Opinion

Canada Isn't Immune to Trump-ism

By Sarah Boon from Watershed Moments.

In the days following the U.S. election, two former Canadian ambassadors to the U.S. had some advice for Canadians worried about the future of Canada-U.S. relations.

Calm down,” they said. “Change the channel and watch some hockey.”

This paternalistic statement not only played on the worn cultural stereotype that all Canadians like hockey, Tweet: Nope, sorry. A ‘head in the sand,’ ‘everything will be fine’ mentality is NOT a good way to deal with Trump, Canada http://bit.ly/2gwbt7Ebut it suggested that a ‘head in the sand,’ ‘everything will be fine’ mentality was a good way to deal with Trump.

In truth, Canadians have every reason to worry.

Vast Majority of Canada Has Now Agreed to Put a Price on Carbon

In case you missed it, Tweet: 93% of Canadians live in provinces & territories that have/will implement #carbonpricing http://bit.ly/2grqxq2 #cdnpoli93 per cent of Canadians now live in provinces and territories that have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, carbon pricing. The most recent step forward occurred last week in Nova Scotia.

Amid the excitement around Canada’s accelerated coal phase-out, Premier Stephen McNeil announced that his government will implement a cap-and-trade system in 2018.

This commitment puts another province in line with the federal government’s plan to price carbon pollution.

Federal Liberals Approval of Kinder Morgan Is Final Nail in the Coffin of ‘Reconciliation’

The federal Liberals have issued an approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project, subject to 157 conditions.

In doing so, the government has granted permission for the Houston-based company to expand the capacity of its Edmonton-to-Burnaby network capacity by 690,000 barrels/day, fulfilling pleas by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to allow giant corporations to export more carbon-intensive bitumen.

And it completely undermines any alleged commitment to “reconciliation” with Indigenous peoples.

It’s not as if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand the stakes. In mandate letters sent to each of his ministers in November 2015, he emphasized a renewed “nation-to-nation relationship, based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”

Trudeau also pledged that his government would “fully adopt and work to implement” the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which included the provision that “Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.”

That dream has been slowly dying ever since.

Why It's Not Too Late to Stop the Site C Dam

“Hydro’s demand forecasts are persistently and systematically wrong. There is no reason to believe that much new power, if any, will be required in the next 20 to 30 years. But if there is, there are several alternatives available which are markedly less expensive and less damaging to Aboriginal interests, fisheries and the environment generally, than Site C.”

Those are the words of Harry Swain, who chaired the review of the Site C dam, in an affidavit filed in federal court this week.

One Alberta Ranching Family's Three-Generation Fight for Cleanup of Contaminated Well Site

Twin Butte, Alberta

By Tony Bruder

For three generations, my family has lived on our ranch near Twin Butte, Alberta, where the mountains meet the prairies.  Against a backdrop of towering rock there is an abundance of wildlife, and immensely rich grazing land. In the midst of all this beauty lies an all too familiar site in rural Alberta — two long-inactive sour gas wells.

I never met my grandfather, but my dad told me about the first time oil and gas folks stepped foot on our property near Twin Butte 60 years ago — the way they disregarded my grandfather’s concerns about the land and the haphazard way in which they commenced drilling, operated their wells and eventually left the site as an eyesore on the land.

What we didn’t expect is that our own government — in this case the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) — would side with industry over the people it is meant to protect.

Trump's Win Contains Lessons for Canada's Environmental Battles

President-elect Donald Trump

I was in my last year of high school when U.S. President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. Driven by grief and a sense of helplessness (I couldn’t even vote, let alone in America) I did the only thing I could: I joined protest marches. During that spring in 2003, I watched the crowds grow beyond anything I’ve seen before or since in Vancouver: 10,000 at a rally in January, then 40,000 in February as millions of people across the globe cried out for the President to stop.

It wasn’t enough. The war went ahead, and the whole world is still suffering the consequences. But the outpouring from Canadians was enough to cement the Chretien government’s position against the invasion, despite support from the Canadian Alliance party, led by Stephen Harper. The Alliance subsequently lost the 2004 election.

On LNG, B.C. Manages to Out-Trump Even Donald Trump

By Andrew Nikiforuk for The Tyee.

Every day, methane promoters in British Columbia’s government manage to out-trump Donald Trump.

The hoopla over the $1.6-billion Woodfibre LNG terminal, which will industrialize Howe Sound and the city of Squamish,
Tweet: ‘The hoopla over #WoodfibreLNG illustrates how far the @ChristyClarkBC gov’t will go to subvert the truth’ http://bit.ly/2eOzjgi #bcpoliillustrates just how far the Christy Clark-led BC Liberal government will go to subvert the truth.

The government billed the event as maker of economic prosperity and the beginning of a winning fight against climate change.

Both claims read like Trump balderdash with no basis in reality.

'World Class' May Not Mean Much When it Comes to Oil Spill Response

In July, a pipeline leak near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, spilled about 250,000 litres of diluted oil sands bitumen into the North Saskatchewan River, killing wildlife and compromising drinking water for nearby communities, including Prince Albert. It was one of 11 spills in the province over the previous year. 

In October, a tugboat pulling an empty fuel barge ran aground near Bella Bella on the Great Bear Rainforest coastline, spilling diesel into the water. Stormy weather caused some of the containment booms to break. Shellfish operations and clam beds were put at risk and wildlife contaminated.

Governments and industry promoting fossil fuel infrastructure often talk about “world class” spill response. It’s one of the conditions B.C.’s government has imposed for approval of new oil pipelines. But we’re either not there or the term has little meaning. “This ‘world-class marine response’ did not happen here in Bella Bella,” Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett told Metro News

I’m Still Waiting for an Interview With a Government Scientist About the Diesel Spill Near Bella Bella

Oil spill near Bella Bella

I’m irritated today. Maybe it’s a case of the Mondays. Maybe it’s because B.C.’s pipeline incident webpage has been down for over a month. Or maybe it’s because the amount of oil spilled from a pipeline into an Alberta wetland, first reported on October 6, remains undetermined.

But I think the real reason is that a media request I placed with the B.C. government on Thursday last week — to speak with a scientist about the barge that ran aground on the central coast last week and its tug that’s leaking diesel into Heiltsuk territory— has yet to be fulfilled.

Not that I’ve been ignored. No, on the contrary, I’ve received helpful messages along the lines of ‘don’t lose hope, Carol! We’re going to connect you with a real, live scientist soon. Very soon!’

Yeah, um, not holding my breath.

BC Hydro Repeating Painful History with First Nations

Construction on Site C dam

Fifty-five years ago, construction crews started one of the tallest earth dams in the world 22 kilometres west of Hudson’s Hope, B.C. It was to flood a valley shaped by the Parsnip and Finlay Rivers.

This secluded paradise had been home to the Tsay Keh Dene for millennia. It was where they derived their livelihoods, established their identity, honoured their ancestors and envisioned their future. The band was not consulted about the project. No plans were drawn up to help them move ancestors to new burial sites or establish a new village.

W.A.C. Bennett, B.C.’s premier at the time, was consumed with his “two rivers” plan, developing hydro power both on the Upper Columbia and the Peace rivers.

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