This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Seemingly Insolvable Human Conundrum 

"The RCMP is in a very difficult position."
"You have farmers complaining about under-policing and you tend to have an Indigenous population complaining about over-policing."
Glen Luther, professor of law, University of Saskatchewan

"When you go to your local coffee shop and you find out your neighbour was robbed last night, it sticks in your mind, and you have to start thinking about protecting your own properties."
"It doesn't deter them [First Nations young men] from trying again [without prosecution resulting from crime sprees]. It's an easy get if you're not going to be brought to justice."
Rick Kehler, Saskatchewan farmer, Paynton, Saskatchewan
Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie.
Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie. (Facebook/Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

And there lies the problem of social dystrophy, where two solitudes view their social obligations, security and responsibilities in wildly variant ways. First Nations Canadians across the spectrum and across the country complain that their youth are disproportionately represented in Canadian prisons. That there is a distinct reason for that state of affairs in that First Nations youth are involved in the commission of more crimes per their population size than non-Indigenous youth appears not to sway them from their complaints.

That Canadian Aboriginals face discrimination and lack of respect, feel oppressed and under-valued is another reality. But the simple reality also is that there is a reluctance to integrate with the larger society alongside a wish to remain separate, to embrace their heritage, and to live on reserves administered by councils that in too many instances, enrich themselves and ignore the needs of the reserve residents, apportioning government funding disproportionately.

Another unfortunate reality is that in greater numbers than the general public, violence and suicide stalk Aboriginal populations in Canada where First Nations people are prone to drug and alcohol addictions so that crime appears to naturally follow. In First Nations communities violence against men, women and children perpetrated by other residents is also disproportionate to the general society, as is the neglect of children's most basic needs for emotional support and guidance.

The insistence among Indigenous leaders that remote reserves should have medical services equal to that of urban dwellers is so obviously impractical. Impractical too is the prevalent view that government provided reserve housing can be allowed to disintegrate because the people who live in them cannot bother simple household upkeep. Just as impractical as complaining of high unemployment in isolated communities where there are no employment opportunities.

A trial just recently concluded where a white farmer in Saskatchewan was found not guilty by a jury of his peers in the death of a 22-year-old Cree man who, along with four friends, drove inebriated onto his property, attempting to steal an all-terrain vehicle there when the same group had an hour previous driven onto another farm property and failed in an attempt to steal a truck there. The entire area is one of rampant crime where farmers report tools, equipment and vehicle theft on a constant basis. And because of a lack of police follow-up have initiated their own monitoring.

The actions of the five young people in the SUV, inebriated and out of control, alarmed the farmer, his adult son and the farmer's wife. A melee ensued resulting in the death of Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, by a shot from a handgun held by 55-year-old Gerald Stanley who feared for the safety of his son and wife. Boushie shot dead while seated in the SUV, had a rifle on his lap. Two young women in the SUV exited the vehicle and proceeded to beat the farmer's wife before running off.

The RCMP investigating the death is under criticism because officers entered Boushie's mother's home without a warrant, both informing her of her son's death, and looking for the presence of a witness to the event. The SUV the five young people were driving with a flat tire was impounded, presumably because it was stolen. When the trial jury was selected both the defence and the Crown had the opportunity to refuse jurors which ended up an all-white jury of men and women, no Indigenous.

When RCMP cadets are being trained they are exposed to classroom exercises in Indigenous rights and culture. An interactive exercise introduces them to a sense of the "betrayal, loss, suffering and discrimination Indigenous people suffered following European settlement". In Canadian law when Indigenous people are on trial especial consideration is given to their background circumstances, excusing them where white accused would not be through a process known as the 'Gladu' principle.

Despite all the efforts on the part of non-Indigenous Canada to cater to the needs of First Nations people, nothing seems to work to the advantage of the entire society. At the present time there are 1,500 Indigenous officers on the federal police force, representing roughly 8 percent of the officer ranks. RCMP members have regular meetings with national Indigenous organizations to speak of methods in hopes of preventing crime, to reduce victimization of Indigenous people.
"This testimony [from a witness], although this is entirely up to you to decide, is at odds with the autopsy report that definitively states that Mr. Boushie died from a single gunshot to the head."
"If you have a reasonable doubt about Mr. Stanley's guilt arising from ... the credibility or the reliability of one or more of the witnesses, then you must find him not guilty."
"There is no dispute that Mr. Stanley was lawfully justified in the circumstances of this case to retrieve his handgun and fire it into the air as warning shots, if you find that this is what he did."
"Beyond that, it is for you to determine if his actions continued to be lawful."
Chief Justice Martel Popescul :  Instructions to the jury, Stanley second-degree murder trial : Not guilty

