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Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

April 23, 2009

Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

Noir Canada.jpg

{{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).

During these trying times, university scholars, organisations, unions, religious groups, politicians, African associations, and citizens have all expressed their support towards Les Éditions Écosociété and the three authors of Noir Canada. They have helped continue this fight for freedom of expression, the freedom to research and the free participation in public debate. Their precious support has especially contributed to ensuring that the necessary debate surrounding the role that Canadian companies and institutions play in the suffering of so many Africans. This is an especially important debate for our democracy, considering the fact that so many Canadian pension funds, mutual funds, RRSP’s and others provide funding for an industry that is the target of so many worrying allegations across the globe.

We would especially like to underscore the great dedication and selflessness of Me Normand Tamaro (our lawyer in Quebec in the case against Barrick Gold) and Me Linda McCaffrey and the team at Ecojustice (our lawyers in Ontario in the case against Banro).

To all those who have recognized a sense of civic duty and collective responsibility in this important fight, and without which we surely never would have been able to face this difficult year, we offer our most sincere thanks.

The Éditions Écosociété Team

In this edition of the bulletin:

A preliminary Superior Court judgment urges Barrick to more discretion in its use of judicial procedure
New bill to prevent the improper use of the courts
Canada as a judicial haven (Collectif Ressources d’Afrique)


1. A PRELIMINARY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGMENT URGES BARRICK TO MORE DISCRETION IN ITS USE OF JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

After already being granted the right, last March, to interrogate Sylvie Lapointe, a documentary filmmaker who had recorded footage of one of the authors during a conference, Barrick Gold recently delivered a motion before the Superior Court of Québec to interrogate another witness, Paul York, whom the company considers "involved in the prejudicial commission at the origin of its case against the defendants." Indeed, Mr. York participated in two events held in Toronto, which Barrick qualifies as the "Anti-Barrick Meeting" and "Munk Center Ambush", during which William Sacher, one of the authors of Noir Canada, intervened to discuss the contents of the book (cf. http://thevarsity.ca/article/19059 ). Barrick Gold's attorneys argued the "necessity" of this further interrogation for the pursuit of their case.

In a judgment which pays tribute to the principle of access to justice, the Superior Court of Québec rejected Barrick Gold's motion on April 6th, stating that the "the criterion of the necessity of Mr. York's testimony has not been established." In her judgment, Justice Guylène Beaugé reminded the court that "the Code of Civil Procedure does not permit one party to interrogate the other ad infinitum in order to gather all the information it deems useful to prepare its case. Such action would violate the principle of proportionality found in article 4.2 of the Code, which aims to ensure that civil justice remains a service accessible to all thanks to the reasonability of its costs and time-limits."

This first judicial decision recognises the imbalance between the parties, which sets a promising tone for future judgments....


2. NEW BILL TO PREVENT THE IMPROPER USE OF THE COURTS

Bill 9 - An Act to amend the Code of Civil Procedure to prevent improper use of the courts and promote freedom of expression and citizen participation in public debate - was filed on April 7 by the Minister of Justice Kathleen Weil.

The Publishing team Écosociété notes with satisfaction that the Minister took into account a number of claims made by various groups who took part in the parliamentary commitee before the election. The bill would namely apply to pending cases, those that are currently before the courts.

However, the filing of a bill does not guarantee a speedy passage. The most important is that the legislative process be initiated in the coming days. MPs know our demands. They must now take the next step: improve and adopt Bill 9.

Click here to get more information.


3. CANADA AS JUDICIAL HAVEN (Collectif Ressources d’Afrique)

As much the Canadian government as the liberal opposition have just sanctioned Canada as a judicial haven for global extractive societies.

That is the appraisal of the researchers of the African Resources Collective, Delphine Abadie, Alain Deneault, et William Sacher, authors of Noir Canada, Pillage, corruption and criminalité en Afrique (Black Canada, Pillage, Corruption, and Criminality in Africa) (Écosociété, 2008).

Read their most recent communique.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Éditions Écosociété continue to solicit your financial aid so that it can continue to defend both itself and freedom of speech in the context of public debate.

You can make a donation to Éditions Écosociété’s legal defence fund via their website or by sending a check to the following address:

Les Éditions Écosociété
C.P. 32052, Comptoir Saint-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5

Please disseminate this information bulletin as widely as you can by sending it to all your contacts and inviting them to sign our support petition.

The Éditions Écosociété Team

C.P. 32052, Comptoir Saint-André
Montréal (Québec) H2L 4Y5
Phone: (514) 521-0913
Fax: (514) 521-1283
Email: amvoisard@ecosociete.org


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Good to Commemorate

It's a good way to commemorate an important event. This is significant to both Africa and Canada. Let's just hope that a lot of people would support this bill to prevent improper use of the courts.

Sri Lankan Tamil LTTE issues

Dear Sir

I feel that the Sri Lankan problems are presently misinformed to the U.K and world public. Not all Tamils are LTTE.
The LTTE claim that all Tamils are supporting their separatist issues. It is not the case...... Please read

I am the author of the following article first published in a Sri lankan newspaper. 'mawbima Lanka'.
The URL is
http://www.mawbimanews.com/2009/04/point-of-view-by-peace-loving-sri.html

I wrote this article from my personal experience and to give a balanced view of Sri Lankan Tamil problems. Recent days, there is a lot of awareness due to the war, one should understand the causes and how the Tamils ended up in the present disaster. Therefore, I would be happy, if you could publish all or parts of this article to the readers of your newspaper,.

I can be contacted by email sa863@hotmail.com

Thank you
Kind regards
Kumar Nathan

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