Archive for November 2013

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women   Leave a comment

Taking Liberties: Why do we jail women who choose to live?

By Matthew Behrens, November 25, 2013

Photo: banlon1964/flickr

Trigger alert, this story contains disturbing reports of assault.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization released a comprehensive study that found more than a third of all women worldwide — 35.6 per cent — will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The great majority of this violence is committed by intimate male partners in acts that can only be described as domestic or home-grown terrorism. It’s the latest in an endless stream of similar reports on this form of domestic terror, but Canada and other governments refuse to both recognize the extent of the crisis and respond accordingly.

When the report was released, WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan declared, “These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions. We also see that the world’s health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence.” The report found that of the women who experience direct attacks, 42 per cent require some form of hospitalization.

In confirming what more than half of the population already knows is a daily reality, the WHO report did not exactly produce a firestorm of response and calls for urgent action from government leaders. Instead, their “war on terrorism” focuses on racial and religious profiling, the jailing of innocents, the closing of borders to refugees, extra-judicial assassination by Canadian-made drones, and continuation of indefinite detention and rendition-to-torture programs. There are no massive interventions that address the greatest purveyors of fear and violence in Canada and around the world: the men in women’s lives.

As of April 2010, there were an astounding 593 women’s shelters in Canada. Earlier this month, the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses released its annual Femicide report, a grim reminder of women’s lives snuffed out by men in Ontario during 2013. And despite a United Nations call for Canada to develop a comprehensive national review to end violence against aboriginal women, Canada’s envoy to the UN in Geneva rejected the idea. Similarly, in 2010, Canada adopted a National Action Plan for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security which included supporting the rights of girls and women abroad, but it is unclear if anything has been done because it has failed to deliver on its promise of annual and midterm reports.

Perhaps that is due in part to the fact that Canada’s rhetoric about supporting women’s rights (a mainstay of its justification for the occupation of Afghanistan) rings hollow. In Afghanistan, Canada’s presence does not appear to have moved things forward for women. Indeed, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported last December that women who flee rapists and abusive husbands are regularly jailed by the hundreds for alleged “moral crimes.” Among those jailed are those who have defended themselves against and, in the process, wounded or killed rapists.

Lest one conclude that Afghanistan is just “behind the times,” it is worth noting that here in North America, women who choose to live by defending themselves are similarly jailed in alarming numbers. In the U.S., the Michigan Women’s Justice and Clemency Project, found: “The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years.

The case of Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander, an African-American mother of three, did not kill her abusive ex-partner when he physically attacked her and threatened her with death only nine days after she gave birth. She fired a warning shot into the ceiling to scare him off, and as a result is serving 20 years of hard time in Florida. During her trial — one in which the judge rejected her “stand your ground” defence, the same rationale used by the state of Florida for failing to arrest the man who murdered Trayvon Martin — Alexander recounted numerous incidents of severe physical abuse including choking, attempted strangulation, and other incidents that required hospitalization. She lost the ability to swallow as a result of her injuries and lost 10 pounds. She subsequently obtained a domestic violence injunction against her ex. In 2010, when she was five months pregnant, she was “head-butted” twice, her clothes torn, and she was also thrown to the ground. During all these episodes — and at other times, as well — he threatened to kill her. At trial, numerous witnesses testified about seeing Alexander’s injuries, while in-laws of her abusive husband testified about his reputation for violence. One witness confirmed that Marissa Alexander met the criteria for “battered person’s syndrome.”

On top of this, her abusive husband admitted in a sworn affidavit, “The way I was with women… they never knew what I was thinking or what I might do. Hit them, push them. … I honestly think [Marissa] just didn’t want me to put my hands on her anymore, so she did what she feel like she have to do to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt, you know. … The gun was never actually pointed at me.

While an appeals court recently rejected her contention that she should have been granted immunity from prosecution under “stand your ground” (under which an individual can use deadly force if “he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm”, it did find, in granting her a new trial, that the jury was given the wrong instructions. The original judge essentially placed the burden of proof on Marissa Alexander when it came to showing that she was about to be attacked and needed to act in self-defence. The appeals court confirmed that Alexander “was charged with aggravated assault but — under any possible review of the evidence — inflicted no injury.”

