Yesterday, Bill C-69 “An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts” passed third reading in the Senate with over 180 amendments. Unfortunately, it looks like many of the amendments drafted by Big Oil and proposed by Conservative Senators were adopted, but it’s not over yet. The Bill has now been sent back to the House of Commons which will vote on which amendments are accepted before it goes back to the Senate for a final vote.
It is hard to believe an entire year has passed since the Progressive Conservatives took power in Ontario. The fears expressed before the election, that the province would take an enormous step backwards under Doug Ford, seem quite understated in hindsight. Looking back on this past year of senseless cuts, regressive policies and outrageous scandals is depressing- but keep in mind that Doug Ford’s popularity has dropped faster and farther than any previous Premier. The people of Ontario are better than this government.
The past year has also seen a tremendous fight back from progressive minded community groups, activists, unions and the general public. Our fifteen volunteer chapters in Ontario have been exceptionally busy:
- forming and participating in new coalitions to fight Ford,
-participated in rallies and protests at MPP offices, Ministry buildings and bussed in to several huge rallies at Queens Park
Enbridge Inc. is launching legal action against Michigan over the state’s insistence that the company shut its Line 5 crude oil pipeline down within two years even though a proposed replacement will not be ready for at least another five years, the Globe and Mail reports.
Enbridge, the same company responsible for a pipeline rupture in 2010 that spilled diluted bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, is insisting that it be allowed to build a tunnel for a replacement section of the Line 5 pipeline underwater across the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Enbridge is arguing that shutting off Line 5 before the replacement pipeline is in place will jeopardize Michigan’s energy supply. It will also put a squeeze on crude being transported from the Alberta tar sands.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the company has made its intentions clear. “It is now abundantly clear that Enbridge … is only interested in protecting its bottom line,” she said.
Yesterday, the federal government announced it will spend up $15 million over four years to rescue the 50 Million Tree Program which was cut by the Doug Ford government in its last budget. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna made the announcement in Ottawa.
Soon after the cut to the tree program was announced, the Council of Canadians jumped into action, launching a petition to make the case that trees are essential to fighting climate change. With historic flooding, wildfires and increasing climate change impacts, scientists say we only have 11 years left to make significant changes to save our planet.
Trees are a natural part of that solution. Trees keep carbon out of the atmosphere, expand our forest cover, and help prevent floods. We need more trees in Ontario and across the country – not fewer.
In a short span of time, more than 12,000 people signed onto the petition, echoing their support for the 50 Million Tree Program and calling on the Ford government to reverse the cut.
Releasing more polluted mine tailings into the Athabasca River may soon become a lot easier for oil sands companies. According to The Globe, the federal and Alberta governments are working with companies on new regulations to authorize the discharge of treated effluent.
This follows on recent revelations from a leaked Alberta Energy Regulator presentation that in a “worst-case scenario” total liabilities for oil and gas operations could be as much as $260-billion. Taxpayers have purchased a used pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5-billion so the industry can ship its product to unspecified markets, which we are assured will be profitable. The industry is also demanding weakened review procedures to fast track new development, despite the oil-sands expansion likely making it impossible for Canada to meet international commitments for greenhouse gas reductions. Are there no limits to the concessions that we must make to facilitate this ill-conceived industry?