The Daily GRRR! - Mar. 31, 2015 - “Too Bad It’s Only Tuesday” Edition

The Daily GRRR! HEADLINES for Mar. 31, 2015. 1. Ayotzinapa 2 Ottawa caravan raises awareness for 43 disappeared students. 2. A Tribe Called Red calls out high school for using song alongside racist mascot. 3. White man’s acquittal for indigenous sex worker’s death draws outrage, activism. 4. Secret military report deflects responsibility for soldier’s suicide, blames family. 5. NEB fines for safety issues and eco-hazards are just pocket change to Enbridge. 6. Dutch gov apologizes for exploiting natural gas production that caused quakes. 7. Oxford grads threaten to give back degrees if uni won’t divest from fossil fuels.
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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Tuesday morning show for March 31st, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Mar. 31, 2015 
1. Ayotzinapa 2 Ottawa caravan raises awareness for 43 disappeared students
2. A Tribe Called Red calls out high school for using song alongside racist mascot
3. White man’s acquittal for indigenous sex worker’s death draws outrage, activism
4. Secret military report deflects responsibility for soldier’s suicide, blames family
5. NEB fines for safety issues and eco-hazards are just pocket change to Enbridge
6. Dutch gov apologizes for exploiting natural gas production that caused quakes
7. Oxford grads threaten to give back degrees if uni won’t divest from fossil fuels

1. Ayotzinapa 2 Ottawa caravan raises awareness for 43 disappeared students

On September 26, 2014, Mexican state security forces attacked a group of students from the teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, killing 6 people and forcibly disappearing 43 others who were never seen again. The government was slow to investigate and did too little, too late to find the missing students or bring to justice all those responsible for a crime that has pulled the veil off an acute human rights crisis in Mexico. Now, Canadian solidarity and human-rights organizations are organizing the Ayotzinapa to Ottawa Caravan – a tour that will bring an Ayotzinapa student organizer, a parent of one of the disappeared students, and a Mexican human-rights lawyer to Canada in order to tell their story to the public and to Canadian policy makers. The caravan will take place over three weeks in April 2015 and encompass events in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario.

Through public education events, workshops for teachers and other groups, meetings with Members of Parliament, and community fundraisers, the tour will focus on four main objectives:

to raise public awareness of the permanent and systemic violence, both criminal and state-supported, that permeates public life in Mexico;
to generate media coverage about humans rights violations in Mexico in general and attacks on the Indigenous peoples of Mexico in particular, and the challenges facing those seeking justice;
to forge links between Mexican and Canadian civil-society organizations; and,
to press Canadian parliamentarians and policy makers to acknowledge the human rights crisis in Mexico, to hold the Mexican government to international human rights norms, to review Canada’s program of cooperation with Mexico, and to eliminate barriers for people seeking protection in Canada.

The tour is supported by a wide range of organizations who ask the Canadian Government to break its public silence with regard to the violence in Mexico and to urge the Mexican authorities to effectively investigate the murders and forced disappearances that took place on September 26 and 27, 2014, until the missing students are found and those directly or indirectly responsible for the attack, including public officials, have been identified and brought to justice.

2. A Tribe Called Red calls out high school for using song alongside racist mascot

As reported by NOW Toronto, on February 28, A Tribe Called Red tweeted, “Western Canada High School. Please stop using our music to perpetuate harmful stereotypes against First Nations.” The tweet linked to “Night of the Redmen Highlight Video 2014” set to A Tribe Call Red’s track “Electric Pow Wow Drum”. The video was made by two students in their graduating year at Calgary’s Western Canada High School. Their mascot is “the Redmen” and the image of an indigenous chief in a feathered headdress is all over the sports-themed video. The footage also captures a student, nearly nude, with his face and body painted red in another blatantly racist gesture. According to an email from one of the students, Curtis Bietz, “The creation of the video was part of our Leadership Program... and reviewed by our teachers and peers.” Bietz claims he initially had second thoughts about using the song “with our school's situation at the time”. That "situation" was controversy over the Redmen name and logo, which had become a subject of debate. The decision was made in June 2014 to change the school's moniker and mascot to “the Redhawks”. The process to change the school's nickname was initiated by the Calgary Board of Education in 2013 as part of a review of school names, mascots and logos "to ensure they are fully respectful of all the cultures that make up the Calgary community." The Calgary board also picked up the $200,000 tab to paint-over the logos in the gym and replace team jerseys. However, the Western Canada High School Athletics website hosted by the school board continues to fail to reflect the name change and, shamefully, you can still order Redmen merchandise and apparel on the web from a Calgary-based sportswear retailer.

3. White man’s acquittal for indigenous sex worker’s death draws outrage, activism

As reported by The Globe and Mail, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of a man charged in the death of an indigenous woman in Edmonton is provoking rallies and calls for an appeal. Activists are pointing to how this case demonstrates, once again, the biased and broken nature of the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to indigenous women and sex workers. Last week, Ontario trucker Bradley Barton was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old sex worker who bled to death in Edmonton’s Yellowhead Inn. While the defence claimed that Mr. Barton accidentally wounded Ms. Gladue during consensual sex, the Crown prosecutor argued that Ms. Gladue was intoxicated and unable to consent to sexual activity, and that the wound was caused by the aggressive and non-consensual actions of her john, Mr. Barton. A letter-writing campaign on social media is urging the Crown to appeal; an online petition has already garnered hundreds of signatures; and protest rallies have been organized in multiple cities from Alberta to Ontario.

