Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 20, 2011

Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

Montreal /– Today, community members from the Algonquin First Nation of Barriere Lake traveled to Montreal to attend the annual general meeting of Val-D’Or-based Cartier Resources Inc., where they affirmed that the overwhelming majority of their First Nation is opposed to the company’s Rivière Doré copper mining project moving forward on their traditional territory. A solidarity demonstration will happen outside of the shareholders meeting at 11:30 am at Dorchester Square, the corner of Peel and Rene-Levesque.

“The Charest government’s planned amendments to Quebec’s Mining Act do nothing to address the basic human rights violation at its core: the fact that no communities, including First Nations, have the right to give their free, prior and informed consent to a mining project,” said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson for Barriere Lake.

The right to free, prior and informed consent to any development is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has been endorsed by the Canadian government.

In March, Barriere Lake community members discovered copper exploration activities on their traditional territory, south-east of Val D’Or, Quebec. The land has never been ceded by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, who hold constitutionally-protected Aboriginal title and rights at the site of the potential mine.

The land is also already covered by an agreement signed between Quebec and Canada and the First Nation in 1991. This Trilateral Agreement – a sustainable development plan for 10,000 square kilometres of Barriere Lake’s traditional territory – has been praised by the United Nations, but both Quebec and Canada have refused to implement it.

The Elders Council of Barriere Lake issued a letter to the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife on May 2 declaring that the community will not allow any resource extraction like mining on their traditional territory until the Trilateral Agreement is implemented.

“Charest’s claim that the Mining Act amendments fit the ‘principles of sustainable development’ is totally hollow,” said Matchewan.”If the Quebec government were concerned about sustainable development, they would not allow a mining company to explore and open a mine against the wishes of a community, to engage in activities that will have negative impacts on the land, water, animals and plants that we depend on. We will not allow this mine to be built.”

The mineral exploration activities have currently stopped, after community members went to the potential mine site to request that the workers leave. The workers respected the community’s wishes.

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Media contacts:

Norm Matchewan, community spokesperson: 514-578-7109

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Vendredi le 20 mai 2011

La communauté algonquine du Lac Barrière s’oppose à un projet minier lors d’une réunion de cette compagnie à Montréal : la menace minière sur leurs terres expose l’échec de la Loi sur les mines québécoise.

Montréal/ – Aujourd’hui, des membres de la communauté autochtone algonquine du Lac Barrière se déplacent à Montréal afin de prendre part à l’assemblée générale annuelle de Cartier Resources Inc., où ils veulent exprimer l’opposition, par la grande majorité de leur communauté, au projet Rivière Doré, projet d’exploration puis d’exploitation possible de cuivre, sur leur territoire ancestral. Une manifestation de solidarité aura lieu au Carré Dorchester, au coin de Peel et René-Lévesque pendant la réunion des actionnaires de Cartier Resources Inc.

« Le gouvernement Charest planifie des amendements à la Loi sur les mines qui ne changeront en rien la violation des droits humains de base au cœur de cette loi : le fait qu’aucune communauté, incluant les Premières Nations, n’ait le droit de donner leur libre consentement préalable et éclairé à un projet» dit Norman Matchewan, a porte-parole de la communauté du Lac Barrière.

Le droit du libre consentement préalable et éclairé à tout projet de développement est au cœur de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, qui a été avalisée par le gouvernement du Canada.

En mars, les membres de la communauté du Lac Barrière se sont rendus compte que des activités d’exploration de cuivre avaient lieu sur leur territoire ancestral, au sud-est de Val D’Or. Cette terre n’a jamais été cédée par les Algonquins du Lac Barrière, qui possèdent le titre aborigène, protégé par la Constitution, du site minier potentiel.

Cette terre fait aussi l’objet d’une entente tripartite signée par la communauté et les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada en 1991. Cette Entente trilatérale – un plan de développement durable couvrant les 10 000 km carrés du territoire ancestral du Lac Barrière – a été louangée par les Nations Unies. Toutefois, tant les gouvernements canadien que québécois ont refusé de la mettre en application.

Le conseil des Aînés du Lac Barrières ont écrit une lettre au Ministre des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune du Québec le 2 mai déclarant que la communauté n’autoriserait aucune exploitation de ressources telle qu’un projet minier sur leur territoire ancestral tant et aussi longtemps que l’Entente trilatérale ne sera pas mise en application.

« L’affirmation de Charest, selon laquelle les amendements à la Loi sur les minutes suivent les ‘principes du développement durable’ est complètement fausse, » dit Matchewan. « Si le gouvernement du Québec était préoccupé par le développement durable, il ne permettrait pas à une compagnie minière d’explorer et d’ouvrir une mine contre la volonté d’une communauté, de se livrer à des activités qui auront un impact négatif sur la terre, l’eau, les animaux et les plantes dont nous dépendons. Nous ne permettrons pas la construction de cette mine. »

Les activités d’exploration minière sont présentement suspendues : les membres de la communauté ont demandé aux employés de quitter le site minier potentiel. Ceux-ci ont respecté la volonté de la communauté.

