Brazil to open indigenous reserves to mining without indigenous consent

first_imgNew Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque announced on 4 March that he plans to permit mining on indigenous lands in Brazil, including within the Amazon. He also said that he intends to allow mining right up to Brazil’s borders, abolishing the current ban along a 150-kilometer (93-mile)-wide swath at the frontier.The Bolsonaro administration’s indigenous mining plan is in direct opposition to indigenous land rights as guaranteed under Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. The indigenous mining initiative will likely be implemented via a presidential decree, which will almost surely be reviewed, and possibly be rejected, by Brazil’s Supreme Court.Mining companies stand ready to move into indigenous reserves, if the measure goes forward. Brazil’s mining ministry has received 4,073 requests from mining companies and individuals for mining-related activities on indigenous land. Indigenous groups are outraged and they plan to resist in the courts and by whatever means possible.Brazil’s mining industry has a very poor safety and environmental record. As recently as January, Brazil mega-mining company Vale saw a tailings dam collapse at Brumadinho which killed 193 and left another 115 missing. Public outcry is strong against the industry currently, but how the public will respond to the indigenous mining plan isn’t yet known. An industrial mining operation in Brazil. Note the forest at the edge of the open pit mine. Photo credit: Norsk Hydro ASA via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA.For many years, international and Brazilian mining companies have dreamed of getting access to the mineral wealth lying beneath indigenous lands. And finally, the government of Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to give them that opportunity. On 4 March, while Brazilians were distracted by Carnival celebrations, the new Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque announced plans to permit mining on indigenous land.Speaking at the annual convention of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), a major event in the mining world that attracts tens-of-thousands of attendees, the Minister said that Brazil’s indigenous people would be given a voice but not a veto in the matter. The opening of indigenous ancestral territories to mining, he predicted, would “bring benefits to these communities and to the country.”He also said that he intends to allow mining right up to Brazil’s borders, abolishing the current 150-kilometer (93-mile) wide mining buffer zone at the frontier.The minister said that current mining restrictions are outdated. The long-restricted indigenous and border areas “have become centers of conflict and illegal activities, that in no way contribute to sustainable development or to sovereignty and national security.” The administration will shortly be holding a nationwide consultation to discuss how the changes should be made, he concluded.President Jair Bolsonaro (left) with new Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque. Image found on Twitter.Bolsonaro’s indigenous land development agendaThe minister’s announcement was not unexpected. President Jair Bolsonaro, an ex-army captain, has said that he admires the 1964-85 military dictatorship, and some are drawing parallels between Bolsonaro’s policies and theirs regarding indigenous and quilombola communities.Bolsonaro recently wrote on Twitter: “Over 15 percent of national territory is demarcated as indigenous and quilombola land. Less than a million people live in these isolated areas, exploited and manipulated by NGOs. We are going to integrate these citizens.”Back in 1976, Maurício Rangel Reis, Interior Minister in the military government of General Ernesto Geisel, expressed harsh views toward indigenous peoples: “We plan to reduce the number of Indians from 220,000 to 20,000 in ten years,” he declared. But the military didn’t achieve this goal. Far from being eliminated, Brazil’s indigenous numbers increased to their current 900,000 population.Indigenous groups achieved real gains after the military government passed into history, and its dictatorial rule was supplanted by the progressive 1988 Brazilian constitution, which brought two important innovations. It abandoned the goal of assimilating indigenous people into the dominant culture (a goal Bolsonaro wants to reinstate), and it affirmed the concept of “original rights,” recognizing indigenous peoples as Brazil’s first inhabitants, with the right to remain on ancestral lands.Article 231 of the Constitution states: “Indians have the right to the permanent occupation of their traditional land and to enjoy the exclusive use of the wealth in the soil, rivers and lakes.” Moreover, their land rights are “inalienable.” The Constitution allows for mining on indigenous land, but only after the Indians have been consulted and specific procedures for doing so, approved by them, have been ratified by Congress.Mining industry and individual prospecting requests on indigenous land as filed with the federal government. Map by Mauricio Torres using data provided by the Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral.Admiral Albuquerque’s recent announcement provided no clue as to how the Bolsonaro government could legally give indigenous groups a voice but no veto regarding use of their lands, while somehow staying within the letter of constitutional law.The Ministry of Mines and Energy has, however, confirmed to Mongabay that it plans to authorize mining on indigenous areas. Though, as to the legal mechanisms for doing so, it would only say that “the specific regulatory model will be discussed with Congress and other involved parties.” Though its reports are unconfirmed, analysts suggest Bolsonaro will probably issue a presidential decree to allow mining, which is the approach he plans to use to permit agribusiness to lease land within indigenous reserves ­– a move that faces a similar constitutional roadblock.If it goes forward with these presidential decrees, the administration will very likely face opposition from powerful figures in the judiciary, including the country’s top prosecutor. Speaking at a conference attended by representatives of some of Brazil’s 305 indigenous