Dozens of Indigenous communities angry at PM Trudeau’s proposed oil tanker ban
On Parliament Hill, leaders from the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, the Indian Resource Council, the National Coalition of Chiefs, and Canada’s Four Pipeline Craft unions voiced their opposition to Bill C-48, which would ban large oil tanker traffic off British Columbia’s north coast. The chiefs argue the ban will harm economic development in Indigenous communities and kill the proposed Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline, a CAD $16-billion project with significant Indigenous ownership. The bill was passed in the House of Commons on May 8, 2018 and is currently at second reading in the Senate.
The National Chiefs Coalition said on Tuesday it would file a complaint in “coming days” under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) against the federal government. The Chiefs say the ban unfairly restricts oil exports by the First Nations group, while allowing multinational corporations to ship their products from the southern portion of the B.C. coast. “All we’re trying to do is take advantage of the resources available to us,” said former chief Wallace Fox, chairman of the Indian Resource Council, a part of the coalition.
CEO of Eagle Spirit Calvin Helin said much of the First Nations opposition to pipelines comes from Indigenous people backed by activist organizations, who claim to speak for whole communities but do not. “They’re just puppets and props for American environmental groups,” he said.
Giving in to foreign-funded radical and leftist environmentalists, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed Bill C-48 earlier this year, which bans oil tankers from the northern part of Vancouver island to the B.C. – Alaska border. It will further cripple Canada’s distressed energy industry, since tens of billions of dollars in investment have left the country in response to unfriendly government policy toward the energy industry specifically.
More than thirty First Nations are fighting back against Bill C-48. According to a recent report, “Indigenous-owned company called Eagle Spirit — which hopes to build a 1,500-km pipeline that would carry up to two million barrels of crude per day from near Fort McMurray to tidewater — has already launched legal action in a B.C. court to stop Bill C-48.”
On a GoFundMe page, the Chiefs Council Against Bill C-48 states, “We support the First Nations-led Eagle Spirit Energy energy corridor because it would provide real-world sustainable benefits and own-source revenue and meaningful participation for the poorest communities in Canada through a project whose outcomes cannot be duplicated by government.”
The impact of bill C-48 will devastate the Canadian energy sector. Conservative MP Randy Hoback said, “Let us not fool ourselves. This is not a tanker ban. This is to stop development in the resource sector and to stop shipping products to the West Coast. It is what the Liberals really planned to do from day one, and this bill is how they are going to achieve it. That is very disappointing. People in Western Canada just cannot understand the government … it keeps chopping off the hand that feeds it. It is so sad.”
British PM Theresa May survives a no-confidence vote within the Conservative Party
The United Kingdom (U.K.) government remains in turmoil despite Prime Minister Theresa May surviving a party vote of no-confidence. On Wednesday morning, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, confirmed that he had received the 48 letters required to called to hold a vote of non-confidence against the Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative party, and the vote would be held that same evening. Party rules dictate that Ms. May only needed to win a simple majority of MPs, which would be 158; she won by a margin of 200 to 117.
However, this latest development does not put an end to the revolt. PM May’s Brexit bill is still unlikely to pass a vote in Parliament, which she postponed indefinitely on Tuesday. The Northern Irish party propping up PM May’s minority government is against the so-called ‘Irish backstop’ outlined in her Brexit deal, which the European Union (E.U.) has agreed to, additionally stating they will not allow any revisions going forward. The opposition parties are also against the Brexit deal and have threatened to introduce their own motion for a vote of no-confidence, which can trigger an immediate general election.
In the event of an early election, the decision by Conservative MPs on Wednesday to support Ms. May as party Leader will come back to haunt them, as they will have lost the ability to determine the timing of a leadership race, allowing them to continue to govern until the next general election in 2022. The Conservatives and opposition Labour parties are tied in the polls due to citizen’s frustration with the erratic governance by PM May and her Cabinet, specifically on the Brexit file.
Gunman kills 3 and wounds 13 at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France
A gunman opened fire near the landmark Christmas market in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday, killing three and injuring thirteen others. The shooter, who is still on the run, was identified as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, reportedly a native resident of the city. Police said Mr. Chekatt, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, had previously committed more than twenty-five offences in Germany and France and is known to hold radical Islamist views.
