The Green Party doesn’t have a massive “war chest.” We don’t have corporate or union donors and the big advertising budgets they bring.
Our strength is in our grass roots… ordinary Canadians who think green thoughts. People who want a greener future. Not just for us, but for our kids. And posterity.
What we do have is ideas. Ideas worked out by members. Ideas expressed in policy, blogs, and multimedia. Because the Green Party doesn’t have big advertising budgets, it is very hard to get green ideas reported in Main Stream Media (MSM).
But we can get our ideas out there— if we work together.
You can help these ideas take root and grow by sharing them with your social media network.
Some people hesitate about sharing links to articles & videos. We worry that talking about politics online will alienate our family and friends. Let’s face it: we all have family and friends with different ideas. Some support other parties, and certainly many — probably even most — don’t support any party or even consider themselves political.
The Internet is still new enough that it’s easy to forget the reason it exists is to make it easy to exchange information.
Social Media is for sharing our interests with our family and friends. Maybe you’re a Green Party member, supporter, or even voter. But maybe you’re not, maybe you don’t like the Green Party candidate in your riding, maybe you don’t agree with everything in Green Party policy. But chances are good that anyone reading this is interested in at least some green ideas.
If we each share one green idea, article, or video on social media each day, we aren’t likely to alienate anyone. Especially as Facebook and Twitter have taken to limiting which of our posts our friends and family actually see. The beauty of social media sharing is that there is no need to argue or try to convert anyone. By sharing articles that resonate with us, we’re giving our friends and family an opportunity to learn what’s important to us — very often information they won’t see in the MSM. If they aren’t interested, they won’t read that article or watch that video. But maybe they will.
Even if they just skip over that Tweet or Facebook post, the fact you’ve shared it increases how far Twitter or Facebook will share. Even if our family and friends don’t read our blog articles, or look at our videos, or look at our graphics, you’ll help WRGreens increase our “Google juice” just by sharing.
Especially in a world where the first official act of the new American president was to take down the American Government Climate Change page, it becomes more and more evident we can no longer afford a way of life that puts corporate interests ahead of the public interest. We can’t put profits ahead of clean air and fresh water. So please, help us make social media work for us.
We honour and value equally the Earth’s biological and ecological diversity together with the context of individual responsibility toward all beings.
In Calgary this past week the Green Party of Canada took a principled stand for human rights, demonstrating our respect for people in Canada and around the world.
S16-P013 Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution: addendum to current Middle East policy
Canada’s friendship with Israel does not mean we should avert our eyes from the human rights abuses Israel continues to visit upon its captive indigenous population. The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has been under martial law for decades. The Government of Israel’s continuing policy of appropriating land for settlements from what little land is left in Palestinian hands has been deplored around the world, not only because it is an egregious violation of International Law, but, as the United States has pointed out, this active colonialism undermines any hope for peace.
If the Green Party of Canada is to live up to the promise of our core values of non-violence, diversity and social justice, we must hold every country — including and perhaps especially our friends — accountable to International Law. The sad truth is that Canada has failed to do what our government’s own policy says it will.
Thankfully the Green Party has stepped up to the plate, with the adoption of enhanced foreign policy that will give the growing number of Canadians who want peace in the Middle East a voice in Parliament. At the SGM, we revisited the Israel-Palestine policy adopted in August to address perceived problems in the original resolution. At the Calgary SGM, the new Consensus Resolution put forward by the GPC Shadow Cabinet was adopted by 84.35% of the plenary. GPC members who weren’t able to attend can watch the livestream on the Party Website.
You can also listen to Dimiti Lascaris (the original resolution’s mover) being interviewed on Vancouver’s Co-Op Radio. Dimitri explains this past weekend’s adoption of a suite of policies defending the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada and Palestine establishes the Green Party of Canada as the champion of human rights in Canada’s Parliament. (His interview begins at 19:52 of the podcast.)
Canada is not the only member of the International Community to be reconsidering Middle East policy. I found the following quotation from Australian MP Adam Bandt to be particularly apt.
