Current Activity Updates
CETA - top ten reasons why it’s bad for Canada
Once again, our federal and provincial government and business leaders are negotiating a "free trade" deal behind the backs of canadians. This time, it's called the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA for short. It will change the face of Canada as we know it, and Harper wants to sign it in a hurry - before anyone has a chance to debate it!
Want to know more?
Drop them a note for more information.
Betty Matamoros Toronto - Honduras Solidarity tour
A video report of the Honduran based social activist and representative of the Central American coordination of the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA) visit to Toronto.
Three articles have been produced by ENS (Escuela Nacional Sindical) about the ongoing dispute between the people of Marmato, Caldas, in Colombia, and a mining conglomerate that wants to launch a massive strip mine and demolish the village.
Canadian Civil Society Decries Government Inaction on Climate Change
There comes a time when disdain towards the Canadian government’s lack of morality on the issue of climate change needs to be expressed clearly. We, the undersigned civil society organizations, feel that time now. There is no question that the planet is facing a serious climate change crisis that requires leadership from all national governments including our own. Instead of positive efforts to confront the crisis in an equitable and morally acceptable way, we have witnessed Canadian government inaction and attempts to undermine climate change policy.
- Read the entire statement in English en français
See also: The System Change Not Climate Change Project - a multi-media tool for climate justice organized by the Council of Canadians’ Climate Justice for People and the Planet campaign.
December 5, 2011
Global Investment Rules: Threat to Democracy and the Environment
Around the world, citizens have been mobilizing to defend their environment and economic sovereignty from transnational corporations, but there is another threat lurking in the shadows that can ride roughshod over our rights. This is a video of the Network for Justice in Global Investment
Mining watchdog agency called 'bogus PR job'
"A mining watchdog agency that was supposed to hold Canadian companies accountable for their actions overseas has done little to protect communities abroad, critics say."
Coups, free trade & human rights
The changing face of Canadian foreign policy in Latin America & the Caribbean
Public Forum / Free Admission
Facebook Event Page: http://on.fb.me/sR5OR9
(Click on pic for larger image)
BETTY MATAMOROS: A Honduran based social activist and representative of the Central American coordination of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, specifically as part of their campaign "Foreign Military Bases out of Latin America - We are a Region of Peace." She has been organizing with social movements regionally on trade and militarization issues for decades and has been key in building international solidarity with the non-violent resistance movement in Honduras that emerged following the coup d'état in June of 2009. She is the former international relations coordinator of the Honduras National Resistance Front, FNRP. She has traveled throughout the Americas and Europe speaking about the situation in Honduras since the coup with respect to human rights, political developments, trade, and militarization.
KEVIN EDMONDS: Is a U of T PhD student and freelance journalist who has also traveled to and reported on Haiti – including serving as a volunteer observer in Haiti’s last election with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. He co-authored recently released report on the UN in Haiti called “MINUSTAH: Keeping the peace, or conspiring against it?” Published through the Harvard School of Public Health and is a review of the human rights record on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti from 2010-2011.
VIDEO - The Deadliest Place in the World for a Journalist - Mini-documentary on the Honduran journalists that have watched 15 colleagues assassinated in 19 months ~ by Jesse Freeston
Organized by: Common Frontiers, Toronto Haiti Action Committee and Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Solidarity with the People of Honduras
THURSDAY, November 17 @ 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
OPSEU, 100 Lesmill Road ( Leslie/York Mills )
(Click on pic for larger image)
Free Admission / RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Betty Matamos: informal lunch & learn
Betty is an organizer with social movements on human rights, trade and militarization issues and has been key in building international solidarity with the non-violent resistance movement in Honduras following the coup d’état in June of 2009.
Organized by: OPSEU, Common Frontiers and Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Civil Society Statement Calling on the G-20 to Embed Human Rights in Financial Regulatory and Climate Change Decisions
Common Frontiers has joined civil society organziations from around the world in calling on the G-20 leaders for action. An excerpt is below.
We are writing to the Group of 20 Leaders, in advance of their upcoming Summit in Cannes, to remind them that even in the policies of a most eminently economic nature, their duties to respect, protect and fulfill the economic, social, cultural, civil and political human rights, including the right to development, do not cease, but should take primacy in every commitment they undertake.
In particular, we are demanding action on the following issues on the agenda of the G20:
- Endorsement of worldwide stimuli measures according to human rights principles;
- Reforms to prevent speculative activity in financial markets from undermining the enjoyment of human rights;
- Action to limit the damage to public funding of financial institutions that collapse due to excessive risk-taking;
- Regulations of bank capital requirements consistent with human rights standards;
- Agreement to increase the relative fiscal pressure on the banking sector and to cooperate to increase transparency and mutual accountability in revenue mobilization;
- An agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions which contribute to climate change.
Over 80 European and Canadian organizations demand an end to Canada-EU free-trade talks
Ottawa, October 20, 2011 – Today, as a 9th round of Canada-EU free trade talks comes to an end in Ottawa, over 80 European and Canadian civil society groups demanded that political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic stop negotiating the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and release the offers now.
