A People’s History of the War of 1812

Picture of the War of 1812

Fundraiser evening with JOHN BELL
 
Toronto Centre fundraising dinner and talk, suggested donation $7-15
Sunday, November 4 – 5:30pm Dinner & Talk
United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street

Stephen Harper has devoted at least $28 million to glorifying the War of 1812, as part of his ongoing campaign to “rebrand” Canada as a “warrior nation”. There is a lot to remember and celebrate from this history, but it sure isn’t what Harper wants us to know about: corruption, incompetence and greed among the rulers on both sides of the border; and a powerful urge to resist war by working people in the Canadas and in the battleground states.

Come hear Socialist Worker columnist John Bell on A People’s History of the War of 1812. It’s not your Tory’s history.
Please forward widely

Oil executive son’s testimony at Prince Rupert Northern Gateway pipeline joint review panel

 

Carrie Saxifrage

Posted: Feb 20th, 2012

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/earthmatters/2012/02/20/oil-executive-sons-testimony-prince-rupert-northern-gateway-pipeline

The most moving moment of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel hearings in Prince Rupert which wrapped up Saturday were spoken by Lee Brian, the 26-year-old son of an oil executive.

Here is an excerpt of his speech:

My oral evidence today comes in the form of a story, an experience I had three years ago which directly reflects the impacts this project will have on me, and my community.

The story begins after a lifetime of debating with my father -he thought it was high time for me to finally experience first-hand the magnitude and power of the oil industry.

So in the summer of 2009, I had the opportunity to spend one full month on one of the world’s largest oil refineries, producing 800,000 barrels of oil per day. At the time, it was under an expansion project to produce up to an astonishing 1.2 million barrels per day and for confidentiality reasons, the company and details of the project will remain unnamed.

The catch was that this refinery was in a very rural area in a northern province of India – right on the coast of the Arabian Sea, and bordering Pakistan.

So here I am, 23 years old traveling to India, and needless to say, tensions were high upon arrival. Coming through the airport, between the H1N1 virus outbreak and the one year anniversary of the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks of 2008, the military presence was simply overwhelming.

I landed in Mumbai, or Bombay to the locals, and spent a day travelling to the northern province of Gujarat, Ghandi’s home province. Situated outside the small village of Jamnagar, I stayed in a secured complex surrounded by high walls, meant for expatriates – in literally the middle of nowhere. The land in the region was primarily used for agricultural production, but due to the strategic location on the Arabian Sea, naturally there was large military and industrial presence in the area as well.

Each day I would wake up at 6 a.m., and travel roughly an hour to the refinery. Guarded with AK47s, I remember the first day of my arrival I had the whole place in a stir, wondering why I was there. And to tell you the truth, I was thinking the exact same thing. It’s not easy being in a foreign country, being the only young Caucasian male in sight, amongst 50,000 workers constantly staring at me. But my fears quickly subsided as I spent more time there each day, and learned about the gracious, kind and humbled culture of the East – regardless of the portrayals the media would have you believe.

I spent each day with 2-3 different managers from each department, and was able to learn a large portion of each faculty of discipline during my time there. I was very fortunate to have received such an in-depth, bird’s eye view of the entire project — and not even the most qualified engineering intern would have had this opportunity. The experience itself changed who I am, fundamentally, forever.

I learned about the entire EPCM – that is, the production process from engineering, procurement, construction, and management – I spent many hours and days with managers from piping, documentation control, distributed control systems, civil, biological, chemical and environmental engineering instrumentation, quality control, marine operations, water management -electrical and on-site power production – from construction management, procurement and materials, product creation and commercial supply, safety and security, and loading and unloading via rail, truck, VLCC (very-large crude carriers) and ULCC (ultra-large crude carriers).

I am not exactly sure if the average person could fully appreciate the sheer magnitude of the operation, and the intricate interrelationship dynamics between workers, departments, managers and corporate headquarters. It is nothing Discovery Channel would ever be able to portray.

The experience made me question many of the fundamental assumptions I had been making regarding the industry itself. I was realizing just how tricky of a situation we are in globally. My naïveness of the reality and immensity of this substance was not fully actualized until I had this experience. I can say right now, that I fully respect the power of oil.

