Must Reads from Last Week
Did You Know…Must Reads will not be published next week, August 14, 2018.
BC Electoral Reform Referendum
For those of us confused about the Pro Rep referendum please watch this excellent video with Sonia Furstenau from Shaw. She explains it so clearly and passionately. There are 2 segments in this video and you may need to scroll back to the beginning to see Sonia. The second segment is with Fair Vote Youth and also worth watching. Each around 28 minutes.
There is going to be a Facebook Live town hall with Sonia Furstenau on August 14 from 7-8:30 p.m.
Stotan Falls and 3L Developments
From the Save the Puntledge Triangle! Facebook page:
“If you’re just tuning in to the story now, catch up on the current status of 3L’s ‘RiverWood’ proposal by reading the work of several local journalists at DeCafNation.net, My Comox Valley Now, the Island Word, and of course in the Comox Valley Record. Then read through 3L’s proposal contained in the latest CVRD agenda package, read the RGS and come to terms with how it was created and why, and do your own myth-busting.
3L (short for ‘Lemare Lake Logging’) is run by former North Island logger David Dutcyvich who owns the land around Stotan Falls (including the Falls and the riverbed itself, thanks to the archaic laws we inherited). 3L wants to break the zoning of our Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) to permit a development of now 1,000 units (was 750 before) across the river and outside RGS boundaries, in an area lacking the basic infrastructure of roads, water and sewage, and Dutcyvich is attempting to force this rezoning of what amounts to a major subdivision through a mixture of litigation, intimidation, greenwashing and mis-representation (can you say “sustainable development”).
3L is no stranger to spending money on elaborate court challenges and using these tactics to monkey with community protections - they have a long history of this - and now they are holding Stotan Falls hostage and making the tenuous promise a ‘park’ will be created if they can only build their dream community. Would you buy a used park from this man? We say NO! This project will never be built.
Of course, 3L is welcome to build within the existing guidelines - but this is not what they are asking.
Last week, the CVRD approved 3L’s request for rezoning to be reviewed as a ‘Standard Amendment’, which means it will go through a thorough public consultation process (to be announced at the next CVRD meeting, end of August). There will then be a 60-day window for our neighbouring municipalities to submit their concerns about this very impactful proposal. 3L’s project is typical of mega-projects facing vulnerable communities all over Vancouver Island. We have the right to be heard and decide what kind of future growth will be permitted in the Comox Valley. Please consider this an election issue, and contact your CVRD Board members with your concerns for why the Riverwood project must be stopped.”
The Comox Valley Regional District is having an open house on a draft zoning bylaw
DATE/TIME: August 8; 3:30-7:30 p.m.
LOCATION: CVRD boardroom, 550B Comox Road, Courtenay
This will be of interest to everyone who has been following or involved in the hearings around the water bottling plant rezoning application in Merville, or anyone who has been following the 3L Stotan Falls development application noted above. Learn more about this open house here. Also read two letters to the editor in the July 31 edition of the Comox Valley Record, one about the Merville water bottling application and one about the 3L development application. Just for fun, you can also read Maud Barlow’s “10 Water Commons Principles” from 2012.
Big Oil – Kevin Taft
DATE/TIME: September 13, 2018; TBA.
LOCATION: Native Sons Hall, Upper Level
Why have democratic governments failed to take serious steps to reduce carbon emissions despite dire warnings and compelling evidence of the profound and growing threat posed by global warming?
Most of the writing on global warming is by scientists, academics, environmentalists, and journalists. Kevin Taft, a former leader of the opposition in Alberta, brings a fresh perspective through the insight he gained as an elected politician who had an insider’s eyewitness view of the role of the oil industry. His answer, in brief: The oil industry has captured key democratic institutions in both Alberta and Ottawa.
Taft begins his book with a perceptive observer’s account of a recent court case in Ottawa which laid bare the tactics and techniques of the industry, its insiders and lobbyists. He casts dramatic new light on exactly how corporate lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats, universities, and other organizations are working together to pursue the oil industry’s agenda. He offers a brisk tour of the recent work of scholars who have developed the concepts of the deep state and institutional capture to understand how one rich industry can override the public interest. Taft views global warming and weakened democracy as two symptoms of the same problem — the loss of democratic institutions to corporate influence and control. He sees citizen engagement and direct action by the public as the only response that can unravel big oil’s deep state.
It appears that a governing meme for the GPC (still at the discussion stage) in the coming election may be “Time to tell the truth” — the truth about why governments continue to undermine and sabotage so many of the things that many Canadians would like to see them achieve, and that would lead to a more sustainable and hopeful future. For example, climate change consistently shows up in poll after poll as one of the #1 concerns among Canadians, yet climate targets are a constantly moving game, with new targets announced almost yearly, and with every change in government. None of these targets have even come close to being met, and the likelihood of this ever happening is more remote than ever.
