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Racism in the Tar Sands: Exploiting Foreign Workers and Poisoning Indigenous People

The giant corporations that are determined to exploit the Alberta tar sands face a major problem — a serious shortage of local labour to do the actual work. So the Canadian and Albertan governments have a plan, ideal in their eyes, to solve the crunch.


“The Supreme Court has sent a vitally important message that the protections afforded by fundamental human rights guarantees extend to these individuals and that effective remedies must be available to them. After up to six years in detention in Guantánamo Bay without satisfactory review of the reasons for their detention, these detainees have the right to prompt review in the civilian courts,” Ms. Arbour said.

Monday: Film screening + action on US war resisters in Canada

Fredericton Peace Coalition presents 2 films this Monday

Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends

The subjects are young Americans who experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with
ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home “ with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all – the truth.

Let Them Stay

“Let Them Stay” features exclusive one-on-one interviews with U.S. war resisters in Canada, documenting their life-changing experiences in Iraq and the hidden realities of U.S. military recruitment and warfare. It also documents the War Resisters Support Campaign, a pan-Canadian coalition of labour, faith and peace groups, Vietnam war resisters, and individuals who are working with these war resisters to put pressure on the current federal government to let them stay.

7:00 PM, Monday, June 16
Conserver House, 180 St. John St.

Films to be followed by discussion and letter writing to Prime Minister Harper and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley. The Canadian Parliament passed an historic motion on June 3, 2008, that calls on the Canadian government to make a program to allow US war resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against US war
resisters. The next step is to write to the Prime Minister and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to ensure that they that the will of Parliament is implemented.

For more info:

‘Jewish settler attack’ on film

A dark stain showed through the white gauze covering her broken right arm. Her veil was lifted gingerly away from her lined face. A bloodshot eye and intersection of scars revealed a fractured left cheek.
“The settlers gave us a 10-minute warning to clear off from the land,” she told me, her voice a tired, cracked whisper.
She and her husband had stood their ground. It is at this point that her voice grows louder.
“They don’t want us to stay on our land. But we won’t leave. We’ll die here. It’s ours,” she added.
Indeed, the rest of the world regards Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as Susia, as illegal, built on occupied territory.

Israeli fire kills girl in Gaza

From BBC:
“Palestinian medical officials said six-year-old Hadeel Smari was decapitated by the tank shell explosion while she was in the back yard of her house.

Two adult relatives were wounded in the attack, doctors said. Israeli officials said they were unaware of any civilian casualties. “

Canadian Workers Demand Immediate End to War in Afghanistan

“On 29 May 2009, the delegates at the national convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representing more than three million workers from every region of Canada and Quebec, voted overwhelmingly to demand that the Government of Canada immediately end its participation in the illegal war in Afghanistan.

This CLC demand represents a significant consolidation of labour power. Several national unions, notably the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had already adopted policies to oppose Canada’s participation in the war in Afghanistan. However, some powerful unions whose members work in the rapidly expanding Canadian military and development industries could profit from continuing the war. The women and men of these unions made the difficult decision to stand in solidarity with the working people of Afghanistan rather than act on self-interest.”

Disaster in the Making: Canada Concludes Its Free Trade Agreement With Colombia

“As a press release from Foreign Affairs states, “Once implemented, the agreement will lock in market access for Canadian investors and provide them with greater stability, transparency and protection for their investments.”

Since NAFTA, Canadian-negotiated free trade deals have included chapters that provide extremely strong corporate investment rights (the infamous chapter 11 in NAFTA). That’s the “stability, transparency and protection” Foreign Affairs is talking about. Canadian multinationals will now be given privileged access to the Colombian market and its resources, backed up by the right to sue Colombian governments if they feel their rights under the trade agreement haven’t been fulfilled – as might be the case, for instance, if local community opposition halts a mining project. Canadian companies have in fact been actively litigious under the other trade agreements; they are more likely to sue foreign governments than their foreign counterparts are to sue Canadian governments.

Add to the new FTA the aggressive neoliberal restructuring Colombia has already undergone in the last several years, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded rewriting of its mining code (which allows corporations access to indigenous land) and the ridiculously low royalty rate imposed on foreign investors (as low as 5% in the oil sector and 0.4% in mining), and Canadian corporations could have a field day. Colombia is rich in petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, and hydropower – and Canada has the largest mining industry in the world, and not insignificant oil and hydropower sectors.”

Colombians suffer for our comfort

Salem’s power plant, like many others, shifted to Colombian coal because it was cheaper and cleaner than coal mined in the U.S. The coal may be cheaper and cleaner when it is burned here, but it is dirtier and more expensive where it is mined. We must also count the cost in murdered workers and the devastated environment in the coal-mining regions.

What does an apology mean to Harry Wilson?

When I met Harry Wilson on the bus yesterday he was barely conscious, inebriated and heading in the wrong direction. He could barely open his eyes when I sat next to him. It had been a month or so since our last encounter, but in that time Harry had suffered a heart attack and been evicted from his tiny bug-filled hovel in the Brandiz Hotel on Vancouver’s skid row. Now, he’s yet another of the homeless army who wander, and wander. Harry is fifty four years old and a “survivor” of the United Church’s Alberni Indian Residential School.

Amnesty International- James Corey Glass has right not to serve in Iraq

“Amnesty International is of the view that the right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is inherent in the notion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as recognised in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”