This is an archived newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, consisting of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis, for the indicated month(s) and year. See the current, Canada newsroll’ website page here.
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, May 2019
Green Party outlines pro-Alberta tar sands stance in ‘Mission: Possible’ policy document touting fossil fuel expansion and ‘self-sufficiency’ for Canada. News report in Global News, May 27, 2019
* Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May wants to only use Canadian oil, a plan the Green Party of Quebec’s leader can’t support, CBC News, May 29, 2019 [In its updated policy prepared for the October 2019 federal election and termed ‘Mission Possible’, the Green Party of Canada says Canada should move to a goal of zero fossil fuels by 2050, but in the meantime, tar sands production in Alberta (termed ‘oilsands’ by party leader Elizabeth May) should be maintained and also intensified through massive spending on tar sands ‘upgraders’ and refineries to process the ‘synthetic oil’ derived from tar sands . The Green Party has long favored the continued extraction of Alberta tar sands product and argued that it should be ‘refined in Canada’. But that’s a con game because bitumen processing facilities are very expensive to build and already exist in the U.S. In 2017, Canada produced 4.2 million barrels of fossil fuel derivatives and exported 3.3 million of those, almost all to the U.S. That same year, domestic refineries processed 1.8 million barrels of conventional oil (including overseas imports) and some ‘synthetic oil (derived from tar sands). An overview of fossil fuel refining in Canada is here: April 2018 National Energy Board report. ].
* Why is Elizabeth May suddenly supporting Alberta oil for Eastern Canada?, by Markham Hislop, Energi Media, May 27, 2019
* Green Party unveils environment policy program, report on CBC, May 16, 2019
* Green Party leader Elizabeth May is in lockstep with war policy of Canadian government and promotes dead-end proposal that ‘alternative energies’, not stopping capitalist destruction, will solve global warming emergency. Interview with Elizabeth May, broadcast on Canada’s state-run CBC Radio One, May 14, 2019 (24-minute interview) [In the interview, Elizabeth May has kind words for Canada’s pro-war, far-right foreign minister Chrystia Freeland.].
* Green Party leader Elizabeth May supports same old, pro-imperialist foreign policies, by Yves Engler, published on his website, May 14, 2019 …May is seeking to downplay the significance for anti-Palestinian forces of Paul Manly’s by-election win on May 6, particularly within the NDP. Only the second MP ever elected under the Green banner, Manly was blocked from running for the NDP in the 2015 federal election because he defended his father (a former NDP MP) after Israel detained him as he sought to break the illegal blockade of Gaza…
* An oilsands bargain that actually makes sense, commentary by Elizabeth May, published in The Narwhal, Apr 25, 2018
British Columbia gov’t can’t impose environmental restrictions on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion due to federal jurisdiction, BC Supreme Court rules, CBC News, May 24, 2019 [The Trans Mountain pipeline carries tar sands bitumen for export through the port of Vancouver and carries lighter fossil fuel product to refineries in northern Washington state. Mainstream media and many mainstream environmentalists claim that the BC government is opposed to the planned expansion of the line, which the federal government purchased in 2018 in order to assure the expansion goes ahead. But the claim is false. The BC gov’t wants conditions imposed on the expansion, such as reducing the risk of pipeline or ship spills and obtaining some degree of First Nations consent. The BC government is utterly committed to policies causing more global heating and environmental vandalism. This is evidenced by its stewardship over expanded natural gas fracking production in the BC northeast (see related item), more mining projects and more forest clearcutting. The government is also funding the expansion of roads and urban-sprawl transit in the Vancouver region and giving as much as $10,000 to buyers of new electric vehicles. In all the public controversy and debate over Trans Mountain, the global heating emergency is barely mentioned.]
* Blueberry River First Nation takes its cumulative impacts lawsuit back to court after BC gov’t makes ‘take it or leave it’ proposition on expanded gas fracking, report by Alaska Highway News, May 24, 2019 …In its statement, the band says 73% of its territory is within 250 metres of some form of industrial disturbance, including clear cuts, oil and gas wells, processing plants, roads, dams, and other infrastructure. The band says boreal caribou and grizzly bear have been extirpated from their historic ranges in the area, while some of its members refuse to drink local water out of fear of contamination and other worries…
* Former NDP Alberta premier Rachel Notley joins her ultra-conservative successor in hailing BC Supreme Court decision favouring Trans Mountain pipeline, report by CBC News, May 24, 2019
Another round of punishing austerity in Ontario, by Greg Albo, Bryan Evans and Carlo Fanelli, The Bullet (online journal in Toronto), May 24, 2019
Majority of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault weapons, report by Angus Reid Institute, May 24, 2019
Related: Gun-control survey finds support for limiting access to handguns and assault weapons, countering government survey, by Tom Cardoso, Globe and Mail, May 23, 2019 (paywalled) … The survey [conducted and published by the Angus Reid Institute] comes on the heels of an online questionnaire conducted by the office of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair that found little support for limits on either handguns or assault weapons. Critics suggested the questionnaire was flawed and The Globe and Mail spoke to one firearms enthusiast who admitted he used automation software to submit as many as 35,000 responses…
Mainstream as well as alternative media in Canada are silent on the imprisonment in Britain and threat of extradition to the U.S. of Julian Assange . . .
Mainstream media and government in Canada write the 1884-85 Northwest Rebellion out of history in the outpouring surrounding Ottawa gov’t exoneration of ‘treason’ conviction against Chief Poundmaker, report on CBC News, May 23, 2019 [The story of the 1884-85 Northwest Rebellion against Canadian colonial expansion into northwestern North America is outlined in Wikipedia. Canada’s state-run media the CBC now uses the term ‘civil war’ to describe the Rebellion, this in order to squeeze Aboriginal people out of the story. It was an ‘anticolonial rebellion’, not a ‘civil war’. The rebellion featured collaboration and recognition of common interests between agricultural settlers from Europe, Métis (the mixed heritage people of Western Canada) and Aboriginal peoples. Together they fought for political self-determination on the territory of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta created in the aftermath of the armed suppression of the Rebellion. The battle was lost and has been renewed in modern times. More background is here.]
Canada-China relations hit ‘rock bottom’, are at ‘freezing point’, by The Canadian Press, May 23, 2019
Rainfalls intensify in Toronto, ‘a city built for a climate that no longer exists’, special report by Moira Welsh, investigative reporter, Toronto Star, May 21, 2019 (first of a series of special reports on global warming impacts in Canada) …In a new report, scientists with Environment Canada blame climate change “driven by human influence” for the warming climate [‘Canada’s Changing Climate Report’: [text here, executive summary here, news report here]. Canada’s mean annual temperatures are now double the global warming rate, increasing by 1.7 degrees between 1948 and 2016, with higher temperatures in the north than the south, particularly in the winter… Weather patterns will vary nationwide, but scientists agree that Canadians can expect more wildfires, droughts and, floods…
Frustrated by pipeline myths Albertans tell themselves? Here are the facts, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee (Vancouver BC), May 20, 2019
Canada has doubled down on program begun by Stephen Harper regime targetting and disrupting migrants seeking refuge, report by CBC News, May 21, 2019
When a wealthy couple dies in mysterious circumstances in Canada, possibly murder-suicide: Barry and Honey Sherman’s neighbours cite mysterious 911 call and police officer visit on day before billionaires found dead, by Kevin Donovan, chief investigative reporter, Toronto Star, May 20, 2019
As October 2019 election looms, Liberal gov’t in Ottawa dangles ‘hand gun ban’ card played in 2015 election, report by The Canadian Press, May 18, 2019
Kiss and make up: Deal reached to lift U.S. tariffs imposed in 2018 on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, report on CBC News, May 17, 2019
Corrupt Canada: Government of British Columbia dodges action on criminal money laundering with another inquiry, this one to take two years. Report by CBC News, May 15, 2019 [BC Premier John Horgan has announced a new inquiry by his government into the billions of dollars being washed annually through BC’s real estate industry, casinos and luxury auto dealerships. It’s the fourth such inquiry in one year as the government dodges widespread calls for criminal prosecutions of the money launderers and their enablers. Horgan says his government “doesn’t know” how the criminal laundering is happening and who is doing it. Hint: decades of federal and provincial government policies have purposely eased the flow of capital across borders, while governments have turned housing into a commodity to be bought and sold for super-profits. Housing is a social right and its provision is a government responsibility, but not in Canada. Indeed, British Columbia is not even the worst jurisdiction for money laundering. The ‘expert panel’ convened by the BC government which reported in early May 2019 put the Canada-wide total for money laundering in 2018 at $47 billion!]
