Must Reads from Last Week



Comox Valley - The last meet-and-greet with NIPR candidate nominees

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

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.

NIPR Green Party candidate nomination meeting

The nomination meeting at which Green Party members in the North Island-Powell River riding will choose their 2019 Federal election candidate is coming up! The NIPR Greens have never had more than one candidate nominee - this is history being made in 2019, folks! Everyone can attend, though only GPC members can vote. 

DATE/TIME: March 10, 2019, 2-4 pm
LOCATIONS: Black Creek Community Centre and Powell River Library (simultaneously).

Kwispaa/Steelhead LNG pipeline: Protesters address pipeline proponents in Powell River

PIPELINE PROTEST: Steelhead LNG and Huu-ay-aht representatives were at Tla’amin Nation government house for a presentation on a proposed pipeline. David Brindle photo

This meeting with Steelhead was apparently meant to be only with the local Tla’amin citizens, not the broader community. The fact that more protesters than Tla’amin citizens showed up seems to have resulted in some tensions in the community. “The protestors, a group of Tla’amin citizens and people from Powell River, are opposed to the pipeline going through Tla’amin traditional territory and criticize the lack of transparency by leadership over discussions with Steelhead. “They’ve kept us in the dark,” said protestor and Tla’amin citizen Koosen Pielle. ‘I think that is where most of the outrage is coming from. How can you have been talking to these people for so long and we now just know about it?’” Read more.



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 RiverIn each community, the funds raised go to different organizations but with the theme of helping the homeless.



Local Councils are right to sue the fossil fuel industry

This blog previously told you about Andrew Gage, from West Coast Environmental Law, making a presentation to Courtenay Council on the climate accountability letters they are promoting. You may remember Victoria made the decision to send one. Here is a response in the Times Colonist to that decision.

Excerpt: “…far from complaining, we should be praising them and other local municipal councils that are also preparing to sue. Not only are they being prudent managers of the public purse, seeking to protect taxpayers from added costs, they are also being leaders in addressing climate change.”

Delivering on CleanBC plan means hitting these 3 milestones

“Important milestones leading up to CleanBC — strengthening the carbon tax, establishing the Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council, and consulting the public on pollution reduction opportunities — constituted key qualifying events. As with any other marathon, the course of CleanBC runs through a number of checkpoints. Here are three major checkpoints we’ll be keeping a close eye on until the end of 2019.” Read more.

The BC NDP’s Throne Speech

In case you don’t get the BC Greens’ weekly newsletter, here are Andrew Weaver’s comments about John Horgan’s Throne Speech: “Though I was pleased to hear CleanBC highlighted in the Throne Speech, the praise for LNG which immediately followed demonstrates this government’s focus on short-term gains rather than a long-term vision for British Columbia. While I anticipate that CleanBC will be fully funded in the government’s budget next week, we must remain vigilant against the NDP and Liberal’s pet projects like LNG. They will exacerbate climate change, and hurt our environment and communities.”



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:

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

Meet the nominees:

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.)

Why the rise of the Green Party could spell bad news for Trudeau

This is in the Washington Post, no less! Watch out, Liberals/Conservatives and NDP!

Excerpt: “The Greens…are rising across the country. Modestly, sure. But notably. They don’t come with baggage. They can run the optimist, hopeful-crusader campaign underwritten by credibility as guardians of the sacred environmental trust — as the environment, day by day, is becoming a more salient issue for voters. Plus, May (as I said, a strong debater) is set to take part in the leaders’ debates in 2019 thanks to rule changes. She’ll be a force onstage. All of that is good news for the Greens and bad news for the other parties. It’s also good news for voters who want and deserve a range of credible options on the ballot.”

In New Brunswick, Elizabeth May says no to fracking and yes to renewable energy

…while Andrew Scheer takes a very different tone in Fredericton the same night. May also talked about small business in her town hall. “Small business is Canada’s biggest employer by far. And small, independently owned businesses create the jobs and pay the taxes and really sometimes get overlooked by big policy shifts.” Read more.

Green Party of Alberta passes policy resolutions to support animal rights, ban clear cutting, and support ecotourism

Read more.


Part 1: $2 billion oil industry subsidy in the making

This article is a subscribers-only article from National Observer, so it may not be available to all. You can also read it in the Energy Mix.

Excerpt: “Trans Mountain is on track to deliver Canadian oil producers a $2-billion taxpayer-funded toll subsidy for capacity on its existing pipeline and has asked the federal pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB) for permission. If the NEB approves the toll application Trans Mountain has filed with it, it will shift the burden for the roughly $3 billion Ottawa paid to buy the regulated assets onto Canadians, rather than into tolls charged to shippers where the recovery of these costs belongs…This $2 billion industry subsidy comes in addition to the recent revelation by the Parliamentary Budget Office that Ottawa overpaid for the expansion project by $1 billion — and counting.

Part 2: The GPC’s response to Alberta’s pro-TM ads

Watch it here. It’s good! Please share widely.

Canadian banks signal that Redwater decision now weighs on oilpatch loans

This blog has previously reported on the Redwater case, which ruled that oil companies must clean up abandoned oil wells before paying creditors. Read more.

Excerpt: “The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), which represents Canada’s “big five” banks and dozens of others, said the industry “respects” a Jan. 31 Supreme Court of Canada decision that prioritized cleaning up environmental liabilities over repaying loans. While the organization told National Observer that banks “remain committed” to working with fossil fuel firms, they also said banks must take “anything” into account in decisions about how much money to loan, and at what price.”

SNC Lavalin, Jody Wilson-Raybauld, and the Federal Liberals

Part 1: The SNC Lavalin affair might have been avoided if we had gotten electoral reform: In this article, Randy Boswell, writing for The London Free Press, convincingly argues that the SNC Lavalin controversy nipping at Trudeau’s and the Liberal’s heels may well never had happened had he stuck by his campaign promise regarding proportional representation. Boswell argues that minority governments are less likely to play fast and loose with ethics unlike majority governments which tend to “conduct themselves in a way that promotes over-confidence, arrogance and the sense of entitlement that breed most serious scandals.”  

Part 2: First Nations leaders blast Trudeau over reconciliation “farce:” Read more.

Part 3: Liberals were unethical in secretive appointment of new ethics commissioner: This National Post article from 2017 is very relevant in the context of the SNC Lavalin scandal erupting right now. Prior to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet, Trudeau had agreed that it seemed appropriate to conduct an ethics review regarding whether or not the PMO brought pressure to bear on Wilson-Raybauld to seek a less punitive judgement against wrong-doing by SNC Lavalin.

Just to remind everyone, Mario Dion’s appointment as Ethics Commission back in December of 2017 caused a significant backlash among the NDP and Conservatives as both parties agreed that the appointment did not allow enough time for adequate consultation. At the time, Dion was to review Bill Morneau’s possible ethical breach when he “introduced a pension reform bill while still holding shares in his own pension company.”

Additionally, Dion’s selection by Trudeau was called into question by NDP ethics critic, Nathan Cullen, who pointed out that Dion’s “work as Public Service Integrity Commissioner was panned by Canada’s Auditor General.”

Can we really trust that any review by this Ethics Commissioner of the PMO will amount to anything more than a whitewash?

Part 4: Indigenous scholars decry ‘character assassination’ of Jody Wilson-Raybauld

Excerpt: “…certain Liberal pundits who evidently didn’t get the sunny-feminist-ways memo have been indulging in character assassination, running a whisper campaign that Wilson-Raybould is not a team player, is difficult — one even said on the CBC that she is reputed to be incompetent. This feels very familiar to many women across the country, now rolling their eyes, recognizing this for the stereotypical cheap shots against women who beg to differ.” Read more.

Part 5: Indigenous Senators praise Wilson-Raybauld

It seems Trudeau is going to lose the perception fight on this one. Now Senators are voicing concerns over departure from cabinet. Read more.

Part 6: The bingo of betrayed Liberal commitments

Excerpt: “The destructive power of the SNC-Lavalin scandal — of which we appear to still be in the early stages — lies in its sheer comprehensiveness. It is not simply an indictment of the Liberals’ professed commitment to transparency. Or of the illusion of a shift away from Harper-era “self-serving” partisanship. Or of the Trudeau government’s prophetic waxing about the principles of feminism, goodness and positivity.

It is, rather, all of those things: A bingo of betrayed commitments, wrapped in a package of a classic Liberal scandal.” Read more.

Part 7:  Elizabeth May calls for an independent inquiry. Read more.

How many Earths are needed to maintain your lifestyle?

Here’s a personal ecological footprint calculator.

Green Good News

Now there is a search engine that will plant trees when you click on their ads. Read how it works here. This raised some questions amongst Greens and several people delved deeper into Ecosia. Here are some comments:
“Here’s an Instagram link regarding the actual tree planting.  If the planting itself was bull#^@t greenwashing, I would think there’d be some serious articles popping up to call them on it.  I’m inclined to believe that the trees are being planted — and 50 million trees feels like it is a pretty decent commitment. I do agree that it’s [Ecosia’s] results are not as great as Google’s, but neither are Duck Duck Go’s, which I’ve also used for years.  However, if Ecosia is actually getting the trees planted and is doing less selling of my personal info than is Google, I’d be inclined to keep it and use it despite its somewhat lower quality search results. Articles I’ve seen so far pretty squarely support the notion that Ecosia is, in fact, planting the trees they say they are planting.  (Well, they don’t claim to be planting the trees themselves, they are paying others to do so.)”

