October 28th, 27 young people were arrested occupying the House of Commons calling for a Green New Deal

Credit – Reporter Cormac Mac Sweeney

“As Parliamentary police rushed in and dragged us across the floor one by one, our collective voices did not waiver. We spread the 338 mandate letters and the demands of our generation across the floor of the House of Commons. We urged our elected officials to take our future seriously.”


The Our Time mandate letter

Dear Member of Parliament-elect:

We are excited to welcome you to serve in our Parliament. You are now responsible for ensuring Canada meets theclimate crisis at the speed and scale that science and justice demand.

You ran for a political party that promised to address the climate emergency. Some of you might not have been serious about it.  Others pledged that in this parliament, you would be bolder. We expect you to follow through.

Our generation has inherited a planet in crisis. We have 11 years to get our house in order and address climate change on a systemic level. That means this government needs to act with urgency. At the same time, inequality is rising in this country as the rich privately hoard wealth that could be used to fund collective solutions, while leaving the rest of us
behind.

We need you to rise above partisan politics and form a government that will implement a Green New Deal for the people.

We are here to hold you accountable for your election promises – tackling the climate crisis, creating millions of good, low-carbon jobs, respecting Indigenous rights, and making life better for everyone. A Green New Deal is the only plan bold
enough to accomplish these goals. We expect Members of Parliament to rise up, meet this challenge, and fight –individually and collectively – to make it happen.

Your mandate is from the people, and we are calling on you to deliver a Green New Deal that:

Listens to the science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we must limit warming to 1.5°C if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate breakdown. In 2018, they gave us just 12 years to radically remake our global energy system. This is the baseline for real climate action. We can no longer afford to wait on taking bold action if we are going to slash carbon pollution 45% by 2030 and bring it to zero by 2050. We must immediately lead the transition away fromfossil fuels.

Respects Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Reconciliation needs to be more than a buzzword. With regard to climate and energy policy, this starts with fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and routinely listening to Indigenous communities in order to pursue the justice-based climate solutions they have long called for.

Creates millions of good jobs. Tackling climate change will require an economic mobilization not seen since WWII. To transition to 100% renewable energy, we need to create millions of decent, well-paying union jobs for workers across Canada. This transition must be just. We need to provide support for every worker and community. Polling on a Green New Deal has shown widespread, deep support for these kinds of policies, especially when they are funded by taxing the rich and making big banks and corporations pay their fair share.

Enshrines dignity, justice, and equity for all. We need climate solutions that work for the frontline, marginalized, and Indigenous communities that are bearing the brunt of fossil fuel and climate impacts. This means connecting climate action to inequality and injustice and proposing real solutions that leave no community, no family, and no one behind.

If you are on our side, you can count on us to support you every day. If not, know that you have our entire generation to contend with. Together, we can tackle the climate crisis.

Yours sincerely,

Our Time, and the thousands of young people across this country who are fighting for our future


After we were all removed from the House of Commons, we came together to share space, sing together, and share our stories. Some of our elected officials and Green New Deal champions who heard us loud and clear sent words of solidarity, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. And Green New Deal champion and MP-elect Matthew Green even came out mid-way through his new MP orientation to accept his mandate letter and affirm his commitment to a Green New Deal.

Evidence Shows Exxon Hid Risks to Canada Tar Sands Assets, New York AG Argues

 

New York argues in fraud trial that Exxon hid climate risks to its tar sands assetsThe New York attorney general alleges Exxon misled investors about the value of its assets in the Canadian oil sands. Photo credit: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Exxon’s investment in the Canadian tar sands were far more at risk from climate change than the company had previously indicated, according to testimony and emails presented by the New York attorney general’s office Monday in the case against Exxon for climate fraud. The trial has now entered its second week in New York Supreme Court.

Testimony and emails showed that Exxon updated its greenhouse gas cost and applied it to the Canadian assets soon after. That update was made in its DataGuide, an internal planning document, shortly after the company’s greenhouse gas manager shared a presentation indicating the company had “implied” in its 2014 Energy and Climate and Managing the Risks reports to shareholders that it used its proxy cost of carbon when evaluating investments. In fact, according to Exxon, it used a different number—the greenhouse gas cost—when evaluating investments.

The company contends the alignment of the two numbers was based on the world’s progress on climate change and its anticipation of a global agreement on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. But when it did that, the company did not announce the update to shareholders or issue a change or correction to its previous disclosure.

New York Attorney General Leticia James alleges that Exxon deceived investors and violated the state’s powerful Martin Act by using different sets of climate risk numbers for its own calculations and for shareholders.

