Tag Archives: Manitoba

Manitoba premier accused of racist language in fundraising letter on blockades

Indigenous land defenders set up a blockade at a rail station along the CN line at Diamond, Manitoba, on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.

Nationwide blockades and protests over the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia are hurting the cause of reconciliation with Indigenous people, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Friday.

“What some of the people who have gone overboard in these blockades have done is they’ve weakened the case of reconciliation, not helped it,” Pallister said.

“They’ve shifted some public view against some of the things that I’ve been working for.”

Protesters shut down a major Canadian National rail line west of Winnipeg for about 24 hours this week.

Pallister has called for the blockades to be ended quickly so that railways and roads can be reopened. In a fundraising email he sent to Progressive Conservative supporters on Thursday titled “These illegal blockades,” Pallister also asked for donations to fight what he called “two-tier justice.”

“We will stand up for the freedoms and rights of all people. But we won’t stand back while two-tier justice happens in our province,” the email read.

“And we won’t hesitate to seek an injunction in the future, if (a blockade in Manitoba) happens again.”

Manitoba’s opposition parties accused Pallister of inflaming the situation with his choice of words. Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said phrases such as “two-tier justice” in this context are racist.

“It was a racist bullhorn, as far as I’m concerned,” Lamont said.

“He’s leaning into the very serious politics of division and verging on hate-mongering.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister suggested protesters blocking rail lines are damaging the cause of reconciliation. (Cory Funk/CBC)

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he doesn’t feel Pallister is racist, but rather is pitting Indigenous and non-Indigenous people against each other for political gain.

Pallister said his words were not racist and were referring to a distinction between people who obey the law and people who do not. The protesters included many non-Indigenous people, he noted.

“I don’t think we want a society where some people are putting themselves above the law with no consequence. That’s what two-tier justice systems might do and that’s a danger to all of us.”

While Pallister has promised a swift crackdown on any future blockades in Manitoba, the opposition parties have called for dialogue.

“I want to see trains moving again but I also want to see Indigenous rights respected,” Kinew said.

“And it’s my role as a leader to … try and urge people that I know towards what I think is a good resolution, and that will come through negotiation and dialogue.”

The blockades on train tracks across the country have forced Via Rail to stop passenger service in most areas. But Via was still operating Friday on a line owned by Hudson Bay Railway between The Pas and Churchill in northern Manitoba.

Service also continued on a line owned by Canadian Pacific Railway in northern Ontario between Sudbury and White River.

By: Steve Lambert · The Canadian Press · Published in CBC News: Feb 14, 2020

[SOURCE]

Manitoba protesters blockade CN Rail line, demand RCMP leave Wet’suwet’en territory

About half a dozen protesters occupy a rail station along the CN line approximately seven kilometres west of Winnipeg. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

CN rail lines in B.C. and Ontario have also been blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters in the last week

A Manitoba railway just outside Winnipeg is being blocked by a group of protesters to show support for the Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia, whose hereditary leaders are fighting construction of a pipeline through their traditional territory.

About a dozen protesters lit a fire Wednesday morning and are occupying an area near a crossing of a CN rail line about seven kilometres west of the Perimeter Highway, on Wilkes Avenue.

The protesters said they won’t end their demonstration until the RCMP leaves the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en people in B.C., where police arrested more than 20 people over the weekend who were blocking Coastal GasLink workers from accessing the traditional territory.

RCMP began enforcing a court order against those blocking construction on the pipeline last Thursday, sparking protests across the country.

“We’re here showing solidarity for other Indigenous people, for other Indigenous nations — First Nations whose territories were invaded by RCMP [and] Coastal GasLinks,” said Harrison Powder, one of the Manitoba blockade participants.

“They violated Indigenous laws, Indigenous lands, and Indigenous rights, and that kind of stuff has to be protested against. We have to stand up against that,” he said.

“We want the RCMP out of there.”

Harrison Powder said the group will continue to block the rail line until RCMP leave the Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Earlier this week, hundreds of protesters filled Winnipeg’s downtown streets to show support for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are trying to stop construction of the pipeline.

Blockades in other provinces have cancelled more than 150 Via Rail passenger trains and forced a similar number of freight trains to sit idle.

CN Rail’s president and CEO, J.J. Ruest, told CBC News on Tuesday that the protests threaten industry across the country, including the transport of everything from food to construction materials to natural resources.

