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The Canadian Progressive: Open Letter: 400+ Academics Demand Withdrawal of Harper’s Orwellian Fair Elections Act

“Free and fair elections lie at the heart of our democracy. The government should not underestimate the commitment of Canadians to defend this fundamental principle.”

by: Various | April 23, 2014

Last month, more than 160 professors signed an open letter to express grave concerns about the damage to Canadian democracy that the “Fair Elections Act,” Bill C-23, would cause. Today, we the undersigned, an even larger group of professors who share a deep concern over this legislation, urge the government to withdraw the bill and draft truly fair election reforms based on meaningful consultations with opposition parties, non-partisan (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: First Nations show Nancy Greene, Harper govt positive alternative to open net fish farms

Namgis First Nation-grown closed-containment salmon ready for market (Photo:

Part 2 of DC Reid’s appeal to Canadian Senator and Olympic hero Nancy Greene Raine, who recently came out in support of a massive increase to open net pen salmon farms on BC’s coast. Read part 1 here.

While Nancy Greene Raine has taken a stance to push in-ocean fish farms, there is a lot of science that she likely does not know. And I doubt she realizes she is taking a stand against wild BC salmon. The bullets from my earlier article are discussed further here, with (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Environment Ministry staff warn BC govt about LNG emissions

VANCOUVER – British Columbia Environment Ministry staff have warned their minister that the province’s dreamed-of liquefied natural gas industry poses some big challenges with greenhouse gas emissions.

Internal briefing notes prepared for Environment Minister Mary Polak since she took office last year and obtained by The Canadian Press, single out methane emissions for concern.

On top of emissions from combustion and flaring of natural gas, methane and carbon dioxide escape during hydraulic fracturing process, or fracking, the documents said. One July briefing note warned:

Methane emissions are a particular concern since they have a global warming impact 21 times (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Nancy Greene Raine: Fish Farms? What About Wild BC Salmon?

Senator Nancy Greene at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (Photo: Wikipedia)

I almost fell off my chair when I read that former Olypmic ski champion and Canadian Senator Nancy Greene Raine wants to triple the size of fish farming in BC. Taking such a position is badly out of step with what British Columbians want.

We want fish farms out of our pristine ocean and put on land, or they can go back to Norway. More than 100,000 British Columbians have signed a petition urging Premier Clark to refuse any expansion leases in BC.

I doubt Nancy Greene Raine knew this (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Fort Nelson chief to gas industry: “First Nations will decide on LNG”

Watch this follow up video to the stunning events in Forst Nelson from earlier this week, when Chief Sharleen Gale ousted government and industry leaders from a conference discussing the benefits and impacts of BC’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Gale was reacting to a surprise move by the BC Liberal government to gut environmental reviews for gas plants, which an apologetic Environment Minister Mary Polak reversed just hours after the events in Fort Nelson.

In this second video, taken by Sabina Dennis and shared on youtube by the chief, we see Gale’s comments to industry, whom she asked to remain (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Ex-US president Jimmy Carter urges Obama to reject Keystone XL Pipeline

“History will reflect on this moment and it will be clear to our children and grandchildren if you made the right choice,” laureates remind President Obama as the world awaits his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline

by: Obert Madondo | April 17, 2014

To show leadership on climate change and leave a lasting legacy, US President Barack Obama must reject TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. That’s the message from Jimmy Carter.

The former US president joined South African anti-apartheid icon Bishop Desmond Tutu and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have signed a strongly-worded open letter urging Obama to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC Oil and Gas Commission abandons orphan wells

Fracking operations in BC’s Montney Shale (Photo: Damien Gillis)

Despite admitting there is an increasing trend of inactive well sites awaiting reclamation, the BC Oil and Gas Commission has slashed its budget for its orphan site reclamation fund from $4.83 million in 2013 to just $1 million in 2014.

An orphan well site is classified as a well, pipeline or facility that has undergone investigation and is no longer legally or financially tied to a party able to deal with its abandonment and reclamation.

Earlier this year, the BC Ministry of Finance announced the 2014 Budget, focused on (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Fort Nelson First Nation drums govt, industry out of LNG conference

Video by Chief Bob Chamberlin

Members of the Fort Nelson First Nation, led by the strong words of their chief councillor, Sharleen Gale, literally drummed out government and industry representatives from a conference the band was hosting on liquefied natural gas (LNG), Wednesday afternoon.

