Parkland school shooting survivor calls out Canadian gun lobby for acting like NRA


Jaclyn Corin, an American gun control activist, speaks at the Broadbent Progress Institute on March 29, 2019. Photo courtesy Broadbent Institute

A Canadian firearms lobby group is using American-style tactics to Jaclyn Corin, an American gun control activist, speaks at the Broadbent Progress Institute on March 29, 2019. Photo courtesy Broadbent Institutediscredit a Toronto surgeon who is becoming a thorn in the side of gun rights activists, says a survivor of the Parkland shooting in Florida.

Jaclyn Corin, 18, has become a prominent advocate for gun control afterexperiencing one of the worst mass school shootings in American history, when 17 of her fellow students and staff were gunned down and 17 more injured on Valentine’s Day, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A former student has confessed to the murders.

Corin and other students have channeled their grief, suffering and constant anxiety attacks from that shooting into a push for gun control. Corin is a central figure in the “Never Again” movement and helped organize March for Our Lives, one of the largest youth protests since the Vietnam War. It’s a campaign that has prompted fierce opposition from the U.S. National Rifle Association (NRA).

She told an Ottawa crowd on Friday that the tactics she has observed from the NRA are similar to what is now being deployed by the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights against Dr. Najma Ahmed, a surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. MORE

Sweden has figured out how to keep food free of salmonella. Why can’t Canada?

‘It’s not a small, quick, overnight measure. It’s a painful measure to industry’


Whole chicken tends to be cooked thoroughly enough to kill salmonella. It’s when the chicken is cut up and under-cooked that people are more likely to get sick. (Valeria Aksakova/Shutterstock)

When it comes to controlling salmonella outbreaks, Canada could learn a lot from Sweden.

The Nordic country is on a passionate mission to eliminate the harmful bacteria from its food. Thanks to strict regulations that apply to chickens and other animals, few Swedes get sick from salmonella.

Meanwhile, outbreaks caused by contaminated food, especially chicken, are frequent occurrences in Canada.

Every year, there are an estimated 87,500 cases of salmonella infection across Canada, according to the federal government’s yearly foodborne illness estimates. While it’s not clear how many of them were caused by contaminated chicken, as of last week, 566 Canadians had been diagnosed since May 2017 with salmonella infections linked specifically to frozen breaded chicken products, and 95 of them were so sick with fever and diarrhea, they had to be hospitalized.

As a consequence, there have been 13 recalls of raw breaded chicken products in Canada since July 2017.

While Canadians continue getting sick, Sweden is leading the fight against foodborne illness. Along with strict biosecurity rules, it’s normal procedure in the country to heat chicken feed to kill bacteria and to regularly inspect for salmonella contamination. MORE

Ex-B.C. attorney general says Jody Wilson-Raybould’s secret recording a sign of ‘something seriously fractured inside the heart’ of Trudeau government

VANCOUVER—British Columbia’s former attorney general Geoff Plant says Friday’s release of a secretly recorded phone call to former federal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould has embroiled the legal community in ethical debates — but has further exposed a “deep fracture at the heart” of the Liberal government.

The Dec. 19 phone conversation between then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and Canada’s highest non-partisan civil servant has sparked controversy among legal experts, including in Wilson-Raybould’s home province of B.C.

Wilson-Raybould defended her reasons for not overturning the independent prosecutor’s decision to proceed against SNC-Lavalin. But she came under fire from some lawyers for recording Wernick’s call.
Wilson-Raybould defended her reasons for not overturning the independent prosecutor’s decision to proceed against SNC-Lavalin. But she came under fire from some lawyers for recording Wernick’s call.  (DAVID P. BALL/STAR VANCOUVER)

“It’s a sign of something seriously fractured inside the heart of the government,” said Plant, who served as the BC Liberals’ attorney general and justice minister after the party took power in 2001. “The taped phone call has raised some legal discussion about whether that was the right thing to do, but, for me, the question is why someone who is a Cabinet minister feels it’s necessary to record a conversation with the Clerk of the Privy Council in the first place.

