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June 6, 2018 - Vol. 7 No.10

June 7 Election

Go All Out to Vote Small Party or Independent in the June 7 Election!
Make Your Vote a Statement for
Democratic Renewal! 

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June 7 Election
Go All Out to Vote Small Party or Independent in the June 7 Election! Make Your Vote a Statement for Democratic Renewal!
Battle for the Anti-Ford Vote
Advance Poll Use Increases
Information for Election Day, June 7

New Windsor-Detroit Bridge
Subservience to U.S. Interests in the Name of National Security - Enver Villamizar

Speaking Out In Northern Ontario
Huron-Robinson Treaty Annuity Case Final Arguments Begin in Sudbury
Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek Holds Traditional Gathering on Road to North American Palladium Mine
Another Example of Incoherence in Northern Ontario Transportation



June 7 Election

Go All Out to Vote Small Party or
Independent in the June 7 Election!
Make Your Vote a Statement for Democratic Renewal!

In this election working people have been discussing their demands and concerns. They have held forums, open mics, all-candidates meetings and are taking other initiatives to lay their claims. This election, lawn signs defend the right to health care, education and other social programs that are under attack by governments.

Large numbers of people are aware of the problem that when it comes to voting they do not have an alternative in the parties that are presented as the only options. Electors are put between a rock and a hard place, knowing that the promises and platforms of the parties are not serious indicators of what they are going to do if elected. They can only hope that their actions might convince whoever forms government to follow through. This is the problem everyone faces as a result of an electoral system that brings party governments to power. We are told that to vote for anyone other than someone whose party has a chance to form government, or at the very least to get elected, is a wasted vote.

Then we are supposed to hope that among those the powers-that-be have decided have a chance to win, we should try to influence one or all of them to address "our issues." Yet, large numbers of people also try to empower themselves and think small party and independent candidates better represent them. These candidates bring forward their views in very difficult conditions of media blackouts. They recognize that the parties that are in government do not represent the people's concerns and many run in the election to represent those concerns. They deserve our support.

The cartel parties and their media try to impose an atmosphere where even discussing anything outside of the agenda they and their marketing agencies set is deemed a waste of time. What they do not want discussed are the concerns of the people and how to make sure the rights of all are upheld by government. In this regard, a central matter of concern is the lack of representation because of the division imposed on the polity between those who govern and those who are governed and have no say. This makes those who govern unaccountable, despite the choice given to electors to boot them out in the next election. Small party and independent candidates challenge the privileged status of the so-called major parties while everyone else, including the electorate, are marginalized as spectators spectators of those who really make the decisions.

A break must be made with this system and the way it blocks people from thinking an alternative is possible. The alternative in this election is to cast your vote for a small party or independent to make the statement that you want MPPs who represent your concerns. This is a stand for the democratic renewal of the electoral process. Make your vote count by voting small party or independent. Empower Yourself Now!

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Battle for the Anti-Ford Vote

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne addressed the media on June 2 and made it clear that she concedes that she will not be the next Premier. She proceeded to call for people to elect as many Liberal MPPs as possible in order to prevent a majority government. While she spoke about stopping both a "risky" PC majority and an NDP majority, she said her emphasis was on those who have voted Liberal in the past and might consider voting NDP to defeat the PCs.

"Let's step back and figure out how we do this and figure out [a] way to keep the province moving forward without majority government that will take us down the right path.

"There are a lot of people who voted Liberal in past who want a change. They are not necessarily comfortable voting NDP and worried what the NDP might do. That's one of [the] groups I'm talking to. We know that we're not going to form government, I'm not going to be Premier, we need Liberal MPPs to ensure there isn't a majority."

Later she said "I'm trying to lay out the situation as honestly as I can."

Wynne's announcement came a day after NDP leader Andrea Horwath spoke in Toronto in the riding of Don Valley West where Kathleen Wynne is the incumbent and appealed for those who want change to vote for the NDP. "One thing is certain: Ontarians will elect a new premier to replace Kathleen Wynne."

