Why Has Trudeau Risked So Much for SNC-Lavalin?

Four related mysteries fuel flames of an ever more ruinous scandal.

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Cartoon by Greg Perry.

Justin Trudeau has hit the panic button.

Unicorn sightings during Question Period are down to zero.

After weeks of being drubbed by the opposition over LavScam, the prime minister is now threatening a lawsuit against Andrew Scheer, his chief detractor in this misbegotten affair. What’s next? Suing Andrew Coyne?

They say drowning people will clutch at anything. But a threatened lawsuit against Scheer? The Michelin Tire Man is more menacing than the leader of the Official Opposition. This guy edits his tweets when he gets a paper airplane thrown his way.

And didn’t this PM promise a new, open way of doing politics? Dumping MPs who won’t bend to his will, effectively firing a cabinet minister who didn’t take the hint on a big file, shutting down the justice committee investigation of this travesty, and now waving a libel action around does not exactly conjure up sunny ways.

Having already claimed two star female federal cabinet ministers, the clerk of the privy council, and the PM’s principal secretary, it appears the next victim of LavScam could be Justin Trudeau himself. And all because one way or another, the PM seems determined to spare SNC-Lavalin a criminal conviction for its alleged bribery and corruption in Libya. Why?

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RELATED:

Andrew Coyne: Trudeau’s lawsuit threat all part of a cunning play for sympathy

For the gambit to pay off, the Trudeau team had to exceed previous expectations of ineptitude. Never let it be said that they were not down to the challenge

ExxonMobil faces EU parliament ban after no show at climate hearing


The European Parliament votes on a new copyright regulation on March 26, 2019. CC-BY-4.0: European Union 2019. Source: EP

ExxonMobil faces losing its lobby privileges at the European parliament after the company failed to show up for the first hearing into climate change denial.

ExxonMobil would become only the second multinational – after Monsanto – to lose access to MEPs, parliamentary meetings and digital resources if it loses a high-level vote expected by the end of April.

The oil giant publicly supports the Paris agreement but has drawn the ire of scientists, academics and environmentalists, who accuse it of peddling climate misinformation.

The ban request is being submitted by the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. She said: “This is the company that denied the science, despite knowing the damage their oil exploitation was causing; which funded campaigns to block action on climate and now refuses to face up to its environmental crimes by attending today’s hearing. We cannot allow the lobbyists from such corporations free access to the corridors of the European parliament. We must remove their badges immediately.” MORE

Ajax’s Anti-Idling Campaign

Potential $38 fine for those who idle more than two minutes

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AJAX — Ajax resident and Antarctic expedition guide Geoff Carpentier, left, stopped to talk to Mayor Steve Parish and sign an anti-idling campaign. October 19, 2009 – Laura Stanley photo

In an effort to stop unnecessary idling, the Town of Ajax wants you to kick the idling habit and is promoting three anti-idling initiatives through the Every Minute Counts campaign:

  • An anti-idling bylaw
  • A community education program
  • Idle free zones.

On September 14, 2009 Ajax Council approved an anti-idling bylaw. The bylaw limits the idling of vehicles engines to less than two minutes. The bylaw also sets out a fine of $38.00 for those that don’t adhere to the limit. SOURCE

A change in government has done little to alter B.C.’s environmental path

Prior to the 2017 election that would make him Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan stood with opponents of the proposed Site C dam, a hydroelectric project described as a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. To acknowledge his support, protest organizers inscribed Mr. Horgan’s name on a yellow stake, which was planted within the footprint of the megaproject that was the liberal government of the day.

But on Site C and other major environmental issues, Mr. Horgan has not diverged substantially from the path laid down by the BC Liberals.

The environment was never a big part of the BC NDP’s election platform in 2017  The party promised to work on climate action, but made no mention of Site C , or an environmental disaster at the Mount Polley mine. A seismic shift on ecological policies was not part of the New Democrats’ promise to voters.

Now, almost two years after the election, a minority NDP Government that is formally supported by the Green Party has approved construction of the Site C dam. The legislature passed a law on Thursday to secure a massive LNG investment. The mining industry is welcoming new resources from the province. And some of Canada’s oldest trees are heading for auction.

Counting the environmental policies of the NDP and the Liberals is not easy, Green Party MLA Adam Olsen says. “A lot of these decisions are similarly similar.”

FORESTRY

On Friday, the premier addressed the convention of the Council of Forest Industries, outlining his government’s work to chart a new course for a strong, sustainable future for BC The forest sector.

That includes logging in the old-growth rain forests on Vancouver Island that are still intact, including some of the biggest Douglas firs in Canada, said Jens Wieting, the Sierra Club of BC. MORE

Huge Global Study Just Smashed One of The Last Major Arguments Against Renewables


(atosan/iStock)

We just got some massive news in the ongoing drive to switch to renewable energy: scientists have identified 530,000 sites worldwide suitable for pumped-hydro energy storage, capable of storing more than enough energy to power the entire planet.

Pumped-hydro is one of the best technologies we have for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as solar power, which means these sites could act as giant batteries, helping to support cheap, fully renewable power grids.

As of now the sites have only been identified by an algorithm, so further on-the-ground research needs to be done. But it was previously assumed there were only limited suitable sites around the world, and that we wouldn’t be able to store enough renewable energy for high-demand times – which this study shows isn’t the case at all.

Added together, these hundreds of thousands of sites have the potential to store around 22 million Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. It’s more than enough to get the entire planet running on renewables, which is where we want to get to.

