Continental Day of Action Against Canadian Mega Resource Extraction

[ILPS-Canada statement on August 1 Continental Day of Action Against Canadian Mega Resource Extraction]

The Canadian Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Canada) stands with communities throughout the Americas and beyond in its opposition to the destructive anti-people practices of Canadian mining and extraction companies on this Continental Day of Action Against Canadian Mega Resource Extraction, August 1, 2012.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation made up of over 250 mass organizations from 43 countries that promotes, supports and develops the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples of the world against imperialism and all reaction. ILPS-Canada presently has 25 grass root member organizations across the country.

The abuses suffered by people at the hands of the Canadian government and Canadian mining and extraction companies are long standing. Canada developed as an imperialist country through the dispossession of indigenous peoples’ lands and the exploitation of their natural resources. To this day, the process of dispossession continues as exemplified by the Quebec government’s Plan Nord, the logging of the Algonquins lands at Barriere Lake, the mining of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug land, the tar sands in Alberta and numerous other cases across the country. The Canadian legal system is used to uphold the theft of indigenous land, police and military are brought in to “restore peace”, and the prison system is used to house both community activists and indigenous people in order to protect and promote the Canadian resource extraction companies.

Canadian imperialism also extends far beyond its borders in its search for profit. There are currently over 3,000 Canadian mining projects operating in over 100 countries throughout the world. The communities abroad are treated no differently than our indigenous communities here. The Canadian government aggressively promotes Canadian mining companies abroad by: establishing free trade agreements opening up countries for Canadian mining interests; threatening to sue countries that go against Canadian companies’ interests; supporting the overthrow of a government in Honduras; and even sending the RCMP to help train local army forces on how to displace indigenous populations from their lands.

ILPS-Canada supports the need to struggle for reforms to the current large-scale resource extraction industry. These include: the rights of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent, consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international jurisprudence, as well as the right to water and to live in a safe and healthy environment; to regulate the activities of Canadian extractive industry companies abroad; to cease providing Overseas Development Aid to mining companies and to promoting partnerships between civil society organizations and the mining industry; to cease providing political and economic support to companies facing serious allegations of human rights abuses and environmental damages; to ensure that non-citizens have recourse to Canadian courts for harms they may suffer as a result of the activities of Canadian corporations operating abroad; and to stop negotiating free trade and bilateral investment treaties that enshrine corporate rights over the rights of people, workers and the environment.

At the same time ILPS-Canada members have no illusions about these reforms, since under our imperialist system they will be won only by tough struggle, and experience shows they can and will be ignored or trampled at any time. Under the current imperialist system in Canada, maximizing profit will always take priority over people’s needs and the environment, both at home and abroad.That is why we see the struggle for a system change to be the priority, while pressuring the imperialist system for the short term reforms we need to improve our lives now.

We salute your initiative today and invite you to join us in developing an independent anti-imperialist mass movement that can challenge Canadian imperialism both at home and abroad while struggling to truly defend peoples’ rights and livelihood every day.

August 1, 2012