Canadians who prefer truth over propaganda — and would like to have an idea why we are in this current crisis — should view this short, compelling, very informative video. This is info that you won’t see anywhere in our mainstream media. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to be fully informed and inform your friends, family, neighbours, community. Ignorance is not an excuse!
This is the July E-Newsletter from the Council of Canadians posted here for those who do not receive it:
Stop freshwater lakes from becoming toxic waste dumps
The Council of Canadians has joined with environmental, First Nations and social justice organizations to stop the Harper government’s plan to allow mining companies to use Canadian freshwater lakes as dumping grounds for toxic mine wastes.
Although it is illegal under the federal Fisheries Act to dump toxic material into fish-habitated waters, mining companies have been given a loophole under the government-amended Metal Mining Effluent Regulation (MMER). The federal government is now able to reclassify lakes and other freshwater bodies as “tailing impoundment areas” and can permit mining companies to dump toxic wastes there, destroying the natural habitat forever.
Environment Canada recently announced that under the MMER at least 11 mines in Canada are seeking permission to destroy healthy natural water bodies with their mine waste. Eight of these mining projects are being considered in 2008. The lakes include prime fishing areas and natural watersheds from B.C. to Newfoundland.
The Council of Canadians is calling on the federal government to require mining companies to use existing technologies for managing mine waste, or to invest in new technologies that do not result in the pollution of local watersheds.
Allowing mining companies to use lakes as waste dump sites amounts to a massive subsidy to the mining industry at the expense of publicly owned fresh water resources. The mining industry made a net profit of more than $80 billion in North America in 2007. After the companies’ profits are made, it will be the surrounding communities that will be left with the effects of the damage. Once toxic mine wastes are added to the water, the environmental damage cannot be undone.
“Allowing a lake to be turned into a dump site for a private company is nothing short of privatizing a public resource that is essential to life. Contaminating a water body will have devastating consequences on entire watersheds at a time when the world is dealing with a fresh water crisis,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
For more information about this issue, or to take action by sending a letter to Environment Minister John Baird, please go here.
Here’s more about what’s new at the Council of Canadians:
- WIN! War resisters find support from majority of Parliament: resisters still face deportation
- One man’s mission to raise awareness about the SPP
- Join the Council of Canadians today!
Supporters of U.S. war resisters claimed victory last month when, by a vote of 137 to 110, federal Opposition parties in the House of Commons adopted a recommendation that, if implemented, would make it possible for U.S. Iraq War resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
The recommendation was adopted by a majority of Members of Parliament from the Liberal, Bloc Québécois, and New Democratic parties, while Conservative MPs voted against the motion.
The victory was short-lived, however, as U.S. army deserter Robin Long was deported back to his army base in Fort Knox, Kentucky on July 15, making him the first resister to the U.S. war effort in Iraq to be sent out of Canada. The 25-year-old was unable to sway a Canadian court of the danger he faced if he was forced to return to the United States.
Council of Canadians chapter activist and Board member Bob Ages spoke with The Globe and Mail about the issues saying, “I was just shocked at some things in (the) ruling. It just flies in the face of everything that we and every Canadian know about the reality of what is going on… (Mr. Long’s deportation would be a) terrible precedent for Canada, especially given our history of providing sanctuary for war resisters, over 100,000 draft dodgers and deserters during the Vietnam era…This will be the first time Canada played gendarme to the American military.”
Many Council members and chapters have joined the campaign to ensure that U.S. war resisters seeking refuge from militarism and an illegal war can stay safely in Canada.
While the vote has been characterized as a “non-binding resolution” of the House of Commons, the Council of Canadians believes it is incumbent on the Harper government to listen to the democratic will of MPs and take action on the issue.
For more information about the Council of Canadians’ support for the War Resister campaign go here.
Go here to read more about how Canadians feel about deeper integration through the SPP
Go here to read the latest issue of Canadian Perspectives
Don Parker has travelled many kilometres to raise awareness.
Concerned about the lack of information the general public has received about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) and the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), Mr. Parker recently contacted the Council of Canadians and purchased 3,000 copies of the Council’s recent report Not Counting Canadians: The Security and Prosperity Partnership and public opinion. Since May he has been visiting municipal and school board offices near his Toronto home to deliver copies of the report. He believes that raising public awareness is key to effecting change.
“If we want Canada to remain Canadian, we must learn more,” he explains. “There have been seminars involving university students from (Mexico, Canada and the United States) who have been meeting together to learn how to think North American? If we are to stop this slippery slide down (…), we must do it from an informed basis.”
