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August 27, 2009 Weblog:

Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas

by Isain Mandujano, published on Proceso.com.mx

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, August 26th. - After eight days of detention, the State Judicial system's Attorney General's Office (PGJE, for its Spanish acronym) freed activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was accused by Canadian corporation Blackfire Exploration Ltd of affecting the company's economic interests, due to the highway blockades led by Abarca Roblero.

According to the court document #033/FS10/2009 in the case taken up by the State Attorney for Relevant Issues of the PGJE, Abarca Roblero was accused of attacks against public roadways, criminal association, organized criminal activity, offences against the peace and the physical and public integrity of the collective and of the State.

Mariano Abarca was detained on August 17th by state police agents when he was leaving a primary school, where he left a letter requesting permission for the school premises to be used this weekend for the second national gathering of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria, REMA).

According to his lawyer, Miguel Angel de los Santos Cruz, the police were supposedly in possession of an "order to appear," which they never revealed.

"In theory, this order does not imply detention. However, when he was taken to the State Attorney's office and gave his declaration, his detention was ordered immediately thereafter. Because detention only permits the judicial system to hold someone for 48 hours, the order was requested for 30 days," he said.

De los Santos added that Abarca was detained for eight days in the PGJE detention center.

» continue reading "Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas"

August 18, 2009 Weblog:

[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining

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Photo: Landholder Mariano Abarca speaking about an ongoing blockade in his community in Chiapas against Canadian mining corporation Blackfire. Abarca, a well-known opponent of Canadian mining corporations in his municipality, was [detained] on August 17, 2009. REMA.

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UPDATE POSTED AUGUST 19th by MiningWatch.ca:

Update (August 19, 2009): Mariano Abarca is safe and sound. Thank you to all who responded to the urgent action.

According to the latest reports, Mariano Abarca is being held by the Public Ministry in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; the armed men who abducted him seem to have been undercover police. He was not injured and is reportedly being held on charges of disturbing the peace, blocking public roads, organized crime, criminal association, and 200,000 pesos in damages, all relating to a blockade that Abarca and other residents have maintained against Blackfire Resources' mining operations since June of this year.

According to the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), Mariano's abduction and arrest, and the overblown charges, are clear attempts to criminalise legitimate protest, intimidate local people, and disrupt the group's planned August 29-30 meeting in Chicomuselo. REMA spokespeople say they are working to secure Abarca's release, and that the meeting will go ahead regardless.

Clearly the immediate local and international response have been very helpful in assuring Abarca's security. We are awaiting word from REMA as to what further actions are needed.

[update posted by MiningWatch Canada @ http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/blackfire/ua_mariano_abarca]

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ORIGINAL DOMINION BLOG RE-POST:

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Reposting of a REMA (Mexican Network of Communities Affected by Mining) urgent action:

» continue reading "[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining"

August 8, 2009 Features

Torture, a Canadian Value?

Ottawa's complicity in torture merits a national discussion

August 4, 2009 Month in Review

July in Review, Part II

Strikes, Spies, Salamanders and Sexy Bubblegum

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 23, 2009 Media Analysis

Press Court Full

An inside look at Canadian journalists and Harper's PMO

July 23, 2009 Baby Animals

Moose Calves with their Mother

baby animals: things that make you go "aww..."

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website

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I just posted an article about yesterday's launch of the federal government's copyright consultations at the Vancouver Media Cooperative.

Something that didn't quite fit into the story, but that keeps nagging at me, is the website that the feds launched yesterday. The site supposedly has the intention of promoting this process.

I say supposedly for a number of reasons:

•the site itself is horrid to look at, harking back to the dying days of Web 1.0.

•the site does not appear to be linked to or from any other Government of Canada pages, including the Consulting with Canadians page.

•the site was launched yesterday, so existing traffic is nil. Though it does have a date stamp on the bottom which reads Date Modified: 2007-11-14

•the site lacks essential details, and yesterday's press release was posted as a blog entry.

