Tuesday, March 17, 2009


When deals are inked behind closed doors ... and the results affect the public interest ... how does the public get to know?


This morning's news reported two disparate events with a certain similarity. Both claim to be about relationships. Both of them announce agreements for serious future activities. Both agreements are far-reaching in their effects on British Columbia. Both come under the jurisdiction of a small group of people, which means that both groups came to their decisions behind closed doors, not necessarily known to the wider population.

One is a new freight concept. One is a new First Nations concept.

I have set them together for comparison. Frankly, I'm uneasy with both of them. On the issue of First Nations government, I've taken only a snippet from a learned friend's argument (below). As for this wonderful new transportation deal that's been "inked" (stupid term), I can't help thinking that British Columbia should have held its key position within that cargo network to the rest of the continent. BC Rail represented British Columbia interests; it was a plus, not a minus. I mean, if the Halifax Gateway Council, a non-profit organization, can function to the benefit of Halifax, then the publicly-owned BC Rail could have done the same for us. I think we were double-crossed from within, a long time ago. - BC Mary.

Halifax inks deal to strengthen cargo ties with southern US

HALIFAX, N.S. -- Officials from Halifax and Memphis, Tenn. have signed an agreement to work together to pursue stronger, mutually beneficial cargo links. Halifax was represented by Stephen Dempsey, chair of the Halifax Gateway Council, while Arnold Perl, chairman of the Memphis Regional Logistics Council signed on behalf of Memphis. The agreement was also endorsed by the mayor of each city.

“This partnership is about building relationships, but the agreement also means we need to be ready sell the Gateway business case” Dempsey said.

“Memphis is literally connected by CN rail to both coasts of Canada through Prince Rupert, B.C. on the West and Halifax, Nova Scotia on the East – these trading relationships will only enhance our competitive positioning,” Perl said.

Tom Ruth, president and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority stated, “Memphis has 100 million-plus square feet of warehouse space. It is the largest air cargo hub in North America and is home to the air cargo giant FedEx – a key customer at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Our key strategic relationship with Memphis will benefit our Gateway in many ways.”

The Halifax Gateway Council (HGC) is a not for profit organization with a mandate to work collaboratively to increase growth in air cargo, air passengers, port cargo, and cruise passengers. The Memphis Regional Logistics Council was formed by the Greater Memphis Chamber to strengthen and grow the existing logistics business through a regional approach which includes West Tennessee, East Arkansas and North Mississippi.


B.C. plan may start new era of aboriginal government

Updated Sat. Mar. 7 2009
The Canadian Press

VICTORIA -- The provincial government is looking to redraw the aboriginal map of British Columbia -- a move that one expert believes could usher in a modern new era of aboriginal government.

The proposed changes are part of a sweeping reconciliation legislation that would amalgamate First Nations, reducing their official number from more than 200 to less than 25. Despite some jitters, many First Nations are embracing the changes, taking strength from the promise that any changes to their current governing structure will be aboriginal driven and not imposed by government.

Member of the First Nations Summit voted last week to support the proposed B.C. government legislation, which will also recognize the long-standing title rights aboriginals have as the historic first inhabitants of the province.

"People have to ask questions because I don't want to be forced into working with First Nations that we might not get along with or it doesn't make a natural fit," said Chief Judith Sayers of the Hupacasath First Nation located near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. The Hupacasath First Nation has 265 members, but they do not want their current political powers diminished by a provincial government worn out from negotiating land, water and resource rights with 203 different First Nations, she said.

"We heard the B.C. minister of aboriginal relations and reconciliation say that it is up to the First Nations to determine what their political structure is going to be -- and it might well be 203 First Nations or it might be 30 or it might be 100. We just don't know how that's logically going to play out," Sayers said. "There are some things that we just need to sit down and talk about."

Mike de Jong, B.C. aboriginal relations minister, said the First Nations consistently tell the government the current structure that created 203 First Nations was imposed upon them by federal and provincial governments.
Aboriginal groups have been examining a draft copy of the proposed B.C. legislation. The draft contains a map with 23 aboriginal nations spread out across the province.

