Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Flight of the Heron

"(...) Then she saw the huge bird. It stood close to shore, its tall legs looking fragile although in fact they were very strong, its long neck and long sharp beak bent towards the water, searching for fish, its feathers a darkbright blue. A Great Blue Heron. Once populous in this part of the country. Now barely seen.

Then it spotted the boat, and took to flight. A slow unhurried takeoff, the vast wings, spreading, the slender elongated legs gracefully folding up under the creature`s body. Like a pterodactyl, like an angel, like something out of the world`s dawn. The soaring and measured certainty of its flight. Ancient - seeming, unaware of the planet`s rocketing changes. The sweeping serene wings of the thing, unknowing that it was speeding not only towards individual death but probably towards the death of its kind. The mastery of the heron`s wings could be heard, a rush of wind, the wind of wings, before it mounted high and disappeared into the trees above a bywater of the river. "

Margaret Laurence - The Diviners

Monday, July 9, 2018

Un jardin controversé à Richelieu

Encore cette année, j`ai reçu par la Poste une lettre de l`inspecteur de ma municipalité. Le sujet étant: Fauchage de l`herbe haute sur le terrain", le corps de la lettre cite l`article 8 du règlement #03-R-054 concernant les nuisances. Ce règlement stipule qu`il est interdit de laisser pousser des branches, des broussailles ou des mauvaises herbes. Sont pointées du doigt l`herbe à poux et l`herbe à puces. La lettre me donne 7 jours pour faucher et/ou arracher les mauvaises herbes.

Pourtant, je passe la tondeuse régulièrement, à peu près une fois par semaine au besoin.

Et je n`ai absolument pas d`herbe à poux ni d`herbe à puces sur mon terrain, çà c`est certain!

Par contre, j`admet laisser des espaces naturels plus ou moins contrôlés pour maintenir un écosystème varié et en santé. J`évite par contre d`avoir des plantes envahissantes nuisibles à l`environnement ou la santé humaine, donc pas de berce du Caucase ni de roseau, mais j`encourage les Asclépiades pour les papillons monarque et les malvacées pour les abeilles, par exemple.

D`ailleurs, la publication de la ville de Richelieu appelée "Le Courant" de cet été, en page 5, sous la section "Info-Citoyens" et le titre "15 Conseils pour réduire votre consommation d`eau" et le point #11 dit, et je cite: "Aménager des aires naturelles, des plate-bandes et des jardins sur votre propriété pour aider à réduire le ruissellement et à augmenter l`eau souterraine."

Alors j`aimerais bien qu`on se fasse une idée à Richelieu! Car selon moi, un espace naturel laisse pousser des plantes qualifiées de "mauvaises herbes" parce qu`elle n`ont pas d`utilité évidente et immédiate pour l`être humain, mais oh combien nécessaires pour un environnement en santé et équilibré!

Voir une entrée de blog précédente (en 2014) quand j`ai reçu la même lettre:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Broken Heart

Somebody broke my heart, and it had to work overtime to heal itself. I received this diagnosis last week: hypertension (high blood pressure).

Monday, June 11, 2018

Peony Season

There is a tradition in my friend`s family that cuts the first blooms of peonies of the year to put them on the graves of the dearly departed.

I`ve thought of doing this for my mother, especially that most of my peonies come from her own garden.

But if she saw me do it, she would probably say "Silly girl! Just enjoy them while you can, in your own garden, and do so in my name if you must. Peony season goes by quickly soon enough."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Photo: Martin Rubli

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Neil Diamond

You don't bring me flowers
You don't sing me love songs
You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door at the end of the day

I remember when
You couldn't wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after lovin' me late at night
When it's good for you, babe
And you're feeling alright
Well, you just roll over
And you turn out the light

And you don't bring me flowers anymore
It used to be so natural (Used to be)
To talk about forever
But used-to-be's don't count anymore
They just lay on the floor 'til we sweep them away

And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me
I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
Well I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie
So you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don't bring me flowers anymore
Well, you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye
You don't sing to me
And you don't sing me love songs
You don't bring me flowers anymore









Secretary General:


Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate change (14-18 May 2018)


General Secretariat:

VIA DELLA DOGANA VECCHIA 5 - 00186 ROME - TEL:0039 0668801468

The PPT is an international, fully independent organization established in 1979 as an opinion
Tribunal having as its primary statute the Universal Declaration of Peoples’ Rights (Algiers,
1976). The main aim of the PPT is to contribute to the struggle of peoples for their
self-determination and the prevention, assessment, judgment and reparation of their fundamental
rights, whenever international institutions do not fulfil their responsibilities to ensure the full
respect of obligatory duties of justice by public or private actors.

