Indigenous leaders have role to play in modernizing First Nations

0 Comments 05 October 2017

When the Indian Act was amended back in 1985 to conform with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the biggest opponents of abolishing institutionalized sexism were Aboriginal chiefs.



First published on Monday, September 4, 2017 in The Hill Times.

OTTAWA—Last week’s cabinet remake will prompt a much-needed reboot of the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

By splitting it in two, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is legally acknowledging what many have realized for years.

The promised delivery of territorial services in remote Indigenous communities is a huge undertaking that will take more than an election promise to deliver.

Trudeau has announced a five-year timeline to abolish all boil-water advisories on territorial lands.

For most of us, comfortably ensconced in homes with ample access to running water, a day’s shutoff is a catastrophe.

But for hundreds of Aboriginal communities, the idea of daily access to clean drinking water is literally a pipe dream.

At the end of 2016, more than 150 communities across the country had to boil their tap water before use.

In some cases, like Shoal Lake in northwestern Ontario, and Kitigan Zibi in Quebec, the local population has not accessed safe drinking water for up to two decades.

By splitting Indigenous Affairs into two separate departments, the prime minister is fleshing out the specifics of his promise to reconcile historic divisions with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit.

As he said in support of the shuffle, “There’s a sense that we’ve pushed the creaky old structures at INAC as far as they can go”.

Continue Reading


Canadians want Trudeau to offset Trump on welcoming refugees

0 Comments 27 September 2017

The recent influx of asylum seekers in manageable.


First published on Monday, August 28, 2017 in The Hill Times.


OTTAWA—Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Such is the dilemma facing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the increase in ambulatory migrants arriving from the United States in the wake of American removal rumblings.

News reports say that more than 7,500 people have streamed across the Canada-United States border in the past three months. If that continues, it will mean an additional 30,000 potential refugees annually added to the numbers Canada has already accepted from Syria and elsewhere.

But before we start ringing the alarm bells, let’s draw a small comparison with refugee numbers in major European destinations.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 2015 figures reveal about one million migrants arrived on European shores by sea and an additional 34,900 by land. The European border patrol authorities estimate a higher figure of 1.8 million during the same period.

According to a BBC documentary, Germany received the highest number of refugees in that year. Hungary actually had the largest number relative to population, absorbing nearly 1,800 refugees per 100,000 people.

That figure underscores the relative absorption capacity by population, which is likely the best indicator of how easily newcomers will be able to settle in.

The second highest absorption rate was actually Sweden with 1,667 refugees per 100,000 people.

Germany, with the highest rate of refugees in sheer numbers, received 587 people per 100,000. After all the Brexit fuss, the United Kingdom actually only welcomed 60 refugees per 100,000. The average for the whole of Europe was 260 per 100,000.

Compare those numbers to this summer’s Haitian influx, and you can draw your own conclusions.

If arrivals continue at the current pace, the country will receive 30,000 people in a year, in addition to other refugee applicants. That represents an absorption rate of 111 refugees per 100,000 population, less than half of the European average. Compare that with nearly 1,800 for Hungary and you can see that Canada’s commitment is not as robust as we like to think.

Continue Reading


Solve Global Issues at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 22 September 2017


Is the alt-right movement dead in Canada, or merely sleeping?

0 Comments 20 September 2017

Conservatives are backing away from The Rebel, after its coverage of Charlottesville, but anti-Muslim and anti-immigration protests continue to happen in Canada.


First published on Monday, August 21, 2017 in The Hill Times.


OTTAWA—The northward drift of the American alt-right may have been stopped in its tracks in the aftermath of Charlottesville last week. Or it may actually be energized by the post-Charlottesville fallout.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced Thursday that he would no longer give interviews to self-stylized right-wing online presence, Rebel Media, after it provided positive coverage and streamed live images of neo-fascist, Nazi-chanting Virginia marchers.

In normal times, a quarter of the Conservative caucus has been interviewed by The Rebel, with a YouTube audience of 400,000. Scheer was a regular until his disavowal last week.

Rebel’s troubles began when a contributor, covering the event in Charlottesville, retweeted insinuations that the murderous white supremacist driver who is alleged to have killed one person with his car, may have been provoked because anti-racism protesters who hit the speeding vehicle before it ploughed into the crowd.

Rebel co-founder and former Sun Media journalist Brian Lilley exited the online news organization days before Scheer’s declaration, claiming the outlet suffers from a “lack of editorial and behavioural judgment that left unchecked will destroy it and those around it.”

With the departure of Lilley, and the Charlottesville fallout, Scheer had no choice but to publicly cut ties with The Rebel.

Lilley posted his leave-taking notice on Facebook, linking co-founder Ezra Levant with the alt-right movement in his comments.

“I was never enamoured by the ‘alt-right,’ never saw the appeal but I take Ezra at his word when he describes his evolution. But just as he has evolved, just as The Rebel has evolved, so have I and the uncomfortable dance that I have been doing for some time now must come to an end. … As a serious journalist with nearly 20 years’ experience at the highest levels in this country, and abroad, I cannot be a part of this.”

Continue Reading


Create Vital Connections at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 18 September 2017


Engage the Real World at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 15 September 2017


Canada’s effort to include climate change in NAFTA worth a shot

0 Comments 13 September 2017

But it is likely to get the same kind of reaction from American President Donald Trump that he levels to all climate comers.


First published on Monday, August 14, 2017 in The Hill Times.

OTTAWA—Canada’s effort to include climate change in the North American Free Trade negotiations is worth a try.

But it is likely to get the same kind of reaction from American President Donald Trump that he levels to all climate comers.

In Trump world, climate change is in the same category as the real media world of fake news. It is part of a hidden agenda by political elites to ignore the wishes of ordinary people and Trump will have none of it.

A 700-page report on climate change, co-authored by 17 United States government agencies that have been tasked with writing the National Climate Assessment for the past quarter century, will have no influence on the president.

Their scientific analysis, prepared for presidential review, is unequivocal.

Excerpts of the unanimous report were published in The New York Times last week.

At first, the newspaper was claiming the scoop of a leaked document, but two days later, a correction clarified that the material had been publicly available since last January. The White House jumped on the false claim, as the president correctly identified an opening for his ongoing allegations about fake news, including claims about climate change.

But the global warming report was not a media product. It was the result of scientific research by multiple American government agencies that concluded the long-term link between climate change and human activities is “unambiguous.”

“There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate,” the report says, drawing its conclusions from thousands of studies. “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.”

Trump will respond to the substance of the report next week, but it is unlikely that he will embrace any conclusions.

The Canada government’s plan to replicate the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement inclusion of climate change in the NAFTA is ambitious, popular and likely doomed to failure.

Unlike the United States, the European Union has been leading the charge on greenhouse gas reductions for years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel authored the precursor to the Kyoto Accord when she served as Germany’s environment minister and chaired the first United Nations Climate Conference in Berlin in 1995.

Continue Reading


Get Recharged at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 12 September 2017


Fuel Your Creativity at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 11 September 2017


Learn to Innovate at the World Design Summit

0 Comments 08 September 2017

© 2017 Sheila Copps.