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Chris Selley: Ottawa hands Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs total victory, while band members lose

After months of conjecture and leaks of uncertain veracity, Wet’suwet’en members finally got a chance last week to see what their hereditary chiefs had agreed with the British Columbia and federal governments with respect to control over their ancestral lands. The hereditary chiefs are selling it hard.

“You will be the first Indigenous Nation in Canada to have recognition of your Aboriginal title over your territory by agreement,” they boasted in a backgrounder document explaining the memorandum of understanding. In return, they added, the signatory federal and British Columbia governments got “absolutely nothing.”

“Canada and B.C. recognize the Wet’suwet’en rights and title are held by the Wet’suwet’en houses under their system of government,” reads the first paragraph of the memorandum of understanding. Perhaps that’s suitable for framing. But the nature of those rights and title is still to be negotiated over many months. Excluding titles and signatures, the memorandum consists of one page; the landmark 1999 Nisga’a agreement, the first modern treaty signed in B.C. for a century, has 252.

This is a massive undertaking. To wit: “Areas of jurisdiction that will need to be addressed include… child and family wellness; water; Wet’suwet’en national reunification strategy; wildlife; fish; land use planning; lands and resources; revenue sharing, fair and just compensation, economic component of Aboriginal title; informed decision making; and such other areas as the Wet’suwet’en propose.”

“In some cases the jurisdiction that is transferred… will be exclusive, and in some cases it will be shared with Canada or B.C.”

None of the jurisdiction will be transferred until “specifics on how Aboriginal and Crown titles interface have been addressed,” or until “clarity” is achieved on the “Wet’suwet’en governance structures, systems, and laws.”

All of that is supposed to happen within 12 months. It’s more likely Donald Trump and Joe Biden will walk together on the moon.

In the meantime, the memorandum has precisely zero immediate effect on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project — which is odd, because the controversy over that pipeline is the only reason this memorandum exists. It was what forced government ministers to the table… and yet what they’ve come up with solves nothing.

It’s more likely Donald Trump and Joe Biden will walk together on the moon

In theory, there’s no bad time to sit down and hammer out longstanding disagreements. But this conflict has introduced Canadians to a tragically divided community with a uniquely dysfunctional governance structure that everyone agrees needs reform — including the hereditary chiefs, at least according to the memorandum, to the point of requiring a “national reunification strategy.”

In opposing the pipeline the hereditary chiefs are at loggerheads with the elected band councils and, as far as anyone can tell, a solid majority of Wet’suwet’en members. They have stripped pro-pipeline hereditary chiefs of their titles and installed anti-pipeline replacements. They did not keep promises — echoed by provincial and federal politicians — to at least run the memorandum of understanding by the rank and file. They wouldn’t even distribute draft copies. Now Wet’suwet’en members are supposed to believe identical promises that they’ll be kept in the loop going forward.

Understandably, then, many of them see this memorandum as fruit of a poison tree, and a rotten foundation on which to build a new future. “If (the negotiation) goes ahead you’ll see more separation within the nation and they’re already separating clans and clan members, and houses,” Gary Naziel, a hereditary subchief, told Canadian Press.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary subchief Gary Naziel.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/File

“We’re not understanding what is the rush here,” elected chief Maureen Luggi told CBC — a sentiment Naziel echoed. “We sat here for 30 years already, waiting and talking about it,” Naziel said. “We can wait another year or two. It’s not going to hurt anything.”

Indeed, from the average Wet’suwet’en member’s point of view, there is no hurry at all. The logical thing would be to fix the governance structure, heal the wounds that need healing, and then undertake these monumental negotiations.

But for the governments involved, this wasn’t about offering the Wet’suwet’en a better future. It was about putting out a fire: A group of Mohawks thousands of kilometres away in eastern Ontario had blockaded CN’s main line in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs; and the Ontario Provincial Police, armed with an injunction demanding the blockade end, refused to lift a finger.