The ministers responsible (Tony Clement/Industry, James Moore/Heritage) seem to think that opening a Twitter account is enough to propel the consultations into the wider consciouness.

When I asked them about this at yesterday's press conference in Vancouver, Clement responded that he hoped the consultation process would "go viral." Guess he hasn't seen the website.

For what it's worth, the second round table is currently under way in Calgary.

» continue reading "Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Five things the Corporate Media doesn't want you to know about the Coup in Honduras

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1. It was a military coup carried out on behalf of corporate, national and transnational elites. "Restoring Democracy" though a military coup is akin to bombing your way to peace.

2. Coup participants were trained by the CIA and at the School of the Americas. Reactionary, anti-democratic US training grounds such as these are responsible for mass murder throughout the Americas.

3. President Mel Zelaya is a centrist, and his movements towards the "left," such as joining the ALBA trade block, are a result of massive popular pressure for change.

4. The constitutional referendum was not focussed on extending Zelaya's term limit. The referendum on the constitution marked the beginning of a popular process of participative democracy, which is extremely threatening to local and transnational elites.

5. Transnational corporations support the coup. Goldcorp has been bussing employees to pro-coup marches, other Canadian companies have stayed silent and are complicit in the coup.

Photo of demonstrators in Tegucigalpa by Sandra Cuffe

July 11, 2009 Weblog:

Addiction to Death

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Addiction to Death
July 11, 2009

Apparently Grouse Mountain near Vancouver will now install a giant wind turbine to produce new energy. While this begins I am resisting nicotine valiantly, creating a convergence of thoughts.

Addictions do strange things to the mind. An addicted mind will come up with all sorts of rationalizations-- all merely designed to allow the space for the addiction to live itself out. The raw justifications are endless-- feeding the addiction as a means of rewarding ones self for taking a break from feeding the addiction, for example.

I should state these thoughts are an interesting bunch for me, even closer than usual as I fight off the nicotine monster. “Monster”is a very apt term for it as well; human beings caught in the throng of a major addiction tend to negotiate in their thoughts as if the addiction were at the other side of a negotiating table. Worse, in the case of cigarettes-- you are essentially negotiating with something that will kill you.

Thoughts abound-- “Maybe I can smoke only after meals,” one might say. “I only smoke at the end of the day” is another. “I don't know how else to relax,” “I don't have the time to deal with the stress of quitting,” ad infinitum. Or, perhaps better said-- ad nauseum.

The majority of these mental twists include the idea that one can hold on to the addiction, and somehow not reap the 'rewards'. So too, then, are notions of the current fad: “Green shift”. The Green Shift supposes (much like smoking 'light' cigarettes) that an entire society can continue to consume energy, with little more than a few bumps as we slowly, surely shift towards 'green' energy sources.

» continue reading "Addiction to Death"

June 22, 2009 Weblog:

Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran

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I'm probably not the only Dominion reader who has spent the past couple of days wondering how Canada is involved in US-led "Black Ops" in Iran.

Today I found a clue when I happened across Psiphon Inc., which was recently spun off from Citizen Lab, itself a branch of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the U of T.

"Canada's Psiphon Inc. on the Frontlines of Iranian Netwar," reads a June 19 press release by Ontario based Psiphon Inc.

"The company is employing dedicated 'psi-operators' - staff whose job it is to propagate Psiphon nodes and engage with the Iranian community both inside and outside Iran - working 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

"The psi-operators are using social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails [sic] lists and forums, to propagate connection information to Psiphon's 'Right2know' nodes, which contain customized content sourced from BBC BBC Persian, Radio Farda, YouTube and other websites and services banned by Iranian authorities," continues the release (which I transcribed here).

According to the Globe and Mail, which picked up on Psiphon's news release:

» continue reading "Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran"

June 14, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7

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The Vancouver Media Co-op held a meeting several days ago for folks who are interested in helping with organizing, promoting events, and covering stories. About 7 or so amazingly solid folks showed up to our meeting on the back balcony of Spartacus Books. People threw around some great story ideas, agreed to taking on specific tasks (ie postering and flyering), planned a group trip to Sutikalh, talked about the structure and purpose of the co-op, as well as its goals, and shared contact information. It was an impressive tone-setter to say the least.

