Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
August camp will target Trailbreaker tar sands pipeline project
Climate Justice Montreal on the Media Co-op
We must act swiftly to tackle the root causes of climate change and create the systemic change needed to avert climate catastrophe. So that’s what we’re doing. Taking action. Building a movement. Collectively, we can become a force to be reckoned with. Come to Dunham this August and be a part of it.
The Quebec Climate Action Camp will bring together rebels and renegades, gardeners and guardians, young and old. We will combine our hearts, hands, minds and spirits to challenge the Trailbreaker, a pipeline that snakes from the heart of the Tar Sands to the Eastern seaboard. Specifically, we will be trying to prevent the construction of a proposed pumping station – a key component of the Trailbreaker’s infrastructure – that threatens the local community of Dunham, Quebec.
But the goal of the camp is not only to confront a single destructive entity.We want to show the possibility of another world – green, sustainable, and free of fossil fuels.
The camp will take place from August 7th until the 23rd, with Convergence Days on 18th to 22nd. Run on participatory, non-hierarchical principles, the camp will be the product of the participants. There will be organized workshops and trainings, but also plenty of space for autonomous workshops, discussions, collective cooking and everything in between.
Cameron Fenton on the Media Co-op
Montreal – Climate Justice Montreal released its newest publication, entitled Stop the Flow of Destruction, this week to draw attention to the upcoming Quebec Climate Action Camp. The 12 page publication includes information about the camp, and basic primers on climate justice, the tar sands, the Trailbreaker pipeline project, and moving forward on people’s solutions to the climate crisis.
The release comes as organizers gear up for the Quebec Climate Action Camp in Dunham QC, the site of a proposed pumping station to facilitate the a pipeline reversal which would bring tar sands oil through Quebec as part of a project known as the Enbridge Trailbreaker.
The publication is available for download here, and paper copies can be requested at email@example.com. A French version of the publication will be available by the end of the week.
Download the report from the Media Co-op –
A statement from Climate Justice London, Ontario –
Members of our group took to the streets around the G20 Summit in Toronto with concerns about climate change, the Alberta tar sands, assaults on native sovereignty, and other environmental injustices. The Summit police in Toronto threatened, searched, arrested, and detained Climate Justice London activists, while other local climate justice activists stayed away from Toronto to avoid the G20 police regime. Our dissent was not permitted at the Summit. In fact, anyone who was outdoors in downtown Toronto was a potential target for the snatch squads, the riot cops, the mounted horse brigades, and thousands of other police at the Summit. Our allies and our friends were pulled into this ‘security’ sweep, and all of us are left wondering which of the local police officers we encounter have brought their G20 summit training and hostility back to our cities.
Because we condemn this trampling of civil liberties, and because we always will call for democracy and social justice, members of our group have taken on leading roles in preparing a statement about police conduct and detention conditions at the G20 summit in Toronto. People for Peace (London) activists helped to develop that London-specific version of the original statement from Toronto. We hope that more Londoners will sign on to communicate their support.
Threats to our civil liberties will make it even more difficult to continue campaigning against environmental injustices — in a non-violent manner, without destructive sabotage tactics.
More than anyone, the people who need more freedom and more capacity to resist are residents of the front lines of water pollution, oil refineries, and other unjust environmental devastation — in native communities near the Alberta tar sands, in Sarnia, in Nanticoke, in southwest Detroit, and elsewhere, in far too many other areas of the world. The rest of us also will need more (not less) ways and more resources to support those victims, by challenging the industries, policies, and oppression behind the Alberta tar sands, and other fossil fuel systems.
WHAT IS IT?
On June 23rd, environmental justice organizers will be guiding a tour through Toronto to expose institutions most responsible for the environmental and social impacts of Canada’s extractive industries both at home and abroad. Canada is home to 75% of the world’s mining and exploration companies, making it a global leader in this industry. Canada’s place within the G8 nations is largely due to the exploitation of Indigenous peoples, their lands and rural poor for mining, tar sands and oil/gas exploitation.
