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In This Issue

  1. KAIROS bears witness at the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk
  2. Historic Supreme Court decision enriches us all
  3. KAIROS responds to Northern Gateway pipeline decision
  4. Why we all should care about Canada’s temporary foreign worker program
  5. Mark your calendars: fall regional gatherings
  6. KAIROS to lead three workshops at the People’s Social Forum in Ottawa in August

KAIROS bears witness at the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk

KAIROS sent a video crew to Fort McMurray in late June to capture the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk. The crew interviewed people impacted by the tar sands and took footage of the walk around the Syncrude site and the activities that preceded it. The footage will be used for a new KAIROS video, A Culture of Life, which will be launched in September and made available on the KAIROS website.
In the meantime, KAIROS created several short videos from the walk, and Cheryl McNamara, Media Coordinator, posted an article about her experience on
People before profit with a price on carbon
By Cheryl McNamara
My week in late June began by shaking the hand of President Obama. It ended by interviewing First Nations and Métis living in the heart of the Athabasca Tar Sands. Read more.

Historic Supreme Court decision enriches us all

June 26 was a great day for Indigenous rights and an encouragingly positive step for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Following a long legal battle, the Supreme Court of Canada, in an historic, unanimous decision, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in Nation has Aboriginal title over more than 1750 square kilometres of land in the heart of their traditional territory in British Columbia. Read more.

KAIROS responds to Northern Gateway pipeline decision

On June 17, the Government of Canada gave the Northern Gateway pipeline the green light, despite strong opposition from scientists, First Nations, British Columbians and environmentalists. KAIROS’ Sara Stratton and John Dillon weighed in with the following articles.
Northern Gateway and National Aboriginal Day: Reconciliation postponed
By Sara Stratton
We're at a watershed moment for Canada, one where we have the opportunity to carry on as we always have in our relationship with Indigenous peoples, or one where we can move forward in new, more respectful ways. Which path will we choose? Read more.
The Hill Times
Northern Gateway decision a turning point in indigenous relations
By John Dillon
In announcing its approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline, the federal government said that Enbridge “has more work to do to engage with aboriginal groups.” This passing off of responsibility to the pipeline’s sponsor does not release the government from its responsibility to properly consult the First Nations affected. 
If we are ever to achieve reconciliation and a respectful relationship with indigenous peoples, Ottawa must respect indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior, and informed consent when resource extraction or transportation projects are first conceived, as affirmed by the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In rejecting the government’s approval of the Gateway pipeline, more than 30 First Nations and groups declared: “Our inherent human rights are constitutionally enshrined, judicially recognized and embodied in international legal instruments including the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Indeed, Sec. 35 of the Constitution established the government’s obligation to consult aboriginal peoples, and the Supreme Court of Canada has established, in the landmark Haida and Delgamuukw cases, that on very serious issues “full consent” of the affected First Nations is required. In the case of Northern Gateway, the threat to indigenous rights and livelihood is indeed a very serious issue. A rupture of the pipeline would devastate lands and waters.  
First Nations’ concerns are well-founded. An open letter signed by 300 Canadian scientists found the conclusions of the Joint Review Panel on Northern Gateway indefensible on several grounds. They object to the fact that key negative effects from the extraction of bitumen, including climate change, were excluded from consideration. The scientists noted how the panel relied on Enbridge’s own contention that the consequences of an oil spill would not be widespread or permanent, even though it acknowledged uncertainty about the behaviour of diluted bitumen in the marine environment.
An indigenous elder told me that in exercising their right to free, prior and informed consent, indigenous peoples will always take into consideration the impacts on all concerned—humans and other living beings and generations to follow. Hence, indigenous resistance to the extraction and shipping of bitumen from the tar sands strives to take into account the impact on all living creatures whose existence is imperilled by climate change. 
In a commentary on the UN Declaration, James Anaya, former UN special rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, explains that the only time consent may not be required is when activities will not have a substantial impact on Indigenous rights. Governments on occasion may limit indigenous rights for a valid public purpose. But according to the rapporteur, “such a valid public purpose is not found in mere commercial interests or revenue-raising objectives, and certainly not when benefits from the extractive activities are primarily for private gain.”
The Government of Canada failed to properly consult First Nations when the Gateway project was first proposed. Giving responsibility to the Joint Review Panel or to Enbridge in no way fulfills its obligation to properly consult and acknowledge indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent. 
Federal approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline and the consequential fallout may very well be key turning points in how Canadians and indigenous peoples come together to decide on resource projects, factoring in the needs and rights of all, not only the commercial interests of resource companies. If this doesn’t stimulate greater appreciation for indigenous rights, we can likely expect more legal challenges and opposition to resource development in the future. And with good reason.
John Dillon is Ecological Economy Program Coordinator at KAIROS Canada in Toronto. 
Copyright: The Hill Times

Why we all should care about Canada’s temporary foreign worker program


In her article Why everyone should care about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, writer Harsha Wallia links current and historical Canadian complicity in local and global resource extraction on Indigenous lands to the exploitation of racialized labour. She connects colonialism and concepts such as “Terra Nullius” (or Empty Land) - which have had devastating consequences for Indigenous peoples -with the current problems surrounding Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Read more.

