Bill C-92’s Indigenous child welfare act risks continuing the status quo

Pam Palmater: There are many problems with Bill C-92, but the main problem is it does not deliver any of what was promised by the federal government.

Bill C-92, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, has been heralded as a “historic turning point,” an “important first step,” a “major milestone” along with other similarly over-used and under-impressive political phrases to describe yet another top-down initiative from the federal government. While the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde (AFN) claimed that this legislation was “co-drafted” by the AFN and the federal government, that was not the case. In fact, Dr. Cindy Blackstock confirmed that First Nations did not co-draft the legislation and First Nations were not even permitted to see the second draft before it was tabled. This should be no surprise as Justice Canada does not co-draft legislation with anyone other than the French and English legislative drafters at Justice Canada — this is their long-standing practice. Bill C-92 content is glaring evidence that First Nation experts in child welfare did not hold the pen on this bill.

There are many problems with this bill, but the main problem is it does not deliver any of what was promised by the federal government. Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government promised to address the “humanitarian crisis” through federal legislation that fully recognized First Nation jurisdiction in relation to child welfare; that would provide statutory funding; and would eliminate the over-representation of First Nation children in care. If this bill is not substantially amended before it is passed, it will not accomplish any of those important goals. Ultimately, it will be our children and our families on the ground — in our communities — that will pay the biggest price. The fact that the AFN is promoting this bill so strenuously, without regard for the numerous and serious concerns raised by First Nation leaders, lawyers, academics and child welfare experts, shows how disconnected they are to the crisis at hand.

Despite the many issues raised by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and others, the AFN supports this bill as do the Métis National Council (MNC) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). While I also have numerous, detailed concerns with the wording, structure and content of this bill, they are too many to include in this blog. What follows is a general overview of my concerns from a First Nation perspective. MORE

Town Halls for a Green New Deal



Our movement has changed what’s possible around climate solutions in our country.  We put the Green New Deal on the map and our momentum is surging.  More than 100 Members of Congress have backed the Green New Deal, nearly all major Democratic Presidential hopefuls are onboard, and the Green New Deal is one of the top issues on the political agenda daily.

However, we know that the key to winning this fight isn’t in Washington DC.  It’s in our communities. It’s in the hearts and minds of the American people and the resolve we show to making the Green New Deal a reality.

In April and May 2019, we’re building a groundswell of support for the Green New Deal in every corner of this country. We’ll calling on everyone to host a Green New Deal Town Hall in their community. We’ll gather in libraries, university campuses, churches, and living rooms to learn about the ambition, prosperity, and promise of a Green New Deal, hear from political and community leaders, and discuss the pathway to make the Green New Deal become reality. We’ll elevate the stories of people who stand to benefit from the Green New Deal and help everyone understand that the GND isn’t about taking away cows or cars; it’s about building things up and investing in the American people. SOURCE

SNC-Lavalin fallout has some Indigenous Canadians questioning Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation

‘The trust has been broken,’ says Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Independent MPs and former cabinet ministers Jane Philpott, left, and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak to reporters before question period in Ottawa, a day after being removed from the Liberal caucus. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Trudeau government is defending its commitment to reconciliation as a growing number of Indigenous leaders and youth say they’re discouraged by his decision to eject two key figures on the file from the Liberal caucus.

“I’m very disappointed that it had to come to this,” said Linden Waboose, a 22-year-old from from Eabametoong First Nation who sits on the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Oshkaatisak Council, an advisory network of ten youths aged 18-29 from Northern Ontario.

“I feel like [Trudeau] doesn’t value that relationship he committed to in 2015.”

In her testimony before the Commons Justice Committee during its investigation of the SNC-Lavalin affair, Wilson-Raybould said she would not apologize for being a strong advocate of transformative change for Indigenous peoples.

As she was being shuffled from her justice post, she warned senior people in the government that it would not look good for the government.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, wants the prime minister to apologize to Jody-Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

In text messages to Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s then-principal secretary, she wrote that the “timing of pushing me out (which will be the perception, whether true or not) is terrible. It will be confounding and perplexing to people.”