"The choice is between me and Doug Ford, (and) to those who have voted Liberal in the past, I invite you to join us to stop Doug Ford and vote for the kind of change that Ontario needs." Horwath said.

This is not the case. The real choice is between the so-called major parties and a vote which represents the demand for the electoral process to be renewed by voting for small parties or independents or, in the event this is not an option, to decline your ballot. The ruling class wants stable government to do its bidding. Whoever is elected, the working people of Ontario will have to intervene to hold them to account. They will have to continue empowering themselves by laying the claims which they must and in this way taking measures to empower themselves directly.

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Advance Poll Use Increases

An estimated 768,895 out of 10.2 million eligible voters voted in advance polls between May 26 and June 1 Elections Ontario reports. This is an increase of almost 19 per cent from the 2014 Ontario general election when 647,261 voted in advance.

Elections Ontario notes that for the first time electors used e-Poll books and vote tabulators for advance voting and that as a result advance voting locations experienced shorter wait times. They also note that on June 7, election day, 50 per cent of polls will have electronic vote tabulators and e-Polls books serving 90 per cent of electors.

According to Global News, Kingston and The Islands had the highest advance poll turnout in the province with 11,644, up from the last election by close to 2,000. This riding was followed by Simcoe-Grey with 10,270, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke with 9,938, Orleans with 9,675 and Guelph with 9,477. The rest of the top 10 were: Simcoe North, Northumberland-Peterborough South, Ottawa Centre, Toronto Danforth and Burlington, without numbers provided.

According to the website tooclosetocall.ca the top 10 ridings with the biggest increase in advance turnout are: Kitchener South-Hespeler, Brampton West, Markham-Unionville, Brampton South, Aurora-Oak Ridges, Markham-Soutffville, University-Rosedale, Davenport, Etobicoke-North and Toronto-Danforth. The site informs that the list continues with "other 416 and 905 ridings mostly."

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Information for Election Day, June 7

Election Day is tomorrow, June 7. Polls are open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm in the Eastern Time Zone and from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm for the Central Time Zone. Any Canadian citizen who is a resident of Ontario and at least 18 years of age is eligible to vote.

Under Ontario's Election Act, electors are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off to vote during polling hours without a reduction in pay, if their work schedule does not already provide three consecutive hours of time off. If time off is to be given during the work day, the time is to be determined by the employer.

Those who are on the list of electors should have received a voter information card from Elections Ontario giving the poll location where they should vote.

If someone has not received a voter information card, the poll location can be found using the "Voter Information Service" on the Elections Ontario home page (www.elections.on.ca), which also provides the list of candidates in the riding.

Identification must be presented to vote. Elections Ontario explains that:

"What identification you need to bring will depend on whether you are on the Voters List.

"If your name IS on the Voters List:

"- You must show one piece of identification that has your name on it. Your name as shown on the piece of identification must match your name on the Voters List.

"If your name is NOT on the Voters List:

"- You must show one piece of identification that has your name and current residential address.

"You can use an original identification document, a photocopy of an identification document, or an electronic copy displayed on a mobile device. This includes utility bills received electronically."

The above requirements apply to students who are living away from home and wish to vote in the riding where they live to go to school.

If an elector is homeless/lacks a permanent address, they can still vote. They can give the address of the service provider they have used the most frequently in the past five weeks as their address, e.g., a drop-in centre, food bank or shelter. Elections Ontario then works with the service providers to provide a Certificate of Identity and Residence to help the elector meet the voting requirements.

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New Windsor-Detroit Bridge

Subservience to U.S. Interests in
the Name of National Security

The Trudeau government is again raising "national security" and Canadian "sovereignty" to mask services the Canadian and Ontario governments are providing to U.S. interests in the construction of the new Windsor-Detroit bridge. It is similar to how the Trudeau government agreed to indemnify Kinder Morgan's investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline in the name of defending the "national interest."

