Must Reads from Last Week

Spreading the Word

If you have friends who are interested in any of the content of this blog, please feel free to share it far and wide. The fact that it comes from the Greens of North Island-Powell River (NIPR) doesn’t mean it is only relevant to people in that riding.  Because all Greens are part of the Global Greens, we need to think outside our riding boundaries and connect with each other.  Encourage your friends to subscribe to NIPR communications. Let’s connect across this vast riding, this vast country, and this vast but ultimately tiny planet.

Have Your Say About Did You Know…

If you feel we’re taking up too much space on any one topic, or that we’re omitting an essential topic, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment.  If you have ideas for future editions – remember, Did You Know… is weekly – go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment. If you have general feedback, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment.

BC Electoral Reform Referendum

Life imitates sport?

Not in the case of electoral reform in BC. Once the referendum passes, the political parties will have to change their mindset from adversarial to collaborative. “Unlike a game-winning basket, if electoral reform happens, the game changes, but it’s not over.” Read more.

Excerpt:  “We and our legislative representatives will be far more likely to work collaboratively post-referendum if, during the lead-up to the referendum, we honestly and civilly discuss the issues. The less baggage we accumulate as we debate electoral reform, the easier it will be to accomplish good governance after the referendum.”

One local volunteer with Fair Vote Comox Valley has a letter to the editor in The Record.

Another local volunteer with FVCV has a letter to the editor in the Prince George Citizen.


Humpback Whales are Returning to North Island Waters

This is exciting news. One humpback has been spotted near Pender Island and one near Campbell River. Last year, or maybe the year before, one was spotted in the Comox Marina. If you have a chance to take your kids up-island (or even take yourself) and see some of these wonders of the ocean, please give yourself and your kids that gift.  Read more.

Port Hardy Area Pilot Project Aims to Turn Wasted Food Scraps into Compost

Dyck’s Rurban Farm & Garage Creations, based in Coal Harbour, is launching a pilot project to help people turn those scraps into compost. Read more.

Comox info session on electric vehicles

The Sustainability Action Group for the Environment (SAGE) will host an information session on electric vehicles and hybrids on May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox. Read more.

Global Peace Depends on Justice in Israel/Palestine

DATE:  Monday, May 7, 7-9 p.m.
LOCATION:  Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox

Palestinian-born and Canadian-raised Robert Massoud, who hails from Toronto, is the founder of Zatoun fair trade products from Palestine. Moussad will be visiting Vancouver Island in May, engaging Canadians to learn more and empathize with Palestinians and their struggle for a just peace for Israel/Palestine. Read more.

Municipal elections – Public Forums in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley groups are holding two public forums – on May 8 and May 24 – to “press issues, create voter awareness, and recruit candidates.” Read more.

Comox Valley Sustainability Forum

On Thursday, May 24, CV Global Awareness Network, the CV Council of Canadians and Imagine Comox Valley invite you to a Sustainability Forum, where voters will have an opportunity to hear more about the possibility of reaching sustainable solutions to current local issues and problems.

The evening will begin with an introduction to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, followed with an overview of the goals outlined in the Regional Growth Strategy and Official Community Plans and why these matter to the well-being of our Comox Valley communities. Read more.  For free tickets, click here, or call 778-992-0102.

BC Ministry stalls FOI request on Merville Water Bottling

Arzeena Hamir, a Merville area farmer, submitted a request for information regarding the granting of a groundwater extraction license in Merville. That was in March.  Read more.

How do you feel about living in your community? Vital Signs survey

Vital Signs is done in conjunction with the Canadian Community Foundations Association and the Comox Valley is doing an update from the report done in 2016.  The survey is intended to get a pulse on how the people living in the valley feel about their quality of life and the survey results get incorporated into the report.  The Comox Valley Community Foundation, United Way North Island, North Island College, and the Comox Valley Social Planning Society are the organizations funding and coordinating the report this year.   The 2018 report will be launched in early October at a public event. Take the survey here.

