Independent MPs Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak with the media before Question Period in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019. Former cabinet minister Philpott says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the law when he expelled her and Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
In the House of Commons, Philpott says the Parliament of Canada Act says MPs can’t be kicked out of their party groups without a vote and Trudeau ejected them on his own.
She’s asking Speaker Geoff Regan to declare that their privileges were violated.
A set of amendments in 2015 was meant to make it more difficult to remove MPs from their caucuses, to shift power away from party leaders and toward rank-and-file legislators.
Philpott says if Trudeau had followed the rules, it would have taken 90 Liberal MPs to vote to kick her and Wilson-Raybould out, and no such vote was held before Trudeau expelled them on the grounds that the caucus didn’t trust them any more.
The two former ministers have been thorns in Trudeau’s side in the SNC-Lavalin affair, with both resigning from cabinet over the way the controversy has been handled.
Is hanging Indigenous art in an office “reconciliation?” In this web series called “First Things First,” Indigenous experts take a look at what it really means to reconcile after generations of systemic racism against Indigenous peoples.
Facing oncoming climate disaster, some argue for “Deep Adaptation”—that we must prepare for inevitable collapse. However, this orientation is dangerously flawed. It threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy by diluting the efforts toward positive change. What we really need right now is Deep Transformation. There is still time to act: we must acknowledge this moral imperative.
Every now and then, history has a way of forcing ordinary people to face up to a moral encounter with destiny that they never expected. Back in the 1930s, as Adolf Hitler rose to power, those who turned away when they saw Jews getting beaten in the streets never expected that decades later, their grandchildren would turn toward them with repugnance and say “Why did you do nothing when there was still a chance to stop the horror?”
Now, nearly a century on, here we are again. The fate of future generations is at stake, and each of us needs to be prepared, one day, to face posterity—in whatever form that might take—and answer the question: “What did you do when you knew our future was on the line?”
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past few months, or get your daily updates exclusively from Fox News, you’ll know that our world is facing a dire climate emergency that’s rapidly reeling out of control. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a warning to humanity that we have just twelve years to turn things around before we pass the point of no return. Governments continue to waffle and ignore the blaring sirens. The pledges they’ve made under the 2015 Paris agreement will lead to 3 degrees of warming, which would threaten the foundations of our civilization. And they’re not even on track to meet those commitments. Even the IPCC’s dire warning of calamity is, by many accounts, too conservative, failing to take into account tipping points in the earth system with reinforcing feedback effects that could drive temperatures far beyond the IPCC’s worst case scenarios.
People are beginning to feel panicky in the face of oncoming disaster. Books such as David Wallace-Wells’s Uninhabitable Earth paint a picture so frightening that it’s already feeling to some like game over. A strange new phenomenon is emerging: while mainstream media ignores impending catastrophe, increasing numbers of people are resonating with those who say it’s now “too late” to save civilization. The concept of “Deep Adaptation” is beginning to gain currency, with its proponent Jem Bendell arguing that “we face inevitable near-term societal collapse,” and therefore need to prepare for “civil unrest, lawlessness and a breakdown in normal life.”
There’s much that is true in the Deep Adaptation diagnosis of our situation, but its orientation is dangerously flawed. By turning people’s attention toward preparing for doom, rather than focusing on structural political and economic change, Deep Adaptation threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, increasing the risk of collapse by diluting efforts toward societal transformation. MORE
Cars are seen charging in free parking spaces for electric cars in central Oslo. (PIERRE-HENRY DESHAYES / AFP)
COPENHAGEN — In a symbolic first, electric cars outsold fossil fuel-powered ones in Norway last month.
Christina Bu, the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association’s general secretary, said Monday that 58.4 per cent of new cars sold in the country in March were battery-powered, calling it “historically high.”
Bu added that electric cars’ share of the market in the first three months of 2019 was 48.4 per cent and is expected to hover around 50 per cent for the whole year.
