Stories

Tell the federal government a new law is needed to protect Canadians’ free speech

For decades, Canadian charities have given voice to concerns of Canadians who want social progress, better health and a clean and safe environment. From laws banning smoking in public places and the creation of anti-drinking and driving laws, to reducing acid rain, these important measures and more were a result of charities voicing Canadians’ concerns.
 

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama

Over two dozen non-governmental organizations from Canada and the United States are asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama to postpone or cancel an unprecedented series of shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste from Ontario to South Carolina along public roads and over bridges crossing the waters of the Great Lakes.

See below for a letter from the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility to Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama.

Calling all runners, walkers and casual strollers!

We are excited to announce that for the first year ever, Sierra Club Canada Foundation is participating in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon!

On Sunday, October 16, 2016, we invite you to run, walk or stroll with team Sierra Club Canada Foundation at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to raise money to preserve and protect our planet.

These whales cannot go to court

In just the last few days, 1,347 concerned people like you have signed and sent a letter asking the government not to settle with a New Jersey company who has been thwarted from developing a destructive quarry in the Bay of Fundy.

Because of you, we have been an instrumental force on this campaign since the beginning, and we’re not going anywhere. But we need your help!

I don't want to go

I'm in transit to the first hearings about Energy East pipeline in Saint John, New Brunswick. The National Energy Board has allowed Sierra Club Canada Foundation time to speak in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario.

Mississauga Welcomes the Urban River Greenbelt at Last! Is this the Start of a Trend?

The City of Mississauga Council voted unanimously to approve city staff’s Urban River Valley Greenbelt Report and forward it to Peel Region for approval and application to Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). Years in the making, Mississauga has taken the big step to join the Ontario Greenbelt.

GLPA Alliance weighs in on Ontario's proposed Wetland Strategy

As part of the Great Lakes Protection Act Alliance, Sierra Club submitted comments on A Wetland Conservation Strategy for Ontario 2016-2030 (EBR Registry Number: 012-7675). Among the recommendations, the GLPA Alliance asserts this draft strategy is not utilizing powers already available to the Ministry and should "commit to setting time bound, measurable targets with aspirational milestones for wetlands in the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River Basin."
In other words, the Wetland Strategy is not making strategic use of tools in place to really conserve wetlands.

Atlantic Canada Programs Coordinator

We are looking for an energetic and dedicated individual to coordinate programs and volunteers in the Atlantic Canada Chapter of Sierra Club Canada Foundation. This is a three month position with an option to renew, depending on performance and outcomes. You will be working closely with the National Program Director (based in Halifax) and take direction from the Atlantic Canada Executive Committee.

About Sierra Club Canada Foundation - Atlantic Chapter

Contact Premier Wynne to voice your support for a fully protected and growing Greenbelt

There are positive proposals within the four draft provincial plans, including the Greenbelt plan, open for public comment until October 31st, Urban River Valley additions to note one example. There are also some alarming proposed changes that would allow land to be taken out of the current Greenbelt and handed to the developers. Section 3.4 Settlement Areas of the Greenbelt draft
 contains an outline of a proposed process that could do just that and subject the Greenbelt to being turned into a Swiss cheese belt.

Contact Premier Wynne to voice your support for a fully protected and growing Greenbelt

There are positive proposals within the four draft provincial plans, including the Greenbelt plan, open for public comment until October 31st, Urban River Valley additions to note one example. There are also some alarming proposed changes that would allow land to be taken out of the current Greenbelt and handed to the developers. Section 3.4 Settlement Areas of the Greenbelt draft contains an outline of a proposed process that could do just that and subject the Greenbelt to being turned into a Swiss cheese belt.

Excerpts from 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Over two dozen non-governmental organizations from Canada and the United States are asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama to postpone or cancel an unprecedented series of shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste from Ontario to South Carolina along public roads and over bridges crossing the waters of the Great Lakes.

See below for relevant excerpts from the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Finalists Announced for Art Exhibition on the Theme of Climate Change

One Earth, One Chance: Announcing the finalists for the art exhibition on the theme of Climate Change sponsored by Sierra Club Canada Foundation in partnership with Rebecca Gallery.

Twenty-two artists have been selected to participate in the climate change exhibition which will be mounted in the Rebecca Gallery in Toronto from July 5 th to 28 th , 2016.

Conserving Edmonton’s River Valley and Ravine System

Most of Edmonton’s natural lands lie within its extensive river valley and tributary ravine systems – an area of 7,400 ha and 48 km in length, including 22 ravines, for a combined total length of 103 km. Much of the area is either under private ownership or targeted by City Parks for recreational infrastructure. Golf courses, gravel quarries, a velodrome and other sports facilities, freeways, boat launches… have all been proposed over the past decades for what is often “free land” to the City. Fortunately there are a growing number of local ENGOs actively involved in conservation of these lands with whom we partner or support on a project basis.

Household Waste Diversion in Peel

Getting it right with household waste is a hot issue in Peel right now. As construction costs escalated and as Sierra Club Peel Group and various other concerned groups presented multiple environmental, health and sustainability concerns, Regional Council gradually came to the conclusion that their plans to build an EFW (Energy From Waste Facility, the modern version of the incinerator) was not the ideal solution for long term waste management.

Active Transportation

Through the leadership of Sierra Club member David Laing and a keen group of local cyclists, Bike Brampton is in it's third year of operation. June is Bike Month, and Bike Brampton's signature event is Bike the Creek. Over 500 cyclists participated in this year's third annual Bike the Etobicoke Creek event on June 18. Bike the Creek is a FREE event aimed at encouraging people of all ages to discover the joys of cycling. Four route options were offered this year, suiting all ages and levels of expertise from first time to seasoned participants. 

Highlighting Natural Heritage: the Credit Valley Trail

Sierra Peel Members participate at local events, committees and roundtables to bring the voice of Sierra Club of Canada to the table in support of Watershed Health and Natural Heritage Preservation. Protection of river valleys and the ecological goods and services they provide to wildlife and people is at the core of our vision and commitment.

Norval Quarry

The Proposed Norval Quarry is located within the Greenbelt in North West Brampton, a small area rich in natural heritage along the Credit River valley. The proposed shale extraction site has a tributary of the Credit River running through it, along with other Provincially Significant wetlands, and Significant Woodlands. Fish habit restoration by the MNR & CVC is on going in this tributary, to restore spawning trout habitat. Existing and future residential homes neighbor the quarry operations, as well as religious and educational institutions.

Growing the Urban River Greenbelt in Peel

The Credit River is a special feature of Mississauga, and what could be more symbolic of the city’s wish to enjoy and protect its valued river than to grant it Provincial Greenbelt status?  But first, public awareness of this opportunity had to develop, as well as political will to break new ground by pushing through the lengthy provincial application process.

Sand Dunes? In Edmonton!

The Edmonton Group has traditionally focused on parkland creation and conservation. These are usually multi-year projects; our favorite, going on fifteen, is the Sand Dunes Natural Area (our name - bureaucratically known as NW384) in the far southwest of Edmonton.


We identified the feature in 2001, characterized its pro-glacial origins, and with the support of the Curator of Geology from our Provincial Museum, induced the City to purchase the lands the following year. The dunes lie on the easternmost extent of the 200 sq km glacio-lacustrine Devon Dune Field to the west of Edmonton.

From Pipes to Parks

PLANifax video from Pipes to Parks
PLANifax video from Pipes to Parks

Halifax is a wet city! And when all that rain, snow, slush, sleet, etc is done soaking through your clothes, it all ends up somewhere.

WHY PARKS MATTER - A SPEED-DATING STYLE LEARNING EVENT

City parks matter for many reasons!
Learn from a range of experts why parks are important to people and the environment. At this speed-dating style event, groups of attendees will be rotated through to learn from a series of 8-minute "dates" with the experts.

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016, 1 - 3 PM.

