NDP unveils Quebec platform, promising more power on immigration and language

Singh positions NDP as ‘ally to Quebec and the French language,’ building on work of Jack Layton

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is campaigning in Quebec today with stops in Sherbrooke and Saint-Hyacinthe. 

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh starts week two in the province which was once his party’s stronghold, promising more powers to Quebec on portfolios including the environment, language, immigration and justice.

Singh presented his platform for the province, dubbed Ensemble pour le Québec, in Sherbrooke today.

It includes allowing the province to have specific powers and flexibility, including the right to withdraw from federal programs but still receive the federal financial compensation.

He is positioning his party as “an ally to Quebec and the French language,” building on the work of the late Jack Layton in the 2006 federal election — whose popularity in the province has been unmatched by any NDP leader since.

“At the beginning, some people didn’t think Jack was someone who could excite Quebec and maybe some people don’t think Jagmeet can. But Jack was a builder, he was optimistic and Jack and Jagmeet have similar progressive values that resonate in the province,” said Marie Della Mattia, NDP campaign co-chair.

Final word on infrastructure projects

Singh’s proposals include giving Quebec the final word on environmental evaluations for major infrastructure projects on its territory, such as pipelines.

He would also allow the provincial government to apply Bill 101, Quebec’s law to protect and strengthen the French language, to national companies with a presence in Quebec, such as banks and the telecommunications sector.

All of Canada’s Supreme Court judges would be required to be able to read and speak in French.

The platform offers more money to Quebec cultural organizations, particularly those whose goal is to promote and protect the French language.

Singh would allocate $73 million more to Quebec’s immigration ministry. The funds would allow the province to invest in programs teaching French to and integrating newcomers. This program was announced last week.

Sway over trade deals

No unilateral agreements would be made with web giants to stream content in Canada without consulting with Quebec. The NDP also promises to make sure companies like Netflix pay federal taxes.

The NDP would consult with Quebec before signing major international trade agreements. Quebec dairy farmers were upset by the new Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (new NAFTA) deal signed in 2018, which allowed more American milk products into the country.

Quebec support for the NDP has been eroding since Jack Layton’s Orange Crush in 2011 when they took 59 of the 78 seats.

Under Tom Mulcair’s leadership the party was reduced to 16 MPs in 2015. Singh’s team is focusing on how Layton won over Quebecers.

The choice of Sherbrooke to make the announcement is symbolic. It’s where Layton presented the party’s position on asymmetrical federalism, recognizing Quebec’s specific character. SOURCE



Make climate change the issue candidates can’t ignore: Write a letter to the editor

Election 2019: Comparing the federal parties’ climate change commitments

Image result for ecojustice: Election 2019: Comparing the federal parties’ climate change commitments

Take action: As Canadians head into the election, concern about climate change is at a fever pitch. Challenge your local candidates to commit to bold action to combat the crisis by sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Click here to help make climate change an issue candidates can’t ignore.

This fall, Canadians will cast their ballots in the country’s 43rd general election.

For many, climate change will be a defining issue (perhaps for the first time in Canadian history) when they vote for their next federal government.

According to polling released in July, climate change is one of the top three issues Canadians say will likely impact how they vote.

It’s not surprising that Canadians are concerned about climate change. We are in a climate emergency and many people living in Canada recognize that the clock is ticking on our ability to address the crisis.

This election, the stakes are high. The incoming government will have a direct hand in putting Canada on track to do its part to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels (the target towards which countries agreed to strive under the Paris Agreement). Or it will leave us on a collision course with climate catastrophe.

How do the different parties intend to tackle the climate emergency? To find out, Ecojustice is keeping track of the major parties’ climate commitments as they happen*, and evaluating them according to three criteria:

1. A strong target – Does the platform include a clearly defined target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Does this target align with what the science says needs to happen to ward off the worst impacts of climate change? And will this target be legally binding?

2. A realistic plan – Is there a clear plan to actually hit the emissions targets? And do the numbers in that plan add up?

3. Tools to hold the government accountable – Does the platform include tools that will help Canadians hold government to account for its climate promises? Are there mechanisms to make sure future governments stay on track?

To set these benchmarks, Ecojustice looked to leading climate laws from around the world, including places such as the U.K., Denmark and New Zealand.

Any Canadian party serious about combatting the climate emergency must be willing to put forward a plan that meets all three criteria.

