Thursday, December 28, 2006

Complicity with pre-Christmas massacre in Haiti?

Montreal Groups call on government to denounce UN violence

MONTREAL, Tuesday, December 26 - At 3am on December 22nd, UN troops entered the Cité Soleil neighbourhood in Haiti's Port-au-Prince, and opened fire with heavy weapons. Reuters reported that at least 13 died, and 30 were wounded in the assault, all "believed to be civilians".

Today, Resistance Haitienne au Québec (RHQ) and Haiti Action Montreal (HAM) condemned the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in one of Haiti's most impoverished neighbourhoods. RHQ and HAM call on the Canadian government to denounce the killing of civilians and ensure that those responsible for this massacre are brought to justice.

"If Stephen Harper wants to distinguish himself from the worst of the Liberal Government, he should work to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice," said Yves Engler of Haiti Action Montreal.

"Canada holds key roles in the UN mission in Haiti--ignoring the most recent Cité Soleil massacre will be another blow to the country's credibility," Engler added.

"This isn't the first time UN troops have killed indiscriminately in Cité Soleil," said Serge Bouchereau. "When UN troops killed 23 civilians on July 6, 2005, the Liberal Government was silent. Will Stephen Harper continue their quiet support for human rights abuses?"

Canada heads up the 1700-member UN police force in Haiti (CIVPOL), and has officers throughout the command structure of the UN military in Haiti. The UN mission in Haiti began after US, French and Canadian forces landed in Port-au-Prince and Marines removed elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide from the country.

"While Hillier was serving Christmas turkey in Afghanistan, UN forces were delivering a different kind of present to Haiti's poor," said Nik Barry-Shaw of Haiti Action Montreal.

"Is this the kind of foreign policy Canadians want?"

Monday, December 18, 2006


Dear Peter McKay and Galo Carrera,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. I am contacting you because I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Oaxaca.

A group of 23 people from Huahuapan, Oaxaca, decided to leave a large Popular People's Assembly of Oaxaca (APPO) protest in the city of Oaxaca to avoid confrontation with the police. When they got to the bus station, the Mexican authorities arrested them. Four children were later release, but the government labeled the remaining nineteen "highly dangerous" and sent them to a prison in Nayarit, twenty hours north of Huahuapan. These nineteen people are among over 400 arrested since June 2006 in connection with ongoing APPO protests.

My colleague, Matthew Wiens, a Christian Peacemaker Team Reservist, has heard reports that many prisoners have been abused and beaten. Some have received bail as high as $400,000, an impossible amount to raise for people who earn $1 per day.

I ask you to look into the arrests of these nineteen people from Huahuapan. The prisoners from Huahuapan include: Ciro Pedroza Guadarrama, Jaime Auieliano Martinez Gordillo, Maria Perez Gutierrez, Marta Mandez Perez, Jaime Legaria Ramirez, and Ignacio Legaria Hernandez. These six were all active with CACTUS, FENIC, and other organizations. CACTUS and other organizations involved in APPO believe that their protests comply with Article 39 of the Mexican Constitution that stipulates when a government (in this case Governor Ulises of Oaxaca) is not doing his job, the Mexican people have a right to remove it.

Please urge the Mexican government to free these political prisoners so they can be home for Christmas.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

2 things



My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. I have chosen to contact you because I believe that the Canadian government should maintain the Canadian Wheat Board and supply-management mechanisms that support family farms. The Canadian government ought to protect the Canadian Wheat Board and supply-management mechanisms from the prejudiced impact of international trade agreements. Canadian farmers have not reaped the benefits of free trade that were promised to them. Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into effect in 1989, exports have doubled but Canadian farmers have seen their net income drop by 24 percent. As the deregulation of agriculture increases and U.S. and Canadian standards meld, independent farmers will suffer even more. While the U.S. government may want you to eliminate the monopoly powers of the Canadian Wheat Board, I support the CWB and its ability to pass along a premium to farmers that would otherwise go to a small handful of agribusiness corporations. As the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board you should defend this valued Canadian institution, not undermine it.

Sincerely and respectfully,



[The following was written by Matt Soltys.]

A while back, an idea came to me. Some people consider this idea clever, others, stupid. Some people even consider it threatening.

The idea was to inject humour into people's lives by spray-painting a politically satirical stencil, and to provoke thought on the use of the word 'terrorism.' I went out with this stencil -- an image of a bulldozer with the word 'eco-terrorist' below -- and at one point during a midsummer night, I turned, mid-spray-paint, to see a police car behind me. As the officer exited his car, I couldn't resist sharing a rare greeting -- "Well, you caught me red-handed." I was using red paint and actually did have some on my hand.

I placed several stencils around town, but only got caught with one. Two days later, after some negative press, my feelings shifted. It's not worth the controversy, I felt, so sought to avoid further problems by covering the remaining stencils. I asked a friend for help, and away we biked. Unknown to us, however, three undercover police were following my every move.

Given Guelph's numerous unsolved acts of sabotage targeting what passes for "development," the cops probably thought they had a lead. According to the police budget, each investigative officer makes approximately $45 an hour, so eight hours amounts to $1,080. Considering there are at least two shifts daily, and that I was likely under surveillance for more than one day, it is conceivable that the cost of following me reached into the tens of thousands of dollars. Surely you can think of numerous ways to more wisely spend your taxes.

The stencil's purpose, ultimately, was to encourage a rethinking of the word "eco-terrorism," and "terrorism" in general. These words are manipulated to suit the perceived needs of those in power, and their misuse has ruined countless innocent lives.

The word "eco-terrorism" has been created and actively promoted by people who are voices for the logging, automobile and chemical industries. Its purpose is to severely criminalize those who seek to stop destructive business practices. Thus, people who rescue animals from tortuous laboratories are called "eco-terrorists." People who, like the heroes in the children's film Hoot, protect forests by damaging construction equipment, are called "eco-terrorists." However, despite the media's labels, they are never charged with anything related to terrorism; the word is legally irrelevant and used solely as a propaganda tool. I am sure 19th-century abolitionists, who risked their lives to free slaves and torch their prisons, were similarly considered terrorists by those in power. What's next? Are the heroes of Captain Planet and Fern Gully eco-terrorists?

The point here is to show that a word's meaning is subject to the person using it. Consider, for example, the amount of terror created when an empty building under construction on the edge of Guelph was set aflame, in an attempt to make destroying nature less profitable. In comparison, how many people are terrified and depressed that their children will get cancer from the air, or that future wars will be fought over water, and recognize that Guelph's development policies are exacerbating an already grim situation? How many wild animals -- who are entirely capable of experiencing fear -- are terrorized by the ever-encroaching machines that destroy their homes and tear apart the earth?

What, really, creates more fear?

Through my ordeal, I have had the opportunity to speak with many people about their feelings regarding such topics. Most see we are heading for catastrophe, yet feel the options presented by those in power grossly under-represent the threats we face. Nearly everyone I speak with is frightened, saddened and angry, if they have not yet shut down due to the pain required by feeling.

I must be clear that I do not wish to undermine any fear felt by people who live near any acts of arson. Nor is this a plea for more people to commit such acts. It is simply a proposal to stop using the word "eco-terrorist," and that we discuss as a community what really does scare us, and that government and business leaders actually do something about it. Certainly, these acts of sabotage are a way of seeking empowerment after being ignored for far too long by those in power.

I am far from alone in recognizing that if we wish to survive this century, we need to drastically change our entire way of life. This will not come easily, but the danger my generation faces is too painful to fathom. The City of Guelph must take a stand and transition out of an industrially dependent way of life. Our lives truly do depend on it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Australia's first shipment of genetically modified canola is on its way to the nation's grocery baskets after protesters held it up

... for three hours at a Newcastle dock.

[This story is from the Daily Telegraph. There's a link to Greenpeace on the margin.]

Three Greenpeace activists were arrested today for chaining themselves to their cars as a dozen protesters blockaded exits from the floating dock at Kooragang Island, part of the Port of Newcastle.

They were trying to prevent international grains trader Cargill trucking 57,000 tonnes of Canadian GM canola seed to its Newcastle processing plant.