As residents of Canada, we will not standby while the Canadian government, banks, and corporations continue to destroy people’s livelihoods and ecosystems to secure wealth accumulation for a select few.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
We encourage folks coming to dress up and challenge those in power with costumes, floats and fancied up bicycles. We will be working on several floats in lead up but encourage all to dress up for our action.
Ideas for costumes: Executives with blood on their hands, corporate zombies, people covered in Tar Sands bitumen,. etc. (fake blood and bitumen will be provided)
WHERE AND WHEN?
Please join us at 11 am on June 23 at Alexandra Park.
For more information or to endorse the event, please contact: toxictourTO@gmail.com
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127661243928642
WHY TAKE PART IN THE TOXIC TOUR?
The toxic tour will focus on four themes:
1. The extractive industry is violating human rights and the rights of mother earth. The federal government supports these companies even as human rights workers are killed, local peoples poisoned, and entire communities displaced. From the tar sands in northern Alberta to gold mines in Papua New Guinea to copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canadian companies are exploiting indigenous and poor communities alike, violating their right to self-determination, poisoning their lands, manipulating any leadership that they can access, and often supporting brutal military and security operations.
2. The extractive industry is exacerbating the climate crisis. The tar sands gigaproject is the most destructive industrial project on earth and will be the leading contributor to climate change in Canada, making it impossible for our country to meet its international climate commitments. The climate crisis has been caused by the industrialization of developed countries like Canada, while disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples and the global south who are faced with sea-level rise, drought, permafrost melt, desertification, melting glaciers, and increased extreme weather events. These and other problems brought on by the climate crisis have destroyed the livelihoods of millions who are dying and being displaced from their homes.
3. The education system is taken over by corporate interests. The University of Toronto, Canada´s largest academic institution, is taken over by corporations, many of which are linked to the extractive industry. This corporate influence stifles open, honest, and critical debate in our institutions of higher learning and demonstrates how a wealthy few can dominate and shape the way people think. As an academic institution that strives to create the ‘leaders of tomorrow,’ we must challenge the notion that corporate greed and exploitation has any place in our education system.
4. The Canadian economy is dependent on exploiting marginalized peoples and the environment. Harper would not be at the G8 if it wasn’t for exploiting the resources and people of countries that the G8 is purposely shutting out of discussions. Solutions, however, are there—but the Harper government refuses to give people the ability to determine the future of their own lives and livelihoods.
PEJnews – Joan Russow | Global Compliance Research Project
What was significant in the Cochabamba conference was that there was a final comprehensive People’s Agreement, emerging from the seventeen group discussions. In a recent release, the Council of Canadians has misrepresented the Peoples Agreement by asking the Canadian government to do less than was asked for at the conference, and by cherrypicking parts of the agreement.
While in the section in the COC release, “What happened in Cochambamba”, the Council of Canadians reported the following:
“On April 17‐19, [April 19 – 22] 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the Bolivian government hosted a conference called The World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth, bringing together more than 34,000 participants (with 10,000 registered from countries outside of South America) for a dialogue on alternative proposals to the climate crisis. Government representatives from 147 countries were present, and at least 45 were active participants. The process included 17 working groups that met and discussed key issues relating to climate justice. There were also main plenary panels and working group events.”
What was significant in the Cochabamba conference was that there was a final comprehensive People’s Agreement, emerging from the seventeen group discussions. The Council of Canadians has misrepresented the document by asking the Canadian government to do less than was asked for at the conference, and by cherrypicking parts of the document.
Steve D’Arcy and Syrah Canyon in The Bullet
Across Canada, activists have been reacting to the May 18 arson attack on a bank in Ottawa by a group claiming to be politically motivated. The group – calling itself FFFC – set off a fire bomb inside a Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) branch in the Glebe residential neighbourhood near the city’s downtown, and then posted a video of the attack on the internet.