Mr. Parker, who is a writer for the independent Dialogue Magazine, and very active Council supporter and member, is particularly concerned about making sure youth also start to think about issues affecting Canada. He has spoken with school board representatives about getting Council of Canadians’ material into high school lesson plans. He also regularly delivers copies of the Council’s magazine, Canadian Perspectives, around his community.
Mr. Parker encourages others to get involved and take action by writing letters and making phone calls to Members of Parliament and provincial politicians, writing letters to the editor of local newspapers, and forming discussion groups to plan actions. “I encourage people to join the Council of Canadians and support them, bearing in mind that membership alone is not nearly enough; there must be positive action,” he says.
Join the Council of Canadians today!
The strength of the Council is in its membership. The Council does not accept funding from corporations or from governments, so membership donations are vital to our activities. We work with community groups, seniors, students, unions and other organizations across the country to promote progressive policies on public health care, fair trade, clean water and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians. Join the Council today, and help us prove that a better Canada is possible.
Access Denied: U.S. Law Will Limit Canadian Access toRADARSAT-2 Data if Sale of MDA’s Space Division ProceedsMarch 28, 2008
Transmitted At: 2008-03-20 17:39
Attention News Editors:
Access Denied: U.S. Law Will Limit Canadian Access to RADARSAT-2 Data if Sale of MDA’s Space Division Proceeds
OTTAWA, March 20 /CNW Telbec/ – On the same day that Industry Minister Jim Prentice announced a 30-day delay on his decision whether to approve the sale of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates’ (MDA) space division to U.S.-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) released a legal opinion that raised concerns about the proposed deal.
“Our legal opinion clearly shows that the sale of MDA’s space division to a U.S. arms manufacturer would hand Washington the power to deny Ottawa access to images from our own satellite,” said Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute.
“This legal opinion also underscores our view that the planned sale would be detrimental to our national sovereignty, the industry as a whole, and ultimately to good, highly specialized Canadian jobs such as at the robotics plant in Brampton, Ontario,” said Carol Phillips, Assistant to CAW President, Buzz Hargrove. “We need federal reinvestment not a wholesale sell off of our entire space sector.”
The legal opinion was written by Rideau Institute’s Legal Counsel, Steven Shrybman of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP. Among his conclusions, Mr. Shrybman notes that the proposed sale of MDA assets to ATK is entirely contrary to Canada’s interests and can not reasonably be approved under either the Investment Canada Act or the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act.
More particularly, it is our view that:
– Under U.S. regulations concerning remote sensing space systems such as RADARSAT-2, U.S. national interests take precedence and will supercede the authority Canada now exercises under the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act over the operation of Radarsat-2, which includes the right to assert priority access to the information it gathers;
– Therefore, the sale of MDA assets to ATK will seriously weaken or defeat Canada’s ability to achieve the objectives of Remote Sensing Space Systems Act which are explicitly to “ensure national security, the defence of Canada, the safety of Canadian Forces, Canada’s conduct of international relations, and Canada’s international obligations” and “the competitiveness …of the Canadian remote sensing space industry
– Accordingly, there is no reasonable or lawful basis for approving the transfer of MDA’s satellite license to ATK under the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act.
For further information: Steven Staples, Rideau Institute, (613) 565-9449 ext. 24, (613) 290-2695 (cell); Steven Shrybman, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, (613)858-6842 (cell); Carol Phillips, Canadian Auto Workers, (416) 561-7427 (cell);Download a copy of the legal opinion at http://www.rideauinstitute.ca
Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule
I urge ALL Canadians who care about our democracy and sovereignty to watch this outstanding video. All it takes is 10 minutes of your time.
Also at http://www.canadiansnanaimo.org/
Could be subtitled “Giving Away Canada’s Sovereignty”
Sunday’s Toronto Star has an excellent editorial about MDA’s proposed sale of its space division to the US arms manufacturer Alliant Techsystems Inc (ATK). MDA is Canada’s leading engineering firm, best known for the Canadarm and Radarsat-1 and 2 satellites. Canadian taxpayers have contributed $445 million — about 85% of the cost — of developing the satellite. ATK makes land mines, among other war-making armaments. If this deal goes through, we will in effect be subsidizing a company that makes land mines. Also, we will lose an essential tool for enforcing our Arctic sovereignty, raising questions about our national security.
Canadians should be very concerned, upset and appalled by this latest foreign takeover of one of our few remaining Canadian firms. It’s objectionable that we are losing our country one foreign takeover at a time. With this latest ‘deal’, we will be complicit in the land mine business, after being the country that spearheaded the movement to ban them, while we take on trust that our southern neighbour will allow Ottawa to stay on top of everything going on in the North.