From there it will be shipped around Australia to producers of margarine, mayonnaise, canola oil and animal feed destined for the poultry and dairy industries.

"Greenpeace is taking action to prevent GM canola from sneaking into the food chain," Greenpeace campaigner Louise Sales said.

"Australian consumers don't want GM and have a right to know where this shipment is going to end up.

"It's appalling that food producers are undercutting farmers by importing GM canola from Canada that Australians don't want."

Cargill has said it imported the grain to make up for a drought-induced shortfall in this year's canola crop.

But Greenpeace disputes the trader's claims, branding them a "misrepresentation of the truth".

"There's adequate domestic supply to meet demand. The actual predicted grain supply this year is 440,000 tonnes and domestic demand is 318,000 tonnes," Ms Sales said.

"Cargill are bandying about figures of something like 500,000 tonnes, but the figures I've got are from the Australian Oilseeds Federation, their recent report."

Ms Sales said Cargill's true motivation was profit, as importing massively-discounted Canadian GM canola was much cheaper than flying over seed from Western Australia.

Comment was being sought from Cargill.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Top 10 Greenhouse Gas Emitters in Canada

  1. Ontario Power Generation
  2. Transalta Utilities Corporation
  3. Saskatchewan Power Corporation
  4. Alberta Power (2000) Ltd.
  5. Nova Scotia Power Incorporated
  6. Syncrude Canada Ltd.
  7. Suncor Energy Inc. Oil Sands
  8. EPCOR Generation Inc.
  9. Petro-Canada
  10. Dofasco Inc.

Monday, December 04, 2006



Honourable Minister,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba. I am very concerned for the wellbeing of Abdelkader Belaouni, who has been living in Sanctuary in St-Gabriel's Church, in Pointe St-Charles for 11 months.

Please grant Mr. Belaouni permanent resident status. I am aware that the Minister of Immigration has the discretionary power to grant Kader status immediately. Please listen to the hundreds of voices who stand with Mr. Belaouni in his struggle to stay in Pointe St-Charles.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Two more things


Petition for a Review of Hog Production in Manitoba

Whereas, the Clean Environment Commission (
CEC) will investigate the environmental sustainability of hog production in Manitoba; and

Whereas, a moratorium on new and expanded hog barns will be put in place until the
CEC public review is complete; and

Whereas, 17 or so hog barn proposals are currently “in process” and at least one of these proposals involves the probable degradation of a local aquifer that supplies drinking water to the
Swan Lake First Nation and Town of Swan Lake; and

Whereas, source water protection plans are a cornerstone of Manitoba’s new
Water Protection Act and a key element in ensuring a communities healthy water supply; and

Whereas, OlyWest plans to build a slaughterhouse in Winnipeg capable of killing 2.25 million hogs per year and is currently going into a
CEC hearing process.

Be it resolved that, all hog barn proposals currently “in process” be immediately suspended and included in the moratorium, and that this moratorium include the suspension of the
CEC hearings called for OlyWest.

Be it further resolved that, the
CEC investigation for hog production be in the form of a full hearing, governed by the Manitoba Evidence Act and allow for motions, cross examination, powers of subpoena and participant funding.

To sign the petition, click on


Rod Bruinooge
2855 Pembina Highway, Unit 27
Winnipeg MB R3T 2H5

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dear Rod Bruinooge,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. I am very concerned about the cancellation of the
Court Challenges Program.

Equality rights and language rights for French and English minorities matter to everyone in Canada. They are entrenched in our
Constitution and they are a central part of what Canada stands for.

The Court Challenges Program is a key element of Canada’s justice system. The Court Challenges Program provides modest funds for test cases of national significance. Without the Court Challenges Program, most people have no access to their constitutional rights. Without it, rights are only meaningful for the rich.

The equality guarantee and the language rights in the Constitution should help minorities to be heard on issues that affect them. Cancelling the Court Challenges Program makes Canada a meaner, less tolerant society.

In the last election campaign the Conservatives promised that they would "articulate Canada’s core values on the world stage," including "the rule of law", "human rights" and "compassion for the less fortunate." Canceling the Court Challenges Program is not consistent with this promise.

Please show your support for human rights and restore funds to the Court Challenges Program immediately.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two Letters


The Honourable Gary Doer
Premier of Manitoba
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
450 Broadway
Winnipeg MB R3C 0V8

Dear Gary Doer,

My name is _. I am a _. I am writing to you today because industrial developments are advancing quickly into northern Manitoba, there is only a limited amount of time to safeguard the wilderness for future generations. Please do not waste any more time. On December 14th, 2006, six park reserves in Manitoba's spectacular north are expiring, leaving them vulnerable to intensive industrial activities such as clearcut logging and mining. Extending the park reserve designations for these areas now will allow time for the province to fulfill its obligation to work with local communities and the public toward permanent protection from ecologically harmful industrial developments.

Premier, please let me know if you will extend protection of Sturgeon Bay, Pemmican Island, Kinwow Bay, Goose Islands, Grand Island, and Pelican Islands park reserves until full and timely community and public consultations are complete. I would also like to know if you will grant the recent request from local First Nations for park reserve status for Cormorant Islands, a colonial bird nesting haven.



Rod Bruinooge
2855 Pembina Highway, Unit 27

Winnipeg MB R3T 2H5

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dear Rod Bruinooge,

My name is _. I am a _. I am writing to you today because it is my conviction that the Canadian Government needs to legislate a national ban on the so-called Terminator gene technology to assure the people of Canada, particularly farmers, that Terminator will never be field tested or commercialized. A national ban is the only way to stop corrupt companies like Monsanto and Syngenta from trying to commercialize Terminator seeds in Canada. Brazil and India have both banned Terminator to protect farmers.

Terminator is an immoral, anti-farmer technology. The only purpose of Terminator is to genetically engineer seeds to make them sterile so that farmers cannot save and replant them. Because the top 10 seed companies in the world own half of the global market, companies have an immense amount of control and could incorporate Terminator into all of their seeds. Genetic seed sterilization would secure a much stronger corporate monopoly for corporations than patents — instead of suing farmers for saving seed, companies would make it biologically impossible for farmers to re-use their harvested seed.

There will always be a risk of contamination with Terminator as the pollen from Terminator plants in the first generation can spread Terminator genes to other plants. Farmers might unknowingly save and reuse seeds that are contaminated with Terminator genes and will not germinate. This would result in unexpected yield loses and farmers could lose trust in their own seed stocks. This could also happen if imported grain contains Terminator genes.

If Canada approves Terminator, it will open the door globally to Terminator and put farmers in other countries at risk. In this respect, the Government of Canada may put the entire global food supply in jeopardy.

Because Terminator offers no benefits to farmers, companies are now trying to promote Terminator by arguing that the technology could be used to stop genetic contamination. Escaped genes from genetically engineered plants are causing contamination and pose threats to agricultural biodiversity and the livelihoods of farmers. For example, Saskatchewan organic canola farmers are suing Monsanto and Bayer for GE contamination ( However, Terminator technology is a complex system involving multiple inserted genes that all work together in a sequence. Terminator would never work well enough to be used to stop contamination. The technology would need to be 100% effective in order to be used to stop genetic contamination – anything less would allow for dangerous contamination.