Anything short of this will jeopardize the health, safety and security, and well-being of all Canadians — and burden young people and future generations with the consequences of doing too little, too late. MORE

Japan should scrap nuclear reactors after Fukushima, says new environment minister

Shinjiro Koizumi says: ‘We will be doomed if we allow another accident to occur’

 Newly appointed Japanese environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi has called for nuclear reactors to be scrapped rather than restarted after Fukushima. Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Japan’s new environment minister has called for the country’s nuclear reactors to be scrapped to prevent a repeat of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Shinjiro Koizumi’s comments, made hours after he became Japan’s third-youngest cabinet minister since the war, could set him on a collision course with Japan’s pro-nuclear prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

“I would like to study how we will scrap them, not how to retain them,” Koizumi, 38, said. “We will be doomed if we allow another nuclear accident to occur. We never know when we’ll have an earthquake.”

Koizumi faced an immediate challenge from the new trade and industry minister, who said that ridding Japan of nuclear power was “unrealistic”.

“There are risks and fears about nuclear power,” Isshu Sugawara told reporters. “But ‘zero-nukes’ is, at the moment and in the future, not realistic.”

Japan’s government wants nuclear power to comprise 20% to 22% of the overall energy mix by 2030, drawing criticism from campaigners who say nuclear plants will always pose a danger given the country’s vulnerability to large earthquakes and tsunamis.

All of Japan’s 54 reactors were shut down after a giant tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Nuclear power accounted for about 30% of Japan’s energy production before the disaster. Today, just nine reactors are back in operation, having passed stringent safety checks introduced after the Fukushima meltdown.

But the government is unlikely to meet its target of 30 reactor restarts by 2030 amid strong local opposition and legal challenges. MORE


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‘It Is Our Very Governments Who Are Killing the Earth.’

Brazilian Indigenous Leader Speaks Out On Deforestation in the Amazon

Benki Piyãnko in his village, Apiwtxa, explaining about his work with agroforestry systems

Benki Piyãnko in his village, Apiwtxa, explaining about his work with agroforestry systems
Benki Pyãnko is a community leader from Apiwtxa, an Ashaninka community situated in the Amazonian state of Acre, Brazil. He has led projects to defend his community from deforestation and to defend Ashaninka rights and culture in the indigenous territory of Terra Kampa do Rio Amônia. His community’s sustainability projects were awarded an Equator Prize by the U.N. in 2017.
As TIME reported in its recent special climate issue, the fires from the Amazon seen across the skies of Brazil in August “helped illuminate something the world can no longer ignore.” On the front lines of the fight to protect the land is 46-year-old Benki Pyãnko, who has experienced these significant — and devastating—changes to the environment firsthand. A ambassador of the Ashaninka people, Pyãnko has led environmental and reforesting projects in his community of Apiwtxa, inhabiting the indigenous territory of Terra Kampa do Rio Amônia in the Brazilian state of Acre, located close to the border with Peru and covered by the Amazon rainforest. There are around 3,000 Ashaninka people living across four indigenous land areas in Brazil, and over 120,000 Ashaninka living over the frontier in Peru. Pyãnko’s Apiwtxa community won the United Nations Equator Prize in 2017, a prize honoring indigenous communities, for its reforesting initiatives and defense of Ashaninka rights and culture. As part of the Flourishing Diversity Summit at University College London, Pyãnko was one of several indigenous leaders invited from around the world to gather and share their experiences of protecting their environments. TIME spoke with Pyãnko about the solutions that indigenous people can offer to tackle climate change, and what lessons the rest of the world can learn from them.
Where we live, there is still a great deal of richness as far as forests, animals, plants. These species still exist because of the way we guarded and tended the forest since around 1986 when we began this work of preservation. Our people still maintain our culture very protectively and very well, but with all that we have protected, we also carry great worry, because of all that surrounds us where we live. People who use the forest hunt animals to a great extent, take part in logging activities, and deforest the forest to make way for pastures. Our rivers cannot exist without the forest, our animals cannot live without the forest, and we ourselves depend on these plants and animals for our consumption, for our existence.

Deforesting was one of the greatest catastrophes that happened in our territory. People felled our forests, and that made our rivers very dry. There were many species of fish that disappeared, as the forest has been cut down, many kinds of animals also disappeared, or disappeared from that region at least. We have experienced a lot more heatwaves now, almost unbearable heatwaves. There would be rains during the summer time as if it were winter time, and also dryness during the rainy season. There’s been growing lightning storms and hurricane storms that would come and uproot many trees. We had great floods that caused many animals to die, and even people. Because of climatic changes, there are many species of trees whose fruits are borne before the correct time of the year. All the people who live in the forest realize that over the last 30 years, the changes have been very significant.