Where: Kenneth Rowe Building, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Avenue, Halifax, NS

Come to the Pollinator Party at Heart Lake

Annual Sierra Club Meadow Planting & Medicine Wheel Maintenance

Heart Lake Conservation Area
June 4th, 2016
10am to 2pm

Community wildflower plantings are fun for families, individuals and groups! High school students are welcome to gain volunteer hours

We provide all the equipment needed. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather.
Light refreshments will be available. Bring your own refillable water bottle, please.

Ontario Chapter Director Dan McDermott speaking on The Environmental Movement, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (April 14, 4pm @ University of Toronto)

Environmental campaign veterans Dan McDermott and John Bennett will discuss the environmental movement and their involvement dating back to the 1970s when their personal interactions with Bob Hunter and Greenpeace set them on a path of life-long activism. They will share some of their personal experiences with Bob’s mind-bombing approach to environmental activism, but often have very different perspectives that can lead to lively discussions. Mr. Bennett and Mr.

Save the Ojibway Tallgrass Prarie Complex and Protect Biodiversity

Windsor’s Ojibway Tallgrass Prairie complex is a natural and national treasure. Pressured from all sides by urban development, Ojibway contains more biodiversity than does Algonquin Park or the Bruce Peninsula. At present it is a patchwork of protected and unprotected areas. Appeals to the Government of Ontario have failed to stop incursions that threaten Ojibway.

Mines and Quarries

Mines and quarries can impact the environment in a variety of ways such as water contamination, diverting water systems, air emissions, and destroying habitat for wildlife.

The way to reduce these impacts is through careful consultation, land-use planning, and - when serious impacts can't be avoided - saying "no" to certain mines and quarries. 

What the day meant to me ...

I remember the first time I talked to a fiery Mary Gorman on the phone, as a new staff person at the Atlantic Canada office, her impassioned narrative about the need to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas development was inspirational.  It made me excited to work with her and others from the Save our Seas and Shores Coalition.  That phone call was in 2010, and over the past five years I have many fond memories of our campaign to protect of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

We've Commented on Bill 66- The Proposed Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015

The commenting period for the Proposed Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA) is now closed but Sierra Club of Canada Foundation made a submission last week during the public hearings before the Standing Committee on General Government. Submission below:

 

Bill 66 (proposed Great Lakes Protection Act)

Submission to the Standing Committee on General Government

23 September 2015

 

Grant Crack, Chair

Standing Committee on General Government

99 Wellesley Street West, Room 1405

Whitney Block, Queen's Park

Toronto, ON

M7A 1A2

 

Sylwia Przezdziecki, Clerk

Tel: 416-325-3515

Fax: 416-325-3505

sprzezdziecki@ola.org

 

Pollinator Progress at Heart Lake Conservation Area

Earlier this June we partnered with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to host a Pollinator Party at Heart Lake Conservation Area. The weather was great and we were thankful to have the 19 volunteers from Peel region who helped with light gardening and maintenance at the Medicine Wheel Garden and meadow plots.

Before we began work on the gardens the Four Colors Drumming Circle hosted an Aboriginal Drumming Ceremony and storytelling session to welcome spring and educate people on the features of the Medicine Wheel Garden (Gitigaan Mashkiki). It was a really neat experience which engaged everyone and connected us to the work we were about to do.

Grow the Greenbelt - We've Submitted Comments on the 2015 Coordinated Review!

The commenting period for the 2015 Coordinated Review is now closed but Sierra Club of Canada Foundation has made a submission in support of Greenbelt growth and expansion.  Below is a summary of the submission.  

Moratorium on Expansion of Urban Development

At this opportunity to review the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Sierra Club asks the Province to consider a 10-year moratorium on expansion of urban development boundaries, in order to direct growth into increased density and cease the paving over of our fertile agriculture lands and treasured natural areas.

 

Urban River Valley Designation

Grow the Greenbelt: Add Carruthers Headwaters Protection

 

Sierra Club of Canada Foundation is working with Peter Rodrigues (former Pickering Regional Councillor, Ward 3) to protect the Carruthers Creek Headwaters which run through Pickering. The letter below was submitted to Richard Stromberg from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and reflects the work being done to rally support for the protection of the Carruthers Creek Headwaters.

GROW THE GREENBELT IN DURHAM -- Protect Carruthers Creek Headwaters

Heartlake Pollinator Party - June 6, 2015!

Come join us at Heart Lake Conservation Area in Brampton on Saturday, June 6th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m!

Learn about the Conservation Area, pollinator plants, and the Gitigaan Mashkiki Medicine Wheel Garden!

Help remove invasive plant species and plant native wildflowers.  Activities also include a guided nature walk and Aboriginal teachings.

 

For more information or to RSVP please contact our staff at ontariochapter@sierraclub.ca

Digging Into Spring!

This past weekend we had a great time planting trees and shrubs in an area of Erindale Park in Mississauga as a part of our Natural Capital Program. Following a quick planting demonstration by Credit Valley Conservation, around 50 enthusiastic participants worked for over three hours (in glorious sunny weather) to get 250 plants in the ground.

Calling all Waterfront Lovers

Since its creation in 1992 the Waterfront Trail strives to connect urban and rural areas, and reconnect people to their communities and Great Lakes Waterfront. The Waterfront Trail serves as the linkage between over 405 parks and natural areas including wetlands, forests and beaches and stretches across 1400 km of shoreline from the eastern border of Ontario to the northwest (2). Over the years the trail has become a local favorite for leisure and recreation and is a place where people can go to reconnect with nature.

Locally, Toronto and Durham Region have made (and continue to make) a number of improvements for enhanced accessibility along their portions of the Waterfront Trail. A lot of work has gone into creating and enhancing trail segments, and now many neighboring communities are working collaboratively to link their sections for increased functionality.

Mississauga Urban Greenbelt Open House

On Wednesday, May 27th the City of Mississauga will be hosting an Open House in the Living Arts Centre. The night will showcase what Mississauga has planned to expand the Urban Greenbelt down the Credit River to the lake. Sierra Club has been following this project closely for many months and encourages its promotion.

 

- Hope to see you there!

Natural Capital Project Update: Planting in Paradise

Our bioswale project was created in response to water quality issues affecting residents and visitors to the Ajax waterfront.  In recent years, as a result of contaminated run-off, the Town of Ajax and its residents have had limited access to swimmable water and beaches and the bioswales are a perfect solution!

The structure of these bioswales resembles a rain garden and is designed to control storm water, reducing the amount overflowing onto the beaches. The bioswale mimics wetland processes by providing a planted area of trees and shrubs which will absorb and filter storm water as it is slowed by the soil and root systems of the plants—for free! This is a great way to enhance the waterfront and naturally filter contaminants like automotive run-off and road salts, while restoring the environment.

Protecting Niagara’s Waters By Expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt Protection Area

This article posted in Niagara At Large was written by John Bacher, who works with Greenbelt Program team at Sierra Club of Canada Foundation. The article depicts the darker side of urban sprawl and pollution on watershed quality, and how stopping urban sprawl is an imperative step in protecting our waters. Read the article here.

 

The provincial government is hosting a series of public consultations for the review of the province’s land use plans.  So if you love the Greenbelt and want to protect our waters, now is the time to attend a Town Hall near your to voice your opinions.

For more information on the review process please visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website.

Join us for a spring garbage cleanup!

Join us at Paradise Park in Ajax on May 2nd for a spring garbage clean-up (See map for details)! This is a great opportunity to enhance your community and waterways, care for the environment and see some of the great restoration work being done at Paradise Beach.

High-school students earn volunteer hours- must bring your own form!!

 

***To participate, please register here***

 

Positive Caledon Review Follow-up

 

Below is a cheery update following the Caledon Review meeting last Thursday night on March 26th. 

 

"Hello Sierra friends and supporters,

The Greenbelt Review event on Thursday night, March 26th, in Caledon was crowded, maybe 300 there, with many provincial representatives, councillors, and also members of the Advisory Panel that will process the information from all 16 town Halls across the Golden Horseshoe. 

