OTTAWA, May 12 /CNW/ - Protests and violent police reaction erupted
across Chile on Monday following the approval of two unpopular and
potentially devastating dams by a presidentially appointed commission.
Police fired water cannons and tear gas at the largely peaceful
protests and arrested as many as 100 protesters, including Sara
Larraín, the internationally renowned director of environmental group
While the project - which threatens to drown thousands of acres of
farmland, destroy endangered ecosystems, and open up the remote
Patagonia region to further development by heavy industry - is opposed
by 61% of Chileans, it could spell big profits for some Canadian
Transelec Chile SA - an electricity transmission company controlled by
Canada's Brookfield Asset Management, the Canada Pension Plan
Investment Board, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp.
- stands to profit handsomely in the name of Canadian pensioners by
building the 2,200 kilometre transmission corridor required to complete
the project through wildlife reserves and national parks.
The Council of Canadians has for several years opposed these dams and
the transmission lines and has worked with groups in Chile to oppose
the destructive influence of Canadian mining companies that seek the
power that would be generated from this project, as well as calling for
public ownership of the now private water utilities that are controlled
by Canadian pension plans.
"Canadians support democracy, freedom of expression, and responsible
environmental stewardship at home and around the world," says Maude
Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "But most
Canadians have no idea that their pension plans are fuelling the kind
of environmental destruction planned in Chile. In a global world, what
can seem far away may be very close to home. Canadians must stand with
the people of Chile in opposing this terrible project and condemning
the undemocratic and violent actions of the state."
SOURCE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS
For further information:
Maude Barlow is available for comment. For information contact: Matthew Ramsden, Communications Officer, Council of Canadians, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613.233.4487 ext 245.
Read the report, Conflicts Over Water in Chile: Between Human Rights and Market Rules, co-edited by Sara Larrian and published in English by the Council of Canadians, here: http://www.blueplanetproject.net/resources/reports/ChileWaterReport-0411.pdf