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B.C. Liberals Locked In Huge Subsidies to Oil and Gas Donors: Report

Christy Clark and Petronas CEO Tan Sri Dato’ Sahmsul Azhar Abbas

The B.C. government is subsidizing the LNG industry to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars — and British Columbians are going to pay the price, according to a new report by Sierra Club B.C.

The report, Hydro Bill Madness: The BC Government Goes For Broke With Your Money, lays out the impact of tax breaks, subsidies and reduced electricity rates negotiated by industry.

Power subsidies to even just two or three of the proposed LNG plants could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars per year,” reads a press release accompanying the report.

Two LNG export terminals have been approved in B.C. — Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert and the Woodfibre LNG plant in Howe Sound near Squamish. Another 18 are proposed.

Both companies have been major donors to the B.C. Liberal party, which has ruled the province for 16 years and faces an election on May 9.

Malaysian-owned Pacific Northwest LNG donated more than $18,000 to the B.C. Liberals since 2014, while Indonesian-based Woodfibre has found itself in the midst of a growing scandal over illegal donations.

Indigenous Guardian Program Awarded First Ever Federal Funding

Ahousaht Resource Stewardship Guardians

The federal government has committed $25 million over five years to funding Indigenous guardian programs.

The news, announced on Wednesday in the federal budget, marks the first time the government has ever financially supported the community-run programs, which work to monitor ancestral territories, enforce Indigenous laws, conduct scientific research and increase cultural knowledge. There are currently about 30 existing Indigenous Guardians programs across Canada.

However, the $25 million commitment represents only five per cent of what was requested by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, which has been leading the charge to attain federal funding for 1,600 guardians and associated costs.

Tweet: “This budget commitment acknowledges the leadership of #Indigenous Peoples in determining the future of our lands.” http://bit.ly/2o6hgEnThis budget commitment acknowledges the leadership of Indigenous Peoples in determining the future of our lands,”said Ovide Mercredi, a senior advisor with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative.

While the investment will not enable new guardian programs to be established immediately, the seed funding will help develop a national network and prepare indigenous nations and communities to launch their own indigenous guardians programs, according to a press release from the Indigenous Leadership Initiative.

‘Our Salmon Will Not Survive’: Gitxsan Nation Raising Funds to Fight Pacific Northwest LNG in Court

Salmon

Between the Site C dam, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, it’s hard to keep track of all the projects that have been approved in B.C. But for First Nations that will be affected by the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal and pipelines, the environmental and cultural impacts are impossible to escape.

In what is now the fourth federal lawsuit filed against the federal government’s approval of the $36 billion LNG project, two Gitxsan Nation hereditary chiefs have filed a judicial review arguing that Pacific NorthWest LNG infringes on their Aboriginal fishing rights.

In October of last year, judicial reviews were also filed in federal court by the Gitanyow and Gitwilgyoots First Nations, as well as the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.

The main concern? Salmon. Specifically, salmon stocks in the Skeena watershed, which supports Canada's second-largest salmon run. The LNG export terminal is planned for Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert, a site the federal government studied 40 years ago and found unsuitable or port development.  

Canada Risks International Embarrassment Over Mismanagement of World Heritage Site: UNESCO

Wood Buffalo National Park salt flats

Canada’s largest World Heritage Site is under threat from unfettered oilsands development and hydro dams on the Peace River — where the B.C. government is now planning to build the massive Site C dam — says a hard-hitting report by a United Nations agency.

While contaminants from the oilsands are affecting water and air quality, water flows through Wood Buffalo National Park are being strangled by dams, according to the highly critical report by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature

The report warns that, if there is not a “major and timely” response to its recommendations the organization will recommend that Wood Buffalo National Park be included in the list of World Heritage in Danger, a list usually reserved for sites in war-torn countries or those facing other disasters.

The park, made up of 4.5 million hectares of boreal plains in northern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, has been affected by decades of massive industrial development along the Peace and Athabasca Rivers, along with poor management and lack of overall consideration of the effect of projects, it says.

The scale, pace and complexity of industrial development along the critical corridors of the Peace and Athabasca Rivers is exceptional and does not appear to be subject to adequate analysis to underpin informed decision-making and the development of matching policy, governance and management responses,” says the executive summary, which adds that the park is also subject to the additional stress of climate change.

Breaking: BC Liberal Political Donation Scandal Investigated by RCMP

BC Liberal political donation scandal investigated by RCMP

Elections BC will refer its ongoing investigation into potentially illegal political donations made to the BC Liberals to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer announced Friday.

This investigation has been referred to ensure that it will in no way impede Elections BC’s administration of the provincial general election scheduled for May 9,” an Elections BC bulletin states.

