Must Reads from Last Week

The Must Reads will not be publishing again until April 14, 2019.



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.

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


DATE/TIME: March 23, 2019, 3:30-5:30 pm
LOCATION: Maritime Heritage Centre, 621 Island Hwy., Campbell River (map)

This is the official launch of the 2019 Federal election campaign for the Greens of North Island-Powell River. Elizabeth May has been deemed the Party leader who is the most ethical. She’s also one of the most dynamic speakers. Her events are always well worth attending. Greens and Green-curious are all welcome!



Herring fishery shut down on BC’s coast in 2018, so why not this year?

Traditional food is created when a spruce branch is placed in a ball of spawning herring. Photo Gerry KahrmannGERRY KAHRMANN / PROVINCE

The February 10 edition of the Must Reads told you that the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) was going to let the herring fishery in the Salish Sea go ahead, despite it being one of the last viable herring spawning areas. Well, on March 3, 2018, DFO shut down that fishery, citing reconciliation and First Nations’ concerns. The Heiltsuk Nation said, ““It’s the first time (DFO) has considered Heiltsuk traditional knowledge…This is a really big deal for us.” We shouldn’t be too impressed with this decision, though. The Heiltsuk have been working towards this since 1997. “The stage was set for co-management of the fishery in a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision that recognized the Heiltsuk First Nation’s right to trade in herring.” So what happened in 2019, that DFO decided it should go ahead again?

Former Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin to head inquiry into BC Legislature corruption

Read more.

BC Poverty Reduction Coalition

BC has one of the highest poverty rates in Canada, and no plan to tackle it directly. Every citizen pays for poverty in one way or another. It’s an issue that is going to become more pressing as machine learning and artificial intelligence become more widespread. Read more/join here.

CleanBC telephone town halls with George Heyman, BC’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

George Heyman is holding telephone town halls to talk about “CleanBC” and what a renewable future means. Council of Canadians is calling on people with progressive views to join the calls and speak up about why moving to renewables is essential to ensuring a sustainable future for us all. All the hype around CleanBC sounds wonderful, but in the meantime, the Horgan government is supporting the Site C dam, new pipelines and the LNG industry – with the exception of the Trans Mountain pipeline. For a government promising lower carbon emissions and clean energy, this is not the way to go.

Please make your voice heard on the town hall conference calls this month. We all need to speak up for a future with alternative energy sources and no more pipelines, no more LNG. Tax dollars need to be spent shoring up sustainability, not rushing us to the brink of climate catastrophe. You can register here.

CleanBC town hall conference call dates and times (sign up link below):

  • March 6, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (PT) for the Lower Mainland and Southwestern B.C.
  • March 13, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (PT) for the Kootenays, the Interior and Northern B.C.
  • March 25, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (PT) for Vancouver Island and communities throughout the coast.
  • March 27, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (PT) for the Lower Mainland and Southwestern B.C.

In the wake of a wildfire: A story of resilience and renewal

A woman with a passion can be a force of nature. This story in National Geographic profiles the protection and rebuilding of a resort in Northern BC, which was threatened by fire in July 2017. After spending 25 years building up her business, Allyson Rogers was not about to let it go up in flames without a fight. Rogers and her staff fought valiantly and saved as much as they could, but in the midst of all the smoke, danger and hard work, they found small miracles. “Lush green forest glades, thriving wetlands, hidden meadows—a few remarkable places remained untouched by the fire. “A refugia is an area that has escaped the flames—an island of green,” explains Allyson. “These oases contain the mother trees whose cones spur regeneration.” They also promised hope for renewal.”



Beaver Lake Cree have their day in court

Back in June 2018, the Must Reads told you about the Beaver Lake Cree and their fight with the Government of Canada. In February they were in court. “[Elders] spoke of the broken promises reflected in the 19,000+ Crown authorizations for tar sands and other industrial development in their territory…Canada’s position in Court stands in stark contrast to the high-level promises of the Trudeau government to promote reconciliation and to listen to Indigenous people.” Read more.

