Court makes 'huge' ruling on pipeline - Says Ottawa failed to consult Dene Tha
DAVID EBNER AND SHAWN MCCARTHY - Posted on 11/11/06 - The Globe and Mail
CALGARY, OTTAWA -- The beleaguered Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline was hit with yet another setback yesterday when the Federal Court ruled that Ottawa failed to consult with the Dene Tha First Nation.
The Dene Tha's home is in northern Alberta, at the terminus of the proposed 1,200-kilometre pipeline that would connect natural gas in the Mackenzie Delta with Canadian points to the south.
"The court's conclusion is that the [federal] ministers breached their duty to consult the Dene Tha in . . . the creation of the regulatory and environmental review process," Mr. Justice Michael Phelan of the Federal Court wrote in his decision.
The decision was called "huge" by the Sierra Club of Canada, but it is not immediately known what implications it has for the $7.5-billion Mackenzie project.
The court ruled that the joint review panel, which is assessing the project's social and environmental impacts, cannot file its final report until the court has another hearing to decide on remedies for the Dene Tha.
The remedies hearing is an unusual step and will be the forum for all sides to discuss what should be done. The court said it is a late stage to begin consultations, but added that a "chief consulting officer" could be appointed to work with the Dene Tha.
The court also ruled that the joint review panel couldn't consider any issues related to the Dene Tha until the case is concluded.
The court further suggested that the joint review panel process, which has been running since February, could be restarted, if necessary.
The Dene Tha had argued they were excluded from the creation of the joint review panel. Several Ottawa ministries were respondents in the case, including Indian and Northern Affairs.
The joint review panel is working until next April and had been expected to file a report several months thereafter to the National Energy Board.
Bob Freedman, counsel to the Dene Tha, said the ruling gives his clients "breathing room" to prepare for consultations with Ottawa.
"Our clients are thrilled with the decision and very much hope this will finally press the [federal] government to sit down and work with us, which is what we've been pushing for all along," said Mr. Freedman, a lawyer at Cook Roberts LLP in Victoria. "The court sent a very strong message."
Mr. Freedman said he expects a remedies hearing to occur fairly soon.
Imperial Oil Ltd., the project's main proponent, is also behind schedule, saying this week it won't have a revised cost estimate and plan for the pipeline until some time next year, rather than by the end of this year.
Imperial said it is assessing the ruling.
"We have to understand what the decision means and what the rationale was and what implications it could have for the regulatory process," said Pius Rolheiser, an Imperial spokesman.
A spokesman for Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said yesterday the minister had not had an opportunity to review the ruling and would not comment.
Nicholas Girard, a spokesman for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, said the government must review the ruling before commenting.
Ottawa could appeal and ask for a stay pending the appeal, but the cabinet has not yet determined a course of action.
The Dene Tha represent about 2,500 people in northern Alberta. They filed their suit in May, 2005, and Federal Court agreed to hear the case last December. The case was heard earlier this year.
Press release from the International Diabetes Federation (www.idf.org)
November 14th is World Diabetes Day (www.worlddiabetesday.org)
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Nov. 11 - World Diabetes Day is celebrated every year on 14 November. The date commemorates the birthday of Frederick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin in 1921.
In almost every country of the world, diabetes is on the rise. The current number of people with diabetes stands at over 230 million. The disease is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputation, heart attack and stroke. It is one of the most significant causes of death, responsible for a similar number of deaths each year as HIV/AIDS.
President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Professor Pierre Lefebvre outlines the facts: "Over a fifty year period, diabetes has become a global problem of devastating human, social and economic impact. The total number of people living with diabetes is increasing by more than 7 million per year. If nothing is done, the global epidemic will affect over 350 million people within a generation. Unchecked, diabetes threatens to overwhelm healthcare services in many countries and undermine the gains of economic advancement in the developing world."
The theme chosen by the IDF and WHO for this year's World Diabetes Day is 'diabetes in the disadvantaged and the vulnerable'. Diabetes representative organizations worldwide are drawing attention to diabetes health inequalities and promoting the message that every person with diabetes has the right to the highest attainable healthcare that their country can provide.
Diabetes hits the poorest hardest
Contrary to the widely held perception that diabetes is a disease of the affluent, studies show that the economically disadvantaged are at higher risk. The global picture reveals that within 20 years 80% of all people with diabetes will live in low- and middle-income countries, in many of which there is little or no access to life-saving and disability-preventing diabetes treatments.
In affluent countries, people who are relatively poor are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. In the USA, for example, households with the lowest incomes have the highest incidence of diabetes.