“Our organizations say NO to this agreement, which has been negotiated for the sole benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of people's rights and of the protection of the environment,” says the declaration.
“Neither the European Union nor Canada has ever informed their populations of what is really at stake in these negotiations,” it continues. “Requests and offers from each party have never been discussed nor revealed to the public. These negotiations are thus clearly a total denial of democracy.”
Today, International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced that Canada and the EU had successfully exchanged offers on services and investment. This follows an exchange of provincial and EU member state procurement and goods offers during the last round in Brussels this past July. Neither set of offers will be made public or subject to debate prior to the signing of a final deal, which the Harper government has said it would like to do early in 2012.
The joint statement released today by Canadian and European civil society concludes that “trade agreements must promote cooperation and recognize common well-being, public interest, and human and environmental rights as more important than short-term private interests which benefit only transnational corporations.” Instead, CETA “would encourage the privatization of the public sector, weaken and prevent social, health and environmental regulations, and protect investors' rights at the expense of democratic rights.
“We therefore ask Canadian federal and provincial representatives, as well as representatives from the European Parliament and from the different national parliaments to refuse to ratify the CETA, and to act in total transparency regarding this agreement which is selling off our social rights, threatening environmental regulations and, more generally speaking, democracy itself.”
To read the statement, entitled “Free-trade agreement between the European Union and Canada: Corporations Must Not Make the Law,” see http://tradejustice.ca.
October 20, 2011
European parliament urged to ignore Canadian lobbying, protect fuel quality directive from Canada-EU trade deal
The Council of Canadians today sent a letter to all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urging them to ignore Canadian pressure when they are asked to vote, as early as December 2, on an important fuel quality policy that rightly lists all tar sands crude as more polluting than conventional oil. The organization warns European decision makers that unless they also carve out the Fuel Quality Directive from the Canada-EU free trade negotiations, they risk legal challenges by Canadian or European oil firms through a proposed investor-state dispute process proposed by Canada.
"The Harper government has made it painfully clear it does not care about protecting the environment, respecting Indigenous rights in the tar sands region or the right of democratically elected governments to decide how they want to transition away from dirty fuel. By opposing the Fuel Quality Directive, Harper is working for the rich oil companies while ignoring the facts in front of us about climate change," says Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate justice campaigner with the Council of Canadians, explaining why the organization wrote to the European parliament today.
The Council along with a number of other Canadian and European civil society organizations have consistently exposed the Canadian government's lobbying against listing tar sands as a high-carbon fuel in the Fuel Quality Directive, which would discourage tar sands crude from entering the European market. Today in the UK, London School of Economics students and activists presented Joe Oliver, Canada's natural resources minister, with the 'Greenwash Propagandist of the Year Award' for his efforts to contort the science, dismiss the human consequences of tar sands extraction and to re-brand the world's most destructive project as secure, reliable and sustainable.
The Council of Canadians has also been opposing the Canada-EU free trade negotiations, partly because a proposed investment chapter in the deal would give oil companies new tools with which to undermine or block climate policies they don't like, in the EU and Canada. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives proposes in a new report on the Fuel Quality Directive that EU decision makers must cave out the policy from the Canada-EU trade deal.
"Harper is threatening to take the EU to the WTO if tar sands are listed as more polluting in the new fuel policy. We say let them. It is more important for the EU to carve out its policy, and preferably all climate measures, from an impending Canada-EU free trade agreement," adds Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians trade campaigner. "If oil companies are given the power to sue the EU like investors can sue governments under NAFTA and other trade agreements, it is almost a guarantee they will do so to challenge environmental, public health or other social policies that threaten their profits in dirty oil."
The Conservatives have the support of governments in France, the Netherlands and the UK in their corporate campaign against the Fuel Quality Directive. Not surprisingly, these countries are home to Total, Shell and BP respectively. These firms have considerable investment in the Alberta tar sands and would benefit from strong investment protections in the Canada-EU trade deal.
-Read the letter to MEPs (PDF)
For More information:
Dylan Penne, media officer, Council of Canadians: 613-795-8685
The alliance between the indigenous peoples and trade unions in Latin America
Discrimination, feudal exploitation, poverty, isolation, forced labour...the indi- genous peoples of Latin America are marginalised and with trade union support denounce the pillage of their ancestral lands.
Reports about the Marlin gold mine in Guatemala and the El Chaco region in Paraguay. Testimony from Brazil. The trade union priority is the implementation of ILO Conventions 169 and 29, particularly in relation to international trade agreements.
For Immediate Release
October 4, 2011
Tar sands value in EU fuel quality policy despite Canadian lobbying is a positive step, says Council of Canadians
MEDIA RELEASE: By Andrea Harden-Donahue
The Council of Canadians commends today’s European Commission decision to assign a higher carbon emission value to crude from the tar sands than other fossil fuels under the EU’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive. The organization will be encouraging EU member states, notably the UK and Netherlands, not to challenge the policy when they must vote on the directive in a few months.
