The National Energy Board (NEB) is continuing its undemocratic approach to pleasing its master: the oil industry. Most recently, the Calgary-based rubber stamp is trying to use the summer to hide yet another concession. On July 11th the NEB said it was going consider a request from Imperial Oil and Chevron to weaken the rules for offshore drilling in the Arctic and gave the public until August 1st to comment (some strong arguing won an extra two weeks).
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not good at keeping secrets, and I particularly don’t like when governments work in secret. Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential, but 9 times out of 10 there’s no justifiable reason.
Here are some government plans developing in secret that everyone should know about.
At an undisclosed location in Ottawa this week, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries are negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - the latest ‘free trade’ deal our government says we just have to have.
June 17, 2014
It’s a decision that could define our times. We are witnessing the final stages of a protracted wrestling match between our future and our past.
Can we afford to let this decision stand? Aren’t our children--born and unborn--depending on us?
I’m not going to go into all the reasons why we must end our fossil fuel addiction, and move on to a clean energy future. You’ve heard it before.
But this decision could be different. It could be a game-changer. The Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline could be a turning point because of the huge opposition in British Columbia —unparalleled in Canadian history:
May 22, 2014
It’s been a busy week for government propagandists. Why?
Back when I was a reporter I had a mantra I would chant to myself while writing: Who, What, When, and Why. Who, What, When, and Why? It’s particularly effective when applied to government stories, so let’s apply it to last week’s series of announcements.
WHO: The federal government that has turned a deaf ear to climate change and mitigation, and stripped itself of the ability to protect the environment by gutting the Environmental Assessment, Fisheries and Navigable Waters Acts.
Farley Mowat passed away this week at the age of 92. It has been thirty years since he wrote “Sea of Slaughter”, a book that I’ll never forget. He sold almost 17 million books over his long and decorated career. His books about nature (translated into 52 languages) were a major contributor not only to the Canadian environmental movement, but the global movement to protect the earth.
Millions of people around the world view Canada in a better light because of his life’s work. He mixed the serious with humour in devastating ways, making us smile one minute, cry the next and then rant with a rage over how we treat this planet.
I’ve been thinking about my favourite Farley Mowat book, “No Bird Sang”, since I heard the news today.
This week is Emergency Preparedness Week -- the kind of non-event, event that might mean we’ll see a photo (or two) of a politician at some media event, but most won’t give it a second thought.
At best, it might evoke an image of Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory with his survival backpack and fluorescent arrows painted on the floor. Some of us older folks might evoke the man on a street corner shouting: “Repent the end is near!”
By John Bennett
There were four events of note this week--well five, actually. The first two demonstrate the dissonance between the Government of Canada and the rest of the world.
Should a CBC radio and television commentator be accepting speaking fees for pro-Tar Sands speeches on the side without publicly disclosing the financial conflict of interest to viewers? Should a national newspaper consider--let alone sign--a strategic partnership with the oil industry (a.k.a. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to produce content? Would such a move render the paper a non-news organization? Should it?
These two stories emerged over the last week and received almost no attention in the media. There has to be a better explanation than Olympic coverage eating up air time.
We’re all familiar with the National Post’s ‘tendencies’ (sorry Terrence) so I wasn’t overly shocked with the latter. But I have to say I was taken aback by the news about Rex Murphy.
ACTION ALERT / February 5, 2014
Tell the Senate to Speak Out Against Neonicotinoid Pesticides
The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry is now holding hearings on widely-used, bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. The committee has invited beekeepers, grain-farmers, and scientists to present evidence at the hearings.
The Senate Committee will undoubtedly hear a repeat of what the Ontario Bee Health Working Group heard last summer -- that something was wrong and the beekeepers want a moratorium on the prime suspect: neonicotinoid pesticides.
First, thank you for your patience and the generous support you’ve shown during our year-end fundraising push. Believe me when I say we don’t like to “push” for donations, but the reality is we have to in order to keep our doors open.
BACK TO WORK
We’re back to work now and I want to talk about mercury pollution.
Most people my age cite Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” when asked how they first became aware of the environment and the need to protect and preserve it. For many, the moment was the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.
My moment of truth was the mercury poisoning at the Grassy Narrows Reserve in northwest Ontario. Between 1962 and 1970, two First Nations communities’ staple food — fish — had been contaminated with record-high levels of mercury from a chemical plant up the river. But no one knew, and for almost a decade they consumed the poison.