The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…an important document for all Canadians. A must read.

© Chuck Duboff

Recently, I have had the good fortune to meet Leah ProudLakota Gazan.  We have had some interesting, intense conversations about the plight of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.  She has opened my eyes to The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…a document which I believe should be required reading for all students in Canadian schools.  The plight of Indigenous Peoples in Canada is a scar on our wonderful country.  Please take 20 minutes to read this document…and ask yourself why these actions are not being taken.  I read through the whole document, word by word, line by line and shook my head in disbelief to the complete disregard with which our new government is acting towards our First Nations population.  Will you take some time to read this?

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Article 1 Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights4 and international human rights law.

Article 2 Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3 Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4 Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to 4.Resolution 217 A (III). 5 their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 6 Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Article 7 1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person. 2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

Article 8 1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. 2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights; (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration; (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. 6

Article 9 Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

Article 10 Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 11 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature. 2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Article 12 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains. 2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 13 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Article 14 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning. 2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination. 3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

Article 15 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information. 2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Article 16 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination. 8 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 17 1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law. 2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment. 3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

Article 18 Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision making institutions.

Article 19 States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Article 20 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities. 9 2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

Article 21 1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security. 2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22 1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration. 2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Article 23 Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.

Article 24 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services. 2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right. 10

Article 25 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired. 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired. 3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27 States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent. 2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources 11 equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Article 29 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent. 3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

Article 30 1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned. 2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

Article 31 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. 12 2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Article 32 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources. 2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. 3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Article 33 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live. 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Article 34 Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

Article 35 Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities. 13

Article 36 1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders. 2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 37 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. 2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Article 38 States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

Article 39 Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40 Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights. 14

Article 41 The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42 The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

Article 43 The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44 All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45 Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

Article 46 1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. 2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law 15 and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society. 3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

First They Came…by Pastor Martin Niemoller

© Chuck Duboff:      I am asked why I keep talking, writing about issues like racism, tolerance, human rights…when racism ends, when human rights for all is not questioned, when tolerance is our way of life…then I will stop…until then…ask yourself why, in 2016, racism still permeates society.

Chuck's Eclectic Blog.

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First They Came

Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left To speak out for me.

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Basic Human Rights…what are they? What are your own personal thoughts about the state of human rights in the world today?…by Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

“Human Rights: rights which are inherent to all human beings, regardless of nationality, race, sex, ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other status.  We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.”  United Nations.

Questions to ponder:

Ask yourself these questions: do you believe that every human being living on this earth is entitled to basic human rights?  Is there a piece within you which believes that you are more entitled to these rights than others?  Do you look at individuals and say that they are deserving of their less than ideal living conditions and are therefore not as entitled to basic human rights?  Do you believe that basic human rights are bestowed upon all individuals throughout the world, or is there a class of human beings which controls and subjugates others, to their benefit?  Do you ever look down upon others?  Do you generalize and stereotype others and develop a belief that they are less worthy of basic human rights?

Do you believe it is your responsibility to ensure that all citizens of this planet are receiving basic human rights or do you hide your head in the sand and let others do the hard work?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  1. We are all free and equal
  2. Don’t discriminate
  3. The right to life
  4. No slavery – past or present.
  5. No torture
  6. We all have the same right to use the law.
  7. We are all protected by the law.
  8. Fair treatment by fair courts
  9. No unfair detainment
  10. The right to trial
  11. Innocent until proven guilty
  12. The right to privacy
  13. Freedom to move
  14. The right to asylum
  15. The right to a nationality
  16. Marriage and family
  17. The right to own things
  18. Free to say what you want
  19. Freedom of thought
  20. Meet where you like
  21. The right to democracy
  22. The right to social security
  23. Worker’s rights
  24. The right to play
  25. A bed and some food
  26. The right to education
  27. Culture and copyright
  28. A free and fair world
  29. Our responsibilities to others
  30. Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.

While reading this list of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what were your thoughts?  Did any of these rights make you uncomfortable?  Do you believe that our society is making these rights available to all of our citizens?

