Tag Archives: Canada

9/7/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Rigoberta Menchu and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands

9/7/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Rigoberta Menchu and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands: Nobel Peace Laureates Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchu and Desmund Tutu among nine urging: Halt tar sands by Brenda Norrell: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala and Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa, joined six other Nobel Peace Laureates urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an environmental disaster in the making.

The Nobel Peace Laureates recognized those arrested during the past two weeks of sit-ins at the White House. The 1,252 arrested included members of the Indigenous Environmental Network arrested with author and activist Naomi Klein. First Nations from Canada arrested included actress Tantoo Cardinal, Cree, from Alberta, Canada, where tar sands mining is already destroying the homelands of First Nations.

Debra White Plume, Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way, Lakota grandmother and activist from Oglala land in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was arrested in the Indigenous delegation. After being released from jail, White Plume, along with Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, met with US State Department official Daniel A. Clune, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental and Scientific Affairs. There they urged the State Department to consult at high levels with Native leaders and to consider Section 106 (tribal consultations) in line with free, prior and informed consent as set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mossett has lost two young friends to deaths because of the heavy oil and gas traffic that the boom industry has brought to her homeland of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara in North Dakota. Mossett sent a message to President Obama, to look her in the eyes and listen to her story before approving the tarsands pipeline. During the arrests in front of the White House, Obama did not acknowledge or address the protesters, which included Dene Chief Bill Erasmus from Yellowknife, Canada.

The Nobel Peace Laureates reminded Obama of his own promise for creating a clean energy economy. The Nobel Peace Laureates’ statement comes as another dirty war was waged over the dirty tar sands. In the dirty war of deceptive media, a tarsands campaign was waged on the Oprah Winfrey Network by the so-called “Ethical Oil” campaign which attempts to muddy the truth about the tarsands. This dirty media campaign promotes the tarsands by muddying the water about human rights. A counter-campaign called for a boycott of the Oprah Winfrey Network on Wednesday until the “Ethical Oil” advertisements cease.

The Nobel Peace Laureates point out the immense Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains, in the heartland of the United States, which the proposed tarsands pipeline would cross, if approved. Those lands, between Alberta, Canada and Texas, include Indian country. The highly corrosive tarsands oil is likely to result in a pipeline spill and contaminate the region’s drinking water in the Ogallala aquifer. The danger to this water source brought Nebraska farmers to the White House where they were arrested during the past two weeks.

Dear President Obama,

We—a group of Nobel Peace Laureates—are writing today to ask you to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL, a 1700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.

It is your decision to make.

The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership—and working together—the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge, and make a lasting contribution to the health and well being of everyone of this planet.

In asking you to make this decision, we recognize the more than 1200 Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in facing authority. They represent millions of people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected by construction and operation of the pipeline in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

All along its prospective route, the pipeline endangers farms, wildlife and precious water aquifers—including the Ogallala Aquifer, the US’ main source of freshwater for America’s heartland. We are aware that Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman—as well as two Nebraska Senators—has urged you to reconsider the pathway of the pipeline. In his letter to you he clearly stated his concern about the threat to this crucial water source for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. The aquifer supplies drinking water to two million people in Nebraska and seven other states. We know that another pipeline that covers some of the same route as the proposed pipeline, and built by the same company proposing to build Keystone XL, already leaked 14 times over its first year of operation. Like you, we understand that strip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases. As NASA climatologist James Hansen has said, this is “essentially game over for the climate.”

There is a better way.

Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.

We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions. This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations.

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (1980) – Argentina
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) – South Africa
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate (1989) – Tibet
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate (1996) – East Timor
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran

9/8/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Wikileaks: US feared Indigenous self-rule and land claims with UN Declaration

9/8/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Wikileaks: US feared Indigenous self-rule and land claims with UN Declaration: The United States feared, and fought, passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples By Brenda Norrell Photo by Michelle Cook, Navajo/Cochabamba, Bolivia, Climate Conference 2010 Wikileaks has exposed a US diplomatic cable revealing why the United States feared, and fought, the passage and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The US reveals in this cable that its fears Indigenous Peoples will use the UN Declaration to expand self-government, sovereign rule, and initiate new land claims to ancestral lands. Further, the US is alarmed over the potential for Indigenous Peoples gaining control of renewable and non-renewable resources.

The US is alarmed over the right for Indigenous to be consulted on any law pertaining to them. This is now known as the “right to free, prior and informed consent,” as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The cable is from the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, dated Jan. 28, 2008.

“Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a ‘feel good’ document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources,” states the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia.

“Post will watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues.”

