News Brief

Fossil Free Guelph 

Report back by Elizabeth Cyr 

After 7 years of Fossil Free Guelph’s (FFG) organizing for full divestment, the University of Guelph’s Board of Governors (BOG) passed a motion to divest from fossil fuels completely over a 5-year period in an online meeting held on April 22, 2020. This is an incredible accomplishment for the students of FFG and all the students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have supported this movement over the years. For the first time in our campaign for divestment, FFG saw our exact demand for full divestment on the table in front of the BOG. There was deliberation from the BOG before the vote to divest, where two Board members who later voted against the motion spoke against divestment, expressing views that were clearly anti-student activism and steeped in conflicts of interest and resistance to change. The three FFG members who were on the call responded to these comments in a calm and informed way, but did not have enough time to respond to comments targeting student activists on campus, which we found quite disrespectful toward members of FFG and student allies who care deeply about this cause. 

The University would not have taken this action if not for FFG’s consistent campaigning over the last few years. A variety of tactics were used in these years of organizing, and an important turning point of the campaign was a sit-in in the UofG’s finance administrative offices, where the Vice President of finance committed to presenting a recommendation for full divestment to the BOG. This victory shows that students will always be the strongest voice for progress on university campuses. 


Elizabeth Cyr is a recent university graduate, vegetable farmer and artist based out of Guelph, ON. In her time at the UoG she was involved in organizing around fossil fuel divestment with Fossil Free Guelph, as well as other campus and community social/ environmental organizing.

News Briefs

Group of various black women in winter attire and many wearing hijab holding protest signs. The women in the forefront has a mic to her face and the signs read "Amazon #hearourvoice"

Fall & Winter 2019

Photo: Awood labour rights group speaking out against amazon

Autumn Peltier: Continues the Fight for Indigenous Water Protection

April – September 2019

At 14, Autumn Peltier from Wiikwemkoong Territory, was named Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation. Autumn has been advocating for water protection since she was eight years old and is taking on the role of Chief Water Commissioner after the passing of her great aunt. In September, Petlier addressed guests at the UN headquarters in New York and reinforced, not only the importance but the sacredness of clean water in Indigenous communities. Autumn is continuing to fight for her community but is also urging everyone to take steps towards a more sustainable world. She has been nominated for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize.

Unist’o’ten Village Update

November 6th 2019, Wet’suwet’en Territory B.C

An Unist’o’ten village guest was arrested because she prevented a Coastal GasLink (CGL) contractor from accessing a worksite within Wet’suwet’en Nation. The Unist’o’ten bridge monitor was acting on a protocol agreement that states that any CGL vehicles or contractors entering Unist’o’ten Village must provide 24 hours notice before passing through the territory. The commercial vehicle attempting to enter the village on Nov. 6th had not given notice. This protocol agreement between Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and CGL came into effect in June 2019. Despite the agreement, the guest was still arrested – although later released and not charged. This arrest is part of the on-going surveillance and harassment experienced by Unist’o’ten residents and guests. Both the RCMP and the Community Industry Response Group (CIRG) continue to threaten arrest and deny villagers access to certain parts of the territory. Despite this, the Unist’o’ten village and camp have remained strong and resilient.  This is a reminder that the Unist’o’ten Village is not a protest or demonstration; it is a permanent non-violent occupation of Unist’o’ten territory. 

To read more, donate items or join the camp visit: http://unistoten.camp/

Trans Mountain Surveilling Anti-pipeline Activists (Tiny House Warriors)

November 25 2019, Secwepemc Nation B.C

Trans Mountain, a federally owned corporation, is monitoring folks who are actively resisting the Trans Mountain pipeline. A document shows that the names of anyone posting anti-pipeline content or videos on social media are being recorded and monitored. This list apparently includes anyone who is tagged in anti-pipeline posts or anyone who shares the content. Trans Mountain has also begun singling out certain individuals who they deem as ‘persons of interest’. 

