Kellie Leitch’s Unique Canadian Identity

Last week, I took part in a discussion on Twitter regarding the best way for Canadians to respond to Kellie Leitch’s celebration of Donald Trump’s victory. While I initially argued (social) media’s focus on her divisive tactics merely fed her free airtime and eyeballs, a very astute and prolific tweeter reminded me ignoring these tactics in the U.S. propelled Trump’s momentum.

And the absolute need to call it what it is.

Continue reading Kellie Leitch’s Unique Canadian Identity

There is no Truth without Reconciliation

Truth. That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. (Oxford dictionary).

Reconciliation. The restoration of friendly relations. The action of making financial accounts consistent; harmonization. (Oxford dictionary).

A commission born on July 1, 2009 to unearth the realities of Canada’s residential schools and their impact over 125 year period on the 150 thousand Aboriginal peoples who were forcibly removed from their homes, beaten, abused, sexually assaulted, and denigrated until the Indian was extinguished from their body, mind, culture and souls.

A commission necessitated as a result of the negotiated and funded settlement of several class action law suits brought by residential school survivors against the federal government and several churches.

A commission that shed light on the six thousand plus Aboriginal children who died while in the care of the Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United Churches entrusted with delivering the assimilation of all Aboriginals into Canadian society.

A commission tasked with finding a pathway for Canada and our Aboriginal peoples. A pathway that would recognize, respect and commence the healing for the three plus generations of residential schools survivors and their families.

That commission delivered an interim report last week. Noting Canada had subjected its Aboriginal peoples to a cultural genocide, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) defined this as the “destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group.”

Continue reading There is no Truth without Reconciliation

Harper Government Awakens from Nightmare of its Pipeline Dreams

In what can only be seen as the Conservatives distancing themselves from growing national dissent against the pipeline industry, in an interview with CBC News, Industry Minister James Moore indicated the federal government had done all it could to help the development of the Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway pipelines.

The onus was now on Kinder Morgan and Enbridge to successfully navigate their way through the concerns of First Nations and Canadians, the conditions layed out by the environmental agency reviews and those of British Columbia and the municipalities.

For several years now, the Conservatives threw most of their capital behind the oilsands industry and its necessary infrastructure to transport that oil to market, the pipelines. I covered their unwillingness to realize they had lost the public’s trust because of the single-minded pursuit of their energy development policies and the absolute need for social license in today’s era of resource development.

Continue reading Harper Government Awakens from Nightmare of its Pipeline Dreams

Mr. Harper – Canadian Youth Won’t Take No For an Answer

Further to the last post on our federal government and pipeline companies’ inability to adjust to a paradigm shift in the energy development arena, the Canadian Youth delegation, along with 60 signatories such as Greenpeace Canada, Canadian Labour Congress and Sierra Club Canada, wrote an open letter to the Harper government demanding action on climate change.

The letter is found on one of the signatory’s, Rabble.ca, web site, and can be read by clicking on the link above.

The gauntlet has been thrown, months from the next federal election. The door is also open for Mr. Mulcair or Mr. Trudeau to take a strong stance with Canadian youth, First Nations and all concerned Canadians about climate change and Canada’s detrimental stance.

The following are a couple of exerts from the open letter :

“We, the Canadian Youth Delegation, stand alongside the millions of young people worldwide who refuse to inherit a planet in crisis. We stand beside Indigenous peoples, front-line communities, people of colour and low income populations who are living the frightening realities and injustices of climate change, and who will continue to be disproportionately impacted in the absence of sufficient action.”

“You have the opportunity to be a leader in creating a just transition to a clean energy future, but you consistently fail to rise to the challenge. By now, any excuses for delay have long expired, yet we anticipate with heavy hearts that you will continue to stall negotiations at COP 20 and promote carbon-intensive projects at home. If this is the case, we will continue to challenge the ongoing development of the single most destructive development anywhere on Earth, and we will not give up until you acknowledge and take urgent and ambitious action to demonstrate that our future is more important to you than the money in your pockets, the oil on your hands, or the power you hold. To us, our future is everything, and we will do all that we can to protect it. Let it echo through the halls and boardrooms of every legislating body and corporate headquarters in this country: we deserve better.”

Pipelines: Industry and Harper Government Slow in Recognizing Paradigm Shift

Pipelines used to be the seldom-spoken, under-or-over ground means for oil, gas and chemical companies to transport their products to refineries and markets. Crisscrossing Canada and the United States, most of us were left unawares or unconcerned of the exact route these pipelines snaked in or near our towns, water sources, communities and larger urban centres.

In my lifetime, the Exxon Valdez spill was the first grand spill to catch our collective North American attention, dumping 11 million gallons of crude oil off the Alaskan coast. But even then, the spill happened out there, in a bay far away from our homes, in another country’s northern waters. And it involved conventional oil on a tanker.

Alberta’s oilsands, a much heavier, more corrosive, highly flammable and stickier oil traversing through and over our lands, changes the narrative. It’s not there, but here. Through our towns, backyards, under our busy city streets, near subways, schools, community playgrounds, churches and transportation hubs. The Kalamazoo River spill in 2010 demonstrated the immediate dangers of placing pipelines carrying oilsands near large populations and waterways, and with a spill of that magnitude, the impact of slow detection and clean-up efforts.

The United States Department of Transportation, which tracks pipelines spills, noted 5622 spills from 1994-2013, causing $6.1 billion in property damages and 323 fatalities.

While similar data is difficult to gather in Canada, CBC was able to track 1047 pipeline spills between 2000-2012, and included an interactive map showing locations over the 12-year period. When you consider the National Energy Board found the rate of product release (from small leaks to large spills) rose dramatically to 13 incidents per 10,000 km from 4 in the year 2000, aging pipeline infrastructure must be a concern going forward. Continue reading Pipelines: Industry and Harper Government Slow in Recognizing Paradigm Shift