The Toronto Stars Tanya Talaga shortlisted for RBC Taylor book prize

first_imgTanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers traces the lives and deaths of several teens in Thunder Bay. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Also making the cut is Stephen R. Bown’s Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska (Douglas & McIntyre), about the explorers sent across Russia by Peter the Great to seek a route to North America.In addition to the winner’s prize, the runners-up will each receive $5,000.The winner also gets to award a $10,000 emerging writers prize to an author of their choosing. That prize will be handed out shortly after the winner is named.A jury including Christine Elliott, Anne Giardini and James Polk evaluated 153 non-fiction Canadian written books submitted by 110 Canadian and international publishers.The RBC Taylor Prize was set up in 1993 to honour journalist Charles Taylor. Login/Register With: Advertisement Non-fiction books about life as an ER doctor and indigenous teens who died in and near Thunder Bay are among the titles shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize.A three-member jury announced five finalists for the $30,000 award, to be handed out Feb. 26 in Toronto.James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine (Doubleday Canada) contrasts medicine as practised in a world-class Toronto hospital to the bare bones clinics in Sudan and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press), from Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga, traces the lives and deaths of several teens in northern Ontario.Other books in the running include: Max Wallace’s look at the final days of the Second World War, In the Name of Humanity (Allen Lane Canada); and Daniel Coleman’s exploration of the Niagara Escarpment, Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place(Wolsak and Wynn). Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

TOO NAKED TOO VIOLENT THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIOS TROUBLING 100M MASTERPIECE

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Twitter The painting, removed from both its frame and its longtime place of honour in the public galleries, was here in the cautious hands of the museum’s conservators to prepare for a very different kind of encounter. Advertisementcenter_img Propped on a four-wheeled cart and wrapped in clear cellophane, you’d think Peter Paul Rubens’ The Massacre of the Innocents, a visceral masterpiece of epic brutality, might see its impact softened, or at least a little.Think again. “It’s hard to look at, I know,” sighed Sasha Suda, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s curator of European art. On a recent morning in the museum’s conservation department, Suda helped remove the plastic sheeting, revealing the work in all its terrible glory: a burly, naked warrior poised to dash a chubby infant onto the hard stone ground; a mother clawing at another assailant’s face as her own child teetered in her free arm.Even here, in the bright fluorescent glare of the conservation lab’s antiseptic environment, the painting resonated with unrelenting horror. “I’ve always felt like if you poked it the wrong way, it would just explode,” Suda said, pointing towards a knot of fabric and muscle at the painting’s heart. “We’re constantly trying to mitigate the risk of encounter with this work, because it’s so hard for a lot of people.” Sasha Suda, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s curator of European art, admits that Peter Paul Rubens’s The Massacre of the Innocents, circa 1610, is hard to look at. (DEAN TOMLINSON / ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO) Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more

TIM HORTONS RELAUNCHES ITS TRUE STORIES PLATFORM GLOBALLY

first_img Facebook With the relaunch of its widely celebrated “True Stories” platform, Tim Hortons has returned to a strategy dating back to 1994 aimed at positioning the brand as a truly indelible part of the Canadian identity.On Nov. 29, the donut and coffee chain unveiled the first spot in a series of six new ads that represents its largest investment in brand marketing since its 2014 acquisition by Restaurant Brands International, a company with a portfolio that includes the Popeyes and Burger King QSR chains.The spot re-launching the “True Stories” platform is “Little Man with a Big Heart,” a 30-second spot involving scripted reenactments of interviews with Conor Raichel and his mother – a story originally submitted by Kelsey Kuefler, a former Tim Hortons employee. The commercial – which touches on a story of generosity shown to a stranger during Christmas – was first shared online on Nov. 29 (both in Canada and the U.S.) to align with the holiday season and will begin airing on TV Dec. 5. Five other spots are set to follow in 2019. Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

PM Harper says terrorist launched attack in Ottawa links event to war

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper said more information would surface in the coming days about the “terrorist” who was gunned down inside Parliament Hill’s Centre Block building Wednesday morning shortly after a soldier was shot and killed at the nearby National War Memorial, sending Ottawa’s downtown core into lock-down as tactical units swept through the streets and searched buildings.In an address to the national Wednesday evening, Harper said the morning’s events  were a “grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”Harper also hinted that the gunman, widely identified as Michael Zehaf Bibeau, 32, may have had accomplices in his attack.“Attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all,” said Harper. “We will not be intimidated, Canada will never be intimidated.”Harper linked the attack to Canada’s military mission in Iraq to battle ISIS militants attempting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. ISIS fighters currently control a swath of territory between Syria and Iraq. Canada is sending CF-18 fighter jets to Iraq and is also currently supplying weapons to the Kurds battling ISIS.“This will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe at home,” said Harper. “Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against terror organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores.”The prime minister also paid tribute to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who was gunned down at about 9:52 a.m. while he stood in ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial.“Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed today, murdered in cold blood as he provided a ceremonial honour guard at Canada’s National War Memorial, that sacred place that pays tribute to those that gave their lives so we can live in a free and democratic and safe society,” said Harper.The prime minister provided no new details on the attack.NDP Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair spoke after Harper.“(The attack) was intended to make us more fearful, but it has failed,” said Mulcair. “Today’s events have succeeded in drawing us closer and making us stronger.”The RCMP and the Ottawa Police refused to confirm Zehaf Bibeau’s name as the gunman. It has emerged, however, that Zehaf Bibeau has a criminal record in British Columbia and Quebec. He also lived in Vancouver, Montreal and Aylmer, Que., which is near Ottawa.Zehaf Bibeau was shot dead in a hail of bullets near Centre Block’s Hall of Honour.Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House of Commons, was involved in killing the gunman during an exchange of fire, MPs said. Journalist Tom Korski was inside Centre Block when shooting broke out and said he heard over 30 shots.  A Globe and Mail reporter captured part of the scene on video that depicted security personnel moving toward the Library of Parliament as a number of gunshots rang out.A photo reportedly of Michael Zehaf Bibeau, 32, that surfaced on Twitter.A surreal scene unfolded across the capital city’s downtown as Ottawa Police and RCMP tactical units swept through the streets and buildings in and around the Parliament Hill precinct following an attack at the War Memorial and in Parliament Hill’s Centre Block building. Authorities kept downtown in lock-down deep into the evening as officers continued searching for a possible second gunman. At one point, officers with guns drawn were seen running into a building housing the Israeli embassy as police pushed media and bystanders away from the area. Similar scenes were repeated throughout the morning and afternoon, as police officers shouted that a gunman was on the loose.Police appeared to be uncertain during the day about whether there were multiple shooters loose in the downtown core. Police on several occasions widened the security around Parliament Hill by several blocks saying a shooter was on the loose. Police officers on the scene told separate APTN National News reporters that a gunman had reached the roof of a building. Late Wednesday, police lifted the downtown lock-down, but kept restrictions on Parliament Hill.Police take cover in downtown Ottawa following the shooting death of a Canadian solider.Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said officers received multiple 911 calls shortly after 9:52 a.m. Bordelau said a suspected gunman was shot and killed, but he wouldn’t confirm whether it was the same individual who killed the Canadian soldier at the National War Memorial.“This is an ongoing operation,” said Bordeleau, during a press conference at the RCMP National Division headquarters.RCMP National Division commanding officer and Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud said the attack caught authorities by “surprise.”Ottawa Police said earlier no one had been taken into custody.The Ottawa Police is leading the investigation of the shootings outside the Parliament Hill precinct, while the RCMP is handling the investigation on the Hill.Bordeleau would not confirm the sequence of events or details around the shootings.Police interview witnesses following shooting at the War Memorial.A witness at the War Memorial told APTN National News he heard four shots fired by a man with long, loose black hair, dark skin, wearing a coat and dark pants.“He took off with a shotgun…it was pretty intense,” said witness Chuck Bromley. “I heard the first shot, looked over and realized what was going on and took cover. I looked again, the third shot, and a fourth shot and he just took off…I saw him take off toward the Parliament buildings with a shotgun.”It appears the soldier was shot in the chest, and paramedics could be seen performing C.P.R. on him before he was taken away by ambulance.Chuck Bromley witnessed the shooting at the War Memorial.Another bystander managed to get a photo of the gunman and police took the individual’s camera.After the War Memorial shooting, the gunman reportedly ran towards Parliament Hill and a witness claimed he the suspect drop a cell phone, which was picked up by an onlooker and eventually turned over to the police.Another witness said a man drove up to the Centre Block in a black vehicle, got out carrying a rifle and ran inside.Construction worker Scott Walsh, 21, was in a ‎manhole in front of Parliament Hill when he heard the shots. When he came out he saw a man with a double-barreled shotgun run past and hijack a vehicle on Parliament Hill and head towards Centre Block.“He peeled off and went around the loop to the back left of (Centre Block),” said Walsh. “It was intense. I didn’t think it was real.”Scott Walsh details seeing gunman run onto Parliament Hill.Walsh said he hit the ground and described the man as sort of dark skinned with long black hair with a scarf around his face.Inside Centre Block, MPs and Parliament Hill staff are describing a chaotic scene. Newfoundland MP Gerry Byrne says he heard nearly a dozen shots fired inside Centre Block which houses MPs offices, the Senate and the House of Commons chambers.Centre Block was busy with each party holding their caucus meetings at the time.The prime minister was on the Hill in a room adjacent to the shooting during a Conservative caucus meeting, but was rushed away to a secure location . NDP MPs were gathered in the room across the Hall when shots rang out.Canada’s elite military unit, JTF-2, was also on scene.Authorities put downtown Ottawa in lock-down following an attack at the War Memorial and on Parliament Hill.-with files from The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Final Walking in Spirit event attacts hundreds in Maskwacis