We sat at tables of 10, debating 6 topics - protecting land - creating jobs - liveable communities - climate change - moving people - and realigning the plans. Debates were lively and interesting, and support for strengthening and realigning Greenbelt legislation was overwhelming.

Prophetic Voice of Dr. Mike Carr Should Give Guidance in Greenbelt Review

By John Bacher

Photo: Urban Sprawl on Oak Ridges Moraine threatens health of Lake Ontario. By: Mary Lou Bacher

The province of Ontario is engaged in what is termed a decade long review of the Greenbelt Plan and its complimentary legislation, Places to Grow. (the latter is intended to provide higher densities so that sprawl does not jam up against urban boundaries). A public meeting on the review, appropriately enough in a location accessible to cyclists, walkers and transit, is being held on March 30, from 6 to 9pm at the central Yonge Street Toronto Public Library.

The recent death of a prophetic voice of concern for the earth, Dr. Mike Carr, should give some guidance to the deliberations of the public. It is to be fervently hoped that as many people cram into the Toronto Reference Library to give voice to concerns for the fate of the planet as occupied St. James Cathedral square.

Natural Capital Events in Peel

As a part of our Natural Capital Campaign, Sierra Club has also been active in Peel Region!  There will be a couple of events offered in Peel, after receiving funding from TD- Friends of the Environment  and Community Foundation Mississauga Grants.

April 25th – One Million Trees Celebration and Earth Market

Hosted by the City of Mississauga, we will have volunteers at the morning tree planting and a table at the Earth Market. Come out and visit us to say Hi! There will be information booths, vendors, live music, prizes, a food truck, kids’ activities and workshops.

Spring Activities in Ajax

Last year with funding from RBC's Blue Water Grants, Sierra Club Ontario joined Town of Ajax, and Toronto Regional Conservation Authority to remove stormwater outflow pipes along Ajax’s beaches and replace them with bioswales to help improve water quality. Bioswales are human-created wetland features which slow the flow of stormwater, allowing nutrients and contaminants to be absorbed and filtered by the plants and soil, before the water reaches the beaches.

Last spring we had a successful tree planting at the Paradise Beach bioswale, and will be hosting another Tree planting and additional workshops and events this spring. List of events and volunteer opportunities below:

March 4th – Annual Waterfront Open House

Credit River Trail from Mississauga to Caledon -- it is possible!

At our next Sierra Peel Group meeting guest speaker Susan Robertson of The Credit Valley Heritage Society will tell us about the proposal for a continuous trail along the Credit River from Mississauga to Caledon. There are some beautiful lengths of trail along the Credit and many people are working to connect them. According to Credit Valley Conservation, "Trails in the Credit Valley Watershed cover a wide variety of geographical features, including the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, providing picturesque settings for a leisurely stroll or a challenging, rugged hike." The CVC website has a great page organizing maps of the trails and what to expect on them: http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/enjoy-the-outdoors/activities/trails/. Come learn more about the plans to make these trails contiguous, more accessible and enjoyable for all.

Sierra Club Works to Save Irish Grove Forest

By Dr. John Bacher

A new threat to the environment and the future of the Greenbelt on the eve of its 2015 Review has emerged in Niagara. It is a proposal to extend through the Greenbelt in Grimsby,  a Niagara Regional Road, Livingston Avenue (Niagara Regional Road, 512)  in the middle of the old growth Irish Grove Forest.

The Irish Grove Forest is a 26 acre forest which has never been farmed. It contains huge Red and White Oaks that have been estimated by experts to be 450 years old. It also contains towering super-story White Pines of a hundred to 150 years in age. Most of the trees in this climax Carolinian forest are climax mature  Sugar Maples and Shagbark Hickories which are regenerating well.

More Mississauga Riparian Restoration Opportunities: Oct 2014

ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources) has a number of programs but one very special one is their use of citizen scientists to collect climate change data. This year ACER is planting a number of sites to restore forests around Lake Ontario and is seeking volunteers to plant and help with monitoring of trees. Their Riparian Rangers program.

As a volunteer for Riparian Rangers Mississauga you will gain hands-on knowledge concerning the restoration and monitoring of riparian ecosystems. Specifically, volunteers will clean the sites so they are free from litter, identify and remove invasive species, as well as measure and monitor 10% of each tree species that has been planted in terms of growth and health.

Volunteers will be needed for two restoration sites:

Unity for the Climate

Over the past 5 months, Joseph Boutilier has cycled 5,000km on one wheel to call for action on climate change. Join Joseph as he arrives in our nation’s capital – his final destination – to meet with MPs just as Parliament reopens for the Fall session. Join others demanding political action and unity for the climate crisis. Do it #ForOurFuture.

12:00 pm, September 15, 2014 – Parliament Hill (Meet at the Centennial Flame), Wellington St., Ottawa

Bringing back Paradise at the Ajax lakeshore

Join us for Paradise Beach Project planting event September 20, 2014

Sierra Club, Town of Ajax and Toronto and Region Conservation are psyched to plant native plants and trees on Paradise Beach bioswales as part of the Great Canadian Coastal Clean-up Saturday, September 20th. 

'What's a bioswale?' you may ask. A bioswale is a way of filtering surface water by channeling through plants, gravel or rip-rap and slowing it down. Silt and particulate matter will fall out and the plants in the bioswale help take out nutrients and chemicals, for instance automotive run-off from a parking lot. The plants and soil do this work for free for our benefit!

Join In Walk To Grow Greenbelt

By John Bacher

Image source: Friends of the Greenbelt

On Saturday, September 27th, at 2pm, a walk will be held to grow the Greenbelt as recommended by a motion of the City of Thorold Council. Walkers and cyclists will assemble at the outside the Indian Flame Bar and Grill, at 1300 Lundy’s Lane near the Allanburg Bridge.  The route will take an hour and a half by walking and participants are encouraged to meet informally at the Indian Flame afterwards. In case of any extreme weather, the event will be held at 2pm on Sunday, September 28th at the same location.

Rouge Park deserves better protection

Rouge Park has been getting a lot of press coverage recently. The proposed federal legislation for Rouge Park is not good enough, and the remarkable ecological values of the park deserve more protection.  A letter signed by 7 environmental groups outlining the objections to the legislation for establishing the future urban park can be found here
 

Read more:

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4820598-ontario-set-to-deny-transfer-of-land-to-rouge-national-urban-park/ - (EDC) Ontario set to deny transfer of land to Rouge National Urban Park
 

Ajax Paradise Beach Bioswale Tree Planting

Come plant with Sierra Club in Ajax to help improve the air and water quality in the community!  

When:  Saturday, September 20th 

Time:  1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Where:  2973 Lakeview Blvd.  (Between Pickering Beach Road S. and Shoal Point Road S.) 
Meet at "Paradise Beach" sign across from Paradise Park 

To participate, please register here.  

For more information, please contact Alyssa at paradise.beach@sierraclub.ca, or Kristina at 647-346-8744.    

Brampton Tree Planting - September 6, 2014

Trees improve air and water quality, and mitigate climate change.  Help green our communities!  No experience necessary, there will be demonstrations on site.  Gloves, shovels, and light refreshments will be provided.  Students are eligible for volunteer hours. 

Where:  McLaughlin Valley (see map on flyer).  Major intersection is McLaughlin Road N. and Williams Parkway. 

When:  Saturday, September 6, 2014

Time:  9:00 am - 12:00 noon

Who:  Everyone is welcome!  Bring your friends and family! 

Save David Dunlap Forest

Walk  To Save Southern Ontario’s Vanishing Forests.

By John Bacher

Today we have a bizarre situation where hard wrested environmental progress is being turned back. This is the shrinking of Southern Ontario’s forests, in the fertile agricultural area south of  the Canadian Shield.

Following the invasion of what was called Upper Canada there was a rampant destruction through burning of the forests of the land which, after Confederation, became called Ontario. Most of these forests were used to produce ashes, to manufacture soap and other products manufactured in Europe. It took sixty large maple trees to produce a single barrel of potash to be shipped across the sea.