“There is no point in being friends with governments if you do not use that supposed friendship to stand up to them when they do the wrong thing—to say, ‘You need to act on what is clearly an egregious abuse of human rights.’ Otherwise, if you do not stand up to governments when they do that, you become complicit in it. The standard that you walk past is the standard that you accept. That means that the Australian government has now been put on notice. It has taken action in the past, and it is time that it renewed that action so that we address what is clearly an unlawful but also immoral abuse of children.”
— The Honourable Adam Bandt, Australian MP, (Green) Nov. 21, 2016
Truth and Reconciliation
As Canada embarks upon our own road to Truth and Reconciliation, we need to do what we can to promote active solutions. For the GPC that process began with the adoption of this suite of Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ rights policy, including rejection of the odious “Doctrine of Discovery.”
S16-P001 Implement Recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report, 1996
Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans
BE IT RESOLVED That the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada implement the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
S16-P002 Rebuilding and Recognition of Original Indigenous Nations
Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to implement, support and resource measures to advance Indigenous nation building where Indigenous peoples develop and implement their own strategies for rebuilding Indigenous nations and measures to reclaim Indigenous nationhood, including;
(a) cultural revitalization and healing processes; and,
(b) political processes for building consensus on the basic composition of the Aboriginal nation and their political structures; and,
(c) processes undertaken by individual communities and by groups of communities that may share Indigenous nationhood.
S16-P003 Support Indigenous Women
Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urges the Government of Canada to work in partnership with Indigenous women and fund such programs and services that ensure poverty amongst Indigenous women is eliminated.
S16-P004 Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery
Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada renounces and repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery and calls on the Government of Canada to repudiate and renounce the Doctrine of Discovery.
S16-P005 Indigenous Peoples’ Health Care in Canada
Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans
BE IT RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to engage Indigenous Peoples of Canada in the negotiation and implementation of the next federal/provincial /territorial Health Accord;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to establish measurable goals and identify and close gaps in health outcomes for Indigenous people by implementing the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to ensure that Health Care services for Aboriginal people in Canada meet or exceed the standards set for all Canadians;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party calls on the Government of Canada to provide federal funding to Indigenous healing centres.
Former Green Party Deputy Leader and current Councillor of the City of Vancouver, Adriane Carr submitted an emergency resolution to Green Party SGM regarding the recent ill advised Kinder Morgan decision.
The Green Party has been clear about pipelines: the only hope of effective climate change policy starts with keeping it in the ground. In spite of our new Liberal Government’s COP 21 commitment in Paris, Canadians have been seeing a disconnect between words and actions. Instead of the promised NEB reformation, the current government has left the flawed process in place, and insupportable pipelines are being approved same as always.
S16-P020 is the Husky Oil Spill resolution, intended to raise public awareness of the effects of the July 20 2016 oil spill in Saskatchewan, calling on Saskatchewan to review its environmental assessment rules and ensure there are adequate pipeline inspections
Elizabeth gave a report on the Electoral Reform process to the plenary on Saturday (I’m hoping to post video on the WRGreens YouTube channel).
In order to fulfil their mandate, the MPs representing four of the five parties in Parliament and on the ERRE Committee came together to form consensus. This required both Green and NDP Committee members to soften the stance of their respective parties and accept the notion of a referendum. (Incredibly, the Liberals who promised to make every vote count dissented, as the party is now frantically back pedalling on their own promise while the other four parties fight for it.) You can read/download the PDF the full final ERRE Committe report for yourself here.
On Sunday morning there was an Electoral Reform workshop, featuring PEI Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, who has recently having his own adventures with Electoral Reform. The workshops resulted in three new resolutions that were adopted at the SGM (but still in need of ratification — don’t forget to vote!)
Members of the SGM Electoral Reform workshop decided to amend party policy as follows, with three new resolutions that frame the GPC policy to allow Elizabeth more leeway in Electoral Reform negotiations on our behalf.
