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Babel-on-the-Bay: Imploding media, a failure to communicate.

It takes a while to digest the sale the other day of Canada’s English-language Sun newspapers to Postmedia. All you can say for sure is that the newspaper market in Canada continues to implode. Postmedia President and CEO Paul Godfrey provided the answer at the announcement of the $316 million purchase of 175 English-language newspapers and Sun’s major printing plant in Toronto. He said it all when saying the best part of the deal was the acquisition of and related websites.

Sun newspapers are no stranger to Paul Godfrey. He used to be publisher of that newspaper chain. (Read more…)

DeSmogBlog: Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated With Billions Of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater

After California state regulators shut down 11 fracking wastewater injection wells last July over concerns that the wastewater might have contaminated aquifers used for drinking water and farm irrigation, the EPA ordered a report within 60 days.

It was revealed yesterday that the California State Water Resources Board has sent a letter to the EPA confirming that at least nine of those sites were in fact dumping wastewater contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants into aquifers protected by state law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Biological (Read more…)

In This Corner: Ode to the bridge to somewhere: a mini-memoir

I went for lunch today with my old pal Bruce Miller. I chose the Original Joe’s on 102 Avenue because a) it’s relatively cheap and good (I always have a wrap, which is enough food for today’s AND tomorrow’s lunch), and b) I wanted to see the gaping hole where the old metal bridge used to be.

If you’ve lived in Edmonton for any time, chances are you went over the 102 Avenue bridge. I can’t imagine how many thousands of times I went over that bridge, mostly as a kid. It was sort of my gateway to the world, (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Environmental regulation: better than a pound of cure

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This post was originally posted on

‘Streamlining environmental regulatory review’ and ‘reducing the regulatory burden on industry’ are among the hottest buzzwords from the federal and BC provincial governments. 

As the Mt. Polley Mine tailings lake breach that occurred on Monday, August 4 demonstrates, however, deregulation of industrial activities that impact the environment is a gamble that can have devastating outcomes for local communities and the environment.

A salmon caught from the Fraser River after the Mt. Polley tailings pond spill. Xaxli'p, Sek'wel'was & Tsk'way'laxw First Nations have closed all fishing activities due (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Environmental regulation: better than a pound of cure

DeSmogBlog: Subsidy Spotlight: Paid to Pollute and Poison

This is a guest post by Paul Thacker, on assignment with Oil Change International. Cross-posted with permission.

A wife and mother of two from Venice, Louisiana, Kindra Arnesen says her life can be divided into two chapters: before April 20, 2010, and after. On that evening, an oil well located several miles off the coast of Louisiana discharged large bubbles of gas which traveled a mile to the surface before igniting, destroying the oil rig and killing eleven men. Thus began the worst marine oil spill in history and America’s largest environmental disaster, with hundreds of millions of gallons of oil (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Conservatives are covering their causes.

There must be an election due in the next year. Why else would the Harper government minions be running around in the heat of the summer pandering to Conservative interest groups? Take the inappropriately labelled Public “Safety” Minister Steven Blaney, for example. He showed up at a Northern Ontario gun club the other day to announce convenient changes in the rules for happy gun owners. These changes might make some sense in such a remote rural setting but he should try to explain his changes to people at Dundas and Yonge Streets in Toronto.

But you have to admit, the (Read more…)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: La Romaine: on or off? #nlpoli

On Monday,  Quebec premier Philippe Couillard left the impression that the third and fourth dams on the La Romaine river were in doubt. 

Couillard told reporters as he headed to the meeting of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers that Hydro-Quebec would finish the first two dams, currently under construction, and then make a decision:

“We will evaluate them and we will see exactly what is needed. [translation of “On va les évaluer et on va voir justement quel est le besoin.”

According to La Presse, Couillard said that HQ would assess electricity needs for industrial (Read more…)

DeSmogBlog: Breaking: Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill an exploratory well adjacent to the Golden Gates Estates development.

“We are very happy that Hughes won’t drill next to our home,” Pamela Duran, who lives 1,000 feet away from the previously proposed drill site, told DeSmogBlog.

“I think the whole neighborhood feels like there is a heavy weight taken off our shoulders,” she said.

Pamela Duran in front of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Distracted Driving – New Drivers

A survey of Ontario high school students reveals more than one-third of all licensed drivers in Grades 10 to 12 admit to having texted while driving.

That percentage increases to 46 per cent of licensed students in Grade 12.

