It's an all too common story, one besmirching the good name and reputation of Canada every time it's told; international mining corporations, using this country as a flag of convenience to rape and pillage the earth and peoples of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and right here at home.
BUT, worse perhaps than these bad actors hiding behind our nation's lax legal restraints to conduct their dirty business is when actual Canadian outfits shirk responsibility.
Just such is the charge leveled against Exellon Resources Inc., whose critics claim it, through subsidiary, Minera Excellon de México has endangered the environment, and ripped off the people and Ejido La Sierrita in Durango, Mexico.
Alejandra Ancheita is a Mexican human rights advocate and attorney, and founder and Executive Director of the Project for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, or ProDESC. She was litigation specialist at the renowned Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center and served at the Center for Labor Support and Reflection, and for more than a decade has fought for under-represented workers and communities throughout Mexico.
Alejandra holds a graduate degree in International Law and Global Justice from Fordham University Law School, and while a visiting scholar at its Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics, developed the research initiative, 'Towards a Genuine Transnational Collaboration: Constructing Transnational Justice for Migrant Workers.' She was also honoured this year as a Wasserstein Fellow by Harvard Law School.
Alejandra Ancheita will be in Victoria this Friday, April 19th presenting, in conjunction with the Mining Justice Action Committee, 'Mexico and Canada: The Human Rights and Environment Connection.' Alejandra Ancheita in the first half.
And; the current government of British Columbia recently green-lighted a scheme to make of a rock quarry at Shawnigan Lake a receptacle for Victoria's toxic waste. The locals, when they became aware of the plan, had misgivings, and lots of questions. In the interim, those concerns have not abated, and their anxiety has grown as the dead-line for final approval arrives. It's the subject of filmmaker, Paul Manly's latest effort, 'Troubled Water.'
Manly is a Vancouver Island-based filmmaker, sound-designer and musician, who credits his multi-cultural extended family with informing his interest in social justice, racism, and cultural struggle. Some of his documentary credits include: 'A Gathering of Nations,' and 'The Awakening of Elizabeth Shaw,' and 'Bringing Truth to Light,' the latter both collaborations with director of photography and editor, Eva Manly, and 'Sombrio,' a chronicle of the families "squatting" on that beach for generations and their eviction.
Paul has also worked as media production teacher at the Video In Studios artist-run centre in Vancouver, served with the Chiapas Media Project in Mexico, and initiated a technical internship program, and coordinated the Collectives Mini-Grants program here. His Manly Media production company also released 'You, Me, and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule,' part of which contains the widely controversial uncovering of police agents provocateur at the anti-globalization manifestation at Montebello, Quebec.
Paul Manly and Troubled Water for Shawnigan in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us news from our city's streets and beyond. But first, Alejandra Ancheita and Canada's corporadoes, living up to a low reputation.
Spring has arrived to the Island, and with it a renewed sense of purpose seems evident for those who would defend yet the glorious wild lands and ocean we are blessed to live amidst. Like the perpetual turning of the seasons though, some environmental battles inexorably come round again.
Such is the case with Clayoquot Sound, where years of resistance to forestry and mining abuses prompted international recognition and designation as a UNESCO global Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, but has still proven insufficient to stem the despoilers, who rising zombie-like from apparent mortal defeat come ever back demanding more.
Clayoquot has already the dubious distinction of possessing the highest concentration of fish feed lots in the province, but that didn't stop Mainstream Canada, a subsidiary of Norwegian fish farm behemoth, Cermaq ASA from asking for another open net-pen operation. And, as they almost invariably do, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans said, "OK!" It's an unwelcome development for locals, who view this operation as more than a fish farm too far.
Steve Lawson is National Coordinator of the First Nations Environment Network of Canada, and is a former board member of both the Canadian Environmental Network and the Marine and Terrestrial Committees of the Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve. He has lived most of the last fifty years on an island off Tofino; working as a fisher, tour boat skipper, and boat builder and designer among other things. Steve says he's; "...dedicated much of my life here on the coast to protecting old growth forests, wild salmon and other life and have tried to bring forward the understanding of nature and the traditional connections in order to promote the common good for all our relations."