On Wednesday, CN Rail said train movements in the area of the Manitoba protest are currently stopped.

“We are monitoring the situation and evaluating our legal options very closely,” a spokesperson said in an email.

While the blockade is focused on the CN line, protesters are set up a spot where it intersects with a CP Rail line.

CP Rail said it is monitoring the situation, but wouldn’t say if any of its trains would be affected.

‘A long time coming’

The Manitoba protesters, who gathered Wednesday as bitter winds made it feel as cold as –44, hope to send a message to the federal government, as well as RCMP and industry leaders.

“When you invade Indigenous territory, and you try to force pipelines on our people, there’s consequences to that, and this here today is one of those consequences,” said Powder.

“This has been a long time coming, these blockades. Our people have been saying for years ‘we can shut down this country, we can stop the economy, we can cause major economic damage’ — and it’s happening now.”

Both RCMP and CN Rail police were monitoring the blockade site on Wednesday. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Both Manitoba RCMP and CN Rail police were at the blockade Wednesday. An RCMP spokesperson said officers were there to monitor the protest and keep the peace.

“The Manitoba RCMP has sent Division Liaison Team (DLT) officers to the protest site,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The role of the DLT officers is to establish a dialogue and maintain open and ongoing communication.”

Province will seek injunction

The Manitoba government said Wednesday it plans to seek a court injunction to end the blockade.

Premier Brian Pallister says the province’s Justice Department will seek to obtain an injunction and have it enforced within a few days.

He says he respects the rights of protesters, but laws need to be applied.

“The point is to make sure that we’re standing up for the freedoms and rights of all people, and not standing back while two-tier justice happens in our province,” Pallister told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

“As much as we will always respect the right of protesters to have a voice, they don’t have a veto and … they don’t have the right to put their rights ahead of everyone else and to disregard the laws of our province and country.”

By: Holly Caruk · CBC News · Posted: Feb 12, 2020

[SOURCE]

Train Derailment near St-Lazare, Spilled One Million Litres of Crude Oil

The Canadian National train with 110 petroleum crude oil cars derailed when an emergency brake was applied, rupturing 16 cars.

37 tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed near St-Lazare

Investigators say at least one million litres of crude oil was spilled when a train derailed last month in western Manitoba.

According to Global News, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says the spill was mostly contained in a low-lying area next to the track, and it’s too early to comment on the environmental impact.

On Feb. 16, 110 tanker cars loaded with petroleum crude oil, was travelling east at about 49 mph when it experienced a train-initiated emergency brake application.

37 cars derailed at 3:30 a.m. by the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border near St. Lazare.

The TSB says 16 of the cars sustained breaches.

The agency says the investigation is ongoing and some track components and wheel sets are being examined for failure analysis.

CN said the leak did not penetrate the Assiniboine River.

There were no reports of injuries or fires.

CN resumed operations on the mainline the following day of the derailment.

The aftermath of an oil spill in St. Lazare, Man., captured by a drone.

The wreck happened on the same day as a pro-pipeline rally just 50 km away in Moosomin, Sask.

Supporters of pipelines argue that shipping oil by pipeline is safer than by rail.

47 people died in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6th 2013, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed in the downtown setting off a massive explosion and fire.

By RPM, Staff, Updated March 2, 2019.

First Nations child advocate says child welfare system ‘eats up’ Indigenous kids

Cora Morgan, First Nations Family Advocate at The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) in Winnipeg, Monday, February 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba First Nations children’s advocate says the child welfare system “eats up” Indigenous children and is designed to keep their families at a disadvantage.

Cora Morgan, with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, told the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women that the system is set up to apprehend children, not to support families.

“Any challenges that our families are faced with, it’s used against them instead of them being offered support. It victimizes our families,” she said Monday.

“A lot of these things are just perpetual. You can find five or six generations of a family where their children have been taken.”

The inquiry is holding hearings in Winnipeg this week and is expected to focus on child welfare.

Morgan said violence against Indigenous women and girls can be linked to child welfare because it not only removes them from their families, but also takes away their identity and self-worth.

“The system just eats up our children to the point where they lose value for life,” she said.

Manitoba has the highest per-capita rate of children in care and almost 90 per cent are Indigenous. The province said last week that the number of kids in government care dropped for the first time in 15 years to 10,328.

Morgan told the inquiry about a mother who had four children, all of whom were seized at birth primarily because of poverty.