Related: Behind the estimated Can$7 billion in money laundering in British Columbia in 2018, by Natalie Obiko Pearson and Natalie Wong, Bloomberg News, May 15, 2019
Corrupt Canada: Bombardier facing World Bank ban over Azerbaijan corruption allegations, Canadian Press, May 11, 2019
Obliterating history in ‘green’ Vancouver: Character homes still coming down despite new incentives program, by Kerry Gold, Globe and Mail, May 16, 2019 (paywalled) The pace of demolition of Vancouver’s prized old character home stock is not showing any signs of slowing, despite a new program of incentives aimed at protecting pre-1940-era homes from the wrecker’s ball… In 2018, 240 demolition permits were issued for pre-1940 homes across the city. An estimated 80 per cent of those would be deemed character houses, with intact exterior features. That compares to 271 pre-1940-house demolitions in 2017; 246 demolitions in 2016; and 329 demolitions in 2015…
Left publication in Canada joins chorus for regime change in Iran, commentary published in The Bullet, May 16, 2019 …Anyone who wants to do some research on the present situation of the working-class movement in Iran will find that there is an enormous potential to organize and create a solid opposition to this reactionary regime [Iran’s elected government] and even topple it…
NDP outlines ‘climate change’ plan in motion to be presented to House of Commons, by Mia Rabson, Canadian Press, May 12, 2019
* Green Party is racing the NDP to the climate-change punch, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, May 10, 2019 (Read the commentary here in pdf format: Green Party and NDP battle over climate change) The NDP’s by-election defeat at the hands of the Green Party on May 6 suggests that it is getting awfully late in the game for the party to try to upstage the Greens on the climate-change stage. [Canada will go to the polls in a national election in October 2019.] * Green Party’s Paul Manly wins federal by-election in British Columbia, by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press, News, May 7, 2019
* One week after losing by-election to Green Party, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh now says he has concerns about BC NDP gov’t gas fracking expansion approval in province’s northeast, by Maura Forrest, Postmedia, May 13, 2019
Even Trudeau’s Canada won’t rid itself of coal, by Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg News, May 9, 2019
UK sets new record by going whole week without coal power [but it did so by burning natural gas], Sky News, May 8, 2019 and read: Climate activists have failed to make clear the problem with natural gas, by Bill McKibben, Yale Environment 360, Mar 13, 2018 The climate movement’s biggest failure has been its inability to successfully make the case that natural gas is not a clean replacement for other fossil fuels.
[The New Democratic Party governments in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta along with their followers have long touted the myth of natural gas as a less-polluting fossil fuel. Both governments are fostering and financing the expansion of the natural gas fracking industries in their respective provinces, giving new life to the electoral ambitions of the conservative, green capitalist Green Party.]
Corrupt Canada: What makes British Columbia, and Canada, a haven for money launderers, feature article by Justine Hunter, Mike Hager, Wendy Stueck and Nick Laba, The Globe and Mail, May 10, 2019 A series of reports on money laundering commissioned by the BC NDP government estimate that in 2018, $5-billion was laundered through the real estate industry alone.
Related: $5 billion laundered through real estate in British Columbia in 2018, driving up home prices, by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press, May 9, 2019 …An international anti-money laundering agency said last year that organized criminals were laundering about $1 billion annually in British Columbia. But the report commissioned by the BC government estimates far more cash was filtered through the province’s real estate market. The total amount laundered in BC was a relatively small portion of the Canada-wide estimate of $47 billion…
Corrupt Canada: Rail division of Canada’s Bombardier facing World Bank financing ban over Azerbaijan corruption allegations, The Canadian Press, May 9, 2019 In 2013, the World Bank barred for ten years another Canadian corporate showpiece–SNC Lavalin–from bidding on any construction project bankrolled by the lender.
Why progressives in Canada should reject the federal government’s carbon tax, op-ed commentary by Paul Abela, published in The Globe and Mail, May 6, 2019 (Paul Abela is a professor of philosophy at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.) Read the commentary here in pdf format: Progressives and Canada’s carbon tax
Leftist publication ‘Canadian Dimension’ voices bogus claims of European far-right ties to Russian government, reprint in Canadian Dimension of scurrilous accusation against Russian gov’t, published on April 14, 2019 [The political left in Canada is largely silent about its own imperialist government’s support to the extreme-right government in Ukraine, including Canada’s arming and training of extreme-right paramilitary forces within the Ukrainian armed forces. But when it comes to scurrilous accusations against the Russian government, it’s open season.]
Senator says solitary-confinement Bill C-83 is cosmetic change only, by Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press, May 5, 2019
* Top Ontario court reaffirms decision on solitary confinement, sets seven-week limit, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Apr 27, 2019 Read the full article here in pdf format: Top Ontario court decision on solitary confinement
* Supreme Court of Canada grants Trudeau gov’t an ‘interim interim stay’ on Ontario court decision placing 15-day cap on solitary confinement of inmates in prisons, by Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, Apr 12, 2019
[Ontario’s Supreme Court ruled on March 26, 2019 that solitary confinement as practiced against mentally ill prisoners in federal prisons is unconstitutional and should be limited to a maximum of 15 days. The Ontario court ordered the government to pay $20 million for legal costs and improvements to mental health care in its prisons. Compensation to individuals subjected to solitary confinement/torture will now be considered by the court. They number more than 2,000 people.
[This is is the third court decision in the past 16 months in Canada striking down the practice of solitary confinement. In all cases, the federal gov’t is issuing appeals of the court decisions and requests that courts delay their application. Two other supreme court decisions in Ontario [December 2017] and BC [January 2019] ruled solitary confinement as unconstitutional and ordered the federal government to restrict its use. The United Nations considers solitary confinement, period, to be a form of torture. But the government has responded by proposing a name change to the practice, to ‘administrative detention’. A bill to that effect has been approved by the House of Commons and is now before Canada’s appointed Senate for final approval. In addition to all this, a class action lawsuit was launched in an Ontario court in January 2019 on behalf of young people illegally placed in solitary confinement. Canadians have been shocked by cases of solitary confinement/torture that have come to light, including that of Adam Capay. He was confined for more than four years (see report below).]
