Every year, as Canadian mining companies hold their shareholder meetings here in Toronto, we Spring into Action! with protests, street theatre, art attacks, films screenings, workshops (and more!) to educate, advocate, and agitate in solidarity with communities around the world impacted by the harmful effects of these mining projects.
Below is the rundown of our third Spring into Action and the many events and actions that were part of it!
April 18 – Spring into Action Launch Party
This year we kicked off our season of resistance to mining injustice with an official launch party! This party also launched the latest special issue of The Peak magazine on mining issues, and had guest appearances from Test Their Logik and the Beehive Collective.
This event also marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of 16-year old youth anti-mining activist Topacio Reynoso Pacheco. At her funeral, Topacio’s mother promised: “The resistance doesn’t end here, my love.” We both commemorated the life of this vibrant young woman and community leader, while also recommitting to honouring her mother’s promise by taking action!
Our launch party was a jam-packed night in which we launching many things, including:
– a brand new MISN website!
– delicious snacks!
– a participatory, city-wide sticker attack to commemorate Topacio!
– the new, mining-themed, issue of The Peak!
– the trailer for a new mining resistance documentary, by a MISN member!
– and, of course, our gorgeous new Spring into Action posters and promo materials!
April 20 – Standing with Clyde River Inuit: Rally at the Courthouse
The Inuit community of Clyde River are trying to use the court system to stop offshore oil and gas exploration in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. Their request for an injunction against proposed seismic surveys was heard on Monday, April 20 at the Federal Court of Appeal in Toronto, at 180 Queen Street West.
The Clyde River Solidarity Network organized a rally outside the courthouse at 12:00 noon to show support for Clyde River.
April 28 – Confront Barrick Gold
Every year, Barrick Gold gathers with their major shareholders and board of directors at their Annual General Meeting in downtown Toronto. This year, just like every year, we gathered on April 28th, 2015 to support campaigns for justice, accountability, and a future for communities directly impacted by their mines.
April 29 – Evict Imperial: Stand with Secwepemc Women Warriors Society
April 29th was a national day of action called for by Secwepemc Women Warriors Society to demand the eviction of Imperial Metals and to stop the reopening of the Mount Polley Mine. Last August, Imperial Metals dumped 14.5 million cubic meters of toxic mining waste in to the unceded Territory of the Secwepemc Peoples. The spill has disrupted the Secwepemc Peoples way of life. The toxics tailings have reached the Fraser watershed and the 2nd largest salmon spawning grounds in the world. Allowing this corporation to reopen the Mount Polley mine is a violation of sovereignty and opens the territory up to further damage.
The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and No One Is Illegal – Toronto worked together on April 29th, 2015 to plan a demonstration at the Toronto Stock Exchange — which facilitates the negligent practices of Canadian mining companies — in honour of this day and to hold Imperial Metals accountable for the Mount Polley disaster.
April 30 – No More Goldcorp No More Murders
On April 30, 2015, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network joined with over 50 marchers in Toronto’s Financial District to greet Goldcorp head executives and shareholders outside of Goldcorp Inc’s Shareholders Meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel on Queen Street West.
The marchers held up photos of the devastating impacts on community members and the environment of Goldcorp’s Marlin mine in Guatemala and highlighted Goldcorp’s failure to listen to local communities, the increased social unrest that has existed since the mine’s inception, and ongoing human rights abuses and environmental devastation.
Hosting Sergio Campusano
MISN had the honour and pleasure of hosting Sergio Campusano here in Toronto for a week, and accompanying him to four events in four (very busy) days – the Barrick, Goldcorp, and New Gold shareholder meetings, and the large annual May Day convergence, where Sergio spoke to the thousands gathered. Sergio is president of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural Community in Northern Chile.
May 8 – Centerra Gold AGM
On May 8, in response to requests for support from activists in Kyrgyzstan, a MISN member and shareholder (of 1 share) of Centerra Gold spoke at their annual general meeting. Rachel spoke about studies pointing to excessive water contamination and communicated reports from Kyrgyzstan that those trying to expose the mine were being tortured. She warned that Centerra’s Kumtor mine could go the way of Pascua Lama, which is a similar mine build beside precious glaciers that was recently shut down mid-construction due to environmental violations. She offered shareholders a pamphlet based on information she had received about the mine, and so many shareholders wanted this information that she ran out of pamphlets!
May 14 – Crude Gold: Stories of Justice Denied in Colombia
On May 14th, 2015, MISN was honoured to be involved in organizing the world premiere of Crude Gold, a series of short documentaries showcasing 4 pivotal cases of foreign-funded mining exploitation connected to Canadian investors, followed by a panel discussion with special guests from El Salvador and Colombia.
The screening of these films was followed by a panel discussion with special guests Yanira Cortez Estévez (Deputy Attorney for the Environment for the Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman office), Marcos Gálvez (President of the National Executive of the Association for the Development of El Salvador and a founding member of the National Roundtable against Mining in El Salvador) and Martin Ayala (Coordinator of investigations at COS-PACC, the Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services) who joined us via Skype, as his visa was denied.
May 15 – Stop the Suits, Close the (Kangaroo) Court!
On May 15th, 2015, MISN and allies carried out a public theatre action in anticipation of an imminent ruling from a little-known arbitration tribunal at the World Bank that could force El Salvador to pay Canadian-Australian mining firm OceanaGold US$301 million for denying a gold mining permit.
The tribunal was performed in front of First Canadian Place, the building where OceanaGold’s Toronto office is located, and included a Kangaroo “judge”, two tribunal members, and representatives from OceanaGold. Protestors were present to denounce this “Kangaroo Court” and condemn the lawsuit for attempting to rob El Salvador and punish an entire country for trying to protect its water. The protestors were joined by two guests from El Salvador who addressed the tribunal – Yanira Cortez, the Deputy Attorney for the Environment fo El Salvador’s Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office, and Marcos Galvez, President of the Association for the Development of El Salvador. The speakers highlighted how investor-state arbitration threatens democratic decision-making, public health and the environment here and beyond our borders.
The protestors then delivered nearly 175,000 signatures on a petition condemning OceanaGold’s lawsuit to the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Office.
May 21 – Hudbay Hurts Us All
In May 2015, for the first time, communities from across the Americas impacted by Canadian company Hudbay Minerals came together. On May 21st, 2015 — the evening before Hudbay’s annual shareholders’ meeting — MISN hosted a gathering for representatives from these communities to get together, share stories, and give testimony to their experiences with people based in Toronto.
Through our stories, art, and voices we built connections across the borders that keep us and our movements apart. We mapped out the ways that Hudbay’s violence – and the broader acts of colonization carried out through Canadian mining – hurts us all.
May 22 – United Against Hudbay
From Guatemala to Manitoba, from Arizona to Peru, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are mobilizing to seek justice and reparations for the crimes, violations and harms carried out by Hudbay Minerals, for the acts of colonization carried out by their mines. They are organizing in defense of their land and in favour of a fair and just development model.
For the first time, communities from across the Americas impacted by Canadian company Hudbay Minerals all came together.
On May 22, 2015, MISN and Rights Action joined with over 60 protesters in Toronto’s Financial District to confront Hudbay Minerals’ executives and shareholders both within and outside of the companies annual shareholder meeting. The protest was called in solidarity with communities from across the Americas impacted by violence, land theft, and environmental harm at the hands of this Canadian company.