March 26, 2017

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter is speaking out against the 830,000 barrel per day TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline was approved by US President Donald Trump on Friday (March 24), but still faces regulatory approvals in Nebraska (that could take 8-24 months), as well as First Nation and community opposition in that state and South Dakota.

Interviewed by CTV News, chapter activist Jim Elliott says, "The route that they picked for this one goes through some fairly sensitive areas up closer to the Great Sandhills and I know a number of First Nations have expressed some concern." In January, Elliott had commented, "That area is both environmentally sensitive, but also very heritage-rich with our First Nations people.”

March 25, 2017

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter rallied today against the provincial government cutting funding for public libraries by nearly $5 million.

CUPE activist Tria Donaldson writes, "Today we rallied for Saskatchewan libraries. Over 150 people came out on very short notice because libraries are more than brick and mortar. They are the hearts of our community. We are going to keep the pressure up on our politicians, and keep building awareness in our communities."

The provincial government of Premier Brad Wall delivered its budget on March 22.

That budget announced the Regina Public Library would lose $600,000 in funding through the elimination of its provincial grant. The provincial budget also eliminated $651,200 in funding for the Saskatoon Public Library. The seven regional libraries - in Chinook, Lakeland, Palliser, Parkland, Southeast, Wapiti and Wheatland - are to be cut by $3.5 million.

March 25, 2017

Calgary-based TransCanada CEO Russ Girling reacts as Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office approving the Keystone XL pipeline on March 24, 2017.

The Trudeau government is celebrating US President Donald Trump's signing of a presidential permit for the 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, “We’re very pleased with the announcement coming out of the United States." And Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr notes, "This is a very good opportunity for us to move more Alberta crude south of the border. It's a very good example of how the integration of the energy economy in Canada and in the United States is in the interests of both countries, so we think it’s a good day.”

Trudeau has long backed this pipeline.

March 25, 2017

The Council of Canadians London chapter attended a public meeting in Sarnia hosted by the International Joint Commission (IJC) on March 22, World Water Day.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization established by the United States and Canada under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. As noted on the IJC website, "Canada and the United States created the International Joint Commission because they recognized that each country is affected by the other's actions in lake and river systems along the border."

That website also notes, "The International Joint Commission will be holding public meetings to gather information from the public on the IJC's draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report and the Progress Report of the Governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement."

Six meetings have been organized, one of which was this one in Sarnia.

March 25, 2017

The government of Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall intends to close the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, a provincial crown corporation created in 1946 by the CCF government of Tommy Douglas.

CBC reports, "In this week's provincial budget, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty announced STC would be shuttered after more than 70 years of continuous service to some 200 communities. Workers to cancer patients to seniors have expressed outrage."

That article highlights, "University of Regina professors JoAnn Jaffe called STC an essential public service. She doubts a private operator will serve smaller communities or provide anywhere close to the number of jobs that are being eliminated. Fellow University of Regina professor Cindy Hanson said the closure will lead to more pollution and more highway damage if people are forced to drive cars and trucks. The poor, elderly or disabled will simply not be able to travel."

The Saskatchewan Transportation Company's freight service is scheduled to end of May 19 and passenger service is to stop on May 31.