Approximately 108,000 adolescent drivers surveyed said they have texted while driving at least once in the past year, according to the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), a biannual study conducted for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

“We asked about texting while driving because research shows that this is a very hazardous behaviour,” said CAMH senior scientist Dr. Robert Mann. (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Telus Launch Green Rooftop with Community Garden

Office building green roofs tend to be a ‘spectator sport’: look but don’t touch. Telus, one of the Big-Three telecom in Canada, launch their participatory rooftop garden in their downtown Toronto building where staff are encouraged to seed, water, weed, and harvest the vegetables. I talk to Sameer Panjwani, National Chair of Telus Green Team, to see how this environmental employee engagement initiative came to harvest.

Located in Toronto’s financial district, the thirty-floor office building is surrounded by Union Station, Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square, and the under-construction new RBC headquarters. On the fifth floor of this LEED Gold (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: Clearing Out The Rot

A number of shibboleths fell with the election of Kathleen Wynne. The most insidious of them was the notion that  the words “tax” and “theft” are synonyms. Linda McQuaig writes:

The centerpiece of this ideological orthodoxy has been an almost phobic attitude towards taxes. The vilification of taxes has profoundly changed our society in recent decades, dramatically limiting our ability to act collectively to achieve common goals that improve our lives, confining us instead to isolated lives as private consumers.

Under Stephen Harper, Ottawa today collects about $30 billion less in revenue than it did a decade ago — (Read more…)

the disgruntled democrat: Congratulations Ontario For Having Successfully Outsourced the Governance Function

Way to go Ontario!  When it comes to thwarting democratic rule in Canada, you continue to lead the way.

Not only did Ontarians peviously vote in a province-wide referendum against the notion of changing the anarchistic voting system (first-past-the-post) that allows a political party to form a majority government with less than 50% of the popular vote, they were able to elect a new government with the participation of about half the eligible voters in last week’s general election.

Talk about efficiency!

In Ontario, depending on how the vote is distributed, a political party can go on to rule the province as if it had the (Read more…)

Wise Law Blog: 140 Law – Leading Legal Headlines for Tuesday June 10, 2014

Here are the leading legal headlines from Wise Law on Twitter for Tuesday, June 10, 2014: Rocco Galati plans legal challenge to Citizenship Act changes  Angelina Codina facing legal troubles again – Law Times Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee? Employment lawyers should prepare for new world following WSIB mental-distress ruling Daughter of hospitalized Casey Kasem, rather than his wife, will make medical decisions, judge rules Top court rejects Big Tobacco’s appeals of awards to Florida smokers  Barbara Yaffe: No point training more lawyers when existing ones can’t find work – Vancouver Sun Employees suspended after video surfaces of (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: 140 Law – Leading Legal Headlines for Tuesday June 10, 2014

Cowichan Conversations: This is why teachers are walking out next week.

Written by Robyn Ladner

Robyn Ladner-Teacher

BC has the worst student-educator ratio in Canada.

BC has the 2nd worst per student education funding in Canada.

BC’s Education funding is $1000 less per student than national average.

BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada.

BC teachers with a Bachelor of Education and no experience are 12th highest paid of the 13 provinces and territories.

BC teachers with a Master’s degree and ten years experience are 11th highest of the 13 provinces and territories.

Since I began teaching in 2001 teachers in BC have had their collective agreements ripped up, (Read more…)

Warren Kinsella: In Tuesday’s Sun: how a loser is winning Ontario’s election

Allan Gregg tells a great anecdote, one that explains why the least popular guy is presently ahead in the Ontario provincial election campaign.

It’s all about authenticity, the talented former Progressive Conservative strategist says: “For most of my adult life, I have worked with political and business leaders and have never ceased to be amazed at how different they can be in private compared to their public personae.

“Time and time again, I have witnessed otherwise funny, thoughtful, caring men and women walk from the wings of the auditorium to the podium, only to be transformed into nothing less than (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Garbage in, Garbage out?

Having publicly available information on the well-being of our local communities and national numbers on employment, business viability, population etc etc is essential not only to keep the government ‘honest’ but to make local and governmental decisions affecting these things. At first glance then it would seem that the ongoing project to make such government data more readily available is a good thing, is it as Tony Clement would have us believe “proof of the governments openness and transparency”. Or, is it proof of the Harper Regimes inability to do anything right and a further coverup of the real data. (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Attack on Supreme Court Chief Justice McLachlin Unacceptable

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attack on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is an attack on Canadians and Canadian democracy. It’s unacceptable.

by: Obert Madondo | May 4, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so desperate for political capital he’s willing to publicly smear the Supreme Court of Canada and its Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin.

