Doug Ford’s journey from buck-a-beer to Bolshevism

Premier Doug Ford takes a tour of the mock-up facility in the Darlington Power Complex, in Bowmanville, Ont. on May 31, 2019. If the premier’s “Open for Business” slogan can be suspended for the Beer Store, why not cancel other debilitating deals with foreigners?, Martin Regg Cohn writes.

Doug Ford can feel the heat.

He can also sense the thirst. For he can see a hunger in the land for beer in a corner store near you.

Now, the premier who proclaimed himself leader of “Ontario’s First Government For the People” has a revolutionary plan. A Five Year Plan.

It begins with a bit of Bolshevism — by blowing the Beer Store out of the water.

Ford’s Tories will pass a law this month cancelling a signed contract between the crown and the Beer Store’s owners — condemned as a “sweetheart deal” with foreign-owned multinationals. His Progressive Conservative government shall pass legislation for cancellation without compensation, using its supreme powers to absolve Ontario of any liability in a court of law.

Confiscatory legislation invites litigation, so we may yet pay the price — estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. But the revolution demands sacrifices. MORE


U.S. Chamber of Commerce expresses ‘strong concern’ over The Beer Store contract cancellation

“Our strong concern is that terminating an existing contract, and doing so without compensation — something we understand is proposed in the case of the ‘Bringing Choice and Fairness to the People Act’ — risks sending a negative signal to U.S. and other international investors about the business and investment climate in Ontario.”

What the Beer Store fight reveals about Ontario’s political parties

‘Exhaustive’ oil lobby threatens to derail promised tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast

BC First Nations Call on Senate to Pass Oil Tanker Moratorium Act

Time is running out for Parliament to pass Bill C-48, which Coastal First Nations say is essential to protecting their economy

The bill, which would effectively ban large oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s north coast from the tip of northern Vancouver Island to Alaska, was recently rejected by the Senate’s transport committee after passing third reading in Parliament, where it was supported by MPs from four out of five political parties.

Ann Haglund emailed all 105 senators on May 22 urging them to back the bill, which formalizes a voluntary oil tanker moratorium that has existed for more than 30 years. The Senate can vote to pass the bill despite the transport committee’s 6-6 deadlock vote that meant the committee did not recommend the bill for passage into law.

‘Extremely problematic’ for unelected Senate to veto majority will

The loaded comments from the independent senator come as Bill C-48 risks derailment in the wake of intense lobbying of senators by the oil industry and as the unelected Senate tests the limits of its power following reforms introduced by the Trudeau government.

If the oil tanker ban  — promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the last federal election campaign — is rejected or stalled by the Senate without going to Parliament for royal assent before the current legislative session ends June 21, it will die on the order paper.

“It strikes me as being extremely problematic that an unelected body is trying to veto the will of a majority government that was elected on a promise to ban oil tankers on the north coast of B.C.,” George Hoberg, a political scientist in environment and natural resource policy at UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, told The Narwhal.

“I think the Senate has been able to maintain some legitimacy by not overstepping its role historically.”

MP Nathan Cullen, whose riding of Skeena- Bulkley Valley includes the north coast, said senators have been lobbied in an “an exhaustive effort” by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), individual oil companies and groups with special interests.

Nathan E. Stewart oil spill
Oil spill cleanup near Gale Creek, in Heiltsuk territory on October 29, 2016. Photo: Tavish Campbell / Heiltsuk Tribal Council

“It’s affecting bills from different parties,” Cullen said in an interview. “Yet there’s a common theme where the Senate has been lobbied heavily and maybe feels like it has the authority to reject bills that the Canadian people democratically voted for.” MORE


UNDRIP Bill C-262 finally reaches the Senate committee and Conservative skepticism


Why Greta Thunberg’s leadership of the environmental movement is so important

“Air pollution is just one factor in determining the overall toxicity of the environment. In addition, toxic chemicals are added to pretty much everything we use, including food, household items, personal care and beauty products, toys, furniture and clothing…. Children are most vulnerable to these effects because their immunity is usually weaker than that of an adult. “

While the ecological crisis is now scientifically confirmed, the public health crisis with which it’s associated has received much less attention.

Greta Thunberg, 2018. Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

f you follow the news, you must have seen her face. Awkwardly serious and surprisingly mature in speech, 16 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden is currently one of the hottest names in global politics. Thunberg has been making headlines since 2018 when she first ditched school in order to protest against climate change. She has inspired thousands of people to act with her, collecting numerous accolades for her courageous attitude and countless public appearances.

Thunberg describes herself as a “climate activist with Aspergers.” According to her, this condition is one of the reasons she is able to focus so deeply on the ecological crisis and be a more effective campaigner – to “see through environment lies” as she put it in a recent interview. No wonder she’s now using the greatest ‘gifts’ she unwittingly received in order to fight back.

