Wet’suwet’en matriarch upset with anti-pipeline protestors

Rita George, a Wet’suwet’en hereditary subchief has decided to come forward to voice her opinion about the anti-pipeline protestors who are not affiliated with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. George is both a band member and part of the hereditary system. She also previously helped translate a major Supreme Court decision that gave greater control to Indigenous communities over their land. 

She says she is opposed to the blockades that have been set up throughout the country according to an interview with the Globe and Mail.

“I want the world to know what’s been happening to us. We are being bullied, it’s so shameful, so hurtful. We are being humiliated.” said George.

George was only a young woman when she was selected by her community for a Wet’suwet’en leadership role. A role that George says she knew she would be fulfilling for the rest of her life.

George was initially very apprehensive about speaking out against what is happening in her community. She didn’t want to cause any further pain surrounding this issue however she said she feels it is also important that the truth be told.

“I want the world to know why I am stepping forward as a matriarch,” spoke George at the Pleasant Valley Cafe in Houston, B.C. “The world thinks the matriarchs are behind all the protests going on and that’s not true. None of the matriarchs were contacted.”

“There is no love, there is no respect. That’s not the way of our ancestors,” Ms. George said, saying she is speaking on behalf of the matriarchs and elders of her community. “If I keep quiet, if I don’t come forward to address our point of view, it will look like we are supporters. We are not.”

Judge finds Canada’s prostitution law unconstitutional, stays charges against London duo

KITCHENER — Canada’s controversial prostitution law that outlaws buying sex suffered a precedent-setting setback after three sections were declared unconstitutional in the case of a London escort service.

In his decision released Friday, Ontario Court Justice Thomas McKay said charges of procuring, receiving a material benefit and advertising sexual services should be stayed, or set aside, for Hamad Anwar, 30, and Tiffany Harvey, 28, because the sections violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Justice McKay . . . realized the dangers that exist and, indeed, are inherent in sex work, and the legislation the Harper government brought in increased their dangers and gave them no chance to properly protect themselves,” said James Lockyer, Anwar’s defence lawyer, after the decision was released.

The case sets a precedent, but doesn’t nullify the law. McKay’s ruling only applies to the case at hand and not across the country.  It is, however, “a very important precedent for other judges to consider when the same issue comes up, but it doesn’t amount to a declaration across the country that these sections are void and have no effect,” Lockyer said.

That would be left up to higher courts. It’s probable the Crown will appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal and ultimately, the case could land at the Supreme Court of Canada .

Anwar and Harvey sat together in court with their family. Many wept at the decision and Anwar, eyes weeping, put his arm around his partner’s shoulder. They had no comment after the decision.

Lockyer said the couple were “very relieved.”

They ran Fantasy World Escorts from December 2014 to November 2015, providing sexual services out of two London apartments and sometimes from apartments and hotel rooms in Calgary and Edmonton.

Fantasy World advertised on the Internet and bus stops, had a code of ethics for employees, offered $2,500 to $5,000 a week, plus health benefits. All workers were hired through an interview process and customers made appointments through a phone number or website.

They were charged following an undercover police operation.

The current law, Bill C-36, passed five years ago and mirrored the “Nordic model,” giving immunity to people who sell their own sexual services, but criminalizes buying sex, advertising the sale of sexual services, and third parties who make money from it.

Anwar and Harvey argued the law denied sex workers protections given to other sectors of society, such as third-party managers of their businesses or the ability to form their own associations to protect each other.

When the trial began in London two years ago, the Crown conceded that the advertising law violated the right to freedom of expression. But it challenged that a third party profiting from the sex industry was protected under the Charter.

McKay was asked to weigh expert opinion evidence from both sides. In his decision, he noted that adult sex workers participate in the industry for many reasons, but mostly for income. Canada’s sex industry had changed over two decades with more workers advertising online and taking the work indoors.

The internet, McKay noted, has helped create networks of sex trade workers who help and protect each other and create a regular client base. Still at high risk of violence are sex workers on the street, many of whom are Indigenous women.

Third parties, McKay said, can be pimps and abusive partners, but the evidence shows that in most cases, they are business managers and administrators.

The procuring law, McKay said, is “overly broad” because it criminalizes any employee or owner of a managed business and discourages marginalized or inexperienced sex workers from managed employment.

