The Question of Sustainability (2009 Conference)

The Question of Sustainability: An Examination of the Canadian Mining Industry was the title of MISN’s conference in 2009, hosted with the intention of building a movement for change within Canada. This conference provided space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, facilitating conversations examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability. The conference featured speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. It brought together Indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and served to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Issues of focus included:

  • Water use and contamination
  • Human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad
  • The question of corporate social responsibility
  • The autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures

Sessions included:

  • Mining in the Congo
  • Indigenous Issues and Mining
  • Mining and Health
  • In Defense of Land
  • Water and Life: Women Mobilize for Justice in Mining Affected Communities
  • Role-playing Workshop with special guests from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
  • Human Rights: Issues with Mine Security
  • Funding the Destruction: TSX, Pension Funds, and Corporate Welfare
  • ¡MesoAmerica Resiste!
  • Mining and Water
  • Religious Perspectives on Mining
  • Legal Battles
  • Direct Action
  • Shareholder Activism/Divestment
  • Referendums and Accessing International Institutions
  • CSR legislation

There were many incredible speakers, including:

  • Bodia Bavuidi and Martin Kijazi (Congolese activists)
  • 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)
  • Elliot Lake Women’s Group
  • International Women and Mining Network
  • Malcolm Rogge (community resistance to mercenaries in Ecuador)
  • Veronica Islas (Broad Opposition Front in Mexico)
  • The Beehive Collective
  • Jethro Tulin, organiser and founder of the Akali Tange Association (ATA)
  • Bob Lovelace, representative of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation