The Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians took part in actions in Ottawa and Toronto on International Human Rights Day — to highlight the verdict of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Canadian mining in Latin America.

Last May, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow was a member of the tribunal and heard witnesses from Canada and four Latin American countries who testified about corporate and state responsibility in the emblematic cases of the Barrick Gold Pascua Lama mine in Chile-Argentina, the Tahoe Resources Escobal mine in Guatemala, the Goldcorp San Martin mine in Honduras, and the Blackfire Exploration Payback and Excellon Resources La Platosa mines in Mexico.

The tribunal found that the Canadian government was complicit in the abuses of people and the environment in connection with Canadian owned mining operations in the region. Among the abuses was the violation of the human right to water associated with these mines.

In Ottawa, “elves” delivered the verdict and a lump of coal to Export Development Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The message was that these agencies had failed to protect people from the human rights violations and other abuses. Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan joined with the Polaris Institute, MiningWatch Canada and other allies in this action.

Morgan-Welden (on right) holds banner at protest in Toronto

In Toronto, “Santa Claus” and carolers delivered the verdict and stocking full of coal to the corporate offices of Goldcorp, Barrick Gold and Excellon Resources. Saying it was “time for these companies to face the music,” activists dressed in Santa suits and sang mining injustice themed Christmas carols. Council of Canadians organizer Ailish Morgan-Welden participated in the event organized by the Toronto-based Mining Injustice Solidarity Network. A video of the action in Toronto can be seen here.

Similar actions also took place in Montreal and Vancouver.

In November 2012, Barlow and Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena participated in the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal process in Mexico. To read Barlow’s report on that experience, please see Bearing Witness to Community Struggles Against Dams and Mining in Mexico. To read Council of Canadians political team assistant Philippe Charbonneau’s blog about the tribunal in Montreal, please see Tribunal des peuples sur l’industrie minière canadienne à Montréal.

To read the verdict of the tribunal, please click here.

brentprofile11-1 (1)

Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...