Trans Mountain appears to have a particular interest in the ongoing surveillance of the Tiny House Warriors. Kanahus Manuel, one of the main spokespeople for Tiny House Warriors, has been labelled as a person of interest and is often at the centre of many of the security reports. The Tiny House Warriors are a pipeline resistance group that are strategically building ten tiny houses along the Trans Mountain pipeline route.Tiny House Warriors have stated that “any corporate colonial project that seeks to go through and destroy our 180,000 square km of unceded territory will be refused passage through our territory. We stand resolutely together against any and all threats to our lands, the wildlife and the waterways.”

To learn more or find out how to support The Tiny House Warriors, visit: http://tinyhousewarriors.com/

FYI: Animal Rights Activists in Ontario

December 2019, Ontario 

Ontario just proposed a new bill that could potentially fine animal rights activists $15,000 – $25,000 for trespassing on farms or processing facilities. This new bill is supposed to protect farmers who feel harassed and threatened by animal rights demonstrators trespassing on private property (this includes the stopping or interference with animal transport vehicles). The bill would also impose harsher penalties for repeat “offenders”. 

Awood joins Athena to take on Amazon

December 2019, Minnesota U.S

Awood, a small labour rights group based out of Minnesota, has joined forces with a larger coalition to strengthen their fight against Amazon. Awood was organized in 2017 by East African employees to collectively raise complaints against the company. The group has proven their resilience holding a six hour walk-out on Prime Day, negotiating with management twice and cotinuing to advocate on behalf of the Muslim community. Awood has done all of this without the support of a union but is now backed by Athena. 

Athena is an anti-Amazon coalition of over three dozen labour rights groups that are fighting the e-commerce giant on a variety of different fronts. The goal of Athena is to build solidarity and hold the company accountable for employee mistreatment on a national scale. Some of the big issues being tackled are: workplace health and safety, antitrust policies/procedures imposed by Amazon and equal protection for foriegn temporary workers. 

To read more or support Awood, visit: http://www.awoodcenter.org/

To read more on Athena, visit: https://www.athenaforall.org/

Global News Brief

Illustration of a pot of soup that reads "Food not bombs" to the left is a stack of papers that read "rent is theft" and to the right is a hot bowl with a spoon in it. Text at the bottom reads "Free Soup for The Revolution"

A glimpse of global resistance and uprising in 2019

Revolution in Haiti – 2018-2019

Uprising in Haiti continues as Haitians demand the current President, Jovenel Moise, step down. Food and fuel shortages sparked the movement and Haitians began to demand the President resign. The country’s fuel shortages became so severe that stores, schools, and hospitals were unable to function. Many media outlets are reporting the uprising in Haiti as a crisis that needs U.S intervention but Haiti has long been under the thumb of neoliberalism and the people are demanding a revolution. One of the ongoing problems in Haiti is food sovereignty. The government continues to import more than half of the country’s food as opposed to investing in Haitian farmers and food production. 

Revolution in Sudan –April 11th 2019

Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the Sudanese people after 30 years in power. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered around a military base and demanded the President be removed and the country moved into a civilian rule. This did not come easy, protestors endured extreme violence and al-Bashir declared a nationwide state of emergency. Eventually, the President was overthrown. This is the country’s third revolution. 

Uprising in Chile – October 2019

In 2019, Chile had the biggest uprising in the country’s history. The uprising began as a student-led demonstration against a subway fare increase but quickly sparked into a mass revolt. Working-class Chileans had enough and took to the streets demanding government reform. The biggest social problem with Chile is the country’s ever-growing wealth gap and inequality. The people are fighting against: poor health care, privatized pensions, low minimum wages, and high living costs. Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, quickly declared a state of emergency in response to the uprising; enforcing curfews and ordering the military to “restore order”. After the military violently managed demonstrators,  Pinera lifted the state of emergency, replaced eight cabinet ministers and made some “social reform proposals” to satisfy the ears of most.