first_imgBrandi Morin APTN National NewsMASKWACIS, ALTA — Hundreds of people walked 17 kilometres in 30 degree temperatures for the fourth and final Walking in Spirit suicide awareness event in Maskwacis Thursday.Holding handmade signs with the names of loved ones who took their own lives, participants braved the scorching heat as a symbol of the pain each person who died  may have experienced in life.In the past three years, 60 people have taken their own lives in the community.The walk originally stemmed from the vision of Mason Buffalo who four years ago decided to take action against suicide that has hit the community hard in the last decade.He set out to walk from each of the four directions over four years and now believes a space has been made for changes to take form.“With our prayers sent from the four directions we lifted the cloud over Maskwacis,” said Buffalo.He said everyone struggles with mental illness and has dealt with some sort of trauma in their lifetime. He too fought his own demons and suffered from suicidal thoughts even in the recent past.“Even the last four years have been the worst. I used to turn to alcohol to not think about anything. But I’ve made a conscious decision to better my life and great opportunities have been coming to me,” he said.The efforts to combat suicide are not stopping here. He is advocating for a healing lodge to be built in the community.“If we had a treatment center here there will be people who will want to get help there. There’s usually waiting lists in other treatment centers and the ones who get in a lot of times are court ordered. The ones who can’t get in turn to suicide because they want to give up.”He said leadership of the four bands that make up Maskwacis are supportive of the idea.His father Patrick Buffalo, a council member at Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis is also supportive, but said effective treatment plans need to be further explored.“We have a long ways to go in healing our community,” said Patrick. “I know for a fact that people can offer all sorts of programs but at the end of the day what is it that works?”Patrick is proud of his son for taking the lead on a grassroots level to tackle suicide. And said now people are more open to talk about it which wasn’t always the case.“This has been a problem for a long, long time. Mason took a huge leap in creating awareness but we need to continue creating awareness, educating, so that there are options and support mechanisms put in place so people can have someone to reach out to,” he said.Buffalo hopes a youth member of Maskwacis will carry on leading the walk in the years ahead.bmorin@aptn.calast_img read more

Justice Minister Jody WilsonRaybould says adopting UNDRIP into Canadian law unworkable

first_imgAPTN National News NIAGARA FALLS – The federal government has said numerous times it embraces the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).But on Tuesday Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould made the government’s stance on UNDRIP a little clearer by saying it can’t be adopted as is into Canadian law.“Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,” said Wilson-Raybould in a speech to a room of chiefs at the Assembly of First Nations 37th annual general assembly Tuesday in Niagara Falls.Read the the full speech here.She said she would like to throw the Indian Act in the fire but it’s not a practical option. She called on First Nations to provide ideas for legislation that helps communities rebuild outside of the Indian Act.Back in May, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Canada would fully embrace UNDRIP.Bennett said Ottawa would be consulting with First Nation, Inuit and Metis people before moving to codify UNDRIP in Canadian law.“It would be very important that we consult First Nation, Inuit and Metis on anything we would do in order to codify (UNDRIP),” said Bennett.@UBCIC @APTNNews is this not embracing UNDRIP & reconciliation? Instead of trying to continue to unilateral impose Cdn ‘laws’ on our ntns?— Chadwick Cowie (@ChadCowie) July 12, 2016It appears that while the Harper government announced in 2010 it would “endorse” UNDRIP it officially maintained an objection to the document. The previous Conservative government said UNDRIP was an aspirational document that would be interpreted “in a manner that is consistent with our Constitutional and legal framework.”Bennett said the document was “breathing life” into section 35 of the Constitution which guarantees Aboriginal rights.UNDRIP was originally adopted in 2007 by 144 countries. At the time Canada, U.S., Australia and New Zealand voted against the document. Since then, all four countries have signed on.last_img read more

Proliferation of selfidentified Indigenous people represents new wave of colonialism

