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People Before Profit! An Epic #DisruptPDAC Report-Back

On March 1st, the world’s largest mining convention (PDAC, or the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada) began in Toronto, as it does every year. In response, we gathered alongside over 500 people outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in solidarity with every community on Turtle Island and beyond that has found itself staring down the barrel of a gun for opposing Canada’s ongoing colonial project through violent resource extraction. This rally was planned by a loose coalition of a dozen allied Toronto groups and endorsed by over 50 organizations and groups who all supported our mission to disrupt PDAC in demand of the following:

  • No more pipelines
  • No fossil fuel extraction
  • No more open pit mines
  • No more land theft and forced displacement
  • No more corporate impunity
  • Status for all, including all those displaced by extractive industries and their destructive impacts
  • Full recognition of Indigenous sovereignty
  • Respect for local self-determination

With this mission in our hearts, we came together en masse and it was big and beautiful!

This beautiful video made by XR Toronto really captures the spirit of the day

On Sunday March 1, together we:

  • Flooded and blocked Front Street for a total of four hours
  • Surrounded the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with three roving parties of justice-loving people
  • Blocked all the major entrances to the convention centre – the two major pedestrian entrances on the North and South sides of the building, plus the parking garage entrance on the East side
  • Unfurled a beautiful 50-foot banner saying “Blood On Your Hands” from a prominent railing inside the building, for all PDAC attendees to see, as well as a smaller People Before Profit banner
  • Livestream broadcast the rally to a public square in Ecuador, with additional viewers from all across Latin America: link to view the livestream here
  • Ate delicious food at the Food Beyond Extraction food cart
  • Protected each other and managed to avoid any arrests despite all the awesome direct action and the large police presence including riot cops on horses
  • Dealt with a medical emergency due to police violence thanks to street medics’ quick response
  • Blocked the police’s Clearview Artificial Intelligence camera for facial recognition (first time it’s been used in Toronto at a public protest) for a majority of the protest with a tall banner (more on OPP’s illegal use of Clearview here)
  • Hung almost 300 red ribbons on a string spanning the entirety of Front St, in honour of those who lost their lives in the Samarco and Brumadinho mining disasters in Brazil. This installation blew beautifully in the breeze, and led one of our roving troupes up and down Lower Simcoe Street as it moved. 
  • Raised over $700 for the Unist’ot’en Legal Fund at the Food Beyond Extraction food cart
  • Danced, marched, and sang to the music made by Maracatu Mar Aberto (with friends from Baque de Bamba), Cee Reality, Cassie Norton, and many other spontaneous eruptions of song that took place throughout the afternoon
  • Heard messages directly from impacted communities about how mining is affecting their lives and livelihoods.

Photos

Below is a selection of photos from the rally taken by Allan Lissner.
Michael Zender posted a beautiful photo album here.
Scroll down below the photos for a media round-up, additional disruptive actions, and more.

Media Coverage

Here are some of the best pieces that were written about the rally:
All of Toronto’s mainstream media outlets covered the rally and included our messaging! Some pieces that were published include:

And, of course, the rally was covered by our “friends” at mining.com: Anti-mining protesters block entrances to PDAC annual convention

We also managed to briefly hijack the coverage of Justin Trudeau’s speech the following day at PDAC:

Throughout the rest of the four-day convention, we kept the heat on PDAC:

  • MISN crashed the keynote speech by drowning it out with the sound of jackhammers, in critique of Ontario’s free entry system. We wrote an article about it
  • Some mysterious friends ensured that all visitors to the PDAC washrooms were confronted with the realities of the mining industry by stickering the backs of all stall doors…
  • NOII did a banner action as PDAC attendees gathered for the invitation only finale gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, chanting “No Borders! No Mines! No Dirty Corporate Pipelines!”
  • Members of the Chilean community in Toronto and allies held a solidarity rally to greet Chile’s Minister of Mining at PDAC and denounce his attempts to encourage even more mining investment in a country where Canadian mining companies are playing a central role in exacerbating the worst drought in recent history. Watch the rally livestream here, which was viewed over 17,000 times with incredible messages of support pouring in from Chile!
  • A stealthy crew of activists in suits attended PDAC every day to fulfill specific information-gathering requests on behalf of dozens of communities directly impacted by the projects of the mining companies at PDAC.

This isn’t over!

This year we saw an incredible surge of interest from community members and activist groups across the city who see common cause in coming together when powerful decision-makers who are destroying our planet and the values that we stand for gather. When they gather, we will be there to disrupt business as usual! PDAC is just one of many manifestations of the broader crisis that we find ourselves in, of violent capitalism, colonialism, displacement, and corporate impunity. The good news is, people across the world seem to be waking up and realizing that this world needs to change now, and they are joining the rest of us who have known that for a long time in doing something about it. Thank you to everybody who worked so hard in bringing this one moment into reality – we look forward to creating much more with you.

Until next year, with love: 

The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Artists for Climate & Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty, Extinction Rebellion Toronto, No One Is Illegal Toronto, Showing Up For Racial Justice Toronto, Climate Justice Toronto, OPIRG Toronto, Fridays for Future Toronto, Toronto Anarchist Bookfair Collective, Church of St. Stephen in-the-Fields, as well as well as many individual community members who were indispensable in making this happen!

Posters and Graphics for March 1st rally at PDAC

Please share the images below using the hashtag #disruptPDAC and link to the facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/171661517456658/ or linktr.ee/march1

Click to enlarge:






Thank you to Michael DeForge for the poster design.
www.michael-deforge.com

People Before Profit: Evict the Corporate Villains!

Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 12 PM
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West, Toronto
Facebook event
Graphics and more info here

To quote Utah Phillips, “The Earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” And precisely those people are about to gather in our city (and we know where they’ll be on March 1st).

What is PDAC?

From March 1-4 Toronto will play host to the world’s largest mining conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. With approximately 25,000 attendees, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention will host many of the world’s most destructive and violent companies together in one place, making deals to sell off the rest of the planet and extract every last bit of oil, gold, uranium, and every other exploitable resource that they can find.

The attendees list doubles as a Rolodex of the world’s worst corporate criminals. Just one company alone–Teck, PDAC’s top sponsor– is trying to push through approval for a mega tarsands mine that would single-handedly blow through Canada’s emissions budget and make it impossible to meet our climate targets. PDAC attendees include some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and represent companies committing some of the worst climate and human rights crimes in the world.

Why should you care about the PDAC convention?

Because Canada’s mining companies, with the full and unconditional support of the Canadian government, wreak havoc on communities around the world, blatantly violating human and Indigenous rights, inflicting severe environmental destruction, and creating vast economic inequalities. They do this behind the guise of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, holding glitzy galas to celebrate each other’s greenwashing and charitable efforts.

Because their “business as usual” is a direct path to a planet that is literally unlivable. A world with even greater levels of wealth inequality. A world in which the mining companies that inflict mass forced displacement are also the lobbyists for harsher border and migration policies. A world defined by imperialism and neo-colonialism. A world where the rights of capital take precedence over human rights. This is not the world we deserve. And it is not the world we are trying to build.

JOIN US on March 1st to protest PDAC!

A coalition of community groups are calling on Torontonians to join us in protesting PDAC. On Sunday, March 1st at noon, we will show up in solidarity with those on the front lines to stand up for the future we all deserve.

Come on out, bring your friends, colleagues, neighbours, and loved ones. Come be with us as we gather in community to stand up to the extractive industry’s violence, ongoing colonization, and complete disregard for the future of life on this planet.
They are not in charge of our city, our futures, or this planet.

Context and Demands

Toronto: the hub of extractivism

It’s no accident that PDAC takes place in our city every year. Nearly 75% of mining companies around the world are Canadian, and Toronto in particular is known as the global hub for mining finance. This same industry is also one of the world’s most egregious offenders when it comes to human rights and environmental abuses, infamous for destruction through:

❎ Violent colonization to shove through their extractive projects,
❎ Land theft, forced displacement, and dispossession of land and livelihood,
❎ Creation of militarized warzones to defend their oil rigs and mines,
❎ Violent repression including assassination and sexual assault of those who resist,
❎ Disruption of culture and community cohesion,
❎ Wide-scale contamination of water, land, and air, threatening health and food security.

Enough is enough!

We demand an end to all of this extractive violence that renders our planet unlivable.

This requires:
✅ No more pipelines
✅ No fossil fuel extraction
✅ No more open pit mines
✅ No more land theft and forced displacement
✅ No more corporate impunity
✅ Status for all, including all those displaced by extractive industries and their destructive impacts
✅ Full recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and respect for local self-determination

PDAC and everything it stands for is fundamentally incompatible with the world we need to build for our future.

To endorse the action and to connect with our event organizers, please email [email protected]

Remembering Dave Vasey

A year ago today we lost a dear friend and fellow organizer who had a presence at and behind the scenes of so many actions for justice around Tkaronto. He also played a key role in founding MISN and supporting us over the past decade.

Sadly, Dave was no stranger to state repression and struggled with mental health. Last January, at the age of 40, Dave ended his life. It is important we remember and honour those who have been lost to suicide while also supporting and helping those who live. Dave is deeply missed by the many who were touched by his tireless work, his generosity, his passion, and his mentorship.

We honour you, Dave Vasey, and your legacy of good work in our community and beyond. You are so deeply missed.


Dave supported almost every major MISN action we held. He is pictured here carrying our giant (and very heavy) Peter Munk puppet on his back during a demo calling out the violence of this mining company CEO.

Dave Vasey (November 14, 1978 – January 27, 2019) was an environmental justice, Indigenous solidarity, and anti-fascist organizer based in Toronto, Ontario. He was someone who felt deeply his responsibility to work towards a more just and sustainable world, and worked, almost entirely as a volunteer, for several causes and projects.

We celebrated him in a way that he would have us: with art, ceremony, music, words from our hearts, followed by a candlelit march with a marching band, fireworks, and a route covered with posters commemorating him and his words. Finally we gathered together to share a meal and performances celebrating his life. Hundreds of people came out to honour this wonderful person and activist, who brought so many into the movement and inspired us with his actions.

He was a starter of organizations, playing a founding role in RAN Toronto, EJ Toronto, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Rising Tide Toronto, Toronto People’s Assembly On Climate Justice and the anti-fascist self defence club as well as playing a principal role in Occupy Toronto, the environmental justice day of action during the G20, Aamjiwnaang solidarity and the province-wide network resisting Line 9.

Dave emphasized spreading organizing tools amongst the grassroots networks in which he participated, often leading trainings on marshalling, non-violent direct action, and de-escalation. He was courageous in the work that he did, often taking on roles that would risk or lead to arrest.

Besides the organizing that Dave led, throughout his life he supported groups like OCAP Toronto, No One Is Illegal, the Toronto Seed Library, Grassy Narrows Support and No More Silence by postering, volunteering his time, and being boots-on-the-ground at many actions throughout Toronto.

Dave was also a builder, landscaper and gardener. He grew many beautiful gardens for friends and neighbours, including the garden at Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields. He gave generously of his time and skills and cared deeply for his community in addition to the causes that we were all working towards.

OceanaGold Out, Now! Solidarity with the Nueva Vizcaya Barricade

Today is an international day of action in support of the ongoing barricade against OceanaGold’s mining operations in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. 

The struggle is global. Together, voices around the world are crying out: OceanaGold out, NOW!

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