La manifestation de solidarité se rendra aussi en bas des bureaux de Windermere Capital et de la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, deux investisseurs importants de Cartier Resources Inc, afin d’encourager le désinvestissement du projet minier.

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Contact pour les médias:

Norm Matchewan, porte-parole de la communauté: 514-578-7109

www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

Vigil for the 500+ missing & murdered Aboriginal women

Help raise awareness about the violence and injustice suffered by Aboriginal women in Canada!

When: Friday, March 18th, 2pm
Where: Parliament Hill

* Click the images to download the posters

The McGill University Human Rights Working Group invites you take part in a vigil at Parliament Hill taking place Friday, March 18th at 2pm. The vigil will be the culmination of a two-week campaign in which McGill students, faculty and friends will strive to collect over 500 pairs of women’s shoes to be displayed on the steps of Parliament as a symbolic representation of the missing and murdered women. The shoes will be donated to women’s shelters in Ottawa and Montreal following the event.

Speakers at the vigil will include Kristen Gilchrist, Bridget Tolley and Lindsay Mossman. Those with personal stories or insight about the Stolen Sisters are welcome to come forward and share as well.

This event is part of a 13-day program honouring aboriginal women. The McGill Human Rights Working Group, in conjunction with McGill’s Aboriginal Law Students Association, the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Missing Justice and the Aboriginal Health Group will be hosting a variety of events, beginning March 8th – International Women’s Day.

For more information about any of the events, including shoe donations and group transportation to Ottawa, please contact tiffany.boisvert@mail.mcgill.ca.

 

Feb 14 – Day of Justice: Rally for Sisters in Spirit

Monday February 14, noon-1:30pm
Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Algonquin Territory
(Facebook page)

Also events in Vancouver and Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal

Come out and show support for the survival of the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) unprecedented Sisters in Spirit campaign (SIS), which, since it’s inception in 2004, has worked to raise awareness about violence against Native women and girls in Canada–namely, those who have gone missing or been murdered.

SIS not only compiled a data for over 583 cases of missing and murdered Native women in five years time, but also identified key patterns integral to understanding the systemic nature of the violence: media neglect or racial bias, police racism or negligence, victimization of Native women by the Justice system, and governmental apathy and enforcement of cycles of poverty for Native communities, to name a few. In a relatively short period of time, SIS also managed to raise the profile of the issue in the media and in the minds of the population at large, while providing indispensable support to the families of victims and creating a cross-country network.

This October 86 communities organized the 5th annual memorial Sisters in Spirit March and Vigil, including one in Nicaragua.

In spite of this progress, and the ongoing collection of new data (indeed, grassroots groups have put the number of missing and murdered women much closer to 2000), the government has held SIS in funding limbo for the past 8 months, ever since the release of Canada’s 2010 budget back in March, when $10 million was promised to “address the issue of missing and murdered Native women.” It wasn’t until November 2010 that the government finally made the announcement that confirmed the worst fears of many activists, organizers, and even opposition MPs: the money would not go to fund SIS research, but would instead fulfill the government’s new idea of safety for women, and include requirements for enhanced police power: amendments to the Criminal Code to allow police to wiretap without warrants in emergencies and obtain multiple warrants on a single application. This will not only increase the likelihood of criminalization of women, Native communities, and other vulnerable sectors of the population, but will be expected to operate without the backbone of research and data collection. Add to this the historical and ongoing relationship of distrust between many Native communities and police, who are themselves implicated in a number of documented violent altercations with Native women. Gladys Tolley, for instance, was killed by the Surete du Quebec in 2001 and no one was ever brought to justice. Her daughter Bridget Tolley has pushed for an independent investigation for years and was recently refused.

ENOUGH is ENOUGH!! We will not stand for the continued stripping down of First Nations programs essential to the physical safety and mental and emotional health of Native women and Native communities, as we have seen earlier this same year with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and First Nations University.

