June 7, 2017

The Council of Canadians Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter has written to Saskatchewan Party MLA Hugh Nerlien about the federal transit funding that was available to maintain the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC), a crown corporation that provided bus service to 200 communities in the province for more than 70 years.

NDP MP Erin Weir has noted, "Premier Brad Wall rushed to eliminate this needed [STC bus] service without even asking for Saskatchewan’s fair share of federal transit funding, which would be more than enough to maintain STC."

Saskatchewan could receive up to $640 million in federal funding for transit, while the STC would have cost about $85 million over the next five years. Weir wrote Wall with this idea, but notes, “Wall responded on May 11 that he would eliminate STC even if federal funding were available to continue its operation.”

June 7, 2017

The Trudeau government has announced it is committed to increasing military spending by $62.3 billion over the next 20 years. Over the next five years alone this would mean an increase of $6.6 billion in military spending.

CBC reports, "The Liberal government's new defence policy lays out a plan to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade... Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced details of the plan during a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa."

Last month, Garneau claimed that the Canadian military - which has an annual budget of $18.9 billion - is "chronically under-funded". The spending announced today by the Trudeau government would increase that to $32.7 billion by 2027.

The article highlights, "The Liberal government has been under pressure, notably from the Donald Trump administration, to increase defence spending to meet the NATO benchmark standard of 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP)."

June 7, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is well-known for unexpectedly appearing in photos (such as when he recently jogged past high school students in Vancouver), but he is less known for meaningful public consultations on key issues such as NAFTA.

After repeated requests, the Trudeau government has finally announced a minimal and hard to find online consultation on the upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

June 7, 2017

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer

The Liberals and Conservatives joined together yesterday to vote in favour of the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.

BNN reports, "The federal Liberal government has thrown its weight behind an Opposition motion backing Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, even as political turmoil in British Columbia threatens the project's future."

It adds, "The motion, introduced in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Mark Strahl, affirms that the project has social licence to proceed, is critical to the economy, is environmentally sound and should proceed as planned."

June 7, 2017

Chapter activist Charlene Morton, Professor Bill Diamond

The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter inspired the campaign that secured the first blue community in the United States.

Chapter activist Charlene Morton writes, "When Bill Diamond was in Nova Scotia in Summer 2016, he met with me and chapter activist Marion Ruth and was introduced to The Council of Canadians Blue Community campaign. The rest is history!"

The Daily Hampshire Gazette has reported, "[Northampton, Massachusetts] became the first so-called blue community in the U.S. when City Council passed a resolution to that effect on [June 1]."

The article highlights, "The framework for the blue community movement, which seeks to protect public water and minimize use of single-use plastic water bottles, comes from Canada. Northampton resident and University of Massachusetts marketing professor Bill Diamond stumbled upon the initiative in his research about plastic water bottles, and decided it was a good fit for the city."