Must Reads from Last Week



Opportunity to mentor new Valley farmers

The New Farmer Mentorship and Loan Program is ready to support more Comox Valley farmers in 2019. This is an opportunity to directly invest in local food security. They are looking for mentors AND lenders, so if you have farming skills to share, great. If you have a bit of money to invest, great. Read moreIf you are interested in being a mentor or lender for the 2019 season, please contact Don Munroe at The New Farmer Mentorship and Loan Program was developed as an offshoot of the Comox Valley Responsible Investing Club.

Plastic bag ban proposal presented to Comox Council

“Two Comox Valley nurses are hoping the area will follow the lead of other Island municipalities and ban single-use plastic bags. Betty Tate and Helen Boyd asked Comox council Wednesday at its committee of the whole meeting to consider the ban and in its place use reusable bags at a variety of retailers and businesses.” Tate and Boyd are part of the Comox Valley Nurses for Health and the Environment. Read more.

Pacific herring: Small fish – Big problem: The importance of the herring  

The annual herring spawn in the Strait of Georgia around Hornby and Denman Islands is the last of six major herring spawns on the west coast of Canada - the rest were overfished. It’s called a roe fishery, but 90% of the herring biomass caught is ground up into fish food – often for salmon farms. Only 10% of the herring biomass caught actually consists of roe. “If we killed a chicken every time we wanted an egg pretty soon we wouldn’t have any chickens.”

“The whole marine ecosystem for the Strait of George would founder because it relies on this one herring run each year to stoke and fuel the whole marine food web from the bottom. It’s the most important forage fish we’ve got.” Watch this October 2018 video here.

From Living Oceans: Other than salmon, few species in B.C. are as ecologically, culturally or economically important as the Pacific herring. They are one of the most abundant fishes in B.C.’s coastal waters and are a cornerstone of the marine food web, directly supporting salmon, seals, sea lions, whales and many seabirds.”

The Heiltsuk peoples have been attempting to protect the herring in their territory since 2015. Here is just one of their videos. There is a petition by which is asking for an end to the herring fishery.

Kwispaa LNG pipeline

(See previous editions of the Must Reads for background on this issue.) Steelhead LNG representatives made a presentation to the Peace River Regional District board meeting in Dawson Creek, on January 10, 2019. “In an anticipated timeline, Steelhead LNG plans to select a preferred route corridor and enter the British Columbia EAO in the first quarter of this year, before submitting environmental assessment applications for both projects, and a final investment decision in 2020. The construction phase would take approximately four years — 2024 would see both projects functional.” Even though this article says Steelhead “plans to select a preferred route corridor,” it is our understanding that the more southerly route has already been removed from consideration. Read more.



Why the RCMP may not be a neutral player in the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline dispute

Criminologist Jeffrey Monaghan says the RCMP has an enduring bias against Indigenous social movements. Read more.

Excerpt: “Is there a visible leader? Do they appeal to the public? Do they have public support? Are they able to get media responses? All of these categories of successfulness [emphasis added] are being reinterpreted as forms of risk.”

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) offices occupied in Ottawa in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

From Warrior Publications: “Activists occupied the 9th floor hallway and office of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) at 275 Slater Street in Ottawa and effectively shut them down for the afternoon! Those gathered made calls to CAPP’s head office in Calgary and to Seamus O’Regan, the new federal Minister of Indigenous Services. CAPP is the lobby group that represents Big Oil and Gas in this country. CAPP backs the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline that would violate Wet’suwet’en territory. On January 9, two days after the RCMP raid on the Gidumt’en checkpoint, CAPP posted, ‘Expressions of support for the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline have rolled in.’”

But wait, there’s more….

“In addition to opposition from the hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, the proposed Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline faces another battle that TransCanada says could put the project at risk. The National Energy Board (NEB) launched a multi-step process last fall to determine whether the $4.8-billion pipeline should fall under federal jurisdiction and perhaps undergo further regulatory review — ​potentially delaying the project for months… The NEB granted the federal government, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan intervener status on the case last December. Several energy companies involved in the project, like Shell Canada and PetroChina Canada, which are part of the joint venture behind the LNG terminal in Kitimat, have also been granted intervener status. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership, along with 11 other First Nations, requested intervener status in the first round of the process but were rejected by the NEB.” (emphasis added) Read more. 

