by: Obert Madondo
Nearly 400 youth were arrested on March 2 outside the White House during the XL Dissent, a non-violent, student-led action to stop TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
The students had marched from Georgetown University, where US President Barack Obama made a significant climate change speech last summer, to the White House.
“Oscar for best performances by a human being go to the youth who got arrested by the hundreds in DC today #XLDissent,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, on Twitter. “I think #xldissent may be the biggest single day of civil disobedience in (Read more…)
CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge giving a talk paid by CAPP (image: facebook)
by Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
TORONTO – CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge defended himself Thursday after a report that he made a paid speech to petroleum producers, saying he has never publicly promoted or opposed oilsands development.
“If I leave a speech and those in attendance think they know where I stand on any controversial issue, then they’re guessing. Because they won’t find it in the words I’ve spoken,” he wrote in a blog post on the CBC website.
I would not, do not, and have not, given (Read more…)
Dr. John O’Connor (photo: saveourmedevac.ca)
Read this Feb. 26 story by Mychaylo Prystupa in the Vancouver Observer on Alberta doctor John O’Connor’s warning to US senators that Canada is concealing the health impacts of the Tar Sands.
A northern Alberta doctor warned U.S. Senators on what he says have been the devastating health impacts of the tar sands on families – effects, he says, that have been willfully “ignored” by the Canadian and Alberta governments.
“I appeal to you to keep up the pressure – this is an ongoing tragedy. A total disgrace,” said Dr. John O’Connor, (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo
A new study by Environment Canada confirms what First Nations and environmentalists have been telling us all along: the Alberta tar sands are increasingly becoming a threat to our water sources.
The Toronto Star reports: “New federal research has confirmed that water from vast oilsands tailings ponds is leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River. Previous studies using models have estimated the leakage at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond.
“But the Environment Canada study used new technology to actually fingerprint the mix of groundwater chemicals in the area. It (Read more…)
Cognitive dissonance occurs when an entity embraces two or more contradictory beliefs or values at the same time. As social psychologist Leon Festinger showed, cognitive dissonance in an individual leads to psychological distress. To cope, that individual or entity may simply block out information that contributes to the stress of dissonance.
Case in point. Justin Trudeau is an avowed supporter of bitumen trafficking. It would seem he draws the line of environmental consciousness somewhere between bitumen and asbestos even though high-carbon fossil fuels, not asbestos, could well destroy our civilization and ruin Canada for future generations.
Assorted content to end your weekend.
- Lana Payne highlights the Harper Cons’ culture of hate with just a few recent examples: Veterans. Informed-debate. People’s right to a union and free collective bargaining. Voting rights. These are all under threat in Harper’s Canada.
This really is a government that hates; hates anyone that disagrees with them. Hates unions and the ability of people to work collectively to get a fair share of the economic pie. Hates democracy. Hates people who vote for other parties. Just plain hates.
This is not healthy for our country, our society. This is no way (Read more…)
Syncrude tailings pond (David Dodge, Pembina Institute)
Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON – New federal research has strongly backed suspicions that toxic chemicals from Alberta’s vast oilsands tailings ponds are leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River.
Leakage from oilsands tailings ponds, which now cover 176 square kilometres, has long been an issue. Industry has acknowledged that seepage can occur and previous studies using models have estimated it at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond.
The soil around the developments contains many chemicals from naturally occurring bitumen deposits and scientists have never able (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Ian Welsh writes about the concentration of wealth and economic control: Money is permission: you can’t do squat in a market economy without it. Those who can create it, or who have excessive profits, control what other people can do.
It is for this reason that Jefferson said that banks were more dangerous to democracy than even standing armies.
Money making and differential profits lead to differential power. Over time, if your rate of return is higher than everyone else’s you will gain so much more money than them that you (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Murray Dobbin points to the oil sector’s utter domination of Canada’s federal political scene. And Dr. Dawg sums up the problem: Briefly, the Harperium has now taken to grossly misusing the state apparatus to spy upon and intimidate citizens who dare to disagree with the Prime Minister. The RCMP and CSIS have been improperly deployed against perfectly non-violent folks who happen to oppose the development of the filthy, polluting Alberta Tar Sands—including a story-telling seniors’ group.