* Canadian gov’t wants Supreme Court to overturn lower court’s limit of 15 days for solitary confinement [torture], report by The Canadian Press, Apr 10, 2019
* Ontario Supreme Court deals blow to Canada’s solitary confinement policy, report by Patrick White, in Globe and Mail, Mar 28, 2019 (read the article here in pdf format: Ontario court solitary confinement)
* Ottawa loses class action lawsuit over placing mentally ill prison inmates in solitary confinement, The Canadian Press, Mar 26, 2019
* Ontario judge stays first-degree murder charge against Adam Capay, a young First Nations man accused of murdering a fellow inmate in jail who spent more than four years in solitary confinement and sensory deprivation, report by CBC News, Jan 28, 2019
‘Green new deal’ for Canada campaign launched, report on Common Dreams, May 6, 2019
Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer has a problem in catering to racists and white supremacists, report by John Geddes and Jason Markusoff, in Maclean’s magazine (monthly), May 6, 2019
Wildly underestimated oilsands emissions are latest blow to Alberta’s dubious climate claims, by Mitchell Anderson, The Tyee, May 3, 2019
* Another oil and gas company fails in Alberta, more than a dozen others are teetering, CBC News, May 3, 2019
* Bankrupt oil companies are saddling Alberta landowners with ‘orphan wells’, by Anthony Davis, Maclean’s Magazine, May 2, 2019 The Orphan Well Association is tasked with cleaning up the environmental messes left behind, but it’s having trouble keeping up as oil companies collapse
Report reveals alarming and growing racialized income divide in Toronto region, by Laurie Monsebraaten, social justice reporter, Toronto Star, May 6, 2019
Sweeping changes buried in housing bill favoring construction industry called ‘doomsday scenario’ for Ontario’s endangered species, by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, Toronto Star, May 4, 2019
Trudeau resists pressure to decriminalize drugs in face of opioid crisis, by Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press, May 4, 2019
Related: British Columbia’s top health officer calls on government to ‘urgently’ decriminalize possession of illicit drugs, CBC News, Apr 24, 2019
Conservative ‘blue wave’ sweeps across Canada, by John Clarke, published in Counterfire (UK), April 25, 2019
President Maduro still in charge in Venezuela despite Canadian coup-making efforts, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, May 2, 2019 Read the text here in pdf format: Canada’s coup fomenting in Venezuela
Stats NZ says number of residential properties sold to overseas buyers plummeted in the March quarter after the foreign buyer ban came fully into place, by David Hargreaves, Interest.co.nz, May 2, 2019
Corrupt Canada: Names revealed of SNC Lavalin employees, executives behind thousands of dollars in illegal Liberal Party donations, CBC News, Apr 30, 2019
Related: Illegal donations to Liberal Party of Canada by officials of SNC Lavalin revealed, shedding new light on the Trudeau government’s efforts to help the company avoid prosecution for bribery, report by CBC News, Apr 29, 2019 …Over a period of more than five years between 2004 and 2009, 18 former SNC-Lavalin employees, directors and some spouses contributed nearly $110,000 to the federal Liberals, including to four party leadership campaigns and four riding associations in Quebec. SNC-Lavalin reimbursed all of those individual donations — a practice forbidden under the Canada Elections Act. SNC also made indirect donations to the Conservative Party of just over $8,000, according to investigators…
BC’s NDP government has a chance to save more lives in the opioid crisis through decriminalization. It says no, by Paul Willcocks, The Tyee, Apr 29, 2019 On April 24, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released a report urging the BC government to decriminalize possession of all drugs for personal use. That would save lives during the opioid overdose crisis, make it easier for people to seek help, and allow a more effective response, Henry reported. Less than 24 hours later, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said no. Not because he disagreed that the change would save lives. Farnworth said drug law is under federal jurisdiction…
Thousands forced to flee record flooding in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac in Montreal region after dike breached, CBC News, Apr 28, 2019 …With the dike breeching in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, nearly 7,700 Quebecers have been forced from their homes since spring flooding began in different areas around the province two weeks ago. That’s almost double the number of evacuees during the 2017 floods in Quebec, considered unprecedented at the time. Around 5,500 homes across the province have been flooded this year, according to government figures, compared to 5,300 in 2017…
* Ottawa River flood levels smash records, CBC News, Apr 29, 2019 Record water levels have hit the region surrounding Ottawa, and the river hasn’t yet peaked, CBC News, Apr 29, 2019
* Climate change is a major factor in flooding, and so is expanding urbanization and intensification of agriculture, by Les Stanfield, Globe and Mail, Apr 29, 2019 (Les Stanfield is an aquatic ecologist who studies the factors that influence watershed ecohealth, and the principal owner of Ecohealth Solutions.)
* What was learned from 2017’s record floods in Quebec and Ontario?, by Les Perreaux, Globe and Mail, Jan 5, 2018
Alberta oil industry profits, not taxes, causing record-high gasoline prices in British Columbia, by Marc Lee, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Apr 29, 2019 [In another sign it is beholden to fossil fuel interests, the NDP government in British Columbia is refusing calls to regulate the maximum price that oil refiners can charge for gasoline. Prices have reached an average of $1.65 per liter in the province, as high as $1.80 per liter in places (US$5.30 per gallon). That compares to an average of $1.20 in neighbouring Alberta.]
Global warming be damned: Hypocrisy reigns in ‘green Vancouver’ as region plunges deeper into highway and ‘rapid transit’ expansion, April 26, 2019. [The city council of Vancouver is discussing a resolution declaring a ‘climate emergency’. The resolution would commit the city to a host of measures to make the city ‘carbon neutral’ by the year 2050, including that half the kilometres driven on Vancouver roads will be driven by electric vehicles by 2030. But the Vancouver urban region, of which the City of Vancouver is a leading component, is embarked on transportation expansion designed to fuel its urban sprawl and related housing price bubble and facilitate truck and rail movement in and out of the port of Vancouver. The port is Canada’s largest, and it hosts North America’s largest coal export facilities.]
* Mayors, First Nations chiefs in Vancouver region pen letter to BC NDP premier demanding expansion of Fraser River highway crossings, CBC News, Apr 25, 2019 [The letter advocates a multi-billion dollar, six-lane tunnel to add to the existing, four-lane Massey Tunnel crossing the Fraser River. The tunnel proposal replaces a $4 billion bridge approved by the preceding Liberal party government but placed on hold by the NDP gov’t elected in 2017.] * BC gov’t commits $236M to expand Highway One through Vancouver suburb of Langley, CBC News, Apr 25, 2019
* Better, cheaper options than SkyTrain to UBC should be considered, commentary by Elizabeth Murphy, Vancouver Sun, Mar 24, 2019 [Approval of the ‘Broadway Subway’ (as the City of Vancouver calls it) extension of the SkyTrain ‘Millenium Line’ from central Vancouver to the University of British Columbia is being staged in two steps. A six-stop extension would take the project westward by 5.7 km to Arbutus Street, at an estimated cost of $3 billion. Another $4 billion would extend the line a further seven kilometers to UBC.] * * Am I the last voice against SkyTrain to UBC?, commentary by Patrick Condon, published in The Tyee, Jan 29, 2019 It will drive unaffordable condos in Vancouver. Which drives me nuts.
* No one should consider the UBC subway a done deal, commentary by Elizabeth Murphy, published in the Vancouver Sun (Postmedia), Feb 24, 2019
Although TransLink’s Mayors’ Council has approved preliminary planning for the extension of the Broadway subway to the University of B.C. (the BS-Line), this is far from a done deal. The unfolding corruption scandal at SNC-Lavalin and the company’s proprietary role in SkyTrain technology puts this Millennium Line extension in question. The underlying assumptions that have been used to justify the subway also do not add up, regarding projections of growth, ridership or technology performance of various options…
The Expo and Millennium SkyTrain Lines are a proprietary unconventional railway, of which the technical patents are owned by Bombardier and the engineering patents owned by SNC-Lavalin. “Only seven lines have been built in almost 40 years, with only three seriously used for urban transport. Why is Metro Vancouver now the only region in the world that continues to build with SkyTrain?” asks Malcolm Johnson of the group Rail for the Valley. Given SNC-Lavalin’s proprietary rights for SkyTrain technology and its ongoing criminal prosecution for fraud and corruption that could result in a ban from bidding on government projects in Canada, the mayors requested confirmation that other companies beside SNC-Lavalin could competitively provide SkyTrain technology…
* British Columbia premier says he’s ok with SNC-Lavalin bidding on multi-billion projects in the province, by Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Mar 5, 2019
[SNC-Lavalin is a top bidder for a $1.4 billion project to replace the Patullo traffic bridge in Vancouver. Not mentioned by this report in The Tyee is that the company is licking its chops over its prospects in helping build a proposed $7 billion-plus rapid transit line from central Vancouver to the University of British Columbia. The company has a long history of overseeing construction of Vancouver’s pricey rapid transit lines. SNC-Lavalin and the Montreal-based Bombardier Tranportation (another corporate welfare entity in Canada) hold patents to the technology of the four lines built to date, which is used nowhere else in the world. All of the cars supplied to Vancouver ‘skytrain’ lines and its ‘Canada Line’ (airport to downtown) are manufactured by Bombardier.
[Despite the political scandal rocking Canada, the company “hasn’t been convicted”, offers BC premier John Horgan. That’s a clever ruse (also not mentioned by the Tyee report), because while “the company” has not been convicted in name, its top officials certainly have. Meanwhile, the justice system has a convenient method of stalling the pursuit of criminal accusations until they are waved away. Two sets of criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin were thrown out in February 2019 (here and here). Charges of bribery related to the company’s operations in Libya prior to the Canada-supported violent overthrow of that country’s president and government in 2011 were laid nearly four years ago and are sitting idle. Criminal accusations currently before the company relate to the repair work on Montreal’s Jacques Cartier traffic bridge, while the company’s CEO Pierre Duhaime pleaded guilty on Feb 1, 2019 to bribery charges related to the now-completed construction of Montreal’s McGill University Hospital Center. He was sentenced to house arrest. In 2013, the World Bank banned SNC-Lavalin from bidding on any work which it finances for a period of ten years due to its record of corruption.]