It is man who has been perpetrating all this disaster. We see mining and oil business coming into our area and invading our rivers. There were gold mines, with many areas of the forest burned or logged, and we have seen many industries moving into the area that pollute the air, significantly. We see all the rubbish created by these industries, not only plastic but also cans and all the waste being thrown in our rivers.

All our worry about the destruction that is happening makes us take our message as indigenous peoples to the whole world, speaking about these problems. Our environment, our natural fruits, animals and plants are the security of our lives. And if we don’t take care of all these species, of this richness of nature, we are heading towards a great catastrophe that may affect us in a very deep way. That’s why my work as a leader is to try to show people how we can change this attitude, and we can change all of this. That’s why I have come out of my village to go outside and show to other people with my projects what can be done to protect our environment. MORE

Behind the Scenes and Elections: Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada

Image result for koch industries tar sands
Photo by NRDC

As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few joining the dots.

For example, no media reports that China’s growing dispute with Canada is based on Canada’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s unilateral and illegal embargo against oil-competitor Iran. A cynical reply is that this is predictable. Canada attacks any designated US Enemy in junior partnership with global corporate command.

But this time there is a new twist. Canada is attacking itself without knowing it.

A US Big-Oil backed juggernaut of Conservative provincial governments and the federal Opposition are well advanced in a Canada campaign to reverse longstanding parliamentary decisions, environmental laws, climate action initiatives, Supreme Court directions, first-nations negotiations, and bring down the government of Canada.  Yet no-one in public or media circles has joined the dots.

Canada’s vast tar-sands deposits are world famous as surpassing Saudi Arabia oil-field capacities in total barrels of potential yield. Great Canada! Yet few notice that over two-thirds of the entire tar-sands operations are owned by foreign entities sending their profits out of Canada, and almost all its raw product is controlled for refining and sale in the US.

What is especially kept out of the daily news is the incendiary fact that the infamous, election-interfering Koch brothers have a dominant stake in the toxic crude of the Alberta tar-sands seeking a massive BC-pipeline out to their US refineries.

Koch-owned industries have already extracted countless billions of their near $100-billion fortune from the tar-sands and deployed their well-known voter-manipulations to change the balance of power in Canada as they have done in the US.

The objective is the same in both cases – ever more tax-free, publicly subsidized and state-enforced control by US Big Oil of Alberta’s massive oil resources with no government regulations or interferences in the way.

A Short History of the Background Facts 

Prior to the wide-mouth pipelines of toxic Alberta crude planned through BC mountains, lands and waters to US processors, oil has to be extracted from the tar-sands first. This demands a continuous gargantuan depleting and polluting of the great Athabaska Lake, River and watershed to steam-boil the tar out of the vast open-pit mines. The immense open-pit mines are not formed or pumped out of desert as in the Middle East. They are torn in state-size chunks out of the earth’s mantle by monstrous wrecking machines ripping out the boreal forest lands by the roots to destroy the carbons sinks and water-hold stabilization they provide in the Northern region as well as pump out ever more climate-changing gases.

NASA Lake Athabasca.jpg
Lake Athabasca (Public Domain)

To boil the tar out of the endless open-pit mines already demands the equivalent of twice the amount of water the entire City of Calgary uses and recycles in a year. But water consumed by the tar-sand boiling is permanently polluted and wasted, and its fresh- water take from the great Athabaska watershed will only increase as the tar-sands ‘development’ is maximized, accessible oil fields are exhausted and prices rise. So too the annihilation of the boreal forests acting as a sink for carbon and holding the watershed together will be permanently lost.

Yet this is only the beginning of what ends up being the biggest single point-source of carbon pollution and climate destabilization in the world. It pollutes 2.5 times more carbon gases than natural oil. Extraction mechanisms cost almost 8-times more fossil fuels than natural oil, and use overall almost as much energy as is produced!

For many years now, the Kochs have made most of their vast fortune from processing billions of barrels of tar-sand crude in the US, not Canada. This is why their octopi funding fronts have relentlessly pushed for ever more pipelines through others’ lands (including Dakota’s indigenous Standing Rock) to control this bigger and safer business than tar-sand extraction itself.

This is also why the Kochs have led the huge financing of climate change denial against the known science, in which tar-sand extractions and burning produce far more toxic carbon gases than high-grade oil. Most of all, the Kochs have acted out of sight to ensure control over elected governments that might regulate and control their above-the-law activities. They spent more than the Republican Party itself on the 2012 US elections.

