Wildcat gold mining in Death Valley threatens to contaminate its alluvial sands with cyanide open pits; native tribes mount opposition

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A BLM-approved mine operating nonstop as an open pit on the mesas above the Lone Pine community of the Paiute Shoshone Tribe would leach gold from heaps of crushed ore using tons of cyanide each day in the process, according to a description of Vancouver, Canada-based K2 Gold Group’s outline of the project by the LA Times. The company has been drilling eastern flanks of the Sierra Nevada range, seeking results that would excite investors and make the plans a reality.

However, “K2 is in for a hell of a fight,” says Bryan Hatchell, a desert policy associate with one of the non-profits that have lined up a resolute coalition of environmentalists and tribal nations opposing the project that include the Sierra Club, Friends of the Inyo, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe and the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. “Mining here is off the table,” said Hatchell.

Opponents say they are concerned about destruction of historic remains and Native American cultural sites as well as impact on wildlife and the environment.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Proud Boys join al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Shabab on Canada’s Terrorist Entity List

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The far-right American group famous for its participation in the January 6th insurrection in Washington is now officially a terrorist organization in Canada, based largely on the events at the U.S. Capitol.

Public Safety Canada detailed the group’s inclusion in their terrorist list: “Members of the group espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups. The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs. The group regularly attends Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests as counter-protesters, often engaging in violence targeting BLM supporters.”

Canadian Criminal Code requires businesses and individuals to immediately disassociate from groups on the Entity List.

By Milan Sime Martinić

BC Trials to Take Place in Digital Small Claims Court Now

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In an attempt to increase citizens’ access to justice and make small claims faster, cheaper and easier, the province has launched its online Civil Resolution Tribunal.

The new online tribunal is the first in Canada where these types of disputes (contracts, debts, personal injury, personal property and consumer issues for values under $5000) can be filed, negotiated, and resolved almost all online, with simple explainers of options and procedures.

B.C. has already been letting condo owners settle strata disputes online since last year.

The Ministry of Justice also raised the jurisdiction of B.C. small claims to $35,000, up from $25,000.

Elementary Schools Cancel High Jump Due to ‘Risk’ Factor

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Two school boards in Sault St. Marie are citing the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines, which classifies high jump as a “higher risk activity,” as the reason they are cutting the sport out of elementary schools immediately.

Other sports so far included in the “higher risk activity” category: wrestling, alpine skiing, and snowboarding.

According to the school boards’ joint statement, “It was felt that the changed classification and the need to maintain student safety as a priority means this event is best suited for development at the secondary level where there is greater access to trained staff and proper equipment at sites.”

“We felt it best to maintain high jump at the secondary level and to have our younger students compete in events that are most appropriate for their stage of development and which can showcase their abilities with less risk involved,” added Lucia Reece, Algoma District School Board director.

Innocent Man Jailed for Rape Has Been Released, and His Lying Ex Is Now Jailed

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The man was jailed after his ex-spouse charged him with choking and trying to rape her.

The story she and her attorney told the judges in the original 2015 trial was that her ex broke into her apartment, threw her on her bed, choked her, threatened to kill her, and attempted to rape her multiple times, and they presented as evidence injuries to her neck. The man was charged and sent to prison.

19 days later, the woman came forward with the truth: that she made it up.

The 34-year-old Ontario woman was then charged with mischief for the lie (mischief in Canada has maximum punishment of 14 years). Her lawyer suggested a punishment of a conditional sentence, citing that she had changed since she made the claim, that she had recently completed anger management, and that she was making progress in drug recovery. They also presented a letter to the court written by her daughter asking that her mother not be sent to jail and an unsigned letter from her ex asking the same.

However, because the woman had a previous criminal record and had been in jail several times, the court said, it gave her jail time: 60 days.

The court justice said of the sentence, “When you go to a police officer and pretend to be a victim, the police officer begins investigating the case, but that takes that officer away from investigating real cases. … (Your story) was calculated. You inflicted injuries to your neck. You said they were caused by someone. You gave a sworn statement to police. You knew (the ex-spouse) was arrested and in custody …

“One day went by. Two days went by. A week went by. Nineteen days went by knowing an innocent man was in jail.”

