2014-09-17  |  John Bennett

I’m headed to New York City this weekend to march with tens of thousands for climate action. A number of people have been ruminating on the wisdom of travelling so far, with its carbon implications and use of resources. But as we saw with the Arab Spring, revolutions are won when people stand arm-in-arm for justice.

That’s why I’m going. I made my decision a few minutes ago after a call with the “Lobby Monitor”. They obtained a copy of the briefing binder given to Greg Rickford earlier this year (Rickford replaced Joe Oliver as Minister of Natural Resources in March 2014) and I was asked if I wished to comment on his instructions to obtain the infrastructure necessary to export oil and diversify markets (read: find new Asian customers).

After I got over the shock… I said “No, I’m not surprised, but it is an attempt to go forward looking backwards--and that doesn’t work. Around the world, especially in Asia,...

2014-08-26  |  John Bennett

My brother liked to throw things at me shouting “THINK FAST!"

Now I’m doing it to you! August 29th is the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC) deadline for comments on its “Hypothetical Severe Nuclear Accident and Effectiveness of Mitigation Measures" report. You can send yours here.

Sorry for giving you so little time.

Back in 2012 we all urged the CNSC to consider what would happen if a Fukushima-scale accident took place in Canada. Would the CNSC's emergency measures have been effective?

Now we knew we would get a big pile of assurances that all is well and don’t worry, but we thought we might get a legit review in light of the disaster in Japan. However, CNSC hasn’t looked at a Fukushima-scale...

2014-08-10  |  John Bennett

The National Energy Board (NEB) is continuing its undemocratic approach to pleasing its master: the oil industry. Most recently, the Calgary-based rubber stamp is trying to use the summer to hide yet another concession. On July 11th the NEB said it was going consider a request from Imperial Oil and Chevron to weaken the rules for offshore drilling in the Arctic and gave the public until August 1st to comment (some strong arguing won an extra two weeks).

What the NEB is entertaining might very well lead to an ecological disaster in the Canadian Arctic where Imperial Oil and Chevron want to operate outside the rules for drilling. They simply want to avoid the cost of drilling relief wells and, predictably, the NEB is seriously considering it. It’s a case of pinching pennies that could risk billions. For details...

2014-07-09  |  John Bennett

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not good at keeping secrets, and I particularly don’t like when governments work in secret. Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential, but 9 times out of 10 there’s no justifiable reason.

Here are some government plans developing in secret that everyone should know about.

SECRET #1

At an undisclosed location in Ottawa this week, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries are negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - the latest ‘free trade’ deal our government says we just have to have.

Last January, some of the sections of the draft agreement showed up on Wiki Leaks including a chapter on dealing with the environment. The contents have fired up our US cousins because the language appears to violate a US law requiring all trade deals signed by the US to apply the same...

2014-06-23  |  Webmaster
2014-06-19  |  Webmaster
2014-06-17  |  John Bennett

June 17, 2014

Today the federal cabinet approved the Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline.

It’s a decision that could define our times. We are witnessing the final stages of a protracted wrestling match between our future and our past.

Can we afford to let this decision stand? Aren’t our children--born and unborn--depending on us?

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why we must end our fossil fuel addiction, and move on to a clean energy future. You’ve heard it before.

But this decision could be different. It could be a game-changer. The Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline could be a turning point because of the huge opposition in British Columbia —unparalleled in Canadian history:

  • 130 First Nations and over 10,000 residents have...
2014-05-22  |  John Bennett

May 22, 2014

It’s been a busy week for government propagandists. Why?

Back when I was a reporter I had a mantra I would chant to myself while writing: Who, What, When, and Why. Who, What, When, and Why? It’s particularly effective when applied to government stories, so let’s apply it to last week’s series of announcements.

WHO: The federal government that has turned a deaf ear to climate change and mitigation, and stripped itself of the ability to protect the environment by gutting the Environmental Assessment, Fisheries and Navigable Waters Acts.

WHAT: New rules for tankers that raise the ceiling on corporate liability but not enough to ensure taxpayers won’t be making a big contribution to cleaning up the next disastrous oil spill....

2014-05-08  |  John Bennett

Farley Mowat passed away this week at the age of 92. It has been thirty years since he wrote “Sea of Slaughter”, a book that I’ll never forget. He sold almost 17 million books over his long and decorated career. His books about nature (translated into 52 languages) were a major contributor not only to the Canadian environmental movement, but the global movement to protect the earth.

Millions of people around the world view Canada in a better light because of his life’s work. He mixed the serious with humour in devastating ways, making us smile one minute, cry the next and then rant with a rage over how we treat this planet.

I’ve been thinking about my favourite Farley Mowat book, “No Bird Sang”, since I heard the news today.

I first met Farley in the back room of a book store in Belleville, having arrived late for an interview following a book signing. I was late because I detoured to pick up my wife and daughter -- I didn...

            

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