KAIROS to lead three workshops at the People’s Social Forum in Ottawa in August

KAIROS’ John Dillon, Katy Quinn and Ian Thompson will lead or help to create workshops that focus on Indigenous rights and wisdom and on mining justice at the Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa, August 21-24. The People’s Social Forum aims to foster activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today. Details on the KAIROS workshops:
John Dillon: Learning from Andean Indigenous peoples on living in harmony with Mother Earth
Presentation and discussion based on the KAIROS publication, Indigenous Wisdom: Living in Harmony with Mother Earth. The workshop will explore the how the teachings and social movements inspired by Andean peoples' concept of "living well" can be a guide for social movements in Canada facing unprecedented challenges from climate change and related ecological crises.
Katy Quinn: The Blanket Exercise – the Indigenous rights history we're rarely taught
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise explores the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Participants are invited onto blankets, which represent land, to walk through our shared history. This activity engages people's minds and hearts in understanding why the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is often broken and how we can take action together to decolonize.
Ian Thompson: Open for Justice
Those harmed by Canadian mining, oil and gas operations overseas need to be able to seek justice in Canada. The Open for Justice campaign is calling on the Canadian government to create an extractive sector ombudsman with the power to independently investigate complaints and give legislated access to Canadian courts for civil lawsuits by those seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies.
This bilingual workshop will be presented by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, of which KAIROS is a member, and the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec.
To learn more, visit   
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Mila Lingbawan Singson


Mila Lingbawan Singson is Igorot from Mankayan, Benguet in the Cordillera region of Northern Philippines.  She has a background in education and a long history of community organizing.  Mila is currently the chairperson of Innabuyog, an alliance of Indigenous women's organizations in the Cordillera region.  Innabuyog, a KAIROS partner, works on issues of food security, Indigenous women's rights - including the right to land - and access and control of land in order to promote sustainable agricultural development. It also functions as the secretariat of the International Women and Mining Network.

KAIROS is preparing for a learning tour to the Philippines in August that Innabuyog will join. To learn more, visit: 'KAIROS leads Philippines Learning Tour to meet with Mindanao residents impacted by Canadian mining operations'.


Watershed Discipleship Workshop

Want to take some time in your church or community to explore the call to Watershed Discipleship? Our new 3 hour workshop can help! It includes biblical and personal reflection, reflection on the issues facing your watershed, and the opportunity to connect those issues with other across Canada and around the world.

Click here
to download the PDF.

Please let us know how you intend to use it by contacting Sara Stratton at


Mark your calendars:
fall regional gatherings

KAIROS is coming to a town near you! Join the KAIROS network at our annual regional gatherings this fall. Your voice matters in helping us advance our work in Indigenous rights, resource extraction, and more!
These gatherings are a time for learning, sharing stories, building relationships, networking, participating in workshops and building momentum for action for the coming year. We would love to see you!
Subsidies are available. Ask your local contact for details.
Atlantic Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
September 20-21, Maritime Conference Centre, Sackville, NB
For information: Bev McDonald,
Great Lakes/St Lawrence Region (Ontario east of Thunder Bay and English Quebec)
October 4, Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Markdale, ON
November 1, Cummer Avenue United Church, Toronto, ON
A third regional gathering is TBC
For information: Rafael Vallejo, or Jim Lindsay,               
Cambrian-Agassiz Region (Manitoba, Nunavut, North-Western Ontario)
October 24-25, location TBC, Winnipeg, MB
For information: Carin Crowe,
Prairies North Region (Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories)
September 26-28, location TBC, Regina, SK
For information: Don Dale,
British Columbia/Yukon Region
Late September or early October, location TBC
For information: Janet Gray,
Québec Partner: Réseau œcuménique justice et paix (ROJeP)
September 30, Location TBC
For information: Pascale Bernier,


Spirited Reflections

Christ’s yoke is easy and burden light when pitching truth to power – by Jim Davis
This past week Saint John the Baptist Day was celebrated in many parts of the world, replete in some places with giant water fights.  John was austere, may be even priggishly disciplined for many, living the harsh ascetic life he did wearing clothes of camel’s hair, and living on a diet of locusts and wild honey. Read more.
Unlikely Disciples: Reflection for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul – by Mary Ruddy
Peter and Paul, what an unlikely pair to share a feast day! Peter, the fisherman, the first to answer the call of Jesus; Paul, the Pharisee, persecutor of Christians, the last to be called ‘apostle’. Read more.
Moving from Cheap to Costly Justice – by Jeff Metcalfe
Justice: the word rolls off the tongue with hope, a feeling of moving forward, and maybe even a bit of righteous indignation. I have yet to meet a political party, a faith-based group, or a community of any kind that did not incorporate the word justice into the rhetorical fabric of its identity. Read more.

Embracing God’s Springtime at Pentecost — by Marian Noll  

Spending time outdoors during these months of late spring early summer gives me much joy. Nature speaks to me of resurrection, new life, new birth. After that first oh so important spring rain washes away the winter grime, the leaves emerge; the perennials send up their first tentative new shoots; the birds hatch their young and begin the ritual of constant feeding. Read more.

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