Must Reads from Last Week

BC Electoral Reform Referendum

Part 1:  April 21 – Day of Action on proportional representation.  We’ll be on the 17th Street Bridge waving signs and banners from 10-12 Saturday morning.  We will have a table at the outdoor Farmer’s Market, AND we’ll be canvassing later that afternoon!  It’s going to be a full day.  Come on out to the bridge in the morning and show your support.  Check us out on Facebook.

Part 2:  The New Zealand government has just announced it is banning all future oil exploration. If you have concerns that a proportional system of government would not be able to get anything done, watch this video. The three parties are all on the same page, and so the government is able to bring about a massive shift, whereas our Prime Minister talks a lot all over the world about Canada’s dedication to climate change but is doing virtually nothing and is now possibly considering using the military to force the Kinder Morgan pipeline through First Nations lands to the BC coast.


Indspire Indigenous Awards

Dr. Evelyn Voyageur, one of the Elders in Residence at North Island College and part of the Nursing program, will be awarded the Indspire Award for Health. 2018 is the 25th year for the Awards. Read more. Indspire is led by Indigenous people, investing in education for Indigenous people.

Aquifer and local rezoning request for water bottling

Check out the Canadian Freshwater Alliance’s action on the license granted to the Merville property owner who wants to tap into the aquifer.  Read more.

Greens of Courtenay-Alberni Fireside chats

April 19, 5-7pm: Human impacts of environmental contaminants in the Arctic

At the April 19 chat, Dr. Jay Van Oostdam will outline the human health impacts of environmental contaminants in the Arctic. Jay retired to the Comox Valley after a career as a senior researcher with Health Canada in which he was a member of the management team for the Canadian Northern Contaminants Program. He also co-chaired the Human Health Assessment group of the International Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme  (AMAP).  Admission by donation.

Affordable housing symposium in Courtenay

The BC Non-Profit Housing Association had more than 150 non-profit housing providers, municipalities and other stakeholders attend, to address housing affordability. Read more.

And in the intersection of housing and technology, check out the possibility to print – yes, print – houses using 3D printers.   There is a charity that is building such homes. Amazing.


Ex-foster kids in B.C. flock to college after tuition fees waived

What a great program for kids who often are just abandoned when they age out of the foster care system. And this is a program that will probably boost the economy as well as benefit these young people Read more.


Keep on the lookout for news!

Site C

Part 1:  Andrew Nikiforuk has another article in The Tyee about site C and other “vanity megaprojects of premiers.”

Excerpt:  “…in a democracy the true patriot is the one who dissents openly and is not silenced by fear and acceptance.”

Part 2:  Damming the Peace is trying to get enough copies of Breaching the Peace and Damming the Peace into the hands of all BC MLAs. A $30 donation puts both books on the desk of one MLA. Another $30 (+$15 for shipping) gets you a signed copy of both books.  Read more.

Excerpt:  ““This collection of insightful and informed essays leaves no doubt about the true and devastating costs of Site C. Until we heed the evidence to cancel this project, these costs will continue to accrue, unnecessarily burdening us and future generations. A distributed, resilient, community-based energy future for B.C. is still possible; let us continue to work towards a better outcome for the Peace Valley, and for the province.” (Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley)

This fight, of course, is also being led by First Nations, something which doesn’t get a lot of press. The disregard of Indigenous rights and the promises of “nation-to-nation” consultation are repeatedly coming up empty. It is kind of amazing that these two major fights (Site C and Kinder Morgan (see below)) are happening at the same time in BC right now. Maybe there will be a tipping point and the Canadian government (and provincial government) won’t be able to continue the same disregard of First Nations peoples. Read more.

Kinder Morgan

Part 1:  A deep dive into deep oil – well, into Kinder Morgan’s closets, anyway.  Read more.

Part 2:  Elizabeth May’s day in court April 10, 2018.  Below are posts from two GPC members about the hearing in court:

First one“I’m not a lawyer; I don’t even play one on TV; but, here’s my take on this morning’s events.


  • There were about 200 in the observer’s area with around 50 extra seats.
  • I saw about a dozen of my Green friends and soon to be friends from West Van, North Van, and SGI.
  • There were a small number (a dozen) of the 150 who were arrested who appeared today. Many haven’t been processed yet.
  • Elizabeth and MP Kennedy Stewart from Burnaby South sat together. They seemed to offer each other support.
  • Elizabeth was not her usual ebullient self, but it may have been more due to her recent travel and touch of food poisoning rather than this special bout of stress.