The 3-day conference, titled “Striking the Balance”, was designed to discuss both the economic opportunities and potential environmental impacts of increased fracking in the nation’s territory to supply a gas-hungry, proposed BC LNG industry. But things got off on the wrong foot when the BC Liberal government announced on Tuesday that new sweet gas processing plants (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC LNG faces growing First Nations opposition

The Unist’ot’en camp’s Toghestiy (left) and Mel Bazil stand in the path of 3 pipelines (Two Island Films)

One of the biggest myths pervading BC’s energy dialogue goes something like this: While First Nations stand united against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, they overwhelmingly embrace Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Sure, Premier Christy Clark can tick off a list of aboriginal allies in her effort to build at least five among a dozen terminals proposed for Kitimat and Prince Rupert. Just last week, she announced with great fanfare LNG revenue sharing agreements with two coastal nations – Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams.

But a (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Is it time for a real war on cars?

Gridlock in China forces drivers out of their cars

In railing against everything from bike lanes to transit spending, pundits and politicians often raise the spectre of a “war on cars.” Of course, there is no war on cars – but there should be.

Cars directly kill and hurt more people every year than most diseases, resulting in 1.5 million deaths and 78 million injuries needing medical care, according to the World Bank. Road injury is the eighth leading cause of death worldwide. Pollution from cars also causes acute and chronic health problems that often result in premature (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Big Oil, Big Media, governments work together in ‘Corporatocracy’

Top corporate leaders gather at the annual Bildergberg conference in 2010

“Freedom” and “democracy” are useful words, but very bankrupt: useful because they serve to advance imperial/corporate agendas, bankrupt because they are empty vessels, perennially co-opted.

When illegal coups are orchestrated to overthrow democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Honduras, Ukraine, or elsewhere, the lies of freedom and democracy are seamlessly attached to the criminal acts.

“Freedom” and “democracy” are still cloaking, tacitly or overtly, mass murder and genocide in Iraq, at this moment.

Hostile takeovers

As long as the masses are fooled, conquest and regime change, not democracy and freedom, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Parks Act changed for Kinder Morgan’s illegal pipeline research?

By Andrew Gage

You may have heard about controversial amendments to the Park Act by way of Bill 4, the Park Amendment Act, which critics say are to allow industrial “research,” or even industrial activity, in B.C. parks.

Over 160,000 people have signed a petition opposing Bill 4. However, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak insists that the types of research to be allowed are minor, and that the amendments have nothing whatsoever to do with allowing pipelines in B.C. parks.

Kinder Morgan was illegally researching pipeline

Before Bill 4, any research done in a park had (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: With Duke Point incinerator, property values could go up in smoke

The following is a letter from Common Sense Canadian economic columnist and Gabriola Island resident Erik Andersen to Nanaimo city council, which is hearing arguments on a controversial, proposed waste incinerator at Duke Point this evening.

Over the past several decades the City of Nanaimo has single-mindedly pursued a course of beautifying the City by putting behind itself its industrial past of coal mining and logging. Gradually success has and is being achieved.

The prospect of a garbage incinerator at Duke Point, or anywhere else near by, will only undo these decades of progress.

Studies show incinerators seriously affect property values

Numerous (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Eagle Spirit offers First Nations ‘energy corridor’ as Enbridge alternative

Eagle Spirit’s Calvin Helin speaking the Vancouver Board of Trade

VANCOUVER – A plebiscite defeat for the company proposing a $6-billion oil pipeline across northern British Columbia may have opened the door for another mega-project.

Supporters of a First Nation-backed alternative to the Enbridge (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway Pipeline are expected to make an announcement today in Vancouver.

Chiefs from two northern B.C. First Nations will join officials from aboriginal-owned and controlled Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings to announce the plans.

Eagle Spirit formed in late 2012 to promote its vision of a First Nations-managed energy corridor across northern B.C. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Kitimat rejects Enbridge in pipeline plebiscite

Former Haisla councilor Gerald Amos celebrates the ‘No’ vote (photo: Douglas Channel Watch)

By The Canadian Press

KITIMAT, B.C. – The residents of Kitimat, B.C. have voted against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project in a non-binding plebiscite.

The ballot count from Saturday’s vote was 1,793 opposed versus 1,278 who supported the multi-billion dollar project — a margin of 58.4 per cent to 41.6 per cent.

“The people have spoken”

The results from two polling stations and an advance vote all showed a clear majority for the “No” side. Said Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan in a (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Fair Elections Act could sink Stephen Harper and Conservatives in 2015

by: Obert Madondo | April 12, 2014

This week Canada’s two main opposition parties declared war on the Conservatives’ Orwellian Fair Elections Act. One that could bring down Harper during the 2015 federal election.

