[A-List] Canadian elections

Jim Yarker sjy_estrien at sympatico.ca
Tue Feb 14 11:49:39 MST 2006

>From: Macdonald Stainsby <mstainsby at resist.ca>
>As I've demonstrated before with the sweet sounding talk of the BC Premier, 
>what is important is not a electoral platform listing of the various titles 
>of concepts "enshrined", but rather what the approach of the Settler State 
>is to actual devolution.

It wasn't just in the PQ's platform not to press for extinguishment of 
ancestral territory rights, the entente de principe reached with the Innu by 
the PQ *gov't* specifically agreed to their non-extinguishment, *a first in 
Canada,* as pointed out in so many words by an Innu-side negotiatorr (and 
others who follow these matters), who worked for negotiating on the Innu 
side for 14yrs beginning in the 70's:  
http://www.erudit.org/revue/as/2003/v27/n2/007453ar.html  Ever since the 
Supreme Court ruling the Fed strategy had always been to "recognize" 
ancestral claims only to then "buy" their extinguishment.  The Entente de 
principe was supposed to lead to a final treaty within 2 yrs, but in the 
meantime Charest and the Liberals, leading the "most staunchly federalist 
gov't in Québec in decades", retook power and started backpeddling on it and 
things didn't take long to run off the rails, with the Innu now suing the 
Charest gov't and the Feds for several billions $ for their foot-dragging 
(God Bless Canada), which has included letting Kruger log on ancestral 
forests of the Innu on René-Levasseur Island without their say-so, a lawsuit 
supported by the former PQ minister for Québec-Aboriginal relations Rémy 
Trudel.  The Betsiamites Innu are invoking these same ancestral rights btw 
to defend their controversial project to dam the Sault-aux-Cochons River:  
As to your oft-repeated baloney about Québec sovereignists not caring about 
indigenous sovereignists, that's been dealt with before, and I'm not a 
specialist in treating ADD, but just one of many examples of what shite that 
claim is is here:  http://soslevasseur.org/en/?q=node/16 , along with the 
work of countless other groups and individuals.

>Nowhere is absolute control contemplated.

Nitassinan, the vast national ancestral land of the Innu, has a population 
which is something like over 90-95% non-indigenous.  All a province is under 
the Canadian system is a public unit of gov't covering a certain territory 
with shared and exclusive jurisdictions and taxing power vis-à-vis the 
Federal centre and one-person one vote.  It also requires constitutional 
accord to make a new province (ie it's not something Québec has any 
independent control over, as was so ideologically inconvenient for you to 
point out).

Making a territory a province doesn't confer collective title to a nation or 
people.  The Québécois form a demographic majority in the province of Québec 
(whose borders were never put to popular consultation - but over 80% of 
Quebeckers incl agree to seeing them altered to meet indigenous aspirations 
as has been pointed out before) but they have no collective "title" or 
"rights" under the Cdn system.  Collective title to a people and 
provincehood are 2 different things.  Making Nitassinan a province like the 
10 others would create a public gov't where the non-native pop. was 
massively hegemonic demographically, economically, and politically.  And not 
only would the non-native population be massively majoritarian, as much as 
they are in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, they would consider themselves 
Québécois who'd been "ultsterized" from the rest of Québec.  So not only 
would they be vastly majoritarian settlers, but they'd be settlers with 
attitude.  Sometimes it helps to put aside the blowhard rhetoric and think 
these things thru a bit.  Perhaps this too is why another expensive and 
ignored royal commission, the one on aboriginal peoples, actually 
recommended a whole new level of government for indigenous nations, which 
would not be simply a copy of provincehood, since there are lots of 
Nitassinan type situations to be taken into account where ancestral rights 
over a territory and the demographic facts on the ground produce complicated 
situations requiring real-world solutions, since for the most part, as one 
Justice remarked, "Nobody's going anywhere."  This commission ended up 
recommending aboriginal self-goverment incl taxing power and charters of 
rights/justice systems etc over territories under aboriginal title and 
recognized ancestral rights such as the Supreme Court had directed Canadian 
gov'ts and indigenous nations to negotiate and define taking into account 
all the legitimate interests of affected populations, and where ancestral 
rights can have meaning over territories where the title holders of them are 
minoritarian.  When the PQ draft bill on sovereignty laid out this scenario 
in 1995, it was massacred in the English Canadian media.  When the federal 
Erasmus-Dussault Commission essentially repeated the scenario it its report 
a year later, it showed what a great country Canada is, and then it gathered 
dust for a decade.

