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The Common Sense Canadian: Heiltsuk celebrate as herring gillnet boats leave central coast empty

Video by Diana Chan

“We did it!” declared Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett to a jubilant crowd at the fisheries office near Bella Bella this afternoon, as the herring gillnet fleet departed the central coast empty.

“This was our no-go zone,” said Slett, holding up a map of Area 7 in Heiltsuk territory, “and nobody went there.”

The announcement marked the end of an intense standoff between the nation and DFO over a disputed herring fishery amid depleted central coast stocks. Slett and Heiltsuk resource stewardship director Kelly Brown – along with 50 or so community members – (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: DFO clings to bad science, refuses to close herring fishery in Area 7

Despite harsh criticism from scientists and First Nations of DFO’s flawed forecasting methods for the health of herring stocks, the department’s Director General, Pacific Region Sue Farlinger acknowledged today that she was unable to commit to the closure of a gillnet fishery in Area 7.

Farlinger flew to Bella Bella Monday afternoon for emergency meetings with Heiltsuk leaders after they occupied the central coast fisheries office in opposition to a planned gillnet fishery in their territory.

“It is my intention to avoid at all costs a fishery in Area 7,” Farlinger told a gathering of upset Heiltsuk First Nations outside (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Progress on herring standoff but Area 7 gillnet opening remains contentious issue; talks continue today

A long-awaited face-to-face meeting between Heiltsuk Nation leaders and senior DFO management finally went ahead yesterday at the central coast fisheries office currently being occupied by Heiltsuk members.

DFO Regional Director General Sue Farlinger flew up to Bella Bella amid an increasingly heated standoff over herring fishery issues late Monday afternoon. Following nearly 3 hours of intense talks inside the DFO office which Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett and resource stewardship director Kelly Brown occupied on Sunday, leaders of both groups emerged with mixed news.

“We feel like we’re making progress,” announced Brown from the office steps at around 7 PM last night, acknowledging that DFO (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Elizabeth May Rejects Harper’s Cosmetic Bill C-51 Amendments

Harper’s Bill C-51 remains “dangerous and undemocratic” and “deeply unconstitutional” despite the Conservatives’ proposed amendments, says MP Elizabeth May.

The post Elizabeth May Rejects Harper’s Cosmetic Bill C-51 Amendments appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Ret. Navy Commander torpedoes LNG lobby’s tanker safety story

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”

― Sir Walter Scott

One Stewart Muir is the executive director of Resource Works, an elite organization formed to tout Woodfibre LNG. Muir was once the business editor and deputy managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, thus the quote from Sir Walter Scott seems manifestly appropriate.

Muir is responsible for a work of fiction called A Citizen’s Guide to LNG, which I dealt with in two recent columns when I asked some pointed questions about the deceptive, indeed untrue, statements and inferences contained therein. Instead of getting (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Heiltsuk Nation occupies DFO office in face of expected herring fishery

Heiltsuk Nation members confront DFO officers at Denny Island coast guard station (Pacific Wild)

Tensions continue to escalate on the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest over a highly controversial herring fishery, as members of the Heiltsuk Nation are now occupying the local DFO office in opposition to a planned gillnet opening.

A group of Heiltsuk youth, elders and chiefs paddled and boated this afternoon from Bella Bella to the coast guard station on nearby Denny Island – headquarters of DFO’s central coast operations – to deliver an eviction notice reminding local representatives that Area 7 is a no-go zone for a commercial herring fishery (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Lawyer warns LNG industry: Don’t count on power from Site C dam

Lawyer Rob Botterell represents First Nations and landowners in the Peace Valley region

The following is an open letter sent by lawyer Rob Botterell to the BC LNG Alliance, key BC Liberal ministers, and Treaty 8 First Nations. Site C Dam is being looked to as a possible source for the additional power required for proposed LNG plants on the BC coast.

