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On the map with Avi Lewis

Oil. Canada has it and the US craves it. But what are the implications of treating Alberta's tar sands as America's security blanket?

April 21, 2009 Apr 21 by CBC

Tar Sands and Tankers

Enbridge Inc., a Calgary-based pipeline company, wants to bring tar sands tankers to British Columbia's coast. This opening segment will introduce you to the abundance of British Columbia's north coast, which includes the coastal waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.

April 21, 2009 Apr 21 by Dogwood Initiative

Tar Sands & Water

Interviews with mostly members of the Fort MacKay and Fort Chipewyan communities, discussing cultural and environmental impacts of living downstream of the tar sands

April 21, 2009 Apr 21
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"

February 15, 2009 Weblog:

Justice Served Cold

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Asaf Rashid, one of the four defendants, stands in front of the Nova Scotia Provincial Court. Photo: David Parker

HALIFAX - It was a cold winter's day nearing Christmas, and not much was stirring on the streets of Halifax. In front of the Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road, a group of people huddled together, entering the court for a long-awaited trial date. On December 22, 2008, four Haligonians took the stand and testified in front of a judge to a courtroom packed with supporters.

The defendants had been charged a year and a half earlier after hundreds took to the streets of downtown Halifax on June 15, 2007, to oppose a regional integration proposal known as Atlantica. Charges included carrying weapons, wearing masks with intent, unlawful assembly, and resisting arrest.

The Atlantica demonstrations numbered 400 protesters and included a militant tactic known as a black bloc that intended to shut down the conference.

Demonstrators were targeted by police and reported extreme police brutality, including being choked until unconscious, shocked with taser guns, and beaten by batons.

George Dalli was one of the defendants on trial. "I saw police hitting other people, pepper spraying, tasers were drawn: it was an intense and intimidating situation before the arrest. I told the officers 'I'm not resisting arrest, not trying to be violent.' I was rolled onto my stomach, hands behind my back. I was choked, fingers were jabbed into my neck, I said 'don't do this to me, I'm losing consciousness, don't do this to me', and I continued saying this until I lost consciousness."

The 21 individuals arrested that day spent the next three days in jail, the first 48 hours in lockdown.

» continue reading "Justice Served Cold"

December 22, 2008 Arts

Abundance

Art and trash in Dawson City

December 12, 2008 Environment

110-Year Rush

Songs moved to survive the goldrush are returned to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

Violent Evictions at El Estor, Guatemala

In January 2007, hundreds of police and soldiers forcibly evicted the inhabitants of several communities situated on lands the Guatemalan military government granted Canadian mining interests in 1965. Backed by the army and the police, Canada’s Skye Resources paid workers to destroy people’s homes with chainsaws and torches.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by rightsaction.org

All That Glitters Isn't Gold

This report tells the stories of community members residing near Goldcorp's San Martin open-pit gold mine in Honduras' Siria Valley. San Martin was the first mine to be developed under Honduras' controversial new mining law that was passed in the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It was opened in 2000 and is the largest open-pit heap-leach mine in Honduras.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by rightsaction.org

Sipakapa no se vende

On 13 June 2007, forty-two communities in a Guatemalan municipality called Ixchiguan said 'No' to destructive mining in their territories. In the referendum, local people rejected the mining exploration licenses given to mining companies without their consent.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by foei.org

La mineria nos deja sin agua!

SHARE project documents the story of the people of Cabañas province who are losing their well water due to mining exploration by Vancouver-based Pacific Rim. (Spanish)

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by Comite Ambiental Cabañas 1 comment

AMAZAY: A film about water

The Tse keh Nay people convince BC government to reject Northgate Minerals' proposal to dump acid tailngs into a pristine lake on their territory.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by tsekehnay.net
October 13, 2008 Weblog:

PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train

By Lia Tarachansky and Jesse Freeston

Vaughan, ON- On Thanksgiving Sunday, October 12th, 2008 roughly two dozen protesters blockaded the Canadian Pacific Rail just north of Toronto.

The blockade began at 5:30 p.m. and ended just after 8:00 p.m. Winnie Small, 20, attached herself to the rails in order to delay removal by police.

Alex Hundert, police liaison for the varied group of protesters, negotiated with the local police service, which was taken by surprise by the bridge blockade.

The group, consisting of Anti-War @ Laurier organizers, native organizers from the Six Nations reservation by Caledonia, and various individuals, was allowed to leave the blockade without arrests or conflict.

According to the police, who were in communications with CP rail on site, the blockade caused millions of dollars of economic damage and delayed trains all along the rail line.

