Saturday, February 28, 2015

An UPDATE on Ontario anti-SLAPP legislation... (Part III)

It's time for Ontario to ban SLAPPs - lawsuits brought by deep-pocketed interests and corporations to silence resource-poor defendants and chill free speech.

Tell Ontario not to kill anti-SLAPP bill that defends free speech

Speaking out against environmental harm, or other injustices, is something we take for granted in a democratic society such as Canada.

Many of us do it on occasion at small gatherings or at large public meetings, or even in front of the media. We do it because we care about how and why important decisions about our community or our country are made. It’s part of the democratic process, part of a healthy democracy, and one of the things that separates us from authoritarian countries. In fact, freedom of speech is one of if not the key right that - again and again - we see people fighting for in repressive societies.

The enemy of free speech in Ontario

Sometimes those who speak out against injustice get slapped with a lawsuit by deep-pocketed interests or corporations. The lawsuit is intended to do nothing more than muzzle individuals who are speaking out against injustice. We call these SLAPPs - strategic lawsuits against public participation. They’re designed to stop the free speech that’s making deep-pocketed interests uncomfortable by shining a light on potential injustice.

This tactic - lawyering up and hitting a financially vulnerable opponent with a multi-million dollar lawsuit - has been used again and again in Ontario over the past few decades. It’s used because it’s effective and has frightened people into refraining from speaking out. In several lawsuits widely regarded as SLAPPs, a developer used the tactic against citizens who sought to rein in a billion-dollar development on the shores of Lake Simcoe at Big Bay Point. And it’s being used right now in many other instances where communities are speaking out in defence of our shared environment.

How a bill can battle SLAPPs

 Recently, however, something extraordinary happened. The government of Ontario introduced Bill 83, anti-SLAPP legislation designed to put an end to these types of threatening lawsuits that stifle free speech. Even more extraordinarily, the government’s bill received all-party support in the provincial legislature (after all, who wants to be on the wrong side of free speech?).

But unfortunately, Bill 83 is now stuck in the gummed-up legislative process (at second reading) as the parties position themselves in advance of what is expected to be a spring election. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Bill 83 died in the legislature once the election is called? Wouldn’t it be the height of short-sightedness if the parties allowed partisan politics to get in the way of guaranteeing freedom of speech for all Ontarians - not just those with deep pockets?

How you can protect free speech in Ontario

I’ve done something about it by writing to the premier. Now you can join me in doing something that will help save this important bill.

Urge the government to pass the Bill 83 anti-SLAPP legislation.

Ecojustice is proud to offer free legal and scientific expertise to Canadians committed to protecting the health of our environment.


Because we believe the law is the most powerful way of protecting the future of our planet.

Like you, Canadians expect their government to implement, not ignore, the laws that protect our ecosystems from harm.

Pierre Sadik

Additional Information: Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
"Ontario’s proposed Anti-SLAPP legislation moves forward (again)"

"If it passes, Ontario’s legislation will make the province only the second in Canada – after Quebec – with an anti-SLAPP law. Contrast that to the United States, where 29 out of 50 states have such laws.

Quebec passed its law early in 2009. Like Ontario’s pending law, it says the courts may make a summary judgment that a lawsuit is an improper use of procedure – that is, a SLAPP suit – which then shifts the onus to the plaintiff to show that the suit is legitimate. It also allows the court to order the plaintiff to pay all costs."

See more at:

>>> Reference post:
- Ugo Matulic wins $1,000,000 SLAPP suit* against Kinsman Robinson Galleries (Part I); - Law Tips for Bloggers (Part III) /SLAPP Suits/, - An UPDATE on Ontario anti-SLAPP legislation... (Part I) & - An UPDATE on Ontario anti-SLAPP legislation... (Part II)
* This SLAPP suit was launched by KRG via Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (currently part of DENTONS); Lawyers involved on behalf of the Plaintiffs were Mr. Eric N. Hoffstein (Minden Gross LLP) and Ms. Chloe A. Snider (DENTONS). Lawyer which represented the Defendant was Antonin I. Pribetic of Steinberg Morton Hope & Israel LLP (Himelfarb Proszanski LLP).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Great Collections of Norval Morrisseau Art (Part I)

REVISED on February 11th, 2015


"TITLE NOT KNOWN," © 1970s Norval Morrisseau (Acrylic on Canvas)
~ Collection of Westerkirk Works of ArtCurator: Jessica Wilson
* This acrylic painting on canvas is signed by the artist with a dry brush (DB) technique on canvas VERSO  

"The Westerkirk Works of Art Morrisseau Collection is good news for Canada, great news for the protection of our shared cultural legacy, and a celebration of the most important Canadian artist of the past several decades.

