Archive for September 24th, 2011

Communities Can Get Their Water Systems Back; They Just Have to Will it!

 

Communities Can Get Their Water Systems Back; They Just Have to Will it!

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Rich Bindell, Food & Water Watch, foodandwaterwatch.org

 

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Food & Water Watch helped achieve a major victory against water privatization in Illinois last month. Midwest Region Organizer Emily Carroll, state legislators (including Emily McAsey, the co-sponsor of the bill in the IL House of Representatives), and water advocates, pushed hard for legislation that will allow multiple communities sharing a drinking water or sewer system to take back their system from water corporations/private utilities. This legislation was inspired by six municipalities in Will County, served by a system that is owned by Illinois American Water. Five of the six municipalities, tired of skyrocketing water rates and poor water service, wanted to re-municipalize, but Illinois American Water repeatedly refused to sell it back to the public.

Passing this bill was no easy task, but over 1,000 Food & Water Watch activists e-mailed their state representatives, coordinated calls to the Governor’s office and helped deliver almost 2,000 petitions to garner support of the bill.

Normally, it can be very difficult to take back control of a water system once it has been privatized, particularly if multiple municipalities are served by the same system. However, thanks to this new legislation, these communities can form a water agency and, using eminent domain, take back their water system to ensure public ownership and operation. This bill sets a strong precedent for other communities who also wish to take back their water system from a private entity. We congratulate Emily, our volunteers, and the communities of Will County, Illinois for being diligent in their fight against water privatization!

 

Related: Water Privatization

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http://foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/communities-can-get-their-water-systems-back-they-just-have-to-will-it/

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Attempts to Suppress Volatility Could Lead to a Crash in Existing Economic and Political Systems


Attempts to Suppress Volatility Could Lead to a Crash in Existing Economic and Political Systems

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Posted 23 September 2011, by WashingtonsBlog, Global Research, globalresearch.ca

 

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Suppressing Financial Instability Increases Risk of Market Breakdown

Financial analyst and author Nassim Taleb demonstrated that suppressing market volatility in the short-run leads to much more violent bursts of dislocation and chaos in the long run.

Taleb learned many of his ideas from mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot (who discovered fractals). As Scientific American noted in 2008:

One of those long-time market watchers is fractal pioneer Benoit Mandelbrot. In 1999, Scientific American published an article by Mandelbrot that showed how fractal geometry can model market volatility, while revealing the intrinsic deficiencies of a cornerstone of finance called modern portfolio theory (for which there has been awarded more than one Nobel Prize in Economics).

Mandelbrot, 83, contends that portfolio theory, which tries to maximize return for a given level of risk, treats extreme events (like, say, yesterday’s market shockers) with “benign neglect: it regards large market shifts as too unlikely to matter or as impossible to take into account.” The faulty assumption of modern portfolio theorists, in Mandelbrot’s view, is that price changes do not drift far from the mean when observing daily ups and downs—so extreme events are exceedingly rare. “Typhoons, in effect, are defined out of existence,” he wrote.

Similarly, Graham Giller – from Oxford University in experimental elementary particle physics, then strategy researcher and portfolio manager for Morgan Stanley – writes today:

The Greenspan [and Bernanke] era monetary policy has altered the distribution of changes in interest rates in a way that exchanges a reduction in day-to-day ‘normal’ variability for a considerably higher (perhaps catastrophically higher as we are finding out this week) likelihood of extreme shocks.

Click image to view full size

I first made the attached chart in 2004 after attending a lecture by Benoit Mandelbrot, and reading his “Fractals and Scaling in Finance.”

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So a narrative for what the Greenspan era monetary policy has done to the distribution of changes in rates is to exchange a decreased daily variability for a higher (perhaps catastrophically higher as we have found out) likelihood for extreme shocks. [And nothing has changed under Bernanke.]

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The whole enterprise of bond portfolio risk management is intrinsically unreliable.

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It is this constant papering-over of the day-to-day cracks (and business cycle) that is supposedly so beneficial for our society (and central planners) as a whole that creates a building tension as the underlying causes grow larger and larger and are never purged until in one fell swoop, the market mechanism finds a way.