The SNC Lavalin scandal

Part 1: Jane Philpott follows Jody Wilson-Raybould out of Cabinet
While there are multiple stories to read on Monday’s news that Philpott was resigning from Cabinet, Paul Wells of Maclean’s takes a broader view.
Excerpt: “The big stories in Toronto and Ottawa pose serious questions about this country’s cultural commitment to the rule of law. If “but my opponents!” becomes the constant excuse for every transgression against what Chrystia Freeland likes to call “the rules-based international order,” then we are not better governed than Poland.”

Part 2: Trudeau’s offer of Indigenous Services to Wilson-Raybould like ‘asking Nelson Mandela to administer apartheid’
Excerpt: “Any person that had any kind of understanding, even a basic understanding of Indigenous relations with the Crown, would know that the most offensive and indeed racist legislation on the books is the Indian Act…Asking her to administer the Indian Act is not only inappropriate, it is deeply humiliating…It would be akin to asking Nelson Mandela to administer apartheid.”
Read more.

Part 3: The two women seizing control of Ottawa
This is an important op ed by Shannon Proudfoot, writing for Maclean’s, that discusses how Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott are driving the story coming out of Ottawa right now. Being the drivers happens so seldom since women are most usually the ones “consumed; they do not do the consuming.” But these two women are “booting the boys’ club out of its default position as the doers and deciders.” Read more.

Part 4: Elizabeth May on Trudeau’s March 9 SNC Lavalin announcement
The announcement that wasn’t. Read more.
Excerpt: “The failure to grasp the importance of prosecutorial independence and the failure to seek evidence before succumbing to job blackmail are at the heart of this scandal,” said Ms. May. “We still require an independent review of the inappropriate pressure on our former Attorney General. And we need a team of corporate governance experts to prepare scenarios to protect jobs if SNC-Lavalin is convicted.”

Part 5: Trudeau’s resignation is the Liberal Party’s only hope
…and that won’t be enough unless Wilson-Raybould or Philpott take over. In this article in the Tyee, Crawford Killian paints a pretty bleak picture of the state of the Liberal caucus. Killian sums it up by saying, Trudeau “has one chance to save the Liberal party, by putting it in the hands of the women who stood their ground.” Read more.

Part 6: Lessons to be learned from the Liberals’ choices in the SNC Lavalin scandal
Since Justin Trudeau said there were “lessons to be learned” but declined to actually list any lessons he had learned, the Tyee staff came up with a bunch - all spot on. Read more.

Part 7: The hidden key to the SNC-Lavalin scandal
“It’s highly significant that SNC is no stranger to disciplinary action over its conduct. During the 2001-2011 period of the alleged Libyan bribery, the company has:

  • been barred from bidding on Asian Development Bank projects for fabricating qualifications and documents (2004);
  • settled corruption allegations with the African Development Bank over bribes in Mozambique (2008) and Uganda (2010);
  • bribed Canadian officials with $22.5 million in relation to a McGill hospital contract (2009);
  • been credibly found by the World Bank as participating in high-level corruption in Bangladesh in 2009-2010, and entered into a voluntary debarment from World Bank-financed projects;
  • entered into a voluntary agreement to compensate seven Quebec municipalities for obtaining contracts through questionable means (1996-2011);
  • made illegal federal election campaign donations (2004-2011), entering into a voluntary compliance agreement with the federal elections commissioner.” Read more.

…and still more difficulties with strong women: Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with ‘hostility, anger’ in private Trudeau talks

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 25, 2018.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is a first-term MP from the Toronto area. In February, she decided to leave politics and spoke to the Prime Minister. It didn’t go well. “Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with hostility and anger from Justin Trudeau when she told him she was leaving politics, prompting her to speak out about the Prime Minister’s behaviour.” Read more.