tribes, advocacy groups and a dozen European nations, Prosecutor General Raquel Dodge noted that indigenous land rights are guaranteed in Brazil’s Constitution and warned: “There can be no backsliding on public policies toward the indigenous people.”The Amazonas branch of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), an independent group of federal and state litigators, is so concerned at Bolsonaro’s mining plan that in February it went to court to ask the National Mining Agency (Agência Nacional de Mineração, ANM), the federal body that administers the mining sector, to turn down all requests by international and Brazilian mining companies to prospect or mine on indigenous land.The mining industry has not only made prospecting requests (red) within indigenous reserves (yellow), but also on other conserved lands (green). Map by Mauricio Torres using data provided by the Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral.According to the MPF, mining companies and individuals have altogether lodged 4,073 requests with the ANM for mining-related activities on indigenous land since 1969, seemingly in preparation for an eventual land rush. The companies say that they are only registering their interest, but MPF argues that, until the required constitutional amendments have been written and approved by Congress, such requests should not even be permitted.Brazil’s indigenous peoples have clearly indicated that if the mining plan goes forward they will fight back. Most don’t want mining on their land. Munduruku female warrior Maria Leuza Munduruku told Mongabay: “We’ve had a lot of outsiders coming onto our land to mine. Many fish disappear and the ones that remain we can’t eat, as they’re dirty.”Joenia Wapichana, Brazil’s only indigenous female federal deputy, said that Indians don’t want the money mining might bring in: “For us indigenous people wealth is having health, land to live on without receiving threats, a stable climate, demarcated land, a preserved culture and respect for our community.” Brazil’s mining environmental and safety record is marred by frequent waterway contamination and land pollution, and includes two deadly tailings dam collapses in the past three years,Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, one of Brazil’s best-known indigenous leaders, says that large-scale mining by big companies is particularly harmful: “This kind of mining requires roads to transport the mineral, large areas to store production, big dormitories where workers can sleep. It will transform our forest.” A 2017 study found that mining and its auxiliary activities caused 10 percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between 2005 and 2015. How much Amazon deforestation might skyrocket if indigenous reserves are opened to mining now is anyone’s guess; indigenous groups are currently the Amazon’s best land stewards.Federal Deputy Leonardo Quintao, a major backer of the mining industry. Image by Vinicius Loures / Agência Brasil.Mining companies in the driver’s seatAfter last year’s election, the pro-mining lobby in Congress, known by some as the “mud lobby,” is stronger than ever.Their main spokesperson, federal deputy Leonardo Quintão, is a member of Bolsonaro’s Civil Office. He openly admits to receiving money from mining companies: “I am a parliamentarian legally financed by mining companies,” he says. Quintão was the first rapporteur for Brazil’s new Mining Code, presented to the National Congress in 2013, which mining companies helped him formulate. He is proud of his work: “Our Code is modern… outlawing all kind of speculation in the mining sector.”But others complain of Congress’s failure to talk to potentially impacted communities when planning the new code. According to anthropologist Maria Júlia Zanon, who coordinates the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (Movimento pela Soberania Popular na Mineração), “The companies’ economic interests, evident in the elections, help explain the lack of democracy in the [congressional approval] process.”As of now, the new Mining Code has yet to be signed into law, and the horrific Vale mining disaster in Brumadinho this January, with 193 people dead and another 115 missing, might further delay approval. Andréa Zhouri, at the University of Minas Gerais, said the disaster stemmed from “politico-institutional failures,” particularly a lack in regular monitoring of hazardous mining operations. “The [value of] ore is above everything and everyone,” Zhouri said.There has been little indication so far that the government intends to significantly toughen environmental controls in the new Code. Some fear that, once the Brumadinho hue and cry dies down, it will be business as usual and the Mining Code will be approved. Prosecutor Guilherme de Sá Meneghin, who led the investigation into the earlier Mariana mining disaster, said: “What we clearly see is that Brazil doesn’t learn the lessons of history.”Today, mining companies chomp at the bit, having registered many prospecting requests within indigenous reserves. Minister Albuquerque – an admiral with a long, illustrious military career, and known for getting what he wants – has signalled readiness to help those firms translate their plans into action. However, Brazil’s indigenous people, with a history of batting away threats, often against bad odds, are ready to fiercely resist. The lines are drawn for battle, likely in the courts, and potentially all across Brazil.Banner image: Truck being loaded with bauxite ore at Brazil’s Norsk Hydro ASA Paragominas mine. Mining is conducted today on a vast scale, and is already resulting in major deforestation in the Amazon. Photo credit: Norsk Hydro ASA via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Forest and topsoil must first be removed before ore can be accessed at Brazil’s Norsk Hydro ASA Paragominas open pit mine. Such industrial processes would be highly destructive of Brazil’s forests, indigenous reserves and cultures. Photo credit: Norsk Hydro ASA via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA. Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Conservation, Controversial, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Illegal Mining, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Use Change, Mining, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