“That feels to me from outside as evidence of a fairly serious trust problem where the attorney general said no and the prime minister kept asking. There is a confidence and trust gap. To me, it’s more about the basic political integrity of the government.” MORE

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Feast hosted for Jody Wilson-Raybould on Vancouver Island

Climate change needs to be addressed now

Climate change needs to be addressed now
(Photo: John Spitters/Quinte News)

MPP Todd Smith’s office was the scene of a protest and educational gathering this afternoon (Friday).
In bright sunshine, about 60 people, young and old, waved signs as they participated in an Earth Hour March from West Zwick’s over the bridge  to Rossmore.
The marchers don’t agree with the provincial government’s cancellation of hundreds of green energy projects including the White Pines wind farm in Prince Edward County.
The marchers waved signs reading “We Support Wind Energy”, “Climate Change is Real”, and “Keep the Earth Icy not Spicy”.
(Photo: John Spitters/Quinte News)
Harley Boyce thought taking part in the Earth Hour March was important enough to miss a couple of classes at Centennial Secondary School.

Meanwhile Mikaela Naumann, also a Centennial Secondary School student, said governments of all types just weren’t doing small things that would make a difference, like phasing out some kinds of plastics, regulating packaging, and banning drive-throughs at restaurants. MORE

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Climate change in spotlight

Rethinking Approaches to Climate Change

The Trudeau Governments approach makes pollution a commodity through credits and offsets that allow for financial corporations to profit from polluting industries

As James Wilt noted in a Briarpatch article, carbon pricing doesn’t regulate emissions, it just puts a price on them based on an arbitrary calculation, the “social cost of carbon,” that tends to ignore the “externalities” – the cumulative emissions, feedback loops, and disproportionate impacts of climate change on countries in the Global South. These are not encompassed in corporate cost-benefit analysis. For business, they are just a cost of doing business.

Wilt describes the carbon tax as “a deeply neoliberal and individualistic” approach that “often excludes or minimizes impacts on fossil fuel corporations while downloading moral and financial responsibility on households that burn fossil fuels for transportation or heating. Perhaps most concerning of all is the way it serves to create resentment for – and siphon energy from – far more ambitious climate policy that would rapidly cut emissions, guarantee jobs, and improve public services for all.”

However, Canadian authorities, far from passively relying on market mechanisms, are quite capable of aggressive action to implement their goals where these are integral to their strategic profit and growth concerns. Missing from the Pan-Canadian Framework is the other, more important component of the Trudeau government’s climate approach: promoting further oil and gas exploitation and export, especially through building pipeline and rail capacity. This endeavour totally conflicts with its carbon-reduction promises. MORE

EXCLUSIVE: OTTAWA LEANS TOWARD CALIFORNIA ON FUEL ECONOMY RULES, WILL SEEK FEEDBACK ON FOSSIL SUBSIDIES


Catherine McKenna/Twitter

The federal government is leaning toward supporting tougher fuel economy standards against Trump administration rollbacks, and is about to announce incremental progress on curbing fossil fuel subsidies, The Energy Mix learned Thursday evening, during a town hall hosted by Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna.

Ottawa is planning two releases next week, McKenna told the public session in her home riding of Ottawa Centre: a call for input on some of the detailed issues arising in the discussion of a subsidy phaseout, and a major science report on climate impacts in Canada.

The report will show that “we need to adapt right now,” she said, citing flooding as the biggest short-term climate risk the country faces. “City planners need to think about these things. What happens if we have more power outages because it’s so hot? What are the impacts on vulnerable populations? What is the impact of flooding? What are the impacts of Zika (virus)?” Canadians face a “huge number of impacts of climate change, and we need to be more resilient and build in a more resilient way.” MORE

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh targets rich with proposal to raise rate for capital gains tax

NDP MP Peter Julian, left, looks on as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on March 13, 2019. Singh wants to raise the tax paid on capital gains.
NDP MP Peter Julian, left, looks on as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on March 13, 2019. Singh wants to raise the tax paid on capital gains.  (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

OTTAWA—Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is unveiling his latest election pitch aimed at taxing the rich, promising to broaden levies on capital gains to reap billions more each year for health care, housing and programs to fight climate change.

Singh intends to announce the policy proposal Friday during his keynote speech at the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit, an annual gathering of progressive thinkers and New Democrats near Parliament Hill.