Also listen to Caesar-Chavannes in the video in this article from 2017, where Caesar-Chavannes talks about body shaming for women. “Body shaming of any woman in any form from the top of her head to the soles of her feet is wrong,” Caesar-Chavannes said. “What makes us different makes us unique and beautiful so I will continue to rock these braids.”

Saying No to power: The resignations of women cabinet ministers

Mary Ellen Smith is seen in this 1918 portrait.

In 1921, suffragist Mary Ellen Smith was elected as BC’s first female MLA. She resigned, however, “when she discovered she was neither to criticize nor advise her colleagues in government.”
“First in 1921 and now in 2019, the resignations of women cabinet ministers have exposed the limits of Canadian liberalism. Suffragist Mary Ellen Smith, the first female cabinet minister in the British Empire, resigned from the British Columbia cabinet almost a century ago. Ninety-eight years later, Indigenous MP Jody Wilson-Raybould quit the federal cabinet, followed by activist doctor Jane Philpott. Even though the events played out almost 100 years apart, they’ve revealed the unrequited hopes of disadvantaged communities for a fair dealing.” Read more.

Indigenous woman attacked at Trudeau rally

“A young woman who was protesting PM Trudeau’s policies was assaulted by a Liberal supporter, the Prime Minister’s Team removed her and did nothing about the attacker. This is what happened. This is how the Prime Minister acted when an Indigenous woman was assaulted in front of him. This is Canada.” Read more.

Pipeline news: Canada’s pipeline-climate policy paradox

Energy Mix has compiled various articles connecting various pieces of this paradox, from SNC Lavalin to to collateral damage to Alberta’s farmers to the Supreme Court holding oil and gas companies to account. Read more.

PEI Greens maintain lead

“The Greens, meanwhile, have maintained their position as the most popular political party in the province, rising slightly from 37 per cent support in November to 38 per cent support.” Read more.

Tobacco companies ordered to pay smokers who couldn’t quit

It’s amazing to think this is still being litigated. It demonstrates just how deep the tobacco companies’ pockets are, and how desperately they will defend their “profit at all costs” agenda. We shouldn’t act surprised that Big Oil uses the same tactics, as does Monsanto/Bayer, etc. Read more.
Excerpt: “In what is being described as a major defeat for the tobacco industry, the Quebec Court of Appeal on Friday upheld a landmark judgment ordering three companies to pay billions of dollars in damages to Quebec smokers.”

Pipeline news: Quebec organic farmer wants National Energy Board to protect landowners

Jean Gosselin stands at the entrance of his organic farm in Lévis, Que. on Sept. 28, 2017. Photo by Clothilde Goujard

An organic farmer in Quebec gives the view on dealing with pipelines from that province’s perspective. It turns out it’s not so different than the experience in BC.
Excerpt: “Gosselin said he used the term “pseudo-negotiation” because he said that with the existing laws, power lies with the companies. “From the (perspective) of the landowner, someone arrives at your place, puts a revolver on the corner of the table and a cheque of a thousand dollars and you have a choice. You accept to collaborate, or it can end in being expropriated. That’s the alternative you have,” he said. “The negotiation — there’s not really any.”” Read more.

Just outside Jasper National Park, a coal mine threatens an Indigenous community’s water supply

Communities in BC have experience with Teck Resources. The Must Reads has referenced them in December 2017 in connection with a tar sands expansion project, in July 2018 in the context of the US Environmental Protection Agency accusing Canada of suppressing data on coal mine pollution, and again in December 2018 in connection with selenium poisoning from five Teck coal mines. This article in the Narwhal reveals more of the same, with the added factor of the Alberta regulator seemingly not paying very close attention. As an added bonus, check out this site that lists the royalties the Government of Alberta might expect to get from this Cheviot mine. This is an interesting site in that it provides royalties from other coal and potash companies as well.
Excerpt: “As she conducted research for her piece, Cantieri said she found very little written about the proposed expansion of the Cheviot mine. “There was really nothing on this expansion at all. It was a little concerning because Teck is pushing through basically a whole new set of mines under an old permit that doesn’t require them to go through a new environmental assessment…They’re using an environmental assessment from the ’90s.” Read more.