(EnergyAustralia)

“Only a small fraction of the 530,000 potential sites we’ve identified would be needed to support a 100 percent renewable global electricity system,” says one of the researchers involved in the survey, Matthew Stocks from the Australian National University (ANU). MORE

Education in the Reconciliation Era

Reconciliation has become a touchstone in this country. Leaders, elders, politicians, artists, and activists point to it as critical for the future relationship between Canada and Indigenous people. And yet, for many Canadians – including new Canadians – what they should do, or know, or understand, often remains unclear. The Agenda discusses how Canada’s less tolerant track record can be presented to foster understanding.

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How Billionaires and Big Pharma Battled Canada’s National Drug Plan

Many people thought pharmacare would be in this federal budget. It wasn’t. Sharon Batt’s report helps explain why

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As soon as the Canadian government signalled support for a national pharmacare program, the drug and insurance industries launched a counterattack. Image from Pixabay.

[Editor’s note: The federal government didn’t deliver a national pharmacare plan in last month’s budget, despite announcing an advisory council to advise on implementing a national program in the 2018 budget. 

Why? Sharon Batt, an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University, looked at the reasons in a report for the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. 

Batt found powerful players — including insurance and drug companies — profit from the current system. And that they had unleashed a major, expensive lobbying, PR and public campaign to fight a national pharmacare program. 

The Tyee is pleased to share edited excerpts from the report.]

Big money’s campaign to block pharmacare: First, buy influence

Since the government announced the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare in the 2018 budget, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries have embarked on a lobbying frenzy in Ottawa.

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Recent events have broken trust in Liberal government, say Indigenous leaders, and it could lead to punishment at the polls in October

‘I’m sure many of the Indigenous people are pondering questions about which party they’re going to vote for come election time,’ says Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian.


Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, left, Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and Daughters of the Vote delegate Georgina Johnston. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade and courtesy of Facebook

Indigenous leaders from across Canada say their trust in the Liberal government’s promise of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples has been broken and they’re looking for concrete action, soon, or it could mean punishment at the polls in October.

“The prime minister may have meant what he said, and I don’t doubt that he did, but the actions that he has demonstrated throughout his time as prime minister contradict that,” said Ellen Gabriel, an activist and member of the Kanesatake Mohawk First Nation.

“Reconciliation has not happened, the status quo continues,” she said in a phone interview last week.

“Everybody had high hopes that this would be a government that would be a little different than previous governments, whether it was Liberal or Conservative. And, in some respect, it has been, but what really they’ve done is spin-doctor and repackage colonial laws and policies differently. It’s the same beast, it just looks a little bit more glossy,” Ms. Gabriel said.

During the 2015 campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) promised to restore and renew the federal government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples and bring about a true nation-to-nation relationship. Since then, the prime minister has repeatedly stated that reconciliation is core to his government’s mandate and legacy.

The launch of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women was among the commitments made to Indigenous peoples in the 2015 Liberal platform; that inquiry launched in September 2016 and will deliver its final report by the end of the month. The Liberals also committed to enact the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action, “starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

To date, 10 calls to action are deemed completed, based on the CBC’s Beyond 94 tracker, while 55 are in progress (underway or proposed), and 29 have not been started on.


Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Mariam Wallet Med Aboubakrine, left, prominent Inuk human rights advocate Rosemarie Kuptana, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve, and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde speak at a press conference in the National Press Theatre to urge the Senate to pass Bill C-262, the UN Declaration implementation bill, on April 1, 2019. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
The call to adopt and implement the UNDRIP is among those deemed in progress with projects proposed; that proposal is in the form of a private member’s bill from NDP MP Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou, Que.), Bill C-262, which currently sits at second reading in the Senate. MORE

The Country Winning The Battle On Food Waste

South Korea has managed to increase food waste recycling levels from 2 percent to 95 percent.

Chung Sun-hee composts her food waste in Seoul, South
Chung Sun-hee composts her food waste in Seoul, South Korea. MAX S. KIM

SEOUL, South Korea ― Chung Sun-hee finely crushes eggshells, dries and saves her coffee grounds, and separates large vegetable offcuts into smaller pieces. Later, the 55-year-old professional translator will bury them in her backyard, in rotating plots of earth that are given ample time to compost before being replenished. She will plant tomatoes, basil and corn in the resulting soil.

She has a raft of little tricks to make it all work: In the summer, for example, her husband dices up the rinds of every watermelon he eats in order to make the composting process faster. “When we lived in an apartment, I would throw away all my food waste into the shared collection containers,” Chung said. “But now, I compost almost all of it.”

Chung is one of a growing number of city dwellers who are getting into urban farming, not just to grow their own vegetables, but also as an exercise in waste reduction. “Reducing food waste and the urban farming movement are very closely linked,” said Chung, who completed a government-sponsored course five years ago.

Walk along any residential street in Seoul and you’ll see why. On Chung’s street, residents emerge at dusk to deposit small yellow bags into designated waste collection buckets.

Since 2013, South Koreans have been required by law to discard food waste in these biodegradable bags, priced according to volume and costing the average four-person family about $6 a month. By purchasing them from the local convenience store or supermarket, residents are effectively paying a tax on their food waste upfront. In Seoul, this tax pays for roughly 60 percent of the cost of collecting and processing the city’s food waste, according to government data.

eoul residents put their waste into yellow recycling bags, which they buy from supermarkets and local stores. MAX S. KIM

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