People living in communities around the flood zone and downstream from Muskrat Falls have been informed that water levels will begin to rise to fill the reservoir starting this coming Tuesday, August 07th. This impoundment will start despite the recommendations from the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) from April 2018 that included a call for the topsoil to be removed and the wetlands capped to limit the impact of methylmercury in downstream waterways and food system, which has not yet happened.
On June 12, the Province of Ontario implemented cuts to legal aid clinics as directed in Doug Ford’s last budget. These cuts focus on the ability of legal aid clinics to provide marginalized groups with access to justice through legal advice and representation. In particular, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) had its Provincial funding cut by 30%.
Cutting CELA’s funding removes a primary tool for advancing environmental justice because lower-income communities – who disproportionately are impacted by environmental degradation and pollution – will have less access to the justice system and equitable representation.
Photo from Reclaiming our Past, Present and Future Facebook Page
UPDATE: Indigenous Services Minister has announced a renewed Task Force to address Attawapiskat's needs for new reserve lands, housing, infrastructure, health, social services and governance issues. Theresa Spence and Sylvia Koostachin-Metatawabin have ended their hunger strike.
On Friday the joint provincial-federal review panel on the Teck Frontier tar sands mine granted a conditional approval to what could become the largest tar sands mine ever in Canada.
The negative impacts of this mine are clear: permanent and irreversible damage to wetlands, peat lands, old growth forests, and Indigenous communities. It would produce four metric megatons of carbon emissions every year for 41 years (that’s just production-related emissions, not the emissions from burning the fuel that the mine would produce), making it very difficult for us to meet any reasonable emissions targets. There are clear and irreversible impacts on local Indigenous nations who have fought for decades to keep the tar sands from expanding, only to be bullied into signing agreements with the companies.
It’s election season, and that means we have the opportunity to use a diversity of tactics to pressure candidates about issues that matter to our communities. One tactic that can be effective (and fun!) is called ‘bird-dogging’. I’ve used this tactic many times because it’s not complicated, it doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of planning, and it can be really effective for shaping the narrative around important issues.
What is bird-dogging?
To bird-dog a politician is to meet them in public setting - like a BBQ, a public announcement, a meet-and-greet - and ask some pointed and clear questions that they’ll essentially be forced to answer. This definition from MoveOn.org explains: