There has been a lot of attention of late to what moves on Canada’s rails. Train derailments, disasters such as Lac-Mégantic and near-disasters, such as the railcars loaded with toxic diluents that were suspended on a crumbling bridge over the Bow River during the June Calgary floods, have focused on the threat of unsafe rail cars and inadequate infrastructure. It really matters to accelerate the complete phase-out of the unsafe DOT-111 cars moving hazardous goods. Tragedies such as Lac-Mégantic must never happen again.
Anne Marie Hayes, president of a non-profit organization called Teens Learn to Drive, says that as a parent, she would not want her daughter in a vehicle with an instructor who had had his teaching licence revoked in the past three years. Folks, do ya remember “Drivers-Ed” back in high school? Well, it’s still around…………….., […]
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Local food activist Ran Goel speaks to Steffanie Pinch about how eating local, organic and vegan can be better for the planet.
How much of an …
Once upon a time, before we knew much about ecology and systems theory, corporations just went around raping and pillaging the countryside, polluting whatever they wanted. This came back to me grotesquely in a Mad Men episode a few years ago when Don Draper takes his family out for a picnic in the countryside. When […]
Here are 5 easy ways to make our daily commitment to keep our planet healthy, clean and beautiful.7 Zoom(s)
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The coming of spring brings sounds of water in motion — dripping of melting snow from rooftops, rivulets runni…
On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Zoe Blunt talks about the multifaceted organizing work by the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network (VIC FAN) against colonial, profit…
When conducting hearings on Northern Gateway, the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel denied participation to many and held sessions behind closed doors to limit opposition voices. Its decision favoured multinational industry over affected Canadian citizens and ran contrary to the bulk of testimony heard, including expert claims that “world-leading” standards will not protect our coast from heavy oil spills.
The Northern Gateway review was revealed as a sham and that revelation made authorities uncomfortable. The BC government has had its own experience with bogus assessments – Narrows Inlet comes to mind – so it developed a changed strategy.
The Ministry of Environment has claimed this as its purpose:
“Responsible for ensuring sustainable development of the province’s land, water, and resources while protecting environmental values.”
Ignoring its stated role, to ensure development at one large and controversial project does not produce evidence that the fix is in and decisions already made, Environment Minister Mary Polak simply removed her department from further review. Fortuitously, she had booked time with Vaughn Palmer’s Voice of BC and the two of them will be able to explain government actions before controversy mounts.
Jumbo Glacier Resort exempted from environmental process, CBC News, April 15, 2014
“Environmentalists and the B.C. NDP are questioning the motives behind a government bill signed Monday night that looks set to clear the way for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort — and others like it — to avoid any further costly, environmental reviews.
“The order exempts prospective year-round ski resorts in B.C. from the Environmental Assessment process completely…”
The lowdown on changes to BC’s environmental laws, by West Coast Environmental Law.
Update 4:50 pm April 16, 2014
Who knows what pressures caused this quick turnaround. The initial decision was so fundamentally flawed that even the people behind it had to realize its stupidity. RossK asked what was going to be next, would surgeons be allowed to operate without review of qualifications? Would lawyers be allowed to practice without passing the bar?
The following was published at Northern Insight August 22, 2012 and, with current developments, it’s worth re-posting.
Bob Mackin has an interesting piece in The Tyee about a newspaper tycoon and BC Liberal abettor. David Black’s bluster was about about oil refining but the part of Mackin’s story that caught my eye involved one-time Province newspaper publisher Paddy Sherman.
In 1958, Sherman was both a news reporter and an avid mountain man. Apparently, vocation served avocation when he wrote a front page promotion for an unlikely BC ski resort. There was no financing and little substance to the extravagant plan but that didn’t bother The Province. Sherman wanted the facility to proceed so they gave it maximum splash.
Mackin provides another newspaper’s eventual headline:
“Grandiose Garibaldi Scheme Falls Flat on Its No-Assets.”
Some months ago, I tracked the life story of Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort. The proposal has reappeared occasionally since it was first reported in a July 1991 edition of the Vancouver Sun:
“A Japanese-backed company is planning to build a $250-million year-round ski resort on a series of spectacular glaciers west of Panorama…”
In 1993, The Province was calling Jumbo Glacier Resort a certainty involving European and Asian investors. Two years later, newspapers said the project was proceeding with support from a consortium of Canadian, U.S. and European investors. In 2012, the Times Colonist repeated promises the ski hill would soon be operational. NW’s Bill Good and others try to paint Jumbo as a victim of regulatory foot dragging but actually Jumbo has been an unfinanced scheme with proponents hoping that media play would attract investors. Shills in the corporate “news” operations are willing partners.