“Norway shows the whole world that the electric car can replace cars powered by gasoline and diesel and be an important contribution in the fight to reduce C02 emissions,” Bu said in a statement.
Norway, a wealthy European nation of 5.3 million, has provided big incentives to boost electric car sales. It waived hefty vehicle import duties and registration and sales taxes for buyers of electric cars to boost sales. Owners don’t pay road tolls and use bus lanes in congested city centres. MORE
This is a solar cell panel array in Manchester, Vermont, USA. Photo by MarkBuckawicki Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
Batteries are critical for our clean energy future. Luckily, their cost has dropped so low, we might be much closer to this future than we previously thought.
In a little less than a year, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 35 percent, according to a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Cheaper batteries mean we can store more solar and wind power even when the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing. This is a major boost to renewables, helping them compete with fossil fuel-generated power, even without subsidies in some places, according to the report. Massive solar-plus-storage projects are already being built in places like Florida and California to replace natural gas, and many more are on the way.
The new battery prices are “staggering improvements,” according to Elena Giannakopoulou, who leads the energy economics group at Bloomberg NEF. Previous estimates anticipated this breakthrough moment for batteries to arrive in late 2020, not early 2019.
According to the report, the cost of wind and solar generation is also down sharply — by between 10 to 24 percent since just last year, depending on the technology. These numbers are based on real projects under construction in 46 countries around the world.
The lower battery prices have big implications for electric cars, too. There’s a key cost threshold of about $100 per kilowatt hour, the point at which electric vehicles would be cheap enough to quickly supplant gasoline. At this rate, we’ll reach that in less than five years.
What’s driving the plunge? Giannakopoulou cites “technology innovation, economies of scale, stiff price competition and manufacturing experience.” Other storage methods, like pumped hydro, still account for the vast majority of energy storage capacity, but lithium-ion batteries are much more flexible and don’t require specific locations or environmental conditions to work. Like everything in the built environment, lithium-ion batteries also require mining and manufacturing. There’s still a chance that some new exotic battery technology will quickly supplant lithium-ion, but its ubiquity and — now — cheapness will be hard to beat. MORE
It’s time for oil companies to pay their fair share for the climate crisis
Massive waves hit the seawall as storms surges on West Vancouver’s Ambleside beach area at high tide on December 17, 2012.Mark van Manen/PNG Staff
Storms flooding our streets. Wildfires destroying homes. Deadly heat-waves.Extreme weather events like these are costing Canada billions of dollars. If we don’t get climate change under control, it’s only going to get worse.
Oil companies have known for decades that their products cause climate change, but they kept their research secret and cast doubt on the science.
They misled us — and now, ordinary people are paying the price.
But cities like New York, San Francisco, Victoria, and dozens more are fighting this injustice, taking oil companies to court or sending them letters to ask them to pay their fair share for the climate change costs they are facing.
Riley Yesno: Why absence and silence was so powerful at Daughters of the Vote
Trudeau looks to the audience for a question following his speech to Daughters of the Vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
“Your seat is your power. By giving up your seat you’re giving up your power”.
That’s what Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality, told me and the other two dozen or so delegates from Daughters of the Vote, who protested in the House of Commons by walking out on Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and turning our backs on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on April 3.
Run by the non-profit organization Equal Voice Canada, the Daughters of the Vote program is an initiative that brings together 338 women, gender-fluid and non-binary folk—one from every federal riding in Canada—to engage with women in politics, sit and speak in the House of Commons, and provide a platform for young leaders to have their voices amplified.
Although many of my fellow delegates and I didn’t say a word during our protests earlier this week, I think our messages were certainly heard.
The peaceful action attracted unanticipated media attention as reporters and journalists swarmed many of my colleagues following our exit from the House. The main question they wanted answered: Why?
