Must Reads from Last Week
Well, the decision is made. Read Sierra Club’s press release from December 11th.
Excerpt: “Today is a dark day. The government has passed up its chance to stop this misbegotten project. Instead, it has betrayed First Nations and all those who voted in hope of stopping Site C. History will not look kindly on this decision. While the blame must be shared with the previous government, which recklessly proceeded without a proper review, this government has now assumed responsibility for the harsh environmental and social impacts to come.”
“Today’s decision also underscores the need for electoral reform in B.C. It is highly unlikely projects such as Site C and Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tankers project would have been approved under proportional representation. Voters who want to see politics done differently, including a reduction of the influence of powerful insiders, need to come together to vote in favour of proportional representation next fall.”
Watch Andrew Weaver on Power & Politics, responding to Premier Horgan’s decision.
Calling budding photographers…
Canadian Geographic is holding a “Show Us Your Riding” competition. They are “We’re looking for the best photos from each and every one of Canada’s 338 ridings to see what democracy looks like where you live! Landmarks of political history, issues that should be addressed, or even politics in action.”
The poll Vancouver Sun poll on whether or not you agree with the NEB’s decision to approve Kinder Morgan is still active. Check it out and cast your vote. Right now it shows 69.21% of people in support of the NEB’s decision on Kinder Morgan and 30.79% opposed. The “Yes” side is gaining ground and the “No” side is losing ground from last week. Have your say on this.
“As the legislative sitting entered its final days, Energy Minister Michelle Mungall faced questions about LNG and hydraulic fracturing from Liberal MLAs Mike Bernier (Peace River South) and Ellis Ross (Skeena)….Both the questions and the answers bore little relation to reality and repeatedly misrepresented the facts and science on the controversial technology and the nature of drilling in the northeast.”
Thank goodness we have Andrew Nikoforuk to challenge government lies wherever they originate.
Project Watershed – Kus-Kus-Sum
I love the slogan for the Kus-Kus-Sum project: Unpave a parking lot and restore paradise. Of course, for those of us who recognize those words, we are definitely showing our age! One of our local online news resources has published a great article on this. It’s worth a read. This type of restoration was first done in Campbell River, and it has been a huge success. The Comox Valley is so fortunate to have this happening here.
Listen to this interview by Eric Grenier with Elizabeth May on a range of issues, from Federal Greens benefitting from the provincial elections of Greens to the Green Party leader getting into the leadership debates.
Here’s is Elizabeth May’s end-of-year message to Greens. It is warm, loving and positive. And if you feel moved to donate, know that you can specify your donation go towards your local riding association, in our case North Island-Powell River.
Here is this week’s video blog with Elizabeth.
It’s hard to keep a good woman down: Indigo Canada cancels a book signing, and national media pays attention
A book signing event in a local Coles store in New Glasgow, NS was cancelled by Chapters Indigo head office due to corporate pressure tactics. The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, written by Joan Baxter, is a new book about a pulp mill’s scandalous environmental and social history, and its throttling grip on NS politics. Northern Pulp, the current mill owner, drafted a form letter for current and former employees to sign and mail to Coles and its parent company Indigo Books and Music Inc. threatening consequences for the event: “Should management (local or headquarters) follow through with this book signing promotion, I will NO longer be a patron of Coles in New Glasgow or any other Coles/Chapters locations,” read the final line of the letter, according to the Globe and Mail article.
Outraged local citizens hit social media with concerns about freedom of expression and the bullying power wielded by Northern Pulp, setting off a flurry of media coverage - a deliciously ironic twist that has catapulted the book, and the issue, to national attention.
Great details in this podcast as well of local resilience to corporate capture in Pictou Co. where the mill is located. The actual interview starts about 4+ minutes into the podcast.
Excerpt from the podcast: “‘There were vague hints that someone would destroy the book in front of me, they were worried for my safety. I’ve worked for BBC in Africa for so many years, I’ve covered coups, I’ve covered wars, I’ve had their special hostile environment training. I said, ‘I cannot imagine that I should be afraid in a bookstore in Nova Scotia.’”
Both public and private financial institutions are beginning to recognize the risks associated with investing in oil and coal.
