Welcome to Canada’s “Greenest” city – Vancouver – known for it's bike lanes, fresh salmon, vegan food and over 1,200 offices of the world’s biggest resource extraction firms.
Disillusion might finally be settling into the minds of the fun-loving, goofy Canadians under the folksy impression that Canada is a “good” and “humanitarian” country. A few years ago Canada received a failing grade from Amnesty International for horrendous human rights abuses against Indigenous people, women and refugees. But these abuses are not limited to the land and people within our boarders. Canadian mining companies are rated among the most violent, oppressive and powerful companies in the world. The displacement and death of Indigenous communities worldwide is not only sanctioned by the Federal and Provincial governments: it's subsidized.
Photo: C.G. Armstrong
Yesterday, hundreds gathered on Coast Salish territories for a Toxic Tour of Vancouver-based mining corporations housed in some of the downtown’s fanciest high-rises. Among the list of extractive companies occupying the city's core are Chevron, China Gold International (wreaking serious havoc in Tibet) , Imperial Metals (made famous in 2014 by the breech of a tailings pond into Lake Quesnel, one of Canada's worst environmental disasters in recent history), Eldorado Gold Corp., Goldcorp, Barrick Gold and Tahoe Resources.
75% of the world’s mining companies are head quartered in Canada and walking in the “Green’s city” downtown you cannot, as tour guide Steve Stewart noted, “ring a dead cat three times without hitting a mining office.”
Photo: C.G. Armstrong
Canada's track record with extractive industry is insestuous at best. John Baird recently took up an advising position at Barrick Gold where more subsidies and diplomatic support will undoubtedly flow to the world's largest gold mining company whose security forces in Tanzania allegedly killed over a dozen villagers since 2011 (See Protest Barrick).
Canada is not an cannot be a “Green Country”; in some ways it doesn't even pretend to be anymore. But Vancouver is not and cannot be a “Green City” when it houses hundreds of corporations whose m.o. is to escalate and intensify causes of climate change and abuses against Indigenous people worldwide.
Discover ways to support indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection movements in Canada and elsewhere.
Work with your friends, neighbours, unions and associations to demand pension investment reforms, lobby politicians, and build support for legislation that hold Canadian corporations accountable.
Withdraw your own investments from harmful extractive projects. Demand full, public, and ethical funding for local arts and culture, education, health, and social welfare programs, and reject "goldwash" funding companies that engage in or support extractive industries.