Saturday, February 25, 2017 - 16:50 • Michael Harris
Justin Trudeau, Broken Promises

This article originally appeared on iPolitics.

The man sitting at the head of the table has a face that should be on money.

It is calm, etched with wrinkle lines of infinite patience, utterly immune to honeyed words. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has heard more vows than the parsons in Reno’s drive-thru wedding chapels — most of them destined to be broken by the politicians who made them. Yet behind the softness, the weary eyes suggest something else. These are undefeated eyes.

I am in the downtown Vancouver boardroom of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the gentle voice is saying some very tough things.

My wife and I were scheduled to march in the Chinese New Year’s parade in Vancouver, until we found out that Trudeau was going to be there,” he says. “No way was I going to meet him unless I was on one side of the barrier, and he was on the other.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 18:19 • Judith Lavoie
Grizzly bear trophy hunt
Grizzly bear trophy hunt

Grizzly bear trophy hunting will be banned, for both resident and foreign hunters, if the NDP form the next provincial government, leader John Horgan promised Thursday.

The NDP is walking a fine line between meshing the party’s views with the 90 per cent of British Columbians who say they oppose the hunt and supporting rural voters who fear a grizzly hunting ban could affect food hunting.

There has been active discussion in caucus, but there was a general recognition of the tremendous opposition to the hunt from both rural and urban residents balanced by the need to reassure hunters that New Democrats are not anti-hunting, George Heyman, NDP environment spokesman said in an interview.

Horgan, describing grizzlies as an iconic species, carefully emphasized that sustenance hunting will not be affected and said B.C.’s heritage and its future can thrive if government makes the right choices.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 10:48 • Judith Lavoie
Grizzly bear trophy hunt
Grizzly bear trophy hunt

In early October a provincial government news release landed in the inboxes of reporters and researchers around B.C.

It boasted of a new government-commissioned report that concluded B.C. has “a high level of rigour and adequate safeguards in place to ensure the long-term stability of grizzly populations.”

Even though the report was less glowing than the news release and noted there are monitoring difficulties and a lack of funding, the review gave the BC Liberals the ammunition they needed to conclude the controversial practice of hunting grizzlies for sport is just fine.

But, here’s the thing: even if the province’s estimates of 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C. is correct — and it is a figure disputed by independent biologists, some of whom believe the number is as low as 6,000 — the stand-off over hunting intelligent animals for sport isn’t about the science. It’s about values and ethics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 16:23 • David Suzuki

The U.S. election was a chilling illustration of the atrocious state of public discourse. It doesn’t bode well for a country once admired for leadership in education and science.

As public relations expert and former David Suzuki Foundation board chair James Hoggan writes in I’m Right and You’re an Idiot, “polluted public discourse is an enormous obstacle to change.” How, he asks, do we “create the space for higher quality public debates where passionate opposition and science shape constructive, mind-changing conversations”?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 15:34 • Judith Lavoie
Emigrant Gulch
Emigrant Gulch

On the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, an area known internationally for its abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery, a Vancouver-based junior mining exploration company is causing community ructions over its plan to search for gold at Emigrant Gulch, a fragile ecosystem about four kilometres from the Yellowstone River and 24 kilometres from the park boundary.

Lucky Minerals Inc., a company that lists only the Montana proposal in its financial statements, wants to drill up to 46 core holes on privately-owned land to assess gold, copper, silver and molybdenum deposits in an area where there has been mining in the streambed since the 1880s.

If the results are positive and permits are issued, the company will look for investment to construct an underground mine, which could be in operation in 10 to 15 years, Shawn Dykes, Lucky vice-president, said in an interview.

But the proposal has brought overwhelming opposition from residents who are concerned about both the environmental effects and the company’s finances, which they fear are not solid enough to ensure the area is remediated.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 10:21 • Guest
Twin Butte, Alberta
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.

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 12:59 • James Wilt
B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and B.C. Premier Christy Clark,
B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and B.C. Premier Christy Clark,

The B.C. government has refused to exercise its authority to order a provincial environmental assessment of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project, instead opting to rely on a report produced by the federal National Energy Board (NEB) that recommended approval of the project.

This means the province’s decision on the project — which would triple the amount of oil shipped through Vancouver — will be made using a Harper-era assessment heavily criticized for having no cross-examination of evidence and failing to assess cumulative effects, marine oil spills and greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a government that say they’re standing up for British Columbians and when they had a chance legally to protect British Columbians with a made-in-B.C. environmental assessment they passed the buck, accepted Stephen Harper’s process and let down British Columbians,” said George Heyman, the NDP’s environment critic.

The federal government has to decide whether to approve the project by Dec. 19 — but the province also has to make its own decision on whether to grant an environmental assessment certificate.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 17:07 • James Wilt
Fracking
Fracking

Fracking has induced earthquakes in northwest Alberta, Tweet: Proof is in the pudding: #fracking causing huge, long-lasting earthquakes in NW Alberta http://bit.ly/2g6F0rn #ableg #cdnpoli #oilandgassome of which have lasted for months due to residual fracking fluid, according to a new study published in Science today.

Earthquakes induced by fracking have been noticed in Western Canada for about four years, but this is one of the first studies to specifically identify the causes that resulted in “activation.”

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