canada

Thu, 2015-02-12 09:53Scott Vrooman
Scott Vrooman's picture

Canada Paid $180,000 for Mining Responsibility Counsellor That Doesn't Exist

The government spent over $180,000 dollars last year to run the office of a corporate social responsibility counsellor for the Canadian mining industry even though there was no counsellor. Which is actually a fitting metaphor for what this office does: nothing.

It has no power to investigate problems or issue reports. Just look at the title, it’s not corporate social responsibility enforcer, it’s counsellor. “Hey man, there’s no judgment here. Think of me as a coach. How can I help you to help yourself to not murder activists, forcibly evict people and set their homes on fire? Yeah, help yourself to the jelly beans. Those are for everyone.”

Fri, 2015-01-16 11:27Sean Holman
Sean Holman's picture

Canada’s Access to Information Act Doesn’t Really Provide Canadians with Access to Information

Access to Information Canada

In their recently published book Your Right to Know, journalists Jim Bronskill and David McKie have done yeomans' work explaining how Canadians can use freedom of information requests to get government secrets. But, at the federal level, it's work they shouldn't have needed to do - pointing to another problem with Canada's broken access to information laws.

Introduced in 1980 by Pierre Trudeau's Liberals, the Access to Information Act gave Canadians a limited right to request government records. The bureaucracy's filing cabinets could now metaphorically be opened by anyone - unless the records in them included 75 different kinds of information that would still be considered secret.

But, even with those limits, the Trudeau administration seemed to have little interest in telling voters about their newfound rights or how to exercise them.

Thu, 2015-01-15 10:30Alison Loat
Alison Loat's picture

Do Non-Profits Hold the Key to Political Participation in Canada?

Canadians give more of their time to the non-profit sector than to organized politics.

While only 10 per cent have volunteered on a political campaign in the last five years, 55 per cent report having volunteered for a non-profit in the past year. An even larger proportion, about 58 per cent, report being involved with a non-profit community group.

Due to several troubling indicators of the health of Canadian democracy, my non-profit group Samara developed the Democracy Talks program to understand Canadians’ experiences with politics and the barriers they face to political participation.

A number of Democracy Talks participants explained that the social aspect and participatory nature of working with community groups makes them much more inviting than political offices or parties. In contrast to the frustration or power imbalance they’ve felt with political organizations, they feel welcomed and encouraged by community groups to make a difference on their chosen issue.

Wed, 2015-01-14 17:27Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

Canada’s Fight Against NAFTA Investigation of Oilsands Tailings Gets Political, Wins Allies

tailings pond, suncor, tar sands, oilsands, alex maclean

The U.S. and Mexico appear to have joined Canada in its fight to prevent a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) investigation of the more than 176 square kilometres of tailings ponds holding waste from the Alberta oilsands near Fort McMurray.

In 2010 a group of citizens and environmental groups petitioned NAFTA’s Commission on Environmental Cooperation to investigate whether Canada is breaking its own federal laws, in particular the Fisheries Act, by failing to adequately manage the massive tailings ponds which hold a toxic mixture of water, silt and chemicals.

It was important for us to know whether this was happening and whether environmental laws were being broken and whether the government is upholding those laws or ignoring them,” Dale Marshall from Environmental Defence, one of the organizations behind the compliant, said.

A 2012 federal study confirmed the tailings ponds are seeping waste into the local environment and Athabasca River. In 2013 an internal memo prepared for then Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver confirmed groundwater toxins related to bitumen extraction and processing are migrating from the tailings ponds.

Tue, 2015-01-13 16:29Guest
Guest's picture

Digging Out of Canada’s Mining Dilemma

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

It sometimes seems people in the mining and fossil fuel industries — along with their government promoters — don’t believe in the future. What else could explain the mad rush to extract and use up the Earth’s resources as quickly and wastefully as possible?

Global mining production, including fossil fuels, has almost doubled since 1984, from just over nine-billion tonnes to almost 17-billion in 2012, with the greatest increases over the past 10 years.

Wed, 2015-01-07 21:02Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

Development of Oilsands Incompatible with 2C Global Warming Limit: New Study

Alberta oilsands, tar sands, Fort McMurray, climate, Kris Krug

A new study published today in the journal Nature finds the vast majority – 99 per cent – of Canada’s oilsands are “unburnable” if the world is to avoid a global temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius. 

The study, co-authored by Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins, also found over 80 per cent of the world’s current coal reserves and half of all gas reserves similarly need to remain unused. 