EVEREST HERO JASON HELPS DEELE COLLEGE STUDENTS REACH NEW HEIGHTS

first_imgDeele College welcomed Jason Black to the school last Friday, where he gave a talk to the senior students about motivation and following dreams.Mr Black, who last year became the first Donegal person to scale the heights of the daunting Mount Everest, talked to students about his epic adventure and how he managed to summit the world’s highest peak.A prominent businessman in Letterkenny, Jason is an ideal role model for students, as he not only runs a successful business empire, incorporating Voodoo nightclub and Black’s Centra, he is also known in sporting circles for his time with Letterkenny Rugby Club. With students currently facing into their own ‘Everest’ with the Leaving Cert looming, it was incredible to listen to Jason talk of his journey and the tough and dangerous days that he faced during his ascent to the top of the world.It was refreshing for students to listen to a talk on motivation from someone of the calibre of Mr Black.He also spoke of his journey through school, which was not always a pleasant experience, while he also spoke to the students of the personal hardships, which he endured in his life and the need to overcome what obstacles are placed before you.But it was his tales of adventure in Asia that really captivated the audience, as he described in detail the gruelling effort it took to reach the peak of Everest, which stands at an astonishing 29,029 feet. Throughout the talk, Jason continuously referred to one motto, which he has lived his life by, and it is a motto that he is eager to pass on to the next generation and that motto is ‘always follow your dreams.’EVEREST HERO JASON HELPS DEELE COLLEGE STUDENTS REACH NEW HEIGHTS was last modified: February 3rd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:deele collegeJason Blackstudentslast_img read more

