A Green New Deal for Canada: What it means


The Green New Deal travels north

(Chris Wattie/Reuters)

On Monday, people across Canada rallied in support of the environment. It was the first salvo for the Pact for a Green New Deal by a coalition of more than 60 organizations — as well as celebrities such as k.d. lang, William Shatner and David Suzuki — pushing to make climate action a priority in the upcoming federal election.

Brendan Pietrobon spoke to Concordia University professor Damon Matthews, who was recruited by the Pact to speak to the scientific basis for climate action proposed in the Green New Deal.

What inspired this movement?

One is the U.S. version of the Green New Deal that has been gaining some traction. The other is in Quebec — Le pacte pour la transition launched in November of last year. It’s a similar idea — trying to develop a groundswell of support for social and economic transition in light of the climate challenge. Le pacte … has almost 300,000 signatories to date, mostly within the francophone community in Quebec.

What are the goals of the Pact for a Green New Deal?

It’s not meant to be a set of policy prescriptions at this point, but more an acknowledgement that we face challenges and that Canada as a country is not providing the kind of climate leadership that we could be. The premise of it is that we need to limit climate change to within a safe regime. Yes, that involves meeting our obligations to the Paris agreement, dramatically strengthening our national emissions targets. In order to be aligned with the Paris agreement, we should be targeting something like a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

What are Canada’s unique challenges?

The challenge for us is finding a way to move away from oil and gas as a fundamental part of our economy, while not leaving people behind who are dependent on that industry for their livelihoods.

The starting point, honestly, is a flat-out acknowledgement that the future of oil and gas is limited — and we haven’t had that conversation at the political level in Canada hardly at all. The conversation right now is still that oil and gas is going to be an important driver of our economy for the next several decades. That narrative fundamentally assumes that we do not take climate mitigation seriously. MORE


Gender discrimination and the Indian Act


The Indian Act (1876-to Present) is the piece of legislation that not only defines the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Settler Canadian government but also serves to regulate the membership of indigenous communities and access to reserve lands and services by dividing indigenous people into status and non status Indians.  The Act, which was designed with the twin goals of controlling and assimilating Indigenous peoples into the Canadian body politic, did so by slowly bleeding indigenous communities of women and their children. This was done in part by imposing patriarchal understandings of family and inheritance on indigenous societies and sidelining traditional governing structures in favour of Bands and Band Councils (which banned women’s participation until 1951 when the Indian Act was amended).


How The Government Decided Who and Who Was Not An ‘Indian’

To qualify as a ‘Status Indian’ under the act you needed to be a man who was believed to have indigenous lineage and belong to a Band, the child of a ‘Status Indian’ or married to a ‘Status Indian’.  Under the Indian Act women became entirely dependent of their fathers and husbands for their Status as well as their band membership and made heterosexuality mandatory. If a woman married a man who had ‘Status’ and was a member of a different band she and her decedents would then become members of the husband’s band. If a woman married a ‘Non Status’ indigenous man or a non-indigenous man she and all of her decedents lost their ‘Status’ in perpetuity. A startling number of women and their children were struck off the register and were denied access to their communities and their cultures through these provisions of the Act.  Later amendments saw women who had married men belonging to different bands being forcibly enfranchised if they were widowed or abandoned by their spouse. As a woman’s status was intrinsically tied to her husband’s status a severing of that relationship left women without access to their adopted bands and reserves and without the legal standing to rejoin their birth community.  SOURCE

Ending sex discrimination in the Indian Act through ‘6(1)a All the Way’
First Nation Women Leaders & Advocates Call for End to Sex Discrimination

B.C. man’s challenge of controversial LNG pipeline in hands of NEB

Although facing challenges to its project Coastal GasLink is proceeding with construction including building 14 construction camps to house workers along the route of its pipeline. (CGL photo/file

Lawyers submitted oral arguments on jurisdiction to the board in Calgary last week

A constitutional challenge to the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project is now in the hands of the National Energy Board (NEB).

Michael Sawyer, a Smithers man who made the application to the board argues that British Columbia did not have jurisdiction to approve the project and had it been assessed under the federal jurisdiction it might not have been.

“I don’t believe there was a proper assessment of the true environmental and social and economic costs of this project and what I would like to see happen is that that get done,” he told The Interior News via phone from Calgary.

“My belief is that once that’s done, this project will not be viewed as being in the public interest and probably would not be approved.”

The NEB heard oral summaries from Sawyer’s lawyer William Andrews of Vancouver, Coastal Gaslink’s legal counsel Sander Duncanson, and a number of other intervenors on May 2 and 3 in Calgary.

Andrews argued that although the CGL pipeline will be entirely within B.C., it will be functionally integrated with TransCanada’s federally-regulated Nova Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL) system and thus should fall under federal jurisdiction. MORE


Unist’ot’en Files Legal Action Against Coastal GasLink Archaeological Plan

Trevor Hancock: Move from denial, to protests, to building better mousetraps

There are great opportunities to build a green future. Action is better than despair. We just have to imagine and build a better mousetrap.