The U.S. considers the existing bridge, and any new crossing and related infrastructure, to be part of its "critical infrastructure" and under its control. This means it alone decides who will build the bridge and with what materials, despite the crossing, the plaza and feeder roads on the Detroit side being financed completely by the Canadian and Ontario governments with public funds. (The U.S. portion of funding is to be recouped in the future through tolls.)

In addition, legislation passed last year by the Canadian government permits U.S. pre-clearance facilities to be built on Canadian lands leading to the Ambassador Bridge. These facilities will place U.S. security agents and facilities in Windsor clearing goods destined for the U.S. Currently, 25 per cent of all Canada-U.S. trade passes through the existing Ambassador Bridge.

On May 5 it was reported that Canadian construction monopoly Aecon Group Inc. had withdrawn its participation in a team bid to construct the new $4.8 billion Gordie Howe Windsor-Detroit Bridge crossing.[1] Aecon had announed in October 2017 that it was to be acquired by Chinese construction firm CCCI. U.S. government officials said they would not have allowed Aecon to bid on the Windsor-Detroit bridge project due to its links to China, the Globe and Mail reports.

On May 23 the federal government announced that it was blocking CCCI's takeover of Aecon Group Inc. on "national security grounds." Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters, "One can easily look at the example from similar investments in Australia where the Australians suddenly realized they had a significant portion of their energy grid owned and controlled by a government that is not their own." He added that, "There are always going to be concerns about the ability of a country to continue to protect and deliver essential services to its citizens in a way that enhances and maintains their own sovereignty." He cited the "work that our intelligence and security agencies do and they made a very clear recommendation that proceeding with this transaction was not in the national-security interests of Canada."

Thus it seems that the U.S., considering the Windsor crossing solely its domain and its critical infrastructure, has acted accordingly to remove Aecon from bidding on the new bridge because its links to China compromised U.S. national security. Yet the Trudeau government can claim that its activities to serve U.S. "national security" interests are in fact upholding Canadian sovereignty!

A decision on who will build the bridge and associated facilities on both sides of the border is expected to be made within the next two months by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. The authority is chaired by former Ontario Finance Minister and former Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan, who was appointed to the post by the Trudeau government after it came to power.

A final contract with financial terms will then be negotiated and is slated to be in place this fall with construction to be launched soon afterwards.

Canadians and Ontarians should reject the country being tied to the U.S. war machine. They should refuse to be drawn into the contention of U.S. private monopolies with China and reject the attempt to present this contention as a matter of "national security" and upholding Canada's "national security and sovereignty." All of it is to cover up the crucial issues of who decides and whose interests are served. Certainly it is not the working people of Ontario. Working through what is really going on with the construction of the Windsor-Detroit bridge is another example of how working people need to analyze the issues being put before them, so as not to get embroiled in taking sides in fights that others have set which do not serve workers' interests. The key issue is for working people to sort out how to empower themselves so that they can be the decision-makers in all matters that affect them.

Note

1. Aecon is also a partner in the the $2.7-billion refurbishment of Ontario's Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, and is building the massive Site C hydroelectric dam in BC.

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Huron-Robinson Treaty Annuity Case
Final Arguments Begin in Sudbury


Overflow room during hearing of Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) Annuity case.

Final arguments for the Robinson Huron Treaty (RHT) Annuity case began June 4 in Sudbury. Twenty-one Anishinabek First Nations have taken the federal and provincial governments to court to uphold the "augmentation" clause contained in the 1850 Treaty. The case, being heard before Justice Patricia Hennessey of the Ontario Superior Court, has been in court since September 2017. It opened in Thunder Bay, continued in Garden River near Sault Ste. Marie where the treaties were signed, then in Little Current and is concluding in Sudbury. The case is being heard in conjunction with another case involving the Robinson Superior Treaty. The annuity has not been increased from four dollars per person per year since 1874.

The first day of the current round of hearings was well attended. More than forty Elders and concerned individuals packed the courtroom. Two busloads of Grade 7 and 8 students from Sagamok First Nation, who came to learn the history of their ancestors and to participate in the making of history today, filled the Overflow Room. The hearings are also being livestreamed so that residents of First Nations from Georgian Bay to west of Lake Superior could view the proceedings live. Anishinaabe Elders led a ceremonial procession into the courtroom and performed a Staff Ceremony to inaugurate the proceedings.