Former Crystal Palace boss urges club not to axe De Boer – LISTEN

first_imgIain Dowie has called on Crystal Palace chiefs to give Frank de Boer more time to make his mark on the club.The Dutchman is reportedly on the verge of being sacked as Palace manager just 62 days after being appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor.De Boer is trying to implement a possession-based style of football but Palace have endured a disastrous start under his stewardship, losing their opening three games to Huddersfield Town, Liverpool and Swansea City.Chairman Steve Parish is said to be already fearing the 47-year-old will be unable to instigate a turnaround at Selhurst Park, with The Sun reporting he has begun making plans to replace him.But former Eagles boss Dowie insists it is too early to write off De Boer, telling talkSPORT: “Of course it is about winning, but you can’t ask a manager to come into the club and change his philosophy overnight.“Frank is being pilloried for his short reign at Inter but if you look at the job he did at Ajax, it was incredible. He deserves an enormous amount of credit for developing young kids.“You have got to give the man time to develop the style of play.“Crystal Palace have got an incredible squad now. They have got very, very decent players.“You have to give the lad time to bed in. It is histrionics to say it should be back to [the style under] Sam Allardyce.“Sam is a brilliant manager in the Premier League and he understands defending in the Premier League very well. That is something Frank de Boer has to get used to very quickly but you don’t bring a lad in from Ajax and ask him to play a different style.“He has got to be given that time to do what he wants to do.”last_img read more

Football: India open campaign v Tajikistan

first_imgMSSA: Harsh fires Campion into final Tottenham Hotspur appoint Jose Mourinho as manager The four-nation event, which also features Syria and North Korea, will be a part of preparations for the Indian team for the joint qualification campaign of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup. Catch up on all the latest sports news and updates here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates Ahmedabad: Buoyed by the promising start under newly appointed coach Igor Stimac, defending champions India begin their campaign in the Intercontinental Cup football against Tajikistan here today. The tournament will be Stimac’s second assignment since taking over as the head coach of the Indian team. In the first tournament under his charge, India had finished third in the King’s Cup last month with a first-ever away win over Thailand.Related News Miquel Blazquez Font to emerge as a competent sports journalist in the sporting worldlast_img read more

Pakistan’s Yasir Jan can bowl express pace with his left and right arms

first_imgThe name Yasir Jan might not ring a bell right now. But the 21-year-old boy from Pakistan is on his way to glory as he is set to create history and make a mark in the world of cricket.Son of a greengrocer, Yasir possesses the rare talent of bowling at pace with either arm – around 145 km/hr with right and 135km/hr with his left. Even though Yasir’s bowling is similar to his idol Dale Steyn, Yasir said in an interview to AFP that it was Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram who initially inspired him to train hard and be as good.” Waqar bhai (brother) and Wasim bhai were bowling in 2003 when I saw my first World Cup. I really liked watching them. I’d copy them. And I kept working at it and I got good. And it’s helped me get picked,” said Yasir who has been bowling with both arms since he was a kid.His first step towards making a mark in cricket came when he got selected for Rawalpindi U-16s in 2012 and Lahore’s National Cricket Academy in 2013, which only the top talent of the country get to be a part of.Yasir, who is now targetting a position in the national team, came into prominence for his talent when he appeared for an under-19 match for Rawalpindi. The captain had then told Yasir to try left-hand bowling since they were already going down and that decision changed the game and Yasir’s life, who got his first four-wicket haul.advertisementHe became a household name in Pakistan when he displayed his special skills for the talent hunt for the Lahore Qalandars, conducted by Aaqib Javed, ex Pakistan cricketer. Yasir has now landed himself with an offer to play for the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars.His coach Muhammad Salman said, “Yasir has been an amazing talent. He came from a very poor background, we all know that. And obviously it will take time, minimum six months to a year.”People who know Yasir and believe in him, including Yasir’s coaches, are financially assisting him so that the boy’s physical fitness and nutrition are not compromised.Yasir, who is on his way to realise his dream, said, “Now I’ve got a good platform so with hard work I hope to achieve my goal of playing for Pakistan, my country. To go to the biggest grounds around the world and the best players. This is my goal and my dream.”last_img read more