I asked a wise man, my very good friend, Al Bryski, retired teacher, writer, philosophizer, how he would define Human Rights:

“To me a human right  is the right  for every person, every single one, to have equal rights to choice and opportunity, whether it be the freedom to get a job, to get a partner of one’s choice, the right to   move freely, and the right to work at any job that they, the person,  is qualified for, without threats of harassment, without any abuse, or any threat of being fired. It also means to me the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech and the right to equal treatment in the due process of law. Summing it up, it is for me treating every person with the dignity and respect they are entitled to.”

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What are you doing to help promote Human Rights?  Are you sitting on the sidelines or are you doing something to make this a healthier world in which we live?

“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society.”  Muhammad Yunus

Winnipeg Goldeyes demonstrate leadership in promoting Tolerance and Acceptance; by Chuck Duboff

Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with.”

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Winnipeg Goldeyes, Reggie Abercrombie , and former Goldeye, Luis Alan; African American and Latino.  It doesn’t matter…they are brothers!!!

©Chuck Duboff

On Saturday evening, June 4th, during Pride weekend in downtown Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, management, staff, players, fans and the Lincoln Saltdogs celebrated Diversity and Tolerance.

“This is a one of a kind event, I’m so excited to see how it goes.” said Dan Chase, Goldeyes Director of Sales and Marketing, who brought this idea to life.

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Winnipeg mayor, Brain Bowman, throwing out the firs pitch at the Diversity Game.  Credit Winnipeg Goldeyes Photographer, Tara Miller.

In a multi-cultural city like Winnipeg, on Pride weekend, the Winnipeg Goldeyes demonstrated for all what it means to be tolerant and accepting of others opinions, beliefs, race, culture and sexual orientation.  From video messages on the scoreboard, to an eclectic mix of cultural music, to hoop dancers, Scottish dancers, a special ceremony for San Francisco baseball fan, Gilbert Baker, who designed the Rainbow Pride flag in 1978, the Goldeyes demonstrated leadership on a very important societal issue.

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From San Francisco, Gilbert Baker, baseball fan, who in 1978 designed the Pride Flag.  Credit to Winnipeg Goldeyes Photographer, Tara Miller.

Last year, Winnipeg was identified by MacLeans magazine as the most racist city in Canada; I would suggest that that is a statement which can’t be quantified,  however, I will say that Winnipeg has taken on the challenge of improving our acceptance of those whose lifestyles, beliefs or skin colour may be different than our own.  That does not imply lesser than…it simply suggests “different”, nothing more

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Aboriginal Hoop Dancers; credit to Winnipeg Goldeyes Photographer, Tara Miller.

Whether it is recognizing the first African American baseball player who made it to the majors, Jackie Robinson, respecting the religious beliefs of others, not being afraid of someone whose skin colour is different, tolerating a sexual orientation which is different than yours…Tolerance of others is the key to a healthy Winnipeg, a healthy society.

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Scottish Dancers; credit to Winnipeg Goldeyes Photographer, Tara Miller.

His name is Roscoe and he slept in a field last night and the night before…by Chuck Duboff

“Proud” “Were you afraid” ” Why did you do that?” “More of us should do that” “Thank you” “Were you uncomfortable” “How did others react?” “You have a heart.” Just a very small sampling of the reaction to yesterday’s blog…I must admit to having been very, very moved and shaken all day…

Chuck's Eclectic Blog.

© Chuck Duboff

“I wish I had something to give you Chuck.”

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His name is Roscoe.  He slept in a field last night.  “It was really cold Chuck and I haven’t eaten in three days.”

I was in my favourite cafe, Fools & Horses, this morning, reading the novel Still Alice.  I had my green tea and Bob Marley was playing on my Beats headphones.

I saw this gentleman walk in, obviously very cold and down on his luck.  He approached my friend Amy, one of the wonderful owners of the cafe, and she proceeded to give him a hot drink.