So, here are some other articles this person looked through, in case you’d like further information:

More good news: Indigenous Guardians Program

The Conversation has a piece on how protecting not-so-wild places helps biodiversity. Through that piece, we saw this story on the Indigenous Guardians Program. Watch this short video on what the program means to many First Nations people. A couple of the speakers are from the North Island-Powell River riding! Also check out the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Programs map and the 28 programs the Federal government is providing funding.

…and an Australian experience of Indigenous guardians and conservation

Dean Yibarbuk, senior ecologist with Warddeken Land Management in Australia, examines a birch bark canoe in Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s office in Ottawa, while Denis Rose, Gunditjmara senior land manager, looks on. Photo: Boreal Conservation

“There are similarities between Australian Indigenous Rangers and Canadian Indigenous Guardians, and they run deep.” Members of the Indigenous Rangers recently visited Canada, “organized by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, with the aim of demonstrating the benefits of a comprehensive, country-wide program.” Read more.

…and in a similar vein: Indigenous researchers plans seeds of hope

Excerpt: “As we learn more about climate change, this knowledge can be paralyzing, especially for young people who are contemplating life pathways. Indigenous land-based learning offers an avenue for hope, embedded in action. This approach has been taken up in recent years by a number of post-secondary institutions in Canada and internationally.” Read more.



Speaking out of both sides of the mouth: New Zealand’s PEPANZ

PEPANZ is launching a TV ad initiative to undermine New Zealand’s world-leading program to end oil and gas exploration. At the same time, according to their website, “in 2017 [they] created a Net Zero Committee to help the New Zealand petroleum sector in efforts to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.” Also, in 2018, they produced a report, The Future of Oil and Gas in a Lower Carbon World.

Why disaster capitalists are paying for a no-deal Brexit

In this thought-provoking article, George Monbiot looks at a side of the leave-remain debate in Britain that certainly isn’t talked about on the news coverage: The environmental consequences, right down to where Britain’s garbage gets shipped.
Excerpt: “A no-deal Brexit might offer the regulatory vacuum the Brextremists fantasise about. The public protections people have fought so hard for, that we obtained only through British membership of the EU – preventing water companies from pouring raw sewage into our rivers, power stations from spraying acid rain across the land, chemical companies from contaminating our food – are suddenly at risk.”

In a related article, the EU (including Britain) has been illegally dumping electronic waste in developing countries. “By extrapolating the illegal exports with figures on electronic waste generation throughout Europe, the report estimated that 352,474 metric tonnes of electronic waste was being illegally shipped from the EU to developing countries each year.”

And also read this article from 2018, in which the UK plastics recycling industry is reported to be under investigation for fraud and corruption. Britain is currently participating in all of this as part of the EU. Along with all the other emergencies created by the Brexit when it does occur, all these environmental considerations will probably be far down the list of priorities.

Food Security: On rooftops and in tunnels, city farms lead food revolution

Read more.

Are land-based fish farms a solution to food security?

A massive, land-based fish farm is being proposed for a California abandoned pulp mill. Read more.

…and more on fish farms: Canada keen to support technology overhaul

Read more.

…and still more: The virus that makes DFO put its head in the sand

Last week we told you about the court case that found DFO was not exercising enough caution to protect wild salmon. This week, Andrew Nikiforuk reports on DFO’s attempt to ignore that ruling, by saying there is no risk to wild salmon. According to Nikiforuk, “What the DFO didn’t add was that scientists can’t support this conclusion with any real certainty. The DFO claim was a bit like saying the risk to the residents of Vancouver of acquiring shingles is strictly minimal as long as you don’t include any data about the health of aging immune systems in seniors.Read more.

Glyphosate: Global aquatic herbicides market will reach US$830 million by 2025

The word ‘gobsmacked’ comes to mind. It’s not bad enough that we’ve contaminated soils and waters with herbicides - glyphosate, for example. Now the ocean is the new opportunity for expansion of the industry. Read more.

Excerpt: “The rising adoption of weed control is the primary factor that is likely to drive the global aquatic herbicides market growth in the future. Aquatic herbicides are utilized when long-lasting weed control becomes obligatory at low costs coupled with less negative effects on aquatic life. The benefits of using aquatic herbicides include the introduction of weed eating fishes, insects, and other micro-organisms. This, in turn, is anticipated to further fuel the aquatic herbicides market globally over the estimated timeframe. In addition, the expansion of aquaculture farms is expected to positively impact the aquatic herbicides market globally in the upcoming years. Aquaculture farmers are the end-users of aquatic herbicides. Furthermore, the growing inclination of organic farming among aquaculture farmers is projected to provide significant growth opportunities for the market. However, the time–consuming process of getting approval for the herbicides usage may hinder this market’s growth in the future...Glyphosate segment is expected to dominate the aquatic herbicides market globally, due to glyphosate’s ability to provide long-term control of weeds at economical costs. [Emphasis added]

Rural Millennials: The new generation of farmers

Watch this great video. “Belén and Leo are the new generation of farmers. They both studied at university in a big metropole. They are millennials. But a few years ago, they decided to return to their roots in rural Spain.”