Exxon doesn’t deny it used different numbers, but says it used what it refers to as its proxy cost of carbon to determine future energy demand and the separate greenhouse gas cost to evaluate investments. The oil giant says those are different calculations and maintains it has made accurate disclosures about the two numbers to investors.

The Martin Act does not require the NY AG to prove Exxon intended to mislead investors, just that they were misled.

The AG alleges that when the greenhouse gas cost was aligned and applied to evaluate investments, Exxon planners soon discovered the company’s Canadian oil sands assets, which at the time accounted for about 25 percent of its total resource base, were at a much greater risk from climate change than previously understood.

In western Canada, the risk was “very material,” according to an email sent by Jason Iwanika, development planner for Canadian-based Imperial Oil, to Guy Powell, Exxon’s greenhouse manager, in 2014. Exxon has a controlling interest in Imperial Oil.

“The new [greenhouse gas cost] has an impact on [certain oil sands] opportunities in the magnitude of [a] 0.5-1%  [decrease in cash flow],” Iwanika wrote.

“This being significant certainly drew my attention and I wanted to get it right,” Iwanika testified.

The AG alleges that to hide the risk, Exxon did not apply the aligned greenhouse gas cost as outlined in the DataGuide, but instead applied the lower cost of existing regulations, thus making its oil sand assets—which are highly vulnerable to climate risk—appear more valuable than they would otherwise be.

Exxon has said the greenhouse gas cost listed in its DataGuide serves only as an estimation to be used when exact regulatory costs are unknown. It maintains that planners are encouraged to consult local experts and to use existing greenhouse gas emission-related legislation and policies when available.

The AG’s office presented the court with emails indicating Iwanika and others responsible for Exxon’s Canadian assets were concerned about the effects of the aligned greenhouse gas cost. Those emails requested guidance on how to best proceed in light of the resulting decrease in the value of company assets.

One email said when applied, the aligned greenhouse gas cost would “result in enough additional [operating expenses] to shorten asset life and reduce gross reserves.”

Another said it would “result in large write-downs” of Exxon’s Alberta assets. Yet another said proved reserves at its Cold Lake field was reduced by about 20 million barrels when calculated with the aligned greenhouse gas cost. MORE

Council of Canadians Alert: Our water is for sale

Who profits from our water

Private companies are coming for your water and the federal government is welcoming them with open arms. But you and I can stop this from happening. In this minority government, we can use our position as the people’s Balance of Power to stand up for water.

As you may know, the federal government, under both Liberal and Conservative leadership, has been aggressively promoting the privatization of our water and wastewater infrastructure and services for decades. These critical pieces to building healthy and equitable communities are being sold to the highest bidder.

Although most municipalities own and operate our drinking water and sewage treatment plants, the infrastructure is deteriorating as cities and towns face budget pressures and chronic underfunding. This is where the federal government could step in with low-cost public funding for municipalities. Instead, the government is welcoming the private sector to take over these public services by pushing public-private partnerships (P3s).

In 2017, the Trudeau government established the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, with a goal of involving private P3 partners in 80 per cent of their projects.

Privatizing drinking water and sewage treatment services directly threatens our human right to water. P3 projects cost more, eliminate jobs, lack transparency and exclude municipalities from the decision-making process. Our communities are left paying the price. Private providers charge on average 59 per cent more per households for water and 63 per cent more for sewer compared to the public option.

Communities across the country are facing the prospect of having their water privatized. Earlier this year, the Canadian Infrastructure Bank announced a $20 million investment in the town of Mapleton in Wellington County, Ontario. This was billed as an “innovative financing approach” to upgrade the town’s wastewater infrastructure.

While this investment might sound promising, it means Mapleton is signing away control of their water for two decades. Mapleton residents will be paying higher rates for higher project costs – and the profits will go to private shareholders instead of being reinvested in their community.

Smaller, rural municipalities like Mapleton are most susceptible to privatization pressure through the Canadian Infrastructure Bank. In Newfoundland and Labrador, municipalities are facing a 2020 deadline to upgrade their sewage treatment plants at an estimated cost of $600 million. In the absence of federal funding, they’re eyeing P3 options as a short-term solution to the huge price tag.

What could this look like in your community? Let me paint a picture for you.

Shortly after signing a 10-year P3 deal for their water systems, residents of Hamilton, Ontario woke up one day to find 135 million litres of raw sewage spilling into the harbour and flooding in their basements and small businesses. In the following years, the city saw its water services workforce slashed in half as project costs ballooned, and the contract changed hands four times. The City of Hamilton ultimately took water back into public hands, saving the city and its residents millions of dollars.

Like Hamilton, many municipalities have fought back privatization. Mapleton and the municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador can fight back too – and win.

