October 9, 2015

Site C dam

The Journal of Commerce reports, "Construction crews are now more than two months into construction for the Site C dam megaproject. Workers are continuing site preparation activities, including clearing work, building access roads and starting construction of a 1,600-person worker accommodation camp."

The Council of Canadians has been opposing the Site C dam since March 2010.

Site C is a 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled dam and hydroelectric generation station being built on the Peace River between the communities of Hudson's Hope and Taylor in northeastern British Columbia. It will create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood about 5,550 hectares of agricultural land southwest of Fort St. John. It will also submerge 78 First Nations heritage sites, including burial grounds and places of cultural and spiritual significance.

October 9, 2015

UBCIC posterThe Canadian Press reports, "The fate of the Northern Gateway pipeline project is now in the hands of a trio of Federal Appeal Court judges who reserved their decision [on Thursday October 8] on whether to uphold or quash the government's approval of the controversial project." If the environmental approval certificates were quashed by the court, the project could not continue.

The Gitga’at First Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Haida Nation, Haisla Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Whut’en took the mater to court. They all oppose the 1,200 kilometre, 525,000 barrels per day pipeline and are seeking to protect their land and water from its impacts.

October 9, 2015

VoteWatchWhile it's too early to say whether there will be a higher overall voter turnout this election, the indications look positive.

CBC reports, "Canada's chief electoral officer sees positive signs that voters are keenly engaged in the election, including students and citizens living abroad. ...[Marc Mayrand says] there are positive signs that even more people are participating in the democratic process." Mayrand observes, "We see more people voting by mail, more people voting from abroad, more people having a vote on campus. This week in the first three days we had 42,000 students who voted. So all across we see Canadians quite engaged, and that's good as far as I'm concerned."

October 8, 2015

Stephen Harper has claimed he won’t use procedural tricks to stay in power after Election Day if the Conservatives fall short of any of the other parties by even one seat. Here's the problem: arguing that “the party that wins the most seats in our system forms the government” is itself a procedural trick. Why? Because it’s not true.

Let’s be clear: Harper is misleading Canadians about how Parliament works and he’s likely doing it to cling to power in the event the Conservatives don’t win a majority of seats in October.

Maxwell Cameron, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, has just released an important paper on this called Trust and Confidence: Post-Election Cooperation in Parliament.

October 8, 2015
Today marks the launch of a new collection of texts, Acting on Climate Change, Extending the Dialogue Amongst Canadians, about how Canada can transition to a low carbon society and economy. 
The collection of texts brings together the experiences of 28 individuals and groups from a wide variety of viewpoints responding to a report released earlier this year by scholars which found Canada can achieve  100% low carbon electricity production in 2035.  
I was happy to work on a submission on behalf of the Council of Canadians. Our chapter looks at their report through a social justice lens, drawing on our experience understanding the connections between trade, water and climate justice. The chapter also focuses on the benefits of pursuing renewable energy under public and community ownership.