That perception is already being echoed by some.

“I think there is irreparable harm and damage done to Prime Minister Trudeau’s vision and stated intent to carry forward the reconciliation agenda,” said Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“The trust has been broken.” MORE


Jody Wilson-Raybould lives up to the name she was given, her father says
With Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, the Commons’ crew of Independent MPs enters uncharted territory

CO2 levels at highest for 3 million years — when seas were 20 meters higher

The last time CO2 levels were as high as today, 3 million years ago, Greenland (pictured) was mostly green and sea levels were 20 meters higher. Photo taken on March 30, 2017.The last time CO2 levels were as high as today, 3 million years ago, Greenland (pictured) was mostly green and sea levels were 20 meters higher. Photo taken on March 30, 2017.

(CNN)The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, Greenland was mostly green, sea levels were up to 20 meters higher and trees grew on Antarctica, according to scientists who warned this week that there is more CO2 in our atmosphere today than in the past three million years.

Using a new computer simulation, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in Germany, found that the last time the earth’s atmosphere had a CO2 concentration as high as today’s was during the Pliocene epoch, the geological period 2.6-5.3 million years ago.
CO2 emissions from human activities are the leading cause of climate change. MORE

Energy analysts forecast ‘the end of coal’ in Asia as Japanese investors back renewables

Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal is scrapping plans to build power plants

An offshore wind turbine off the coast of Naraha in Fukushima, Japan. Across the country, 13 offshore wind projects are undergoing environmental impact assessments. Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Major Japanese investors, including those most indebted to coal, are seeking to back large-scale renewables projects across Asia, marking a “monumental” shift that energy market analysts say is “the start of the end for thermal coal”.

At the same time, Japanese banks and trading houses are walking away from coal investments, selling out of Australian mines and scrapping plans to build coal-fired power.

Japan is Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal. Of the proposed pipeline of coal power projeAustraliacts in Japan in 2015, figures from the Global Coal Plant tracker show three-quarters are now unlikely to proceed.

The most recent proposal likely to be shelved, a 1.3GW coal-fired power station in Akita, in Japan’s north-west coastal region, follows the cancellation of two others earlier this year. Sojitz Corporation this week announced further divestment from thermal coal, following Itochu announcing a coal exit last month, and Mitsui in November. MORE


Why the Guardian is putting global CO2 levels in the weather forecast

As CO2 levels climb, the carbon count is a daily reminder we must tackle climate change now

The Mauna Loa weather observatory in Hawaii. The Guardian will publish the Mauna Loa carbon count every day. Photograph: Courtesy of NOAA

The simplest measure of how the mass burning of fossil fuels is disrupting the stable climate in which human civilisation developed is the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere.

Today, the CO2 level is the highest it has been for several million years. Back then, temperatures were 3-4C hotter, sea level was 15-20 metres higher and trees grew at the south pole. Worse, billions of tonnes of carbon pollution continues to pour into the air every year and at a rate 10 times faster than for 66m years.

At the dawn of the industrial revolution, CO2 was at 280 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. By 1958, when the first measurements were made at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, it had reached 315ppm. It raced past 350ppm in 1986 and 400ppm in 2013.

The Guardian will now publish the Mauna Loa carbon count, the global benchmark, on the weather page of the paper every day.

“Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen so dramatically, and including a measure of that in our daily weather report is symbolic of what human activity is doing to our climate. People need reminding that the climate crisis is no longer a future problem – we need to tackle it now, and every day matters.”

Atmospheric CO2

While the CO2 level is an important and symbolic measure of the global warming caused by humanity, it is a simple one. The increases in temperature the world experiences, and the heatwaves, storms and droughts that strike, also depend on how fast emissions rise or fall and how long they remain at high levels. The 350ppm level was proposed in 2008 by Nasa’s Prof James Hansen as a suitable target. MORE

March 15 CO2 level: 411.75

REPORT: Canada warming at double global rate

Tuesday, April 2nd 2019, 9:37 pm – A new study commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada reveals the alarming findings. The Weather Network is rolling out a three-part series in the coming weeks that will analyze how this report will impact each region of Canada.