Guided Bird Nature Walk July 26 - Heart Lake Conservation Area

Ever wonder who is tweeting at you?  (No not on twitter)  Come find out with us on Saturday, July 26! 

Discover the trails at Heart Lake Conservation Area, and learn about birds and other features in the area with avid naturalist and birder, Bob Noble.   

Date:  Saturday July 26, 2014

Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Location:  Heart Lake Conservation Area
10818 Heart Lake Road, Brampton

Event is free, however, we ask that you RSVP so we can notify park staff and prepare for the event. 

For more information and to RSVP, visit the event page:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/guided-bird-nature-walk-heart-lake-conservation-area-tickets-12194579315

Visit TRCA website for applicable park fees:

Green Bins Critical to Mitigating Climate Change (Video)

Sierra Club's Waste Diversion Expert, Rob Muir, continues to emphasize the necessity of waste diversion to combat climate change.  Local government has an important role in making it happen, however, the key is developing sustainable consumer behaviour.  We need to be more conscious of how resources are used, the products we consume, and how we deal with our waste. 

Watch Rob's video on Ottawa's Green Bin Program here

Visit Sierra Club Ontario Waste Diversion to learn about this critical step towards creating a sustainable future, and mitigating climate change. 

Rob Muir's Profile.

Brampton's Natural Capital

Natural Capital refers to the stock of natural resources and environmental assets, and how they contribute to building healthy communities. The Natural Capital perspective is a way of placing a monetary value on the ecological goods and services to quantify these benefits.  

Brampton's ecosystems contain many natural areas and urban green spaces that provide the city with ecological goods and services, which translates to valuable Natural Capital.  

Thanks to support from Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Mississauga Community Fund, we are expanding the project by doing walkshops and natural area restoration work throughout Brampton and Mississauga in summer of 2014.  Our goal is to educate and engage the community to raise awareness and appreciation for these natural areas.  

Fixed utility rates will provide no incentive for conserving energy consumption

The Star published an article Energy board proposal for fixed hydro rates called “Robin Hood in Reverse” in the Business section on Tuesday. In a recent draft report, the Ontario Energy Board proposes a fixed monthly rate for utilities rather than charging households by how much power is consumed. Sierra Club Canada is a founding member of the Green Energy Coalition (GEC). “It is Robin Hood in reverse,” argues a letter from the GEC.

Veteran Sierra Club Ontario Volunteer Larry Allan Caldwell Dies at 45

The recent passing of Sierra Club Ontario, Niagara Region Group Chair Larry Caldwell was sudden and unexpected. Larry was just 45. He had lived with diabetes for many years, but the disease did little to limit Larry’s work on behalf of Mother Earth and his enthusiastic long term commitment to Sierra Club’s environmental mission. When I became SCO Chapter Director in 2000, Larry was already an active Club volunteer in the Niagara Region.

Heart Lake Pollinator Party in Brampton on June 7th

Come join us at Heart Lake Conservation Area in Brampton on Saturday, June 7th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m!

Learn about the Conservation Area, pollinator plants, and the Gitigaan Mashkiki Medicine Wheel Garden!

Help remove invasive plant species and plant native wildflowers.  Activities also include a guided nature walk and Aboriginal teachings.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Kristina Jackson at ontariochapter@sierraclub.ca, or at 647-346-8744. 

Save Niagara’s Green Lifeline

By John Bacher

From the raging torrents of the Niagara River to the placid Welland Canal one can walk for ten miles through the wooded forest gardens of the Niagara Escarpment. Here in some patches, old growth giant oaks and maples soar above wild ginger and may apple. This shady glen has spectacular lookouts over the Niagara Fruit Belt to Lake Ontario, such as Queenston Heights and the Woodend Conservation area. These wilds overwhelm relics of 19th century assaults on nature, such as lime kilns, a “haunted” “ghost” tunnel under which the Bruce Trail travel and the stone ruins of the abandoned Third Welland Canal.

Halifax Diverse Walks the Shearwater Flyer Trail

Our first walk of the summer, we're going to be led by Kate Steele of the NS Bird Society on a birding walk for beginners. We will be meeting at 8:30 (exact location TBA), and our walk will last about 2h. Kate is highly experienced at leading walks for novices, and will tailor the walk to those who are new to birding!

This walk will have a limit of 16-20 people, so get there early to ensure you get a spot. If you don't get a spot, it's a wonderful trail to enjoy on your own as well and has a bounty of treasures to discover along the way. Bring binoculars for optimal bird spotting, and your camera if you have a great telephoto lens. We'd be happy to share your photos after the walk!

Recap of One Sweet Day April 19

Our One Sweet Day event on April 19th was a filled with smiles, sun and fun.  We would like to thank everyone who was involved including the vendors, donors, sponsors, volunteers and attendees; it was a great day thanks to each of you!

What does the biggest free trade deal in history mean for the environment?

By  Karl Mathiesen.  theguardian.com, Friday 14 March 2014 12.32 GMT    
 What free trade advocates say: The US says the deal would “significantly reduce the cost of differences in regulations and standards by promoting greater compatibility, transparency, and cooperation, while maintaining our high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection”.

In the UK, all three major parties are backing the proposal. John Healey, Labour MP on cross-party committee for trade told parliament last month:    “The size of our combined economies and the scale of the potential deal mean that [TTIP] could set standards for future agreements with other countries on consumer safeguards, workers’ rights, environmental protection, trade rules and legal process.”

Coalition government minister Ken Clarke said today:

NAFTA reopening possible after South Korea deal, Harper hints

The Canadian Press Posted: Mar 13, 2014 10:11 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014 10:21 AM ET

Prime Minister tells B.C. audience he's open to discussing the 20-year-old pact

With the ink still wet on a free-trade deal with South Korea, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada would be willing to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement for the right price.

Harper stopped in Vancouver on his way home from South Korea on Wednesday, wasting no time in selling the new agreement.

Brics are rethinking costs of bilateral investment treaties

March 12, 2014. ft.com Letters to Editor  From Mr Kavaljit Singh.

Sir, Robert Zoellick’s assertion that China can advance internal reforms through proposed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the US and the EU is unconvincing (“International treaties can once again help China advance”, Comment, March 11). BITs are not meant to tackle corruption and fight favouritism in China, as perceived by Mr Zoellick. Such policy objectives can be best advanced through domestic political reforms.

Pakistan may revisit all preferential, free trade agreements

Pakistan government is revisiting all the Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Agreements.

There is a growing realisation among policymakers that they had been poorly negotiated and were now causing harm to the domestic industry.

Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry officials in Islamabad told Dawn newspaper on Tuesday that the government might even go for total scrapping of all these trade agreements.

They said, however, proper working would be made in case the government opted for renegotiation.

Pakistan so far has signed four FTAs under South Asia Free Trade Agreement with China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. Besides, there are three PTAs with Iran, Mauritius and Indonesia.

Officials said these agreements were making some of country’s imports costlier due to monopolistic tendencies created by them against cheaper sources of supplies from other countries of the world market.

NAFTA Report Warns Of Trade Deal Environmental Disasters

By Michael McAuliff, March 11th, 2014. Huffington Post. 

WASHINGTON -- A report due to be released Tuesday aims to offer an object lesson to President Barack Obama: Free trade deals have high costs in unintended consequences for the environment, people's way of life, and local sovereignty.

The report by the Sierra Club and other groups in Canada and Mexico, released on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, summarizes more than 100 nonprofit, government and scholarly studies of NAFTA, and draws a damning picture.

Perhaps hardest hit is Mexico, according to the report, where expanded trade in agricultural products came at the expense of smaller farmers, who couldn't compete with a surge in pesticide-heavy factory farms. Small farmers resorted to cutting down forests to farm more land, and still failed. A boom in mining came at the expense of local landowners, with subsequent industrial pollution.

