WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad
WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am – 7:30pm
WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University, OPIRG, and Graduate Environmental Studies Students Association (GESSA)

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

Endorsements: Amnesty International, Indigenous Education Network, Sierra Youth Coalition, and Earthroots

If you would like to table at the event or become a sponsor email indra@pantropy.net

Note: Special guests from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation will conduct a three hour role-playing workshop.


10:00 a.m. – Introductions, opening ceremony

10:30 a.m. – Open plenary speaker


11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – FIRST BREAKOUT SESSION

– Resource Economics in developing countries: Jethro Tulin (Porgera Mine, PNG) and Salimah Valiani (researcher on labour migration)
– Mining in the Congo: Bodia Bavuidi and Martin Kijazi (Congolese activists)
– Indigenous Issues and Mining: Arthur Petahtegoose (Whitefish Lake First Nation), Sergio Campusano (President of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos, Chile), Tsering Lama (Students for a Free Tibet Canada), Chris Reid (lawyer for KI nation and Ardoch Algonquin)
– Mining and Health: Mike Mercredi (Fort Chipewan), Willi Nolan (International Institute of Concern for Public Health), Grahame Russell (RightsAction)
– In Defense of Land, Water and Life: Women Mobilize for Justice in Mining Affected Communities: Tanya Roberts-Davies (International Women and Mining Network), Lorraine Rekmans (Elliot Lake Women’s Group), Bodia Bavuidi (Congolese activist)

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. lunch break

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Concurrent with lunch: Role-playing workshop with Ardoch Algonquin leadership begins – Limited space available, so sign-up on the day of the conference!


– Human Rights: Issues with mine security: Jethro Tulin (Killings in PNG), Justin Podur (Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement), Malcolm Rogge (community resistance to mercenaries in Ecuador), Veronica Islas (FOA (Broad Opposition Front, Mexico))
– ¡MesoAmerica Resiste! presentation by Beehive Collective
– Funding the destruction: TSX, Pension Funds, and Corporate Welfare: Cory Wanless (Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors), Grahame Russell (Rights Action), and Cleve Higgins (McGill researcher)
– Mining and Water: Allan Lissner (photojournalist covering Philippines and Tanzania), Lorraine Rekmans (author, This Is My Homeland, about uranium mining near Elliot Lake.)
– Religious Perspectives on Mining: Rosalia Paiva (practitioner of Pachamama) and Stephen Scharper (Toronto Star columnist, Liberation Theology professor)

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. – SOLUTIONS break-out session

*Popular Education* A discussion of how to build awareness within our communities about mining issues, in a way that engages people and builds off the knowledge that they already possess. Led by Willi Nolan and the Beehive Collective.
*Legal Battles* A discussion about the use of lawsuits as a way of demanding accountability within Canada and beyond. Led by Chris Reid (lawyer for the KI nation and the Ardoch Algonquin) and Cory Wanless (Klippensteins)
*Direct Action!* A discussion of how Direct Action is used in various campaigns. Led by Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert
*Shareholder Activism/Divestment* A discussion of different tactics engaging with shareholders, institutional holders, and “ethical” mutual funds. Led by William Sparks of the Ontario Council on International Cooperation (OCIC)
*Referendums and accessing International Institutions (recommended for affected communities!)* Learn first hand about successful community-based tactics to defending community rights against mining companies. Learn from first hand experiences about engaging the UN, the ILO and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Led by Ulises Garcia (Tamogrande Referendum, Peru), Grahame Russell (RightsAction), with input from Sergio Campusano (President of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos of Chile).
*CSR/legislation* A discussion of the CSR framework and current legislation related to mining issues.


5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. – Closing Plenary

If you would like to table at the event or become a sponsor email indra@pantropy.net

Event blog

About the speakers

Jethro Tulin, CEO, Akali Tange, concerning the Porgera mine, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.

Native to the rocky highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Jethro Tulin is a popular organiser and founder of the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine, owned by Toronto’s Barrick Gold.

Jethro has been organizing within and outside the Barrick’s Porgera mine since its inception (then owned by Placer Dome. In 1989, he registered Porgera’s first mine workers union and became its first secretary. Years later, after spending time abroad and involved in other aspects of Papua New Guinea’s nascent union movement, Jethro returned to Porgera to find the situation with the mine and the surrounding villages had worsened dramatically. So, in 2003, he founded the ATA, which has operated in Porgera with an all-volunteer staff and material support from friends, victims’ relatives, and even local businessmen and officials.

