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Tue, 2014-09-16 14:49Carol Linnitt
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Over 400 Academics Request End to CRA Audit of Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

CCPA audit, academics

A group of 421 academics are requesting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) end its audit of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a group that describes itself as “an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice.”

As the Canadian Press recently reported, an internal CRA document stated the audit was the result of the CCPA being “biased” and “one-sided.”

In a letter to revenue minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay the group states it is “perplexed at CRA’s decision to perform the audit…on the groups that [the CCPA] allegedly engages in politically partisan, biased and one-sided research activity.”

The CCPA is an internationally-recognized and respected research centre, built on a solid tradition of critical analysis,” the letter states. “Indeed, the CCPA plays a vital role by supplying much needed reflection on a number of policies, which it has always done in a fair and unbiased way, and which respects the fundamental tools of sound research.”

The group also criticizes the CRA, suggesting that by undertaking the audit, the CRA “fails to understand the nature of what academic research is all about.”

Fri, 2014-09-12 15:40Carol Linnitt
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David Suzuki Headlines DeSmog Canada's Kickstarter Campaign to Clean Up Canada's Climate and Energy Debate

DeSmog Canada is excited to announce the launch of our new crowdfunding campaign: “Let’s Clean Up Canada’s Climate and Energy Debate.”

For the past 18 months, DeSmog Canada has delivered cutting-edge investigative journalism to clean up Canada's polluted public square and foster science-based debate on climate and energy issues. Now, we are ready to take it to the next level.

Over the next thirty days, we need your help to raise $50,000 to fund our upcoming work that will focus on three priorities:

  • leading in-depth investigations of government and industry spending on multi-million dollar ad campaigns to sell oil development and pipelines instead of clean energy solutions,
  • shining a light on fake grassroots groups designed to confuse the public debate,
  • exposing Canada’s war on science and the scientists who are prevented from sharing critical information with the public.


Climate and energy debates have never been more important to setting the course for Canada's future. Yet conversations about Canada’s energy have never been more polarized, divisive and polluted with misinformation.

The stakes have never been higher.

Fri, 2014-09-12 12:53Carol Linnitt
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Harper Government Ratifies Controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Deal

The Harper Government ratified the controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) Friday after secretly signing the deal with China in Vladivostok, Russia in September 2012.

The Canadian public has been offered no opportunity to clarify the details of the agreement or discuss its economic or environmental implications even though FIPA is the most significant trade and investment deal in Canada’s history since NAFTA.

The Canada-China FIPA is a bilateral trade agreement intended to protect and promote international trade and foreign investment between nations through legally binding agreements.

Canada has 24 similar trade agreements with other nations including Russia, Argentina and the Czech Republic. The Canada-China FIPA has been widely criticized as lopsided, given China’s significant investment in Canada's economy and natural resources.

Critics expressed concern over FIPA after Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved the $15.1 billion acquisition of Canadian-owned Nexen Inc. by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), a state-owned enterprise.

The presence of massive Chinese state-owned investments in Canada have led some to worry over the legal significance of FIPA.

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, said trade agreements like FIPA, “provide the protection and confidence Canadian investors need to expand, grow and succeed abroad,” in a press statement released today.

We remain committed to opening new markets around the world for Canadian companies, including in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. This FIPA will create jobs and economic opportunities for Canadians in every region of the country.”

Thu, 2014-09-11 13:16Carol Linnitt
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Kinder Morgan Asks B.C. to Remove Land from Provincial Parks to Make Way for Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction

Bridal Veil Falls Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan made the news last week after disagreement between the company and the city of Burnaby came to a head over the removal of trees in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in advance of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

After Kinder Morgan began clearing an area to facilitate survey work, which included exploratory drilling, Burnaby issued a stop work order, stating the company was violating municipal bylaws and causing irreparable damage to park areas.

On Monday, Burnaby filed a civil claim against Kinder Morgan in the Supreme Court of B.C., asking for interim and permanent injunctions to halt the company’s work in the Burnaby Mountain area. The city will appear in court Thursday to request the company cease work until the matter be heard before the Supreme Court.

But Kinder Morgan's interest in park area goes beyond Burnaby Mountain as detailed plans submitted to the province of B.C. reveal. The company's Provincial Protected Area Boundary Adjustment application, shows the Trans Mountain pipeline will cut through three provincial parks and one protected grassland in B.C. 

The application requests parkland be removed from four park boundaries to facilitate pipeline construction.

Wed, 2014-09-10 07:00Carol Linnitt
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Trust Me, You'll Want to Hear George Marshall Talk About "Multivalent" Climate Change

George Marshall

Eight years ago, climate communications expert George Marshall picked up a copy of The Independent from his doorstep on a Saturday morning. Looking at the front cover of that magazine, he said, got him thinking about the “peculiarities” of climate change.

In bold letters the headline read “The Melting Mountains: How Climate Change is Destroying the World’s Most Spectacular Landscapes” and inside it outlined how alpine tourism is at risk with roughly 50 years left before a warmer climate begins to claim the snowpack.

Marshall said what really struck him was what he saw next. “It was the Saturday newspaper, so I picked it up and out falls the travel supplement. The travel supplement is dedicated to visiting those spectacular places before they go, entirely by the medium of international flights.”

There’s something peculiar in this and I had a long conversation with my wife about it: how there’s this disconnect between the concern expressed on the first three pages and the hedonism expressed in the travel supplement.”

He laughed, “What did Oscar Wilde say? We all kill the thing we love.”

Tue, 2014-09-09 13:58Carol Linnitt
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Arctic Gateway Pipeline: Alberta Looks Far, Far North to Potential Oilsands Export Route

arctic gateway pipeline, tuktoyaktuk, arctic, alberta oilsands

While the Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain and Energy East pipelines remain stalled in political upheaval, environmental opposition and regulatory processing, the government of Alberta could start moving landlocked oil to tidal waters via the Arctic as early as 2015, according to a technical report recently released by the Alberta government. 

The report, authored by Canatec Associates International Ltd., an Arctic petroleum consultation firm, considers three scenarios for exporting oilsands product, all of which were deemed technically feasible. An early, exploratory shipment of oil to the Arctic could be on the move as early as next year, the report states.

The Arctic Gateway Pipeline, previously considered logistically unfeasible, has been eyed with increasing interest recently, as a warming climate begins to open up the north to new development and previously inaccessible shipment routes.

The report notes the new export route stands to benefit from a combination of a changing northern climate, hunger for resource development in Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories, and the growing desperation to move Alberta oil to Asian markets.

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