Must Reads from Last Week



Powell River - Meet-and-greet with NIPR candidate nominees

DATE/TIME: Sunday, February 10, 2 pm
LOCATION:  Powell River Library

Go to NIPR’s website and read about the nominees. (On the homepage, just scroll down a bit.) Also read the article in the Powell River Peak from February 8.

Kwispaa LNG pipeline

Steelhead made a presentation to the Comox Valley Regional District on February 5.

LNG, Fracking, and the Comox Valley Connection

DATE/TIME:  Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 7-9 pm
LOCATION: Florence Filberg Centre, Conference Hall
Confirm attendance on Watershed Sentinel’s Facebook page

Coldest Night of the Year walk

The NIPR Greens have a team in this year’s CNOY. Go to the website and find Team Green. You can donate, sign up to walk with the team, or just pass on words of encouragement. NIPR Greens have also persuaded St. George’s Church to use compostable cups for the coffee and chili. Greens will be monitoring the recycling to make sure things end up in the right bin. The CVRD is donating recycling bins and a ticket for the compostables to be taken to the composting depot afterwaards. 

Also see Campbell River and Powell River. In each community, the funds raised go to different organizations but with the theme of helping the homeless.



Sign the petition to ban fracking in BC

Read more.

The herring roe fishery will go ahead

This blog previously told you about the issues around the herring fishery. Now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has decided it’s fine to fish one of the last viable stocks of herring. Iain McKechnie, a BC anthropologist, tweeted today, “the equivalent in weight of a full-size B.C. ferry full of fuel & cars” will be taken out of the #SalishSea this year, targeting the last remaining ‘healthy’ stock on the coast & selling it mostly for non human food (pet food & fish farms).” Read more.

Strathcona groundwater motion headed to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) vote

For people who have followed the fight to stop taking water from the Merville aquifer for purposes of bottling and sale, here’s the next installment in that issue. The Strathcona Regional District has unanimously passed a motion requesting the province cease licensing groundwater for commercial water bottling and bulk water exports.

Currently, the motion applies only to the Strathcona Regional District, but will be heard again at an April meeting of the AVICC. That would make the decision not to allow water extraction for purposes of sale Island-wide. And it could potentially go BC-wide. Read more.

Facing jail over Trans Mountain protest, this lawyer asks court to consider what ‘no one wants to talk about’

Retired lawyer David Gooderham among his files on climate change at home in Vancouver, B.C. on Jan. 25, 2019. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

David Gooderham is willing “to trigger the first-ever court hearing in Canada on the validity of the science of climate change and the implications of federal pipeline policy.” He violated the injunction on Burnaby Mountain “expressly for the purpose of trying to present the court with a “defence of necessity.” The defence is allowed in instances of “imminent peril” when, in the words of a 1984 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Perka v. The Queen), an offence can be ‘justified by the pursuit of some greater good.’” Read more.

Reconciliation: Supporters of Wet’suwet’en people force MLA Michelle Mungall to close Nelson office

Mungall closed her office because of the protesters, one of whom had chained herself to the door of the office. In a comment that seems just a bit tone-deaf, Mungall said, “That meeting took place on Monday (February 3) at the agreed time and for the agreed  length…I heard them out, I offered them information and provided an information package on the complexities of the issue they’ve chosen to abdicate [sic] for, and when the time came to end our meeting, unfortunately, they became agitated and one of them decided to chain herself to the inside of my (constituency) door and so police had to be called…I can’t speak for people who are protesting, but our job in government is for reconciliation . . . and reconciliation is not just for government, it’s for all people.” Read more.

…but later: Statement on reconciliation process between Province and Office of the Wet’suwet’en

“Late Thursday, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, Premier John Horgan and Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have issued the following statement to mark the start of a new reconciliation process: The Office of the Wet’suwet’en and Province of British Columbia have committed to explore a path forward together, government-to-government, that seeks to build trust over time and meaningfully advance reconciliation.” Read more.

It is interesting that both these stories came out in The Boundary Sentinel on the same day - February 8 - about three hours apart.

Gidimt’en Yintah Access

A new website has been set up by the #Wetsuweten to share information including a supporter toolkit. Please check it out, share and support!