Norval Morrisseau fearlessly brought us a whole new way of looking at the world, revitalizing the vision of Canada's First Nations in a visual language that even children can clearly understand. He spoke for an era, defining what it means to be Canadian - before his time, Morrisseau presented a major concern for the environment and humanity's place within nature, racial harmony, and the rights of Canada's First Nations"

Joseph McLeod
/Director of the Maslak McLeod Gallery/

Source (excerpt): 
New Book Examines Inspirations of Canada's Most Treasured Aboriginal Painter

~ For a background history of the above painting click HERE.


The following copyrighted section is an excerpt taken from, “,” and used with permission from the author John Goldi.

"The paintings had apparently been collected over many years, by the owner of the Elmwood Spa, Sherry Brydson, a passionate collector of Canadian fine art, who had clearly spared no expense to get the best paintings that were available. She had been advised in her collecting by Joseph McLeod, still regarded as the top expert on Norval Morrisseau’s art from the 1960s to the 1980s period. He had supplied many of the paintings through his gallery."

Excerpt from Article by John Goldi, copyright 2013.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Simone McLeod about "Copper Thunderbird: The Art of Norval Morrisseau" at First Nations University of Canada (FNUC)

NORVAL MORRISSEAU, Red Lake; August 1966;
National Galery of Canada Archives

Norval Morrisseau

"I'm hardly an expert on him. I do however know hundreds of fellow aboriginal artists. I remember when I first started painting, off and on an "art dealer" would throw around the term "flooding the market" before he'd buy from me. Offering the suggestion or innuendo that I'd be better off if I painted a few paintings a year. Is it highly suspicious that this happened to be when the prices and sales of prints were skyrocketing. All I can say to that is that... the artists were NOT benefitting from this, and I guess we weren't the ones "flooding the market" and buying new homes and cars. 
Today I was silently sitting in at a speakers forum thing at FNUC listening to speakers on Morrisseau and his legacy. Oh my, it's amazing who crawls out of the woodwork claiming to be an expert on us when we're not here to dispute it.

I always have a bone to pick with those "flooding the market" preachers who have the nerve to claim that we are not humanly capable of painting more than 3,000 - 5,000 pieces of art in our lifetime. I find that this type of rhetoric only benefits those who try convince everyone it's true, giving them much leverage as they try drive the value of their own collections up.

One thing these fine people don't realize is that we artists talk to each other, we laugh, share, joke and occasionally squabble. We are family. We also paint for our people first. We paint to bring something beautiful out of sometimes chaotic lives. We paint to buy food or just to buy what we want which is really no one's business. When the non native executive is sitting in the bar getting drunk and no one passes judgment, why then is it anyone's business if the aboriginal artist is?

Sorry naysayers. It's true, Norval Morrisseau did paint over 10,000 beautiful works of art throughout his career. I'd bet my life on it. I've painted at least 7,000 - 9,000 pieces of art for my people, for all people and I've only been painting for 20 years. Stop the lies. It's time that living artists finally get some respect and credit for exactly how prolific we are."


Sitting there I found it pretty scary how a University Art Program actually has the ability to influence all the students who come out of a program. Everyone is expressing the same idea and learning to sit in the same curator's chair. How is it possible to emerge a free thinker when someone as common as me can walk into a gallery and tell you exactly who has "formal training" So to invite only "influential self proclaimed experts" who invest little more than an "expert endorsement" into each learning center, well tell me, how unbiased is that?

It seems to me that self taught Woodland Artists are and always will be in a league of our own. So now we need a term to describe both "Educated" through the formal funnelling process artists, and "Educated Through Ceremony and the Path of Life" artists who paint visions and dreams. How extraordinary to see just how deep money influences free speech and ill-perceived freedom of thought.

I challenge the University to now show another side to the Norval Morrisseau legacy, the side of the informally trained artist. It's about time we were recognized as well for to overlook us is equivalent to saying our "Oral Traditions" are nothing unless taught in a book.
Simone McLeod, February 2015

Links: (WEBSITE)
 (ART BLOG II).      


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Aboriginal Homeless Centre to Close after City of Ottawa Cuts All Funding (Part I)

Shawenjeagamik Drop-In Centre is the ONLY shelter serving Ottawa's homeless Aboriginal population


February 3, 2015 - After 10 years of serving the most vulnerable homeless population in Ottawa, the City of Ottawa has cut all funding to the Odawa Homeless Drop-In Centre (510 Rideau). The impact of these cuts will be devastating to the Aboriginal homeless population leaving the entire Ottawa indigenous community and homeless shelters bracing for crisis.

"The closure of the Drop-In Centre would bring chaos to the homeless community,” said Odawa’s Executive Director Morgan Hare. "510 Rideau is vital to the healing of First Nations, MĂ©tis and Inuit people who are at-risk or in transition into homes of their own."

Open seven days a week, the Centre sees 60 to 100 people each day, providing three meals, laundry, crisis counselling and transition services. Aboriginal homeless clients from across the city are referred to 510 Rideau for culturally appropriate support based on trust, friendship and mutual respect.