Somebody had to get screwed, and it was the rank-and-file Wet’suwet’en

Something had to give. Somebody had to get screwed, and it was the rank-and-file Wet’suwet’en. For no good reason whatsoever, the hereditary chiefs now hold all the keys to their future. It’s an appalling and appallingly predictable result.

“I don’t see why the government gave them this, because this has got nothing to do with what the protests across Canada started from,” chief Dan George of Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation told CBC. “Those issues are not resolved. They can set up roadblocks again and do it again, and that’s what I’m worried about.”

If negotiations don’t go well, that might well prove to be a prescient remark. But for now, the hereditary chiefs’ victory is total: They have every reason to stay the course. The message to other groups, however, is clear: If you want to advance your cause, make friends with the Ontario Mohawks. They pretty much run the country.

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About Last Night: Habs’ victory over the Capitals was for pride

Canadiens’ Tomas Tatar skates past Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom in front of goalie Carey Price Thursday night in Washington.

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Noted poet laureate, Jay Z, once said: “moral victories are for minor league coaches”.

He’s not wrong. But, the Canadiens sought to be the exception to that line after they earned a moral and literal victory over the Washington Capitals Thursday night. It’s a victory that won’t resuscitate their playoff chances, but they needed one to temporarily forget about the Tuesday night loss to the lowly Detroit Red Wings.

If the Canadiens’ playoff chances were unofficially on life support after picking up two points in four games last week, then Detroit’s comeback win over the Canadiens Tuesday night was enough to call a coroner. 

Habs fans will stew on that Detroit loss (better yet, all four of them this season) for a while. Can you imagine how the players must feel?

But since the team still doesn’t wish to quit on themselves, the only victories for them to earn are moral ones from here on out.

The Habs can, at least, say they won a game against a good team while having more high danger chances than their opponent. They can say they won a game while spending most of the contest leading the shot counter. Montreal even had 17 shots on net in the second period while Washington didn’t play their best.

There’s been quite a few games this season where the Canadiens have peppered shots on an opposing goalie but to no avail. You’ll be happy to know that the Canadiens are second in the National Hockey League in shots per game, and have the league’s third-best Corsi For percentage per Natural Stat Trick.

The Habs wanted no part in history either. Alexander Ovechkin was chasing his 700th career goal Thursday. He scored his 699th career goal but did not get the milestone he was chasing.

By the way, it’s totally acceptable to have wanted history to be made Thursday night.

It’s only a temporary feeling of happiness, but the Canadiens can take some comfort in knowing they were able to get a victory over a top National Hockey League team.

Once reality hits, they’ll have to deal with their defensive unit taking another hit with Xavier Ouellet being injured against the Caps. They already won’t have Victor Mete in the lineup Saturday against Ottawa. The Canadiens also traded away Marco Scandella this week.

But hey, the Habs won. Blood, sweat, tears, and all. A victory for a group that has run out of answers for why the season has gone as it has.

You may reply that the standards for Canadiens’ victories may be lowered. But, at this point in the season, this is where they’re at.

•  •  •

Here’s the best of the liveblog from last night’s game:


dayz c

From the Caps’ perspective the wrong number 8 scored two goals. Who would’ve thought the Habs’ #8 would outscore the Caps’ #8.


Joseph Barrie

Well deserved. Excuse me while I lose my ability to speak tomorrow. Metro ride home gonna be good.

Len Winger

Who is this team??

Arthur Chilli

We have a shot at catching San Jose – in upside down standings – and draft #6. Just Do what you do best Habs….










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Trent Alexander-Arnold hails Liverpool’s ‘best performance of the season’ after ruthless victory vs Leicester

Trent Alexander-Arnold has hailed Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Leicester City as their “best performance of the season” after going 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The 21-year-old played a starring role for the Reds from right-back as he scored one goal and made three for his team-mates as the Reds blew away their nearest title challengers.

Roberto Firmino helped himself to a brace with James Milner scoring from the penalty spot as Jurgen Klopp’s side made it 17 wins from 18 games and 35 unbeaten.

