015

here we go again

As one of the +1400 Canadians who made formal complaints after being targetted for fraudulent misdirection at voting time in 2011, I'm disappointed the media allowed the story to become solely focused on Guelph, overlooking those of us at home in the other 246 electoral districts.* I am not sure how many more Canadians received robocalls, without formally registering protest/indignation.

Given that I do not belong to any political party, the only way my personal information might have arrived on the "voter kill list" that Conservative backroom strategists employed in making the calls would have been by writing to my duly elected representative, Alice Wong, and/or other MPs and ministers with whom I engaged in correspondence. 

The profound hostility I experienced had a definite chill on my willingness to engage in public discussion or debate, although thankfully the misdirection did not disrupt my household in voting.

Although I wrote to Ms Wong, Stephen Harper and others to request clarification (how my contact information ended up in Conservative Party lists, how I became marked as a public enemy/sub-citizen ripe for target practice), I did not receive any assurance that the elected politicians would work to prevent the misuse of the electoral list in future elections.**

With the new electoral boundaries, I am no longer involved with Ms Wong's political future. But I still do have questions unanswered.

*The Commissioner has received complaints from more than 1,400 electors in 247 electoral districts, who report having received calls misdirecting or misinforming them with respect to their correct polling station, or calls they described as rude, harassing or annoying, received at an inopportune time of day or on multiple occasions. This includes 252 complainants from the electoral district of Guelph.

**A code of conduct for political entities

In order to increase electors' confidence in the electoral process and in political parties, consideration should be given to the development of codes of conduct applicable to political parties, their officials, candidates, other affiliated entities such as electoral district associations, and active supporters. These codes would be developed by the parties, with Elections Canada's assistance if required.

Another means of increasing Canadian electors' confidence in the political process and political parties (particularly as regards political entities' use of their personal information), which garnered a broad consensus from the panel of experts consulted by Elections Canada, is the development of a code of ethics or code of conductFootnote 49 for political parties – one to which they would either voluntarily adhere or that could be mandated through legislation.

more info: 

2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal

Friday, 3 July 2015

Shoal Lake 40: Road to Reconciliation

Rick Harp
Personal campaign All or nothing  Winnipeg, CA

To raise the $10 million Ottawa refuses to invest in new access road essential to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation's future, a road that'd finally make it possible to treat and enjoy their own water—the very water that's nourished Winnipeggers for 100 years. See the whole story

What's the goal?

The goal here is to collectively raise the $10 million Ottawa refuses to invest in the all-weather access road essential to the survival and viability of the people of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. It's a road that, if built, would help make it possible for them to finally enjoy what generations of Winnipeggers have had for a century—access to clean drinking water.
Winnipeggers past and present are asked to consider the true source of 'their' water, and the costs to those displaced by its diversion to the city roughly 140 kilometres away. For there is no way we in Winnipeg should get to readily drink, cook and bathe with that water while the people of Shoal Lake cannot, a sad and unjust state of affairs the Free Press recently described as "an indictment of [our] indifference."
That is why what the federal government won't do—unlike other levels of government, who, to their credit, say they will contribute to the road's construction—it seems we as individuals must collectively step forward and do ourselves. Think of it as an opportunity to perform a true act of reconciliation, one with the potential to give life to the recent recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. An act that would help honour a debt one hundred years in the making.

Monday, 8 June 2015

three sketches ~ TRC

CTV National News: Inside a residential school
A look inside one of the last remaining residential schools, which was reclaimed by a First Nations community. Jill Macyshon reports.

On a day when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report into residential school abuses, survivors remember a painful past.

Two woman bound by their connection to a N.S. residential school react to the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission