This post was written on May 12, 2012, as I prepared for my trip to Gwaii Haanas. Today, I’m somewhere completely remote and totally off-grid in the very waters that the Enbridge Pipeline issues threaten. Thanks to the miracle of technology, have written this post today for it to be published while I’m away. Yeah!
June 4th, not surprisingly…is a momentous day for someone very special in my life. It’s Grace’s 8th birthday today, and I’m sorry that I’m not there with her but instead – thinking about her future and the future of my grandchildren and their grandchildren by examining what we have to lose in the battle between government, big oil and the human beings and creatures that inhabit this earth.
You may well recall Dr. David Suzuki resigned from leading his foundation because of the pressures of the Harper government and so-called “ethical” oil interests began to put on charitable foundations and political involvement.
As an independent artist, I don’t have either the protection…or the encumbrances of an institution around me, and I can speak out…black out…and stand up for what I believe in and for my children’s future.
The article below was posted on http://rabble.ca on May 9th, 2012 by David Suzuki, and I’m re-blogging and sharing here with you. Please do me a favour and spread this message and as a gift for my daughter in my absence, do choose for yourself on June 4th…my daughter’s 8th birthday.
“Canada would be a different place without our 80,000 registered charities dedicated to everything from health to economic policy to the environment. We’d be much poorer without the two million employees and millions of volunteers who devote their time to causes that strengthen our nation.
Recent efforts by the federal government and its backers in media and industry front groups like Ethical Oil to demonize and silence legitimate organizations ignore the important role charities play in Canada. That’s why environmental and other organizations are joining with Canadians from all walks of life for Black Out Speak Out, launched on May 7 with ads in the Globe and Mail, La Presse, and Ottawa’s Hill Times and culminating in a website blackout June 4.
Canadians understand the value of charitable organizations. Close to 85 per cent of us over 15 years of age (22.2 million people) donate to charities every year. Often, it’s to help people in other parts of the world. According to Charity Village, Canadians gave $20 million to the Canadian Red Cross, CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, UNICEF Canada, and World Vision within four days of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. For supporting worthy causes, Canadians are entitled to a small tax break.
Canadians also know that our spectacular natural environment is crucial to our national identity, health, and survival, and that we can’t always count on governments and industry to look out for its interests. And so they give their time, money, and voices to organizations working on a range of conservation issues from habitat and species protection to clean energy and global warming. The David Suzuki Foundation relies on Canadians for more than94 per cent of its funding.
Canadians also expect transparency and results, which is why our funding and spending information is public. With the help of many Canadians, and along with friends and allies, we’ve enjoyed many successes. We’ve increased demand and supply for sustainable seafood, fought for habitat protection for animals such as killer whales, and ensured that invaluable areas like the Great Bear Rainforest and the northern boreal forest get increased protection. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve facilitated opportunities for Canadians to engage in important discussions about conservation of the air, water, land, and biodiversity on which we all depend.
It’s why we’re astounded by the increasing efforts to stifle so many people and organizations that devote countless hours to the often thankless and less-than-lucrative tasks of ensuring that Canada remains a stellar example of an open and democratic country with strong social values and a clean and healthy environment.
If we are committed to these ideals then it follows we should also value freedom of speech and opportunities for a range of viewpoints on matters of national interest. It’s fair to place limits on the extent and types of work organizations with charitable status can do. It’s fair to ask questions about donations and what, if any, influence they may have on activities. But it is unacceptable to try to silence people with smear tactics designed to discredit them and deny their funding.
If our leaders want to pin all their hopes and our future on a twinned pipeline through Alberta and B.C. to ship raw tar sands bitumen to China, then Canadians at least deserve a proper conversation about it. We’ve seen recent signs of hope, with the Alberta government calling for a national energy strategy, for example, and with people in the media and elsewhere questioning the wisdom of employing an omnibus budget act to gut environmental laws and attack charitable organizations.
With continued suppression of those who speak out about the environment and women’s and human rights, along with muzzling of government scientists and cuts to government scientific and environmental programs and departments, it’s clear we’re facing a growing campaign, in part backed by industrial interests, to silence opposition.
We expect and deserve better. That’s why we’re speaking out. Silence is not an option. We’re asking all Canadians to join us to help preserve two core national values: nature and democracy. Let’s keep Canada strong and free. Please visit the websites of your favourite environmental organizations on June 4 to add your voice.
Participating organizations include: David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada,Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society,Sierra Club of Canada, Pembina Institute, Nature Canada, Ecojustice, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada.
Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Editorial and Communications Specialist Ian Hanington.
Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.