UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Social justice activists march in Manila on Oct. 19. Photo by Shaun Fryday

Remember this

We can always help others to live in peace

By Carolyn Pogue


According to the message, the major reason for postponing the trip was to respond to the violent dispersal of the rally: “Organizers and leaders need to attend to the injured and respond to legal needs of those arrested and detained . . .”

So, our houseguest and her colleagues in the KAIROS delegation from the Philippines would not arrive in Calgary after all. They had planned to tour Canada, speaking to mining company executives, government and others about the deathly impacts of mining in their country. But the peaceful rally in Manila on Oct.19 had been met with a vicious police response.

It was yet another story of resistance to corporations who wreak havoc in other lands, and this one has a Canadian connection. I've heard many such stories around the world, but my husband Bill Phipps, a former United Church of Canada moderator, has heard more.

"United Church partnerships around the world call us into solidarity with people whose human rights and land are always under threat from outside forces," Bill says. "I have seen the effects of modern-day Canadian colonialism in El Salvador, Guatemala and this most recent conflict in the Philippines. We must never forget."

Bill has visited the Philippines three times on behalf of the United Church, and once with Rev. Shaun Fryday and the Beaconsfield Initiative. Friday’s passion for justice and peace for friends in the Philippines’ United Church of Christ is palpable.

"Last week, Jimmy Saypan, leader of Compostela Farmers Association, was assassinated,” Fryday told me. "This recent news makes the story very immediate. People who ate breakfast with us a couple of months ago, are being murdered. Schools we visited have been burned, and people have been driven from their homes to make way for 'development'."

There have been dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries and arrests linked to "28 Canadian companies' mining projects in the 13 countries in [Latin America],” according to a new study published by the Justice and Corporate and Accountability Project.

"The world is taking notice of Canadian companies for all the wrong reasons," Shin Imai, a law professor at York University's Osgoode Law School, recently told the Toronto Star. "We need a more robust way to hold companies accountable.”

That’s exactly what Fryday and others are asking of the Canadian Government: hold companies accountable for infringements of human rights and ecological devastation. Bill 300, put forward as a private members' bill in 2009, would have enshrined this in law; it narrowly failed.

Politicians tell us that letters, calls and emails matter to them. Says Fryday: ”We need a new and concerted effort to raise the issue of corporate responsibility. We need to work with other organizations, too. Churches have the capacity to speak to each other and to place this issue before the public. We need to quicken our pace."

On Remembrance Day, I'll think of fallen soldiers, peace workers, medics, journalists and the civilians who become casualties of war. And I will think of the delegation from the Philippines who want Canadians to help them to live in peace.



Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a Calgary author and longtime Observer contributor. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Columns

Moderator nominee Colin Phillips gives his nomination speech at General Council. (Credit: Richard Choe)

Hey, United Church — we could have talked about my disability

by Colin Phillips

A moderator nominee says the majority of commissioners at General Council weren't comfortable enough to truly engage him.

Promotional Image

Observations

Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Two nurses tackle Vancouver's opioid crisis

Richard Moore is a resident of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this poignant interview, he explains the important work of nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles.

Promotional Image

Columns

August 2018

Why Canada’s first-ever minister for seniors is long overdue

by Julie Lalonde

A gerontologist says she hopes that a ministry dedicated to elder issues will mean that seniors finally have a voice in policy making.

Columns

August 2018

Hey, United Church — we could have talked about my disability

by Colin Phillips

A moderator nominee says the majority of commissioners at General Council weren't comfortable enough to truly engage him.

Interviews

August 2018

'Photography was the way that I could share different Indigenous realities'

by Emma Prestwich

Award-winning photographer Nadya Kwandibens wants to change the perception of Indigenous people through her work.

Promotional Image