Occupy Fredericton is the NB capital’s chapter of the global Occupy Movement

The-Hive-webOccupy Fredericton is the NB capital’s chapter of the global Occupy Movement, focused on sustainable and ethical community and economic development.

In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Occupy Fredericton held a peaceful protest rally and march on October 15th, 2011, with hundreds in attendance. In concert with over 2000 other Occupy groups worldwide, the group then took up peaceable occupation of the public courtyard called Phoenix Square, beside City Hall. Occupy Fredericton continuously occupied Phoenix Square for two and a half months, with no official public or legal objections, for the purpose of establishing a forum for direct democracy, engaging in public education and advocacy, and planning of sustainable municipal and provincial economic development initiatives.

On January 5th of 2012, Mayor Brad Woodside illegally ordered city workers to destroy the Occupy Fredericton shelter with protesters still inside. This prompted legal action on the part of three individuals, which resulted in a settlement announced on January 6th of 2014.

With Phase One now completely in the past, we are moving on to Phase Two, which is to now begin holding monthly conferences where concerned citizens can discuss issues, connect with each other, and take action. These conference will take place on the last Saturday of every month.

The first conference has already taken place. Occupy Activism: A Community Conference brought approximately 30 people together to begin to explore solutions. Among the ideas brought forward is to rejuvenate the speakers series that was conducted during Occupy. Another initiative is to work toward a sustainable living workshop series. One prevalent concern was the need for framework for a wider network of activists in Fredericton, a network that would connect people and facilitate the sharing of information and resources.

If you would like more information, please contact us by email at occupyfredericton@gmail.com , or through our Facebook and Twitter (@OccupyFtonNB) accounts.

We are the 99%, and so are you. Join the revolution.

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Occupy Fredericton Vs City of Fredericton out of court Settlement The Real Story

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Chinese government will use Nexen’s marketing arm to suppress bitumen prices, warns report

Harper’s new ownership guidelines won’t stop Chinese from exerting control in Alberta’s oil sands, according to new AFL report

CALGARY – Albertans concerned about the future of the oil sands should not be reassured by new guidelines for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) unveiled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Friday afternoon.

A new report prepared by the Alberta Federation of Labour entitled “China’s Gas Tank” shows that the Chinese have a plan for the oil sands – a plan that is not in the long-term best interests of the citizens of Alberta who are the real owners of the resource.

“Now that they own Nexen, the Chinese government will have control over the marketing of about 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day and they will increase their control of Syncrude, Canada’s largest oil sands producer, which will now have representatives from Sinopec and CNOOC on its board wielding veto power,” AFL president Gil McGowan said.

“The Chinese government doesn’t need majority ownership of the oil sands to exert a significant degree of control. It’s already happening. And if more isn’t done to protect the interests of Canadians, we can kiss goodbye to our hopes and dreams about moving up the value ladder.”

The AFL report is based on new documents and testimony about Chinese ownership released as part of the ongoing regulatory hearings into the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, as well as documents that CNOOC and Sinopec have been required to file with the U.S. Security Exchange Commission (SEC).

The report makes a number of significant revelations about the Chinese government’s practices and intentions, including the following:

  • The Chinese are attracted to the oil sands because they want access to cheap feedstock for their refineries. Specifically, they want to lock in an alternative to high-priced oil from Saudi Arabia. As a result, selling to Chinese SOEs won’t result in an “Asia Premium” for Alberta producers: China wants to pay less, not more.
  • Nexen will help China reach its goals because the company’s marketing arm handles about 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day. Nexen’s marketing expertise is currently used to get the best (i.e. highest) prices for shareholders. But it could easily be used to get the lowest prices for Chinese refiners – and that means downward pressure on bitumen prices for Canadian producers and the Alberta public.
  • CNOOC in their own words in their April 2012 filing to the SEC: “We sell a significant proportion of our production to CNOOC-affiliated companies Sinopec and PetroChina.”
  • The Nexen deal means the Chinese will strengthen their influence over Syncrude, Canada’s largest oil sands producer. Sinopec already owns nine per cent of the company and they have used their stake to veto any new Canadian upgrading projects. Nexen owns seven per cent of Syncrude, meaning that the Chinese government’s stake in the company will now increase to 16 per cent.
  •  Rumors continue to swirl that the Chinese intend to buy significant stakes in Canadian Oilsands Ltd., which owns 36 per cent of Syncrude. If this happens, China could move from a position of significant influence to one of outright control at Canada’s largest oil sands producer.
  • The Chinese also have what is likely a controlling interest in the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The project has ten funding partners, only six of which have been named publicly. The publicly-named partners include: Sinopec; Nexen (now owned by CNOOC); MEG (owned 15 per cent by CNOOC); Total E & P Canada (in joint venture partnership with Sinopec); Suncor (in joint venture partnership with Teck Resources, which is 17 per cent owned by state-owned China Investment Corporation); Cenovus.

