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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.

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.

B.C.'s First LNG Plant Gets Investment Green Light

This article originally appeared on The Climate Examiner at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

British Columbia’s first major liquefied natural gas project is set to go ahead with Woodfibre LNG’s announcement last week of funding to build a $1.6 billion processing and export plant in Squamish.

The project, which promises some 650 construction jobs and 100 permanent operating jobs to the small town with a population of 17,000, aims to begin exporting some 2.1 million tonnes of LNG annually to Asia from 2020.

The plant is much smaller than the highly controversial $11 billion Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG terminal planned near Prince Rupert that received conditional approval from the federal Liberal government in September and which would ship some ten times the amount of the Woodfibre project each year.

It is however the first of 20 proposed LNG export projects in British Columbia to be given company approval — a development that will bring much cheer to the provincial government which is facing an election next May and for whom a flourishing LNG industry is the centerpiece of its economic development plans.

Ontario Cancels Nearly $4 Billion in Clean Energy Projects

Originally published on The Climate Examiner.

The fingerpointing continues on the Ontario government’s decision to cancel $3.8 billion in planned wind and solar projects, as part of its struggle to keep a lid on soaring electricity prices that are being attributed to multiple factors.

The cancelled schemes could have offered up to 1000 megawatts of power under optimal weather conditions, sufficient to service the instantaneous demand of roughly a million homes.

Previously signed projects will still go ahead, including 16 wind, solar and run-of-river hydroelectric endeavours that could offer up to 455 megawatts.

Last month, the government announced an eight-per cent subsidy for residential and small-business electricity bills amid growing voter anger over price increases that have given the province one of the highest electricity costs in North America.

Ian Gill: Fearless Journalism Essential to Democracy

Canada’s media industries are in a tailspin. As many as 10,000 journalists have lost their jobs in the past decade and newsroom closures or contractions are an almost weekly fact of life across the country. In a new book, No News Is Bad News: Canada’s Media Collapse — And What Comes Next, veteran reporter Ian Gill chronicles a decline that is bad for democracy. Then again, the collapse of mainstream media is making room for new, mostly online journalism to flourish. Gill generously counts DeSmog Canada among the bright lights of Canada’s new journalism. Here are a few telling excerpts from his book:

Journalists aren’t easy to love. They are less trusted than police, schools, banks, and the justice system, and only marginally more trusted than federal Parliament and corporations. But what journalists do is important, and it isn’t just the business of rooting out liars, holding policy-makers accountable, probing the public accounts, championing the underdogs, or hounding the overlords. It is all of those things, but it is more importantly the practice of using stories as a way to help people make sense of their world…

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.

The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention

Justin Trudeau and Canada's premiers

For decades, the urgent need for climate action was stymied by what came to be known as “climate denialism” (or its more mild cousin, “climate skepticism”).

In an effort to create public confusion and stall political progress, the fossil fuel industry poured tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of foundations, think tanks, lobby groups, politicians and academics who relentlessly questioned the overwhelming scientific evidence that human-caused climate change is real and requires urgent action.

Thankfully, the climate deniers have now mostly been exposed and repudiated. Relatively few politicians now express misgivings about the reality or science of climate change (the current Republican nominee for U.S. president being a notable exception, along with some other conservative bright lights like Sarah Palin and Canadian MP Cheryl Gallant).

That’s the good news.

The bad news is we face a new form of climate denialism — more nuanced and insidious, but just as dangerous.

Divide and Conquer: The Threatened Community at the Heart of the PNW LNG Project

By Ash Kelly and Brielle Morgan for Discourse Media. For a full, interactive version of this investigative piece, visit Discourse Media.

For more than 5,000 years, First Nations people have collected plants and harvested red cedar on Lelu Island, which sits where the Skeena River meets the Pacific Ocean near Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia. Adjacent to some of the most critical salmon habitat on the West Coast, Lelu Island is considered so valuable that, according to local Indigenous oral histories, Indigenous tribes have long battled to control it.

Not much has changed today — except that the battleground has shifted to Victoria and Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is set to make a decision about Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG)’s proposed $36-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which is majority-owned by the Malaysian energy company Petronas. That decision could come at any time, although deliberations are likely to stretch into the fall. If built, the project will link a pipeline that weaves through traditional First Nations territories with a conversion plant and shipping terminal on Lelu Island.

Why the Site C Dam Fails Economic Test: NDP Critic

Site C dam construction

This is a guest piece by Adrian Dix, the MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway and the NDP critic for BC Hydro and ICBC.

BC Hydro and the provincial Liberal government are playing a reckless game with British Columbians. They are building the Site C dam even though it is apparent that we do not need the power.

The consequences will include lost jobs, higher electricity rates and long-term damage to BC Hydro and provincial finances.

Does Premier Christy Clark think BC Hydro's customers in this province would support a $9-billion-plus project to offer subsidized power to American and Albertan consumers? Could this ever make any sense?

B.C. has seen this story before with respect to Site C, but with a very different ending.

What I Learned From Being in a Focus Group Led by Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

By Laura Bouchard for CANADALAND.

A few weeks ago, Bruce Anderson, a popular pundit and pollsterwrote an opinion piece criticizing the NDP’s Leap Manifesto as a clumsy political misstep. Canadians, Anderson argues, would never go for bold action addressing climate change. We’re a mild people. A simple people. He wrote:

Canadians want 'pro-growth environmentalism.' They want to tap entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, science, capital and yes, capitalism, to help create ideas that marry our desire to put food on the table, money away for our kids’ education, and some sense of security about how we’re going to live in retirement.”

This last sentence caught my eye. If you read it closely, you’ll notice two lists. First are the feel-goodisms the oil industry likes to drape itself in: innovation, science, entrepreneurship; second are the actual anxieties of average Canadians. Rather artfully Anderson has fused the interests of everyday Canadians with the rhetoric of the oil patch; perfectly aligned and indistinguishable.

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