Must Reads from Last Week

BC Electoral Reform Referendum

Fair Vote Comox Valley Day of Action

(Photos by Sam Patterson, Comox Valley Record).

What turned Rachel Notley into an advocate for big oil?

In this article, Kevin Taft explores how Notley switched from being an effective critic of big oil to a proponent, and he brings proportional representation into the analysis. Read more.

Excerpt:  The easy answer is that it improves her chances in next year’s election, but that glosses over this much deeper reality: Rachel Notley may be in office but the oil industry is in power. Wherever its interests are concerned the oil industry runs Alberta. To a lesser but significant degree the same thing applies in Ottawa.”

How does that relate to the BC referendum?  As Taft says, “It’s a deliberate short-circuiting of democracy.  BC’s NDP government may be no more immune than Notley’s government.  In fact, with the decision to promote LNG, we would have to wonder if Horgan is already showing us who is really in power in BC.

With all the crises Greens attempt to address globally, and each crisis is urgent, getting to a Yes vote on the BC referendum is a small step to getting power back in the hands of people and out of the hands of corporations.  Proportional representation isn’t going to solve all our problems, but it will give us a tool whereby MLAs of good intent can start to address those problems.  Let’s POWER UP our democracy!


Infinite Earth Radio

If you are engaged in local issues or in local government, Infinite Earth Radio is a great resource. They have a weekly podcast which is always interesting and informative, and inspiring. One can subscribe to the podcast either on iTunes or by email.  They are just half an hour long, but very rewarding.

As an example, episode 107 looked at the intersection of watersheds and homelessness. Watersheds are attractive places for people who are homeless, and yet there are health concerns when watersheds become encampments. Another episode looked at challenges repurposing malls.  Interestingly, municipal zoning regulations often disallow any other use than retail, which is a problem when all the retail stores have closed. Episode 118 examined the intersection of race and toxic/industrial pollution.  A fascinating episode examined how to entice low-income people away from spending money on the lotteries by creating lottery-type bank accounts where the lottery winnings are the interest that would have been paid on those monies ordinarily.  An incredibly creative way to encourage people to save money and still perhaps win big.

In addition to the podcasts, Infinite Earth Radio Academy is a learning, mentoring, and support community for local leaders committed to building a smarter, more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. They have the Infinite Earth Lab where members can “become a highly effective sustainability & equity change agent in your existing work.” This is a 12-month learning program (of just 2 hours a week) where one learns the 7-step Infinite Earth Change Model.

Clean, Green Energy Symposium, sponsored by Greens of Courtenay-Alberni

LOCATION: Knox United Church, Parksville,
DATE/TIME: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 2, 2018

Guest speakers:
Guy Dauncey, practical utopian
Micheal Mehta of Sweetspot Solar
Island Community Solar Coop
On site are Hakaienergy Solutions,Viridian Energy Coop,, Aztec Off Grid Solutions, ArroLectric and other clean energy solutions for you and me.

Open to everyone by your sustainable donations at the door.
Contact Sunshine for further information:


BC government tables legislation to ban payment for blood and plasma collection

In 2016, when a private, for-profit blood broker announced they planned to set up shop in B.C., BC Health Coalition members sprang into action. Local town hall meetings were held, thousands of petitions gathered, and headlines generated across the province calling for protection for B.C.’s blood supply. On April 26, 2018, thanks to a compelling case for a BC ban on pay-for-plasma, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act was tabled in the Legislature. The law bans pay-for-plasma in our province. That means for-profit blood brokers will be unable to collect private donations for export to the global market where patients in Canada can’t benefit from them. And it means private blood brokers can’t draw patients away from the public collection system, a problem other jurisdictions are now struggling with. Read more.

Kinder Morgan

Here is one-stop shopping for much of Kinder Morgan news in one place from Policy Note.

Part 1:  Hundreds of business leaders urge B.C.’s Horgan to keep up Trans Mountain fight
Excerpt: In the letter, the leaders argue industries including tech, tourism and construction create more jobs that the oil, gas, and mining sectors combined. They also argue the project is “out of step with the future prosperity of Canada” and “out of sync” with Indigenous peoples’ wishes.”  Read more.

Part 2:  If you don’t already subscribe to Thomas Teuwen’s Good Sunday Morning blog, I suggest you do so.  Thomas goes in depth into particular topics, and always provides lots of links to other information sources.  Last Sunday, Thomas’s blog was on Kinder Morgan.  I highly recommend it.

Part 3:  Resource Works is a society that is promoting resource extraction in BC.  Resource Works is presenting the Musqueam First Nation decision to withdraw from the fight against Kinder Morgan as that nation’s endorsement of resource extraction. Read more.

Reading the Musqueam press release on this decision, it seems they are focused on so much more than just Kinder Morgan. I hope that this “example of the commitment of reconciliation set out by the Prime Minister” is borne out in practice.  If Thomas King (The Inconvenient Indian) is right when he says it’s all about land, one wonders if the Federal government will ever truly engage in nation-to-nation negotiations.