Teaser: “…Tuesday’s announcement essentially means that the World Bank will be cease financing of nearly all fossil fuel projects after 2019.” The article goes on to say that, “…insurance giant Axa — which is based in France but does business all over the world — said that it would no longer invest in or insure tar sands projects or U.S. pipelines. Axa also said that it would quadruple its efforts to divest from companies that make at least 30 percent of their profits from coal.”
BC Electoral Reform Referendum
Fair Vote Comox Valley now has a treasurer, Pam Munroe, and a bank account at the Credit Union. We are open for donations. Cheques should be made payable to Fair Vote Comox Valley. Cheques can be made out to FAIR VOTE COMOX VALLEY and mailed c/o Pam Munroe, 203-2202 Lambert Drive, Courtenay, BC V9N 1Z8. .
There’s been a lot of discussion at Fair Vote-BC on how to respond to the Site C decision vis-a-vis proportional representation. Here’s an excerpt from Anita Nickerson of Fair Vote Canada:
“If any of you haven’t read Saloman Orellana’s book about Electoral Systems and Governance, here is a summary I put together last year:
“Orellana talks about how diversity in the system impacts decision making. His theory - backed by up examples - is that proportional representation helps “mitigate pandering” and “contains elite extraction”:
- mitigating pandering - reducing the tendency of politicians to compete in the pursuit of votes by expressing positions and adopting policies that appeal to voters’ default preferences for quick-fix policies, generally at the expense of society’s longer-term interests
- containing elite extraction - limiting the degree to which powerful economic interests can influence policy to their advantage at the expense of the common good
When more voices are at the government table all the time making decisions, he felt it allowed government to make decisions for the long term good and get more public buy-in for innovation and accepting the costs of protecting the environment. I would definitely add to that, when you don’t have to worry that a few swing votes can cost you your political future - when there is more continuity - that would give politicians a bit more courage as well.”
BC Government’s citizen consultation survey
The BC government has set up a consultation site for the 2018 referendum. They are looking for feedback between now and February 28, 2018, at 4 p.m. Everyone please check out the questionnaire and make a written submission if you think some of the questions are too confusing or obscure. For example, they have a PR system called MMM which Terry Dance-Bennink of Fair Vote BC says she’s never even heard of. There are links to read about different systems, the questionnaire, and for written submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But BEFORE YOU GO TO THE SURVEY, check out Fair Vote BC’s guide to the questionnaire. As you may remember, the Federal Liberals created a similar MyDemocracy.ca for supposed consultation when Justin Trudeau decided to throw out his promise of electoral reform. Many of those questions were obviously designed to be confusing, or were impossible choices. Fair Vote has gone through the survey and provides thoughts on the questions.
Here is a video with Terry Dance-Bennink giving the keynote address at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians AGM in November 2017. She’s a great proponent of electoral reform, and this video is a bit of an overview of the issue.
BC Electoral Reform Referendum, Part 2: The Gauntlet is Thrown
The BC Liberals are mounting their anti-PR campaign. Andrew Wilkinson, a BC Liberal leadership candidate, calls it “The NDP’s Stealth Campaign.”
Dianne Watts, another leadership candidate has said on Twitter, “Defeating proportional representation is my #1 priority. I’m hellbent on ensuring we defeat it.
For trivia nerds, check out this Facebook page: Great Moments in First Past the Post History.
BC Electoral Reform Referendum, Part 3: Get involved locally
Check out Fair Vote Comox Valley’s Facebook page.
There are going to be two volunteer organizing events by Fair Vote Comox Valley: Sunday, December 17th at 2 p.m. and Monday, December 18th at 7 p.m. If you are interested in working on our local referendum campaign and can make either of these two times, please contact Megan Ardyche, email@example.com.
Fair Vote Comox Valley is also now accepting donations. If you can’t give your time, please consider giving some money to support this campaign over the next year. Cheques payable to FAIR VOTE COMOX VALLEY can be sent to: 203 2202 Lambert Drive Courtenay BC V9N1Z8.
This is our moment to change BC’s electoral system. Get in on the action! Again, you can contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like information on donating.
Thought of the day:
“When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)