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Canadians to target Kahnawake

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Mar 5, 2008.

    Mar 5, 2008
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

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    OTTAWA - The federal government said yesterday it is considering new measures to stamp out Internet gaming sites based on a native reserve in Quebec, in a move that could spark conflict between Ottawa and Canada's First Nations ahead of a second national "day of action" this summer.

    The government deems the 400 or so poker and sports-betting sites operating from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal to be illegal, but neither federal not provincial governments have attempted to enforce the law. Now Ottawa is reviewing that position.

    "Following recent concerns surrounding Internet gambling in Canada, the Minister of Justice [Rob Nicholson] has asked his officials to examine whether the enforcement of the Criminal Code provisions could be assisted with other measures," said Genevieve Breton, Mr. Nicholson's director of communications.

    The "other measures" are understood to be moves to restrict banks and credit card companies from conducting financial transactions with illegal Internet operators. Similar legislation was enacted in the United States two years ago......
     
  2. Mar 5, 2008
  3. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Speaking as an ex-pat Canadian I can assure you that this kind of thing is a ritual in Canada. The tug of war between the feds and the reserves is perpetual, it's been going on my whole life. Almost every term of office sees this issue raised in one form or another and the net affect is usually absolutely zero.

    The other thing that plays heavily here is that Kahnawake is based in Quebec and that severely restricts the reach that the feds have over them. Those of you familiar with Canadian politics will know that Quebec has been granted rather extensive powers within it's borders insofar as many federal issues are concerned. Reserve rights and powers are very definitely part of that.

    The bottom line is that the feds can't touch the Quebec reserves unless Quebec agrees and even then anything that happens has to be done by Quebec on behalf of the feds. Given the often antagonistic history of relations between the (Francophone) Quebec government and the (largely Anglophone) feds I'll let you guess how rare that is.

    I can certainly see the Feds going after the banks ala the US legislation -- the Canadian Feds are often lock-stepped behind the US in matters like this ... largely because the US has the "diplomatic influence" to see that it stays that way and that's doubly true with the current Canadian government -- but extending their reach to the reserves, especially the Quebec reserves, is an entirely different matter.

    Look at it this way: the Canadian Feds are ever eager to be the friend of whatever US administration happens to be in power. The US has ten times the population of Canada and a million times the economic power ... you do the math. It is very rare indeed when a US administration comes down with some pet policy that the Canadians don't get up on the stage to bang the drum right along with them. The war on drugs, NAFTA, gas and oil, beef, lumber, water ... the list is endless. Basically whatever the US wants the US gets, however quiet the Canadian government may be about enforcing it. So ...

    It would be a bit of a surprise if the Canadians didn't make some noise for the US re: the UIGEA, and one can well imagine that that means shaking the sabres at Kahnawake. I guess what I'm saying is don't hold your breath on the Canadian feds setting policy for Quebec reserves any time soon.
     
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  4. Mar 5, 2008
  5. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Can't resist. Here's more from the article Jetset cited (my italics):

    What the Mohawks don't say is that because they are within Quebec borders they are basically a nation (the Mohawks) within a nation (Quebec) within a nation (Canada), a situation made possible by the systematic transfer of power from the Canadian central government to the regions over the last fifty or so years.

    Basically what it boils down to is that the Feds in Canada have jurisdiction over the Anglos and those minorities who aren't strong or vocal enough to carve off their own powers.

    It's worth noting that the situation is going to be quite different for the first nations peoples in Alberta. Historically they do what they're told to do by the Alberta government and Alberta is more or less the Texas of Canada ... in other words I wish them luck. Unless of course there's an economic benefit to the Alberta provincial government that is too significant to ignore, then Alberta can be quite tough in it's ability to stand up to and face down the feds.
     
  6. Mar 5, 2008
  7. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

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    Points well and interestingly made on the Canadian political scene.

    A while back this might have been viewed with more alarm, but since the emergence of perhaps "better" jurisdictions closer to Europe the threat to the industry as a whole is mitigated even if the Kahnawake were to be taken down.

    UK white-listing had the practical effect of influencing any number of licensees to seek additional jurisdictions anyway. And given the traditionally weak player-sensitivity of the Mohawks there will be little sympathy for them if the feds do move in.

    The National Post story highlights something that the Canadians have yet to learn from their American [government] cousins - UIGEA has been effective to a degree, but it now seems to be bogging down on the practicalities of implementation - the criticisms of the regulations for example.

    The USA gave a direction for other protectionist or monopolistic nations in the UIGEA - now we see suggestions that the French, Norwegians, Germans and Canadians are toying with the same sort of approach. One can only hope that good sense and Charlie McCreevy will put the brakes on that.

    At the root it is not truly moral objections imo, but (depending on whose agenda it is) a mix of commercial protectionism, politics and religious groups with a control compulsion regarding their fellow citizens.
     
  8. Mar 5, 2008
  9. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Good analysis Brian, I think you've pretty much nailed it.

    The only part I'm not quite convinced of though is the motive for the recent noises from the Canadian gov't. I seriously think it's got more to do with the traditional weak-kneed Canadian "we're with the big guy" approach to international policy than it does with any home-grown Canadian protectionist policies.

    I'll bet dollars to doughnut holes that the Canadians would have left the Mohawks to do their thing until the cows came home if they hadn't got one of those "this is what friends do (for us)" calls from Resident Dubya.
     
  10. Mar 5, 2008
  11. littlebit

    littlebit Dormant account

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    Max,I think that would be an excellent bet to make. The government here wants to make sure to spread the misery around to their "friends".
     
  12. Mar 6, 2008
  13. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Sure seems that way, doesn't it?
     
  14. Mar 6, 2008
  15. wangpoker

    wangpoker Experienced Member PABnononaccred2 webmeister

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    I don't care Kahnawake, but the following message makes me very upset.

    I'll never vote the Conservative.
     
  16. Mar 6, 2008
  17. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

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    Here's another - and expert - perspective on the issue:

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    1 person likes this.
  18. Mar 6, 2008
  19. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Good one Jetset, nice addition to the thread.

    Just thought I'd add a footnote here. In this second article there's a quote:
    For any of you not familiar with the contemporary history of the Mohawks in Quebec there have been many such incidents. In the recent past, at least, the Mohawks have shown a distinct willingness to defend what they believe to be their sovereign rights and land with armed resistance. I can think of two or three such incidents off the top of my head.

    The first was the infamous Oka incident in 1990 which ended up involving the Canadian Army and a lot of heavily armed Mohawk "Warriors" in a confrontation over treaty land rights.

    Later that same year shots were fired on Mohawk lands over casino jurisdictions.

    And a few years later the Canadian RCMP were in armed conflict with Mohawks selling cut-rate gasoline and cigarettes that they'd brought in from the US (both items are specifically controlled by Federal legislation).

    To the best of my knowledge the Mohawks were eventually left to settle their own affairs in all of these incidents. They've got a pretty good track record of getting what they want when they demonstrate that they really want it.
     
  20. Mar 6, 2008
  21. heatherad

    heatherad Senior Member

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    :what:
     
  22. Mar 6, 2008
  23. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Sorry heatherad, what does " :what: " mean in this context?

    I'm going to guess and suggest you were wondering what I meant by "one of those 'this is what friends do (for us)' calls", yes?

    The US administration is historically quite willing to call the Canadian government and ask, point blank, that they support this or that US policy (NAFTA, the "war" on drugs, whatever). This usually results in a public statement from the Canadian government that they are now considering a policy which coincidentally looks remarkably like the US one, in affect if not actual wording. So "the call" is a reminder to a "special friend" what is expected of them.
     
  24. Mar 6, 2008
  25. heatherad

    heatherad Senior Member

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    I was just curious if you were calling Canadians weak-kneed as a whole, or if you were just referring to the political aspect of it?
    It has always been my opinion (and notice I said MY :) ) that Natives fought good and hard for what they thought was theirs no matter which country they lived in.
    I'm not sure where I stand on the Kahnawake issue as you do make a strong, valid point that violence could play a big part in the factor.
     
  26. Mar 6, 2008
  27. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Ah, I see now. When I said "the traditional weak-kneed Canadian 'we're with the big guy' approach to international policy" I was referring to international policy, or more specifically international economic policy.

    In general I don't think Canadians are "week kneed" at all, rather the contrary actually, but the bottom line as I see it is that my country, Canada, is too often willingly subservient to the US. It's become who we are and what we do: living in the shadow of the beast has basically turned Canada into a vassal state of the US.

    It's heartbreaking, "The True North Strong and Free" is a just a bunch of words because Canada is neither strong nor free: economically we are dependent on and heavily tied to the US and politically we're just the piss boy. Most Canadians don't even see the problem, they just think the US is great and what's there to bitch about? How does the saying go? Put a man in chains and he's your slave today, break his spirit and he's yours forever.
     
  28. Mar 6, 2008
  29. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

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    Canadian racetrack owners timing their run at online gambling well - I think this bears out what Max was saying about the Woodbine monopoly.

