So far in 1970, the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund has allocated close to 600,000 dollars for victims of East Pakistan cyclone and tidal waves, Peruvian earthquakes, Rumanian floods and the Nigerian-Biafran crisis, as well as supporting a large number of development projects such as agricultural centres in developing countries and research into poverty.
The Fund was established ten years ago, primarily to coordinate disaster relief money. According to the Secretary of the Fund, the Rev. Robert D. MacRae, the fund has taken on the important role of assisting in rehabilitation and development following natural disasters and to date has spent $2.8 million collected through special appeals.
The PWRDF will give a $10,000 grant to the 2000 member Nishga (Indian) Tribal Council to assist in the financial costs of the Council's fight for aboriginal title to lands in the Nass River Valley, about 500 miles northwest of Vancouver.
The council's claim will go before the Supreme Court of Canada early in 1971.
This is the first time the Church has financially supported a court case.
The Rt. Rev. H.R. Hunt, Chairman of the Allocations Committee of the PWRDF has issued a year-end statement. He says: "Since its inception in 1959, the fund has responded through contributions from the members of the Anglican Church to various world needs in natural catastrophies, refugee and other disasters."
"The 1969 General Synod added a new dimension" says Bishop Hunt, "expanding it to include 'DEVELOPMENT' so that in its present title, PRIMATE'S WORLD RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT FUND, it now serves all aspects of world need and opportunity in providing support to projects related to material necessities, education, human justice, social and cultural change."
Bishop Hunt says the anticipated allocations for the current year will approximate $600,000 and is evidence of the increasing concern of the Anglican Church to engage in all forms of ministry related to human need in its widest possible expression the world over.
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.
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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.
The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada said today that the basic rights of Canada's native people cannot be rejected and ignored. Archbishop E.W. Scott spoke in reference to the current dispute involving land claims by British Columbia Indians.
"In the past, we've tended to push aside the legitimate claims of Canada's Indians," said Archbishop Scott.
He said that many past agreements between Indians and white men involved sovereign Indian nations. In many instances, the Indians had their own legal interpretations and cultural understanding which "the White Man's Law" doesn't take into account.
"We're elated that the prime minister has chosen to reverse his stand on aboriginal land claims," Archbishop Scott continued. "The dispute should be settled politically, now that it's been through the courts."
He said politics can take into account these cultural arguments which the law cannot.
The archbishop spoke yesterday at a Toronto meeting of the Church's Executive Council of the General Synod.
The Committee voted unanimously to continue its support of the Nishga Indians and expressed its hope that Canada will deal responsibly with their land claims.
In 1969 the Anglican Church of Canada donated $10,000 from the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund to help finance the Nishga's appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Amax Corporation has served notice of another potential bomb-shell.
Amax operates the controversial molybdenum mine in Kitsault, British Columbia which was given permission by a Federal Cabinet Order-in-Council, without public hearings, to dump 12,000 metric tons of toxic mine tailings daily into the waters of Alice Arm, BC.
It would appear that Amax is now seeking to receive the same kind of quiet permission, without public scrutiny, to release toxic substances from the mine - this time into the air.
Appearing on page 1502 of the July 30th edition of the British Columbia Gazette is notice of an application by Amax, "to obtain a permit to discharge emissions to atmosphere." It goes on to say that the emissions will contain "arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc." The notice does say that the levels of these contaminants "will comply with the most stringent pollution control regulations now in effect." It goes on, however, to add, "objectives for molybdenum, nickel, uranium and radium 226 are not available, but emission rates, as tested, are in the same order of magnitude."
The notice declares, "The operating period during which contaminants will be discharged is continuous, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
The application points out that "any person who qualifies as an objector" may file an objection within thirty days which means the deadline is August 13th. The notice was published in the midst of the postal strike and, as of August 10th, the copy of the Gazette received at Osgoode Hall in Toronto each month had still not arrived.
The application makes no mention of environmental hazard studies or of any public hearings to assess such hazards. The Nishga Indians who inhabit the surrounding Nass Valley, and will, therefore, live under the Amax cloud, have heard nothing of this application, nor have any public hearings been held in the area.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church, through its Executive Director of Program, the Rev. Clarke Raymond, has sent a telegram of objection asking that no permit be issued until the "environmental impact is assessed by public hearing."
