August 9, 2009
STOP CRIMINALIZING ENVIRONMENTALISTS!
On Monday July 27th at 6:30am, a group of protesters set up camp on the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park development (HCBP), successfully shutting down construction on the site. This development has been subject to heated community debate since 1993 however, the City of Guelph has recently pushed ahead with the first phase of the construction.
Despite the broad public outcry, the City has not properly addressed warnings by environmentalists and community members. The land in question is home to one of Southern Ontario's last surviving Old Growth Forests and situated on the Paris-Galt Moraine which is essential to the integrity of the surrounding area's drinking water. The HCBP site contains provincially significant wetlands as well as protected species. Environmentalists, scientists and community members agree that the supposed precautions taken by the City are not stringent enough to ensure that significant damage is not done to the land, its resources and ecosystems. THE FAILURE OF THE CITY TO PROPERLY ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS WAS THE REAL CAUSE OF THE WORK STOPPAGE. Direct action was the only way to ensure that work was stopped and democratic debate about the development was continued.
The City and its corporate friends have continued to frame the opposition to the Business Park as opposition to providing jobs to the community. Guelph is facing a jobs crisis. We have lost over 2 000 manufacturing jobs in Guelph since the capitalist crisis hit last year. Guelph is a university town and the recession has also hit students hard and making secondary education even less accessible to working-class youth. This past Friday, Statistics Canada released figures showing that student unemployment hit 20.9 per cent in July — the highest jobless rate since the agency began collecting comparable data in 1977.
So does this mean that ecological destruction is necessary in order to pull us out of the recession/depression? THE HCBP IS NOT A SOLUTION FOR GUELPH'S WORKING CLASS, YOUTH AND STUDENTS. The tenants that the HCBP hopes to attract are biotechnology, agri-science firms, and other corporate evil-doers. It is unlikely that any of Guelph's recently unemployed manufacturing workers would be eligible for a research position in these offices and its industrial section will not be built up for years, if ever. Furthermore, Guelph has 175 brownfields that can be cleaned up and re-developed (former industrial/commercial sites that may be toxified and are now unused).
Unfortunately, Capital sees brownfields as less profitable than new development on a 'greenfield'. The municipality and other levels of government need to stand up to unrestrained capitalist greed and demand that development is done in a responsible way. YCL-Guelph affirms its support in the struggle for meaningful, decent paying jobs as well as for environmental sustainability and conservation.
PUT PEOPLE AND NATURE BEFORE PROFIT!
YCL-GUELPH STANDS IN FULL SOLIDARITY WITH THE LAND DEFENDERS AT THE HCBP SITE AND DEMANDS THAT THE CITY STOP IT'S EFFORTS AT INTIMIDATION AND CRIMINALIZATION. The City's attitude towards the protesters on the site has not been to negotiate towards a resolution but to use the threats of a 5 million dollar lawsuit, and charges of 'Nuisance', the ‘Criminal Offence of Mischief,’ the ‘Criminal Offence of Intimidation,’ the ‘Criminal Offence of Extortion,’ and ‘Inducing Breach of Contract’, to intimidate the peaceful protesters. These brave people have put themselves on the line in the struggle against anarchic and destructive capitalist development. Many of the people who have been singled out by the City and now face the 5 million dollar law-suit are friends and allies of the YCL.
Please join the friends of the "Land Defenders", community supporters and YCL-Guelph tomorrow, Monday August 10th.
@10 am - Superior Court (74 Woolwich St).
@ 6pm - Rally at city hall (1 Carden st.)
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