When the Truth and Reconciliation report was released in 2015, many saw it as a chance to finally acknowledge the past and move forward together in a harmonious relationship with the Indigenous peoples on whose land we live and work. Fast forward to five years later and while the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten peoples’ health and disrupt their lives, industry is pushing ahead with projects that disregard Indigenous rights, including the right to Free, Informed and Prior Consent. From east coast to west coast, we continue to see racist harassment and violence directed against Indigenous people, often in the name of land and resource theft. Government is complicit in these ongoing acts of colonial violence whether they support industry outright or stand aside and do nothing. Both stances are an abdication of duty. They are the continuation of a genocidal Canadian protocol that puts profits above the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities, valuing industrial projects more than human rights.
Well, that was fast.
On September 23rd, we heard the speech from the throne in which the Liberal government promised many things with many nice words. A lot of those promises centred on environmentalism and upholding Indigenous rights. Yet here we are, only a week later, and already it feels like we’ve been fed a bunch of lies yet again.
photo: janrune-smenes-reiteRead more
Call to action for Canada to act now to secure a just and livable future for all.
We at Toronto350 call on the Canadian government to follow through on its recent commitments to “build back better” and invest in a green recovery in the wake of COVID-19. This moment presents a critical opportunity to shift our course toward a better future. Either we plan to meet our Paris Agreement targets, and invest in the health and wellbeing of our communities, or we leave a legacy of defeat in an ever-warming future. As COVID-19 lays bare the appalling inequalities and injustices ever-present in Canadian society, our demands grow more urgent. Paying lip service to the issues that impact us is not enough. Dangerous climate warming leading to more extreme weather events; a growing socioeconomic gap; the rights of workers to sick leave and other basic entitlements; access to affordable and decent housing; respect for Indigenous sovereignty – these are just a few of the issues we face that are crucial to address. We cannot and will not return to the “old normal”- we know that building back better means prioritizing people before profit and investing in ways that safeguard the health and well-being of all.Read more
Yet again, the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations near Caledonia are being invaded by developers and the authorities in the municipality of Haldimand. The developers, Mackenzie Meadows, want to build a housing development on unceded Haudenosaunee land, profiting from territory that does not belong to them. To do this they must steal the land from the rightful owners, the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee.Read more
When the current Ontario government came into power with a majority, the first thing they did was reverse the climate initiatives that were well underway. They cut funds to energy efficiency programs, rolled back renewables and clean industry projects and put out a climate plan with significantly less ambition. The new plan reduced greenhouse gas emission cuts by about a third, allowing for 30MT more pollution!
Now, the Ontario government wants to ramp up Ontario’s gas-powered plants, undoing a third of the gains made from coal plant closures and increasing Greenhouse gas emissions 300% by 2025 and 400% by 2040. In fact, they just spent $2.8 billion on 3 gas plants to do so! To supply the plants, Enbridge wants to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas from the U.S.
First Nations, land and water at greater risk after Supreme Court denies leave to appeal
On July 2, 2020, in a ruling with no explanation provided, the Supreme Court of Canada denied the Squamish Nation, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Coldwater Indian Band leave to appeal an earlier federal court decision that found Cabinet’s approval to proceed with the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion project was reasonable.
The Nations challenged the consultation process, effectively asking: is consultation adequate where the owner of a project, who also has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the Nations impacted, performs the consultation, then assesses the adequacy of its own process? The Canadian government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in 2018.Read more
Toronto350 stands against the murder and brutalization of Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, and honours the memory of all Black, Indigenous, racialized, and other marginalized/targeted victims of police violence across Turtle Island. We unequivocally support the demands of Black Lives Matter-Canada (BLM-Canada) to defund, demilitarize, disarm and dismantle the police.Read more
Organizations all across the country, including Toronto350, want to prompt changes coming out of the pandemic that confront inequality and systemic racism, to ensure safety and health, and to seize the window of opportunity we have now, to turn the corner away from harmful practices that destroy our climate and the living world around us.
Toronto350’s Just Recovery teachin presents a way that we can win this safer, greener and healthier future. Here is a recording! Toronto350 Teach-in. There are also some things listed near the end of the blog, that we can do now.