Saturday, April 29, 2006

Resist Exercise Charging Bison

From April 30th to May 6th, 2006, more than 500 Canadian troops, backed by helicopters, armored vehicles, and artillery, intend to transform downtown Winnipeg, Canada into an urban-warfare training playground in the largest training exercise of its kind ever held in Canada. Exercise Charging Bison is intended to simulate situations Canadian soldiers "would encounter in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq."

Calendar of events

Sunday, April 30
Peace Games in Central Park beginning at 2:00 p. m.
A fun-filled afternoon for families featuring cooperative games, face painting, and activities for children and a community picnic

Soul 911 Pyramid Cabaret, 176 Fort St.
Hip hop beats and truth treats Opposing Charging Bison on the grounds that the war on terror is based on a lie

Monday, May 1
Winnipeg Walkout, Memorial Park at 1:00 p. m.
Protest the military exercise that trains soldiers to kill Afghanistani civilians by walking out of classes and work!

The May Day Parade begins at City Hall at 6:30 p. m.

Tuesday, May 2
Coffeehouse with Rae Spoon and more at Ragpickers Theatre, 216 McDermot starting at 7:30 p. m.

Wednesday, May 3
Critical Mass meet at the Old Market Square starting at 3:30 p. m., leave by 4:00 p. m., sharp

Thursday, May 4
Diversity of Tactics Day. What are you going to do?

Friday, May 5
Soldier Outreach Day
meet at 12 noon at Le Rendez-Vous (768 Tache Ave).
Bring messages of peace for the soldiers.

Saturday, May 6
Funeral March
Location to be determined 1:00 p. m. Mourn the death of freedom.
CKUW Talent Show at the Gas Station Theatre 3:00 p. m.

What are we calling for?
We are calling for a broad range of actions to counter this training, from high-school walkouts, to street theatre, to teach-ins, to direct action, to a national convergence, to solidarity actions. We encourage people to take the initiative to plan their own autonomous actions, but we are also eager to see co-operation between organizing groups. We are planning a major day of action on the May 1, International Workers' Day.

Why are we opposing this? Or, "But Canadian missions are only for peacekeeping. What's the problem?"
The problem is that Canada's peacekeeping reputation is already in tatters around the world. We do not need to look that hard to see why. Here are the kinds of operations the military is training for. A Canadian soldier stands guard at the Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port-au-Prince.

In Haiti, Canadian soldiers and RCMP are currently giving logistical assistance to the brutal Haitian National Police and participating in MINUSTAH, an international force, which has been carrying out massacres in urban slums. All this to "stabilize" a government Canada helped put into place. Two years ago, Canadian troops helped carry out a coup of Haiti's elected leader and oversee the installation of a government of business elites and sweatshop owners. The year before that, at the Ottawa Initiative in Haiti, Pierre Pettigrew and other members of the Canadian government decided alongside France, the U.S., and Latin American countries that the Haitian government must be overthrown.

In Quebec City in 2001, 1000 soldiers were deployed against protestors of the Summit of the Americas, to stifle dissent against the governments' push for corporate control of the hemisphere.

In Ts'peten, also known as Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, in 1995, native demonstrators trying to protect their land from further encroachment were met with armored personnel carriers, .50 caliber machine guns, and land mines. The federal and provincial governments rejected any involvement by an impartial, independent, international adjudication process to settle the conflict, and even the presence of neutral peacekeepers, with the famous declaration "There shall be no alien intervention into the affairs of this state."

In Afghanistan, top Canadian soldier Rick Hillier clarified the Canadian military's role, "We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces and our job is to be able to kill people." Canadian forces joined the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The military occupation continues today.

In Kanehsatake in 1990, Canadian forces attempted to put down Mohawk resistance to the town of Oka's attempted expansion of a golf course on to territory including a Mohawk burial ground.

In Iraq, we find Canadian troops again, despite the government's official position that they're staying out of the invasion. One Canadian Major General has thousands of U.S. troops under his command.
This is not a history of peacekeeping and good will, and the training operations in Winnipeg are an attempt to hone the Canadian military's tactics of repression.
Come to Winnipeg! We are calling on people from across Canada to come oppose this operation and its consequences for people around the country and around the world. Come put on workshops, plan actions, act as medics, observers, anything your heart desires. We will do our best to find couches to sleep on and to put together bicycles to be lent out. There are already folks tentatively coming from Toronto and Ottawa.

