Air Act: Delay and Disingenuity
The Harper government introduced its Clean Air act
on October 19th, which amounts to little more than a recipe for
delay. The government has thrown out Kyoto’s 2010 targets
and failed to even mention Canada’s obligations under Kyoto
at all during the announcement.
The act itself lacks meaningful targets, sets most timelines
in the distant future, and focuses on emissions intensity—all
of which guarantee continued rising pollution levels in Canada.
The only definite element is more consultation—potentially
delaying real action for years
There will be no actual reductions in greenhouse gases or air
pollution prior to 2010, and regulation will not be in place until
2010. This assumes that the Clean Air Act will be passed in a
timely manner, which is unlikely.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to hear from you. Call him
at 613-992-4211 and tell him that Canada needs to address the
climate crisis now, not in another half decade.
Club of Canada’s press release and our coverage in the
Rachel Plotkin, director of the national Forests and Biodiversity
program, has left after five and a half years at SCC to take a
position with the David Suzuki Foundation as Biodiversity Policy
Analyst, and campaigning for species at risk.
She has worked on improving forest management, participated in
the Mackenzie Gas Project hearings and campaigned for species
at risk. Rachel describes some of her favourite experiences as
“spending three weeks campaigning in Newfoundland in small
communities, doing workshops on the fact that Abitibi’s
99 year licenses were expiring and the public had the right to
be involved in deciding whether or not the licenses should be
renewed. I’ve also felt truly privileged to be engaged in
the Mackenzie gas hearings, and to have been able to spend so
much time in the north.”
The Suzuki Foundation’s gain is definitely our loss. Rachel
has been a very effective campaigner for us, and we will miss
her a great deal.
All the best, Rachel!
Events . . . Special? . . . Are You Kidding?
SCC’s national operations director, Susan Paul, recently
presented a one-day workshop in Toronto on this topic. The audience
was made up of fundraisers and not-for-profit volunteers from
the greater Toronto area
The workshop was presented and sponsored by Canadian Fundraiser™,
as part of its “Key to the Sector” program. Workshop
content included: what makes a good special event, what contributes
to a bad event, how to evaluate the tangible and intangible outcomes
of an event, and how to say “No!” to an event that
does not meet the mission and strategic goals of your organization.
Mackenzie Wild Update
Paul Falvo and Rachel Plotkin attended the Joint Review Panel
hearings for the Mackenzie Gas Project in Yellowknife from October
17-20th. Sierra Club of Canada has enlisted the support of Dr.
Jim Schaeffer, a caribou biologist, to make a presentation at
Dr. Schaeffer reviewed the Proponents' mitigation plans and environmental
impact assessment for caribou and concluded that they did not
accurately reflect the grave threat posed to the territory's caribou
populations should the Mackenzie Gas Project proceed as planned.
Sierra Club of Canada Annual General Meeting
Our AGM will take place in Ottawa Saturday November 24 at 1 p.m.
SCC - IN THE NEWS
Clean-air bill 'smog, mirrors': Critics
Mainly public relations ploy, opposition says Bill contains
no standards or reduction targets
By Peter Gorrie, Environment Writer
October 20, 2006
OTTAWA—The federal government moved yesterday to give itself
new powers to combat the pollution that causes climate change,
smog and toxic indoor air.
But apart from a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about
half by 2050, the proposed Clean Air Act contains no efficiency
standards or reduction targets.
Instead, the legislation, which amends three existing laws, would
set the stage for years of consultations and negotiations with
industries and the provinces on what rules should eventually be
The announcement was the first step in the Conservative government's
Green Plan, the alternative to the previous Liberal government's
"Past governments relied on voluntary measures," Environment
Minister Rona Ambrose said. "Those days are over. From now
on, industry will face mandatory requirements, and we will enforce
It's a realistic plan that tells business the government "has
a firm intention to regulate," but "allows business
to take the time to make the right decisions," said Nancy
Hughes Anthony, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
But critics said the proposed law merely delays action and appears
to be a public relations ploy. The government already has all
the powers it needs to regulate pollution, they said. And even
the far-off target for 2050 is lower than the reduction scientists
agree is needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change,
and that Europe and some American states have adopted.
"They're not going to do anything: This is a (law) for inaction,"
said John Bennett, of the Sierra Club of Canada. Industry and
government have been consulting for years and know what to do,
Bennett said. "To suggest that you have to consult once more
... is ludicrous."
Years of meetings "are all thrown away," said Matthew
Bramley, of the Pembina Institute. "We start from scratch."
"Instead of using existing legislation and acting immediately,
the Conservatives have delivered vague promises to regulate polluters
sometime in the coming decades," said Hugh Wilkins, a lawyer
with Sierra Legal Defence Fund. The Conservatives "are proposing
that greenhouse gas emissions should be allowed to continue to
rise for the next 20 years."
"It's all smog and mirrors," said Liberal environment
critic John Godfrey. "It's simply confusing people. The signal
to industry is, relax ... we're on your side."
