The Ontario Trillium Foundation is a provincial government agency whose purpose is to build “healthy and vibrant communities” by “strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector”. Causes they support include arts & culture, environment, social services and recreation. Trillium promote themselves on their website as “Ontario’s leading grant-maker”.
Trillium grant recipients get more than just money, they also benefit from the credibility of having been selected- it’s not uncommon to see NGOs advertising Trillium sponsorships on their websites. If Trillium has vetted an NGO it must be safe to send your kids to one of their events- right?
Well, perhaps not…
On June 19th two Trillium funded ENGOs sponsored a mini film-festival at Ottawa’s Mayfair Theatre. The show included four short films that showcased some of the country’s most prominent promoters of violent tactics. An overview of each:
1.) Resist: The Unist’ot’en’s Call To The Land
The Unist’ot’en camp is a small encampment led by 2-3 native people (who admit they’re in the minority) and some of Canada’s most militant anarchist ‘settler allies’. The camp has a history of threatening land surveyors with violence, and they claim the right to confiscate (steal) people’s equipment. The film promotes their cause.
2.) Kahsatstenhsera Indigenous Resistance To Tar Sands Pipelines
The next film was created by Franklin Lopez and Amanda Lickers. The former is one of the country’s most prominent promoters of activist violence- his films unabashedly encourage young people to ‘smash’ the system. Lickers is most well-known for appropriating the voices of local indigenous people while vandalizing a Middlebury College 9/11 memorial in their name- hardly the type of role model one would want introduced to their kids.
3.) Showdown At Highway 134
This film was also produced by Franklin Lopez. It glorifies the violence during last year’s anti-fracking protests in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick. Lopez interviews Toronto indigenous anarchist Mark Corbiere, a man who assaulted Your Humble Narrator in 2012- once again not the type of role model one would expect to see a Trillium funded organization promoting.
4.) Harsha Walia On Anti-Oppression, Decolonization, And Responsible Allyship
Harsha Walia is likely Canada’s most unabashed promoter of violent tactics. She became famous for it after the Vancouver Olympics when she declared in a public debate that people who street fight with police are “deeply courageous”. There’s nothing “healthy and vibrant” about promoting such a dangerous person.
The film festival was sponsored by four organizations:
Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement:
IPSMO is “grassroots” indigenous group sponsored by the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at Carlton University. The OPIRGs are known for sponsoring militant organizations, OPIRG York funds No One Is Illegal, and the Maoists who’ve been trying to shut-down free speech at the University of Toronto- so, it’s not a surprise they’d support the film festival.
People’s Social Forum:
The PSF is an event scheduled at the University of Ottawa later this month; bringing together members of Canada’s anarchist community, with militant unions, indigenous warriors, and the same cast of characters we saw during Occupy. One of their key paid promoters is Darius Mirshahi, an anarchist rapper who promoted “smashing shit up” during the 2010 Toronto G20. There will be more coverage on the PSF on this site in the next few days.
Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society:
CPAWS is an Ottawa based charity that promotes and campaigns for environmentalism. There’s no indication that they’re a militant organization, nor that they would support such tactics- part of that ‘cred’ comes from their Trillium sponsorship. It’s surprising to see they’d promote such negative role models.
Another innocent seeming organization, Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit that promotes Trillium’s sponsorship on their webpage. But looks can be deceiving, their Community Pipeline Organizer Ben Powess was arrested during the G20 and has close relationships with the ringleaders (he was a featured speaker at the rally demanding their release).
There’s something wrong with this picture, everything about this event was the opposite of Trillium’s call to build “healthy and vibrant communities”, yet it was sponsored by two of the fund’s recipients. It’s time for an audit, isn’t it?