If you'd like more information (or to add the name of your organization to the list of endorsers) email

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Copy the text below, then click on the link:

It saddens me greatly to learn that moose are an endangered species on mainland Nova Scotia. Surely it is a breach of our moral and ethical responsibilities as stewards of such a beautiful country to have let the plight of our native wildlife get to such critical levels. I hope you will use your term of leadership to seriously address these important issues.

A species as historically and ecologically important as moose will likely provide a true test of your administration's commitment to wildlife, their habitat and overall forest health. Many key indicators of the quality of human life, such as water quality and quantity, recreational opportunities, and sustainable local economies are linked to this issue of habitat protection for wildlife. In this regard, the moose is the canary in the coal mine.

I understand that there are several factors affecting mainland moose, including habitat destruction, disease, poaching, and climate change. I believe that of these, habitat destruction is the most fundamental. Aside from allowing opportunities to expand their numbers and range, improving the habitat conditions for moose can also improve their health, reduce poaching and provide some buffer against climate change. Furthermore, if we could restore mainland moose to healthy levels by improving habitat conditions, many other species who share that habitat are also likely to benefit.

I hope that you will direct the Department of Natural Resources to make every effort to protect and restore the mainland moose population, and provide them with the resources needed to do the job.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Dear Minister of Health Tony Clement,

I support the Sierra Club's call for the renewal of the 1987 Federal Water Policy. Please make standards for safe drinking water legally enforceable.

That is all,


Saturday, April 22, 2006


Re: Issam Al-Yamani

Dear Stephen Harper,

Stop the deportation from Canada of Issam Al-Yamani. Issam Al-Yamani is a stateless Palestinian refugee, long time Palestinian and human rights activist and a respected member of the Arab community in Canada. Canadian authorities recently issued a deportation order on Issam, asking him to leave Canada on Thursday, 20 April 2006. The deportation of Issam Al-Yamani is the most recent example of attempts to silence and deport Palestinian refugees in Canada. Issam has lived peacefully in Canada for over 20 years. All those who know him attest to his tireless efforts on behalf of the Palestinian and Arab community in Mississauga and Toronto. Issam graduated from York University and he has two Canadian born children currently attending high school and university. Issam was issued an immigrant visa by Canadian officials in Amman, Jordan on March 21, 1984. He was subsequently granted permanent resident status on arrival in Canada on April 27, 1985. On May 17, 1988, Issam Al-Yamani applied for Canadian citizenship. Since that time, Canadian authorities have been attempting to deport Issam due to his previous political affiliations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). For the last 21 years, Issam and his family have called Canada their home. Please put a stop to this unfair and immoral action. Issam's father was one of the founding members of the PFLP. He grew up in a community committed to the self determination for Palestinians. Because of his father, Issam came to know many persons in the Palestinian leadership. Issam had previously been a member of the political wing of the PFLP but severed all ties in 1991. He has never engaged in or been in any way involved with acts of violence.

Please grant Issam Al-Yamani permanent status in Canada.


[insert YOUR name here]

Friday, April 21, 2006

We were upholding our law

by Kate Harries

As a carnival atmosphere prevailed under a pall of smoke at a construction site reclaimed by Six Nations activists yesterday, police faced questions about a predawn raid that appears to have backfired dramatically.

Basking in one of the first days of warm sunny weather, occupiers celebrated having held their ground against the raid by heavily armed police. "It was awesome, it was beautiful. We were upholding our law," said Hazel Hill as she described how people from the nearby reserve marched against Ontario Provincial Police officers, who withdrew within hours of a surprise 4:30 a.m. raid.

Deputy OPP Commissioner Maurice Pilon conceded yesterday that what began as a peaceful occupation didn't look so peaceful after the police action. As to why the OPP moved on the occupied site, police indicated that they believed the risk to public safety had heightened.

"Over the last few days, we did see some escalation of activity that gave us cause for concern," Deputy Commissioner Pilon said. He refused to elaborate.

OPP Sergeant Dave Rektor confirmed later that New York licence plates were seen around the site.

Mohawk warriors from other reserves have been there since Feb. 28 when the protest started. The occupiers have said they are there to protect women and children.

A pall of smoke from several tire fires lit by the protesters in the aftermath of the raid hung over this quiet community 20 kilometres south of Hamilton, and Highway 6 remained barricaded to traffic all day. The protesters tipped a van over a bridge and toppled some hydro poles onto a bypass around the town.