It's not clear the House of Commons will vote on the legislation
before an election is called. And critics suggested that's what
it's all about.
"The intent of this action is to get the ... Conservatives
through a federal election by being able to claim that they've
done something for the environment, and instead what they've produced
is consultations leading to potential regulations leading to no
action on climate," said Green party leader Elizabeth May.
All the opposition parties said they would vote against the legislation.
The plan would attack the air pollution that creates smog, which
kills an estimated 5,800 people in Ontario each year, and greenhouse
gases, which are causing climate change.
Smog pollutants would face fixed caps from the start. Greenhouse
gas targets, on the other hand, would be "intensity-based"
— allowed to rise as production increases — in the
2010-2015 and 2020-2025 periods. Only in the long term, 2050,
would fixed caps be imposed.
Consultations are to begin this fall, with national short-term
targets to be set by spring, followed by negotiations on limits
for individual industries and products. Final regulations are
to be in place by the end of 2010. Some would come into effect
then; others, "as soon as possible" after that date.
Medium- and long-term standards and targets would be set later.
However, as a small, quick first step, regulations are to be
imposed during the next 12 months on minor sources of greenhouse
gas emissions, including snowmobiles, jet skis, motorcycles, and
off-road diesel engines. Rules will also be established for a
few products, such as paint and car finishes, that produce smog
or impair indoor air quality. Ambrose defended the lengthy consultations
and long wait for targets. Industries need time to develop the
technology required to meet targets, she said. "This doesn't
happen at the flip of a switch."
Fuel consumption standards for cars will match those in the United
States — although not the stringent regulations imposed
by California. Any new rules won't come into effect until the
2011 model year, after the current five-year voluntary agreement
with the auto industry expires.
Sierra Club Members now on Yellowknife
Earth Week Sierra Club of Canada member Kevin Kennedy and Director
Paul Falvo held the North's first Sierra Club membership drive.
Six months later, the pair found themselves the first Sierra Club
members elected to Yellowknife City Council! Voters elected Kennedy
and Falvo to the territorial capital's eight-member council in
municipal elections October 16. Responsible planning and development,
combating climate change and overall sustainability were key to
the campaigns of both candidates. Adds Falvo, "The election
signs were hand-painted on reused wood and the brochures were
CONFERENCE - WHAT IS PLAN B? Engaging the power of community
to prepare for the effects of climate change, rising energy costs,
and economic instability.
We invite you to join a gathering in Halifax at the North Street
Church (corner North St. & Fuller Terrace) on Saturday November
11, from 3-7pm, and Sunday November 12, 10am-5pm. We intend this
conference to be a seed which may grow into a diversity of wise
In addition to a panel discussion/ open forum, we will be using
modalities such as “world cafe,” talking circles,
and “open space technology.” With a diversity of people,
and highly relevant issues (we think so!), we look forward to
some very meaningful conversations. More information: www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=1463.
Conference cost is $25 per day or $40 for both, including food.
Pay as you can is negotiable. Space is limited. Please RSVP to
Feel free to forward this invitation to whomever you think would
both appreciate our gathering and enrich it as well.
URGENT ACTION ALERT!
The Nova Scotia government's going to be developing a new Natural
Resources strategy over the next year, made up of Forests, Mining,
Parks, and Biodiversity sections.
We need you to contact the NS Premier and demand to open up public
consultations around the Natural Resources strategy; we want the
government to listen to all Nova Scotians with interests in the
health of our forests.We've emphasized that the very best route
would be to use Voluntary Planning, the citizens' policy forum
that carried out the ATV consultations in 2004.
Please, call or email the Premier and the Minister ASAP, and
tell them you want Voluntary Planning tasked right away with the
Natural Resources Strategy consultations. For more information
Premier Rodney Macdonald
Toll-free Message Line: 1-800-267-1993
The Hon. David Morse
Minister of Natural Resources
Open your home to one of Katimavik’s Youth Volunteers
Katimavik is a national youth leadership program. Participants
are from across Canada and are currently volunteering in Halifax—one
in the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter office.
Katimavik is looking for Billet homes to host a participant in
the Halifax area from November 3rd to November 17th 2006. Billets
are highly valued and an essential component of the Katimavik
program. Living with community members provides Canadian youth
with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Canada’s
rich cultural diversity.
Katimavik provides billet homes with a stipend of $10 per day
to help cover costs. If you are interested in being a billet home
(Halifax and surrounding area), please contact Emily at 204-444-3113.
/ SECTION DU QUÉBEC
Jacques Dubé (SCQ), Johanne Dion (Comité
richelois pour une meilleure qualité de vie, CRMQV), Holly
Dressel (SCC), Claude Martel (SCQ) et Christian Dubé (CRMQV)
se sont rencontrés le 17 octobre pour préparer la
campagne du SCQ contre les mega-porcheries.
