Silence is Gold Film Screening

1379824_735045403193131_201022402_nJoin us for the Toronto premiere of SILENCE IS GOLD, a film that explores the state of free-speech in a corporate dominated world. This screening is co-presented with the MiningInjustice Solidarity and Point of View Magazine. Sakura Saunders and guest speakers will be in attendance.

WHEN: Tuesday April 1, 2014
WHERE: The Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. Toronto
FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/269372993238354

SILENCE IS GOLD
Julien Fréchette / Canada / 2012 / 77 ‘ / French / S.T. English

What are the limits to freedom of speech? Can we put a price on our spoken and written words? Following the 2008 release of the book Noir Canada, author Alain Deneault, his co-writers and his publisher, Éditions Écosociété, grappled with these questions – at great personal expense – after being sued for defamation in Quebec and Ontario courts by two large Canadian mining companies. Deneault and his publisher fought back, becoming entangled in a seemingly never-ending spiral of judicial proceedings. Silence Is Gold is a thriller of a documentary that tells their story, set against the backdrop of the Canadian justice system. We follow the complex procedural twists and turns, eagerly anticipating a resolution that is repeatedly delayed.

Filmmaker Julien Fréchette’s camera and questions lead us through this little- understood legal territory without judging or wading into the merits of the cases. His gaze is both subtle and attentive as he tactfully immerses himself in the story, initiating a dialogue with Alain Deneault, who becomes the protagonist of the film. Silence Is Gold raises crucial questions about Canada’s role and responsibilities in the global mining sector, the limits of free speech and equitable access to the Canadian justice system.

cinemapolitica.org/bloor

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Ex-UofT President David Naylor gets named to Barrick Board of Directors

If there was ever any doubt that the Munk School’s creation was marked by corruption and secrecy, this revelation should confirm our long-standing suspicions. This week, Barrick announced that it would be adding ex-University of Toronto President, David Naylor, to the companies list of “independent” directors. This appointment comes just four years after Naylor signed the controversial “Munk Contract” in secret, by-passing even the school’s governing council.

The contract named the school “in perpetuity” after Munk, laid out conditions under which Munk could oversee the school’s programs, and mandated that all announcements and publicity concerning the School and the donations be made in consultation with Munk. The contract also gave the sole ability to cancel the contract to the Munk Foundation.

Despite the fact that this contract carried with it a host of ethical and governance concerns, it was approved by only a handful decision-makers at UofT, including David Naylor, in a highly irregular process.

At a Governing Council orientation session on September 10, 2009, the Chair informed governors that the first Council meeting scheduled for October 22, 2009 would be cancelled due to insufficient items on the agenda. This cancellation was invalid according to the Council’s By-Law 2 because it had been decided upon by an online ballot that at that point, had not been ratified by the Executive Committee. It was also highly irregular given that the first cycle of meetings of the Governing Council had not been cancelled in over ten years. This meeting cancelation also allowed for the extension of Summer Executive Authority which was delegated on June 23, 2009 and allowed for the concentration of decision-making powers with the President, Chair and Vice-chair of the Governing Council, in consultation with the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Boards and Committees until December 10, 2009. It was during this extended period of supposed inactivity at the Governing Council that the donation and memorandum between the Munk Foundation and the University – signed on behalf of the Governing Council – was approved without any form of consultation with governors or with the students, faculty and staff.

The Secretary and Chair of the Governing Council also did not make any effort to inform Governing Council about the decision, memorandum and donation at the December 10, 2009 meeting of the Governing Council- as is the practice (to report on any and all approvals made under Summer Executive Authority).

In fact, it was not until several months later – on April 12, 2010 – that the members of Governing Council were first made aware of the proposed Munk donation. In a confidential memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council, Henry Mulhall, asked the governors to consider a proposed change to the name of the School of Global Affairs to the Munk School of Global Affairs. Governing Council members were given just 24 hours to register their comments. Even at this late stage, the details of the donation and memorandum were withheld from the governors and the University community.

Now, it appears that Naylor’s favours have returned to his personal coffers. Despite having no background in mining, the UofT ex-president has a seat on Barrick’s board of directors.

