Beyond The Book Lecture: John Gormley – #UofR 2014

Gormley at UofR

I’ve been to a lot of University of Regina lectures over the years. None by a right wing radio commentator, until tonight, and it didn’t turn out how I expected. I know there are people who reeeally don’t like John Gormley and his radio show. I used to listen to it frequently while I worked in a job that had me in a car most of the day, traveling the province’s east side. I’ve not really tuned in too much the past 6 years, while I work meters from where his talk was given Tuesday night. It’s not easy to get wrapped up in a talk radio show while at a front-desk job. I wouldn’t want to start talking to myself, at the radio, for the whole Library to hear.

John Gormley

Idle No More showed up and disrupted his lecture. After Campus Security showed up, the three noisy protesters relented and were escorted off campus (I was told later by an employee at the University). Others who supported the protest stayed behind to ask difficult questions of Gormley. He dodged the last one completely, refusing to opine why we need and should accept polluted rivers in our prosperous province.

I got a few interviews from opposing perspectives, after his talk. They’re at the end of the video (visible after YouTube processes it).
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Police Violence Against #IdleNoMore

Watch how the media portrays the standoff between First Nations protesters, and the RCMP in New Brunswick. They talk about the “violent protest”. Was the protest violent until the RCMP showed up with snipers, dogs, and a phalanx of officers? Who is the real instigator of violence? Could the outbreak of it be traced back to a fracking gas company that wants to risk the water supply of the people living there?

The media can spin their little yarn to tell us it’s all about unsophisticated and violent Natives, but you don’t have to buy into their fairy tale. We know they won’t ask deeper questions that get to the heart of the cause of burning police cars. It wouldn’t occur to them for the RCMP to destroy property to cast their adversaries in a negative light. Did that happen in this case? Some people are saying so, and there’s a documented history of Canadian police doing it.

Really, why don’t First Nations in New Brunswick want their water supply put at risk, so outsiders can get fabulously wealthy off the resource under their ground?

Forward Together #UofR: Buffy St. Marie – Live Blog

Buffy St. Marie tackled the subject of Aboriginal peoples’ self image. What has been the basis for it? In many cases in popular culture, it’s from philosophers in Europe who never met the First Peoples in their life!

Buffy St. Marie at Forward Together lecture

The reality is that First Nations civilizations were much more complex, scientific, and peaceful than depicted by European and settler academics and politicians.

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NOT a “threat to national security”

The Conservative government is out of control. The Guardian UK newspaper confirms what environmentalists have already suspected (since the Conservatives have openly accused them previously): This Conservative government regards environmentalists as a threat to national security. It’s offensive, absurd, and an extreme step into authoritarian police-state behaviour.

-(UofR image, to keep this blog post from appearing boring.)

“We’re aware of this” said Greenpeace Canada’s executive director Bruce Cox, who met the head of the RCMP last year. “We’re an outspoken voice for non-violence and this was made clear to the RCMP,” Cox said.

He said there was real anger among Canadians about the degradation of the natural environment by oil, gas and other extractive industries and governments working for those industries and not in the public interest. Security forces should see Greenpeace as a “plus”, a non-violent outlet for this anger, he argued. “It is governments and fossil fuel industry who are the extremists, threatening the prosperity of future generations.”

Has there been a report of Greenpeace violence lately? Ever? How about the RCMP, how’s their record for violence lately? Rape. Taser death. Etc.

The reason the Conservatives view environmentalists as a threat to national security, is because Harper thinks he is the nation, and his secure grasp on power is threatened by peaceful protests that spread the truth about his support of environmental and economic collapse for the crude gain of his wealthy backers.

In a Canadian Senate committee on national security and defence meeting Monday Feb 11 Richard Fadden, the director of CSIS said they are more worried about domestic terrorism, acknowledging that the vast majority of its spying is done within Canada. Fadden said they are “following a number of cases where we think people might be inclined to acts of terrorism”.

I’m someone who was once under investigation by CSIS, in order to get a job I had a while ago. It was like an advanced CRCheck, except by our national spies instead of local police. I don’t say this in jest, and my family and friends will confirm it if you ask them. I was (obviously) deemed no threat to Canadian national security, because I’m a loyal Canadian, and a peaceful person. I am also an environmentalist. I am not a terrorist. I care deeply about our country and its people. I have no good way to tell if I’m presently under targeted state observation, but assume I am. This does not make me paranoid, it makes me aware of my surroundings and news reports, and does not significantly change how I go about my life.

If CSIS, the RCMP, and the Cons had announced that since they were aware of “a number of cases” where Christians they were monitoring had been threatening violence, they’d since begun monitoring all Christian groups as possible threats to national security, can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth then? How is that different from monitoring all environmental groups because some violent people happen to support protecting natural ecosystems (and apparently not people)?

The Conservatives are literally making you pay for spies and police to monitor grandmothers and children who attend peaceful gatherings, in order to eliminate them as potential threats to Canada. That’s pretty messed up, and it describes what has been going on. Are you going to put stopping it at a lower priority than other things you care about next time you vote?