While a new trial was a breakthrough, Alexander’s supporters called on the state to drop the charges and let her go free. Unfortunately, the state of Florida is pursuing the trial option, and a hearing to determine whether Marissa will be freed on bond and returned to her children (she has not seen her youngest child in three years) took place earlier this month, with a decision expected by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the man who continually assaulted her and threatened to take her life walks free.

I have had the privilege of corresponding with Alexander while she has been in jail. She is a compassionate and insightful person who recognized immediately upon going behind bars how many women were also in her shoes: they too were in jail because they chose to live, and the judicial system simply could not understand the terror that constituted their daily lives.

The case of Ashley White

Closer to home is the case of Ottawa’s Ashley White, 25, who earlier this year was found guilty of aggravated assault (and acquitted of attempted murder) for stabbing her abusive former boyfriend. She faces a possible maximum of 14 years behind bars for defending herself. According to press reports on her trial, White’s former boyfriend, Patrick Halcro, aged 36, a veteran of the Afghanistan occupation who suffers PTSD, often went into fits of rage and jealousy. He admitted in court to punching her and smashing her head into a doorframe. As QMI News reported, he claimed, “I used proportional force. I felt threatened.”

White suffered a shattered nose and cheekbone, requiring facial reconstruction surgery, in addition to post-concussion syndrome and a diagnosis of PTSD. The Ottawa Sun reported, “Medical evidence suggested her head trauma and the shock of seeing her face bathed in blood could have placed her in a state where she wouldn’t have known what she was doing when she stabbed Halcro. As for Halcro, the knife blade nicked his lung but a trauma surgeon said the injury was relatively minor.

At one point in the trial, White’s lawyer noted that after pummeling her, Mr. Halcro stepped over her bloodied body to retrieve his luggage. “Your luggage was more important to you than checking on Ashley,” the lawyer said. According to QMI News, “He said he didn’t realize the extent to which he’d hurt her until he got his bag and noticed a lot of blood where White had collapsed.”

The Ottawa Sun reported that White “remembers being pummeled on the floor as he loomed over her until she could no longer see and felt like she was going to die. He said: ‘I am trained to kill you and I will kill you’ or something like that, White said.”

Four years after his horrific beating, White remains out on restrictive bail, while her ex was never charged. A community of friends has come together to try and assist her with her massive legal bills, both for the trial and an expected appeal. That group has formed a Facebook page, on which they write: “We strongly believe [Ashley] was wrongly convicted of aggravated assault for stabbing her abusive ex-military boyfriend. After being beaten so badly she would later require reconstructive surgery and in a state of near unconsciousness, Ashley fended off the attack with a kitchen knife. It has never been explained why he was never charged and why the lead detective never testified in court, yet Ashley’s life is changed forever. Ashley’s friends and supporters are planning a fund-raising event to help her cover the $90,000 accumulated costs to date and $50,000+ she is facing in future legal fees.” To join that Facebook page, where you can leave messages of support and donate to her costs, visit here.

In the meantime, Marissa Alexander’s supporters ask that you contact this email address and visit this Facebook page and website.

As Canada marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, it is a reminder of how much work remains to be done, not simply on symbolic days, but every day as the war against women grinds mercilessly on.

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.

All Fracked Up   Leave a comment

Here’s some of a letter that I received from Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians:

Ban Fracking Now

Right now families across Canada are suffering terribly from fracking… and it’s getting worse.

David and Carol Diwell live every day fearing for their health. After fracking began next door to them in Dawson Creek, B.C., their once clean, safe drinking water is now extremely volatile and toxic.

FrackingIn neighbouring Alberta, farmers Shawn and Ronalie Campbell found the home of their dreams outside Ponoka. But relentless fracking has contaminated their groundwater with deadly methane and ruined their dream. South of them in Rosebud,Jessica Ernst can light her tap water on fire and has brought worldwide attention to her battle with energy giant EnCana.

Filthy, flammable drinking water is the terrible new reality for more and more families whose lives are being destroyed by the booming fracking industry.