February 22: NEB Decision Day of Action: No Trudeau Pipeline Expansion!


DATE/TIME:  February 22, 2019; 4:30-6:30 p.m.
LOCATION:    National Energy Board Vancouver office, 800 Burrard Street, Vancouver
HOSTED BY:  Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver

February 22 is the deadline for the National Energy Board’s report on its review of the marine impact of the TMEP. Every indication is that this is just another rubber stamp review rushed by the federal government, and designed to allow pipeline construction to legally resume as soon as possible.  We need to unite and hold them to account. We will stand together to demand a better future. We no longer want a world where fossil fuel corporations cash in, and leave the rest of us to suffer the consequences. We want a healthy planet, stable jobs and a respectful relationship with Indigenous Nations.
Join us!

You’ve heard of Greta Thunberg, but have you heard of sustainabiliteens?

@sustainteensbc are teenagers who are modelling emergency in their lives by #climatestrike-ing from school one day a month. They demand to see this urgency mirrored in the actions of our leaders. We must declare #climateemergency in #Vancouver and everywhere. This Wednesday, January 16, they are rallying at Vancouver City Hall.

UBC researchers develop climate change video game for classroom use

“The game, called Our Future Community, would allow players in a virtual reality recreation of Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood to make choices affecting their immediate environment such as where to place solar panels, the number of electric vehicles to add, and how to retrofit homes. The goal is that players would see how those actions affect carbon emissions in the neighbourhood.” Read more.

TimberWest forestry operations destabilizing Vancouver Island communities

Excerpt: “TimberWest is consistently one of the top exporters of raw, unprocessed logs from British Columbia’s coastal forests. The company also has growing ties with Island Timberlands, BC’s other top log exporter. The two companies share roads, log sort yards and other infrastructure to generate profits. “As affiliated companies, TimberWest and Island Timberlands can each do more to plan and invest for the future of a stable, competitive coastal forest sector,” TimberWest’s CEO, Jeff Zweig, said earlier this year when the companies formalized their affiliation. Zweig’s assertion was not seriously challenged at the time. It should have been… Vancouver Island communities and coastal forests are being destabilized by these companies for the simple reason that, between them, TimberWest and Island Timberlands do not own or operate a single mill. No sawmill, no pulp mill. Nothing.” Read more.

 In 2012, Bruce Ellingsen, then a mill owner from Cortes Island, made a YouTube video about the number of jobs created in relation to the amount of timber logged in Canada. He also had an article in the Vancouver Observer from the same time, on forestry management. There’s also a piece from 2018 in the ECOReport about the Cortes Community Forest group, of which Ellingsen was a director. Clearly, things have not changed since it’s now 2019 and TimberWest and Timberlands still are not bringing any of the benefits from the industry to communities on Vancouver Island.

BC could get a new National Park

The South Okanagan “region is home to the most endangered ecosystem in the world – less than 10% of historic grassland ecosystems remain in their natural state. This is our chance to help create a legacy in our own backyard that will contribute to global grassland conservation, protect habitat for an incredible diversity of species, and secure important wildlife movement corridors in an ever-changing climate.” Parks Canada is seeking feedback for this National Park Reserve until February 28. Read more.

First Nations Forward!

“A lot of historic moments with lasting impacts took place in British Columbia over the past year. First Nations communities celebrated ground-breaking court victories with national implications, won awards for clean energy leadership, and took reconciliation efforts into their own hands. This National Observer series, First Nations Forward, is dedicated to shedding a light in what can feel like a dark era of increasing climate change, fake news, and divisive politics, by emphasizing the many stories of success and sovereignty taking place across the province. Every story of a trailblazing individual, Nation or collaboration tells a larger tale of resiliency, leadership and foresight that may be remembered for generations to come.” Read a whole series of articles on the leadership being shown by First Nations.



Election 2019

Shadow Cabinet Series 2019 – Science & Innovation, International Trade

As part of the lead-up to the 2019 federal general election - members of Shadow Cabinet will be hosting webinars on areas of policy related to their portfolios.