New Report Reveals Environmental Costs of North American Free Trade Agreement Environmental Damages Underscore Risks of Unfair Trade

WASHINGTON - March 11 - A massive free trade deal went into effect 20 years ago and has had very harmful effects on communities and the environment in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, according to a report released today.

January 1, 1994 marked the first day of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and nearly 20 years later, communities are still suffering from its consequences.

Among other conclusions, this report finds that NAFTA:

Opposition to EU-US trade deal growing as negotiations start in Brussels

March 10, 2014. 

By Miriam Ross

Trade unions and campaign groups have written to Vince Cable calling for a halt to negotiations on the EU-US trade deal, as talks begin in Brussels today.

The groups, including the UK’s second biggest trade union UNISON, environmental, social justice and anti-poverty organisations, believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will undermine democracy, threaten public services and lead to lower standards in a range of areas including environmental protection, workers’ rights and food safety.

Profiting from crisis How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

Cecilia Olivet and Pia Eberhardt, March 7 

Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

Profiting from Crisis is a story about how corporations, backed by lawyers, are using international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing governments from Europe’s crisis countries. It shows how the global investment regime thrives on economic crises, but is very uneven in who it benefits. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

TTIP: A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracy.

March 5,  2014 Bilaterals.org

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment treaty currently being negotiated – in secret – between the European Union and the USA. As officials from both sides acknowledge, the main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations, such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The stakes, in other words, could not be higher.

EU-secretdeals.info - new website reveals texts from Europe’s U.S. and Canadian trade negotiations (TTIP, CETA)

MEDIA ADVISORY, March 07, 2014

Berlin, Brussels, Washington, Ottawa – A new website was launched today dedicated to enlarging the public debate on the EU’s controversial policies for investment protections and investor-to-state dispute settlement systems (ISDS) in the EU-US and EU-Canada trade negotiations.  

The site (http://eu-secretdeals.info) includes newly leaked investment chapters from the ongoing EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations, analysis of those chapters, and other information contradicting the Commission’s position that these transatlantic trade agreements must include strong investment protections. 

No fracking way: how the E U - US trade agreement risks expanding fracking in Europe and the US.

No Fracking Way: How the EU-US trade deal risks expanding fracking in Europe and the US.

It was prepared by Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, Transnational Institute, PowerShift, Blue Planet Project, and Attac
France.

The full report is available here: http://sc.org/no-fracking-way

http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/FoEE_TTIP-ISDS-fracking-0603...

The worlds largest trade union demands immediate halt to TTIP-negotiations

March 5TH, 2014.  There is a lot going on in Germany right now. Yesterday we reported that a leaked document from inside the Ministry for Environment warns about the potential effects of TTIP on consumer protection and environment legislation. Now, IG Metall, a german trade union with roughly 2,4 million members (making it the largest trade union in the world), has called for an immediate halt to the ongoing negotiations on TTIP.
The IG Metall chariman, Detlef Wetzel, considers the agreement to be "dangerous", and fears how it may damage consumer protection and workers rights, as well as undermining democracy and the sovereignity of the state.
Considering the growth and jobs promised by the European Commission, Wetzel calls these projections for overly optimistic and disputes that TTIP will have any noticable benefit whatsoever. Wetzel considers the conclusions in the report from

Canada should follow EU lead on investment rules

Stuart Trew, Emma Lui, Published: Monday, 03/03/2014

What has become of the Canada-European Union free trade deal? The Harper government announced an “agreement in principle” with the EU in late October. And yet talks continue in a number of areas, notably on a controversial NAFTA-like investment protection chapter that is giving Europeans second thoughts.

Canada has no plans to further ease uranium investment rules - M inister

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Canada has no plans to further ease rules for foreign investment in uranium mines after Ottawa moved to give European Union firms more leeway, a senior official said on Thursday.

As part of a Canada-European Union free trade deal that was announced in principle last year, Ottawa waived a longstanding requirement that EU buyers take on a Canadian partner in uranium mines.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Canada did not intend to make the same offer to non-European companies such as Australia's Rio Tinto Ltd, which has uranium deposits in northern Saskatchewan.

"There are no current plans to do that," he told reporters, saying the easing of rules for European firms was a major step.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership No end in sight

Feb 25th 2014, The Economist

THE trade agreement the 12 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hope to reach is to be “ambitious”, “comprehensive”, “high-standard” and “21st-century”. I know this, because every one of the 12 trade ministers who spoke at a press conference at the end of four days of talks in Singapore on February 25th, used at least one, and usually all four, of the terms. The talks had made great progress, they all also agreed. But “significant gaps” remain, no date or place has been chosen for their next meeting, and it was hard to avoid the conclusion that any agreement is months or years away.

TTIP ‘challenged’ by environmental critics, EU says

Published 27 February 2014

EXCLUSIVE / Plans for a sweeping EU-US free trade deal known as TTIP risk being blown off course by civil society fears about the damage it could wreak on environmental and social protections, according to a leaked EU document seen by EurActiv.

The preparation paper for an EU-US Summit on 26 March, which is marked as ‘restricted’, identifies the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Protocol (TTIP) as a “clear vector for jobs and growth for both the EU and US”.

But it warns that “stakes are high” in the race to thrash out a deal, with “challenges on both sides of the Atlantic that need to be managed.”

A trade agreement nobody should want

by Serge Halimi

You can safely bet that the (TPA) will not feature as much in the forthcoming European elections as the extradition of illegal immigrants or the (alleged) teaching of "gender theory" in French schools. The TPA will affect 800 million affluent people and almost half the world's wealth (1). The European Commission is negotiating this free trade agreement with Washington on behalf of the EU's 28 member states, and the European parliament elected this May will be expected to ratify it. Nothing is settled as yet, but on 11 February the French president François Hollande, during his state visit to Washington, proposed to speed things up, saying: "We have everything to gain by moving quickly. Otherwise, as we know all too well, there will be a build-up of fears, threats and tensions."

TPP Talks Fizzle Again under Broad Opposition

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 06:53 AM PST
Another high-level Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting has fizzled with no deal. The talks have missed a
succession of deadlines due to opposition from negotiating countries to corporate-backed U.S. demands that would
increase the cost of medicines, restrict financial stability measures, and empower corporations to challenge health
and environmental safeguards. Back at home, the administration's attempt to Fast Track the TPP through Congress
suffers from overwhelming congressional and public opposition.
Facing international and domestic resistance, and having already missed deadlines to seal a deal last October and
December, TPP trade ministers refrained from naming another deadline after finishing negotiations in Singapore
today, stating only that they hope for a deal "as soon as possible."

CETA “not about trade”

By: Marilyn Reid | February 17, 2014. Newfoundland and Labrador, The Independent

In the first of this 5-part series: What the North American Free Trade Agreement has taught us, and the implications of another treaty based on the neoliberal “free trade” ideology

The Next Phase of North American Integration. NAFTA to be Swallowed up by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

by Dana Gabriel, January 28, 2014  In preparation for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit which will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Over the last number of years, not as much attention has been given to the trilateral relationship. Instead, the U.S. has essentially pursued a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security, as well as regulatory and energy cooperation. On the heels of its 20th anniversary, there once again appears to be renewed interest in broadening and deepening the NAFTA partnership as part of the next phase of North American integration.

WTO: U.S. Challenges India's Solar Industry, Again

By Ilana Solomon,Director, Responsible Trade Program, Sierra Club and Justin Guay, Associate Director, Sierra Club International Climate Change Program. February 18th, 2014.

On February 10, the United States filed a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against India. The allegation? That India may be unfairly supporting the development of its solar manufacturing industry. This misguided complaint will only further enflame tensions between the world's two largest democracies over an issue we all support: deploying more clean energy.