Without any hesitation, I got up and said hi to Roscoe and offered to buy him some food.  He chose a hearty sandwich and it did my heart good to buy him this food.

We sat down and chatted for awhile.  He told me that he sleeps in…

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His name is Roscoe and he slept in a field last night and the night before…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

“I wish I had something to give you Chuck.”

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His name is Roscoe.  He slept in a field last night.  “It was really cold Chuck and I haven’t eaten in three days.”

I was in my favourite cafe, Fools & Horses, this morning, reading the novel Still Alice.  I had my green tea and Bob Marley was playing on my Beats headphones.

I saw this gentleman walk in, obviously very cold and down on his luck.  He approached my friend Amy, one of the wonderful owners of the cafe, and she proceeded to give him a hot drink.

Without any hesitation, I got up and said hi to Roscoe and offered to buy him some food.  He chose a hearty sandwich and it did my heart good to buy him this food.

We sat down and chatted for awhile.  He told me that he sleeps in fields every night and hadn’t had any real food in several days.  He looked at me with tears and said: “I wish I had something to give you Chuck.”  My response was simply: “You’ve given me enough Roscoe, you just enjoy your sandwich.”  Watching him devour his sandwich, I realized how very blessed my life is and being able to help someone down on their luck was just the right thing to do.

Roscoe told me that he had been in the military for 25 years and from what I could understand, it seemed like he was saying that he had PTSD.  He hadn’t seen his one son in a very long time and really had nobody to turn to.

In the midst of all the hipsters with their computers and headphones and funky clothes and beards and books and essays…here was Roscoe, just grateful that someone had taken the time to talk with him.  You don’t have to give me anything Roscoe, just getting the chance to talk with you was gift enough for me.  Be safe my friend.

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Perhaps if we all took a moment to visit with those less fortunate than ourselves, there would be more sun shining on all of us.

Aboriginal community leader, Rebecca Chartrand,speaks up.

 

© Chuck Duboff   The following piece was written by my friend, and former teaching colleague, Rebecca Chartrand.  Rebecca and I taught together at Maples Collegiate; during this time we had many discussions about human rights and the challenges facing the Aboriginal community in Canada.  Since our teaching time together, Rebecca and I have met many times to discuss issues and it was with great pride that I watched Rebecca enter politics and run in this past federal election.  I know that Rebecca will continue to be an advocate for the Aboriginal community and a roll model from the next generation of Aboriginal leaders.

© Rebecca Chartrand

It’s time to speak up. I’ve contemplated what I learned from running in a federal election and there are many things that I continue to process. The one thing I am sure of is that it is time to speak up. I’ve recently declined an offer to run in the provincial election but realized we don’t need to be running in politics to speak out about important issues. Putting my name on a ballot gave me a broader and more definite audience but in meeting people you realize every voice matters and as a politicians these are the voices you must amplify. The issues and challenges I heard visiting communities are also my own- they become ours to address when you’re willing to share your time and your voice to speak up and to vote. Now is the time to do just that, speak up.

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Politicians are currently attempting to get your vote, or not. Perhaps your voice and your vote is being taken for granted. Point is, make every vote count let people know what matters. There were issues that came up time and time again, like CFS and the outrageous number of our children that are in care

The fact is, this is a CRISES. We have too many of our children in care and it’s so difficult to reunite families. This system is not working and something has to be done. Ask yourself, who is speaking up about this issue that is currently running for a seat in provincial politics? If we don’t speak up now we will miss an opportunity for change. From now till election time politicians will be out making promises attempting to win your vote. After the election and the votes are counted those promises become the issues that government must work to implement. So whatever issues are important to you at this time whether it’s water management-such as ongoing flooding or the impacts of hydro on hunting, fishing or trapping, or a need to access essential services for your community -raise your voice. Create the conversation if it’s not happening, use your Facebook pages, weigh in on other conversations that may be taking place, read the paper, listen to the news.