In previous US diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks, prior to its passage, the United States threatened Iceland about its relations with the US, if Iceland supported the UN Declaration. Further, other cables revealed that the US undertook an education campaign in an attempt to dissuade Ecuador from voting in favor of the UN Declaration.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007. The United States, the last country in the world to signal support, gave provisional support in 2010. The US was preceded by Canada, which gave provisional support.

Wikileaks released the following US diplomatic cable on Sept. 1, 2011. The US Ambassador called it “Bolivia: Repercussions of UN DRIP.”

The cable is written by then US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, President Bush’s choice, who arrived from Kosovo with questions rising about his role in ethnic cleansing. Goldberg’s role in Bolivia was short-lived. President Evo Morales expelled Goldberg in September of 2008, eight months after Goldberg wrote this cable.

ABC World News: Spirit Bears: The Next Environmental Superstar

ABC World News: Spirit Bears: The Next Environmental Superstar: REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK By DAVID WRIGHT (@abcdavid): GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST, British Columbia, Canada, Oct. 13, 2010: The Great Bear Rainforest is not an easy place to get to. It’s a wilderness area the size of Switzerland, all but cut off from the rest of civilization. Our ABC News team traveled by float plane. There are no roads here and no landing strips except for the flat stretches of water along the fjords. What brought us to this remote corner of Canada is the spirit bear — “Canada’s panda” — black bears with white fur because of a genetic variation.

With no more than 500 of them on Earth, spirit bears are more rare than pandas.

Click here to see a slide show of spirit bears

The spirit bear is the marquee species for a region that’s also crowded with whales, wolves and eagles.

“It’s a magnificent bear,” said Ian McAllister, director of the nonprofit conservation group Pacific Wild.

Today, the Great Bear Rainforest faces a threat — a massive oil pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia, Canada. The plan would turn the spirit bear’s home into a superhighway for supertankers.

“They want to bring Big Oil to this coast,” McAllister said. “The only thing that’s standing between that is really the spirit bear, the concerted efforts from conservationists and the First Nation [native] people.”

Conservationists Call in the Cavalry: So the naturalists who long fought to protect the rain forest called in the photographic equivalent of the Green Berets — the International League of Conservation Photographers. “It is a SWAT team of photographers that are deployed to an area that needs immediate media attention,” said the organization’s president, Cristina Mittermeier.

“Some of them do large-format landscapes. Others are extraordinary wildlife photography shooters,” she said. “We have an underwater photographer. The idea is to create a snapshot of this area.”

Thomas Peschak, a photographer with Save Our Seas Foundation, spent most of his time in the frigid water eye-to-eye with the fish.

“There’s large sea stars, colonies of Steller sea lions, humpback whales, orcas,” Peschak said. “This place is just bursting at the seams with life. It’s one of the richest systems on this planet.”

Landscape photographer Jack Dykinga waited for hours for just the right light as aerial photographer Daniel Beltra worked from the open door of a helicopter.

Beltra spent the summer over the Gulf of Mexico, documenting the Deepwater Horizon spill in dazzling camera shots that make environmental disaster look like modern art.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen’s assignment was to capture images of the spirit bear.

“You have to have patience and passion,” he said, sitting quietly in the woods. “You have to have both of those. There are very few spirit bears, so if you want to see them you have to put in the 18-hour days for six days at a time just to see a glimpse of this white bear.”

Marven Robinson, our guide, is a bear tracker for the Gitga’at Nation tribe, which is native to the region. The Gitga’at Nation consider the spirit bear sacred.

“We call it ‘moskam al.’ Moskam means white and al means bear,” he said.

Robinson said that until recently, his tribe spoke about the bears only in whispers.

“We weren’t even allowed to talk about it,” he said. “If we were sitting at the dinner table, you know, and someone mentioned that they’d seen one. … They’d tell you, ‘Shh, keep it quiet.'”

Pipeline Through the Rain Forest: The residents of Hartley Bay, Robinson’s hometown of 150, held a potluck dinner for the visiting photographers. Among the delicacies was fresh seal meat and smoked sea lion.

Helen Clifton, a tribal elder, said the elders strongly oppose the pipeline.

“We, the red race, were to be keepers of the land,” she said. “We need all of you to help our spirit bear that we have out there.”

But proponents of the pipeline say there’s no cause for alarm, that the pipeline would skirt the Great Bear Rainforest. The oil would travel through the region only in modern, double-hulled tankers and guided by tugboats. They add that the pipeline would bring jobs to the region.

“We believe the potential for a spill is remote,” said John Carruthers, president of the Northern Gateway pipeline project. “We’ll also put in very thorough plans in the event of a spill, but the public needs to know we can respond very effectively if there is one.”

The Enbridge oil company, unfortunately, has had some practice. An Enbridge pipeline in Michigan burst this summer, spilling 1 million barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River, which flows into the Great Lakes. Last month, one of the company’s pipelines in suburban Chicago started to leak.