first_imgJustin BrakeAPTN NewsA growing number of people in the Mi’kmaq and Métis nations are speaking out about what they say is a growing threat to their rights, resources, and sovereignty due to the proliferation of self-identified Acadian-Métis in Nova Scotia.Allison Bernard of Eskasoni First Nation hunts and fishes in Cape Breton and is a fisheries coordinator for Nova Scotia-based Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative.He says in recent years a growing number of people have been hunting on Mi’kmaq land, both in and out of season.“Since time immemorial we’ve been here. We’ve had to adjust to very troubling times. Which leads us to this point, where we have to protect what is ours, and our resources,” he says.Bernard believes many of those new hunters are associated with recently established self-identified Acadian-Métis groups in the area.In December 2015 Parks Canada invited Mi’kmaw hunters from the region to participate in a cull to control the moose population in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.Non-Indigenous hunters confront Mi’kmaw hunters in December 2015 in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Photo: APTNNon-Indigenous hunters protested the planned cull, arguing the Mi’kmaq should be given no special privilege.The Mi’kmaq maintain they have never ceded or surrendered any part of Mi’kma’ki and point to the historic Peace and Friendship Treaties as evidence they have sovereignty over their lands and resources.One of the hunters who protested the moose cull in 2015 is Arnold Dithurbide, who months later became a founding member of the newly formed Highlands Métis Nation Association, and the group’s “second chief”.APTN visited Dithurbide’s house in Cape Breton to request an on-camera interview but he wasn’t home.“White settler revisionism”St. Mary’s University Professor Darryl Leroux has been researching the growing number of self-identified Métis in Quebec and the Maritimes and says he’s not surprised to hear one of the groups’ leaders has actively opposed Aboriginal rights in the past.Leroux says the proliferation of self-identified Métis in Nova Scotia and other provinces is a phenomenon he calls “white settler revisionism.”“The evidence that I’ve uncovered suggests that this is primarily a genealogical movement, linked to a political movement that often is organized around what one could call white supremacist ideas that are openly anti-Indigenous,” he said. “Not white supremacist in the hate-filled sense of the term, but rather white settlers advocating for white rights and in this case opposing Indigenous rights to achieve that end.”St. Mary’s University Professor Darryl Leroux.He argues in academic papers and on social media that settlers—in Nova Scotia’s case mostly those who have historically identified as Acadian—often locate long ago Indigenous ancestors to claim Indigeneity in order to access Indigenous rights.Leroux says he found that some ancestors used by self-identified Métis to claim Indigenous identity were, in fact, French women.Most trace their roots back to between only five and 10 Mi’kmaw women who married French men in the 1600s.He estimates upward of 10 million people today share those women as ancestors.But not all Acadians and Nova Scotians with Indigenous ancestry claim an Indigenous identity, says Daphne Williamson, a Halifax-based lawyer and member of the Sou’West Nova Métis Council who traces her Indigenous ancestry back to the Wampanoag in what is now Massachusetts.Speaking on behalf of seven of Nova Scotia’s eight Métis leaders, Williamson says self-identified Métis in Nova Scotia claim an Indigenous identity based not only on their ancestral connections but also on the basis that they developed distinct cultures and identities.“Each community is distinct in and of itself because of the way it historically evolved: the circumstances, the mix of ethnicities that were comprised at the time,” she says.But members of the Mi’kmaw community in Nova Scotia say this is news to them.“I’ve never heard of any kind of collective Métis identity, culture, language or heritage in this region,” says Jarvis Googoo of We’koqma’q First Nation. “It only started to pop up out of the blue in the early 2000s, after Marshall.”Métisness and the courtsLeroux points to Statistics Canada numbers that reveal 860 individuals in Nova Scotia identified as Métis in the 1996 census. By 2016 the number of self-identified Métis in the province had grown to more than 23,000.He estimates that around 200,000 people presently identify as Métis in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces and that the proliferation coincides with court decisions that affirm Aboriginal rights and address the debate over who is Métis and who’s not.“There are these moments where court decisions lead people to identify with a particular juridical or legal identity,” he explains. Watch Part 1 of Justin’s story. Adese believes if the Métis Nation Accord passed, “Powley would have looked completely different [and] these precedent-setting cases would have looked very very different.”She and others argue that while some in Eastern Canada may have legitimate claims of Indigeneity, they are not Métis and not part of the Métis Nation.The Powley decision’s description of a Métis person is “rooted in race-based logic,” Adese says, and re-entrenches a notion of “mixedness” that “implies Métis are somehow more mixed than any other human beings.”She argues maternal origins matter and were crucial in the formation of the Métis Nation.“When we say that Métis were born on the Prairies, it’s because we’re also recognizing the rootedness of First Nations women who give rise to a distinct Métis language called Michif, and a distinct Métis culture that connects us to the lands we come from.”By contrast, Leroux questions the contemporary narratives or understandings around the nature of the relationships between the French and Acadian men and Mi’kmaw women who those self-identifying as Acadian-Métis today say gave rise to distinct peoples and cultures.“We can literally count six or seven [Mi’kmaw women] who marry French men before 1665,” he says, describing the interpretations of those relationships as “romanticized”.“Besides the fact that we don’t question what coercion, sexualized violence, et cetera, occur in those spaces, we’re really romanticizing a past where the…French descendants somehow have this natural alliance with Indigenous peoples.”Racism on the water and undergroundLeroux says the anti-Indigenous racism and white supremacy he argues are embedded in the movement of self-identified Métis in the Maritimes were evident during the anti-Mi’kmaq fisheries protests in 2000, following the Marshall decision.“If we talk to people on the ground, particularly Mi’kmaw people, what we see is following the Marshall decision in 1999, and the pitched battles on the water and also off the water around lobster fishing in Esgenoôpetitj, Burnt Church—and also down in the Yarmouth area off the southern shore of Nova Scotia—many of the people who were leading the movement, violently, against Mi’kmaq fishing rights turn to a Métis identity to access Aboriginal rights. In this case Marshall rights.”Fisherman and Sipekne’katik First Nation Councillor Alex McDonald has been fishing among Acadian fishermen in St. Mary’s Bay for a number of years now.He says French Acadians in the region “didn’t claim Métis [identity] until after the Marshall decision,” and that “prior to that, they were battling with us all the time.”“We’ve been fishing here a long time, and we still get the prejudice, we still get the bullshit. And the crazy thing is, the ones that are claiming Métis are the ones that are giving us a hard time.”McDonald also questions the self-identified Acadian-Métis reliance on race-based understandings of Métisness in defining themselves; he points out the irony in the context of the Mi’kmaq.“There’s a lot of mixed blood here on our reserves in Nova Scotia, so we could be the Métis,” he says.Williamson acknowledges there are opportunists who self-identify as Acadian-Métis but says they are not representative of the wider community.Explaining the exponential population growth of self-identified Métis in Nova Scotia between the mid-90s and 2016, she says people are publicly identifying now because they previously feared facing racism and discrimination for being Indigenous.Leroux doesn’t buy it.“I don’t find that particularly convincing, given that Indigenous peoples have been front and centre in Indigenous rights movements since the 1960s, ‘70s, into the ‘80s,” he says.“To wait until 2015 to form an organization and to call oneself Indigenous is certainly questionable.”APTN reached out to three Métis leaders in Cape Breton and southwestern Nova Scotia. They all declined our interview requests.Bras d’Or Lake Métis Nation Chief Shane Savoury directed APTN to a recently authored report by self-identified Acadian-Métis scholar Chris Boudreau, who also declined our interview request.Boudreau’s research paper, titled “An Ethnographic Report on the Acadian-Métis 2018,” argues that in the early 17th century Europeans “intermarried with the original inhabitants of the area, the Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet, creating a distinct mixed-heritage people…who subsequently endured prejudice and denigration from Acadians and others who considered themselves to be of ‘pure blood’ — a prejudice which continues to the present day.”Leroux took to Twitter in March to critique the work, arguing the author and his colleagues did not consider “Mi’kmaw perspectives on the existence of another Indigenous people on Mi’kmaw territory.”He also argues that they “provide no evidence whatsoever that [Acadian-Métis] maintained kinship relations and accompanying forms of responsibility with Mi’kmaw people.