Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ezra Levant v. Free Speech Hater

Absolutely outstanding video.

And, of course, Carleton's embarrassment has garnered significant support in The National Post, Yahoo! News, The Metro Ottawa, and the Ottawa Sun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letter to President Runte

Make your voice known as well:

Dear President Runte,

As a proud Carleton alumni, I was shocked and disgusted to learn of the oppressive anti-freedom actions taken by one individual in the UniCentre atrium late yesterday evening.

This individual, who has since posted a public letter taunting you to punish him, has destroyed a campus association’s private property and negated the free expression of hundreds of students who chose to express themselves on the free speech wall.

I trust that the university will be completely supportive of the campus club restoring and proudly displaying their private property in the atrium, and in continuing to solicit the right of individuals to openly and freely express themselves.

Furthermore, I trust that the university will work closely with campus police and, if necessary, the Ottawa Police to determine whether criminal charges for mischief, destruction of property, and vandalism are warranted.  Also, your office should immediately discuss this matter with the University Provost and Associate Vice President (Student Support Services) to determine whether these actions contravened the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.

Finally, as this individual has publicly promised to destroy a replacement free speech wall if one is put up, I believe the university should proactively post campus police or a private security company to the UniCentre atrium to ensure this mischief does not repeat itself.

Carleton University should stand behind its students' right to free speech and free expression.  I trust that your office will take the appropriate course of action, and I would appreciate a response when that action is taken.


Daniel Dickin
B.A. Law, 2011

UPDATE: response on January 23, 2013:

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your message.  I appreciate your having brought  this matter to my attention.  I will insure that it is immediately investigated.
Sincerely yours,
Roseann O’Reilly Runte

Student's wanton destruction of property demonstrates exactly why free speech is needed

A free speech wall created and posted by the Carleton Students for Liberty has been swiftly destroyed by career protester and seventh-year B.A. candidate Arun Smith.

CSL, a non-partisan campus association committed to advancing freedom through individual liberty, purchased and posted the free speech wall in the university’s main centre.

Carleton University, already ranked one of the worst universities for upholding free speech by the 2012 Campus Freedom Index, has been delivered yet another embarrassing blow.

 Click photo to enlarge. Photo credit to Devin McDowell. For an even larger resolution, click here.

You can see why the rogue student would tear down such a hateful poster.  It states obvious thought crimes like “end the welfare state” and “legalize freedom” and “I love the CFS” and “education is not a right.”

That’s not to suggest the language is all rosy and cheerful either.  There were comments posted about abortion, gay rights, Israeli “apartheid,” and demanding “equality for all.”

And that’s entirely the point of the free speech wall.  Free speech doesn’t have to be politically correct or cheerful.  In many instances, free speech is blunt and can be abrasive.  I doubt many people would “like” to see “Queers are awesome” or “I love my clitoris” or “I love queers and eating pussy!” shoved in their face while walking to or from class, but free speech isn’t about what one would “like” to be reminded of between classes.

As if it wasn’t disgusting enough to commit such vile acts of vandalism, discrimination, destruction of property, and mischief, the petty criminal didn’t stop there: he took to Facebook to openly brag about his crime, daring President Runte to punish his "remorseless" actions.

He claimed his act of “forceful resistance” was in response to that “meaningless platitude” and “abstract ideal” known as free speech.

Most ironically of all, Arun Smith is a gay rights advocate, and a noisy one at that.  He regularly takes advantage of his right to free speech to opine in the Charlatan or shout a few chants through a bullhorn demanding free tuition.  And that’s entirely his right.

As a simple viewing of the free speech wall above shows, it was overwhelmed with pro-gay messages.  Why Smith would destroy this wall – the very wall granting his lobby unfettered access to say what they really feel – is beyond me.  My view of free speech is not so narrow or selfish to only include my views; if we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, then we don't believe in free speech at all.  (Noam Chomsky, one of Smith's inspirational idols, said that.)

