Hereditary chiefs demand their court-ordered right to be consulted

Beyond saying sorry, reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous people has yet to consistently result in the kinds of meaningful consultations envisaged by two decades of court rulings or promises by Ottawa to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

For most of the last 50 years, Indigenous people have tried to negotiate, litigate and protest their way to a new relationship with Canada.

In the past 21 years, they have won landmark rulings upholding their title to traditional territories, and their inherent rights including the right to self-government. Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has ruled that neither colonial policies nor post-Confederation legislation has extinguished any of those rights.

Those rights are enshrined in the Canadian constitution, and both B.C. and Canada have promised to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. MORE

People Across Canada Protest to Oppose Oil Pipeline Construction on Indigenous Lands

Decade-old protest camps on Wet’suwet’en lands were violently breached by the police to make way for a TransCanada Corp. oil pipeline, which will be part of the largest private sector project in the country if completed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violently evicted activists and arrested 14 to make way for a 670-km long pipeline. (Photo: Mike Hudema/Twitter)

In yet another case of a stand-off between an oil pipeline and First Nation communities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violently evicted activists and arrested 14 to make way for a 670-km long pipeline. Indigenous activists have been fighting a long-drawn legal battle to prevent the pipeline, planned over the traditional Wet’suwet’en lands in British Columbia, Canada.

The planned pipeline, estimated to cost over CAD 6.2 billion (approximately USD 4.8 billion), is a project by Coastal GasLink which is a subsidiary of the TransCanada Corp. of the Keystone XL infamy. The pipeline, if completed, will be a part of the largest private sector project of the country, LNG Canada, which will rake in an investment of around USD 40 billion, mostly from foreign sources.

The violent breach of the checkpoints and the arrests have attracted condemnation and protests from across the nation. In Toronto, hundreds of protesters took to the streets under the banner of #ShutdownCanada, in a demonstration of solidarity, even shutting off the road leading up to the Parliament for a brief period. MORE

‘You’re a liar’: Indigenous people voice anger at Trudeau town hall in B.C.

Audience members react as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a town hall Q&A at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. on Jan. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kim Anderson

Indigenous people voiced their anger and frustration with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday at a chaotic town hall in Kamloops, B.C., loudly interrupting him to condemn the arrests of protesters at a pipeline blockade.

While Trudeau was answering a question on accountability for the oil and gas industry, a man who identified himself as Will George stood up and began to yell that the prime minister had lied about wanting reconciliation with First Nations.

“You’re getting people arrested,” George said. “You’re a liar and a weak leader. What do you tell your children?” MORE

Rain It In: Competition for Ontario post-secondary students

Rain It In is a student competition where post-secondary students in Ontario are invited to collaborate in teams to solve a real world problem affecting our communities.

Rain It In is a competition that encourages students to innovate in areas focusing on severe storms and risks of increased flooding. Teams will submit a written report and further present their work to a panel of industry experts. Following the competition, teams will receive further support and resources to bring their projects to life.

Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of historically uncommon rainfall events. The flooding caused by these severe downpours causes issues such as:

  • Untreated wastewater to discharge or spill into our water bodie
  • Sewage back-ups into our homes and businesses
  • Damage to our infrastructure The safety of the public to be put at risk
  • Pollutants such as oil, lawn fertilizers, and animal waste to wash into our waterways.


As the world’s largest auto market sputters, electric vehicles show no signs of slowing

A visitor looks at the interior of an electric-powered car by the Changan automobile maker at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing, China October 18, 2018. Picture taken October 18, 2018.Car sales in China in November fell nearly 14% (link in Chinese) from a year earlier, the fifth straight monthly decline, according to data released Tuesday (Dec. 11) by the government affiliated China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). In total, around 25 million cars were sold in China in the first 11 months of the year, a 1.7% decline compared to the same period in 2017. CAAM predicts that auto sales would drop 3% for 2018 compared to a year earlier.

There’s one bright spot, however—sales of new-energy vehicles (NEVs), a category including battery-powered, plug-in hybrids, and fuel-cell electric cars, kept growing despite the overall sluggish auto market. Some 1.03 million NEVs were sold in China in the first 11 months of the year, up 68% from the same period in 2017, according to CAAM data. MORE



Floating solar is more than panels on a platform—it’s hydroelectric’s symbiont

Floating solar offers a wide range of benefits to hydroelectric dams.

Two people working on a floating solar installation
A view of the new floating solar farm being grid connected on Godley Reservoir in Hyde, on February 10, 2016 in Manchester, England.

A total of 1.1 gigawatts (GW) of solar have been installed around the world as of September, according to a new report by the World Bank (PDF). That’s similar to the amount of traditional solar panel capacity that had been installed around the world in the year 2000, the report says. The World Bank expects that, like traditional solar 18 years ago, we’re likely to see an explosion of floating solar over the next two decades.