Police were executing two injunctions obtained by Henco Industries, which owns the property that the protesters say was stolen from Six Nations in 1841. They arrested 16 people on the site, most of whom were released on their own recognizance after being held in police wagons in Cayuga for several hours.

Some others were arrested off the site later, Sgt. Rektor said, refusing to elaborate.

Lawyer Steve Reynolds said approximately seven people remain in custody at the Simcoe Detention Centre and are to appear in Cayuga court today. They face charges ranging from mischief to assaulting a police officer.

Three officers suffered minor injuries, with one needing stitches to the head after being hit with what Deputy Commissioner Pilon described as a bag of rocks.

Protesters say police used excessive force when they moved in around 4:30 a.m., citing injuries from pepper spray, kicks and punches.

Deputy Commissioner Pilon said the officers used "tremendous restraint."

Sgt. Rektor said that, initially, a minimum amount of force was needed, but when the occupiers regrouped and became more confrontational, the least necessary force was used and "we still treated them with restraint and respect."

Several people interviewed, all from Six Nations, described occupiers being thrown to the ground, kicked and punched. "I see women getting hurt, I see children getting hurt," said Eric Van Every.

Ken, who would not give his last name, had covered his face with a bandana and displayed a bandaged hand because of what he said were chemical burns from pepper spray deployed by an aboriginal officer after he resisted arrest.

Henry Hill said he was "tasered" four times in the back when he went to the rescue of his stepmother, Ms. Hill, who was being held down by officers.

Shortly after, hundreds of people emerged from the neighbouring Six Nations lands and pushed police back.

Police would not disclose how many officers were at the scene. Protesters estimated their own numbers at from 200 to 400.

Police were armed with M16 rifles, tear gas, pepper spray and Taser guns, Mr. Van Every said. Some protesters had clubs and axes, police said, though according to Mr. Van Every most were unarmed.

"What we had was pretty much people's bodies. We were just singing."

"It was people power," said another protester. "Pretty much just numbers," Mr. Van Every said. "We were pretty much one-for-one with those cops."

Ms. Hill said the protesters offered the police a chance to move their vehicles out. She said she was set upon when she went to deliver a message to a group of officers that they should also leave.

A 19-year-old white supporter who would identify himself only as Will was one of those arrested. He said he was asleep in his tent at the blockade site when police arrived suddenly, with overwhelming force. "The whole street was loaded with cop cars. We didn't get any warning from the people who were standing guard."

He said police told them to get off the property. "I was walking off," he said, when he was grabbed by an officer. "I told him to get his hands off me, that was enough to get me arrested."

Will said he and around a dozen others were held for several hours in a police wagon at the Cayuga detachment before being processed and released. He said he signed an agreement not to return to the disputed property.

But he did. "It's not their right," he said of police. "They're in no position to make that demand. Like, I was invited by the people who actually own this land."

Among the mostly white Caledon residents, sympathies were mixed.

"What I'm nervous of now is the OPP going in with guns. The natives don't make me nervous at all," said Kathy Maher, a thirtysomething woman who rents a house on the edge of the disputed property and witnessed part of the early-morning confrontation.

"It was all peaceful until this morning."

Her friend Jim Meyer concurred. "I don't understand why [authorities] are not just showing them [the protesters] the bill of sale and saying, 'Here's where the money went,' They've been asking for the records for years."

Others, less sympathetic, thought the police action was overdue. "If they were going to go in and do this, they should have done it sooner," said a Caledonia-area resident who did not want to be identified.

"Now [the protesters] have had a chance to get organized. I'm not against native rights, but what about my right to go about my life, and drive down the road without getting turned back at a roadblock?"

Deputy Commissioner Pilon confirmed that the raid came the morning after talks between Six Nations representatives and federal and provincial government officials. "There were talks going on last night and those did not lead to resolution of the land issue," he said.

The Confederacy chiefs, who are the traditional government at Six Nations, issued a release yesterday expressing disappointment at the police action. "We believe we were within reach of a peaceful resolution." Another meeting is set for today, the statement said.

Elected Chief Dave General, in a statement released by the Chiefs of Ontario, asked that supporters from other native communities not travel to the Caledonia site because the immediate priority is to defuse the situation and avoid any physical confrontation between the protesters and OPP.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Please send YOUR letter (or email) by April 18th!

The tiny rural community of Upper Leitches Creek, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, is being made uninhabitable by the Alva Construction Ltd. mining operation. Please send a message of solidarity. Alva Construction placed a notice in the Cape Breton Post (newspaper) regarding their quarry expansion. Copies of Alva Construction’s environmental assessment registration information may be examined at, where I invite you to leave your comments (please see the sample letter). Please make a comment before April 18.

