Young people are talking, let’s listen!

Last Friday, Greta Thunberg, Greta Thunberg, United States of America.Protests were organized in Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver, among others. 

Speaking to delegates from the 195 countries represented at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), Greta spoke for youth from across the world when she said:“You say you love your children above all else , and yet you are stealing their future in front of their eyes “, prompting them to take action. 

The message is clear, the future of young people is in danger. 

The NDP heard you and we will fight with you! SOURCE

British Columbia Court of Appeal Reaffirms Duty to Consult not a Duty to Agree

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In a unanimous decision, William v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2019 BCCA 74, the British Columbia Court of Appeal affirmed that a proposed exploratory drilling program associated with the New Prosperity Mine could proceed after its approval by the Provincial government was found to be reasonable.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court commented that not accepting the position of an Indigenous group who holds an honest belief that a project should not proceed does not mean that the process of consultation is necessarily inadequate or that the Crown did not act honourably in reaching a decision.

Sometimes parties are unable to resolve their differences and work towards reconciliation because of fundamental disagreements. MORE


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Migrants and refugees are being forced out of their homes in unprecedented numbers globally. Here in Canada, anti-immigrant protests and racially motivated attacks are on the rise. Meanwhile, right wing politicians who use anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric are getting rewarded with thousands of votes. If we simply stand still, there is a danger in the lead up to the federal election in October.

Now, more than ever, we must bring together people from all walks of life around an anti-racist, migrant justice vision. Let us #UniteAgainstRacism and demand #MigrantJusticeNow!

Here in Canada, anti-immigrant protests and racially motivated attacks are on the rise. Meanwhile, right wing politicians who use anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric are getting rewarded with thousands of votes. If we simply stand still, there is a danger in the lead up to the federal election in October.

Now, more than ever, we must bring together people from all walks of life around an anti-racist, migrant justice vision. Let us #UniteAgainstRacism and demand #MigrantJusticeNow!

We will #UniteAgainstRacism to insist on:

STATUS FOR ALL, STATUS NOW: Permanent resident status and family unity for all migrants and refugees here, and landed status on arrival for those who arrive in the future. Replace Caregiver “Pilot Project” with a Federal Care Workers Program that provides for the status of carers and their families. No deports!

DECENT WORK & FAIR WAGES: $ 15 minimum wage! Full labor rights! No closed permits

ACCESS FOR ALL: Universal access to public services including healthcare, education, income security, settlement services, childcare, pensions, and more.

JUST SOCIETY: Indigenous self-determination, gender justice, and an end to racism, particularly anti-Black racisms


Nova Scotia judge grants temporary injunction against Mi’kmaw water protectors, supporters

The entrance to the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project site in Fort Ellis, N.S./Photo by Stephen Brake

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has granted the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project company a temporary injunction against a Mi’kmaw water protector and his supporters currently occupying the entrance to the company’s property in Fort Ellis, N.S.

Justice Gerald Moir has ordered that Dale Poulette, Rachael Greenland-Smith and others at the site cannot block access to Alton Gas employees and contractors so the company can make repairs to its facilities located along the Shubenacadie riverbank near Stewiake, N.S.

“Perhaps the situation will change when the application for a final injunction is heard. But for the present motion, there is no evidence to support the occupation of Fort Ellis lands by Mr. Poulette, Ms. Greenland-Smith or others,” Justice Moir said in court.

Alton Natural Gas Storage Project is a subsidiary of Altagas, an energy company based in Alberta. The company has proposed to store natural gas in underground salt caverns in Middle Stewiake.

In order to create the underground caverns, the company wants to flush out and dissolve the salt by using water from the nearby Shubenacadie River. The salt water mixture, or brine, would be stored in a holding pond located along the riverbank. The company would then release the brine into the tidal river that would carry it out to the Bay of Fundy.   MORE

Why Free Trade is Bad for You (or Most of You at Any Rate)

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The institutions of democracy and sovereignty exist in tension with another powerful institution: the global market and its free trade regimes. (Photo: StopFastTrack / Flickr)

Walden Bello was invited by The Economist to debate the chief economist of the World Trade Organization, Robert Koopman, at the Asia Trade Summit in Hong Kong, on February 28. Billed as the “Great Trade Debate” in an era of rising anti-free trade sentiment, the Oxford-style 20 minute debate took place before an audience made up largely of corporate executives and government delegates. Surprisingly, the author was judged the winner of the debate. Following are his five-minute introductory remarks.