Exciting B.C. Election

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The Liberals and Christy Clark did not receive a majority … yet.

They might not get one. They won 43 of B.C.’s 87 electoral districts, one short of a majority.

That means that the NDP with 41 and the Greens with 3 may form a coalition or other governing arrangement, and NDP leader John Horgan could find himself premier of B.C. This gives a special kind of power to the Greens (under leader Andrew Weaver) which they haven’t had before.

B.C. hasn’t had a minority government since 1953.

The outcome of the election is not yet final, however, as there will be recounts. Some districts were close, with Courtenay-Comox the closest at a 9-vote NDP win over the Liberals.

New Loonie Low

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The loonie might go as low as 70 cents to the U.S. dollar in 2017, according to experts.

Right now it’s around 73 cents, a 14-month low.

The fall of the loonie is tied to the same old things: a strong period for the U.S. economy, interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and oil prices that are expected to stay low.

However, business in the U.S. isn’t doing amazing: This week, the U.S. PMI was below the forcast level, and construction spending contracted very slightly.

Meanwhile, Canadian manufacturing is doing well. Their PMI reported a 6-year high this week.

Trump’s First New Tariff on a Foreign Country: Canada

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Lumber tariffs up to 24% are being imposed by Trump on Canada.

During his presidential run, Trump repeatedly spoke of “America first,” and threatened tariffs on China and Mexico. These threats received voter support, but the first tariff imposed by the president was on the U.S.’s northern neighbor.

The lumber tariffs were announced Monday after trade talks on dairy products fell through.

There is talk of a trade war between Canada and the U.S. Currently, the two nations and Mexico are preparing to renegotiate NAFTA.

The U.S. government is thought to be motivated by a desire improve prospects for American lumber companies, who complain that subsidies provided to Canadian companies by the Canadian government create an unfair playing field. Canada exported a reported $5.6 billion worth of softwood to the U.S. last year.

Trump Doesn’t Fear Trade War Because of Canada’s ‘Tremendous Surplus’

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Trump’s response to questions about whether he feared a trade war with Canada after his new taxes on lumber imports was, “Nope. Not at all.”

The reason, Trump said, was, “They have a tremendous surplus with the United States. Whenever they have a surplus, I have no fear.”

He also told reporters, “They’ve outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that.”

Canada and the U.S. charge their forestry companies differently for the trees they cut down. In the U.S. companies compete and bid for trees. In Canada, the provincial governments charges fees to companies which happen to be lower than the market price U.S. companies pay. American companies complain Canada’s system is an unfair subsidy.

The tariffs are expected to add around $1200 to the price of new homes since taxes are always passed on to consumers, although lumber prices have already started to move up in expectation of an increase in cost.

Analysts expect that Canada may fire back by taxing American imports to Canada.

Trump Agrees Not to Terminate NAFTA

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After phone calls with Trudeau and Nieto, the White House said that Trump “Agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”

Trump also wrote in a statement, “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

During the campaign trail and until very recently, Trump made strong statements against NAFTA and in favor of possibly ending the treaty.

Inching Closer to Invariable Totalitarianism

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A week ago, I received the rather unexpected Canada Census slip in the mail, with the all-too-well known, yet still alarming text of “Complete the census – it’s the law,” plastered over the eerie yellow paper. I paid no heed to its intimidating form. I threw it on my desk and placed it outside of my mind until the news feed was overflowing with articles commending the entire nation’s’ apparent enthusiasm with completing it. The form which aims to collect personal information from all households, and the one which promises that if not completed it could lead to a $500 fine or even up to three-months imprisonment.

The imperceptible feeling that I must comply to share is that I am not quite sure what is more terrifying, the actual penalties for not completing the census, or the overzealous joy of complying with the state – the being, and entity which of course necessitates trust, especially in a liberal country such as ours, but surely not with such enthusiasm. I am not sure whether the institutionalization of the collection of data itself seems like a viable bureaucratic necessity. Nor whether, it has led to the normalization of mass compliance, by so many of my co-patriots.