The cop-and-spook brigade have, as it turns out, been meeting in cabal with oil company execs, (Read more…)
It sounds like good news. A new study, “Oil Sands Economic Benefits: Today and in the Future,” states that tar sands production supported more than 478,000 direct, indirect and induced Canadian jobs in 2012 and contributed $91-billion of Canada’s GDP, an economic contribution greater than that of the province of Saskatchewan. Government revenues in the form of tax receipts and royalties totaled
Criticism of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline focuses, understandably, on the threat it poses to the environment, both in its construction and in its enabling more production from the tar sands. Too often overlooked is the political mischief that approval will contribute to.
According to an article in the CCPA Monitor, “Petroleum Coke from Oil Refineries Polluting the Atmosphere,” the pipeline
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A recently released State Department report claims the environmental impact of the Keystone pipeline would be “minimal.” So… I guess we have no choice, but to build the tarsands pipeline. No need to address the environmental impact of tarsands extraction, we can ignore that Harper is moving ahead – and faster – on this while muzzling scientists who raise concerns about climate change. Harper’s Tarsands Minister Joe Oliver was jumping up and down with this report, eager to use it to justify building (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: LeDaro: The Keystone Tarsands Pipeline Will Have Minimal Environmental Impact… Really?
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- John Cassidy offers ten options to reduce income inequality. And Andrew Coyne concurs with the first and most important suggestion that income supports sufficient to provide a stable living to everybody would make for the ideal solution.
- Meanwhile, Frances Russell is the latest to write that the Cons’ income-splitting scheme is only designed to exacerbate the gap between the rich and the rest of us. Miles Corak notes that even Republicans can’t avoid recognizing that equality of opportunity is fading in the U.S. – though he recognizes their inclination to avoid (Read more…)
Fumes from these bitumen storage tanks are allegedly driving Alberta families from their homes.
Read this Jan. 26th Vancouver Observer story by Mychaylo Prystupa on the extreme effects of bitumen fumes from Baytex Energy’s storage tanks on families near Peace River Alberta.
Northwest Alberta grain farmer Alain Labrecque recalls the first winter in 2011 when the fumes from oil tanks near his home in the Peace River area seemed to trigger terrible health effects for himself, his wife and two small children.
“I started getting massive headaches. My eyes twitched. I got dizzy spells. I often felt like I was going (Read more…)
Lac Megantic explosion.
We have been hearing more about the dangers of transporting tar sands, pipeline explosion in Manitoba – TransCanada pipeline’s “apology” is hardly enough – train derailments and, worse, explosions in the case of Lac Megantic. Despite all this, Harper is blind to reality, he wants to exploit and ship more tar sands crude oil, regardless of the health and safety consequences for Canadians.
Harper is muzzling scientists who dare present facts that contradict him, it’s all about making the oil and gas industry bosses happy, not about the health and safety of the general public. However, the inconvenient truth is still (Read more…)
The port of Churchill (John Woods)
Read this Jan. 18 story from The Winnipeg Free Press on a new government report envisioning the transformation of the northern port of Churchill, Manitoba into an export hub for Alberta bitumen and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Shipping oil by rail across northern Manitoba could be just the beginning. A government report suggests exporting liquified natural gas (LNG) from the Port of Churchill and eventually building a pipeline for Alberta bitumen.
The report, posted on the Manitoba government website last fall, studied ways to bolster Churchill’s economy and diversify the commodities shipped from its (Read more…)
ACFN Chief Allan Adam on tour recently with Neil Young (Canadian Press)
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – The First Nation that was the main focus of Neil Young’s recent concert tour about Alberta’s oilsands has withdrawn from a government environmental panel.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation announced Friday that it is pulling out of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring program.