“Being mixed-race is not evidence that somebody is Métis in the sense that the authors develop,” he tweeted.Many who claim Acadian-Métis identity are not after hunting or fishing rights. But they are taking up precious space created for Indigenous people, says Googoo.Citing scholarships for Indigenous students and other resources and opportunities set aside to “help ameliorate and remove those historical disadvantages facing Mi’kmaq people,” Googoo says self-identified Métis are increasingly encroaching on those spaces.“When I hear of Métis people, groups popping up here all of a sudden — and then applying to professional schools, applying for scholarships and jobs, then I ask, OK, can you present to me the historical dispossession, the historically disadvantaged Métis groups and collective communities that have happened here in this region?”In March the East Coast Music Association [ECMA] revoked the nomination of self-identified Acadian-Métis guitarist Maxim Cormier, who was being considered for the Indigenous Artist of the Year award.In a statement posted to the organization’s website, ECMA Chair Dean Stairs explained the decision, stating “the law has not recognized Maxim Cormier or the community he is a member of, the Highland Métis, as being recognized as members of the ‘aboriginal peoples of Canada’ under the Constitution.”Cormier declined an interview request for this story.Searching for personal Acadian-Métis narrativesTo get a better sense of the personal stories behind Acadian-Métis identity APTN travelled to Cape Breton.While Highlands Métis Nation Association Chief Randy Roach declined our interview request, we caught up with his father, William Roach, a well-known artist in Chéticamp.Roach says his grandfather was of mixed French and Mi’kmaw ancestry and a known medicine man in the region, but that growing up his family didn’t discuss their Indigenous roots.He says it was just two or three years ago that his sons began to take an interest in exploring their Indigenous ancestry.“Some, myself, would ask, what’s a Métis? I didn’t know it was a mixed blood with Natives and French, you know. But now I understand what it means: it’s a bloodline, it’s a special thing to me because you know I’m getting on in age and I’m glad to see that the young people are taking an interest and finally developing that. They’re going to see where they come from.”Artist William Roach, father of Highlands Métis Nation Association Chief Randy Roach.Roach describes his own understanding of the term Métis as being mixed-race, and a bridge or pathway toward Mi’kmaw identity.“We would like to be identified as Mi’kmaq because that’s what we are,” he explains. “But the Métis thing, for now, sort of covers it.“A lot of us are willing to be called Mi’kmaq, or Métis, whichever way — because it is our bloodline. We would like to have a place that we can identify…one way or the other, with Métis or Mi’kmaq, fully — that we would feel at ease.”Googoo says if Acadians in Nova Scotia who learn they have Mi’kmaq ancestry are genuinely interested in learning about their heritage, they should approach members of the Mi’kmaq community rather than immediately claim Indigeneity.“If people are finding that they do have Mi’kmaq heritage from way back when I strongly encourage and support them to learn more about that Mi’kmaq heritage.”Bernard, too, says the Mi’kmaw community has always welcomed outsiders and encouraged those with ancestral ties to their nation to introduce themselves.He says the Mi’kmaq are fighting for their sovereignty, and that a big part of that battle is maintaining the ability to decide who is a citizen of their nation, and who isn’t.“If you claim that you’re a Métis, then I would rather tell you, why don’t you claim that you’re Mi’kmaw? And through your blood, and through your connections and your lineage, prove to me that you’re Mi’kmaw — and we’ll decide if you’re Mi’kmaw. The Mi’kmaq will decide that. Not the government. Or your organization,” he says.Adese says the Métis to have been fighting for years to protect their identity and sovereignty as a distinct Indigenous people and nation too.She says settlers who discover they have Indigenous ancestry but have no ties to the culture, language, or existing Indigenous communities should feel comfortable with who they are and learn about their Indigenous heritage.“It’s OK to say that my great, great, great grandmother was Mi’kmaw, and that’s it,” she says. “It doesn’t have to turn into anything else.“You can be comfortable in that moment. And you can celebrate that [ancestry] and try to learn more what that means. But it doesn’t have to translate into rights-based claims.”Leroux has traced his own genealogy back to Mohawk and Algonquin ancestors, and even shares some of the same ancestors he says self-identified Acadian-Métis are using to claim Indigeneity today—but says that doesn’t make him Indigenous.“My family hunts and fishes. We have these stories about having long ago Indigenous ancestors…but my family has no relationship with living Indigenous people.“As someone who’s a French descendant…I would suggest that Acadians are Acadians. And that Acadian people should be proud to identify as Acadian, to identify with their history, which has often been quite difficult, with their resilience.”A “new wave of colonialism”Leroux says the mass self-Indigenization among self-identified Métis in Eastern Canada is “part of a process of colonialism” in which “white French descendant settlers are incorporating themselves as Indigenous…which is part of the story that sort of gives settler colonialism momentum into the future.”Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer, and Chair of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, agrees.She describes the phenomenon as a “new wave of colonization, where the colonizers, who have already taken just about everything from us, have seen that we’ve received wins in courts over the last few decades.“So now they’re circling back and the only way to defeat our wins, our claims to our lands and resources, is to now claim Indigenous identity themselves and take it that way.”Palmater says the Mi’kmaq Nation should pay close attention at the chance a provincial court in Nova Scotia or elsewhere quietly renders a decision recognizing self-identified Métis as having Aboriginal rights under Canadian law.“I worry that courts are not going to get the full picture,” she says.“If you have two non-Native lawyers in court trying to make these arguments—say a Crown prosecutor and a non-Native lawyer trying to make all of these Aboriginal rights claims for one of these opportunistic identifiers—that could be a real problem if we get a judgement.”Ryerson University Chair of Indigenous Governance, Pam Palmater.Palmater also says decisions by Canadian courts to determine who is Indigenous, and who is not, on unceded Mi’kmaq territory would violate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.“There is a right for Indigenous Peoples to belong to their Indigenous Nation, but there’s a corresponding right of the Indigenous Nation to decide who belongs and who doesn’t, and to govern those processes.”Williamson says self-identified Métis in Nova Scotia in pursuit of Aboriginal rights don’t pose a threat to Mi’kmaq rights and sovereignty, but in the same breath revealed she believes they are entitled to treaty rights under the historic Indigenous-Crown Peace and Friendship treaties.“No one is looking to take anything away from the Mi’kmaq or claim anything that more appropriately belongs to the Mi’kmaq,” she says.“Now having said that, if you look at the history of the treaties on the eastern seaboard, the Peace and Friendship Treaties were signed among the entire eastern seaboard. So any Nation that was a signatory to that treaty is a treaty beneficiary, including mine.”Williamson says while the treaties distinguished between Indigenous people and settlers, they “did not delineate by blood quantum, generation, matriarchy, patriarchy, or anything else as to who the heirs of those treaty benefits would be.“So in other words the Mi’kmaq, the Acadian-Métis, my people—anyone who descends from the Nations that were signatories to those treaties—by rights is a treaty beneficiary. But which benefits they will pursue is entirely their call.”Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chiefs did not respond to an interview request from APTN but have been clear in the past that Mi’kmaq are the only rights holders in Mi’kma’ki.jbrake@aptn.ca@JustinBrakeNews The 1999 Supreme Court of Canada Marshall decision affirmed Mi’kmaq treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood.In 2003 the Powley decision described a Métis person as one who self-identifies, has an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community, and is accepted by that community.And the 2016 Daniels decision ruled that Métis and non-status Indians are now the responsibility of the federal government, and are classified as “Indians” under Section 91(24) of the constitution.Jennifer Adese, a Métis scholar and Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies Studies at Carleton University, says the phenomenon of self-identified Métis in Eastern Canada must be understood in the context of the “constitutional moment” in which it’s happening.As part of the Métis Nation Accord, the Métis National Council developed its own definition of who is Métis. The Accord was embedded in the 1992 Charlottetown Accord and would have been entrenched in the constitution had the proposed constitutional amendments not failed.The Métis National Council’s definition of a Métis person required that an individual be a “descendant of those Métis who received or were entitled to receive land grants and/or scrip under the provisions of the Manitoba Act, 1870 or the Dominion Lands Act.”“I think that we’d be having a different conversation if in fact the Métis Nation Accord had been passed and entrenched the definition of who is Métis from the outset,” says Adese.“It’s not until after that that you start to see the emergence of all of these different organizations claiming Métisness, and it’s enabled really by that lack of clarity around Métisness in that moment.”Watch Part 2 of Justin’s story. last_img read more

