Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

April 4, 2013, Winnipeg: Opponents of the Reed Lake Mine in northern Manitoba confront HudBay Mineral's officials. Photo: Paul S. Graham

April 4, 2013, Winnipeg: Opponents of the Reed Lake Mine in northern Manitoba confront HudBay Mineral’s officials. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Opponents of Hudbay Mineral’s planned copper mine at Reed Lake, Manitoba held a peaceful demonstration at an information meeting held by the company at a Holiday Inn in Winnipeg. The demonstrators, many of whom are active in the Idle No More movement, confronted HudBay officials for about 15 minutes to voice their opposition and to demand a halt to the project.

Reed Lake is in the Grass River Provincial Park, about 110 kilometres east of Flin Flon. The mining project is a joint venture of HudBay Minerals and VMS Ventures, Inc.

The fact this mining operation is under construction in a provincial park has outraged environmentalists and First Nations communities alike.

April 4, 2013, Winnipeg: At a news conference announcing opposition to HudBay's Reed Lake Mine - (l-r) Grand Chief David Harper, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Chief Arlen Dumas, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Eric Reder, Wilderness Committee. Photo: Paul S. Graham

April 4, 2013, Winnipeg: At a news conference announcing opposition to HudBay’s Reed Lake Mine – (l-r) Grand Chief David Harper, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Chief Arlen Dumas, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Eric Reder, Wilderness Committee. Photo: Paul S. Graham

At a news conference held earlier that evening, representatives of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Wilderness Committee pledged to oppose the mine because it is being built within the traditional territory of the MCCN without their permission.

Here are my video reports.


June 9, 2012: Citizens opposed to Bill C-38 pause for a moment outside of Conservative MP Joyce Bateman’s Winnipeg South Centre office before continuing to distribute literature in the constituency. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Stephen Harper’s Bill C-38 continues to generate controversy and opposition across Canada. In Winnipeg, a group of citizens have joined Lead Now’s “13 Heroes” campaign that is aimed at convincing enough Conservative MPs across the country to force the Prime Minister to back down on his budget implementation bill. The focus in Winnipeg is on Conservative MP Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre).

C-38 is an omnibus bill that combines budgetary spending and cuts with amendments to over 70 pieces of existing legislation. Among the bill’s lowlights, it

  • repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and introduces a weaker version
  • kills Canadian world-class science research centres, closing or selling the Experimental Lakes Area, The Cereal Research Centre at the University of Manitoba, marine & climate-monitoring programs
  • removes protection of endangered species and their habitat, when approving pipeline projects, by amending the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act
  • guts the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection
  • repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
  • eliminates the National Round Table on Environment and Economy
  • repeals the Fair Wages Act
  • reforms Old Age Security by raising the age of eligibility for the program
  • forces EI users to accept work that does not correspond to their training or customary salary

While Canadians and their MPs should debate the merits of these various measures, Harper will not allow this to happen. Because they have been stuffed into one Bill, these proposals will not get the individual attention they deserve. As you read this, the package is being rushed through one Parliamentary Committee — the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is neither mandated nor equipped to assess the impacts of these wide-ranging amendments. Once again, Harper is showing his contempt for Canadians, for Parliament and for democracy itself.

Parliament may vote on Bill C-38 as soon as June 14th. The Opposition Parties are lined up to oppose the Bill, but with his majority, Harper will prevail unless we can convince some of his backbenchers to stop acting like sheep and listen to their constituents. Thirteen, to be precise. If thirteen Conservative MPs choose democracy, Harper can choose to back down or face an election.

On June 13, expect rallies outside of Conservative MPs offices. You can find out about the one nearest you here. If you live in Winnipeg, two events are planned:

Information picket in front of Joyce Bateman’s office (611 Corydon Avenue) from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Show up at three and you can help make picket signs.