A cruel choice
The impact of diabetes on these individuals and their families is often devastating. It is estimated that poor people with diabetes in some developing countries spend as much as 25% of their annual income on diabetes care. As IDF President-Elect Martin Silink puts it, "For some, the consequences of diabetes can be merciless. The economically disadvantaged are pushed further into poverty and face a terrible choice: pay for treatment and face catastrophic debt, or neglect their health and face disability or premature death."
The elderly, ethnic minorities and indigenous communities are all disproportionately affected by the diabetes epidemic. In developed countries, people over the age of 65 are almost 10 times more likely to develop diabetes than people in the 20-40 year age group. In the United States, it is estimated that one in two people from ethnic minorities born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes during their lifetime, compared to one in three for the general population. In Canada, the prevalence of diabetes among First Nation peoples is three to five times higher than that of the general population in the same age group. The same is true among Australian Aborigines.
To do nothing is not an option
The diabetes epidemic threatens to be one of the greatest health catastrophes the world has ever seen. To coincide with November 14th this year, the International Diabetes Federation is calling on the global diabetes community to rally behind the campaign for a United Nations Resolution on diabetes by signing an online petition at www.unitefordiabetes.org and passing a virtual version of the blue circle that has come to symbolise diabetes.
Note to Editors:
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an organization of over 190 member associations in more than 150 countries. Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. IDF leads the campaign for a UN Resolution on diabetes. See www.unitefordiabetes.org.
World Diabetes Day is an initiative of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Visit www.worlddiabetesday.org for further information.
For further information: Kerrita McClaughlyn, IDF Media Relations, office +32-2-5431639, mobile +32-487-530625, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buffy's full life, blacklist sorrow
The lady doth protest too much, decided LBJ minions. `It broke my heart.' By Greg Quill - Nov. 12, 2006
Regrets? Not really ... I don't do things I don't like doing, and I have a very full life."
But the glint in Buffy Sainte-Marie's eye suggests otherwise, and her answer to the final question about making the documentary Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life — airing Tuesday on Bravo! at 8 p.m. — rings hollow.
The documentary by Toronto filmmaker Joan Prowse fully examines, within the limits of an hour, the life of the 65-year-old Saskatchewan-born, U.S.-raised Native American singer, artist, teacher, social activist and inductee to both the Canadian Music and Canadian Songwriters Halls of Fame.
It's an affectionate portrait from her birth in the Piapot Cree reserve in the Qu'Appelle valley, through her string of popular protest songs in the 1960s and '70s ("The Universal Solder," "Up Where We Belong," "Now That The Buffalo's Gone" and more, recorded by Elvis, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker among others) and her years on TV's Sesame Street.
The film visits the Pacific island ranch where Sainte-Marie has lived for four decades, creating music and computer-generated digital art, painting and nurturing her Cradleboard Teaching Project, an Internet-based educational system that imparts alternative versions of "official" history, geography, social studies and spirituality to American Indian children.
What's missing? What's to regret?
"I only wish I could have been more effective in the U.S.," says Sainte-Marie in the Toronto office of her Canadian agent Gilles Paquin. "It would have been nice to succeed as a musician at the level of someone like Sting, or to get taken on by some big-time manager, like Dylan and Joan Baez were."
Instead, for the sin of speaking her mind in topical songs and speeches about the Vietnam war and native rights, Sainte-Marie found herself shut out of the mainstream just as she was peaking, her concerts and TV spots cancelled and her recordings mysteriously absent from record stores.
"I was blacklisted," she says. "And so were Eartha Kitt and Taj Mahal, and quite a few others who were speaking out against the war and civil rights abuses, and didn't have a high enough profile or skilled management."
She has seen the FBI files — censored with "the fattest black marker you've ever seen" — that chronicle the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's deliberate campaign in the late 1960s and early '70s to dampen U.S. radio play and distribution of her recordings.
She was in the dark "till 10 or 12 years later, when I was professionally dead. At first I was flattered, in a way, to learn so much effort had gone into crushing this ... mosquito. Seeing those files also helped me make sense of a lot of mysteries. I thought I was just a victim of a natural decline in popularity.
"It broke my heart to know that someone had worked so hard to make sure my medicine didn't get to where it was needed. Ever since, my career has been on the periphery of show business. I've never had a proper tour.
"In the long run, it didn't make me less effective (except) in America. When I was young, hanging out in New York clubs, I never thought my career would last more than six months anyway."
A trained educator with a second major in Oriental Studies, Sainte-Marie is presented in A Multimedia Life as a restless creative soul who has never observed traditional artistic boundaries.