Jethro can be seen in this video:

Bob Lovelace, representative of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Bob Lovelace was born into a line of Tslagi Indians through his great grandparents Mungle, grandfather, and mother, a heritage he honours. Bob attended cultural school as a child, joined AIM for several years while at University, and in Fall 1979 joined AAFN’s Honourary Chief Harold Perry to research, negotiate, and then launch an uncompromising legal defence of the wild rice stands near Ardoch Algonquin land. He has stood strong with many allies and friends in this “Rice War.” For nearly 25 years Bob has remained a steadfast and determined representative for the Algonquin communities of Ardoch, Sharbot Lake and many others, seeking to invigorate a sense of dignity and freedom in all Algonquin Peoples . . . Bob is a teacher to those wishing to learn more about tradition and ceremony. He is in addition an eloquent spokesman for Native rights, utilizing both English and Algonquin languages.

Lovelace is most well-known outside the Ardoch Algonquin community for his stand against uranium mining, for which he incarcerated in 2008 with no objection from the Province of Ontario at the time.

Sergio Campusano, leader of the Diaguita Descent Community Los Huasco Altinos in Chile.

Since he assumed the role of president, Sergio has been fighting against the greed of the mining corporations and the local agriculture companies in order to mantain the rights of his People. He has participated pressing charges in countless times even against the Chilean State and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He’s conscious they’re fighting not only to represent the living, but the ancestral thought of preservation of the ecosystem for the entire world, for the children of us all. In this clear idea is impregnated the principles of AUTO-DESTINY, AUTONOMY, and the right of the indigenous peoples of AUTODETERMINATION.


more on speakers….

Porgera Alliance, Papua New Guinea (presenter)

Sergio Campusano, Pueblo Diaguita Huascoaltinos (presenter)

Rosalia Paiva, practitioner of Pachamama (presenter)

Save Lake Cowal campaign (by Skype, possibly)

Judy Rebick (moderator)

Lorraine Rekmans (presenter)

Cory Wanless

Video of Rights Action protest outside Goldcorp AGM

Mining photojournalist Allan Lissner (presenter)

Tsering Lama, Students for a Free Tibet Canada

Beehive Collecive (tabler, presenter)

Ulises Garcia, veteran of community resistance to mining in Latin America (presenter)
Article by Stephanie Boyd on Tambogrande, Peru

Sakura Saunders, protestbarrick.net editor (presenter)
Protest Barrick (tabler)

Graham Russel, Rights Action (presenter)

Justin Poder (Presenter)

FAO Montreal
Youtube video of Enrique River (invited speaker)

Article by Chris Reid. lawyer for KI Six, AAFN (presenter)

Bob Lovelace, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (presenter)

Arthur Petahtegoose, Whitefish Lake First Nation (presenter)

Asad Ismi, journalists, creator of The Path of Destruction, a radio documentary on Canadian mining (tabler, presenter)

Global Aware (tabler)

Rainforest Action Network, tar sands campaign (tabler)

Willi Nolan, International Institute of Concern for Public Health (presenter)

Bodia Bavuidi and Martin Kijazi (presenters at the Congo workshop)

Christian Peña

For information the role of Canadian mining companies in the Congo see: http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php??/Congo_DR

Écosociété, publisher of Noir Cananda


Indigenous Environmental Network

Oil Sands Truth

Tar Sands Watch

Science for Peace, University of Toronto chapter (host)

Students Against Climate Change To. Mining Support Group (host)


“Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous peoples.”

– Canada’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. June 2005

“Canadian mining companies are taking advantage of [inadequate and poorly enforced regulatory controls] to expand into all corners of the globe, manipulating, slandering, abusing, and even killing those who dare to oppose them, displacing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike, supporting repressive governments and taking advantage of weak ones, and contaminating and destroying sensitive ecosystems.”

– Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada. November 2006


3 Responses to About

  1. Pingback: Conference location confirmed! « The Question of Sustainability

  2. Pingback: Conference details « The Question of Sustainability

  3. Pingback: Bios of speakers « The Question of Sustainability

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