Along with the video, the group issued a ‘communiqué’ in which they suggested that RBC was targeted because of its sponsorship of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year, on stolen Indigenous land, and the bank’s role as the leading financier of the environmentally destructive Tar Sands megaproject in Alberta, which has led to elevated cancer and death rates in First Nation communities living downstream along the Athabasca River, while contributing massively to climate change.
Few amongst the Left could disagree, of course, with a strong condemnation of RBC, Canada’s most profitable and most notoriously immoral financial institution. RBC fully deserves to be challenged, with determination and militancy, whenever possible. However, there is debate on the action taken by the FFFC against RBC. The crux of this debate turns on questions of tactics and strategy.
Many people have been sharply critical of the arsonists’ use of a tactic that endangered the lives of both nearby residents and the emergency workers who had to deal with the fire (there was also the possibility of there being night workers in the bank cleaning). The actions of the arsonists were irresponsible and reckless. Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of being in a fire, fighting a fire or treating a fire victim can tell you just how dangerous a fire can be. Fire is very powerful and unpredictable and, even if it was not the intention of the arsonists to do so, it was within the realm of possibility that people could have been seriously injured and/or killed (as occurred in the Greek anti-austerity protests when a bank was firebombed, workers killed, and a huge setback to the momentum to the protests followed). We expect such disregard for human life from the major corporations themselves, not those who oppose them. It is delusional to think that any pain brought on by this action would be borne by the system of capitalism, the state, or even the RBC. You can’t burn those things down. It is business as usual for all of them. In fact, this action has served their interests.
Read the rest of this entry »
Mainstream enviros, timber industry shut First Nations out of “historic” deal
Dawn Paley on the Vancouver Media Co-Op
Timber companies and environmental organizations came together Tuesday to announce the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which they say could protect a swath of boreal forest twice the size of Germany, and maintain forestry jobs across the country.
“This is an agreement between the two principle combatants over logging,” said Steve Kallick, director of the Boreal Conservation campaign of the Pew Environment Group.
But Indigenous peoples have been left out of the agreement, and grassroots environmentalists are concerned that the proposal represents a move towards more corporate control over forests in Canada.
“Name a forest struggle in Canada that hasn’t been spearheaded by First Nations from the beginning,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, who is the tar sands campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“A lot of First Nations groups, in Haida Gwaii, in the Boreal forest, and places like Grassy Narrows, Barrier Lake and Temagami, I think they would have a much different analysis and memory then Mr. Kallick.”
The three-year agreement is the largest of its kind anywhere on the planet, according to a representative from Greenpeace. Twenty one forestry companies have signed on, as have nine environmental organzations.
But for some, like Thomas-Muller, today’s announcement is reminiscent of a another deal, signed in British Columbia in 2006.
Action in British Columbia
[Photos are available here]
Historic homes are being demolished, and ancient indigenous sites are under threat from the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) project here on the Fraser River bank. The est. $2 billion SFPR is part of the controversial Gateway program, which would greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions in BC.
The action took place at River Road and Centre Street in Delta. It coincides with the multi-faith Pilgrimage to Burns Bog, and is visible from the pilgrimage route across the Alex Fraser Bridge. Pilgrims and activists aim to raise awareness about Burns Bog, a large, carbon-sequestering peat bog also under threat from the SFPR freeway.
“Our neighbours are being forced out of their homes, and ecosystems are being bulldozed,” says Delta resident Ernie Baatz. “Schools and programs are being cut across the province to pay for this climate changing freeway. We have to stand up to this appalling waste.”
Baatz and fellow activists also planted trees at the site today, to highlight the area’s potential as a riverfront park, not a riverfront freeway. Although preparatory work has begun on some sections of the SFPR, no build contract is in place. A request for proposals was issued by the Ministry of Transportation in April 2009.
The action is part of a week of events dubbed “Earth Action Week” by GatewaySucks.org and the Council of Canadians (Delta/Richmond chapter).