“By cutting all funding for 510 Rideau, many of the clients who are survivors of trauma like residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, violence and abuse will be re-victimized. These most vulnerable members of society need healing and support, not more neglect,” says Odawa board president Neal Freeland.

The Odawa Native Friendship Centre is requesting that the City of Ottawa re-establish funding to the Homeless Drop-in Centre at 510 Rideau. The Odawa Native Friendship Centre also calls upon the people of Ottawa to demand that Mayor Jim Watson and Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury, make ending Aboriginal Homelessness a priority for the Ottawa region.

Morgan Hare
Executive Director
Odawa Native Friendship Centre

Gabrielle Fayant
Odawa Native Friendship Centre



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Copper Thunderbird: The Art of Norval Morrisseau" Starts Tomorrow /FEB 5 - APR 10, 2015/

A Separate Reality: Norval Morrisseau

Director/producer: Paul Carvalho

© Perception Films

This is the story of one of the most celebrated, most original and most notorious artist in Canadian history. Norval Morrisseau, an aboriginal from the Ojibwa tribe, taught himself to draw and paint in the 1950’s so as to give visual expression to his grandfather’s shamanistic dreams. His works received instant national acclaim when first exhibited in Toronto in 1962. But what unfolded was a tragic and sometimes bizarre personal life that mixed intentional homelessness, public alcoholism and even an entanglement with the Mafia. Yet Morrisseau still managed to become the country’s most collected painter, with some 800 canvasses held by public galleries and to invent a painting style, subsequently called the Woodland school that has become an important form of expression for many native artists in North America.

This is the first-ever one-hour documentary about the life of Norval Morrisseau. It has privileged access to Morrisseau’ s adoptive son, Gabor Vadas, to his biological son David Morrisseau and to the artist himself in the final days of his life. The film mixes 1960’s black-and-white footage with romantic, vibrantly-colored recreations and gritty experimental camera work on the streets of Vancouver to create a startlingly intimate portrait of a consummate rebel and an artistic giant who single-handedly attempted to preserve the powerful symbolism of a North American culture Morrisseau calls, with unwavering pride, “The Great Ojibwa.”

The filmmaker discovers that what lies at the root of Morrisseau’s self-destruction is his sexual abuse by priests at a Catholic boarding school in the early 1940’s. Countless other native children suffered similar abuse in other Canadian boarding schools. Morrisseau’s story conveys the extent of the psychological and spiritual damage inflicted by the dominant culture, but he also symbolizes one man’s triumph through the power of visionary art.

Andrei Khabad, Videographer & Photographer



More info: Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada/Facebook/

Contact: Katherine Boyer
Gallery and Collections Coordinator
The First Nations University of Canada
1 First Nations Way
Regina SK, S4S 7K2
(306) 790-5950 ext 3281

NOTE: This film was screened at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in January 2005, before it aired on CBC-TV's 'Life and Times' on February 24th, 2005. Next public viewing of this film will be presented on Saturday February 7th, 2015 at 7 PM and it will take place at the Official First Nations University of Canada as a part of "Copper Thunderbird: The Art of Norval Morrisseau."  


Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Copper Thunderbird: The Art of Norval Morrisseau" @ PLAINRED ART GALLERY /FEB 5 - APR 10, 2015/

Photo of Norval Morrisseau © Terry Lusty

FNUniv has been actively engaging individuals on important Indigenous topics through art exhibits showcased in our in-house art gallery; this will now be reflected in its new name, the Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada (PRAG).


The Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada aims to represent Indigenous visual art practices, culture and history currently found in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada and globally. Furthermore, we also seek to create an environment of learning, engagement and critical thought through the exhibition of emerging and established artists that represent a contextual artistic voice.

About The Name: The Plain Red Art Gallery

Although the gallery mandate encompasses a national Indigenous identity, the use of the word “Plain” geographically situates the gallery’s location on the plains.

The use of the word “Plain” also implies that the artwork on display is clear or simple and ordinary, the stereotypical portrayal generally expected of Indigenous artwork. However, our use of the word “Plain” plays with that expectation, as we strive to spotlight the deep, thought-provoking, complex and extraordinary aspects of Indigenous artwork.

“Red” is also layered in meaning. It acknowledges our colonial history where the term has been thought of as derogatory, but we reclaim it to use as one of power. In addition, our use of the term “Red” references the use of the color as a sacred direction and the teachings that come with that color.

The logo brings the name Plain Red and our intended meaning together with its use of the varying shades of Red. This further recognizes that Indigenous people do not fit a homogenous image and these various shades of red reflect our diversity as artists. The headdress itself references our traditions and the FNUniv logo.

Please contact us for further information, and plan to attend an event in the future!

More info:
Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada


Contact: Katherine Boyer
Gallery and Collections Coordinator
The First Nations University of Canada
1 First Nations Way
Regina SK, S4S 7K2
(306) 790-5950 ext 3281


Source: University of Regina @