Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 11:41 • Gillian Steward
Trans-Alaskan pipeline. Photo by etherlore

As the leadership contest for Alberta’s newly formed United Conservative Party heats up, it’s no surprise pipeline politics are front and centre.

As four major oilsands pipeline projects from Alberta sit abandoned, stalled or awaiting review, one contender is proposing to beat the pipeline gridlock through an entirely new route.

It wouldn’t be through the west or east coast but through the Arctic — namely Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world, nestled in Hudson Bay.

Monday, August 28, 2017 - 10:13 • Robyn Allan
Trans Mountain pipeline construction

When Prime Minister Trudeau announced approval of the Trans Mountain project he said the expansion “will create 15,000 new, middle class jobs — the majority of them in the trades.” 

Natural Resources Minister, Jim Carr, repeatedly points to this figure to justify Ottawa’s approval. He says, “the project is expected to create 15,000 new jobs during construction.”

Alberta Premier Notley relies on it too. “Initially we’re looking at about 15,000 jobs…” Former Premier Christy Clark said, “And then there’s Kinder Morgan, 15,000 new jobs…”

When the figure of “15,000” for new construction jobs emerged, I was confused. Kinder Morgan told the National Energy Board (NEB) that construction employment for the project was an average of 2,500 workers a year, for two years. It was laid out in detail in Volume 5B of the proponent’s application. 

Why would elected officials promote a construction jobs figure six times Kinder Morgan’s actual number?

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 13:28 • Gillian Steward
Indigenous rights, duty to consult, zack embree

The duty to consult Indigenous communities — what it means and how it should be properly executed — is now a key issue for pipeline and petroleum companies hoping to proceed with proposed mega projects.

This was more than evident earlier this week in downtown Calgary when about 250 people gathered for lunch in The Palliser Hotel eager to hear a panel of experts discuss two recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions and their impact on resource project applications.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 16:31 • Carol Linnitt
Former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt

The Site C dam is an “economic, fiscal, environmental and aboriginal treaty rights disaster,” according to former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt.

In a letter submitted to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is currently reviewing the $8.8 billion project, Harcourt said Site C will “severely damage BC Hydro and B.C. credit ratings” and lead to increases for ratepayers across the province.

Harcourt, who first voiced opposition against Site C in late 2016, said a recent study from Oxford University that found worldwide hydro projects see average cost overruns of 90 per cent should be a warning to B.C.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 13:01 • Carol Linnitt
 Diseased Deformed Farmed Salmon BC

New footage released to DeSmog Canada shows deformed and disfigured salmon at two salmon farms on the B.C. coast — just as British Columbia reels from news of the escape of up to 305,000 Atlantic farmed salmon from a Washington salmon pen.

Wild salmon advocate and fisheries biologist Alexandra Morton said she was shocked by the footage.

I was shocked and frankly disgusted,” Morton told DeSmog Canada. “These fish have open sores, sea lice, blisters all over their skin and a disturbing number of them are going blind.”

Morton said the footage also gives an indication of what is now travelling through Pacific waters after the escape of potentially hundreds of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon in the San Juan Islands just east of Victoria. Atlantic salmon are considered invasive in Pacific waters.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 09:58 • Guest
Massey Bridge

By Arie Ross for Dogwood.

Why did the BC Liberals prioritize a project that could harm local communities, the Fraser River and farmland?

On the 601 bus to my hometown of Tsawwassen, I watch as bulldozers uproot the evergreens adjacent to the farmland along Highway 99, making way for a costly ten lane bridge built in the interests of industry. I imagine dredgers forcing themselves on the river bed, scraping at the sediment and defiling the critical salmon habitat.

The colossal pet project of the BC Liberal party — the controversial $3.5 billion Massey Bridge forced upon unwilling municipalities — is just another reason why we need a corruption inquiry in B.C.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 17:03 • James Wilt
Oilsands tailings pond

For years environmental organizations have called on the federal government to do something about the leakage of  billions of litres of toxic chemicals from Alberta’s oilsands tailings ponds into the Athabasca River every year.

And for years they’ve been ignored — until now.

NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is reviewing a submission by Environmental Defence, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Daniel T’seleie. Now, Canada must provide a response to the arguments made in the submission.

Here’s a primer on why this process matters.

Monday, August 21, 2017 - 16:58 • Carol Linnitt
Adams River sockeye, A.S. Wright

Canada has failed to monitor and gather data on 50 per cent of all managed salmon populations on B.C.’s north and central coasts, according to a study released Monday in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Researchers from Simon Fraser University found the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is monitoring fewer streams now than before the introduction of a wild salmon policy in 2005 that was designed to assess the health of wild salmon populations and aid those deemed at risk.

Our knowledge of salmon populations in B.C. is eroding,” study co-author and Simon Fraser University researcher Michael Price told DeSmog Canada. “And it’s really frustrating.”

A number of salmon fisheries, including the Fraser and Skeena River sockeye fisheries, closed due to low salmon runs this summer.

Price and co-researcher John Reynolds found that since the 1980s, annual counts of spawning streams have declined by 70 per cent.

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