Canada and a Green New Deal

About 50,000 people march for climate action in Montreal on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo by Eric Demers, Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec

First, the Green New Deal must articulate a ‘just transition’ in the broadest sense. Today, many define ‘just transition’ as creating new, sustainable and meaningful jobs for energy sector workers, as well as transition for communities on the front lines of extractive and/or polluting industries.

When we speak of just transition in work, we must include transition to decent work for all low-wage, precarious, migrant, undocumented, exploited, Indigenous, excluded and unemployed workers. Here we can look towards ‘Fight for $15’ campaigns as well as struggles by unionized postal workers and migrant workers to lead the way.

This expanded definition of just transition isn’t just about ethics – that it is only justice when those most excluded and oppressed for the longest time see their lives uplifted. It’s also a pragmatic necessity. To involve the largest masses of people, it is critical to show them how this New Deal will directly improve their lives. As 78 per cent of the people in Canada work in services sector, and as more and more people are engaged in precarious and part time work – any notion of ‘just transition’ that limits itself to energy sector workers or related industries will simply not mobilize the vast groups of people that will be necessary to create this incredible change. MORE

Pipeline blockade is a sign of deeper troubles


Governments of B.C. and Canada claim agreements with elected band councils constitute consent, even though Supreme Court cases — including 1997’s Delgamuukw versus the Queen, which involved the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en — have recognized traditional governance forms, including the hereditary chief and clan system, on traditional territories. Elected band councils are more like municipal councils that have limited jurisdiction only over reserve lands.

The hereditary chief system was in place long before settlers and colonizers arrived. Chiefs, clans and house groups are responsible to the land and the people, and chiefs can be removed if they fail to fulfil their duties. The band council system is a product of the Indian Act, which also gave us residential schools.

As my good friend Miles Richardson, David Suzuki Foundation board member and former head of the B.C. Treaty Commission and Haida First Nation, told the Vancouver Sun, “When you look at the political world and the relationship between First Nations and the Crown, there’s a mighty struggle going on between two world views. There’s the Indigenous worldview manifested in the nation-to-nation commitment, and the colonial view, a 200-year-old, failed policy that was denounced by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and apologized for.” MORE



Climate Change Litigation Comes To Canada

Image result for youth environmentOn November 27, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed in Québec seeking relief against the federal government on the basis of its alleged inaction on climate change.

The action, commenced by a group called ENvironnement JEUnesse, purports to represent all Québec citizens aged 35 years and under.

The action, commenced by a group called ENvironnement JEUnesse, purports to represent all Québec citizens aged 35 years and under.

There has been a flurry of climate change lawsuits in the United States in recent years, including nine youth-led class actions that are similar to the Québec claim. However, there have been no successful climate change suits in the United States to date. The Québec claim may signal that the American trend of climate change litigation is spilling over into Canada. MORE


Quebec’s youth are suing the Government of Canada for inaction on climate change
The kids aren’t alright

Supreme Court decision means windfall for Yukon First Nations, grand chief says

Court ruling says Ottawa should fund First Nations based on citizenship, not status

‘We as Nations here in the Yukon look at all our citizens, regardless of status or non-status, as all our people,’ said Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

he Grand Chief of Council of Yukon First Nations is hailing this week’s ruling by the territory’s Supreme Court as a huge win. Peter Johnston says the court decision will have implications throughout the territory, and result in a significant increase in federal funding for self-governing First Nations.

The Teslin Tlingit Council’s 1993 self-government agreement established the definition of citizenship.

“This definition of citizenship was a monumental achievement because it terminated the colonial and divisive status versus non-status distinction that artificially divided Yukon First Nation members,” Veale wrote in his decision. MORE

Judy Wilson’s Message for Canadians: ‘The Land Defenders Are Doing This for Everybody’

RCMP raids in Wet’suwet’en territory can’t bring justice, reconciliation or a better future, Neskonlith chief says.

Chief Judy Wilson: ‘We have to change to ensure that our young people have a future. That’s what the Indigenous land defenders are talking about when they say we need to protect the land and the water.’ Photo by Zoë Ducklow.

What are your thoughts on how governments are responding to the RCMP action in the Wet’suwet’en territory?

I was just reading Premier [John] Horgan’s response to the Unist’ot’en, and I think he was trying to stay on the middle ground. He mentioned the bands who signed these agreements [to allow the pipeline], but to me, the issue is clearly about the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs. They are the proper titleholders to their unceded territory, and they already made a decision. They said no pipelines in their territory.

Alberta Has Spent $23 Million Calling BC an Enemy of Canada

Tyee FOI reveals pro-pipeline PR strategy, spiraling costs.

so_close.pngImage of a full page ad paid for by Albertans as part of a national campaign with the underlying theme: ‘This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada.’ The ad copy accuses, in bold face type, that the B.C. government’s “disregard for the rule of law puts our national economy in danger” and urges British Columbians accept the Transmountain expansion to “bring this country back together.” Source: KeepCanadaWorking website.

The Alberta government has spent more than $23 million — twice as much as previously revealed — in a campaign designed to turn the rest of Canada against B.C., The Tyee has learned.

The “KeepCanadaWorking” ad and PR campaign’s top “principle” states, “This is not B.C. vs. Alberta, this is B.C. vs. Canada,” according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

Having pegged their effort on driving a wedge between one province and the rest of the country, the CPE team lists two more principles: “It’s senseless to pit the environment against the economy,” and, “This is a good thing.”

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Slide from an Alberta government internal presentation on how messages would be framed for its $23 million campaign in support of expanding an oilsands pipeline to B.C., obtained by The Tyee via a Freedom of Information request.


False oil price narrative used to scare Canadians into accepting Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on Apr 15, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétrault

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is aggressively advancing a false narrative about heavy oil’s deep discount. She presents the problem in two parts, neither of which stand up to scrutiny.

First, Notley purports that the abnormally wide price spread affects every barrel of heavy oil leading to millions of dollars a day in losses to the Canadian economy. And second, that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is crucial. Neither of these claims are supported by the facts.

Most Alberta oil is sheltered from the price discount

When you crunch the numbers, and include the variety of methods even the smaller players rely on to protect their exposure including long-term supply arrangements, hedging and access to rail, it turns out that only about 20 per cent of oilsands supply is actually affected by the light-heavy differential. MORE