And as I noted last year, interest rate derivatives – like portfolio insurance in the 1980s – might also be creating huge risks, while appearing in the short-run to be reducing risks.

Of course, Taleb, Mandelbrot and Giller’s analysis of volatility means that the Fed and other central planners’ attempts to prop up some asset prices or drive some indicators down as a way to reduce volatility could well lead to a more explosive crash of the entire financial system.

Suppressing Political Volatility Increases the Risk of a Breakdown in Existing Social Order

This principle not only applies to markets and finance, but also to sociology and politics.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. ”
– President John F. Kennedy

“If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.”
– French author Emile Zola

Indeed, Taleb co-wrote an article in May with Mark Blyth – Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University – stating:

Why is surprise the permanent condition of the U.S. political and economic elite? In 2007-8, when the global financial system imploded, the cry that no one could have seen this coming was heard everywhere, despite the existence of numerous analyses showing that a crisis was unavoidable. It is no surprise that one hears precisely the same response today regarding the current turmoil in the Middle East. The critical issue in both cases is the artificial suppression of volatility — the ups and downs of life — in the name of stability. It is both misguided and dangerous to push unobserved risks further into the statistical tails of the probability distribution of outcomes and allow these high-impact, low-probability “tail risks” to disappear from policymakers’ fields of observation. What the world is witnessing in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya is simply what happens when highly constrained systems explode. [Well, Al Qaeda also had a role in creating chaos in Libya, that’s beyond the scope of this post.]

Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting no visible risks. In fact, they tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite. These artificially constrained systems become prone to “Black Swans” — that is, they become extremely vulnerable to large-scale events that lie far from the statistical norm and were largely unpredictable to a given set of observers.

Such environments eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off-guard and undoing years of stability or, in some cases, ending up far worse than they were in their initial volatile state. Indeed, the longer it takes for the blowup to occur, the worse the resulting harm in both economic and political systems.

Seeking to restrict variability seems to be good policy (who does not prefer stability to chaos?), so it is with very good intentions that policymakers unwittingly increase the risk of major blowups. And it is the same misperception of the properties of natural systems that led to both the economic crisis of 2007-8 and the current turmoil in the Arab world. The policy implications are identical: to make systems robust, all risks must be visible and out in the open — fluctuat nec mergitur (it fluctuates but does not sink) goes the Latin saying.

So the efforts of governments, powerful corporations and mainstream media all over the world to stifle dissent could backfire … and lead to a wholesale dissolution of the entrenched systems of power.

Global Research Articles by Washington’s Blog

 

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26741

Navajo Council Angry: Navajo President slashes funds for elderly, children and green jobs

Navajo Council Angry: Navajo President slashes funds for elderly, children and green jobs

President’s Shelly’s vetoes target green initiatives, resource development, young people and the elderly

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Posted24 September 2011, by Johnny Naize, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Johnny Naize is the Navajo Council Speaker

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Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize

WINDOW ROCK Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council voiced anger at Navajo President Shelly’s line-item vetoes of portions of the FY2012 Tribal Operating Budget on Friday. Among the cuts in the $556.6 million budget included $111 thousand for the Little Folks Day Care Program, $161 thousand for five Navajo Area Agency on Aging offices in Shiprock, Chinle, Tuba City, Fort Defiance and Crownpoint, $352 thousand from the Navajo Green Commission, $130 thousand from the Resources Committee, and $838 thousand for legislative district staff for the 24 Council Delegates.

“The Council is very concerned for President Shelly’s lack of cohesive management on the direction he wants to take the Navajo People,” said Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize. “The President says not to forget the elders but it appears he has. He has also said we need to nurture the youth because they are our future but instead has yanked funding that would do just that.”

“Additionally, at a time when other governments are looking for ways to build a green economy to reduce waste and become environmentally aware, President Shelly has decided that the Navajo people will not.”

“These vetoes were unnecessary after all the discussions we held in June between the three Branches and during the recent Budget Sessions which produced this budget,” continued Naize. “I unfortunately believe the President has suddenly decided on himself to rewrite all the work the Branches have done during the past three months.”