Pak removes controversial Khalistani separatists from Sikh committee

first_imgLahore: Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee’s controversial secretary-general Gopal Singh Chawla has been removed and he is not part of the delegation which is holding the second round of talks with India in Wagah, a senior official said Sunday. Officials from India and Pakistan Sunday held the second round of talks to discuss draft agreement and operationalisation of the Kartarpur corridor. The second round of talks, which were scheduled on April 2, was cancelled by India after Pakistan nominated Khalistani separatists in the 10-member PSGPC to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after opening of the corridor. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping India voiced concerns over the presence of Khalistani separatists in the committee and said it will wait for a response from Islamabad on the issue and will not go ahead with the meeting. “Chawla has been removed from the secretary general post and he is no longer a member of the PSGPC. Chawla is also not part of the Pakistani delegation which is taking part in the second round of talks in Wagah,” a senior official of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) told PTI. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang The ETPB is a statutory board that manages religious properties and shrines of Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to India following the partition. The official said the PSGPC Pardhan (president) Tara Singh has also been removed and the new election will be held soon to elect new president and the secretary-general. “Apparently, removal of Chawla is a damage control step by the Imran Khan government,” official said, adding that he had become so controversial that the Khan government was forced to revamp the whole PSGPC. Chawla was seen with Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the goundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Narowal, 125-km from Lahore, in November last.last_img read more

Transport dept going all out to ensure hasslefree pandal hopping for Kolkatans

first_imgKolkata: State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said that his department is making all possible arrangements for hassle-free pandal hopping for the people of Kolkata.”There will be additional buses and tram facilities on the days of Durga Puja till late night to ensure that the people are not inconvenienced by any means,” said Adhikari in response to a query from Trinamool Congress MLA Samir Kumar Jana, on the measures taken by his department for Durga Puja. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”We will also have bus services for enabling the people of the state to visit the Pujas of the Bonedi Baris and the Rajbaris in the city and its surroundings, including those that are major crowd-pullers. The South Bengal State Transport Corporation and North Bengal State Transport Corporation will also have bus facilities to help the Puja revellers soak in the festive spirit of some of the leading Pujas in the districts,” he maintained. It may be mentioned that the state Transport department has earned a revenue of more than Rs 9.65 crore through bus services from October 15 to 19. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwaySpeaking about the massive boost in water transport sector, Adhikari said that at present, 240 new vessels have been pressed into service for passengers since 2011 after the TMC government assumed power. The number of such vessels in the 34-year rule of the Left Front government was only 25. “We have created a record when it comes to construction of jetties across the state. Till March 2019 this year, we have constructed 142 new jetties and have set a target of coming up with another 56 in the next two years,” the minister said. He maintained that his department has adopted a clear policy in introducing buses only in those routes that are economically viable.last_img read more