You can see Kevin speak in person at one of a series of venues various Green Party EDAs are lining up for him in September, including Vancouver, North Vancouver, Salt Spring and Victoria from September 9th through the 13th. Stay tuned for details. It’s all part of the lead-up to our National Convention at the end of that month.
Watch this video of Taft talking about his main ideas.
Recognition at last for Gentleman Jack, Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’
The stuff of novels, but in real life. In the 19th century, Anne Lister, “the woman often referred to as the “first modern lesbian” was honoured with a blue plaque at Holy Trinity church in Goodramgate, York. The medieval church had sealed Lister’s de facto marriage to a woman when the couple took communion at its altar. The plaque, which celebrates a “gender-nonconforming entrepreneur”, is the first in the UK to be bordered with rainbow colours in recognition of lesbian, gay and trangender history.” The BBC is producing an 8-part drama about her life and loves. The story behind how Lister’s many encoded but explicit diaries finally came to light is fascinating. Read more.
Powell River Pride Week
Where: Powell River
When: August 12 to 19
Highlights: Powell River Pride has a Mary Poppins sing-a-long, a flag-raising, picnic, and drag shows planned for the summer. They’ll also have a booth at the city’s Blackberry Festival Street Party on August 17.
Information: Powell River Pride Society has a Facebook page
Texada Rock in Pride
Where: Texada Island
When: August 18
Highlights: Texada Island was one of the smallest Pride events when it started in 2016. This year’s events are still being organized, but should happen on August 18.
Information: Last year’s event page is here.
BC’s climate plans need a push, from all of us
The provincial government wants to hear what you think about their discussion paper on climate action in the transportation sector. Please sit down with a cold drink and email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 24. Read more.
Part 1: See (read/watch) updates from the Site C injunction hearing.
Part 2: CERD August 2017 report on Canada. Here is the specific recommendations on the Site C dam: “Immediately suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Site C dam. Conduct a full review in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples of the violations of the right to free prior and informed consent, treaty obligations and international human rights law from the building of this dam and identify alternatives to irreversible destruction of Indigenous lands and subsistence which will be caused by this project.”
— UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Concluding Observations, Canada, 31 August 2017. UN Index number CERD/C/CAN/CO/21-23.
Big Oil – Kinder Morgan
Part 1: From 350.org: It’s official. The Trudeau government has confirmed it plans to finalize the deal to buy Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain project by September. It goes without saying that at a time when climate catastrophe is a lived reality, pouring billions of tax dollars into a dangerous fossil fuel project is absolutely in conflict with the direction we need to move. Up until now, we were fighting our government’s support for the fossil fuel industry. From this point on, we’re up against a government that has become a fossil fuel company. We know that people power is prepared to rise to this new challenge. On September 8th, we have the opportunity to join thousands of communities across the world to set the bar for real climate leadership. Interested in learning more? Register for the webinar on Wednesday August 8th at 4:00 PM (PST)/5:00 PM (MST)/6:00 PM (CST)/7:00 PM (EST). 8:00 PM (AST).
We already know that real climate leadership rises from the people up. We saw it these last few weeks when people from coast to coast to coast countered political silence by organizing their own town halls on the Kinder Morgan pipeline buyout, forcing MPs all across the country to answer to the people. We saw it again in the frontline fights against dangerous fossil fuel expansion, with community members in Manitoba raising the Spirit of the Buffalo Camp in opposition to the Line 3 pipeline and the Tiny Houses Warriors moving their fight directly onto the path of the Kinder Morgan pipeline on unceded Secwepemec territories in interior BC.
Part 2: The first prison sentences are handed down for Trans Mountain/Kinder Morgan protesters. Read here. In response, actions are stepping up. Lauree Embree, a 70-year-old who is going to prison for seven days, made the following statement in court. Please take a moment to read Laurie Embree’s powerful statement before the judge here. Also more arrests on August 1, including a retired BC Ministry of Attorney General lawyer. Here is another article by APTN. On this same story, see a post on the Saanich-Gulf Islands GPC Facebook page: “Look out!! “Sinister seniors” inside and outside BC supreme court. Friends there to witness two exemplary seniors sentenced to 7 days in jail for breaching the injunction at the KM gates.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the Crown’s statement, which was read before the judge prior to sentencing: “Seniors are the population that must be deterred and the day has been reached that the sentence they receive must ensure that they are deterred!”
Part 3: A man of principle and courage: “An assistant fire chief with the City of Burnaby Fire Department has retired amid controversy over his public support for the Camp Cloud water protectors and their fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. …I’m kind of glad this happened because I always told myself in the back of my mind [that] when I leave this job I’d like to make a difference,” he said. “I don’t know if this made a difference or not, but I think it did.”
