Must Reads from Last Week

BC Electoral Reform Referendum


What are the features of the three proposed systems?

Part 1: Gisela Ruckert from Fair Vote Kamloops talks about the systems on BC’s referendum.

Part 2: Another video explaining the three systems.

Part 3: Simone Weil believed political parties should be abolished

Andrew Nikiforuk’s essay on Weil reveals just how prescient she was back in the 1940s. Nikiforuk doesn’t address proportional representation and whether this mitigates the tendency of the party system towards the stifling of democracy. But, given that parties are here to stay for the time being, can we hope for a better democracy if the referendum passes?

Excerpt: “Weil measured the performance of political parties against three critical things that matter in life: truth, justice and the public interest. She found that they dishonored all three principles because a party’s essential character was anathema to such pursuits…To Weil all political parties possess three dangerous traits: they work as machines to “generate collective passions;” they strive to exert pressure upon the minds of their members with propaganda; and they have but one goal — to promote their own growth “without limits.” Read more.

Part 4: Injunction being sought to halt the referendum

The Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA) and the Canada West Construction Union have filed a request for an injunction to stop the referendum. One of their issues is that the referendum spending rules and time limit are violating their (ICBA’s) freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They feel that five months and $500,000 for one major opponent and $200,000 for each third-party advertiser doesn’t allow them enough time nor enough money to spend on opposing the referendum. Now why would they see an improved, more democratic voting process as contrary to their interests? They also claim the referendum violates ICBA’s right to freedom of association because opponent groups cannot be more closely aligned with political parties. Hmmm, which political party might that be, one wonders? Here’s an excellent Facebook post by Dr. Michael J. Prince, UVic Political Scientist, responding to this group requesting an injunction.



Water – Locally and globally

Part 1: Water For Life:  Forests and Lands Ministry Meeting
DATE/TIME: July 16, 2018, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Merville Hall

Hosted by Merville Water Guardians, “The FLNRORD Ministry will present the process used to approve the water licence on Sackville Road. Question and answer session to follow in second hour. Your chance to get answers and voice your opposition to the people who made the decision.”

Part 2: Protecting and Saving Water, Together: Of interest on the issue of water, the New York Times has apaid postby Nestle Waters, called.” In this paid ad made to look like journalism, Maurizio Patarnello, CEO of Nestlé Waters, describes “plans to certify all company factories to Alliance for Water Stewardship standards by 2025. Here, he discusses the company’s vision of shared water management and the need for collective action to protect this essential resource for the future.” The Alliance for Water Stewardship standards “is the sole global standard guiding users on how to be responsible water stewards in their own local watersheds.” The kicker here – Nestle’s helped to craft the standard. Don’t be confused – this is in no way journalism. The fine print at the bottom states, “The news and editorial staffs of The New York Times had no role in this post’s preparation.” Perhaps just like governments had no role in the preparation of the Alliance for Water Stewardship standards.

Part 3: In the Comox Valley, the Morrison Creek Headwaters, through the Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT), has embarked on a project to acquire 22.5 hectares of land that contain vital salmon habitat as well as forested tributaries and wetlands important to diverse wildlife. Here’s a lovely, short video.

Part 4:  The Comox Glacier is melting to the extent that it made it into the in 2016. The three photos were already stark in 2016, before we have had continued “hottest years on record.” Read more. It’s now 2018 and water is an increasingly pressing issue everywhere.

Part 5:  How to fight desertification and drought at home and away

“A growing human population and runaway consumption are putting unsustainable pressures on the natural resources we depend on for survival. Our misuse and abuse of land and water is changing fertile land into deserts.” Read more.

Gay Pride

Part 1:  Drag Queen Story Hour
DATE/TIME: July 26, 10:30-11:30 a.m. 
LOCATION: Courtenay Library

Join us in collaboration with the Vancouver Island Regional Library as they host an exciting new event. Drag Queen Story Hour will feature our favourite Drag Queen, the beautiful, Miss Vikki as she reads from her favourite picture books to our kids. This is the first one of its kind for the Pride Society of the Comox Valley in an effort to support gender diversity and literacy in a fun, inclusive environment.