Jacques Dubé (Sierra Club Quebec), Johanne Dion (CRMQV),
Holly Dressel (SCC), Claude Martel (SCQ) and Christian Dubé
(CRMQV) met on October 17 to prepare the SCQ campaign on mega
Méga-porcheries / Mega Hog Farms
Le 10 octobre, quand Holly Dressel a prononcé son
allocution à Montréal sur la qualité de l’eau,
elle a lancé la campagne environnementale du SCQ contre
les méga-porcheries. Pour commencer, nous sommes en période
de recrutement afin de créer un Groupe de 35 personnes
pour mener cette campagne. Ce groupe ne sera pas régional,
mais sectoriel. Nous travaillons avec deux associations locales
de citoyens dont une comptant 600 membres. Elles se battent contre
les méga-porcheries et l’une d’elle a contribué
à l’imposition d’un moratoire sur les méga-porcheries
il y a quelques années. Le moratoire a été
levé en décembre dernier. Holly Dressel sera notre
championne et Daniel Green sera notre chef de campagne.
On October 10, when Holly Dressel spoke in public in Montréal
about water quality, she kicked off SCQ campaign against Industrial
Hog Farms in Quebec. We are recruiting 35 people for this group
under the Quebec Chapter. It will be an issue-based group (sectorial)
as opposed to a regional group. We are working with two local
grassroots associations, including one with 600-members, who are
fighting against industrial farming. One of them was responsible
for the moratorium on industrial hog farm a few years ago. The
moratorium was lifted last December. Holly will be our champion
and Daniel Green, our campaigner.
SCQ fait partie de l’organisation d’une conférence
internationale Organisée par l’Université
de Sherbrooke, cette conférence aura lieu en 2007 et mettra
en vedette Mme. Gro Harlem Brundtland (ancienne présidente
de la Commission des Nations Unies su l’Environnement et
le Développement) sera la première conférencière.
SCQ is on the programming committee of an International Conference
on Sustainable Development Organized by the University of Sherbrooke
for 2007, the conference will feature Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland
(former Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development)
as the keynote speaker.
Bénévoles / Volunteering
Venez nous donner un coup de main, il suffit de quelques heures
par mois et vous en tirerez une expérience très
enrichissante. Communiquez avec firstname.lastname@example.org
ou au (514) 651-5847 (laissez un message).
If you wish to help us out, please contact Claude Martel, at
or by phone at (514) 651-5847 (leave a message). A few hours of
your time can make a difference!
Volunteers needed in Toronto!
The Ontario Chapter is gearing up for several environmental campaign
actions in and around the city of Toronto. We need your help as
volunteers to ensure their success.
This past month, Chapter Director Lindsay Telfer experienced
the immense impact the Alberta Tar Sands are having on the landscape
with a helicopter tour over the region. Explore the
images she captured.
Healthy Choices, Healthy Oceans
decide between Chilean sea bass or farmed rainbow trout for dinner?
Canada's Seafood Guide can help you make sustainable seafood
The guide was released September 27 by SeaChoice, an initiative
of the Sierra Club’s BC Chapter and four other conservation
groups. Small enough to tuck into your wallet, the guide lists
62 types of seafood under three different alert codes: Green (Best
Choice), Yellow (Some Concerns) and Red (Avoid). The guide can
be downloaded at www.seachoice.org
SeaChoice is a national program providing Canadians with resources
to help support sustainable seafood and healthy oceans. We focus
on research on domestic fisheries and work with stakeholders in
the seafood supply line to bring about measurable shifts in seafood
The oceans and fish of Canada are faced with threats from habitat
destruction, pollution, climate change, over-fishing and invasive
species. SeaChoice provides a simple and constructive way for
everyone to help – by choosing sustainable seafood.
Back to School with BC Chapter
in having your class learn about stewardship in local ecosystems?
Hoping to create a more sustainable environment in your high school?
The Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter Environmental Education
Programs can help!
Our programs include elementary Temperate Rainforest, Interior
Ecosystems and Stewardship programs; NEW for this year is the
Sustainable High Schools Program. All programs are curriculum
linked, action-oriented and FREE.
This year our Education Team saw over 10,000 students in hundreds
of classrooms - no small feat! They left each class they visited
with an Action Challenge, a chance to take what they learned during
the program and apply it in special projects in their classrooms,
homes and communities. You can read about the projects
we left in their classrooms and many of the special Action
Challenges from participating classes.
Meet the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
A three day summit held Sept.8-10 at the University of Toronto
brought together over 50 young leaders from organizations across
the country, resulting in the launch of the Canadian Youth Climate
Coalition. Among these were out very own Sierra Youth!!
This national, non-partisan group aims to stress the urgency of
the climate crisis as a key issue for young Canadians. In the
face of government inaction, youth are demanding leadership and
Organizations represented at the summit came from student societies,
private sector companies, aboriginal and Métis groups,
human-rights groups, and environmental groups.
Through passionate debate, negotiation, commitment and vision,
the group worked to define its purpose, goals, structure and campaigns.
Member groups will be starting campaigns as early as September
18, to raise the profile of climate change as the issue of our
Sign Our Declaration!!
CLUB OF CANADA FOUNDATION
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