* Metro Vancouver mayors vote ‘yes’ on multi-billion dollar transit extension to University of British Columbia, CBC News, Feb 15, 2019 [The transit project will build the most expensive system that money can buy—’Skytrain’–because this will provide the best conditions for condominium construction and sales along the transit route and in the urban sprawl on UBC lands that the project will spur. The current cost estimate is $4 billion, many times more than light-Rail (LRT) or rapid bus options. The three Green Party councillors on Vancouver City council reversed their previous opposition to the choice of Skytrain for the extension to UBC. The Skytrain system is a bonanza for the taxpayer-subsidized Canadian companies that design and build it—SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier transport. (Yes, that’s the same SNC-Lavalin currently at the center of the latest, and most serious to date, corporate corruption case to erupt in Canada.) ]
Canada on pace to meet Paris climate target … two centuries late, by Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, Apr 25, 2019
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs issues stark warning to First Nations against investing in Trans Mountain pipeline system, text of letter by UBCIC, Apr 25, 2019
Landmark claim to land and waters by Ojibway First Nations in Ontario begins in court, by Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, Apr 25, 2019 …In 1836, as European settlers arrived in increasingly large numbers, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation signed Treaty 45-1/2, giving up 600,000 hectares of prime agricultural land south of Owen Sound, Ontario. Today, SON wants the court to recognize Aboriginal title to the offshore waters and also wants the return of peninsula lands still owned by Canada or Ontario or otherwise not privately owned. Any compensation will be dealt with at a later phase of the trial… [For maps of historic treaties in Ontario between First Nations and European settlers, click here: Map of Ontario treaties and reserves.]
Doug Ford: Ontario’s premier ‘for the (rich) people’, by Bob Hepburn, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 24, 2019 (read the column here in pdf format: Record of Conservative gov’t in Ontario) [This column is a rare overview of the right-wing, pro-austerity Conservative Party government elected in Ontario on June 7, 2018. It is published in the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily newspaper. Left-wing press in Canada has failed to provide such overview, one exception below.]
* Ontario government plan to end out-of-country emergency medical insurance coverage strikes at the heart of medicare, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 25, 2019 The Ontario government’s proposal to end out-of-country emergency OHIP coverage is a bad one. It is presented as a minimalist measure. It is anything but. Rather, it is a violation of the Canada Health Act. It strikes right at the heart of medicare…
* Ontario’s cuts to Toronto Public Health threaten to ‘devastate’ school nutrition program, some warn, CBC News, Apr 22, 2019
* Ontario budget delivers cuts — and confusion — to City of Ottawa over public transit, health care, other services, CBC News, Apr 25, 2019
* Ontario budget funding shortfall starts out bad—and gets worse fast, by Sheila Block, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Apr 15, 2019
Postscript: Anti-deficit hype by Ontario’s premier conceals the Conservative Party government’s dirty secret, by Linda McQuaig, columnist, Toronto Star, May 8, 2019
Corrupt Canada: Billions of criminal money being laundered through British Columbia’s real estate and gambling industries, but BC attorney general David Eby says he’s at a loss to stop it, report in Vancouver Sun, Apr 23, 2019
… The second report into money laundering commissioned by the BC government by [former policeman] Peter German will likely be released within two weeks, Eby said, as well a report prepared by an anti-money laundering panel headed by former deputy minister and public policy professor Maureen Maloney. “We have both those reports now. Cabinet will make a decision on a public inquiry,” he said.
Already the B.C. government has taken steps to close loopholes that allowed money laundering to flourish through B.C. casinos and has also introduced new legislation designed to expose nominee owners of real estate, Eby said. But he says most of the major changes needed to combat money laundering have to be made by the federal government… [see next news headline]
* No federally funded police are investigating RCMP officers dedicated to money laundering in British Columbia, report reveals, CBC News , Apr 8, 2019
* Up to $2 billion in dirty money is being laundered yearly in BC casinos and real estate, attorney general now admits, CBC News, Jan 18, 2019 [The $2 billion figure contrasts with the laughable figure of $100 million annually which former policeman Peter German reported in July 2018 in the first of two reports by him commissioned by the BC gov’t.]
Charges in four major drug investigations by Vancouver police have been sunk by charter rights violations in past three years, CBC News, Apr 23, 2019
Related: Police in British Columbia use property seizure when their ‘drug war’ criminal investigations fail, report on CBC News, Apr 23, 2019
CO2 emissions by Alberta tar sands may be far higher than companies report, scientists say, CBC News, Apr 22, 2019
A number of major oilsands operations in northern Alberta seem to be emitting significantly more carbon pollution than companies have been reporting, newly published research from federal scientists suggests, which could have profound consequences for government climate-change strategies.
The researchers, mainly from Environment Canada, calculated emissions rates for four major oilsands surface mining operations using air samples collected in 2013 on 17 airplane flights over the area. In results published today in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists say the air samples from just those surface mining operations suggest their carbon dioxide emissions are 64 per cent higher, on average, than what the companies themselves report to the federal government using the standard United Nations reporting framework for greenhouse gases… If research eventually shows that other oilsands sites are subject to similar underreporting issues, Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as six per cent more than thought..
Rise of ghost hotel industry casts pall over Toronto rental market, by Swathi Meenakshi Sadagopan and Lindsey Vodarek, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, published in Toronto Star, Apr 22, 2019 Toronto’s housing crisis is being fuelled by the emergence of “ghost hotels” — profitable, short-term rentals posted on websites like Airbnb that are replacing long-term rental housing — a Toronto Star/Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy investigation has found. While Airbnb markets itself as a way for individuals to rent their homes when they’re away, there are more than 1,700 Airbnb usernames in Toronto listing more than one entire property for rent — an indication they are either commercial property management operators or enterprising individuals becoming de facto landlords, an analysis of data from the independent research site insideairbnb.com reveals…
Related: Profiles of key players in Toronto’s short-term rental market industry, by Swathi Meenakshi Sadagopan and Lindsey Vodarek, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and Robert Cribb, investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Apr 22, 2019
The short-term rental industry has become a magnet for a mixed bag of industrial-scale landlords. Among them are a savvy real-estate entrepreneur pioneering the short-term market, a former trader who is using his earnings to repay investors who lost money in his investment business, a University of Toronto PhD graduate with multiple online identities, and two brothers who crack the top 10 list of Toronto Airbnb hosts.
We analyzed data from the independent research site insideairbnb.com. It showed more than 20,000 short-term rentals are listed on Airbnb in Toronto. Almost 13,000 of these rentals are for entire homes, with over 1,700 hosts listing more than one. And it’s growing — bringing with it concern from housing experts who say the Airbnb revolution is contributing to Toronto’s housing crisis by replacing long-term rentals for Torontonians with short-term rentals for tourists and visitors…
Most ‘social housing’ projects in Vancouver are geared to incomes of $50,000-plus, by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, Apr 22, 2019
The term “social housing” could have many definitions. In Vancouver, some may be surprised to learn, the city’s definition of social housing includes a studio apartment renting for $1,700 a month.
