January 30, 2020

In early December, local activists in Nelson, B.C. tackled the question of “what is the Green New Deal?” in a voting action evening held in the Nelson United Church Hall.

The one-page statement included seven parts agreed to after a ranked vote process. While the Nelson Statement cannot define the Green New Deal since it is a national initiative, it does represent the priorities of the Nelson group of over 30 people, most of them climate activists.

Eighteen propositions drawn from lists created by Green New Deal town halls held across Canada and in Nelson were voted on at the meeting. “Uphold Indigenous Rights” took the most votes, followed by “Keep it in the Ground.” Third-ranked was “Protect Biodiversity and Nature.”

Voting did not go entirely smoothly at the event. “This isn’t fair,” one participant said. “I want to vote for all of them.” In the end the group decided to blend several of the propositions together and increase the total to seven including:

1. Uphold Indigenous rights

January 29, 2020

The Trudeau government says NAFTA 2.1 is the first order of business when Parliament resumes and the Liberals are urging other parties to swiftly ratify the deal.

But not so fast!

In the U.S., lawmakers, spurred on by newly elected U.S. House Democrats, worked over a year on the agreement. In Canada, parliamentarians and the public have had absolutely no meaningful input in the deal.

We can’t let this be a closed circuit, where corporations and the one per cent decide the future of NAFTA. We need a conversation on the fundamental issues – climate change, jobs, public services, family farms, Indigenous rights, inequality, and regulations – that this agreement affects.

January 28, 2020

Offshore drilling not worth the risk

Earlier this month, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board approved an extension to BP Canada’s licence to drill offshore.

The Nova Scotia government has confirmed we are in a climate crisis, yet they continue to enable and promote offshore oil and gas exploration – an industry that contributes greatly to the crisis.

We can’t have it both ways. The climate crisis is causing devastation around the world, including droughts, floods and raging forest fires in Canada, the Amazon and most recently in Australia. By approving this extension and promoting fossil fuel extraction, Nova Scotia is adding fuel to the fire.

This is why we need a moratorium on offshore drilling and public inquiry, not licence extensions for fossil fuel extraction.

January 22, 2020

Photo by Unifor: Some members of the Regina Police Service line up as they confront workers on Unifor's picket line outside of the Co-op Refinery.

The right to protest is an important part of Canadian democracy and the right to free expression.

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the freedom of peaceful assembly. Protests are a way for people to express themselves for or against decisions made by government or other powerful institutions. People have taken to the streets throughout history to stand up for what they believe in.

But more and more, we are seeing examples of this freedom of expression being criminalized. Companies and corporations are obtaining court orders and bringing in the police, who are using physical force and arrests to criminalize dissent and silence protestors.

January 17, 2020

Press Progress reports that buried in the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB)’s annual report is praise for the water system in the town of Mapleton in Wellington County, Ontario as an example of a good private-public partnership (P3). The CIB report says there is “potential” for similar privatization schemes across the country.

The Trudeau government created the CIB as a Crown Corporation in 2017. According to its website, the “Canada Infrastructure Bank attracts and co-invests with private sector and institutional investors in new, revenue-generating infrastructure projects that are in the public interest. Our priority areas are public transit, trade and transportation, green infrastructure and broadband.”