I strongly urge Canadians to contact their elected representatives and voice their objections and put a stop to this odious deal.
Canada’s future prosperity depends on higher education, scientific research, innovation and knowledge-based products.
How many times have you heard politicians of all stripes repeat that mantra when outlining their economic strategies? In his 2006 budget paper, Advantage Canada, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty put the Conservative party stamp on that approach when he listed “a skilled and highly educated workforce” and “high rates of private and public investment in research and innovation” as the top two “fundamental determinants of long-term economic growth.”
NDP MP Peter Julian undertaking cross-Canada tour (with many union stops) to raise awareness of SPP.
Dateline: Monday, January 14, 2008
CUPE and other union activists will soon be hearing more about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), an agreement signed in 2005 by Presidents Bush and Fox, along with then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, that could have a profoundly negative impact on Canadian sovereignty.
On January 18, federal NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian will be speaking in Nelson as part of a cross-country tour to help raise awareness about the (SPP). Julian hopes to hear from as many individuals and organizations as possible, in communities across the country, about how they are being affected and will be affected by this Agreement. He will take peoples comments back to Ottawa. The evening will be hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior.
The SPP will have profound consequences on Canada’s existence as a sovereign nation and its ability to adopt autonomous and sustainable economic, social, and environmental policies. The tour challenges the Harper governments assumptions of prosperity, which have led to increasing disparities of wealth and power in Canada, Mexico and the US.
Watchdogs say the SPP would require Canada to lower working standards and wages and endorse US foreign policies.
The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Labour Congress and many other organizations in Canada have pointed out serious concerns around many facets of this Agreement being instituted through regulatory changes, changes in standards and secret agreements outside the public’s and elected representatives’ control or view.
In brief, watchdogs are saying the SPP seeks to affect our communities and country by:
- Securing US control of our water and resources
- Lowering working standards and wages
- Endorsing US foreign policies, wars & security measures
- Harmonizing regulations to hurt our health, food & environment.
Public support to stop the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America is growing. We need to broaden the circle of concern among Canadians.
What can you do to help to make a positive difference? Plenty! You have influence in your community, you have family and friends. You belong to groups and organizations.
- Before you can effectively promote to others, you need to understand what it is, why it exists and why you feel it is important.
- Working with your local organizations, help organize public forums with a panel discussion on SPP with members of your community, include a question-and-answer session; organize community picnics with your neighbours to help ensure that your community is getting informed and that they have their say on the SPP.
TAKE ACTION — You can help.
- Contact your MP and give him/her basic information on the SPP to teach him/her what is going on and ask that he/she answer your concerns directly. You can lobby your local politicians with letters with the intent to demonstrate the depth of feeling, via emails, faxes; distribute handbills. Let your local MP, MLA or MPP that you expect ACTION on their part.
- Speak to your local media. Writing a letter to the editor of a local or national newspaper. Voice your opinion and call attention to this issue. A letter to the Editor is another effective grassroots way of helping balance the coverage if a newspaper is biased in any way and or not covering this issues at all, and it may show your neighbours that they are not alone in holding an opinion, giving them more courage to speak out or take action themselves. Your MP, MLA or MPP’s staff likely read this page of the local paper to help determine how constituents are reacting to an issue. A timely and convincing letter to the editor can also push a newspaper to give an issue more or different coverage.
SIGN THE PETITION — AND GET OTHERS TO SIGN ON TOO
- Please find a link to a copy of the petition form below. Get the support of your friends, neighbours, people you work with and get them to sign the petition. When you have as many signatures as you can get, mail the petition (postage free) to Peter Julian’s Parliamentary Office in Ottawa.
WRITE A LETTER OF SUPPORT
- You and/or your organization are invited to write a letter of support about this issue and send it to Peter Julian’s office.
- You are also invited to write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org), Stéphane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca), Jack Layton ( Layton.J@parl.gc.ca) and Gilles Duceppe (Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca) expressing your grave concerns on this issue.
As you know, the SPP would have profound consequences on Canada’s existence as a sovereign nation and its ability to adopt autonomous and sustainable economic, social, and environmental policies. The NDP challenges the Harper government’s assumptions of prosperity, which have led to increasing disparities of wealth and power in Canada, Mexico and the US.
