About Us

Since 1985, the Council of Canadians has brought Canadians together to act for social, economic and environmental justice here in Canada and around the world. Our work is built on a strong foundation of timely and strategic campaigns to fight for the values, social programs and progressive policies that Canadians believe in.

  • How did the Comox Valley chapter get started?
    • In the mid-1990s two activists, Kel Kelly and Wayne Bradley, arranged a visit by Maude, and following that a decision was made to form a chapter. Barb Berger, who currently chairs our meetings, remembers that there were rich discussions on how the chapter would be run, what the goals were, and who would be in charge.
  • The chapter has been doing a lot of work to stop the Raven Underground Coal Project – tell us about this.
    • Coal Watch, the main activist group opposing the Raven Coal Mine, which is slated to be built within the Comox Valley just south of Courtenay, asked our chapter to support them. We have gone to all the hearings and made submissions to the environmental assessment process, urged all our members to write letters to the editor, and gone on protest marches. We also gave Coal Watch our chapter’s Annual Award for Community Action.
    • At a huge town hall meeting about the coal mine, many people said that for the first time in their lives, they felt the need to protest. When our chapter offered to put on a civil disobedience workshop (led by the Council’s BC-Yukon Regional Organizer Harjap Grewal), 50 people signed up! The workshop brought together people from most of the activist groups in our area. There was so much motivation to organize and stop the coal mine that a Peaceful Direct Action Coalition was formed. In September we held a big town hall meeting with Maude as the featured speaker, and the next day the coalition hosted several workshops. We are all gearing up for direct action if the coal mine is approved – and we’re getting ready with help from the Council.
  • What other issues is the chapter working on?
    • Stopping the sellout of our Canadian Sovereignty: http://leadnow.ca
      • Our chapter has been the driving force behind various issues that are now being carried on by other groups. For example, we worked on GE-Free Foods and sup­ported the local farmers’ market. The local GE-free group then morphed into the Friends of Farming, which we still try to support.
      • We were active in starting up the Comox Valley Water Watch, since protecting our water is a major federal, provincial and local issue, and we have always worked on public health. We were part of the initial group that fought the closure of two hos­pitals in our area, along with the Campbell River chapter. We were very happy when we won that battle! We have an active SOS (Support Our Seniors) Comox Valley group which is focusing on seniors’ health issues and the fact that all senior resources in our area are now privatized.
      • We have put on many large town halls, usually with other groups co-sponsoring them. Because the federal and provincial governments are off-loading problems to the local areas, some of us are involved in a Citizen Voice Project, which is trying to educate and animate more progres­sives municipally.
  • The Comox Valley chapter has a strong local presence. How do you encourage participation and build excitement about the campaigns you work on?
    • People rally around issues of a local nature. The Raven Coal Mine has affected so many people in a negative way that it has brought people out of the wood­work. We think that taking larger issues and applying them to local ones is the key to getting people interested. What the chapter does has to be relevant. The Council brings many important issues together – democracy, sovereignty, social justice, public health care and water – and Maude’s commitment inspires us all to keep on with our struggles and issues.

Vision Statement
The Council of Canadians

Humanity is at a crossroads. Economic globalization and unregulated market capitalism have divided the world – and Canada – into rich and poor as at no time in living history and endangered the ability of the planet to sustain life. Tragically, most governments support an economic system that pits unlimited growth above the vital needs of people and the planet. The Council of Canadians is part of a global civil society movement to drive transformative change in the absence of true leadership by governments.

The foundation of our work is the education and empowerment of people to fight for the values and policies we believe in. Our members, supporters and network of over 70 activist chapters create a powerful voice for social and environmental justice. We work to hold governments accountable and challenge the unbalanced power of corporations, promoting positive social change in Canada and the world.

We believe this path must be founded on a deep understanding of our place within life and nature. We are the only species capable of profoundly altering the biosphere. That must inspire us to humility, not arrogance; to stewardship, not exploitation; and to social solidarity, not competition.

Read full vision statement