In an interview with the Star on Thursday, Singh said he wants to increase the proportion of capital gains profits that are taxed by the federal government. This “inclusion rate” is currently set at 50 per cent — meaning only half the profits people make by selling property or securities investments is subject to income tax. The NDP wants to increase that rate to 75 per cent, which Singh said party researchers predict would bring an additional $2.7 billion in tax revenue to the federal government each year. MORE

 

Making the most of the ‘UN Decade on Ecosystems Restoration’: bioregional regenerative development as a deep adaptation pathway

On a crisp and frosty April morning in the North of Scotland in 2002, at the Findhorn Foundation ecovillage, some 250 activists and landscape restoration practitioners from all over the world declared the 21st Century as the ‘Century for Earth Restoration’. The conference was called by Alan Watson Featherstone who set up Trees for Life, a project that has since planted close to two million native trees to restore Scotland’s great ‘Caledonian Forest’. John Manocheri was the official UNEP delegate at the conference, and now — 17 years later — UN Environment has finally taken leadership on this issue and announced the ‘UN Decade on Ecosystems Restoration’ (2021–2030).

I remember the conference well. How we all shared this sense of urgency back then already. How being surrounded by people sharing stories of hope from their ecosystems restoration projects around the world was deeply inspiring and yet at the same time news was flooding in that we were loosing biodiversity, forests, top soils, and wilderness so much faster than we were able to respond to.

This is still the case, but the tide is turning. During the ‘circle of commitment’ at the conference I voiced my intention to set up an environmental education and sustainability training centre in Spain, and all these years later I am delighted to be on the advisory council of the Ecosystem Restoration CampsFoundation, who’s first camp is located in Souther Spain near Murcia. My own work as an educator writing curriculum for Gaia Education has helped to train more that 15k people from 125 countries around the world in the skills and frameworks necessary to engage in whole systems design for sustainability and regeneration.

Alan Watson Featherstone on Restoring the Caledonian Forests

Growing numbers of people are committing their lives to healing the damage our species has done over the centuries and millennia to this abundant blue green planet. Projects have been established around the world that demonstrate that human beings as part of life are capable of creating conditions conducive to life. MORE

 

BEYOND LOCAL: How Canada can solve its emerging water crisis?

Experts argue that conflicts over water have significant economic and social consequences

LargeOceanWaves
Stock image

Canadians can no longer be assured that our waters are abundant, safe and secure. As global temperatures continue to increase, our glaciers meltpermafrost thawsriver flows become unpredictable and lakes warm and fill with toxic algae.

The federal government has raised the issue of water in its recent budget with interest in two primary areas: drinking water in Indigenous communities and the impacts of climate change on Prairie water resources.

The federal government earmarked an additional $739 million in the budget to eliminate drinking-water advisories on reserves. Since 2015, the federal government has spent $2 billion to improve access to safe, clean drinking water in First Nations communities. As of March 2019, it has lifted 81 long-term drinking water advisories, leaving 59 advisories in place. It plans to have all long-term drinking water advisories removed by 2021.

This laudable goal is addressing the symptoms, but not the core water problems for Indigenous communities. Indigenous peoples’ inherent water rights, laws and jurisdictions, in addition to their negotiated treaties, land claims and governance agreements, indicate their role as full partners in water and land use decision-making.

But this has yet to be realized. Tangible action requires co-design of consistent, comprehensive plans and protections for waters that flow through their communities and traditional territories.

The federal budget also committed $1 million to develop a strategy to address the pressures on Prairie water resources which threaten farmers and ranchers. The Prairies have suffered from debilitating drought, flood and water quality degradation. How this strategy will incorporate the concerns, interests and rights of First Nations in the region remains to be fully addressed.

These investments in water would be more effective if they were integrated into a federal freshwater agenda that co-ordinated its design and delivery with the provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples. MORE

 

Wind in the County: Solar and Wind Energy Projects Crucial to Fighting Climate Change

 

Solar and wind energy projects mature into “Must Have” Assets for Fighting Climate Change in 2020 and beyond.

Volt and Turbines
The nine wind turbines that make up the White Pines wind farm would generate enough electricity to power more than half of the homes in Prince Edward County over the next 20 years.

If the Province of Ontario is allowed to start the process of dismantling White Pines, the taxpayers will be saddled with $100,000,000 or more in new debt.

Other communities across the country and around the world are welcoming wind turbine projects and what they mean for fighting our climate change crisis. Other communities are declaring Climate Change Emergencies.

Let the province know that we are WILLING HOSTS for the White Pines wind project and UNWILLING HOSTS to paying for this massive, unnecessary and entirely “Made in the County” debt.