And Alexander-Arnold believes that with the win coming just four days after they returned from Qatar as Club World Cup winners, it was their most ruthless display of the season so far.

“We played really good football especially given how much travelling we’ve done,” he told Amazon Prime Video Sport.

Alexander-Arnold played a part in all four goals as Liverpool beat Leicester 4-0  Photo: PA

“We controlled the game, they never had many good chances to score and of course, to get the clean sheet and score four goals, we can proud of that. So yeah, it probably is our best win of the season.”

Milner echoed Alexander-Arnold’s sentiments and even suggested the four-goal margin should have been bigger, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane both missing golden chances.

“I thought we stopped them playing,” he said.

“We defended well and created chances, especially in the first half, and if we had been clinical we could have scored more. It was a good solid performance.”

Click here for our guide on how to watch all Amazon Prime Premier League fixtures for free, on December 26 and December 27

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Boris Johnson takes victory lap of newly won north of England seats – Channel 4 News

Boris Johnson has promised former Labour voters he will ‘repay’ their trust as he visited the northeast of England to congratulate newly elected Tory MPs. He declared he wanted to spread opportunity to everyone.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has faced more fury from former Labour MPs who lost their seats, claiming he had ‘failed as a communicator’ and warning that if the party didn’t sort itself out, it could spell the end of the Labour movement altogether.

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Major victory for Catalyst against HBC take-private deal as OSC delays shareholder vote

The Ontario Securities Commission has decided to push back a crucial shareholder vote on the takeover of Hudson’s Bay Co., effectively freezing the transaction until the company releases a more detailed story on how the deal came together.

The decision, announced late Friday evening, marks a major victory for Catalyst Capital Group Inc., the private equity firm that has tried for months to thwart HBC chairman Richard Baker’s quest to take Canada’s oldest company private.

At the OSC, Catalyst was seeking an order to either block or stall the privatization offer, put forward by Baker and his group of majority shareholders.

After nine hours of closing arguments on Friday, the OSC’s three-person panel dismissed Catalyst’s request to block the deal. But the panel said it will require Hudson’s Bay to amend and reissue its circular, which was originally sent to shareholders last month to inform them about the deal. The weeks-long process of reissuing the circular means HBC has to postpone the upcoming vote at a shareholder meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

During the hearing — crammed into two days, so the OSC could make a decision before Tuesday’s vote — Catalyst complained that HBC didn’t properly inform shareholders about crucial detail. Catalyst paid particular focus to Baker’s involvement in a $1.5 billion deal to sell HBC’s European assets to Signa Holdings, while also contemplating a bid to takeover HBC using the proceeds from the sale.

In their recommendation to the panel, OSC staff said they were concerned with testimony from special committee chair David Leith, who told the OSC that Baker informed the board of directors in late March that he was thinking about buying the company, while the Signa deal was still in flux.

OSC staff said that a special committee should have started monitoring the take-private situation immediately, since Baker had evolved “from someone who had managed the company to someone who wanted to buy the company.”

There was a clear conflict

But the special committee wasn’t formally tasked with supervising the privatization process until June 9, a day before two press releases — one announcing the Signa sale, the other announcing Baker’s take-private bid — were released within minutes of each other.

That information wasn’t in HBC’s circular about the deal last month, and it should have been, OSC staff said in their remarks toward the end of the hearing. HBC released those details in a press release last week, but staff recommended HBC still needed to send out a revised circular to quell confusion.

“(We) invite you to read the circular again knowing what you now know,” OSC lawyer Rikin Morzaria told the panel. “There was a clear conflict that put Mr. Baker’s interests directly in conflict with minority shareholders.”

HBC argued that Baker’s comment to the board about privatization was merely an idea in March, far from the concrete proposal that emerged in June. And HBC did have a special committee throughout the spring, though its mandate was to watch the Signa deal, as well as the sale of HBC’s banner Lord and Taylor.

