Grand Chief Derek Nepinak attends World Human Rights Forum in Morocco


Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of Canada is currently in Morocco attending the World Human Rights Forum (Forum mondial des droits de l’Homme),  Morocco is following Brazil in the organization of the event which is being held in Marrakech from the 27 to the 30th of November 2014. Over 7,500 delegates from around the world are in attendance.

While attending he wore his headdress, and was interviewed by media on issues such as the denial of human rights for indigenous peoples in the nation state of Canada; 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls; and the 10’s of thousands of Native children apprehended in state care.

Facebook photo
Facebook photo
Nepinak wrote this along with his photo on his Facebook page, "Honouring the tools I have to work with today in Marrakesh, Moroccco. Lots of chatter amongst the winged ones outside my room. They're not familiar w our medicines but welcome it. Trees demand acknowledgement as well in my morning pipe ceremony. Thanking creator for my little ones, my family, giving thanks for bringing me here, thanking all those who know the reasons why I'm here & praying for understanding for those who don't. "
Nepinak wrote this along with his photo on his Facebook page, “Honouring the tools I have to work with today in Marrakesh, Moroccco. Lots of chatter amongst the winged ones outside my room. They’re not familiar w our medicines but welcome it. Trees demand acknowledgement as well in my morning pipe ceremony. Thanking creator for my little ones, my family, giving thanks for bringing me here, thanking all those who know the reasons why I’m here & praying for understanding for those who don’t. “

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak addressed the World Forum on Human Rights in Marrakech, Morocco on November 28, 2014. He introduced himself in his Native tongue, English and French.

“Unfortunately colonialism is alive and well in Canada. A discussion on the efficacy of human rights in the context of indigenous people’s living in the nation state of Canada is a complex discussion. On the surface Canada has maintained an image of being world leaders in the protection of human rights, when the experience and reality for indigenous peoples living within the margins of the nation state is much different,” said Nepinak.

“The application of Canadian colonial police and law in Canada, to the detriment of indigenous peoples, points to an inter generational genocide.”

“Overwhelming after last speech @ forum. Many requests for pics & interviews. Ppl from around the world happy we were here. Listened to our call for real action and call for inquiry into indigenous women & girls who are missing or murdered. And my request for the UN rapporteur on education, who was sitting feet from me, to come see the conditions of our education apartheid…” said Nepinak

Below is the video link for Grand Chief Nepinak’s address at the Forum.

He also spoke during the closing ceremony on November 30th:

“We have traveled here to tell you about what it is like to live in a nation state that has pushed aside its indigenous people. We are here to tell you about the challenges we face with our murdered and missing women and girls.”  Nepinak brought up the recent statistics out of Alberta where 18 children under the Child Welfare System have died since April, the “residential school legacy,” and the “education apartheid.”

“We are living in a very difficult time… We are very very resilient. We are going through a renaissance of who we are… Our sovereignty is expressed through the life of our women.”

His closing remarks can be viewed here, followed by remarks of Deanna Ledoux:

Suzanne Côté appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada

Photo: Pierre-Louis Mongeau
Photo: Pierre-Louis Mongeau

Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper has appointed Suzanne Côté to the Supreme Court replacing retiring Justice Louis LeBel.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Suzanne Côté to the Supreme Court of Canada. With her wealth of legal knowledge and decades of experience, Ms. Côté will be a tremendous benefit to this important Canadian institution,” said Harper. “Her appointment is the result of broad consultations with prominent members of the Quebec legal community and we believe she will be a valued addition to Canada’s highest court.”

Suzanne Côté is a partner and head of the Montréal litigation practice at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and she specializes in complex civil and commercial litigation, including cases involving manufacturer’s liability, and class actions, and public law. She received the Advocatus Emeritus distinction in 2011 from the Barreau du Québec. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2005.

Ms. Côté has been recognized as among the Best Lawyers in Canada 2013, the World’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2012, Canada’s Leading Litigation Lawyers 2012, Litigator of the Year 2008, and among Canada’s Top 25 Women Lawyers 2003.

Ms. Côté has litigated in provincial and federal trial courts and courts of appeal, including the Quebec Superior Court, Quebec Court of Appeal, the Federal Courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been affiliated with the Quebec Bar Association since 1981 and the Canadian Bar Association since 1980.

Sharing her time and knowledge with others, Ms. Côté taught evidence and civil representation at the École du Barreau du Québec and has been a member of the board of directors of the Jean Duceppe Foundation. She has also worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Ms. Côté obtained her law degree from l’Université Laval and lectured at l’Université du Québec à Rimouski and at l’Université de Montréal.

Originally from the Gaspésie, Ms. Côté was a member of the Board of Directors for the historical society of Gaspésie and President of the Chamber of Commerce in Gaspé.