TORONTO (7 August 1998) -- From Lambeth Conference, Canterbury, Kent, England.
For the last three weeks I've been living among 750 Anglican bishops gathered at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, for the Lambeth Conference, an event that happens only once every ten years. We've spent most of our time in bible study, prayer and worship, but we've also considered issues that are important in the life of Canada, and of the world.
News reports about the Lambeth Conference have tended to focus on the controversial resolution regarding human sexuality (about which more in a moment). Indeed, if you were to read reports in the English press, they'd have you convinced we spoke of nothing else ! Here are [a] few significant points from the rest of the agenda.
Agonizing decisions will increase
Among this newspaper's readers today are some who are confronting agonizing decisions about medical treatment for loved ones who are no longer capable of making decisions for themselves. At what point, if ever, should the goal of medical treatment shift from prolonging life, to easing the transition from life to death ? The number and complexity of these decisions is likely to increase radically in the next ten years, spurred on both by the aging of the population, and by continuing advances in medical technology.
In an area in which we acknowledge there are few easy answers, Lambeth's contribution has been to offer some ethical guidelines -- signposts, if you will, by which people confronting stark choices about life and death may be helped to determine their personal directions and paths.
As Christians, we affirm as a first principle that life is a gift of God and has intrinsic sanctity, significance, and worth. The Lambeth Conference has drawn a distinction between active and passive responses to issues at the end of life. We believe it is not consistent with Christian faith to take any action which is intended to cause the death of another, even one who is suffering in a painful terminal illness. On the other hand, it may be consistent with Christian faith to enable someone to die with dignity by "withholding, withdrawing, declining or terminating excessive medical treatment." These latter responses are not viewed as euthanasia in our precise definition.
Admittedly, the distinction is a subtle one, but so are the decisions with which many are struggling. I hope Lambeth's exploration of the issues will help those making such choices to explore their own convictions.
News from home
About the only Canadian news to make in into the English press over the past few weeks was the historic signing of the treaty between the Nisga'a people and the governments of British Columbia and Canada. It came as Lambeth was urging compliance with the United Nations universal declaration of human rights, in part as a way of supporting the claims of indigenous peoples. A portion of the Lambeth report reads:
"In every case indigenous peoples are disproportionately poor, have little access to a good education and health care, suffer from higher death rates, and in Australia and the United States are often prone to alcohol and drug addiction. In every case, the plight of these people is given a very low profile. They are ignored and their needs are given low priority. They are not treated as 'neighbours', let alone 'brothers or sisters'.
The Anglican Church has been closely involved with the Nisga'a people, giving modest but unwavering support. Both John Hannen, the bishop of Caledonia, and I have been formally invested as Nisga'a chieftains. News of the signing in this context came as a moment of pride and joy. We share the hope of the Nisga'a and political leaders, that this signing signals the beginning of reconciliation.
Lifting an intolerable burden
Over the past 20 years, some of the poorest countries in the world have been hit by a double whammy. Interest rates on their debts have risen sharply and, at the same time, the prices they can get for their products have fallen.
Changing political realities often lend a cruel twist to international debt. In South Africa, for example, debt repayment is the second largest expenditure in the government budget (after education). Ironically, the debt was incurred by the apartheid regime and its proceeds largely went to paying for the racist oppression of the people who are now paying it off ! The situation is not unique to South Africa.
Overall, for every dollar we in the developing world send overseas as aid, eight dollars comes back as interest, according to the international development organization, Christian Aid. At the same time, the president of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn, told the Lambeth Conference that more than 3 billion people now live on less than $2 a day. The World Bank has conceded the point that this ballooning debt, by any realistic standard, can never be repaid -- and that it is one of the most serious barriers to development.
A coalition of Christian and development groups is urging that the debt of the poorest countries be cancelled by the year 2000. For Christians, this initiative is bound up with the Biblical concept of "Jubilee", a time of forgiveness and restoration. For Canadians generally, forgiving the debt of the poorest countries would have a modest economic impact on us, so that the growing disparity between rich and poor at least has a moment when the bottom moves slightly closer to the top.
In Canada, as in most countries of the world, we recognize that a person crushed by debt is unproductive. It is to our advantage that a means be provided to lift that unequal burden, and so our laws provide the option of bankruptcy, allowing the individual to make a fresh start. Similarly, a fresh start is urgently needed on the international scene. Canadians should support the international campaign for debt cancellation.