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  30. Mar 6, 2008
  31. heatherad

    heatherad Senior Member

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    Thank you for clarifying that maxd :)
    I had a nice size reply all typed out and when I hit submit the dang thing had logged me out.
    Lets just agree to disagree about Canada living in the shadows of the U.S. and being subservient :)
    I have too many questions that I don't know where to start and when to stop regarding Kahnawake. It just seems more and more, everyday, the government is finding new ways to step up and poke Canadians in the eye by telling them what they can and cannot do.
    But on the other hand, do the Mohawks actually have the right to fight for this feverishly? Is it stated somewhere on a treaty or some other piece of paper that they do have the right?
    I can't even argue the fact of a treaty because I know diddly squat about it.
    Most importantly, is there a way Canadians, Americans or anyone else for that matter, can have a strong voice on the issue of online gambling? I mean we all know that whatever the government says, goes, and that there is more to life than online gambling, but when it comes down to it, isn't it like voting?
    We have the right to vote, so I say lets take a vote on this! :)
     
  32. Mar 6, 2008
  33. NASHVEGAS

    NASHVEGAS Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,

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    Very interesting thread and just a couple days ago I was discussing some of the Canadian/US political interactions with Pina (yes as adults we resolved our previous differences awhile back I am happy to say:thumbsup:) as well as Canadians perceptions of Americans and the US in general......The previous Bodog threads (pre Max) educated me about some of the previous relations between the various branchs of the Canadian government and the Mohawks!!!
     
  34. Mar 6, 2008
  35. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

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    Which more or less get's us back living in the shadows, etc etc. ;)
    My point there was that Canada often marches to the US tune on a lot of things and I think the erosion of freedoms and rights is a perfect example of that. I don't mean to harp on the point, just pointing out what I think is an excellent example of it.

    AFAIK, the old treaties have all pretty much been replaced by clauses in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I'm not sure of the specific terminology therein but the bottom line is that the first nations were granted the right to pursue a traditional lifestyle and given jurisdiction over aspects of their civil life connected thereto. This is why almost all of their arguements are worded in terms of "it's our heritage" or "our national identity", they're arguing that traditional lifestyle clauses of the Charter are applicable.

    That said, I lived in Quebec for several years and I can tell you that the Mohawks pretty much take the "our land, our laws" approach to anything that is of concern to them. They're armed to the teeth, militant, and more than happy to defy provincial and federal law if they feel it necessary to do so.

    Do they have the right? That's one for the courts, but in the meantime they'll blockade provincial highways at the drop of a feather if they think they're being pushed around by the province or the feds. And we're not talking teepees and buffalo hides here, it's automatic weapons and light artillery for these guys. They can and will shoot if they feel it necessary, friends of mine had the bullet holes in their vehicles to prove it. And the provincial response to all of this? They're quick to puff and bluster, often putting on a good show of rallying the provincial equivalent of the SWAT teams, but in the end the blockades usually come down when the natives are good and ready to take them down and my friends had to pay the body shop bills to get the bullet holes fixed.

    Quebec isn't the only place where this happens by the way, BC has had it's fair share of similar things, but the BC tribes aren't quite so quick to climb into the body armour and pull out the sniper rifles.
     
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  36. Mar 7, 2008
  37. heatherad

    heatherad Senior Member

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    Thank you maxd, that bit of knowledge was very interesting to read :)
    By the way, I did not know until this thread that you were a Canadian who lived in Quebec. :)
     
  38. Mar 7, 2008
  39. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

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    There's an interesting quote going the rounds at present from a Kahnawake official slamming the electronic media for making a mountain out of a molehill on this nevertheless important (in the online gambling context) story.

    The Mohawk guy castigates the "lemming like" media and attempts to downplay this issue, implying that the Canadian Minister of Justice has said nothing to alarm the business. That's an interesting observation, given comments by the Minister's spokesperson quoted in Canadian media reports:

    QUOTE: "A spokesperson for Rob Nicholson, the Canadian Minister of Justice told the newspaper: "Following recent concerns surrounding Internet gambling in Canada, the Minister of Justice has asked his officials to examine whether the enforcement of the Criminal Code provisions could be assisted with other measures," said Genevieve Breton, director of communications for the ministry.

    The "other measures" are understood to be moves to restrict banks and credit card companies from conducting financial transactions with illegal Internet operators, following the model of the American Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act introduced in October 2006, which caused substantial losses among a number of UK listed companies which withdrew from the US market. UNQUOTE

    and

    QUOTE: Liberal MP Roy Cullen, whose Etobicoke North riding includes Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack, said yesterday he plans to introduce a private members' bill that would require financial institutions and credit card companies to block Internet betting transactions.

    Cullen claims that current laws prohibit all forms of Internet gambling in Canada with three exceptions: lotteries in provinces that allow online ticket sales; bettors who have telephone accounts at horse-racing tracks; and private bets between individuals. But he complains that the law is not being enforced.

    The MP says that the problem is offshore operators, among them the 400 or so online poker and sportsbetting websites licensed and operating from the Kahnawake reserve just south of Montreal. UNQUOTE

    Whilst I agree with Max here that it is unlikely the Canadian feds will risk another violent clash with the Mohawks over such a sensitive issue as tribal rights and priveleges under treaty, I do think that it is questionable for the Mohawk spokesperson to rail against the media when there clearly is an issue here.
     
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