Bill C-38 Dialogue Event, The University of Winnipeg, Room 2M70 (515 Portage Ave), from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

If you can’t make it, or abhor crowds, you can still remind Joyce Bateman that she has a choice. Contact her at

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Telephone:  613-992-9475
Fax:  613-992-9586
Email:  Joyce.Bateman@parl.gc.ca

or

102-611 Corydon Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3L 0P3
Telephone: 204-983-1355
Fax: 204-984-3979

Finally, here’s a bit of video I recorded Saturday at Joyce Bateman’s office. But first, go to the kitchen and assemble your favorite noisemakers. Then play the video and chant:

“JOYCE HAS A CHOICE! LET HER HEAR YOUR VOICE!”


Winnipeg, May 4, 2012: Ta’Kaiya Blaney speaking at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg about the need to oppose the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline Project. Photo: Paul S. Graham

One of the youngest passengers on the Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train is Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 11, of Sliammon First Nation in British Columbia. I don’t believe I have seen a more articulate, self-possessed, and inspiring child in my life.

She spoke in Winnipeg last night, at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House, about the struggle to stop the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline. Her presentation was impressive enough, but then she performed “Shallow Waters,” a song she co-wrote with her singing instructor, Aileen De La Cruz, and the audience was entranced.

“Shallow Waters” could become the anthem for all who love and seek to protect the Earth. And Ta’Kaiya Blaney? Well, judge for yourself. She could become pretty much anything she chooses.


Important Links

See also


UPDATE: After posting the first video I went to a Yinka Dene Alliance rally at the historic junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Ta’Kaiya was one of the featured speakers. Here she performs “Carried Away” – which is both a lament for the loss of the natural environment and a call to action. You can find the lyrics on her web site.

Winnipeg, May 4, 2012: Hereditary Chief Tsodih of the Nak’azdli First Nation speaking at a news conference at Circle of Life Thunderbird House. Photo: Paul S. Graham

The Yinka Dene Alliance is on a cross country mission to tell Canadians why they have decided to refuse the construction of the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline across their land. They arrived on VIA Rail last night and held a news conference this morning at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg. Mainstream media response was underwhelming; it appears that most were distracted by Jim Flaherty’s visit to the Winnipeg Mint to watch the last shiny copper come off the assembly line today. Oh, those shiny pennies!! Oh, how bedazzling for the media!

Because most of the mainstream media declined the invitation to participate, you and your friends are unlikely to find out what was said — unless you watch this video and share it widely.



If you don’t have 52 minutes, here’s an interview I recorded last night at Union Station with Hereditary Chief Na’Moks.


St. Boniface MP Shelley Glover recently lectured Winnipeg broadcaster Michael Welch of CKUW-FM 95.9 on the virtues of “ethical oil” and the “balanced” approach of the Conservative government to energy development that has obtained the “support” of aboriginal people for tar sands development and the Enbridge Pipeline Proposal. Michael checked her assertions with Gerald Amos, former elected Chief Councillor for the Haisla First Nation for 12 years and a leader of the fierce opposition that is being mounted by communities across BC to the Enbridge proposal.

Was Glover poorly informed or spinning for her boss, Stephen Harper? Watch the video and judge for yourself.

After you’ve watched this, you may want to watch Tar Sands, Pipelines and Tankers – the forum at which Gerald Amos spoke, along with Wade Davis, Lynne Fernandez and Anne Lindsey.

The National Energy Board is conducting hearings on Enbridge’s proposal for a pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to the town of Kitimat in the heart of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. If approved, over 200 oil tankers would be navigating the difficult waters off BC’s Northwest Coast each year, making widespread environmental damage to BC’s coastline only a matter of time. Moreover, it will facilitate the marketing of even more dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands, fueling that unfolding ecological catastrophe with profound consequences for the rest of Canada and the world.

The project is meeting fierce opposition, especially in northern BC, and the federal government has declared war on anyone who opposes this project. In Winnipeg, a coalition of environmental groups banded together to hold a public forum on February 16, 2012 at the University of Winnipeg entitled Tar Sands, Pipelines and Tankers. Over 300 people turned out to view an excellent 16-minute documentary by Pacific Wild entitled Oil in Eden and to dialogue with an expert panel, moderated by journalist Ricard Cloutier.