Steve Lawson in the first half.
And; April Fools Day marks the opening of British Columbia's Grizzly hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest. Kiff Archer and Jason Moody live within the Great Bear, located along the mid-coast of BC, and they're both with the newly formed, Central Coast Grizzly Patrol. They were here at the start of last Fall's hunting season to talk about the beginning of the Coastal First Nations Coalition and its unilaterally declared ban on trophy hunting within their collective territories. The provincial government however neither recognizes the authority of the First Nations to do this, nor honours their demand for a ban on the hunt.
Kiff Archer and Jason Moody still standing tall in defense of the bears and other "trophy" targets in the Great Bear Rainforest in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz from our city's streets and beyond. But first, Steve Lawson and new battle lines being drawn in Clayoquot.
I just signed the petition "The Government of British Columbia: Decline SIA's permit to dump contaminated soil in Shawnigan Lake" on Change.org.
It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
Went up to Shawnigan Lake's Save Our Water Rally. Here's the nub of it from Bruce Fraser's site, www.fraserforshawnigan.ca
Well over 200 Shawnigan residents gathered on March 25th to show their disapproval of the South Island Aggregates proposal to reclaim their rock quarry, located in the headwaters of the Shawnigan watershed, with contaminated soil. What they witnessed was one of the rarest political events ever seen in British Columbia.
The sitting NDP MLA for Cowichan, the nominated candidates of the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens, the elected Area Director for Shawnigan and the Regional District Board are now on public record as rejecting the SIA proposal. This remarkable consensus is made more stunning because it has been crafted on the eve of a provincial election in which the four provincial candidates will be squaring off over the many hot issues that separate their party platforms. All have declared that the threat to the Shawnigan Watershed is a non-partisan issue, a matter of common environmental concern.
What is truly perplexing is that the current provincial government is persisting with formalizing the offending permit, now in draft form, but soon to be allocated in final form. All who have submitted comments to the Ministry of Environment have been given three short weeks to review the conditions of the complex permit but the ministry has indicated that the permit itself is not in question. The Minister of Environment has made it clear that the ministry has a legal obligation to review the SIA application and that he will defer to the technical judgment of staff. The Shawnigan community cannot believe that this also means an obligation to actually allow a contaminated soil facility to be placed in a major drinking water source against universal opposition. They certainly cannot understand how the most senior elected leadership in the province can avoid acting to protect such a crucial resource, clearly the most central responsibility of a Ministry of Environment.
The big story of the SIA project is surely about allowing a corporation to take the lucrative risk of contaminating a community watershed with a brew of industrial chemicals. It is also about dropping such a bomb a few short weeks before a provincial election when a government dissolves and elected leadership lapses. It is most certainly about the rejection of the consensus of every elected and aspiring leader of the Shawnigan community, The Cowichan Regional District and Cowichan provincial riding. This is about to become a spectacular miscarriage of democracy that should make the blood run cold in communities throughout the province. It is a situation that desperately needs to be corrected immediately by the Premier and her Cabinet before the opportunity is lost to create a truly inspiring and creative democratic response to a vulnerable community.
Madame Premier, carpe diem, do the right thing.
This week: Ezili Danto is a Haitian-American playwright, performance poet, and author. She's also a social and political activist and commentator, and human rights attorney. She is the founder and president of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network. She also serves as managing editor of the on-line journal, Haitian Perspectives, and publishes the Ezili Danto Newsletter. Ezili Danto and Day 27 in New Haiti in the first half.
Mary Desmond is president of the Shawnigan Lake Watershed Watch Association, and says the fight to save the watershed is about more than losing natural habitat and a rural lifestyle. Mary Desmond and staying the vandal's hand in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz straight from the streetz of Victoria and environs. But first Ezili Danto and Haiti: Year One.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in corporate and state media. Gorilla Radio airs live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 102FM, 104.3 cable, and on t