The protests in Honduras against the socio-economic situation and in defense of natural resources took a more serious turn Tuesday following the death of local teacher Wilfredo Lara, first victim of the movement.
An order demanding the Algonquin community quit its blockade at Sharbot Lake immediately has put members on “red alert.”
“We’re filling this place up,” said Paula Sherman, co-chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, who said she’s surprised the events have turned sour so quickly. The community now awaits a possible confrontation in what they said they hoped would be a peaceful protest.
By Roger Annis
Last Friday, August 24, television news networks were filled with breathless reports in anticipation of a vast pro-Afghanistan war rally to take place in Toronto. CTV News reported the organizers’ prediction that “25,000″ people would show up for the event.
Conditions for such a turnout couldn’t be better. The event received massive advanced publicity. It was to be held in conjunction with the annual Canadian National Exhibition, a ten-day combined agricultural and entertainment festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people each day. The event would feature a star-studded cast of war enthusiasts, including hockey commentator Don Cherry, head of the Canadian armed forces Richard Hillier, and newly-appointed defence minister Peter Mackay.
The one television news report of the event that I saw afterward did not mention how many people turned out. Nor did it show the crowd. It did give a sound bite of the crowd responding to an enthused pro-war appeal from Hillier, and it sure didn’t sound like many people on hand.
A Halifax newspaper report the next day said “hundreds” of people attended the event. No doubt, had the turnout been more respectable, a photo of the rally would have adorned every daily newspaper in the country.
The low turnout at the rally was just one of many “public relations” problems that the Afghanistan war effort in Canada is running into. Polls show that scepticism or downright opposition to the war remains stubbornly high. Opposition is highest in Quebec, and that problem is now worsening as a Quebec-based army regiment has just been rotated into the war front
in Kandahar province. Three soldiers from the regiment were killed in action within days of their arrival.
Canada is losing far more soldiers per capita than any other country waging war in Afghanistan, a result of its very aggressive war posture and the absence of air transport. Canada relies on its partners in crime (so-called “allies”) in Afghanistan for helicopter service and for bombing runs.
The shaky war position of Canada is causing some in the ruling class to voice caution over pro-war campaigning such as the “Support our troops” decal campaign. While Toronto’s mayor and city council backed down from a decision not to place the decals on city police, fire and municipal vehicles, their counterparts in Calgary are sticking to a decision to leave the decals off. The Globe and Mail newspaper editorialized in sympathy with the Calgary decision.
The worry is that if the Afghan war goes from bad to worse, as all signs indicate, then campaigns for future wars will be tarnished with the brush of failure in Afghanistan. Canada is spending billions of dollars on new military hardware, ready to move into action into the next war theatre. If it can’t defeat the Afghan people, who are among the least equipped politically and militarily to fight an imperialist occupation force, what hope do Canada and its “allies” have elsewhere in the region or world?
Another sign of the frailty of the pro-war camp is the recent revelation and widespread condemnation of violence and political spying by Quebec provincial police at the recent protests in Ottawa and Montebello, Quebec. Today in Halifax, a press conference attended by NDP Member of Parliament Howard Epstein and several civil liberties lawyers condemned the police for its actions and called for a full public inquiry into all such police action, including that of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The call for a public inquiry is an important and effective political statement. But it should not be a substitute for necessary
action flowing from the recent revelations, which is that police violence and infiltration is as old as Canada itself and must be countered by effective self-defence of political protests, strikes, and all other forms of working class political action.
Sue Collis: On Friday, August 10th my husband, Shawn Brant was denied bail for the second time on charges relating to the closure of the CN main line, a provincial highway and the 401. Shawn is a member of the Mohawk Nation, from the community of Tyendinaga. The context for all the charges he currently faces include unresolved land claims, poverty, suicides and polluted water throughout First Nations communities across Canada.
Derrick O’Keefe for ZNet: In late June, as parliamentarians were packing up for the summer, Stephen Harper seemed to suggest a potential shift in his minority government’s approach to the war in Afghanistan. In a departure from months of rhetoric by government and military leaders about an open-ended or even decades-long extension of the military role, the Prime Minister stated that extending Canada’s mission in Kandahar beyond February 2009 would require “consensus” from all four parties in the House of Commons.
DN!: Opponents of Mountaintop Removal Decry Bush’s New Mining Rules
In the summer of 2004, Shell drilled three exploratory wells; however, the company’s activities were derailed after Tahltan elders blockaded the Ealue Lake Road, which leads into the Klappan Valley near the village of Iskut. In September 2005, nine elders were arrested, but the Tahltan are maintaining the blockade. Shell hopes to continue its exploration this summer with 14 more test wells at the headwaters of the Klappan River, a major tributary of the Stikine.
Fisk: Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious “war on terror” which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush’s happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that “we’re an empire now – we create our own reality”. True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.