Monday, July 24, 2017 - 15:32 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

Are you curious to know the results of our Freedom of Information request for an updated budget and timeline for the $8.8 billion Site C dam project on B.C.’s Peace River?

So are we.

We were told by former energy minister Bill Bennett’s office that we would have the information on May 30, three weeks after the provincial election and nine months after we filed our request.

But then we received an e-mail from the ministry on May 24, advising us that the deadline had been extended by 45 business days. It had become apparent upon reviewing 880 pages of relevant records, said the e-mail from a government FOI specialist, “that an external consultation is required with BC Hydro.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 09:50 • Judith Lavoie
Woodland caribou

A First Nation in northeastern B.C. is challenging the province’s approval of a proposed gas pipeline that would cut across critical habitat of threatened boreal woodland caribou.

Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) has filed for a judicial review of B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s approval last month of a pipeline, proposed by Rockyview Resources Inc. and Shanghai Energy Corp., that would run through FNFN territory, resulting in 78 hectares of disturbance to caribou habitat.

The 39-kilometre proposed gas pipeline cuts right through core caribou habitat in our territory, in an area with the most concentrated and highest-known use by boreal caribou for forage, calving, rearing and protection from predators,” said Lana Lowe, FNFN land and resources director.

Monday, July 17, 2017 - 13:18 • Guest
BC Wildfires by MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

By Ed Struzik for The Tyee.

While doing research for a book I was writing on wildfire, I posed two questions to a number of experts: “Do you think there will be another Fort McMurray-like fire in the future? If so, where do you think it will happen?”

Everyone agreed on the first question. Fort McMurray was not an anomaly. It will happen again, sooner rather than later, and likely with deadly consequences.

Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 12:04 • Guest
Mount Polley Mine Disaster

By Jeremy J.Nuttall for The Tyee.

In the hours after the 2014 Mount Polley mine disaster, authorities were already concerned laws had been broken and the premier’s office was worried fallout from the tailing pond breach would “get in the way” of other planned mines, documents provided to The Tyee reveal.

Almost three years after the disaster, and weeks away from a deadline to lay charges under B.C.’s environment act, no charges have been laid and no fines levied.

The government’s initial reaction to the dam’s collapse is revealed in hundreds of pages of emails and other communications obtained through a freedom of information request and provided to The Tyee by Jessica Ross, an independent researcher and member of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

Ross said she filed the FOI request almost three years ago and only received the documents July 4.

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 13:39 • Carol Linnitt
Pacific Northwest LNG approval

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) never considered the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of the Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal, according to documents revealed in a federal court this week.

The documents were submitted to a federal court in Vancouver during a hearing to determine whether the information should be considered as part of a forthcoming judicial review of the federal government’s decision to approve the LNG project.  

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust filed for the judicial review of the project’s approval and received 17,000 pages of federal documents under disclosure — the release of information required by law during legal proceedings. SkeenaWild hired two experts to give expert testimony on those documents.

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 11:03 • Guest
Enbridge Rally Vancouver Zack Embree

Henry Giroux, McMaster University via The Conversation Canada.

According to famed anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, the central question of our times is whether we’re witnessing the worldwide rejection of liberal democracy and its replacement by some sort of populist authoritarianism.

There’s no doubt that democracy is under siege in several countries, including the United States, Turkey, the Philippines, India and Russia. Yet what’s often overlooked in analyses of the state of global democracy is the importance of education. Education is necessary to respond to the formative and often poisonous cultures that have given rise to the right-wing populism that’s feeding authoritarian ideologies across the globe.

Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 17:05 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

B.C. Premier Christy Clark made headlines last month when she claimed that even a few months delay in evicting two Peace Valley families from their homes could add $600 million to the Site C dam project tab.

When Premier designate John Horgan asked BC Hydro to hold off forcing families from their homes this coming week as scheduled, Clark wrote to Horgan that “…with a project of this size and scale, keeping to a tight schedule is critical to delivering a completed project on time and on budget.”

But now BC Hydro’s latest Site C report reveals that — well before May’s provincial election and Clark’s headline-grabbing claims — the hydro project was already late meeting three out of eight “key milestones” for 2017 and was at risk of being late for three more.

It begs the question: was Clark trying to deflect blame for Site C construction delays and potential cost overruns onto the soon-to-be NDP government?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 12:02 • James Wilt
The Banker Sculpture. Photo: University of Sydney

It’s not often that an article about climate change becomes one of the most hotly debated issues on the internet — especially in the midst of a controversial G20 summit.

But that exact thing happened following the publication of a lengthy essay in New York Magazine titled “The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, Economic Collapse, a Sun that Cooks Us: What Climate Change Could Wreak — Sooner Than You Think.”

In the course of 7,200 words, author David Wallace-Wells chronicled the possible impacts of catastrophic climate change if current emissions trends are maintained, including, but certainly not limited to: mass permafrost melt and methane leaks, mass extinctions, fatal heat waves, drought and food insecurity, diseases and viruses, “rolling death smog,” global conflict and war, economic collapse and ocean acidification.

Slate political writer Jamelle Bouie described the essay on Twitter as “something that will haunt your nightmares.”

It’s a fair assessment. Reading it feels like a series of punches in the gut, triggering emotions like despair, hopelessness and resignation.

But here’s the thing: many climate psychologists and communicators consider those feelings to be the very opposite of what will compel people to action.

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