This is not the first controversy to surround the Munk school appointees. Michael Ignatieff, former head of the Liberal party, was rumoured to have Munk School ties when he chose to not show up to vote for a Liberal Party-sponsored bill that would have introduced minimal standards for Canadian mining companies operating abroad. The Bill – C-300 – lost the vote by a mere 6 votes, with Barrick Gold singled out

Munk OUT of UofT drops a banner during a class that Naylor guest lectured in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. (April 2011)

Munk OUT of UofT drops a banner during a class that Naylor guest lectured in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. (April 2011)

as the number one opponent lobbying against the bill. Less than two years later, on September 7, 2012, Ignatieff joined the Munk School as a half-time professor.

Another controversy involving a Munk-appointee involves Marketa Evans, the founding director of the Munk Centre for International Studies. Ms. Evans was appointed as the first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Councillor for the Canadian government, whose job it was to mediate disputes between mining companies in impacted communities.

Marketa’s position was criticized by many as being “designed to fail”. Corporations could enter or leave the process at any time voluntarily, and most did. Of six cases opened during Evans’ tenure, who resigned in October of this year, three were closed after the companies walked away — the most recent in September of this year. One case was sent back to a company’s internal process and two remain open. Critics say they expect no resolutions to result.

The Munk School’s next director Janice Stein, is no less controversial. Stein openly supported the dismantling of Canada’s International Development Agency to merge with the Department of Foreign Affairs, being quoted in several articles and writing an editorial in the Globe and Mail supporting the move. Meanwhile, the merger was part of a shift in CIDA to start supporting CSR projects for mining companies abroad, including Barrick Gold.

A bit closer to home, Stein visited a Munk OUT of UofT organizing meeting once, insisting to get a chance to speak. She poorly defended the Munk contract and then took questions from the people present. One Munk OUT of UofT coalition member, Angela Regnier, who was then Executive Director of the UofT student union, asked a question about the SLAPP suit that Barrick Gold had against three academics in Montreal. Janice said that she didn’t know about the case, but would follow up with Angela, taking her card. Within days, Angela received both an e-mail and phone calls from Barrick’s lawyers, with vague threats about the spread of “misinformation” by the Munk OUT of U of T campaign. Thankfully, Angela’s primary issue in life is academic freedom, and so she proceeded to continue her support for the campaign and spoke openly about her encounter with Barrick’s lawyers.

So, Naylor’s appointment is not the first, and likely won’t be the last corrupt relationship between the University and Barrick Gold, forwarding the interests of mining within the structure of a School of Global Affairs.

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Peter Munk Puppet shows it’s UofT pride today!

 

munknocchioMunk OUT of UofT and the crew from OPIRG made it out earlier today to show some UofT pride at the UofT parade to the Lupe Fiasco show. He was carrying a banner that read “Peter Munk Corporate Criminal: Munk OUT of UofT”.

We were overjoyed when we heard some UofT students leading “Fuck Peter Munk!” chants proving that despite the corporate influence, folks at the UofT can still keep it real.

If this is your first time visiting this site, please check out the Munk Primer and the “must-see” video in our sidebar. All of our information is accurate and we site our sources most of the time. If you have any questions about the information on this site, please drop us an e-mail and we’ll be happy to address your concerns!

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Peter Munk, UofT & Barrick Gold: Info Session

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 7.20.50 PMWHAT: Peter Munk & UofT info session
WHERE: UofT @ OISE, 252 Bloor room 5150
WHEN: Tuesday, April 16, 6:30pm
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook event
WHY: To learn about the implications of the infamous “Munk Contract”.

The Munk Contract which established the Munk School of Global Affairs was signed in secret and not publicly available until a Freedom of Information request put out by two professors. The details turned out to be scandalous.

Find out why the U of T now houses a right-wing think tank. Find out what we mean when we say that Munk’s donation came with “strings attached”. Find out about Barrick’s history of threats to academic freedom. And find out what this all means in the bigger picture.

The event will be hosted by researcher and activist, Sakura Saunders, who will take you on a tour that starts with a contract and ends with the take over of public institutions, the repression of the truth, and corporate impunity.

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Training a new generation of corporate apologists? The Munk School and the Globe and Mail

ols-man-shwoing-wasteIn the rural highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), a Canadian gold mine operates amongst the Ipili people, who were one of the last major ethnic groups to be contacted by the Australian colonial administration of New Guinea, or “white man”, in 1939. Since that date, Porgera was known for its rich gold deposits and eventually became the site of one of the largest gold mines in the world. Today, Porgera is a site of controversy, as it riches are overshadowed by stories of gang rapes and killings of the Ipili people at the hands of Barrick security and police.

