Charlie calls for action on housing in Timmins

Seeks national commitment on housing crisis

Charlie Angus - 05-01-2017
File photo of MP Charlie Angus

OTTAWA – Yesterday in the House of Commons, Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus called for immediate federal action on housing. “In Timmins right now we have from 800 to 1,000 homeless people in a city of 45,000.”

“The homeless shelter is over capacity, the city is working full out, and the Native Friendship Centre is working full out. All hands are on deck in our community, but we need a national commitment on this systemic problem.”

Angus’ comments come on the heels of the Liberal government’s housing spokesman, Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, backtracking on his claim that Liberal housing efforts had helped one million Canadians, saying that they had been made “for a rhetorical advantage.”

Angus pushed back, saying “What is the ‘rhetorical advantage’ to people who need a place to live in my community right now because of this government’s inaction?” MORE


Investors Join Calls for a Food Revolution to Fight Climate Change

A series of new reports shows how climate change is intertwined with the world’s worsening health, and suggests changes in the global food production system.

Fast food burger. Credit: Cate Gillon/Getty Images
New reports describe how food choices and farming practices can exacerbate climate change, and they argue for changes and even an international treaty. Investors are also calling for greenhouse gas reductions from the fast-food industry. Credit: Cate Gillon/Getty Images

scientific study published Monday also shows how “food production shocks” linked to climate change have been rising globally, putting food security at risk. The researchers identified nearly 230 food production shocks, in 134 countries, from 1961 to 2013, and said the frequency of crop production shocks driven by extreme weather had been increasing steadily. Food shocks threaten to destabilize the global food supply and drive up global hunger rates, which have started to tick up in recent years.

“Land-based crop and livestock production are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events such as drought, which are expected to become more frequent and intense with climate change,” said Richard Cottrell of the University of Tasmania, the report’s lead author.

“The dominant diets that the world has been producing and eating for the past 50 years are no longer nutritionally optimal, are a major contributor to climate change, and are accelerating erosion of natural biodiversity.”

The drumbeat for change in food and nutrition gained volume this month with the release of a detailed plan by an international commission organized by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The plan urges a major overhaul in food production and diets, or what one of the report’s authors called “nothing less than a new global agricultural revolution.” MORE

Albertans ‘are not a bunch of F-350-driving cavemen’: B.C. anti-oil campaign angers Calgary councillors

CALGARY—A growing campaign that has municipalities in British Columbia taking aim against the oil industry has Calgary city councillors seeing red, but the law firm behind the initiative says Alberta isn’t being singled out.

The campaign made headlines when Whistler, B.C., issued a letter last year to 20 international energy companies asking them to “pay a fair share” of the costs of climate change. But the issue came up again last month when councillors in Victoria, B.C., voted to begin tracking climate change-related costs and ask the Union of BC Municipalities to explore legal action against international oil companies.

Calgary Ward 11 city councillor Jeromy Farkas wears a pro-oil and gas pin from advocacy group Canada Action on Dec. 17, 2018.
Calgary Ward 11 city councillor Jeromy Farkas wears a pro-oil and gas pin from advocacy group Canada Action on Dec. 17, 2018.  (MADELINE SMITH / STARMETRO CALGARY)

Andrew Gage, a Vancouver-based staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, is part of a campaign pushing B.C. communities to send letters like Whistler’s — demanding large oil companies like Shell and Saudi Aramco pay for some of the local costs associated with the effects of climate change. Victoria is the first city to take an additional step of endorsing a class-action lawsuit against these companies, something Gage also wants to see. MORE

The surprising solution to ocean plastic

Can we solve the problem of ocean plastic pollution and end extreme poverty at the same time?

That’s the ambitious goal of The Plastic Bank: a worldwide chain of stores where everything from school tuition to cooking fuel and more is available for purchase in exchange for plastic garbage — which is then sorted, shredded and sold to brands who reuse “social plastic” in their products.

Join David Katz to learn more about this step towards closing the loop in the circular economy. “Preventing ocean plastic could be humanity’s richest opportunity,” Katz says. SOURCE

How can I get involved with Plastic Bank?



How Trudeau Is Helping Canada’s Radical Right Flourish

Progressive talk and broken promises have already proven a dangerous coupling.

Over four years, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have continuously associated socially liberal values with broken promises. That’s a problem. Photo via Shutterstock.

Trudeau has a record of broken promises. From the voting system, to climate policies, inequality, health care and trade deals, his commitments to reform in a wide variety of areas simply did not materialize.

The resentment towards the Liberals’ callous attitude is palpable. A recent poll found that 35 per cent of the respondents approved of Trudeau, compared with 63 per cent in his first month in office.

 This isn’t the first time that the far right has flourished under a centrist government with a penchant for betrayal.

The Liberals’ strategy is deeply problematic. Trudeau can fill his cabinet with as many women from the government and economic elite as he wishes. But if Canada’s underlying economic inequities are not resolved, the gender pay gap will continue unabated.

