Marilyn Baptiste, council of Xeni Gwet’in, Tsilhqot’in Nation, speaking on Tsilhqot’in resistance to Taseko’s proposed mine at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)
Marilyn Baptiste is a member of Xeni Gwet’in, one of the communities of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, whose territory largely lies to the west of the Fraser River and Williams Lake, BC.
A former Chief, Baptiste became known as a spirited speaker who traveled the province on behalf of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to explain the importance of Teztan Biny to the Tsilhqot’in people and to call for the cancellation of plans to destroy the lake in order to install a huge open-pit copper and gold mine. Taseko Ltd., the mining company that holds the claim, named the proposed mine ‘Prosperity’.
Tsilhqot’in people have spent three decades defending Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), Nabas, and the upper Dasiqox (Taseko) watershed from the threat of the massive open-pit gold and copper mine. In 2010 and 2013, two independent federal environmental review Panels investigated the mine proposal. After careful assessment, and months hearing testimonies of locals and environmental scientists, the independent panels have condemned the proposal – twice – because of the impacts to Fish Lake, grizzly bears and the Tsilhqot’in’s rights to protect their territory. Despite all this, Taseko is still pushing the federal government to allow the mine.
Oscar Morales, from San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala, speaking on threats and violence related to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Mine near his home.
Oscar Morales is an agronomist and the Coordinator of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace in San Rafael Las Flores – community that has borne the brunt of the violence, militarization and environmental threats related to Tahoe’s mine.
More than half of the communities in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, where the Escobal project is located, have declared opposition to the mine. In five neighbouring municipalities, in the departments of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, the majority of the population – which numbers in the tens of thousands – has voted against the mine in municipal referenda. Nonetheless, Tahoe Resources reported in January that the Escobal mine is operational, claiming that: “unanticipated social issues have been addressed.”
Oscar is deeply concerned about the environmental and social impacts of Tahoe’s project and has been an advocate for the community consultations that have taken place throughout Santa Rosa.
The mine-related conflicts experienced by San Rafael Las Flores, and other communities in Guatemala, bring to the forefront the need for the Canadian government to facilitate access to justice for abuses committed in Canada and abroad. Oscar Morales is one of several Guatemalan delegates visiting Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia) as part of a speaking tour linked to the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability’s Open for Justice campaign. The CNCA campaign calls for legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies.
This event will take place on Saturday March 29 at 7 pm
1803 East First Avenue at Salsbury Drive. – Coast Salish Territory
Organized by Café Rebelde Collective
Endorsed by Mining Justice Alliance, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Streams of Justice, Langara Social Justice Collective and Amnesty International.