According to Masha Gessen in the New Yorker, “Greta’s protest serves a dual purpose. It not only calls attention to climate policy, as she intended, but it also showcases the political potential of neurological difference. ‘I see the world a bit different, from another perspective…I have a special interest. It’s very common that people on the autism spectrum have a special interest.”

This makes sense, since according to the National Autistic Society, people with Aspergers often have a tendency towards repetitive patterns of behaviour and a single-minded pursuit of interests. Thunberg’s brain may therefore be wired towards constant action and extraordinary focus, so it is perfectly suited for a tireless fight against global inaction on climate change. “It’s either you are sustainable or not — you can’t be a little bit sustainable” as she puts it. For her, things are as simple as they sound.

What’s not so simple are the connections between environmental factors and our mental and physical wellbeing. Air pollution and an excessive exposure to toxins have been found to affect the brain not only in adults but also in children, because inhaled pollutants can be transferred from the mother to the fetus during pregnancy. According to the World Health Organisation nine out of every ten people breathe toxic air daily. This means that almost every child currently living on the planet or in their mother’s womb is at risk. MORE


Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg to donate book proceeds to charity

It’s Time to Stop Calling Natural Gas a ‘Bridge Fuel’ to a Safe Climate, Says New Report

Eliminating climate emissions from fracking , the threat of earthquakes, the poisoning of water, the threat to British Columbia ocean species resulting from shipping, all point to banning fracking to help restore the earth.

natural gas flare

Natural gas, marketed for years as a “bridge fuel” to cleaner energy sources, cannot be part of any climate solution, according to a new report from Oil Change International.

While its authors outline a range of arguments, the report, Burning the Gas “Bridge Fuel” Myth: Why Gas is Not Clean, Cheap, or Necessary, highlights this simple reason: There is no room for new fossil fuel development — natural gas included — within the Paris Agreement goals. Therefore, plans to transition to a natural gas-based system are incompatible with international climate goals.

We simply have no more time to debate what’s already been settled. We must move swiftly to a fully renewable energy economy and leave all fossil fuels, including gas, behind,” said Lorne Stockman, report author and Senior Research Analyst for Oil Change International. “Despite desperate attempts by the oil and gas industry to persuade policymakers that their products have a future in a climate-safe world, a rational look at the data clearly shows otherwise.”

While this fact alone should be enough to counter the industry’s attempt to sell natural gas — which is mostly the potent greenhouse gas methane — as a “clean” fuel, there are plenty of other reasons to move on from all fossil fuels, including natural gas.

Renewables Plus Storage Are Already Economical — and Getting Cheaper

In 2013 when natural gas was being touted as a bridge fuel, the oil and gas industry could point to it as a cheaper alternative for producing electricity than coal. At the time, renewable energy sources and battery storage simply weren’t cost-competitive with natural gas or coal.

That was a different time. The low cost of renewable energy has helped end the future of the coal industry and is now poised to do the same to natural gas. The concept of natural gas as a “bridge fuel” was based on the idea that the world needed a reliable and economical energy source to cover the transition until renewables plus storage were a viable alternative.

That time is now. MORE


Alberta Imposes New Fracking Restrictions Near Dam after Quakes

Restrictions come as industry-related tremors have rattled nerves and raised concerns.

The MMIWG final report lands: ‘I hold up a mirror to Canada’

The chief commissioner urged Canadians to learn their ‘true history’, delivering a scathing report monumental in scope and minute in detail

Trudeau holds a copy of the report presented to him by the commissioners of the national inquiry in Gatineau, Que., on June 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

It was of course the consciously freighted language that grabbed all the headlines and sparked many of the media questions the day the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report.
The hefty document—as big as a New York City telephone book and the product of nearly three years of work, hearings across the country and considerable controversy and upheaval—called the thousands of cases of dead and disappeared daughters, aunts, mothers, wives and friends “nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide,” adding, “This is not what Canada is supposed to be about; it is not what it purports to stand for.”

“Today, the commissioners and I hold up a mirror to Canada,” Chief Commissioner Marion Buller said. “We reflect back what we have heard and what we have documented.”

She elicited a big cheer from the crowd when she exhorted Indigenous people to “decolonize yourself” by learning the history of their people and the “true history” of Canada. But Buller reflected the tone of the day and of the report itself with her relentlessly fierce message that no one look away or back off on this issue now that the report is printed and bound.

“The murders, the abductions, the human trafficking, the beatings, the rapes, the violence—yes, the genocide—will continue unless all Canadians find the strength, courage and vision to build a new, decolonized relationship with each other based on respect and self-determination,” she said. “Let us walk together. Let us work together. We must do this, together, to achieve our destiny as strong, proud people in this great nation.”