The bulk of Media Co-op work so far has consisted of talking to or emailing people, getting contact info for other people, talking to them, setting up meetings, and then talking some more. Several meetings with a diverse cross-section of folks linked to media production, cooperatives, and unions have been arranged and are slowly filling up the VMC calendar.

Picture 1: A demonstrator at a women's housing march put on by local group Power of Women (POW). The march was a dignified expression of anger at the government for authorizing mass evictions in poorer areas of the city (most notably the downtown eastside), as well as destroying potential social housing sites in favour of making way for the Olympic Games in 2010. Aboriginal people comprise about 3 per cent of BC's population yet make up over 32 per cent of the homeless population. Aboriginal women are particularly vulnerable to losing their homes.

» continue reading "Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7"

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7"

June 9, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 1-2

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Picture 1: The Vancouver Media Co-op tour kicked off in Victoria BC at the Camas Bookstore and Infoshop. About a dozen people showed up, and in spite of technical difficulties which prevented us from showing the Media Co-op's promo video (filmed in Halifax during our February tour), the discussion was a success, as folks were enthusiastic and interested in finding ways of supporting and collaborating with the Media Co-op on independent media projects that are already up-and-running in Victoria. An organizer from Indymedia Victoria attended the event and gave an update of events after the talk. Another organizer there is starting a news site called B Channel News in response to Victoria's mainstream A Channel.

Picture 2: After Victoria we headed to Nanaimo to speak to people at Radio Malaspina(CHLY), the town's campus community station. Four people came out, but they were incredibly enthusiastic and spent some time brainstorming ways that Nanaimo could fit into the Vancouver Media Co-op picture.

Picture 3: After the talk in Nanaimo we were interviewed on the Popular Participation Movement (PPM) news show. The PPM is a a group that mobilizes against war and empire. Most notably, they have staged theatrical demonstrations for four years in a row now to oppose Nanaimo's annual Empire Day celebration. The following morning, the Media Co-op snagged an interview on CBC Victoria news.

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 1-2"

June 8, 2009 Weblog:

Irving Refinery Blues

Irving Refinery Blues

Please forgive me-- this may end up seeming like a rant in places, for I simply must get some things off my chest. I hope my prediction that it will make sense by the end is true.

I am a strong proponent of the idea that hitchhiking is simply one of the greatest forms of grassroots journalism. When you enter a new place, the odds are quite high that you are traveling with a local. If this is the case, then you will become immediately armed with “insider” information to which there is little match. The sorts of things I am often lucky to learn, in any case, would certainly not be told in any tourist information booth.

I woke up today in Riviere Du Loup, in Eastern Québec. I made a cold instant coffee and ate some granola bars before wandering across the highway to seek rides further East. I managed three rides fairly easily, each of them pleasant and warm, no hassles and even interesting tangents of separate activity here and there. But what I need to rant about was the ranting of my last ride of the day, a man named Doug who picked me up when I was but one ride from here-- Saint John, New Brunswick.

» continue reading "Irving Refinery Blues"

May 28, 2009 Original Peoples

Strangers Scour the Land

The search for Maisy and Shannon continues

May 27, 2009 Weblog:

Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea

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[photo: Jethro Tulin reading a statement in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, right before the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting, April 29, 2009. photo by Sandra Cuffe.]

Earlier today, indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin, executive director of the Akali Tange Association in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, registered and read a formal statement to the plenary of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. The statement follows below.

After the UNPFII ends this coming Friday, Jethro Tulin will be traveling to Washington DC for a series of meetings. Before returning to Papua New Guinea, he will be speaking at a series of public events in Montreal, Ottawa (tbc) and Toronto, between June 5th and June 9th.