The case is the first time a court case is being heard on both the merits of Canadian Law and Anishinaabe Law. RHT Lawyer David Nahwegahbow says, "The treaty has two parties to it, the Crown has its own laws and unfortunately, the Crown has predominated in that relationship and British and Canadian Common Law has sort of taken over ... We want to make sure that Anishinaabe Law is well recognized and that the court hears the important historical context at the time and that the court understands what Anishinaabe Law is."

"The Crown's version of common interest does not provide the Anishawbek with any real benefits under the treaty," said Joseph Arvay, another Anishawbek lawyer. "In fact, the Crown's version of the common interest undermines the very interest the Anishnawbek had in drawing up a treaty in the first place ... Conversely, there is nothing in the Anishnawbek's version of the common interest that in any way undermines the Crown's interest and obligations in having the treaty. Our version of common interest advances the interests of both parties. Our version of common interest is a win-win. The Crown's version of common interest only addresses the interests of the Crown in the case of heads, I win, tails you lose."

"The Anishnawbek saw treaties as a way of building relationships to ensure their ability to grow and thrive in a sometimes changing world," Arvay said. "It was really the Crown that needed treaties more than the Anishnawbek ... In our view, treaties are sacred and permanent and they are made to last. They must maintain their meaning ... We say the meaning of the augmentation clause is fairly simple ... The augmentation clause provided that the Crown would increase the annuity if the revenues increased from the territory, if the Crown was able to do so without incurring loss."

The Canadian and Ontario Governments have refused any augmentation of the annuity paid under the Robinson treaties in spite of the ravages of inflation and the increase in the wealth that has been extracted from the Lake Huron and Lake Superior watersheds. The new Ontario government elected June 7 will have an opportunity to make amends for past injustices and to negotiate a principled and honourable solution.

The remaining hearing dates are June 4-8, June 14-15 (with a possibility for June 13) and June 18-22. A ruling will follow the final arguments in the coming months. If a settlement is not reached, the process will enter Phase Two in the spring of 2019.

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Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek Holds Traditional Gathering on Road to North American Palladium Mine

Members of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek -- Gull Bay First Nation (KZA-GBFN), located 100 kilometers north of Thunder Bay on the western shores of Lake Nipigon, have been holding a traditional gathering on the access road to North American Palladium (NAP)'s Lac Des Iles Mine running through KZA-GBFN's traditional territory. The traditional gathering, located on the turnoff to the mine off Highway 527, began May 31. KZA-GBFN chief Wilfred King said the community will continue to exercise its inherent rights to its traditional territory until NAP complies with a list of demands. KZA-GBFN say that their community has failed to benefit from the palladium mine and that the company has not shown respect for their concerns. "This mine operates right in the core of our territory," KZA-GBFN Chief Wilfred King said. "We're here to show the mine and also all parties, that this operation impacts Gull Bay. We're here to assert and claim our rights to the territory."

KZA-GBFN is one of the First Nations that has taken the Canadian and Ontario Governments to court to obtain an augmentation in the $4 per person annuity that is paid to the descendants of the signatories of the Robinson Treaties. KZA-GBFN has also filed another suit alleging that the KZA-GBFN reserve was improperly surveyed. KZA-GBFN filed a claim against Canada and Ontario in Superior Court in 2016. KZA-GBFN wants redress for a mistake made in calculating the size of the reserve when the First Nation signed the Robinson-Superior Treaty in 1850. KZA-GBFN says that their reserve was surveyed in miles, where they understood the unit of measurement to be the league of the French colonialists, which is equal to three miles. KZA-GBFN is only four square miles in area but should have been four square leagues (nine times as large). The Crown has settled similar grievances with the Fort William First Nation and Michipicoten First Nation, the two other signatories to the Superior-Robinson Treaty, but has refused to settle with KZA-GBFN. The case is expected to go to trial in 2019.


