August 30, 2014

On August 4th, the massive tailings dam at the Imperial Metals Mount Polley gold and copper mine burst. The dam breach unleashed 14.5 million cubic meters of toxic heavy metals and chemical laden tailings water and sludge into Polley Lake, down Hazeltine Creek, into Quesnel Lake and onto the Quesnel River which directly connects to the Fraser River Watershed. The Quesnel Lake watershed is a major source of drinking water and home to one quarter of the province’s sockeye salmon.This is the largest mining disaster to occur in Canada and it's still unfolding. 

August 29, 2014

The Peoples’ Social Forum has created many opportunities to change the precarious course our society is on. 

One promising strategy the democracy assembly agreed on is the proposal to produce a Peoples’ Platform to articulate a common unifying vision that reflects the aspirations of social movements and communities. I had the honour of co-facilitating this assembly with Amélie Nguyen from la Coalition Pas de démocratie sans voix. 

The Hamilton Civic League, with the support of the Hamilton chapter of the Council of Canadians, has already begun a Peoples’ Platform initiative for the municipal election in October 2014. As they describe it, “We’ll present that plan to the candidates in the municipal election and ask them to support it. This way, we all get to say what we want before we decide who we want.”

A federal Peoples’ Platform would be a new tool to pressure federal election candidates and parties to adopt more progressive positions. This could be a strong part of our on-the-ground organizing before, during, and after the next election. Want to help construct the Peoples’ Platform? Email me here.

August 29, 2014

The Council of Canadians was in Charlottetown this week asking the premiers to take a stronger stand on health care and to defend public health care from the threats posed by so-called 'trade' agreements.

And while the premiers have now asked for more funding from the federal government for health care, they are being meek, not adequately defending perhaps the greatest social program Canada has, and are completely failing to respond to the ways in which CETA will undermine public health care.

August 29, 2014
Photo: A meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.
Photo: A meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Barrie McKenna writes in the Globe and Mail today that, "Traditionally, the real power in the EU rests with the EU council, which is made up of the 28 EU heads of government. ...Experts doubt the Parliament would defy the will of the council. Doing so would effectively take the 'union' out of the EU." He then quotes a researcher from the right-wing C.D. Howe Institute who says, "It would be quite a coup for the European Parliament to go against what has been carefully negotiated collectively, and agreed to, by the 28 EU governments."

August 28, 2014

The Council of Canadians welcomes the recommendations by an independent panel on fracking in Nova Scotia.

Global News reports, "An independent review panel has released a report saying hydraulic fracturing — better known as 'fracking' — might be viable for Nova Scotia in the future, but for now it shouldn’t be allowed. The report, compiled by a panel led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler, says more research needs to be conducted before it is allowed to continue."

The Council of Canadians encouraged members of the public to make written submissions to the review through our action alert Let's keep Nova Scotia frack-free, and other mobilizations led by our Atlantic organizing staff Angela Giles and Tori Ball and our chapters in that province.