It’s why at this very moment women, men and children of the Elsipogtog First Nation are courageously blocking American fracking company SWN from illegally entering their land. “I want my children to be able to eat fish and drink water without getting sick,” is how mother Amy Sock puts it.

Fracking signYet premiers like Christy Clark in B.C. and David Alward in New Brunswick are pushing for more fracking – not less! Government-issued permits allow fracking companies to drain local watersheds at the rate of up to 200 million litres per fracked well, leaving little for families and farms. A criminal lack of industry regulation and government oversight keeps landowners and communities powerless and in the dark. And Big Oil & Gas couldn’t have a better friend in Ottawa than Stephen Harper to keep it all this way.

Who’s going to put a stop to this fracking madness?

You and me, that’s who.

That’s why I’m urgently writing to you now. The Council of Canadians has just launched our national “Ban Fracking Now” campaign to help families and communities protect their land and drinking water, including developing public education materials, producing community action tools, and planning strategic political interventions.

News of Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities   Leave a comment

Well over 10,000 of us stood together at 130 rallies from coast to coast to coast on Saturday, November 16, 2013. Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities was beautiful, creative, funny, and, at times, profoundly moving.

Here are some of the incredible photos and media coverage of that event. Let’s hope that the political elite of all four national political parties is watching, and taking note of the power of the message. We are making a difference.

Photos : Defend Our Climate - Défendons notre climat
Check out the photos and blanket local media coverage at: http://www.defendourclimate.ca/2013/11/photos-media-coverage-far/

Visiting the Tar Sands   Leave a comment

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by Terry Dance-Bennink

A River Pilgrimage To The Oil Sands

A river pilgrimage to the oil sandsTerry Dance-Bennink and husband Theo Bennink beside Athabasca River, Fort McMurray

Six of us set off on a pilgrimage along the Athabasca River this fall, starting at its headlands in Alberta’s ice fields. It’s the largest energy extraction project on the planet and yet it’s out of sight, out of mind for most of us.

I’ve never seen the tar sands. I joined this trip because I wanted to see the source of the threat, as well as nature untouched by our greed. This is my testimony to what I learned on a journey through a natural wilderness, a man-made hell, and my own emotional wilderness.

Five women and one man (my 77 year-old husband, Theo) meet each other at a peaceful Franciscan retreat house with a beautiful view of the Rockies. We are to spend two weeks accompanying the river whenever we can, traveling in two cars.

We meet the river the next day and marvel at its power and milky sheen as we soak up the spray from Athabasca Falls. I can’t get over the vast swaths of green velvet forest, untouched by clear-cutting. Further along the Icefields Parkway, we hike up to the foot of a glacier but return somewhat sad as evidence of global warming is all around us. I’d visited this glacier 10 years ago and it’s noticeably smaller.

Athabasca Falls

Two pilgrims at glacier’s edge

Eventually we make our way towards Fort McMurray. Highway 63 is like nothing I’ve ever seen. We drive north for several hours on a straight flat road bordered with small stunted trees struggling to grow in marshy land. The infamous highway is being expanded into a four-lane expressway, a sign the oil companies are here to stay.

Highway 63

On our way into Fort McMurray we stop at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre. It’s an informative, slick propaganda tool designed by the oil industry, mainly for children. We are shocked by the coloured map which shows Fort McMurray and Fort McKay surrounded by dozens of oil companies. Every inch of land is claimed.

A map showing oil company claims

We head off to Fort McKay the next morning to meet 77-year-old Celina Harpe, a Cree-Chipewyan elder, who’s lived in the area all her life. On the way we finally glimpse the scope of the destruction – enormous tailings lakes (not ponds) filled with toxic chemicals, water and sand, some stretching as long as 14 miles. Ducks, geese and shorebirds die in agony when they mistakenly land in this disgusting stew that never freezes over.

The tailings lakes increase in volume at a rate that would fill the Toronto Skydome on a daily basis, according to Edmonton’s Pembina Institute. And they leak. The water is kept in an unlined earthen structure and even the official oil industry publication, Upstream Dialogue, acknowledges seepage into the ground water and Athabasca River.