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For too long many people, and especially Aboriginal people have felt voiceless, overlooked and for good reason. We were only given the right to vote in the 60’s. I learned that many of our people still don’t know the difference between a provincial and federal election, and part of the issue is because we have marginalized in our our homeland, which is why we need to keep this conversation going. Other nations of people who immigrate to Canada have a better turn out at the polls when they are given the right to vote. I believe this is based on their understanding of the importance of engaging in democratic processes- because those democratic processes afford them the opportunity to immigrate to Canada, and it is therefore one that should not be taken for granted. Whether we agree or not with how Canada founded we are all Canadians as much as we are All Treaty people. If we don’t understand this concept it’s all the more reason to keep the conversation going. The fact is, we can all benefit by raising our voices, by engaging in conversations that are meaningful and important. People felt empowered this time around because of efforts like Rock The Vote, because of your efforts and my own. I hope we each keep the fire burning. The provincial election takes place in April. Do you know what types of supports and services the province oversees? Do you know who is attempting to represent you in your area? Get involved, stay connected, your family and community deserve to be considered. They matter and so do you.

Winnipeg. September 29, 2015.

Liberal candidate for riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Rebecca Chartrand, speaks with Liberal leader Justin Trudaeu in Winnipeg on Sept 29th, 2015. (Adam Scotti/Liberal Party)

UPDATED Editorial: Harper pits Canadians against Canadians; a tip line to report on neighbours, playing a shell game with the Naqib; Mr. Harper is a dangerous leader!!…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

UPDATED, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD

Just when I thought the shame on Mr. Harper and his regime had reached its limit, Friday’s announcement that the Conservative Party would implement a TIP LINE to report on fellow Canadians, just shook me to the core. I was immediately taken back to the time when I lived in Havana, Cuba for several weeks with a friend. “Chuck, quiet, those are secret police”. “Every few blocks has a spy who reports to the government anybody who speaks out against the leader and our country”. This is just a sample of what life is like in Cuba; is this really the path we want our country to take (perhaps the Harper Regime could also guarantee the beautiful hot weather and sandy beaches at the same time). Imagine your neighbour being upset with you and then just for spite reporting you to the TIP LINE!!.
Several of the comments in today’s Free Press really do sum up the scary, ugly, disgusting proposal made by the Harper Regime:
“Not showing your face in public is among the barbaric cultural practices Conservatives take part in routinely.”
“My first call to the barbaric cultural practices hotline? Reporting the 86 Conservatives who want to deny women access to abortion.”
“I’m calling the barbaric cultural practices tip line immediately; There’s a man trying to win the election by pitting Canadians against each other.”
“Bombing foreign countries, rejecting refugees, ripping indigenous kids from their families; call to Barbaric Cultural Practices Tipline.”

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MR. HARPER: WILL FREEDOM OF SPEECH BECOME A BARBARIC CULTURAL PRACTICE, BECAUSE THAT IS THE PATH YOU ARE TAKING THIS COUNTRY DOWN. SHAME ON YOU MR. HARPER, SHAME ON YOU.

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“By the time you read this column, my membership in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario will likely be revoked. I will no longer be a director of the Toronto Centre Conservative Association.

This is not because I am no longer useful to the once-proud party of Bill Davis, John Robarts and, yes, Christine Elliott, but because I am coming out against comrade Stephen Harper — our party’s federal counterpart.”

Conservative Samuel Getachew refers to “comrade Stephen Harper” as the reason for leaving the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The full article detailing Mr. Getachew’s thoughts can be found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/samuel-getachew/why-i-quit-the-conservative-party_b_8198508.html

As I sat down to write this blog, a prominent Winnipeger, sitting beside me, stated: “I have never despised any politician in my lifetime as I do Harper.”

Throughout my life I have been an avid follower of all things politics. I remember being caught up in the Trudeaumania frenzy; the tedious nature of Robert Stanfield; the seeming hopelessness of the NDP ever forming a government; the smugness of one Brian Mulroney, the attacks on Jean Chrietian’s speech…

However, I have never seen a country so angry with a government, or more specifically, a Prime Minister. Stephen Harper has taken on a Nixonian persona in the minds of a vast majority of Canadian citizens. From musicians, to writers, to actors, to religious leaders, scientists and so many more…there is a palpable anger in this country, which is unlike anything ever seen before.