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, February 16, 2018

Canada-India Relations

"Is Canada home to Sikh extremists trying to pump fresh air into the dying embers of the so-called Khalistan movement that seeks the breaking up of India to create a separate Sikh country in Punjab?"
"Are there such anti-India Sikhs in the federal cabinet and the Liberal Party and its Ontario wing?"
"Mainstream Canadians outside the circus of identity politics could care less about the wholesale buying and selling at ethnic vote banks, but it’s time they should. India is no longer that far-away country of 1985 when Air India 182 was blown out of the sky by Sikh extremists, killing 268 Canadian citizens among the 325 murdered over Ireland."
"Today’s India is not just a beacon of democracy in a sea of tyrants that govern much of Asia and Africa, but its economy is booming, as is the trade between our two countries. Fears expressed by New Delhi can no longer be ignored. If they are, it will be our loss in Canada."
"It is also intriguing that the banner men of Khalistan in Canada and the Ontario legislature keep feeding young Sikhs about the immense injustice committed on the Sikhs of Delhi in 1984 when tens of thousands are said to have been killed by roaming mobs. This is done to stir hatred against Hindus in Canada and India."
Tariq Fatah, journalist, Toronto Sun
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Ottawa main Sikh Temple to mark Diwali or the Festival of Lights Wednesday November 11, 2015.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Ottawa main Sikh Temple to mark Diwali or the Festival of Lights Wednesday November 11, 2015.
Canada's globe-trotting, ingratiating, smiley-face, sunny-ways Prime Minister is off to India on a trade mission. It is also, some hint, an opportunity to demonstrate to the large numbers of voting Sikh-Canadians how dear to his heart their votes are. Canada now has the distinction of having four Sikh-Canadians in the federal cabinet and a Sikh Canadian as leader of the federal New Democratic Party. Canada's Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan is a Sikh, as is Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

The Government of India appears to feel that among that four and Jangmeet Singh, the leader of the NDP, there are sympathizers and enablers of the militant Sikh Khalistan movement. Canada realized its worst act of terrorism with the plot emanating out of a group of Vancouver-area Sikh separatists when they conspired to place bombs aboard an Air India passenger jet heading for India with Canadians of Indian origin. A former Sikh premier of British Columbia, Ujjal Dosanjh, vehemently spoke out against Sikh extremist violence and became the victim of a viciously violent beating.

In 2001, Indo-Canadians represented 2.4 percent of the Canadian population at 700,000 in total -- comprised of both Hindus and Sikhs. The separatist Sikh Khalistan movement in India itself appears to be quiescent, the movement waning with little desire now to effect a separate Khalistan state for Sikhs. Abroad, however, particularly in Canada, it appears the embers are being kept alive and burning by impassioned Sikhs who remain committed to the elusive Khalistan, still prepared to achieve their goal through any means.

When last Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Justin Trudeau at one of the international meeting venues, he asked very particularly that Canada commit to ensuring that no further flare-ups among militant Sikhs occur. Now they are set to meet again on February 23 along with India's president, in Delhi. When Prime Minister Modi asked for Trudeau's cooperation in Davos last month it was with the knowledge that several gurdwaras in Canada had barred Indian officials from entering their premises.

And the reason appears to be that many of the gurdwaras across Canada are in the process of stirring their followers up with reminders of the injustices Sikhs faced in the past by the majority Hindu population of India, restively agitating for conspiratorial action promoting Sikh separation anew. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has accused Canada's Sikh population of planning new violence against India. That a Sikh assassinated Indira Gandhi, the third prime minister of India, is not easily forgotten in official Indian circles.

"There seems to be evidence that there are Khalistani sympathizers in Trudeau's cabinet", the Chief Minister Singh is reported to have informed Outlook India magazine.

Mr. Singh, according to the Hindustan Times, the largest English-language newspaper in India, was slated to guide the Trudeau entourage at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Punjab Chief Minister Singh pointblank refused a meeting with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan last year, not only suspecting, but accusing him of supporting the pro-Khalistani movement advocating for an independent Sikh state. Despite Sajjan's and Amarjeet Sohi's denials, Singh meant to discuss the matter with Trudeau.

It appears that Canadian diplomacy is being put on a back burner, however, since Trudeau's office has stated that Trudeau has decided not to meet with Amarinder Singh, a decision that Prime Minister Modi may consider a slight too far, looking askance at the entire purpose of the state visit, purportedly on trade considerations, with no time left over for both countries to discuss matters of security where the host nation considers the visiting nation a hotbed of violent insurrection.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Double Standards on Canada's Conscience

"I believe there is a long way to go in terms of being able to say there's a Colt Canada opportunity in the Ukraine."
"We have as equal a chance as anybody, but I think there's a long process to go through in terms of them (Ukraine authorities) finding the best weapon for the best price."
"So, we've got as good a chance as anybody [in eventually selling weapons to Ukraine]."
Alex Payne, manager, Colt Canada

"We are planning to work out some positions, including with Canada, on military and technical co-operation, such as procurement of weapons and equipment from our partners."
Stepan Poltorak, Ukraine Defence Minister