The mines used 800 million bathtubs of fresh water last year, mostly from the Athabasca River. That’s as much water as a city of 2 million people require, according to Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Tar Sands. 70 per cent of this water ends up in tailings lakes.

Headwaters of Athabasca River

The dirt road into Fort McKay is a bumpy ride. We meet Celina and Clara – both born and raised in Fort McKay. Clara has prepared fried bannock with home-made jams and a lovely stew for us all. She lives in a new subdivision in a modern house but the tap water is undrinkable.

“Our new-borns come home from Fort McMurray and within a week, they show signs of asthma,” Clara tells us. “We have to drink bottled water and can only shower briefly in lukewarm water because it’s so toxic from chemicals used by the oil companies. We have all kinds of skin rashes. Dr. O’Connor tells our pregnant women and new-borns to completely avoid tap water.” One of us goes to the sink to wash our hands, and we’re quickly told to stop.

River pilgrims with Cree-Chipewyan elder, Celina Harpe

Dr. O’Connor is a family physician and director of Health and Human Services in Fort McKay. He first started working with Fort Chipewyan residents in 2001 and was concerned by the high incidence of cancer among the 1,200 people living downstream from the oil sands. When he raised his concerns publicly, he was persecuted by the oil industry and government and lost his medical license for “raising undue alarm.”

He was subsequently cleared and reinstated after public protest and evidence from the Alberta Cancer Board that, indeed, cancer rates were 30 per cent higher in the area than normal in 2009. And in the fall of 2009, the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found air pollution from the tar sands industry is five times greater than reported.

Dr. John O’Connor

The next day we drive back north to Fort McKay for lunch with Celina Harpe. She serves us baked bannock and a delicious moose stew – a first for me. Harpe is more than willing to share her life story with us, focusing a lot on the health issues in her community.

“In the old days, not many people died in one year. But we lost ten people last year – seven adults and three kids. Ten in one year is awful. My husband, Ed, sleeps all the time now because he has a cancerous tumour. There are dollars for housing but no clean water or air,” Harpe points out. “They’re going to build an extended care building right beside the river. But what about the toxic water?”

After hours of sharing, Celina wraps up with a moving story about her grandfather’s prediction of the devastation of their land.

“My grandfather used to sit on top of the hill – only he had a house there then. He’d look at the river for hours. I ran over one day and sat with him when I was a little girl. He said, ‘You know, God gave this river and ice and clear water – it’s so beautiful. In the future, if you have children, you’re going to have to tell them the white man is going to spoil that water. You’re going to have to buy clean water and they’re going to dig big holes for oil. There’s lots of oil here. They will tear up mother earth. Nice trees will be torn up. I don’t know where your grandchildren are going to go after that. I don’t like it but I see it.’

“I still remember what he said,” Harpe says. “Now I think about it and he was so, so right. My grandfather’s hunting ground is right where Suncor is now.”

I left the tar sands feeling quite overwhelmed. When you actually see the size of the devastation and the ruthlessness with which black gold is pursued, it’s easy to feel despair. I live within driving distanceof one of the world’s most environmentally damaging activities and yet I had never seen it. I’m not alone. If I remain silent, I’m complicit. The key to change is our political will.

Response to Typhoon Haiyan   Leave a comment

Today I received a letter about what just happened in the Philippines. It was from Bill McKibben of 350.org    Bill wants us to take two actions – are we willing?

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Friends,

Last week, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines — and left a path of destruction and tragedy in its wake. More than 10,000 people are feared dead.

Lines of communication are in still in chaos, but we managed to get in touch with Zeph, our amazing 350 Southeast Asia Coordinator in the Philippines. Here’s what she just emailed to our team:

“This lends urgency to our work. I think we need to be twice as strong as Typhoon Haiyan.”

If we need to be twice as strong, let’s do two things immediately:

1) Raise some money for direct relief to those in need.

These are our brothers and sisters in this movement. Below this email are some pictures from 350 actions across the islands over the years. This storm is a blow to a place already reeling from the effects of climate change. Metro Manila has seen repeated flooding from milder storms; there’s been a severe outbreak of dengue fever this year in the Philippines.