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I am all for trade. But I am not for “free trade,” because it’s a bad idea and bad policy.

Free trade is in real trouble today. But the promoters of free trade brought this on themselves. However, it is not because they have been tepid in their defense of free trade, as the description of this debate has it. They have been guilty of far greater sins.

The first sin is hypocrisy. Free trade ideologues have enshrined the WTO as the so-called “jewel in the crown of free trade and globalization.” Yet, the WTO promotes monopoly, not free markets, in its key agreements. The Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) seeks to restrict the diffusion of knowledge and technology and reserve for giant corporations the fruits of technological innovation by significantly tightening patent rules. MORE

The Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) agreement was meant to preserve and expand the markets of the existing automobile giants by outlawing local content policies that had enabled developing countries like Korea and Malaysia to develop their motor vehicle industries — industries which had, in turn, been central to the comprehensive industrialization of these economies.

The Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) has been nothing but an instrument to pry open developing country markets to highly subsidized agricultural products from EU and the United States. MORE

Opposition MPs accuse Liberals of shutting SNC-Lavalin investigation down

Liberal MPs wrote letter saying it’s time to end SNC-Lavalin probe

The Commons justice committee’s five Liberals wrote chair Anthony Housefather, shown here March 13, on Monday night, saying any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The opposition is accusing the Liberals of shutting down the investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair following a rocky day at the justice committee.

The House of Commons committee is looking into allegations the Prime Minister’s Office and other officials inappropriately pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general at the time, to allow Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal prosecution on bribery charges providing it met certain conditions in a remediation agreement.

Tuesday’s meeting was held behind closed doors, although opposition MPs pushed for it to be on the record.

After about two hours, members of the Conservative and NDP parties emerged and said the Liberals — who hold the majority — voted in favour of a motion to “consider the meetings on this topic to be concluded.”

“They want Canadians to believe that everything that needs to come out has been said,” said NDP MP Tracey Ramsey.

Wilson-Raybould testified for nearly four hours during her appearance in front of the committee last month, but has hinted she has more to say.

Opposition MPs had been pushing for Wilson-Raybould to return to the committee to talk about why she later resigned from cabinet.

“It’s now time for the justice committee to do its work,” said Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault.

On Monday night, the committee’s five Liberals  wrote to chair Anthony Housefather, saying their work is done and any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.  MORE


Opposition MPs briefly storm out of committee meeting as Liberals end SNC-Lavalin investigation

Canadian ZEV update: fuel cells gain a foothold


Hydrogen fuel cells have begun scaling up like solar and wind. Handout photo of a Toyota Mirai by Toyota

Canada’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) market is expected to have held steady in February, repeating January’s 1.8 per cent market share. For context, that is about one-quarter of Ford F-series truck sales.

“in the past several years, fuel cells have been scaling up exactly along the prior trajectories of solar and wind.” Analysis by @ElectronComm

With new car sales rising from 108,774 in January to 120,891 in February, ZEV sales are expected to rise from about 2,000 to 2,200. In Canada’s auto market, February is always busier than January and the car buying season begins in earnest in March.

Canadian EV sales as of Feb. 2019. Spreadsheet by Matthew Klippenstein

The Nissan Leaf led the pack with 247 sales in January, narrowly beating the Chevy Bolt, with the Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model 3 and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rounding out the top 5. Nissan recently announced the Leaf — the world’s best selling ZEV — had surpassed 400,000 worldwide sales, a laudable achievement. A bigger-battery variant of the Leaf (the Leaf Plus) will arrive in Canada this spring, offering faster recharging and a range of 363 km, up from 243 km for the standard version.