Before joining Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Ms. Côté was a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP (Montreal), Côté & Ranger (Gaspé), and Michaud & Côté (Gaspé), and a lawyer with Jean-Roch Michaud (Gaspé). Ms. Côté shares her life with Gérald R. Tremblay. Her parents live in Gaspé.

Deleting Virtual Violence Youth Contest Announced

contestAdolescent girls and young women are victims of virtual violence that manifests itself through numerous cases of cyber threats, bullying, the use of demeaning phrases and stereotyped and violent images in electronic media such as emails, social networks, blogs, text messages and mobile phones. This violence constitutes a violation of women’s right to live free of violence.

In preparation for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) invites you to participate in the “ Delete virtual violence” contest and develop your own audiovisual or graphic campaign with concrete proposals to eradicate this violence.

The CIM will select 3 proposals that will be posted on CIM’s Website and social media. The deadline for submitting your proposal is February 8th, 2015.

The selection criteria will be:
-contest theme
-technical skill

1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes: presentation of the graphic/audiovisual campaign to the 2015 CIM Assembly of Delegates. Airfare and hotel expenses will be covered by the CIM.

This contest is open to students between the ages of 18 and 25.
You are allowed to use graphic design software, cameras, tape recorders, and cell phones, among other tools.

General description

New technologies are changing the way in which young people live their relationships and participate in the open world of the social network. While this has positive aspects, it can also raise problems. The technologies currently in use allow someone to know at all times where their partner is, what he/she is doing, who he/she is talking to, what he/she is telling other people … This can lead to disappointment and deception, extreme jealousy, attempts to control and dominate, public humiliation, and even harassment. These manifestations seen in various social networks are sometimes the prelude to a violent relationship or the first signs of establishing a domineering relationship. In many cases they are the result of psychological violence exercised by a partner on a daily basis, and can also be transmitted virtually, with the same implications.

Virtual violence, expressed in insults, defamation, images or videos in cyberspace that denigrate the image of women is a new form of abuse experienced by young people. Legal mechanisms to denounce this violence however, are few. Virtual violence causes moral harm, including threats, and can influence personality and generate low self-esteem, including anger, paranoia, depression and fear. Another type of violence is sending emails with sexually explicit videos, insinuations, messages or files containing pornographic content, instead of using this tool to foster communication.

Invasion of privacy also exists in cyberspace and is considered an act of violence. This occurs when a person enters a social network, blog or a virtual environment without the owner’s consent and uses personal data like videos, pictures or stories. Many times this information is modified, stolen or published.

Society should be responsible for the correct use of technology, and denounce those who use it to harass, violate rights and assault women. Therefore, we invite you to participate in this contest and create your own campaign for Deleting Virtual Violence. Your task will be to design a poster, collage, computer graphics and photography or a 2-5 minute video with a testimonial, documentary or an animation related to any of the topics of the support document.

Images should be in digital format, in color or black and white, between 800 KB to 5MB and in JPG or TIFF format. They should be saved as RGB color mode (even if they are in black and white).

Send your campaign via email to The campaign should include a Word document with the name of the author, date of birth, name of the school/university, home phone, email, and title of the campaign: Deleting Virtual Violence

Support document for creating your campaign

For the first time, the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence, known as the Belém do Pará Convention, establishes women’s right to live free of violence. This Inter-American treaty adopted in 1994 by 32 of the 34 OAS Member States served as the basis for the design and adoption of laws and policies on prevention, eradication and punishment of violence against women in the States Party to the Convention, as well as the development of national plans, campaigns and the implementation of protocols and care services, among other initiatives. The Convention has made a significant contribution to strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Through the Belém do Pará Convention, the States Party agreed that violence against women:“…constitutes a violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and impairs or nullifies the observance, enjoyment and exercise of such rights and freedoms”

How is violence against women defined?
In Article 1, the Convention defines violence against women as “…any act or conduct, based on gender, which causes death or physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, whether in the public or the private sphere.”

Article 2 recognizes three types of violence:
1. Physical violence
2. Sexual violence
3. Psychological violence

The Convention also highlights three spheres where this violence
takes place:
1. In private life Violence that occurs within the family or domestic unit or within any other interpersonal relationship, even when the perpetrator no longer lives with the victim.
2. In public life Violence that is perpetrated by any person and occurs in the community, in the workplace, in educational institutions,health facilities or any other place; and
3. Violence that is perpetrated or condoned by the state or its agents regardless of where it occurs

Through the Belém do Pará Convention, States recognized that violence against women:

“…pervades every sector of society regardless of class, race or ethnic group, income, culture, level of education, age or religion and strikes at its very foundations”

Gender-based violence is a manifestation of inequality between men and women. It is based on the superiority of one sex over the other, of men over women.