Obama Mexico Visit Spotlights 20-Year Legacy of Job Loss from NAFTA, the Pact on Which Obama's TPP Is Modeled

Eyes on Trade Blog: New Public Citizen Report Catalogs the Negative NAFTA Outcomes That Are Fueling Opposition to Obama Push to Fast Track TPP.  The 20-year record of job loss and trade deficits from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is haunting President Barack Obama’s efforts to obtain special trade authority to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said Public Citizen as it released a new report that comprehensively documents NAFTA’s outcomes.

Corporate rights under serious scrutiny in Europe. Canada fast asleep.

by Blair Redlin ·February 4th, 2014.  On Feb. 3rd, I made a presentation in Vancouver to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the proposed Canada/E.U. trade deal (C.E.T.A.). I was there on behalf of CUPE B.C.
The Committee, chaired by Alberta Conservative M.P. Rob Merrifield, was in B.C. to review both C.E.T.A. and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.)

France says investor-state provision not needed in TTIP

Agence Europe reports, "France believes that a state to state dispute settlement mechanism is enough under the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). ...France 'is not in favour' of including in the agreement a settlement mechanism for disputes between the investor and state, as (French minister for trade Nicole) Bricq believes that a state to state dispute mechanism 'is enough'. France is not alone on this issue - Germany is also 'very reluctant', Bricq says."
Photo: French trade minister Nicole Bricq. Photo from SIPA.

The news report also says, "Bricq welcomed the (European) Commission's initiatives to ensure more transparency in the negotiations via a consultative experts' group at the European level and the launch of a public consultation on the protection of investments."

Investor-State: Infinito Gold files lawsuit against Costa Rican government over canceled gold mining contract

Zach Dyer. The Tico Times Feb 10.   After months of saber rattling, Infinito Gold, Ltd. announced Monday that it had filed for a Request for Arbitration with a World Bank court in its protracted dispute with the Costa Rican government over the canceled Las Crucitas gold mining concession. The concession was revoked in 2010 following environmental concerns and doubts about the concession’s legality. 

TNI Insights into the Power of Corporations (re Corporate impunity, Lex Mercatoria, FTAs, Global Redesign Initiative & Alternatives )

22 January 2014,Brid Brennan.  Transnational corporations, particularly gas & oil industry, and banking have continued to benefit extraordinarily from the ongoing economic and financial crisis, says Brid Brennan, who presents TNI's State of Power Report 2014 at the Public Eye Awards in Davos.

A speech by Brid Brennan, at the Public Eye Awards Press Conference, Davos, Switzerland January 23, 2014

EU-Canada free trade deal ‘opens door to environmental lawsuits’

Published 11 February 2014.   Multinationals will have wide-ranging powers to sue EU states that enact health or environmental laws breaching their "legitimate expectations" of profit, according to a leaked ‘investment chapter’ from the Canada-EU free trade agreement (CETA), which was signed last November. 

A separate ‘nature and scope’ document for EU-US free trade talks, which EurActiv has seen, makes clear that similar parameters are foreseen for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

65,000 protest TPP in Mexico, see repeat of NAFTA mistakes

By Karen Hansen-Kuhn, IATP, February 3rd, 2014.  More than 65,000 people rallied at Mexico’s Monument to the Revolution and marched to the historic Zocalo Square to demand a new economy that puts equality, justice and human rights first. Farmers, union, environmental and women’s activists gathered in Mexico City last week to take stock of the lessons from NAFTA and plan strategies to confront the next big threat: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). One of the earliest lessons from the NAFTA experience was that people and environments in all three countries were affected. The stories from Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

‘Trade deals are good news for dairy Ireland’ (bad news for Canadian beef and dairy)

By Richard Halleron on February 10, 2014.        A Canadian farming consultant has told AgriLand that the Irish dairy industry will, in all likelihood, be the big winner out of the recent trade deal agreed between Canada and the EU.

“I am aware that many of the EU’s farming bodies have highlighted their concerns regarding Canadain beef accessing EU markets,” added Ontario-based Jay Johnston.

“But in all truth this will not happen. EU health regulations state that only meat from plants that process ‘hormone free’ beef only will be allowed into Europe.

JOINT DECLARATION: 20 years of NAFTA: Enough Free Trade! No to the TPP! Tri-National Multisectoral Forum

México D.F., January 28-31, 2014 
On the 20th Anniversary of the signing of NAFTA, labor unions, farmers, women, environmentalists, and human rights organizations from Mexico, the United States, Canada and Quebec came together in a Tri-national Forum in Mexico City. We have assessed the impact on human, environmental, labor, social, and cultural rights. We conclude that the benefits of NAFTA were exaggerated to sell the agreement to the public. The promises made were not fulfilled, on the contrary, we have seen a rise in inequality, impoverishment of the vast majority of the population, loss of employment, job insecurity, environmental degradation, deterioration of social cohesion and increased violence.

Toronto activists oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership and corporate globalization

ByJohn Bonnar,| February 1, 2014

He called it the most nontransparent trade negotiation in Canadian history.

“Here in Canada, how much do we know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, standing outside the Mexican Consulate in downtown Toronto on Friday afternoon. 

“Almost nothing because this government refuses to show people what’s in this deal. Refuses to even show the deal to politicians in Ottawa. Refuses to even show them an impact assessment.”

Obama´s Free-Trade Conundrum

By DAVID E. BONIOR JAN. 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON — IN his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama focused on reversing the growth of economic inequality in the United States and restoring the American dream. At the same time, he also announced his support for fast track authority that would limit Congress’s role in determining the content of trade agreements.

    Carbon Briefing: Who killed the EU's transport fuel standards?

    Ros Donald,  30 Jan 2014, 13:00. Photo Credit National Wildlife Federation.

    Is the fuel that powers our cars set to get a lot dirtier? After 2020, the European Union is to drop the Fuel Quality Directive, a measure designed to help clean up transport fuels. Environmental and business groups have called the decision a coup for Canada's tar sands industry - but who really engineered it, and who really benefits? The answers may be subtler.

    The fight to make fuels cleaner

    While the EU's emissions in other sectors are going down, emissions from transport keep growing. The EU has introduced measures to tackle this trend, such as standards for new cars and including aviation in emissions trading.  But it also wants to make sure EU vehicles are using the least polluting fuels.

    NAFTA Oil Sharing Clause Bites Deeper and Deeper

     By John Dillon,     KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

    Twenty-five years ago when I first scrutinized the text of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) I warned that the proportionality clause in the energy chapter posed a grave danger to Canadian energy sovereignty. When invoked it would require Canada to make available to U. S. importers the same proportion of our total oil or gas supply as we sold them over the previous three years. That same clause was later incorporated into NAFTA. Mexico wisely negotiated an exemption.

    In 2008 I decided to test my concern that the proportionality obligation could actually lead to energy shortages in Canada. In a study entitled Over a Barrel, co- published by the CCPA and the Parkland Institute, Gordon Laxer and I explored three scenarios concerning what would happen if the clause were invoked.

    NL People not convinced by argument for fracking: NDP (Stephenville meeting cites NAFTA, CETA issues)

    Jonathan Stewart, who attended an anti-fracking meeting in the United Church Hall in Stephenville Saturday, signs petitions opposing fracking.
    He especially liked the fact that the NDP environment and conservation critic talked about how Lone Pine Resources Inc., a U.S. fracking company registered in Delaware, which wanted to frack for gas under the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, has threatened to sue Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because of Quebec's moratorium on fracking.
    He said the company is saying this moratorium is violating the oil company's right to frack and it's demanding $250 million in compensation.
    In October of 2013, groups such as the Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club, For Love of Water (FLOW), Eau Secours!, and AmiEs de la Terre were gathering signatures for a letter to Lone Pine urging the company to drop plans to sue Canada.