When: Tuesday February 5, 2019 @ 6pm Pacific / 9pm Eastern [10min presentations, 15min
Where: Register with the link below. NOTE: This webinar is limited to Green Party members, volunteers, and candidates; and registrations will be checked accordingly.
Who: Amita Kuttner (Science & Innovation) and Paul Manley (International Trade)
What: “A.I. & Machine Learning” and “Trade and Investor State Provisions”
Q&As … 1 hour total duration]


Elizabeth May on The House, January 12

Re election 2019: We need to inspire people to vote who otherwise wouldn’t have voted. Re Bill C-69: May as 140 amendments on this bill alone. This bill is essentially the same as Stephen Harper’s policies. And there’s too much ministerial discretion. Re Wet’suwet’en blockade: “Fracked natural gas as the same carbon footprint as coal.” The Supreme Court has acknowledged that this is unceded territory.  Listen here.

Alberta Alert: Dead Mines Walking

This article is from October 2018, but it’s a great read.  If it is even mostly accurate, it effectively spells the end the pipeline expansion to Burnaby, and ultimately the Tar Sands. It is terrific to find one article with so much great content on such a huge issue.

Excerpt: “It is time for oilpatch executives to stop promising that more pipelines will perform miracles, and for provincial and federal politicians to stop promoting what reality will not deliver. No one can compel the largest coker refinery in North America to buy even bigger volumes of bitumen when it is already at full capacity, and fully owned by Saudi Aramco. No U.S refiner will spend billions to build a new one, just to enable Alberta’s fiscally reckless ambitions. Nor will rivals in Asia, unless they can buy bitumen for decades at liquidation sale prices.

Facts matter more than ever, even if they are painful. So does honesty from the elected officials citizens entrust with their futures.”

Myths die hard:  Santa Claus and Canada’s oil discount

“It’s [hard] to justify the three Big Lies surrounding the alleged Canadian oil discount — they serve the interests of Big Oil, arguably the most powerful industry on earth. They are fighting hard to maintain these lies as the attacks on my previous National Observer article illustrate. Not surprisingly, supporters of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline, like consultant Blair King and journalist Markham Hislop, took exception to my arguments. However, a close examination of the critics’ claims reinforces my conclusions.” Read more.

Health Canada doubles down on glyphosate cancer fight

You might be forgiven for thinking this means they are ‘doubling down’ on protecting citizens. If you think that, you need to be forgiven because you’d be wrong. They’re ‘doubling down’ on their “approval of a key ingredient in a popular pesticide, and won’t overturn its decision despite concerns its regulator is “ignoring” potential human health impacts.” Read more.

The Green Party of Alberta is addressing inequality in post-secondary education

Read more.

Reconciliation: National Chief of the AFN wants federal leaders to commit to holding First Ministers meeting on Indigenous rights

“Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the AFN, said in an interview on Tuesday that the First Nations, the federal government, the provinces and the territories must have a clear understanding of their jurisdictions and responsibilities as companies press forward with development on First Nations ancestral land. Mr. Bellegarde’s request for a gathering of First Ministers is, in part, a response to the arrests of Indigenous protesters at a pipeline project in British Columbia last week.” Read more.

Reconciliation: Jody Wilson-Raybould shifted from Justice Minister

Demotion? Fit of pique? We can’t know Prime Minister Trudeau’s true reasons for moving Ms. Wilson-Raybould out of Justice and to Veterans’ Affairs. But in this clip, Grand Chief Stewart Philip minces no words that this decision “flies in the face of all these empty lofty rhetoric on reconciliation,” and that this is a “disappointing and disturbing decision on the part of the Prime Minister. Read more and more and more.

Reconciliation: RCMP concerned Indigenous rights advocates will gain public support

If you watched any of the footage from the RCMP taking down the Wet’suwet’en blockade last week, you heard the reason for the RCMP action being that there was a law in place and it had to be enforced. Falling back on this justification for the RCMP’s actions “is part of the police’s effort to construct a narrative that depoliticizes Indigenous peoples’ defence of their lands and rights, while justifying the RCMP’s potential removal of Indigenous people from their territory. So you’ve removed any reference at all to the very fact that all they’re doing is simply enforcing the desires of a resource extractive company, which is to get that pipeline built.” Read more.