One such day on the refinery stood out in particular. It was a hot, sunny and humid day, after monsoon rainfall my entire time there – I think it was most likely the Prince Rupert weather following me overseas – and on that day a hand full of managers thought it would be fun to take me out to the Jetty, where they loaded and unloaded the super tankers. Situated a lengthy route away from the refinery itself, we drove down to towards the coastline.

On our way there, we drove past many different villages. Each one looking extremely impoverished. I learned later that this was not always the case. There was a time in this region where fishing, farming and the local economy truly flourished. But once the refinery project was approved, among other projects in the region, they built a pipeline directly through nine different villages. Over a period of time, there was pipeline breakage which contaminated an underground aquifer, and spoiled the wells and water supply of the majority of the surrounding villages. As industry expanded, and land bought and sold, men were forced into cheap labour at the refineries, after lifetimes of sustainable farming and fishing – now dependent on one or two companies for employment. Women, children and elders went starving after losing access to fresh water, with no accountability for cleanup – just left to fend for themselves. I ask, what would be the case here in our region? Do you see any potential similarities?

Converging onto a thin strip of man-made road spanning about two miles in length, we arrived at the Jetty, greeted by military personnel. After a lengthy process of clearing me for entry, we walked onto couple massive docking stations. To my right, men were conducting repairs on a rather standard sized vessel, no larger than the ones you would see here in our Harbour. In the distance, an ULCC fresh from the Middle East was rolling in from the horizon. The size of the vessel stopped me in my tracks. After 10 minutes, the ship stopped and made a slow bank horizontally out at sea.

I asked one of the managers — Jitesh was his name — why the ship stopped so far out. He told me that because of the size of the ship, they had a floating unloading station, and through another piping system they unload and load way out there, and that connects to the main routing station at the Jetty, to be piped a few miles back to the refinery.

I asked him why, and he said ‘even though we have docking stations here, it is for the smaller vessels that are used for domestic purposes. But these larger vessels that come from the Middle East can run aground easily.’

This, in open seas, I thought.

So we all stood there, suspended in what felt like an eternal moment -the heat waves rising above the calmed Arabian Sea, and the ship danced in the horizon as I stood dumbfounded by its sheer mass. One man comments: “I always forget just how large those vessels are.”

A few moments pass as we all stood, just watching.

Out of the silence, Jitesh says to me “Do you see what we are doing here Mr. Lee?”

I asked “What’s that, Jitesh?”

He replied, with an unexpected, sobering tone: “We are destroying future generations for now, and forever.”

And in this kind of slow motion life moment, I felt this kind of tingling feeling on the top of my head– and with sweat dripping down from the inside of my hard hat onto my face, the sun beaming into my eyes – I squint over at six men slowing nodding their heads in silent agreement.

It was such a profound statement, and in that moment, there was silence.

On the way back, I had a lengthy discussion with Jitesh about the ‘whys’ of it all – about life, the human condition, and the challenges we face in the 21st century. Although I will not cover that conversation due to procedural constraints, I will say that I learned some extremely valuable lessons that day.

I learned that it is not because every man and woman who participate in industry are all evil, bad people – being in India, on this refinery, there was this certain kind of ‘rush’ I felt. I felt a kind of new power within myself –being in a productive, hard working, problem solving environment Where there is grit, and dirt, and sweat, and mud and building and pumping and drilling and hammering and huge turbines at massive pressures doing crazy stuff. There is this feeling you get when you’re working with other professionals in a high stake environment — and on some very obscure and messed up level, I can understand how those who work in industry can get excited about growth and yet subsequently, can turn their eyes off towards any adverse impacts they are creating as a result.

Like I said, on a very obscure and messed up level.

And I just have to be fully honest and mention this, the feeling is addictive – you can literally feel it in your veins. And this coming from just one month of experience, with a totally different ideological perspective.

The major thing I witnessed in my time on the refinery that I feel constitutes as evidence was my observations of the relationship dynamics between corporate headquarters and the managers on the refinery. What I witnessed time and time again, was thetechnical experts knowing the damage, risk and adverse effects of the project, versus what corporate would portray to the general public after reading their materials.