Too much money is being spent on taking kids away from their families and not enough is invested in finding ways to keep them together, Morgan said.

“You keep hearing our government say apprehension is the last resort but it’s the first resort,” she said. “It’s always the first resort.”

Inquiry commissioners said they have heard about the effects of child welfare at every hearing. Qajaq Robinson said many people testified they were survivors of the system and that is “indicative of a huge problem.”

“Whether it’s children, who as a result of their mothers being murdered, ended up in care or women who, as a result of their children being apprehended, lost financial support or lost housing and then ended up in precarious situations having to resort to survival sex work,” she said, adding people are being failed in numerous ways.

“Every jurisdiction we have been to, I have heard it personally from witnesses,” Robinson said.

Morgan gave the inquiry a list of recommendations including supporting First Nations-led initiatives to bring children home and to stop penalizing victims of domestic violence by taking their children away.

The Canadian Press

Source: CTVNews.ca

A totem pole in Manitoba? German board game accused of stereotypical portrayal of Indigenous people

“Manitoba” is a product of German company DLP Games. Some Manitobans are upset about the game’s stereotypical ideas of Indigenous people. (DLP Games )

Board game called Manitoba features depictions that are inaccurate and offensive, game enthusiast says

A German board game called Manitoba is drawing a lot of criticism for the way it portrays the culture of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The game, called Manitoba, is a product of DLP Games.

“This game is set in the Canadian province of Manitoba with its green hills and majestic mountains, large lakes, endless prairies and forests,” the English-language version of the game’s instructions state.

“It deals with the life of the inhabitants in harmony with the different seasons and the capriciousness of nature.

“Players represent different clans of the Cree Indians, taking care of the material progress as well as of the spiritual development of the clan. At the end of autumn, all clans finally come together to determine the new chief from the clan that has progressed the furthest!”

Ross says the game’s artwork is problematic as it’s an inaccurate depiction of indigenous peoples in Manitoba. (DLP Games)

The artwork accompanying the game includes images of a totem pole and other imagery that is not part the cultures of Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples.

The game has drawn heavy criticism on the BoardGameGeek online forum.

Creations like paintings or board games refer to reality, but also create new reality.– Game designer Reiner Stockhausen

Governor General’s Award-winning writer Ian Ross is an Indigenous board game enthusiast and the founder of the Winnipeg Board Game Club.

Though the artwork is problematic, what some people have found most troubling is the game’s portrayal of Indigenous spirituality, he told CBC News.

“I think for some people, that’s the real sticky point, the thing they find most egregious, is the commodification of our culture,” he said.

He said it’s ridiculous that the German game makers didn’t do at least some research online before creating the game.

That being said, Ross said he’s happy to see that at least there is a conversation about what is wrong with the game, and is hopeful the publisher will change it.

“There was a time when the thing wouldn’t even have been talked about,” he said.

Game is fiction, designer stresses

Game designer Reiner Stockhausen said he hasn’t heard concerns about the game content from Indigenous people so far.

In an English-language email to CBC News, the German speaker stressed that the game is fictional.

“There is nothing wrong with simplification and abstraction in a fictional creation. Look on the wide history of literature, visual arts or the younger history of board game design and you will see, that it’s firstly impossible not to simplify or to hark back to images and conceptions,” he wrote.

“So creations like paintings or board games refer to reality, but also create new reality.”

Stockhausen said any stereotypes he or German people have about Cree people are positive, citing a Greenpeace sticker called “Weissagung der Cree,” which translates to “prophecy of the Cree.”

A Greenpeace bumper sticker Stockhausen cited as influential to DLP’s understanding of Cree culture. (Submitted by Reiner Stockhausen)

In English, it roughly translates as: “Only after the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned, the last fish has been caught will you find that one cannot eat gold.”

The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs attributes the quote to a member of the Osage Nation, whose traditional territory spanned, in different periods, from what’s now Pennsylvania and Ohio to Kansas and Oklahoma, according to the Osage Nation website.

Stockhausen said his co-editor declined to answer questions, but said he liked the sound of the word “Manitoba.”

“We do research as much and as long till we have all the information, we searched for. But as fiction is not dealing with information, [research] is not a mandatory part of the creative process of making games,” he wrote.

“Whether the decision for this title turned out well or not is a question that depends on the eyes of the viewer. From a European view it seems rather coherent,” he wrote.

CBC News · Posted: Sep 12, 2018

[SOURCE]