Political expediency responsible for MMIWG inquiry being denied full extension Buller

first_img(Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, left, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Maryam Monsef, Status of Women minister at Tuesday morning’s news conference on the extension of the national MMIWG inquiry) Justin BrakeAPTN NewsThe head of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls says “political expediency” is at the heart of Canada’s decision to deny the commission an extra two years to complete its work.“In seeking a two-year extension we were striking a balance between the urgency of the issues and the need to do this work thoroughly,” Buller said in a statement after the announcement.“Now we believe political expediency has been placed before the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ people.”On Tuesday Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced Canada will grant the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls only six months to complete its work.The Inquiry’s commissioners are now mandated to submit a final report by April 30, 2019.Read the inquiry’s statement here: Short extension injustice to families, survivors, and CanadaIn March, the inquiry requested a two-year extension and an extra $50 million in funding to complete its mandate of reaching victims and families, and of examining the social, cultural, economic, institutional and historical roots of the ongoing violence against Indigenous women and girls.The commission was initially given two years and $53.8 million to complete the Inquiry.Tuesday’s announcement falls far short of the request, despite Bennett calling the crisis of violence against women and girls a “national tragedy” and a “top priority”.Bennett says the decision to grant just a six-month extension is informed by the wishes of families and survivors, who Bennett repeated numerous times during Tuesday’s press conference wanted the Inquiry completed “in a timely way.”She said the decision also came as a result of not being able to achieve a consensus among the provinces and territories to grant the Inquiry its requested two-year extension.“Without an extension in terms of [the provinces and territories’] orders in council, we would have lost the national public inquiry,” Bennett explained.She would not disclose which provinces or territories rejected the two-year extension, saying the intergovernmental discussions are “private conversations”.Bennett said the decision to further finance the inquiry to complete its mandate won’t be hers, but that any decisions will come from further discussions with the commissioners.While any new money for the inquiry still has to be worked out, Tuesday’s announcement included almost $50 million in government funding for programs and services identified in the inquiry’s interim report last November.Buller told APTN News in an interview that reaction from families and survivors was swift, and that many are “devastated” and were “expecting more in the way of time and resources to address the issues that they have fought so long and hard for.”Buller said families and survivors are “upset that politics have been put ahead of our women and girls once again.”“I know right now that we will not be able to have our regional hearings across Canada in each of the provinces and territories,” she explained.“We have found across Canada that there are regional issues that need to be addressed and issues that come under provincial and territorial jurisdiction specifically, like child welfare off reserve, like education, healthcare and policing.“We won’t be able to have those regional hearings because of the lack of time.”Buller doesn’t buy Bennett’s claim that families and survivors don’t support the Inquiry’s requested two-year extension and said the commissioners have “heard differently.”She also said she’s “disappointed” that provinces and territories have reportedly not supported the inquiry’s request.As part of the government’s announced funding, Indigenous Services Canada will invest $21.3 million to expand health support services to for families and survivors who participate in the Inquiry, as well as those impacted by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Another $5.42 million will be invested in 2019 and 2020 to extend the timeframe for the Department of Justice’s Family Information Liaison Units and community-based organizations to support families beyond the life of the Inquiry.The feds are also accepting the inquiry’s recommendation for a commemoration fund and will provide $10 million over two years through Status of Women Canada to “honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and LGBTQ2S individuals.”And $9.6 million will be invested over five years to support the RCMP’s new National Investigative Standards and Practices Unit, which includes oversight of investigations into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef reiterated Bennett’s emphasis on putting families first.“We said from the beginning that we wouldn’t wait until the end of the inquiry to act, and as Minister Bennett said: Ultimately this is about preventing tragedies like this from happening. This is about ensuring that survivors and their families have the supports they need —that the legal systems and the justice systems in place are responsive.”Conservative Indigenous Affairs critic Cathy McLeod said the Liberals “clearly” want the Inquiry completed before the 2019 election, but hopes “political calculus” did not weigh on the decision.“At the end of the day, this needs to bring closure and peace to the families and it needs to give us a path forward,” she said, adding she’s waiting to hear more details on what additional funds the government will provide and how the commissioners will use the extra six months.“I’ve been hearing a lot of concerns in terms of the red tape, the bureaucracy, the phone numbers that haven’t worked, so to give more time and it’s more of the same — that’s not effective for the families,” she said. “They now have a deadline.”The NDP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Buller said the inquiry will “hear from families and survivors who have already registered with us,” and that the commissioners “know that we have to do more research.“We know that we have to support our research team in filling in the blanks of the work that has to be done and the information that we have to receive.”But she’s not optimistic that they will be able to reach as many of the most marginalized Indigenous women in Canada as they would like, such as those who are incarcerated or living in shelters.“We’ll have to go back and rethink our strategy regarding the more marginalized communities because we need to do more work there to build on the work that we’ve already done.”Buller said the commission has “a full agenda” and will “be working to fill it out as best we can within the existing extension period.”jbrake@aptn.ca@JustinBrakeNewslast_img read more

Commissioner says calling it genocide inescapable conclusion

first_imgPrime Minister Justin Trudeau accepts the final inquiry report following a special ceremony.Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsThey’re talking about a revolution.The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is trying to make genocide a noun the way the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada turned reconciliation into a verb.“It is time to call it as it is,” the inquiry’s final report released Monday said.“Canada’s past and current colonial policies, actions and inactions towards Indigenous Peoples is genocide.”Read the national inquiry’s calls for justiceThe allegation is a strong one.It threatens to tarnish Canada’s stellar reputation for quality of life, its standard for peace, and its position of respect within the global community.But Chief Commissioner Marion Buller said she and her three fellow commissioners “pulled out a mirror to Canada” over 33 months of gathering evidence and “reflected the truth back.”When asked why they used the term genocide, she said “because that’s the inescapable conclusion.”The term, she said, “explains the high rates of violence” against Indigenous women and girls – fulfilling the inquiry’s mandate to expose the root cause of gender-based discrimination and violence.The tough talk shouldn’t come as a surprise.The commissioners warned in November 2017 in their interim report – ‘Our Women and Girls are Sacred’ – they’d be “exposing hard truths about the devastating impacts of colonization, racism and sexism—aspects of Canada that many Canadians are reluctant to accept.”The final report with 231 recommendations was swaddled in sealskin and wrapped with a traditional Métis sash before being handed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.He took his seat cradling the bundle like a baby before his turn to address the crowd at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.Trudeau promised to develop a national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.But didn’t say colonial violence was genocide.“Canada has failed you,” he said. “This is an uncomfortable day for Canada but it is an essential day.”By coincidence, Canada’s Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg recently adopted the term genocide to describe the effects of colonization.Read the executive summary here: Reclaiming Power and PlaceIndigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be victims of crime – a staggering statistic by any metric.But what’s worse, said the report entitled Reclaiming Power and Place, is that victims are made to feel at fault while governments and public services look the other way.“This desire to maintain the status quo directly contributes to the targeting of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” said Buller to a standing ovation.“We need you to change,” added Commissioner Michèle Audette during her remarks.“This is a historic day.”Despite cries from the crowd demanding he say it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not utter the word “genocide” in his speech after being handed a copy of the #MMIWG National Inquiry final report. @APTNNews #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/ZWawUEvYyF— Justin Brake (@JustinBrakeNews) June 3, 2019Representatives from all provinces and territories were present to accept copies of the report. As were some chiefs of police including Danny Smyth of Winnipeg.But not the head of the RCMP, a police service heavily criticized in the report for the way it handles missing and murdered cases.Commissioner Brenda Lucki “was unable to attend today’s event,” a spokeswoman said, releasing a written statement instead thanking the inquiry for its important work.“We are committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed relationship built on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership,” the statement said.“We have already made many changes to our policies, procedures and training over the course of the inquiry.”When APTN News asked what Lucki was doing, the RCMP did not reply.While the 1,200-page report records the trauma and stress of grieving families, it also reflects the resilience of Indigenous communities.And, it concludes women are tired of being victims. Preferring to move forward through action towards justice.With a focus on the perpetrators – whether they be human or systemic. kmartens@aptn.ca@katmartelast_img read more

Montreals allMohawk Charter of Rights and Responsibilities a passion project for Kanesatake