Soulpepper Theatre Company set to stage its next show after Schultz allegations

first_imgTORONTO – The show will go on at the Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company.On Saturday, just over a week after four actresses filed separate lawsuits against the company and its founding artistic director Albert Schultz, the theatre will start running its next production: American playwright Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Delicate Balance.”“Soulpepper Theatre Company is determined to emerge a stronger organization that serves as a home for art and artists in Toronto,” the company said Thursday evening in a statement signed by dozens of artists.“This past week has deeply shaken our community. We are not naive to the challenges we face. We know there is much for us to reconcile. But we want you to know that hundreds of artists, administrators, staff, creators and supporters believe in this company.”The Schultz scandal has posed a conundrum for patrons and artists alike, who must decide whether to support a production at Soulpepper as the company further investigates sexual harassment claims.The lawsuits filed by Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan and Hannah Miller allege Schultz groped them, exposed himself, pressed against them, or otherwise behaved inappropriately.None of their allegations have been tested in court and neither Schultz nor Soulpepper have filed a statement of defence. Schultz said he will “vigorously defend” himself against the allegations.Soulpepper has said it was unaware of any allegations of sexual misconduct against Schultz or anyone else, having conducted investigations into the issue as recently as this past fall.Some patrons plan to boycott Soulpepper until it overhauls its board of directors, while others feel more comfortable attending a show now that Schultz has resigned and an upcoming production of “Amadeus” that he was slated to direct has been cancelled. Alan Dilworth is now acting artistic director.Requests to speak to Soulpepper and “A Delicate Balance” cast members were declined, but in Thursday’s statement, the company said its “continued existence as an organization depends upon those dedicated supporters now more than ever.”“We want those supporters to know that the artists, staff, and other members of the Soulpepper community are deeply committed. Our intention is foremost to listen, act, and make meaningful change.”Toronto actor Brendan Wall, who had a nine-year relationship with Soulpepper, said he knows some of the talent in the “A Delicate Balance” and is planning to see the show.At the same time, he supports the women who filed the lawsuits and he wants their voices to be at the forefront.“The theatre company has been the home to an enormous amount of talented and creative people, many of whom I call my friends,” said Wall.“In the last week and a half I’ve been thinking about the men and women who work every day in the office and have made that place their home. I 100 per cent believe the allegations made by Diana and Kristin and Hannah and Patricia, and I support them 100 per cent.“I do think there’s a lot of wonderful, creative people in that place and I hope they’re OK right now.”Lisa Wakelam, a theatre enthusiast based in Hamilton, is a longtime Soulpepper subscriber and has tickets to see “A Delicate Balance” on Jan. 20.It’s a play she’s been wanting to see for many years but when she first heard of the accusations at Soulpepper, she felt “unease, shock” about attending a production there. But Schultz’s resignation changed her mind.“Having digested everything, we have to support the organization and the artists and I’m glad that they’re proceeding,” Wakelam said.“I want to support everyone as best we can. As a patron, we can only do so much and of course attending is the best way.”Soulpepper co-founder Ted Dykstra, who isn’t working on “A Delicate Balance,” did not want to be interviewed but told The Canadian Press he’s also glad the show is going ahead.And in a recent Facebook post, Simon Fon, the show’s fight director, said he supports the four women behind the lawsuits as well as Dilworth “and the work that lies ahead.”“To the artists that are now in production at Soulpepper, do not lose faith in your own creativity and humanity,” Fon wrote.“Support each other with the dignity, respect and compassion that I have always witnessed and admired when collaborating with you.”“A Delicate Balance” is about an upper-middle-class family and the drama that ensues when the daughter returns home and friends move in.“In all things — friendship, intimacy, civility — there is a balance that must be carefully maintained to avert disaster,” reads the Soulpepper website’s description of the play.Diana Leblanc, a Soulpepper founding member, is directing.“Diana Leblanc is a very, very, very intelligent woman and I think she’s a passionate theatre artist and I think anything she has to say is worth listening to,” Wall said.“I’m sure it’ll be directed and produced with great sensitivity. I know a lot of the people involved with it and I know they’re going to work very hard to make it an insightful piece of theatre.”Wakelam said she expects there might be some tension in the audience.“You’re going to be looking around at what other reactions are, like to sort of people-watch and listen in as I’m sitting there,” she said.Past Soulpepper productions of “The Gigli Concert” and “Hosanna” have moved her to tears and she hopes the company will weather the storm, she added.“It’s just a fantastic organization,” Wakelam said. “I have preached about them for many years, they do a fantastic job. I like their approach to things, the staging. I think it will continue.”last_img read more

New EDC humanrights policy lacks power say workers and watchdogs

first_imgOTTAWA — Export Development Canada is declaring itself a leading human-rights defender, but workers groups and rights’ advocates say its new much-awaited policy fell short of what was needed.The Crown agency that acts as a lender and insurer for Canadian firms operating abroad issued its first standalone human rights policy today, declaring itself to be “leading the way in the field of business and human rights” by setting standards for how companies it helps should behave abroad.The United Steel Workers says the agency did not take advantage of an opportunity to show leadership in global finance, business and human rights.Above Ground, a non-governmental agency that specializes in tracking human-rights infractions involving businesses, says the EDC deserves credit for trying to move the ball forward but nothing in the new policy is compulsory on itself or any of its corporate clients.The arrival of the new EDC rights policy comes as Canadian businesses and human-rights advocates await a legal review by International Trade Minister Jim Carr that will determine the powers of the government’s new “ombudsperson for responsible enterprise.”At issue is whether the new office will have the power to compel companies to co-operate with its investigations by ponying up documents and witnesses.The Canadian Presslast_img read more