HBC lawyer Seumas Woods implored the OSC not to make an order in the case, arguing that it would give the wrong impression that the HBC board was “with their hands caught in the cookie jar.”

HBC chairman Richard Baker.

Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press/File

“Somebody merely expresses an interest and you’ve got to go down this (special committee) route? That is not a message you want to send to the markets,” Woods said, before the panel made its decision. “The mere fact that you make an order in this case is sending a message that the special committee did not do their job properly and they require adult supervision.”

Baker group lawyer Eliot Kolers said ordering a revised circular would be “a very dangerous road to go down.”

“Mr. Baker, at no time, acted in a clandestine manner,” Kolers said.

He accused Catalyst of pursuing its own economic interests and interfering in a chance for other minority shareholders to extract cash value from the struggling department store chain.

Baker’s group of majority shareholders is offering $10.30 per share in the deal, which has been approved by the HBC board of director’s special committee in charge of vetting the privatization bid. Catalyst announced a competing bid, for $11 per share, which the special committee dismissed as a non-starter last month after the Baker group declined to sell its 57 per cent stake.

“They’re holding this process hostage,” Kolers said.

The OSC will file a formal order by the middle of next week. After the panel deliberated for 15 minutes, OSC vice-chair Grant Vingoe said the order will outline what disclosures need to be included in the new circular, to be mailed to shareholders. In the interim, HBC agreed to postpone Tuesday’s shareholder meeting.

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Boris Johnson’s Conservatives win decisive victory in crucial election

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a convincing election victory Friday, easily passing the threshold to form a stable government and set the course for the country’s exit from the European Union.

An exit poll had predicted a clear majority for Johnson’s Conservative Party and just after 5 a.m. it secured the necessary 326 seats to win a majority in the House of Commons, with the BBC predicting an overall majority of 78 when all the results are confirmed.

As of 7 a.m. the party had won 362 seats, an increase of 47 on the last election in 2017, higher than recent opinion polls had predicted.

The win means the United Kingdom is all but certain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31. A divided Parliament has refused to back Johnson’s withdrawal bill several times — but he now has enough lawmakers to push it through the House three-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum.

Speaking to party activists in London, Johnson said the election result meant that “getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people.”

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He addressed the millions of voters who are not traditional Conservative supporters but chose the party this time, promising that Parliament had to change.

“I say to you that in this election your voice has been heard and about time too. We politicians have squandered the last three and half years. We’ve even been arguing about arguing and the tone of our arguments.

“I will put an end to all that nonsense. We will get Brexit done by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.”

President Donald Trump was among the world leaders to congratulate Johnson on his win, adding his support for a post-Brexit transatlantic trade deal.

The election, the third in four years, had been described as the most important in a generation as it represented the last realistic opportunity to block Brexit.

It’s an historic win for Johnson, the biggest Parliamentary majority since Margaret Thatcher won a decisive victory for the Conservatives in 1987.

But it’s been a disastrous election for the socialist Labour Party, which saw its vote share drop eight percent overall and the loss of key seats across the country in its worst general election performance in three decades. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would stand down before the next election, without setting a date, after a period of “reflection.”

Former industrial heartlands which have been staunchly Labour for decades swung to the Conservatives. Dennis Skinner, the 87-year-old veteran socialist who has held the seat of Bolsover in Derbyshire since 1970, lost by 5,000 votes. Sedgefield in the north-east of England, the former seat for three-time election winner Prime Minister Tony Blair, also voted Conservative.

It wasn’t much better for the centrist Liberal Democrat Party — who promised to cancel Brexit if elected — which saw its leader Jo Swinson lose her seat in East Dunbartonshire in Scotland and the party fail to make many gains elsewhere.

The election raises questions, however, about the future of the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scotland to be an independent nation, won 48 seats, an increase of 13.

Scotland narrowly voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum but the SNP’s success makes a second referendum more likely, although it is up to the prime minister to decide whether to hold one.

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