January 30, 2018

The Council of Canadians Victoria chapter helped block the Kinder Morgan terminal yesterday in opposition to the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline.

Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline may have just been dealt a decisive blow by the BC government.

The Globe and Mail reports, "British Columbia's NDP government is moving to block Kinder Morgan Inc.'s planned pipeline expansion with new oil-spill regulations that would prohibit companies from expanding shipments of diluted bitumen from the oil sands through the province until it can review oil-spill response capabilities."

The BC government will launch an independent scientific panel to study the ability to mitigate spills and while provincial environment minister George Heyman says new oil-spill response rules could become law "later this year or in early 2019", Global News reports the study itself "could take about two years to complete".

January 30, 2018

Picture of early morning pancakes not pipelines blocking of Westridge Marine Terminal
Photo Credit: Facebook Justin Trudeau Brigade

Early in the morning January 29 close to 100 people joined an action serving blueberry pancakes outside the Westridge Marine Terminal undergoing construction to accommodate the hotly contested 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan pipeline. 

Yesterday's actions are part of a series of acts on the part of (primarily) local residents under the banner 'Justin Trudeau Brigade' who are using their bodies and banners to slow and stop construction equipment from entering the terminal. Usually in teams of 2 to 8 people, yesterday's presence that persisted despite heavy, cold rain, was much larger thanks to a bus full of close to 60 people joining from Victoria. 

Photo Credit: Murray Bush, Facebook

January 29, 2018

Steve Verheul, Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator, during the 6th round of talks in Montreal.

Mainstream media reports are suggesting we should feel cautiously optimistic about the 6th round of NAFTA talks that concluded in Montreal today.

The Globe and Mail reports, "Canadian negotiators spent all last week presenting new ideas." The Canadian Press notes, "Countries [are] seeking a pathway to solutions for the difficult problems" and that there is now "a glimmer of hope that the continental trade pact may yet be saved." And the Toronto Star has reported, "Canada has made a bold offer to accept a controversial U.S. demand at the NAFTA talks about how to resolve commercial trade disputes."

New ideas? Pathway to solutions? Glimmer of hope? Bold offer?

January 29, 2018

The Indigenous Liberation Walk will take place between February 16 and March 1 in South Africa. About a dozen Indigenous people will walk a 1,000 kilometre route between Victoria West and Cape Town over a 14 day period.

This year will be the sixth walk for the Khoe, Nama and San people. Khoisan refers to the Khoi (or more specifically Khoikhoi, formerly known as Hottentots) and the San (or Bushmen) of Southern Africa.

Myiingan Kwe, a member of the Beausoleil First Nation in Ontario, writes, "Asking all First Nations people, water walkers, Site 41 family members and all supporters of Indigenous Rights to say a prayer on February 18 for the Khoisan people of South Africa who will walking with the Site 41 water in their annual liberation walk for human rights, in the midst of the impending Cape Town Water Crisis."

January 27, 2018

The Council of Canadians Montreal chapter and allies rallied on Saturday January 27 outside the Hôtel Bonaventure in Montreal, the venue for the 6th round of NAFTA talks. Photo by Mike Le Couteur, Global News.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to arrive in Montreal tomorrow (Sunday January 28) and to comment on Monday (January 29) on the Trudeau government's counter-proposals that have emerged during this 6th round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Key areas that are reportedly being discussed this round include:

1- Auto parts: The Trump administration wants to increase the overall North American content requirements from 62.5 per cent to 85 per cent and US content to 50 per cent. The Trudeau government is proposing the percentage include software development and high-tech auto components in the calculation to inflate the US percentage.