What Smith does not have the right to do is destroy private property.  The CSL students should press charges for vandalism, destruction of property, and mischief.  Then they should conduct a thorough reading of Carleton’s Student Rights and Responsibilities code and have Smith brought before the appropriate tribunal.  Smith brags about his actions and recognizes his consequences, proudly aggrandizing his "remorseless" behaviour in his letter to President Runte.

Smith’s right to free speech does not extend to the right to wilfully (and proudly) destroy private property.  One could only imagine the reaction if a student were to tear down or vandalize a left-wing cause, or, even worse, a pro-gay poster.  It's rank hypocrisy if the university lets Smith get away with this.

Congratulations, Arun.  You’ve made your point in yet another national embarrassment for Carleton University.  You’ve shown exactly why free speech is needed: because there are dangerous, criminal thugs willing to forcefully destroy and infringe upon that free speech at every opportunity.  Now if only you could show the same commitment to finishing your B.A. within eight years.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where Quebec gets it right (for once)

Ottawa police have enforced itOttawa has suggested it; and Toronto has implemented it.

Yet there's nothing in Ontario's Highway Traffic Act which prohibits individuals from purposely blocking roads, or delaying and obstructing traffic?

Granted, the Charter allows individuals to peacefully associate and assemble.  But since when does that right override everyone else's right to not be affected by such an assembly?

In Compass Group Canada (Heath Services) Ltd. v. Hospital Employees’ Union, [2004]
B.C.J. No. 57 (S.C.), the Supreme Court of Canada laid the ground rules for peaceful, legal assembly and protest:

  • Business at or around the assembly area is not unreasonably interfered with
  • The assembly is not impeding access to businesses in the area
  • The assembled individuals are not threatening passers-by or non-assembled individuals
  • The assembled individuals are not acting in an unruly or coercive manner

If that's the case, what right do the Idle No More protesters have to block local and inter-provincial traffic, delay the international trade of goods into the United States, block federal traffic ways (Via Rail), and intimidate passers-by who want nothing to do with the protests?

Quebec's Highway Safety Act saw individuals fined over $500 when they blocked a highway in Quebec.  Clearly, they got it right.  It's time for more provinces to shut down these illegal protests and blockades, and bring those responsible to justice.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Accomplishments of the Harper-aboriginal chiefs meeting

From iPolitics:

  • Commitment to a high-level process on treaty implementation.
  • Commitment to speed up resolutions of land claims and affirmation of inherent rights.
  • Designate decision-makers within the Privy Council Office to specifically oversee the Crown-First Nation relationship.
Much consensus
  • Harper agreed talks on resource equity should be part of the high-level process on treaty implementation, but also need to include provinces.
  • Make funding for First Nations sustainable, in line with growth of the population. Harper agreed this would be part of the treaty and comprehensive land claims discussions.
  • Guarantee schools for every First Nation. Harper agreed education is important but didn’t make firm commitments.
Some consensus
  • All legislation needs to be compatible with indigenous rights, and the parts of Harper’s budget omnibus bills that contravene aboriginal rights need to be repealed. Harper agreed the government has a duty to consult with First Nations, but will not repeal the omnibus bills.
  • Set up a public commission to focus on murdered and missing aboriginal women.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What did the National Chief meeting accomplish?

It was historic in and of itself to see the government cave to the demands of a disgraced aboriginal Chief on a diet along with the demands of unrepresentative, unelected, violent, criminal protesters.  But nevertheless, the meeting, which was attended by high-ranking government officials from the Privy Council, Treasury Board, Aboriginal Affairs as well as aboriginal officials including Shawn Atleo and several Regional and Grand Chiefs, did accomplish something.