In the FY2012 operating budget, the Executive Branch was appropriated the bulk of the $556.6 million at a little more than $505 million for programs and set asides such as for Higher Education and Veterans. Next, the Legislative Branch was appropriated $16.6 million with the Judicial Branch receiving $15.4 million for their programs and set asides. Also included in the budget are $25.4 million for fixed costs and $4 million for chapter spending.

“These cuts are concerning because they appear to be made as a vendetta against certain programs, council members and committees,” said Naize. “But in the process of doing that he vetoed funds for Summer Youth Employment, and an elderly group home in Blue Gap. Our people are in need and even though the President says his Branch provides direct services to the people, these vetoes prove they won’t. That is not how a Natani leads his people.”

Earlier this month President Shelley vetoed $2.2 million for Youth Employment, $286,000 for the Hoosh Doo Dii To’ Home and $1 million for the Navajo Department of Transportation.

Also in these latest round of vetoes was funding for 24 Legislative District Staff for the 24 Council Delegates.

“In the past, the Legislative Branch has worked with a little more than 8 percent of the total Navajo Nation Operating Budget, said Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize. “Not only do we need to remain at that level but we’ll also need some additional funds to address the increased workload for the 24 Council Delegates.”

At the district level there is a growing feeling of isolation as Council Delegates juggle up to 8 chapters and their work on their committees in Window Rock. The Legislative District Staff would assist the Delegates by attending meetings that otherwise may have been missed due to other commitments.

Although some thought a smaller Council would mean a smaller budget, the opposite has happened. The increase in Chapter representation has lead to an increase of meeting and on-reservation travel expenses. Speaker Naize and the Council are resolved in making sure the people don’t lose their voice just because President Shelly wants to ration and silence the Delegates ability to serve community needs and concerns.”

“Again, the Navajo People are becoming confused where President Shelly is taking us,” concluded Naize. “All these programs are for the people yet he refuses to acknowledge the need out there. For the last couple of months he has held numerous town halls to get community input yet for all the people’s efforts, he has decided to ignore them.”

“I want the people to know that the Council will not ignore them and will continue to work and make sure the business of the people gets done no matter how President Shelly tries to silence them.”

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/navajo-council-angry-president-slashes.html

Navajo President fails the Earth and the Navajo People

Navajo President fails the Earth and the Navajo People

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Calvin Johnson, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Navajo President Ben Shelly, who urged the protection of the earth and respect for Dine’ culture at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, has line item vetoed the Navajo Green  Economy Office.
President Shelly’s words to the world will be meaningless if he continues to promote coal-fired power plants. The Navajo Nation already has three coal-fired power plants, with coal mines, and Shelly is pushing for another coal fired power plant.

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TOO LITTLE TO LATE
NAVAJO PRESIDENT MISSED THE OPPORTUNITY IN FEBRUARY 2011 TO SAVE THE PEAKS

By Calvin Johnson, Navajo from Leupp, Ariz.

Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

Calvin Johnson

This is a response to a video of Navajo President Ben Shelly at the United Nations making a plea for Protection of San Francisco Peaks. The Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly as a leader of Navajo Nation had a prime opportunity in February of 2011 to negotiate usage of reclaimed water of San Francisco Peaks. At the time, The City of Flagstaff wanted to drill 6 new wells utilizing C-Aquifer on Red Gap Ranch which is city-owned land near Winslow. Then Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly then threatened to file a suit against the City of Flagstaff. But then in May of 2011, Navajo Nation and City of Flagstaff agreed to a deal regarding C-Aquifer water usage of up to 2.6 trillion gallons a year.

Why would the Navajo Nation agree to such a deal when the City of Flagstaff is selling reclaimed water for skiing? The Navajo Nation President missed the prime opportunity to negotiate the taking of the reclaimed water usage off the table. This is so (bleeped) up!!!

The City of Flagstaff wants to use clean Navajo water underlying the Navajo Nation but the Nation buckles down to City of Flagstaff (Non-Natives including Corporations). I wished our Navajo Nation leaders would take a stand and defend human rights and protect sacred sites, period.

Now am watching the video of Ben Shelly pleading for help, it is sickening — am sorry this is not defending human rights and protecting sacred sites. Maybe this will be a lesson learned from our leaders. But kudos for finally speaking up.

