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The Rebel to Rabble Review: Battle brewing over Kanehsatake cannabis trade, plastic ban –

afwNovaStore03 Sample of marijuana at an authorized cannabis retailer in Toronto. Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star

As part of his ongoing bid to provide in-depth coverage of Quebec’s Indigenous communities, Ricochet correspondent Christopher Curtis turns his crowdsourced investigative journalistic searchlight on a high-stakes battle currently playing out in Kanehsatake Mohawk territory over the increasingly lucrative — and competitive — cannabis sector.

“Gary Gabriel looked like he’d just seen a ghost,” he writes in his signature scene-setting style.

“Here was a hard man, someone spoken about in hushed voices or through coded references, as though saying his name aloud would cause him to appear in a puff of smoke.”

Gabriel, however, “didn’t seem all that scary last Friday, when he was summoned to the Kanehsatake pow wow grounds,” Curtis continues.

“For one thing, he’d witnessed a gangland hit at his dispensary the previous day and still looked gaunt.”

But while the incident — in which, Curtis reports, “a masked man put three bullets in [Arsène Mompoint], a “gang leader with ties to the Montreal mafia,” as he “was smoking from a hookah pipe outside Gabriel’s shop” — had “clearly rattled Gabriel, “there was little sympathy for him last Friday” amongst “dispensary owners [who had] gathered to discuss the shooting and how to root out violence from Kanehsatake’s lucrative cannabis trade.”

Elsewhere on the site, Sanaa Ali-Mohammed highlights the need to “unpack what it really means to challenge anti-Muslim racism in this country,” — including, she suggests, “examining the deep ambivalence towards Muslims who express their Muslimness in certain ways, which is really just covert Islamophobia in action.”

In fact, she argues, the “underlying discomfort with and exclusion of Muslims who express their Muslimness in certain ways — such as by wearing a hijab, attending a mosque, or choosing to resolve family disputes using faith-based arbitration — demonstrates why ‘Islamophobia’ is an appropriate term.”

Meanwhile, Ricochet contributor Joseph Valentin Dubois, whose bio identifies him as a “college student and climate activist of Prairie Cree heritage — offers a post-July 1 take on the #CancelCanadaDay movement.

“I’ve always had conflicted feelings about this country,” he acknowledges.

“Canada Day has been about recognition of things I can’t be proud of this country for. But I celebrated the things I did like about this country. It’s a bit hard to think about those good parts right now.”

As he sees it, “if we want to be proud of the good parts, we need to first acknowledge the bad,” and “if we want to be proud of our values, we need to live up to them.”

That, he says, is “why taking a year to understand the shameful parts of this country’s past is important” — and “why it’s important to recognize there’s still more that needs to be done.”

Over at Rabble, Joyce Nelson provides an update on the legal battle between “Big plastic” and the federal government over the move to “ban single-use plastic items” by the end of the year.

“On May 12, the federal government added ‘plastic manufactured items’ to the list of toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act,” she reports.

“Within days, 27 members of the $35-billion Canadian plastics industry had formed the ‘Responsible Plastic Use Coalition’ and filed an application for a lawsuit with the Federal Court of Canada.”

The coalition includes “the top three producers of plastic in Canada: NOVA Chemical, Dow Chemical, and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil,” which “make about three-quarters of the plastic polymers produced in Canada,” she notes.

That, she says, prompted some of Canada’s leading environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada, Health and Environment Justice Support, Sierra Club Ontario, Surfrider Foundation Canada, and Toronto Environmental Alliance to launch a new campaign “urging the federal government to defend the ‘toxic’ listing and move ahead swiftly to implement the promised regulations.”

On the international front, Rabble writer Yves Engler delves into “Canada’s indirect responsibility for the assassination” of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, a “violent and corrupt tyrant” whose passing should nevertheless “not be celebrated,” in his view.

“It’s unlikely Canada had a direct hand in Moïse’s assassination,” Engler acknowledges.

“In fact, Canadian officials were likely unhappy about the killing. But, that doesn’t mean Canadian hands aren’t all around the crime scene.”

The Canadian government “has strengthened the most regressive and murderous elements of Haitian society,” he contends — and, along with Washington, D.C., “supports the most retrograde elements of Haitian society largely out of fear of the alternative: a reformist, pro-poor government that seeks out alternative regional arrangements.”’