By choosing style over substance, Trudeau has simply left Canada’s underlying economic problems untouched. And Canadians are suffering the consequences of Trudeau’s failure to address Canada’s income inequality and stagnating wages. MORE

Skidegate on the way to becoming a “city of the future”

Image result for Skidegate
This is how a relatively small community is making big moves in the world of clean energy.

There has been a huge push in Haida Gwaii to move away from diesel and towards clean energy….Sixty-five percent of the island’s total electricity comes from diesel.

There was no option but to move away from diesel and towards renewable energy. Heat pumps were an exciting shift, they all agreed during the meeting with National Observer in Steven’s bright and beautifully decorated office.

“Haida culture is all about respect. Respect with the people, the land and their connection.”

At a meeting a few years back, councilor David Crosby asked the council, “What about heat pumps?” They decided to give it a shot. The SBC hired Don Hancock from Don’s Heat Pumps to install heat pumps in every home. That turned out to be around 350 homes, all of the homes, in fact, but two. MORE

#WeCanSolveThis: Students Strike for the Climate


All across the world, young people are mobilizing to take their futures into their own hands.
SOURCES: [i] Swedish teen Greta Thunberg skips school for climate protest. Sep 7 2018.… [ii] Australia’s carbon emissions highest on record, data shows. Dec 12 2018.… [iii] ‘Our leaders are like children,’ school strike founder tells climate summit. Dec 4 2018.… [iv] Climate Change Protest Draws Thousands of Australian Students. Nov 30 2018.… [v] Ibid. [vi] Australia’s carbon emissions highest on record, data shows. Dec 12 2018.… [via] Why Australia is heading for epic failure on carbon emissions. Sep 21 2018.… [vib] Australia’s emissions are rising. It’s time for this government to quit pretending. Jan 8 2018.… [vii] RealMedia.Press. GRETA THUNBERG ADDRESSES EXTINCTION REBELLION 31ST OCT (FULL SPEECH). Mar 31 2018. [viii] Even in Canada, Kids Are Suing the Government Over Climate Change. Nov 27 2018.… [ix] JULIANA v. U.S. – CLIMATE LAWSUIT. Accessed: Jan 10 2019.… [x] 51 arrested for protesting Pelosi. Here’s what they want. Nov 14 2018.… [xa] Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested at Pelosi’s Office Demanding Democrats Embrace ‘Green New Deal’. Nov 13 2018.… [xi] The Energy 202: Why climate activists stormed Nancy Pelosi’s office again. Dec 12 2018.… [xii] The Green New Deal, explained. Jan 7 2019.… [xiii] Katowice COP24 Notebook: Protesters raise the alarm on climate. Dec 8 2018.… [xiv] The Power of 1.8 Billion. Accessed: Jan 9 2018.… [xiva] 10 things you didn’t know about the world’s population. Accessed: Jan 9 2018.… [xivb] UN report: More young people alive today than ever before. Nov 17 2014.… [xv] Statistics on Youth. Accessed: Jan 9 2018.… [xva] World Demographics Profile 2018. Accessed: Jan 9 2018.…

Thousands of Belgian schoolchildren have gone on strike to protest climate change

Belgian students claim for urgent measures to combat climate change during a demonstration in central Brussels, Belgium January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman - RC11141A3000

Belgian students demonstrate in central Brussels. Image: REUTERS/ Yves Herman

There’s nothing new about children skipping school. But when they do it in their thousands, and all for the same cause, then it’s time to pay attention.

On 31 January, tens of thousands of children marched in Belgium, the fourth such protest in what has become a weekly routine, demanding urgent action on climate change. The biggest demonstration, in Liège, drew 15,000 people – parents and grandparents joining students as they marched to the city hall with chants of “to arms”.

There were further protests in Brussels and Leuven. The young marchers had the backing of a coalition of 3,450 Belgian scientists who wrote an open letter warning that current policies will lead to a disastrous 3 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures. MORE


Greta Thunberg: Let me make some things clear about my climate strike

Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders, supporters call for stop work order on Coastal GasLink pipeline

About 15 minutes down the road from the worksite is the Unist’ot’en camp and healing centre. The camp is located on the edge of the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River) and is currently home to dozens of people, many of whom have come to support the Unist’ot’en in their opposition to the pipeline.

The bridge that crosses the river has been used as a checkpoint by the group for nearly a decade. People at the camp have been controlling who has access to the territory past the bridge in an effort to put Wet’suwet’en law into practice on the land.

Approaching the bridge on Wednesday it’s clear much has changed since the RCMP arrived earlier this month to enforce a court injunction for access. That led to an agreement between the nation’s hereditary chiefs and police to allow pipeline workers through Unist’ot’en.

As it stands, work continues on the TransCanada-owned Coastal GasLink pipeline while Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership are still fighting the project, calling for a stop work order from the province.  MORE


More than a ‘protest camp’: Unist’ot’en camp residents on life on the land