Given changing market conditions that are already making the production of expensive and carbon-intensive fossil fuel reserves – like oilsands crude – more difficult, the authors concluded that a concerted effort to limit global warming would result in a massive drop in Canadian oil production.

The extraction of bitumen would “drop to negligible levels after 2020 in all scenarios because it is considerably less economic than other methods of production,” the report states.

Mon, 2015-01-05 15:19Guest
Guest's picture

Does the Harper Government Have the Credibility to be Re-Elected?

prime minister stephen harper

This is a guest post by author and filmmaker Michael Harris. The article originally appeared on iPolitics and is republished here with permission.

From the cold porches of January, 2015 stretches out like a thousand miles of gravel road.

The country is facing an election that will be nasty, brutish and long — from now until the vote occurs, whenever that may be. The writ period is essentially meaningless. Under the Conservatives, it’s always game on.

True to his word, Stephen Harper has transformed the country, largely by stealth. Canada is now a nation that spies on its friends, guests and citizens. It accepts foreign intelligence even when there is a likelihood that it was obtained by torture. The government lies to the electorate on policy matters. It accuses veterans of exaggerating their injuries in order to take the taxpayer for a ride. It washes its hands of any stake in the fate of 1,200 missing or murdered Aboriginal women. It does not practise unite-and-lead politics, but divide-and-conquer stratagems. A government, by any democratic measure, in disgrace.

Fri, 2014-12-19 13:33Nick Fillmore
Nick Fillmore's picture

UN Climate Talks Face Long, Hard Road to Paris Next Winter

christiana figureres COP20

With yet another United Nations high level conference making little real progress on slowing climate change, a near miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions in Paris next December.

The ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’ document, agreed to on Sunday by 194 countries, is not a new “deal” for the climate, as conference observer Green Party Leader Elizabeth May pointed out. It is a 12-month work plan leading to the final meeting in Paris.

The conference shifted more responsibility for coping with climate change to the developing world. For the first time, an agreement calls on countries with rising economies, such as China, India and South Africa, to pledge action on climate change along with rich countries.

Developing countries have been expecting the North to provide billions-of-dollars to carry the burden of cutting carbon emissions in the South that are cause by northern industrialization. But a special fund set up for this purpose received barely a mention during key sessions.

Sat, 2014-12-13 09:02Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

10 Things Canada Would Be Doing if We Were Serious About Climate Change

obama harper

Right now Canada is participating in the final day of the 20th annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru. The country already caught flack for thinking a progressive stance on hydrofluorocarbons will convince the international community Canada is doing its due diligence when it comes to the world’s problem of growing greenhouse gas emissions. To make matters worse, this week Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in the House of Commons that it would be “crazy” to regulate emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector, signaling the long-overdue rules are no longer on the table.

Meanwhile in Peru, Canadian delegates are working hard to keep Canada’s oil and gas sector off the climate-negotiating table, despite the genuine efforts from nations across the planet to come to a meaningful agreement for addressing the globe’s growing carbon emissions problem. As a result, Canadian NGOs are saying the country is losing its international credibility. As the disappointing climate talks close today in Lima many countries are saying wealthy nations like Canada are creating an atmosphere of distrust and vulnerability by delaying meaningful, collaborative climate action.

So looking ahead to COP21 in Paris, Canada will have to do more than delay and obscure its climate problems with miniscule good deeds if it wants to show the world we deserve a big kid chair at the negotiations table.

Here are 10 things Canada would be doing if we were actually serious about addressing climate change at COP20 in Lima and beyond.

Wed, 2014-12-10 16:17Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

Canada ‘Flies Under Radar,’ Skirts Oilsands Issue At COP20 Climate Talks

Leona Aglukkaw COP20 Lima Peru

Canada is “flying under the radar” at this year’s UNFCCC COP20 climate talks in Lima, Peru according to Canada Youth Delegation member Brenna Owen.

Canada’s negotiators are working hard to sidestep the issue of the country’s growing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector according to Owen, while simultaneously keeping quiet about the oilsands as nations come up with their “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) in the global climate agreement.

They’re not going to be able to do that much longer,” she added. “And they’re not going to be able to avoid talking about the tar sands.”

Aleah Loney, another member of the 10-person youth delegation, said the group is eager to push Canada’s ministers and negotiators to address the issue of oil and gas emissions rather than employing evasive tactics to avoid the concerns outright.

Pages

Subscribe to canada