Earlier this month, the official City of Vancouver Twitter account announced the approval of “a record 1,938 new social and supportive homes in 2018!” A record year for social housing certainly sounds like a good thing in a city with an ongoing housing and homelessness crisis. Citizens might presume all those social housing units help the most vulnerable members of our society. But beyond the tweet, and deep into the 197-page housing data book recently released by the city, a more complicated picture emerges. For one thing, more than 60 per cent of those 1,938 new social and supportive homes approved last year are affordable only for households with incomes higher than $50,000 a year. Almost a quarter of them are only affordable for households earning more than $80,000 a year…
‘It is New Brunswick that enriches the Irvings, not the Irvings that enrich New Brunswick’: An interview with Alain Deneault, by NB Media Co-op, April 15, 2019 The eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick is getting big attention in an article published in the April 2019 edition of Le Monde diplomatique by Alain Deneault, a scholar based in New Brunswick. ‘The Irvings, Canada’s robber barons‘ concisely relates the political and economic power that one family with many industrial businesses has over our region, and the challenges facing people who wish to promote an open society and functioning democracy. In our interview, Alain Deneault discusses the issues he raises in his LMD article…
The surprising truth about Canada’s protected areas, by Megan Leslie, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, Apr 22, 2019 To protect wildlife, we must protect their homes. But our new wildlife protection assessment reveals Canada does not protect the areas that at-risk species need most… Protecting Space for Wildlife: A National Habitat Crisis maps historical gaps in essential wildlife habitat protection and maps opportunities to protect areas that benefit wildlife while sequestering and storing carbon to slow climate change. Here’s what we found:
* 84 per cent of habitats with high concentrations of at-risk species are either inadequately or completely unprotected
* 77 per cent of habitats with high densities of soil carbon are inadequately or not at all protected
* 74 per cent of habitats with high densities of forest biomass are inadequately or not at all protected…
* New WWF-Canada assessment reveals opportunities to tackle wildlife loss, climate change at same time, news release by World Wildlife Fund Canada, April 22, 2019 (WWF-Canada’s Protecting Space for Wildlife: A National Habitat Crisis can be found at www.wwf.ca/habitatcrisis. An executive summary is available here.)
* How much room does nature need? On Earth Day, a new report points to gaps in Canada’s wilderness safety net, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Apr 22, 2019 …Like other countries that have signed the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, Canada has agreed to set aside 17 per cent of its land area for protected status by the end of 2020. With only 10.5 per cent of the country fitting that description as recently as two years ago [and ongoing resource extraction plunder), the stage is set for the next 18 months to be among the most significant and active for nature conservation in the country’s history…
* Sixty per cent of world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970, CBC News, Oct 29, 2018
Ontario starts tracking firearms seizures after failing to follow own law for years, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Apr 21, 2019 The Ontario government has for years been flouting a law that requires the Solicitor-General to track all firearms seized by police forces in the province, creating a major blind spot for authorities just as gun violence is on the rise in Toronto and across the country…
* Canadians divided on banning handguns, assault-style firearms, reports federal gov’t consultation, by Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press, Apr 11 2019 [During the 2015 federal election in Canada, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party voiced vague statements catering to Canadian’s concerns about gun violence. The party’s platform read, “We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets,” whatever that meant. The party specifically refused to reinstate a registry of rifles, including semi-automatic weapons of the type that a racist killer used in Christchurch, New Zealand to kill 50 Muslims on March 15, 2019. Nearly four years later, the government continues to stall on handgun and semi-automatic weapons control. It has staged public dialogue sessions to ease public pressure to ban guns designed and intended to kill people. With all the dithering by government; the lobbying by well-funded, pro-gun interests; lack of control over police violence; and the free reign enjoyed by corporate and underworld criminals, Canadians remain highly vulnerable to gun violence.] * Healthcare professionals hold ‘national day of action’ across Canada demanding gun control, by Ryan Rocca, Global News, Apr 3, 2019
Canada Revenue Agency writes off $133 million owed by one taxpayer the agency refuses to name, CBC News, Apr 22, 2019
…The $133 million writeoff by the Canada Revenue Agency was approved by CRA Commissioner Bob Hamilton in the same period that saw a March 2018 writeoff of a government bailout loan to the now-bankrupt [see note below] Chrysler corporation. That writeoff was approved by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and never announced, though CBC News later confirmed that the defunct Chrysler was the firm involved. It’s not clear whether the two writeoffs are related…
…The Canada Revenue Agency in 2017-18 wrote off $2.7 billion in taxes owed. That’s the largest single-year sum written off by the CRA since the $2.8 billion it abandoned in both 2014-15 and 2013-14…
[Note: ‘Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Related: Ottawa gov’t writes off CAN$2.6 bailout given to Chrysler during 2009 auto industry bailout, report by CBC News, Oct 22, 2018 The Liberal government has quietly written off a $2.6-billion auto-sector loan that was cobbled together to save Chrysler during the 2009 global economic meltdown. The write-off, among the largest ever for a taxpayer-funded bailout, is buried in a volume of the 2018 Public Accounts of Canada, tabled in Parliament on Friday. The reference contains no explanation for the write-off, identifying neither the business that received the loan nor the sector of the economy…
[Canada is ripe for a ‘yellow vest’ movement to expose and condemn the scandalous taxation gifts to the country’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.]
Canada recycles just nine per cent of its plastics. A new ‘circular economy’ could change that — and create jobs, report says, by Alex Ballinghall and Moira Welsh, Toronto Star, Apr 18, 2019 We can’t rely on businesses to “do the right thing” voluntarily, so long as making new plastic from fossil resources is cheap, the cost of collecting and recycling plastic is high, and dumping plastic into the environment is “free”.
Canada recycles just nine per cent of its plastics with the rest dumped in landfill and incinerators or tossed away as litter, a new report shows… In 2016, more than 3.2 million metric tonnes ended up as garbage, according to the summary of a report produced by Deloitte for Environment and Climate Change Canada. Of that amount, 86 per cent went to landfill, four per cent to incinerators and one per cent — 29,000 metric tonnes — ended up as litter which can contaminate lakes and oceans. Most of the wasted plastic comes from offices, institutions or industries.
The total amount of plastics consumed in Canada in 2016 was 4.6 million metric tonnes, said the report, called Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Markets and Waste…
Related: Report by Environmental Defense proposes path to zero plastic waste in Canada, press release by Environmental Defense, Oct 12, 2018
In April 16 election in Alberta, voters choose parties representing the corporate, death-by-growth cult cashing in on global warming
[The United Conservative Party won a large election victory in the Alberta election on April 16, capturing 55 per cent of registered voters compared to the incumbent New Democratic Party’s 32 per cent. Voter participation was some 60 per cent, up slightly from the 2015 election which saw the social-democratic NDP win government for the first time in the province’s history. Both parties back the expansion plans of the crude oil, tar sands and natural gas industries in Canada’s fourth-largest province by population. That is also true for the Trudeau-led, Liberal Party government in Ottawa. It postures on the world stage as being ‘concerned’ about the capitalist-induced global warming emergency. The Alberta election consisted of arguments over who is best to oversee the fossil fuel industry’s expansion plans and who is best placed to pressure the Ottawa government to override any environmental concerns voiced by Canadians. The city of Edmonton elected NDP candidates in nearly all districts whereas the large majority of Calgary voters chose the UCP. Full election results are here.
[Voters in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, voted similarly on June 7, 2018, electing the global warming-denial Conservative Party. The Conservatives won 41 per cent of the vote compared to the NDP’s 34 per cent. Recent polls in Canada show high concern about ‘climate change’. But most Canadians don’t understand the depth of the global warming emergency and are unwilling to contemplate wrenching change from the status quo. This is indicated in a new poll which welcomes a ‘green new deal’ for Canada in which capitalist governments spend their way out of the problem by fostering new, ‘green capitalist’ forms of growth and expansion.]
Liberals set deadline of June 18 to announce Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion, report by The Canadian Press, Apr 18, 2019 [There is no doubt that the Ottawa government will proceed with the expansion of the pipeline which it nationalized in 2018 in order to save it. But more work is needed on the public relations side, including buying more First Nations support along the route.]
Montreal city council passes unanimous declaration against Bill 21, Quebec’s ‘proposed secularism law’ targetting Muslims, CBC News, Apr 15, 2019
Previously reported: ‘Québec solidaire’ party members vow to fight Quebec government’s Bill C21 banning state employees from wearing clothing reflecting religious belief, by Richard Fidler, published on his website Life On The Left, Apr 4, 2019 The QS National Council has reaffirmed the party’s program on separation of church and state, rebuffing party leaders’ attempts at ‘compromise’ with the Quebec government.