“What’s happening here is an elegant plan to gain control of all steps in the oil sands production chain: from extraction to marketing to transportation,” McGowan said. “Once that’s done, the Chinese will be able to keep prices low and keep the raw bitumen flowing to refineries in China. This will mean lower profits for Albertans who own the resource, lower royalties for Canadian governments and the loss of thousands of potential Canadian jobs in upgrading.”

McGowan says that stopping the CNOOC takeover of Nexen would have been one tool to protect the interests of Canadians. But now that the Harper Conservatives have dropped that ball, he says it’s even more important to stop the Canada-China investment treaty (FIPA) and the Northern Gateway pipeline.

“Northern Gateway would provide the plumbing to drain profits and jobs from Alberta and FIPA would tie the hands of future governments who might want to change the rules,” McGowan said.

“At the end of the day it’s clear that China’s interests are at odds with Canada’s interests. It’s also clear that we can’t rely on the so-called free-market companies to save the day, because they’re all in bed with the Chinese. What we need is a government that’s willing to step in and impose a national energy strategy that puts the interests of Canadians ahead of the interests of foreign governments and profit-seeking corporations that focus only on their short-run self interest.”

Reprint from the Alberta Federation of Labour

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NB Energy Minister, Craig Leonard makes false assumptions on the Cleary shale gas report

By André Faust

Energy Minister Hon, Craig Leonard appears to have missed the point in regards to Dr. Eilish Cleary New Brunswick Depart of Health Chief Medical Officer of Health in his interpretation of the Cleary Report on shale gas development in the province.

On Nov 28th, 2012 the Government of New Brunswick ruled out a moratorium based the conclusion from both Dr. Louis LaPierre’s and Dr. Eilish Cleary’s reports. In his presentation to the house his Hon. Craig Leonard told the house.

“We also recently received reports by Dr. Louis LaPierre and Dr. Eilish Cleary that have identified issues other jurisdictions have faced with gas extraction from shale formations and how they can be mitigated.
Both reports came to the same conclusion – a moratorium on shale gas exploration was neither required nor desirable in New Brunswick as it would effectively limit the research and exploration required to learn more about the potential of the industry.”

hosted by Phil Vincent the minister was told that Dr. Cleary had not made any references to a moratorium in her report and that she has publicly stated that she is taking no position either for or against a moratorium on shale gas development… The answer that the minister gave is from a previous conference Dr. Cleary claimed that a moratorium is moot point, because more research is involved and that her report suggest more research so from that he assumed that it is not desirable to have a moratorium, because you want that research before acting.

Dr. Cleary held a public meeting at UNB to discuss her report, during question and answer Dr. Cleary was asked the following question.

“A few minutes ago, Mr. Leonard was asked to explain his statement that Dr. Cleary’s report comes to the conclusion that a moratorium was neither required nor desirable in New Brunswick.

Mr. Leonard answered that because Dr. Cleary stated in an interview that a moratorium is a ‘moot’ point, he assumes Dr. Cleary agrees that a moratorium is neither required nor desirable. What is your response to Mr. Leonard’s statement?”

Dr. Clear explicitly said What was quoted by the minister was not a conclusion in my report.

“Mr. Leonard’s comment was not accurate. What was quoted was not a conclusion expressed in my report. I purposefully did not take a stance for or against shale gas development but rather focused on what needs to be done to protect public health IF this industry is to proceed in New Brunswick….Any inferred comment on a moratorium was not the intention or the point of my report.“

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For Immediate Release                       PRESS RELEASE                             September 28, 2012


“I just spent my 79th birthday spraying bleach under my house because the moving ground has caused the septic lines to sag and pull apart, allowing sewage to leak into the ground.” – Georgia McCabe.

Residents of Penobsquis, New Brunswick began seeing damages to their properties in 2004 caused by what residents believe are mining related ground movements. Since 2004, water wells went dry, walls developed cracks, roofs began to buckle, and septic and sewage lines have separated.

In July of 2010, a complaint was lodged with the New Brunswick Mining Commissioner against Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. This began a legal battle that has lasted more than two years. Twenty four residents were asking for Justice for their community. Most of the 24 residents withdrew their complaints on September 10, 2012, but Georgia McCabe, Heather McCabe and Beth Norrad are continuing with the Hearings.

“How can a company call itself a responsible citizen when a senior in the community where they operate is living in a home with a buckling roof, sagging walls, and leaking sewage?  Potash Corporation experts admitted there has been almost a meter of sinking beneath our home in a 10 year period. How could it not cause damage?” says Heather McCabe.

On Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:30am, the Hearings, being held at the All Season’s Inn in Sussex, will come to a close when the three remaining complainants give their closing arguments.

Media Contact: Heather McCabe Tel. (506) 433-3390  Email h.mccabe@bellaliant.net

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Fredericton Mayor says “city residents don’t support expensive legal action” when it is against the status quo

Occupy protesters want Woodside to apologize


Protest lasted months: The Occupy Fredericton site, shown in an October file photo, was dismantled by the city in January. Three Occupy protesters have filed small claims court suits against the mayor and city for property destruction and Charter of Rights violations

One of the three people suing the city for dismantling the Occupy Fredericton shelter in January says the mayor’s refusal to apologize for tearing down the camp is similar to his refusal to declare Pride Week in the late 1990s.