Be it resolved that the Green Party of Canada’s position regarding referenda on electoral reform is:
That the Green Party of Canada supports conducting a referendum on electoral reform with options of proportional systems with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform, but only
1) if the referendum presents only proportional voting options;
2) after at least two consecutive elections using a proportional voting system.
To more effectively lobby for meaningful electoral reform at this critical juncture, it was decided the Green Party should explicitly back a single specific form of Proportional Representation. Among other things it will make it easier to explain this important issue the majority of Canadians who are just now learning about PR when we only have one system to explain. Although the GPC has expressed a preference in this resolution, the language of the resolution was careful not to close the door to support of any other suitable Proportional System with a Gallagher Index of 5 or less.
S16-D018 Preferred Voting Model
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada supports mixed member proportional representation as its preferred method for achieving equal and effective votes.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will remain open to other proportional representation options with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform
The third electoral reform resolution empowers the party to keep working hard for electoral reform at this critical juncture.
S16-D019 GPC Task Force
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada create a task force that will liaise and work with the Party Leader and the Shadow Cabinet to focus on promoting electoral reform within Canada.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will direct resources and funding toward educating the public on the GPC’s electoral reform priorities
Whose Democracy Is It?
The Liberal Government has sent postcards to every Canadian household (at great expense), completely ignoring the work of its own ERRE Process in which Canadians are asked to complete a deeply problematic survey which requires participants to sacrifice an unreasonable amount of personal privacy in order to have our input included. The Government’s own website gives a little background, and then redirects us to the corporate website of the marketing firm we are expected to share such personal information as our household income. This is supposed to be okay, because we are not required to tell them our name. Except the personally identifiable information we are required to share is sufficient for Vox Pop Labs to ensure the answers made by multiple people completing the survey at the same address are distinct individuals (indicating the personal data we are required to surrender is far more invasive than simply giving our names would be.
At the GPC SGM there was talk of Operation Postcard parties throughout the festive season, and to make the process easier, Bonnie North was instrumental in helping develop the tools to make participation easier.
Fair Vote Canada had also set up a website intended to help Canadians navigate the convoluted survey at mycanadiandemocracy.ca/
The negatives attached to the mydemocracy.ca online survey make it difficult to recommend that Canadians engage in the Government’s dubious exercise, particularly in light of concern the aim of the survey is to provide justification to back away from meaningful reform.
Which is why I was ecstatic to discover there are other ingenious ways to send an emphatic message. I was particularly taken with this clever idea of what we can do with our government postcards:
There are many variations on this theme, some of which can be found under the Twitter #OperationPostcard hashtag. But since only a single postcard is being sent to each Canadian household, those of in homes with more than one citizen are limited to a single opportunity to express a preference with the postcard. But fear not! If there are more people in your household who would like to offer an opinion, or even if you haven’t received your postcard yet in the mail, the Green Party provides an opportunity to print your own copy of the postcard at home here.
The Real Questions
Because the government survey fails on so many levels, the Green Party has put together its own straight forward survey to allow Canadians to answer The Real Questions. It’s packaged in an online tool so we can send to our own responses ~ along with am optional personalized message ~ direct to Maryam Monsef, The Minister of Democratic Institutions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I sincerely hope every Canadian takes this opportunity to make our preferences known to the government. You don’t even have to be a GPC member or even a supporter to fill this survey out… it’s being offered as a public service.
The most fun to come out of the electoral reform workshop was this parody song, “All I Want For Chrisrtmas Is PR,” performed here by the GPC SGM Plenary.
In the past, all Green Party Policy resolutions passed at Convention were ratified by the entire membership in an online vote. SGM 2016 has restored this practice, and so all GPC members should be in receipt of email instructions on how to vote to ratify the resolutions. All GPC members across Canada should have received an email on December 7th, 2017 which contains information and our voting credentials.
If you haven’t received your, please contact the GPC immediately. Don’t forget to vote!
The above links only work if you sign into the GPC website (they’re in the secure members area). I’ve included them as I found it helpful to be able to refer to the texts to know what I was voting on. There didn’t seem to be a way to do that from within the voting app.