"This is about building the capacity. This is about increasing the effectiveness of the Ukrainian armed forces, which is happening, and then actually providing the necessary equipment for them to sustain that as well."
Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Defence

Ukrainian soldiers are involved in an ongoing conflict against Russian-backed separatists. More than 10,000 people have died in the fighting. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images     
"It's a very practical thing that Ukraine would be able to get — or to buy — firearms which we badly need to defend ourselves."
"While we reform our armed forces and we achieved a lot on this path in the last year, we need also to arm our guys and to make further aggressive actions of Russia and Russia-supported gangs in [the east] harder. We defend our territory."
"This is a very strong signal to the Russian Federation from Canada."
Oleksil Makeiev, political director, Ukraine Foreign Ministry
So Kitchener, Ontario-based Colt Canada is looking to seal a business deal to re-equip the Ukrainian military with new assault rifles after their "exploratory type meeting" in January with Ukraine government officials, while Ukraine decides exactly what equipment it needs that can be provided by Canadian arms manufacturers. The previous Conservative-led government, while making clear its support for Ukraine and its denunciation of Moscow's interference in supporting ethnic Russian Ukrainian rebels in East Ukraine along with its illegal takeover of Crimea, hesitated to provide Ukraine with offensive weaponry.

The Liberal-led Canadian Government headed by Justin Trudeau, however, altered Canada's arms export rules to enable the sale of machine guns and allied small arms to Ukraine. So while the previous government provided Ukraine's military with non-lethal military supplies and Canadian trainers, Canada will now be changing course with the altered export rules in place to aid Ukraine in its defence and to upgrade and modernize its forces in line with NATO standards preparatory to joining the alliance.

It is not just the 100,000 rifles that Colt Canada anticipates being able to sell to Ukraine. Ukraine has expressed its interest in other military equipment, like anti-tank weapons, from Canada and the United States. In line with the U.S. President having announced his intention to send anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. A statement that aroused protests from Russia, warning that move would set the stage for further regional conflict. As though to suggest that Ukraine is the aggressor, and Russia the hapless bystander.

The main supplier of small arms to the Canadian Forces, Colt Canada is eager to sign on the dotted line with Ukraine. Canada altogether is anticipating a greatly expanded role in Ukraine after discussions between the two countries' defence ministers where Canadian involvement in the building of a Ukrainian ammunition plant appears to have been agreed upon. Greater Canadian support is being envisaged toward the Ukrainian military beyond the construction of such a factory. All to the good; Canada giving aid to its allies.

Sometimes. Its recent re-think on the sale of military helicopters to the Philippines in recognition that Philippine President Duterte has been waging a violent campaign against the drug trade in that country resulted in the cancellation of the sales agreement. But how to explain Canada withdrawing its promise to Iraqi Kurds for the supply of military weapons updated to aid them in combating Islamic State? Canada cites clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces mandating that reversal.

A picture taken on October 17, 2017 shows Iraqi government forces gesturing as the enter the Havana oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Iraqi forces took control of the two largest oil fields in the disputed northern province of Kirkuk demolishing Kurdish hopes of creating a viable independent state.AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

The clashes were born of the results of a referendum in Kurdistan for sovereignty in overwhelming agreement of Kurdish voters, and the Government of Iraq's reaction. That it is past time for the world to acknowledge that the Kurds with their multiple tens of millions of people represent the largest ethnic group in the world without recognized borders of their own on their ancient heritage land. The promise of that recognition by Western powers was reneged upon, Kurdish land divided between Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.

Canada had promised the delivery of $10-million-worth of .50-calibre sniper rifles equipped with silencers, 60mm mortars, Carl Gustav anti-tank systems, grenade launchers, pistols, carbines, thermal binoculars, cameras, scopes and medical supplies. None of which is now destined to reach the people who require those promised supplies. With plans to deliver the weapons scuttled, it is unknown how the stockpile will be disposed of. Whatever else happens, this is a clear picture of Canada abandoning its support of a people in need.

Russia's aggression toward Ukraine has seen Canada making ethical decisions in support of a country's threatened sovereignty. Iraqi aggression toward a sizeable minority seeking the legitimization of their sovereign territory provides a counter-picture of a nation denied its national heritage, another moral and ethical dilemma, one which the Government of Canada chose to fail, preferring to support a government that delegitimizes the rights of two of its minorities, one sectarian the other ethnic.

It was the Kurdish Peshmerga that was effective in countering the spread of Islamic State; the Iraqi military had chosen to vanish in panic at the ISIL advance on Mosul. The Kurds gave safe haven to all the ethnic and religious minorities fleeing Islamic State from their punishing war on Yazidis and Christians. For all their sacrifices, recognized by Canadian and U.S. forces that helped train and arm the Peshmerga, they have been abandoned in the wake of their aborted efforts at sovereignty.

Iraqi forces fire mortars against Kurdish Peshmerga positions near Faysh Khabur, on the Turkish and Syrian border. Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Labels: , , , , , ,

() Follow @rheytah Tweet