The Council of Canadians launched the Blue Communities Project in 2009 for this very purpose. Over the last decade, close to 30 communities in Canada have used the principles and tools of the Blue Communities Project to keep or take back control over their water – including the city of Montreal earlier this year!

To learn more about our Blue Communities Project check out this short video and download our free guide.

Watch the video

Now more than ever, we need communities to come together to protect water as a public trust.

With a newly elected minority federal government, we have a powerful opportunity to hold our decision makers accountable. The Council of Canadians has a critical role to play as the people’s Balance of Power, and you can play an important role.

As we continue to hold that balance of power, we must safeguard our fundamental rights to public water and sanitation, and fight off the creeping corporate influence and false solutions coming from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. MORE

Naomi Klein on Extinction Rebellion, the Green New Deal and fast fashion

This video is well worth taking the time to view it in its entirety.

(47:13)

Naomi Klein is a Canadian author, social activist and filmmaker. She has recently released her latest book ‘On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal’, which explores how bold climate action she says can be a blueprint for a just and thriving society.

She talks to Krishnan about the impact of Extinction Rebellion, the rising demand for a Green New Deal and whether fast fashion has to go.

VIDEO: Pressure mounts for Liberals to act on climate change as activists gear up


More than two dozen young people are facing a month-long ban from Parliament Hill after staging a climate-change protest in the House of Commons on Oct. 28, 2019. (The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he heard loud and clear the message Canadians sent in the federal election for him to be bolder about climate change action.

Now young Canadians want him to prove it.

Twenty-seven youth with the group Our Time were arrested in the House of Commons on Monday morning after attempting to stage a sit-in to demand a Canadian “green new deal” be the first priority of all 338 MPs elected last week.

They had 338 letters to deliver to the new MPs that listed demands including a cut to emissions in line with international scientific consensus, respecting Indigenous rights, creating good new jobs and protecting the most vulnerable people.

Image result for Amara Possian,Amara Possian: “I support organizations that are building a just and caring society.”

Amara Possian, a campaign manager with Our Time, said in a recent blog post that the first 100 days of a new government are a critical time as the government lays out its plans and priorities. With the Liberals held to a minority, they will need support from other parties to pass legislation and stay in power, which many environment groups see as leverage to push the Liberals to do more on climate change.

 

Niklas Agarwal, a 24-year-old recent geography graduate from Toronto, said minority governments have given Canada progressive programs like universal health care, and feels a minority government can deliver a green new deal in Canada.

“This is a generational crisis and I’ve never felt the urgency of anything else in my life,” said Agarwal, clutching the trespassing ticket that bars him from returning to Parliament Hill for the next 30 days.

The protesters gained access to the House of Commons by joining a regular visitors’ tour, then sitting down on the floor once and refused to move. Within minutes, Parliamentary security officers forced them to leave. Some protesters were dragged out by their arms, while others were lifted up to their feet and forced to walk out. MORE

The idea of a green new deal comes mainly from Democrats in the United States who introduced resolutions in Congress last winter. The NDP co-opted the term in its campaign rhetoric, and the Green Party described their climate change plan, named “Mission: Possible,” as Canada’s green new deal.

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, said the term “green new deal” may not take hold in Canada because it is too aligned with the United States. But he said if you look at where the Liberals, NDP and Green platforms align on climate change, there are “the makings of an agenda” that cuts emissions deeper and faster, and supports affected Canadian workers through the transition.

In particular, the parties aim to cut emissions in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is needed to keep the world from warming much more than 1.5 C compared to pre-industrial times. Investments in public transit, planting trees, encouraging electric vehicle use and investing in clean energy technologies are all among their common platforms.

Woynillowicz said he expects the Liberals to move quickly on their promised bill to legislate a fair transition for energy workers because that could help generate some good will in western Canada for climate action. Beyond that, the promised legislation to set five-year emissions targets and report publicly on progress would also be expected early, said Woynillowicz.

 

Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission

 

From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest.

This report looks at the evolution of the Commission, the phenomenon of captured regulators and some troubling examples of rules the agency was formed to uphold were systematically broken with few—if any—serious consequences for the companies that violated them or for the Commission failing to uphold them. These examples point to regulatory breakdown of a massive scale and the need for major reforms to better safeguard the public interest.

This report reveals that from an early stage BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that it was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest.

This study looks at the evolution of the Commission, the phenomenon of captured regulators and some troubling examples of rules the agency was formed to uphold were systematically broken with few—if any—serious consequences for the companies that violated them or for the Commission failing to uphold them. These examples point to regulatory breakdown of a massive scale and the need for major reforms to better safeguard the public interest.

