Electoral Reform Didn’t Fly. Here’s Another Way to Fix Our Democracy

Greens and NDP need to merge, and we need to do more to stop the election spending race.

John Horgan and Andrew Weaver handshake
Greens and New Democrats are going steady under Premier John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver. If they want to win under first-past-the-post, they need to tie the knot. Photo from John Horgan, Facebook.

The voters have spoken. We can now leave proportional representation in the hands of countries like Sweden and New Zealand.

“Under FPTP, parties build their coalitions before the election. Under PR, they build their coalitions after the election.”

But the basic problem with first-past-the-post remains: against a fragmented opposition, even a party supported by a minority of voters can enjoy a landslide victory. And if that minority has rich supporters, it can stay in power a long, long time. MORE

Industry-hired experts downplay impacts of major projects: UBC study

A review of 10 recent environmental impact assessments in B.C. found professionals hired by companies generally find ways to diminish the significance of health and environmental impacts

When experts, such as engineers and geoscientists, submit reports on a project to B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office, the generally accepted idea is that their information will reflect environmental standards and identify problems, allowing a project design to be changed or rejected if necessary.

But, that is not what happens in B.C. according to a study by University of British Columbia researchers that looked at 10 recent environmental impact assessments. MORE

CleanBC vs LNG. Here’s the ‘missing chart’ that explains the gap

Image result for BC Premier John Horgan at the unveiling of BC's new climate plan
From right: BC Premier John Horgan at the unveiling of BC’s new climate plan with Environment Minister George Heyman, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall (with new baby Zavier) on Dec. 5, 2018. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

The British Columbia government has recently made two big decisions that are pulling the province in opposite directions in the climate fight — approving LNG Canada and rolling out the new CleanBC climate plan.

The LNG Canada project is massive. It will sprawl from new fracked gas wells in northern B.C., across the coast mountains via the hotly-contested, 650 km “Coastal GasLink” pipeline, to a new liquefaction terminal in Kitimat. From there, the gas will be loaded onto supertankers and shipped to Asia. The LNG terminal is designed to be built in two phases, each of which will produce 13 million tonnes of liquid natural gas. The first phase is now going ahead.

If both phases get built it will become the “biggest capital project in B.C. history.” And probably the most climate polluting as well, with projections for up to 10 million tonnes of climate pollution (MtCO2) per year. For scale, that’s more than the emissions from all passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the province today. MORE

Phasing out dirty coal was smart. Stalling on climate action is not

Sweden has shown, Minister Phillips’ assertion that there is a trade-off between reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and growing our economy is simply not true. 

Image result for Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivan
The Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivan is manufactured in Windsor, one of only two EVs made in the province.

We can address the climate crisis and keep our economy humming by pursuing three smart actions:

1. Keep Premier Ford’s promise to reduce our electricity costs by 12% by buying Quebec water power and investing in energy efficiency to make increasing use of zero-emission electricity cost effective.

2. Direct Enbridge Gas and Union Gas to ramp up their energy efficiency programs to reduce our natural gas costs by $85 billion and lower our natural gas-related GHG emissions by 18% by 2030.

3. Develop a strategy to make Ontario a world leader in the development, production and sale of electric vehicles.



Here’s what climate change could look like in Canada

‘This is real on-the-ground stuff that is costing us right now,’ says one expert

The City of Toronto set up seven cooling centres during this summer’s heat wave, including one at Metro Hall on July 4, 2018. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

Climate change is here, experts say, and Canada can expect to suffer the consequences.

The effects of a warming planet are going to be felt from coast to coast to coast. And, if we stick to a “business-as-usual” scenario — no change to our emissions — it’s going to happen a lot sooner than scientists initially thought, according to a recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. MORE

A year of wild weather: Environment Canada releases the Top 10 weather stories of 2018

From B.C. fires to flooding in New Brunswick, no region was spared from extreme events

But people are most likely to remember the raging wildfires that consumed British Columbia, the number one story on the list.

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Though the fire season had a late start, by Aug. 15, the province had issued a state of emergency as 566 fires had ignited. And they just kept on going. MORE



Courts should not have to decide climate change policy

Canada shouldn’t wait for the courts to litigate climate action. Only collaborative policy-making will deliver the rapid and systemic changes we need.

wo years ago this month, Canada appeared to finally have a pan-Canadian climate plan. Although Canada came late to the game, almost 25 years after it signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), and although the plan is imperfect, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change represented a beginning capable of progressive improvement over time.

But that path now seems like a distant memory. The anti-carbon tax ideology that Maclean’s magazine branded “the resistance” (taking considerable flak for doing so) has sent us off in a new direction — one that will keep us mired in conflict and costly litigation. Climate policy-making in Canada has once again ground to a halt. Litigation as politics by other means is poised to take over. MORE

Former Indigenous chief Isadore Day heads First-Nations-focused cannabis magazine

Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and his company Bimaadzwin have launched a new online magazine, Growth and Prosperity, which will be themed around First Nations and cannabis issues.

Image result for isadore dayDay is known for lobbying the federal government to provide First Nations with a share of the 10% excise tax that the federal government levies on cannabis sales. Provinces are provided with 75% of that money while the federal government takes the rest.

The Assembly of First Nations in 2017 struck a committee, led by Day and Quebec Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, with the aim of ensuring that First Nations have sufficient resources to adapt to cannabis legalization, and any resulting health, social, and economic issues. MORE

AFN national chief says senators should not be ‘afraid’ of Indigenous rights bill

Perry Bellegarde wants speedy passage of 2 major bills set for introduction in January


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Conservative senators should not be “afraid” and pass an NDP private member’s bill to harmonize Canada’s laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Bill C-262, introduced by NDP MP Romeo Saganash, is currently in second reading before the Senate.

Bill C-262, introduced by NDP MP Romeo Saganash, is currently in second reading before the Senate. MORE