I need the government to legislate a ban, because powerful corporations will always try to introduce this technology since it would ensure their monopoly over the seed supply. A legislated national ban on Terminator is the only way to stop Monsanto, Syngenta and other corporations from eventually commercializing Terminator in Canada



is an extremely toxic herbicide, it poisons tens of thousands of people every year. It is manufactured by the world’s largest pesticide company, Swiss multinational Syngenta. There is no antidote for this dangerous pesticide, yet it is marketed in 100 countries and used in large quantities particularly by farmers in the Southern Hemisphere. Swiss NGO Berne Declaration is holding a virtual “People’s Vote” on Syngenta’s practices and asking for your participation. PAN groups and many others are collaborating in the broad public campaign to bring public attention to Syngenta’s inhuman business policies. Please join me in demanding that Syngenta take responsibility for the devastating health impacts of this highly hazardous pesticide and stop production now. Visit to read the case against Syngenta and register your verdict of Guilty for Syngenta. Paraquat is one of the world's most controversial herbicides. Not approved for use in Switzerland since 1990 because of the risks associated with it, the poison is increasingly used in countries of in the Southern Hemisphere by plantation workers and small farmers to kill weeds. Thousands of people are poisoned every year because they lack protective equipment and clothing or have insufficient information about paraquat. Thousands die a painful accidental death or commit suicide using this pesticide. The campaign against Syngenta’s irresponsible production and marketing of paraquat needs the support of at least 50,000 people by the end of the year, in order to garner a groundswell that would equal a public referendum on this matter.The Berne Declaration is an independent Swiss non-profit group managing the public proceeding against Syngenta in conjunction with AN Asia Pacific, PAN UK and thirty-six other international environmental and human health organizations.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. I am writing to you today because - from what I have seen - it seems like the Government of Canada intends to stand by and do nothing to address the global climatological crisis. Canada's disregard for the Kyoto Protocol concerns me deeply, as it will likely make life impossible for much of the world. The impact of your inaction will visit disaster largely upon ecosystems including the people and nations least responsible for climatic crisis.

Your government must put a climate change plan into action in Canada. Canada ought to uphold the Kyoto Protocol and show the rest of the world that we do not want to be a contributor to the global climatic crisis. The federal government needs to regulate a reduction of pollution from heavy industry because this accounts for half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

If the government fears the economic repercussions of accepting Kyoto, then it must overlook (and not threaten with law or violence) such actions as the people in Canada must take to put an end to the industries that jeopardize their future, and the future of the biosphere.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hon. Monte Solberg
Minister of Citizenship & Immigration
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Solberg,

Re: Hassan Raza family

I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba. I think it is necessary for Canada to show more compassion towards refugees and uprooted people. The Canadian government ought to act with some compassion toward the Raza family who are in sanctuary at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church in Winnipeg.

Please meet with the leadership of the United Church to find an appropriate and friendly resolution this situation. Deportation to Pakistan is not in the best interests of the six Raza children. Their parents want a safe environment for them. The children speak English and know of Canada as their home. They have already made a positive contribution to the community and want to continue to do so.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Judy Da Silva and Roberta Keesick,

Indigenous leaders of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, embarked on a week-long tour to share front-line stories from the Trans-Canada Highway blockade and the struggle to stop clear-cut logging on their traditional territory. Sponsored by RAN, the tour reached 450 people in six cities throughout Canada. Highlights included a keynote address by Judy Da Silva at a conference focused on collaborations between Indigenous groups and non-governmental organizations like RAN called "Re-envisioning Relationships," and the unfurling of a banner on the front steps of the Ontario legislature in Toronto.

View the pictures here:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sign the petition

To welcome the few remaining Vietnamese boat people to Canada:


Belief in or advocacy of peaceful methods as feasible and desirable alternatives to war; (espousal or advocacy of) a group of doctrines which reject war and every form of violent action as a means of solving disputes, esp. in international affairs. Also: advocacy of a peaceful policy or rejection of war in a particular instance.

1902 Proc. 10th Universal Peace Congr. 74

“M. Emile Arnaud... Speaking at length, in French,..said:... The negative programme of Pacifism is anti-War-ism.

1915 National Rev. Mar. 54

"The greatest war in history is now being fought in the cause of Pacifism."

1919 George Bernard Shaw
Heartbreak House, Great Catherine, and Playlets of the War p. xviii

“There was only one virtue, pugnacity: only one vice, pacifism. That is an essential condition of war.

1935 Fellowship Mar. 3/1

“Pacifism does not renounce the struggle, but carries it on with the more effective weapons of non-violence.

1941 Aldous Leonard Huxley
Letters 17 Nov. (1969) 470

"In war time, it would seem, psychological conditions are such that the application of pacifism to politics is for all practical purposes impossible."

1957 Alan John Percivale Taylor
Trouble Makers ii. 51

“Even Bright, who was sometimes nearer to pacifism, did not plead ‘that this country should remain without adequate and scientific means of defence’.

1960 Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden
Einstein on Peace Introd. p. ix,

“He [sc. Einstein] himself once said that his pacifism was not derived from any intellectual theory but was based on his deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred.”

1999 Dayton (Ohio) Daily News (Nexis) 23 July,

“He has stood for a pacifism toward Milosevic that has long been discredited by the latter's brutality and refusal to yield to anything but force.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

White Poppies

Check out

I learned about the White Poppy campaign a few years ago from a young woman at the Cape Breton University. She was tabling. She sold me a poppy to raise money for a women's centre. If anybody knows the website for the CBU women's center, please leave a comment below.

Here's what Wikipedia says about White Poppies:

The White Poppy is used as a symbol of peace, worn as an alternative to the red poppy for Remembrance Day. It is worn to remember all victims of war.

In 1926, a few years after the introduction of the red poppy in the UK, the idea of pacifists making their own poppies was put forward by a member of the No More War Movement (and that the black centre of the British Legion's red poppies should be imprinted with "No More War"). Nothing seems to have come of this, until in 1933 the Women's Co-operative Guild introduced the White Poppy; their intention was to remember the war dead (as with the red poppy), but with the added meaning of a hope for the end of all wars.

The White Poppy was at first produced by the Co-operative Wholesale Society, because the British Legion refused to be associated with its manufacture. In 1934 the recently-formed Peace Pledge Union joined the CWS in production of the poppies, and eventually took over production and distribution altogether. The annual White Poppy appeal is still run by the PPU.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Here's the Third World Farmer game link

Donald M. Raymond

Vice President - Public Market Investments
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
One Queen Street East
Suite 2700, P.O. Box 101
Toronto ON M5C 2W5

Dear Mr. Raymond,

First of all, I would like to congratulate the CPP Investment Board for adopting a new policy on responsible investing. I believe that socially responsible corporate behaviour can have a positive influence on a company’s long-term financial performance, and therefore I commend you for announcing that you are going to engage with companies to encourage improved environmental and social practices.

Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to six shareholder resolutions that address the human rights policies and practices of Canadian and American companies:
  • Alcan shareholders are calling on the company to sponsor an independent advisory committee to develop recommendations for improving community relations in Kashipur, India.
  • Chevron Corporation shareholders have submitted a resolution calling on the company to report the total costs relating to the health and environmental consequences of hydrocarbon exposures and Chevron’s remediation of Texaco drilling sites in Ecuador.
  • Dow Chemical shareholders are requesting that the company provide descriptions of any new initiatives instituted by management to address specific health, environmental and social concerns of the survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India.
  • A Power Corporation shareholder requests the company to prepare a report describing its policies and management practices that promote and protect human rights in China and Tibet.
  • A Nortel shareholder has asked the company to cooperate with independent human rights assessments and prepare a report describing its policies and management practices that promote and protect human rights in China and Tibet.
  • A Bombardier shareholder has submitted a resolution calling on the company to develop and adopt a human rights policy.
I am concerned that the value of the Canada Pension Plan could be affected by human rights concerns associated with the companies it invests in. Lawsuits and other costs associated with these scandals could result in an increased financial burden or liability for these companies.

Furthermore, the negative publicity generated by such cases is damaging to the companies’ credibility as socially and environmentally responsible corporate citizens, and can jeopardize their ability to compete in the global marketplace. Therefore, I urge you to vote favourably for these shareholder resolutions.

Lastly, I am aware that an Ivanhoe Mines shareholder filed a resolution asking the company to describe its direct and indirect security arrangements with the Government and Military in Myanmar, and its policies and management practices that preclude it from benefiting from forced labour in Myanmar. The company has refused to circulate the resolution to its shareholders. I would appreciate it if you would engage with Ivanhoe Mines on this issue.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Mr. Cappelletti,

I am opposed to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's bid to purchase the for-profit British water company Anglian Water. While Ian Dale of the CPPIB told the Ottawa Citizen that Anglian Water has a "sound environmental track record," in truth it has been fined over half a million pounds during the last six years and it is the only company in the industry to see an increase in major pollution incidents since 2004. After Britain's water system was privatized, prices rose by over 50 per cent in the first four years, and the real value of the fees, salaries and bonuses paid to the director's increased between 50 per cent and 200 per cent in most water companies. The British newspaper The Daily Mail wrote that, "the water industry has become the biggest rip-off in Britain" and that it is "the greatest act of licensed robbery in our history." The CPPIB should also recognize that major studies have shown that responsible investing does not affect the performance of pension funds. I am deeply concerned by the CPP's investments in weapons-makers, cigarette producers, top air polluters and companies whose activities have been linked to allegations of human-rights abuses, as reported recently by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The CPPIB should not be investing in private water corporations that seek profit over the fundamental right to water. I call on the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to end its bid to invest in for-profit water.


