Finally, federal action to stop the rising plastic tide

The Ford Government quickly introduced a slew of legislative changes in it’s first year in government. Apparently it is too big a challenge for Canada’s Environment Minister to quickly introduce a single-use plastics ban even though it is widely supported by Canadians. (Notice the ban doesn’t start until after the  federal election.)

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Plastic has invaded every corner of the planet, and it’s harming every form of life. Whales and turtles die from eating plastic bags and tiny microplastics are now present in the water we drink and the food we eat. By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.

This why we’re pleased to start the week by sharing some good news. Today, the federal government announced its intention to ban unnecessary single-use plastics as early as 2021, as part of a larger plan to tackle Canada’s staggering plastic waste problem.

Ecojustice has worked for several years to convince the federal government to recognize the damage plastic does to our oceans, rivers and land.

A year ago, on behalf of 10 environmental groups, Ecojustice asked Minister Catherine McKenna to add single-use plastics, microplastics and microfibers to the Priority Substances List under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Having received no reply, Ecojustice sent a new letter – signed by more than 20 environmental lawyers – to the Minister just last week, urging the federal government to use the full extent of the law to regulate plastics. MORE

RELATED:

Government to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021: Source

How Billionaires and Big Pharma Battled Canada’s National Drug Plan

Many people thought pharmacare would be in this federal budget. It wasn’t. Sharon Batt’s report helps explain why

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As soon as the Canadian government signalled support for a national pharmacare program, the drug and insurance industries launched a counterattack. Image from Pixabay.

[Editor’s note: The federal government didn’t deliver a national pharmacare plan in last month’s budget, despite announcing an advisory council to advise on implementing a national program in the 2018 budget. 

Why? Sharon Batt, an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University, looked at the reasons in a report for the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. 

Batt found powerful players — including insurance and drug companies — profit from the current system. And that they had unleashed a major, expensive lobbying, PR and public campaign to fight a national pharmacare program. 

The Tyee is pleased to share edited excerpts from the report.]

Big money’s campaign to block pharmacare: First, buy influence

Since the government announced the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare in the 2018 budget, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries have embarked on a lobbying frenzy in Ottawa.

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MORE

 

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – The Pied Piper Strikes Again!


Source: ‘A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors’ (NRCan, November 2018).

Without any adequate consultation with Canadians,
including First Nations, the Government of Canada is
unilaterally moving ahead with the development and
deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors
all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging
on indigenous lands and rights.

These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high
level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the
low & intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning
wastes (radioactive rubble from dismantling shut-down
reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)

Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying
to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to
EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement
of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment
Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government
officials behind closed doors without any public process,
debate, oversight or discussion. MORE

RELATED:

Cost to US taxpayers to clean up nuclear waste jumps $100 billion in a year

Skidegate on the way to becoming a “city of the future”

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This is how a relatively small community is making big moves in the world of clean energy.

There has been a huge push in Haida Gwaii to move away from diesel and towards clean energy….Sixty-five percent of the island’s total electricity comes from diesel.

There was no option but to move away from diesel and towards renewable energy. Heat pumps were an exciting shift, they all agreed during the meeting with National Observer in Steven’s bright and beautifully decorated office.

“Haida culture is all about respect. Respect with the people, the land and their connection.”

At a meeting a few years back, councilor David Crosby asked the council, “What about heat pumps?” They decided to give it a shot. The SBC hired Don Hancock from Don’s Heat Pumps to install heat pumps in every home. That turned out to be around 350 homes, all of the homes, in fact, but two. MORE

Commentary: Climate change? You’re not powerless.

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What is the best antidote to feeling powerless about anything? Start doing something. Here are the steps I took to begin making a difference and being able to sleep at night.

1. Read, listen and understand. Become climate change literate. What is it exactly and how does it work? There is a wealth of information out there. One of the best sites is citizensclimatelobby.org. These people know how to make a complex issue understandable.

Now, make it personal. How is climate change affecting your region (agriculture, tourism, transportation, energy, economy). How does it affect your areas of interest (fly fishing, mountain biking, wildlife diversity, or skiing)? What do future forecasts and modeling predict for your area? Brace yourself; a bit of mental fortitude is helpful here for the somber news.

2. Get involved using your special superpower! (You know you have one.) Given your unique talents, networks and skill-set, how can you contribute/advance climate change solutions? MORE