Must Reads from Last Week

BC Electoral Reform Referendum

Is Fairness Enough of a Reason for Proportional Representation?

Excerpt: “My friends and I want to know what the question is going to be,” she said. “I get that proportional representation is fairer than first-past-the-post. But that’s not enough for me and my friends. We like things the way they are. Some of my friends are Conservatives, but I’m not. But I agree with them.  Just because first-past-the-post isn’t fair, well that’s not enough.” Read more.

Letters to the Editor on PR

Read more and more and more.



Learn About Solar Energy at Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Open House

DATE:  May 29, 2018, 7-9 p.m.
LOCATION: CVRD boardroom, 550 Comox Road, Courtenay

As part of its commitment to community sustainability, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) will be hosting a solar power and energy efficiency open house from 7 to 9 pm on Tuesday, May 29 at the CVRD boardroom, 550 Comox Road in Courtenay. This is a great opportunity to learn more about solar energy and how it may work for you and your home. This is also a great opportunity to learn about other home heating and energy efficiency incentives available from the CVRD. Read more.

Elevate the Rainbow Intersection

DATE:  June 2, 2018, 7-11 p.m.
LOCATION:  5th Street & Duncan Avenue, Courtenay

The Comox Valley is coming together in the heart of Courtenay to celebrate diversity and community! Join Elevate, Downtown Courtenay, Comox Valley Pride, Atlas Cafe and a host of other friends and allies from across the Valley to ‘Elevate the Intersection‘ and launch the new rainbow crosswalk installation at the corner of 5th and Duncan Ave. From 7 pm to 11 pm. The whole Valley is invited to come eat, dance, play and celebrate!

This FREE family friendly event will include hands-on arts and crafts, delicious food trucks, community tents and much more! The party kicks off at 7 pm with DJ Jamie McCue! Then at 8 pm the crowds converge for a high energy mash-up with performances from local theatre students, Kumugwe Cultural Society, Hip Hop Coalition, Just in Time Choir, Arcana Dea Dance, COZY, Temple Fusion Bellydance and many more! Then stick around for a giant street dance party celebration with DJ duo Teamwork from 9:30-11!

Don’t miss a very special CV Pop-Up Choir event where YOU get to join the choir! Everyone is welcome from 6:30-7:30 at the Sid Williams Plaza to learn the harmonies and be part of a mass pop up choral performance of True Colours by Cindy Lauper at 8 pm.

Elevate the Intersection is all about the community coming together to express appreciation for, and commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice! Let’s celebrate this important milestone in the Comox Valley and dance our first (but not last) rainbow crosswalk into existence. Read more.

Clean, Green Energy Symposium, sponsored by Greens on Courtenay-Alberni

WHERE:  Knox United Church, Parksville,
DATE/TIME:  10-4, June 2, 2018

Guest speakers
- Guy Dauncey, practical utopian
- Micheal Mehta of Sweetspot Solar
- Island Community Solar Co-op
On site are Hakai Energy Solutions, Viridian Energy Co-op, Aztec Off Grid Solutions, ArroLectric and other clean energy solutions for you and me.
Open to everyone by your sustainable donations at the door.
Contact Sunshine for further information:

The Blanket Exercise – Potlatch 67-67 Teaching

DATE:  June 8, 2018, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION:  Native Sons Hall


The Blanket Exercise was developed by KAIROS to educate about the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and the impact of colonization throughout the centuries. It is historical, experiential, emotional, and personal. Participants are put in the shoes of Indigenous Peoples to help understand how decisions made by the Church and Government of Canada impacted and continue to impact Indigenous lives.

Doors open at 6:00 and the Exercise starts promptly at 6:30. The exercise itself runs approximately 45 minutes. There is a Debrief afterwards that allows participants to work through their experience together. The Debrief can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes.



Southern Resident Orcas

According to EcoJustice, “Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna made an important announcement: the Southern Residents, they said, face “imminent risks” to their recovery. They also announced the closure of several fisheries in key whale foraging areas.

These are two big, good news announcements for the whales. Only 76 members of the Southern Resident killer whale population remain and no successful births have been documented since 2015. Unless immediate action is taken, there is a high likelihood that these orcas will continue to decline and face extinction.” You can read more at the Fisheries and Oceans website. Also see CBC’s coverage.

Site C

Elizabeth May talks with us about her views why the Canadian federal government surprised everyone by leaving John Horgan’s BCNDP government and BC Hydro alone to fight in court against a pending injunction filed in the BC Supreme Court by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations to stop work on the Site C dam project. Watch here.

