Happy New Year! With the amazing fundraising and advocacy we accomplished in 2010… I can’t wait to see what else we can do together!
Just before Christmas our 2011 THINKfast kits filled Canada Post mailboxes east and west. Thanks to Natalie, our Youth Programs Intern from the fall, and the whole THINKfast team here in Toronto we are thrilled to be sharing with you our newest THINKfast in print and online!
A new coiled book format
Revamped directions and planning tools
New or transformed resources on our campaign WATER FOR ALL!
Alternative activities uploaded online
Extra resources on your DVD
THINKfast online fundraising right here on the blog
This past year we showed the world the meaning of generous – Canadians raised 20 MILLION for emergency relief and reconstruction in Haiti and 7 MILLION for the same in Pakistan. 1 MILLION of this came from schools and school boards: elementary, high schools, colleges and universities.
AMAZING. And then, thanks to your THINKfast efforts, we raised over $200,000 in much needed funds for justice and peace in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
All our members, young or older, are deeply disappointed, as well as our partners in the Global South, who really welcomed Bill C-300 on responsible mining and corporate social accountability. For years, we have listened to their stories about how Canadian mining companies are taking over their land, polluting their water sources, destroying their environment, and often without consulting the affected communities or listening to their concerns.
So, what next? Where do we go from here?
One thing that has inspired me about this crucial campaign is the way we have finally had the real-life stories told in the media. The week leading up to the vote was flooded with news about corporate social accountability. Google Bill c300 and you will see what I mean!
Before I mention next steps in advocacy, I want to share with you some great relfections and analysis.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is disappointed by the defeat of Bill C-300 by a mere six votes in the House of Commons, with 24 MPs not showing up for the vote. The Bill would have improved the standards of corporate accountability of Canadian mining companies operating overseas.
“It is a very disheartening outcome,” said Michael Casey, Executive Director of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, who, with all its members, have supported Bill C-300 since it was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by MP John McKay (Lib-Scarborough-Guildwood) in 2009. For 5 years the organization has campaigned to protect communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America against human rights abuses and environmental degradation caused by Canadian companies.
“Our 11,500 members are deeply disappointed, as are our partners in the Global South, who really welcomed the Bill,” added Mr. Casey. “For years, we have listened to their stories about how Canadian mining companies are taking over their land, polluting their water sources, destroying their environment, and often without consulting the affected communities or listening to their concerns.”
The Canadian Campus Ministers Soldiarity Trip to Honduras learned first hand the phenominally detrimental effects of Canadian mining companies. Read about their expereince here. The Bill would have put in place a complaint mechanism, whereby allegations of abuse would be investigated and accompanied by minor sanctions if not redressed.
“Over the last three years, our members have met with dozens of MPs all across the country to present them with postcards signed by constituents asking that the government ensure that Canadian mining companies act responsibly abroad. In total, 500,000 postcards were signed and sent to Parliamentarians,” added Casey.
“This would have ensured greater justice for all and how can you oppose that,” he asked.
Bottled water: Safer and cleaner than tap water, easy on the environment…or maybe not. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that these claims don’t hold water. In fact, the very opposite is often true. The bottling and selling of water creates a culture where drinking water is viewed as a commodity or a private good, available only to those who can afford to pay.
In the Global South, sales of bottled water are on the rise. At the same time, water sources are increasingly being privatized. Bottled water should never be viewed as an alternative to safe, accessible public water systems.
By signing this pledge, I commit to supporting publicly owned and operated water systems. One of the ways I can do that is to choose tap water over bottled water, whenever possible.
I commit to working to create bottled water free zones in my home and in the public places where I spend my time. These include my university, school, parish, workplace and community. I will also support efforts to have bottled water replaced by tap water in all municipal and provincial public spaces where safe water is available.
On June 24th I was fortunate to be a part of a small group of Development and Peace members that camped out at Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville Ontario.
This year Development and Peace’s campaign revolved around urging our Prime Minister to put Food Sovereignty on the G8 agenda. I have spent much of my time as a volunteer member with D&P, educating youth throughout central Ontario on the injustices surrounding small scale farmers in the global south. For me this was a chance to not just speak about the injustices but to take a stand. As the cliché goes, I was able to practice what I preach.
