Guest's blog

Thu, 2014-11-27 11:32Guest
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Pipelines and the Erosion of the National Energy Board’s Credibility

burnaby mountain, protest, kinder morgan

This is a guest post by Karen Campbell, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

The dramatic events unfolding on Burnaby Mountain — where more than 100 protestors have been arrested and charged with civil contempt — has turned a white-hot spotlight on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the National Energy Board (NEB). And both parties are looking a little worse for wear.

Between injunctions and arrests, the furor over Kinder Morgan’s expansion project has suddenly surpassed that other pipeline, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, in terms of controversy. You will recall that despite vociferous opposition from most First Nations and northern B.C. communities, the federal government approved Northern Gateway in June 2014. That approval is now the subject of dozens of legal challenges, including three applications filed by Ecojustice lawyers on behalf of our clients.

We are just one-third of the way through the Kinder Morgan project review, and frustration with the NEB’s stripped-down process — a product of federal environmental law rollbacks tucked into the 2012 budget bill — is steadily mounting, and may have serious implications for other projects, namely TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

Thu, 2014-11-13 11:03Guest
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Jumbo: The Only B.C. Municipality That Won’t Vote This Saturday

#democracyforjumbo

This is a guest post by Gerry Taft, the mayor of Invermere.

When most of us think of a small town, we think of friendly neighbours and quiet streets — the type of place where you know almost everyone. I’m privileged to be elected as mayor of Invermere, B.C., which is pretty close to being a perfect small town. 

However, about 55 kilometres from Invermere, down rough old logging and mining roads, lies another kind of “small town.”

The “small town” of Jumbo, also known as the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality, is not home to friendly neighbours or quiet streets. In fact, it is completely empty — a wilderness with no residents and no buildings.

On Nov. 15th, when every other town in B.C. will vote for new municipal leaders, there will be no voting in Jumbo.

Tue, 2014-11-04 17:25Guest
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The Movement For Environmental Rights Is Building

David Suzuki Blue Dot Tour

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

The idea of a right to a healthy environment is getting traction at Canada’s highest political levels. Federal Opposition MP Linda Duncan recently introduced “An Act to Establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights” in Parliament. If it’s passed, our federal government will have a legal duty to protect Canadians’ right to live in a healthy environment.

I’m travelling across Canada with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Tour to encourage people to work for recognition of such a right — locally, regionally and nationally. At the local level, the idea of recognizing citizens’ right to live in a healthy environment is already taking hold. Richmond and Vancouver, B.C., The Pas, Manitoba, and the Montreal borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie all recently passed municipal declarations recognizing this basic right.

Our ultimate goal is to have the right to a healthy environment recognized in the Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a federal environmental bill of rights is a logical precursor. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms itself was preceded by a federal statute, the Bill of Rights, enacted under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservative government in 1960.

Sun, 2014-11-02 06:00Guest
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The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

This is a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protect camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.

Sat, 2014-10-11 09:39Guest
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Thanksgiving in the Jumbo Republic

Jumbo Glacier ski resort

This is a guest post by Troy Sebastian, special projects coordinator for Ktunaxa Nation Council.

Amid the succulent smells of turkey and spice this Thanksgiving weekend, another season draws near.

In every municipality in British Columbia, lawn signs are popping up like plywood pumpkin patches. Door knocking has begun in earnest and no baby is safe from obligatory photo ops. Hand shakes and promises — the currency of democracy — reign once more.

Every town in the province is gearing up for municipal elections a month from now, except for one — the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.

The reason is simple: Jumbo is a town without residents.

Thu, 2014-10-09 13:19Guest
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Climate Litigation is Here and it Could Cost Canadian Oil Companies Billions

people's climate march, zack embree

This is a guest post by Andrew Gage, Staff Counsel and head of the Climate Change program at West Coast Environmental Law, and Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. This article originally appeared in the Globe and Mail.

Climate change is no longer a distant threat. Peer-reviewed science has already linked climate change to drought in Texas and Australia, extreme heat in Europe, Russia, Japan, and Korea, and storm-surge flooding during Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan.

Climate change is already causing about $600-billion in damages annually. Here in Canada, the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy estimated that climate change will cost Canadians $5-billion annually by 2020.

Canadian oil and gas companies could soon find themselves on the hook for at least part of the damage. For as climate change costs increase, a global debate has begun about who should pay.

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