Campbell River is also doing the same survey, so if you live in the Campbell River area, go to the survey here.

Powell River First Annual Veg Fest

DATE/TIME:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 12, 2018
LOCATION:  Brooks Secondary School,
5400 Marine Avenue, Powell River

Veg Fest will combine great food, informative cooking demos, a variety of local and visiting vendors showcasing vegan products AND two incredibly inspiring speakers! Learn how a plant-based diet and lifestyle can improve human health while protecting animals and the environment. They’ve got great speakers lined up.  Check it out here.

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 Coop
    On site are Hakaienergy Solutions,Viridian Energy Coop,, 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:


BC Hydro To End Incentive for New Home Solar

Part 1:  For the past 14 years, people who install solar panels have been able to sell their excess power back to BC Hydro’s power grid. Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall says this program needs to be stopped because “some people are using [it] in a way that wasn’t originally intended.” The unintended part was that BC Hydro would accept excess energy from homeowners who have solar, and pay them for it. So, BC Hydro doesn’t want the solar energy. “While BC Hydro wants to provide incentives for people adding solar panels, it already has enough power to meet the province’s needs for the next couple of years and doesn’t want the excess right now, she said.”

So, the province (BC Hydro) doesn’t want to encourage excess solar power generation and they don’t need the excess power. Okay, so why are they continuing with Site C?  Read more.

Part 2:  Just to bring Site C back into the picture, check out this article from September 25, 2017, outlining in detail the many ways Site C is already and will be redundant in the future. In some ways, this admission by BC Hydro that it doesn’t want or need the excess power currently being generated by this net metering program confirms that Site C is already redundant.

The first First Peoples?

Part 1:  On Calvert Island, off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, a joint project by the Hakai Institute (also with an observatory on Quadra Island), UVic, and the Heiltsuk and Wuikinuvx tribal authorities is investigating human footprints dating back to 13,000 years ago – earlier than humans were thought to have populated North America. Read more.  For the full PLOSOne article, click here.

Part 2:  The Heiltsuk have an oral history that places their people in the location these footprints were found. Fast forward to the present, the Heiltsuk are reclaiming their sovereignty over the waters that have informed their lives.  Read more.

Excerpt:  “Reconciliation” is a discursive word, its meaning digressing from subject to subject, mostly used to fit a non-Indigenous agenda. In the era of what is considered an “era of reconciliation” in Canada, the Heiltsuk have invoked our own power, through our native tongue, to define the pathway forward. We use a Heiltsuk word to name the process we are undertaking with the federal and provincial governments: “Haíɫcístut” (eh-gee-toot), a potlatch term meaning, “to turn things around and make it right again . . . The times of government officials deciding solutions for Indigenous people, without Indigenous involvement, are over. We have taken it upon ourselves to define the parameters of “turning things around and making them right,” on our own terms. As Indigenous peoples, we are the only ones who have the authority to name and define so-called “reconciliation”, as it is Canada and B.C. who need to reconcile with us.”

Part 3:  In the intersection between the Heiltsuk and Kinder Morgan, the Heiltsuk Nation website has a link to a Parliamentary e-petition to pressure the Federal government to enact the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. The petition is open for signatures until July 25, 2018, 5:11 p.m. EDT.

Kinder Morgan

Check out this “we don’t want your pipeline” song by Bob Bossin and Stringband.  It’s terrific!

Part 1:  A government insider reports being shocked at message from Trudeau Liberals

Following reports last week that the Federal Liberal government ‘rigged’ the Kinder Morgan review process, the National Observer has heard from a public servant who attended the meeting in October 2016 referenced in last week’s article.  Read more.

Part 2:  Leap Manifesto:  Call Liberal MPs to stop Kinder Morgan

TheLeap is providing a sample script and calling tool for people to call Liberal MPs Adam Vaughan and Peter Schiefke “to tell them that as self-proclaimed progressives and environmentalists, they need to speak up against Kinder Morgan.”