Speaking to reporters in London, Ont., on Friday, Harper accused McLachlin of acting inappropriately last July when she advised his office concerning his appointment of Marc Nadon as the Quebec representative on the Supreme Court.

To be clear, there was communication between the chief justice’s office (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: BC Wolf Killing Plan Based on ‘Unreliable Data’

Following the recent killing of ‘Solo’ in the Mill Bay area Cowichan residents are expressing both concern and sorrow. Have we slashed budgets to the point that meaningful conservation is not being carried out?

Concern has been expressed that the kill was necessitated beacause of inadequate funding by the BC government?

Wolk kills in other parts of BC are being compromised due to lack of information required.

Newly released strategy outlines difficulties in counting wolves. By Andrew MacLeod, 18 Apr 2014,

British Columbia’s newly released wolf management plan is based on unreliable data, said Sadie Parr, the organizer (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy’s latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons’ damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada’s health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk’s latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday’s comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us – rather than a (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Green Buildings Bring Vertical Forests to the City

Visually stunning and environmentally progressive condo buildings and office towers are appearing in Europe and Asia in recent years, including the Bosco Verticale in Milan, Hearst Tower in New York, and Urban Cactus in Rotterdam. Corporations and condo developers take note … whoever construct the first of this type of building in Canada can really make a statement. I talk to Andrew McAllan of Oxford Properties to see when that might happen.

The next generation of consumers increasingly demand sustainable practices. Combining environmental initiatives with stunning design, builders worldwide are thinking outside the box. In Milan, the Bosco Verticale is (Read more…) Toronto Star: Check out what this leading privacy expert has to say on MacKay’s Online Spying Bill

The government’s online spying legislation will encourage Internet providers to hand over your private information to authorities without any oversight. That’s according to this must-read piece in today’s Toronto Star from our Privacy Coalition partners at the @Canadian Constitution Foundation.

Learn more about how our Coalition is working to protect our privacy at:

Article by Derek James From for The Star

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Perhaps that’s the federal government’s motto regarding Bill C-13 — the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. It represents yet another attempt by this government to pass (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Majority of Canadians Oppose Harper’s “Unfair Elections Act”: POLL

by: Council of Canadians | Press Release

A new poll released today shows that a majority of Canadians oppose central features of the so-called “Fair” Elections Act, known as Bill C-23.

The provisions in the Unfair Elections Act that would eliminate the voucher system, prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs received the most significant opposition. The poll was jointly commissioned by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and

Seventy per cent of respondents said that the act’s elimination of Elections Canada’s ability to (Read more…)

LeDaro: Mike Duffy: The Rise and Fall – CBC Fifth Estate

                     Fitting caricature given his ego                     

It was a comedy, for real. Mike Duffy, the ultimate Ottawa insider, a cartoonish character who has become the leading symbol of Senate corruption, claiming living expenses for a cottage in Prince Edward Island he hardly occupied. The ultimate oversized sense of entitlement. He is a schmoozer who likes access to power, and has a giant ego to boot. A highschool dropout who made it big.

The documentary showed how Mike Duffy had been (Read more…)

The Moncton Times@Transcript - Good and Bad: March : apologies

I have been feeling very rough for a week – with today especially awful. I am extremely weak, tired,, wheezy, high temperature, coughing, dreadfully runny nose. Medical experts are divided between a  very bad cold, and a multiple pregnancy.

Fortunately, there’s very little in the paper to talk about. The banner headline on p.1. the big news of the day, is that the provinicial liquor board has a new boss. And he has big plans.

Big plans.

I mean big.

He’s going to do the right things. And, not stopping there, he’s going to do them the right way…..

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Cult of Living Large

2015, we’re told, is the year the developed world (that’s us) and the emerging economies (China, India, etc., etc., etc.) will close ranks to formulate an effective plan of action to fight climate change.  It’s going to be Kyoto on steroids, a true hallelujah moment, a meeting of minds, a global joining of hands, a flexing of collective muscle and sinew.

Yeah, right.

2015 is probably our final chance to reach some sort of meaningful, global consensus.  In case you haven’t noticed we’re already being overtaken by climate change impacts, and this is the ‘early (Read more…)