“I am very happy that all the motions being sent out for ratification were the products of a consensus-seeking process. Many were unanimous. Those that moved to a vote were passed overwhelmingly. I support all of them.”
— Elizabeth May, “What happened in our Calgary meeting”
All GPC members can (and should) participate in the ratification vote. You can vote until February 6th, 2017. Don’t leave it until the last minute! Remember your membership must be in good standing at least 30 days prior to the end of voting, so if you’ve allowed yours to lapse, get it caught up before January 6th, 2017.
(And while you’re at it, this would be a good time to make a donation to the GPC ~ and don’t forget the GPO 🙂
Do you know a $400 GPC donation will give you a $300 tax refund? Money spent on membership and at least some of the cost associated with AGM and SGM attendance is eligible. Remember to stay within annual donation limits for political donations. Hmm…sounds like we should have a dedicated article about these rules for federal and provincial parties here.
Justin Trudeau wants to tax carbon to impact climate change.
The Problem: Canada isn’t producing enough to make an impact. Sign The Petition!
Click “Sign Up” to sign a petition to demand Trudeau Stop the Implementation of a carbon tax.
I was curious to see what the Petition actually said, so I did click on the link.
If you do the math, we’re emitting at a level 3 times greater than the average of the rest of the world.
If you take into consideration that emissions stay in our atmosphere for millennia, the 1.65% number isn’t even close to what our contribution has been toward climate change. It will take a world war mobilization type effort to avert runaway climate change.
I don’t agree with a cap and trade system, and believe that the generous subsidies that we provide for the fossil fuel industry should be eliminated as well, but a price on carbon will be required to get the masses out of their emissions comfort zones. The tax amounts to 2 cents a litre in the first year and only 11 cents in the last year. We seem to have been able to handle those kinds of increases in the past without substantial hardship. You will be affected far less if you reduce your emissions, that’s what the tax is intended to do. Or is it easier to throw others (who are geographically and financially more vulnerable) under the bus? The mindset that got us into this mess, certainly won’t get us out of it. It’s time to move away from the use of fossil fuels – if we do that – there will be no burden from the tax.
When the largest collective scientific effort in human history tells us that we clearly need to be shifting away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible, the best the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has to offer is the equivalent of my college roommates letting the dirty dishes pile up in hopes that someone else will wash them first.
Let’s look at the numbers to see how well the “we’re such a small part of the problem that we’re not worth bothering with” argument stands up to logic. Canada is the 8th largest emitter in the world, and has contributed more to combined historical emissions than all but seven other nations. With less than half of one percent of the global population, Canada emits 1.67% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada has 0.475% of the world’s population. That means that of total current global emissions, Canada takes up 3.52 times our fair share of a number that is collectively far too large to begin with. That number is also clearly artificially low because the way it is calculated leaves out a number of glaringly obvious considerations. In any honest assessment we also bear responsibility for emissions from factories that were offshored in order to slash wages but that are still producing products exclusively for sale in North American markets, because that’s our stuff and therefore clearly our responsibility. Canada is also responsible for the emissions resulting from burning the roughly 5% of global fossil fuel exports that come from us. So we’re emitting several times more than our fair share. Any argument that Canada should not act is, by definition, irresponsible.
If we look at a more honest per capita measurement, we can see that the average Canadian is causing more than twice as much harm to the planet than the average Chinese citizen (typically the first direction fingers are pointed). China has increased the strength of its climate commitments aggressively several times in recent years. China is also well on its way to meeting or even exceeding its targets. Canada, on the other hand, not only has spectacularly weak emissions targets compared to the other industrialized nations, we are in no way even going to come close to meeting those targets. Here’s another comparison: China is investing 1% of its per capita income into renewable energy. Canada is investing 0.19% instead, making less than one fifth as much effort to move away from fossil fuel use.
Finally, there is a level of absurdity about overseas finger pointing. I don’t have the opportunity to lobby the governments of Saudi Arabia or China to change their oil policies, but even if they do the right thing and stop producing oil, our continuing to do so willy nilly would still be roasting our loved ones. Canadians do have the ability as well as the responsibility to impact emissions here at home.