By the way, don’t plan your ski vacation at Jumbo just yet.
Media may have people like Bob Mackin aiming to report accurately and sincerely but it has many more who earn a living by shilling for special financial interests. Sometimes, the promoted is a ski hill, fish farming or “ethical oil.” Other times, it is a pipeline operator, car dealer or land developer.
The shill factor in media, especially in new media, is illustrated by a report in ZDNet.
“A Federal judge overseeing the Oracle vs. Google patent lawsuit said that search giant has failed to comply with a request to document all payments to bloggers and writers covering the trial.
“…U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in his order:
“The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle. For example, Oracle has disclosed that it retained a blogger as a consultant. Even though the payment was for consulting work, the payment might have influenced the blogger’s reports on issues in the civil action…
“Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all…”
Today we are fresh off the tar soaked heels of Enbridge’s lie and spin machine in Kitimat, leading to a vote AGAINST their toxic future. In Kitimat, in a non-binding plebiscite, the people of Kitimat, but not the first peoples who live outside the town boundary, voted about 60-40 to kick out Enbridge. They’re liars, […]
NANAIMO – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands today congratulates the people of Kitimat, BC on voting No in a plebiscite on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The final re…
Dear Readers: First of all we have some news from the town of Kitimat, way out in the wilds of British Columbia. You know about Kitimat, that’s the place where the XL pipeline is supposed to feed into a marine terminal for shipping oil overseas! Well, the tree huggers have been poring all sorts of […]
When I moved here, I didn’t even know that the two hundred acres of meadows, forests and rivers where included with a small yearly com…9 Zoom(s)
A few interesting graphics forwarded to me by a colleague. (7) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is pleased to announce that Dr. David Robinson has taken on the Natural Resources portfolio on the Party’s Shadow Cabinet.
A Professor of Economics and the Director of the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD) at Sudbury’s Laurentian University, Robinson is an accomplished academic and longtime advocate for environmentally and socially responsible resource development.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Robinson will be taking on our Natural Resources file,” said Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “With the Canadian economy more dependent than ever on reckless and short-sighted resource development, it is absolutely essential that our party remains committed to a profitable and sustainable economy, one based on meaningful employment and wise use of resources, not a race to the bottom in serving as a resource colony for other countries’ manufacturing and processing.”
“Dr. Robinson has a real first-hand understanding of the issues that Canadians, and Northern Ontarians in particular, are currently facing in terms of our resource economy,” said Bruce Hyer, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North and the Green Party’s Democratic Reform Critic. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the mining and forestry sectors, and will be a great addition to our team.”
Dr. Robinson can be reached at email@example.com
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands has been granted Intervenor status in the upcoming National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.
May will join fellow Intervenors Adam Olsen, BC Green Party Leader, and Green MLA Andrew Weaver. Adriane Carr, Green City Councilor for Vancouver, will be attending the NEB hearings as a Commenter.
As an Intervenor, May will provide expert input at the NEB hearings both in her capacity as an environmental lawyer and a leader of the Canadian environmental movement, and on behalf of her constituents in Saanich–Gulf Islands, who stand to be significantly affected by the proposed pipeline.
“Saanich-Gulf Islands lies directly in the route of the bitumen-loaded tankers that would service the proposed projects,” said the Green Leader. “As such, my constituents are deeply concerned about this project and expect me to represent their concerns in this process.”
Kinder Morgan has applied to the National Energy Board to triple the current capacity of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries dilbit, a pre-crude mix of bitumen and diluent, from northern Alberta to Burnaby, BC where it is loaded onto tankers for export to foreign markets. This proposed expansion carries a number of significant risks, including the increased likelihood of a devastating tanker spill on the BC coast.
“I have worked in the environmental movement in Canada as a volunteer, staff, expert and environmental lawyer since 1975, I have extensive experience working with small communities dependent on natural resources, such as fishing, forestry and tourism, and I have participated in dozens of environmental impact reviews,” said May. “I think it is absolutely necessary that my constituents have a voice at the table, but I also look forward to speaking on behalf of all British Columbians and all Canadians who are fighting to stop this pipeline.”
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
OTTAWA/VICTORIA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, today joins BC Green Party Leader Adam Olsen in celebrating the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation’s victory in blocking the opening of an unsustainable and environmentally destructive commercial herring fishery on the Nation’s traditional territory.
The Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, located on BC’s central coast, had previously requested and had been granted the voluntary closure of critical herring spawning habitat in Kitasu Bay. The herring have been a staple food for the coastal community for generations.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea had sought to re-open a commercial herring fishery in the area, against the advice of scientists and senior officials within her own department. In response to the Minister’s decision, the Kitasoo/Xaixais Heriditary Chiefs led a protest blocking commercial fishing boats from accessing Kitasu Bay.
