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bloor 03/04/2014 - 08:00AM

Sakura Saunders gets ticketed at our screening of SILENCE IS GOLD

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On Tuesday night (April 1st) Cinema Politica @ The Bloor wrapped up our Winter 2014 season with the Toronto premiere screening of the NFB doc SILENCE IS GOLD. We had a solid turnout and the keenly interested and inspired audience responded to the film and Saunders' as-usual amazing presentation with intelligent and helpful comments.

The film follows the the SLAPP suit by Barrick Gold, the largest gold mining company in the world, against a Quebec publisher and author who dared to expose the Canadian company's nefarious and criminal activities in Africa. The book is called Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, and thanks to the lawsuit, it has been discontinued and the planned English translation never came to fruition.

Barrick is netorious for leaving human, economic and ecological wreckage aross the globe at its many sites, and its activities often go either unnoticed or misrepresented here in North America. Corporate Knights has even shamefully listed the company as among a top five for corporate responsibility, proving Saunders' and other critics' charges that the corporation has stepped up their PR to focus on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). This is all documented in detail, with factual citations, in Protest Barrick's most recent report on the activities of the company, called Debunking Barrick (pictured at right).

Aside from spinning a web of deception Barrick also aggressivey pursues its critics, as SILENCE IS GOLD illustrates. Saunders has had her own run-ins with the company, one of which even occurred at our screening on Tuesday. She tells us:

A funny thing happened to me the other night at the Bloor Cinema. As I was about to present the film Silence is Gold, a doc about how Barrick used a SLAPP to intimidate academic researchers from reporting on the company's abuses in Africa, I experienced a strange form of intimidation. Someone who I presume is security staff at Barrick's headquarters in Toronto found me in the lobby of the theatre to hand me a ticket saying that I was prohibited from going to Barrick's building in downtown Toronto [Saunders is pictured at right holding the ticket and envelope it came in].

Strangely, this is the second time in two years that a security guard has intercepted me at the Bloor. That other time, the notice was dated for a month before he had found me there, and I couldn't help but wonder how long he had been looking for me. Another time, they approached me at a Tar Sands protest to deliver a similar notice. And of course, the best was when they actually went to my father-in-law's apartment to deliver a court summons for an apparent trespass violation – one that supposedly occurred when I was not even in the country.

Well... at least I can take solace in the fact that Barrick is incredibly bad at knowing where I'm at, and when I'm there. Oh... and I think that they forgot to tell the security guard to act intimidating. He apologized for having to give me the ticket, and then gave me a $5 donation to my cause and added the further compliment by telling me that I should write a book!

Barrick may have the money to pursue their critics endlessly, but Saunders and others will not give up the fight for justice around the company's abuses. So check out this great film, visit, download and read the report, and see you on the streets at the annual Protest Barrick demo - WHERE: Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St, Toronto; WHEN: April 30, 2014 @ 11am.