Andy Rowell on the Oil Change blog
On the one side are the protestors arguing passionately for the company to listen to how their activities are destroying someone’s homeland or are polluting the earth.
Up on the top table sit the company’s top brass, who go through the motions of this annual public inconvenience.
They bat the questions away like an experienced cricketer annoyed to be outside in the mid day sun. In the middle are the shareholders who shuffle in, listen and then shuffle out.
In the early nineties, I routinely attended both BP’s and Shell’s AGMs, as a whole host of environmental and social concerns was put to their boards and raised before shareholders.
But questions about corporate pollution or human rights abuses would be dismissed by the board and booed from the floor.
The shareholders were there for their day out, that included a free lunch and as much free wine they could drink in the proscribed time limit.
Any questions from the floor were an inconvenience that ate into the amount of time they had to scoff their free wine. But scoff they did.
So if they were doddery before they came in, they were certainly doddery on the way out.
London, Ontario, Canada celebrated Fossil Fools Day by organizing blitz actions against 3 branches of RBC (the Royal Bank of Canada), as well as a Critical Mass bike rally, in which a breakaway group took over a highway.
[Clicking any of the photo thumbnails will take you to more photos from our actions. And here are some more photos from our bike rally.]
Instead of just protesting outside, a group of activists brought their message inside RBC during their peak hours, to temporarily disrupt the bank’s dirty business. The plan was simple and easy to replicate. We marched into the branch, chanting with a megaphone to get the attention of bank managers, tellers and customers with our boisterous entry. We handed out and threw around flyers to explain what we were up to, and more importantly, why we were there. One of the flyers was about Fossil Fools Day, and the other one was about campaigning against the tar sands. A large “Climate Justice” banner was also displayed, inside the RBC building.
One activist read a speech over the megaphone; this speech was written collectively by the participants minutes before the first disruption:
“RBC is Killing the Planet. They are the leading financiers of the world’s most environmentally destructive project: The Albertan Tar Sands. The bank you do business with and work for is literally killing First Nations people by poisoning the Athabasca River. RBC is profiting off the destruction of native communities and turning forests, wetlands, and lakes into open pit mines, poisonous tailing ponds, and toxic wastelands. By investing your money into this bank and its projects you are selling out the future of life on earth by accelerating climate change. RBC and other corporations who put profit above all other considerations are unsustainable and incompatible with life on this planet. Close your accounts and invest yourself in the future.”
MONTREAL – On Thursday, April 1, 2010, a group of over 70 left Dominion Square in the heart of Montreal to make the 15 km journey to the city’s east end to shine a light on the largest urban oil refining center in Canada. Drawing contingents of activists from various student, social and environmental justice groups, the Bike Bloc organized by Climate Justice Montreal made its way down Rene Levesque to Berri and up to Sherbrooke Street, heading on a collision course with the Enbridge Trailbreaker Tar Sands expansion pipeline.
“The east end of Montreal is a seldom seen and discussed region, but it is the largest urban oil refining center in Canada,” said Pierre-Olivier Parent, an organizer with Climate Justice Montreal. “It is a vast wasteland of oil, gas and chemical storage tanks, threatening the health of local residents and all Montrealers. If completed the Trailbreaker would bring the direct effects of the Tar Sands right here.”’
The bikes entered the post-apocalyptic petroleum wasteland just beyond the last metro station, passing first by Shell Canada’s Montreal Development. The massive refinery has recently been put up for sale, announced by “A Vendre” signs lining the road, proudly offering up “800 skilled employees” as part of the package deal for any eager buyer.
“Rather than expanding the petroleum infrastructure that is destroying ecosystems and communities, we need to build a clean energy economy, creating meaningful jobs for thousands of people including those working at the Shell Refinery. Our society needs jobs that are not dependent on unstable, destructive resources that soar and crash, creating environmental and economic catastrophes,” says Cameron Stiff, a local sustainability organizer and activist.
This post was submitted by Cameron Fenton.
