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The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley farmland, ecosystems worth $8 Billion a year: study

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

Keeping the Peace Valley’s farmland and ecosystems intact would be worth $7.9 billion to $8.6 billion a year, says a new study from the David Suzuki Foundation.

The region, in northeast BC, is under threat from the proposed Site C Dam – which would flood or disturb over 30,000 acres of prime agricultural land – along with natural gas fracking operations, logging, mining and other forms of industrialization. The study is a follow-up to an earlier report which analyzed the area via satellite imagery, determining that some 67% (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Garner highlights the futility of trying to answer poverty, equality and other social issues with the empty promise of low-paying “jobs! jobs! jobs!”: The central “solution” in the government’s action plan is jobs. The little money dedicated to this initiative is all directed to employment inclusion and skills training. It’s not surprising. It’s the same answer we receive when our supporters throughout the province advocate for a poverty reduction plan for B.C.  There are two important points to make in response. First, many people with disabilities are unable to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Industrial energy expert: BC govt policy, IPPs to blame for high power bills

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

Read this July 24 op-ed in The Vancouver Sun by the former head of the Association of Major Power Users of BC, Dan Potts – who places the blame for skyrocketing power bills squarely on the BC Liberal Government’s shoulders. Potts’ comments mirror the editorial opinion of The Common Sense Canadian, published repeatedly in these pages over the past four years:

BC Hydro has recently released its annual report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The details of energy costs are set forth on (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Human Rights: Council of Canadians Delivers Water to Detroit

The Council of Canadians this week continued its support of the international human right to water by delivering convoy of water to Detroit city residents.

The post Human Rights: Council of Canadians Delivers Water to Detroit appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, looking at the sad similarities between Regina and Detroit, and noting that the crucial step we should take to avoid the latter’s humanitarian tragedy is to fund our commitments to workers and residents while we have the means to do so.

For further reading…- Tom McKay and Wallace Turbeville each discuss how the decision to run Detroit under corporate principles made a bad financial situation far worse. – Jon Swaine reports on the recent move to shut off water for up to 100,000 residents. Monica Davey writes about the vote to slash already-meager pensions. And Dominic Rushe (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Under Liberals, big projects often double in cost…Why would Site C Dam be any different?

Seeing red: The roof on BC Place Stadium is just one of many cost overruns on the BC Liberals’ watch

Oh, for the days of the fast ferries…compared to what we have now.

Most British Columbians will recall Premier Glen Clark’s late 1990′s boondoggle, which saw the construction of three new coastal vessels balloon from a projected $210 million to nearly $460 million.

How could we forget? After the relentless salvos from pundits like Vaughan Palmer and Mike Smyth led to the NDP government’s collapse, in every election cycle since, the incumbent BC Liberals have dragged out these ghost ships to bolster their own (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam threatens BC’s credit rating: Hudson’s Hope Mayor, Council

The following is a July 15 open letter to Premier Christy Clark from the District of Hudson’s Hope – near the location of the proposed Site C reservoir.

Dear Premier Clark,

Re: British Columbia Utilities Commission Review of Proposed Site C Dam Project

I am writing to urgently request that you refer the proposed Site C Dam Project to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for further review of project costs, alternatives to Site C, and related issues prior to making a decision on this project.

Prudent fiscal management requires further review of Site C

The District of Hudson’s Hope, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Fort St. John businessman isn’t buying economic promises

Longtime Fort St. John businessman Bob Fedderly isn’t buying the economic benefits touted for the proposed Site C Dam.

The owner of Fedderly Transportation sat down with The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis at his office in Fort St. John last month to discuss the project, which would be located near Fort St. John, with an 80km reservoir stretching west to the town of Hudson’s Hope.

Among Fedderly’s biggest concerns are the boom-and-bust effects of project construction on his community, the impact it would have on already skyrocketing power bills for his business, and the waste of tax dollars on the $8 (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: RiverBlue doc asks: How dirty are your blue jeans?

“How dirty are your blue jeans?” That’s the question posed by the forthcoming, Vancouver-produced documentary RiverBlue. The film examines the pollution produced by the blue jean manufacturing and tannery sectors, also exploring the latest technologies and cutting-edge solutions to the problem.

Jeans are dyed with harmful chemicals (RiverBlue)

From China’s Pearl River and India’s Ganges to the waterways of Bangladesh and Mexico, host and founder of World Rivers Day, BC’s own Mark Angelo, takes viewers up some of the world’s great rivers, many threatened by the fashion industry.

The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis sits down with Angelo and RiverBlue producer (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report

A new study confirms that pollutants from the Alberta tar sands contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods.

The post Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

The Common Sense Canadian: Fortis, US mull massive Similkameen dam; Where is BC govt?

A popular recreation site, the Similkameen Valley is threatened by dams (Photo:

By Ken Farquharson

The Similkameen River valley provides one of the most popular and scenic travel routes in BC. The campsites strung along the river, swimming at Bromley Rock, the old mining town of Hedley, the fruit stands of Keremeos, the wineries of Cawston, and the transition to the sage brush of the Okanagan, make for a varied and memorable BC travel experience. The river provides kayak and canoe runs for both the expert and the novice, and is one of only two free flowing transboundary (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Thomas Frank interviews Barry Lynn about the U.S.’ alarming concentration of wealth and power. Henry Blodget thoroughly rebuts the myth that “rich people create jobs”. And David Atkins goes a step further in discussing how hoarded wealth hurts the economy in general – with a particularly apt observation about how inequality erodes our social connections: It is not an accident that trust in major institutions has declined on a linear track with rising inequality. Study after study has shown that trust in our fellow citizens and in institutions at (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Maude Barlow: “A life of activism gives hope, energy and direction”

by: Maude Barlow | June 19, 2014

I received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto this morning. Here are my speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony:

Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students,

It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day.