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During the past few weeks it had seemed that the PC’s were in for certain defeat at the polls on October 19th; so, what did the PC’s do? They brought in Australian campaign doctor Lynton Crosby, a masterful conservative political strategist, who stops at nothing to win elections.

Since Crosby’s arrival, the PC’s have masterfully initiated a shell game in order to distract voters from the real issues which are critical to Canada.

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The Harper Regime has been putting as much attention as possible onto the issue of the Naqib which Muslim women wear. Harper and his cronies are keeping the news focused on this minor issue; what it is doing though is distracting the electorate from the real issues. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi criticized the Conservative government for taking issue with women wearing the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, arguing it’s “playing with fire” and wasting taxpayers’ money.

THE REAL ISSUES OF THIS ELECTION:

1. Muzzling Scientists…don’t let facts get in the way of your fabricated reality.

2. Cutting funding for Veterans… while increasing our military presence and involvement around the world, the Harper Regime cuts funding for our returning veterans. HYPOCRISY!

3. Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women…while we have had just one person on Canadian soil killed from terrorism, more than 4,000 Aboriginal women have been killed or gone missing.

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4. Dismantling an important piece of Canadian Culture: the CBC. Shame on you Mr. Harper. The CBC truly is a significant contributor to the makeup of our Canadian identity. It would seem that the Harper Regime does not like being questioned by the CBC, nor having a broadcasting corporation which doesn’t emulate Fox News.

5. Bill C51…Bill freakin C51; our government will essentially be able to read all your e-mail, your blogs, everything on your computer. Financial transactions will be scrutinized. Is this the Canada you want to live in? Harper uses the threat of terrorism to justify the use of spying on its’ citizens. George Orwell truly was a visionary in his novel 1984: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.

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6. The Harper Regime holds back its’ candidates from participating in debates; seriously!!! They are afraid that the candidate will not follow the script. Where is the democracy Mr. Harper?

7. Scandals, Scandals and then more Scandals!!! Hello Mike Duffy!!!

8 Recession, yes we really are in a recession Mr. Harper. You can cut funding to every progressive project possible and claim a surplus, but your shell game, your mean spirited deception, has worn thin.

9. FEAR MONGERING…George Bush and his Military cronies, used fear mongering to rationalize everything following 9/11. The Military Industrial Establishment had their puppet in Bush; spending on the military exploded; wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & Iran ate up a huge percentage of government spending and threw America into a downward spiral, which culminated in near financial collapse of the American economy by 2007. All in the name of those terrorists who are on every street corner. Well guess what Canada…Mr. Harper has taken Canada in to every war which the Americans are fighting. Rather than being the country of Lester Pearson and his Nobel Peace Prize, the country which helped found the United Nations, we have become a country fighting in Syria, rather than being proud peacekeepers. As stated by Jason Kenney this week “we will increase funding for the military following the election”…while cutting funding for Veterans. Shame on you Mr. Harper.

10. Refusal to allow refugees from war torn countries into Canada; it is hard to process that this is the same country I grew up in; a country where we were proud of how we were perceived around the world. A welcoming, kind, generous country. Now we have a Harper Regime which is destroying all of that.

11. Hiring soldiers to protect Mr. Harper at his “so called” campaign stops, where only pre-selected citizens are allowed to attend. What are you doing to our democracy Mr. Harper?

12. Threatening to reduce sick days for federal employees from 15 to 6 days a year.

13. Entering into discussions to possibly integrate the Canadian military with the American military; really Mr. Harper? Are Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Donald Trump managing your campaign?

THE HARPER REGIME IS DESTROYING THE CANADA WE LOVE!! DON’T BE FOOLED; DO SOMETHING!!

The Naqib is but a minor issue in this election; I have listed just a few of the issues which are critical to this country. Please pay attention to what is happening to our great country..and if this editorial speaks to you, please pass it on to others.