We are all educated differently from childhood, which makes us behave differently. This is called the “process of socialization,” in which we adopt different behaviors that meet the expectations placed on us as men or women. This process takes from birth and, when unchallenged, lasts throughout our lives. It extends to different spheres including family, school and work.

Relationships can be diverse and complex. However, all relationships have common practices, behaviors and gender roles, acquired in childhood, which are learned and reinforced on a daily basis. Many of these practices generate violence. Since we have learned and assimilated these from childhood we tend not to consider them as forms of violence.

What do we mean by physical, psychological and sexual violence?

Physical violence: any action that may cause bodily injury, illness or risk of illness.

Psychological violence: any act that causes or is likely to cause psychological harm. Any act that may undermine someone’s self-confidence and cause suffering such as degrading comments, insults, humiliation, partner control, blaming your partner for everything that happens.

Sexual violence: forcing your partner to have sex against her will by abuse of power, authority or through deceit.

Violence can be measured

The “violence metre”, a tool that allows for identifying partner violence, shows that physical and psychological violence can be disguised in a playful form. It also indicates that jealousy, threats, constant phone calls, and prohibitions from partners regarding dressing, which are mistakenly perceived as normal situations, ways of affection, attention and love, are indicators of violence (see chart).

For more information, email us at

Jody Thomas promoted to Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Jody Thomas, currently Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Privy Council Office, has been promoted to Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, effective January 1, 2015.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to congratulate Marc Grégoire, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, on his upcoming retirement from the Public Service and to thank him for his many achievements and service to Canadians during his 31-year career.

Thomas’ Education: Bachelor of Commerce, University of Calgary
Bachelor of Arts, Carleton University
Professional Experience

Since September 2014
Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Privy Council Office

2010 – 2014
Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Canadian Coast Guard

2007 – 2010
Chief Operating Officer, Passport Canada

2004 – 2007
Director General, Security, Passport Canada

2003 – 2004
Director, Security Operations, Passport Canada

1995 – 2003
Manager, Security Operations, and various other positions, Passport Canada

1988 – 1995
Various positions, Public Works and Government Services Canada

President of the Native Women’s Association named Women of the Year

micheleThe Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in Ottawa has just announced that their president Michèle Audette, has been selected ‘Woman of the Year 2014’ by the Montreal Council of Women (MCW). “President Audette, along with Nakuset from the Native women’s shelter of Montreal, are being honoured for their exceptional work, dedication and perseverance both have shown over the course of their career to improve the lives of Aboriginal women,” said the statement.

The MWC publicly recognizes and honours exceptional women who have made significant contributions to society. The recipient(s) of this prestigious award is an exceptional woman, who through her daily actions, her strength of character and political path, contributes to the advancement and well-being of women. She is a role model, who inspires others to excel, has worked to facilitate the advancement of women by breaking down barriers; has outstanding leadership skills, courage and resourcefulness, has initiated innovative actions, programs and is an inspiration to others.

The NWAC said it is proud and very pleased that President Audette is being recognized for her many achievements and is being honoured for the work that she is doing to improve the lives of Aboriginal women in Canada.

In September 2014 Audette told the Canadian press that she would be relinquishing her post to run for the federal Liberals in the next election.

“The Native Women’s Association has been one of the loudest voices calling on the Conservative government to hold a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls,” writes the Huffington Post.

Painting Poppies… Lest We Forget

I heard about the poppy painting in my area through social media via the City of Coquitlam.  A few photos is all it took, along with a gorgeous sunny fall day yesterday to run out and find Blue Mountain Park in upper Coquitlam to take some photos of a community based participatory exhibit (Parkspark) that took place over the past week and will be featured today, Remembrance Day 2014.

Finding Blue Mountain Park was a delight in itself as it’s a beautiful park with solid old trees, concrete art sculptures and the only veteran memorial cenotaph in the City.

What a delight to see the poppies first hand and although I came late, a couple City workers were still on site and I was able to paint my own poppy.  I was moved by the notes that school children and others placed upon yellow ribbons tied to the many trees along the park on Porter Street.  Poppies were also planted by school children.

Today there will be a memorial ceremony to remember those that died for our country.

It makes me proud that the famous poem, “In Flanders Field” was written by a Canadian. It has a haunting sound when spoken or read and brings back childhood memories of reading it each year in school.

Messages of Remembrance  (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
Messages of Remembrance (Photo: Robbin Whachell)

In Flanders fields the poppies grow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

“In Flanders Fields” was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. “In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch. – Wikipedia

See more of my photos from my visit HERE

Blue Mountain Park, Coquitlam  (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
Blue Mountain Park, Coquitlam (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
Private Fredrick Primeau who served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1917 to 1919 and was in Flander's Field- France...He is my Great Grandfather...
Private Fredrick Primeau who served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1917 to 1919 and was in Flander’s Field- France…He is my Great Grandfather…