Upholding virtue or promoting hatred ?
Just what did Lambeth say about human sexuality ? There are two parts to any message: the actual content, and the way the message is perceived. In its content, the Lambeth resolution on human sexuality:
- "upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union;
- "commits [the bishops] to listen to the experience of homosexual people. We wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ";
- rejects "homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture", but "calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex";
- "cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions, nor the ordination of those involved in such unions".
The perception of this message varies from those who receive it with joy as a vindication of traditional Christian teaching and those who find it a devastating betrayal of the gospel of love.
Canada's 1995 General Synod acted to "affirm the presence and contributions of gay men and lesbians in the life of the church and condemn bigotry, violence and hatred directed toward any due to their sexual orientation". This message obviously contains a considerably stronger affirmation of gay and lesbian Christians than the Lambeth text. Even so, much of the content of the Lambeth statement, strictly speaking, is broadly in accord with the current policy of the Anglican Church of Canada. (Canada's policies remain in force since the Lambeth Conference has only advisory, not legislative authority.)
However, I must disassociate myself from any who perceive this action as a "victory". Canadians generally will have been scandalized by some of the reported comments, as were Canadian bishops here. The debate was marked at times by outright condemnation of homosexual persons, sometimes phrased in viciously prejudicial language. This is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it.
I have already joined with many other bishops in writing a pastoral letter to gay and lesbian Anglicans. It reads, in part, "We pledge that we will continue to reflect, pray, and work for your full inclusion in the life of the church ... We will call on the entire Communion to continue (and in many places, begin) prayerful, respectful conversation on the issue of homosexuality. We must not stop where this Conference has left off. You, our brothers and sisters in Christ, deserve a more thorough hearing than you received over the past three weeks. We will work to make that so."
Moment of transfiguration
The most moving moment came for me yesterday [Thursday] as I attended a worship service led by the church in Japan, on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
As we entered the service, we received copies of an apology from the Japanese church for its complicity in wartime aggression. With wonderful generosity and hospitality, the Japanese church had invited an English priest to preach. The Rev. Susan Cole-King told how her father, then bishop of Singapore, was imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese military in 1943. The church's apology had brought her a deep sense of reconciliation. (She also reminded us Westerners of our own complicity in the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and urged us to continue working for the eradication of nuclear weapons.)
For me, the service evoked two intensely personal memories. The first occurred in my early childhood, in Vancouver, when one of my playmates and his family abruptly disappeared without notice. Much later, I later came to understand why there were always pieces of Japanese decorative arts in my living room; they were among the belongings my father, in the name of the government of Canada, had helped to confiscate. The second memory is more recent. It concerns my experience, five years ago, of apologising on behalf of our church for the abuses suffered by native people in the residential schools we administered. It was a moment of great pain, but it was the beginning of liberation.
In the middle of the Japanese service I wept as I relived those moments. The church is an imperfect reflection of God's reign; a deeply flawed institution. Far too often, it has brought pain instead of healing. And yet, as the Japanese Church showed, it is also a place where we can be open to transformation. When the gospel reaches into our lives, and challenges us, it can enable us to face very difficult truths and to both seek -- and bestow -- forgiveness.
Archbishop Michael Peers is the Primate of Canada. The full text of Lambeth Conference reports and resolutions can be found at www.lambethconference.org.
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For further information contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, Anglican Church of Canada, 416-924-9199 ext. 286 Until 5PM GMT [Noon EST] Saturday, August 8 011-44-1227-828-090 firstname.lastname@example.org
After Saturday, August 8, Contact: Karen Evans, Librarian, Anglican Church of Canada, 416-924-9199 ext. 291 email@example.com
That the following be included after the words "Alice Arm" at the end of the first section of the resolution:
"and to declare a moratorium upon development of the resource until technology is developed to safely dispose of the tailings."
The Amendment was accepted by the mover and seconder of the motion.
The motion now reads:
"That the 29th General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, through 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.
And further, that this Synod requests the Primate, in co-operation with the Diocese of Caledonia to initiate discussions between the Federal Government, the Province of British Columbia, the Nishga Tribal Council, and the Amax Corporation, in order to determine the terms on which the Amax Corporation might proceed, giving due consideration to the need for effective environmental protection and the need for the participation of the Nishga People in the developmental process.