Former NDP MP Paul Dewar speaks to the Ecology Ottawa annual dinner on Oct. 11, 2018. File photo by Alex Tétreault
Concentrate on what you can contribute’
Inspired as Parkland students channelled their loss and pain into a rallying cry against gun violence in the U.S., Dewar decided to launch a new initiative to try to empower a new generation of leaders who would work for the greater good.
In a farewell message posted to Facebook after his death, Dewar wrote that “true change can only come when power is transferred to young people unburdened by cynicism” — which is why he used what little energy he had left to create Youth Action Now.
“Hopefully, it will help unleash the power of the young people in our community to make a real difference. I hope you will be inspired to be a part of that project and continue my work,” Dewar wrote.
He urged Canadians and his former constituents in Ottawa to respect the earth, to build a future rooted in Indigenous wisdom, to welcome people who need safe homes and to help people who have been left behind. MORE
Supporters of then-Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed select committee on a “Green New Deal” rally outside the office of Democratic congressman from Maryland and then-House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C., December 10, 2018. (Photo: JIM LO SCALZO, EPA-EFE)
The Earth is facing a climate change deadline, with a looming tipping point into a dramatically changed, less hospitable planet – and Democratic lawmakers are beginning what’s likely to be a long discussion over how best to deal with it.
These first attempts have coalesced under the umbrella phrase “Green New Deal,” championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. A “Dear Colleague” letter from her office circulating in Congress this week includes calls for the United States within 10 years to shift to energy systems that are “net-zero” when it comes to greenhouses gases. It also insists the transition be “fair and just to all communities and workers.”
Ocasio-Cortez first outlined her environmental plan in December and now she and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who led House efforts on climate change a decade ago, are working on a revision to present to lawmakers for action. It’s expected to be released within days.
Requests for comment were not returned by either office. But the letter they issued to other lawmakers calls for a plan “that takes on a series of industrial and infrastructure projects that will transform every sector of our economy and society (while ensuring) justice and economic security … for all.”
Green New Deal: Ocasio-Cortez unveils bold plan to fight climate change
Source: ‘A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors’ (NRCan, November 2018).
Without any adequate consultation with Canadians,
including First Nations, the Government of Canada is
unilaterally moving ahead with the development and
deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors
all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging
on indigenous lands and rights.
These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high
level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the
low & intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning
wastes (radioactive rubble from dismantling shut-down
reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)
Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying
to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to
EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement
of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment
Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government
officials behind closed doors without any public process,
debate, oversight or discussion. MORE
Governments everywhere must safeguard ancient forests, their webs of life and the life support systems upon which we all depend.
Old-growth western red cedar, western hemlock and Pacific silver fir in the Capilano River watershed near North Vancouver.
Human destruction and disruption of the natural world have sped up the natural rate of species extinction by at least 100 times. A recent study found that globally billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost in recent decades with habitat destruction as the leading cause, now exacerbated by global warming. They referred to the massive loss of wildlife as “biological annihilation.”
Here in “Super, Natural B.C.,” we often celebrate our biological richness and spectacular landscapes. Many of us hang on to the belief that things are not so bad in our neck of the woods, despite the fact that 1,900 B.C. species are at risk of disappearing.
For a reality check, consider this: Vancouver Island’s remaining intact rainforest is being destroyed three times faster than the remaining Amazon rainforest in Brazil. MORE
Activists protest the approval of Enbridge’s proposal to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline on June 28, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune/AP
MINNESOTA POLICE HAVE spent 18 months preparing for a major standoff over Enbridge Line 3, a tar sands oil pipeline that has yet to receive the green light to build in the state. Records obtained by The Intercept show that law enforcement has engaged in a coordinated effort to identify potential anti-pipeline camps and monitor individual protesters, repeatedly turning for guidance to the North Dakota officials responsible for the militarized response at Standing Rock in 2016.
Enbridge, a Canada-based energy company that claims to own the world’s longest fossil fuel transportation network, has labeled Line 3 the largest project in its history. If completed, it would replace 1,031 miles of a corroded existing pipeline that spans from Alberta’s tar sands region to refineries and a major shipping terminal in Wisconsin, expanding the pipeline’s capacity by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.
The expanded Line 3 would pass through the territories of several Ojibwe bands in northern Minnesota, home to sensitive wild rice lakes central to the Native communities’ spiritual and physical sustenance. Given that tar sands are among the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel sources, Line 3 opponents underline that the pipeline is exactly the kind of infrastructure that must be rapidly phased out to meet scientists’ prescriptions for mitigating climate disasters. MORE
Coalition calls for urgent action to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls
OTTAWA – A coalition of human rights organizations has released their report of recommendations to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in which they call for a crisis-level response to the increasing rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Canada Without Poverty, and Dr. Pamela Palmater, the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, made their oral submissions to the National Inquiry and filed written submissions in December of last year. In the report, made public today, the group calls for urgent, comprehensive, and transformative action from all levels of government in Canada.
“Canada is in the midst of a human rights crisis of its own making. Discriminatory laws, policies, and practices have created an infrastructure of violence and Indigenous women and girls are dying because of it,” said Dr. Palmater.
“Simply tweaking programs and services or making minor amendments to laws will not end the violence. We need immediate, radical and strategic action – substantive remedies that match the scope and character of the human rights violations.”
Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA, said “Indigenous women, civil society organizations, and international human rights authorities have repeatedly urged Canada to act strategically and urgently. So far, Canada’s responses have been un-coordinated, piecemeal, and ineffective. Our coalition is calling for a national co-ordinated action plan to attack the root causes of the violence with resources to support change and timelines for implementation. Nothing less will do.” MORE
Returning lands and resources to First Nations would go a long way to ensuring that First Nations have sustainable governments – and clean water.
Photo: Garden Hill First Nation. Photo by Timkal/Wikimedia Commons.
It is hard to imagine that in 2019, First Nations in Canada could lack access to clean drinking water in their own territories — but many do. In fact, 400 of 618 First Nations were under at least one water advisory between 2004 and 2014. A recent CBC investigation revealed that 180 homes in Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba, lack running water and indoor plumbing. Some of the residents don’t have central heating or power either.
How many Canadians would settle for water infected with fecal matter, sewers backing up into their bathtubs or being able to bathe only once a week due to lack of access to water? In all likelihood, if this were happening in any Canadian municipality on the same scale as in First Nations, a state of emergency would be declared and all resources would be brought to bear to address the crisis. While some First Nations have seen their advisories lifted, others have seen little substantive action. If recent statements from federal officials are any indication, even Garden Hill is unlikely to have its water crisis addressed any time soon — or at all.
Michel Burrowes, a deputy director at Indigenous Services Canada, bluntly refused to commit to funding to alleviate the water crisis in Garden Hill and instead told the CBC, “Frankly, people should be living in other places.” It is ironic that the same government that pledges reconciliation with Indigenous peoples would be so quick to suggest that First Nations should simply abandon their homes instead of addressing the water crisis. This callous response to an urgent public health crisis that has affected so many First Nations is not only irresponsible; it shows a real racism and indifference toward the health and well-being of First Nations people in general, and the crisis in Garden Hill specifically. MORE