rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Blue Planet Project delivers 'lumps of coal' to highlight Canadian mining abuses

The Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians took part in actions in Ottawa and Toronto on International Human Rights Day -- to highlight the verdict of the Permanent People's Tribunal on Canadian mining in Latin America.

Last May, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow was a member of the tribunal and heard witnesses from Canada and four Latin American countries who testified about corporate and state responsibility in the emblematic cases of the Barrick Gold Pascua Lama mine in Chile-Argentina, the Tahoe Resources Escobal mine in Guatemala, the Goldcorp San Martin mine in Honduras, and the Blackfire Exploration Payback and Excellon Resources La Platosa mines in Mexico.

The tribunal found that the Canadian government was complicit in the abuses of people and the environment in connection with Canadian owned mining operations in the region. Among the abuses was the violation of the human right to water associated with these mines.

In Ottawa, "elves" delivered the verdict and a lump of coal to Export Development Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The message was that these agencies had failed to protect people from the human rights violations and other abuses. Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan joined with the Polaris Institute, MiningWatch Canada and other allies in this action.

Morgan-Welden (on right) holds banner at protest in Toronto

In Toronto, "Santa Claus" and carolers delivered the verdict and stocking full of coal to the corporate offices of Goldcorp, Barrick Gold and Excellon Resources. Saying it was "time for these companies to face the music," activists dressed in Santa suits and sang mining injustice themed Christmas carols. Council of Canadians organizer Ailish Morgan-Welden participated in the event organized by the Toronto-based Mining Injustice Solidarity Network. A video of the action in Toronto can be seen here.

Similar actions also took place in Montreal and Vancouver.

In November 2012, Barlow and Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena participated in the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal process in Mexico. To read Barlow's report on that experience, please see Bearing Witness to Community Struggles Against Dams and Mining in Mexico. To read Council of Canadians political team assistant Philippe Charbonneau's blog about the tribunal in Montreal, please see Tribunal des peuples sur l'industrie minière canadienne à Montréal.

To read the verdict of the tribunal, please click here.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.