Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


Bring public science back to the public! MOTION TO BE VOTED ON MAY 26

Bring public science back to the public! | Evidence For Democracy

Thanks to all of the attention last week to the challenges government scientists are facing, MPs will debate a motion to bring science integrity back to government scientists tomorrow.
Liberal Science and Technology critic, Ted Hsu, has put forward a motion to:
  1. end the government’s silencing of government scientists;
  2. create a new portal to allow publicly-funded science to get to the public; and
  3. create a new Chief Science Officer.

Passing this motion would be huge step in the right direction!

Federal government scientists play an important role in keeping
Canadians safe and healthy by providing their expertise to both the
public and decision-makers. When scientists communicate directly with
the media, we all gain a better understanding of how science is being
used for government decision-making, are better able to hold our
government accountable, and are able to make informed decisions in our
day-to-day lives.

Over the past several years, Canadian scientists working in the
federal government have experienced a substantial shift in the way they
can communicate their research. Reports
of widespread censorship and delayed access to Canadian government
scientists have been covered in prominent national and international
. Extensive coverage and concern has even prompted the
Information Commissioner of Canada to pursue an investigation, currently
ongoing, into the alleged muzzling of scientists.

This motion will keep this issue in the national spotlight and, if it
passes, will go a long way to improve government science and make sure
it is openly communicated to the public.

Here is the full text of the motion:

That, in the opinion of the House:

(a) the government has constrained the ability of federal scientists to
share their research and to collaborate with their peers; (b) federal
scientists have been muzzled and prevented from speaking to the media
about their work; (c) research is paid for by taxpayers and must be done
in the public interest in order to protect the environment and the
health and safety of Canadians; and, therefore, (d) the government
should immediately rescind all rules and regulations that muzzle
government scientists, consolidate government-funded or -created science
so that it is easily available to the public at large through a central
portal, create a Chief Science Officer whose mandate would include
ensuring that government science is freely available to those who are
paying for it, namely, the public, and allow scientists to be able to
speak freely on their work with limited and publicly stated exceptions.


Amnesty Petition, Bill C-51

Take action for human rights | Amnesty International Canada

Bill C-51, The Anti-Terrorism Act, forms the core of the most comprehensive reforms to the Canada ’s national security laws since 2001. Widely expanded powers and new criminal offences raise serious human rights concerns including:

  1. A vague definition of “threats” that could include a wide range of protest activity that may not be lawful, but is certainly not criminal.
  2. Asking Federal Court judges to authorize CSIS “threat reduction” activities that could include human rights violations in Canada and in other countries.
  3. Suppressing freedom of expression by making it a crime to advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences “in general”.
  4. Lowering the threshold for, and extending the duration of, preventative detention without charge.
  5. Expanded information-sharing without sufficient safeguards to prevent the sharing of unreliable,
    inaccurate, or inflammatory information domestically and

  6. Inadequate appeal procedures for individuals who find their names on no-fly lists. 
  7. No increased review or oversight of increasingly complex national security activities.
Read Amnesty International's Brief submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security

Governments have not only the right, but the responsibility to respond to concerns  about threats and attacks – including terrorism – and protect their  citizens.
But not at any cost. 

Recent history is all too full of  examples on every continent of what can happen when security laws and  practices disregard human rights: torture and ill-treatment, indefinite  detention, unfair trials, unlawful killings, irresponsible arms  transfers, civilian casualties, profiling and other forms of  discrimination, and crackdowns on protest and dissent.

Canada’s own complicity in a  number of cases including Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati, Muayyed Nureddin, Omar Khadr, Abousfian Abdelrazik, and Benamar Benatta remains unresolved.


WIN! Ontario bill banning fracking passes second reading | The Council of Canadians

WIN! Ontario bill banning fracking passes second reading | The Council of Canadians

The Council of Canadians supports Bill 82, legislation that would place a moratorium on fracking in Ontario.

In March, the Canadian Press reported, "An NDP private member's bill to ban high volume hydraulic fracking to produce natural gas from shale in Ontario was quickly shot down by the Liberal government [on March 25]. NDP environment critic Peter Tabuns introduced a private member's bill to have Ontario follow the lead of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New York and ban fracking. Tabuns said fracking poses substantial risks to ground water, which is combined with toxic chemicals under extreme pressure to fracture shale deposits to free up natural gas for extraction."

At that time, "Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro said the Liberal government will not impose a ban on fracking. [Mauro says,] 'We won't be going forward with a moratorium."

But yesterday, in surprising turnaround, the Liberals joined the NDP in voting 28-19 in favour of the bill. All Progressive Conservative MPPs and one Liberal voted against the bill.

That means the legislation survives and will proceed on to third and final reading at Queen's Park. Please – now more than ever – be sure to take action to support a moratorium on fracking in Ontario by sending a message to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne through our action alert Don't Frack Ontario!


Lowe's to eliminate pesticides that hurt crop pollinating honeybees | Reuters

Lowe's to eliminate pesticides that hurt crop pollinating honeybees | Reuters

SOMETIMES (rarely) internet activism gets results:

(Reuters) -
Home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc will stop selling a type of pesticide suspected of causing a decline in honeybee populations needed to pollinate key American crops, following a few U.S. retailers who have taken similar steps last year.

The class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, are sold by agrichemical companies to boost yields of staple crops but are also used widely on annual and perennial plants used in lawns and gardens.

Scientists, consumer groups, beekeepers and others say bee deaths are linked to the neonic pesticides. The bee die-off is worrisome for agriculture because honeybees pollinate plants that produce about a fourth of the food consumed by Americans.

Lowe's said it will phase out neonics in shelf products and plants by the spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available.

A study released by environment group Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute in 2014 showed that 51 percent of garden plants purchased at Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides at levels that could harm or even kill bees.

In 2014, the White House announced a plan to fund new honeybee habitats and to form a task force to study how to reverse the honeybee declines. Last year, BJ's Wholesale Club, a warehouse retailer said it was asking all of its vendors to provide plants free of neonics by the end of 2014 or to label such products.

Home Depot, the largest U.S. home improvement chain, also asked its suppliers to start labeling any plants treated with neonics and that it was running tests in several states to see if suppliers can eliminate neonics in their plant production without hurting plant health.