Results of Alberta vote could drive last nail in coffin of Trudeau’s national climate-change framework, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 15, 2019 (read the column here in pdf format: Trudeau’s carbon tax plan)
Ontario government’s first budget shows the true personality of right-wing premier Doug Ford, by Martin Regg Cohn, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 15, 2019 (Read the column here in pdf format: Ontario gov’t budget Apr 2019) And see: Ontario Budget 2019: A child-care credit, dental care for seniors, and drinking in parks on the way, CBC News, Apr 11, 2019
A joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the refugee rights measures in the April 2019 omnibus Budget Implementation Act, signed by refugee rights advocates, published on the website of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Apr 11, 2019
Related, and previously reported:
* Legal Aid Ontario will stop accepting new immigration, refugee cases following cuts by right-wing Ontario gov’t, by The Canadian Press, in CBC News, Apr 15, 2019 …Legal Aid Ontario CEO David Field says in a memo to staff on April 15 that the province has told the agency it can only use federal funding to cover new immigration and refugee services this year. That federal funding totals between $13 million and $16.5 million, short of Legal Aid Ontario’s projected costs of between $30 million to $34 million on the services for the year… The province is reducing funding to the organization by 30 per cent, meaning it will receive $133 million less in this fiscal year…
* Canadian gov’t moves to bring its refugee and immigration policy into closer alignment with the racist policy of its Trump regime ally in U.S., (report by CBC News, Apr 10, 2019)
…Included in the budget implementation bill is a proposed change that would make refugees ineligible to make a claim if they have already done so in another country that the federal government considers “safe” for migrants and that shares intelligence with Canada [including the Trump-led U.S.]…
…About 40,000 people have crossed into Canada from the U.S. outside regular border points over the last two years. Yet since April 2017, only 3,150 people claiming asylum in Canada had applied previously for asylum in the U.S., according to statistics provided by the government. Of those 3,150 migrants, 76 per cent crossed into Canada outside regular border points…
* Refugee advocates slam amendments to human rights in omnibus budget bill, statement by Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Apr 9, 2019
Echoes of the Canadian and Western left’s hailing of the 2013 right-wing military coup in Egypt. [The internet journal The Bullet, published in Toronto by a group called ‘Socialist Project’, has re-published an analysis of recent events in Sudan written by a leftist writer in Turkey. The analysis harkens back to the military coup in Egypt on July 4, 2013 which overthrew the elected president Mohammed Morsi and ushered in military/fascist rule. Mass protests in Sudan have displaced president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in power for the past three decades. In Algeria, protests have deposed president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who ruled for two decades. The Turkish writer and The Bullet editors look back on the military coup in Egypt and stand by their support to the violent overthrow of Morsi. They repeat a naive belief that a ‘people’s revolution’ in Sudan similar to the anti-Morsi, mass protests in Egypt in 2013 will ‘somehow’ lead to progress. In Sudan and in Algeria, the capitalist classes and their states are seeking to recover their feet and survive the new, complex political situations. The item which has appeared in The Bullet eschews analysis of the complexities and instead blindly proclaims ‘revolution’ to those who will listen. A case of Egypt 2013 redux.]
Overdose prevention sites in British Columbia should be template for others: report, by Terri Theodore, The Canadian Press, Apr 14, 2019 …In April 2016, the B.C. government declared a public health emergency in the overdose crisis, allowing for the unprecedented implementation of the prevention facilities. Within weeks, 20 sites had mushroomed around the province. A new study by researchers at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research concludes the rapid implementation of the sites should be used as a template for other governments to save lives.
[The BC gov’t cited in this report refuses to countenance the legalization of injection drugs that are killing an average of three people per day in the province. The death rate in BC for illicit injection drug use is: 991 in 2016, 1,486 in 2017 and 1,510 in 2018. (Rates for all of Canada are listed immediately below). The Canadian government, meanwhile, continues to formally proscribe safe injection drug sites, allowing them on a case-by-case basis.]
Previously reported: No letup in Canada’s murderous ‘war on drugs’ as first nine months of 2018 set new record of opioid overdose deaths, report by Global News, Apr 10, 2019 [The human tragedy of the Canadian government’s ‘war on drugs’ is continuing and worsening. In the first nine months of 2018, 3,286 Canadians lost their lives to apparent opioid-related overdoses. That compares to 3,008 in the first nine months of 2017. More than 10,300 Canadians have been killed by the policy between January 2016 and September 2018. (Federal and provincial health authorities in Canada did not bother to compile drug injection death counts before the year 2016.) These deaths are entirely preventable if injection of illicit drugs were to be treated as a humanitarian and public health concern instead of being effectively treated as crimes. One sign of a worsening situation is the recent decision by the right-wing Conservative Party government in Ontario to cut funding to three safe drug-injection sites in the province. Such sites are proven life-savers.]
Canadian gov’t has quietly cut aid to Nicaragua as part of its alliance with the U.S. in Latin America, report by CBC News, Apr 14, 2019 [The CBC writer gives the Canadian gov’t drive to overthrow the gov’t of Venezuela a polite treatment, terming it a “campaign against Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro”. The state-run news agency is a key player in the propaganda war being waged by the Canadian and Trump-led U.S. governments against Venezuela and its people.]
Eleven ignored issues that Albertans should think about before they vote, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Apr 12, 2019 [In an otherwise informed commentary, the writer argues in favour of the pro-oil industry trope that the oil industry in Alberta should expand investment in the local processing of tar sands bitumen destined for shipment to U.S. markets. He also falsely attributes the economic crisis in Venezuela entirely on the vagaries of oil industry markets, making no mention of crippling U.S. economic sanctions against the country.]
The coddling of the Alberta mind, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Apr 8, 2019 Oil, a commodity that nurtures dependency, has so coddled the Alberta mind that it has fostered a provincial culture of victimization as poisonous as the identity politics unsettling university campuses…
Related: Oil’s shaky future ignored during Alberta election campaign featuring two fossil-fuel parties battling it out, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 8, 2019 …Despite the flame throwing between the incumbent New Democratic Party and United Conservative Party, both seem stuck in an old Alberta. Neither one is offering a clear, inspiring vision of what Albertans can look forward to as the world gears down its appetite for the province’s key export — fossil fuels. Both talk as though simply producing and shipping more oil will return Alberta to the good old days when there were more jobs than people to fill them…
Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods is creating hundreds of jobs in Indiana and not in Canada, Where were Ontario and Ottawa?, by Jennifer Wells, business columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 12, 2019 [Canadian conglomerate Maple Leaf Foods is riding the non-meat protein wave to a new production facility in the right-to-work statre of Indiana. It received generous subsidies by local, state and federal governments in the U.S. Green capitalism is nothing but business-as-usual capitalism. In 2018, Maple Leaf received a generous $35 million grant from the Ontario government to build a new chicken processing plant in London, Ontario. ]
What massive increase in crude oil exports to China from B.C.?, op-ed by Robyn Allan, Vancouver Sun, Apr 8, 2019.
* First crude oil shipment of the year bound for China has left Vancouver, by David Carrigg, Vancouver Sun, Apr 12, 2019 Sporadic traffic of tankers out of Westridge headed to Asia is an indication that a twinned Trans Mountain pipeline might not be met with huge demand for that oil David Carrigg Updated: April 12, 2019 According to records kept by David Huntley — a professor emeritus in physics at Simon Fraser University who monitors tanker traffic at Westridge — the Erik Spirit was the fourth tanker to load crude oil at Westridge so far this year, and the first to go to China… The National Energy Board’s recommended approval of [expansion of the Trans Mountrain Pipeline]… was based on 2016 statements from Trans Mountain that it loaded on average five tankers a month at the terminal…
* China has stopped buying crude oil from Western Canada after record purchase in 2018 , by David Carrigg, Financial Post, Apr 8, 2019
Little evidence or motive revealed for accusations of foreign meddling in Canadian elections, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 9, 2019 [Following the collapse of ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory in the U.S. and taking its cue from the anti-Trump, Democratic Party ‘resistance’ in the U.S., the government, mainstream media and police agencies in Canada are erecting a new mania of anti-Russia conspiracy. The new conspiracy centers on accusations of ‘foreign meddling’ in Canadian elections. Added to the conspiracy mix this time are racist accusations against the Chinese people and government. The new conspiracy has quickly overtaken all of Canada’s corporate and state-run media, the above column by the Toronto Star‘s Thomas Walkom being a very rare exception. ‘Alternative media’ such as the online National Observer are on board. As in Russiagate conspiracy, one consequence of the new conspiracy mongering is the elevation of police agencies into hero status. They are bravely defending Canadian institutions against the heinous hordes in Russia and China.]
