Site 41 Update – Corruption

Genivar recently acquired the companies the County of Simcoe uses for both environmental assessment and landfill development.

Landfill development giant Genivar recently acquired Jagger Hims and Henderson Paddon, companies the County of Simcoe uses for environmental assessment and landfill development, respectively.

Council of Canadians, July 14

The Council of Canadians has learned that Jagger Hims, the company Simcoe County contracted for the groundwater analysis of controversial dump Site 41, was recently acquired by a company called Genivar – a major landfill developer…Jagger Hims is Genivar’s second acquisition of a company working on Site 41. Genivar also recently bought Henderson Paddon, hired by the County of Simcoe for all their Landfill Site designs including Site 41.

But the new Site 41 controversy doesn’t end there. In 2007, “Simcoe County hired Genivar Consulting Inc. to identify the business case for County Landfill Site 41… Genivar Consulting has identified Site 41 as both safe and suitable for a new waste management solid waste facility,” according to a county newsletter. Now Genivar, a company with a vested interest in building landfills, including Site 41 specifically, controls whether or not Jagger Hims releases the ModFlow (a widely used US Geological Survey computer-generated modeling system, also known as a Modular Three-Dimensional Groundwater Flow Model).

Jagger Hims, whose data interpretation Site 41’s viability is based on, has refused to release the ModFlow groundwater analysis to the public, the [County of Simcoe-created] Community Monitoring Committee (CMC), or the Council of Canadians. Jagger Hims has even refused to comply with an order from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (the order was issued just one week before Genivar’s May 20, 2009 announcement that it had acquired Jagger Hims). The pretext for Jagger Hims denying access to the ModFlow was their alleged independence, despite the fact that it is now a subsidiary of Genivar, a landfill industry company.

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Site 41 Update – Tiny Township Joins Opposition

Tiny Township Mayor Breckenridge, centre, emailed Simcoe County Warden Tony Geurgis last weekend urging for increased transparency and an emergency meeting of council.

Tiny Township Mayor Breckenridge, centre, exchanged emails with Simcoe County Warden Tony Geurgis over the weekend, urging him to call an emergency meeting of council.


The Barrie Examiner
, July 15:

A motion by Deputy Mayor George Lawrence and Coun. Andre Claire asking the Premier to act was unanimously supported at Monday [July 13th]’s [Tiny Township] council meeting.

The motion cites council’s concerns about “outstanding environmental issues,” the protection and conservation of groundwater at the site. There remains,” it says, “a community-wide concern regarding a number of unsatisfactorily answered site design questions.”

The motion also notes there is an outstanding appeal concerning the site to Ontario’s Ombudsman by the former chair of the Community Monitoring Committee (Ray Millar).

Mayor Peggy Breckenridge has asked County Warden Tony Guergis to call a special meeting of county council to deal with the escalating situation at the dump site.  She suggests the meeting might be held under the procedural bylaw and, because it would deal with the security of county property, could be held in-camera.

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Site 41 Update – McGuinty Speaks

Danny Beaton, left, and other protesters attempted to confront the premier at Georgian College in Barrie, July 7, 2009.

Toronto Star, July 8:

[Y]esterday, several dozen placard-toting dump opponents tried to speak with [Dalton] McGuinty at an infrastructure funding announcement at Georgian College in Barrie, but were escorted off campus by city police. Officers said college officials had asked them to eject the peaceful protesters.While McGuinty refused to meet with the demonstrators, he said he appreciated their concerns.

“I know it is a difficult issue for some of the folks around here and I can understand that,” he told reporters.

“We need landfill sites,” he said, noting that work surrounding Site 41 has been going on for 15 years. “The best advice that we’re getting is … we can do this in a way that does not compromise the quality of the environment.”

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Site 41 Update – Blockade

Local residents marching to the July 4th rally opposing Site 41

Simcoe County residents march to a July 4th rally opposing Dump Site 41

On June 30th, despite a well-attended protest by community members outside council chambers, Simcoe County Councilors voted in favour of a measure prohibiting vehicles from parking within 50 metres of either entrance to Site 41 on the north side of the road.  The parking ban has yet to be enforced, as signs are required to first be installed to inform drivers of the new measure, but once in place the ban will likely prove a substantial setback for those protesting the continued development of the Dump Site.

Four days later, about 400 people marched from the Elmvale Arena and joined about 150 more at the campsite across from Site 41 that has been active for over 60 days. The march and subsequent rally was organized by the Council of Canadians and included speeches from provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow, former MP and Toronto Mayor David Crombie, Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop, local activist Stephen Ogden, radio host Dale Goldhawk, and a representative from the Chiefs of Ontario.