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson—who was raised in Nunavut and speaks fluent Inuktitut but is not Indigenous herself—suggested that many of the people watching and listening to the ceremony might have similar reactions to her own: “Guilt, shame, denial, the urge to say ‘No, no, that’s not what this is. This is not who I am. I didn’t play a part in this. My ancestors didn’t play a part in this. We’re good people.’” But the families and survivors who spoke to the inquiry in 15 community hearings held across the country revealed a collective reality she urged others not to look away from.

“But it’s the truth,” she said. “It’s our truth, it’s my truth, it’s your truth.”


Why the next 12 years could be the making of us

A better future starts with imaging one.

landscape photography of body of water near mountain

After two extraordinary weeks in which Extinction Rebellion brought London to a standstill, kids walked out of school to join the School Strike for Climate, Greta Thunberg dropped in to meet MPs and others, and David Attenborough’s ‘Climate Change: The Facts’ documentary went out on primetime TV, the UK parliament declared, the day before I’m writing this, a national climate emergency. As someone who has spent the last 15 years of my life ceaselessly speaking, blogging, campaigning and writing about climate change, and catalysing and supporting many projects and communities who are modelling innovative responses to it, I feel thrilled and delighted. But now what happens?

The point I want to make in this short piece is that the concept of a climate emergency should fill our hearts with great optimism and possibility. We have 11 years now to reverse the direction of travel, to cut our emissions in half, and be well on the path to zero emissions.  It is an extraordinarily big ask, but it is possible. Just. And if we manage it, it will be a social, cultural, economic, political transformation which is almost without precedent. It will, by definition, be a time when anything felt possible, when the imagination feels invited, valued and empowered. What an amazing time to be 18. It will be a time that future generations will sing great songs about, and tell great tales about. Hold onto your seats for the most exhilarating time when old certainties fade away, and when anything feels possible.

I feel certain that what will get us there will be our ability, in our families, in our workplaces, in the groups we’re part of, to be the storytellers of what that world, a world of zero emissions, will look like, feel like, taste like, sound like. We need to tell the stories that create a deep longing for a future that looks very different to the present. A future of cleaner air, children playing in the street, cities with food growing everywhere, louder birdsong, thriving local economies, an age of connection, conversation and community, schools and hospitals fed by local food, a sense of collective purpose. A future of renewable energy, rewilded landscapes, imaginative and playful architecture. It’s going to be amazing. As Elliot Murphy wrote in his sleeve notes for ‘Velvet Underground Live 1969’, “I wish it was a hundred years from today (I can’t stand the suspense)”.

The beautiful thing about the government and local authorities declaring a climate emergency is that very few of them have much of an idea as to what that means.  The part of the UK covered by Reconnect has been at the forefront of modelling and experimenting as to what the creativity a climate emergency makes possible. MORE

Warning: Climate Truth Is Not For The Faint-Hearted

The Liberal government’s current plan is clearly inadequate. You cannot continue to build pipelines and condone and encourage the expansion of the tar sands ecocide with impunity. It’s not a matter of saving jobs; it’s a matter of saving humanity.

Image result for below 2 degrees c: Warning: Climate Truth Is Not For The Faint-Hearted

The following four short videos are not for the faint-hearted. Why should you face it anyway? Because the future of our children and grandchildren gets explained in a sober, fact-based, ruthless and startling way. So terrifying, I needed a moment to get myself together after first watching them. Each of the four videos describes our world after a global warming of 2°C, 3°C, 4°C and more.

It also explains why we can barely stop further warming once we have reached a temperature increase of 2°C. Because that is the moment when mutually reinforcing effects will spiral climate change out of control.

It is important to remember that we are currently on a path that will lead us to an increase in temperature of 3-4°C by the year 2100. Only radical and immediate reduction of greenhouse gases and ultimately the complete and worldwide abandonment of fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest will give us a 50% to 60% chance to keep the earth’s temperature below 2°C.

What happens if the world warms up by 2°C?

“At a 2°C rise, people will begin to die of what is now considered normal summers. Countries already hit by hurricanes face ever greater storms. Plant growth slows down, then stops. Plants don’t absorb CO2 as efficiently, instead emitting it. The extra carbon sees global warming spiral out of control. In the year 2100 sea levels would rise by a meter displacing 10% of the world’s population. In this 2°C future, ecosystems across the globe collapse. A third of all life on earth faces extinction.”

Standard YouTube Licence
Sky News
Published on Nov 29, 2015

What happens if the world warms up by 3°C?

“If global temperature rises by 2°C the chances of avoiding a 3°C increase are slim. At a 3°C increase plants stop absorbing CO2, enough carbon builds in the atmosphere to raise temperatures by another 1.5°C by 2100. The planet is tipped into runaway global warming. Cities and farms around the world will lose their rivers and reservoirs run dry. Saltwater creeps upstream and groundwater is poisoned. This tips food production into a irreversible decline.” MORE

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