Just a few of the accomplishments:
  • An agreement to "revisit" treaties
  • An agreement to speed up land claims
  • A special briefing with the cabinet on aboriginal affairs and issues
  • A commitment to use the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office to directly oversee treaty implementation and comprehensive land claims
And yet, the aboriginals' goal posts continue to shift to the extent their ever-changing demands can never be met:

Idle No More/Theresa Spence's demands
  1. We demand a meeting with the Prime Minister.  The government agreed.
  2. We demand a meting with the Queen.  The government offered the Governor General.
  3. We demand a meeting with the Prime Minister and Governor General in the same room.
  4. We demand you repeal the 2012 Budget (C-45).
  5. We demand more money to solve the "under-funding" crisis on reserves.
  6. We demand a larger percentage of government money from resource development.
  7. We demand a larger role in deciding whether resource development can take place.
The National Assembly of First Nations, however, has released their own official list of demands on what they want, including:
  1. Enforcement of treaties on a nation-to-nation basis.
  2. Resolution of land claims
  3. Repealing items pertaining to aboriginal affairs in C-38 and C-45 (the 2012-2013 Budget Bills)
  4. Resource development equity and revenue sharing
  5. Removal of all caps on First Nation programs and services
  6. National public inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women
  7. A First Nations school on every reserve
  8. "Direct political oversight" in the implementation of these goals, including a dedicated cabinet committee under the Privy Council Office with the specific responsibility to implement measures between First Nations and the Canadian government.
It's no wonder, then, that even many aboriginals are becoming frustrated with their fragmented and shifting demands.  Idle No More has no place at the table with the Prime Minister, and their defacto leader, Theresa Spence, has ridiculously vowed to continue her diet, even after she had the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister.  The official groups are not accomplishing what the unrepresentative radicals want, so what is the immediate response from aboriginals?
  • Blocking of major roads, highways, and railways
  • "Shutting down" the economy - "bringing it to its knees" if necessary
  • A vote of non-confidence against National Chief Shawn Atleo
  • Tell international investors their investments in resource development are not safe
It's no small feat to have the PMO and PCO agree to directly oversee your cause, especially when, you know, an entire government department already exists to handle that cause.  Yet, that doesn't seem to be enough for many people.

What is the way forward to quell the criminal activity while also properly resolving any issues?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Now, Mr. Harper, is time to repeal the Indian Act

 I have held for some time that it is time to get Canada out of the apartheid business, to repeal the Indian Act and allow all Canadians to live equally regardless of their race or ancestry.  Last year Prime Minister Stephen Harper partially agreed, saying his government would amend the Indian Act, though not outright repeal it.

But the Prime Minister needs to take a fresh look at this position in advance of Friday’s meeting with aboriginal leaders, including Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a one-month diet to demand such a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Spence first came into the spotlight in late 2011 when she declared a state of emergency on her decrepit Attawapiskat aboriginal reserve.  Her declaration, however, backfired when it turned out the federal government had given $90 million to the reserve since 2006, including $4.3 million for housing, all while the over-staffed band council rolled in their comfy tax-free salaries.

But even though Spence should be the poster child for financial mismanagement and rampant corruption on reserves, she’s become the defacto leader of the Idle No More protests.  Idle No More is Occupy Wall Street version 2.0.  They still don’t have a clear message or objective, they’re still engaged in criminality, they’re still disorganized, and they’re still the anti-conservative protest-everything group of individuals we forcefully met in the fall of 2011.

Spence ventured up to Parliament Hill in December 2012, smart to know the Parliamentary Press Gallery would need something to occupy their time with parliament standing up for the Christmas break.  She claimed it was a “hunger strike,” although it’s really a soup diet, and the gullibly sympathetic Gallery ate it up.

Led by the CBC, they sought medical doctors who reported on how Spence’s health was in grave danger, even though those doctors never examined her.  They sought aboriginal experts who testified how Spence’s plight was representative of the endemic third-world conditions on reserves.  They attempted to make every excuse to boast Spence’s heroism (even comparing her to Jesus and Ghandi and Mother Theresa) and discredit any of her previous wrongdoings.

Fed up with the apologists, Canadians have thankfully been able to rely on a growing number of bloggers and true journalists to uncover and report on what is actually happening in Attawapiskat.  Their work has masterfully reported the truth, uncovered lies, and shoved the Idle No More movement back onto its heels.

We’ve found Attawapiskat paying 27 “staff” salaries, anywhere from $1050 for one month’s work to $71,000, Chief Spence’s annual salary.