While falling short of declaring the Fair Elections Act an election issue for 2015, both the Official Opposition and third-placed Liberals are vowing to stand up for our right to vote.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the focus of next election will be the ‘Fair Elections Act’. He wants Bill C-23 overhauled.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this thing,” Mulcair told delegates in (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: 4 years after BP oil spill, health impacts linger

Health concerns continue to do many who worked to clean up the BP oil spill (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

By Stacey Plaisance And Kevin McGill, The Associated Press

CHALMETTE, La. – When a BP oil well began gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, fisherman George Barisich used his boat to help clean up the millions of gallons of spew that would become the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

Like so many Gulf Coast residents who pitched in after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Barisich was motivated by a desire to help (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Kitimat Enbridge vote: Grassroots campaign poised to win unfair fight

Signs of the times in Kitimat, BC (Photo: Kathy Ouwehand)

By the Canadian Press

KITIMAT, B.C. – Residents of Kitimat will cast votes in a local plebiscite Saturday for or against the multibillion-dollar Northern Gateway pipeline.

The District of Kitimat has remained neutral on the $6-billion project, but the vote will decide council’s position.

“We’ll see what the people of Kitimat want,” said Mayor Joanne Monaghan.

The city on the North Coast would be the end of the pipeline and home of the marine terminal for loading oil onto tankers. Kitimat council’s neutral stance went so far as to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Andrew Nikiforuk on the end of cheap fossil fuels

John Twigg interviews award-winning energy journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk on his latest book, The Energy of Slaves. “The era of cheap hydrocarbons is gone,” says Nikiforuk.

We’re now into the difficult and ugly stuff – and it’s expensive. It’s going to affect the siz e of the middle class, which is already beginning to shrink.

Nikiforuk spoke to Twigg for Shaw TV North Island in Campbell River, where he is serving as the Haig Brown Institute’s writer in residence this year.



The post Andrew Nikiforuk on the end of cheap fossil fuels appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Rapper plants seeds of food security awakening

“If ferries stopped running to Vancouver Island, our grocery shelves would be completely empty after 3 days,” says food security activist-turned-rapper Jeremy Loveday. Watch his 3 min spoken word essay on the shocking state of Canada’s food security.

According to a seminal BC Ministry of Agriculture report in 2007, the province produces just 48% the food it consumes. Per capita vegetable production has fallen to half what it was in 1970.

And yet, the BC Liberal government is intent on flooding and impacting over 30,000 acres of some of the country’s best farmland for the Site C Dam in northeast BC’s (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Clark govt signs LNG deals with two more First Nations

photo: Tina Lovgreen / BCIT Commons

By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

VICTORIA – The British Columbia government has moved to bring First Nations on board its much-anticipated multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas boom.

Two north coast First Nations signed revenue-sharing agreements Wednesday with the government related to the development of a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on their traditional territories near Prince Rupert.

It’s a deal that could be worth up to $15 million for the Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams nations. Related Stories

Premier Christy Clark and leaders from the First Nations who participated in formal signing ceremonies at (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: A very human dilemma: Population woes vs. biological imperative

Every baby is a biological miracle. In its development from conception to birth it undergoes a remarkable process summarized by “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” — a fetus growing into a human being moves through the entire succession of animal phyla, from the most simple unicellular organism to the most complicated of the multicellular. This process not only confirms the evolutionary history of life but highlights the incredible memory and genetic intelligence contained within a single fertilized cell.

Concurrent with this development of the fetus is the utter wonder of becoming sentient, of ascending through levels of consciousness until awareness is even (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: David Suzuki: Earth Month should be a time for action

April is Earth Month, and April 22 Earth Day. We should really celebrate our small blue planet and all it provides every day, but recent events give us particular cause to reflect on our home and how we’re treating it.

Through an amazingly ordered combination of factors, this spinning ball of earth, air, fire and water – with its hydrological, carbon, nitrogen and rock cycles, biological diversity and ideal distance from the sun – provides perfect conditions for human life to flourish. But with our vast and rapidly increasing numbers, breakneck technological advances, profligate use of resources and lack of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Pipelines in parks? Welcome to Super, Fracktural BC!


Cartoon and letter by Loren Craig – republished from his green briefs blog

An open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark – April 7, 2014

Dear Christy,

May I call you Christy? It seems appropriate, given your warm, woman-of-the-people style of governing. I’m a soccer parent too, so that puts us on the same sidelines, wouldn’t you say?

Anyhow, it’s about this Bill 4 thing. You know, the amendment to the BC Parks act brought in by your government on March 24th, 2014. The one that now allows industrial activities within BC’s Provincial Parks.

I would understand if you (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Petro-state economy costs Canada far more jobs than it creates

Canada’s economy – including its dollar – is too attached to fossil fuels, financial experts warn

The current trajectories of Canada’s predominant political economies are increasingly dysfunctional, due in no small part to the fact that we have become, in many respects, a petro state, rather than the much vaunted “Energy Superpower” that we were promised.

A petro-state, as defined by Bruce Campbell, executive director of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is “dependent on petroleum for 50 per cent or more of export revenues, 25 per cent or more of GDP, and 25 per cent or more on government revenues. (Read more…)