Excerpt:  “In October 2017, Musqueam signed an agreement with Canada called the Framework for the Federal Recognition and Implementation of Musqueam Rights and Title…. This Framework sets out a process for reaching agreement on reconciling Musqueam and Federal Crown titles, co-management of marine environment and fisheries (including Sparrow rights), and is based upon the full recognition and implementation of Musqueam rights, title, and inherent jurisdiction; it is an example of the commitment of reconciliation set out by the Prime Minister.”

Part 4:  This excellent article by Warren Bell in the National Observer, shareholder profit-driven industries and their government representatives hide behind laws that allow them to label peaceful protesters, such as the KM protesters, as criminals and that such peaceful protests threaten the “rule of law.” Bell uses the response to Galileo and his assertion that the sun was the centre of our universe and that the Earth revolved around it as an analogy for what is happening today.

Unlike in Galileo’s time, Canadian government leaders and industry leaders have masses of data at their disposal warning of the catastrophic effects of unchecked climate change, and yet our Federal government is threatening to force the KM pipeline project onto the backs of generations of Canadians in the future. Like Bell’s other work, this is a very thoughtful piece, and highlights what both sides have to gain. The KM protesters and their supporters are fighting to gain stable environmental policies and a safe, liveable future for generations to come. The shareholder-driven corporations and governments who are doing all in their power to push the pipeline through are fighting to gain maximum profits in the immediate term and maximum political power. It’s pretty easy to see who might more clearly be on the side of right.

Excerpt:  “If the government doesn’t like what you say, even if it’s backed up by massive documentation from impartial, independent experts, they can and will exploit the laws, as they now stand, to ignore you and your arguments – as long as they calculate that they can win the next election.”  And if you want to read more about the science behind bitumen, check this out.

Part 5:  Again, it’s all about Indigenous sovereignty and about land.  Read more.

Excerpt:   “[Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation] said she couldn’t help feeling that the government was just going through the motions — “checking off a box” on the list of legal obligations it needed to fulfill before officially approving the pipeline.”

Part 6:  Recently in “Did You Know…” we referenced the intersection between Canada’s oil sands and racism in Louisiana. In this article from the National Observer, Paul McKay references the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) and how that capability will make the tankers meant to service KM in BC obsolete.  “The LOOP terminal is a speculator’s venture on steroids . . . [that] will likely prove fatal to Alberta’s plans to expand unrefined bitumen exports either by the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline to the British Columbia coast, or the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.”

BC Green Party AGM

June 1-3, 2018. Read more.  Keynotes for Convention 2018 are “The emerging economy”, “Politics in the #MeToo era” and “A 21st-century democracy”.

Indigenous Languages:  The Haida language is here to stay

Read more.

Reconciliation:  One group at a time

Excerpt:  “About a dozen people meet once every three weeks at Kristi Lind’s house in the small community of Naramata south of Kelowna to discuss how to build relationships, fight racism and support local Indigenous communities. The Naramata Truth and Reconciliation Group formed and has progressed from reading the report to discussing a range of issues including privilege, trauma and what it means to be an ally.” Read more.


BP to drill off the coast of Nova Scotia

A few weeks ago we shared an article about BP wanting drilling rights off Nova Scotia. Well, they got the rights to drill – the day before Earth Day. Read more.





Indigenous Peoples, the Nuclear Industry, and Canada’s Nuclear Waste

Excerpt:  Indigenous groups participating in the environmental assessments (EAs) of the various nuclear waste proposals are demanding free, prior and informed consent before projects are approved. With astounding arrogance, the CNSC has rejected this demand, asserting that it alone “makes EA and licensing decisions for all major nuclear projects,” and that “Decisions made by the Commission are not subject to any governmental or political review, nor may they be overturned by the Government of Canada.” Read more.

Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s Climate Plan

One might say “Canada’s climate non-plan, as Prime Minister Trudeau doesn’t seem to be willing to actually do anything to ensure we reach our climate plan targets, despite all his rhetoric. Read more.

Prime Minister Elizabeth May? A made-in-Canada alternative to the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Elizabeth May again proposes a solution that would allow the oilsands to continue in a limited capacity, not build the KM pipeline, AND would provide more jobs for Alberta.  Read more. Justin Trudeau may have lost so much face and burned so much political capital that he feels he absolutely cannot back down and, indeed, must ramp up his authoritarianism, but if he would only listen….

Greens of Courtenay-Alberni EDA AGM

DATE:  May 6, 2018
TIME:  2 p.m.
LOCATION:  Bradley Centre, 975 Shearme Road, Coombs

You are welcome to join us at 2 pm in the Board Room of the Bradley Centre a couple of km east of Coombs at 975 Shearme Road, parking lot on the corner of the Alberni Highway. That afternoon we will review the year, talk with each other about our Green future, identify who wants to take on or continue with work on behalf of the local Green members.