We’ve found Chief Spence’s boyfriend on the payroll, making $850 per day as the Band Manager.

Together, Spence and her boyfriend rake in almost $400,000 per year tax-free while her constituents – her neighbours, her followers, her people – live in third world shacks.

But Canada’s left-wing media did an abrupt turn-about when a scathing audit of Attawapiskat’s financials was released earlier this week.  Deloitte and Touche criticized Chief Spence’s finances, finding that over 81% of Attawapiskat’s financials were undocumented and unsupported.  It’s a record of financial mismanagement and corruption so widespread it rivals former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, the architect of AdScam, whose Sponsorship Program gave out 49% of taxpayers’ money without any documentation, often to Liberal friends (no wonder he called her an inspiration).

Everything from invoices for work completed to job descriptions to council meeting minutes – almost none of it was tracked or recorded.  Many of the same issues Ross, Pope and Company exposed in their July 2011 audit of Attawapiskat were still prevalent in Deloitte’s audit.

Shoving away her leftist media friends, Spence and her crumbling movement have since been confined to a lonely island of fanatical supporters, demanding individuals identify themselves as “friends” or “foes” of the Chief and threatening to have media arrested for trespassing.

If Spence has any allies left, their next move will be to minimize Attawapiskat and Spence as not being representative of the larger aboriginal condition.  We will very soon see articles claiming Spence doesn’t speak for aboriginals, or how Attawapiskat was an isolated incident, or how Spence’s corrupt management of an aboriginal reserve is not in line with how other reserves do business.

But Attawapiskat is the canary in the mine, sounding off about the larger picture certainly seen on other aboriginal reserves.  In 2010 the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) revealed there are 222 aboriginal Chiefs making more than their provincial premiers, and 82 making more than the Prime Minister.  Prime Minister Harper makes $317,574 a year, and former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made $208,974, which makes for a whopping tax-free salary especially considering most reserves don’t have more than 1000 people.
Leaders of the Alexander Indian Band of Alberta literally bought their re-election in 2002, transferring $108,868 to residents the night before the election was to take place, some individuals receiving between $150 and $200 with the understanding that they would vote for the incumbent leaders in the following day’s election.

Or what about Shirley Clarke, Chief of the Glooscap First Nation in Nova Scotia, who was revealed to be taking a $243,000 salary for her Mayorship of a community of only 304 people.  And even after drawing her gross salary, Clarke still had the audacity to grant $978,468 of tax-free money to a fellow band councillor – a contract she insisted was for “business.”

Attawapiskat and the Idle No More movement has taught us much, but it has not been the “we need more money” message the Chiefs have been hoping for.  Instead, it has been a decisive rejection of the current reserve system: Canadians are hungry to end the non-transparent and unaccountable system which sees Chiefs get rich while the rest live in unsustainable, deplorable squalor.

And if Spence and Attawapiskat have taught Canadians anything else, it’s that systemic and legal interference have created the perfect conditions for corruption and non-transparency.  Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser agrees, saying “structural impediments” are to blame for conditions on reserves.

Although the federal government is on the right track by introducing the First Nations Financial Accountability Act and other measures in Budget 2012, only a complete repeal of the Indian Act will embrace the fact that all Canadians should be equal under the law.  Unless Canadians are equally comfortable with passing into law a Caucasian Act and a Black Act and an Asian Act – each with their own special government subsidies for perceived “injustices” and rewards for complying with Father Government - it should strike us as abhorrent and unacceptable to do the same for aboriginals.