Part 2:  Pride Flag Raising

Monday, July 23

  • Town of Comox – 9:00am
  • Village of Cumberland – 10:00am
  • City of Courtenay – 12:00pm
  • 19 Wing Comox - Base Ceremony

Tuesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.
North Island College

Part 2:  Burger & Beer
DATE/TIME: July 26, 5-9 p.m.
LOCATION: Prime Chophouse & Wine Bar

Come in and enjoy your choice of a glass of wine or pint of beer with a Prime burger or house meatball pasta for only $20. With every burger/pasta meal $5 will be in support of the Pride Society of the Comox Valley. 

Part 3:  Pride in the Park
DATE/TIME: July 28, 12-5 p.m.
LOCATION: Simms Millenium Park

This is the final event of Pride Week. We are hosting a family friendly, all-inclusive BBQ fundraiser. Come out and enjoy the entertainment and live music, community partner information booths, children’s bounce and activity tent and have a burger or hotdog. 



Building homes the natural and non-patriarchal way

Faded and sun-dappled photographs decorate the cover of Mudgirls Manifesto: Handbuilt Homes, Handcrafted Lives. The images evoke the feeling of a cherished family album — that is, if your family built quirky homes fit for hobbits. Written by the Mudgirls Natural Building Collective, the book catalogues the members’ experiences constructing houses out of natural and recycled materials like cob, straw bale and wood, while showcasing their vision of building community free of capitalist, hierarchical and patriarchal structures.” Read more.

 Site C: 

Part 1:  Rally 

DATE/TIME: Monday, July 11, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
LOCATION: MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office, 436 5th St, Courtenay 

RALLY! We are gathering to mark the shocking announcement by Premier Horgan about continuing with Site C. Bring a sign and a letter to our MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard and Premier John Horgan.
Sponsored by Islanders for the Peace

Part 2: Damming the Peace – The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam

DATE/TIME: July 11, 7-9 pm
LOCATION: Florence Filberg Centre
All are welcome! Admission is free or by donation. 

DATE/TIME: July 12, 1 pm
LOCATION: Vancouver Island University

Comox Valley Chapter members of The Council of Canadians Pacific Region welcome Author Wendy Holm to discuss her new book DAMMING THE PEACE: The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam

Ongoing opposition by landowners, legal challenges by First Nations, cost over-runs and unstable geological conditions all indicate that the future of B.C.’s most expensive infrastructure project is still in question. The B.C. government decided to continue the Site C Dam in December 2017, but large questions remain about the estimates of the project’s costs and its long-term economic viability. 

Agrologist Wendy Holm testified during the hearings on Site C, and continues to oppose the project. From her perspective, preserving this prime horticultural land outweighs any argument about our province’s need for increased energy. She has observed that the Peace River Valley is the only large tract of land that could expand BC’s horticultural production and that it rivals the Fraser Valley for its rich soils and microclimate. 

This event is part of a six-stop speaking tour. See below for the individual event pages for the other stops:

Page for all events:
Comox Valley:
Powell River:

Kinder Morgan

Part 1: Order of Canada recipient and former Teachers’ Federation President among those arrested on the eve of Canada Day. Read more.

Part 2: High-ranking civil servant who oversaw TransMountain pipeline negotiations with First Nations promoted to Treasury Board. Read more.

Part 3:  Greenpeace blocks a tanker in Vancouver Harbour. Read more. RCMP say all will be charged with Mischief & Section 121 of the Canada Shipping Act and released on PTA’s.

