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Canada's North Needs Many Things, But Oil and Gas Drilling Isn't One of Them

The Norman Wells pipeline connects oil fields in the Northwest Territories to Alberta

By Edward Struzik

This article was originally published on The Conversation Canada.

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod was right when he issued a “red alert” in November and called for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories. His peers, the premiers of Nunavut and the Yukon Territory, would be justified in calling for the same thing.

How Legal Is the “Bloodwater” Dump in B.C.?

blood water bc fish farms Tavish Campbell

By Maryann Watson, Marine Scientist and Stephanie Hewson, Staff Counsel at West Coast Environmental Law

Clouds of blood pumped straight from a fish plant in B.C. made worldwide headlines last week after diver Tavish Campbell published a shocking video revealing the practice. Since then, people from all over the province have asked us at West Coast Environmental Law about its legality.

The short answer is that the practice of discharging bloodwater from fish plants is legal for now, even if the blood contains instances of PRV. Currently, the federal government regulates fish farms and animal health, while the province regulates fish processing facilities. This has created two separate systems that are not clearly linked, leaving regulatory gaps that threaten the health and habitat of wild salmon and other marine organisms.

Catherine McKenna Says Canada Has a Climate Plan. Prove It.

Catherine McKenna, COP23, climate plan

By Ross Belot for iPolitics.

The first thing you have to do is have a plan; you have to implement your plan, and then you have to ratchet up ambition. That’s part of the Paris agreement, and that’s what we’re absolutely committed to doing.”

That’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in an interview she gave to the Globe and Mail before heading to Bonn for the COP23 climate talks.

Let’s just start by saying it’s really good to hear that McKenna understands she needs a plan. Two years into her mandate, she hasn’t shown us one. An actual plan would include numbers that add up to the stated goal. McKenna has offered no such thing.

What Does the Future Hold for Vancouver Island’s Last Standing Old-Growth Forests?

Old-growth forest Shane Johnson

By Torrance Coste and Mark Worthing

Last March, we travelled to northern Vancouver Island and hosted four public meetings about logging in the span of five days.

The topics? The loss of old-growth rainforests, raw log exports, and how unsustainable forestry is impacting ecosystems and communities up and down the Island. The meetings were tense, emotional, and exhausting.

There was pushback against a lot of our message, and many conversations were raw and difficult. We learned a ton.

In a few weeks, we’re going back to do it again.

Freedom of Information Seriously Suffered Under BC Liberals' Last Years: Report

BC Liberals, Freedom of Information

By Andrew MacLeod for The Tyee.

For two years leading up to the May election, the government of British Columbia regularly broke its own law for responding to freedom of information requests, a report from the province’s information and privacy commissioner found.

Overall, I am frustrated to see that government routinely operates in contravention of B.C. law,” acting commissioner Drew McArthur wrote in Timing is Everything: Report Card on Government's Access to Information Responses.

The report examined responses made during the two-year period that ended March 31. It found that in one out of five cases, the government failed to meet the deadlines for responding that are legislated in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

B.C.’s Last Climate 'Leadership' Plan Was Written in Big Oil’s Boardroom (Literally)

Christy Clark's Climate Leadership Plan included secret industry consultations

By Shannon Daub & Zoë Yunker.

Newly uncovered documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests reveal the cozy relationship between the fossil fuel industry and the last B.C. government went even further than suspected — all the way to inviting industry to directly craft the province’s climate “leadership” plan.

Let’s rewind for a second: back in the spring of 2015, then-premier Christy Clark announced the provincial government would create a new climate plan.

A 17-member climate leadership team was appointed and tasked with developing recommendations to meet B.C.’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. The government released the team’s recommendations in the fall of 2015 — allowing then-Premier Christy Clark head off to Paris for the December 2015 UN climate talks cloaked in the mantle of climate “leadership,” after four years of near-total inaction by her government.

That’s where things got interesting.

Site C to Test B.C. NDP’s Commitment to Indigenous Rights

John Horgan UNDRIP Site C

By Zoë Ducklow for The Tyee.

Recent experiences with the federal government have left Prophet River First Nation member Helen Knott wary of government promises.

So while she and other Indigenous people are excited about NDP provincial government commitments to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, words are not enough. And the Site C dam in northeastern B.C., they say, will be the government’s first test of its commitment.

The vocalization that they’ll adhere to UNDRIP is a start, but it’s about actions,” Knott says. “And Site C is the place to start with it, because it’s the issue that’s out front and in everybody’s faces.”

Why We're Taking Canada to Court Over That Promise of 'World-Class' Oil Spill Response

Sunken Nathan E. Stewart. Tavish Campbell and the Heiltsuk Tribal Council

By Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett and Councillor Jaimie Harris, Heiltsuk Nation. This piece first appeared on The Tyee.

On Oct. 13, 2016, shortly after 1 a.m., Kirby Corporation’s tug the Nathan E. Stewart and its barge ran aground in the heart of Heiltsuk territory.

Less than eight hours later it had sunk, and 110,000 litres of diesel fuel and 2,000 litres of lubricants, heavy oils, other pollutants were released into the surrounding waters.

On charts, the area northwest of Bella Bella is known as Gale Passage, but to our people, this is Q’vúqvai.

What's Up with LNG in B.C.? Three Things You Need to Know

BC LNG Christy Clark

By Maximilian Kniewasser and Stephen Hui.

Under Premier John Horgan and the NDP, British Columbia’s government is no longer promoting liquefied natural gas exports as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to snag 100,000 jobs, a $100-billion Prosperity Fund, and more than $1 trillion in economic activity. Nevertheless, proposed LNG development remains a thorny issue to be tackled by the new provincial government.

This week, the Pembina Institute and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions published Liquefied Natural Gas, Carbon Pollution, and British Columbia in 2017, an update on the state of the B.C. LNG industry in the context of climate change.

Here are three highlights from our report.

Romantic Notions About the Arctic Must Include Indigenous Rights

Justin Trudeau Natan Obed Nunavut

Danita Catherine Burke, University of Southern Denmark.

The Arctic is many things to many people. In Canada, this malleability has made the region an incredibly valuable vehicle for nation-building and identity construction.

As a Newfoundland-born international politics scholar and author who researches Canada’s relationship with the Arctic, I believe that very pliability of the Arctic is an important feature of Canadian society, one that’s been cultivated for decades. The Arctic has intrigued many of us for myriad reasons since Confederation.

Canada’s most famous painters, the Group of Seven, focused extensively on the Canadian North in their work and Lawren Harris, in particular, immortalized the imagery of a vast frozen landscape devoid of life into the national psyche and brand.

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