Invitation to gathering at Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek -- Gull Bay First Nation
(click to enlarge)

KZA-GBFN has a number of complaints against the way NAP is operating the mine. Tailings from the mine were discharged in June 2015 after a tailings pond sinkhole caved in, raising environmental concerns from KZA-GBFN. There was recently a controlled release but the community wasn't notified until hours later.

The Lac Des Iles Mine is the only mine in the world that produces palladium as its sole product. All other palladium production is a by-product of other mining activities. It has been in operation for 25 years. NAP is owned by Brookfield Properties, investment arm of the Bronfman family, one of the richest families in Canada. NAP extracted 55,982 ounces of palladium worth $56 million, during the first quarter of 2018 alone from the Lac Des Iles Mine. KZA-GBFN has not received any benefit from this mine and the mine management has not shown respect for the traditional territories and practices of KZA-GBFN.

"I think it's unfortunate we have to take measures to this level. We've always tried to negotiate in good faith and tried to work with the mine in good faith. We feel they've just completely rejected our concerns at times ... We want a deal that's going to be enforceable. We want a deal that's based on respect," King said. "A deal that really recognizes Gull Bay has to benefit from any future development at this mine. This mine has made record profits recently and they have to come to the table to negotiate in good faith. We want a meaningful agreement."

(With files from TRCCTB.COM, TbNewsWatch.Com and TbNews.Com. Photos: D. Pelasi.)

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Another Example of Incoherence in
Northern Ontario Transportation


Sheahan station was one of those removed in the spring of 2018. Photo is from 2010.

Keith Creel, President and CEO of Canadian Pacific (CP), took out a full page ad in the Globe and Mail on June 1, touting CP Rail as a critical component of Canada's vitality and a source of national pride following a tentative agreement with the Teamsters, that ended a brief work stoppage.

This was one month after CP senselessly destroyed a number of the smaller, but vital, stations along its rail line north-west from Sudbury to White River. In response, Mandy Thomson, finding this ad particularly galling and insensitive, wrote to the Globe and Mail :

Re: Your proclamation: "Delivering for Canada" p. A 19, Globe and Mail, Fri. June 1, 2018

From: Mandy Thomson and the rest of the passengers on the CP Rail route from Sudbury to White River (operated by VIA)

CP Rail -- no longer iconic, nor a source of national pride

Can you please explain sir, what happened to all the CP stations/shelters that were so unceremoniously eliminated this spring along the rail route from Sudbury to White River? Rumour has it that they were removed "to clean up" in preparation for your tour of the route. The campers, canoers, "lifers" and residents who depend on these humble shelters along this rail line will be thinking of your definition of iconic and national pride as we shiver, bake, get bitten and rained on this summer.

cc. The top five owners of CP Rail: Royal Bank of Canada; FMR LLC; Causeway Capital Management LLC; WCM Investment Management/CA, TD Asset Management"

The destruction of a number of small rail stations and shelters along the CP Rail line from Sudbury to White River is another example of the incoherence of transportation in Northern Ontario where decisions are made by the monopolies without regard to the interests of the people. CP Rail did not even inform or consult the users of the Sudbury-White River Budd Car about decisions that are vital to their interests. It is as if CP Rail is doing all it can to eliminate the passenger rail that still exists in Northern Ontario by making it as inconvenient as possible for the users.

The people of Northern Ontario are taking part in the opportunities provided by this election to air their concerns and to demand that they be addressed by the next government. The guarantee that their concerns are addressed is if the people themselves continue to advance them after the election and not allow the incoming government to ignore them.

Andy Thompson has produced a very informative web page "Where Have All The Stations Gone? Eulogy for our Station (1929-2018)." His station, Sheahan, 100 kms north-west of Sudbury, was destroyed this spring by a decision of the CP Rail monopoly without consultation with the people of the area or the users of the rail service. Thompson illustrates the history and the importance of these small rail stations to the people. "Where Have All The Stations Gone?" can be accessed here.

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