This has been an exciting year for the ProtestBarrick team. After four years of attending and organizing protests outside of the companies shareholder›s meeting, this year’s delegation and protest received much positive media attention. Barrick Gold’s corrupt practices and human rights violations were debated within the halls of Canadian Parliament [1,2], and we were able to support two bills, C-300 and C-354, which address impunity in the mining industry.
At the same time, Peter Munk, the chairman and founder of Barrick Gold, made a historically large contribution to the University of Toronto for the establishment of the Munk School of Global Affairs. With this and past donations to the university, Munk has effectively branded entire areas of international study, including Public International Law, International Development, and Global Policy Analysis.
However, he has also created local relevance for a global campaign against his company based out of the very city that his corporation is based. ProtestBarrick is working with Science for Peace, the University of Toronto’s Student Union, the Ontario Public Interest Research group, and many others to organize against corporate influence at the University with a campaign to force the renegotiation of the Munk’s donor contract, which is publicly available with an analysis of the contract on the campaign’s website.
ProtestBarrick’s on-going work of publicizing the most up-to-date articles, backgrounders and testimonies on our website has received about 400 unique visits a day, and has had 358,384 page views so far this year! The website currently has over 650 articles with critical information and news about Barrick Gold, sorted into issue areas and geographic region. The editors of the site create regular summaries of this information to highlight the most important news.
Additionally, two websites, porgeraalliance.net and savelakecowal.org, were re-designed so that local campaigns could have a professional platform on which to present their own issues.
The two editors at ProtestBarrick met with strategic allies around the globe and planned for a coordinated campaign, not just targeting Barrick, but the entire gold mining industry. Under the frames, ‘Preventing Mining Disasters’ and ‘Leave Gold in the Ground’, ProtestBarrick editors will work with Friends of the Earth International’s Resisting Mining, Oil & Gas (RMOG) program to promote Barrick case studies that highlight the need for accountability in mining, while drawing attention to the fact that this industry, which causes so much harm, is also unnecessary.
Additionally, successful networking with other environmental justice movements within Canada has connected ProtestBarrick to a large grassroots base that extends through-out the country. This year’s conference Mining (in)Justice: At Home and Abroad, was just one of the many collaborations aimed at building solidarity between international mining issues and local, largely First Nations-led movements for environmental justice. ProtestBarrick editor Sakura Saunders was also an organizer with the March for Environmental Justice during the G20 summit in Toronto. This ‘Toxic Tour’ brought over 400 people and several representatives from environmental justice struggles across Canada on a walking tour of Toronto’s downtown, just two days before the summit. It stopped at the Munk Center for a speech by the ProtestBarrick editor and a performance by the Ragging Grannies, a local activist group that supports the ProtestBarrick campaign.
As we move into our 5th year, ProtestBarrick looks forward to growing these connections with grassroots movements in Canada, through organizing conferences, arranging exchanges and creating popular media. At the same time, ProtestBarrick will continue to get on-the-ground info about Barrick’s operations and make sure that these cases studies reach a wide audience internationally and are used to further campaigns to end corporate impunity.
ProtestBarrick Highlights 2010
Thanks to our supporters & allies
Our very best,
Sakura Saunders and Natalie Lowrey
protestbarrick founders and editors