The program is the showpiece of federal-provincial efforts to monitor environmental change in the oilsands region.
A spokesman for the First Nation says it made the move because the program lacks meaningful input from aboriginals and doesn’t deal with concerns about (Read more…)
Here, on how the reactions of the federal government and the rail industry six months after the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion only seem to reinforce the risk of more disasters to come.
For further reading…- Monique Beaudin reports on the finger-pointing and other attempts to avoid responsibility on the part of the corporations linked to the explosion. And I’ll especially highlight the chutzpah of the group of oil services companies in arguing that as U.S. companies, they’re entitled to ship oil through Canada while being above the law when it comes to cleanup of a spill.- Meanwhile, (Read more…)
Author Michael Ondaatje, actress Neve Campbell and rocker Gord Downie are all standing with Neil Young
by The Canadian Press
More than 20 notable Canadians have penned a letter to support musician Neil Young following his concert tour to raise money for a First Nation fighting oilsands expansion in northern Alberta.
The group includes creative and performing artists, authors, scientists, a lawyer, and Order of Canada recipients.
Actor Neve Campbell, Booker-prize-winning author and Officer of the Order of Canada Michael Ondaatje and musician Gord Downie of the rock group The Tragically Hip are among those who have signed the letter.
It (Read more…)
by Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON – Opposition politicians are raising concerns over a report done for Alberta’s energy regulator that suggests doctors are reluctant to draw links between health problems and the energy industry.
“We do have a culture in this province which actively diminishes healthy and important debate about the health and environmental effects of our dominant industry,” NDP critic Rachel Notley said Monday.
David Swann, a Liberal member of the legislature, said the government doesn’t even want to know the truth. Said Swann, who lost his job as a public health doctor for speaking out on climate (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Erika Shaker rightly questions why government policy toward business is based on a level of permissiveness which we’d recognize as utter madness in dealing with a child: Sure, all parents make mistakes, and all kids have meltdowns (some of which might have, admittedly, been handled better).
But it seems to me that even the worst examples of permissive parenting pale in comparison to the way politicians and pundits coddle, make excuses, and encourage double standards for questionable (even deplorable) behaviour from corporations and their representatives.
And perhaps it’s the post-holiday sugar-and-excessive-consumerism hangover (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Graeme Wearden reports on Oxfam’s latest study on inequality and the outsized political influence of the wealthy few: The Oxfam report found that over the past few decades, the rich have successfully wielded political influence to skew policies in their favour on issues ranging from financial deregulation, tax havens, anti-competitive business practices to lower tax rates on high incomes and cuts in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, said the report.
This (Read more…)
The unholy trinity of the Alberta tarsands industry, the Conservative Party and the right-wing media has gone all-out in its attacks on Neil Young for his stance against their destructive policies and actions. One thing that these corporate wolves and subservient sheep overlook is that, of course, Neil Young is right.
The main arguments by the Conservative tarsands mob are that:
1) Young hasn’t lived in Canada for a long time, so he has no right to talk about anything that happens in Canada.
2) He’s a rich rock star, so he has no right to talk (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Bill Kerry writes that extreme inequality serves to reinforce itself – and points out what needs to be done to counter the temptation to kick others down: One of the major difficulties in tackling inequality is the way it coerces many people into accepting and even promoting it. In a steep social hierarchy people will often choose to shore up their own precarious social position by kicking down on poorer, weaker folk rather than challenging the richer more powerful folk above them.…So what do we do about it? Well, it’s quite straightforward if not (Read more…)
Friday, January 17, 2014
Canadians may soon know more about the chemicals being used to extract bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands, thanks to West Coast Environmental Law and our colleagues at Environmental Defence and the Association Québécoise de Lutte Contre la Pollution Atmosphérique (AQLPA). But, unless the federal government can be persuaded to drop it’s narrow interpretation of pollution disclosure rules, Environment Canada won’t be requiring oil and gas companies to provide information about what chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This means that most Canadians will have little to no knowledge of the potentially harmful and toxic (Read more…)