“The result is that those types of sex workers will face greater risks to their physical and emotional health and safety if they engage in sex work,” he said.

The material benefit law doesn’t allow sex workers to pool their resources or work in a safe, managed environment, he said. “Parliament could potentially have focused the effect of the law on third parties who are in coercive, exploitative relationships with sex workers,” McKay said, but instead the law “has a grossly disproportionate effect.”

Inuk woman bikes across Canada to raise awareness about Indigenous suicides

MONTREAL — Hannah Tooktoo, an Inuk mother from Nunavik, Que., descended from her bike Thursday, 55 days after pedalling across the country to raise awareness to the suicides that are ravaging her community.

Tooktoo, 24, started her journey in Victoria without knowing if she would be able to finish. Eight weeks later, she arrived in Montreal’s downtown Cabot Square square to cheers and applause from supporters.

“It has been really good for me — for my body, for my soul,” said the visual arts student from Montreal’s Dawson College. She called her tour, “Anirnimi Kipisina,” which means “Do not cut your life short ” in Inuktitut. 

Tooktoo has so far raised $22,531 from online donors.

“I’m good, I’m very strong right now,” she said. “My body feels good. My legs are good. I feel really good. In the last years, this is the best shape I’ve been in.”

Three days before she arrived in Montreal, Sylvie D’Amours, Quebec’s minister for Indigenous affairs, said what’s happening in the province’s Far North is “very, very worrying.”

In Nunavik alone, a massive territory home to 14 communities numbering about 13,000 people, 19 people — including five children — killed themselves during the first half of this year, according to a July report by Montreal La Presse.

In 2018, the total number of suicides in Nunavik was 36, according to the news organization.

Statistics Canada released a report in June that stated from 2011 to 2016, suicide rates among First Nations people were three times higher than among the non-Indigenous population.

But among the Inuit, “the rate was approximately nine times higher than the non-Indigenous rate.”

Tooktoo said she travelled through cities and many Indigenous communities along her trip. She said she was surprised at first by the welcome she received.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about suicide,” she said. 

“It’s a heavy subject, it’s personal. A lot of people have been affected by suicide, a lot of Indigenous and Inuit people especially, and I wanted to talk about that and they were very welcoming and very open, which was a beautiful surprise for me.”

When she first started, Tooktoo said she would walk into band council offices and had to explain her project. Officials would make time for her. Sometimes over lunch, other times “right then and there we would talk about their community.”

But more towards the end of her trip, people were waiting for her to arrive.

“They saw my tour and they’re like: ‘I’m here, let me make an event!’ And they made an event all on their own — no prompting from me. It’s been a privilege to be able to speak to them and to listen to them.”

Tooktoo said she was at times discouraged when the terrain got tough. At one point she began crying in the mountains of British Columbia.

“There was a point where I was going uphill in British Columbia and I was going like five kilometres per hour and looking at the beautiful view, I started crying from being thankful,” she said.

And the tears came back when she arrived home, because she saw her three-year-old daughter.

“My daughter’s been missing me a lot and I’ve been missing her too,” Tooktoo said. “Since we’ve been reunited, she’s been stuck to my side for the last few days.”

Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press

Thunder Bay tops Canadian cities for highest murder rate

A report released this week shows that Thunder Bay has the highest per capita murder rate in the country.

The numbers from the report, conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released by StatsCan, break down how police-reported crime has spiked or declined in cities, provinces and territories across the country in 2018.

Thunder Bay, Ont. appears several times in the report, underlining a high number of crimes reported there.

The northwestern Ontario city has been under the microscope in the last year, after a podcast called Thunder Bay garnered attention. The program, which is being adapted to TV, investigated why the region has such a high number of the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous youth, and how corruption and colonialism has put this demographic at risk.

Thunder Bay’s homicide rate

In total, there were eight homicides in Thunder Bay, making it the Canadian city with highest homicide rate amongst census metropolitan areas (CMA) – municipalities with 100,000 or more.

That amounts to 6.38 homicides per 100,000 population. Other cities to top the list includes Brantford (with five homicides), Regina (with eight homicides) and Abbotsford-Mission (with six homicides).

In 2018, Barrie and Lethbridge were the only CMAs that had no reports of homicides.

Overall the report found that national homicide rates were down by four per cent, but varied between provinces and territories.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/thunder-bay-is-the-homicide-capital-of-canada-142240843.html