Please stay tuned for The Real News Network video report later this week


Blockaders Set up lock down


Winnie Small, 20, locked down to the tracks with a "v" shaped metal bar


"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land" banner laid out by protesters

» continue reading "PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train"

September 9, 2008 Weblog:

Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs

Originally published in the Canadian Dimension magazine, September/October 2008 issue

Guided by resource discovery and the heavy-handed rule of the free market, the mining of gold today is “rush-mining,” much as it was a century ago. From the Indigenous lands of Brazil to those in Canada, from Tanzania to the Philippines, whenever gold is discovered, local communities are forced to migrate or attempt to adjust to the new industry. In fact, only eleven per cent of the gold mined worldwide has a practical use in technologies like biomedicine or electronics. Meanwhile, seventy per cent is used for jewellery, with the rest going to investment. Some 35,000 tonnes of gold simply sit in bank vaults around the world, while the environment and innumerable communities are destroyed for its excavation.

Canada plays a huge role in this global market, being home to the largest gold-mining corporations in the world. At the very top reigns Barrick Gold, with others like Goldcorp, Gabriel and Pacific Rim close behind. Collectively they mine on every continent except Antarctica, on which mining is forbidden. But not all gold is excavated by large, corporate colonialists, nor is all of it done abroad. One quarter comes from artisanal or small-scale mining, and minimal but continuous extraction takes place at home (mostly in Ontario and Quebec.)

Countries in Central America and Central Africa have low environmental regulations and worker-safety requirements. They are resource-rich, and are therefore a lucrative destination for Canadian businesses. At home, even though most resource extraction takes place on Indigenous lands, we have relatively strict extraction, land-use and environmental laws, meaning most companies strive to mine offshore.

» continue reading "Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs"

May 26, 2008 Arts

An Artful Recovery

Artists respond to post-Katrina New Orleans

February 6, 2008 Environment

Road Kill

New highway blocked by protesting "Raccoons"

June 15, 2007 Weblog:

Notes from the Tar Pits: Flying Above an Open Pit Graveyard

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Notes from the Tar Pits:
Flying Above an Open Pit Graveyard
Macdonald Stainsby // June 15, 2007

The plane cleared the tarmac and into the air we went, with a warning that the flight was going to have to go a little bit to the east of the usual, as the forest fires were too heavy. But the plume of white obfuscation that rose more than all the others was Suncor’s, with 2nd through 6th place going to Syncrude, CNRL, Albian/Shell, Total and (off in the distance) Petro Canada. It was completely impossible to spot any difference between the forest fires and the plumes of death-toxins breaking up into the atmosphere.

The giant tailings lakes are a sight to behold. The one near Syncrude, as I discovered from our pilot, is among the largest human made dams in the entire world. Though, I’m getting “biggest” fatigue; Every time I learn a new angle on how this is operating, it’s about the “biggest”. As a gentleman who drove us out of Fort MacKay said the other day: “If it’s the biggest in the world, it’s here,” and he was making zero reference to anything in particular.

Along with the largest craters in the world, deep pits of black sided land, being munched away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and through every holiday are the highways being constructed. While people living downstream in Fort Chipewyan have unsafe running water in their homes and are a seasonal fly-in community, the roads to “projects” are as relentlessly constructed as the tar is pulled out of the earth. There are full private highways, and when it’s time to pull the tar from under the highway, they simply move it and build another one. Oil is still oil, after all (even when it is tar and synthetic/mock).

» continue reading "Notes from the Tar Pits: Flying Above an Open Pit Graveyard"

February 4, 2007 Weblog:

The ultimate thermodynamic fate of all closed systems

Counterpunch has good pieces about similar dynamics in two different US political movements, environmentalism and anti-war.

Jeffrey St. Clair on the green movement's disconnection from the grassroots, and the unfortunate accuracy of right wing claims that environmentalists are Washington elitists:

To quote Jospeh Heller: Something happened. Somewhere along the line, the environmental movement disconnected with the people, rejected its political roots, pulled the plug on its vibrant and militant tradition. It packed its bags, starched its shirts and jetted to DC, where it became what it once despised: a risk-aversive, depersonalized, hyper-analytical, humorless, access-driven, intolerant, centralized, technocratic, dealmaking, passionless, direct-mailing, lawyer-laden monolith to mediocrity. A monolith with feet of clay.

» continue reading "The ultimate thermodynamic fate of all closed systems"

January 29, 2007 Weblog:

All's quiet on the tar sand front...

Peter Cizek explains why: Scouring Scum and Tar from the Bottom of the Pit.

An indepth look at the "gigaprojects" rocking the North, and the web of NGOs tied up in corporate/ money who thus far have largely failed to respond to what Cizek calls an "environmental holocaust."

» continue reading "All's quiet on the tar sand front..."

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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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