first_imgLindsay RichardsonAPTN NewsIn a symbolic move to kick off the week leading up to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the City of Montreal unveiled a new version of its Charter of Rights and Responsibilities – one written entirely in the Mohawk language of Kanien’keha.The charter – a North American first at the time of its inception – is “a form of social contract providing for the municipal administration’s firm commitment to constantly improving citizen services,” according to the city’s website.“This is just the beginning because today we’re launching the version in the Mohawk language, but we do want to make sure that we can translate it in all the many languages that are present here in the province of Quebec, and we’re really proud of that,” explained Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante.“Tiohtia:ke Aoianerenhsera ne Iakonianerenhsera:wis tanon Iakoterihwaien:nis,” in Kanien’keha is the 13th translation of the document, behind other languages like Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Haitian Creole, and Tagalog.Outside of promoting reconciliation, Plante says the intent is to make the charter accessible to all of the city’s citizens to promote civil engagement and inform them of their rights.But as the oldest of the dialects spoken among the Six Nations, Kanien’keha is a complex language to maintain and promote.Originally a spoken language – its written form was only standardized in the mid-1990s – Kanien’keha has consistently evolved over the generations in order to incorporate modern terms.As a result, the city reached out to the Tsi Ronterihwanónhnha ne Kanien’kéha Language and Cultural Center in Kanesatake – a Mohawk community 90 minutes outside of Montreal – for help translating the document.For several years, the centre – a museum and cultural hub for the people of Kanesatake – has operated solely on grant or project-based funds, receiving little support from the Federal government, and none from the Kanesatake band council.That said, the cultural centre’s three-year language immersion program – offered for free to community members – is one of the most extensive available to the Mohawk population.Unlike their counterparts in the community of Kahnawà:ke, located just outside Montreal, Kanesatake does not have an immersion program for elementary and high school students.“We’ve been learning and trying to keep our language going with our language classes, bringing the youth up and trying to get the youth to learn more and get more interested in their culture and language – especially to teach it, to keep it going,” explained Kanesatake Chief Victor Bonspille.“It’s been a long, hard road trying to get to this point, and we’re finally here, and hopefully this can continue in other roads, other directions,” he added.This year, the centre celebrated the first class of graduates from their immersion program – a total of seven in all.Right now, the centre is on its summer break while they await funding confirmation ahead of the back-to-school rush.Oftentimes, according to Director Hilda Kanerahtenhawy Nicholas, the centre has to rally to establish curriculums and recruit teachers just weeks before classes begin.And most of the teachers, she says, are past retirement age.Mina Beauvais, who led the translation of the charter with her students, is in her early 80s.Warisose, who takes care of the cultural education, is in her late 70s.The hope is to train students thoroughly enough so that they can take up the torch for the elders and continue to teach Kanien’keha“The language is connected with your identity, and this venture today gives us that.People that are watching realize ‘yes, we do exist’ – that we’re out there, that we still speak our language but it’s not many of us,” Nicholas said.While she concedes that the availability of a Mohawk charter is an honour and a proud moment for Kanien’keha:ka, the program that made the initiative possible cannot function without concrete funding.She hopes that the Federal government will inject some funding into language preservation when Bill C-91, the Liberal government’s language legislation, is brought into effect.Not only because it’s UNESCO’s Year of Indigenous Languages, but because the Mohawk people need a funding boost for language classes now more than ever.“The young students right now are looking forward to speaking their language, and they’re very interested in all the different initiatives that happen towards the language. They are very happy,” she said.“We have a waiting list of people that want to get into the immersion program. I’m happy to say that.”lrichardson@aptn.ca@sentimtllast_img read more

Conservatives balk at GOP plan to avert government shutdown

first_imgWASHINGTON – Disgruntled conservatives threatened late Tuesday to scuttle Republican leaders’ plans to prevent a weekend government shutdown, saying GOP leaders now lack the votes to push their proposal through the House. The setback came as a deal between President Donald Trump and Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation also remained distant.The intransigence by the House Freedom Caucus came as Republican leaders raced against a Friday deadline for pushing a short-term spending bill through Congress. If they fail, federal agencies would start shutting their doors over the weekend — an election-year debacle that GOP leaders and many Democrats are eager to avoid for fear of alienating voters.The leader of the hard-right Freedom Caucus emerged from a Tuesday night meeting to say its members — and other GOP lawmakers as well — want a short-term bill keeping federal agencies open to contain added money for the military.“There’s not enough support to pass it with GOP-only votes in the House,” the group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters. He said he planned to discuss their concerns with Republican leaders.The GOP focus on keeping government open comes as it’s become certain there’s no time to cut a deal by Friday on protecting young immigrants.Those talks were soured by Trump’s incendiary remarks about “shithole” countries in Africa last week. Democratic leaders said they would not promise to vote to keep the government open past Friday without a plan to preserve a program that protects the young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”“We don’t want to shut down the government. … We want to keep the government open,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters. “But we’re not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are going to be contrary to the best interests of the American people.”House Republican leaders tried to win over wary conservatives with a promise to repeal unpopular taxes as part of the bill preventing a shutdown.They sweetened the plan with a two-year delay on implementation of unpopular taxes on medical devices and generous employer-subsidized health care plans. The taxes, also unpopular with many Democrats, are part of former President Barack Obama’s marquee health law.The temporary funding bill would also include a long-delayed, six-year renewal of a popular health insurance program for children of low-income families. It would fund the government through Feb. 16.House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled the plan at a Tuesday evening GOP meeting. Lawmakers and aides initially said it was received well, raising hopes that a potential shutdown would be sidestepped with relative ease. A Ryan spokeswoman declined later to comment on the Freedom Caucus’ opposition.Many Democrats said they’re still unlikely to support the measure without an agreement on immigration. The prospects for such a deal were complicated as Democrats appeared to see scant reason to bargain with a president many in their party view as holding racist views.“There’s no trust there,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.Negotiations on immigration were to resume Wednesday but Marc Short, a top White House aide, said an agreement was very unlikely to come this week. “We’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal,” Short said. “I think this week would be fairly Herculean.”Even if they succeed in the House, Republicans would still need at least nine Democratic votes to push a spending package through the Senate, which the GOP controls 51-49. Democrats seeking leverage are forcing that bill to require 60 votes for passage.When the Senate approved a similar short-term spending bill in December, 17 Democrats plus Maine independent Angus King voted to keep the government open. Seven of those Democrats face re-election in November in Trump-won states — including West Virginia, North Dakota and Montana, which have small numbers of minority voters.Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, said Tuesday he’ll vote for a short-term spending bill without a plan to assist the immigrants facing possible deportation. Other red- and swing-state Democrats did not commit.“I think everyone has the empathy and compassion to want to help these young people who are stranded and we’re trying to find that, but shutting down the government isn’t going to help them,” Manchin said.Democrats voting against that December bill included some senators — such as Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California — who might seek the presidency in 2020 and would love support from their party’s liberal voters.On the left, liberal groups are ramping up pressure on Democrats to resist any spending plan. Groups like MoveOn, United We Dream and CREDO shifted their focus from Republicans to Democrats earlier in the month, threatening primary challenges and public ridicule for Democrats unwilling to risk a government shutdown to save the program for young immigrants.Meanwhile, the bipartisan group of senators continued work to build support for a plan to protect the “Dreamers” and toughen border security, including funds to start building Trump’s long-promised border wall.Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, late last year but gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation extending the initiative created by President Barack Obama. It has protected around 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to highlight the later deadline, suggesting there was more time to work out a deal. A shutdown now would be “a manufactured crisis,” he argued.___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Marcy Gordon and Steve Peoples contributed to this report.last_img read more