Newspaper Comments Highlight Canadian Racism

The comments sections on some newspapers and online news sites can be infamously bad. The Calgary Herald’s commenters, many of them frequent enough to be “top commenters”, put on a despicable display today. Chief Spence ended her hunger strike, and was hospitalized as a precaution because she’s been without proper nutrition for six weeks. Obviously such a drastic diet, with the purpose of forcing an emotional outpouring of support for political ends, is not healthy.

Mike Neumeier · Top Commenter
Look at her, there’s no way she was on a liquid-only diet – stop lying already. I’m pretty sure I saw her pounding down 6 mama-burgers at A & W the other day.

Ah yes, fat jokes about the lady who has been starving the past six weeks. Starving because the Prime Minister is too prideful to grant even an hour for himself and the Governor General to meet in person with some First Nations leaders. Starving, because First Nations people across Canada tend to suffer and be murdered at higher rates than other Canadians, yet this is not deemed an emergency that needs immediate correcting, according to the Prime Minister. She was starving for justice, and you mock her.

At least one journalist at CTV realized that there are some stories where there is a clear morally just side, and another where people die needlessly*. Can the corporate media as a whole begin to extend this realization to the issue of racism also? It’s not like racism has ever killed millions of people before, but their imaginations need to be stretched (if they can’t recall any race based genocide).

I don’t know how these people listed below will feel later about their negative comments, but if I’d ever made a nasty comment about someone based on their appearance or their race, I’d feel ashamed. These people signed their names to racist, fat jokes, some while listing their employer. That either takes guts (minus a heart), or a heck of a lack of brains.

Ken Schmied · Top Commenter
Hopefully the poor dear will be able to quickly put on some weight. She looks emaciated.
Reply · 16 · Like · Follow Post · 22 hours ago

David Kolling · Telephony Analyst at Shaw Communications
I think we as canadian tax payers should pony up and pay to send her to a really nice spa for 3 or 4 months to help her heal. You’re right she looks awful. Hahahahaha.
Reply · 7 · Like · 17 hours ago
Ken Schmied · Top Commenter
Grand Valley would be a wonderful resort for her to spend 6 to 10 years with time off for good behavior.
Reply · 3 · Like · Edited · 17 hours ago
Alan Beaulieu · Top Commenter · Calgary, Alberta
Looks like she could have done a few pushups and situps while she was Idling.
Reply · 1 · Like · 2 hours ago

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#Ottawapiskat Mirrors Attawapiskat

Life is hard when political leaders are corrupt. Election cheats, pork politics, and pocket padding is not limited to some corrupt leaders on First Nations (Reserves). Corruption exists where ever citizen oversight has failed to keep the power, leaders of nations wield, in check.

Since #IdleNoMore made First Nations poverty, inequality, and (even) corruption an international hot topic, it’s understandable that some people focus on what they know of First Nation people. What Canada’s segregated culture, and corporate non-aboriginal media has told Canadians about First Nations, is generally nothing too positive. Some people I know feel victimized by under-parented First Nations kids in their neighbourhoods, more than by unattended white kids who also have little respect for property or their community/neighbours.

We have Huffington Post telling people that blockades are hurting our holy economy! How does a short-term blockade compare to leaving First Nations to languish in economic obscurity? Most Sask. political parties openly state that one key to the province’s economic success is to come from First Nations people participating more equally in economic benefits.

If you want an example of how First Nations are segregated in Sask., my landlords in Yorkton openly told me that they don’t rent to Natives, because they are concerned about “the parties”, and the people who visit and damage the building as a result. I asked what had become of the person in my apartment before me (obviously a white person), and they told me that she’d skipped out on the last month’s rent. Funny. Karma? So it isn’t just First Nations people that cause problems for landlords you mean???

Hardly, it’s a political debate, about racial issues among others.

Racism, and less-malicious ignorance among non-aboriginal Canadians are the reasons Idle No More needs to exist, and also why it’s met with much criticism as well as much support. Our country desperately needed to make unacceptable poverty and racism an international conversation, because idly pretending we can get by without talking, is an option no more.

People also need to start recognizing that some corporate media is making them forget why there are protests and hunger strikes (not “liquid diets” as they are spun to us as). Which government failed an audit? Not Attawapiskat. Ottawapiskat failed an audit or two, or three…

ADDED: More indy-media giving the MSM a hard time for their ham-fisted coverage of a possible turning point in Canadian history. Here is a great article on hashtags used.

#IdleNoMore University of Regina Round Dance

Cadmus Delorme started off the speaking without a mic (and was audible!). Here he is with some amplification. Let’s amplify his message over the Internet, also.

UofR Round dance

The noon hour finished up this way:

It’s my third Round Dance of Idle No More. Here’s the second, on Albert St. First Nations people and supporters in Regina kicked things off for the country on December 9th, 2012, with the organizing assistance of Marie Crowe and Chasity Delorme (who deserve to be considered among the Idle No More movement founders, in my opinion).

Today at FNUniv is another Round Dance, but not specifically for IdleNoMore.