Saturday, November 04, 2006


Re: Raza Family
Client ID # 5138-0579

Dear Minister Solberg,

The Raza family has no place to call home. I ask you to intervene on compassionate grounds to let the Razas stay - for the sake of their six children. I believe in this family. We ought to welcome them to Canada. Please act now, for the sake of Rubab, Mohsin, Zain, Farva, Massim, and Sima.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

To: Government of Canada

Whereas: it is accepted scientific knowledge that bottom trawling can cause significant damage to sensitive deep sea ecosystems; the vast majority of international waters do not fall under any fisheries management regime, and many that do are not effectively managed for biodiversity conservation; and scientists are only beginning to discover the great wealth of species, habitats and ecosystems that exist in the deep sea and how to ensure their continued existence and health; we, the undersigned, hereby declare our support for a temporary moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters until such time as effective conservation and management measures to protect biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of fisheries in these waters can be developed, implemented and enforced by the global community.

To sign this petition, click here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Please reinstate and expand the Energuide program. Every car in Canada ought to have a fuel consumption gauge.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

General Consulate of Mexico

Commerce Court West
199 Bay Street, suite 4440
Toronto ON M5L 1E9

Trade Commission of Mexico
1 Dundas St. West
Suite 2110, P.O. Box 11
Toronto ON M5G 1Z3

I eagerly await reparations for the injustices done to the citizens of Oaxaca. I ask you to take the measures necessary to put an end to the violent situation. Since Brad Will was shot, I have been observing the situation, and I am in solidarity with the people in their fight. I believe that the Mexican government is responsible for what happened on October 27, in the city of Oaxaca. I think that they have a responsibility to protect their citizens. I am appalled by the brutality that transpired:

  • At least three people were shot dead, include to Brad Will, a journalist with American Indymedia.
  • Thirty people were wounded, including: 25-year-old Francisco Angeles (son of a teacher of Cuicatlan), Martín Olivera Ortíz (wounded in the leg), Guillermo Garci'a de Zaachila (wounded in the back), and 25-year-old Enedino Cross Sanchez (hand was shot).
  • An undetermined number of people are missing.
  • Armed men surrounded the house of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca and threatened members.
  • Groups paid by the authorities are shooting the civil populace in the street.

This situation ought not intensify in any violent way. I do not support the intervention of police forces in the city, which only oppress the activities of people and organizations who denounce their undemocratic policies. For these reasons I demand:

  • The immediate resignation of Ulises Ruiz.
  • The freedom of political prisoners.
  • The immediate return of the disappeared.
  • That the Mexican authorities return to engage in a dialogue with the APPO to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
  • The immediate end of any attacks on the Oaxaqueña population.

Any information of your undertakings to fulfill these requests would be appreciated.


In Case of Emergency

icePIRG, the University of Manitoba's Public Interest Research Group, is still very much in its formative phase. The "ice" in the acronym doesn't stand for anything but the long cold winters in Manitoba.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Re: Canada joining the majority of the international community in support of a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.

I am concerned and disappointed that Canada's new government has announced it will oppose a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling at the upcoming meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Given the known impacts of bottom trawl gear on the ocean floor, our lack of knowledge about deep-sea habitats and species and the complete lack of regulation on an estimated 75% of the high seas, it is essential that Canada take action. I urge you to join responsible nations like the United States, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. in their support of a UN resolution establishing a temporary "time out" from destructive bottom trawl fishing
Canada does not have any bottom trawlers fishing on the high seas, thus supporting a moratorium poses no threat to the livelihoods of Canadian fisher. It does, however, have much to gain. A moratorium on high seas bottom trawling would solve the long-standing problem of unregulated bottom trawling on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.

In June of this year, your Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn said that, "bottom trawling does damage to the stocks, and it does damage to habitat". Having acknowledged this, Canada has a responsibility to take leadership on the international stage and support a moratorium. By joining with nations like Spain (which is responsible for most the high seas bottom trawling) in opposing the moratorium, Canada is allowing the destruction of un-charted habitat in unregulated seas to continue unabated.

Prime Minister, please reconsider your position on high seas bottom trawling. Listen to the scientists, fishermen, Canadians and the global public who are calling for protection of deep sea life. Become a deep-sea defender and support a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm posting the following for its informational value...


(I don't know if the Canadian military - such as it is - ought to be anywhere. I am of the opinion that the Canadian military ought to be made up of artists, concert pianists, contortionists, eco-feminists, medical doctors, etc. I think burly teenagers with guns are poor ambassadors abroad.)

Canada has all but abandoned peacekeeping according to “
Marching Orders,” a new report released by the Council of Canadians today. Launched at a press conference in Charlottetown, where the organization is holding its 21st annual general meeting, the report shows how the mission in Afghanistan has compromised Canada’s role as a leader in peacekeeping. “Canada has failed in its peacekeeping role, not by accident, but by choice,” says John Urquhart, executive director of the Council of Canadians. “Increasingly Canadians are beginning to see that Canada is in the wrong missionin Afghanistan.” According to the report, Canada has invested tremendous resources in the counter insurgency operation in Afghanistan at a time when UN peacekeeping is on the rise. Once a top contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, Canada is now on par with the tiny state of Mali with only 56 soldiers currently involved in UN missions. “Canada is freeloading on the UN,” says Steven Staples, author of the report. “Yet the evidence shows that UN missions are far more effective in resolving conflicts than U.S. missions, and the UN needs Canada now more than ever.” The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Canadian government set itself the goal of once again being among the top-10 global contributors of military personnel to UN operations within five years. “Canadians want their government and military engaged in resolving international conflicts, not exacerbating them,” says Urquhart. Steven Staples will be speaking in communities across Canada about the findings of this new report.


The WWF's Living Planet Report.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

But where will the fertilizer come from?

For a long time I have thought that locally produced food was the next best thing to organic food. However, the phosphorous dilemma has put the whole issue of localism into a new light. How can food be called "local" if the fertilizer comes from Ontario, or Togo? Check out the link below, there aren't too many years left of phosphorous mine-dependant agriculture.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Activists Push for Sustainable Mining

by Stephen Leahy

Civil society activists want the Canadian government to impose mandatory human rights and environmental standards on Canadian mining and oil companies operating in Latin America and other developing regions.

In the past decade Canada has been the world's biggest investor in the hunt for valuable metals and minerals in Latin America, Jamie Kneen of Mining Watch told Tierramérica. Canadian miners are responsible for environmental contamination and human rights violations all over Latin America, he says.

Canada has nearly 60 percent of the mining and exploration companies in the world; they generate more than 40 billion dollars annually, representing about four percent of Canada's GDP.

"Canada must set some limits on its companies," activist Lucio Cuenca Berger told a Canadian government panel holding an open forum on corporate social responsibility in the mining, oil and gas sectors in Toronto Sep. 12-14.

Cuenca Berger is a representative from the Latin America Observatory for Environmental Conflicts, a non-governmental organisation working with Chilean communities affected by mining, including the controversial Pascua-Lama gold mine project owned by Canada's Barrick Gold Corporation, on the border between Chile and Argentina.

There are environmental concerns that mining operations and waste rock from the Pascua Lama will contaminate the rivers supplying the nearby Huasco Valley where there are some 70,000 small farmers, Berger said through a translator. The 1.5-billion-dollar project's original design would have had a major impact on the glaciers, but was discarded.

Barrick, the world's largest gold producer, recently received environmental approval from Chilean authorities to go ahead with Pascua Lama, despite ongoing local opposition.

"In Chile environmental approval is more political than technical," said Berger. [Same here.]