Part 3:  More on the First Nations and their demand the federal government make good on its commitment to reconciliation, meaningful consultation, and nation-to-nation relationships.  Read more.

Part 4:  More on the Heiltsuk Nation has created Heiltsuk Horizon Maritime Services Ltd., a partnership with Horizon Maritime to “prevent and respond to marine incidents and preserve the west coast for future generations. Read more.

Part 5:  Now the Federal government is going to seek status as an intervenor in the BC government’s case. Read more.

If you’d like to host a Stop Kinder Morgan event in your community, sign up here.

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”.

Pesticide permit approved in Clayoquot Sound

Remember the videos of deformed salmon from last year?  Well, the BC government has approved a permit for Norwegian company Cermaq to dump over 2 million litres of pesticide into Clayoquot Sound. Marine Harvest also uses the chemical, Paramove 50 in its fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago. After the fish are bathed in this chemical bath the lice are stunned (NOT killed) and then the stunned lice are brushed off when the fish swim against each other.  Afterwards, the chemical is flushed directly into the ocean.   What’s not to love about this?! The background is that Cermaq has an uncontrolled outbreak of sea lice, which could have disastrous effects on our native salmon fishery.


Green Party of Canada Webinars

The GPC is working very hard at connecting GPC members, supporters and volunteers across the whole of Canada. The mobilization team is doing a lot of webinars so if you’d like to connect with other GPC members across the country or across your riding, see the invitation to join Slack in Part 3 below.

Part 1:  Among the upcoming GPC webinars for members and volunteers:  New Volunteer Welcome, Financial Agents Unite, Learning to Play in Slack, and Who we Are with Elizabeth May. Read more and register.

Part 2:  If you missed the #PlasticFreeGPC webinar on Canada’s plastics problem, here are some links:  You can review our slideshow presentation here.

You can review the Earth Day page here that we looked at, featuring tips about reducing plastic. And here is the link to the sheet with additional resources. Please recommend additions. One that we went over in the webinar was and the Earth Day plastic calculator is here. Last, but not least, here are a bunch of simple how-to videos about how to make beeswax fabric food wraps that were the star of the webinar (thanks, Hannah!).

GPC encourages us to stay in touch with each other through local organizations and through our national volunteer Slack communication hub. Green Party of Canada members can join the #plasticfreegpc channel where you can keep this conversation going. There, you’ll hear about all upcoming opportunities to be involved and informed.

Part 3:  The GPC would love for you to join Slack and stay connected. Slack is a super simple tool that allows volunteers to communicate across our vast country and will be a key communication tool for election 2019 and beyond. It helps us be nimble in communicating more often - keeping us united as a team more consistently - without overflowing your email inbox. You can sign up for Slack and join many conversations here. The “Learning to Play in Slack / SlackChat with Jo-Ann” webinar on Sunday, May 12. We are so excited for this webinar!

As a prerequisite, we want to ensure that everyone attending is signed up and logged into Slack, as our webinar will be interactive and require “audience participation.” If you aren’t already signed up, you can register with this link. We have also created a resource document to help you get set up.

Finally, please invite your Green friends to join us! Here is the link to the Playing in Slack webinar and SlackChat — feel free to share it. If you know someone who would like to join us but is unable to attend, you can let them know about our upcoming “Who We Are” webinars with Elizabeth May. You can access the full schedule here.

Greens of Courtenay-Alberni EDA AGM

May 6, Courtenay-Alberni Green Party of Canada will hold its AGM.

You are welcome to join us at 2 pm in the Board Room of the Bradley Centre a couple of km east of Coombs at 975 Shearme Road, parking lot on the corner of the Alberni Highway. That afternoon we will review the year, talk with each other about our Green future, identify who wants to take on or continue with work on behalf of the local Green members.