Dear Respected First Nations, LNG Industry and BC Government Leaders:

In my capacity as a lawyer who has represented First Nations for many years, I am writing to you about the relationship between the planned Site C dam and the proposed new (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why Rafe Mair is begrudgingly voting “Yes” in Transit Plebiscite

Rafe Mair trusts Mayor Gregor Robertson (pictured) with our transportation future a tad more than the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation – despite big misgivings about transit management to date (Vision Vancouver/Twitter)

I am a lifetime contrarian. Whatever I’m supposed to do, I rebel against. I have not changed much in my dotage.

But I’m going to vote “Yes” in the Transit Plebiscite, notwithstanding the fact that I have grave concerns about the Translink and the city councils offering their ideas about how to spend the money.

There are several reasons that I came to this conclusion.

Look at who’s leading the “No” side

To begin with, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: WikiLeaks reveals TPP proposal empowering corporations to sue nations

WikiLeaks says the “Investment Chapter” of the secret TPP agreement is “an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states.”

The post WikiLeaks reveals TPP proposal empowering corporations to sue nations appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Quebec police unleash violence on anti-austerity protesters [VIDEO]

Protesters hit the streets to protest the Quebec provincial government’s austerity policies. The police unleashed tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets, hitting some of the protesters in the face.

The post Quebec police unleash violence on anti-austerity protesters [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: “Bill C-51 is reckless and dangerous,” says OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson

Testifying before the House of Commons public safety committee on Monday, OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson said Harper’s anti-terror Bill C-51 is dangerous, reckless and ineffective.

The post “Bill C-51 is reckless and dangerous,” says OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: ‘By any means necessary’: Heiltsuk vow to stop herring gillnet fishery

The Heiltsuk Nation is vowing to stop DFO’s opening of a gillnet fishery amid threatened herring stocks in Area 7 by “any means necessary”, after DFO refused to listen to leaders’ concerns in emergency talks yesterday afternoon.

The gillnet fishery comes in the wake of a highly controversial seine fishery in the same central coast region this past weekend. Said Chief Counsellor Marilyn Slett:

We are saddened that it has come to this, but we cannot stand by while DFO uses flawed science to destroy a resource we have depended on for thousands of years…If we don’t protect the herring, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Rafe: All hands on deck for Howe Sound as LNG storm brews

Boaters raise the alarm over plans to re-industrialize Howe Sound (Future of Howe Sound Society)

Howe Sound needs the help of all British Columbians and it needs it now. The proposed Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish has got some very powerful allies.

Both governments support it. That means that there’s no point in citizens seeking help from their MP or MLA, who in fact are the vanguard of the enemy forces.

Industry group spews hot air in LNG PR

Industry is of course in favour and their stalking horse is a bunch called Resource Works which I exposed here (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Event: The Inconvenient Truth About Harper’s Canada

In Ottawa this evening, prominent authors Michael Harris and Donald Gutstein will discuss the “inconvenient truth” about Stephen Harper’s Canada.

The post Event: The Inconvenient Truth About Harper’s Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: First Nation taking herring concerns to Jimmy Pattison’s Canfisco

Commercial seine boat in Spiller Channel (Pacific Wild)

Bella Bella, BC

A delegation of Heiltsuk First Nations and their supporters will be taking the central coast community’s concerns over a recent herring fishery in their territory to to the Jimmy Pattison-owned Canfisco processing plant in Vancouver this afternoon.

Pattison is the largest owner of commercial herring licences and boats in BC, many of which took part in a highly controversial herring seine opening on Sunday and Monday in Spiller Channel, near Bella Bella. Heiltsuk members were caught by off guard when DFO opened the commercial seine fishery Sunday night without advising them first. The (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: DFO uses stealth to open herring fishery despite First Nations ban

Heiltsuk Hereditary Chief Harvey Humchitt in 2012 (Damien Gillis)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans angered members of the Heiltsuk First Nation on BC’s central coast by opening a commercial herring fishery last night – despite the community’s insistence that there should be no fishery this year, based on unhealthy stocks.