The report concludes with a list of recommended policy changes to address some of the more glaring shortcomings of the current regulatory approach with specific attention paid to ensuring the changes reflect the government’s avowed commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This report is part of the Corporate Mapping Project, a research and public engagement initiative investigating the power of the fossil fuel industry in Western Canada. The CMP is jointly led by the University of Victoria, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute. SOURCE

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

RELATED:

Frack Quakes: Knowledge Is Weak as BC Drilling Grows
UBC study underscores need for continuous monitoring of fugitive methane emissions

 

Alberta government plans sweeping changes through 2 omnibus bills

Bills 20 and 21 propose to end ban on replacement workers, control where doctors practise


Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews at the Federal Building in Edmonton on Thursday, speaking to reporters ahead of delivering his government’s first budget. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The Alberta government on Monday introduced two pieces of omnibus legislation containing sweeping changes that include ending a ban on using replacement workers during labour disputes and controlling where in the province doctors can practise.

Bills 20 and 21 include some changes that were introduced in last Thursday’s budget, and others that were revealed for the first time. There are 35 changes laid out in the two bills.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says they demonstrate the government’s desire to tackle Alberta’s debt, which is costing $2 billion in interest each year.

“Budget 2019 and these bills are a swift first response to these concerns,” he said.

The government intends, through Bill 21, to roll back legislation passed by the previous NDP government that banned the use of replacement workers for essential government services during public sector strikes when an essential services agreement is in place.

The NDP law followed a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of public sector workers to go on strike. Toews said the change by the United Conservative government is constitutional.

“I believe this will stand up [in court],” he said. “Our first priority is to Albertans, that we can ensure that we are delivering essential services at a time of a labour walkout.”

NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips says the government is trying to throw labour relations into chaos.

“This is a particular type of playbook from particular kind of government that has a certain orientation to it,” she said.

Bill 21 proposes to give the health minister the ability to tell physicians where they can practise in Alberta when they are issued the identification numbers they require to bill the government for services; forcing them to practise in under-served areas of the province.

Bill 21 also proposes giving the justice minister the power to amend funding arrangements for policing through regulations, not law, so they can make changes more quickly.

Smaller municipalities under 5,000 and municipal districts do not pay for policing. The Alberta government has been holding community consultations on a new funding model this fall.

Other changes in Bills 20 and 21 were announced in last week’s budget. They include suspending indexation on the province’s Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Support benefits, removing the tuition freeze, and ending tax credit programs like the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.

Ending indexation of AISH and Income Support is expected to save the government $300 million by 2022-23.

The government estimates it will save about $7 million in AISH payments in 2019-20; $35 million in 2020-21; $66.4 million in 2021-22 and $101.4 million by 2022-23. For income support, the savings are $3 million in 2019-20; $16.4 million in 2020-21; $29.4 million in 2021-22 and $42.2 million in 2022-23.

Indexing increases payments to match increases in inflation. The Alberta government estimates the inflation rate will hover around two per cent over the next few years.

Measures proposed in Bill 20:

    • End the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, Capital Investment Tax Credit, Community and Economic Tax Credit, Alberta Investor Tax Credit, Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit.
    • End education and tuition tax credits.
    • Repeal the city charters for Edmonton and Calgary and put a new Local Government Fiscal Framework Act in its place.
    • Suspend indexation of tax brackets for income tax system, saving the government at least $600 million by the end of 2022-23 fiscal year.
    • End the Lottery Fund and move the money into general revenue.
    • End the Access to the Future Fund, the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund.
    • Roll the Alberta Child Benefit and Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit into the single Alberta Child and Family Benefit.
    • Increase tobacco tax rate.
    • Amend the funding agreements for LRT in Edmonton and Calgary so provincial cash can come after 2023.

Measures proposed in Bill 21:

    • Temporarily suspend indexation of benefits for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support and the Seniors Lodge Program.
    • Provide more detailed quarterly financial reports.
    • Exclude budget officers, systems analysts, auditors and employees who perform similar functions from bargaining units.
    • Reverse the replacement worker ban in the public sector.
    • End tuition freeze for three years.
    • Increase student loan interest by one per cent.
    • End regulated rate option cap for electric.
    • Allow health minister to place conditions on new practitioner identification numbers.
    • Allow changes to the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association.
    • Allow minister to change through regulation how municipalities pay for policing.
    • Change how the province uses fine money it collects on behalf of municipalities.
    • Allow the government to have greater oversight over collective bargaining with public sector employees, including the length of the agreement, and the use of salary surveys.
    • Subjecting funding for disasters to a supply vote in the legislature.

SOURCE