In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C dam would hike power bills, drive mills, mines out of business

Read this June 10 column from Judith Lavoie at Demog Canada on the opposition to the proposed Site C Dam from major industrial power users.

Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a reality, rate hikes could put mills and mines out of business while saddling taxpayers with a costly white elephant and ballooning BC Hydro debt.

A decision on the $7.9 billion plan to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River will be made by the federal and provincial governments this fall.

Economic questions about the mega-project were raised (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: NDP MLA questions govt on First Nations consultation

Doug Donaldson, NDP MLA for the Stikine region, recently called out the BC Liberal government over the proposed Site C Dam and the strong opposition it faces from Treaty 8 First Nations in the Peace Valley. Said Donaldson in Question Period: The review panel was clear when it said that Site C will have significant adverse effects on First Nations traditional use that cannot be mitigated. This is a big issue.

“The Minister of Aboriginal Relations said that government’s consultation was adequate and First Nations would be part of the solution, but the panel maintains the province has yet to (Read more…)

cartoon life: Bag of water.

Filed under: cartoon Tagged: beach, surreal, water

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam is most expensive power option: new study

Read this May 27 story from the Alaska Highway News (via Business in Vancouver) on a new study by the Helios Centre which pegs the proposed Site C Dam as the most expensive power option for BC’s future.

A study commissioned by the Treaty 8 Tribal Association is questioning the Site C Joint Review Panel’s recently announced conclusion that Site C would be “the least expensive of the alternatives” for new energy and capacity within British Columbia.

“When compared with portfolios that make use of alternative resources, Site C is in fact the most expensive of the alternatives studied,” (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Vaughn Palmer: Site C Dam obsession misses alternatives like geothermal

The multi-billion-dollar proposed Site C Dam (artist’s rendering)

Read this May 9 Vancouver Sun column by Vaughn Palmer on the ways in which the obsessive fixation of BC Hydro and its Liberal Government masters on building Site C Dam – over three decades in the making – has overlooked other, more modern and sustainable alternatives, like geothermal.

The joint review panel on Site C this week provided stimulating insights into how the B.C. Liberals, in concert with BC Hydro, have narrowed the range of options for satisfying the future power needs of the province.

Take the case of geothermal (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: “The Benefits are clear”…as mud

A section of the Peace Valley that stands to be flooded for Site C Dam (Photo: Andrea Morison)

The Joint Review Panel into the $10 Billion* proposed Site C Dam released its findings on the project today.

In a summary (read full report here), it stated:

The benefits are clear. Despite high initial costs, and some uncertainty about when the power would be needed, the Project would provide a large and long – term increment of firm energy and capacity at a price that would benefit future generations.

But there is nothing clear about the statement itself – which leaves the waters as muddy as the banks (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: NDP Leader Horgan opposes BC’s proposed Site C Dam

Newly-minted BC NDP Leader John Horgan has come out against the proposed Site C Dam

VANCOUVER – B.C. New Democratic Party Leader John Horgan is raising concerns about the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam, just days before an environmental review on the project becomes public.

The dam proposed by BC Hydro would be the third on northeastern B.C.’s Peace River and would flood about 55 square kilometres of land along 83 kilometres of river valley.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conducted hearings in December and January, submitted its report to the federal government last week and is (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Beach

Boogie boarded today in the Pacific. The water was very cold but I went in a couple times.

Supper last night.

Tonight was El Indio, a fish taco.

The Canadian Progressive: Fracking: Council of Canadians’ ‘Frack Corp’ Fracks Parliament Hill

by: Council of Canadians | Press Release | May 1, 2014

‘Frack Corp’ fracked Parliament Hill this morning using a 14-foot fracking rig spilling fracking wastewater in the process. The Council of Canadians, the organization behind the action, said it was to highlight the grave risks associated with fracking such as well leaks and wastewater spills.

“We organized this action to drive home to Members of Parliament why Canadian and Indigenous communities are calling for a ban on fracking,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Affected communities have been sounding the alarm on fracking for years because (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Northwest Transmission Line: Environmental, financial boondoggle

According to new documents obtained via Freedom of Information search by the Vancouver Sun, the construction of the wildly over-budget, 344 km Northwest Transmission Line has been rife with environmental mismanagement. The line – which departs from a junction near Terrace, will carry power to a series of new mines in northwest BC, including the controversial Red Chris.

The above video, which I shot at the height of the line’s construction in 2012, demonstrates some of the myriad violations unearthed by the Sun. According to reporter Larry Pynn:

The documents identify a lack of sediment controls, potential for the spread of invasive plant species, smouldering burn (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Canada Coaching Countries to Waste Water

Canada, a decade ago, used to do more good than bad in the wider world. Now we’re an international wrecking crew, teaching countries how to waste their water supplies on international disasters like shale oil.

This sort of unproductive activity is also changing our climate. It’s also slowing investment in renewable energy technologies that don’t pollute and consume water or air.

In any case, I have the utmost confidence that solar will continue to collapse at its current rate of -600%.— Chris Turner (@theturner) April 15, 2014

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Our Acidic Ocean

The last time Earth's oceans were this acidic, a six mile-wide asteroid had just smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula:…— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) March 26, 2014

It’s incalculably high what this will cost us.