Kinder Morgan

Part 1:  This video was produced by the US National Wildlife Federation seven years after the Enbridge pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen (dilbit) ruptured in 2010 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This was dilbit with the solvents added to allow it to flow through the pipeline. When the dilbit sank in the river and bonded with the sand, it didn’t flow down to the water table, thank goodness. Out of 35 miles of contaminated river and creeks, and after 7 years since the pipeline rupture, there have been three miles (yes, that’s right – three miles) that have been cleaned up enough to qualify for a “no further action” report.

When the Kalamazoo spill first occurred, Enbridge brought in essentially paper towels in an effort to clean it up.

Part 2:  Cue the CBC News: The National’s documentary piece by Nick Purdon. Purdon takes a road trip following the route of KM’s pipeline and talks to people in five communities along the route. What was striking was the reasons given for building the expanded pipeline: Jobs and tourism. CBC’s piece (at least as broadcast) made no effort to put the pipeline into any larger context of the rationale for continuing to extract ever-more-expensive fossil fuels, or meeting climate change targets, or even expanding the clean energy sector to provide even more jobs than it already does. It’s as if people in Canada think time has stopped and there is absolutely no alternative to oil. Come on, we’re creative people. We have alternatives that will create jobs or increase tourism. It is not obvious in any case how a pipeline will bring more tourist dollars.

Part 3:  Is it magical thinking to believe that because building the pipeline will provide some short-term jobs that’s good enough? What about the risks, as demonstrated by the Kalamazoo pipeline rupture? The Nature of Things has an episode on magic and how our brains see or don’t see things that are right there. Scientists are looking at how our brains see or don’t see magic. However, the most relevant part of this episode to the discussion around pipelines is that magic can change people’s attitudes. The segment is really worth watching. Starting at about 38 minutes in, magicians/researchers went into the streets and asked people to rate their attitudes to statements or policies. While the subject was filling in the form, the researcher was filling in an identical form with different answers. While the subjects were often extremely polarized in their answers, the ‘fake’ answers the researcher put on the form were much more centrist. Once the subject had finished his/her form, the researcher/magician deftly superimposed the ‘fake’ form over top of the real one and then asked the subject to justify the ratings as they now appeared. Interestingly, the subjects didn’t realize the answers they were now looking at were different than the ones they had just recorded themselves. What was amazing, however, was that these subjects were able to defend the centrist positions with articulate arguments, even though their own answers had been much more extreme. So these researchers are positing that these people’s attitudes were actually changed in that moment because they brain had to come up with a justification for what they perceived as their own attitudes.

Part 4:  On May 22, there was a protest on Parliament Hill. Several indigenous leaders spoke, and the Federal NDP and Green leaders, and Maude Barlow of Council of Canadians spoke as well.

Part 5: On May 23, 2018, the Canadian “Senate has passed legislation [Bill S-235] declaring the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in the national interest.” Read more.

Part 6:  And now BC is suing Alberta over the pipeline expansion. Read more.

Part 7:  Lest folks in BC feel alone in the fight against Kinder Morgan, check out this story from Seattle from March. That prompted a March 19 story in The National Post, calling the Washington State protests hypocritical. Just a few days ago CBC: The National carried another story from Seattle. And on May 15, Greenpeace and the Mosquito Fleet blocked an oil barge from getting into Kinder Morgan’s Seattle facility.

Part 8:  Out of the mouths of babes, high school students walk out to protest Kinder Morgan. “We’re very optimistic, we’re very ambitious, we’re dreamers and we bring a lot of ideas the table.” Read here and here. Earlier this month some students were taken on a field trip to the Kinder Morgan site as part of their leadership course curriculum. According to, the “left-leaning activist group the Council of Canadians,” took a photo of the young people in front of the watch house. If Council of Canadians is left-leaning, one can only wonder how far right leans! They do quote “political commentator,” Ryan Pineo as decrying this trip as training “kids how to be activists.” Ryan Pineo has written for in the past, so perhaps that tells you where he is on the left-right spectrum. Thank goodness Greens are neither Left nor Right, but Forward!

From Kinder Morgan to the 2019 Federal Election:  Canada has a Federal election next year. Not having magicians as part of Green Party canvassing teams, could we somehow modify this idea into a canvassing tool? Could we ask people their position on an issue, then ask them if they could come up with a rationale for why someone would hold the opposite position? This Ted Talk on deep canvassing is truly inspiring. This is addressing actually reducing prejudice through connecting with people and some in the Green Party of Canada are starting to talk about the concept of deep canvassing.