Participating for my first time as an activist and being a voice for 1.02 billion voiceless who go hungry every day is a feeling that can’t be described. I have always been taught that it is equally unjust to know and do nothing as it is to commit an injustice itself. As citizens in a democratic society we are asking our government to take action and increase support for small scale farming, the poorest profession in the world.
Our plan for the few days we had committed to being present in Huntsville was to find a creative way to get our message across to those who chose to listen.
We also felt it was important to educate as many people as we could on the importance in supporting small scale farmers and the injustices they face on a daily basis.
As a group we created a piece of street theater relating to the world cup. We were filmed by an OPP officer in the public demonstration area who was responsible for having footage sent to the G8 summit. The concept of the world cup match was between small scale farmers and the G8 Industrial Agricultural Machine (IAM).
The small farmers had a tough go of it – they were fouled constantly without benefit of referee intervention. This action was an excellent depiction of reality for many current small scale farmers both in the Global South and even locally here in Canada.
Saturday was a very special day because we were joined by a bus load of Development and Peace members from the Archdiocese of Peterborough.
In the heart of Huntsville we were blessed to participate in mass presided by Fr. Bob Holmes. Incorporating the sacrament of the Eucharist into our peaceful demonstration was an experience I will never forget.
My time in Huntsville has left me with an overwhelming sense of hope that change is possible and will undoubtedly occur as we as Canadian citizens continue to work in solidarity with the oppressed throughout the Global South.
“My name is Kaitlyn. I’m a youth rep at Development and Peace – the official development agency of the Catholic Church in Canada, and the Canadian member of Caritas International. Inspired by Gospel values, particularly “the preferential option for the poor,” the goals of Development and Peace are to support initiatives by people in the Global South to take control of their lives and to educate Canadians about global issues.
For the past 42 years, Development and Peace has helped support thousands of grassroots projects all over the world that are striving for peace and justice financially and through advocacy and solidarity.
Development and Peace believes the voluntary approach to corporate accountability is fundamentally flawed. Canadian extractive companies that fail to uphold international human rights and environmental standards abroad must be held accountable in Canada.
Between 2006 and 2009, over 520,000 Development and Peace action postcards were collected across Canada, and 170 meetings with MPs were held; all calling for action on making mandatory corporate social responsibility a reality.
Working in solidarity with partner organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, our goal has been to convince the Canadian government to develop legal mechanisms that would require Canadian mining companies operating in these regions to act in a manner that respects human, social and cultural rights and is environmentally responsible.
We support Bill C-300 because it is a step in the right direction towards restoring Canada’s reputation as a rights-respecting country that puts life before profit.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, assassinated in 1980 for speaking out against the injustices in his country, said “Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the…contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is a right and it is a duty.”
Our brothers and sisters in the Global South have a right to peace, free from fear, free from destruction and free from oppression. Without mandatory corporate social responsibility, we cannot uphold our duty to work towards building that dynamic and enduring peace. We call on all of our elected representatives to ensure that bill c-300 passes its third and final reading. Let this be a small step towards creating a world where life always comes before profit.”
by Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt, Eastern Ontario Youth Rep
Last week I was privileged to be a part of an incredible board wide initiative organized by local volunteer members in the beautiful city of Sault Ste Marie.
After a day full of presentations at St Thomas Aquinas C.S.S I made the 7 hour journey to the “soo” without any real idea as to what was laying ahead of me the next morning. I was given the opportunity to meet with wonderful local, hard working D&P members that participated in this initiative. I was taken in and treated as if I was family and welcomed everywhere I went with open arms, for that I am always great full.
St Basil’s C.S.S were instrumental in making this wonderful day happen; Justice Walk 2010.
With promotional videos made, posters of truth, and an already burning desire to make a difference we hit the street; with a very special grade 12 class leading the way. As we walked to MP Tony Martin’s office with a solid 200 strong we met up with a few classes from the partnering high school down the road St Mary’s. With us were students carrying a thousand plus signatures supporting our campaign on food sovereignty. Mr. Martin so graciously met us outside and spoke to the students, quoting Martin Luther King Jr’s speech on politician, labeling this generation of youth now “changing the course of the wind”.