There was a clear and present dual world operating simultaneously – completely undeniable if you are on site. So what I saw, first hand, was this dynamic between ‘what is really happening’ and what the corporate headquarters will have people believe is happening. And as we have seen in our planet, this situation is not an isolated event.

Based on my experience, what I learned was that the global system of infinite growth attracts men and woman of a certain… level of understanding, a certain type of person who will be attracted to the ideals of the current economic measurement that coordinates the global psychology of things, and a type of person who externalizes themselves and detaches from connection, and so whole-heartedly believes in their reality, their perception of things, that they project their fears out onto everyone else — and their ego becomes the driver, blindly leading them down a path of self-destruction. And they are people of high intellectual prowess, but unfortunately have yet to develop the deep wisdom that we all possess within us as human beings.

And we call these people CEO, and Prime Minister.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is simply just one of thousands of projects across the globe that are bi-products of a severely flawed global system. Even if this pipeline does not go through, there will be another proposal of the same magnitude appear somewhere else – and this will go on and on, until we either address the fundamental root of the issue – or face the slow decline of our civilization.

We are psychologically stuck. We are good at what we know, but are too scared to try anything else. If we could directly transfer the mobilization power of oil into a new energy economy, into a new economic measurement, into a new level of coordination and cooperation -where the true cost of development is clearly laid out -we may have a chance.

Because you simply cannot infinitely grow, within a finite system of resources – period.

So I do not sit here today, in anger, or in blame, or in judgement. And on behalf of my generation, I forgive these men and women for their lack of awareness, heart and understanding.

They too were born into an established system, conditioned into a certain way of thinking, and as far as they know, they did and are doing their best. But now, it is time to let go of the 20th Century, and enter into a new global direction towards a path of healing and new design.

In closing, it’s time now for a full scale, mass mobilized transition process off the fossil fuel economy. We need to use all of our resources we have left wisely to create a whole new system of operation that is global in scale. This process needs to have the mobilization power comparable to the proportions of the Manhattan project, and then some. It’s time for us to journey into a new dream, a new way, with new design and new fundamental principles. It’s time for us to end a millennia of pain, suffering, shame and unconsciousness. It’s time to create resilient, sustainable and flourishing communities, that have the adaptive capacity to respond to any challenges they may face in their external environment – and be able to effectively respond specifically to the coming age of peak oil, climate change and rampant global economic instability.

It’s time for us to dismantle the institutions that are beginning to imprison us. It’s time for us to un-learn, to remove the power structures, and to decentralize the grid so that individual communities can produce their own food, energy and own internal means of production for hundreds to thousands of years to come.

And ultimately, it’s time for us to become the true masters we are meant to become – true, planetary mastery — in balance with the emotional, cultural, spiritual and psychological wellbeing of every inhabitant. It’s time for us to embrace the new consciousness that is emerging at this time, where by busting open the hearts and minds of our people, we will propel ourselves forward into a new golden age of humanity that is imminently upon us.

We are those people.

So, if on one hand, you had an unpredictable path, that leads into a new dream, a new way of life for all of mankind and on the other hand, you had a predictable path that leads to the slow, inevitable decline of a civilization.

Which path would you choose?

*If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this message, please retain this credit.
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UBCIC’s Protecting Knowledge Conference site: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/Resources/conferences/PK.htm

Follow UBCIC on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UBCIC

 

Remembering Violence Against Women

Twenty-two years ago today, a gunman entered a university in Montreal and killed 14 women – simply because they were women.
During this same 20 years, over 700 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered across Canada.


 In Canada there are approximately 1,900,000 women aged 15 and over who have
disabilities. It is estimated that approximately 40% of these women with disabilities will
be assaulted, sexually assaulted or abused throughout their lifetime.
 Depending on whether they reside within an institutional or community setting, women
with disabilities are 1.5 to 10 times more likely to be victimized than women who are not
disabled.

Approximately 83% of women with disabilities will be sexually abused in their lifetime.
 The rate of sexual abuse of girls with disabilities is four times greater than the national
average.  Approximately 40% to 70% of girls with intellectual disabilities will be sexually victimized before the age of 18.
 It is estimated that only 20% of cases of sexual abuse perpetrated against women with
disabilities are ever reported to the police, community service agencies, or other
authorities.