Election 2019

NIPR has TWO candidate nominees

Yes, that’s right! Nominations are closed and two brave people have stepped forward to be the candidate. This is a rare occurrence in the Green Party in general, and a first for NIPR. We did have three candidate contestants originally, but Sandra Milligan of Campbell River decided she just couldn’t commit to moving to Ottawa. What’s amazing is that Sandra is so confident the Greens will win the riding this year that she felt she had to withdraw! So, either Mark or Blair will be preparing for that eventuality!

And the nominees are:


Left to right: Blair Cusack and Mark de Bruijn of Comox Valley

Meet the nominees:

DATE/TIME: Sunday, February 10, 2 pm
LOCATION:  Powell River Library

DATE/TIME:  Wednesday, February 20, 6 pm
LOCATION:   Room B, Comox Recreation Centre

Go to the NIPR website and read about the candidates. (On the homepage, just scroll down.)

Nomination Meeting

LOCATIONS: Comox Valley to be announced. Powell River: Powell River Library.

Yes, NIPR will be holding two simultaneous nomination meetings, connected through technology. We are keeping our fingers crossed!

The continuing saga of Bill C-69

Watch/listen here to a political panel, which gets a little heated. The segment on Bill C-69 starts at about 9 minutes in. Conservative MP Cathy McLeod says not building more pipelines will “of course hurt Indigenous peoples.” Huh? “People just don’t appreciate how good our National Energy Board is.” At about 16 minutes in, the interview is with Elizabeth May who is, as always, clear and concise on the shortcomings of this omnibus bill which is trying to combine three different areas of legislation. “Under this legislation, most Federal projects will never see a review.”

Former NDP leader predicts NDP voters may look to the Green Party in 2019

“Amid record-breaking fundraising numbers from the Green Party and what leader Elizabeth May called “a rise in support overall,” former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair says the Green Party might woo progressive voters in the 2019 election.” Read more.

Elizabeth May on CTV News

“We’re not a party that flips around looking for what’s the flavour of the day…If we’re solving global problems it’s good to have global allies and be part of a global movement.” Watch here.

Elizabeth May is on a cross-country Community Matters tour

Read more.

The Greens raised $3.1 M in the last year

… and more tidbits. Start at about 43:50 into this video for stunning comments about the Green Wave.

Federal NDP lags rivals in nominating candidates for upcoming election, trailing even Green Party

“The NDP currently has just 30 nominated candidates, 20 of whom are incumbent MPs. The Green Party, meanwhile, has 33 nominated candidates to date.” Read more.

Andrew Coyne: There are lies, damn lies and election campaigns

Coyne believes that political parties share responsibility for the proliferation of fake news since parties do their fair share of spreading falsehoods during an election campaign. The only question: Did the party make false promises from the beginning or did the party simply break a promise?

Excerpt: “I have an urgent warning for the people of Canada. Even now, certain agents are plotting to influence the result of the next election campaign by means of stealth and deception. Posing as ordinary Canadians, they plan to use social media to spread falsehoods designed to inflame public opinion, using the latest micro-targeting technologies to tailor their messages to the reader’s particular fears and prejudices. These agents are better known as the political parties.” Read more.

…and in the same vein: Editorial rant: On falsehood in politics

Image by Brian Wertheim, via Unsplash

Just imagine if there were an independent, truly non-partisan body with the authority to oversee political advertising, and require it to be truthful.” Wouldn’t it be love-r-ly? Though I wouldn’t advise holding your breath. Read more.

Excerpt: “Why should politicians, who want us to trust them enough to put them in positions of power – power to govern, power to enact legislation, power to influence the lives of millions of people in so many ways – why should those politicians have license to lie?”

…and punching right into the artery: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the lack of ethics in politics

Watch this. It’s priceless! Can the Green Party do something similar with the oil and gas industry and its corporate capture of all levels of government?

When we debate carbon pricing, can we at least stick to the facts?

Let’s try getting the facts straight about carbon pricing. Those who don’t support it (or some version of it) should just admit as well that they’re willing to play Russian roulette with human civilization. Otherwise, offer some alternative. Sadly, we know that facts don’t really convince anyone of anything. Read more.

Putting the Supreme Court’s Redwater Energy decision in context

Last week this blog told you about the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that oil companies who declare bankruptcy must clean up abandoned oil wells before paying creditors. The case has been underway since 1991! This week the National Observer puts that decision into context. Read more. Also check out Reclaim Alberta, who “want polluters to clean up their mess and put Alberta back to work.”

