[Marxism] Northerners calling on PM to block patronage appointment...

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Thu Mar 31 16:06:34 MST 2005

Introductory rant by Macdonald Stainsby

Some of these names are already infamous to indigenous and indigenous 
solidarity activists. For example, Burlingame first got involved in the 
Mackenzie "pave it, pump and steal it now" projects by former Indian Affairs 
minister Bob Nault, the same Nault who was MP for the Kenora region and 
helped streamline the continued assaults on Grassy Narrows, both as MP and 
as Indian Affairs Minister. Burlingame, a major player in the promotion of 
gas and petroleum and other "development" corporations' interests in the 
Valley, was appointed only last month without the proceedure laid out in the 
guidelines. Previously, as the article lets on, this southerner who has 
never lived in the north was spending time as government rep for the 
environmental review panel of the same pipeline project.

His patronage appointment was made by Andy Scott, the same current Indian 
and Northern Affairs minister who believes that the solution to poverty on 
reservations is the nationwide introduction of private property. Andy Scott 
is widely seen as one of the most "pro business" DIAND ministers appointed 
in decades. What with the "need" to use natural gas taken from Dene and 
Inuit lands to the north of Alberta to blast massive strip mines to "help" 
pump the ecologically disastrous tar sand oil, Scott seems to believe there 
is no time to waste messing around listening to Indian concerns. Yet at the 
same time, he trumpets the benefits of "a new northern strategy" as a part 
of global warming raising ocean levels and wiping out wentire ice shelves-- 
while producing room for a northwest passage shipping lane. If they believe 
there is no time to waste, we have to make clear that we understand that as 
well, and waste none either.

Though there are some who will be doing so for their own reasons, stopping 
Burlingame from being allowed to be shoved down the collective throats of 
the north, of course in particular the Dene, as Mackenzie Valley Land and 
Water Board chair is another in the fights to defend the region, the 
sovereignty of sovereign nations and, of course, to stop the pipeline.

And we must stop the pipeline.
We also need a "new northern strategy".


Pressure to remove Burlingame moves up channels

WebPosted Mar 31 2005 01:17 PM CST
CBC News

YELLOWKNIFE - There's a move to get Prime Minister Paul Martin to cancel a 
controversial appointment to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Todd Burlingame was recently named chairman by Andy Scott, the Indian and 
Northern Affairs minister.

His appointment has been politically charged from the outset: in January the 
MVLWB recommended three candidates for the job, all of them residents of the 
Northwest Territories. Burlingame, who had moved to British Columbia, was 
not on the list.

At the time MLAs in the territorial legislature called the appointment an 
insult, and said Burlingame, a former oil and gas consultant, will be 
perceived as having the same views on development as the department of 
Indian Affairs.

Now Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen has drafted an open letter circulating 
among northern leaders for their signatures. It asks Martin to cancel 
Burlingame's appointment, and select one of the board's northern nominees.

Burlingame has just completed a turbulent reign as chair of the Mackenzie 
Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. His term expired in February.

Like the Water Board appointment, the minister disregarded a board 
recommendation when making him chair of the Environmental Impact Review 
Board in 2002. Shortly after his arrival at the MVEIRB, board member Gordon 
Wray was fired by the minister of the day, Bob Nault. Another later resigned.

"It surprises me that DIAND and our MP would be so arrogant as to reappoint 
this guy to another board, after what happened at the Review Board," said 
Joe Acorn, an environmental consultant who was fired from the MVEIRB.

Acorn says he suspects the reason for Burlingame's appointment is the 
Mackenzie gas and pipeline project.

"If you want to make a board that's more industry-friendly, that's the way 
to go," he says. "So they got a major project coming up, they want to give 
it a cleaner ride through the regulatory process, he's the guy to go to."

In the appointment letter, Scott urges Burlingame to do an "independent, 
comprehensive management review" of the land and water board's operations.

Burlingame's appointment comes with a salary, instead of the usual 
honorarium of $550 a day. The minister's office says Burlingame will get 
"travel, accomodation and living expenses according to Treasury Board 

"The only logical explanation for me is that maybe Todd [Burlingame] is a 
puppet of the minister of Indian Affairs," says Noeline Villebrun, president 
of the Dene Nation.

Salaried or not?

Burlingame refused a CBC request to do a recorded interview. But he says the 
minister's letter is incorrect, and he won't be on salary, won't get 
benefits or vacation pay, and won't work full time.

He says a salary and benefits would put him in an obvious conflict over any 
application to the board involving Indian and Northern Affairs. He's 
expecting a new letter of offer.

However, a spokesperson for the minister, Campbell Morrison, confirmed 
Burlingame's job is full-time, with a salary up to $105,000 a year, and 
there will be no new letter of offer.

Morrison says Burlingame will also get four weeks' annual leave, and other 
benefits according to MVLWB policy.

Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope
	--Bertholt Brecht.

More information about the Marxism mailing list