Perhaps you have an interest in doing the work that needs to be done between elections –preparing newsletters, for instance. Or, you could tackle a more challenging role as Treasurer of the local EDA (electoral district association)–that is us. This person will work with our current, super helpful Treasurer who will be there to consult during the learning period for the new Treasurer. It’s a good time to transition this job during this more inactive time between elections.

If you would consider doing some volunteer work, contact our current CEO, Mike Nestor, Or, if you know a member who would be a good rep for their local Green community, let Mike know. We are looking for new Members to join our Executive this year. Might be you or someone you know?

As part of the AGM on May 6, there will be a plant exchange. Bring one plant, and take another one home. If you can join us, we’ll get some work done, have a little fun too, and then get home for dinner.

Greens of North Island-Powell River EDA AGM

DATE:  June 16, 2018
LOCATION:  Campbell River
GUEST SPEAKER:  Sonia Furstenau, BC Greens MLA
Keep on the lookout for news!

Elizabeth May on a panel discussing Palestine/Israel “Rights Under Endless Occupation”

This was on Thursday, April 26, 2018. We don’t know if the event was videotaped or livestreamed. If anyone has any more information, please post a comment on NIPR’s website. Read more.

Elizabeth May’s Week in Review

Check out all the stuff this amazing woman is involved in, in the course of one week. Read more.

Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention

DATES:  September 28-30, 2018. Read more.
Convention 2018 is Sept 28-30 in Vancouver! Join us and help us build for success in 2019.  Info and registration here(Early bird rates until April 30.)

Women in Politics

Part 1:  The March 3, 2018, edition of “Did You Know…,” talked about the Young Women’s Leadership Network.  On April 26, 2018, they hosted a workshop on Addressing Sexual Violence in Political Institutions. Hopefully some Greens attended this workshop. They also have resources for political institutions including sexual violence support training, policy consultation, anti-harassment support at events and conferences, and equity and anti-oppression training. This is an issue that all Greens need to consider carefully when thinking about trying to attract women candidates.

Part 2:  Toronto van driver deliberately targets women?  Of all the things we probably don’t feel we need to know, the word “incel” is short for involuntarily celibate. The “incel movement” is a group of men who are unable to find women who wish to have sex with them, and they are blaming women for that.  The Guardian has an article titled “Raw hatred: Why the ‘incel’ movement targets and terrorises women.”

Excerpt:  It is part of the “manosphere”, but is distinguished from men’s rights activism by what [an] editor of BBC Trending . . . calls its “raw hatred. It is vile. It is just incredibly unhinged and separate from reality and completely raw.” It has some crossover with white supremacism, in the sense that its adherents hang out in the same online spaces and share some of the same terminology, but it is quite distinctive in its hate figures: Stacys (attractive women); Chads (attractive men); and Normies (people who aren’t incels, ie can find partners but aren’t necessarily attractive). Basically, incels cannot get laid and they violently loathe anyone who can.” In case you want to go a bit more in-depth, read this Huffington Post article.

Part 3:  A first-person recounting of the hatred directed at women who are seen as – what – independent? Outspoken? Intelligent? Successful? Is just being alive enough reason for some men to target women who are in the public eye? Read more.

Excerpt:  While the men in my real life are overwhelmingly good people, the men in my virtual life are overwhelmingly terrible. . . A few weeks ago I became the target of an international harassment campaign for pointing out that systemic racism and sexism are factors that follow us in death as they follow us in life. I received tens of thousands of replies and messages and nearly 30 million Twitter impressions [emphasis added]. The vast majority of the messages were deeply or violently sexist.”

This virulent hatred of women is widespread. Female politicians of all parties are targeted and harassed and abused and threatened. Any woman who is thinking of running for public office should think carefully about her safety as male hatred is out there. Any man who thinks men and women are equally safe today should think carefully about the extent of male hatred out there. It’s easy to dismiss this misogyny as applying only to individual male nut-cases. Don’t fall into the complacency trap.

Environment Canada Failed to Provide National Diversity Leadership

In a June 20, 2016, article Nature Canada was hopeful for environmental law reform, specifically citing the Canada Energy Board, the Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act.

In a March 2018 article, Nature Canada references the federal and provincial government climate audits. “Nature Canada’s view is that this collaborative audit is a staggering rebuke to provincial and federal governments in terms of the actual performance of governments (as opposed to promises and intentions) in addressing climate change.”

In April 2018, Nature Canada says the Canadian government has “failed to provide national leadership to conserve Canada’s biodiversity.” Read more.


Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)

A great video (posted on April 20) by Dr. Joe Vipond from Edmonton. It’s nothing we don’t already know, but it’s great. Having physicians also weighing in on the health issues of climate change can only help. What’s wonderful is how Dr. Vipond ends his talk.  It’s only 8 minutes and well worth watching.

You may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not tracking you

Read more.

EU bans neonics

Read more.

Thought of the day:

After all, if we’ve learned nothing in the past century, we should have learned that government support for big business is capitalism’s only hope.  (Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian)

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