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Defenders of the Dawn: Green Rights in the Maritimes


Do we have the right to clean water? That's the question In Harrietsfield, NS, where seepage from a dump pollutes dozens of wells.

Do we have the right to clean air? That's the issue in Pictou, NS, where the pulp mill belches choking emissions for months on end.

Do we have the right to reject reckless oil exploration and extraction? That's the issue in Elsipogtog, NB and Inverness, NS, where citizens and First Nations have been blocking highways, sabotaging equipment, burning police cruisers and facing off with overwhelming numbers of heavily armed Mounties.

And the answer is No. We do not have those rights. Of the 193 countries in the United Nations, 180 have some form of green rights. But not Canada.

But now Canadians are demanding those rights. Their movement is led by environmental organizations like Ecojustice, and energized by David Suzuki's Blue Dot tour, hosted in the Maritimes by author/broadcaster Silver Donald Cameron (www.silverdonaldcameron.ca) Dr. Cameron operates www.TheGreenInterview.com, a web site of searching, hour-long interviews with environmental leaders from around the world – including citizens and lawyers who have used environmental rights to win important battles in countries ranging from the Philippines to Argentina, from Ecuador to the European Union.

Defenders of the Dawn follows Silver Donald as he visits ecological hot spots and conflict zones across the Maritimes -- the territory whose Mi'kmaw inhabitants are known as the "people of the dawn" -- capturing the sorrow, rage and frustration of people who lack these fundamental rights. Contrasting sequences from South America, Asia and Europe demonstrate the successes of citizens who do have those rights. We see English, Acadian and Indigenous people demonstrating together, organizing, defying corporate force and going to jail to defend their own right to healthy air and water. We hear from Maritime farmers, business owners, householders and pensioners, demanding that our region – and our country – reshape the law to accord with human needs, values and dreams.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, taking personal responsibility for the world that sustains us all. Fighting back where they live. And winning.

  • Chris Beckett
    Chris Beckett has been a full-time professional producer, director and filmmaker since 1967, employed full time by CTV, CBC, the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation and Mount St. Vincent University. He is currently producer/director at www.TheGreenInterview.com.
  • Silver Donald Cameron
    Silver Donald Cameron has been a freelance scriptwriter, narrator and producer working for various producers including the CBC and the National Film Board since 1967. He is also a columnist, radio broadcaster and the author of 17 books. He is currently Host and Executive Producer at www.TheGreenInterview.com.
  • Chris Beckett
    See above
  • Silver Donald Cameron
    See above
  • Silver Donald Cameron
    Key Cast
    See above
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    44 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    65,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • CBC Maritimes broadcast (Absolutely Maritimes)
    Sept 5, 2015
Distribution Information
  • Paper Tiger Enterprises Ltd.
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett came to Canada in 1967 after graduating from Derby College, starting his broadcasting career at CJCH-TV, now ATV, where he worked at many technical and production positions before producing and directing a wide range of programs and commercials. Chris moved to CBC in 1970, to produce and direct music and resource-based documentaries and programs.
Chris also wrote and directed CBC news and current affairs programming in Halifax, Charlottetown, Sydney and Fredericton. In Fredericton, he was the founding producer and director of New Brunswick report until 1981 when he became the Senior Network Trainer for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in Iqaluit and Igloolik.
In 1986, Chris joined Mount Saint Vincent University as Co-ordinator of Instructional Television- a position he held for 25 years until his “retirement” in 2010, when he began writing and producing programming independently, serving a number of institutional and private clients. Chris works extensively with the arts community, producing programming and videos for musicians, dancers and choreographers.
He has produced, filmed and edited programs for Vision-TV, CBC, Bravo! Canadian Learning Television and others. He has recently travelled to Africa, Indonesia, South America, Europe and the USA filming documentaries on Green Rights, democracy and sex tourism.
Since 2009, Chris has partnered with renowned journalist Silver Donald Cameron to develop and produce/direct The Green Interview and related documentary programming.

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