During her speech, Maude Barlow spoke of meetings with local councilors about a proposal for a year-long moratorium on site development which she hopes to go before the  council once it resumes on August 25th.  “People supporting the site are feeling the heat,” said Barlow, “and I think they would like to find a peaceful resolution to this…and if the decision isn’t what we want, we will then decide how we react. But we have to make sure no garbage goes into the site before Aug. 25th. Not one piece of garbage must be allowed to be dumped, because once it is, it that becomes very hard to undo.”

The day following the rally, an email sent by Simcoe County Warden Tony Guergis to local Councilors was obtained by community members. The email spoke of a new plan to have Site 41 operational within weeks rather than months as previously scheduled.

In response, A blockade was formed at 5am the next morning, preventing equipment from entering Site 41. Vicki Monague, in charge of communications for the ongoing Anishinabe camp site opposing the Dump Site, sent out a message later in the day saying, “Natives have blocked entrances and now joined by locals. This is a permanent block.” According to camp member Shelley Essaunce, there are currently people blocking all three entrances to the site.

First Nations protesters are seeking Federal intervention, citing the responsibility of the Canadian government to protect the lands, waters and resources of First Nations communities.  “Dump Site 41 will be a breach of the Crown’s legal obligation to protect our territories and water and resources,” said First Nations protester John Hawke. “This dump will eventually leak into Georgian Bay – my territory – and I’m not moving until this is stopped; until people from the federal level come and talk with us.”

-Several quotes obtained by Douglas Glynn

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Dump Site 41

Signs protesting the dump site in Simcoe County.

Background:
Ignoring over 30 years of community resistance,  Simcoe County is beginning development on Landfill Site #41 – a project rubber-stamped by the Province and scheduled to be in full operation by the end of this year. First Nations groups, local residents, and organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation, are all protesting this decision, claiming that it goes against Ontario’s Clean Water Act since Site 41’s location contains natural and unspoiled artesian water sources.

Site 41 lies atop the Alliston Aquifer in Tiny Township (northwest of Barrie, Ontario) which provides drinking water to local residents. Scientists have declared the aquifer to be so pristine that it is comparable to ancient arctic ice.  The aquifer is also in close proximity to three First Nations reserves (Rama, Georgina Island and Beausoleil) and the area above the aquifer serves as the traditional harvesting area of the Métis Nation. Aboriginal peoples have not been consulted about the development of the garbage dump site.

There is serious concern that the leachate (liquid drainage) from the landfill will end up leaking into the surrounding water table causing widespread contamination. Overall, there are 13 Rivers and Streams in the upper aquitard of Site 41.

According to the Ministry of the Environment Certificate of Approval, Site 41 is to rely on the pressure of upward hydraulic gradients for structural integrity. This essentially means that since water at the site flows upward, any leak would see water going into the dump rather than discharge going into the aquifer. However, the County of Simcoe-created Community Monitoring Committee for Site 41 contests the existence of the necessary upward hydraulic pressure and claim that the lack of such pressure represents a breach of the Certificate of Approval. The province has thusfar refused to release any details of the water flow to allay residents’ concerns.

On March 30th, 2009, the province began dewatering the aquifer at the rate of over 410 000 litres per day with a goal of removing a total of 225 million litres to make way for the garbage. On May 14th, five Aboriginal women made a public stand against Site 41, setting up camp at the site and refusing to leave until the destruction of the water source is permanently stopped. They are still there, organizing the continued opposition to the Dump Site.

On June 10th, the Council of Canadians had lawyer Steven Shrybman send a letter to the Simcoe County Warden and Councillors, as well as to the Minister of the Environment, threatening legal action if construction at the site continues. The organization’s chair, Maude Barlow, also serves as the senior adviser on water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

On June 24th, David Suzuki wrote a letter to Dalton McGuinty urging a halt to all construction on the landfill. The dewatering process has yet to cease.

Upcoming Actions:
-On June 30th 2009, the County of Simcoe will vote on a parking ban for Concession Road 2 which will interfere with the flow of supplies to the oppositional camp site and make those going to or from the camp have to walk. There is a demonstration planned to take place outside the council meeting at the Simcoe County Offices in Midhurst, Ontario. It is scheduled to start at 9am and end at 12pm.

-On July 4th, the Council of Canadians is organizing a march followed by a rally and concert to demonstrate the strong public opposition to Dump Site 41. Free buses will depart from and return to Toronto . Details can be found here: http://www.canadians.org/events/index.html

Contributions:
The organizers of the ongoing camp site at Site 41 have recently expressed a need for the following items:
water storage containers (hard plastic not soft), raincoats, binoculars, oil & gas for generator, gas cards, phone cards, dish rack, towels-facecloths-tea towels- table cloths, large 24×20 tarp & other sized tarps, environmentally friendly cleaning products such as dish detergent, liquid hand soap, shampoo & conditioner,sunscreen, bug repellent, ice box, ice daily, tobacco for sacred fire, 5-10 gal buckets with lids (previously used is fine), hemp twin, duct tape, outside shower set up and hand sanitizers.
Food needed: meat, lunch meats, cream, milk, fresh vegetables, prepared food, powered juices like iced tea and gatorade, ice, not necessary but appreciated: pop & munchies.