Rally organizers say the trial might well have gone differently if Ms. Gladue was a white woman and the accused was an indigenous man. They say the case should be part of a national conversation on the treatment of indigenous women in a country where at least 1,181 indigenous women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. In the words of Edmonton rally organizer Fawn Lamouche, a Métis woman who said she prayed with Ms. Gladue’s tearful family outside the courthouse earlier this month, “A lot of the women that are murdered and missing, that’s all people see them as – an Indian, or a prostitute – but these women are human… This not-guilty verdict screams that we’re not valued and we’re not safe.” In a statement to The Globe and Mail on Thursday, the chief Crown prosecutor for Edmonton, Michelle Doyle, said the office has 30 days to file an appeal and that “all aspects of this case are being reviewed in order to assess the next steps.” She called Ms. Gladue’s death “shocking and appalling” and noted “many people are commenting on this case, seeking answers and expressing outrage.”

5. NEB fines for safety issues and eco-hazards are just pocket change to Enbridge

As reported by The Waterloo Region Record, the National Energy Board has given a financial slap on the wrist to pipeline builder Enbridge Inc. with $264,000 in penalties. Most of those fines stem from safety and environmental hazards related to maintenance work on an oil pipeline in Manitoba last summer, where an inspection revealed numerous problems along a stretch of Line 3 around Cromer, Manitoba. Landowners in the area complained to the NEB about open excavations, improper handling of topsoil and several other concerns. Line 3 carries crude from Alberta to Wisconsin and has been in operation for nearly a half century. Enbridge announced plans last year to replace Line 3 in its entirety — a $7.5-billion project — but the penalties deal with maintenance work on the existing line, not the larger replacement project, which has yet to receive NEB approval. Unfortunately, the NEB has a long history of approving high-risk pipeline projects, and even when they do elect to censure the companies who readily flout their laws, it has no real impact. As anyone paying attention to the track record of this company will know, such fines are nothing new to Enbridge, and being forced to pay them has no demonstrable effect on the company’s unscrupulous actions.

6. Dutch gov apologizes for exploiting natural gas production that caused quakes

As reported by Planet Ark, the Netherlands’ minister of economic affairs apologized earlier this month for ignoring serious risks posed by earthquakes that were caused, in turn, by the country’s overeager production of natural gas in the northern province of Groningen. The apology follows a report released on February 18th by the country's independent Safety Board which found that the government, together with Royal Shell and Exxon, had put profits before safety in exploiting the Groningen gas field, the largest in all of Europe. Earthquakes were definitively linked to production at Groningen in 1993, but they became more frequent and more intense after production was increased in 2008. The increased gas revenues provided an important buffer as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet pursued unpopular austerity policies. But after a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in 2012 — greater than any Shell and Exxon had forecast — regulators warned the government that citizens' safety was at risk and called for production to be cut as quickly as possible. Yet the government did not order a decrease in production until last year, and even then its reductions were ineffectually modest.

"I am very sorry that the safety interests of Groningers did not receive the attention they deserved," said Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp, “ safety will now come first.” Kamp added that he would take "the necessary measures" to address the problem, but in true government fashion, he failed to specify what those measures will be. However, Parliament has demanded a debate with Kamp over the Safety Board's findings on Tuesday, and in the wake of the Safety Board report, Dutch political parties across the spectrum are calling for Groningen never to return to former production levels, with left-leaning parties seeking further cuts in production.

7. Oxford grads threaten to give back degrees if uni won’t divest from fossil fuels

As reported by The Vancouver Observer, alumni and scholars at one of the most influential universities in the world are threatening to hand in their degrees in reaction to a long-awaited decision made earlier this month by The University of Oxford to delay its decision to divest from fossil fuels with its $3 billion endowment fund. Oxford, which is the oldest university in the English speaking world, convened a council to study the issue of divestment. Following a student vote in the fall, it was under pressure to finally recommend Monday on whether the university should sell off its oil, gas and coal stocks from its $3-billion endowment fund. But instead, it delayed its decision until May, and many took to temporarily occupying the main administration building in protest of the university’s continued inaction.

Oxford's former director of finance was among attending the sit-in and he expressed disappointment at the council's statement to delay its divestment decision: “As Oxford is a global leader in the academic world, many people were watching to see what happened today, and the University has responded with a message that will only encourage those who seek to derail the process of moving from fossil fuels… They could have exercised some moral leadership and encouraged other institutions to follow suit.” Over 100 current faculty members have signed a letter supporting divestment, and the campaign counts 3,000 students as backers. An online petition to the university’s chancellor now has close to 600 signatures from alumni of the prestigious campus and another 550 Oxford alumni are also pledging to withhold donations to Oxford until it divests, according to a campaign news release.

Midway Music: Fourteen Days by Elsa Jayne

Feature: “The Right to Be Cold: Sounding the alarm on climate change in the North” by Naomi Klein for

Closing Song: Across The Sea by Elsa Jayne