>It is not true that the PQ initiated [?!] the first process whereby the 
>term extinguishment would be removed.

The Innu-Attikamekw put forward a negotiating framework demanding the 
non-extinction of rights when the discussions began in Québec in the 70's.  
I said the first *agreement* reached in which the principle of the 
non-extinction of territorial rights was the PQ gov't's  agreement with the 
Innu.  Maybe if you want to respond to things you could leave them as said 
instead of mendaciously rewording them to suit your purposes.

>Provinces retain far greater powers than any territory so administered by 

misleading, buckpassing (in the absence of the things I point out above)

>It is simply a fiction to imagine that the same party who helped in the 
>white-washing of the >operation on Oka,

Well I agree with Philpot whose excellent book (Oka: dernier alibi du Canada 
anglais = Oka: English Canada's last excuse) that the real prize for 
whitewashing on Oka should go to the chauvinist cabal of English Canadian 
politicians, "opinion-makers", the pushover anglo press and its Stockholm 
syndrome, who brought all their phony moral high ground to bear in order to 
use the crisis (which co-incided with the collapse of Meech Lake after a 
lengthy Canada-wide campaign of gutter Québec-bashing) to, as John Ciaccia 
put it, "put Québec in its place" and who airbrushed brilliantly the 
Canadian state's primary and ongoing responsiblity in the affair.  It was 
Canada who'd refused to recognize the disputed land there as belonging to 
the Mohawk, who'd  refused to give it back in the 70's and who'd parcelled 
it out to various interests against the Mohawk's consent, laying the basis 
for a long dispute.

It was Canada who sent in the army in 1990 after the Warriors showed up 
there, so the feds must have thought they were dealing with a "terror" 
situation too.  And of course hidebound anti-separatist Gazette editor 
Norman Webster called the Warriors "terrorists" just like Parizeau, as did 
the leadership of the traditional Iroquois Confederacy, whose 
"assassination" had been suggested by Warrior founder Louis Hall, (who also 
predicted that René Lévesque would abolish all Québec's native reserves).  
And the peaceful Mohawk protesters aligned with Mohawk journalist Doug 
George (who supported the traditional Confederacy and not any white-imposed 
gov'ts) who manned barricades to try to force a democratic referendum on 
casinos at Akwesasne and took high-powered weapons fire from the Warriors 
for doing so, producing 2 deaths and the flight of 1000's, seemed to think 
they were being terrorized, at a time when the peaceful barricades over at 
Oka were operating in a land claim protest the Warriors didn't initiate.  
But after their own siege of Akwesasne was broken, they went over to Oka.  
Is that how it happened Macdonald?

>From "Tobacco Road Revisited" 

Opponents of the Warrior protected businesses in Akwesasne after their 
repeated requests for the stationing of a Canadian-American police force had 
been rejected in a racist manner by the surrounding governments, especially 
that of New York State, resorted to blockades of roads leading to casinos.
They were established on March 23, 1990, with the support of the Canadian 
Mohawk police force and tribal council.

Gambling supporters tried to destroy the blockades even as they were being 
built. The resistance held, however. Women baked bread, cakes and pies to 
feed two hundred people who rotated in shifts around the clock. One leading 
gambling foe, Brian Cole, a prominent Mohawk environmentalist, withstood two 
beatings by gambling supporters on the blockade.

Faced with the loss of millions in revenues, by late April 1990, the 
Warriors began to escalate their violence.
On April 23, the North American Indian [Travelling] College was set on fire. 
Gas bombs were fired at blockades. A live hand grenade was tossed into a 
crowd in front of the Canadian Mohawk police station, as 15 Warriors lined 
up their cars. Several private homes were damaged by firebombs. The police 
station was later hit with 200 rounds of fire from unidentified men carrying 
AK-47 assault rifles.

During the evening of April 24, 1990, the blockades ended in an explosion of 
gunfire. Hundreds of rounds of automatic weapon fire were poured, parallel 
to the ground, on the blockades. Warriors at the time of this offensive were 
staggering and howling, apparently drunk and high on cocaine. Twenty cars of 
gambling foes were torched. The American side of Akwesasne became a no man's 
land, rent by bursts of weapons fire.

