At this critical time in the history of this planet, we are committed to engaged communities, a healthy environment, social and ecological justice, and participatory democracy.
Mindful of the real threats to our natural environment, social and economic justice, and the democratic principles of engagement and transparency in Canada, we will create public awareness and engage citizens everywhere to require our governments and economic institutions to act in the best interests of ecological resilience and social justice.
How We Function
CUSP holds regular meetings in Thunder Bay and either organizes or takes part in events intended to raise public awareness of our concerns. Interested people are invited to request email notifications of meetings and/or events. (See Contact.)
Compared to most organizations, we are informally and flexibly structured. Though meeting agendas are prepared and efficiently carried out, we have no defined executive positions, no membership rules and no fees. Over time we’ve developed protocols for handling specific situations. We each take on roles according to CUSP’s needs and our abilities and schedules. We keep costs at a minimum, do not try to raise funds and are not interested in becoming a charitable organization.
Who We Are and Where We’re Coming From
Young and old, professional and amateur, rural and urban, we’re a grassroots mixture of Northwestern Ontario residents who share a love of our land, of nature and of a caring democratic Canadian society: the essences of a home we once believed was rock-solid but now is under serious threat.
We have been stunned by the incredible failure on the part of world leaders, and especially Canadian leaders, to acknowledge the unprecedented human-caused destruction now happening to the life-giving surface of planet Earth: its climate, its air, land and water. We want to raise awareness and move people to take action.
The last straw for us came in the fall of 2011 when the Harper-controlled government in Canada announced that it was withdrawing our nation from the Kyoto Protocol.
We formed in the spring of 2012 just as the same government was rubbing salt in the wounds by hastily enacting an enormous omnibus bill containing clauses that repealed Canada’s long-standing Environmental Protection Act. With barely a blink of time for discussion, it removed nearly all the brakes to exploitation of ecosystems and vulnerable communities throughout the country.
This included the transport of toxic bitumen: first across the pristine wilderness and hazardous coastal waterways of British Columbia, and next the farmlands, Boreal forests, wetlands, rivers and lakes of the rest of Canada. The new legislation also gave power to the federal Cabinet, in effect the Prime Minister, to overturn any decision of the National Energy Board, the regulator of the oil industry. It thus both nudged the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator on a vehicle that was already in the hands of a questionably qualified oil-friendly crew.
If the planned pipeline and tanker systems go into operation, not only do we have the immediate threat of toxins, but also an increase in both Canadian and world-wide fossil fuel combustion and greenhouse gas emissions. Just when action is desperately needed to curtail this process and its devastating effects, we have this careless neglect by our apparently oil-obsessed government.
We now live in a country where those holding power have no concern with unprecedented planet-wide devastation or human suffering, apparently believing they can isolate themselves with their closest supporters in safety.
It’s not just the razing of the environment. Our governments, federal and provincial, have shown themselves unwilling to address poverty, inequality, and their obligations toward Aboriginal Peoples. After nearly a hundred and fifty years of this nation’s existence, they remain locked in an exploitive and patriarchal colonial mentality.
All of this is facilitated by blatant abuses of democracy being committed with unprecedented speed and aggressiveness by the sitting federal government. It has surpassed all previous administrations in taking advantage of the weaknesses in our Constitution. Where once we could largely depend on national leaders to exhibit at least some basic decency and respect for historical and unwritten conventions of democracy, we no longer can.
Our world is at stake. It’s time to WAKE UP and ACT accordingly!