Caterina Lindman represented the Citizen’s Climate Lobby at the Waterloo Region Climate Consulation at Kitchener City Hall in August. CCL is a strong advocate for the Fee and Dividend carbon tax; which is why one of the things she spoke about was the CCL recommendation to begin with a $30 per tonne carbon tax in 2018, with annual increases of $10 per year.
Earlier this month the Canadian Government announced its plan to implement a Carbon tax.
“It will start at $10 per tonne and increase by $10 each year, up to $50 a tonne by 2022. Trudeau added that the tax will be revenue neutral for the federal government. Proceeds from the tax will be returned to the provinces where they were collected.
“Trudeau said that details regarding implementation will largely be left up to the provinces. Each jurisdiction should decide on whether they want a cap-and-trade system (the sort of scheme favoured by the Obama administration) or a direct price on greenhouse-gas emissions (like with B.C.’s system for taxing air pollution).”
You can’t, however, say the same about fossil fuel pipelines.
Credits Explainer video and Fee & Dividend Infographic by Citizen’s Climate Lobby
Energy East Pipeline and Caterina Lindman photos by Laurel Russwurm, released under a Creative Commons Attribution License
Kitchener City Hall Rotunda
200 King St. W., Kitchener
Kitchener, N2G 4G7, Canada
All five MPs in Waterloo Region are teaming up for this multi-constituency consultation. We need you to commit now to attend this most important of consultations!
We’ll show our support for the People’s Climate Plan. Organizers with the People’s Climate Plan are calling for the national climate strategy that respects climate science and Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement, ensures a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and enshrines justice for all workers and Indigenous communities.
Today is Earth Overshoot day, which means that today humanity has used up the amount of resources that the planet can reliably provide us renewably for the entire year. It moves several days earlier each year; in 2015 it happened on August 13th. The official website makes a number of suggestions for ways that you can make a difference.
The idea that we can continue to demand ever more each year from a planet that isn’t getting any bigger is more than a little nuts, so maybe it’s time to stop taking the word of economists about it.
Bring good quality clothes that you don’t want anymore and leave with the same amount of new stuff!
Event is completely free and is to raise awareness about textile waste and the environment.
Men’s, women’s, kid’s, baby’s, accessories and shoes – all are welcome.
We have partnered with the Kidney Foundation to collect any leftover clothes with proceeds going to research. Please feel free to bring any clothing you wish to donate as well.
— Trusted Clothes facebook event page
Although this is not a Green Party event, Trusted Clothes commitment to ethical, sustainable environmentally friendly (and health conscious!) endeavours will very likely appeal to green folk.
When we talk about climate action in Canada, the conversation often turns to fossil fuel subsidies — the billions of dollars our Federal and Provinical governments, as well as Export Development Canada, have been spending to support our oil & gas sector. The 2015 Paris climate agreement, signed last fall by the current Federal government, gives new urgency to keep global temperature rise below two degrees. To do that, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
This week, the “Three Amigos” summit saw Canada, the U.S., and Mexico agree to common goals for transitioning to a low-carbon, clean energy future. Like the Paris agreement, it’s a generally positive committment that needs to be followed up — soon — with action.
The “North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership”, as it’s called, re-affirms Canada’s 2009 committment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies in the “medium term”. This week’s news sets a more specific goal — Canada, the U.S., and Mexico have agreed to a phase-out date of 2025.
So let’s get going. If Canada is serious about transitioning away from fossil fuels, we need to do much more than the Liberal election platform proposes (a modest scaling-down of one particular tax deduction). We still have a complex web of subsidies that benefit the oil & gas sector. They all need to go.
Tax deductions let corporations declare expenses to reduce their taxable income. These four programs directly encourage the expansion of fossil fuel operations at home and abroad:
10% deduction for Canadian Oil and Gas Property Expenses (e.g. buying oil sands rights, buying a well, leases, permits, and licenses)
30% deduction for Canadian Development Expenses (e.g. expanding a mine, building new haulage routes)
30% deduction for Foreign Resource Expenses (e.g. overseas exploration and drilling of fossil fuels)
100% deduction for Canadian Exploration Expenses (e.g. surveying land for new fossil fuel extraction opportunities, environmental studies, and community consultations before opening a mine)
Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) is a way for all kinds of businesses to deduct the cost of equipment over several years.
Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA) speeds that process up, putting money back into the hands of fossil-fuel companies faster and reducing their taxes.
While the ACCA no longer applies for oil sands projects, it was recently introduced for liquified natural gas (LNG) projects.
In 2014, Canada eliminated duty fees for offshore oil and gas drilling equipment. This makes it more affordable for Canadian companies to drill for fossil fuels in our vulnerable Atlantic and Arctic waters.
Flow-through share deductions
Normally, tax deductions can only be claimed by the business that actually incurs the eligible expense. However, flow-through shares let corporations pass on the deductions directly to investors, whose income gets taxed as capital gains, at half the rate of regular income.
Canada allows flow-through shares for qualifying Canadian Development Expenses and Canadian Exploration Expenses – a sweet kickback for both corporations and their individual investors.
In Canada, natural resources such as minerals, oil, gas, and groundwater are owned by the Provinces. They charge royalties to companies that extract these resources.
B.C. offers a Deep Drilling Credit that waives royalty fees between $444,000 and $2.81 million per well for new fossil-fuel drilling projects.
B.C. also offers up to 50% discount on royalites for oil & gas companies to build new roads and pipelines through the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program. The purpose of the program is to boost oil & gas exploration, and extend the drilling season year-round.
Reduced sales tax
Both Manitoba and B.C. don’t charge provincial sales tax on machienry and equipment involved in oil, gas, and mining. This includes prototyping equipment, surveying and exploration equipment, and even drill bits. There’s also a discount on the electricity required to operate the machinery.
Where do we go from here?
This week’s “Three Amigos” agreement needs to be followed up with aggressive action.
If we are to keep the planet from spilling over that 2-degree threshold, we can’t continue funding dirty fuels.
If we’re going to encourage clean energy development, we can’t keep incentivizing oil & gas exploration.
As we move forward, remember that there is a lot of work to be undone. It starts with dismantling these subsidies.
Today (Friday 13 May, 2016) is the last day the public can weigh in on this awful open pit mine project.
Canada’s First Nations peoples have always stood up in defense of the land; it is important that all Canadians do our part. I’ve just got the information, which I dressed up into this very long submission. If I wasn’t sharing this with you here, I would probably have picked one or two things and made a much shorter submission, but since I’m sharing this here I decided to load up the whole works. Submissions don’t have to be long and complicated; feel free to make use of this.
Subject: Sisson Mine Project, Registry # 63169
To: The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and The Honourable Catherine McKenna
I am pleased to raise my voice in support the Maliseet First Nations who rightly oppose the proposed open-pit mine because of the terrible impact it will have on them and the environment. As big as Canada is, we simply can not afford the risk of environmental contamination we know will result from the Sisson open pit mine.
Since the Canadian government has finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples it is unthinkable that a project that will so dramaticaly interfere with Maliseet First Nations people’s right to traditional use of crown land would even be considered.
Please heed the serious concerns of the Canadian citizens of the Maliseet First Nations. Don’t put the commercial interests of a private mining corporation ahead of the well being of Canadians and our environment. Government should seek to protect public health and safety, to ensure that the lives o citizens are not negatively impacted and/or endangered by a project like this open pit mine so fraught with risk. More and more people around the world are realizing that jobs aren’t any good if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water or grow food it is safe to eat.
The Sisson open-pit mine project is predicted to result in the loss of land (approximately 1,253 hectares), and residual impacts on resources used by Maliseet and Mi’gmag First Nations for traditional purposes.
