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UPDATE: Barlow speaks to 600 people in Comox Valley about peaceful direct action

Yesterday evening, more than 600 people filled the gymnasium at the Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay, British Columbia to hear Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and lawyer/ author Leo McGrady speak on peaceful direct action in Canada.

In her speech, Barlow spoke against the Schedule 2 provision that allows for mine tailings to be dumped into freshwater lakes across Canada; about the Keystone XL pipeline that if approved would expand the destruction of the tar sands and threaten the Ogallala aquifer; this coming Monday’s civil disobedience action on Parliament Hill against the impact of tar sands on First Nations peoples, water and the climate; the human right to water and sanitation; the Canada-European Union free trade agreement set to be signed in just a few months time; and BC premier Christy Clark’s ‘plan’ to diminish environmental regulations to speed up the approval of eight new mines and the expansion of nine existing mines in the province.

While the Comox Valley Echo coverage of last night is not yet available, the newspaper had reported earlier on Friday that, “(The Peaceful Direct Action Coalition in Comox Valley) is sponsoring a two day event on Friday and Saturday, the 23rd and 24th of September. The Friday evening event is a Town Hall Meeting at Isfeld Secondary School featuring two of Canada’s most renowned civil society activists. …Maude Barlow is a founder and Honourary National Chair of the Council of Canadians. …Leo McGrady, Q.C. is the author of the Civil Disobedience Handbook, which has been the definitive guide to citizens’ rights for the past 15 years. …Both guests will be addressing the long and proud tradition of peaceful direct action in Canada, and encouraging ordinary citizens to fulfill their responsibility to get up and act when governments fail to listen to their citizens.”

“The coalition’s main purpose is to educate the Comox Valley public on its rights and responsibilities in relation to peaceful protest and peaceful direct action. Their stated goal is to mobilize hundreds of citizens to relearn that peaceful direct action is a fundamental democratic right, to remember that when governments are ignoring the will of the people, it is the responsibility of citizens to react strongly, collectively and peacefully.”

That newspaper report adds, “The Saturday event, at the lower Native Sons Hall is an all-day workshop designed to give citizens information and the tools they need to organize peaceful direct actions of their own. …The workshop will provide detailed information on citizens’ rights and responsibilities and provide a series of tools for people wishing to organize peaceful direct actions of their own.” British Columbia-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal reports this morning that 80-100 people are at the workshop now.

More soon.