Endless consumption or sustainable future? Dealing with global warming may improve the quality of our lives

We often speak in terms of the sacrifices that will be required to deal with the effects of global warming. In NIPR’s meet-and-greet in Powell River last Sunday, one of the audience pointed out that these are actually opportunities to increase our quality of life. This article supports that perspective.

Excerpt: “It won’t be easy and there will be much disruption, but we can lubricate the transformation and mitigate economic displacement via a global reduction of the workweek, the forgiveness of global debt and a global guaranteed income. If managing the transition and not focusing on business as usual is our goal, we’ll be fine. As the economy shifts away from growth-fed accumulation to the next big economic trend, humane forms of service and quality of life will increase for everybody. With less time scrambling to make useless things and manipulate people into buying them, we’d have more time for ourselves and for authentic and healthy growth. This would mean health, happiness and increased satisfaction of our highest human needs.”

Why the US Green New Deal may include nuclear power

“The Green New Deal doesn’t mention “nukes,” but it doesn’t use the words solar or wind, either. The non-binding resolution, unveiled by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts, calls for “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” In wonk-speak, zero-emission is code for nuclear power or fossil fuels with carbon capture. That conflicts with a factsheet found on Ocasio-Cortez’s website which says the deal “would not include creating new nuclear plants. It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.” Read more.

…and in the same vein of nuclear power plants…

This article suggests that it may be more profitable for companies to say they’re going to build a nuclear power plant, but not to actually finish it. There comes under the concept of profit over everything else - including providing power for citizens. Kind of like corporations suing governments under Investor State Dispute Mechanisms may be more profitable than actually running a business, or oil and gas companies declaring bankruptcy for profit. The pursuit of the almighty dollar creates incredible perversions that beggar belief.

Huawei, big brother and technological self-destruction

Just how connected do we really need or want to be? The march of technology gives corporations and governments the ability to monitor our every daily activity. Illustration from Pixabay.

We hear every day about the US’s request for extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou from Canada. We hear less about Huawei and 5G technology. A number of countries around the world have refused to allow Huawei to install their 5G technology, citing security concerns from the Chinese government. But Andrew Nikiforuk lays out the extent to which 5G will impact our lives in this article.

Excerpt: “In the 1950s, the French historian and Christian radical Jacque Ellul warned that technology threatened the very existence of civilization as it became a self-directing, autonomous and totalitarian force in human affairs. The weight of “technique” had grown so great, wrote Ellul, that it would tolerate no obstacles and broach no criticism. Ellul’s definition of “technique” was broader than just machines and devices. He included any efficient method for organizing humans — from electoral polling to genetic engineering…Ellul considered networks of technologies to be the world’s most powerful colonizer and the greatest threat to human freedom. The principle tenet of technique, said Ellul, was boldly amoral: “Since it was possible, it was necessary.”

Regenerative Capitalism: The shift our planet needs?

Excerpt: “Regenerative economics instead, as its name implies, sees economies as living systems. If they are to be sustainable over long periods of time, they need to honour the patterns of all living systems. Regenerative economics views all assets as parts of a finely-tuned system. They are in healthy relationship to one another, not there to be endlessly exploited. Another word for this is a “living economy,” says [John] Fullerton.” Read more.

Let’s hope the shift above happens soon because Noam Chomsky believes, ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive’

Read more.

Out of Africa, a BioSWOT tool for the wildlife economy?

Very interesting. Excerpt: “In the early 2000s, IUCN and the IFC were involved in an interesting initiative to establish a biodiversity business financing initiative for Africa. Known as the Kijani Initiative, the aim was to establish a technical assistance facility and venture capital fund to develop and invest in sustainable biodiversity businesses. The initiative was ahead of its time and these structures were never established. Nevertheless, some of the work undertaken might be useful today as we look at how to scale up the wildlife economy in Africa. This included the development of a BioSWOT Tool. Here is some of the thinking on this from 2003 that may still be relevant today” Read more.

Women Warriors


Artists from all over the world reimagined Valentine’s Day. Read/see more.

Thought of the Day


Look, we are not unspectacular things.
   We’ve come this far, survived this much.

What would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
    No, to the rising tides.
Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain
for the safety of others, for earth,
if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,
if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,
rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over? (From The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Ada Limón. Copyright © 2018 by Ada Limón)

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