If you are interested in supporting those at the site in any way, get in touch with:
Vicki Monague
Anishinabe Kweag: Protesting Dump Site 41.
PO Box 148
Christian Island, ON L0K 1C0
705-247-2636 or 705-305-8425
bugszie54@hotmail.com

Monetary donations can be deposited to the campsite campaign at:
Scotia Bank, Transit#: 40782, Account#: 0052116.

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Abousfian Abdelrazik Attempts Return to Canada

Lawyer Yavar Hameed holds up an airline ticket for Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik, stranded in Sudan since 2003.

Lawyer Yavar Hameed holds up an airline ticket for Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik, stranded in Sudan since 2003.

Abousfian Abdelrazik was detained without charge and tortured by Sudanese officials on the request of CSIS in 2003. He was subsequently prevented from returning to Canada by officials within the Canadian government, trapping him in Sudan for 6 years. Although he is boarding a plane today to finally return home, his worries are not over. Abdelrazik’s government-scheduled itinerary includes two lengthy stopovers, one in Abu Dhabi and the other in the United States- both countries here he risks apprehension.

In a June 18th letter, a representative of the Department of Justice wrote to Abdelrazik’s legal team, saying that “the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has encountered some reticence in getting assurances that your client will be able to board a flight.” In response, Abdelrazik’s legal team immediately scheduled a meeting with DFAIT officials, asking them of any attempts to ensure Abdelrazik’s safety in the stopover countries. They refused to answer the questions on the basis of national security.

In his June 4th ruling, Judge Russell Zinn- who has agreed to remain ‘seized’ until Abdelrazik returns to Canada- ordered a DFAIT escort to accompany Abdelrazik on his way home. He demanded that the escort “use his very best efforts to ensure that Mr. Abdelrazik returns to Canada unimpeded.” Abdelrazik is also being accompanied by his lawyer, Yavar Hameed. It is the hope of both Abdelarzik and his legal team that this will secure him safe passage.

As of about an hour ago, the three of them have landed safely in Abu Dhabi. The progress of Abdelrazik’s journey home can be monitored at http://twitter.com/retouraubercail

If Abdelrazik does indeed return home safely, Judge Zinn has called for him to appear before a Montreal Federal Court on July 7th to answer questions regarding his experiences in Sudan. There will be an effort to gather supporters outside the court room.

In a June 11th letter, Susan Pollack [executive director of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, charged with reviewing the activities of CSIS] wrote to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee pledging a review would take place of how CSIS handled Abdelrazik’s case. Pollack’s letter went on to say that the review will be conducted in private “and the review committee will not be providing any further comments on the status of this investigation.”This letter was in direct response to Judge Zinn’s June 4th ruling which stated that CSIS was “complicit” in Abdelrazik’s detention by Sudanese authorities in 2003. NDP MP Paul Dewar is calling for a full public inquiry.

According to CSIS’s website, “while CSIS may enter into arrangements with foreign countries and agencies, it may only do so with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.” Upon Abdelrazik’s initial detention in 2003, Ward Elcock [current head of security for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and upcoming G8 meeting] was Director of CSIS, Wayne Easter was the Solicitor General [the name of the position was soon after changed to Minister of Public Safety], and Bill Graham was the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Since the election of the Harper government, Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh has served as the official opposition critic for National Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Public Safety, respectively. He was also the first Indo-Canadian Provincial leader, becoming the NDP premier of BC in 2000. After Michael Ignatieff became Liberal Party Leader, Dosanjh became a Special Advisor. Dosanjh is uniquely qualified to lead a call along with Dewar for a public inquiry. Occupying his old critic positions are Bob Rae [as critic for Foreign Affairs] and Mark Holland [as the critic for Public Safety and National Security]. While these positions are the places from which a call for a public inquiry should be expected to come, the fear of bipartisan culpability being revealed will likely stifle any such call, leaving the NDP and Abdelzarik’s legal team on their own.

More information about Abdelrazik’s case can be found here: http://www.peoplescommission.org/en/abdelrazik/

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Old News

going to war

BBC, September 18, 2001:

A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before [the 9/11] attacks.

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the Taleban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place.

MSNBC, May 16, 2002:

President Bush was expected to sign detailed plans for a worldwide war against al-Qaida two days before Sept. 11 but did not have the chance before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S. and foreign sources told NBC News.

The couching of the plans as a formal security directive is significant…because it indicates that the United States intended a full-scale assault on al-Qaida even if the Sept. 11 attacks had not occurred.

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