They invented and funded the Congress-upending Tea-Party, and finance endless attack ads against all resisters to their will to dominate the US Congress and Senate (and behind the scenes the Trump presidency).

Canada’s Love-in With US Big Oil as ‘Alberta’ and ‘National Unity’

In Canada, the governing corporate media and parties have had such a media-transmitted love-in with Big Oil that even Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley militantly demanded over years that the US-dominated tar-sands mega project receive ever more rights and public subsidies to run its toxic tar-sand crude over neighboring BC mountains and the inland whale-inhabited ocean channels as a moral obligation to Alberta. MORE


Alberta ending separate offices for climate change, environmental monitoring

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney watches as his cabinet is sworn into office in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. File photo by The Canadian Press/Jason Franson

“What’s going to suffer is Alberta’s international reputation (and) our overall approach to science and evidence-based decision making,” said New Democrat legislature member Shannon Phillips, who was environment minister in the previous government.

The intention is outlined in a Sept. 10 email from Alberta Environment and Parks deputy minister Bev Yee, obtained by The Canadian Press.

Yee outlines a departmental re-organization under which the climate change office created during Phillips’ tenure will disappear. So will the environmental monitoring and science division, initially created as an arm’s-length agency in 2014 by the provincial Conservative government and brought back into government by the New Democrats.

Both will be “integrated into the new structure,” says Yee’s email.

“The primary drivers and intended outcomes of this reorganization include enhanced business integration, the achievement of efficiencies, and providing better support to achieve government priorities,” wrote Yee.

The changes are to be effective Oct. 15.

Yee said in an emailed statement Friday that the process is about increasing effectiveness.

“This reorganization will bring many of the department’s brightest scientific minds under one division and eliminate some of the administrative overlap that can prevent them from doing their best work.”

In an email, department spokeswoman Jess Sinclair said the climate change office has been incorporated into Alberta Environment’s general policy effort “in order to ensure that (department) policy is developed with an eye to the overall management of pollution in the province.”

But Phillips said the moves downgrade both climate and monitoring policy.

“We no longer have a government that is interested in putting forward credible climate change policy or credible monitoring and science in the oilsands,” she said. “I have serious questions about the resourcing of environmental monitoring in the oilsands.”

Phillips suggested the change is a prelude to cuts.

“It’s easier to hide the cuts if they’re absorbed within the department.”

Environmental groups called the changes part of a pattern in Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government to roll back climate and environmental policies.

“If this government didn’t have a very clear agenda to stall climate action and harass environmental organizations, then I might be willing to consider this normal operations for a new government,” said Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network Canada.

“(But) I can’t help but see the elimination of their climate department as part of their overall strategy.” MORE


Friday September 27 Is Canada’s Climate Moment

We’re in a Climate Emergency! And it’s time we start acting like it.

September is a month of climate action. The week of September 20-27 is packed with events and moments that will be pivotal in our efforts to take on the accelerating climate crisis. This  global #WeekForFuture will involve climate mobilizations in almost every single country with thousands of events planned globally.

Canada’s Climate Moment

In Canada, Friday September 27 will be our climate moment. Thousands are expected to demonstrate in cities across the country asking governments to react now with an urgency that matches the magnitude and severity of the climate crisis.

We’re calling for massive participation on the part of adults —  alongside young people — to show that adults too are concerned and want to join forces in this global effort to raise awareness and to motivate more stubborn leaders to face reality and to act. — FridaysForFuture.Org

Montreal is expecting a huge turnout as is Ottawa, the nation’s capital. Earlier this year, over 150,000 took to the streets in Montreal on the March 15th first global climate strike. With Greta Thunberg’s visit to Montreal on September 27, these numbers are sure to double. “I will be in New York on September 20th and in Montreal on September 27th,” she tweeted. “Spread the word!”

Greta Thunberg

Sept 20 and 27 the World strikes again! Everyone is welcome, everyone is needed. I’ll be in New York 20/9 and in Montreal 27/9. Find or register your local strike at http://fridaysforfuture.org  or local websites. Spread the word!

View image on Twitter

Climat GO – Climate Gatineau-Ottawa

In Ottawa, Climat GO is the regional umbrella group that is coordinating activities on Parliament Hill. A myriad of groups and organizations are pooling their resources to support what is hoped to be the loudest call for more ambitious climate action by the next government soon to be elected on October 21.