The inability or unwillingness of local governments to enforce international human rights and environmental standards should not give Canadian companies license to ignore these standards, activists say.

One such company, Manhattan Minerals, spent years trying to force people in the northern town of Tambogrande, Peru to accept an open pit gold mine in the middle of their village before conceding defeat in 2005.

Communities in the Imbabura province in northwestern Ecuador have been forced to file an injunction to stop Ascendant Copper Corporation of Toronto from building an open-pit copper mine on their land, Keen said.

In Mexico, Toronto-based Metallica Resources' subsidiary, Minera San Xavier (MSX) has begun building a gold mine in San Luis Potosi despite bitter local opposition and court rulings against the mine.

Pierre Gratton of the Canadian Mining Association (CNA), which represents Canada's largest 25 mining companies, says some Canadian were ill-prepared for conditions in developing countries with weaker governance, unresolved local conflicts and weak environmental laws."

Clearly there are issues and problems and that's why we are having these CSR (corporate social responsibility) roundtables," Gratton told Tierramérica.

The current series of public forums, such as the one in Toronto, is a response to both the rising criticism of Canadian mining companies operating abroad and the commitment of the Stephen Harper administration to promote corporate social responsibility internationally.

Two more forums will be held, one in October in Calgary and another in November in Montreal. Based on that input, recommendations will go before the Canadian parliament sometime in 2007.

There are a number of international standards, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the United Nations Global Compact, and the International Council on Metals and Mining Sustainable Development Charter, among others.

The CNA has its own standards and most Canadian mining, oil and gas companies have internal standards.

However, a September 2006 research survey by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict shows that only five percent of 584 Canadian extractive-sector companies with international holdings adhere to recognised national or international standards.

"It is abundantly clear existing voluntary standards are not working," said Omega Bula of the United Church of Canada, which partnered with Catholic organisations and others in the "Life before profit" campaign to improve practices of Canada's huge international mining industry.

Bula, like most activists at the Toronto meeting, insists that it is Canada's responsibility to set mandatory codes of conduct for Canadian companies operating in developing countries. Independent audits and a monitoring body would ensure compliance. Companies and company directors should be held accountable for non-compliance under stronger Canadian laws, Bula said.

Transparency is another requirement, activists say. Currently local people do not know how much money their government receives from foreign mining companies.

"The OECD guidelines are fine, as long as there is an independent third party to monitor," said one activist.

However, an industry official said Canada ought not to presume to regulate how a company operates in another country.

"If it becomes too onerous for Canadian companies to operate in developing countries, they'll leave," said Erin Airton of Vancouver's Platinum Group Metals, which has mines in South Africa and Mexico. "Then someone else will take the minerals."

Instead of setting mandatory rules, the Canadian government should help countries build their capacity to enforce their own laws and regulations, she said.

Kerry Knoll, President and Chief Executive Officer of Glencairn Gold Corporation, spoke during the forum on the social contributions of his company, which employs 1,200 workers in mines in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Glencairn provides breakfast for 500 children each morning and training programmes for adults not employed in the mines, Knoll said.

"We operate a gold mill for local artisan miners so they won't use mercury and pollute the rivers."

Knoll estimates his company has spent several million dollars on such programmes, but has been accused by NGOs of trying to bribe local people.

However he is in favour of a government report card or audit system.

"Financial investors are increasingly interested in the environmental and social record of companies," he said. "Making that record public would be a good thing."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Dear Stockwell Day,

I support Mr. Arar's plea for the government to act immediately and implement fully Justice O'Connor's recommendations.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A OA6

October 15, 2006

Dear Prime Minister,

In June, the overwhelming majority of members of the UN Human Rights Council voted to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This was a momentous achievement for the advancement of international human rights.

The Declaration has been under development for more than two decades. Throughout all those years, Indigenous peoples in every region of the world have continued to be uprooted from their lands, subject to discriminatory laws and policies, and targeted for violence and repression.

The international community must send a clear message that such abuses not be tolerated any longer. The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an important framework affirming the right of Indigenous peoples to maintain their distinct cultural identities and calling on states and Indigenous peoples to work together in a new spirit of partnership.

States as diverse as Norway and Mexico have agreed that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an appropriate and effective framework for encouraging and guiding the reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies.

It was deeply disappointing therefore that Canada was one of only two states to vote against the adoption of the Declaration by the Human Rights Council.

Your government has failed to provide a credible explanation for its opposition to the adoption of a Declaration that Canadian officials played a key role in drafting. I believe that Canada’s opposition to the Declaration was unnecessary. Canada’s opposition was harmful to the cause of human rights.

This Fall, the Declaration will come before the UN General Assembly. I urge you to ensure that Canada does not take any action that would delay the adoption of this vitally important human rights instrument or in any way undermine the positive message of its adoption by the international community.


Saturday, October 14, 2006


Your Excellency,

Please release Ramin Jahanbegloo on bail. I am seeking information concerning any charges and the nature of the evidence against him. Please inform me of the date of any trial sessions which may take place. I encourage you to drop any charges against him which relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression and association. If Ramin Jahanbegloo were to be convicted and imprisoned solely on the basis of such charges, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience, and would call for his immediate and unconditional release.



Friday, October 13, 2006


Dear Stephen Harper,

Canada needs a National Water Policy to address the following:

  • The free market doesn't guarantee access to water.
  • Bulk exports could open the floodgates to trade challenges.
  • Canada's water supply is limited.
  • Public water is safer, cleaner and more affordable.
  • Water is essential for people and nature.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another instance of police brutality in Winnipeg

by Tamara King

Winnipeg teen says cops roughed him up on the weekend because of his skin colour. The 16-year-old was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by a pair of police officers in the city's North End about 9:30 p. m. Sunday.

As he tried get out of the car, the teen says a cop swore at him and told him to get back in the car. The high school student then asked the officer to "say please." [Cheeky!]

"That's when he frowned at me and told me to get the f--- out of the vehicle. [Would he have treated a white passenger with such contempt? And violence?] He grabbed me by the sweater and elbowed me in the face and he threw me to the ground, and both officers were kneeing me constantly," the teen said at a news conference yesterday.

"There's no reason for this. The only possible thing I have in mind is racism. I did not provoke anything."

After the confrontation, the teen was arrested. He said he was held at the District 3 North End police station on Hartford Avenue until about 3 a. m. Monday.

He has been charged with [as if] assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. The teen - who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act - denies the charges.

"Basically, I went completely limp, and they continued to beat on me," he said.

Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput confirmed the allegations are being investigated by the Winnipeg police Professional Standards Unit - the unit that investigates its own officers.

At this point, the teen's claims are allegations and have not been proven in court. Lorraine Ducharme was driving the teen - who is a friend of her 16-year-old daughter - to his North End home.

Ducharme isn't sure why police pulled her over at Redwood Avenue and Salter Street in the first place, but said she received two tickets for seatbelt violations after her daughter's friend was loaded into the cruiser car. "It was just a reason after the fact. That's the way I saw it," Ducharme told the Sun yesterday. The teen's family says they're filing a complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA), the body that investigates complaints against police. As of yesterday, a complaint had not been filed, but a LERA spokeswoman said they are "familiar" with the allegations.

In a Sun interview yesterday, the teen's aunt produced a note from the teen's trip to the Misericordia's Urgent Care Centre. The teen said he suffered from internal bleeding in his ear, a mild concussion and a sore neck.

The teen is described as a young leader in the aboriginal and Metis communities. An army cadet who also plays hockey, the 16-year-old student sits on an aboriginal board aimed at tackling racism, his family says.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mayans occupy Canadian-owned mine in campaign for farming land

By Andrew Buncombe

Hundreds of families of Mayan Indians have occupied part of a large nickel mine owned by a Canadian company in Guatemala and demanded they be given land for subsistence farms.

Concerned about the threat that the mine allegedly poses tothe environment and land rights, about 2,000 Q’eqchi Indians moved on to three separate areas of the mining complex and began setting up makeshift camps. Campaigners say the UN-sponsored Truth Commission – part of a 1996 peace agreement that ended Guatemala’s brutal civil war – demanded that indigenous communities with historical claims to land have theright to determine how it is used.