Air Canadaled consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

first_imgMONTREAL – An Air Canada-led consortium has reached a $450-million deal to acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc., earning plaudits from analysts but leaving questions about Aimia’s future.The group, which includes TD Bank, CIBC and Visa Canada Corp., has agreed to pay $450 million in cash and assume the approximately $1.9-billion liability associated with Aeroplan miles customers have accumulated.“We are pleased to see that an agreement in principle has been reached as Aeroplan members can continue to earn and redeem with confidence,” Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement on behalf of the consortium Tuesday.“This transaction, if completed, should produce the best outcome for all stakeholders, including Aeroplan members, as it would allow for a smooth transition to Air Canada’s new loyalty program launching in 2020, safeguarding their miles and providing convenience and value for millions of Canadians.”The agreement comes weeks after Aimia rejected an earlier offer from the consortium as too low and outlined that it believed $450 million would be a fair price, saying that a number of shareholders were upset with the low offer.The price is up from an initial offer in July of $250 million in cash and the assumption of the reward point liability that was rejected by Aimia.Aimia shares were up 9.4 per cent at $4.20 in afternoon trading after hitting a 52-week high of $4.60 earlier in the session. Air Canada shares jumped nearly eight per cent to $26.69.Any deal between the consortium and Aimia, which had been seeking out new partners to offset the loss of Air Canada when a current agreement was set to end in 2020, would be a fruitful outcome for all stakeholders, said GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry.National Bank Financial analyst Adam Shine, however, said he was “left wondering how Aimia could trumpet its Plan B strategy with such optimism and yet set a seemingly low Aeroplan value.”The Aeroplan deal is expected to close this fall.The agreement, which is supported by Aimia’s board and Mittleman Brothers, Aimia’s largest shareholder that had previously opposed the lower offer, is subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions.Mittleman Brothers, which holds a 17.6-per-cent stake in Aimia, defended its acceptance of the deal and suggested a price tag of $1 billion — which it demanded earlier this month — now seemed unfeasible.“We believe that our acquiescence in agreeing to sell Aeroplan for $450M in cash was the best available outcome for all Aimia stakeholders,” the investment firm said in a statement Tuesday.The bid would leave Aimia with more than $1 billion in cash to invest elsewhere, Mittleman Brothers said.Christopher Mittleman, chief investment officer of the New York-based company, bristled earlier this month at a $325-million offer from the consortium, calling it “coercive” and “blatantly inadequate” in an open letter to Aimia’s board.Mittleman recommended on Aug. 6 that Aimia accept no less than $1 billion, “especially not with a gun held to its head by its key commercial partners.”Aimia’s recent Aeroplan partnership agreements with three Canadian airlines — Air Transat, Flair Airlines and Porter Airlines — are now up in the air.“Those were perhaps part of the negotiations and trying to build the pressure on getting a transaction,” said AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray.Aimia had also been in discussions with the Oneworld airline alliance, whose members include British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.Gabor Forgacs, associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, said the key incentive for Canada’s largest airline is customer data that can be used to encourage more member spending.“Every time a member of the loyalty program goes to make a purchase and taps or swipes that card, he or she would earn points — however, they will agree to give away the information,” Forgacs said. “They will know where I was, what I bought, how much I spent.”Earlier this month, Aimia management said in a conference call it has considered further asset sales and a wind-up of the company. One analyst noted that Aimia could soon resemble a “holding company with limited assets.”Analysts predicted about 1,000 Aeroplan employees — roughly 60 per cent of Aimia’s workforce — would transfer to Air Canada if the deal goes ahead.Aimia’s other assets include a 48-per-cent stake in Aeromexico’s loyalty program, PLM, and a 20-per-cent share of Air Asia’s loyalty program, Think Big.“With the sale of Aeroplan, the focus for Aimia investors will shift to actual net proceeds received from the sale and the company’s subsequent capital redeployment strategy,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Drew McReynolds wrote in a report.The future of the program has faced questions since Air Canada announced last year that it planned to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in July, 2020 when its partnership with Aimia expires.The May 2017 announcement caused Aimia shares to nosedive 63 per cent in one day.Air Canada created Aeroplan as an in-house loyalty program, but it was spun off in 2005 as an independent business under a court-supervised restructuring of the airline. At the time, CIBC was Aeroplan’s main bank partner.Since 2014, TD has been Aeroplan’s main Visa card partner although CIBC continues to offer cards that earn Aeroplan points that can be redeemed for Air Canada flights and other rewards.Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:AIM, TSX:TD, TSX:CM)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misattributed a quote from Air Canada’s CEO to an analyst.last_img read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

first_imgSome of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,104.43, up 31.29 points).Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Healthcare. Up five cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $12.46 on 24.3 million shares.MEG Energy Corp. (TSX:MEG). Energy. Up $3.04, or 37.9 per cent, to $11.07 on 19.6 million shares.RNC Minerals. (TSX:RNX). Metals. Up five cents, or 5.62 per cent, to 94 cents on 14.2 million shares.Wallbridge Mining Company Ltd. (TSX:WM). Base metals. Up 5.5 cents, or 25 per cent, to 27.5 cents on 10 million shares.Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up 17 cents, or 4.53 per cent, to $3.92 on 8.6 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH). Healthcare. Down 24 cents, or 1.33 per cent, to $17.76 on 6.6 million shares.Companies reporting major news:MEG Energy Corp. (TSX:MEG). Energy. Up $3.04, or 37.9 per cent, to $11.07. Financial analysts say Husky Energy Inc. will likely have to sweeten its $3.3-billion hostile takeover bid for fellow Calgary oilsands producer MEG Energy Corp., although they concede there are few white knights that are big enough to ride to its rescue. In its offer Sunday, Husky said it was going directly to MEG’s shareholders after its board refused to consider a proposal. Husky closed down $1.47 or 6.48 per cent at $21.21 on 4.2 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) Up 34 cents, or two per cent to $17.27. Encana has an agreement to sell its San Juan assets in New Mexico to a Denver-based company for nearly $615 million. The Calgary-based oil and gas producer’s San Juan assets include lands that produce the equivalent of 5,400 barrels per day of oil. Denver-based DJR Energy, LLC says the acquisition will about double its land in the San Juan Basin to 141,639 hectares and increase its production to more than 6,000 barrels per day.last_img read more

US firm Lockheed Martin gets first crack to design 60B warship fleet

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government is giving U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin the first crack at inking a contract to design Canada’s $60-billion fleet of new warships.Government officials say Lockheed’s proposed design beat out two rival submissions during what has been a long and extremely sensitive competition to design the replacements for the navy’s entire frigate and destroyer fleets.However, that doesn’t mean Lockheed executives will be popping champagne, as negotiators for both sides will now have to sit down and iron out details including the final cost before an actual contract is awarded.The stakes will be high for both sides, with hundreds of millions of dollars in play as well as pressure to make up for lost time even though whatever decisions are taken could have ramifications for the navy and taxpayers for decades.The government has reserved the right to walk away from the talks, if Lockheed drives too hard a bargain, and negotiate with the second-place bidder, which the government did not identify, though officials are hoping that won’t be necessary and a contract will be signed this winter.The warships are to be built starting in the early 2020s by Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which worked with the government in identifying Lockheed as the preferred bidder and will also participate in the pending negotiations.last_img read more

Bank fined 13B in penalties over Cuba dealings

first_imgNEW YORK — One of France’s largest banks, Societe Generale, is paying $1.3 billion in penalties for violating U.S. trade sanctions on Cuba.U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in New York announced the deal Monday.He says it’s the second largest penalty ever imposed on a financial institution for violating U.S. economic sanctions.As part of the deal, prosecutors deferred criminal charges including conspiracy to violate the Trading with the Enemy Act. The charges would be dropped entirely after three years.Authorities say between 2004 and 2010, the bank facilitated the flow of $13 billion through Cuban businesses.The bank says it regrets “shortcomings” identified in the case.Berman says the bank has co-operated and promised to revamp internal controls so it doesn’t happen again.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Canadas E coli outbreak steps lag US because of caseloads experts

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:EMP.A)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press TORONTO — When news broke Tuesday that consumers should avoid eating romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swiftly demanded retailers remove the vegetable from store shelves and restaurants stop including it in meals.But in Canada, the country’s public health and food inspection agencies stopped short of insisting on its removal, despite it being linked to the illnesses of 18 people in Ontario and Quebec — six required hospitalization.Experts said the difference in approach likely stems from how many cases crop up in a country, how cautious nations want to be about protecting industries and how comfortable a country is with their hunches about the outbreak’s origins.Norman Neumann, the vice-dean of the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, said during outbreaks impacting Canada and the U.S., health bodies from both countries will likely consult each other on investigating the source, but don’t always co-ordinate their responses.He suspects the U.S. has gone a step further than Canada in part because U.S. authorities reported 32 cases of E. coli, 13 of which involved a person who was hospitalized.“The caseloads are higher in the U.S. so it might suggest a little bit more of a severe response in the U.S.,” he said.Pinpointing the exact cause of the outbreak can be difficult because public health officials often have to search for similarities in places those who fall ill have visited or what they’ve eaten.It can take a week for symptoms to appear in some cases and by then, asking someone to recall everything they ate the week before might be difficult and thus, impact a health agency’s comfort in taking action against a particular source of the outbreak, Neumann said.“When there are outbreaks, certain things have been implicated only to find out years later the epidemiology evidence wasn’t sound or secure,” he said. “You can pinpoint a potential source only to find out a few weeks, months or years later it was maybe not the source and we ruined an industry in response.”The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why it had stopped short of instructing grocery stores to stop selling romaine lettuce and restaurants to cease serving it.However, the CFIA has said if the contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product.Nova Scotia-based grocery giant Empire Company Ltd. didn’t wait for an official request from the CFIA though. On Wednesday, it said it was temporarily taking 300 products containing the vegetable off shelves at about 1,500 Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton’s Drug Stores locations.Jim Chan, a former health inspector and manager at Toronto Public Health, said he believes it is within the provincial public health body’s abilities to issue a warning to all food premises, including restaurants, quick-dining options and supermarkets, to stop serving romaine until the CFIA confirms the product is safe.“I strongly believe that Health Canada/CFIA should call for retailers and wholesalers to remove all off shelves, as well as a recall to consumers,” he told The Canadian Press. “I think food safety should take priority.”Chan added that most of Canada’s romaine lettuce is imported from the U.S. because Canada’s growing season ended in August.The Public Health Agency of Canada said the 18 people who fell ill in connection to the outbreak in Canada reported their cases between mid-October and early November, and one complained of suffering a severe complication related to it.Those affected were between the ages of five and 93 and were located in Ontario and Quebec.The agency said before their illnesses occurred, the people affected reported eating romaine lettuce at home, in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores and from menu items ordered at restaurants and fast food chains.Typical symptoms of illnesses caused by E. coli include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, though the bacteria is usually benign.last_img read more

