Friday, June 28, 2013
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Instead of meeting with Aboriginal youth who had traveled 1,600 kilometres by foot in -50°C frigid winter temperatures to Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Harper went to an airport photo-op with two pandas.

Inspired by the Idle No More movement, 17-year-old David Kawapit Jr. and six friends left their traditional territory to travel for two months through brush, snow and frigid winter temperatures - walking from northern Quebec to Ottawa to call attention to local issues facing youth, including suicide, and fight for the future of Aboriginal people in Canada.

And instead of meeting with the walkers, Prime Minister Harper chose to leave town for a photo-op with two pandas. He’s spending $10 million to rent the pandas. Seriously. $10 million for panda priorities. 1 It’s outrageous to spend $10 million on pandas while Aboriginal children and youth receive $2-3,000 less education funding each year than non-native children and youth -- and need to walk 1,600km just to be heard by our government. 2,3

Sign the petition to PM Harper: It’s wrong to put PR stunts before people. Recognize First Nations rights and commit to equal education funding for Aboriginal children and youth.



Canada’s Aboriginal youth face many hurdles -- and this panda PR shows you the problem with this government’s priorities.

Cindy Blackstock, founder of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has said that this means First Nations students have “fewer books, no libraries, no computers and very few science labs or learning supports for learners with different needs. Many First Nations children have to leave home at a young age to go to school hundreds of kilometers away and others go to schools in terrible conditions that include rat, snake and mold infestations. These horrible conditions contribute to less than half of First Nations children graduating from high school.” 3

Young people shouldn’t have to walk 1,600km to get our government’s attention.

Education funding for Aboriginal children and youth is a federal responsibility.We need our government to commit to a plan to reach equal education funding for Aboriginal children and youth in Canada.

Equal education funding is a good start, and we need to think big-picture. Time and again, Canada has broken its treaty promises to First Nations. That’s why Canada and many Canadians have gotten rich off the land’s resources, while First Nations have been locked into structural poverty. 4,5

This is a moment to make sure Canadians know what’s going on, make our voices heard, and keep our promises. Please sign this urgent petition now and share it with your friends and networks.

Here’s quote from our friend Heather Milton Lightening, Cree advocate and organizer, who offered this statement of support:

"Our people have more power than we know and understand. Harper is someone who understands power. This is a game of wills, and his acknowledgment of pandas over the Nishiyuu youth is intended to show that our people are powerless in the eyes of his regime. Little does he know leaders come and go but our people are forever. These youth showed the world the power of our people. Now it’s time to act."

Published in Global News

Posting as per request from FIPA INM communications


The Council of Canadians


On January 18, 2013, the Hupacasath First Nation of British Columbia took the first steps toward challenging the Harper government’s new corporate rights pact with China through the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA). That’s the day the Hupacasath filed an application in court to stop the ratification of the FIPPA until the government has fulfilled its obligation to consult with First Nations about the impacts the treaty will have on their rights and their lands.

No trade or investment deal in recent memory has attracted so much opposition in Canada – and for good reason. No investment treaty since North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) poses a greater threat to the environment, public health, First Nations and basic notions of democracy. If the FIPPA is ratified, China-based corporations will be able to directly challenge local, provincial and federal policies that interfere with their “right” to make a profit from energy, mining or other controversial projects. Canadian firms will have the same “right” in China, which will have a direct impact on human rights and environmental protections in that country also.

The Hupacasath First Nation is doing all of us a great service by challenging the FIPPA with China. Their legal battle will put Canada’s FIPPAs on trial and shine an important light on how trade and investment pacts undermine democracy in Canada and around the world. You and I need to help the Hupacasath however we can.


 Stop FIPA! Help Legal Action on Canada-China Deal




For those who do not know, Brenda Sayers is the spokesperson for the Hupacasath First Nation of Port Alberni, B.C. The Hupacasath are a small First Nation of 280 people. On January 18, 2013, the Hupacasath filed in the Federal Court of Canada their Notice of an Intention to apply for an injunction against the federal government to prevent them from ratifying the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) with China. They have since filed the application. The basis of their application is that the government failed to honour its constitutionally mandated duty under section 35 of the Constitution Act to consult with First Nations peoples, the Métis and the Inuit when it negotiated ...the FIPPA with China. Several other organizations or Band Councils have also filed for Intervener status, which means they can file Affidavits in support of the Hupacasath. 

Here is what Brenda and I talked about:

    1. Brenda is the spokesperson for the Hupacasath regarding this application. She is very happy to hear of support for Hupacasath from Treaty 7 / Calgary people.

    2. The Band Council has retained a Vancouver law firm that specializes in Aboriginal Law, Underhill, Boies, Parker Law Corporation. Their address is: 440-355 Burrard St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2G8. The lead counsel is Mark Underhill.

    3. There is a case management meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2013 involving the Hupacasath legal team, lawyers for the feds and a Federal Court judge. Among other things, they will be deciding on dates for hearing the application. As I’d said, there are several groups or First Nation band councils seeking Intervener status. The federal lawyers are objecting. This is to be expected. The judge however will undoubtedly rule that the other FN band councils do have the right to be heard on this application as FIPPA affects their rights too. The date of the hearing could be as early as late April.

    4. The legal costs are estimated to be $75,000, which is why it is imperative to start fund-raising now. The Council of Canadians is raising funds through its site. There’s also a page available through Causes. Finally, anyone wishing to donate by cheque can do so by making it payable to, Underhill, Boies, Parker Law Corporation in Trust.

    5. The cost of around $150 is the fee for filing the intervenor paperwork with the federal court. The cost to put together an affidavit is much more and would be based on the lawyer's hourly billable rate, which is much more than $150 an hour. Since the issue is the same for all First Nations, Metis and Inuit, which is the failure of the federal government to discuss in a meaningful way the parts of FIPPA that affect First Nations/Metis/Inuit rights (by extension, the rights of all Canadians), it would make sense for various band councils that wanted to get intervenor status to join together and split costs for a single application as opposed to everyone doing their own thing.

Written by Brian Seaman, Human Rights Lawyer



There are 1.6 million First Nation, Metis, and Inuit and if we all pull together and get intervenor status for FIPA China Deal and Omnibus Bills this increases are chances of winning in the courts.

If band council wish not to get involved, speak with the elders and get a petition going and as long as it is a majority, this will be good enough to get an intervener status. In the works: YouTube Video and tryin to get Brian on APTN. He is in the process of getting us a lawyer for our use nation-wide: cheaper and more organized. Then we know on our side how many FN groups are in support of this application.

Published in National News
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