Among the pictures below you’ll see a group of volunteer 350 activists from Tacloban, one of the cities most ravaged by Haiyan. We don’t know the fate of all of our friends there, but we do know they need serious help now — so please do send what you can through direct relief organizations by clicking here.

2) Raise some hell.

Governments are meeting in Warsaw the next two weeks for the annual UN climate negotiations. This ritual has dragged on for years without conclusion, largely because the great powers have done so little. On days like these, their inaction amounts to mockery. So we’ve setup a page where you can add your name to a petition that our staff will hand-deliver to negotiators at the UN climate summit. In short, we need to let world leaders know that their inaction is wrecking the world, and the time is long past for mere talk — we need action, and we need it now.

Today at the UN climate summit, Mr. Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator of the Philippines, urged his fellow negotiators to take a bold stance. During the opening session of the summit, he committed to fastthroughout the two weeks of the talks until countries make real commitments around climate finance and reducing emissions.

Sano said, “let Poland, let Warsaw, be remembered as the place where we truly cared to stop this madness. Can humanity rise to this occasion? I still believe we can.”

I still believe we can too. Please sign on and donate whatever you can to the relief effort.

Many thanks,

Bill McKibben for 350.org

Posted November 11, 2013 by allanbaker in Environment

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The Nature of Ford Nation   Leave a comment

City Hall in Toronto seems to be in an upheaval because of the behaviour of Mayor Rob Ford, and his brother Doug.

Some question  where their support is rooted in the City of Toronto. Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume wrote an excellent analysis of “Ford Nation”. There are some parallels with an analysis of one group of Baby Boomers, written by Michael Adams in his book, “Stay’n Alive”. Adams labelled the group of Boomers as, “Disengaged Darwinists.”

Hume’s Column is found at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/11/04/suburban_outlook_undergirds_ford_nations_support_hume.html

Posted November 7, 2013 by allanbaker in Canadian society, Politics

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Canada’s Action on Climate Change   Leave a comment

Some of us missed this important letter from the Canadian Council of Churches to the federal Minister of the Enviorment.

The letter reasserts the CCC position that the climate crisis is a moral crisis: excessive self-interest, short-term thinking, destructive competition and greed have led to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. It also articulates concern that our federal government’s current efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions do not sufficiently address the true extent of the climatic crisis.

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The full text is as follows:

30 September 2013

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq

Minister of the Environment

Member of Parliament for Nunavut Les Terrasses de la Chaudière

10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3

Fax: +1 819 953 0279

Email: Minister@ec.gc.ca, Leona.Aglukkaq@parl.gc.ca

Re: Canada’s Action on Climate Change

Dear Minister Aglukkaq,

The Canadian Council of Churches wishes to congratulate you on your recent appointment as Minister of the Environment and we are writing to continue the dialogue on climate change that we have enjoyed with your predecessor, the honourable Peter Kent.

Beside the meetings and correspondence with Minister Kent, we have also benefitted from meetings with former Senior Policy Advisor Monica Kugelmass and the helpful exchange we had with Mr. Dan McDougall, Canada’s Chief Negotiator and Ambassador for Climate Change, in Montreal on May 29th this year.

We do not see the climate crisis as an environmental problem that can simply be solved technically. Rather, it is a moral crisis: excessive self-interest, short-term thinking, destructive competition and greed have led to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. We live in hope that as a society we can look beyond individual and national interests and collectively work for a better world that sustains all of us economically and ecologically—both now and for future generations.

Minister, faith communities in Canada are deeply concerned that our federal government’s current efforts to adequately reduce our greenhouse gas emissions do not sufficiently address the true extent of the climatic crisis. In early May, the world learned that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen to 400 parts per million, an amount not present in three to five million years. Representing Nunavut as you do, and as Chair of the Arctic Council you will be keenly aware of changes in the Arctic that affect local communities and the Inuit way of life, and are directly related to climate change.

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In light of the increasingly alarming context, we wish to follow-up on three concerns that our previous letter to Minister Kent of November 21 2012 and his February 28, 2013 response considered.

