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$40-billion settlement on First Nations child welfare doesn’t satisfy all orders, rights tribunal says




The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal says a $40-billion settlement the federal government struck over child welfare on First Nations hasn’t met all of its orders and is urging the parties to negotiate further, according to a Canadian Press report here.

On Parliament Hill, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said the government will continue to work with First Nation partners and review the tribunal’s detailed findings and move forward. “What I think I want First Nations’ people to know is that they have a partner in us to do this work,” Ms. Hajdu told journalists.

Justice Minister David Lametti said the government will await a final decision beyond the tribunal summary released Tuesday and work on the issue with partners, including the Assembly of First Nations. “We have to go back with our partners and see what the final decision is, and see where we can move from there, but certainly there is no decision on anything today.”

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The tribunal remains concerned with the timeline claimants have to opt out of any compensation and whether all children will receive the full amount of $40,000 each.

Please check The Globe and Mail for further developments.

Parliamentary Reporter Kristy Kirkup and Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Bill Curry reported here, in December, on Ottawa earmarking $40-billion for First Nations child welfare, long-term reform in fall economic statement

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SWEEPING HOUSING LEGISATION UNVEILED IN ONTARIO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford is unveiling sweeping new legislation aimed at speeding up housing construction. Plans include cutting fees for affordable and rental projects and increasing density near transit stations while allowing three units on any residential lot across the province. Story here.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS CONCLUDE IN FORTIN TRIAL – Major-General Dany Fortin, the former head of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, awaits his fate after closing arguments in his sexual assault trial concluded Tuesday in Gatineau. Story here.

PBO WARNS DENTAL PLAN VULNERABLE TO FRAUD – The Liberals’ proposed dental-care benefit is susceptible to fraud if verification measures aren’t put in place, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux warned Tuesday as the legislation nears a final vote in the House of Commons. Story here.

OTTAWA POLICE FEARED ESCALATION OF CONVOY PROTEST – An inspector with the Ottawa Police Service was worried the truckers convoy could turn into a Jan. 6-style attack on Parliament Hill, the Public Order Emergencies Commission heard Tuesday. Story here.

FORD AND JONES CALLED TO TESTIFY – Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his former solicitor-general, Sylvia Jones, are going to court to fight summonses to appear before the commission investigating the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act. They had refused multiple requests to provide interviews or testify voluntarily. Story here.

CANADA URGED TO NEGOTIATE TRADE DEAL WITH TAIWAN – Taiwan’s new top envoy in Canada says China is accelerating its timeline to seize the self-governed island and he’s calling on Ottawa to begin negotiations on a trade agreement with Taipei as a demonstration of support for the Taiwanese people. Story here.

NDP CRITICIZES BANK OF CANADA – The New Democratic Party is criticizing the Bank of Canada’s rapid interest rate increases, further complicating the political environment for the central bank as it attempts to get inflation under control. Story here.

WINNERS IN ONTARIO MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS – John Tory clinched a third term as mayor of Toronto, Mark Sutcliffe was elected Ottawa’s next mayor, Patrick Brown was re-elected mayor of Brampton, and two former provincial party leaders – Andrea Horwath and Steven Del Duca – won their respective mayoral races in Hamilton and Vaughan. Details here.

SMITH WARY OF WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said she is cancelling a health consulting agreement involving the World Economic Forum – an agency at the centre of global domination conspiracy theories – because she won’t work with a group that talks about controlling governments. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Oct. 25, accessible here.


WILKINSON IN TORONTO – Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson delivered remarks to the Canadian Club in Toronto, then took media questions.


As Rishi Sunak becomes Britain’s next prime minister, novelist and Globe and Mail contributing columnist Tom Rachman talks on Tuesday’s edition of The Globe’s podcast about why he thinks the problems in Britain all stem back to Brexit, about the mess Rishi Sunak is set to take on, and what he could possibly do to fix the British economy. The Decibel is here.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings, chaired the weekly cabinet meeting and attended Question Period.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference on Parliament Hill to discuss his party’s opposition- day motion on the government acting to sever ties between the Canadian state and the British monarchy.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a news conference on affordability issues, attended a rally at the Prime Minister’s Office to support the Citizenship and Immigration Employees Union, and attended Question Period.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on what’s on the mind of David Eby, B.C’s new premier: “Mr. Eby seems to be operating on a trust-me basis. He does have the full backing of his caucus and a majority government with two years until the next election. And, sure, he has a respectable track record – as a deputy. None of this justifies the absence of a serious discussion of his plans with British Columbians as he rises to the top job. This lack of clarity started during the party’s leadership race in the summer, which ended up being no race at all – and with, to the detriment of B.C., no debates.”

Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s time for Toronto’s mayor to step it up: “Mr. Tory is a steady as she goes kind of guy, not a galvanizing figure or a visionary. That’s not always a bad thing in a tumultuous world. But it can be a fault at a time when citizens are looking for someone who can command their attention and inspire their hopes. This is such a time. Torontonians are feeling frustrated and a little discouraged at the state of their city. Though it is still a dynamic, attractive place, it is fraying around the edges. The roads are clogged again, the transit service often unreliable. The cost of housing threatens to push many residents out. People without homes are camped out in many city parks. The city’s financial resources have been pushed to the maximum after the burden of fighting COVID-19.”

Emily Laidlaw (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how creating an online harms bill is tricky but it can be done right: “This legislation will not be a magic bullet. It won’t remove all the online toxicity and violence, nor will it ensure that freedom of expression and privacy are fully protected. However, this legislation can still make a difference. Canada is long overdue in passing laws in this space. Legislation that holds social-media companies accountable, even the slightest, will have a much-needed impact.”

Brian Sauvé (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, in the wake of four line-of-duty deaths, it’s clear we need to better protect our protectors: “Four police officers have been murdered on duty in Canada in less than a month. That’s four too many. Political leaders, the public they serve and those of us in policing should be asking ourselves what we can do to better protect our protectors. All four of these line-of-duty deaths – one Toronto Police Service officer; two South Simcoe, Ont., officers and most recently, an RCMP officer in Burnaby, B.C. – share a common thread in that each occurred while the victims were serving and protecting our communities. For each of their police services and associations, the loss has been deep, unforgettable and gut-wrenching. Each incident was violent and sudden, a stark and grim reminder of the life-and-death risks that police officers face every time they show up for work.”

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B.C. Premier David Eby unveils his new cabinet



B.C. Premier David Eby to reveal new cabinet with health, safety, housing priorities

Here is a list of British Columbia Premier David Eby‘s ministers following his first major cabinet shuffle since taking over as leader:

Agriculture and Food — Pam Alexis (new to cabinet)

Attorney General — Niki Sharma (new to cabinet)

Children and Family Development — Mitzi Dean (unchanged)

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Citizens’ Services — Lisa Beare

Education and Child Care — Rachna Singh (new to cabinet)

Minister of state for child care — Grace Lore (new to cabinet)

Emergency Management and Climate Readiness — Bowinn Ma

Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation — Josie Osborne

Environment and Climate Change Strategy — George Heyman (unchanged)

Finance (includes Columbia River Treaty) — Katrine Conroy

Forests and minister responsible for consular corps. — Bruce Ralston

Health and minister responsible for Francophone affairs — Adrian Dix (unchanged)

Housing and government house leader — Ravi Kahlon

Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation — Murray Rankin

Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation — Brenda Bailey (new to cabinet)

Minister of state for trade — Jagrup Brar (new to cabinet)

Labour — Harry Bains (unchanged)

Mental Health and Addictions — Jennifer Whiteside

Municipal Affairs — Anne Kang

Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills (includes immigration/foreign credentials) — Selina Robinson

Minister of state for workforce development — Andrew Mercier (new to cabinet)

Public Safety and Solicitor General (ICBC) — Mike Farnworth (unchanged)

Social Development and Poverty Reduction — Sheila Malcolmson

Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport — Lana Popham

Transportation and Infrastructure (BC Transit and Translink) — Rob Fleming (unchanged)

Minister of state for infrastructure and transit — Dan Coulter (new to cabinet)

Water, Land and Resource Stewardship — Nathan Cullen

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022

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Bob Rae heads to Haiti in attempt at political consensus, amid possible intervention



OTTAWA — Canada is trying to dislodge a political impasse in Haiti by sending one of its top diplomats to Port-au-Prince.

Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, started an in-person push for negotiations Wednesday.

Haiti is facing a series of crises as armed gangs block access to fuel and essentials, leading to water and power outages that are worsening a cholera outbreak.

The Haitian government has asked for a foreign military to intervene and push out the gangs, but opponents argue that might only prolong an unpopular government in a country that has not had elections since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada might be part of an intervention, but only if there is a consensus across Haiti’s fractured political scene.

Rae’s three-day visit will include talks with politicians, grassroots groups and United Nations officials on how Canada could play a role in what the Liberals say would be “Haitian-led solutions.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand gave no sense of what that might look like.

“We are making sure to be prudent in this situation,” she told reporters Wednesday.

“We are studying those contributions, potential contributions, and we will have more to say on that in short order.”

This fall, Canada has sanctioned 11 prominent Haitians over alleged ties to gangs, sent military vehicles to the country, and had Trudeau’s former national security adviser conduct an assessment mission.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.


Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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An anti-environmental group is shaping Oregon politics and policy – Oregon Capital Chronicle



Shortly after this year’s midterm elections, an anti-government group in Oregon called Timber Unity posted a call to action on Facebook. It asked its followers to “bombard” Portland City Council members during an upcoming hearing over a proposed change to a motor vehicles fuel code.

The changes in the code would reduce dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels by “increasing the required percentage of renewable fuels blended with petroleum diesel.”

In its post, Timber Unity called this a “special eletist [sic] blend” that would raise the price of diesel, lead distributors to disinvest in Oregon and cause biodiesel and renewable diesel to “not meet specs.”

All of these claims were false, according to the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

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Timber Unity has been active in Oregon politics since its founding three years ago.

This year, it endorsed Republican Christine Drazan for governor. Even though she lost, other conservative candidates won and did so with help from Timber Unity, an increasingly active conservative organization with a decidedly anti-conservation agenda.

County commissioners backed by Timber Unity flipped several seats this year, including Ben West who won in Clackamas County, unseating an incumbent. In Lane County, Ryan Ceniga defeated Dawn Lesley, an environmental engineer who prioritized climate change.

Taking over these hyper-local positions has been central to Timber Unity’s strategy of political influence.

Timber Unity’s origins

In June 2019, truckers and loggers living mainly in logging country between the coast and Portland became fed up and angry over a proposed carbon emissions bill.

Many of them, including the trucker and movement’s founder, Jeff Leavy, viewed the bill as a means of killing jobs.

In fact, the bill would have financially benefitted rural communities, such as theirs, affected by climate change.

Known as cap-and-trade, the bill proposed that companies emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide would have to buy carbon credits at auction.

But the proposal galvanized workers in the industry who mistakenly thought that China would be able to trade in the marketplace and, as Leavy put it to me, “keep polluting this earth on our dime.”

After hearing about the bill, Leavy used Facebook to organize a protest at the Capitol in Salem.

Over the course of several weeks in June, truckers and haulers staged their rigs, coordinated a convoy and held speeches in front of the Capitol.

They called themselves Timber Unity.

Soon after that protest, right-wing figures, including anti-vaxxers and secessionists, joined Timber Unity.

The protests attracted national media attention and statewide political interest.

That month, each of the 11 Republican state senators walked out of the legislative session and effectively killed the bill.

Political alignment

Now over three years later, Timber Unity is still energized, even after some initial internal splintering and leadership changes (Leavy says he resigned).

The group endorsed several winning candidates in the 2020 election, and even helped flip a House seat that hadn’t voted for a Republican in two decades.

In a September 1 Facebook post leading up to this year’s elections, the group applauded then candidate and former House minority leader Drazan for joining a 2020 Legislature walkout by Republicans over a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The news that Timber Unity endorsed Drazan wasn’t a complete surprise despite the fact that an early Timber Unity supporter, Betsy Johnson, ran this year as an independent.

Angelita Sanchez, a co-director of the Timber Unity PAC, told me, vaguely, that Johnson was “a yes vote on a gas tax,” which Sanchez considered a “bad vote.”

And Mike Pihl, a former Timber Unity president, was already listed as an endorsement on Drazan’s website.

Anti-conservation agenda

In interviews, Timber Unity leadership distances itself from extremism and right-wing figures, but posts on Facebook and other promotional materials reveal far-right ideologies.

In October, Timber Unity screenshotted a Vox story headlined “How logging, a Nike founder, and the alt-right warped the Oregon governor’s race” and wrote, “Well, well, WELL!!! Look at what we have here!!! The FAR LEFT EXTREMIST came out with a story today, and lets just say they are running scared and they give ALL THE CREDIT TO YOU!!!”

The group also previously promoted a rally with a poster that included a QAnon banner and members of the private Facebook group in 2020 included election deniers, QAnon conspiracy theorists and at least one man calling for war ahead of the Capitol riots.

The rise of Timber Unity mimics previous anti-government movements, particularly in western states.

The “Wise Use” movement in the 1980s and ‘90s, for example, wanted the expansion of private property rights and less government oversight on federal lands. Its anti-government and anti-environmental rhetoric was similar to that used by Timber Unity, which sees environmental and government regulation as an infringement on freedom and rights.

Pihl, the former president, told me there’s already too much regulation of the timber industry.

“We already have the Forest Protection Act, which is very deep and it’s 87 pages of regulation,” he says. “I have it sitting on my desk, I read it all the time and there’s so many protected already, like the Siuslaw National Forest. You can’t do anything there.”

Timber Unity has successfully tapped into deep-seated resentments over environmental regulation, and its statewide support seems here to stay—at least for now.

This story was originally published in Columbia Insight, an independent environmental journalist news site.

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