"The reconstitution of Indigenous Nations and its identification of proper title and rights holders are keys to achieving certainty and the effective functioning of the framework for shared decision making and revenue and benefit sharing contemplated by this Act," says the draft. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, one of the B.C. aboriginal leaders negotiating the recognition proposals with the government, said aboriginals are ready to consider a new governing structure.

B.C. aboriginals have been examining the recognition and governance issue for months at meeting across the province, he said. "The legislation and the concept underlying the legislation allow for First Nations to make those determinations themselves," Phillip said. "It's not something that will be imposed on First Nations or groups of First Nations." Prof. Cole Harris, an expert in aboriginal history at the University of British Columbia, said B.C.

First Nations appear ready to embrace a process that allows them to preserve their political values, while interacting more closely with non-aboriginal society without giving up their rights.
"If this is real serious co-management, and if native people are going to have a major voice, it's a large step," he said. "The question is just how real the native voice is going to be."


Quote from Mickleburgh's article in the G&M:

"There was also some aboriginal opposition to another proposition in the bill, approved by the government and the First Nations Leadership Council, that would whittle the 200 or so existing native bands down to what native leaders call "the original 30 indigenous governments."

The voice of a citizen is heard in private correspondence:

What friggin' ROT. There was no such thing as a common Haida government, a common Nuu-chah-nulth government, a common Kwakwaka'wakw government, a common Secwepemc government, a common Carrier government, a common Tshilhqot'in government, a common Stl'atl'imx government, a common Sto:lo government, a common Cowichan govenrment ...

... what's happening here is basically that the British claim that survived American attempts to seize the whole region, is being swept aside and handed over to the alleged "30 original indigenous governments" which never existed. And whichever native leader claimed that all of the province belonged to some native people or other is very, very wrong; some areas like the deep Coast Mountains none of them had ever been to, ditto in vast areas of the north; the Secwepemc didn't DARE to go in the upper Columbia, above Revelstoke, because the Blackfeet hung out there; in the north the Beaver and Sekani hid from the woodland Cree, the Lower Lillooet didn't go to Harrison Lake because of the danger from the Chehalis and the Southern Kwakiutl (who, until Fort Langley came along, raided the Lower Fraser right up to Yale with some regularity and almost no opposition, likewise the Haida).

[Permission to quote from private correspondence has been requested. - BC Mary.]


The "Recognition Act" -redefining aboriginal title etc.- was originally given a big push by Big Gordo, with him demanding that it be passed before the almost to expire mini-session closes.

Then surprisingly, even BC liaR backbenchers began to wonder just what in the hell it means and it has now been delayed until after the election. While some journalists (?) claim the act has support on both sides of the house, it is clear even many Libs are not comfortable with it! It is difficult to stand up to Campbell's attempts to co-opt some natives (i.e. Deltaport) without risking appearing anti-native. Appearing to have natives on side makes environmental reviews seem well, excessive!

Like Gordo's "GREEN" policies, "transparency" and consultation in government - the Recognition Act is probably just something that sounds like how Gordo wants to appear to the public, but has no real meaning policywise, except whatever he and his PAC people say.

Obviously if these crooks get another mandate they will do everything they ever dreamed of as soon as possible, before getting arrested or ?

I hesitate to recommend the Tyee, but Rafe's current article regarding the changes to the Navigable Waters Act hidden in the budget by the Harperites is worth reading. Also see letter from Chief Commanda at waterwalk

We are being robbed of our legacy by Ottawa and Victoria while most of the sheeple sleep. While most of the New World to the South wakes up to the schemes of the privatizing Greedalogues, Harper and Campbell continue to pillage, not willing to stop until they are forced out of office and, dare I hope - into cells.
It is kinda an apple and oranges comparison, but the Supreme Court of Canada recently clarified some "Stinchcombe" disclosure rules, viz nominal "third party" evidence. If the Libs are treated in first party materiality terms, then the defence can invoke an over-ride of privilege. Of course, if they did that Oppal would sandbag the entire case. I believe that has always been his purpose. He will be collecting his legislature pension while we pay for the BVB defence costs.

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