“It appears that the heavy handed lobbying on the part of our government has backfired,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “This decision affirms that Europe is headed in the right direction, unlike the Harper government.”
The Council of Canadians along with a number of other Canadian and European civil society organizations, have consistently exposed the Canadian government’s lobbying against listing tar sands as a high-carbon fuel in the FQD, which would discourage tar sands crude from entering the European market. The organization has also been opposing the Canada-EU free trade negotiations, partly because a proposed investment chapter in the deal would give oil companies new tools with which to undermine or block climate policies they don’t like.
“The Harper government has already made veiled trade-based threats in response to transportation policy that rightfully recognizes the high carbon content of tar sands crude and we know the Canada-European trade negotiations have been a venue for lobbying,” says Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The EU Commission should listen to its parliament and its own sustainability assessment to reject an investor-state process in CETA which could allow corporate challenges to totally legitimate and badly needed climate or public health protection measures.”
A ninth and possibly final round of Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations will take place in Ottawa, October 17 to 21. The Council of Canadians is helping to plan a week of action against the deal with other Trade Justice Network allies.
For More Information:
Andrea Harden-Donahue, Council of Canadians: (613)-218-5800; email@example.com
September 16, 2011
Canadian Embassy urged to take action on murder of Colombian priest
Common Frontiers has added its voice to a large list of organizations that have signed a letter sent to the Canadian Ambassador to Colombia urging it to cooperate fully in the investigation of a parish priest.
Dear Ambassador des Rivieres:
In response to news of the murder of Father Jose Reinel Restrepo, parish priest of the municipality of Marmato in the department of Caldas, Colombia, we would like to express our deep sadness and to raise our concern that Canadian mining companies may well be aggravating or benefiting from violence in this area. We ask that the Canadian Embassy cooperate with investigations to ensure that the facts surrounding Restrepo’s murder are brought to light, and to guarantee that Canadian mining companies operating in Colombia are not causing, aggravating, or benefiting from violence and human rights violations.
For more info, contact:
Jennifer Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, 613-569-3439
“Forward ever, Backward never!”
CF Member Stuart Trew recently represented Common Frontiers at the Movement for Social Justice founding conference in Trinidad and Tobago. Here's an excerpt from his report, with a link to the full report below.
Between May 11 and 15, Common Frontiers-Canada joined progressive political leaders and social movements from across the hemisphere at the founding congress of an exciting new political voice in Trinidad and Tobago – the Movement for Social Justice. The MSJ is a labour and mass movement-based political party which threw its hat into the ring during last year’s national elections, winning one seat and receiving one senatorial appointment inside a coalition government calling itself the People’s Partnership. The founding congress was an opportunity for MSJ to commemorate this victory, approve a constitution and draft policy for the party, and to discuss with international allies the political and economic climate that will determine its movement building activities, nationally and regionally, toward the next elections and beyond.
Download the entire report as a PDF PDF-4.9 MB
April 27, 2011
For Immediate Release
Canada’s Free Trade agenda: Dissing democracy and rewarding despots
(Montreal and Ottawa, April 27, 2011) – Since coming to power the minority government of Stephen Harper has vigorously pursued preferential free trade with despots abroad and spared no quarter for democracy at home, says a broad group of Canadian organizations which are demanding a new foreign policy and trade approach by the next government.
The Harper government is moving stealthily and quickly to complete the biggest trade deal Canada has ever seen with the European Union, which will fundamentally reshape our national and local economies while undermining environmental policy, public services and democratic decision making. Harper has also rewarded foreign investors for suing Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s investor-state provisions while Canadian investors applaud Canada’s trade negotiations with some of this hemisphere’s worst human rights abusers such as Colombia and Honduras.
We, civil society networks and organizations from Canada and Quebec say that’s enough!
March 22, 2011
$130 million NAFTA payout sets troubling precedent
By Scott Sinclair
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Why should a provincial government be punished for doing the right thing?
That's a question the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador - and all Canadians - should be asking themselves in the aftermath of last summer's decision by the Harper government to pay AbitibiBowater $130 million to settle a NAFTA lawsuit.
Recently, the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade held hearings into the NAFTA settlement. Property rights advocates loudly complained that Ottawa shouldn't have to foot the bill for the “irresponsible actions” of the Danny Williams government.
Yet the Newfoundland and Labrador government's actions in this matter were lawful, constitutional and commendable. The same can't be said for the conduct of the federal government.
March 11, 2011
For Immediate Release
First Anniversary Update on Complaint filed with RCMP over Canadian Mining Company’s Apparent Involvement in Mexican Corruption Case
A year ago today a coalition of nine Canadian non-governmental groups* filed a memo with the RCMP asking that Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Ltd. and its Mexican subsidiary be investigated under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. Blackfire had been in the news since November 27, 2009, when Mariano Abarca Roblero, a prominent anti-mining activist, was shot to death in front of his home in Chicomuselo, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. In the year since the complaint was filed there have been further developments related to Blackfire’s open-pit barite mine there.
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