For more general information, see ProtestBarrick.net

For more information about (or to help coordinate) events, contact: Sandra Cuffe, 514-583-6432, lavagabunda27@yahoo.es
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A Statement
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

Intervention by: Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of Akali Tange Association (Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea)

Supported by: Asia Caucus, Pacific Caucus, Western Shoshone Defense Project (Nevada, USA), Peoples Earth, Society for Threatened Peoples International (ECOSOC), Indigenous Peoples Link

Item 7: Future Work of the UNPFII
New York, May 27, 2009.

» continue reading "Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea"

May 21, 2009 Weblog:

UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool

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Greetings from the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York City, May 18-29)...

I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?

Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.

It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.

» continue reading "UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

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May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Algonquins Again Reflect on History as They Continue International Assertions Despite Increased Pressures

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As we prepare to attend the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum we again remember why we continue to assert our traditional identity and its international character. The Indigenous Peoples of Canada, as organized according to our traditional nations and inherent identities hold certain precious rights important to ALL Canadians, and our common future together.

Please remember with us this important aspect of Canadian and international history and view our expression of commitment to our ancestors:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hSLXKAHh9M

May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Jurisdiction Includes Inherent and Inalienable Role

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Aboriginal rights are the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Indigenous Peoples are the citizens of original nations. ALL descendants of citizens of those nations still qualify as natural citizens....and since their rights are inherent and inalienable....all benefits and rights belong equally to ALL descendants!!! Kichesipirini history proves the Indigenous Peoples founded Canada prior to sovereignty assertions of the British Crown. ALL Canadian domestic policy illegally robs ALL Canadians of their rights as citizens of the true nation of Canada.....and instead protects the interests of the British Crown....still.

The Indigenous Peoples of Canada still hold the rights, even if currently trapped beneath layers of domestic policy such as the Indian Act or generated false identities that erode the identities and rights of the original nations can still reverse the illegal population transfers and return to original nations.

The traditional role and jurisdiction of the Kichesipirini is to teach and lead in international trade and diplomacy. The Kichesipirini insist that they be provided the resources to continue in their rightful inherent and inalienable role in providing accurate and independent information for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The federal and provincial governments must release the resources needed for Kichesipirini to do so.

Please view for information regarding this important part of Canadian history and law:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn8Y7IAFcas&feature=related

May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini State "We Are Not Metis"

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Canada Domestic Policy Continues to Breach Constitution Through Illegal Demographic Manipulations

Manipulation #1- We are not Metis.
Aboriginal rights are inherent and inalienable. The Algonquin Nation has never signed a Treaty. We are still sovereign. We can determine our own identity according to international law. Program and services dollars only lure the ignorant and desperate.

Manipulation #2- Aboriginal rights belong to a certain race of people who can prove they are that race.
Blood quantum policies erodes the true rights of Indigenous Peoples. Race was never the issue. Natural citizenship is. Racism is a tool of colonization to break down the sophisticated Indigenous Nations.

Manipulation #3-The Canadian court system gives Indigenous Peoples their rights.
The domestic court system is an extension of the colonial legacy and is sworn to protect the interests of the Crown. The domestic court system can only articulate limited recognition of the existing Indigenous rights. Relying on courts can generate Strawman strategies & erode rights .

Fact: The Algonquin Nation has never ceded jurisdiction or title. Rights and benefits belong equally to ALL persons of Algonquin descent. Domestic policy uses monies to rob large numbers of people from appropriate compensations. Current rationalizations to continue eroding the rights of Algonquin descedants, and refusing to release appropriate revenues to enable Kichesipirini to provide accurate information raises serious implications for all public servants and Ministers acting within Algonquin territory.

For further information please view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuxksnqvnSI

» view more photos in"Kichesipirini State "We Are Not Metis""

May 11, 2009 Weblog:

free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12

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[photo: One of several hands-on activities geared towards kids is the mining worker dress-up costume. The Xstrata folks did not mind this photo being taken under the Goldcorp-sponsored mining booth; instead, they appeared highly amused.]

