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‘Burn them all down’ head of BC civil liberties group resigns

When Harsha Walia sent out the tweet two weeks ago she claimed she had been misquoted and taken out of context by the Western Standard.

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The head of the BC Civil Liberties Association who said “burn them all” in relation to Catholic churches in Canada has resigned.

And the BCCLA said the controversy over the statement was only as bad as it was because the head is an ethnic citizen.

When Harsha Walia sent out the tweet two weeks ago she claimed she had been misquoted and taken out of context by the Western Standard.

“Words matter. Context matters. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association supports the cherished right to free expression, and as an organization we want our messages to be clear. A tweet by our executive director on her personal account failed in that regard,” the BCCLA said in a statement Friday night after accepting Walia’s resignation.

“Using a particular turn of phrase in that context left some people with the wrong impression about the values and principles to which we adhere.

“We regret the misunderstanding that was caused by the tweet and apologize for the harm the words caused.

“Further, we acknowledge the anger, frustration, and sadness many people feel after the confirmation of over 1,000 unmarked graves of Indigenous children at various residential school sites. We share those emotions and share in the desire to dismantle the colonial systems that commit genocide.

“During the aftermath of the tweet, we encountered a wave of hateful commentary, fueled by the fact that our executive director is a racialized woman leader. Our executive director and staff were exposed to inexcusable racism and misogyny and threats to physical and mental safety. We did not engage with those voices and are prioritizing the health and safety of staff. We have also taken time to gather feedback within our organization and with our community partners. These events have been difficult, but we are emerging stronger and more committed to our work. We are back with the same fearless truth-telling that our supporters and detractors know us for.”

According to its website, the BCCLA fights in the courts for “equality rights in relation to mental health, disability, gender, youth, immigration, refugees, race, poverty, LGBTQ2S+ rights, and more. We know looking through an inter-sectional lens is the only way to fight inequality and injustice. We fight overt and systemic discrimination, and seek to promote fairness and equality in Canada.”

Attacking religious buildings is normally classified as a hate crime in Canada.

Walia’s call to burn churches caused a firestorm of social media anger.

After the June 30 tweet, the BCCLA initially stood by Walia.

BCCLA President David Fai said Walia made the “personal” comment and didn’t mean “Burn them all down” literally.

“We are confident her comments were not to be taken literally but were a recognition that the system that created residential schools is so flawed that we need ‘to burn it all down’ and start over,” tweeted Fai.

A day later, indigenous Alberta lawyer Naomi Sayers said she would help burn down churches and be glad to defend anyone charged with arson after setting fire to a church.

A spree of arson and other acts of destruction have been occurring against Christian churches, focused mostly on indigenous Catholic congregations. The acts range from petty vandalism to lighting fires in or around the churches, destroying many.

As of publication, there have been more than 30 attacks against churches – including at least five completely destroyed by fires, at least three damaged by fires, and more than 15 vandalized to varying degrees.

The spree began when several hundred graves were discovered on the grounds of residential school is BC and Saskatchewan.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    July 19, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    West coast not only have they known about them, but they don’t even know if they are children. Ground penal rating doesn’t show that, it only shows something in the shape of a grave. There’s no proof even that they all came from the schools, and many passed from disease, but if you say they were murdered babies like the Manitoba chief is spouting off, much bigger affect. Many quotes from these fn chiefs at the begging government were totally differant than what’s being played but god forbid anyone miss out in abusing an already terrible situation. Read up on teddy bears and how they came to be, shows Trudeau’s handlers are almost as stupid as Trudeau

  2. Claudette Leece

    July 19, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    GS Uddin that’s not free speech, that’s hate speech, had that been a white woman, saying that to a Muslim god forbid world would of ended. Funny thing that family that was hit by a car in London ON, the school gave two scholarships, one to Woman only, and the other in the males name for anyone, now who’s being racist against a sex.

  3. mary lyn hannah

    July 19, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Under section 319(1) pf of the criminal code. Everyone who by communicating statements in a public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of peace is guilty of a. an indictable offence punishable by up to two years imprisonment, or b. a summary conviction offence.

  4. K

    July 19, 2021 at 11:50 am

    She got off easy. Absolute filth.

  5. Claude Casavant

    July 19, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Harsha Walia Should be charged with a HATE Crime. With her one face she says “Burn Them All Down” against Christians. With her other face she says “Islamaphobia is a crime and increasing!” She pokes the Piranha and then whines if it bites back. Imagine, the backlash, if a Christian said Burn down all the Mosques, Temples, Sweat Lodges, etc.,etc.,etc. How does a divisive, uneducated, “Racist” like this get a job with a supposedly CIVIL LIBERTIES (?) Association?

  6. luigi

    July 18, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    One the numerous woke minions has gotten a taste of her being a soapbox mouthpiece.
    There’s a god in the heavens after all.

  7. Left Coast

    July 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

    @ Uddin . . .

    You’re makin stuff up again man . . .

    Free Speech can offend anyone my clueless friend . . . but especially frauds & liars!

    Then there’s “Hate” groups like the Rev Farrakhan & his group.

  8. Dave Symington

    July 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Walia should have been “fired” from her position!

  9. John Martens

    July 18, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Amen Steven

  10. GS Uddin

    July 17, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Cancel culture from the right? I thought Cons believed in free speech?
    Oh yeah only when it offends Muslims, lefties and other minorities.
    She said nothing wrong. I read much worse on right wing websites! Blah!

  11. Westcanguy

    July 17, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Several unmarked graves were discovered??? Please, Indian bands and the feds have known about these for many years.

  12. Steven

    July 17, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Wow !! What an out of touch with reality organization the BC Civil Liberties Association is. Playing the “only as bad as it was because the head is an ethnic citizen” card as a cover for Harsha Walia controversy over her statement.

    I wonder it the BCCLA understands lefty cancel culture can turn on it’s own? I wonder if the BCCLA understands that burning of churches isn’t helping reconciliation & did the BCCLA ever stop to think the burning of churches on First Nations land would cause more harm then good?

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News

Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

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A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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