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Maude Barlow Should be Encouraged to Decline the Canadian Environment Award. PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:44

2008 May 26


Maude Barlow Should be Encouraged to Decline the Canadian Environment Award

PEJ News - Joan Russow - Global Compliance Research Project - It has been announced that that Maude Barlow will be recognized by the Canadian Environmental Awards. The CEA media release says, "The program's top honour, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement, will be presented to Maude Barlow, who for 25 years has been a fierce advocate for the rights of Canadians and for Canadian sovereignty on economic, trade and social issues that have a deep connection to the environment. Barlow's most recent campaign focuses on the world's water crisis. Maude Barlow will deliver the keynote address at the annual Awards Gala, which will be held on Monday, June 2, at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex in Toronto."

Maude Barlow must be encouraged to refuse an award whose sponsors among others are Shell and Nexen. The sponsorship of these two companies makes a mockery of the award.



Maude Barlow's acceptance of this award would discredit her work at the Council of Canadians. Instead, she could use this as a wonderful opportunity to call a press conference, to discredit the greenwash of Shell and Nexen and so many other major polluters who sponsor similar events, and to disclose the practice of environmental groups being willing to compromise their principles for monetary gain. It is iequally mportant to disclose not only the egregious actions of one or another of the sponsors, but also  to condemn the condoning of the practice of corporations, through their conscience money,  attempting to exonerate themselves by sponsoring institutions, awards, events etc, which purport to  advance the issues of peace, human rights, social justice, and the environment; all of which are diametrically opposed to their corporate practices.


Maude Barlow has acquired considerable respect internationally with her work, and any connection with Shell and its devastating practices not only in the sphere of the environment but also of human Rights such as the unconscionable acts of Shell, against the Ogoni people in Nigeria would undermine her international credibility. .

In the US, there was a case against Shell’s treatment of the Ogoni: A U.S. federal court ruling has cleared the way for a human-rights abuse lawsuit against petroleum giant Shell to proceed. Judge Kimba Wood ruled in February that the company can be held liable in the United States for collaborating with the Nigerian government in the executions of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, youth leader” ...

There have been numerous other court cases filed against Shell. One notable case is the case in Nicaragua over the use of Nemagon. In December 2002, a Nicaraguan judge ordered three U.S. companies, Dow Chemical, Shell Oil Company and Standard Fruit (Dole Food Company in the U.S.), to pay US$490 million in compensation to 583 banana workers injured by Nemagon, an extremely toxic soil fumigant that has sterilized thousands of Central American banana workers.

In May 2, 2007, the Friends of the Earth reported that Shell fails to obey gas flaring court order.in Nigeria. (see ANNEX for recent up-date). Also, in 2007 , a coalition of Native Alaskans and conservation groups had sued and succeeded in halting drilling by Shell, because of concerns that such large-scale industrial activities would threaten endangered bowhead whales, polar bears and other marine animals in coastal waters just off the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The groups challenged the permit issued by the federal Mineral Management Service on grounds that the agency failed to conduct proper assessment of environmental impacts.


Maude Barlow has spoken out strongly against the use of water in the oil Sands and against the oil sands production itself.. One of the sponsors of the Canadian Environmental Awards is Nexen Inc which describes itself as “a Canadian-based global energy company uniquely positioned for growth in the North Sea, deep-water Gulf of Mexico, the Athabasca oil sands,”


Maude Barlow has been a leading opponent of corporate trade deals from the FTA, NAFTA, FTAA, CAFTA, to the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement among Mexico, Canada, and the US.

Nexen is one of the many corporations involved in negotiating contracts through the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement. The Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement calls for establishing a “reliable source of energy”-

In Mexico there is a strong campaign against the Privatization of PEMEX. The PRD – the Mexican socialist Party- held an extremely well-attended rally against the Privatization of PEMEX and launched a cross-country campaign to prevent the privatization of PEMEX.

Nexen issued the following Press release about linking it with PEMEX and the SPP:

“Canada-Mexico Energy Deal Signals Deeper Bilateral Ties Long restricted in their ability to do business in the Latin American country, foreign firms are taking new interest. By Lee Berthiaume

A new agreement between a Calgary-based oil and gas firm and Mexico's state-run energy company is being hailed as a significant deal that could signal the beginning of a shift in what defines the Canada-Mexico relationship.

Canadian company Nexen Inc. and Mexico's Pemex signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month in which the two sides agreed to collaborate in exploration and production activities, and share technology, research and expertise.
This comes seven months after Alberta signed a co-operation agreement with the Mexican energy ministry, in which the provincial government made a point of highlighting the vast potential the Latin American country holds for Canadian investors.

Mexico has more than 12 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and more than 14.5 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. The Alberta government says at least 25 companies from the province are operating in Mexico in a variety of areas, including the pipeline, drilling and service, and electricity sectors. Experts agree that agriculture and mining remain the two sectors that really define the Canada-Mexico relationship–there are more than 300 Canadian mining firms in the country.

But since Mexican President Felipe Calderon's bilateral visit to Ottawa last year as president-elect when he reiterated his commitment to energy reform, the sector has garnered special attention. When Mr. Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent a weekend together in Quebec in August during the Mexican president's second visit to Canada in less than a year, the two topics for discussion were climate change and energy.

’Especially with declining [oil] production that we have in Mexico,’ Mexican Ambassador to Canada Emilio Goicoechea said last week. "It was a big issue between them and they agreed on many, many things. ‘There is something happening now,’ he said. In 2004, then-prime minister Paul Martin and then-president Vicente Fox established the Canada-Mexico Partnership, which set up a number of working groups that would focus on a number of areas, and foster closer working relations between the two countries. A working group on energy was established the following year, and some projects have begun. There is also a trilateral energy working group that includes the United States in the NORTH AMERICA SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP. [emphasis] “


For too long citizens have condoned the bestowing of legitimacy on the corporate sector’s involvement in sponsoring events in attempt to delude the public into thinking that they are concerned about socially equitable and environmentally sound development. This practice must end. Maude Barlow has an opportunity to give profile to this practice of corporate hypocrisy.

Shell and Nexen are major polluters on a global scale.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 17:50

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