Over five days, from 14 to 18 May, 2018, the PPT heard testimony and received other evidence
relating to fracking and its impact on climate change, human rights and the rights of nature.
Included were very substantial reports from four pre-PPT Citizens’ Tribunals that had gathered
scientific, technical, social, cultural and experiential testimony from many community
organizations, experts and individual citizens. The PPT also received other such evidence from
individuals, experts and NGOs on the negative impact of fracking on the environment, people’s lives
and on their communities.

Given the overwhelming volume and comprehensiveness of the evidence received and the need to
consider all of this carefully, the panel of ten jurors will necessarily take several months to
formulate a precise and comprehensive Opinion, including recommendations.

Because the matters considered by the PPT are of great significance and public concern around the
globe, especially to those affected negatively by the fracking industry, and generally speaking by
the expansion of the fossil fuel extractive frontier, with all its consequences on the climate
crisis, on the environment and on peoples’ rights, by industry role players themselves, and
governments across the world insofar as they have responsibilities to abide by laws and to protect
the public, human rights and the environment, this Preliminary Statement is issued now for public
discussion and action to abate the negative effects of fracking.

The dramatic impacts of the Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction technologies on people, the
environment and the climate were elaborately documented to the PPT, including a comprehensive
exposition of facts and related oral, visual, juridical and cultural evidence which clearly
established beyond any reasonable doubt the reality of violations of the rights of humans and of
nature, and a significant contribution to climate change. Such findings require the urgent
ascertainment and attribution of responsibilities as well as of the measures which must be
undertaken to avoid an irreversible worsening of the situation; and to bring about changes in
practices, policies of reparation for injuries suffered, and rehabilitation of environmental
destruction including the contribution of fracking to climate change.

What has become clear is that fracking is, with important but limited exceptions, an ongoing and
expanding reality that affects both the rights of nature as well as the rights of individuals and
communities in all the countries which were considered by the PPT, with specifically dramatic
consequences on indigenous peoples. This is just a sample of impacts and consequences suffered
elsewhere where fossil fuel exploration and extraction (including of non conventional fuels such as
tar sands as well as shale gas and shale oil) continues unabated. The many practices of resistance,
research and of resilience by people and their communities that have been presented to the PPT
underline that the violations of rights are generally planned and implemented intentionally, as
well as being hidden when possible and denied when exposed. Also, the frequent absence of
appropriate juridical-normative terms of reference is not recognised by governments as a vacuum to
be urgently corrected, thus providing corporations an excuse to operate within a regime of

The scenario of rights violations and impunity, often resulting from regulatory capture, that
fracking presents appears as an exemplary model of the broader geopolicies and strategies of states
and powerful corporations that have imposed a tragic hierarchy of values across the world, which
has resulted in the rights of people and the rights of nature being subjugated to the financial
interests of states and corporations. A sort of systemic crime architecture.

The Advisory Opinion of the PPT will be oriented to provide proposals that are not merely
descriptive by answering the four main questions which have guided the preparation and
implementation of this Session. The Opinion will also explore, evaluate and make findings on the
responsibilities for the multiple abuses of rights violations and the roles that many actors play
in this respect. The Tribunal will, in addition, focus on:

- the possible ways of strengthening the role of local communities and indigenous peoples which
must be further recognized as the main subjects of inviolable rights including that of

- the necessary evolution of existing international, national, and local juridical institutions,
concepts and laws which could ensure an innovative role of the guarantors of the rights of affected
and threatened human communities and of nature;

- the promotion of broader and more effective networks of community and political actors capable
of transforming the many but fragmented and dispersed experiences of resistance and resilience into
a true transversal “people”, fighting for the combined respect and promotion of the fundamental
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the more recent Universal Declaration of the Rights of
Mother Earth.