Julian Renaud said the small claims court action against Mayor Brad Woodside, city engineering and public works director Murray Jamer and the City of Fredericton filed by himself, Dana Hartt and Alex Davenport will go to court after settlement negotiations broke down earlier in the week.

The trio – who claims the city misrepresented bylaws, infringed on their rights to protest and free speech and failed to return property confiscated during the demolition of the shelter – is seeking a public declaration that the city’s action was unlawful, compensation for their belongings and compensation totaling $15,000 for violating their charter rights.

But Renaud said after five meetings with the city, no settlement has been reached. Although he couldn’t speak to the details of what the city was offering due to confidentiality agreements, Renaud said he thinks the mayor’s refusal to say he acted unlawfully is like when he refused to declare Pride Week.

In 1995, Woodside made headlines nationally by refusing to declare Pride Week. In 1998, he was forced by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission to read the declaration, although he mumbled it in such a low voice the council chamber couldn’t hear him. He apologized the following week and has read the declaration ever since.

“In this situation, like that situation, the mayor infringed on the rights of his own constituents and someone called him on it in both instances,”
Renaud said. “All he had to do to settle this lawsuit was sit down with us and say, ‘alright guys, look, I didn’t handle it right. I’m sorry. You guys didn’t actually break the law. We acted without lawful authority and here’s your stuff back.'”

The groups listed a non-rigid water jug, a manila envelope full of lapel pins, an orange arctic sleeping bag, 11 red gift boxes, a smoke detector, three travel mugs, tarps and books and their large canvas banner reading “Occupy Fredericton. We are the 99% and so are you” among the personal property items they lost when the city tore down the Occupy encampment at 5 a.m. Jan. 3.

While Renaud wouldn’t talk about the details of the settlement offer, Woodside told The Daily Gleaner the city has offered to compensate the men for their property.

“The decision was that we would compensate them for their lost articles that they claim to have lost. But in terms of punitive damages or the $5,000 each they were looking for, I just can’t support that,” he said.

Woodside said the situation has been dragged out too long and he thinks the public would agree it’s time to move on.

“I think the bottom line is the public has had enough. I’ve had enough,” Woodside said.

“But if they’ve got nothing better to do than waste everybody’s time in a court, to have somebody say who was right or who was wrong or to collect $15,000 that they claim they’re entitled to for punitive damages, I can’t see the public getting too much behind that in terms of support. I think they’re making the wrong move. Time will tell.”

Renaud said even though the three men haven’t found a lawyer willing to represent them, he has talked to several people in the legal profession about the case. Based on those conversations he feels confident they’ll win the lawsuit when it goes to court.

“This is an elected official who abused his power,” he said. “He violated our rights and he won’t deal with that. What choice do we have but to sue? The city brought this lawsuit on, not us. They left us with no choice.

“It’s going to cost a lot of money to take this to court rather than admitting they were wrong.”

More information about this lawsuit can be found here: julianrenaud.ca

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(S&P) Standard & Poor cuts outlook on 7 Canadian banks

Tara Perkins – Financial Services Reporter
The Globe and Mail

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has revised its outlook downwards on seven Canadian

financial institutions, citing high housing prices and consumer debt.

S&P affirmed the ratings for Bank of Nova Scotia, Central 1 Credit Union, Home Capital Group Inc., Laurentian Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, but in each case it cut its outlook from stable to negative.

“A prolonged run-up in housing prices and consumer indebtedness in Canada is in our view contributing to growing imbalances and Canada’s vulnerability to the generally weak global economy, applying negative pressure on economic risk for banks,” the rating agency stated in its decision. “Growing pressure on banks’ risk appetites and profitability arising from competition for loan and deposit market share could also lead to a deterioration in our view of industry risk.”

The dimming prospects for the global economy added further impetus for the change, because Canada could see unemployment rise, further constraining income growth. That, in turn, could make it harder for Canadians to pay off their debts and amplify the country’s vulnerability to a housing market correction at some point in the future, the agency said.

The negative outlook recognizes that Canadian banks could see their financial performance and capital levels hurt by these factors, and could also suffer from stiffer competition among one another for loans as consumers try to tackle their debt loads.

House prices have roughly doubled over the past decade while, relative to GDP, consumer debt has risen from about 70 per cent to more than 90 per cent, S&P pointed out. And it suggested that Ottawa’s actions have not done enough to stem what could be a significant problem for the economy. “Successive government efforts since 2008 to counteract the stimulative effect of low interest rates on consumer borrowing and home prices have done less than we expected to counteract the growing level of consumer leverage and housing market risk in Canada,” S&P said. The agency is now watching to see if the most recent moves that the government has made will have better results.

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