[image #2: "Did you know?" counterspin fliers. Print & copy!]

A free Mining in Society fair is taking place at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre yesterday, today and tomorrow (May 10-12). The annual event is billed as a place to "learn about the important role the minerals industry plays in your everyday life!"

Kids' activities include panning for gold, dressing up as a miner, matching minerals and metals with everyday products, colouring in mining-related drawings, and many others. Hundreds of school-age children will be attending the fair today and tomorrow.

Aside from the kids' activities, there are plenty of booths with interesting information, maps, and plenty of free stuff. If you don't mind corporate logos on your pens, notebooks, water bottles, key chains, highlighters, and other assorted paraphernalia, then you can get your office supplies for the next year. My personal favourite is the little yellow Suncor truck! There is also a small career fair for those of you considering gainful employment with Goldcorp, Shell, Freeport, Suncor...

» continue reading "free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

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May 6, 2009 Weblog:

May 11: Mining Company to Stake Claim on Mount Royal

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For immediate and widespread distribution:

Québec – Canada – Americas

mining, human rights and citizens’ rights


an open-pit mine on the mont-royal?

see : www.royalor.com

citizens’-action

may 11 2009

Mont-Royal 1 :30 -2 :30

(at the gazebo at Duluth & Parc)

Representatives of different communities affected by Canadian open-pit mining projects will stake a claim on the mineral rights of the Mont-Royal. Their aim is to symbolically demonstrate the harms and prejudices faced by their communities whether in Québec, elsewhere in Canada , in Mexico , in Honduras , in Chile or in Papua New-Guinea. The claim will be duly filed with the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec.

Come one, come all to call for :

1. a reform of mining laws

2. the legal accountability of canadian companies operating abroad

3. a public debate free of « slapp » suits
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In collaboration with Coalition québécoise sur les impacts socio-environnementaux des transnationales en Amérique Latine and many other organizations. For more information : Lazar Konforti 514.827.7486 lazar.konforti@gmail.com, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 514.398.4251 daviken.studnicki-gizbert@mcgill.ca. An event organized in conjunction with the Cadre des activités parallèles du 5e Congrès mondial d’éducation relative à l’environnement (www.5weec.uqam.ca), May 10 - 15 Palais des Congrès Montréal.

April 29, 2009 Weblog:

Tamil Protest Shuts Down Major Toronto Ave

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This morning, Torontonians making their way down University Avenue, a major north/south downtown traffic artery, encountered a vocal gathering of mainly Tamil-Canadians, protesting State repression of Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka.

Long before 9am, a 2-block section of University between Dundas and Queen streets was completely blocked by the large demonstration and surrounded by police barricades, bikes and agents. The police presence did not seem to bother the energetic crowd, chanting slogans such as "Stop the Genocide!" and "Tamils Want a Permanent Ceasefire! When Do We Want it? NOW!"

One participant commented that while mobilizations in Ottawa have been much larger, there have nevertheless been consistent actions in Toronto over the past three months or so. Another explained that just this morning, there were more than another 200 people killed. "It's a very difficult situation," he added.

A Human Rights Watch report states that recently "obtained information places total civilian casualties at 7,000, with 2,000 deaths... All displaced persons crossing to the government side are sent to internment centers in Vavuniya and nearby locations. These are military controlled, barbed-wire camps..."

Along with an immediate permanent ceasefire, demonstrators demanded a two-state solution, and immediate Canadian and US action. All Canadians were encouraged to learn more about the situation and to get involved, reminded by a banner that 'Our Silence - License to Kill.'

» view more photos in"Tamil Protest Shuts Down Major Toronto Ave"

Controversy rocks lead-up to 2010 Olympics

With more than a full year before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics begin, the games have already encountered stiff opposition. A range of groups have expressed their disagreement with the way that the Olympics are being run on Canada's west coast. Their concerns include: environmental destruction, the rights of low or no income residents, lack of transparency and consultation in decision making, and development on indigenous land that has never been surrendered to Canada.