Last week, a remediation program proposed by Barrick Gold was criticized by Mining Watch Canada and other human rights organizations for forcing victims of gang rape to sign away their rights to sue the company in exchange for redress. Barrick’s offer came two years after a 2011 Human Rights Watch report exposed a “pattern of violent abuses, including horrifying acts of gang rape”. Mining Watch’s report also criticized the fact that Barrick was offering no compensation to women who were gang raped by PNG Police, despite the fact that the police were housed, supplied and fed by Barrick during their time in Porgera.

The Globe and Mail was quick to react, releasing an editorial entitled “Barrick has done its best to improve human rights at mine in Papua New Guinea.” The article praised Barrick while insisting that it seemed “fair” that women receiving remediation could no longer sue the company. Meanwhile, it chastised Mining Watch for failing to acknowledge Barrick’s change for the better.

While the Globe acknowledged that is was “regrettable” that Barrick had not acted on the allegations of gang rape before the Human Rights Watch report was released, it failed to acknowledge that Mining Watch was one of the many organizations that had brought allegations of gang rape to the company years before Human Rights Watch was on the case, only to have these allegations repeatedly denied by the company.

This isn’t the first time the Globe and Mail has gone to bat for Barrick with fawning editorials immediately following accusations of human rights abuses. Continue reading

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Student Rejects his degree at UofT due to University’s Munk ties

I, Michael Vipperman, intend to renounce the degree I am being offered from the University of Toronto on June 14, 2012, in protest over the ongoing commodification and bureaucratization of education at this University, best exemplified by the increasingly intimate relationship between the University and such venemous institutions as Barrick Gold and the World Bank. Continue reading

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Cry of the Andes Film Screening (free)

Journey to the heart of the Andes Mountains where ‘Pascua Lama’ is poised to become the world’s largest open pit mine. However, for the indigenous people and farmers living in the valley below, Pascua Lama threatens their only source of water in one of the driest places on earth. In a war between corporate and social values two men are leading a fight to defend their valley and way of life. Now, one election will ultimately determine the true price of gold.

Learn about the personal journey and political fight of the Diaguita peoples in defense of their territory as they travel to Toronto, the corporate headquarters of Barrick Gold a company infamous for human rights violations and threats to intellectual freedom. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Munk OUT of UofT campaign!

Last year, Peter Munk, the chairman and founder of the world’s largest gold mining company, had his foundation pledge a historic contribution of $35 million to the University of Toronto. In doing so, he created the Munk School of Global Affairs, which aims to prepare students to become global leaders and foster “a deep understanding of the broader architecture and the forces that shape the global system.”

But what are the implications of this donation? How much influence will Munk have over the University’s curriculum and bias? Who is Peter Munk and what is his company Barrick Gold’s reputation worldwide?

Continue reading

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Tanzanians Killed at Barrick’s North Mara Mine Not Forgotten

70 gather at the Munk School of Global Affairs

(photos: Mining Injustice Solidarity Network: solidarityresponse.net)

Approximately 70 people gathered today at a commemoration held for the seven individuals killed in Tanzania at African Barrick Gold’s North Mara Mine. Public outcry over this violence has been amplified by recent reports that local security/police forces employed by the mine have attempted to ban a memorial ceremony for the deceased. To the horror of many local families, these security forces also stole 5 of the 7 peoples’ bodies from the mortuary. Continue reading

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Barrick’s Bodysnatchers: Wanton killings, criminalization, and degradation continue at the North Mara Mine in Tanzania

A man stands by a house in what used to be a rural area. It has almost since been overtaken by waste rock from Barrick's North Mara mine.

By Sakura Saunders

leer el artículo en español aqui.

On May 16, over 1,000 people entered a mine in northern Tanzania, desperate to collect whatever gold they could from the modern industrial site that used to be their bread and butter. But instead of providing the displaced artisanal miners with a boost to their meager income, the day ended in horror.

The next day, African Barrick Gold, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Barrick Gold, released a statement admitting that seven people were killed and twelve injuried at their North Mara mine in Tanzania. The killings came at the hands of Tanzanian police, who Barrick originally claimed were under sustained attack by 800 “criminal intruders” (a number Barrick revised to 1,500), who illegally entered the North Mara mine to steal gold ore. Since this fatal confrontation, tensions have been high in the Tarime District, with an increase in the number of police, the deployment of water cannons, the arrest of journalists and two members of parliament for “instigating violence,” and the theft of five of the seven bodies from the mortuary by police.

Continue reading

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