Trans Mountain response not just about one pipeline says Trudeau

first_imgOTTAWA, O.N. – The future of resource development across Canada depends on the federal government responding correctly to a court ruling that has stalled the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Justin Trudeau said Friday.The government’s response is about more than just one pipeline project, the prime minister said as he took part in what was billed as an armchair discussion at a business gathering in Ottawa.“What we need is not just this pipeline,” Trudeau said. “This is the way the world is going, and if we can demonstrate clarity and certainty for business through the processes to the investors, we will be able to get more built.”The opposition parties called on the Liberal government Friday to study the Trans Mountain court decision, and use it to better define what it means to truly consider the wishes of Indigenous communities before it launches into any new consultations over Trans Mountain.The Liberals promised a new process for consultation with Indigenous communities during the last election campaign, “and that promise was completely broken,” New Democrat MP Rachel Blaney said before introducing a motion that would see a Commons committee examine why the court rejected the Trudeau cabinet’s approval of the Trans Mountain expansion.Her motion, along with a similar one introduced by Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, was voted down by Liberal members of the Commons committee on Indigenous and northern affairs. The Liberals didn’t speak to the motions and gave no reasons for rejecting them before adjourning. Trudeau called the court ruling “frustrating” and “devastating” for communities that were relying on the employment that would come with the Trans Mountain project.center_img “We need to be able to build resource projects of all different types with appropriate social license.”The Federal Court of Appeal quashed approval for the Trans Mountain project last week, citing insufficient consultation with Indigenous communities and failure to assess the environmental impact of more tanker traffic off British Columbia’s coast.The Conservatives and New Democrats both have blamed Trudeau for the ruling, accusing him of relying on “botched” consultations to further the pipeline project, which would bring more Alberta oilsands crude to port in B.C. for export overseas.But Trudeau said the decision must be seen in a broader context if the government is to ensure that Trans Mountain – and other resource projects – don’t get bogged down in endless court battles in the future.Trudeau fired back at critics who accuse his government of being unable to get large resource projects built, pointing to one major development that has already been approved in Canada but is facing roadblocks south of the border.“The Keystone XL pipeline has been approved in Canada for a long time and it’s bogged down in processes in the United States because, again, there are concerns that they hadn’t done enough around consultations in partnership with communities and environmental science,” Trudeau told the gathering.last_img read more

Natural Resources minister says new pipelines the answer to oil price problems

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says he shares Albertan’s “frustration” at billions of dollars being lost to the Canadian economy due to oil price discounts linked to export pipeline capacity constraints.But he says Ottawa is focused on finding long-term solutions by getting approval for new export pipelines such as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project it bought in August and by pursuing Bill C-69 to reform the National Energy Board.Following a speech at an Energy Council of Canada forum in downtown Calgary, Sohi told reporters the key to building pipelines is building trust in regulatory processes and engaging affected parties early on so that approvals aren’t overturned, as was the case with Trans Mountain. The judge that overturned that project’s NEB approval cited a lack of meaningful consultations with Indigenous people and failure to consider marine environmental impacts.An NEB reconsideration of the identified issues is expected to conclude by February but Sohi said he won’t put a deadline on new Indigenous consultations now underway.Asked about an Alberta request in October for the federal government to support crude-by-rail shipments, Sohi said the Alberta request is being examined by his department but he hasn’t actuallyseen it.“My administration has been engaging with the province of Alberta, their officials and the officials from other provinces to explore options, options that can work, options that are practical to implement and options that will actually give us the ability to transport Alberta resources in a way that needs to be done,” he said.“Those are short-term solutions but the long-term solution ismaking sure pipeline capacity is expanded.”Asked then what options are being considered, he said: “I don’t know what those options are. Officials are engaging with the provincial officials.”last_img read more

Pipelines UN immigration feature as protest convoy reaches Parliament Hill

first_imgOTTAWA, O.N. – A convoy of Canadians fed up with the Liberal government rolled into Ottawa Tuesday with demands as varied as their vehicles.The United We Roll convoy began in Red Deer, Alta., on Valentine’s Day and made its way east over four days with stops for rallies along the way. After four days of cross-country driving, the convoy mustered in Arnprior, Ont., just outside the capital but got off to a late start Tuesday morning. With police escorts, its trucks, buses and cars hit downtown Ottawa after the morning rush hour, disrupting the city only slightly.Scores of semis, pickups and other vehicles occupied several blocks of the street in front of Parliament as about 150 people gathered in knee-deep snow on the Hill for speeches by organizers and a handful of conservative lawmakers. One placard on a truck outside Parliament declared NO to “UN/globalism, carbon tax, tanker ban, dirty foreign oil, open borders” and YES to “Charge Trudeau with treason, Energy East, yes to pipe lines, look after veterans, photo ID & Canadian citizenship to vote.”Other signs backed a variety of causes, including Canadian agriculture and protecting free speech. One called on Canadians to eat beef.Started by Glen Carritt, the owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alta., the convoy protesters have demanded the Liberal government scrap the carbon tax and two bills that overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects and ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia.“The core message is we need immediate action for our pipelines to get in the ground, to get to tidewater and to the rest of Canada,” he told The Canadian Press in a previous interview. About 30 police officers stood between the convoy members and a counter-protest that gathered nearby, focused on Indigenous causes.“It is time that Canada has a prime minister that is proud of our energy sector,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the crowd. He emphasized the convoy members’ demand that the federal government get pipelines built to help get Alberta oil and gas to new markets.Half a dozen Conservative MPs and senators blasted the Liberals’ carbon tax and reiterated their support for the oil and gas sector. They left out another of the convoy organizers’ complaints: that Canada signed a non-binding United Nations agreement on migration in December.The Conservative party opposed the signing of the global compact, although Scheer did not mention it.Nor did People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, whose omission drew cries from the crowd when he spoke about the importance of the oil industry.“Where’s the UN?” yelled one woman.center_img Mark Friesen, a convoy organizer from Saskatoon, gave one of the day’s first speeches, talking about federal policies as the results of agreements with the United Nations to implement its sustainable development agenda.“You cut the head of the snake off, we get our country back, all of it, including pipelines built, including dumping the carbon tax, including getting rid of the migrant pact,” he said.Friesen, like many of the convoy participants, is affiliated with the populist “yellow-vest” movement, Carritt said the convoy was not itself a yellow-vest protest. Amid concerns the convoy had become a magnet for extremist, anti-immigrant activists, organizers stressed the rally was peaceful and open to anyone fed up with the federal government.Despite charges by its critics, Friesen insisted the yellow-vest movement is not racist or anti-immigrant.“We are a country of immigrants,” he said. “We need more immigration but we need to determine these policies in Canada for Canadians.”Meanwhile after a cabinet meeting inside Parliament’s West Block, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi told reporters he was focused on increasing pipeline capacity.“It’s very unfortunate that the convoy that is here today, their message has drifted away from pipelines to issues that are not relevant to the discussion on pipelines,” the Edmonton MP said.A second day of protests is planned for Wednesday.last_img read more