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Hamilton chapter co-sponsors Spirit of Red Hill Valley lecture on the Leap Manifesto

Photo by Emma Cubitt.

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter co-sponsored the Spirit of Red Hill Valley lecture by Avi Lewis on November 30.

The Hamilton Spectator reports, “Lewis, outspoken activist, documentary filmmaker and an author of the controversial Leap Manifesto that shook up the NDP’s national convention this year, spoke to a packed house at the First Unitarian Church in Hamilton Wednesday night. In an often stirring address, marbled with humour, indignation and hope, Lewis submitted an audit of the injuries the environment will suffer as the result of the Trudeau government’s environmental pawn brokering. He began his talk, the featured twelfth annual Spirit of the Red Hill Lecture, in a mood of utter dismay at the Trudeau government’s approval of the TransMountain and Line 3 pipelines, saying the decision ‘changes everything’.”

The article adds, “Turning to the Leap Manifesto, Lewis said, ‘The scale of our proposals (in the Leap Manifesto) matches the scale of the crises. It (Leap) utterly rejects incrementals. Instead it calls for change that is transformative.’ The manifesto, he explained, is a consensus document that corralled the input of different groups – indigenous voices, anti-poverty, faith organizations, environmentalists, labour and much else. Its essence is a call for a ‘Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another.’ He called our present course ‘suicidal’ and said the time for Leap is now.”

Lewis’ talk was followed by a panel discussion with Lynda Lukasik (Executive Director, Environment Hamilton), Hannah Katli’n Martin (Mi’kmaw storyteller and activist), and Matthew Green (Ward 3 Councillor, City of Hamilton).

Chapter activist Don McLean tells us, “The public forum was attended by about 350 people who donated over $1200 to the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s legal challenge to the Line 9 pipeline that was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on the same day.”

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation legal challenge asserts that the National Energy Board approved the reversal of the flow of the 300,0000 barrel per day Line 9 pipeline through Chippewas land without the Crown first fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult the First Nation. Chippewas band council member Myeengun Henry says, “The Canadian government has neglected its duties when it comes section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Where a project is going to significantly impact our traditional lands, where there is hunting and fishing and gathering, [Section 35] provides for meaningful consultation. That’s the basis for us taking this to the Supreme Court.”

The Council of Canadians supports the Chippewas of the Thames challenge at the Supreme Court, opposes the construction of the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and the 760,000 barrel per day Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, and fully backs the Leap Manifesto.

When the Leap Manifesto was launched in September 2015, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow commented, “At the grassroots level we have in our organization local activist chapters and they are hungry for this kind of vision and direction.” Between October 2015 and January 2016, twenty-seven Council of Canadians chapters screened Lewis’ film This Changes Everything to an audience totalling 4,240 people. Lewis was also a keynote speaker at our Groundswell 2016 conference in St. John’s this past October.

To add your name to the Leap Manifesto, please click here.