In a statement released Monday, Kitasoo/Xaixais Stewardship Director Doug Nealoss and the First Nation’s elected and hereditary chiefs declared that the bay had been closed to fishing, noting that “The success of our fishery relies on the predictable spawning patterns which we have learned, and sufficient abundance of herring, which we have protected in Kitasu Bay since time immemorial.”
Yesterday, DFO officials had attempted to negotiate access for the commercial fishing boats, but the request was denied by Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation elected Chief Clark Robinson Sr. It now appears that the department will not be pursuing further negotiations at this time.
“It was reckless and ill-advised of Minister Shea to contradict her own department’s scientists and attempt to re-open this fishery,” said federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “Fishing the herring of Kitasu Bay to exhaustion would have been an ecological disaster and an appalling violation of this First Nation’s treaty rights.”
“The Kitasoo Nation has stood firm in defending their land and water, and we applaud the peaceful resolution they have achieved,” said BC Green Party Leader Adam Olsen. “Today marks an important victory for First Nations rights, and for the ecological integrity of our coast.”
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction: When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, […]
The last time Earth’s oceans were this acidic, a six mile-wide asteroid had just smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula: gizmodo.com/how-global-war…— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) March 26, 2014 It’s incalculably high what this will cost us. ADDED: An expertly designed and tragically necessary one-click clearinghouse for ocean acidification info just went live ocean-acidification.net— Chris Turner (@theturner) March […]
|What does the Wolf say?|
In his tribute to the late Pete Seeger, David Suzuki says both he and Seeger were inspired by junk science:… Like me, he was inspired by Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring to become a strong defender of the environment as well as human rights. I…
|Which of these horses is a community volunteer?
That’s easy, the one that’s worth it’s weight in gold!
Traffic inches along the connector of Interstate’s 75 and 85 as snow blankets Metro Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28, 2014 as seen from the Pryor Street overpass. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is preparing to declare a state of emergency as a winter storm coats the region with snow and ice. State transportation officials said […]
WASHINGTON – A prominent U.S. environmental group is targeting seafood imports from countries that…
And here we had everyone threatening global warming was going to melt the ice caps by the summer of 2013. Well lo and behold, they are actually growing. A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 […]
So yesterday July 19 marks year 27 of married life. also huge storm. There was either a mini tornado or a downburst and there is so much damage. We ran into the building hall at one point it seemed like all the windows were going to blow in. Windows were slightly opened and by them […]
To the surprise of everyone outside the White House, Obama mentioned the pipeline in his speech. It was a politically savvy move for three reasons: 1) He called out the elephant in the room and thus avoided both criticism from groups like the Sierra Club and the subsequent media coverage of his omission; 2) He took ownership of the issue, showing everyone on every side of the fight he is personally involved; and 3) He shifted the debate over the pipeline from one of economics to one about the effects on climate change.
I agree with #2 and #3 — which is precisely why I think the speech makes it less likely he will approve Keystone. Obama owns KXL and he’s said the deciding factor is climate, not economics. As a new Scientific American article sums things up, “If built, the Keystone XL pipeline will be a spigot that speeds tar sands production, pushing the planet toward its emissions limit.”
And folks who have been around Washington politics a lot longer than I have think it would be very un-savvy to spend so much time laying out a strong moral case for climate action and then bringing up Keystone IF the president is planning on approving it. He would have been far better off not talking about Keystone at all in that case. As it is now, he will rightfully be called an extreme hypocrite if he ultimately opens the spigot to the dirty tar sands.
There’s no question Obama could approve Keystone, but I believe the smart money has shifted from betting he will to betting he won’t.
CTV was reporting that Peter Kent may be moving on and therefore would be out as Environment Minister. Not sure there’s much a new Canadian minister might do to sway the Obama administration but Keystone has got to be figuring into Harper’s thinking. Is Rempel, currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Kent, the one?
Whoever it is, they’re also going to have to deal with this burgeoning – and very warranted – focus on petcoke. This oil sands byproduct gained greater visibility recently given the Koch brothers’ piling of it on the Detroit waterfront to the discomfort of Windsorites looking on from across the river.
We, for the most part, won’t burn it for fuel due to its high emissions levels and the “Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States.” So it is largely being shipped overseas to China and Mexico, nations that don’t care much about emissions levels. Shouldn’t we Canadians be concerned about that? Particularly if Keystone were to be approved, with the amounts of petcoke that will be produced.
Over to you, next Harper environment minister.