RALLY FOR JUSTICE on February 14th. SHOW YOUR LOVE!

~~~~

Volunteers needed!

We are looking for volunteers who would like to help out on the Hill, February 14th from noon to 1:30 pm (shorter if windchill warning in effect).

There are a number of tasks available:

– Handing out rally signs
– Handing out memorial armbands
– Being a part of our human billboard (by holding 1 of 19 letters to send a clear message to Stephen Harper)
– Helping to coordinate the human billboard on the steps of the Hill
– Taking photos/video of the event (to be posted online afterwards)

If you are interested in volunteering please email Kristen at familiesofsistersinspirit@gmail.com

In love and resistance!

Update re:Peru situation

NEW!

AND – NEW NOTICE – Protest at Peruvian Embassy, 130 Albert St, on THURSDAY JUNE 18 beginning at 11:30 – see you there!

PLUS – contact Canadian senators and urge them to block Bill C-24, the law to implement Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement:  http://www.canadians.org/action/2009/11-June-09.html

Canadian actions:

OTTAWA: Demonstration and information picket
Thursday June 11 11:30-1:30
In front of Peruvian Embassy
130 Albert between O´Connor and Metcalfe
ipsmo@riseup.nethttps://ipsmo.wordpress.com
Note: Organizations endorsing the four demands on the Peruvian government include: Common Cause Ottawa; Common Frontiers; Council of Canadians; MiningWatch Canada; OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa; Ottawa-Outaouais Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); Rights Action; Students Against Israeli Apartheid -Carleton (SAIA); and Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement -Ottawa.

TORONTO Protest activity
Thursday, June 11, 1pm
Consulate of Peru, Toronto
10 St. Mary’s St. (just south of Bloor St. at Yonge)
More info: Carlos Torchia, Coordinator, Latin American Solidarity Network-Toronto, torontoboliviasolidarity@gmail.com

MONTREAL: Demonstration for Life in Bagua
Friday, June 12
12:00 Noon / à midi
Peruvian Consulate
550 Sherbrooke West,
Metro McGill
Organized by: Action Créative, Société Bolivarienne du Québec, Hands Off Venezuela et Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake

PETITIONS:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/peru_stop_violence/?cl=250248179&v=3461
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Amazon/index.html

FACEBOOK GROUP: Solidarity With Peru
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=89605273186

ARTICLES/WEBSITES:
* Reports by Ben Powless, IPSMO member currently in Peru
http://rabble.ca/taxonomy/term/2686
* In depth analysis of the situation, by Gerardo Rénique:
https://nacla.org/node/5879
* News from AmazonWatch.org – includes action items
http://www.amazonwatch.org/peru-protests.php
MESSAGE FROM BOB LOVELACE:

Another Day in the – Life of Peru and Canada
June 10th

While in the Amazon region of Ecuador a few weeks ago I wrote to a friend, “At least now I can say that I have seen the Garden of Eden”. My worst fear, the gnawing secret I would not have dared to breathe, was that the beautiful courageous people that we met and shared stories with would one day be murdered for their land and the hidden metals of which they had no need of themselves. Just over the hills was Peru. As I looked south I had wondered who lived there. Now I know.

In the last six days we have learned who lives there. Mostly they are indigenous people whose genes have flowed through the region as long as the rivers have. They are not poor, because they are at home, because they are among their families and clans, because they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, because the land that has sustained hundreds of generations will continue to care for them. They are frightened now. Six days ago they were worried that their land would be destroyed; now they fear that everything will perish. They are courageous. They do not hide when the helicopters fly over. They watch them come and go. And they will watch them go, watch them go.

Tomorrow will be the seventh day. Tomorrow, Thursday June 11th, our job is to make the world aware of what has happened in Peru. In Ottawa, we will be at the Peruvian Embassy. In Toronto, we will be at the Peruvian Consulate. Where ever you are tomorrow you must make your voice heard. Call your local Canadian Bank and tell them to stop investing in extractive industries, mining, drilling, forestry and agri-business that are overlooking or participating in human rights abuses. Call your local MP and MPP and tell them that you are tired of them selling your soul for an economy that places so little value on human life. Call your neighbour and ask them to join you in denouncing the media for keeping you ignorant of the truth that Canada is complicit, as a free trade partner, in the murder of people this week in Peru.

You see, we can do something. We may not be on the frontline but we can make a difference. We can save lives by making our names, faces and attitudes known. If you have a camera, take pictures at a demonstration, of yourself and friends holding signs, of sidewalk chalk messages that you write on Bay Street, use your imagination and then post those pictures on the web where people in Peru can see them. Tell them with pictures that they are not alone. And then send those pictures to the politicians and to the mining companies and to the Banks, to the US Embassy, the Peruvian Embassy, so that they will know that our brothers and sisters in Peru are not alone. You are not alone.

We can also share our wealth or a portion of our poverty with indigenous people in Peru. They can use it right now.

I have spoken with Grahame Russell of Rights Action (Canada). Rights Action is an NGO that works primarily in Central America with communities opposing mining and resource extraction. Grahame has agreed that 100% of the donations that are made to Rights Action in the name of “current conflict in Peru” will go directly to indigenous peoples’ organizations in the affected area. I will work with my contacts in Ecuador and Peru to direct the money where it will do the most good. Please encourage people on your e-lists to give something to support healing for people in Peru. And please give something yourself.

TO MAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS for indigenous organizations in Peru resisting the harms of large-scale “development” projects (mining, tourism, hydro-electric dams) and promoting their own development, human rights and environment projects, make check payable to “Rights Action” and mail to:

* CANADA: 552 – 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
* UNITED STATES: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

NB – Write “Peru–Indigenous Rights” on the cheque’s memo line, or in the appropriate field of the on-line credit card donations. This will ensure that every dollar you donate will go directly to the people it is intended to help.

Questions? Contact Grahame Russell, director, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-751-4285

The Ben Powless Interview on CBC, “The Current” has been switched to Friday morning. Get in and listen because Ben is now at Pagua, Peru conducting interviews and helping search for evidence.

Support those demonstrations tomorrow. I will see you there!

Please forward this email to all of your e-lists. Since mainstream media is playing this down or not even present we need to be the news.

Migwetch,
In peace and Friendship,

Robert Lovelace