Saturday, September 22, 2007

a letter from The Daily News


During a recent trip home to Cape Breton, I was stunned to learn of the government's decision to permit hundreds of acres of wetlands, forests and picturesque landscape to be strip mined for - of all things - low-grade, high-sulphur coal. I was dumbfounded to realize that in an area rich with tourism- development potential, the government would literally permit its destruction. I look forward to one day returning to the area and spending my retirement dollars where I grew up. However, if the government doesn't reverse its plan to "strip" Cape Breton, I fear what might remain.Has the government given careful consideration to the economic impact of their decision to allow strip mining? Surely, any benefits cannot exceed the ruinous impact to local business, tourism and the environment. In an area so rich with beachfronts, fossils and wetland attractions, the tourism, economic and natural-energy potential is limitless.Why doesn't local government strive to become a regional leader in tourism and the development of sustainable energies, instead of strip-mined coal? What is their true motivation in allowing strip mining? It's time for the government to stand for something - or fall for anything.
Raylene MacLeod

[My comment: People in the government of Nova Scotia profit from the destruction of Cape Breton Island ecosystems and communities. People on the island have been given a Bantu education (a la apartheid South Africa), and any alternatives to government-managed education and health care have been knocked down. Cape Bretoners are being rendered insensitive to the real ecological needs of their communities - according to the malicious and profiteering plans of the mainland government. My own community is being destroyed by a open surface gravel mine. The mine is located where there once was a grove of pine trees that was a place of solace for my grandfather. We've been here seven generations, but the level of ecological destruction is now almost unbearable. Cape Bretoners need to be able to make decisions to protect their ecosystems, if we are to have any kind of future at all.]

Friday, September 14, 2007

UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights

[I found this in my inbox this morning. I think many people in Canada will agree with this message. The Government of Canada behaved immorally, and did not represent me, when they voted "no" to the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.]

As Chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation I agree that not voting for and not signing the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights has embarrassed Canada internationally. But the reality is that in Canada violations of human rights have been happening under successive governments despite the fact that Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1982, the Right to Property was taken out of the original draft of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because the Trudeau Government understood that including the Right to Property as a Charter Right would have significantly increased the onus on the courts to recognize the property rights of the original owners of the land, the indigenous people. A right to property in Canadian domestic law would therefore put in jeopardy the continued theft of the resources from the original owners.

Canada and the United States are two of the wealthiest countries in the world and it is no secret that the resource wealth was stolen from the indigenous people of North America with extreme prejudice. Canada and the United States have a combined land mass of over 7.5 million square miles. It is no wonder that the governments of both these countries would vote against the international justice of recognizing indigenous people as a people with inherent rights.

If the Liberal Party of Canada wants real justice and are not just playing party politics, the introduction in parliament of an amendment to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to property would go a long way to finally recognize the interational obligation that Canada has to support in domestic law, article 17 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Until that is done, the reality is that the 3 million barrels of oil produced by Canada each and every day, is still stolen from indigenous people. More than 60 different metals and minerals mined in Canada produces wealth, but without any legal recognition of royalties or any payment of royalties for the original owners of the resources.

In Canada, the indigenous people are still at the 63rd level of the United Nations international living index while at the same time Canadians enjoy being the ninth richest country in the world with a Gross Domestic Product of over one trillion US dollars per year. We, as the indigenous people of these lands, are not surprised by the vote, just disappointed by the continued international reputation of Canada and the United States as being bastions of human rights.

- Chief Terrance Nelson

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

GM Watch

The GM Watch website was recently forced offline for nearly a week as a result of legal threats over this article calling for an award winning scientific paper to be retracted:

GM Watch's response to AgBioView's attack:,

Biotech Canada SLAPP Scandal:
Canada attacks Ireland's policy on GM crops:

... and furthermore: