June 16, 2018

Council of Canadians honorary chairperson and Right Livelihood Award recipient Maude Barlow is calling for the release of Oyub Titiev, the head of the Chechnya office of the Russian human rights group Memorial.

The New York Times reports, "Ramzan A. Kadyrov did not sustain himself as the autocratic leader of the Chechen republic by failing to understand the value of propaganda and spectacle. ...He has convinced a parade of athletes and celebrities to come here to take his hand and his money. Sports like soccer, boxing and mixed martial arts serve as Mr. Kadyrov’s passions and attempts at international legitimacy, economic development, enhancing his cult of personality at home and extending his brand of macho nationalism."

The 2018 FIFA World Cup started on June 14 in Russia and will run through to July 15. Thirty-two teams are playing soccer matches in 11 cities and have base camps across the country. Notably, the Egyptian soccer team has its base camp in Grozny, the capital city of the Chechen Republic in Russia.

June 15, 2018

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter and water campaigner Emma Lui took part in a protest against water shutoffs in Detroit.

Here's a snapshot of recent and upcoming chapter actions across the country:

Climate justice
1- Thirty-one chapters take part in #StoptheKMbuyout actions
2- Edmonton chapter and allies protest Trudeau's visit to Kinder Morgan terminal
3- Saint John chapter hold 'Passport to a Low Carbon Future EcoHomes Tour'
4- London chapter to protest vs Kinder Morgan buyout, June 16

5- Inverness, South Shore, Montreal chapters take part in Stop G7 actions
6- Montreal, Ottawa chapters host Gordon Laxer talk on NAFTA and energy proportionality
7- Halton chapter to host Gordon Laxer talk on NAFTA, June 19

June 15, 2018

Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2018.

The Trudeau government has introduced Bill C-79, legislation to implement the so-called 'comprehensive and progressive' Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Maude Barlow says, "It may be rebranded, but it’s the same deal which an overwhelming majority – almost all Canadians consulted – said they opposed.”

NDP trade critic Tracey Ramsey highlights, "There is no gender chapter, there is no consent from the Aboriginal people in Canada. The labour provisions themselves have been called toothless, they've been called weak. The agreement doesn't even use the word 'climate change' – that's how environmentally weak it is."

And Unifor president Jerry Dias comments, "The risks and uncertainty that CPTPP rules pose for auto, dairy, culture and other major industries, along with an entrenched investor-state dispute system, far outweigh any stated benefit."

June 14, 2018

A new Italian coalition government was formed under Giuseppe Conte on June 1 following months of negotiations after the March 4 election.

The Five Star Movement-League coalition is considered to have a thin majority (347 seats in the 630 seat legislature), but it is also supported by the far-right Brothers of Italy party (which has 32 seats).

Reuters now reports, "Italy will not ratify the European Union's free trade agreement with Canada... Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio said the Italian government would ask the parliament not to ratify the treaty since it does not ensure sufficient protection for the country's specialty foods."

The article highlights the significance of this when it notes, "All 28 EU member states must approve the agreement for it to take full effect."

June 13, 2018
Flint is still dealing with the lead poisoning of residents’ drinking water. Residents of Detroit are once again experiencing water shutoffs. Ontario has the highest number of Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations out of all the provinces in Canada. All the while Nestlé is allowed to pump millions of litres of water from Ontario and Michigan every day to bottle and sell for profit. 
I went to Detroit this past weekend to meet with the Water Is Life coalition to talk about these and other water justice issues around the Great Lakes. Nearly 20 organizations gathered over two days to develop strategies to prevent the privatization and commodification of water, ensure affordable access to drinking water and sanitation, uphold Indigenous rights to water, protect the Great Lakes and implement the UN-recognized human rights to water and sanitation.