…and more on the related concept of bankruptcy for profit

Read this 2017 report on an Alberta company whose tactics involved “more than six months of reckless disregard for public safety and the public interest that would scarcely seem plausible as a sinister movie plot…At the root of the oilpatch strategy of bankruptcy for profit in Alberta is the energy regulator’s fictional accounting of ‘assets’ and ‘liabilities’ used to supposedly manage the province’s aging oil and gas infrastructure. The ‘assets’ counted by the captured regulator do not actually exist and will never be available to cover the ‘liabilities,’ which themselves are profound underestimates of the cost of reclamation.”

Court quashes federal government policy not to test baby farmed salmon for disease

Independent fish researcher Alexandra Morton is a long-time critic of ocean-farmed salmon. HANDOUT/ PNG FILES

From Ecojustice:”The Federal Court struck down the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans’ policy on piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), a highly-contagious virus prevalent in fish farms off the B.C. coast, for its failure to take into account potential impacts on wild salmon.

The Minister’s policy — which resulted in farmed Atlantic salmon being transferred into open-net pens in the ocean without first being tested for PRV — was at the center of our lawsuit, which we brought on behalf of independent biologist Alexandra Morton.

With its ruling, the court has sent a clear message that the Minister must take a precautionary, science-based approach to wild salmon protection.” Also recall that last week’s Must Reads told you about Marine Harvest changing its name to Mowi. One wonders if this decision from the Canadian Court played a factor in their decision that they needed a new name.

Also on this topic, watch this short video on a scientist who was previously muzzled by the government, and who is challenging the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to be more independent from the industry.

…and yet more on this: Dissenter from group of scientific experts calls foul on DFO, says effects of fish farm virus ‘extremely uncertain’

A DFO biologist at a fish farm in the Okisollo Channel, northeast of Quadra Island, on Oct. 31, 2018. File photo

Excerpt: “On Thursday, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said participants in an expert peer-review process – who are providing the federal department with advice on the virus – had “reached a consensus that the risk to Fraser River sockeye salmon due to PRV is minimal.” But participant John Werring – who is also part of the steering committee for the peer-review process – says that no such consensus exists.” Read more.

Reconciliation: Inuit leader says Trudeau government’s new language bill imposes a ‘colonial’ system

“Despite being characterized as a reconciliation and co-development initiative, the Government of Canada engaged Inuit in bad faith throughout this legislative initiative,” ITK president Natan Obed stated in a press release.

‘The absence of any Inuit-specific content suggests this bill is yet another legislative initiative developed behind closed doors by a colonial system and then imposed on Inuit.’” Read more.

Also, Watch/listen here to a political panel discussing the Indigenous Languages Act.

Reconciliation: A new stat holiday for Indigenous reconciliation?

A new stat holiday has been proposed for September 30 to be called Reconciliation Day. Its purpose is to honour residential school survivors. This bill – which still needs to pass the House of Commons – and Trudeau’s recent support for Indigenous languages seems like low-hanging fruit just ripe for the picking during an election year. Let’s not poo-poo the good intentions of us white folks, but how about something much more substantive like access to clean water or reinstating Jody Wilson-Raybould as Federal Justice Minister?

Reconciliation: Jody Wilson-Raybauld’s father thinks she was “kicked in the teeth”

“The reality is that with Trudeau and this government, reconciliation is more a farce than the Conservatives.” Read more.

Wilson-Raybauld entered Federal politics hoping to be a bridge builder

The attacks are mounting from inside the Federal Liberal caucus and Trudeau’s cabinet regarding Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Liberal Justice Minister and current Veterans Affairs Minister. Many Liberals are saying she is difficult to work with, which might be easy to believe since she went through three chiefs of staff while Justice Minister. Others outside of caucus think attacks on her reek of sexism. After all, women who are intelligent and driven are roundly criticized while men exhibiting the same characteristics are roundly applauded. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. One thing’s for sure: Wilson-Raybould is unwilling to cover Trudeau’s backside when it comes to how his sincerity when working with First Nations is, well, shallow as a bird bath. Most recently, she isn’t jumping to the defence of the PMO or Trudeau and its cozy relationship with SNC Lavalin.  Read more.

