Peoples' Social Forum

Indigenous, environmental issues predominate

Drumming ceremony at 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum. Dennis Gruending photo.

Thousands of Canadians converged upon Ottawa earlier in August for a Peoples’ Social Forum that attracted a diverse group of individuals from the Indigenous, labour …

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The politics of annexation in Ukraine

Canada's left gets it wrong

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine, Wikipedia photo

George Melnyk is a founder and former director of the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary, and he is also a close observer of the events unfolding in Ukraine. In this …

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2014 Peoples’ Social Forum comes to Ottawa

2014 Peoples’ Social Forum, Ottawa

A Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) which has been several years in the planning will occur at the University of Ottawa on August 21-24 and organizers are expecting thousands of people to attend. There will be …

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CRA audits of charities politically driven

Conservatives creating 'advocacy chill'

Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing at least a dozen environmental, poverty reduction and human rights organizations in what is a thinly-disguised attack by the Conservatives against groups that have dared to oppose …

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Canadian churches and World War I

The Kaiser as mad dog

Canadian war graves at Vimy, France

Canada followed Great Britain into war with Germany and its allied powers 100 years ago this week. Tens of thousands of young Canadians, most of British descent, enlisted either voluntarily or due to …

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The war in Gaza: history does matter

Gaza under attack 2014, Wikipedia image

Israel has launched another bloody invasion into Gaza Strip. In response to rocket attacks by the group Hamas, Israel has shelled and bombed targets in tiny coastal region — including homes, hospitals …

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PeaceQuest wants Peace Tower rededicated

Group promotes 'counter narrative' to militarism

Peace Tower in Ottawa. Dennis Gruending photo

One hundred years ago this month Europe stumbled into a catastrophic war after a Bosnian Serb assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne along with his wife in Sarajevo. The great …

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No to fracking in New Brunswick

Citizens launch “peoples” lawsuit

Anti-fracking protest in New Brunswick, 2013

People in New Brunswick have launched two lawsuits in an attempt to stop shale gas development, commonly known as fracking, in their province. One of the actions was launched against the Crown in the persons of the Health Minister and the Attorney General by individuals who belong to the New Brunswick Anti-shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), an organization which represents 22 non-profit and community groups.

The second suit is against the provincial and federal governments and Houston-based Southwestern Energy Resources, a company involved in the exploration for shale gas. Popularly called the “peoples lawsuit” involves a group of 18 individuals, including an organic farmer who once lived and worked in Alberta, a Mi’kmaq woman and her Acadian husband, a sound technician, a Maliseet Grand Council leader, and 59-year-old Lorraine Clair, a Mi’kmaq woman who said she was arrested for protesting against SWN and ordered by the courts not to participate in any further demonstrations. Larry Kowalchuk, a lawyer based in Regina, Saskatchewan, is representing both of the New Brunswick groups.

Fracking is the short hand description for a process in which fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting chemicals and liquids at high pressure. Hydraulic fracking is the only way in which shale gas can be mined. The NBASGA argues in its statement of claim that chemicals used in fracking will permanently contaminate the water supply and fresh water aquifers with carcinogens and cause other environmental damage, including air pollution. The group says fracking poses such an extreme threat to human health and the environment that it violates Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees all Canadians the right to security of their person.

The NBASGA points to a long list of organizations in New Brunswick — including doctors and nurses, local governments, First Nations,  environmental, union and church groups — who are calling for a moratorium on fracking until such a time as there is incontrovertible proof that it can be done safely.

The statement of claim says as well that Nova Scotia, Quebec, Newfoundland, the American states of New York and Vermont, as well as several nations including France, have all imposed a moratorium on the process of unconventional exploration for shale oil and gas.

CBC News also cites a recent report by 14 international experts commissioned by Environment Canada, which concluded that “data about potential environmental impacts [of hydraulic fracking] are neither sufficient nor conclusive.”

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