In the spirit of April Fools day, 13 Cities in Canada have pulled creative pranks on fossil fuel industry supporters, or “Fossil Fools,” pleasantly confusing security guards, police, and the general public. People for Climate Justice, a national coalition of concerned residents in Canada, announced 6 nominees for the dubious Fossil Fool of the Year Award: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Environment Minister Jim Prentice, Royal Bank of Canada CEO Gordon Nixon, and Shell Canada President Brian Straub. All nominees have a history of supporting Canada’s tar sands industry and related projects such as pipelines and refineries, with no consideration for the human rights violations and environmental atrocities associated with tar sands developments. In the spirit of Fossil Fools day, 13 Cities in Canada have taken action and pulled creative pranks and tricks on tar sands supporters.
7 communities in Canada: Toronto (ON), Waterloo (ON), Peterborough (ON), London (ON), New Westminster (BC), Duncan (BC), and Victoria all targeted RBC as the top financier in dirty tar sands projects. In Waterloo, one indigenous activist was arrested after a banner drop at a local branch of Royal Bank of Canada. This is the second day of action in which RBC was targeted. On March 3rd, the same day as the bank’s Annual General Shareholders Meeting where 11 communities in Canada held rallies and actions at RBC branches. “This is the second year that Royal Bank of Canada is receiving the Fossil Fool of the year award,” says Taylor Flook, organizer with the Rainforest Action Network Toronto.
In Montreal, 70 people staged a bike bloc protest shutting down the roads in and out of Montreal’s oil refining sector with clean, green people power. Read the rest of this entry »
Ottawa / March 26, 2010 – The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.
The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.
“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”
“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now,” states Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).
“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home community,” says Daniel T’seleie, a K’asho Got’ine Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate change and existing development. This would be an unconscionable infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”
A high-level delegation from Canada were greeted this morning by protesters with banners that read: “Canadian Tar Sands – Climate Crime”, outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The protest, on Thursday 18 March, is part of a growing campaign by UK groups against the tremendous human and ecological devastation caused by extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands – and is taking place in solidarity with First Nations and Canadian environmental justice organizations. The Canadian delegation is being hosted by UK Trade and Investment, a government department that exists to promote the interests of British industry.
“The Canadian and British governments should know that people in the UK are very concerned about the tar sands,” said Alice Hargreaves of the UK Tar Sands Network which has organised the protest along with members of Rising Tide and Camp for Climate Action. “The tar sands are the world’s most destructive project. Canada is ripping up an area larger than England, creating sprawling toxic lakes and ever-expanding carbon emissions. This environmental horror story is violating indigenous peoples’ rights – they are losing their traditional ways of life, and some are getting cancer from the pollution. The tar sands is a project that needs to be stopped, yet British companies like Shell, BP and RBS are involved, and with this event, UK Trade and Investment is actively promoting further British involvement.”
All Out March 3rd – Tell RBC shareholders: Stop bankrolling tar sands!
On March 3rd, the Royal Bank of Canada will hold its annual general meeting of shareholders’ at the Toronto Metro Convention Center. It’s the one time every year that the bank’s top executives, board and other decision makers gather in the same place to hear from shareholders. This year, we want them to hear from you!
Since 2007 RBC has backed more than $16.9 billion (USD) in loans to companies operating in the tar sands—more than any other bank. Expansion of the tar sands is trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples, destroying globally significant ecosystems and significantly increasing Canada’s carbon emissions.
Representatives from several First Nations impacted by tar sands expansion will attend the meeting to demand that RBC recognize the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous communities and suspend its financial support for tar sands expansion.
Join us for a morning of creative, non-violent direct action culminating in a rally outside the Metro Center at 1 pm to show solidarity with First Nations representatives.
When: morning actions, rally @ 2pm, March 3, 2010
Where: Metro Convention Center, 255 Front St. W, Toronto
Take Action in your area – If you are interested in organizing an action before or at RBC’s AGM, please contact Eriel Deranger firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave Vasey email@example.com
Here’s the Facebook event posting –