Calvin Johnson
PO Box 5527
Leupp, AZ 86035

Also see: Anna Rondon: Navajo president vetoes Navajo Green Economy Office funding
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/anna-rondon-navajo-president-vetoes.html

 

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/navajo-president-fails-earth-and-navajo.html

OTTAWA Tar Sands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

 

OTTAWA Tar Sands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

Canadian First Nations, US-based Tribal Governments and Indigenous Advocacy Groups Endorse Mass Civil Disobedience Action to Protest Canadian Tar Sands

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

 

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Press statement
Posted at Censored News

OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian First Nations, American Indian Tribes, Territorial, Provincial and Federal First Nations Governments and Advocacy groups have added their support for a rally featuring a civil disobedience sit-in against the tar sands on September 26 in Ottawa.

“Current operations in the tar sands are violating our human and constitutionally protected treaty rights.  Our community is currently in court with some of these companies and plan to oppose any and all future development with similar legal action,” said Lionel Lepine of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation “We demand free, prior and informed consent for development in our traditional territories as recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Hundreds of people from across North America have endorsed the call to action for September 26, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The action is to oppose the tar sands industry and push for a clean,green energy future that honors Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of the environment and communities.

First Nations leaders from British Columbia, North West Territories and Alberta, three provinces most heavily affected by the tar sands development, will travel to Ottawa to lend their names and voices to raise awareness of the devastating environmental and social effects of the tar sands. US-based Native American Tribes and advocacy groups along with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe have also endorsed the day of action.

“Enbridge is trying to ram its tar sands pipeline right through our territories and the lands of many other First Nations,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, amember of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We have used our laws to forbid these pipelines in our lands. We will use every means available to us under Indigenous, Canadian and International law to enforce our decision and stop the Enbridge pipeline. If we take care of the land and water, it will take care of us. If we ruin our water with oil spills and once the tar sands kill the waters of our brother and sister nations, our people will be finished.”

On September 16 and 17, on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota, an Accord was signedopposing the proposed Trans-Canada Keystone XL pipeline and endorsing the Ottawa Action.  The emergency Tribal meeting, which included Canadian First Nations and Native AmericanTribes affected by the proposed pipeline, focused on Tribal opposition to the Trans-Canada Keystone XL.  The Accord highlights the neglected concerns of First Nations in Canada regarding the Canadian tar sands, the industry’s disproportionate impacts on Treaty and Aboriginal rights and the detrimental health and social consequencesfor affected First Nations communities.

“The tar sands represent apath of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in theinternational community,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Our communities should not be sacrificed on the altar of Canada’s addiction to dirty fossil fuel; wewant a new economic paradigm that protects our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth.”

Other First Nations groups endorsing the September 26 action include: Dene Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Yinka Dene Alliance, Wet’suwet’en and Unis’tot’en Nations.

For more info: ClaytonThomas-Muller (English), Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, IndigenousEnvironmental Network (IEN), (613)297-7515 monsterredlight@gmail.com

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Join the IEN Newsletter!
https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/tools/subscription.php?username=ienearth
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Clayton Thomas-Muller
Indigenous Environmental Network
Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON, CND, K2P 1P5
Office: 613 237 1717 ext. 106
Cell: 613 297 7515http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html
www.ottawaaction.ca Please visit!!!!
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Please visit Defenders of the Land: http://www.defendersoftheland.org
Please visit Global Justice Ecology Project: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/

 

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/ottawa-tar-sands-civil-disobedience.html

Dene Nation will be at Ottawa Protest against Keystone XL Pipeline

Dene Nation will be at Ottawa Protest against Keystone XL Pipeline

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

 

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Press statement
Posted at Censored News

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories — The Dene Nation is supporting a day of civil disobedience and protests in Ottawa next week as part of its ongoing opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus will be there to participate in the protests and to make sure the views of Dene are represented.

On Monday, hundreds of people will flood Parliament Hill to demand a future free of the destructive Alberta tar sands. Many of them will enter the Parliament building and risk arrest by staging a sit-in in protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that, if built, will carry tar sands crude to refineries in the southern United States.