The Indians moved on to the currently inactive mine site near Lake Izabal in north-east Guatemala, owned by Vancouver-based Skye Resources, at the weekend. Father Dan Vogt, a Catholic priest and co-ordinator of a community development group, Adepi, said they had long been campaigning for the company to provide them with land to farm.

Speaking from El Estor, the nearest community, he told The Independent: “They got fed up and decided to take action. There were around 350 families – around 2,000 people. They are still there, building houses. The company has told me they are not willing to negotiate until they move.”

Skye bought the site from another Canadian mining company, Canadian International Nickel Co, which had operated the mine from the 1960s until 1981. Skye hopes to begin producing up to 11,000 tonnes of ferro-nickel by the end of 2008.

Campaigners say the plans fit a pattern across other countries in Latin America where foreign and multinational companies have secured rights to exploit mineral and other natural resources, with local communities receiving little in exchange. Elsewhere in Guatemala, and in neighbouring Honduras, protests have recently been made against the US-Canadian mining company Glamis, while in Chile protesters have sought to stop the building of a gold mine by another Canadian company, Barrick.

Grahame Russell, a spokesman for the Canadian-based group Rights Action, said: “Skye Resources is just one more example of what North American companies are doing through Latin America. The patterns are being repeated everywhere and the problems go from A-Z. It starts with a complete absence of consultation with local communities, which they have a legal right to. Before people know anything about it they are in the back door with a mining exploration licence.”

[Sound familiar? The same thing is done in rural Nova Scotia.]

A recent report by Oxfam about the El Estor Mayan community said: “Rigorous strip mining has already degraded the fragile ecosystem, eroding the thin topsoil in mountain passes inhabited by Mayan communities. The mountainsides have been deforested, causing landslides and a litany of environmental hazards. In addition to the environmental threat, there is along history of political violence between the mining companies and the indigenous communities who resist.”

Ian Austin, chief executive officer of Skye, said his company was keen to defuse the tension and avoid confrontation. “Our approach has been to try and talk with the community and the people in the area and to develop a win-win situation.” He added: “Groups are opposed to mining and that is a fact of life in our industry.”

This article originally appeared in the British newspaper, The Independent.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New satellite images taken from space show Ontario is allowing among the largest clearcuts in the world to take place in caribou habitat

Meanwhile, the provincial government continues to publicly declare Ontario a "world leader" in forestry practices. Satellite images obtained from the United States Geological Survey show five clearcuts all larger than 260 ha within the Trout Lake Forest of Northwest Ontario. The region - which is critical caribou habitat - was logged and roaded as late as May 23, 2006. Meanwhile, Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay has denied the occurrence of large-scale logging in the province. One month after the May 23, 2006, clearcut was made in Trout Lake, he told the Toronto Sun, "We're making sure that we're a world leader in forestry practices. We keep our cuts quite small nowadays."

"These images of recent clearcuts are proof the Ontario government hasbeen lying to the public by saying it keeps its clearcuts small," said Leah Henderson, Boreal Forest Campaigner at ForestEthics. "The truth is much of Ontario's Boreal forest is slated to be clearcut logged or mined in the nextfew years - and without the immediate protection of critical caribou range, the species is in for a fight for survival."

According to a 2004 Yale University report entitled Global Environmental Forest Policies, in Russia, the only other country other than Canada with large areas of intact Boreal Forest, the official maximum size for industrial clearcuts is 50 hectares (ha). In Ontario, official clearcut size restriction is five times greater at 260 ha, while 20 per cent of the forest cover is allowed unlimited size clearcuts, some as large as 750 ha. British Columbia restricts its clearcuts to 50 hectares and Quebec law requires they be no larger than 100 ha.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We know who they are, they're real people with addresses and phone numbers

Cabinet ministers, Five Star Generals together with North America's top corporate executives mingle in the plush surroundings of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This secret venue on "Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment" focused on "Deep Integration," which largely consists in flushing national sovereignty in favor of "Fortress North America". According to the draft program (see below), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Banff, Alberta to deliver the keynote address on "military to military cooperation". Canada's Minister of Public Security Stockwell Day focused his address on issues of North American public security. Top brass from the US and Canada were in attendance. Canada's Minister of Defense Gordon O'Connor was present together with Chief of Defense Staff, General Rick Hellier. There was, however, no confirmation that Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the meetings. On the US side, several of Rumsfeld's top policy advisers were present alongside a handful of researchers and consultants. The commander of US NorthCom Admiral Tim Keating was also in attendance with several of his senior staff members. Keating is also Commander of NORAD, which is slated to be merged with US NorthCom.

Deep Integration
"Deep Integration" was first enunciated by "The Independent Task Force for North America", led on the Canadian side by former Liberal deputy prime minister, John Manley together with Tom Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The task force led by US, Canadian and Mexican officials was sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). "D’Aquino and his partners in a corporate task force, former deputy prime minister John Manley and former finance minister Michael Wilson, tell us that by integrating ever more into the U.S. we will somehow guarantee our prosperity, creating fortress North America to compete with China, Europe, and other competitors." (Murray Dobbin, April 2005)

In 2005, Manley’s task force released its "Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010". Both Aquino and Manley are participants in the Banff venue, which essentially constitutes a follow-up to the CFR sponsored initiative. Another central theme of the Banff conference is the integration of military command structures, which could eventually lead to the scrapping of NORAD and the integration of Canada into US Northern Command.(Chossudovsky, November 2004)

The Banff venue was co-chaired by George Shultz, a staunch Republican, former Secretary of State to President Ronald Reagan who later became president and director of Bechtel corporation.

George Shultz
Top execs from the military-industrial complex and the oil companies were present including Lockheed Martin, Chevron, Mexico's PEMEX and Suncor Energy. Top officials and policy analysts from the military's research labs and thinks tanks including Livermore were invited to integrate several of the specialized panels. The meetings focused on the interrelationship between North American defense systems, militarization, national security, borders, immigration, military production and the control over North America's energy reserves. The venue had more to do with profit driven militarization than "continental prosperity." No journalists, no press releases, no commentary which might inform public opinion, a total media blackout: The program of this venue, which was a carefully guarded State secret was first revealed by Canadian author and politician Mel Hurtig on an internet posting :

Thought you would like to see this. They're at it again. The sellouts, the usual suspects. September 12th to 14th, at the Banff Springs Hotel, a conference on North American Integration. Among the long list of those who will be there are Perrin Beatty, Peter Lougheed, Thomas d'Aquino, Stockwell Day, Wendy Dobson, Roger Gibbins, John Manley, Anne McLellan, Gordon O'Connor, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld, George Shultz and a long list of others. Among the topics: "A Vision for North America", "A North American Energy Strategy", "Demographic and Social Dimensions of North American Integration", "Opportunities for Security Cooperation". Many prominent high level U.S. government people will be there.Lots of military. Lots of Deputy Ministers. Lock up your valuables. Hide your children.
Mel Hurtig

The list of participants and the draft program dated respectively August 31st and September 1st, were sent out on email lists. [we were not able to verify the accuracy of this draft program and whether all the confirmed participants attended the venue]