    Obama Downplays Trade Authority, Trans-Pacific Partnership: Fleeting Mention Doesn’t Even Reference Recently Introduced Camp-Baucus Fast Track Bill -Statement of Lori Wallach, Director Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

    Posted: 28 Jan 2014 07:57 PM PST
    Statement of Lori Wallach, Director Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
    "Corporate interests were fiercely lobbying for President Obama to dedicate serious time in this State of the Union speech to pushing Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in order to try to overcome broad congressional and public opposition to both, but instead he made only a passing reference that largely repeated his past statements.
    With almost no House Democratic support for Fast Track, a bloc of GOP "no" votes and public opposition making congressional phones ring off the hook, high-profile treatment of the issue was considered necessary to revive any prospect that Fast Track could be passed in this Congress.

    MISSISSAUGA MOVES TO JOIN THE GREENBELT

    By Dan McDermott, Ontario Chapter Director

    At its December meeting the City of Mississauga’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) passed on to Mississauga Council a recommendation to apply to add the City’s publicly owned Credit River and Etobicoke Creek valley lands to the Greenbelt. The Greenbelt resolution is on the Council agenda for its February 12th meeting. If successful, the Mississauga initiative will be the first addition to the Greenbelt under Ontario’s new Urban River Valley (URV) designation, enacted early last year. It will also mark the expansion of the Greenbelt into Ontario’s second most populous municipality.

    CETA – Deal needs transparency

    On Monday, January 20th, WSIC hosted an expert panel to engage audience members on the Canada/E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  Sharing their views on the subject were Catherine Swift, Chair of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for The Council of Canadians, and Ali Ehsassi, a lawyer specializing in international trade law.  Each speaker provided their unique point of view on the decision made by the government to enter into this important trade agreement with Europe.

    On Eve of SOTU Address, Powerful Message from Obama's Base about Fast Track for the TPP : Don't Even Think About It

    Jan 2014 10:54 AM PST
    Prepare for a State of the Union oddity: Democratic members of Congress sitting in silence while Republicans rise to cheer President Obama's call for Congress to grant him new powers.
    A letter released today signed by a stunning array of more than 550 Democratic base organizations reiterates the perverse situation. Despite widespread opposition from congressional Democrats, Obama is expected to call on Congress to delegate Fast Track authority to him. The extraordinary trade authority, which Congress has refused to grant for 15 of the past 20 years, would suspend normal congressional procedures for consideration of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Obama hopes to sign soon.

    Critics score against extreme corporate rights in TTIP, but must not be fooled by the Commission’s tricks

    Corporate Europe Observatroy, January 24th

    This week, the European Commission announced a freeze in negotiations over dangerous corporate rights in the proposed EU-US trade deal (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) and that it would conduct a public consultation on the issue. This move is an important first success for the growing anti-TTIP movement, which is unanimously opposed to proposals for so called investor-state dispute settlement in the deal. But a closer look at the Commission’s line shows that it might just be a smart trick to dispel concerns, without abandoning the corporate agenda of the trade talks.

    Free Trade: EU frets over US investment talks

    BBC News, January 22nd, 2014

    The European Commission says it will consult on part of a far-reaching EU-US free trade deal amid concern that hard-won social protections in Europe might be undermined.

    The trade negotiations began last year but now the Commission has launched a three-month public consultation on the proposed investment rules for firms.

    There are fears that they could give big firms too much power to block unfavourable government policies.

    Negotiations will continue.

    The proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could bring huge benefits for Europe and America, the Commission says.

    EU Says It Will Hit 'Pause' On TTIP Investment Talks Pending Public Debate

    Inside US Trade, . 

    In a rare move, the European Commission has decided to freeze talks with the United States on the investment provisions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for three months while it conducts a public consultation on how the deal should approach investment, according to an EU official.

    Multiple Countries Reject Investor-State (2013 Update)

    By Janet M Eaton, PhD, January 24th, 2014

    A widespread and significant controversy has emerged on a global scale over investor rights and privileges and the Investor -State dispute mechanism found in the investment chapters of Free Trade Agreements [FTAs] and Bilateral Investment Treaties [BITS]. There are many reasons for the concerns over Investor -State including, what many critics see as, its unethical, unfair, undemocratic, unsustainable and even unconstitutional nature giving undue power to transnational corporations over governments and public policy, thereby placing profit before people and the environment. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade, acknowledges huge flaws in the Investor State arbitration system:

    Sovereignty fears lead to EU-US trade rethink

    By Oliver Wright, January 20,  2014

    The European Commission is to rethink its approach to a controversial US trade deal which campaign groups have warned would fundamentally erode Britain’s sovereignty. 

    Under the deal being negotiated by US and EU officials, multinational firms would be given wide-ranging powers to sue EU governments that adopt policies deemed to “discriminate” against free trade.

    Groups including Greenpeace and the TUC have warned that the treaty’s provisions will have far-reaching consequences – limiting the UK’s freedom to tackle climate change, protect consumers or even guarantee a publicly run NHS.

    The Global Fight Against Corporate Rule

    Robin Broad and John Cavanagh | January 14, 2014

    Over the past several decades, multinational corporate Goliaths have helped to write and rewrite hundreds of rules skewing tax, trade, investment and other policies in their favor. The extraordinary damage these policies have caused has become increasingly apparent to the communities and governments most directly affected by them. This, in turn, has strengthened the potential of a movement that’s emerging to try to reverse the momentum. But just like David with his slingshot, the local, environmental and government leaders seeking to revise rules to favor communities and the planet must pick their battles carefully. 

    Jan 31: Inter-continental day of action vs TPP & corporate globalization

    NO MORE NAFTAs! 20 YEARS IS ENOUGH!
    Inter-Continental Day of Action against the TPP & Corporate Globalization

    Friday, January 31, 2014

    This is a call to action for communities throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States to join together on January 31, 2014, and say "ENOUGH!" to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and other corporate "trade" deals. Solidarity actions elsewhere throughout the globe are welcome.

    Philip Morris, Australia and the fate of Europe’s trade talks

    By James Panichi, posted 13-January-2014.  

    Australia’s clash with Philip Morris over plain packaging has disrupted trade talks between the United States and Europe, reports James Panichi in Brussels

    IT isn’t often that Australia rates a mention in the European Union’s corridors of power. And that’s no bad thing: the long-running diplomatic stoushes with Canberra over agriculture and market access are seen here as water under the bridge. No news is definitely good news.

    Patents, Public Health, and International Law: The Eli Lilly NAFTA Chapter 11 Case

     
    Policy Forum,January 16, 2014 11:00AM,Hayek Auditorium
    Featuring Burcu Kilic, Legal Counsel, Public Citizen Global Access to Medicine Program; Christopher Sands, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; and Mark Schultz, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Senior Scholar, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law; moderated by Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst, Herbert A.

    Secret TPP treaty: Environment Chapter for all 12 nations (23pp) WikiLeaks release: January 15, 2014

    Description
    This is the confidential draft treaty chapter from the Environment Working Group of the Trans-PacificPartnership (TPP) talks between the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile,Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei Darussalam. The treaty is being negotiated in secret by delegations from each of the 12 countries, who together account for 40% of global GDP.

    TPPA Environment Chapter & Chair's Commentary Posted by WikiLeaks Issues for NZ1- Prof Jane Kelsey

    By Professor Jane Kelsey, January 16th , 2014

    The consolidated draft text of the Environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific partnership Agreement and the accompanying chair’s commentary have been posted in Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro). The documents are dated 24 November 2013, the final day of the Salt Lake City round in November.

    The chair’s commentary records the countries that objected to, and in some cases that supported, different aspects of the text. They are consistent with the chart (https://wikileaks.org/IMG/pdf/tpp-salt-lake-positions.pdf) that Wikileaks posted in December showing one country’s assessment of the 12 countries’ positions on many TPPA issues.

    TPP Environment Chapter Wikileaks: Press release: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Environment Chapter

    Today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators' summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.

    Report: Trade with Europe... But not at any cost

    Support for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) drops when people find out what’s in the deal

    Public opinion polls consistently show high support (between 70 and 80 per cent) for the idea of a Canada-European Union free trade agreement. And really, who wouldn’t support more trade with a large and relatively prosperous economy such as Europe? The problem with these polls is that they don’t ask the deeper questions about the type of trade agreement Canada is signing.