My family looked over the rather massive Environmental Assessment. We hope that, when you become aware of the concerns of our tiny community, that you will be able to send a message of solidarity on the behalf of Upper Leitches Creek. (My family is doing everything we can. We have had numerous phone contacts with supporters. Although I have hope, the other members of my family are particularly afraid that with the twinning of the provincial highway, municipal work on water supply services, and now possibly the opening of closed mines, that the disturbance may be unendurable.) The newspaper estimated a project lifespan of 20 years.

No profit from Alva’s operation is seen by the people in our community. The earth is being despoiled by natural resource profiteers, in collusion with the economic elite and regional politicians. Most people in my community don't own computers (and quite a few of them don't even have phones), but they are united, they are organizing non-hierarchically, and their dissent is unanimous.

You can submit further comments to:

Environmental Assessment Branch,
Nova Scotia Environment & Labour,
PO Box 697 Halifax NS B3J2T8

You can also call (902) 424-3230FAX (902) 424-0503or e-mail at

Sample Letter:

Environmental Assessment Branch
Nova Scotia Environment & Labour
PO Box 697 Halifax NS B3J2T8

Friday, April 7, 2006

Dear Environmental Assessment Branch,

The tiny rural community of Upper Leitches Creek, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, is being made uninhabitable by mining. For too long, Alva Construction Ltd. has been disrupting the quiet rural life of Upper Leitches Creek. Alva's open-pit surface mining operation has made the once serene community dangerous. The noise of their crusher corrupts the air. Their mining operation defaces the earth obscenely. They have hollowed out a vast pit on the slopes of the Hill of Boisdale. The heavy metals runoff is poisoning ancient and socially valuable streams and wells, where fish live, and unique wild biotypes of heritage herbs grow. Alva's operation encroaches on the habitat of endangered lynx, wetlands where endangered miniature orchids grow, the old-growth forest in the backlands, and the archaeological remains of the original settlers.

The mining operation is unprofessional, unregulated, and ought to be illegal.

The trucks travel too frequently and too fast on the Upper Leitches Creek Road. These trucks are often too heavy to be able to stay on the right side of our winding rural route. The weight of the trucks has torn up the ashphalt, and has made the road treacherous. This is a road where children play, and where older people enjoyed long quiet walks. The citizens of Upper Leitches Creek respect the forest. They have a resonant connection to the land where they live. The boreal (or brown-capped) chickadee, barred owls, bald eagles, partridges, deer, wolves, ermines, silver foxes, and innumerable forest birds and small mammals, all depend on the forest and creeks. Many people in this community depend on a healthy forest for their continued livelihood.

In a democratic country such as Canada, the interests of a private company (whose owners live far away on mainland Nova Scotia) ought not to outweigh the interests of the immediate community.

I insist that you stop all industrial activity in Upper Leitches Creek. Put an end to the Leitches Creek Quarry.


[insert your name here]

[Furthermore, the government needs to pour just as many dollars into regenerating Cape Breton Island as was put into destroying (i.e. clearcutting and mining) it.]

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Subject: Please Stop The Planned Expansion of Camp Humphreys (K-6)! Do not steal this land from the farmers of Daechuri!

Daechuri, South Korea, villagers and other farming communities near Pyeongtaek, are being forcibly evicted due to U.S. military base realignment in Asia. After a long struggle against the Korean government’s attempts to take their homes, the villagers declared Daechuri autonomous, and renounced their Korean citizenship. I hope you will listen to the villagers from Daechuri. I am opposed to the employment of violence by U.S. and South Korean government against the village. Amnesty International has become involved in the struggle, and I hope you will be moved to action on behalf of the villagers. There are many creative and peaceful solutions to this situation. Violence is not required.

In 1952, the villagers of Daechuri left their homes empty-handed, save for the rice and flour handed out by the U.S. Daechuri villagers refer to the base runway at Camp Humphreys, which used to be part of the village, as "old Daechuri".

Today, all of Daechuri and the surrounding land is government property. According to the National Property Act [Article 58], illegal use of government property will result in 2 years imprisonment and hard labor, or a fine of at least $7,000. For the residents, simply living in their homes, farming their lands, is a crime.

The time has come for you to make a statement in support of the villagers. Please, do not let this land become part of a U. S. military base.


[Insert your name here]