Editorial…and a few questions to ponder; by Chuck Duboff

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@Chuck Duboff

During these next few weeks, you will notice significant changes happening on this blog. In today’s Winnipeg Free Press there is an editorial which states that the “selfie mayor” must start doing more. On July 4th I stated in my Saturday Morning Random Thoughts: “* Brian Bowman: at some point the citizens of Winnipeg get tired of smiles and want to see substance; you made a lot of promises…instead of smiles, let’s see something constructive.” One of the big changes you will notice is a return to hard hitting questions and blogs. Whether it is the ugly racism which exists in Canada, the United States and through out the world or discussing Neil Young’s attack on Monsanto or questioning the paranoia, lies and spying of the Harper Government…Recently one of my friends, Don Lofondale, contributed some interesting writing on JFK…you will see more of this kind of writing.

There will be a return to Saturday Morning Random Thoughts and Sunday Morning Music…there will be no hard and fast number of blogs, but rather when the mood suits, blogs will appear…the poetry will be edgy, the blogs will have substance and the questions will be hard hitting…there will be a return to the questioning, opining, standing up for what is right which I exhibited during the 15 years of fighting for Human Rights…I wasn’t awarded the Manitoba Human Rights Award in 2006 for being a good guy, but rather standing up for what is right and just. Expect more of that.

As Neil Young stated: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”

And now…some thoughts and questions to ponder:

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The United States needs Bernie Saunders…much more than Hilary Clinton and the 16 clowns running for the Republicans. But you know that big money and the Military Industrial Complex will make his campaign irrelevant.

How much longer will Winnipeg’s entitled continue to make uninformed comments about living downtown; from what I read there are murders, drug deals, and white collar crime in Charleswood, Tuxedo, East Kildonan, City Hall and the Leg…I’ve lived downtown for 18 years and have never once experienced any of the delusional problems which so many fabricate.

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Little did we know Atticus!!! It is so thrilling to see the excitement surrounding Harper Lee’s new novel: Go Set a Watchman. Though there has been a great deal of shock to see the way in which Atticus’ character evolves…it is so gratifying to see techie society still embrace good literature.

…and with that I sign off today…take a minute to think about this: “Evil Will Flourish When Goodness Remain Silent.”

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Buffy St. Marie, Social Activist Icon…”Stephen Harper doesn’t get it, didn’t even read the report from the T&R Commission….by Chuck Duboff

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If there is any piece of you that cares about what happened to our Aboriginal population, who wants to see real positive steps taken following the release of the document from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, please take 12 minutes to watch this video with Social Activist Buffy St. Marie…an icon from the ’60’s:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/ID/2668904552/

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak leads survivors, descendants, and supporters in the Walk for Reconciliation on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.  The march went through downtown from the University of Winnipeg, and finished at the Thunderbird House for a feast and pipe ceremony. Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak leads survivors, descendants, and supporters in the Walk for Reconciliation on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. The march went through downtown from the University of Winnipeg, and finished at the Thunderbird House for a feast and pipe ceremony. Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press

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Will the scars ever heal?…Warning strong language & content… by Chuck Duboff

©Chuck Duboff

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I lay in the sun drenched park, trees in full bloom and families having picnics. It was such an uplifting contrast to the dark, cold winter days we endure, seemingly for months on end.

I had decided not to listen to my music, but rather, just enjoy watching children playing, teens throwing their Frisbees and lovers walking hand in hand. I couldn’t have asked more for a peaceful afternoon in the park.

Two twenty something guys sat themselves down on the grass, just a few feet away from where I was. They had trouble written all over them; scruffy beards, torn jeans, skull and cross bone t-shirts and voices which sought attention. I could feel the tension in my body, bracing myself for whatever they had in mind.

The conversation which ensued made me sick to my stomach, yet I knew they were the kind of guys with whom rationale discussion did not exist.