This referral will also ensure that there is no perception that Elections BC’s ability to administer the general election in a fair, neutral and impartial manner is in any way compromised. Tweet: “The scope & timing of this matter make RCMP the most appropriate to continue this investigation.” http://bit.ly/2ngOkx1 #bcpoli #BCelxn17The potential scope and timing of this matter make the RCMP the most appropriate agency to continue this investigation.”

Political Donations By Top Kinder Morgan Staff Draw Call for Elections BC Investigation

BC Liberals Kinder Morgan Political Donations Scandal

Elections B.C. has been asked to investigate political contributions made to the BC Liberals by high-ranking Kinder Morgan staff, including president Ian Anderson.

The democracy advocacy group Dogwood submitted a formal complaint to Elections B.C. this week after discovering a series of political donations from individuals connected to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project that received provincial approval in January 2017.

The complaint comes on the heels of a bombshell investigation by the Globe and Mail that revealed corporate lobbyists were illegally reimbursed for contributions made to the B.C. Liberals.

Fossil Fuel Industry Has Lobbied B.C. Government 22,000 Times Since 2010

BC Liberals Political Donations Fossil Fuel Industry Lobbying

The fossil fuel industry lobbied the B.C. government more than 22,000 times between April 2010 and October 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives as part of the Corporate Mapping Project.

The report also found that 48 fossil fuel companies and associated industry groups have donated $5.2 million to B.C. political parties between 2008 and 2015 — 92 per cent of which has gone to the BC Liberals.

Tweet: 7 of the top 10 political donors from the fossil fuel industry are also BC’s most active lobbyists http://bit.ly/2mMRoAd #bcpoli #bcelxn17The analysis found seven of the top 10 political donors from the fossil fuel industry are also B.C.’s most active lobbyists.

The Corporate Mapping Project is a six-year research and public engagement initiative jointly led by the University of Victoria, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Alberta-based Parkland Institute.

Tweet: Researchers can demonstrate the extensive political influence of the fossil fuel industry in B.C. http://bit.ly/2mMRoAd #bcpoli #bcelxn17Researchers have painstakingly analyzed lobbying and political donation records to demonstrate the extensive political influence of the fossil fuel industry in B.C.

I was definitely surprised at the sheer volume of lobbying contacts that we found,” Nick Graham, lead author of the report and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, told DeSmog Canada.

Public Inquiry Formally Requested to Investigate B.C.’s Shoddy Mining Rules

The ramshackle regulatory system governing B.C.’s mining industry is profoundly dysfunctional and the public has lost confidence in the province’s ability to protect the environment and communities from poor mining activities, says a new report from the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre.

The wide-ranging report, released Wednesday, was commissioned for the Fair Mining Collaborative — a non-profit group that helps First Nations communities assess mining activities — and recommends that the provincial government establish a Commission of Public Inquiry to investigate B.C.’s regulation of the mining industry.

A judicial inquiry is needed because mining is a multi-billion dollar industry that can create jobs and great wealth, but can also create “catastrophic and long-lasting threats to entire watersheds and to critical public assets such as fish, clean water, wildlife and public health,” according to the report, which is signed by ELC legal director Calvin Sandborn and law student Kirsty Broadhead.

Natural Gas Industry Donated Over $1 Million to BC Liberals Since 2013

BC Liberals receive over $1 million natural gas industry donations

The gas industry has donated more than $1 million to the BC Liberals since the last provincial election, according to a new analysis done by the Wilderness Committee.

The companies and industry groups are involved in extracting B.C.’s gas (via fracking) and building gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations.

Tweet: “Industry receives billions in BC tax breaks & subsidies from the very gov't they’re paying to elect” http://bit.ly/2mkCDUj @Climate_PeteThis industry receives billions of dollars in provincial tax breaks and subsidies from the very government they’re paying to elect,” Peter McCartney, climate campaigner at the Wilderness Committee, said in a press release.

Gas industry donations since 2013 total $1,007,456.

Canada’s Buildings Will Finally Be Built With Climate Change In Mind

Calgary Flood 2013

There’s just no way around it: building codes are deeply boring documents.

The most recent National Building Code of Canada clocks in at 1,400 jargon-filled pages.

Despite being a snore fest, it’s on its way to becoming an incredibly important tool in preparing new buildings for the worst impacts of escalating climate change and extreme weather events, such as flooding, hail and rain.

That’s thanks to a brand-new $40 million federal government investment in the National Research Council, which is responsible for updating the building code every five years; the last one was released in 2015, meaning the next version will be released in 2020.

Tweet: “It’s the first time the government has talked about building code and #climatechange in one breath.” http://bit.ly/2mkzTWP @ICLRCanadaIt’s the first time that the government has talked about building code and climate change in one breath,” says Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. “It’s very important.”

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