 Women with disabilities most frequently experience victimization from an intimate
partner or spouse, family member or caregiver.

 Women with disabilities are often more vulnerable to abuse than women without
disabilities for the following reasons: 

  •  Dependence upon a caregiver;
  •  Lack of access to support services;
  •  Due to mobility, cognitive or communication impairments unable flee or call for aid;
  •  Low self-esteem stemming from societal myth and social attitudes.

But let us also remember there is hope…

For more information Please check out the Disabled Woman’s Network Ontario and the White Ribbon Campaign

Fight Back against #MegaQuarry Open Mine Pit near #Orangeville

Image of potential Mega-quarry

First Nations are fighting back in solidarity with farmers and ranchers in the Orangeville area to stop the Mega Quarry Open Mine Pit. This quarry is privately backed by a U.S. hedge fund, and will decimate the crops, water supply, and wildlife.

For a better picture of the extent of this mine, imagine digging a hole deeper than Niagara Falls, and twice as wide; then pumping enough water out of that hole to fill two thousand tanker trucks each day. This will be one of the largest open pit mines in Canada, and the company is suggesting that it will benefit the environment. The truth is, under Ontario law, an environmental assessment is not required for a mega-quarry.

Please join the fight back against this open pit mine. Protestors will meet on July 21st at 12pm at the Ministry of the Environment, 77 Wellesley Street, Toronto.

If you are unable to attend, you can also sign the online petition.

National First Nations Women’s Speakers Tour on Tar Sands in #Toronto

Wednesday, October 27, 7pm – 9pm
Sidney Smith Hall, room 2118
100 St. George Street
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Featured Speakers:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 10 years. She has worked with organizations like Redwire Native Media Society, Indigenous Media Arts Society and has also produced short documentaries, researched, and worked on topics ranging from the tar sands, inherent treaty rights, water issues to cultural appropriation. She has studied and worked in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Turtle Island focusing on Indigenous rights and culture, resource extraction, ICTs and international diplomacy. Before joining Greenpeace as a tar sands climate & energy campaigner in Alberta, Melina was pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.

Jasmine Thomas is a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz, which is a part of the Carrier Nation. She has inherited the ancient practice of traditional medicines from her late great-grandmother, Sophie Thomas. She is completing her Environmental Planning degree at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also participated in the Bolivia Climate Convergence that took place in Cochabamba to speak on issues related to the destructive tar sand developments and the Enbridge Pipeline Project that proposes to cross her traditional territories. Jasmine believes that the most power lies at the grassroots level and advocates on behalf of the Defenders of the Land and fully supports the efforts on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.


The Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.

The tar sands development has completely outstripped the ability of the corporations and provincial and federal governments to provide environmental management and protection. In the perspective of many concerned First Nations and citizens of northern Alberta, the government has given the responsibility of environmental monitoring and enforcement to the corporations.

This fall the government of Alberta and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is responding to a sophisticated assault on its tar sands industry internationally and domestically with the “truth” campaign. As part of this campaign the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is sponsoring invite only discussions across Canada featuring oil sands experts from industry and government agencies to dispel what it views as unfair attacks using biased information against the Tar sands development. The Indigenous Environmental Network is sponsoring First Nations Woman’s Tar Sands Speakers Tour in response to this propaganda. This tour is profiling the voices of First Nations Women from downstream, who’s people and way of life are being impacted by the worlds most destructive development known as Canada’s Tar Sands.

This event sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Environmental Justice Toronto, RAN, OPIRG and Defenders of the Land.

Info: www.ienearth.org/tarsands. html

Clearcut blamed in First Nation flooding

KINGCOME INLET — Clearcut logging and a receding glacier were pinpointed Tuesday as probable contributors to a devastating flood which swept through the remote First Nations community of Kingcome Inlet last month.

Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan and First Nations leaders, who converged on the village to take a first hand look at the damage, said a helicopter trip up the Kingcome River Valley was startling.