I was completely blown away as I watched this day fall into place. After walking back to the school unsure of what was next I learned about a prayer service, but first we had to pick up a large group of elementary school students from down the road to join us.
These young students came walking out of their school with smiles as big as I have ever seen, waving Afghanistan flags (each elementary school chose I country and learned about the work D&P is doing in that country) and singing this year’s theme song; waving flag by K’naan. As we walked back I was so ecstatic I had to run ahead through the school to watch the students walk out together. As the approached the back doors of the school to walk through the honor guard I could hear them without seeing them; singing together “when I get older, I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom, just like a waving flag”.
Now I am blown away. I was honored to be able to say a few words of thanks and begin the prayer service with the opening prayer. As pictures were taken and thanks of gratitude all around I sat back just trying to soak in everything that had happened in the span of 3 or 4 hours. Wow.
After eating a lovely lunch at the water front, I went to the school board to meet some very influential people in setting up this project. After being introduced and saying a quick thanks to everyone I joined them in watching the promotional video. Then came time for the directors to walk for peace and justice; I of course had to join even for a few moments; this was really special. I was then given the opportunity to speak in a classroom at St Mary’s high school and talk a little bit further about D&P and our campaign for this year. Finishing the evening off I was graciously welcomed into the home of the chaplain of St Basil’s C.S.S to join her and her family for a wonderful meal. The morning was welcomed with a sad good bye to such a great community but full of inspiration and a new challenge for me when I returned home. All that is left to say is THANK YOU to everyone in the “soo” for all their hard work and for making me feel at home; even for one day.
“To act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God” – Micah 6:8
Accomplished by H.S.C.D.S.B on April 28th 2010.
Click here and here for more information about the Justice Walk.
G8 Civil Society Coordinating Committee & our At the Table Campaign
Development and Peace is part of the Civil Society Coordinating Committee made up of a number of civil society and social movement organizations from across Canada who are mobilizing to communicate their message to global leaders.
This coalition has organized a campaign called At the Table, a Canadian-led but globally supported civil society campaign, mobilizing citizens to “take their place” alongside world leaders in important global summits.
It is a call to leaders to “take their place” in forging bold decisions on the issues people care about—poverty, climate change, and economic justice.
The goal of the At the Table campaign is to increase awareness and support for action on poverty, climate change and the global economy at the major global summits in 2010, including the G8 and G20 summits in Canada, the G20 in South Korea and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit.
The main policy goals of the campaign are as follows:
1. Poverty and Inequality – Keep commitments to developing countries – Invest in and empower women and children
2. Climate Change – Reduce greenhouse gas pollution – Support poorer countries in responding
3. The Global Economy – Ensure global recovery for all – Make global rules and institutions fair
JOIN US! Click here for more information about the At the Table campaign.
Ever thought about trying STREET THEATRE but don’t know where to start?
Street Theatre is a fun, creative way to raise awareness and share your message – plus, people love to see something interesting going on while they wander the downtown on a Saturday afternoon. All you need is a few people, an afternoon and a public location.
The theatre is the hook, and you have volunteers with the petitions ready. By the end of it you will want to do Street Theatre again and again.
To get you started here are two YouTube video clips which show you a Street Theatre performance in Toronto (March 2010) and the “Kernels of Truth” play from our No Patents on Life campaign at World Youth Day in 2002.
You can read more about the March 2010 Street Theatre in Toronto through this posthere.
Street Theatre tips
Any successful performance has certain key roles. For a Street Theatre performance these roles are a Narrator, Actors and Educators.
Good street theatre has a “voice” or narrator to give context to the acting. The “voice” should be someone who does not mind speaking like they are someone’s “moral” voice. Their voice should carry, by talking loudly without intimidating or insulting observers.
This role in street theatre involves acting by creating evocative images. The role is not to confront or challenge people, but rather to use emotional arguments to help them “see” the problems you are presenting. Actors are generally confident, and able to communicate through imagery. Each time you do the skit you will get better and better.
In street theatre some people are “educators”. Their role is to diffuse tension and to speak with people who want more information. They can describe the campaign, hand out flyers and offer the petition for people to sign. Usually, educators have a good understaning of the issue and share it with others.
You can download this info in our ”Street Theatre Package” here.