Police state Canada: Canada’s secret military police spies and collects information on Canadians without the figleaf of oversight that characterizes police spying, report on CBC News, Apr 11, 2019
Alberta researchers say the cost of abandoned oil and gas well liabilities is $40 to $70 billion, many times higher than existing estimates, by Emma MacIntosh, Star Calgary (Toronto Star), Apr 8, 2019 …Alberta has more than 300,000 oil and gas wells that will need to be cleaned up, lead researcher Regan Boychuk said… Loopholes in Alberta’s laws have allowed companies to delay and ultimately walk away from cleanup responsibilities, leaving behind more than 3,000 orphan wells that are now the responsibility of the industry-funded Orphan Well Association. Many more are dormant, as Alberta doesn’t impose cleanup deadlines on oil and gas producers… Though pipelines and the economy come up every day in the campaign of the Alberta election to take place on April 16, the costs of cleaning up the oilpatch haven’t… In November 2018, a joint investigation by National Observer, Global News and Toronto Star revealed the total cost of cleaning up Alberta’s oil and gas liabilities could be as high as $260 billion, a figure used in internal regulatory documents by Alberta Energy Regulator experts to account for cleanup costs for wells, pipelines and waste ponds in the oilsands. Wells and steam extraction facilities made up about $100 billion of that estimate…
Related: Albert’s NDP premier Rachel Notley and opposition conservative leader Jason Kenney are hiding from a $260-billion oil and gas industry cleanup problem, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Apr 9, 2019 The main thing Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley have in common, other than their affinity for pipelines, is their joint fear of the possible $260-billion cleanup bill for the province’s aging oil and gas fields. Neither Kenney, the United Conservative Party leader, nor NDP Premier Notley have said much on the hustings [Alberta election to take plce on April 13, 2019] about this astounding liability, which includes tens of thousands of inactive wells, abandoned gas plants, oil sands tailing ponds and 400,000 kilometres of pipelines. The mountainous size of the cleanup costs dwarfs the puny pile of security deposits the province has collected from industry to pay for the cleanup — $1.5 billion…
Alberta election: Where the parties stand on oil and gas, by Deborah Jaremko, Glacier Media, Apr 8, 2019 …Since 2016 the NDP government has made $3.6 billion available to support petrochemical projects, petrochemical feedstock infrastructure projects and bitumen partial upgrading projects… NDP Premier Rachel Notley says that if re-elected, her government will “work with industry to deliver a major expansion of refining, upgrading and petrochemical production capacity, targeting $75 billion in new private investment.” …
NDP pharmacare plan sets a new standard, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 8, 2019 (read the article, with background, in pdf format here: NDP pharmacare plan)
Related: NDP unveils universal pharmacare plan, aims program delivery by the end of 2020, by Amy Smart, The Canadian Press, Apr 1, 2019
A change in government in British Columbia has done little to alter the province’s environmental path, by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, April 5, 2019 (read the article here in pdf format: Little change in environmental record under BC NDP gov’t)
* Strange bedfellows: NDP and Liberals team up to defeat Greens on LNG subsidy bill, by Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun, Apr 4, 2019 Legislation on tax regime for $40-billion LNG Canada project was opposed by the B.C. Greens
* NDP gets Green Party scorn, Liberals Party props for getting proposed LNG to a finish line with tax breaks, subsidies, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Apr 4, 2019
* BC NDP premier speaks to forest industry barons convention, pledging to allow last of old growth forest plunder, report in Vancouver Sun, April 3, 2019
From Canadian coal mines, toxic pollution that knows no borders, by Chloe Williams, Yale Environment 360, Apr 1, 2019 Massive open-pit coal mines in British Columbia are leaching high concentrations of selenium into the Elk River watershed, damaging fish populations and contaminating drinking water. Now this pollution is flowing across the Canadian-U.S. border, threatening the quality of U.S. waters.
New report shows Alberta’s subsidies to the fossil fuel industry are rapidly increasing, report by Environmental Defence and International Institute for Sustainable Development, Feb 21, 2019 … The report finds that over the last three fiscal years, the Alberta government has subsidized the fossil fuel industry by $1.6 billion each year, with over $2 billion in subsidies alone in 2017/18. At the same time, Alberta received just $2.37 billion in royalty payments from the oil and gas industry for 2017/18, meaning the industry gets back almost as much as it pays out…
Global banks, led by JP Morgan Case, have invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels since 2015 Paris climate pact, by Sharron Kelly, published in Desmog Blog, Mar 20, 2019 A report published today on March 20 by Rainforest Action Network names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects. It finds that since 2016, immediately following the Paris Agreement’s adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide. [Four of Canada’s ‘big five’ banks are on the ‘top 25’ list of global banks investing heavily in fossil fuel extraction and burning. RBC is #5 on the global list.]
Anti-immigrant party is in meltdown in British Columbia following impressive score in February 2019 federal by-election, by Melanie Green, Star Vancouver, April 5, 2019 [After scoring an impressive 11 per cent in the by-election in Burnaby South on February 25, supporters of the nascent, far-right ‘People’s Party’ led by Maxime Bernier are quitting in protest against the extreme-right cadre who are flocking to the party.]
The energy-hungry world isn’t waiting for Canada, commentary by Dave McKay, published in the Globe and Mail ‘Report On Business’, Apr 3, 2019 (Read the commentary here in pdf format: Canada and the energy hungry world. Dave McKay is president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s largest bank.) ‘As our resources sector copes with a growing crisis, we worry that Canada is not setting up our energy industry for growth and success in a changing world.’ …This balanced approach is what Canadians are demanding of the private sector – and of governments too. But to do that, governments at all levels need to focus and take action in four key areas. It starts with building energy infrastructure to better enable market access and get our oil and gas overseas. For generations, we’ve relied on one export market for our energy – and that market is now our biggest competitor – the United States. Governments need to wake up to the challenge this year and solve it with more pipelines to tidewater…
Metro Vancouver, other municipalities in British Columbia ship tonnes of trash to U.S. for disposal, by Jennifer Saltman, Vancouver Sun, Apr 3, 2019
[In 2018, Metro Vancouver generated 918,000 tonnes of waste for disposal, after recycling and other diversion efforts. That is up from the 903,000 tonnes produced in 2017. The Vancouver Landfill is authorized to accept up to 750,000 tonnes of solid waste each year. Metro Vancouver shipped 85,000 tonnes of trash to Washington and Oregon in 2017 and 59,000 tonnes in 2018. Close to 300,000 tonnes of ‘recycled’ trash is burned each year at the Covanta company’s incinerator located in the geographic center of the Vancouver region. Metro Vancouver has a goal of 80 per cent waste diversion by 2020, but with a diversion rate of 63 per cent in 2018, it has a long way to go.]
Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould set multiple conditions for ending the rift with Trudeau, by David Cochrane, CBC News, Apr 3, 2019
…Secret discussions in the Liberal Party to reach a compromise with Jody Wilson-Raybould over the SNC-Lavalin controversy ultimately failed when it became clear that agreement with the former attorney general could not be reached, sources tell CBC News. Over the course of the discussions, it emerged that Wilson-Raybould had a list of at least five conditions that could help end the civil war that has been tearing the government apart…
…Wilson-Raybould’s wishes went beyond a limited housecleaning in the PMO. Sources said she also sought assurances that her replacement as attorney general, David Lametti, would not overrule Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussell and direct her to give SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement. Wilson-Raybould also wanted Justin Trudeau to admit — publicly, or to caucus alone — that his office acted inappropriately in its attempts to convince her to consider granting SNC-Lavalin a DPA.