Chief Bill Erasmus at White House rally to halt tarsands in Sept. 2011 Photo Josh Lopez

“This is part of ongoing activity that is directly related to opposition of the tar sands,” Erasmus said. “From northern Alberta to the Arctic Ocean, our communities are directly downstream from tar sands developments. Water pollution and climate changing greenhouse gases from the tar sands are impacting our rights – protected under Treaty 8 and Treaty 11 – to hunt, trap, and fish as we always have on our land. The Keystone XL pipeline expansion would facilitate a huge increase in tar sands expansion, and this pipeline must be stopped.”

Canada’s federal government has approved the pipeline, and the final decision now lies with U.S. President Barrack Obama. Erasmus was recently in Washington, D.C. for massive protests against the pipeline in which many participants, including several renowned Canadians, were arrested.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would transport 1 million barrels of synthetic crude oil each day from Alberta’s tar sands to US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Construction of the 2,700 km pipeline would facilitate a massive expansion of Alberta’s tar sands, along with increased pollution, stress on water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Dene communities are downstream from the tar sands, and are threatened by the impacts of upstream water usage and pollution, and the impacts of climate change and
global warming.

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For more information please contact: Barret Lenoir or Daniel T’seleie, at the Dene National Office (867) 873-4081.

 

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/dene-nation-will-be-at-ottawa-protest.html

Cree George Poitras: Ottawa Tarsands Action Monday

Cree George Poitras: Ottawa Tarsands Action Monday

OTTAWA TARSANDS ACTION – Why am I attending?

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Posted 24 September 2011, by George Poitras, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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George Poitras is a former Chief, Mikisew Cree First Nation

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George Poitras

In the past year and even more so in the past few weeks a lot of debate has focused on the tarsands in northeastern Alberta as “ethical oil.” Advertisements taken out on the Oprah Winfrey Network by EthicalOil.org, why Oprah Winfrey has endorsed this propaganda by big oil is anyone’s guess?! The advertisement suggests why should America be dependent on Saudi Arabian oil, “a state that doesn’t allow women to drive, doesn’t allow them to leave their homes or work without their male guardian’s permission.” That there is a better alternative, “Ethical oil from Canada’s oil sands.” Apparently meaning a more human alternative.

Names synonymous of this “ethical oil” notion include Alykhan Velshi, Ezra Levant. Proponents who happily began to espouse the controversial two words include Canadian politicians like environment minister Peter Kent and prime minister Stephen Harper as they traverse the globe promoting investment in the tarsands.

The tarsands have been mined, primarily open-pit, for the past 40 years in what is known as the traditional lands of many Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations. The total tarsands deposit, the size of England, is known to be the second largest oil deposit in the world, second to Saudi Arabia. Only 3% of the total deposit has been mined in the past 40 years and Dr. David Schindler, a world renowned water expert, proved last year that there has been virtually no monitoring of what has also been characterized the largest industrial project in the world. A claim that the local Indigenous peoples have made for decades with proof of deformed fish, observation of poor water quality, receding water levels, impacts to animal health, and more recently in Fort Chipewyan, an increase in rare and aggressive cancers.

Tarsands a humane alternative?

When local physician Dr. John O’Connor raised concerns of disproportionate numbers of unusual cancers in Fort Chipewyan in 2006, the government of Canada, or physicians from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch lodged complaints against him including a charge of “causing undue alarm” to residents of my community of Fort Chipewyan. Canada’s charges against a family physician has never before been heard of in the history of Canada. For my community of Fort Chipewyan, this unprecedented action by the government of Canada essentially signaled to us that Canada didn’t care what claims Dr. O’Connor was making or that people in Fort Chipewyan might be living in a situation with an epidemic of rare and aggressive cancers. The claims were eventually proven by an Alberta Cancer Board Study in 2009 because of our unrelenting efforts; perhaps we shamed the Canadian and Alberta governments into doing so by successfully making our concerns a part of the international debate of this “dirty oil” campaign and not because the governments felt it was the “ethical” or “humane” thing to do.

Despite this, both the Alberta and Canadian governments continue to this day, to deny there is any concern with cancers in Fort Chipewyan.

