Pressure is on to pass Haudenosaunee tobacco law

Gary Frasier was among several people asking questions and commenting on the draft tobacco law at the third in a series of community meetings held. (Photo by Donna Duric)
Gary Frasier was among several people asking questions and commenting on the draft tobacco law at the third in a series of community meetings held. (Photo by Donna Duric)

Now that the federal government’s Bill C-10, the Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act has come into force, the pressure is on for the Confederacy to finalize its Haudenosaunee tobacco law.

“That puts a little bit of different pressure on us now that we didn’t have before,” says tobacco manufacturer Kris Green, a member of the Haudenosaunee Trade Collective.

The trade collective is made up of manufacturers in the community who do not have federal licenses. The Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act, also known as Bill C-10, criminalizes those in the tobacco industry who do not have federal licenses.

“We knew it was coming,” said Green. “We knew it was going to happen. It’s happened, so it’s even more important for us now to make sure that we’re continuing to move forward,” she told the final in a three meeting series on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs’ Council (HCCC) draft tobacco law.

Confederacy legal adviser Aaron Detlor told a community meeting on the draft law last Wednesday that even though the law is just a draft, it can still protect the Haudenosaunee tobacco industry if somebody gets charged under the new legislation.

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Bill C-10 won’t be enforced on Six Nations, local police say

Amid rumours that unlicensed tobacco plants have begun shutting down Six Nations Police Chief Glen Lickers says Six Nations police will not be enforcing Bill C-10 in the community.

“We have other priorities as far as being the police service in this community than Bill C-10,” he said.

“We have no intention of doing any enforcement of the bill here,” he said.

He said there has been “indication from the OPP and RCMP that they have no intention of coming onto the territory to do any enforcement of Bill C-10”.

Police Chief Lickers said their encroachment at Six Nations is a major safety concern for the Six Nations police.

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Police and government spying on local tobacco industry

The RCMP and provincial Ministry of Finance has been spying on the Haudenosaunee tobacco industry since at least 2007, lawyer Aaron Detlor revealed at a community meeting last week.

He said that’s thanks to over $350 million the federal government provided to the federal police agency gleaned from fines levied against the big tobacco companies.

“The RCMP took that money and set up significant surveillance, primarily in Akwesasne, and they did set up a surveillance unit in Caledonia,” said Detlor. “So for the past two years, they’ve been doing surveillance (on Six Nations), which includes wire-tapping on Six Nations people. Primarily the wire taps and surveillance of emails and text messages was directed at Excise Act infractions. About eight months ago, they charged a bunch of farmers, non-Haudenosaunee people, with Excise Act infractions and at this time, all of the warrants that had been issued with respect to the wire taps became public. It was revealed at that time that there were Six Nations people who had been the subject of wiretaps.”

The audience at the community sat in dead silence as they digested the shocking revelation.

Now that Bill C-10 is in effect, Detlor said any past surveillance will likely not be held up as evidence in a court of law.“The surveillance that has taken place to date is not likely something that can be used with respect to any charges that come under Bill C-10 because, obviously, Bill C-10 was not a law (at the time),” Detlor said. “But really, what it did, is it provided a surveillance platform and the surveillance platform gave them an opportunity to determine...who were persons of interest and also set up a surveillance network that is shared between the RCMP and the OPP, and potentially, with CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).”

Detlor said the surveillance issue goes beyond Six Nations, though.

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Wow what a wind, takes off roof of business

Demons Den smoke shop)
Demons Den smoke shop

A roof on a trailer located at Demons Den smoke shop on Fourth Line Road was sheared right off during high winds Monday night.

The wind picked up the roof and carried it a few feet over a fence, where it landed face up in a neighbouring parking lot. There was no other damage in the area, although forecasts

had predicted wind gusts up to 90 km/hr Monday night.

One nearby security guard said the roof sailed right by his truck barely missing him.

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Six Nations hockey awards banquet

The Six Nations Novice Rep are all smiles after receiving their awards and celebrating at the most recent Six Nations minor hockey awards banquet. (Photo By Neil Becker)
The Six Nations Novice Rep are all smiles after receiving their awards and celebrating at the most recent Six Nations minor hockey awards banquet. (Photo By Neil Becker)

It was a chance to once more come together and celebrate the many thrills and accomplishments achieved during this past Six Nations minor hockey league season.

Though no teams won southern counties or an OMHA championship there were still an assortment of trophies given out during the recent Six Nations Minor Hockey Awards Banquet.

Making Six Nations minor hockey history on this afternoon was defenseman Trenton Martin who once called up to the Midget Reps impressed coach Terry ‘Bean’ Smith so much that he was named the second ever recipient of the Neil Smith Memorial Award which goes to the player picked as best defenceman.

“This definitely means a lot to me,” Martin who plays a physical brand of game said. “I was very surprised. “Eventually I would like to move up to triple A.

In describing what kind of defenceman he is the soft spoken Martin replied “I like to play physical, hit and move the puck.”

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Six Nations Band Council and Aecon Group in construction business

Six Nations Band Councillors and Aecon executives pose with the new employees in front of a brand new truck for the newly-formed construction company A6N.
Six Nations Band Councillors and Aecon executives pose with the new employees in front of a brand new truck for the newly-formed construction company A6N.

Six Nations Band Council has partnered with the renowned company Aecon Group Inc. to form a new enterprise on Six Nations called A6N.