“Right at the glacier is an obvious unravelling of the slopes,” said Duncan, who announced financial help adding up to $770,000 and said a key part of the recovery plan will be a full hydrological assessment of the valley.

“I was expecting to see a significant event. What I wasn’t expecting was to follow mud all the way to the headwaters and major, significant issues at the head of the glacier,” said Duncan, adding that there will be no quick fix.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said the situation up the valley means the community will remain vulnerable.

“It has been severely impacted by decades of clearcut logging and, at the head of the glacier, I saw a torrent of mud and debris,” he said.

Increased monitoring will be necessary once residents return to the village and one of the priorities will be ensuring the helicopter pad is usable at all times, Duncan said.

Helicopters provided the only way out for about 120 residents when water quickly rose up to four metres in parts of the village.

Wayne Goodridge, a pilot for West Coast Helicopters, the first to fly in amid the flooding, said water was rising so fast it was uncertain whether the helipad behind the school would remain usable.

“It was up to almost the top of the helipad — almost 15 feet. If it had gone on any longer we would have been plucking them off the rooftops,” he said.

Apart from a handful of members of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation who stayed when the water rose, most are now evacuated to Alert Bay, where residents are staying with friends and relatives.

In Kingcome Inlet, porches and steps have been knocked off homes, which are built on stilts to withstand regular, smaller floods. Mud fills crawl spaces and propane tanks lie at drunken angles.

Even though many electric meters were underwater, power has stayed on and Tuesday, as assessors and electrician pored over wiring and looked at other safety issues, Duncan said repair work could start on many of the homes. “The sooner we can get people back in the community the better we will be.

Band council chairman Joe Willie said that although people are anxious to get home, he is not yet sure it is safe.

Willie said he is pleased with support being offered by the federal government, but the immediate offer of $100,000 for assessments and social services help and $20,000 per house is not likely to go far. “We are an isolated place and it costs a lot of money just to get materials in,” he said. “Only one barge has agreed to come up the river. The rest wouldn’t risk coming up the river.”

Although the river level has dropped, debris has collected in different areas, creating hazards for boats. The small boats travelling the muddy river take passengers to an open area of Broughton Archipelago to get on a larger vessel.

The federal government is investigating building a road into the area and about $900,000 has been spent on engineering costs, Duncan said.

Others would like to see logging companies, which have taken so much out of the area, help pay for some of the flood costs. Dave Darwin, who looks after Kingcome Inlet’s power, said the valley bottom was first stripped of all its old growth trees and then logging companies clearcut beside the main river and the tributaries. The river can no longer meander as it used to, he said.

“Maybe we can get some environmental group to finance a lawsuit,” he said.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Musgamagw-Tswataineuk Tribal Council chairman, said the provincial government has some responsibility because it oversees forestry. “The provincial government has enjoyed unlimited revenue from this place with no return to the First Nation that holds title. I think that would be an interesting conversation,” he said.

However, the immediate concern has to be those driven from their homes, Chamberlin said. “It has been 17 days now and every day we wait it’s going to get worse,” he said. “There are 30 children displaced from their homes and their community and we need to make proper plans.”

jlavoie@timescolonist.com
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Clearcuts+blamed+First+Nation+flooding+story+photos/3661250/story.html#ixzz12FpjDp4A

Tell #RBC Shareholders: Stop bankrolling #tar sands!

On March 3rd, the Royal Bank of Canada will hold its annual general meeting of shareholders’ at the Toronto Metro Convention Center. It’s the one time every year that the bank’s top executives, board and other decision makers gather in the same place to hear from shareholders. This year, we want them to hear from you!

Since 2007 RBC has backed more than $16.9 billion (USD) in loans to companies operating in the tar sands—more than any other bank. Expansion of the tar sands is trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples, destroying globally significant ecosystems and significantly increasing Canada’s carbon emissions.
Representatives from several First Nations impacted by tar sands expansion will attend the meeting to demand that RBC recognize the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for Indigenous communities and suspend its financial support for tar sands expansion.
Join us for a morning of creative, non-violent direct action culminating in a rally outside the Metro Center at 1 pm to show solidarity with First Nations representatives.

When: morning actions, rally @ 2pm, March 3, 2010
Where: Metro Center, Toronto