The governments of Alberta and Canada have for the past 15 years relied on the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) to monitor the Athabasca River and the fish health. Every study since then has concluded that there was little to no impacts from tarsands development on the water or the fish health. A position that was proven wrong by Dr. David Schindler. Essentially, the RAMP which is 100% funded by the oil companies and who’s data is proprietary, and the Alberta and Canadian governments have been lying to the downstream impacted communities but also to Albertans and Canadians. They both shamefully admitted this following Schindler’s study just days before Christmas in 2010.

Fishermen in Fort Chipewyan have been saving deformed, tumoured, discoloured, and other problem fish for many years. Many residents in my community have chosen not to eat any fish from the Athabasca River or Lake Athabasca, a sad commentary to impacts on a peoples way of living. In June 1970, a Suncor pipeline break spilled 19,123 barrels of oil, roughly 3 million liters, into the Athabasca River which reached Lake Athabasca. This shut down the fishing industry on Lake Athabasca for two consecutive years. The fishermen held a press conference in October 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta displaying many of the collection of problem fish. This generated further international attention to the tarsands industry and its impacts to water and fish health.

Indigenous leaders in the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan have been chastised by oil company executives when they speak publicly to the press about their concerns of impacts from tarsands. They have gone so far as threatening, that should the Indigenous leaders continue, there would be repercussions to their First Nation-owned company’s contracts within certain oil company sites. Oil company executives regularly question the Indigenous leaders when their own community members speak out publicly on issues and I have seen those members silenced.

Two years ago I attended a protest in Trafalgar Square in London, England. We drew a crowd of about 500 supporters and this protest generated so much publicity internationally by England’s BBC and Canada’s CBC who were present and did live interviews. Three weeks after this action which I dubbed the “bloody oil tour” an executive from a major oil company flew to my community to meet with my Chief & Council and in no uncertain terms stated that they didn’t like that I traveled internationally and generated so much negative publicity on the tarsands industry. They also stated that they knew of all my actions in the past years because they said they had a binder “this thick” to prove it. He further suggested that somehow I should be “silenced” or even “terminated” or there would be repercussions. Two weeks later, the First Nation-owned company contracts worth millions were terminated displacing approximately 65 employees. I chose to leave my employment shortly thereafter.

An ethical, humane future for impacted communities?

In a recent trip to the Amazon and in conversation with a colleague from Nigeria, I told him many of our issues, our concerns, the repercussions we receive for being vocal. He was in complete disbelief. He said in a million years he would not believe all of this would occur in Canada, a developed G8 country. He said Canada is known as a safe country for its citizens. Canada is known as a country that prides itself for protection of human rights within its own borders and beyond.

I also tell my fellow leaders in Fort Chipewyan and to those young, brave members of my community, that the repercussions for speaking publicly is nothing compared to what we will see in the future. That if only 3% of the total deposit has been mined and the environmental impacts are so significant, that there will be many more generations of our people who will take up this challenge and they will face much more backlash than what we are seeing today from what has become a ruthless and aggressive race to exploit the tarsands. That many of our people will continue to see the early demise of their lives from rare and aggressive cancers the same way we watched our youngest victim at the age of 28 succumb to his cancer just months after being diagnosed. That if we see our environment in such a negative state today, do we think that we are capable of handing down to future generations a healthy environment? That if Canada and Alberta today ignore and repeatedly, knowingly infringe on our Constitutionally protected Treaty Rights, will our future generations be able to meaningfully exercise their right to hunt, fish and trap? Will our people in 20 years from now be able to enjoy a traditional diet of fish, moose, ducks, geese, caribou?

While I do not condone any ill-treatment on women in Saudi Arabia, Indigenous peoples in Canada’s tarsands should not be a pawn or be sacrificed to allow certainty for Canada, Alberta and multinational corporations to exploit the tarsands at all costs! From an Indigenous perspective, watching and being victim to the 40 years of unrelenting, unfettered, unmonitored development of the tarsands, there is nothing “ethical” or “humane” about the development of the tarsands!

I will be in Ottawa on Monday, September 26th to oppose the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline because an approval means an expansion of production of tarsands by a million barrels a day, further exacerbating local Indigenous peoples grave concerns about the development of the tarsands.

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/cree-george-poitras-ottawa-tarsands.html