andrew weaver

Grizzly Group Takes Aim at Trophy Hunting, Sets Sights on Provincial Election Candidates

Above the stone fireplace in the comfortable Saanich home, photos of grizzly bears are pinned in a casual collage.

Cubs are shown frolicking in the grass, a curious bear stands on his hind legs looking through a camera lens and, jarringly, at the top, is a massive grizzly lying lifeless in the grass, eyes closed, claws digging into the dirt, as two jubilant hunters smile into the camera.

The photo, typical of those found in hunting magazines that promote the chance to travel to Super, Natural B.C. to kill grizzles, provokes a visceral response among hunt opponents and a newly-formed group wants to harness that gut reaction.

Justice for B.C. Grizzlies is led by a small core of volunteers who, for years, have tried to end the trophy hunt by arguing the facts — such as the uncertainty of population numbers, studies that show bear viewing generates far more in visitor spending than bear hunting and — what should be the clincher for politicians, but, curiously seems to be ignored — polls clearly demonstrate that British Columbians are overwhelmingly against the hunt.

In the leadup to next spring’s provincial election, the group is aiming for hearts and minds by asking B.C. voters and political candidates to consider the hunt from a moral and ethical stance.

Jumbo Glacier Resort Should Be the Last Fake Municipality B.C. Creates: Andrew Weaver

A municipality should have residents — and grizzly bears and mountain goats don’t count, according to B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver who tabled a private member’s bill in the legislature Wednesday aimed squarely at the controversial Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.
 
Weaver’s bill to amend the Local Government Amendment Act would repeal the Liberal government’s 2012 changes to legislation that made it possible for mountain resort municipalities to exist without residents.
 
The 2012 changes were designed to push through development of Jumbo Glacier Resort, a proposed 6,300 bed resort in the wilderness of the Purcell Mountains, 55 kilometres west of Invermere — a project strongly opposed by local residents and First Nations.
 
Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality was created in November 2012 and the province then appointed a mayor and two councillors. Even though the municipality had no residents or buildings, it became eligible for provincial government grants of $200,000 a year and about $50,000 in federal gas tax money.

Weaver Calls for B.C. Moratorium After Study Links Fracking, Earthquakes

Natural gas operations

The results of a new study linking hydraulic fracturing or fracking to induced earthquakes in B.C. and Alberta is reason to immediately halt the controversial extraction technique from being used in gas fields in B.C. according to Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
 
“I am calling on both the government and the official opposition to join me in supporting a moratorium on horizontal fracking in British Columbia,” Weaver said in a statement released Tuesday. “Other jurisdictions, like Quebec, New York, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, have already suspended the practice and B.C. should follow suit.”
 
The study found a direct link between fracking and earthquakes in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin over the last 25 years. The group studied more than 12,000 wells and seismic events larger than magnitude 3.0.
 
The new research, published in Seismological Research Letters on Tuesday by a group of Canadian researchers, concludes that 90 per cent of seismic activity in the region was the direct result of fracking operations.

Contaminated Waste Site Inappropriate for Shawnigan Lake Watershed, B.C. Supreme Court Rules

Shawnigan Lake contaminated waste site protest

The steady stream of trucks filled with contaminated waste that have been making their way to the small community of Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island for the last 10 months will come to a stop today after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the province erred in granting a waste disposal permit for 460 Stebbings Road.
 
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled “a contaminated soil treatment facility is not a permitted use on the property” after finding the provincial Ministry of Environment granted a waste discharge permit to South Island Aggregates in August 2013 that violated local bylaws.
 
The court ordered an immediate injunction preventing South Island Aggregates from dumping more contaminated material.
 
“I’m just ecstatic,” Sonia Furstenau, elected representative of Shawnigan Lake with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), told DeSmog Canada about the ruling.
 
“I’m overjoyed.”
 
In 2015 the CVRD filed a lawsuit against the permit, which granted the company permission to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil in a local gravel quarry.

According to the permit, the waste could contain furans, dioxins, chlorinated hydrocarbons, glycols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, toluene, xylene and other materials known to cause cancer, brain damage and birth defects in humans.

Site C Dam Permits Quietly Issued During Federal Election

Construction on the Site C dam on the Peace River

Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government issued 14 permits for work on the $9 billion Site C dam during the writ period of the last election — a move that was offside according to people familiar with the project and the workings of the federal government.

“By convention, only routine matters are dealt with after the writ is dropped,” said Harry Swain, the chair of the Joint Review Panel that reviewed the Site C dam. “Permits and licences are only issued when a government considers the matter to be non-controversial and of no great public importance.”

Swain served for 22 years in the federal government, ending as deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and later Industry. In an exclusive interview with DeSmog Canada last year, Swain said the B.C. government shouldn’t have moved ahead with construction on the dam until the demand case became clearer.