The NDP is spearheading the call for a transparent and accountable public consultation process, parliamentary debate and vote on the SPP agenda in the House of Commons. In Parliament, with the full support of Jack Layton and the entire NDP caucus, NDP Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) is succeeding in exposing the push by stealth for deep integration under both the Liberal and Conservative governments.
Peter Julian hosted the second Tri-National Forum for a People-Centred Approach to Trade in Ottawa on June 5, 2006, which included legislators and civil society representatives from Canada, the US and Mexico. He has filed a number of Access to Information requests with regards to the SPP and has succeeded in holding the first ever parliamentary hearings on the SPP at the Standing Committee on International Trade last spring. We are starting to expose this agenda but this is the first step in what will be a long struggle so we will need your support.
On August 2, 2007, the NDP launched its national tour to halt further implementation of the SPP agenda. We have been holding public forums to speak out on the SPP, and to ensure everyday Canadians get informed and have their say. www.peterjulian.ca/video
Labour Unions and civil society organizations share the NDP’s call to the Harper government to halt to stop further implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) with the United States and Mexico until there is a democratic mandate from the people of Canada, Parliamentary oversight, and consideration of its profound consequences on Canada’s existence as a sovereign nation and its ability to adopt autonomous and sustainable economic, social, and environmental policies, and urge the Government of Canada to conduct a transparent and accountable public debate of the SPP process, involving meaningful public consultations with civil society and a full legislative review, including the work, recommendations, and reports of all SPP working groups, and a full debate and a vote in Parliament.
Stops included: Halifax, Fredericton, Sault-Ste. Marie, Moosejaw, Regina, Hamilton, Kamloops, Victoria, Winnipeg. Peter will be holding many more, including stops in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and various parts of BC, including a forum in Burnaby-New Westminster in January 2008.
Please follow this link to Peter Julian’s web page. There you will find his Motion, submitted a second time at the Standing Committee on International Trade, since July 2007, following the prorogation of the House of Commons at the beginning of the Fall Session. Peter has tabled a comprehensive question on the Order Paper with regards to the SPP, which the government must reply to within less than 45 days now.
For further reading on this subject please follow the links below.
Take charge! Send a mitten to Prime Minister Harper on February 2nd
Canada is a cold country and we need energy to stay warm and to heat our homes.
But Canada’s lack of a national energy strategy is like sending someone out into the cold with only one mitten – one hand stays warm while the other freezes.
Without west-to-east pipelines, we do not have a way to get energy to all parts of the country. All Canadians deal with the impacts of an energy market focused on sending the majority of our oil and gas south to the energy-hungry United States, no matter what the environmental or societal cost to Canadians. Canada’s “free market” approach to energy policy and its increasing integration with the United States under the Security and Prosperity Partnership have put multi-billion-dollar oil and gas companies in control of our energy future.
Send a mitten to Prime Minister Stephen Harper or your local Member of Parliament and tell them that you support a Canadian Energy Strategy that will give Canadians secure energy supplies, guaranteed access to energy reserves in times of need, and strong policies that protect our environment and focus on finding alternative, less harmful energy solutions.
Thousands of mittens from Canadians across the country will send a strong message that politicians cannot let corporations and the market set the agenda, focusing on big business needs, while ignoring the energy security needs of Canadians.
Visit our website at www.canadians.org, to read more about our mitten action, and find out what you can do to participate in the Council’s Take Charge! Day of Action to Demand a National Energy Strategy.
Meanwhile, here’s what’s new at the Council of Canadians:
- Canada’s best kept secret revealed
- Cloned food issue gets to the meat of SPP’s regulatory matter
- New chapter in Golden, BC takes on TILMA
- Take action for the right to water
- Join the Council of Canadians today!
Canada’s best kept secret revealed
The Council of Canadians has just launched a new campaign to spread the message that public health care offers Canadian businesses and citizens a true competitive advantage. Best Kept Secret: Canada’s Health Care Competitive Advantage will reach out to small and medium-sized businesses, community groups and other local organizations to encourage them to fight to protect and enhance public health care in Canada.
Representatives from more than 30 Council of Canadians chapters and coalition partners have selected public speakers who will be participating in training sessions in Kelowna, Vancouver, Nanaimo, St. Catharines, Saint John, Moncton, Charlottetown, Tatamagouche, Halifax, St. John’s, Edmonton and Calgary over the next few months. Across the country, presenters will be equipped with a specialized speech, PowerPoint presentation and an extensive resource guide that they can then take into their communities.
The 30-minute presentations have been designed to generate discussion, and to provide clear evidence not only on the economic advantages of public health care, but also about the benefits of public insurance and non-profit delivery of health care services. We will also provide evidence to debunk myths spouted by people like Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Brian Day, who are pushing for health care privatization.