The world’s climate is changing and Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Just a few hundred kilometers north the situation becomes increasingly dire as Northern Canada is heating up almost three times as rapidly as the global average, according to a new study commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), which states that the damage will be “effectively irreversible.”

The Canada’s Changing Climate Report states that since 1948 annual average temperatures in Canada have increased by 1.7°C and 2.3°C in Northern Canada, whereas the average global temperature on Earth has increased by approximately 0.8°C since 1880 according to NASA. Findings suggest that the environmental crisis is just beginning, as widespread warming is projected to intensify.

As shown in the figure below, the North, the Prairies, and northern British Columbia have warmed significantly faster. This unusually rapid warming in the North is referred to as Arctic amplification, which means that temperatures in the Arctic have warmed twice as fast as regions in the mid-latitudes, and is in part caused by sea ice melt and global atmospheric mechanisms that transport heat from the equator to the Arctic.

RCP emission scenariosFrom Chapter 4 Figure 4.8. Credit: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Climate models indicate that a national increase in annual average temperature from 2081 to 2100 range from 1.8°C for a low emission scenario (RCP2.6) to 6.3°C for a high emission scenario (RCP 8.5), or in other words, if we continue on business-as-usual. In the high emission scenario, the sea ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere will see a 50 per cent chance of ice-free conditions in September by 2050 and a global rise in mean sea level could range between 28 to 98 cm.

wiki cc climate change graphCredit: NOAA

A warming of just a fraction of a degree can have catastrophic impacts on certain ecosystems, and the unprecedented rate of warming in Canada could collapse major agricultural industries, flood coastlines, and significantly increase the frequency of damaging extreme weather events.

Notable highlights from the report include: MORE

One-Third Of World’s Power Plant Capacity Is Now Renewable


uncaptioned imageRenewable energy plants and power supply lines seen in Germany GETTY

One-third of the world’s installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources, according to the latest industry statistics.

The data compiled by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that two-thirds of the power capacity added around the world in 2018 was from renewables. Wind and solar accounted for 84% of that total.

2018 was characterized by a spate of solar and wind pricing breakthroughs. Falling interest rates for investors, ongoing technology improvements and regulatory frameworks that encourage competition among would-be developers have all played a part. Fossil fuels have been frequently undercut by renewables. Pipelines of subsidy-free projects are building up in the UKSpain, throughout the Middle East with China dipping its toe in as well. The direction of travel is clearly set. MORE

POLITICS Jody Wilson-Raybould: ‘The Liberal party is not something I understand anymore’

The former AG talks to Maclean’s about recording her call with Michael Wernick, her relationship with Gerry Butts and the dangers of blind loyalty

Independent MP and former Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks to reporters before Question Period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, a day after being removed from the Liberal caucus on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

There are two ways this might go now for Jody Wilson-Raybould: creation of an icon or writing of a footnote. To her admirers, the former justice minister’s attributes seem lastingly potent. She was the woman who rose higher in federal politics than any previous Indigenous politician, only to be driven out on a point of principle. To her critics, including many of her former Liberal colleagues, she just wasn’t a team player and didn’t understand the compromises high office demands.

Wilson-Raybould, 48, was first elected a Liberal MP in Vancouver in 2015, having been recruited by Justin Trudeau on the strength of her record as a B.C. First Nations leader. He made her his first justice minister, then demoted her to Veterans Affairs early this year. Wilson-Raybould suspects she fell out of favour after resisting months of pressure from Trudeau and senior officials to use her power as attorney general to give SNC-Lavalin a way of avoiding a bribery trial through a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

Image result for Macleans cover Jody Wilson-Raybould

Trudeau denies that was the reason. But Wilson-Raybould quit his cabinet as the controversy raged, and he kicked her out of the Liberal caucus on April 2, along with her ally, former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott. The following afternoon, she sat with Maclean’s for this extensive interview, which has been edited for length and clarity. (To read our interview with Jane Philpott, go here) MORE


Recording a telephone call? 189 federal servants spied on Cindy Blackstock under Wernick and Justice department