Canada's Not Perfect / Abuse



London film festival digs up stories about Canadian mining overseas

November 15, 2013

This weekend, a film festival will be digging up the dark history of Canadian mining companies. The Extracting the Earth film festival will be running from Friday to Sunday this weekend and will feature the screenings of several films documenting the impact of Canadian extractive industry on an international level.
“The groups that are involved really want to bring together people from the community who are concerned about these issues and maybe haven’t seen the full range of effects,” says Western professor David Heap, spokesperson for the film festival. “A lot of people are talking about fracking these days because of what is going on in New Brunswick. But they might not realize that some of the same countries are involved in extraction elsewhere.”
In 2012, Heap was asked by the Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association (LACSA) to go to Guatemala to participate in an international health tribunal investigating the health and social impacts of mining in the communities. He has been engaged in campaigning for environmental rights ever since.
Extracting the Earth will bring the issues Heap sees impacting communities in Latin America and around the world to London and will feature the premiere of the film Gold Fever, which focuses on gold mining in Central America and Guatemala, followed by a panel with Graeme Russell, a contributor and producer for the film.
Russell is involved with Rights Actions, active for 20 years, the group has been involved with the mining community since 2004 and contacted Russell to take the film crew to Guatemala, as well as be interviewed for the movie.




Romanians unite to say no to mining!

Sunday marked the sixth global day of protest against the development of large-scale mining in the Transylvanian mountains of Romania. Scores of people turned out for a lively protest in London directly opposite the parliament buildings at Westminster.
London protese against Romanian mining
London anti-mining protest. Photo by Jen Wilton
In the heart of the Apuseni mountains in Transylvania, north-western Romania, a Canadian mining company has ambitious plans to develop Rosia Montana, Europe’s largest gold deposit. Yukon-based Gabriel Resources owns an 80 percent share in Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, the company who hope to develop the site into Romania’s ‘first modern mine.’
In early September, draft legislation that would declare the Rosia Montana mine “a special national interest” passed to the Romanian parliament for debate. If passed into law, the bill would significantly accelerate development of the mining project 
Tens of thousands of Romanians subsequently took to the streets in protest, in what has been called the largest youth-led protest movement since the 1989 revolution. In response to such widespread dissent, Romania’s president and prime minister have both conceded that the project will likely not be approved.
A special committee is now examining the draft law, a process that will last until at least November.  Those who oppose the mine are staging ongoing protests that will continue until the project is officially laid to rest.
Global solidarity
Solidarity actions around the Rosia Montana mining issue have been taking place across the globe. This past Sunday, people gathered in front of parliament buildings at Westminster in London to highlight their strong opposition to the mine and to call for an EU ban on cyanide.
London protese against Romanian mining
Lighting of candles at the London protest on Sunday. Photo by Jen Wilton
Passersby were greeted with chants of ‘Our voices say worldwide, we do not want cyanide’ and ‘We support Rosia Montana.’ Passing cars were encouraged to ‘honk if you hate cyanide.’
As dusk fell, dozens of candles were lit before the group staged a mass drinking of ‘cyanide’ before falling to the ground en masse. A few minutes later everyone arose from their death-like poses, declaring, “United we save Rosia Montana!”
Small crosses were erected that included the details of cyanide mining accidents across the globe, including:
  • 1996 – a cyanide tailings flood at a copper, gold and silver mine leaked 3-4 million tonnes of tailings into nearby waterways in the Philippines
  • 2000 – a tailings dam burst and spilled 100,00 cubic metres of cyanide-contaminated water over farmland and into a nearby river in Baia Mare, RomaniaLondon protese against Romanian mining
  • 2002 – 24,000 gallons of cyanide solution were spilled at the Twin Creeks mine in Nevada, USA
  • 2011 – cyanide spill at a gold-processing plant pollutes a local waterway, forcing school closures and emergency water deliveries in Kazakhstan
The 2000 cyanide leak in Romania has been described as the worst environmental disaster since the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986. Clearly, Romanians have not yet forgotten the devastating consequences that mining can wreak on the environment.
One sign at the protest in London served as a potent reminder:
Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,Only after the last fish has been caught, 
Only then will we find that money cannot be eaten 

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October 1, 2013

Northerners to oppose relicensing Cameco’s uranium operations

LA RONGE, Sask. —Northern Saskatchewan residents will formally express their opposition to license renewals for uranium mining and milling projects at Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearings in La Ronge this week.