The intense back-and-forth search for a compromise might help explain why the caucus drama took 54 days — from the first report in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 7 to the prime minister’s announcement on April 2 that Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott were being ejected from caucus…
* Trudeau ejects MPs and former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from Liberal Party and its caucus in Parliament, CBC News, April 2, 2019
* Dozens of women turn their backs on Justin Trudeau as he addresses ‘Daughters of the Vote’ event in Ottawa, CBC News, Apr 3, 2019) ‘Daughters of the Vote’, run by Equal Voice Canada, works to get more women elected (and read: Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer shunned as some ‘Daughters of the Vote’ attendees turn backs, walk out on speeches to them in Ottawa, by Amanda Connolly, Global News, Apr 3, 2019)
* Expulsions from Liberal Party of MPs and former cabinet members Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpot is vindictiveness’s sake, by Andrew Coyne, columnist, National Post, April 2, 2019 (read the commentary article here in pdf format: Andrew Coyne on Liberal expulsions) I suspect what truly outrages the Liberal MPs is the sight of a person of conscience, unwilling to sacrifice her principles so readily on the altar of partisanship
[The treatment by liberal commentators of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpot as political heroines for standing up to old-school politics in Parliament that shelters corporate interests–even illegal conduct–is grossly overblown. The two former ministers were, and remain, loyal foot soldiers of the capitalist, anti-ecology, death-cult program of the Liberal Party government in Ottawa. In extensive media interviews following their expulsions from the Liberal Party on April 2, the two say that the goal of their protest over judicial and government treatment of the corrupt SNC-Lavalin engineering firm is to make Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “take responsibility” for his actions in trying to assist the company to avoid judicial consequences. Philpot specifically restates her support to the Liberal Party government and leader. The opposition parties in Parliament are applauding the two former ministers’ defiance of Trudeau and his inner circle. But they, along with the provincial governments which their parties lead, are also loyal followers of the death cult.]
Wilson-Raybould defends secret recording of Privy Council clerk in December 2018 that led to her ouster from Liberal Party, by Amanda Connolly, Global News, Apr 3, 2019
Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is defending the secret recording of Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick [recorded on December 18, 2018 and released on March 29, 2019] that appears to have tipped the scales in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to eject her from caucus. On April 2, Trudeau said the secret recording of the phone call, which Wilson-Raybould had described as one in which Wernick made “veiled threats” against her, was “unconscionable” and that the trust between caucus and her had been broken…
“Talking about unconscionable, it’s unconscionable to tread over the independence of the prosecutor,” Wilson-Raybould said. “It is unconscionable not to uphold the rule of law, and I have always maintained that stance. I think it is very alarming that people are focusing on the actual recording of the tape as opposed to the contents of the tape. The contents of the tape, in my view and the view of many people that have reached out, speak for [themselves].”
She also stressed that she has explained why she made the decision to record that call, which was the culmination of four months of requests from top political staffers as well as Trudeau for her to reconsider her decision not to intervene in the criminal case of SNC-Lavalin. “I said in any other circumstance it would be inappropriate. I was protecting myself. I knew something very dangerous and wrong was going to happen,” …
[The reporter neglects to mention that countless amounts of “secret” (ie private) communications have been released by Trudeau government representatives and supporters over the SNC-Lavalin affair, in the form of texts, emails, letters and personal accounts.]
SNC-Lavalin insider’s bribery allegations spark probe by Export Development Canada agency that loaned the firm billions, by Dave Seglins and Rachel Houlihan, CBC News, Apr 3, 2019 Export Development Canada has hired outside legal counsel to review some of its dealings with SNC-Lavalin. The review comes after a company insider told CBC News the engineering giant secured billions in loans from the Crown agency over the years, some of which he alleges was intended to pay bribes. If true, it could mean taxpayers have unwittingly backed illegal payments. Export Development Canada is a federal agency that provides financing and insurance to Canadian businesses operating abroad…
Related: Justice department memo from November 2018 says Ottawa has ‘wiggle room’ to allow SNC-Lavalin to bid on federal contracts even if convicted of corruption, by Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, April 3, 2019 The Liberal government could invoke a “public interest” exception that would allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid a ten-year federal contract ban even if it is criminally convicted, according to a justice department memo… [The memo outlined a number of exceptions which could be offered to SNC Lavalin.]
[Corporate media in Canada, including the state-run CBC, is studiously avoiding all mention and reporting of past and present criminal accusations and convictions of SNC-Lavalin for corruption and bribery over its Canadian operations. These have been summarized in headline reporting in A Socialist In Canada website. Instead, media reports only the accusations and convictions related to international operations.]
Healthcare professionals rally throughout Canada for ‘national day of action’ on gun control, by Ryan Rocca, Global News, Apr 3, 2019 (and read: Front-line health workers rally for stricter gun control laws, CBC News, Apr 3, 2019) Healthcare professionals rallied throughout the country on Wednesday as a part of a “national day of action” calling for stricter gun control laws in Canada. Sixteen rallies were organized by Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG), an organization founded by Dr. Najma Ahmed, a surgeon who was working at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital at the time of the Danforth mass shooting last summer…
Related: Federal minister of border security is coy about handgun ban as time for legislative action runs down, by John Paul Tasker, CBC News, Apr 4, 2019
Child vaccination rate in Toronto is too low to offer protection, by Diana Zlomislic, Toronto Star, Apr 3, 2019 Nearly 30 per cent of all schoolchildren in Greater Toronto at age seven are not fully immunized as required by law to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, according to new province-wide data obtained by the Toronto Star. But the types of diseases these children are not vaccinated against and why thousands of them appear neither fully immunized nor formally exempt are questions most of Ontario’s 35 public health units say they cannot reliably answer. The Star’s reporting revealed that a patchwork of data collection systems are being used to track vaccine coverage and determine the population’s vulnerability to outbreak. ..
Banks Island in Canada’s Arctic is melting away, recording 6000 per cent increase in mudslides, report by Michael LePage, in New Scientist, April 2, 2019
* Extremes of summer climate trigger thousands of ‘thermokarst’ mudslides in a High Arctic environment, research paper by Antoni G. Lewkowicz and Robert G. Way, published in Nature Communications, volume 10, article #1329 (2019)
* Some Arctic ground no longer freezing, even in winter, by Craig Welch, National Geographic, Aug 20, 2019 Data from two Arctic sites suggest some surface layers are no longer freezing. If that continues, greenhouse gases from permafrost could accelerate climate change.
Canada’s failure to fight climate change is ‘disturbing’, reports the government’s departing environment watchdog, by The Canadian Press, April 2, 2019 Julie Gelfand’s condemnation comes one day after a dire report documenting that Canada is warming at twice the global average
Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Canada is not doing enough to combat climate change. Gelfand delivered her final audits on Tuesday, April 3 before her five-year term expires, looking at fossil-fuel subsidies, invasive aquatic species and mining pollution. But her final conclusions as the country’s environmental watchdog say it is Canada’s slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most “disturbing” to her.
“For decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate,” she said in a statement Tuesday morning. “This must change.”
Gelfand’s rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate…
‘These findings should inspire naked fear’: Canada is warming at twice the global rate, by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, April 2, 2019
* Canada warming at twice the global rate, new report finds, CBC News, April 1, 2019
* Federal climate change report ‘a strong warning,’ Alberta scientist says, CBC News, April 2, 2019 Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Northern Canada heating up at almost three times the global average, according to a new government report being issued on April 2. The study — Canada’s Changing Climate Report [text here, executive summary here] — was commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It says that since 1948, Canada’s annual average temperature over land has warmed 1.7 C, with higher rates seen in the North, the Prairies and northern British Columbia. In Northern Canada, the annual average temperature has increased by 2.3 C …
* Canada is woefully prepared for the effects of global warming on its coastlines and cities, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, April 3, 2019 (14-minute broadcast)
[As in the rest of the capitalist world, corporations, governments and established political parties in Canada constitute a death cult. They worship the pillaging of the Earth’s resources and a ‘grow and expand’ capitalist economy that serves the personal enrichment of the wealthy class of capitalists and its hangers-on and apologists. As more and more evidence piles up of the calamitous consequences of a growth and expand economy, the death cult is doubling down on its worship. Its high priests include Canada’s ‘feminist’ prime minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers of all of its provinces, whether Liberal, Conservative or NDP. Mainstream environmentalists are no match for the death cult—they practice their own version of global warming denial by positing tepid ‘green capitalist’ solultions, similar to the advocates of a ‘Green New Deal’ who bow before the death cult by failing to advocate sharp reductions in the pillaging and consumption of the Earth’s resources that is causing the destruction of the planet’s ecological balance.]