BC Council for International Cooperation

BCCIC “engages its members and others to share knowledge, build relationships, and develop their capacity towards achieving sustainable global development.” Their report on Keeping Score reveals their analysis of the targets for each of the UN sustainable development goals, from a Canadian perspective what the problem or issue is that is being addressed by this goal, how Canada is performing to solve or address this goal, Canada’s potential, ad recommendations. They have an International Centre for Research on Women with a report card on the 2018 G7 commitments to gender equality. Lastly, Simon Fraser University held a conference where groups competed for development project funding. “The winning project pitch centred asking the question: “How do Indigenous communities value and measure progress in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework?”  The question rose from the group’s experience with Indigenous people’s responses to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including expressing a different value system than the framework around what indicators for poverty and health look like. These differences include valuing access to cultural needs such as traditional food, elder knowledge, and spiritual places and objects.” Read more.



Big Oil – Kevin Taft

Kevin Taft, author of Oil’s Deep State, on important stories that are getting marginalized in the pipeline debate. Read more and see here for more of Taft’s pieces.

NOTE: Kevin Taft is going to be doing a speaking tour in BC before the Green Party of Canada Convention in September. Greens of North Island-Powell River (NIPR) are thinking of having him come to the North Island for a talk. Contact us at if you’d like to help.

Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention

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

 Leadnow June 2018 community priorities survey

The results of Leadnow’s survey are out and they’re interesting. Results are Canada-wide, with two sections for Ontario and BC, given the political activities in those two provinces. Interestingly, growing inequality and poverty was of concern to most respondents, with the rise of far-right populism coming second. Also very tightly clustered with those two issues were corporate power and its influence over decision-making, and runaway climate change. Very interesting was the section on whether respondents felt their values were shared by the Trudeau Liberals. This graph covered the time period from November 2015 until June 2018. This is very revealing. Read more.

U.S. says Canada suppressing data on coal mine pollution

This article outlines a pattern of egregious environmental violations and malpractice on the part of Teck coal mines over the years. The irony here is that it is the U.S. bringing this complaint when the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. has been busy dismantling environmental protections since the Trump administration took office.

Excerpt: “Frustrated U.S. representatives on a commission tasked with protecting the quality of water flowing across the Canada/U.S. border have gone public with claims that Canadian commissioners are refusing to accept scientific data that shows an increase in selenium pollution from B.C.’s Elk Valley coal mines… There is a question as to whether the technology even exists to remove selenium from large volumes of flowing water and there is no viable solution to remove selenium from groundwater.” Read more.



The juxtaposition of Marxist/socialist thought and ecological theory

This piece in the Monthly Review traces the origins of the concept of ecosocialism. “…this special issue of MR is dedicated specifically to the further development of the ecological critique embodied in Marx’s theory of metabolic rift—with which the magazine has been closely associated—and hence to the continuing evolution of ecological Marxism.”

What do you do if your house is on fire? Saving the Earth

This video from 2013 is well worth the 40 minutes it takes to listen to, even today. Kathleen Dean Moore is articulate and passionate. She is a professor of philosophy and environmental ethics, and speaks on climate activism. She was the speaker at an event in Portland Oregon educating people about industry attempts to move oil, coal and gas through the northwest.

Women in politics

Part 1: Ilhan Omar is a Muslim woman who is a U.S. State Representative and is running for the U.S. house. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary challenge against an incumbent in New York State. Other women to watch include Rashida Tlaib, bidding to be the first Muslim woman elected to Congress in Michigan’s 13th District, an opening created by the resignation of another longtime Democrat power broker, John Conyers Jr., in a sexual harassment scandal. Read more.

Part 2: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in this video: “We cannot afford for a convenient time to resist….”

Part 3: This blog has previously talked about the Young Women’s Leadership Network. As municipal elections and the 2019 election approach, it is timely to reference their Resources for Political Institutions. “We work with political institutions including, but not limited to, political parties, campaigns, electoral riding associations, as well as unions and grassroots movements. We provide evidence-based and proven models for identifying and addressing sexual violence that result in ongoing commitments and preventative measures toward creating safer spaces for women in politics. Our resources are designed for campaign managers and organizers, party staff, riding  association executives, and survivors of sexual violence.”

Part 4:  “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”  (Pat Robertson, 1992 Iowa fundraising letter opposing a state equal-rights amendment)

Thought of the day:

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”— Baba Dioum

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