    TPP treaty nearly ready to roll over us, says Oz minister

    By Richard Chirgwin, 12th January 2014

    An Australian government minister has said he expects the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to be finalised soon.

    Talks on the treaty – which has been criticised for following a corporate America agenda on issues like patents, copyright law, and investor-state dispute settlement – stalled late last year.

    At the time, the US negotiator noted that the Salt Lake City talks “were not progressing according to plan”.

    Goodbye to Nanticoke, and all that coal

    Sierra Club Canada's Ontario Chapter was instrumental in the decision by our provincial government to shut down all coal plants. The day has come! Toronto environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe has a nice piece on her website about it: 

    Goodbye to Nanticoke, and all that coal

    by DIANNE SAXE on JANUARY 15, 2014

    January 8 marked the last day of operation of the Nanticoke Generating Station, the last operating coal-fired electrical generating facility in southern Ontario. This latest shut down will help mark 2014 as the year Ontario will become a coal-free jurisdiction.

    Sovereignty ‘at risk’ from EU-US trade deal: UK in danger of surrendering judicial independence to multinational corporations, warn activists

    By Oliver Wright and Nigel Morris – 14 January 2014

    The UK's freedom to tackle climate change, protect consumers or guarantee a publicly run NHS could be jeopardised by a trade deal being negotiated between Europe and the US, MPs and pressure groups have warned.Under a draft plan supported by the European Commission, multinational firms would be given wide-ranging powers to sue EU governments that adopt public policies deemed to “discriminate” against free trade.

     

    No more NAFTA - 20 Years is Enough!: Inter-Continental Day of Action, 31

    This is a call to action for communities throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States to join together on January 31, 2014, and say "ENOUGH!" to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other corporate "trade" deals. Solidarity actions elsewhere throughout the globe are also welcome.
    January 2014 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a pact that has had devastating consequences for working families, small farmers, indigenous peoples, small business and the environment in all three countries and beyond. The pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been described as "NAFTA on Steroids." Four years into the TPP negotiations, this new corporate power grab threatens to:
    Destroy livelihoods and accelerate the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions

    How beer explains 20 years of NAFTA’s devastating effects on Mexico

    Mexico's largest agribusiness association invited me to Aguascalientes to participate in its annual forum in October. The theme for this year’s gathering was “New Perspectives on the Challenge of Feeding the World.”

    But it was unclear why Mexico, which now imports 42 percent of its food, would be worried about feeding the world. It wasn’t doing so well feeding its own people.

    In part, you can thank the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for that. Twenty years ago, on January 1, 1994, NAFTA took effect, and Mexico was the poster child for the wonders of free trade. The promises seemed endless.

    Economy, Northern Gateway pipeline, top agenda as Stephen Harper goes west

    Economy, Northern Gateway pipeline, top agenda as Stephen Harper goes west
    By The Canadian Press - CP - Jan 6 2014
    OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper will begin the first full week of 2014 trying to keep public attention focused on the economy and touting the benefits of Canada's booming natural resources sector.
    The PM is expected to highlight the recently signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union when he speaks to business leaders today in Vancouver.
    An agreement in principle was inked by Harper and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in October.
    However, ratification of the deal could take another two years.
    On the first day of a swing through Western Canada, Harper will take part in a question and answer session with the CEO of Vancouver's Board of Trade.

    Quebec CETA petition: Demand to see the text and hold public hearings on Canada-EU corporate rights deal

    January 6, 2014  A petition on the National Assembly of Quebec website asks the Quebec government to immediately publish all texts related to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and to hold "an open, public and inclusive debate" through public consultations and a parliamentary commission. The petition closes February 6, 2014.
    BACKGROUND

    Why Did it Take So Long to (Sort of) Finalize the CETA?

    By Patrick Fafard, January 3, 2014
    In the fall of 2013 the Government of Canada finally announced that it had finalized (sort of) an agreement with the European Union for a comprehensive trade and economic agreement. I say "sort of" since all that was released was a general overview of the agreement.
    While a number of questions still remain about the agreement, one of the most puzzling (at least for some of us) is why it took so long for Canada and the European Union to come to an agreement.
    We believe that one of the reasons it took so long to finalize an agreement is that Ottawa and the provinces did not put in place a formal process for securing provincial approval of the final shape of an agreement.

    Australia’s Rejection of Investor-State, from AUSFTA to the Gillard Government’s Trade Policy and the implications for Canada By Janet M Eaton

     December 31st 2013

    http://www.commonfrontiers.ca/Single_Page_Docs/PDF_Docs/Jan08_14-AUSFTA-...

    Introduction:  This paper places the Australian Labor government’s 2011 policy of Investor -State rejection within the context of the escalating criticism of Investor-State Agreements [ISAs] and the extent to which they are being revisited and rejected by a growing number of countries. It offers insight into how and why the former Labour government of Australia came to its decision to reject Investor -State in its 2011 Trade Policy Statement while considering whether Australia’s policy of Investor-state rejection should be an option for Canada.

    We must close the Chicago waterways connections to keep Asian carp from taking over our Great Lakes and beyond before it is too late!

    The long awaited report from the US Army Corps of Engineers on how to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has finally been released. The report evaluates the many waterways connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan –all potential avenues to allow several species of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The 5 year report costing $20M is titled Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS).

    Silver and bighead carp already make up about 95% of the biomass in rivers downstream of the Chicago River. Over a century ago Chicago built a canal to reverse the flow of the Chicago River to divert their sewage and stormwater south into the Mississippi rather than their waterfront beaches. The “reversed” Chicago River flow has been supported by two US Supreme Court decisions.

    Sierra Club Ontario - Birchwood Park Tree Planting

    Sierra Club Ontario (SCO), Peel Region Group and Credit Valley Conservation collaborated to do a tree planting at Birchwood Park in Mississauga, ON as a part of SCO's Natural Capital Project with supp

    Pickering Nuclear: A Cracking Bad Idea

    Extending the operations of the Pickering Nuclear plant for up to an additional 10 years beyond its designed life of 2014-2016 is a Cracking Bad Idea. This is the position of Sierra Club Canada’s Ontario Chapter as it participates in the current Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s public hearing into the Ontario Power Generation’s application for a renewal of Pickering A and B licenses. Public hearings begin May 29, 2013 in Pickering, Ontario.

    How NOT to Extend the Life of Aging Nuclear Reactors in Ontario

    There are serious shortcomings and omissions in the OPG (Ontario Power Generation) Environmental Impact Statement that was submitted to CNSC. Sierra Club Canada is calling for:
    • OPG to subject its EIA to independent third-party peer review, including on the issue of the structural integrity of the concrete used in the reactor containment buildings.
    • A non-partisan Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Nuclear Power in Canada.
    • Non-exposure to tritium in drinking water, a position consistent with the precautionary principle and responsible public policy. It should serve as a baseline in the CNSC assessment of the OPG EIS.
    • The inclusion of nuclear issues in the new Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) and a new IJC Nuclear Task Force to produce a report on nuclear issues.

    Le Bac Vert, c'est notre affaire

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/fr/bac-vert-ottawa Le programme de collecte des Bacs Verts d'Ottawa est lancé et votre collaboration est essentielle à son succès.

    Save Canada's Environmental Laws

    Stephen Hazell, lawyer for Ecojustice, talks about how the government is dismantling Canada's environmental laws by sneakily making changes through the Budget bill and how we can save our laws.

    The Pelts at the Eco Echo Benefit Show

    Sierra Club Canada hosts Eco Echo benefit concert featuring bands The Pelts, Brasstronaut, Glenn Nuotio. Mark Graham, Ecology Advisor, spoke on the Eco Echo community project.

    Dishes Pt. 2 : Recycling dish water (Day 3)

    So doing dishes last night took quite some time (30-45 minutes), but only about 1.685 L of water or so, so that's not bad considering the amount (and the quality) of dishes I did.