Conservative Candidate, Mel Arnold, Hit Hard After Questioning Man-made Climate Change on CBC

Mel Arnold, a federal Conservative candidate from the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding in B.C., told the CBC he remains “unconvinced” by climate science and that the role of human activity in the rise of global temperatures remains undetermined.

In an interview with the CBC’s Daybreak South radio show this week, Arnold told host Chris Walker he believes only 1.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are human-caused.

Arnold also said cycles in climate could be responsible for recent changes in temperature.

“I don't know that it has been determined for sure that human activity is the main cause. It is part of the process,” he told Walker. “But how much of it is actually naturally occurring, that's I think where the debate is.”

“As you know, this area was once buried in kilometres of thick ice during the ice ages. And we have approximately 30-year cycles on weather conditions here. Those types of things are still in play.”

Cindy Derkaz, federal Liberal candidate from the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding, said Arnold was simply toeing the Conservative Party line.

I wasn’t surprised,” Derkaz said. “I feel that he is following a party line and bound to do that and I’ve noticed that there’s been no rebuttal of [Arnold’s statements] from the party.”

B.C. MLAs Debate Site C, Months After Project’s Controversial Approval

Trees are already being felled in the Peace River Valley and site preparation is underway for the $8.8-billion Site C dam, which was given the go-ahead by the B.C. government in December, but on Wednesday MLAs spent the afternoon debating the megaproject.

The belated debate on the controversial project, which will flood 107 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries creating an 83-kilometre-long reservoir, was sparked by a resolution endorsing the project put forward by Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett.

The motion, which, as expected, sailed through with 39 votes in favour and 29  votes against, said the House supports Site C because “it represents the most affordable way to generate 1,100 megawatts of clean reliable power; and the Site C Clean Energy Project will create jobs for thousands of British Columbians; and the Site C Clean Energy Project has been the subject of a thorough environmental review process” — all points disputed by Site C critics, including First Nations, area residents and farmland advocates.

Climate Scientist Andrew Weaver Wins $50,000 in Defamation Suit Against National Post, Terence Corcoran

The B.C. Supreme Court awarded $50,000 in damages to climate scientist Andrew Weaver in a ruling Friday that confirms articles published by the National Post defamed his character.

The ruling names Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, Peter Foster, a columnist at the National Post, Kevin Libin, a journalist that contributes to the Financial Post and National Post publisher Gordon Fisher.

Four articles published in 2009 and 2010 refer to Weaver, now MLA for Canada’s Green Party, as an “alarmist” who disseminates “agit-prop” and a “sensationalist” that “cherry-picked” data as “Canada’s warmest spinner-in-chief.” Weaver was previously a lead author on a number of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.

In the damages section of the ruling (attached below), Madam Justice Emily Burke notes, “the defamation in this case was serious. It offended Dr. Weaver’s character and the defendants refused to publish a retraction.”

Justice Burke concluded the defendants “have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts,” adding, “they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.”

Weaver told DeSmog Canada he’s “thrilled” with the ruling.

National Energy Board Rules Kinder Morgan Can Keep Pipeline Emergency Plans Secret, Weakens Faith in Process

The National Energy Board ruled in favour of Kinder Morgan Friday, allowing the company to keep its emergency response plans for the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline secret.

Kinder Morgan fought the province of British Columbia’s demands to disclose its emergency response plans for the $6.5 billion pipeline expansion that will triple the amount of oilsands crude moving from Alberta to the Burrard Inlet, arguing the information is too “sensitive.”

In a statement Kinder Morgan argued “it is not appropriate to file security sensitive information about facility operations and countermeasures.”

Eoin Madden with the Wilderness Committee, an intervenor in the Trans Mountain hearing process, said he wished this ruling came as more of a surprise.

I’d love for it to be news, but basically for the last year or so we’ve watched more and more information be denied to us intervenors in the National Energy Board process.”

Geothermal Offers Cheaper, Cleaner Alternative to Site C Dam: New Report

Alison Thompson

Geothermal energy offers a low-cost, clean and viable alternative to the $8 billion Site C dam proposed for the Peace River, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA)

The report, Geothermal Energy: The Renewable and Cost Effective Alternative to Site C, estimates that geothermal power would ring in at about $73 per megawatt-hour (MWh). BC Hydro has estimated the cost of Site C at $83 per MWh. The report also says the proposed geothermal plants could be built for approximately $3.3 billion, less than half the cost of the Site C dam.

Geothermal can be built as you need it, where you need it, and the capital costs are much lower,” CanGEA Chair Alison Thompson told a press conference in Victoria.

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