Our democracy is as threatened as our wild salmon

The February 16, 2019, edition of Must Reads told you about “the virus that has the DFO sticking its head in the sand.” Despite the court case that was the subject of that article, people are skeptical that the Federal government will follow the Court’s direction. Read more.
Excerpt: “‘It’s a good decision but we really do need the (fisheries) minister to actually listen to the decision and take some action,’ said Stan Proboszcz, biologist and science advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. A 2015 court decision reached a similar conclusion, ruling that the DFO should be upholding the law—which, according to Morton, largely fell on deaf ears. ‘It’s against the law not to test for (PRV),’ she said. ‘This is the second case I’ve won on this. In the first case, four fisheries ministers ignored the ruling and, honestly, I did not know it was possible that our ministers could pick and choose which laws of Canada they’re going to follow. ‘Our democracy is as threatened as our wild salmon.’”



Animal rights: Refuse to ride campaign

A group in India is reaching out to tourists in hopes of deterring them to ride elephants as part of their tourism experience. “These rides seem innocent enough on the surface, what with their colorfully painted elephants and the stunning and smiley Instagram posts, but the truth that lies behind the facade is dark indeed.” Read more.

Maintaining hope in a time of crisis

As uncertainty and denial about climate change have diminished, they have been replaced by similarly paralyzing feelings of panic, anxiety, and resignation. (Photograph by Mason Trinca / The Washington Post / Getty)

George Monbiot and Bill McKibbin have written about how they maintain hope in the face of the global warming crisis bearing down on us. Many others have as well.

Last week a new book came on the market. The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells begins with, “It is worse, much worse, than you think.” And yet he says people need not despair - they just need to act. And fear is useful, Wallace-Wells says: “The threat of mutually assured destruction motivated world leaders to end the Cold War, and fear of cancer has led people to quit smoking. “It’s a little too simplistic to think that anything that is scary is inevitably paralyzing to the public, and I think it’s a little patronizing.” Read more. This site also has an interview with Wallace-Wells.

The US is trying to end the longest oil spill in history. And this company is fighting against it in court

Oil platforms sit in the murky shadows of clouds in the Gulf of Mexico. Taylor Energy’s downed platform was one of thousands off the coast of Louisiana. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

This oil spill has been going on for 15 years! Yes, that’s not a typo - 15 years. From the Beacon newsletter: “You know all about the BP oil spill, but have you heard about the Taylor oil spill — the longest-running in American history? Taylor Energy’s wells in the Gulf of Mexico have been damaged since 2004, when Hurricane Ivan hit. One estimate says it leaks around 700 barrels of oil per day. Instead of cleaning up its mess, the company recently filed multiple suits against the government, alleging the spill isn’t as bad as reports say.”

Why Toledo just gave legal rights to Lake Erie

The February 23 edition of Must Reads told you about a proposition being considered in Toledo, Ohio, to give the lake rights that would allow citizens to sue polluters on behalf of the lake. Well, it passed! In a special election, 61% of voters votes yes on the measure. Read more. And in the vein of “it’s a small world, one of the men who started that citizen initiative is the son of one of the members of the Greens of Courtenay-Alberni riding!
Excerpt: “The ballot measure will amend the city’s charter to establish that Lake Erie has the right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.” The goal of giving the lake legal rights, Linzey said, is for activists to be able to do “a survey of who’s the biggest polluters into the lake” and then bring lawsuits “to stop that pollution.”


Part 1: New Warnings on Plastic’s Health Risks as Fracking Industry Promotes New ‘Plastics Belt’ Build-Out

Read more.

Part 2: Fracking the World: Despite Climate Risks, Fracking Is Going Global

Read more.