While I cannot speak on behalf of any of my peer’s individual motives, I know that some said they were prompted, at least in part, by the ejection of former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.Others said they protested in response to the policies, programs, and beliefs held by Scheer and Trudeau that have violent implications for their communities; such as Scheer’s anti-2SLGBTQ+ stances on marriage equality, or the Trudeau government’s sale of weaponry to countries like Saudi Arabia and large-scale environmental offences for example. Several people simply saw others taking action, and knew that this was a time to enact meaningful allyship and show solidarity. MORE
Daughters of the Vote discuss participating in politics, MPs being kicked out of caucus
Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday. (SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
When Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s former attorney general and minister of justice, sat in front of the justice committee on Wednesday I, like so many others, tuned in, anxiously waiting to hear her speak her truth. Here was a smart, accomplished, and composed Indigenous woman, about to speak out against Canada’s most powerful politicians. She sat alone. Before the hearing even began, the image of the scene spoke volumes.
Her testimony was both eloquent and brave. Despite this, I felt an anxiety about the whole situation that wouldn’t subside; I knew that, like in all cases where one speaks truth to power (especially if those speaking are women or Indigenous people in this country), that there would be backlash and consequences — no matter how eloquent or brave you may be.I cringed knowing that the second the hearing ended I would go online and see people calling her a liar and a traitor, blame her if a conservative government were to take power, and generally posting a host of awful things. Implicitly validating all of this, I knew that the prime minister would deny it all.
The real reason I felt so anxious, however, was not because of these inevitabilities — it was because I saw a bigger message they spoke to: that an Indigenous woman can be in one of the most powerful and prestigious positions in the country, and yet is still not shielded from the violence of Canada and the government; that you can try to work within the system, but you will always face incredible resistance if your work threatens the interests of those more powerful, who the system is really built to serve. MORE
Electrify Canada, a new partnership between Volkswagen Group Canada and Electrify America, plans to build an electric vehicle charging network across Canada.
TORONTO — The electric vehicle road trip is becoming a practical reality as an increasing number of players work to close gaps in Canada’s fast-charger networks and ease fears of getting stranded along the way.
New entrants like Petro-Canada and Electrify Canada are working to add dozens of fast-chargers across the country this year, building on efforts already underway by provincial utilities and other early adopters to help ease concerns of skeptical buyers.
Volkswagen’s Electrify Canada expects to have the first of its 32-station rollout done this quarter as it builds along the Quebec City-Windsor and Calgary-Vancouver corridors.
“We really felt the need to build a purpose-built network that can allow people to drive more than just in and around the city,” Electrify’s chief operating officer Rob Barrosa said.
Meanwhile Petro-Canada said last month that it would add 50 fast-charging stations across the Trans-Canada Highway, including in the sparsely served stretches of northern Ontario and the Prairies that the federal government is also working to cover.
The additions come as part of a steady growth in the fast-charging network, including Alberta-based utility Atco announcing in February it will build 20 sites by the end of the year across southern Alberta, and the first fast-chargers now live in Glacier and Yoho National Parks. MORE
Indiana plant will double its production of pea and grain-based protein alternatives
Maple Leaf is investing heavily in plant-based products, including tempeh, franks and other meat alternatives.(Greenleaf)
MIssissauga, Ont-based Maple Leaf Foods is investing in meat alternatives, building the largest plant in North America for plant-based protein.
The $310-million US plant in Shelbyville, Indiana, about 50 km from Indianapolis, will more than double Maple Leaf’s capacity to produce plant-based protein products for the Canadian and U.S. markets.
Construction is expected to start in late spring this year, with production start-up expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Demand for meat alternatives growing
The company, once known mainly for its processed meats, estimates sales of plant-based protein in North America topped $1 billion in 2018. In a conference call with investors, CEO Michael McCain said he expects double-digit growth in the segment for the foreseeable future.
“North American consumers are seeking more protein and more protein choices in their diet,” he said. “Plant-based protein is on the cusp of becoming mainstream with incredible growth potential.” MORE