Excerpt: “[Jeffrey] Monaghan and [Andrew] Crosby used access to information laws to uncover thousands of pages of documents from the RCMP, CSIS and government agencies. They detailed their findings in the 2018 bookPolicing Indigenous Movements.” They paint a picture of how government departments, police, intelligence agencies and private sector interests work together to compile intelligence on activists — including Indigenous land defenders — and rate them according to the risk they pose to “critical infrastructure” such as pipelines, and to Canada’s “national interest.” The authors write that the efforts represent a “new dynamic of policing” that aims to “suppress efforts [by Indigenous people] that challenge colonial control of land and resources.”



Climate Action Network webinar/workshop series: What Happened at COP24?

“Climate Action Network Canada’s next webinar-workshop ‘Outcomes from COP24’ will take place Friday, January 25 at 11 am Pacific Time. Make sure to register in advance! We are happy to announce that for the 2019 webinar series, we will often be collaborating with our friends at Indigenous Climate Action to host and present informative and thoughtful webinars on a variety of current topics in climate action. Our thanks to the ICA team for their generous input in the development of this first webinar of 2019!” Read more and register here.

The global race for groundwater speeds up to feed agriculture’s growing needs

Water is already a very tense issue in a number of places around the world. More and more intensive agriculture will require more water. Much of that intensive agriculture doesn’t in fact grow food for direct human consumption, but rather grows products for biofuels or for additives to processed foods, such as all the myriad products which become sugar or fillers. So more arable land is sequestered for products which don’t directly feed people but which use a lot of water. Then you add in the water that is rendered unsafe to drink through pollution of various kinds, ranging from herbicide and pesticide use to fracking and mining. It doesn’t add up to a reassuring picture. Read more.

…and speaking of agriculture: Have you heard about the “planetary health diet”

“The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised. It requires huge cuts in red meat-eating in western countries and radical changes across the world. The “planetary health diet” was created by an international commission seeking to draw up guidelines that provide nutritious food to the world’s fast-growing population. At the same time, the diet addresses the major role of farming – especially livestock – in driving climate change, the destruction of wildlife and the pollution of rivers and oceans“The world’s diets must change dramatically,” said Walter Willett at Harvard University and one of the leaders of the commission convened by the Lancet medical journal and the Eat Forum NGO. The report, published in the Lancet and being launched to policymakers in 40 cities around the world, also concluded that food waste must be halved to 15%.” Read more.

…on the other hand, not everyone agrees. This article gives various responses to the “planetary health diet” concept, including the thought that population reduction would be a far easier and more quickly effective way to reduce the strain on food production.

The corporate coup d’état

A movie trailer for a documentary regarding the corporatization of democracy. “The idea that after an experiment of a hundred and fifty to two hundred years of becoming more and more democratic that we would suddenly slip back into this old, authoritarian, top-down model – that is very destructive.”

Climate lawsuits

From Fossil Free News: A new climate lawsuit in France is making headlines as the most signed petition in the country’s history. L’Affaire du siècle saw over one million signatures in just two days, and is now well over 2 million. A group of NGOs behind the initiative will take the French State to court to ensure it respects its climate commitments. And climate litigation isn’t just making waves in France – this article shares some exciting climate lawsuits to watch, from Colombia to the Netherlands. 

The militant campaign of the suffragettes

Meet the suffragettes who smashed windows and started fires to raise awareness for their cause – yes, the ACTUAL suffragettes. This clip was recently shared for this blog. Today, of course, these women would be called terrorists. The clip isn’t long enough to describe the tortures the suffragettes were subjected to in prison, but it would behoove everyone who can’t be bothered to vote to remember that people have in the past and do still today die for this right we take for granted.

…and in the category of “You can’t make this stuff up:” Top oil lobbyist wants (US) government open to keep rolling back environmental rules

Read more.

The last words are hopeful ones: Moving mountains, one stone at a time

“…when the government talks peace and reconciliation, but then sends in the police; when we are told to obey the law, but the government refuses; when the government buys and builds pipelines instead of finding another, more sustainable way, there is trouble ahead. When real steps toward a sustainable future are dismissed as impractical or inconvenient, all we can do is carry away one small stone at a time. Each of us. One way or other, we will move that mountain. Someday, we will have a just and sustainable society. Whether it resembles the Canada we know today depends on whether our government really is for the people, or not.” Read more.

Thought of the day:

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