Report dated August 31, 2006
Forum Co-Chairs:
Dr. Pedro Aspe
Hon. Peter Lougheed
Hon. George Shultz
Canadian Participants
Col. Peter Atkinson Special Advisor to Chief of Defence, Staff
Hon. Perrin Beatty Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Mr. Peter M. Boehm Assistant Deputy Minister, North America Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Mr. Thomas d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, Government of Canada
Dr. Wendy Dobson The Institute for International Business
Mr. N. Murray Edwards Edco Financial Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Ward Elcock, Deputy Minister of National Defence
Mr. Bill Elliott Associate Deputy Minister, Public Safety
Dr. John English The Cdn Centre for International Governance Innovation
Mr. Brian Felesky Felesky Flynn LLP
Mr. Richard L. George, Suncor Energy Inc.
Dr. Roger Gibbins Canada West Foundation
Rear Adm Roger Girouard, Commander Joint Task Force Pacific, Cdn Forces
Major Gen Daniel Gosselin, Director General, International Security Policy
Mr. James K. Gray Canada West Foundation Mr. Fred Green Canadian Pacific Railway
Mr. V. Peter Harder Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Paul J. Hill Harvard Developments Inc.
General Rick Hillier Chief of the Defence Staff
Mr. Pierre Marc Johnston Heenan Blaikie
Mr. James Kinnear Pengrowth Corporation
Mr. Harold N. Kvisle TransCanada Corporation
Hon. John P. Manley, McCarthy, Tetrault LLP
Mr. Ron Mannix, Coril Holdings Ltd.
Mr. Ron Mathison, Matco Investments
Hon. Anne McLellan, Senior Counsel, Bennett Jones
Hon. Greg Melchin, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta
Ms.Sharon Murphy, Chevron Canada
Ms. Sheila O’Brien, President, Corporate Director, Belvedere Investments
Hon. Gordon O’Connor, Minister of Defense, Government of Canada
Mr. Berel Rodal, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Mr. Gordon Smith, Chairman, The International Development Research Centre American Participants
Ms. Deborah Bolton, Political Advisor to Commander, US Northcom
Mr. Ron T. Covais, President, The Americas, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Sec. Kenneth W. Dam, Max Pam Professor Emeritus of American & Foreign Law and Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School
Mr. Dan Fisk Senior Director, Western Hemisphere, National Security Council
Sec. Ryan Henry Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Ms. Carla A. Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co.
Ms. Caryn Hollis DASD (Acting) Western Hemisphere Affairs
Mr. Bill Irwin Manager - International Government Affairs; Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Corporation
Mr. Robert G. James President, Enterprise Asset Management Inc.
Admiral Tim Keating Commander, US Northern Command
Mr. Floyd Kvamme Chair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology; Director, Centre for Global Security Res.
Dr. Ronald F. Lehman II, Director, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Mr. William W. McIlhenny Policy Planning Council for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Dr. Peter McPherson President, National Association of State Universities & Land-Grant Colleges
Ms. Doris Meissner Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
Dr. George Miller Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Mr. George Nethercutt Chairman, US Section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, US – Canada (Security)
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Journalist for Wall Street Journal (Area Specialist)
Dr. Robert A. Pastor Director, Center for North American Studies, American University, Washington, DC
Dr. William Perry Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project
Lt. Gen. Gene Renuart, USAF Senior Military Assist. to Sec. Rumsfeld
Mr. Eric Ruff, Department of Defense Press Secretary
Sec. Donald R. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense
Dr. James Schlesinger, Former Sec. Of Energy & Defense
Mr. William Schneider President, International Planning Services
Sec. Clay Sell Deputy Secretary of Energy, US Dept. of Energy
Dr. Thomas A. Shannon Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere A
Dr. David G. Victor Director, Program on Energy & Sustainable Development, Center for Environmental Science & Policy
Maj. Gen. Mark A Volcheff Director, Plans, Policy & Strategy, NORAD-NORTHCOM
Ms. Jane Wales President & CEO, World Affairs Council of Northern California
Mr. R. James Woolsey Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
Mexican Participants:
Emb Andrés Rozental (Mexican Coordinator) – Mexican Council on Foreign Relations
Silvia Hernández Former Senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on North America
Mario Molina 1995 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Fernando Chico Pardo CEO, Promecap
Juan Gallardo CEO, Grupo GEUSA
Gerónimo Gutiérrez Deputy Foreign Minister for North America
Luis de la Calle Consultant. Former Deputy Minister of Economy
Agustín Barrios Gómez Solutions Abroad
Vinicio Suro PEMEX
Eduardo Medina Mora Secretary of Public Security
Carlos Heredia State Government of Michoacán
Jaime Zabludowsky Consultant. Former trade negotiator
Manuel Arango CEO, Grupo Concord
Jorge Santibañez President, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte
Luis Rubio CIDAC
Mónica Serrano El Colegio de México, Señor Fellow Oxford University
Arturo Sarukhan Coordinator of Int’l Affairs, Campaign of Felipe Calderon
Juan Camilo Mouriño General Coordinator of President Elect’s transition team
Ernesto Cordero Coordinator for Public Policy Issues
General: Mr. Carlos de Icaza, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
Mr. Gaëtan Lavertu Ambassador of Canada to Mexico
Ms. Maria Teresa Garcia Segovia de Madero, Ambassador of Mexico to Canada
Mr. Thomas Huffaker U.S. Consul General in Calgary (on DOD’s list)
Mr. John Dickson Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Ottawa (representing Ambassador of US to Canada)
Mr. Colin Robertson Minister & Head, Washington Advocacy Secretariat, (representing Ambassador of Canada to US)
Draft Detailed September 1, 2006 Agenda Internal Document
North American Forum
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Banff, Alberta September 12-14, 2006
Under the Joint Chairmanship of:
The Hon. George Shultz, Former U.S. Secretary of State,
The Hon. Pedro Aspe, Former Finance Minister of Mexico,
The Hon. Peter Lougheed, Former Premier of Alberta
Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment
Session I: Opening comments by Messrs. Aspe, Lougheed and Schultz
Session II: A Vision for North America: Issues and Options
Session III: Toward a North American Energy Strategy
Session IV: Opportunities for Security Cooperation in North America (Parts I and II)
Session V: Demographic and Social Dimensions of North American Integration
Session VI: Border Infrastructure and Continental Prosperity
Session VII: Roundtable Conversation with the Co-Chairs
Draft September 1, 2006 Agenda
North American Forum
The Fairmont Banff Springs Banff, Alberta, Canada September 12-14, 2006
Under the Joint Chairmanship of:
The Hon. George Shultz, Former U.S. Secretary of State
The Hon. Pedro Aspe, Former Finance Minister of Mexico
The Hon. Peter Lougheed, Former Premier of Alberta
Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment
Tuesday, September 12th
3:00 to Advance Registration 4:30 pm Location: Heritage Hall
5:00 pm Registration Location: Oval Room
5:45 pm Opening and Welcoming Reception Location: Conservatory in the Cascade Ballroom
6:45 pm Dinner & Keynote Address Location: Cascade Ballroom
8:00 pm Keynote Address – “Energy and Environment: a vision for North America” Dr. Mario Molina, 1995 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Wednesday, September 13th
7:30 am Continental Breakfast & Registration Location: Alhambra Room
8:15 am Keynote Address - Hon. Greg Melchin, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta Q & A 8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Location: Alhambra Room 9:30 am PANEL:
Moderator: Dr. Thomas A. Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Panelists: Robert Pastor, Director, Center for North American Studies, American University Roger Gibbins, President & CEO, Canada West Foundation Andrés Rozental, Mexican Council on Foreign Relations
10:45 am Break
11:05 am REMARKS: Secretary Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
11:25 am PANEL: Moderator: N. Murray Edwards, Vice Chairman, Canadian Natural Resources Limited Panelists: Richard George, President & CEO, Suncor Energy Inc. David Victor, Director, Program on Energy & Sustainable Development, Center for Environmental Science & Policy Vinicio Suro, Planning & Evaluation Subdirector, PEMEX
12:45 pm Break
1:00 pm Lunch Location: Cascade Ballroom
1:30 pm Keynote Address: Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense
SESSION IV: OPPORTUNITIES FOR SECURITY COOPERATION IN NORTH AMERICA - Military-to-military cooperation Location: Alhambra Room
2:30 pm PANEL: Moderator: William J. Perry, former US Secretary of Defense Panelists: Admiral Tim Keating, Commander NORAD/USNORTHCOM Major General Daniel Gosselin, Director General, International Security Policy, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Undersecretary for North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4:00 pm Break
4:15 pm PANEL: Moderator: William Schneider, President, International Planning Services Panelists: Ward Elcock, Deputy Minister of National Defence Eduardo Medina-Mora, Secretary of Public Safety Ryan Henry, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
5:45 pm Wrap-up of daytime sessions
6:30 pm Reception Location: Conservatory in the Cascade Ballroom
7:00 pm Dinner & Keynote Address Location: Cascade Ballroom
8:10 pm Keynote Address - The Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, Government of Canada
Thursday, September 14th
7:00 am Breakfast Location: Alhambra Room
7:15 am Keynote Address - Floyd Kvamme, Chairman, President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology Q & A – 7:40 to 8:00 a.m.
8:00 am PANEL: Moderator: Andrés Rozental, Mexican Council on Foreign Relations Panelists : Dr. Wendy Dobson, the Institute for International Business Carlos Heredia, Chief International Affairs Advisor to the Governor of the State of Michoacán in Mexico Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
9:30 am Break
9:45 am PANEL: Moderator: Hon. John P. Manley, McCarthy Tetrault LLP Panelists: Thomas d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives Carla Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co. Luis de la Calle, Consultor
11:00 am SESSION VII: ROUNDTABLE CONVERSATION WITH THE CO-CHAIRS Location: Alhambra Room Moderator: Jane Wales, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Northern California Presenters: George Shultz, Co-Chair, North American Forum Peter Lougheed, Co-Chair, North American Forum Pedro Aspe, Co-Chair, North American Forum
12:00 pm Adjourn
12:30 pm Informal lunch Location: Alhambra Room
9:45 am PANEL: Moderator: Hon. John P. Manley, McCarthy Tetrault LLP Panelists: Thomas d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives Carla Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co. Luis de la Calle, Consultor
Moderator: Jane Wales, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Northern California Presenters: George Shultz, Co-Chair, North American Forum Peter Lougheed, Co-Chair, North American Forum Pedro Aspe, Co-Chair, North American Forum
12:00 pm Adjourn12:30 pm Informal lunch Location: Alhambra Room