"I knew about Buffy's work in music and in promoting aboriginal traditions, but I had no idea when I started working on this film about her pioneering work in computer technology, art and formal teaching," said the director Prowse.
"It impressed me that she always seems to be in on the beginning of important cultural shifts — the songwriter movement, the application of computers in art and music, education via the Internet. She was sending music files to her record producer in London in the mid-1980s via modems.
"Her computer-generated art, which no one took seriously 20 years ago, is now in some of the world's major galleries. And she spends most of her spare time writing curriculum for Cradleboard, and setting up guidelines for teachers. She never stops, except to feed the livestock on her farm. Nothing's an obstacle to her. Creativity is problem solving."
On a personal level, Sainte-Marie looks half her age, and shares an active life on her secret island with a shaggy blond, muscular local in his 30s.
"I work out, I don't drink ... I'm almost a complete vegetarian," she confided. "Just don't ask me about psychedelics ... "
First Nations making their mark - KAREN BLOTNICKY
IN THE MIDST of Canada’s multicultural mosaic is a largely untapped market of aboriginal consumers. Often overlooked, this market has many characteristics that should lead more businesses to look to the First Nations as viable consumers of a variety of goods and services.
In Canada’s rush to serve our immigrant population, Canadian media were quick to delve into a variety of ethnic markets. Publications of various types, in various languages, began to account for a larger percentage of advertisers’ budgets. In the midst of this flurry only one key medium, APTN, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, was born to cater to our own indigenous peoples.
Canada’s aboriginal community is diverse. It consists not only of North American Indians, many of whom come from diverse tribes, but also of Metis and Inuit people. Often overlooked as an economically depressed group with little to attract marketers, the aboriginal community has remained in splendid isolation. However, that is beginning to change.
There are many reasons why the aboriginal market deserves serious consideration. For one thing, aboriginals are much younger than the rest of the Canadian population, which has been long overshadowed by an aging trend. The median age for Canadians as a group was 37.3, according to the 2001 census. However, the median age for North American Indians was 24, for the Metis it was 27 and for the Inuit it was 21.
The aboriginal population is not only younger, but also growing at a much faster rate. The aboriginal population of about one million is expected to double over the next decade or so. This is in stark contrast to the general Canadian population, which is declining as well as aging. Canada is long been relying on immigration to maintain population growth to fuel the future of businesses.
Most marketers do not realize that aboriginal people maintain many of their core cultural values while working and living off the reserve. Sixty per cent of aboriginals live off-reserve in major cities and towns across Canada. They consume the same products and services as others in their communities.
Aboriginal people have also worked hard to establish a small-business backbone to support and grow their local economies. One of the most successful business ventures is in the Membertou Mi’kmaq community on Cape Breton Island.
Only a decade ago the town was feeling the pinch of the loss of coal and steel, as was the rest of Cape Breton. Unemployment topped out at 95 per cent. The Membertou First Nation employed only 20 people with an operating budget of $4.5 million annually and had a serious deficit.
In an impressive display of entrepreneurialism and creativity, the community grew its local business base by developing partnerships with other firms to sell goods and services. Today it employs 250 people, the operating budget has skyrocketed and the community enjoys a surplus. The unemployment rate has fallen to 10 per cent.
The new goal of the Membertou community is not only to make a profit and create jobs, but also to become self-reliant, weaning itself from federal transfer payments.
These success stories are not unusual. Metis and Inuit communities are proving to be creative and successful entrepreneurs. With this newfound wealth comes an even greater opportunity to contribute economically, with enhanced opportunities for individuals to earn a living and to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
Add to this the $7 billion that individual bands receive in federal funds and an estimated $15 billion expected in land claims over the next decade, and the aboriginal market begins to look much more attractive for a variety of goods and services. In 2003 the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business launched the PAR program, an acronym for Progressive Aboriginal Relations. PAR allows non-aboriginal entrepreneurs to partner with aboriginal firms to market goods and services.
In return for doing good business with such firms, non-aboriginal firms will be able to display the PAR symbol, which provides the equivalent of a seal of approval. The PAR seal is regarded as a rating scheme that shows all aboriginal consumers that one’s business meets certain criteria that are considered important by aboriginal shoppers. The project also helps to integrate aboriginal and non-aboriginal business relationships in a mutually advantageous way.
Too often Canada’s small businesses are focused on the new and the different, trying to find ways to appeal to the growing diversity of the general population. Sometimes the secret to success is much closer to home. For more information on the PAR program, visit www.aboriginalbiz.com
For a new marketing opportunity for your firm, consider the aboriginal markets in your own community.
Karen Blotnicky is president of TMC The Marketing Clinic and a professor at Mount Saint Vincent University.