  1. Canada’s part in setting and reaching fair and clear carbon emissions targets to ensure global average temperatures stay below a 2 degree increase from pre-industrial levels. We urge Canada to develop an effective plan to reach Canada’s stated goal of 17% below the 2005 emission level by 2020. We are alarmed by reports that Canada is not likely to meet even this modest goal. In May 2012, Mr. Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, reported that the government’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to meet Canada’s target for 2020. Subsequent information supports that prediction. We also recognize that this goal is not as ambitious as the Kyoto Protocol and is inadequate to avoid devastating climatic impacts. Various reports have indicated that, cumulatively, pledges under the Copenhagen Accord fall far short of the range of emission reductions – 25 to 40% by 2020 – that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deems necessary to keep warming below a 2 degree Celsius rise. In Mr. Kent’s letter to us, he wrote that the Government of Canada is committed to implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory plan to achieve additional reductions until the target is reached. We anxiously await the long-promised announcement of regulations for the oil and gas industry. However, we share the Commissioner’s concern that the regulatory approach is not supported by an overall implementation plan that would explain how the regulations work together to meet the 2020 target. We urge you to communicate a complete plan, including implementation details, to our members and the Canadian public. We also encourage the Government of Canada to follow this with a more ambitious long-term plan that will be more effective in slowing the climate crisis.

  2. Play a constructive role in the design of the Green Climate Fund and contribute public funds to assist the poorest and most affected countries to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. We are thankful that Canada has already provided $1.2 billion between 2010 and 2012 as part of its Copenhagen commitment to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. We are pleased that Mr. McDougall acknowledged an ongoing role for public climate finance as part of the Copenhagen Accord promise to mobilize up to $100 billion/year by 2020 for developing countries. Yet, Canada has made no specific commitment to longer term financing. We encourage Canada, in keeping with the Doha Climate Change Conference request, to commit at least $1.2 billion for the 2013–2015 period. Ongoing public funds will be an essential component of this goal of $100 billion/year by 2020. We urge you to ensure that half of Canada’s contribution over this period be directed to adaptation projects in the form of grants, allowing countries of the Global South to better face the effects of rising temperatures and extreme weather. We further recommend that these monies not be diverted from Canada’s current international development budget. We also urge Canada to work constructively towards a fair, transparent and democratically governed Green Climate Fund to become the main channel for international climate finance.

  3.  A Canadian energy plan for renewable and non-renewable sources of energy that ensures a sustainable and healthy future for Canada. Mr. Kent referred this matter to your colleague, the Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, and we have also begun a dialogue with Tim Norris, Director of Policy at Natural Resources Canada. We would like to see Canada move more expeditiously to end subsidies to fossil fuel companies to meet the commitment our government made in 2009. We were pleased that Mr. McDougall expressed the government’s commitment to taking more action to reduce these subsidies. This would be a concrete expression of sound federal stewardship, saving financial resources for use in the promotion of the necessary non- carbon energy future.

  4. Minister, protecting all the Creator’s environmental gifts is our common task, guided by our call to care for all Creation. Just as Canada is committed to living within its economic means, we must also live within our ecological means. To paraphrase the October 2011 Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change we need to seek coherence between our beliefs and our actions, so that our lives, our consumption habits as well as our public policies better reflect a new relationship with humanity and the Earth itself. Representatives of Canada’s faith communities will be attending COP19 in Warsaw. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you, and taking collaborative action with the Government of Canada in this same spirit.

Respectfully yours, and with the assurance of our prayers for our leaders in the Government of Canada,

Joy Kennedy Chair, Commission on Justice and Peace

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The Canadian Council of Churches is the largest ecumenical body in Canada, now representing 25 churches of

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Anglican; Eastern and Roman Catholic; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern and Oriental Orthodox; and Historic

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Protestant traditions. Together we represent 85% of the Christians in Canada.

Attachment: Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change

Cc Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources

David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources

Megan Leslie, Environment Critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

John McKay, Environment Critic, Liberal Party of Canada

Jean-François Fortin, Bloc Québécois

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

Members of the All-Party Climate Change Caucus

Dan McDougall, Ambassador for Climate Change

Senator Grant Mitchell, Liberal Party of Canada

Major Jim Champ, President, The Canadian Council of Churches