“The world is waking up to the fact that this is a failed industry, environmentally and economically,” says Debbie Mihalicz, a Beauval resident and co-founder of the Committee for Future Generations. “Every day that one of Cameco’s uranium mines is in operation, an even greater volume of extremely hazardous nuclear waste is created that will remain radioactive for a million years. It’s time to put a stop to the destruction of the lands and waters we call home.”

The Committee for Future Generations and individual members of English River First Nation and Lac La Ronge Indian Band are among a host of intervenors scheduled to present oral submissions to the federal regulator regarding the relicensing of Cameco’s Key Lake, McArthur River and Rabbit Lake operations.

“It’s worth noting that the agenda also includes English River First Nation, Des Nedhe Development, Pinehouse Business North and Kineepik, an alleged Métis local whose validity has been contested in a Statement of Claim filed in court. But they are all tied to the recent collaboration agreements Cameco and Areva made with English River First Nation and Pinehouse, mandating support for existing operations,” says Candyce Paul, an English River First Nation band member.

“Formal opposition to a license at these hearings would breach the agreements, jeopardizing contracts, jobs and funds. Our communities are being railroaded into becoming cheerleaders for industry,” says Paul.

“The effect of uranium mines on Indigenous rights is undeniable,” says Kirstin Scansen, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and graduate student of the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Governance program. “Cameco’s operations – and the licensing and relicensing processes themselves – are taking place within a larger context of Canadian settler-colonialism, exploitative resource extraction, and dispossession of Indigenous territory.”

Scansen, Paul, Mihalicz and Committee for Future Generations members from English River First Nation and the northern village of Pinehouse will also be present at a press conference on October 2 at 7pm at the Anglican Parish Hall, where the Sierra Club will present its findings of massive excess emissions from Cameco mining operations.

(English) Candyce Paul, 306-288-3157; Kirstin Scansen, 604-839-1302; Debbie Mihalicz, 306-288-7933
(Cree) Dale Smith, 306-884-7718
(Dene) Marius Paul, 306-288-3157

Published on Sep 26, 2013 Members of the Committee for Future Generations in northern Saskatchewan, Canada voice their opposition to Cameco's application to relicense and expand three uranium mines.

Mapping the Matoush project MatoushProjectMapAn American geographer says the topography around Strateco’s uranium exploration proposal poses unacceptable threats to the region’s watershed By Jesse Staniforth , The Nation, March 8, 2013 Background by Gordon Edwards: After three years of learning about uranium mining and deliberating on the issue, the Cree Nations of Eeyou-Istchee (Northern Quebec) have declared a moratorium on all uranium exploration or mining in their region. Nevertheless, Strateco Corporation has launched a lawsuit in an attempt to pressure the Quebec Government to over-ride the Cree moratorium and allow the Matoush project to go ahead. Read more...

On the Yellowcake Trail yellowcakeby Anna Tilman This series of articles, “The Yellowcake Trail,” tracks all aspects of uranium in Canada from the mining and milling, to processing and use, throughout its eighty-year history. The series begins with the history of uranium in Canada, from its initial discovery to the rapid development of mines that placed Canada as the prominent world leader in uranium production. Each mine has a story and each story has a common thread and legacy.

View/Download PDF HUES3 Core Committe: New Facebook page and media censorship Hues3Hi everyone, Thanks to the kind efforts of the webmaster for Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, which hosts the HUES3 Campaign web page, we have a Facebook page for the media release distributed earlier this week: Saskatchewan public opinion survey tells CCNI Nuclear Centre, “No nukes in the tar sands!” Read more...

Ontario’s new mining rules eliminate most exploration on private land NoUraniumBy Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, OTTAWA — Big changes to Ontario’s Mining Act will prevent companies from looking for uranium and other resources on private land, and require consultation elsewhere from First Nations. That makes Marilyn Crawford happy, mostly Read more...