While the Leaf’s achievement is impressive, it’s too early for high-fives. Long-toothed industry observers will remember that nine years ago, Nissan expected to sell 500,000 electric vehicles per year — in 2013. Early interest was cruelly illusory: demand evaporated when it came time for buyers to buy the vehicle, a lesson Tesla has learned first-hand with the Model 3. (The consensus of auto analysts is that Tesla overestimated demand for the higher-priced versions of the Model 3, explaining the recent spate of price cuts and layoffs culminating in pay cuts for store personnel and a suddenly-announced, equally-suddenly-paused, plan to close the company’s retail stores.) MORE

The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

A three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has grim implications for the future of humanity.Image result for The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

Nature is in freefall and the planet’s support systems are so stretched that we face widespread species extinctions and mass human migration unless urgent action is taken. That’s the warning hundreds of scientists are preparing to give, and it’s stark.

The last year has seen a slew of brutal and terrifying warnings about the threat climate change poses to life. Far less talked about but just as dangerous, if not more so, is the rapid decline of the natural world. The felling of forests, the over-exploitation of seas and soils, and the pollution of air and water are together driving the living world to the brink, according to a huge three-year, U.N.-backed landmark study to be published in May.

The study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), expected to run to over 8,000 pages, is being compiled by more than 500 experts in 50 countries. It is the greatest attempt yet to assess the state of life on Earth and will show how tens of thousands of species are at high risk of extinction, how countries are using nature at a rate that far exceeds its ability to renew itself, and how nature’s ability to contribute food and fresh water to a growing human population is being compromised in every region on earth. MORE

Why turning on the federal-money hose doesn’t always put out provincial fires

OPINION: A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office examines what the big provinces have done with funding from Ottawa. John Michael McGrath explains what the findings reveal about politicians’ promises

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The Parliamentary Budget Office released a report on Wednesday that tests the claim that a lack of federal funding holds back important provincial projects. (

One of the basic facts of Canadian federalism is this: Ottawa has money, and the provinces want it. Much of politics in this country — including in Ontario — is concerned with finding more complicated and pious ways of expressing this grubby fact.

During the middle part of this decade, there was a multi-prong offensive, one that included political statements from Queen’s Park and sympathetic reports from such think-tanks as the Mowat Centre, aimed at convincing Ottawa that Ontario was paying more into federal coffers than it was receiving (despite the fact that, in some years, this province did, in fact, receive equalization funding). Specifically, given the infrastructure-building focus of the day, Ontario argued that its lack of a federal partner in infrastructure spending was holding back important projects.

Well, a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office, released on March 13, tests that hypothesis, and guess what: when the federal-money firehose started spraying cash into provincial accounts under the Investing in Canada Plan (IICP), in 2016, big provinces slowed their own spending in response. Money from Ottawa didn’t supplement money from Victoria, Edmonton, Toronto, or Quebec City.

As the PBO report puts it: “This spending gap suggests that funding from the federal government probably displaced provincial investments after the IICP began. Another possibility is that provincial governments postponed or cancelled capital investments after the start of the IICP.”

Provincial spending still grew when federal funding was announced, but it grew more slowly than it had previously, and provinces spent less than they’d planned to (and budgeted for) before Ottawa’s cash was made available to them. Ontario alone accounts for more than half of the claw-back: according to the PBO report, we spent $8.2 billion less than planned from 2016 to 2018; all other provinces combined for just $7.3 billion in reduced spending. MORE

Five ways to make your home less toxic

We are surrounded by chemicals – in food and drink, cleaning products, household items and furnishings. Here’s how to reduce household pollution

Keeping dust to a minimum is important. Perhaps you could use a homemade cleaning product? Photograph: Getty Images/Hero Images


Cleaning products, cooking, candles and building materials all contribute to pollution inside our homes. The British Lung Foundation (BLF) recommendschoosing fragrance-free cleaning products and using solid or liquid products when possible, rather than sprays. It also advises opening windows or skylights, especially when cooking or showering, and avoiding the use of several candles or incense sticks in a small room such as a bathroom. As outdoor pollution can also travel into the home, the BLF also suggests keeping windows closed when Defra’s Daily Air Quality Index is high.

Cut down on plastic

The synthetic chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in many plastic products and can be ingested or absorbed through skin contact, potentially disrupting the endocrine system. Ninety-five percent of adults are thought to have traces of BPA in their bodies through continuous exposure – Tamara Galloway, a professor of ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter, says avoiding heavily processed and packaged food can help to limit exposure. Breastfeeding or buying baby bottles with a BPA-free label are also among her recommendations. MORE