Whether it is both a symbiotic relationship between the submissive masses, or the ever-growing power of the state. Or whether power is exercised from one side towards the other. The answer to these questions necessitate perhaps an entire treatise. The fact remains, that although this doesn’t mean that totalitarianism is just around the corner, it certainly seems to be an aspect of it. Something which is entertained with the utmost eagerness, by what seems to be most facets of Canada – including most forms of media on most of the political spectrum.

The census has been part of Canada since 1871, a few years after Confederation which sought to try and discern the ever present cultural and ethnic mosaic that has made up this nation, as well as the numerous Indigenous nations within it. In 1912, interestingly, the first federal organization was set up – the Dominion Bureau of Statistics – which employed its power to try and find out the makeup of Canada from “mare ad mare.” It was in the post-war years however, coupled with the relative prosperity, that the census became a truly Canadian “tradition” per se. The last census conducted was in 2011.

Yet there is hope, at least an act of symbolic yet also salient rebellion, when some such as Janet Churnin refused to complete the mandatory census and was taken to court for it. She was found guilty with violating Statistics Canada, but showed no remorse. It is such incidences which at times relay some hope. Although she was slapped with a sentence of 50 hours of community service, at the age of 79, she expressed that she was happy “to make a point.” Therein lies the individuality of a person, remained intact, unmoved by the ever-expanding power of the state.

The question that has been hovering in my thoughts however is whether the apparent eagerness of Canadians to complete the census was the result of fear of facing the penalties? Was it perhaps the enthusiasm of aiding future historians that will look at the data we put in the system, and make large claims, perhaps even sweeping generalizations based on some numbers?

Perhaps, there is something scarier than those two options- perhaps it is the ardor to give away information, found interminably in their joy of subservience, in the joy of becoming one with the fold- the utter collectivism of anonymity. Of placing one’s voice in a chorus of sheer imperceptibility- and thus the deviation of individuality. Ultimately what I mean is the happiness that comes with utter subservience, and Foucaultian “docility” that is welcomed. One’s proselytization to the group, yielding to the national form, and thus happily giving into a Kafkaesque reality which most secretly love to be a part of. I assume.

You may think this sounds dramatic – especially over something as simple as a census. Yet I ask, humbly, why must the state impose a penalty if one fails to complete it? Why is that not the detail which causes worry in the hearts of people, who wish to live in a free country, based on liberal ideals? The argument that this is for the ‘common good’ of the nation, has been long exhausted – used so many times before by totalitarian states.

It is not that I am arguing against the importance of the census, for I know it’s dire need – perhaps even in the long-form. But a choice must be given to complete it out of one’s free will. Anything but is antithetical.

The question that needs to be asked: Is totalitarianism inching ever-closer to us, or are we gladly slowly taking steps towards its shadow? Is it democratic for the state to demand information from the citizens of a country?

Opinion by Milad Doroudian

Leonardo DiCaprio Expresses Fear Of Chinooks

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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who filmed the historical adventure picture ‘The Revenant’ in Alberta and British Columbia this year, recently commented on his northern experience at a Q&A, expressing grave concern over the weather phenomena known as the “Chinook.”

“We were in Calgary,” said DiCaprio, “and the locals were saying, ‘This has never happened in our province ever.’ We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.”

DiCaprio has become somewhat of an expert on environment matters in recent years, producing the climate change documentary “The 11th Hour” in 2007. Reportedly, the actor is now working on another climate change documentary. However, many Canadians were surprised that the actor would refer to what in Canada is commonly known as a Chinook, a warm breeze felt during colder weather, as a sign of impending disaster.

DiCaprio stated:

“[I]t was scary. I’ve never experienced something so firsthand that was so dramatic. You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference. It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world. And it’s simply just going to get worse.”

Despite what may be an unusual cause of concern, 2015 was the warmest year on record, and the cast of the film had to relocate to a glacier in Argentina to find a snowy location — the snow at their Canadian location melted in August, forcing the unexpected move.

By Andy Stern
Photo: 20th Century Fox