"An 11-minute video that shows the impact of Canadian mining operations on indigenous communities and offers theological reflections on resource extraction is now available. Prepared by Kairos, a Canadian ecumenical justice network, 'Remember the Land' includes the voices of church leaders and activists who share stories of how mining operations have displaced indigenous communities, destroyed ecosystems and traditional ways of life, and violated human rights. The video -- ideal for use in group settings -- includes a four-page study guide. Call Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives at 416-463-5312 or toll-free at 1-877-403-8933". [Text of entire article.]
Canadian church representatives and Native People will bring to New York, on Thursday, their struggle for a public inquiry into the actions of the Canadian subsidiary of a Connecticut-based multinational corporation.
Amax of Canada has proposed to dump 100 million metric tonnes of tailings from its molybdenum mine, into coastal waters of British Columbia over 26 years. The amount of the tailings, and their toxicity, exceed by thousands of times the amount allowed by federal regulations in Canada. Permission to exceed Government standards was granted by a special Order-in-Council of the Federal Cabinet, without discussion on the floor of Parliament, or in any public inquiry. In addition, there was no prior consultation with the Nishga Tribal Council about the ecological or sociological impact of the action. The Nishga are the Native People of the area who depend on the waters for food and their livelihood.
Several prominent environmental scientists have condemned the dumpings, and a political storm has resulted. In the face of this, the Federal Government has refused to rescind its Order, or to call a public inquiry.
In response to this situation the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, its highest governing body, at its meetings in June last year, passed a strong resolution, ordering that "...the Primate, urge the Federal Government to withdraw its special order-in-council; that is, the 'Alice Arm Tailings Deposit Regulations, SOR 79-345,' permitting the Amax Corporation to dump its effluent into Alice Arm, and to declare a moratorium upon development of the resource until technology is developed to safely dispose of the tailings."
This has resulted in public meetings, media coverage, a petition to the Federal Government, meetings between the Nishga, Church officials and Amax management, but no public inquiry.
The Church at various levels has purchased 1,004 shares in Amax, and will appear at the Annual Meeting in New York on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to make intervention on behalf of its concerns and those of the Native People of the area, most of whom are Anglicans (Episcopalians).
The Nishga Tribal Council will hold a Media Conference on:
Two on-land spills of toxic mine tailings in less than a week, surprisingly high support at the Amax annual shareholders' meeting in New York and an interim report from the McInerney Scientific Review Panel which confirms many of the long-range fears of the Nishga Indians, environmental groups and church bodies ... a scenario which developed quickly in the past few days has prompted renewed cries for a public inquiry into the Amax Corporation's mine operation in Kitsault, British Columbia.
Archbishop E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has sent another strong request to the Federal Government to "set up a public inquiry...as quickly as possible. In am convinced," the Archbishop continued, "such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public."
The Primate's telex was sent on Tuesday, May 12th, to the Prime Minister; the Ministers of the Environment; Federal Fisheries and Oceans; and Indian and Northern Affairs.
The full text of the Archbishop's telex is enclosed.
- 30 -
For further information, please contact:
Consultant in National Affairs
Richard J. Berryman
Anglican Church of Canada
600 Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ont. M4Y 2J6
May 12, 1981
In the light of the Amax shareholders' action last week in New York whereby 1.5 million shares were voted in favour of our resolution calling for a moratorium and full public inquiry into the Kitsault marine disposal of tailings and a further 16 million abstained; and in the light of national public opinion and the many serious doubts raised by the McInerney interim report which confirms the validity of the fears expressed by the Nishga Tribal Council re the potential damage to marine life and human health, I again urge you to set up a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act as quickly as possible. I am convinced such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public.
That the Diocese of Caledonia and the Council of the Haida Nation be supported by calling on the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to initiate a full public enquiry, providing standing and adequate intervenor funding for all affected parties, to review the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the Cinola Gold Project on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) before the mine goes into production. CARRIED WITHOUT DEBATE Act 80
"At their joint assembly this July , Anglican and Lutheran delegates will be asked to consider a joint declaration addressing the issues of homelessness in Canada and responsible resource extraction involving Canadian companies here and abroad". "On the issue of 'responsible resource extraction', the declaration calls on the two churches to support indigenous communities in Canada and overseas 'in exercising their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent' with regard to development projects that affect their traditional territories. It also asks them to 'advocate for responsible and ethical investment both in Canada and around the world'. The declaration notes that Canadian companies are major players in mining, energy production and resource extraction across the country and abroad. 'They generate wealth for our societies, but they also give rise to serious and complex environmental, socio-economic, and human rights issues', the declaration states". "[T]he declaration also commits the two churches to 'advocate for renewed federal funding' and for an 'integrated national collaborative strategy and greater accountability on the part of provinces and municipalities' in addressing homelessness and substandard housing. 'As we look across Canada, we are disturbed by the reality that around 400,000 people are without a healthy place to live and that homelessness has continued to increase despite years of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity in our country'."
"Idle No More efforts should be extended to indigenous people around the world and help should be given to stop Canada's abusive and immoral mining practices. How long will it be before the natives of these countries retaliate ? What practices will the big mining companies use to protect the money they invest ? The Harper government refused to promote fair and sustainable mining practices abroad and is continuing to tear down environmental safeguards her in Canada". [Text of entire article.]
"Bishop Mark MacDonald has hit the nail on the head again with 'Only God can save us' (Feb. 2014, p. 5). The only way the article could have been improved would be the addition of a few relevant scripture passages. The current challenge and opportunity surrounding aboriginal rights and mineral resources is so like the Israelites about to enter the Promised Land when Moses said, 'I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live' (Deut. 30:19). Christianity has been tried and found difficult". [Text of entire article.]
"In the 1958 Springhill Mine disaster in Nova Scotia, 90 miners were rescued after an explosion killed 75. The Anglican Church of Canada provided support for all the families and helped the community rebuild. As a direct result of this tragedy, The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) came into being. The Mining Association of Nova Scotia is grateful for the efforts of PWRDF and offers congratulations for 50 years of selfless service". [Text of entire article.]
"Abuses resulting from the large-scale mining activities of some Canadian companies operating in the developing world were the focus of an ecumenical conference on mining, May 1 to 3  in Toronto. [Retired] Bishop Tom Morgan told the 'Anglican Journal' he was embarrassed to see Philippine newspapers, which carried stories about these mining companies, referring to Canadians as 'ugly'." "'I am in shock at the behaviour of Canadian companies and the failure of our government to pass legislation requiring conformity to the standards here at home', said Bishop Morgan, who is a member of the board of directors of The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). 'The face of our nation is not only about justice; it's also about integrity', he added, pointing out that such standards include environmental protection, consultation, just treatment for workers and protocols for cleanup, among other provisions". "Canada is home to 75 per cent of the world's mining and mineral exploration companies, and its stock exchanges trade 40 per cent of the world's mineral exploration capital". "Mining operations in Guatemala have resulted in environmental disasters, said Naty Atz Sunuc of CEIBA, a Guatemalan NGO".