Over at Press Progress, they’re keeping a watchful eye on one of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s “star candidates”: namely, Melissa Lantsman, who will carry the party’s banner onto the hustings in Thornhill — and who “has no regrets after doorknocking with a provincial politician who was kicked out of Doug Ford’s caucus earlier this year for condemning COVID-19 lockdowns.”

The provincial politico in question is Roman Baber, who tweeted a photo of himself beaming alongside Lantsman with the comment: “Great response for [Melissa Lantsman] at the doors this evening.”

Back in January, PP notes, “Baber tweeted that “lockdowns are deadlier than Covid” and wrote an open letter to Premier Ford claiming that ‘the fear of Covid is exaggerated’ and declaring: ‘The medicine is killing the patient,’ a move that earned him a one-way ticket out of the Progressive Conservative caucus.

“In a statement to PressProgress, Lantsman said she was ‘delighted that (Baber) took time from his busy schedule as an MPP to help us out,’” and added that  “Roman is a friend, a former Thornhill resident and a long-time supporter of the federal Conservative Party of Canada.”

And while Lantsman “did not directly address questions about whether she was concerned that groups with extreme views on COVID-19 and lockdowns could interpret her association with Baber as signaling support for fringe views,” she  “used the opportunity to highlight her support for easing pandemic restrictions,” PP notes.

York University “post-doctoral visitor” Adam D.K. King takes the virtual front page of Passage to pen a pointed critique of now former Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff’s legacy on the front lines of the labour movement in the wake of news that he has been appointed to the Upper House.

“The Senate — that ‘chamber of sober second thought’ specifically designed to contain democracy — has seen a slew of appointments under the Trudeau Liberals,” he writes.

“Yussuff apparently believes he can advance the interests of workers from this unaccountable and undemocratic body” — a position that, according to King, “is in keeping with his record as head of the CLC, where insider connections and ‘pragmatic’ politics stood in for the organization and development of working-class power.”

Finally, Canadian Dimension is launching a new series, in which “CD editors asked NDPers, current and former, to weigh in on the state of social democracy in Canada,” as well as “Avi Lewis’s recent decision to pursue the party’s nomination in West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country.”

First up: Herman Rosenfeld, a “Toronto-based socialist activist, educator, organizer and writer,” as well as “a retired national staffperson with the Canadian Auto Workers (now Unifor),” who makes the case that “efforts to radically transform existing social democratic parties are, and have been, difficult,” and “maybe even impossible,” as he sees it.

“So far, there is little reason to predict that Lewis’s project will call for any radical transformation of the NDP along eco-socialist lines,” he warns.

“As was the case with the introduction of the Leap Manifesto, he seems to have made peace with the party’s establishment. And that establishment—the elected parliamentary caucuses and the ideological core of the party—will not change without a clear mass movement, led by socialists, inside and outside of the party” — which, he says, “seems not be in the cards.”

Given that, he says, “let’s not get lost in irrational exuberance.”

Trending on the right-of-centre side of the Canadian political mediaverse:

  • Rebel News commander Ezra Levant joined Fox News host Tucker Carlson to talk about the “church burnings in Canada” that, as per the  chyron, have put “Canada in crisis.”
  • Back home in British Columbia, Rebel correspondent Drea Humphrey was “physically manhandled by Justin Trudeau’s personal bodyguards” when she attempted to ask him about “the wave of arson targeting churches across Canada.”
  • As part of an ongoing push to get the federal auditor general to conduct a “forensic and thorough examination” of Trudeau’s disastrous 2018 trip to India, Alberta Rebel bureau chief Sheila Gunn Reid unveils “email evidence” that, she contends, “details how Trudeau bureaucrats pressured an Indian hotel to participate in a scheme to hide their own expensive hotel rooms from auditors.”
  • Post Millennial writer Roberto Wakerell-Cruz flags a Toronto Sun story on a Nova Scotia pizza parlor who “announced recently that he would no longer be accepting $10 bills with depictions of Sir John A. Macdonald,” and notes that it’s not clear whether he will accept $20 bills,” which bare [sic] a depiction of the Queen of United Kingdom and the commonwealth, Elizabeth II.”
  • Finally, True North News founder Candice Malcolm continues to call out “legacy media” for what she contends is “misinformation” related to “unmarked graves” on the grounds of former residential schools.