And for a larger political context on how fast things can change in politics, Crawford Kilian of The Tyee says: “If the allegations of preferential treatment for SNC-Lavalin hold up, then the Liberals will be in desperate trouble in this fall’s election. And the only thing that might save them would be replacing Justin Trudeau with Wilson-Raybould.”

Women’s voices: The Gender Gap Tracker

“Informed Opinions’ Gender Gap Tracker measures the ratio of female to male sources quoted in online news coverage across some of Canada’s most influential national news media. By default, the past 7 days of analyzed media coverage are displayed. You can adjust the date range using the slider below, selecting the start date from the left, and end date from the right. The charts will auto-refresh once you have chosen your dates.”

The Conversation has an interesting piece about this. “Over the last few months, the Gender Gap Tracker has consistently shown an average of 74 per cent male sources versus 25 per cent female, with roughly one per cent unknown. We can do better than that. Some reporters who track the gender breakdown of their sources are already taking measures to reach parity.”

Woman hating: Surviving the shattered glass ceiling

“There is one basic rule that must exist in a democracy: if everyone is created equally, then everyone has an equal right to participate in governance. When groups of us — large groups of us — are relegated to “kiddo” status by those who enjoy gender, race and class privilege, they are telling us they do not view women, or Indigenous people, or people of colour, or millennials, or people with modest incomes, or anyone who is not them, as equals. That’s not freedom of speech in an empowered democracy: it’s just power using its privilege to further itself.” Read more.



…and more on women in politics: 6 French women on trial for defamation after alleging lawmaker harassed them

“Six French women stood trial Monday in a defamation lawsuit brought by a former lawmaker they accused of sexual misconduct 1 1/2 years before the #MeToo movement. Four journalists who published allegations from the women and eight others in May 2016 also are defendants in the case filed by Denis Baupin, who resigned his leadership post in parliament’s lower house when the media reports came out…It’s a trial that exposes how men — in politics, in the business world, finance world, in journalism as well — how they can use their position of power,” [investigative journalism website] Mediapart editorial director Edwy Plenel said.” Read more.

Ellen Page: LGBTQ rights, environmental racism, climate change…and Mike Pence

Read the article and listen to the video as Ellen Page, the well-known Canadian actor, calls out US VP Pence. If Donald Trump is impeached rather than losing during the next election cycle, the United States will be saddled with a professional politician who is slick enough to hide his bigotry behind religious fervor. Pence in many ways is more dangerous than Trump.

What’s environmental racism? It disproportionately affects people of colour, e.g. landfills, pulp mills. To Mike Pence: “If you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen?”

Beyonce and Jay-Z are putting out the message on plant-based eating

If you’d like to win lifetime tickets to Beyonce and Jay-Z concerts, go to their website and enter. But their website is much more than a promotional gambit. They are educating their followers on how a plant-based diet can impact other aspects of life around the globe. It’s a pretty slick site, and the message is great. Beyonce has more than 120 million followers, apparently. That’s a LOT of people getting this message!

Green buildings must do more to fix our climate emergency

“After more than three decades of talk about the potential of building green, we’ve still failed to change the way we design and construct buildings so that the built environment stops being a dominant contributor to runaway climate change…Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction reports that global building sector CO2 emissions are up three per cent since 2010. Read more.

Glyphosate: The French farmer taking on Monsanto

Excerpt: “François won his first trial against Monsanto at the court in Lyon in 2012, and again on appeal in 2015. But in 2017, the company succeeded in overturning the two previous rulings, sending the case back to the appeals court. The decision was overturned because “the court ruled that the case should not be based on common law, but rather for product liability”, explained François. The subtle distinction, however, was enough to allow Monsanto escape a guilty verdict.” Read more.

Oilpatch giants deny involvement in covert U.S. pollution campaign

“Canadian oilpatch companies have been paying membership fees into a lobby group that has been running a stealth campaign in the U.S. to undermine action to fight climate change.

One Canadian executive even sits on the board of the lobby group, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and yet, they told National Observer investigative reporter Carl Meyer that they had nothing to do with the campaign. These revelations came after some of these oil companies complained about the efforts of Canadian cities to get the fossil fuel industry to pay for the damage being caused by climate change. One Canadian company described the cities’ efforts as an unfounded attack on the industry that fails to take into account what the fossil fuel companies are doing to slash greenhouse gas emissions.” Read more.

Thought of the Day


“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” (Thomas Jefferson)

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