Mr. Chekatt’s apartment had been searched by police on Tuesday morning, hours before the shooting, as a suspect for an attempted murder and armed robbery, but he was not at home at the time. A Paris prosecutor stated that, according to the driver of a taxi used by the suspect to flee the scene, Mr. Chekatt was also injured. Police have detained at least four people and raised the security level to “emergency attack” and strengthened border controls, as well as reinforced surveillance at all Christmas markets “to avoid the risk of copycat attacks”.
French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez noted that the gunman could have left the country. "This cannot be excluded, but I want to say that border controls were immediately strengthened and the area around Strasbourg was cordoned off. I cannot say anything more, because, as you understand, searches are still underway," Minister Nunez said.
German police implemented strengthened security measures along the French border. A spokeswoman for Germany’s criminal police stated that the recent shooting was committed by a man who was known to French authorities as a radical Islamist and was imprisoned in Germany in 2016 and 2017 on theft charges before later being deported to France.
Belgian Member of Parliament for the People's Party (PP) Aldo Carcaci noted that Mr. Chekatt could already be in Molenbeek, “the ‘hell hole’ of Brussels, to use the expression of Donald Trump,” where multiple Islamists have taken refuge in the largely Muslim population. He remarked Molenbeek is only 3 hours and 30 minutes from Strasbourg by road.
Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said anyone found celebrating the Strasbourg shooting will be immediately sent to prison. "Our postal police [service] is at the cutting edge and it is sifting the Web to find the heinous people who are celebrating someone else's death," Minister Salvini said, promising "immediate arrest for anyone who has been rejoicing online over the last few hours."
EU – Japan free trade deal cleared for early 2019 start
The European Union (E.U.) and Japan will launch the world’s largest free trade zone early next year after their economic partnership cleared a final hurdle on Wednesday. Approximately 70 percent of European Parliament lawmakers backed the agreement which will account for nearly a third of global gross domestic product (GDP). Japan’s parliament approved the deal on Saturday. The trade deal follows widespread anti-globalization protests. Critics say the agreement will give too much power to multinationals and could undermine environmental and labour standards.
The agreement will remove E.U. tariffs of 10 percent on Japanese cars and 3 percent for most car parts. It will scrap Japanese duties of some 30 percent on E.U. cheese and 15 percent on wines, as well as open access to public tenders in Japan. It will also open up services markets, such as financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, and transport.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom claimed the deal would bring clear benefits to EU companies and farmers, saying, “If all goes well, it should be able to enter force on February 1. The agreement is not only sending a signal to the world. It is also extremely advanced when it comes to opening markets.”
Japan had been part of the multi-lateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), comprised of twelve nations, which American President Donald Trump stated he would not participate in when he took office as it did not offer advantageous terms to the United States (U.S.). Without the economic capital of the U.S., there was little advantage to the TPP trade pact, therefore Japan and the other nations involved sought new bi-lateral trade deals with potential partners. A similar scenario played out between the U.S. and the E.U. when negotiations stalled in 2016 regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Both the E.U. and Japan want the new trade deal in place before Britain leaves the E.U. at the end of March 2019. Japan, whose many car makers serve the E.U. market from British bases, had wanted it to then apply to a Brexit transition period until the end of 2020, although that period is uncertain due to political turmoil in Britain.
Judge rules Stormy Daniels must pay Trump USD $293,000 for legal fees in defamation case
U.S. District Judge James Otero has ruled that Stormy Daniels must pay American President Donald Trump USD $293,052.33 in “attorneys’ fees, costs and sanctions,” in her failed defamation lawsuit, which is 75 percent of the amount President Trump had been seeking. Ms. Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, has appealed Judge Otero’s ruling.
Judge Otero wrote Tuesday that he did not award the President the full amount he was seeking because the hours charged by his attorneys were “excessive” and cited one example of the “extraneous evidence” submitted by Trump’s attorneys “a detailed list of Plaintiff’s movie history and filmography, which was unnecessary to this Court’s decision-making.”
In the lawsuit, Ms. Daniels claimed President Trump defamed her when he suggested that she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their alleged past relationship. Judge Otero dismissed the lawsuit in October, ruling that President Trump’s “rhetorical hyperbole” was political in nature and ordered Ms. Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, to pay the President’s legal fees.
The lawsuit is one of two that Ms. Daniels has filed against President Trump. The second seeks to invalidate a 2016 nondisclosure agreement aimed at preventing Ms. Daniels from speaking about an affair she claims she had with him a decade ago. President Trump denies that the alleged affair took place.