“This action shows blatant disrespect of aboriginal rights by DFO and industry,” said Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett.

DFO provided inconsistent and misleading communications throughout the day and did not attempt meaningful consultation.

The nation is also suggesting that DFO employed deceptive tactics to launch the fishery, waiting until commercial (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Last day for public comments on Woodfibre LNG proposal

Rendering of proposed Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, BC

Citizens have until Midnight Monday to submit their comments to the current phase of environmental assessment into the controversial Woodfibre LNG proposal, near Squamish.

The project and its Indonesian billionaire proponent Sukanto Tanoto have garnered intense scrutiny from citizen groups, First Nations and municipal governments up and down Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast. The city of Squamish recently mead headlines rejecting Fortis BC’s application to test drill in the Squamish estuary for a pipeline expansion to feed the proposed plant – this on top of multiple votes from local councils to ban (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay Crusader Bill Whatcott Flees Canada

Bill Whatcott, a highly controversial anti-abortion and anti-gay crusader, flees Canada, seeks refuge in the Philippines.

The post Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay Crusader Bill Whatcott Flees Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Cities, Transit get too small a piece of tax dollar pie

Photo: Translink

Many people think of Canada as a landscape of forests, mountains, water and ice, but the Canadian experience is fast becoming focused on glass and concrete. Our 2011 census revealed that 81 per cent of us now live in cities. And despite taking up less land space, our environmental impact continues to grow. As the UN notes, cities cover only two per cent of the world’s land area but produce 60 per cent of CO2 emissions — including a significant proportion from urban transportation, as people commute to school and work on increasingly crowded roads and transit (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Bill C-51: 8 things activists and dissenters in Canada need to know

After thoroughly studying Harper’s draconian anti-terror Bill C-51, lawyers at the BC Civil Liberties Association suggest the 8 things activists and dissenters in Canada need to know.

The post Bill C-51: 8 things activists and dissenters in Canada need to know appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Harper government’s anti-terror laws target anti-pipeline foes

The Harper government Bill C-51 and other recently-passed anti-terror laws are designed to target and silence anti-pipeline foes, protect Big Oil interests.

The post Harper government’s anti-terror laws target anti-pipeline foes appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: It’s time to end the grisly trophy hunt

As the spring grizzly hunt approaches, environmentalist David Suzuki outlines the perils of grizzly bear trophy hunting in British Columbia and Canada.

The post David Suzuki: It’s time to end the grisly trophy hunt appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: A PR Flack’s Guide to LNG: Dream Team tries to repair industry’s image

Clockwise from top left: Teck’s Doug Horswill, Stewart Muir, former A-G Geoff Plant, and Lyn Anglin

It’s an axiom of debate that if you don’t like the argument you’re in, find one that you’re more comfortable with. Barristers use this technique before juries all the time and that’s precisely the technique that Resource Works, a well-heeled pro-LNG group, is using to bamboozle the public of British Columbia.

Team LNG

The glossy 58-page document they use is called A Citizen’s Guide To LNG: Sea To Sky Country Edition.

Knowing many of the supporters personally, and most of them by reputation, I (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Tens of thousands expected to protest Harper’s Bill C-51 today

As many as 83,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Canada today to protest Bill C-51, Stephen Harper’s proposed “secret police” legislation.

The post Tens of thousands expected to protest Harper’s Bill C-51 today appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Shocking critique from Site C Panel Chair should have govt pulling plug

Site C Joint Review Panel, with Chair Harry Swain seated in middle (250 News)

In a highly unorthodox move for a person in his position, the chair of the Joint Review Panel for Site C Dam has come out with harsh words for the $9 Billion project and the BC government’s hurry to get it built.

Harry Swain, a former federal deputy minister with deep experience in the environmental assessment business, made the comments in an eye-opening interview with Desmog Canada’s Emma Gilchrist, almost a year after the panel he led issued its report. Speaking for himself, Swain said:

There’s a whole bunch (Read more…)