  • The judge pointed out that these actions against the injunction were done in public and that constituted criminal contempt as opposed to civil contempt.
  • The judge also noted that Kinder Morgan should not be prosecuting, but it should be the purview of the Attorney General.
  • The AG’s rep said he would take the request back to the AG, but I felt the rep may have been back-pedaling a bit. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think the AG’s office wants this hot potato.
  • KM’s rep agreed that she did not want to prosecute, but would be very diligent about providing all of the info that might be needed.
  • The judge adjourned for a week (till next Monday at 10:00 am) and expected all 150+ who were arrested to show up. “We’re going to need a bigger boat.

Disclaimer: This is only one man’s opinion.”

Second one“My understanding was that the KM lawyer was fine with the case being deemed criminal contempt of court, and of it being shifted to Attorney General’s responsibility, but that if the AG was not going to take on the prosecution, KM would take it forward themselves, even though the judge said it was completely inappropriate for a private body to be prosecuting a case like this. The KM lawyer offered the AG lawyer any help he needs with sorting through the piles of files.  

Judge said that it was RCMP error in charging the first protesters with the lesser charge of civil contempt. The judge said that it was perfectly clear that everyone who had broken the injunction from day one would have to be charged with criminal contempt of court instead of civil contempt. 

Everyone who had to report to court today has a week to get a lawyer, get their papers, etc. organized and report back next Monday…same court room…the one that was used for the Air India case…major security, bullet proof, plexiglass protective wall between the observers and the actual court area. It was a bit comical as all of us observers looked like a CARP meeting in the wrong place, or Clayoquot Sound protesters, frozen in time, all being glared at by several burly security guards, pacing up and down the aisles perhaps worried we were going to break out into a knitting or drumming circle. Some heads were nodding after half an hour of legal fencing; we were hardly going to spring into action and execute a mad escape of the defendants. 

The rest of the people who were arrested but who have not been charged with criminal contempt yet will be charged as such this week and have to report to court this Wednesday or Thursday. Everyone will be processed in groups of 10 at a time. And, the judge was explicitly clear on this…he will not hear any arguments about KM or environment or climate change or whatever reasons people feel they had that allowed them to legitimately break the court injunction. If they plead guilty they will be served a penalty of some kind and if they plead not guilty they have to prove that they did not publicly, knowingly break the injunction. This is allegedly all about respect for the court of law. And, the judge said this will not be dragged out. It will be dealt with and finished quickly. 

Elizabeth and Kennedy have the same lawyer who informed the judge that of the 25 people who were charged with criminal contempt, 15 of them had not been properly served their papers but they all showed up today being honest and responsible, despite legally not having to be there. I suspect Elizabeth was one of those as she only returned from Israel yesterday. Rumour had it earlier in the week that she had been served the legal paper, but she was in Israel. 

The only sign of any media after the event were 2 low key people with audio recorders, asking Elizabeth questions in the lobby, no crowd of media people or cameras. If KM putting the brakes on was not in the spotlight right now, this might be getting more air time, so the timing is good. Elizabeth seems to be flying under the radar so far. 

It was pointed out to me yesterday that Svend Robinson was found guilty of criminal contempt of court when he stood to be arrested in Clayoquot Sound, and he spent 2 weeks in jail, which did not impact his being an MP, and in fact, stood him well as he was perceived to be a politician who walked the talk. So, hopefully Elizabeth will come out of this ok. A couple of weeks of enforced rest, if that is the worst that can happen, could be just what the doctor ordered.”

Part 3:  Kennedy Stewart on Power & Politics April 10, 2018, at 7:34 minutes in.  Stewart comments on the opposition to KM is an Indigenous-led action and there are very few treaties in BC.  So, his conclusion is that even if John Horgan said yes, the Indigenous leaders would double down on their efforts to defeat the pipeline. He mentioned the 150 unceded territories this pipeline goes through, and that two-third of those First Nations have not given their approval of the pipeline. Stewart references to the historical fact that Indigenous people could not hire lawyers and could not vote when the first pipeline was put in in the 1950s. He went right back to the reality that this is an Indigenous-led opposition and is going in the opposite direction to reconciliation. The fact that Prime Minister Trudeau is considering using the military to push through this pipeline is “very disturbing” to Stewart.

Part 4:  Further along the theme of Indigenous consultation – or the lack thereof – in the Kinder Morgan question, Policy Options has an excellent piece by Jennifer Ditchburn titled, “Indigenous rights aren’t a subplot of pipeline debate.

Excerpt:  To go on pretending that this question isn’t at the centre of the debate is to treat Indigenous people with the same dismissive, effacing attitude that has cast a shadow on our relationship for centuries. Ironically, it encapsulates why we are at this juncture in the first place – Indigenous rights are not taken seriously in the public sphere, nor are Indigenous Peoples treated as genuine partners in the federation and in major projects.”