More than 120 people turn out in Iqaluit to talk about uranium (CBC News, 2011, en)
CBC News
March 18, 2011
“I Susan Enuaraq, Palluq Enuaraq, who will vote in Iqaluit East, do
not want uranium mining.”
More than 120 people turned out last night in Iqaluit to talk about
uranium. It was the first of three public forums organized by the
Nunavut government as it tries to develop its policy on uranium
mining. Eight panelists gave presentations and then took questions
from the audience. Most Nunavummiut who came up to the microphone made
it clear they want nothing to do with uranium.
Iqaluit family doctor Madeleine Cole says there are health concerns.
“For me there’s about four industries that we should never go into.
And they are asbestos, uranium, the tobacco industry, and building of
The land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik also came under fire
last night. Several Inuit beneficiaries at the meeting berated NTI for
supporting uranium mining and having shares in a company that mines
the heavy metal. The group’s President, Cathy Towtongie, said recently
that there will be a review of NTI’s position.

Legal Action Challenges Uranium Industry Agreement (Media Co-op article)
by Sandra Cuffe
PRINCE ALBERT—The Northern Village of Pinehouse and uranium industry giants Cameco and Areva celebrated their December 2012 collaboration agreement, but Pinehouse residents and supporters from throughout Saskatchewan and beyond are taking legal action to have it annulled in court.

Saskatchewan Environment ministry has a 'massive capability and capacity deficit' in the uranium mining sector: consultant's report

A consultant's report released on April 7, 2009, says Saskatchewan environment ministry is falling behind critical work, especially in the uranium mining sector, and should undergo a complete reorganisation.
The report found the ministry does not have the necessary skills and expertise to oversee the uranium industry. "Saskatchewan does not have adequate staff or capability to monitor and regulate the current industry," the report found. It said that only a handful of people have the appropriate expertise and experience to perform the ministry's oversight functions relating to uranium mining and milling. The ministry, the report said, "is in a massive capability and capacity deficit when considering new mining and milling projects, let alone support the value-added activities the province has announced it intends to pursue." The environmental consultant suggested Saskatchewan could contract a private sector expert [!] to support its uranium regulation work. (CBC Apr. 7, 2009)
> Download consultant's report external link (Sask. Environment)

Québec imposes moratorium on uranium development, until impact study is completed

Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet announced Thursday (Mar. 28) that he has ordered an impact study on the exploration and development of uranium in the province. In consequence no certificate of authorization will be issued for the exploration or development of uranium in Québec until the study is completed.
The Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement external link (BAPE) has been given a mandate to conduct the study starting next fall. The BAPE does not have jurisdiction in northern Québec where uranium exploration is underway. The region falls under the jurisdiction of the James Bay Northern Québec Agreement. But an exception in the BAPE law allows it to conduct generic studies, such as this one. (The Montreal Gazette Mar. 28, 2013)
The James Bay Cree Nation welcomes the Government of Québec's decision to impose a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining activities in Eeyou Istchee and in Québec. However, the Cree Nation calls on the Government of Québec to ensure that the Commission concerning the uranium industry in Québec properly respects Cree rights and the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA). (Grand Council of the Crees, Mar. 28, 2013)

The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 20:29
by John Dupuis on May 20, 2013
This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. It is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that fundamentally doesn’t believe in science. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting the environment.
As is occasionally my habit, I have pulled together a chronology of sorts. It is a chronology of all the various cuts, insults, muzzlings and cancellations that I’ve been able to dig up. Each of them represents a single shot in the Canadian Conservative war on science. It should be noted that not every item in this chronology, if taken in isolation, is necessarily the end of the world. It’s the accumulated evidence that is so damning.
Most of the items come from various links I’ve saved over the years as well as various other media articles I’ve dug up over the last week or so. This series at The Huffington Post has been particularly useful as has this article at the Wastershed Sentinal.
A long list of various environmental programs that the Harper government has discontinued or slashed funding to is here. I haven’t found individual media stories about all of them, so they aren’t in the list below. If you can help me find stories about some of those programs, etc, please let me know. As well, some stories are treated multiple times, with perhaps an initial story telling the big picture or introducing a large series of cuts and later stories fleshing out details.
This list is no doubt incomplete. There may also be link errors or duplications.
In particular, if you have updates on any of the stories, including reversals or reprieves, I want to hear those too.
Please feel free to make suggestions and corrections in the comments or to me at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.
Alberta Tar Sands Demonstrate a Legacy of Negligence and Deceit, New Study Says PDF Print E-mail
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Canadians need answers on Cold Lake oil spill PDF Print E-mail
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By Emma Pullman
| July 5, 2013

Nobody understands’ spills at Alberta oil sands operation PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
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