Top News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 09:19 • Emma Gilchrist
Canada Revenue Agency

A new report from the Broadbent Institute raises fresh questions about whether Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audits are being used as a politicized tool to pressure critics of the federal government. 

The report, Stephen Harper’s CRA: Selective audits, “political” activity, and right-leaning charities, says several right-leaning charities are reporting zero “political” activity while engaging in work that appears to meet the CRA’s definition.

We know charities that have been critical of policies of the Harper government are being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency. With mounting evidence suggesting bias in auditing decisions, we need to find out what’s going on here,” said Rick Smith, executive director of Broadbent Institute, a non-partisan organization founded by former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.

Monday, October 20, 2014 - 12:16 • Judith Lavoie
Pat Morrow

When Pat Morrow looks around at the mountains, towering on either side of the Jumbo Valley, his concern is palpable.

Avalanche paths are clearly visible, both beside Jumbo Creek Road and on slopes surrounding the meadows and valley where Glacier Resorts Ltd. wants to build a 6,000-bed all-season ski resort.

Looking down the valley, we are seeing how vulnerable it is to massive avalanche damage. There are three or four fresh ones. The avalanche paths are just slowly eating their way across the slope as the years go along,” Morrow said.

Few people who are familiar with Morrow’s accomplishments are going to argue with his expertise.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 09:28 • Guy Dauncey
solar power, clean energy, BC, guy dauncey

This article originally appeared on the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association website.

It’s known as “the warm land,” and as soon as you get off the highway Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley certainly has the feeling of pleasant summer warmth, filled with agricultural fecundity. It was the Coast Salish Cowichan people who gave it the name - that’s what cowichan means in the Hul’q’umi’num language.

So solar energy lies deep in the heritage of the valley, and maybe its appropriate that British Columbia’s first solar bulk buy has sprung unto life here, and is pioneering a new approach to solar installations.

Peter Nix—who calls himself a Cowichan carbon-buster—started pondering the possibility in May, so he was ready to leap when the opportunity arose to place a bulk order for 720 solar panels, totaling 200 kilowatts. A large project had fallen through, and the panels were available at 72 cents a watt, much less than the market norm of $1.00 a watt for solar PV of this quality.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 13:09 • Erin Flegg
Dr. David Jacobs speaks at Generate Conference 2014

We’re all taught in life that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The sentiment has been applied to Germany’s renewable energy transition, or Energiewende, with critics questioning emission reduction reporting or arguing costs of new systems are too high. But even if the Energiewende isn’t quite as shiny as it first appears, there are still a few important lessons from Germany's energy transition that Canada can take to heart.

German clean energy policy expert Dr. David Jacobs paid Canada a visit this week to dispel a few myths about the Energiewende. While addressing potential downsides, Jacobs talked about the lessons North American countries can take from Germany’s push toward completely sustainable energy. 
Jacobs, the founder and director of International Energy Transition Consulting, organized an event in Vancouver Thursday to discuss Germany’s energy policies, and invited MLAs, policymakers, developers and academics to ask questions. He also spoke at the annual Generate conference, hosted by Clean Energy BC. Jacobs visited at the invitation of Clean Energy Canada as part of their Low Carbon Leadership speaker series.
Friday, October 17, 2014 - 10:20 • Judith Lavoie
Commander Glacier

The rough track at the foot of West Farnham Glacier, carved by a Glacier Resorts bulldozer in 2008, comes to an abrupt end as the already rough terrain becomes impassable.

Huge boulders block the path, where there is an early-fall dusting of snow and, ahead, the cliffs are festooned with precariously hanging icicles.

We call it the road to nowhere,” said professional mountain climbing guide Arnor Larson, who, since 1970, has taken visitors into the remote Farnham area of the Purcell Range — 60 kilometres from Invermere along a lumpy, slippery one-track road.

Stretching above the track is the money card — blindingly bright snow, broken by icy blue patches, where the prospect of all-season glacier skiing has fuelled a 24-year debate.

Glacier Resorts Ltd. plans to build a billion-dollar ski resort, with hotels, lodges, condominiums and shops, in the adjacent Jumbo Valley. Lifts and gondolas would take visitors from the village to ski on Farnham, Jumbo and Commander Glaciers.

But the most pressing question is how long the glaciers will be around.

While the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan predicts the glaciers will survive or even grow as climate change will mean additional snow at high altitudes, climate scientists say glaciers in the Purcell Mountains will have disappeared by the turn of the century.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 09:09 • Derek Leahy

Canada can reduce its carbon footprint by 90 per cent, play its part in the fight against climate change and grow its economy at the same time according to a recent report by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. 

This is a really important piece of analysis for Canada. It shows that we can cut our carbon pollution dramatically by 2050, making a strong contribution to tackling climate change, while growing our economy by over 200 per cent,” Clare Demerse, a senior policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada says.

By powering transportation, buildings and electricity with largely renewable energy (water-power, wind, solar) and biofuels and applying wide spread use of greenhouse gas (GHG) capturing technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the oil and gas sector the report argues Canada can cut its GHG emissions production by 90 per cent by 2050 based on 2010 levels.

The catch is none of this can happen unless Canada implements policies effectively regulating the production of GHG emissions, something the federal government has so far been unable to do.

Many of the major changes described in the Canadian decarbonization pathway will not occur without strong policy signals, which will require public support and in many cases will be driven by public pressure,” the UN network concludes. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 16:45 • Emma Gilchrist
Site C dam

The provincial and federal governments have issued an environmental approval certificate for the Site C dam despite acknowledging it will cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Those effects are justified in the circumstances,” says the decision statement signed by Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s minister of environment.

The province must still decide whether to proceed with the 1,100-megawatt project based on an investment decision, expected by the end of this year.

The final decision still has to go through the cabinet, so we’ll still be working to convince them it’s not the best decision,” said Andrea Morison of the Peace Valley Environment Association, a group that has fought the dam for decades.