Why do elected and hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs disagree?

Editor’s note: Former JUSTnews editor Philip Symons published this timely op-ed in the CUSJ Googlegroup, and we felt it was so informative we had to share! Why do elected and hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs disagree on whether pipelines should go through their territory? Just like our elected members of parliament, Wet’suwet’en elected Chiefs and Councils keep … Read more

Massive victory for dying with dignity

On September 11 2019, a Quebec judge ruled that parts of both the federal and Quebec assisted dying laws are too restrictive and violate people’s rights. Specifically, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin struck down the controversial “reasonably foreseeable” rule in Canada’s federal assisted dying law, as well as the “end of life” clause in Quebec’s … Read more

What is 5G?

How could 5G affect our health and environment? By Marg Friesen M.Sc., Safer Wireless Radiation Manitoba Originally published in the Manitoba Eco-Journal; reprinted with permission from the author. WE ARE HEARING A LOT OF BUZZ about faster “5G” for a new interconnected world, but do we really know all we should know on how it may … Read more

Campaign to stop killer robots

Note: This post was updated on April 27th to show that CUSJ had joined the campaign. CUSJ has joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that is working to ban fully autonomous weapons. Lethal autonomous weapons are independent artificial-intelligence-driven weapons such as drones, that can make decisions to kill … Read more

CUSJ endorses #StopJNF campaign

CUSJ is proud to have endorsed the #StopJNF campaign, which seeks to revoke the Jewish National Front (JNF) Canada’s charitable status and expose, challenge and stop the JNF’s discriminatory and harmful activities.  As explained in the campaign website, the JNF is a private corporation whose lands were obtained through exploitative land sales and often-violent, forced … Read more

We stand with the Wet’suwet’en: No consent, no LNG pipelines

Although all five hereditary clan chiefs to he Wet’suwet’en Nation have clearly stated their opposition, the Canadian Liberal government seems determined to go ahead with TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink’s liquid natural gas (LNG) pipeline projet. This, in spite of the fact that doing so would: Fly in the face of the most recent report of … Read more

Opinion: Israel has taken the wrong path

Jake Javanshir is an Iranian Jew whose family emigrated to Israel in 1950. Jake knows Israel well: he grew up there and served in the army, and he has many family members there still. Jake confides that, years ago, he became disillusioned with Israeli politics and moved to Canada. He has visited Israel a few … Read more

BDS is a movement in the spirit of human solidarity

Here is a letter that CUSJ President Margaret Rao wrote recently to Prime Minister Trudeau and to Chrystia Freeland.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ), a national faith-based organization that advocates for peace and justice in our world. I have written to you on other occasions pointing out that the global, grassroots, Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement is non-violent in nature, promoting economic and cultural boycotts as a means to end Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. The BDS movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and to pressure Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the BDS campaign seeks to end more than 5 decades of Israel’s military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians, including the 11 year illegal blockade of Gaza, the killing and maiming of unarmed Gazan protesters and medics, the ongoing forcible eviction of Palestinians from their homes, the expulsion of indigenous Bedouins from their traditional lands and the construction of illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

The boycott movement also seeks equal rights for Palestinian (Arab-Israeli) citizens of Israel, currently discriminated against by dozens of racist laws and enshrined in the new Nation-State Law, defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. In December 2016, former Secretary of State John Kerry pointed out that the State of Israel “can be Jewish or it can be democratic – not both!’ Criticism of the State of Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, nor with Judaism. When you conflate the Palestinian people’s struggle for basic human rights and freedom with anti-Semitism, you do a grave injustice to freedom- loving Jews and non-Jews everywhere.

Your recent statement of apology to the Jewish people for turning away a boat full of Jewish refugees in 1939 was right and good and well overdue. “There is little doubt that our silence permitted the Nazis to come up with their own final solution,” you stated. And what of Canada’s and the international community’s decades-long silence on the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people? Palestinian refugees constitute nearly 50% of all Palestinians. As Holocaust survivor and IJV (Independent Jewish Voices) supporter, Suzanne Weiss expressed to you in an open letter,’ “We must all demonstrate the spirit of human solidarity that Canada failed to show in 1939 to counter the persecution and suffering of all afflicted peoples, including the Palestinians.” Let us take the hard lessons learned from the past and apply them to the present, so that we may work together, Palestinians, Jews, and non-Jews, to cultivate a world of peace, justice and dignity for one and all.

Standing on the Side of Love and Justice!!

Margaret Rao

President, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

CUSJ commends Rev. Eklof for broaching a “taboo” topic: the BDS movement

This post was modified on November 9th to include details of Rev. Eklof’s correspondence with a local synagogue. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane in Washington state, created quite a stir recently when they hosted the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) who showed the film  “Occupation of the American Mind” to the congregation. … Read more

CUSJ to Liberal gov’t: stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

On September 18 2018, CUSJ President Margaret Rao sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and to Chrystia Freeland, asking them to terminate the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Rao first commended the government for its principled verbal stand against Saudi Arabia’s recent arrest of women’s rights defenders. Then she went on to say, “If … Read more

Dear Orcas: The Trans Mountain death machine has been stopped

Indigenous groups and other humans who are not in climate denial have significant reason to celebrate today, as the Federal Court of Appeal has invalidated the government’s approvals to build the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project. The court, represented by Justice Eleanor Dawson, found that the federal cabinet based its approval of the pipeline … Read more

The feeding of Russophobia

Editor’s note: This article was provided to CUSJ by Christine Johnston, with the permission of the author, Betty Krawczyk, who was famous some years ago as the Granny willing to go to jail for her support of the environment and especially the fight for Clayoquot Sound, near Torfino, on the  Pacfic Rim, about which she … Read more

Mason shows us how globalization perpetuates conflict and war

On Monday, May 21 2018, CUSJ AGM attendees were treated to a rousing speech from the Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason, entitled More peacemaking, less defence spending: What a Feminist Foreign Policy for Canada really looks like! Mason, as UN Ambassador for Disarmament and more recently as President and spokesperson for the Rideau Institute, has spent … Read more

PEI gov’t torches its own ER referendum

New rules set fire to democratic process and burn voters New referendum legislation introduced by the PEI Government has been criticized for setting biased rules for the Island’s upcoming electoral reform referendum. “This is far beyond just tilting the playing field,” said Margaret Rao, CUSJ President. “Premier Wade MacLaughlin’s proposed rules will torch the whole … Read more

Canada is not a corporation, Mr. Trudeau

Mr. Trudeau, lately, we are bombarded with media sound bites in which you claim that the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline is “in the national interest”. Ahem. Canada is not a corporation. This pipeline is not in the national interest: This pipeline is not in the interest of British Columbians who bear the risk to their environment … Read more

Trudeau: Impose sanctions to end the blockade, end the bloodshed

In the face of the Land Day massacre (March 30 2018), CUSJ was one of 40 groups that wrote a joint letter to Canadian politicians. In addition, CUSJ President has personally written to Prime Minister Trudeau on behalf of CUSJ, asking him to discontinue the odious Canadian tradition (because, after 70 years, that is what it … Read more

“KM doesn’t have indigenous consent, and never will”

Above: On April 12th, a group of artists form a blockade in front of the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm as part of ongoing Indigenous-led resistance. “Let’s not forget in all the provincial and federal squabbling that the company still doesn’t have Indigenous consent and never will,” said Will George, Watch House project … Read more