The Panel

Dr. Wade Davis is Explorer in Residence, National Geographic Society, Visiting Professor and Senior Fellow of the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) Indigenous Development program, University of Winnipeg.

As well, he is the author of The Sacred Headwaters: the fight to save the Stikine, Skeena and Nass.

Gerald Amos was Chief Councillor for the Haisla First Nation for 12 years. He has been a leading voice for conservation in Canada for thirty years.

He is the author of an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver “No apology forthcoming.”

Lynne Fernandez, of the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives has an MA in economics from the University of Manitoba. As a research associate at the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Lynne has studied municipal and provincial social and economic policy. She is also interested in labour and environmental issues.

Anne Lindsey is former executive director of the Manitoba Eco-Network. Since 1984, Anne has worked on such Manitoba and national issues as nuclear waste, forestry, food, pesticides and environmental reviews.

This event was organized by the Manitoba Eco-Network, Green Action Centre, Climate Change Connection, the Council of Canadians (Winnipeg), and the Green Action Committee of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church, with the support of the University of Manitoba’s Global Political Economy Program and the University of Winnipeg.

I hope you can schedule some time to view the video report I prepared in collaboration with Ken Harasym for Winnipeg Community TV. At two-and-a-half hours, it is long, but it is crammed with information and analysis that make it well worth the time.

When asked if her party would support a moratorium on transporting radioactive nuclear fuel waste through Manitoba, Progressive Conservative candidate Heather Stephanson equivocated, saying she would not answer a “hypothetical question.”

By contrast, Green Party Leader James Beddome answered with a thunderous denunciation of allowing nuclear waste on Manitoba soil and declared the possibility of a Conservative government being elected Oct. 4 to be “hypothetical.”

Judging from the applause for Beddome and the lack of it for Stephanson, it was clear where the audience stood on this issue.

This is not a hypothetical issue. A movement has sprung up in Saskatchewan to prevent the establishment of a nuclear waste dump.  A respected aboriginal elder, Emil Bell, is on a hunger strike against storing nuclear waste in Saskatchewan.

Kudos to Beddome for clearly stating his party’s anti-nuke position.

You can see the whole debate at here.

Manitoba citizens will elect a new provincial government Oct. 4, 2011 and environmental issues will play an important role in determining which political party forms that government.

Where should Manitoba Hydro construct its planned Bipole 3 transmission line – or should it be built at all?

How should we save Lake Winnipeg from choking to death on toxic algae?

How best can Manitobans respond to rising energy costs and climate change?

These are only some of the issues that representatives of four political parties debated in this two-and-a-half hour public forum held Sept. 14., 2011 in Winnipeg. Naturally, I brought my video camera.


Moderator: Terry MacLeod, CBC Information Radio

Panelists:
– James Beddome, Green Party of Manitoba
– Paul Hesse: Liberal Party of Manitoba
– Jennifer Howard: New Democratic Party of Manitoba
– Heather Stephanson: Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

Sponsors:
Manitoba Eco-Network
Green Action Centre
Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba
Green Action Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg

I’m half-way through “Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the road to economic, social and ecological decay” by Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler and I’m already regretting my decision, a year ago, to replace my aging Mazda with a brand new Kia Soul. I would have been better off with a bus pass and the world would have been one infinitesimally tiny step closer to sanity.

By every conceivable measure, private automobile ownership is an irrational choice that drains our health, destroys our environment and locks us in a downward spiral of indebtedness. In a discussion hosted by the Manitoba Eco-Network on July 7, 2011 in Winnipeg, Yves Engler explains why.

“What if the Gulf could sue BP?” asks Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “What if the ocean around Japan could sue the owners of the nuclear facility? What if the Athabasca River could sue everybody? What if Lake Winnipeg could sue for the nitrates we dump into it everyday?”

On International Mother Earth Day, April 22, 2011, Barlow spoke to a packed hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the international campaign for the Rights of Nature and the need to retake the Commons from corporate predators. Her appearance was sponsored by the Council of Canadians (Winnipeg Chapter) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba Office).

This is an excerpt from her speech that I recorded at the Fort Garry Hotel.