BC Green Party AGM

June 1-3, 2018. Read more.  Keynotes for Convention 2018 are “The emerging economy”, “Politics in the #MeToo era” and “A 21st-century democracy”.




DATE:  June 16, 2018.  Doors open 2 p.m. Meeting starts 2:30
LOCATION:  Campbell River Community Centre, 401-11 Ave..
GUEST SPEAKER:  Sonia Furstenau, BC Greens MLA
Check it out and RSVP to

Elizabeth May’s Week in Review

Busy as always, Elizabeth May was back in Parliament this week.  Read more. Watch her tell the top 5 whoppers about Kinder Morgan.

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



Assessing the Global Climate in March 2018

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and its National Centers for Environmental Information, have submitted a report looking at land and oceanic temperatures globally as well as Arctic and Antarctic sea ice and snow cover extent. It also has a graphic showing “selected significant climate anomalies and events” just for March 2018.

 Read more. This site also allows one to look at the climate at a glance for discrete time periods.

Back in February 2018 there were a couple of conflicting reports on the Trump administration’s funding for NOAA.  One report by the Ocean Conservancy suggests Trump is considering major funding cuts. However, in a March 2018 blog, the National Research Defense Council (NRDC) reports that the omnibus budget bill passed by Congress and signed by Mr. Trump keeps the NOAA budget more or less intact. The author lists the various NOAA programs that are preserved, which is an impressive list. (The NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement.)

Countries are Shifting to Renewable Energy Sources While Canada Fiddles in the Winds of [Climate] Change

A couple of weeks ago this blog reported on BC Hydro perhaps ending its program where it buys excess solar power from people who have installed solar panels. It seems a regressive move. Here’s an article that talks about countries that are actively investing in renewable energy. Read more. Caveat: This site seems to rely heavily on Wikipedia for its information about British Columbia.

Poverty is Sexist

The organization ONE has a campaign to address the barriers holding women and girls back.

Excerpt:  “Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere. But the gender gap is wider for women living in extreme poverty. It’s no secret - education is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against extreme poverty and advancing women’s economic empowerment. That’s why ONE has teamed up with World Vision and Plan International to push for this initiative that will support 3.7 million children.

Empowering women and girls is not only the right thing to do, it’s a smart investment. An additional year of schooling for girls is estimated to result in almost a 12% increase in wages.”

While it’s too late to attend this, the Comox Valley held a fundraiser on Friday, May 25, for Ugandan women. The Widows’ Gardens Project provides Ugandan widows with the means to access land for food production.

There are numerous organizations addressing women and poverty in various countries.  Widows for Peace Through Democracy held an event in March 2018 parallel to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Their priority was women and girls living in rural areas. The recommendations coming from this event are both stark and inspirational.

Excerpt:  Therefore the panel’s focus was on standard setting and what should be UN Women, governmental and the international community’s practical responses to eliminate the systematic, widespread violation of widows’ human rights that result in their extreme poverty and vulnerability to violence. Also, what concrete steps they need to take to recognize and support widows’ key social and economic roles in their families and in the wider community; as sole caregivers of children and other dependents, often economically and sexually exploited in modern day slavery, treated like chattels to be inherited as part of the dead husband’s estate; forced to depend on child labor [sic] and begging and exploited labor to survive.

Widowhood is also a major contributing factor to intergenerational poverty, as children of widows are often denied, through poverty, education and training leading to their economic and social exploitation. In consequence, millions of young people are denied a decent life, and become a cost to their country, rather than a source of future national prosperity and peace. They risk becoming street children or unaccompanied migrant and asylum seekers. Evidence shows that the children of conflict-afflicted widows are vulnerable to enlistment as child soldiers and even suicide bombers.”

Ireland’s referendum on abortion

Ireland’s referendum on Friday, May 25, may indicate a huge change as exit polls raise speculation that abortion will be decriminalised. Read more.

Meanwhile Iceland has just elected an environmentalist as Prime Minister

Ms. Jakobsdottir [of the Left-Green Movement] will govern in coalition with parties of very different creeds: the conservative Independence Party and the centre-right Progressive Party. Among other things, she promises to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040. She “also stressed on Thursday the importance of gender equality, vowed further steps to counter climate change and expressed a willingness to have Iceland take in more refugees.” Read more.

Thought of the day:

So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was. (Molly Ivins)

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