City and sub-national action: Climate response from the ground up

Energy Mix has started a new project: To focus on what is being done on a local or semi-local basis to address global warming. There is a wealth of information here.
Excerpt: “Cities are on the front line of climate impacts. And provinces, states, and regions have a lot of say in the way practical climate solutions play out at the local level. As response to the climate crisis lags in many countries, urban and rural communities around the world are advancing climate solutions to deliver more resilient, livable communities for the citizens they serve. The patchwork performance of sub-national governments…gets complicated.” Read more.

Humans need not apply

We’ve been having conversations around machine learning and artificial intelligence. This video was made in 2014, which is amazing in itself in terms of how prescient it was. But the reality this talks about is coming ever closing and our governments must start making real plans to deal with this massive unemployment when it comes.

You’re not going to believe this, but …

No words can describe this comic, but don’t take it lightly.

March 8, International Women’s Day

Part 1: Guardians of the Planet: 15 women environmentalists you should know

This is from 2018, but is still relevant today. The first of the 15 women featured here lived from 1854 to 1930! Caring for the environment is not a new concept. Read more.

Part 2: Josephine Mandamin, water activist who walked 17,000 km around the Great Lakes, dies at 77

A photo from the initial Mother Nature Water Walk around Lake Superior in 2003. (Mother Nature Water Walk)

Excerpt: Josephine Mandamin, a well known environmental activist from Wikwemikong First Nation in Ontario, died Friday morning. She was 77. ​In 2003, concerned about the pollution of rivers and lakes, she co-founded Mother Earth Water Walk. She eventually circumnavigated the shores of all five Great Lakes, a total distance of more than 17,000 km. “As women, we are carriers of the water. We carry life for the people,” Mandamin said in 2016. “So when we carry that water, we are telling people that we will go any lengths for the water. We’ll probably even give our lives for the water if we have to.” Read more.

Part 3: Christiana Figueres: Fearless women will lead on climate action

Christiana Figueres on an expedition to Antarctica led by Fabian Dattner of Australia.
(Photo: Melania Guerra/Homeward Bound)

Excerpt: “As part of a Homeward Bound expedition (led by the visionary Australian woman Fabian Dattner), I spent 21 days in January on a boat with 80 women from the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. Together we witnessed the awesome majesty of icebergs and of whales swimming in the ocean. We witnessed the fragility of an entire continent most people will never have a chance to see. We braved gusts of up to 70 knots and 12-meter-high waves. We discussed leadership, the barriers to transformational change, and our role as women in protecting our earth and the future of humanity. I learned anew and was profoundly moved by how good women are at deep listening, at empathy and collective wisdom gathering, especially in times of transition. These qualities have never been more important or necessary for our species.” Read more.

Part 4:  50% of Canadians can’t name a female scientist or engineer

“According to a new report by international non-profit group Girls Who Code, one in two Canadians cannot name a single female scientist or engineer. In fact, 82 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they picture a man when they imagine a computer scientist.” Read more.

Part 5: Women in health, science, and innovation are collaborating globally

This is an excellent article, and an even better Ted Talk.
Excerpt: “These courageous women broke down norms and survived wars, abuse and gender and racial discrimination. They worked independently from men, in partnership with men and sometimes in rivalry with them. They have left legacies of greatness and other women like them continue their work today.”

Part 6: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021

Read more.

Part 7: BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) Delegates to the UN 63rd Session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW)

“In the spirit of International Women’s Day on 8 March, BCCIC is excited to be sending a delegation of women coming from diverse backgrounds to the upcoming 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women this March in New York, United States.  Selected from BCCIC’s membership, the 7 delegates will explore the central themes of this year’s CSW: how social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls can be further improved.” Read more.

Part 8: Higher, further faster: Marvel’s first female cinematic superhero

Whether or not this qualifies as progress for women is unclear on a philosophical level. But it is clearly an advance of some kind. Read more.
“Being a woman in a male-dominated industry sort of sucks, but it doesn’t suck any more than being a woman in the world. My advice? Be terrifying.” — Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel comic book writer.”

Thought of the day

“i stand
on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
what can i do
to make this mountain taller
so the women after me
can see farther
- legacy”

― Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers

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