It’s little wonder that the fishermen are skeptical and worried that an oil spill could destroy their way of life. “This is my bread and butter,” one said.

The Search for the Spirit Bear Continues: The second day of our hunt for the Spirit bear involved a strenuous hike into an even more remote patch of woods. Robinson, our bear tracker, said the area was off limits to everyone. Only he and his guides were allowed to enter.

The moss was so thick and soft, it could be used as a pillow. The place was so quiet that the only sound, besides the rapids, came from the salmon swimming upstream and the ravens flapping their wings overhead.

There was plenty of evidence that bears recently had been there — fresh salmon killed on the rocks of the river and fresh bear droppings in the woods.

We hid quietly by the side of the river.

“This is where the bears are most likely coming to feed on salmon,” Robinson said. “[With] the carcasses all over, you know, there’s good signs.”

The Search for the Spirit Bear Continues: Almost immediately, a white form emerged from the woods — a lone wolf surprised to see humans. Black bears arrived. We waited and waited until the light faded. Disappointed, we trudged out of the woods. On our last day of shooting, we set off early in hopes of better luck. And suddenly, there he was in an open field at the edge of the woods.

“It really feels like a ghost,” said National Geographic photographer Nicklen. “You feel like you’ve seen a ghost — the way they so seamlessly slip back into the forest and they’re gone again. You have to look at your pictures to realize what you’ve just seen. It’s just amazing.”

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs: Water is a Human Right

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs: Water is a Human Right: Water is considered a basic human right according to many international treaties, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But in CANADA, running water is not available to INDIGENOUS PEOPLE living in Manitoba. The Island Lake area of four reserves has a population of 10,000 and half of its homes DO NOT HAVE RUNNING WATER. The Indigenous people of the Island Lake region have less clean water than people living in refugee camps overseas. This isn’t happening in the third world, it’s happening in one of the WORLD’S RICHEST COUNTRIES.

Indigenous people in Canada live in third world conditions and MOST CANADIANS are NOT even AWARE of it.

If you CARE ABOUT PEOPLE in this country, if you are ASHAMED OF OUR GOVERNMENT and the way it treats Indigenous people, then take a stand.

Why should CANADA’S INDIGENOUS people be treated like THIRD WORLD CITIZENS?

Join us in the “WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT” campaign to make Canada adhere to the same standards the United Nations says are rights FOR ALL.

We have prepaid postcards to the Prime Minister of Canada using the image above. They are available at AMC, 2nd floor, 275 Portage Ave., Winnipeg. You can also sign the online petition on the right or join our facebook group, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
For More Information:
Winnipeg Free Press: No Running Water

Is an investigative series of the lack of running water on First Nations Communities in the Island Lake region of Manitoba, for full story and details please visit: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/no-running-water/
United nation general assembly declares access to clean water and sanitation is a human right:

28 July 2010 – Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared today, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

UN News Centre
Winnipeg Free Press – Poor sanitation, poor health

(story on Jacob Flett, child in postcard campaign photo)



United Nations News Centre

1 October 2010 – The main United Nations body dealing with human rights has affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human rights treaties, and that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realization of this and all other basic human rights.
While the General Assembly declared in July that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, this is the first time that the Human Rights Council has declared itself on the issue….

Right to water and sanitation is legally binding, affirms key UN body
World Health Organization

Assembly of First Nations

Council for Canadians: Acting for Social Justice

Right to Water


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NRDC Stop tar sands mining in Canada’s Boreal forest

“>Stop the Tar Sands Pipeline! We must stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline before it drives more destruction of Canada’s Boreal forest, decimates songbird populations and threatens to poison drinking water in the American heartland.What’s it worth to hear songbirds outside your window next summer? I hope you’ll take that question to heart as you watch this powerful new video about tar sands mining in Canada’s Boreal forest. NRDC Stop tar sands mining in Canada’s Boreal forest. Because once you actually see what the oil industry is doing to our continent’s greatest songbird nursery, I think you’ll want to help NRDC rush to its defense. View the one-minute video and lend your financial support. We urgently need your help to stop the proposed Keystone XL pipeline before it begins transporting a river of the world’s dirtiest oil from the tar sands pits of Alberta, Canada to heavily polluting refineries in Texas.

This terrifying scheme will double the destruction of songbird habitat from America’s tar sands consumption. It will turbo-charge global warming. It will threaten our drinking water with toxic spills. And, adding insult to injury, it will even raise gas prices in the Midwest.

Simply put, the Keystone XL is a fossil fuel nightmare — NOT the clean energy future that President Obama promised America. Yet his State Department is now rushing headlong toward approving it!

I’m sure you share my outrage that this Administration would do the bidding of the oil giants when so much is at stake. But outrage won’t stop the tar sands pipeline. Only action will.