That’s because floating solar is not simply “solar panels on water.” Solar panels prevent algae growth in dammed areas, and they inhibit evaporation from occurring in hotter climates. (According to Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, major lakes in the southwestern US like Lake Mead and Lake Powell can lose more than 800,000 acre-feet of water to evaporation per year, and the adorably-described “floatovoltaics” could prevent up to 90 percent of that evaporation.”) Additionally, floating solar avoids taking up space on land that is priced at a premium. In Northern California, for example, a floating solar installation was added to a nearby reservoir because the land around it was better used for growing grapes. MORE

Anishinabek Nation leadership hopes for a peaceful resolve in Wet’suwet’en Nation

Grand Council Chief Glen Hare

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare issued the following statement regarding the peaceful protest against the TransCanada pipeline project occurring in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in British Columbia and the law enforcement executed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“I believe that the decision on how to proceed rests solely with all leadership and the citizens of Wet’suwet’en Nation,” stated Grand Council Chief Hare. “It is a decision that will have ramifications that could echo in eternity, so it is not one that can be made lightly and with external influences, interferences, or pressures. The forceful interference, assumed jurisdiction, and mishandling of the situation by the government of Canada and its agents harken to a time all too familiar to us and moves us further away from meaningful reconciliation. True reconciliation requires more than the actions outlined by the recommendations in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – it requires efforts to reform the specific and comprehensive land claims processes in partnership with Indigenous peoples. This is a diversionary tactic that shifts the focus from addressing the underlying land title issues. I am confident that consensus will be achieved between all citizens of Wet’suwet’en Nation and will only unify and strengthen their nation.” MORE


Political climate is heating up

Road sign saying "End climate injustice"

As we head into an election year in Canada, we must ensure that climate and the environment are priorities for all parties.(Photo: Jon Tyson via Unsplash)

In 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen reported to Congress that evidence for human-caused global warming was near undeniable, conservative politicians including the U.K.’s Margaret Thatcher, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Canada’s Brian Mulroney agreed that action was needed. In my home province of B.C., a right-leaning government, the B.C. Liberal Party, introduced a carbon tax in 2008.

Now, as the evidence compels us to increasingly urgent action — the latest IPCC report says we have about 12 years to get emissions under control or face catastrophe — politicians from parties that once cared about the future are lining up to downplay or deny human-caused climate disruption and are hindering plans to address it.

There’s little evidence that governments are treating the climate emergency as seriously as is warranted, preferring to focus on short-term economic gains and election cycles instead.

Here in Canada, politicians claim to take climate change seriously but reject plans to mitigate it without offering better alternatives. Some provincial and federal leaders are governing or building campaigns around rejection of carbon pricing, a proven tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s interesting, because carbon pricing is a market-based strategy, whereas the kind of government regulation that would be required in its absence is something conservative thinkers usually reject. MORE

Inside one Ontario town’s decade long wind war


A windmill is seen on the White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County, Ontario, on July 19, 2018. Photo by Cole Burston

After he was sworn in, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a series of announcements about green energy. All of them were negative. One of the few projects he called out by name was the White Pines Wind Project in Milford, Ont. – a project that was cancelled by legislation adopted on July 25.

Ford and his majority Progressive Conservative government had campaigned on the elimination of “wasteful” energy contracts, and ceremoniously moved to cancel 758 of them within weeks of taking office, arguing that this would translate into savings for consumers on their energy bills.

The swiftly-fulfilled promise garnered mixed reviews; critics lambasting the lack of proposed alternatives, supporters celebrating the long-fought victory. Overall, the decision could translate into the loss of thousands of clean energy jobs across the province at a time when countries are moving away from fossil fuels and investing trillions of dollars in new clean and green growth. MORE

What the new Doug Ford Government means for the Energy Sector – A detailed analysis

With a new majority provincial government now fully in control of Ontario’s policy landscape, McMillan LLP and McMillan Policy Vantage Group are pleased to provide their insight into what lies ahead for clients and investors in the Energy sector. MORE

Doug Ford’s energy shake-up could wind up costing Ontario

Opinion: Whether the government’s actions around the province’s electricity system will offer consumers any significant benefits remains an open question at best

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces his plan to keep the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in operation until 2024, in this June 2018 photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The company heading up the White Pines project has already signalled its intention to seek $100 million in damages. MORE

The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation files lawsuit against Canada on fish farms dispute

Dzawada’enuxw First Nation community members, including matriarchs, elected and traditional leaders, and artists, were in Vancouver Thursday to announce their decision to sue the Government of Canada.

At a press conference on Jan. 10, 2018, Chief Willie Moon, traditional leader of the Dzwada’enuxw Nation said the ‘zero tolerance’ policy for fish farms in their waters comes from the direction of their matriarchs and membership. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

The First Nation, from Kingcome Inlet, B.C., filed a statement of claim in federal court in Vancouver on Thursday, arguing the federal government authorized licenses for fish farms operating in their waters, without their consultation or consent.

The claim says the fish farm operations pollute and poison wild salmon and infringe on the nation’s constitutionally protected rights. Their case is the first ever rights-based challenge to the federal licensing process that fish farm companies rely on to operate along the coast of B.C. SOURCE