What happened to Jim? Experiments on Canada’s indigenous populations
Jim White thought he may have been experimented on at residential school - and he's likely right.
By Leslie Young

Vaccination and scarification

Milk and flour

Testing TB vaccine 

A ‘jerry-built’ solution

More experiments?
When white people riot, they get a musical
A Vancouver-based theatre company is staging a musical based on the 2011 Stanley Cup riots.

Ironically, when Vancouver was met with sports-related protests, not every single person should have been punished to the fullest extent of the law. Bob Whitelaw, an individual who penned over 100 recommendations for British Columbia’s attorney-general and the British Columbia Police Commission after a 1994 Vancouver riot, even considered the word use of “hooligan” as too strong.

“They talk about hooligans….Many of them seemed to be just young people who were out to have some fun and got caught up in it and that’s unfortunate.”

Of course, 2011 was not the first (or last) time people rioted over sports. Alternet compiled a list that included other instances such as, the University of Kentucky Wildcats winning the NCAA Championship in 2012 and the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, 2007, and 2013. There are also video compilations of news coverage showcasing the differences in vocabulary used when a journalist is describing a white riot versus a black protest.

Making a musical out of the 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver, while seemingly benign, is in poor taste. It suggests that we should mould an act of mass violence into something silly – perhaps even igniting a few “I remember when I was young and…” moments.

It also signals to us what we can validate and what we always must condemn. Throughout all of this, we must question who it is we are laughing at and who it is we are laughing with. The answers may reveal a truth that most of us do not want to come face to face with.
La Loche, the Canadian Town Where 4 Were Killed, Has a Bleak History
The community has high levels of unemployment and addiction to drugs and alcohol, and there have been waves of suicides, mostly among young residents.
By Ian Austen

It’s been said a million times and nothing changes…but we must do better in First Nations communities. We as a society fail them over and over.
IMF study: decades of chipping away at unions is "strongly associated" with rising inequality
After decades of undermining labour unions, it turns out the biggest winners have been the super-rich.


After decades of undermining labour unions, it turns out the biggest winners have been the super-rich.

According to a recently published study from the research department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), declining unionization around the world since the 1980s have driven down wages and left top earners even richer than they were before.

“We found strong evidence that the erosion of labor market institutions in the advanced economies examined is associated with an increase of income inequality,” says the study’s authors, IMF economists Florence Jaumotte and Carolina Osorio Buitron.

The study says that although globalization, technology and financial deregulation have contributed to rising inequality, declines in unionization “limit workers’ influence on redistributive policies,” while “the rise in top income shares is possibly supported by the weakening of labour market institutions” as this “reduces the bargaining power of average wage earners relative to top earners”:

“The most novel result is the strong negative relationship between unionization and top earners’ income shares. This finding challenges preconceptions about the channels through which union density affects income distribution. Indeed, the widely held view is that changes in labor market institutions affect low- and middle wage workers but are unlikely to have a direct impact on top income earners. We argue that if de-unionization weakens earnings for middle- and low-income workers, this necessarily increases the income share of corporate managers and shareholders.”

The study compares declining union density with rising inequality between 1979-2010 using data from twenty advanced economies (including Canada):

Continue Reading.


Last night, Melanie Mark became the first woman MLA of First Nations heritage to become elected to the British Columbia legislature. The NDP candidate won the by-election for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant which was called when MLA Jenny Kwan ran for the NDP in the federal election. Melanie Mark is of Nisga'a, Gitxsan, Cree, and Ojibway heritage. 

And check out that entrance.


*edited to correct Jenny Kwan’s party*
Ottawa Used Technicality To Disqualify 1,000 Residential-School Claims
The federal government used a technical argument to disqualify an estimated 1,000 claims for compensation made by indigenous Canadians who were abused at Indian residential schools listed in the agreement negotiated to award them for their suffering.

In April of last year, Rosemary Nation, a judge of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, tossed out the appeal of a woman whose case had been rejected by the IAP on the basis of the administrative split. The unidentified claimant had attended the Grouard school, on the north shore of Lesser Slave Lake, and her arm had been broken by a nun some time after 1957 when responsibility for the school was handed from the federal government to the province, which occurred in a handful of the roughly 58 cases.

Really, the only argument that’s necessary to defeat the ‘if the cabinet is gender balanced, it can’t be a real meritocracy’ whining is this: cabinets have been regionally balanced for years. This is designed to better unite the country, and so the people out West won’t think that Ontario is in charge of everything.

Which is to say, it’s never been a meritocracy within the lifetime of any current Canadian. And why would it be? Cabinet is a team designed to perform a function, not a reward for being ‘the best’. The best person for the job is the person who best serves the needs of the team, and Trudeau has wisely recognized that one of the (many) things the team needs to do is reassure all Canadians that their fates aren’t being decided solely by a bunch of white ontarian men. If that is part of the function of cabinet, and it is, then Trudeau did pick the best people for the job.

Politics isn’t business. It doesn’t have the same priorities as business. Throwing business terms like ‘meritocracy’ at it will only lead to confusion.
Meet the Canadian taking U.S. citizenship to vote for Bernie Sanders
Canadian-born Kim De Lutis is so keen to vote for Bernie Sanders she’s applying for dual citizenship.

Some people will knock on doors, stuff envelopes, or make phone calls for a political candidate.

Kim De Lutis is so enthusiastic about hers she’s changing her citizenship.

The Canadian-born woman is keen to vote for Bernie Sanders — so much so that after having lived in the U.S. for 21 years, she’s just applied for dual citizenship.

A passionate movement has pushed the septuagenarian socialist into a position unimaginable just a few months ago: Sanders is now heavily favoured to beat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

“He was definitely the first candidate that spurred me to want to vote (in the U.S.),” said De Lutis, a native of Montreal’s south shore.

“It definitely spurred me to get my citizenship … He’s inspired a political revolution.”

Continue Reading.
VIDEO: Justin Trudeau told a struggling worker he's not sure about raising the minimum wage
"Maybe everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving."

What does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau think about raising the minimum wage?

During a series of interviews with ordinary Canadians aired on CBC Sunday night, Trudeau shared his reservations about provincial initiatives to raise the minimum wage, telling a struggling, low-wage worker he questions if that means “everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving.”

Neil Piercey was one ‘ordinary Canadian’ who got an opportunity to grill Trudeau.

Piercey is a 58-year-old worker from London, Ontario who was laid off from a long-time, good paying manufacturing job, but now finds himself in a low-wage job and without a pension as he nears retirement.

In a clip that didn’t air during Sunday night’s broadcast, but was later uploaded to the web, Piercey asks the Prime Minister if he thinks it would be “a good idea to raise the minimum wage?”

Piercey was told the federal government only controls wages on certain industries that fall under federal jurisdiction (something Trudeau’s Liberals supported raising in 2014 before criticizing it during last year’s election campaign), but then Trudeau went a step further, sharing his thoughts about a few provincial initiatives to raise the minimum wage:

“A number of provinces are looking at raising the minimum wage across the board. There’s always a question of whether or not that has the impact that everyone would like to have. Maybe everything just gets more expensive or we have jobs leaving. We have to be very careful about that.”

Although Trudeau said there’s “no easy solutions” and added that “the possibility” of earning enough to live on is “something that Canada’s always done,” CBC’s Rosemary Barton noted after the broadcast that Trudeau’s message left the struggling manufacturing worker disappointed and “unsure about what will happen to him.”

He might also be disappointed in several problems with Trudeau’s questions about the effectiveness of raising the minimum wage […]


28 January, 2016 // “Today, we celebrate a very special anniversary in our country’s history: exactly 100 years ago, women in Manitoba became the first women in Canada to gain the right to vote.

This victory played a crucial role in shaping the Canada we know and love – a Canada where acceptance, equality, and respect are integral parts of who we are and what we stand for. While we have made progress towards gender equality, we still have a lot of hard work to do. We know that far too many women in Canada – and around the world – continue to face discrimination.

These brave suffragettes led by example then, and they continue to inspire us now – all Canadians, women and men alike, should be proud to call themselves feminists. We remain committed to advancing gender equality so that our society is one where all women and girls can reach their full potential.

Together, we can, and will, continue to push for true equality between men and women, right here in Canada and around the world.”

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the anniversary of women’s suffrage in Manitoba
Report on how to fix education on reserves finds little support in Alberta
The federal government should offer First Nations schools extra money to improve their performance, says a new report about on-reserve education.
By ,Janet French

The federal government should offer extra money to First Nations schools that have improved their performance, says a new report about education on reserves.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada should also fund First Nations schools with 35 per cent more money per student than comparable nearby provincial schools, write the authors of a report published Thursday by the C.D. Howe Institute.

“Each year sees another cohort of students who have passed through a failing system and another new cohort of students entering the same system. Reconciliation and common sense require that improvements be made — and made quickly,” authors Barry Anderson and John Richards conclude.

The recommendations appear to come with little input from the people working to improve First Nations education, said Joseph Jobin, chief operating officer for Treaty 8, a confederacy of northern Alberta First Nations.

“It’s trying to come up with a pan-aboriginal, one solution fits all, which, historically, has never worked,” Jobin said.

Nine out of 10 non-aboriginal Canadians in their early 20s have graduated from high school, compared with 42 per cent of young adults living on reserves. The number in Alberta is dismal, where 33 per cent of young people on reserves have diplomas.

Last year, a deal failed that would have granted $1.9 billion more to First Nations schools over three years. Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, which was supported by the Assembly of First Nations, proposed minimum administrative procedures for schools and suggested First Nations form the equivalent of school boards.

Critics said the move was an unwelcome colonialist intrusion.

Richards, who was a government adviser for drafting C-33, said reserve schools don’t need such broad legislation to make immediate improvements.

“It was obviously a bridge too far and it brought out a lot of native politics that were quite angry,” Richards said Wednesday.

Among his recommendations are that schools set measurable goals for continuous, incremental improvements; have school staff and communities more involved in setting those goals; and to have indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada regional offices become more involved in professional development and training reserve leaders.

Measuring students’ performances, graduation rates, attendance, teacher quality and turnover would help schools understand if they’re improving, the report said.

No more than five per cent of a school’s funding should be tied to demonstrating improvement, the authors say.

“It is tragic that the schools, particularly in the Prairies, remain as weak as they are,” Richards said.

Some of the recommendations in the report have already been introduced to Treaty 8’s 14 schools or are under consideration, Jobin said. The confederacy has adopted teacher standards and incorporated Treaty 8 history into the social studies curriculum.

Jobin worries publicizing recommendations for more funding for First Nations schools will incite ill-informed, racist commentary.

In 2010, Alberta First Nations treaty chiefs signed a memorandum with the federal and provincial governments to worth together to improve education on the province’s reserves. At least 9,000 students are enrolled in First Nations schools in Alberta.

“We’re hopeful now with the new federal government. The previous federal government was not willing to work with us,” Jobin said.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said the department is looking at education reforms with First Nations.

The concept of any school funding contingent on performance measures doesn’t sit well with the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

ATA president Mark Ramsankar pointed to failed programs in the United States as a reason to steer clear of the approach.

“You’re taking schools that really are quite vulnerable, and Alberta children that are really vulnerable, and removing funding and support, as opposed to moving in the opposite direction and exploring the why,” Ramsankar said.