It is then the Interim Opinion of the PPT that:

The evidence we have considered is consistent internally, almost without exception. It is also
consistent with the external evidence to which the Tribunal was referred, i.e. the results reached,
discussed and analysed in hundreds of independent reports and refereed research publications.

The evidence clearly demonstrates that the processes of fracking contribute substantially to
anthropogenic harm, including climate change and global warming, and involve massive violations of
a range of substantive and procedural human rights and the rights of nature. Thus the industry has
failed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations.

The evidence also shows that governments have, in general, failed in their
responsibility to regulate the industry so as to protect people, communities and nature. In
addition, they have failed to act promptly and effectively to the dangers of climate change that
fracking represents.

Finally, this particular Session of the PPT has been an experiment of collaboration and
communication. It has sought to overcome the economic constraint of limited resources which impede
what should be a permanent, timely exercise of assessing, monitoring, preventing and transforming
the universe of violations which occur in the present global scenarios, where the decisions on
policies which go against the fundamental rights of nature and of human communities are taken,
imposed and directed centrally by those who have unlimited resources.

The experiment has been a resounding success, with the inevitable but instructive limitations,
thanks to the commitment of an organising group which deserves the recognition and gratitude not
only of the PPT, but of all those who can now transform this experiment into a flexible and
powerful tool which could allow the struggles of the communities of the world to become more
globally and more timely known, shared and effective.

Panel or the judges:
Alberto Acosta Espinosa
Lilia América Albert Palacios
Andrés Barreda
Upendra Baxi
Gill H. Boehringer Maria Fernanda Campa Louis Kotzé
Larry Lohmann Francesco Martone Antoni Pigrau Solé

PPT General Secretariat:

Simona Fraudatario
Gianni Tognoni


Monday, May 28, 2018

A Judge Bans Civil Disobedience Training on State Land

Gaspésie - Learning to Disobey While Respecting the Law - A Judge Bans Training at the Opposition Camp at Junex

My translation of article of Alexandre Shields published in Le Devoir May 26 2018

The opponents of the Junex oil project in the Gaspésie peninsula do not have the right to give a training camp on civil disobedience on the public land they are now occupying. A Superior court judge has accepted the request for injuction presented by the Quebec Government, admitting that the government could be harmed seriously and irreperably if such a camp would come to be.

In a ruling Thursday evening, judge MIchel Beaupré has "banned anybody occupying illegally and without authorisation State land from having training camps about civil disobedience, or any other similar activity."

The judge thinks that having such a camp, that should have started Friday, could cause serious and irreperable prejudice for the Quebec government.

However, the court does not rule on the Couillard Governement`s request that demands that the opponents assembled around the group Environnement Vert-Plus, be kicked out of public land they are occupying for the past 9 months. This question will be debated during the debate on the basics of Quebec`s request, at an ulterior date not yet determined.

Also, Judge Beaupré adds that the right of the governement is "apparent" since the Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Moreau has the right and powers of property over State land. But the opponents occupy this public property without the minister`s authorisation.

The court does not rule either on the question of the right of freedom of expression, the freedom of association and peaceful demonstration of citizens opposed to the oil industry`s installation in the Gaspésie. These questions will be debated later.

Reacting to the ruling, the spokesperson of Environnement Vert-Plus Pascal Bergeron, qualified the magistrate`s decision as a "gag rule". He says that the planned activities within the civil disobedience training are within freedom of expression , demonstration and peaceful association.

The opponents to oil exploitation intend to obey the injunction, the occupation of their camp is maintained, but the training planned on direct action against oil and gas installations will be held on sites near but not on state land.

The Quebec Government and Junex have not yet reacted to the ruling Friday. Junex has never answered the Thurdsay request for an interview with Le Devoir. The "River Camp" - "Camp de la Rivière", west of Gaspé, by route 198, has been built at the entrance of the access road to the Junex drilling sites for it`s Galt project. It is 3 km from the wells of the company.

The oil exploration project for which Junex has already asked for an exploration lease, could very well become the first oil extraction site in Quebec.

The exploration of this deposit that would need a maximum of 30 wells on 5 sites, could last more than 40 years, says Junex. But the project has not gone through the stage of environmental evaluation that could be done under the responsibility of a BAPE.