Do you want to reveal Canada’s best kept secret in your community? Contact the regional office closest to you, and we’ll help you get involved.
Cloned food issue gets to the meat of SPP’s regulatory matter
Vegetarians will probably shrug their shoulders but Canadian meat eaters may soon have another reason to hate the SPP: cloned meat.
A new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report claims that meat and milk from cloned animals is as safe as that from “normal” animals, according to a January 15 CTV news story. It’s so safe, in fact, that there is no reason to label these cloned food products as such.
Meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones are “as safe as food we eat every day,” says the FDA. The CTV story adds that, “when the market is ready for cloned meat and dairy, it will not require special labeling or other additional measures, ‘because food derived from these sources is no different from food derived from conventionally bred animals.'”
The U.S. report comes a week after the European Food Safety Authority also approved the safety of meat and milk from cloned animals.
“As for Canada, a spokesman for Health Canada said there are currently no foods from cloned animals approved for sale in Canada,” reported CTV. But Agence France Press reported on January 4 that, “Regulators in countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand, which already have livestock clones, although they rarely enter the food chain, would be closely watching the FDA decision.” Furthermore, as reported by Rick Weiss of the Washington Post, “The safety of products from cloned animals is still under study in Canada, according to Health Canada’s website.”
Unfortunately, there may be no reason for Canada to continue its study considering the extent of its collaboration with the United States on a common regulatory approach to food and consumer product safety.
“Canada is also committed to working with the United States and Mexico through the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, to strengthen our existing cooperation to identify and stop unsafe food and consumer products before they enter our shared continent,” writes Health Canada in its proposed new Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan. “We will collaborate to ensure the compatibility of our related regulatory and inspection regimes.”
Health Canada has opened up its food safety plan for public consultation. Click here to read a full discussion paper. And visit our Integrate This website to read more about how the SPP is affecting our day-to-day lives, with an impact on everything from fuel emissions to health and safety standards.
New chapter in Golden, BC takes on TILMA
On an average Wednesday night in Golden BC, an extraordinary meeting took place. On January 16, close to 30 residents of Golden gathered at the central hub of all things hip, Jita’s Café, to form the Golden chapter of the Council of Canadians. Becoming the 32nd chapter in the BC/Yukon region, members spoke about what drew them to the Council of Canadians, the need for an activist group in the community and their hopes for lots of great actions and positive social change in the future. People spoke about their concerns with TILMA and the impact it might have on municipal strategies to protect the community, the privatization of hydroelectric power generation through run-of-the-river licences, and the creep of deep integration by the Security and Prosperity Partnership.
Chapter contact Trevor Hamre was first inspired by the film Democracy a la Maude, and when he heard that Maude would be at the Council’s AGM in Kelowna in October, he said “well, that’s only five hours away!” So he convinced two other friends, Kuljit and Tyler, to make the trip for the weekend. Returning inspired, Trevor wrote an extensive report on the AGM for a local news magazine. But not satisfied there, he and Kuljit took it upon themselves to start up a chapter.
No shortage of work to be done, the chapter has already planned their event for the Take Charge day of action on February 2nd.
Visit our website to find the Council chapter nearest to you, or contact the closest regional office to find out about starting a new one.
Take action for the right to water
Who owns water?
Should corporations be permitted to rake in huge profits while exploiting the billions of people around the world who have no access to clean water or sanitation? Or should water be protected as a public resource, available for free to everyone who needs it?
We believe that water is a human right that should never be sold for profit. It’s a public trust – part of the commons – and we want to see it protected and preserved for future generations.
We must act quickly. Over 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water and this number is rising, while another 4 billion lack adequate sanitation services.
If you believe that the solution to the world water crisis should be based on principles of justice, equality and human rights, join the Right to Water campaign today. You’ll be joining thousands of activists from around the world in a growing movement for water justice.
Click here to sign our petition to Prime Minister Harper, demanding that the Canadian government support the right to water at the United Nations. Help us send as many letters as possible by World Water Day on March 22, 2008. And to learn more about the global movement to protect the world’s water, visit www.canadians.org/water and www.blueplanetproject.net.
Join the Council of Canadians today!
Founded in 1985 by a handful of citizens including Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton and Margaret Atwood, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s pre-eminent public watchdog organization. The Council receives no money from government, corporations or any political party. To preserve our complete independence, we ensure that almost all our revenue comes from generous individuals like you. Join the Council today, and help us prove that a better Canada is possible.