If you haven’t done so, please register for this historic event at the following Facebook Event page:

Act for the Climate, March for the planet – Ottawa/Gatineau
Climate Strike Canada

Climate Strike Canada is the overarching network of students, young people, activists, and allies, which connects all of the climate action surrounding the Canadian school strike movement. Its initial school strikes were inspired by Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” movement, in which children of all ages strike from school on Fridays to call for urgent climate action.

Because of Canada’s size and incredible diversity, not everyone who plans and attends a strike does it in the same way. Some strikes are not held on Fridays, some happen every month as opposed to every week, and some are planned and attended by parents, university students, and elementary school students, rather than just high schoolers.

However, we are united by a goal of climate justice, and we all empower, train, and equip one another with the goals and means to create change in our communities. Climate Strike Canada has 7 demands:

1 Bold Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets
2 Separation of Oil and State
3 A Just Transition to Clean Energy
4 Environmental Rights
5 Rights of Indigenous Peoples
6 Conservation of Biodiversity
7 Protection of Vulnerable Communities
For more details, click on Our Demands.

Greenpeace says “there’s something every one of us can do.” It calls for

Putting climate polluters on notice
Peaceful civil disobedience
Hold the car industry to account
Stand up for climate justice and human rights
Join young people striking around the world
Stand with us for forests
Help protect our oceans



Helping Kids Prepare For A Climate Constrained Future
So How’s That Climate Emergency Thing Going?

Radical new economic system will emerge from collapse of capitalism

Political adviser and author Jeremy Rifkin believes that the creation of a super internet heralds new economic system that could solve society’s sustainability challenges

 Current economic system is headed for collapse says Jeremy Rifkin. Photograph: Linda Nylind

At the very moment of its ultimate triumph, capitalism will experience the most exquisite of deaths.

This is the belief of political adviser and author Jeremy Rifkin, who argues the current economic system has become so successful at lowering the costs of production that it has created the very conditions for the destruction of the traditional vertically integrated corporation.

Rifkin, who has advised the European Commission, the European Parliament and heads of state, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, says:

No one in their wildest imagination, including economists and business people, ever imagined the possibility of a technology revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could actually reduce marginal costs to near zero, making products nearly free, abundant and absolutely no longer subject to market forces.

With many manufacturing companies surviving only on razor thin margins, they will buckle under competition from small operators with virtually no fixed costs.

“We are seeing the final triumph of capitalism followed by its exit off the world stage and the entrance of the collaborative commons,” Rifkin predicts.

The creation of the collaborative commons

From the ashes of the current economic system, he believes, will emerge a radical new model powered by the extraordinary pace of innovation in energy, communication and transport.

“This is the first new economic system since the advent of capitalism and socialism in the early 19th century so it’s a remarkable historical event and it’s going to transform our way of life fundamentally over the coming years,” Rifkin says. “It already is; we just haven’t framed it.”

Some sectors, such as music and media, have already been disrupted as a result of the internet’s ability to let individuals and small groups compete with the major established players. Meanwhile, the mainstreaming of 3D printing and tech advances in logistics – such as the installation of billions of intelligent sensors across supply chains – means this phenomenon is now spreading from the virtual to the physical world, Rifkin says.

Climate change

The creation of a new economic system, Rifkin argues, will help alleviate key sustainability challenges, such as climate change and resource scarcity, and take pressure off the natural world. That’s because it will need only a minimum amount of energy, materials, labour and capital.

He says few people are aware of the scale of danger the human race is facing, particularly the growing levels of precipitation in the atmosphere, which is leading to extreme weather.

“Ecosystems can’t catch up with the shift in the planet’s water cycle and we’re in the sixth extinction pattern,” he warns. “We could lose 70% of our species by the end of this century and may be imperilling our ability to survive on this planet.”

Convergence of communication, energy and transport

Every economy in history has relied for its success on the three pillars of communication, energy, and transportation, but what Rifkin says makes this age unique is that we are seeing them converge to create a super internet.

While the radical changes in communication are already well known, he claims a revolution in transport is just around the corner. “You’ll have near zero marginal cost electricity with the probability of printed out cars within 10 or 15 years,” he says. “Add to this GPS guidance and driverless vehicles and you will see the marginal costs of transport on this automated logistics internet falling pretty sharply.”

Rifkin is particularly interested in the upheaval currently rippling through the energy sector and points to the millions of small and medium sized enterprises, homeowners and neighbourhoods already producing their own green electricity.

The momentum will only gather pace as the price of renewable technology plummets. MORE



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