On April 26, 1990, the Canadian Mohawk council prepared a mass evacuation. 
Within a few days some 2, 667 of the 3, 920 people on the Canadian side had 
fled, along with 1,000 of the 4,000 American residents. Nearly 2,000 
refugees were sheltered in public facilities of the Transport Canada 
Training Institute in Cornwall. The gun battles at Akwesasne were the most 
intense since the Metis rebellion over a century ago.

----- (end quote)

but then after days of gunbattles, and finally after 2 young Mohawk men were 
killed, incl Akwesasne Notes journalist and anti-casino activist Matthew 
Pyke, the police broke and the siege, and the refugees began to return.  Is 
that right, Macdonald?  And after Doug George was busted by the Québec cops 
on trumped up charges, the Warriors joined the protest at Oka, yes?   Never 
mind me, it's Doug George who thinks they joined the protest at Oka to get 
back their cred after the defeat at Akwesasne, and to manipulate the Oka 
demands in order to further their own pecuniary interests, and who can't get 
over how they were able to snow all the Canadian journalists.   But this was 
happening in the province of Québec, and this was a chance to finger-point 
and buckpass, and one should never underestimate English Canadians' love of 
the principle, « Lorsqu'on se regarde, on se désole, mais lorsque'on se 
compare, on se console ».
from "Tobacco Road Revisited" (cont'd):

A few months following the two deaths from gunfire in Akwesasne, another 
death from a firefight, involving a Quebec policeman, Marcel Lemay, took 
place in the Mohawk community of Kanehsatake.
Unlike the disputes over the activities of organized crime in Akwesasne, 
this involved the community's attempt to protect a sacred pine forest and 
burial ground. An unarmed blockade against the golf course had been put in 
place on March 11, 1990, and had been established with the advice of the 
Alliance for Nonviolent Action, a Canadian peace group.

**Doug George maintains the incident at Oka was in direct response to the 
Akwesasne crisis. He says the Warriors had lost tremendous face at Akwesasne 
as a result of their defeat and arrived at Oka in July 1990, uninvited by 
the community with their vehicles stocked with firearms and looking for a 
way to assert their power.** [my emphasis-jy]

Such an action, George argues, was certain to provoke the Sûreté, which was 
angry over accusations of cowardice rising from its refusal to aide the 
Akwesasne Police. George says officer Lemay, who was to die at Oka after 
being shot by a Warrior, had been at Akwesasne.

Following the two deaths at Akwesasne, Warriors began to show up at the 
blockade in late June. On July 11, 1990, 100 outgunned Sûreté officers 
unleashed tear gas against the Warriors. The Sûreté quickly retreated after 
they encountered an unexpected barrage of bullets from the Warriors at the 
blockade, which lasted less than 30 seconds but left one police officer 

The violence at Oka resulted in sympathy blockades at Kahnawake, the most 
significant of which blocked the Mercier bridge, a major Montreal traffic 

The Oka Crisis

**Aware of the Oka crisis' potential to spread violence across Canada,** the 
federal government moved swiftly to buy the disputed land on generous terms, 
spending $5.2 million for 39 hectares by early September. Then all but 300 
of Kanesatake's 1,500 residents had become the second wave in 1990 to flee 
from Warrior terror.

Warriors in Kanesatake openly manipulated the prolonged armed standoff to 
legitimate organized crime activities. Not present during the fatal 
shooting, Akwesasne Warrior leader and casino operator, Loran Thompson, 
showed up the next day and made a rousing speech in a community gym.

Following the purchase of disputed land on July 27, Thompson again persuaded 
those taking part in the blockades to maintain them at high risk. Thompson 
knew if his various criminal activities were to continue he would need the 
cloak of sovereignty and the threat of violence.

An unexpected ally of the Warriors were members of the press, both domestic 
and foreign, who put aside their journalistic objectivity in a mad rush to 
label the outlaw group as "freedom fighters" waging war against an 
oppressive government.

Caught up in their own rhetoric, the press refused to investigate the 
criminal backgrounds of the Warriors despite pleas by the Mohawk people. The 
result was "Oka" became synonymous with legitimate aboriginal struggle 
rather than the genesis of a criminal enterprise that would come to 
dominate, and contaminate, the Iroquois for the next 13 years.


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