Six Nations owns 51 per cent of the a company, that will take on construction and utilities works that will employ local people on projects throughout southern Ontario.

Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill said the new venture will provide economic development opportunities for Six Nations.

“A partnership of this nature with a prominent company such as Aecon exemplifies the capability of the Six Nations people to collaborate and participate in the economic opportunities that exist within the Haldimand Tract and beyond,” she said.

The band council’s move mirrors a similar move by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, who, through its planning department the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), have partnered with a number of companies to provide employment and training of Six Nations people in the field of archeological and environmental monitoring for six years.

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Six Nations welcomes new Fire Chief, Matthew Miller, to the team

The Six Nations Fire Department has a new fire chief.

Matthew Miller, who has 15 years’ experience in emergency services on the territory, took up his new post on Monday, finally filling a position that had remained vacant for months after former fire Chief Mike Seth resigned.

Miller began his career in emergency services 15 years ago when former Six Nations firefighter, now a Six Nations Advanced Care Paramedic, Ron Thomas, convinced him to join the Six Nations Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter. Since then, Matthew has had periodic breaks from the SNFD to complete higher education and training and to look after other career/family responsibilities.

“Matthew always returned to Six Nations to help in any way that he could, such as assisting with bringing Advanced Care Paramedicine to the Six Nations Community,” band council wrote in a press release.

Over the span of Miller’s emergency services career he has served in the full time positions of Deputy Fire Chief with the Six Nations Fire Department and Operations Manager of the Oneida Emergency Medical Services. Miller comes to the SNFD from Ornge Air Ambulance where he worked as an Advanced Care Flight Paramedic for the past three and a half years.

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Lynda Powless, Editor

Harper says missing and murdered women issue is not a sociological problem ... so what is?

According to the RCMP 7 out of 10 aboriginal women are killed by aboriginal men.

Last week, years after the RCMP admitted thousands of aboriginal women have gone murdered and missing on their watch, statistics are cunningly revealed by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, in closed meeting with chiefs last month, that 70 per cent of murdered aboriginal women, whose cases have been solved were killed by other aboriginal people.

An odd way for the federal government to provide information on an issue that touches the hearts of First Nations homes, but a beguiling way if the feds are still trying to abdicate responsibility for the high number of aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada by trying to blame, largely, First Nations men themselves.

RCMP Comm. Bob Paulson confirmed Friday the statistic Minister Valcourt let slip. That 70 per cent of murdered Aboriginal women whose cases have been solved were killed by other Aboriginal people.

But that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone according to Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Dawn Harvard. She says most female homicides in any ethnic group are killed by people known to them.

Adding further fodder to the argument that the fed’s leak isn’t about the ethnicity of the offender, but is in fact just another federal excuse to attempt to minimize concerns that aboriginal women are being killed at rates faster than any other group in the country.

An RCMP report released last year that found at least 1,181 Indigenous women and girls were murdered or went missing in Canada between 1980 and 2012. But it failed to say, at that time, how many murders were committed by aboriginal perpetrators.

What it did say was that most homicides of aboriginal and non-aboriginal women were committed by men and most of the perpetrators knew their victims.

And that in itself is not unusual.

Female homicide victims generally know the person who kills them, more than 90 per cent had a previous relationship with the perpetrator, whether they are aboriginal or not.

What the RCMP report also said, that seems to appear to be, being brushed aside, is that 30 per cent of Aboriginal women were more likely to be murdered by an acquaintance – compared to 29 per cent of non-aboriginal women and aboriginal women were less likely to be killed by a spouse – 29 per cent, compared to 41 per cent, the report says.

So what does this tell us.

That it is horrendously ridiculous that the RCMP and federal government would withhold this information for months and the national chief of Assembly of First Nations agrees.

“It is unacceptable that RCMP and the federal government waited until this late stage of the discussion on missing and murdered Indigenous women to release this information, says the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“The level of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls, and the inadequate measures taken to protect, investigate and prosecute, is a national crisis,” Perry Bellegarde wrote in a letter to Paulson.

“The RCMP and federal government must work with First Nations to address this as a priority. An obvious place to start is sharing information, data and analysis.”

Both the RCMP and the federal government were part of a national roundtable on the issue in February, Bellegarde points out.“There is a long history of mistrust of police by First Nations and citizens,” he writes. “Withholding information only serves to damage relationships and foster suspicion, especially when that information is shared with government agencies or representatives who seem willing to use that information against First Nations to deny or diminish the action required.”

Bellegarde has requested a meeting with the RCMP commissioner but the federal government bear responsibility when the root causes of poverty are prevalent, when the lack of support available to both aboriginal women and men is overbearing and face the fact that a large number of the women on the murdered and missing women’s list were not even killed on reserve but in urban centres...meaning the issue is not an on-reserve issue.

Oddly Prime Minister Harper has claimed he will not hold an inquiry into their deaths because it is “not a sociological problem.”

These new statistics emerging without explanation only adds suspicion to the motive behind the decision not to initially release the stats.

If anything these new statistics have proven exactly what Harper is trying to run from...the roots of the deaths are in fact sociological.

First Nations people are dealing with generations of abuse and violence that has even become internalized and oppressive with lateral violence in our communities.

Just last week we learned from an Aboriginal Affairs survey that lateral violence is rife in federal elementary schools among its own staff.

It is clear there are in fact deep sociological roots

The only question left is how many more aboriginal women will have to die on Prime Minister Harper’s watch.

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