Perhaps you have an interest in doing the work that needs to be done between elections –preparing newsletters, for instance. Or, you could tackle a more challenging role as Treasurer of the local EDA (electoral district association)–that is us. This person will work with our current, super helpful Treasurer who will be there to consult during the learning period for the new Treasurer. It’s a good time to transition this job during this more inactive time between elections.

If you would consider doing some volunteer work, contact our current CEO, Mike Nestor, Or, if you know a member who would be a good rep for their local Green community, let Mike know. We are looking for new Members to join our Executive this year. Might be you or someone you know?

As part of the AGM on May 6, there will be a plant exchange. Bring one plant, and take another one home. If you can join us, we’ll get some work done, have a little fun too, and then get home for dinner.

Greens of North Island-Powell River AGM

DATE:  June 16, 2018.
LOCATION:  Campbell River.
GUEST SPEAKER:  Sonia Furstenau, BC Greens MLA

Keep tuned here for news! 

Suing over climate change

This article suggests a novel approach to pressuring our governments to take action on climate change. Read more.

Media abandoning their obligation to report news

In this article, Paul McKay explores the role investigative reporting has played in the past, going back to Ida Tarbell 1902. Tarbell was investigating then Standard Oil Company and published a 19-part series that then became a book, The History of the Standard Oil Company. McKay states that while journalism has its heroes, like Tarbell, but too many business journalists fall prey to their paper/magazine’s corporate leanings. As McKay says, “. . . it is not the media’s job to assume that opinions without evidence are equal in worth to opinions which are fact-based. Or to assume that the scale and decibel level coming from oilsands advocates is proof of their cause. A noise meter is not evidence. Or to assume that the voices of opposition should be discounted as, at best, merely emotional and at worst, severely irrational.” Far from examining the business case for the oilsands, McKay says,

“To my knowledge, no one has asked these four key questions:

  • What proof is there that Asian refiners have signed contracts to purchase vast volumes of Alberta raw bitumen for decades to come? If these do not exist, there is no demand.
  • What proof is there that Asian refiners are willing to contractually commit to a much higher price than U.S. refiners will pay for raw Alberta bitumen? If such contracts do not exist, there is no price certainty to support oilsands expansion.
  • What proof is there that Alberta bitumen ranks high in global comparisons of oil quality, price, and ocean supertanker access, shipping costs and speed?
  • Which private Big Oil players have recently placed big bets buying new, undeveloped oil sand properties, which would underpin Alberta’s expansion plans?”

There either is a business/scientific case for the oilsands, or there isn’t. It should be an answerable question. “. . . when the stakes are so high, and when there are whiffs of panic, extortion and even all-out political warfare in the air, it is precisely the time business journalists should be asking tough questions and demanding answers. Where are the Asian contracts to buy vastly more raw bitumen for decades? What price have they promised to pay? How does that square up with competing, global oil supply rivals? Who has prepared a serious global oil market analysis? That is our job. It is our professional, perhaps even patriotic, duty to do it well.”

Freedom of the Press

The article above talks about the media using its voice to present its own political/corporate viewpoints. This article talks about our governments and courts providing injunctions to keep the press from reporting on stories of sensitive corporate interest. In 2015, Canada ranked eighth in World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. In 2017 Canada’s ranking “dropped out of the top 20.” This year Canada is back to a ranking of 18.  Read more.

Elizabeth May introduces bill to lower voting age to 16

A Mayday for democracy (OTTAWA) — “The future of democracy belongs to the next generation”, said Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), as she announced her intention to introduce a bill to lower the age of voting to 16. Her private member’s bill to amend the Canadian Elections Act to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 will be tabled in the House of Commons today.

“My Green Party colleagues in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and British Columbia have introduced similar bills. In fact, March 2018 was the third time Andrew Weaver had done so in B.C.,” said Ms. May. “Green parties across the country understand that the future of democracy belongs to the next generation. That’s why we must lower the voting age and empower them as soon as possible.”