The possibility of even a handful of the potential risks identified in the CEAA’s own report on the Sisson mine should be enough to halt this project.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) report on the open pit mine reveals:
negative effects on the atmospheric environment from emissions such as dust, odour, noise and vibration;
water quality degradation as a result of seepage (beween 130 and 170 litres per second!) from the tailings storage facility and release of water from the water treatment plant (i.e. increased concentrations of trace metals);
changes in water quantity and flow regimes as a result of water retention and discharges;
effects on fish and fish habitat including the direct and indirect loss of habitat;
fish would be lost,
effects on wildlife, including species at risk, from ingestion of contaminants, sensory disturbance, and habitat loss;
direct loss (destruction) and changes in the function of wetlands, including removal and alteration of habitat supporting avian species at risk;
people intermittently using the project area for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other activities may be exposed to elevated levels of contaminants in the atmosphere, drinking water, or in harvested foods
effects on human health from consumption of country food and water impacted by project emissions and discharges;
the tailings pond would seep into the surrounding environment,
water contaminated through mine contact and processing on the site would be discharged downstream,
that waste rock would generate acids,
local fresh-water resources would be used in the various processes on the site,
negative effects on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Aboriginal persons including hunting and fishing,
negative effects on archaeological resources; and
and that hazardous materials would be stored there to the extent that Emergency Response Plans would be required.
The CEAA concludes the Project is likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Maliseet First Nations. Only a limited number of large contiguous Crown land blocks, particularly along the Saint John River valley, remain available to practice current uses for traditional purposes proximal to the Maliseet communities of Tobique, Kingsclear, Woodstock, and St. Mary’s First Nations. Within the remaining Crown land blocks, use by these First Nations is limited by other existing land uses. Given this context, the Agency concludes that the environmental effects of the Project, in combination with the cumulative environmental effects of other projects and activities, on the current use of lands and resources by Maliseet First Nations are also likely to be significant.
Health Canada, Maliseet First Nation and Mi’gmag First Nation have all asked for more samples to be collected showing pre-existing “baseline concentrations of potential contaminants in fish, wildlife, and vegetation.” The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada asked “the proponent to commit to follow-up studies of metal concentrations in wildlife species important to resource users and First Nations.”
And yet, according to the CEAA report, the proponent stated that “no further monitoring was warranted.”
The mining company’s consultants neglected to include arsenic in the non-carcinogenic risk evaluation, even though they admit arsenic concentrations may increase in local surface waters.
There is also no known solution to the risk of increased boron concentrations in fish tissue. We know evaluating trace metal impacts on human health after it occurs is not in keeping with the precautionary principle of avoidance, rather than insufficient mitigation and post-tragedy studies.
That the mine consultants “predicted a total tailings storage facility seepage rate between 130 and 170 litres per second and losses from the seepage collections system to groundwater between ten and 30 litres per second during operations” it is clear harmful water will not be under control on site
There are a lack of air quality monitoring commitments from the mine
In light of all of these things, it is grossly irresponsible to burden citizens with the responsibility of proving harmful water impacts have been caused by the mining company before investigation and mitigation by the proponent would occur.
The wishes of the First Nations communities opposing the Sisson mine must be respected; this project must not be given approval.
Impeccably researched, After the Sands is critical reading for anyone concerned about rising sea levels, pipeline and tanker spills, climate change chaos and Canada’s future in a carbon restricted world.
Ralph Nader hails it as “a myth-destroying blockbuster book.”
The talk will be followed by responses from the community to relate Laxer’s work to local struggles and opportunities.
Where: Kitchener Public Library, Central Library Theatre, 85 Queen Street North, downtown Kitchener [Map]
When: Wednesday, April 6th, 7:00–8:30pm (note that community groups will have information tables outside the theatre starting at 6:30)
The event is free and open to the public—everyone is welcome!
This event is hosted by the Department of Political Science with support from numerous campus and community groups including the Kitchener Public Library, the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre, the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Sustainable Campus Initiative, Waterloo Political Economy Group (WatPEG), Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG),ClimateActionWR, the Council of Canadians (Guelph and Centre Wellington Chapters), Divest Waterloo, and KAIROS. Wordsworth Books and Hacienda Coffee folks will be on hand with books for sale and treats to share!