“Those fuckin Indians…always complainin,always wanting more.”
“What the fuck are we gonna do with them; we kill their squaws and throw them in the rivers, so we don’t have more of those Indians.”
“They run to the fuckin government demanding more; this treaty, that treaty…that’s two hundred years ago…who gives a rat’s ass about that. Why the fuck should they get everything for free? I don’t work my ass off and pay taxes so that those fuckin Indians can sit at home, get cheques from the government, get drunk and get more of their women pregnant.”

They were loud, they were really loud and I could see families quickly leaving. My whole body was tense and I didn’t know what to do. I had always believed in the saying: Evil will triumph when goodness remains silent. I didn’t know what to do; I hadn’t made eye contact and was just trying to keep to myself.

“Those god damn tree huggers feel sorry for them, for sitting on their asses and doing nothing. Those residential schools, what a load of crap. Everybody has it tough at school, but they think theirs was worse than everyone elses. Now they want money, new deals with the government…what the Fuck man!!”
“I know some of the guys who have been taking care of those squaws…they give them a good fucking, kill them and then throw them in the rivers. That’s all they’re good for…”

I was shaking, truly afraid for my safety. Suddenly two RCMP officers appeared; they came towards those two enlightened racists. “We have received a lot of complaints and calls about the disturbance you are making here. This is a park for people to enjoy and have fun. You guys are scaring a lot of people.” “So, now we can’t talk in this country, the fuckin government listens to those half breeds and we try and just sit in the park and we got the RCMP all over us.” “Sir, could I ask you to stand up please…”

With that…they were taken away. But all that was taken away was their physical presence, however, their words lingered on in the minds of all that had heard them. They probably got off with a warning and will continue to live their lives, bringing shame to this great land of ours. The reality is that ugly racism towards Aboriginal people is rampant; sadly we see a government in Ottawa which lacks any willingness to work towards a better society, a more just land for all Canadians.

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A thought on Brian Pallister’s comment on racism in Winnipeg: “that’s not my experience”… By Chuck Duboff

Chuck Duboff

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I wonder how many people who were upset about the 1% increase in the PST, are upset today with a man who would want to be our Premier!!! I commented in this very blog on Saturday that the racism in Winnipeg is subtle and blatant and blunt… Hello Mr. Pallister!!!

I am white, well educated, have a good income and have to this day experienced racism my whole life. I am Jewish and have had death threats made against me: “Hitler knew what he was doing, we’ll kill you too!” I hear ugly comments every day about Aboriginal citizens, about all those niggers and pakis downtown causing all the problems.

Mr. Pallister: racism may not exist in your sheltered world, so perhaps it is time to get out from under your narrow view of the world and see what’s really going on in Winnipeg!!

This is the issue we should all be up in arms about.. It speaks volumes that a 1% sales tax increase gets people upset, but not ridiculous comments by a so-called leader. Remember, Pallister has no love for infidel atheists!!

Perhaps you could take a lesson from Mayor Bowman on real leadership.

Tina Fontaine and Michael Brown; victims of the ugly Racism which exists in Canada and the United States.

I wrote this article on August 26th…both Tina Fontaine and Michael Brown representative of the hidden and not so hidden racism which exists in both Canada and the United States. The events of the last few nights on the streets of the US speak to the simmering anger which is boiling over. Where are the leaders? Where is Atticus Finch when you need him?

Chuck's Eclectic Blog.

© Chuck Duboff

Michael Brown

Last evening, while watching the news of yet another funeral for a teenager, a Minister came on and spoke: “This is not a singular act, this is symptomatic of a societal problem. This can’t continue; the young people in our communities are losing hope…and dying”.

No, this wasn’t the funeral for Tina Fontaine, a young Aboriginal teenager; it was for Michael Brown, a young African-American teenager.

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The parallels between the two murders are haunting, yet symbolic of the horrible conditions which face African American teenage boys in the United States and Aboriginal teenage girls in Canada. The Minister who spoke at Michael Brown’s funeral said that he has come to realize that his own three boys are on “the endangered species list”. When young men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are gunned down for “being black and wearing a hoodie”; when young girls like Tina Fontaine…

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