April 26, 2009 Apr 26 by real news network

The Dominion - Halifax Media Co-op

In February 2009, editors of the Dominion newspaper established Canada's first democratically-run news media co-operative in Halifax, Nova Scotia. New chapters will be sprouting up across the country to offer a progressive and community-based alternative to the corporate news model.

April 26, 2009 Apr 26 by makila.tv
April 26, 2009 Accounts

Canada's Deadly Trade Deals

An interview with Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Program of the International Relations Center

April 23, 2009 Weblog:

Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

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{{reposting of Ecosociete bulletin}}

INFORMATION BULLETIN

First anniversary of Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique

Montreal, April 23rd 2009

It was just over a year ago, on April 15th 2008, that Alain Deneault, Deplhine Abadie and William Sacher officially launched Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, published by Les Éditions Écosociété, despite legal threats of lawsuits by Canadian multinational Barrick Gold (see demand letter sent by Barrick Gold).

Two defamation lawsuits followed, with Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro claiming damages amounting to $11 million dollars. The authors and publisher of Noir Canada have since had to deal with amendments to these claims, multiple and cumbersome judicial proceedings (requests for documents, endless interviews conducted by opposing counsel, etc.), the preparation of voluminous defence records for two different jurisdictions, numerous commutes to Toronto, the rejection of a request to transfer Banro’s Ontario lawsuit to Quebec, the appeal of that decision, along with the considerable costs that such proceedings require and the psychological and moral strain that comes with being put under such pressure.

In the meantime, the authors of Noir Canada remind us that “the Canadian pillage of Africa continues”, while “the Canadian government has just consecrated Canada as being a judicial haven for extraction corporations worldwide” (see the communiqué by the Collectif Ressources d’Afrique below).

» continue reading "Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada"

April 21, 2009 Weblog:

Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back

Since the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was tabled on March 26th, people across Canada have been getting the word out and showing their opposition to the deal.

Popular rejection of the deal has spread far and wide, and has even reached Prime Minister Harper.

"There is a view in some groups that they don't like modern economic policy. They think you can make progress without it. They're entitled to their view," said Harper while in Trinidad and Tobago for the the Summit of the Americas.

Protest against the FTA is not limited to Canada. In Colombia, though the deal was essentially negotiated in secret, people are speaking out.

"To sign this deal would not only make Canada complicit in the innumerable crimes committed by the Colombian government, which crimes have been denounced by the United Nations and the Interamerican Court of Human Rights," reads a letter sent by dozens of Colombian organizations and individuals to MPs yesterday.

» continue reading "Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back"

April 16, 2009 Weblog:

Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry

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WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad

WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am - 7:30pm

WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

» continue reading "Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry"

April 12, 2009 Weblog:

April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home

[[Reposting of Project Fly Home update & call for action]]

Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home!
Cross-Canada Campaign 7 April to 7 May
Update and Call for Action

On Friday, 3 April, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon refused to give a passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. The flight Abousfian was due to board left without him, and he remains in the same situation of forced exile that he has been in for six years - living for almost a year in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.

On Tuesday, 7 May, his lawyers will go to the courts to ask for a mandatory order to compel the government to bring Abousfian back by "any safe means at its disposal". This is being argued on the basis of section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada."

If they wanted to, government officials could, literally, send a plane today to bring him home tomorrow. But the government's actions have flown in the face of the law and public opinion, and officials have refused to do what is both within their means and within their legal obligation - to bring Abousfian home. Without public pressure, there is no guarantee that they
will even respect a court order.

Project Fly Home is thus calling for a public campaign leading up to 7 May to push the government to act NOW to bring Abousfian home.

It is imperative that the level of pressure and public scrutiny remain very high. The government has clearly proven its capacity for duplicity and its strong resistance to upholding Abousfian's rights. This is a case which is important not only for Abousfian but for all of us who are concerned about preserving the rights and freedoms - and most importantly, the dignity and equality - of all.

» continue reading "April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home"

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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