The Indian Act is responsible for many of the complaints about aboriginal treatment and reserves, such as:

  • The reserve system itself, established by s. 18.  Subsidizing a portion of society to continue to live in an unviable location is unacceptable.  Allow that individuals be able to purchase their own land, or suggest that they move to economically viable locations.
  • S. 20 says no aboriginal will ever own his land, unless his band council specifically allocates him that land.  Such results in petty politics, gamesmanship, and the potential for corruption as seen on Attawapiskat.  And with no ability to own property, banks will never loan aboriginals money for investments or borrowing, such as for a mortgage.
  • Trespassing under the Criminal Code is a summary conviction, but under the Indian Act trespassing on a reserve is punishable only by a $50 fine or a one-month jail term. Why is trespassing on some land worse than on other land?
  • S. 32 bars what aboriginals are and are not allowed to sell. For example, reserves in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta are not allowed to sell or barter cattle, animals, grain, hay, or root crops or their products, unless exempt by the minister or a superintendant. Why is the government interfering in a person’s right to earn a living, when the person right next door to a reserve could sell these products?

Chief Spence wanted to be a poster child for change and progress.  She wanted to be famous.  Let’s take her up on her offer, and bring change and progress to Canada’s aboriginals.  Let’s make Spence known as the straw that broke the camel’s back - the Chief who broke Canada’s tolerance for aboriginal corruption.

Now, Mr. Harper, is time to repeal the Indian Act.

Follow Daniel on Twitter at @DanielDickin.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Attawapiskat's horrid financial management

81% of Attawapiskat's financials are undocumented and unsupported, so you can understand why disgraced former AdScam Prime Minister Paul Martin calls their Chief an "inspiration".

Here's the complete audit from Deloitte, but this isn't a shock to Attawapiskat.  In July 2011 an audit conducted by Ross, Pope & Company found several of the same serious shortfalls.  These included:

  • Recording of invoices
  • Employee records
  • Insurance coverage
  • Money missing from a CMHC account
  • Welfare administration and accounting systems
  • Oversight on cheque and payroll disbursements
  • Purchase orders and expenditure authorization
  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Recording of council minutes
  • WSIB remittances
  • Casino Rama expenditures
  • Budgeting
  • Collection of revenues
This is not a one-time mistake; this is a system of corruption, a lack of due diligence, and a failure to uphold even the most basic accounting principles, like keeping receipts or demonstrating why a "consultant" was given six figures.

It's time for serious change on Canada's reserves.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Theresa Spence's fake hunger strike

I'd love to do a full article debunking this winter's scandal-of-the-season, but such has already been thoroughly debunked in several media exercises in true, refreshing journalism:

Fact checking a hunger strike, by Ezra Levant

The Hunger-strike games, by William Watson

Idle No More? Let's Get Serious, by Terry Glavin

Simplistic arguments from Theresa Spence, Idle No More could have tragic consequences for natives, by John Ivison

Get rich quick: become a First Nations Chief, by Lorne Gunter

Misguided hunger strike is manufacturing dissent, by Peter Foster

Idle No More an elite driven movement, by Ezra Levant

To understand how we got to Attawapiskat, go back to the 1905 James Bay Treaty, by Jonathon Kay

And although this isn't a journalism piece, it is helpful to keep in mind this mutually-agreed to outcome statement when Prime Minister Harper and aboriginal chiefs met just last year, in January 2012.

We're left with the following inconvenient facts:

  1. A third world-quality community of 300 homes is supposedly a "sovereign nation."
  2. Attawapiskat had 27 "staff" (elected and unelected) on the payroll in 2011, making anywhere from $1050 (for one month's work) to $71,000+ (chief Spence's annual salary).  That's almost one paid staff member for every 30 community members.
  3. Attawapiskat, the third world community living in shacks, would rather invest in banks and resources rather than fix aforementioned shacks.
  4. Idle No More is nothing more than an extension of the criminal, disorganized Occupy "movement"
  5. Chief Spence, while refusing to meet with aboriginal Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau or Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, is more than happy to meet with celebrities like Justin Trudeau.
  6. Oh, and, of course, the fact that this "hunger strike" is between helpings of "fish broth" and other nutritional liquids.
Luckily, reform is on the way in the name of financial transparency for reserves, but more needs to be done.  We need to seriously consider why we're even continuing to allow the existence of the racially segregated communities, heavily subsidized and corrupted by taxpayers' dollars. It's time to abolish the reserve system and allow all Canadians live equally in feasible locations of their choice.