Last week there was a headline and story for Mapping Canada’s most partisan places. It had an incorrect link. Here is the correct link to the story.
Abacus Data poll showing results if election were held today…
Projected nationwide results for the 2019 election
This contains trend lines of all national polls published (the Liberals are down significantly from 2016), average regional breakdown of all published polls (Greens are highest in BC, with the Prairies second), and regional projections and riding-level data, plus more. Interesting fact: In Saanich-Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May is projected to get 69% of the vote! In North Island-Powell River, the projection is for 18% of the vote, and in Courtenay-Alberni the projection is also for 18%. There’s a ton of information here. Read more.
…And speaking of elections… the Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention is coming soon
September 28-30, 2018. Read more. Convention 2018 is Sept 28-30 in Vancouver! Join us and help us build for success in 2019. Check out the list of speakers so far. An outline of the Convention schedule is now available on the GPC website. On that note, if you haven’t already taken advantage of our Convention travel discounts, check them out now to see how you can save on your trip. The special discount room rate at the Westin Bayshore Hotel is still available as well, but don’t forget that the deadline to reserve your room is August 28th! Info and registration here.
2019 GPC candidate nomination process webinar
DATE/TIME: August 22, 3:30 p.m. Pacific
LOCATION: Zoom online meeting.
Register here. You must be a GPC member or volunteer to attend this webinar.
Other upcoming GPC webinars
Check them out here. They are open to GPC members or volunteers.
Canada’s environmental protection laws will not be updated
Canada is NOT one of the more than 150 countries that recognize peoples’ legal right to a healthy environment at the federal level, but nonetheless the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, will not be updated until some “future parliament.” Read more.
Seattle boasts world’s first “living” office building, complete with composting toilets
This article is from 2015. Here is a case study of this building, called the Bullitt Centre. According to its website, the lifespan of the building is 250 years! As of 2015, only six projects around the world have been certified as green office buildings, and three of them are in Seattle. This is fascinating stuff. Arch20 is an architectural website that lists the 10 most sustainable office buildings worldwide (though no date is given for the post).
The future isn’t in plastics
Remember the lawsuits against big tobacco? Well…
Cities are suing big oil for consequences of climate change, and suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid epidemic. Fossil Fuels on Trial. Google: Cities suing oil companies. Google: Cities suing pharmaceutical companies.
Creating a one-planet community
Frances Litman is a Vancouver Island resident who hosts this special livestream event. (Thanks to Thomas Teuwen for including this in his weekly Good Sunday Morning.)
Women in politics
We in Courtenay/Comox and Vancouver Island North riding/electoral district have two women representing us. Ronna-Rae Leonard is our BC MLA and Rachel Blaney is our Federal MP. Both women have been participating in a Habitat for Humanity Women Build project this summer, building affordable housing on Lake Trail Road in Courtenay. Read more.
Women in business
“None of Canada’s TSX 60 companies were headed by a woman and two-thirds did not include a single woman among top earners during their latest fiscal year, reveals a Canadian Press analysis of corporate Canada’s highest ranks.” Read more.
This blog has previously reported (read here and here) on the concept of smart cities and how urban development could be controlled by tech companies in the future (or the present). In this article, Mark Sawyer says, “A “smart city” is an often vague term that usually describes one of two things. The first is a city that takes a knowledge-based approach to its economy, transport, people and environment. The second is a city connected and managed through computing — sensors, data analytics and other information and communications technology. It’s the second definition that aligns with the interests of multinational tech firms.”
But there are consequences of cities being smart, such as cyber security and technology ethics; the privatization of public space and public services; the complexity of these systems, which creates reliance on the tech company to deliver public services. And then there are the costs of higher energy consumption and the tremendous amount of “e-waste…products designed to be thrown away as soon as their batteries run down.” Read more.
Climate vs weather
June 2018 was the fifth warmest on record. Read more.
“We ain’t seen anything yet:” Even the Arctic is burning
Global hot spots of biological invasions
“Biological invasions from ballast water are a severe environmental threat and exceedingly costly to society. We identify global hot spots of invasion based on worldwide patterns of ship traffic. We then estimate the rate of port-to-port invasion using gravity models for spatial interactions, and we identify bottlenecks to the regional exchange of species using the Ford-Fulkerson algorithm for network flows. Finally, using stochastic simulations of different strategies for controlling ballast-water introductions, we find that reducing the per-ship-visit chance of causing invasion is more effective in reducing the rate of biotic homogenization than eliminating key ports that are the epicentres for global spread.” Read more. The full pdf file is available here.
The juxtaposition between art and … astrophysics?!