Research shows that voting habits and political engagement endure when started at a young age. “If you haven’t voted by the time you’re 20, you risk becoming a permanent political dropout,” said Ms. May. “Register and vote when you’re 16 or 17, and you’ll probably vote for life.

“And political engagement is not just about voting. It’s running for office, working at a polling station, getting involved at the local, grass-roots level. There are many ways of being a citizen, and it’s never too early to start building the necessary skills. Voting is just the first step.” Sixteen year olds vote in Scotland, Argentina, Austria and Brazil, resulting in higher levels of participation.

In solidarity with Green Party leaders in N.B., David Coon, P.E.I.,Peter Bevan-Baker, and B.C., Andrew Weaver, Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada continue to work for an inclusive democracy where the voices of the young are heard and valued.

Elizabeth May’s Week in Review

Read more.

Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention

September 28-30, 2018. Read more. T Convention 2018 is Sept 28-30 in Vancouver! Join us and help us build for success in 2019.  Info and registration here(Early bird rates until April 30.)


Global Young Greens/Venezuela

Ian Soutar of GPC says, “For those who are interested in Global Greens and international affairs, I have had the distinct honour of working with a Venezuelan young Green who has researched a great deal for this article (that I translated) on the crisis unfolding in his country. Read more.

Greens are well positioned as the only united global political party to make a difference on issues like this by bringing it to the centre of media attention. Arguably, one of the largest issues for Venezuela now is the lack of balanced journalists reporting on what’s actually happening.”

The very epitome of collaboration

Can you spot the lion cub?


Bayer to buy Monsanto

The European Commission and the US Department of Justice have given the go-ahead for Bayer to buy Monsanto in a deal that “will let one company control more than a quarter of the world’s seeds and pesticides.” Read more.  What could possibly go wrong when a profit-driven company controls much of the world’s food supply? And what will it mean for the availability of non-pesticide/herbicide-dependent seeds?  Farmers will have to pay more for seed because the supply will be controlled, making it harder for farmers to produce affordable food or run a family farm.  The only motive – indeed, the legal requirement for virtually all corporations – is to maximize shareholder profit with no regard to actual food quantity or quality. Once all farms are agri-business, food prices will go up even more. Contrary to Bayer’s statements about feeding 10 billion people, the result will actually be starvation and famine in those parts of the world which can no longer afford to grow food. As one farmer quotes in this article put it, “They’re locking in their profit and they’re cornering the market by getting bigger, not by creating new products,” he said of Bayer and Monsanto. “They’re just choking out the rest of the competition.”

The Bayer-Monsanto merger follows the Dow-DuPont and Syngenta-ChemChina merger in 2017.  Click here for a 2017 look at these three major mergers.

The Business Insider also analyses these mergers. They state, “[Farmer’s Business Network] data also showed that greater market dominance was correlated with higher corn seed and chemical prices. That doesn’t bode well for farmers, since the newly consolidated agricultural companies already make up a significant portion of the market, according to Connelly’s analysis. If you look at how much of the farmers’ seed and pesticide dollars are going to these companies, Monsanto-Bayer — if it were one company today — would be getting $1 out of every $3,” Connelly says. “Dow-Dupont would be taking one out of every $4. Think that’s a problem? Holy crap, right?”

As for the idea that these mergers will lead to more research and innovation, do we really believe that any company or any two mega-companies will invest in research and innovation when they already have a monopoly and a license to print money? Humans need to eat, right?  It’s not like we can just choose not to spend our money there. With their mandate being to maximize profits, the impetus will be to raise prices and not sink money into research and innovation.

And don’t forget the amount of corn and soybeans that goes into other commodities than food – like fuel. Those prices will rise as well once the market is cornered on seeds.

One thing we can all do is sign the Sum Of Us petition to try and stop the merger.

Thought of the day:

“Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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