If you haven’t read it, the book by Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, is an amazing book. Relative to its small size, it packs a huge punch.  King says that rather than White people asking what Indians want, we should ask “What do Whites want?” The answer to that is simple:  Whites want land. From the moment the Europeans arrived, they have wanted the land. Where treaties were broken (and they were/are almost always broken) it is most often about land. What do Site C and Kinder Morgan have in common?  Land.

Part 5:  Elizabeth May’s guest column on Kinder Morgan and what the public may not know. “I am choking on the lies and hypocrisy of Kinder Morgan, the NEB and now the Trudeau Liberals.”

Part 6:  Not related to Kinder Morgan, but related to tankers, this little tidbit came from PDAC. This publication, SeaNews Turkey, which is actually based in Turkey, also has a link in its banner to Show your Support for Trans Mountain Pipeline. It says, “Keep Canada working. Sign our petition in support of jobs and families.” When I clicked on the link for the SeaNews Turkey website, the banner at the top of the page changed to a link to the Government of Alberta and the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Next to this link is the text, “$5.7 billion to pay for roads, schools and hospitals in BC.” Interestingly, both of those links for the Government of Alberta and the $5.7 billion… are “page not found,” but of course we know how to find the page for the Government of Alberta. Do you suppose citizens of Alberta know their government is buying space on a Turkish ship-tracking site?

Here is the comment from PDAC:  “On April 2nd last week, the fully loaded oil tanker “Zao Galaxy,” departed Vancouver, and then BROKE DOWN in the Georgia Strait- and had to drop anchor off Turn Point, with the assistance of a tugboat. Turn Point Lighthouse, on Stuart Island, Washington, is about 10 kms due west of the Swartz Bay BC Ferry terminal, and is where most studies have shown is the most likely place for a major spill. And not a single entity of Canada’s corporate media, and especially including the Corporate Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) bothered to mention this most serious incident.”

BC Green Party AGM

June 1-3, 2018. Read more.


Unpacking Canada’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Their size, impacts, and what should happen next.  Read more.

Violence against the land begets violence against women

A connection between the natural resource extraction industry and violence against women is not front of mind for most journalists, or perhaps even most protesters. This piece looks at the ‘man camps’ that exist in oil fields.

Excerpt:  “Studies show that demand for sex work accompanies intensive resource development due to the high number of male workers with excess income. This creates a dangerous mix for women in nearby communities, as the transience of the mostly male workforce means few are held accountable for what they do in or near camp… Indigenous women living near these camps suffer disproportionately high rates of violence.” Read more.

Green Party of Canada Webinars

The GPC is offering more webinars in the upcoming weeks.
April 15 is finding a candidate selection and election readiness.
April 16 is a new volunteer welcome webinar.
April 17 is “How can Greens help get BC to a Yes on Proportional Representation?”
Sunday, April 22, as part of Earth Day, the Greens are starting a series of “Living Green” themed webinars. The first is titled #PlasticFreeGPC.

Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention

September 28-30, 2018. Read more. There have been changes to the process of motion development, sparked by the aptly named Committee for Motion Development which met with EDAs across the country over the last year. Read more.


Canadian Tar Sands, Mobile, Alabama and institutional/industrial racism

In June 2017, US Senator Cory Booker went to Africatown, an almost entirely African-American part of Mobile, Alabama. Africatown is where the last slave ship to come to the US docked. Since then, this selection of communities has “become surrounded by heavy industrial activities and its legacies of industrial blight and toxic pollution.” Read more.

In a 2013 article, a nightmare boat safari passes petrochemical storage tank farms that have proliferated in the last 15 years. “Their fumes afforded no opportunity to ignore their imposing profiles; these facilities release highly toxic varieties of air contaminants into the atmosphere daily too close to neighborhoods, schools, and churches.” All this development is linked to Canada’s tar sands via the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Trump has now approved.

And Greenpeace had a piece in 2013 as well.  The Canadian Tar Sands has much to answer for and all the furor over Kinder Morgan within Canada is directly connected. Prime Minister Trudeau and the Federal Liberal party is deliberately, consciously pursuing a policy of pushing fossil fuels while avoiding the catastrophic downstream ramifications in Canada and elsewhere.

Also check out Infinite Earth Radio, podcast #118:  Collateral Environmental Federalism. While this has an American focus, the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in community development apply equally around the globe. It was on this podcast that I first heard about Africaville and the intersection between fossil fuels and racism.

Leading the Way:  New Zealand bans future oil exploration

They are looking 30 years into the future. They are focused on “just transitions” to ensure all regions are treated fairly. Read more.

Thought of the day:

“During the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, ‘If the world’s richest and most powerful nations do not deal with the world’s hardest and most intractable problems, they simply will not be dealt with.’ Turns out he wasn’t being satiric. Which explains, I guess, why global warming, global poverty, and global conflict are all doing so well.” (Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian)

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