Photograph By AP PHOTO

“Stop denying our Earth is dying,” read a poster held by a young woman taking part in a protest by the Extinction Rebellion group outside the BBC headquarters in London recently.

Young people can see what is coming, and they are becoming mad as hell and are not going to take it any more. Greta Thunberg, the remarkable young Swedish woman who routinely talks sense to the world’s leaders, has ignited a series of protests over climate change by young people all over the world.

But while the evidence is clear — and increasing on an almost daily basis — much of our political and corporate leadership in B.C., Canada and around the world is in denial. It was to them that this young woman’s appeal was directed. Troublingly, significant segments of the electorate are also in denial, and are being whipped up by “the Resistance.” Conservative leaders in Canada and around the world and their fossil-fuel and other corporate allies do very well out of the present arrangements and don’t want to see the system changed.

Unlike the older generation that currently make decisions affecting the future, young people have a real stake in that future; after all, they will be there, whereas my generation will not. In fact, arguably, they — not the generation now in power — should be making decisions that will have an impact on their future; they should certainly be fully, meaningfully and consistently engaged in making those decisions.

Perhaps the most effective way to counter denial is simply to show that there is an alternative, it works and it’s better than what we have now — build a better mousetrap, in other words.

But young people can see, I think, that what we face — climate change and more — changes everything, as Naomi Klein’s book title noted a few years ago. And if everything has to change — our values, the economy, our social arrangements, our whole way of life — then there are not only great challenges ahead, but great opportunities. MORE

Ontario NDP tables motion to declare climate emergency in Ontario

Responding effectively to the climate emergency requires coordinated actions from all three levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal. It also requires citizen engagement to demand that governments respond quickly with targeted action plans. There are so many ways we can help build a New Green Deal!

Image result for andrea horwath climate emergency

The Ontario NDP has introduced a motion to declare a climate emergency in Ontario.

“Climate change is no longer only about our climate future. It is an imminent emergency. It is happening now,” said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Ontarians are already witnessing the devastating consequences of climate change first hand. We have seen this in Bracebridge, Ottawa, and in the southwest where there has been significant flooding. We have seen this in tornadoes in eastern Ontario. We have seen this in wild fires in recent years. We need to take immediate and decisive action to tackle climate change.”

Research shows that the window for staving off the worst of effects of climate change is rapidly closing, and projections show that the cost of doing nothing is much greater than the cost of taking action. Passing the climate emergency motion is an opportunity for Doug Ford to reverse course and join the millions of Ontarians committed to fighting climate change.

“Declaring a climate emergency is an opportunity for Queen’s Park to change direction, and take on the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced,” said Horwath.

Since taking office, Ford has cancelled climate change mitigation programs including Ontario’s participation in the cap and trade market, cancelled conservation programs, scrapped green vehicle rebates, removed electric vehicle charging stations, and eliminated a program to plant 50 million trees – but it’s not too late to change course, and prioritize the fight against climate change, said Horwath.

Ontario would be the first Canadian province or territory to declare a climate emergency if the NDP motion passes. Several cities in Ontario and throughout the province have declared a climate emergency.  MORE

Kingston On: Protest demands greater municipal action on climate change

Kingston was the first Canadian city to declare a climate emergency, quickly followed by Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa — good first steps but meaningless unless followed by impactful climate action. Urge Prince Edward Council to take the first step and declare a climate emergency.

Members of local activism groups 350 Kingston and Kingston Climate Hub rallied outside the City’s strategic planning meeting in Goodes Hall on Queen’s University campus on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Photo by Michelle Allan.

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019 a rally was held outside the City of Kingston’s Strategic Planning meeting at Goodes Hall by 350 Kingston, a group of local citizens “committed to taking action on climate change.”

This was the city’s fourth strategic planning session and intended to finalize council’s 2019-2022 strategic plans.

Clad in red to represent emergency, the protestors gathered outside Goodes Hall and the meeting room with signs, bullhorns, and a red chair labelled as ‘the hot seat’ with the goal of ensuring that “councillors and the mayor know that inaction is negligent.” Stressing the severity and time-sensitive nature of climate change, the protest’s event page on Facebook said that city’s “strategic plan guiding the next four years needs to reflect that.”

After a unanimous council vote on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Kingston made history as the first Ontario municipality to declare a climate emergency. Julia Miller, a member of 350 Kingston, said that the city government’s choice to identify climate change as an emergency and the impassioned words at last Friday’s climate strike at Confederation Park, gave citizens “optimism” and a “impression of impactful action.”

“We’re facing ecocide, and the faster we swallow that pill, the faster we can get our feet on the ground.  That includes city governments.”

Miller felt that the council outline of the strategic plan was a “disappointment in terms of timeline, impact, and use of funds.” Miller criticized some of the city’s planned initiatives as “misleading,” saying that it was repacking existing initiatives as if they were new ideas. MORE


Ottawa joins growing number of Canadian cities to declare a climate emergency. But what does that mean?

The declarations are part of a global movement which sees local governments as key to a boots-on-the-ground approach to reducing carbon emissions