Monday, September 18, 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2

Jim Prentice
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Barbara McDougall
Federal Negotiator
Former Cabinet Minister c/o Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2

Jane Stewart
Provincial Negotiator
Province of Ontario
Former Brantford MP
and former Federal Indian Affairs Minister
c/o Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Rod Bruinooge
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians

Please address the threats of violence that Caledonia citizens and their supporters are posing against the peaceful land reclamation taken by the people of Six Nations. The Canadian government must uphold its responsibilities and return full title of Kanonhstaton (the Douglas Creek Estates) to the people of Six Nations. The Government of Canada must address land claims put forward by First Nations communities. In order to resolve the outstanding land claims concerning the Onkwehonweh land (Haldimand Tract), full negotiations with the Six Nations people, on a nation-to-nation basis, must proceed immediately. Hazel Hill, spokesperson for Six Nations, has stated:

"We didn't create the situation. We are only trying to rectify it, for our children and future generations. We have taken action and have reclaimed land that is rightfully ours. We are there in Peace, and have been since February 28th… Will Canada allow the hatred and violent displays of racism of its citizens to continue and possibly create another Ipperwash, or will it use the lessons of the past to ensure that the violence stops and admit to their citizens that it is through their own actions and abuse of assumed power that we are in this situation today?"

You must consider these words carefully and take action to ensure a just resolution to this issue in a swift and fair manner.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Biotech Firm, Govt. Hid Rice Contamination from Public

by Megan Tady

The recently revealed spread of genetically modified rice has critics alarmed on two levels: the problem itself and the fact that authorities suppressed the news.

Aug. 24 – Last week, the US Department of Agriculture announced that US commercial long-grain rice supplies are contaminated with "trace amounts" of genetically engineered rice unapproved for human consumption.

The genetically engineered (GE) rice is known as Liberty Link (LL) 601. Its genetic code has been modified to provide resistance to herbicides and is illegal for marketing to humans because it has not undergone environmental and health impact reviews by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). LL601 was field-tested from 1998 to 2001 under permits granted by the USDA, but Bayer Corp Science, the developer of the experimental rice, did not seek commercial approval for it.

The contamination was only disclosed after Bayer notified the USDA itself. Currently, the government relies on self-reporting from food companies to determine genetically engineered (GE) contamination, rather than a federal testing system. The USDA dismissed concerns that companies may not always "self-report" or even be aware of their mistakes, which would lead to further undetected contamination of unapproved GE food.

It appears a separate company first detected the contamination in January of this year and that Bayer may have known about the contamination since May. But the government was not notified until July 31. It took another 18 days for the USDA to tell the public.

At a press conference, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns would not divulge how the contamination had happened, or how far it had spread. It was unclear whether he even knew. Jim Rogers, a USDA spokesperson, told The NewStandard the contaminated rice was detected in barrels sent to Missouri and Arizona.

"But the rice could have come from anywhere [in the US]," Rogers said.

Riceland, a farmer-owned cooperative that markets rice produced by Southern farmers, issued a press release on August 18, saying it first discovered the contamination in January. Riceland conducted its own tests from several grain-storage locations and found: "A significant number tested positive for the Bayer trait. The positive results were geographically dispersed and random throughout the rice-growing area."

Riceland notified Bayer of the contamination in May, but did not notify the public or the government.

Johanns indicated that an economic motive was behind the government’s delay of nearly three weeks before informing the public about the contamination, as the government anticipated foreign rice importers might reject the product. The Secretary said the USDA spent the time preparing tests for rice importers to check the product for contamination. The US constitutes about 12 percent of the world’s rice trade.

There are currently no plans to destroy or recall the rice, and Rogers is unsure if Bayer will be fined. While the government "validates" its tests for the rice, Johanns directed people to Bayer’s website, saying the company "has made arrangements with private laboratories to run tests" on the rice.

Although the field tests for LL601 ended in 2001, the contamination appeared in a 2005 harvest, leaving some food-safety advocates to worry that the contamination has been present for several years and suggesting that genetically modified strains can persist in the environment well after they have been discontinued in experiments.

Two other varieties of rice with the same gene and from the same company have already been approved for human consumption, though never marketed. There is currently no known, intentional commercial US production of genetically engineered rice.

Johanns said that based on "available scientific data" provided by Bayer, the USDA and the FDA have concluded "that there are no human-health, food-safety or environmental concerns associated with this GE rice.

When pressed about the health implications of the contaminated rice, Rogers noted that foods from pesticide- and herbicide-resistant crops are already on the market. In fact, according to the USDA, 70 percent of processed foods on grocery store shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Rogers dismissed concern that, because the government relies on companies’ self-reporting, there could be widespread contamination of unapproved GE ingredients in the US food supply. He said the government did not have plans to begin testing food itself.

But this is not the first time unapproved genetic material has escaped detection in the food supply. In 2004, the company Syngenta admitted that for four years, it had sold unapproved GE maize in the US.

In response to the Bayer revelation, Greenpeace has called for a worldwide ban on imports of US rice. Already, Japan has suspended US rice imports.

The Center for Food Safety, a public-interest organization, is also calling for a moratorium on all new permits for open-air field testing of GE crops. The Center is concerned that open-air testing allows GE crops to cross pollinate with neighboring non-GE crops.

"We see this as an opportunity to get out the message that this is a radically new technology," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center. "These foods have not been tested, and we don’t know if they’re safe."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Manitoba's Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou

was released on June 8, 2006. The document is accessible online. There’s not much to it. I recommend filing it in the Young Adult Fiction section of your library. Detailed comments and suggestions for consideration in future rewrites may be submitted to:

Dr. Vince Crichton
Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch
Box 24 - 200 Saulteaux Crescent
Winnipeg MB R3J 3W3

Unfortunately, Vince Crichton has been known to say: "More moose, more deer in the area, we don't want to see that because it's going to mean more wolves in there,"

Crichton also said: "What we're looking at is larger clear-cuts that will not make the habitat come back into habitat types that are going to be attractive to moose and deer." The larger cuts would not affect the caribou population, he says, because it would involve mature habitat that the caribou are not using anymore. Crichton says it's not unusual [ = usual] for Manitoba Conservation to work closely with major logging companies.

So, the situation in Manitoba seems quite bleak, doesn't it? Manitoba Hydro, Tembec, and the like are making the decisions of our government. In fact, the people and land of Manitoba are being governed by industrialists who have no interest in conservation or the continued practice of either traditional or environmentally-friendly or rural livelihoods. They will destroy the Boreal Forest (and the communities who depend on the forest) if they are allowed to, and they are being allowed to. The question I am left asking of myself is, "What can I do about it!?"

What can I do when no legal avenue is effective? What can I do when the world, the environment around me, upon which we subsist, is being cut to ribbons, mined, poisoned, and erased?