All I want is a better politics. I do not care what point of view people come from, but just that people treat each other with respect - especially when they disagree.” ~~ Bernard von Schulmann

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Over 20 federal government departments and agencies have responsibilities for fresh water. Are any of them monitoring the North and South Thompson Rivers, for discarded needles that have been handed out by Interior Health?

When it comes to water governance in Canada, the federal government has jurisdiction related to fisheries, navigation, federal lands, and international relations, including responsibilities related to the management of boundary waters shared with the United States, including relations with the International Joint Commission. It also has significant responsibilities for agriculture, health and the environment, and plays a significant role supporting aquatic research and technology, and ensuring national policies and standards are in place on environmental and health-related issues.

To fully understand the federal government's role in water management in Canada, it is important to first understand the interests and mandates of the departments involved in program delivery. Within the federal government, over 20 departments and agencies have unique responsibilities for fresh water. As all levels of government hold key policy and regulatory levers which apply to water management, a central challenge is to ensure that these levers are developed and used collaboratively.

Between all 20 of those government agencies and departments, runs one common theme ... any companies that can be shown to be polluting shores and waterways must be held accountable.

So then what about the bio-hazardous waste, directly linked to the Interior Health Authority, which is littering riverbanks in Kamloops?  I speak not just of the 257,000 needles, ordered from the BC Centre for Disease Control, and then handed out by IHA ... what about the cook tins, sterilized water bottles, wrappers, and pipes also supplied by IHA? 

CLICK HERE for video of bio-hazardous waste likely to be swept into Thompson Rivers next spring

It seems to many in our community all of this – needles and related paraphernalia – are provided without any real plan to dispose of this waste ... in other words, there appears to be no accountability.

RICHARD NEUFELD: Bill C-48 is an extreme and unprecedented piece of legislation. If passed, Eagle Spirit could be dead


On December 12th, the Senate of Canada was honoured to welcome a delegation of 15 First Nations Chiefs from the National Chiefs Coalition, the Indian Resource Council, and the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council who, together, represent some 200 First Nations communities.

They were in Ottawa to speak about the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor Project and how it can help achieve reconciliation through economic empowerment.
My wish is that all Canadians become familiar with Eagle Spirit.

In brief, Eagle Spirit is a First Nations business consortium that proposes to build what has been called the greenest pipeline energy corridor on the planet, running from Bruderheim, Alberta. to Grassy Point, BC. Once completed, the project could ship four-million barrels of crude oil and ten billion cubic feet of natural gas to tidewater every day.

The Eagle Spirit Project may be our current best hope at diversifying our exports of oil.  Currently, 99 per cent of Canadian oil exports go to a single destination — the United States. It could deliver Canadian oil to international markets at international market prices.

It goes without saying that this $12-billion investment could provide First Nations with a golden opportunity for economic development. Other benefits include billions in revenues from royalties and taxes and good-paying, family-supporting jobs.

The project has the potential of becoming a historic, generational, and nation-building one, given that it will be the first Indigenous-led major infrastructure project in Canadian history.  But Justin Trudeau’s Bill C-48, by imposing an oil tanker moratorium stretching from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border, shatters that dream.

Bill C-48 is currently before the Senate. If it passes, Eagle Spirit could be dead.  That is because the prospective port at Grassy Point is within the moratorium zone. Without tankers, there can be no pipeline. There are no oil-tanker moratoriums in the entire world. If this bill passes, Canada would have the only one.

Monday, December 10, 2018

HOW TO KILL THE RESOURCE INDUSTRY: Challenge Projects -- Delays – Opposition – Court Actions – Blockades – Double Standards – Broad Terms and Loose Definitions

From the cancellation of the Northern Gateway project … to banning tanker traffic on BC’s north coast ... to roadblocks effectively tying up the Trans Mountain pipeline in endless court action and ever-changing rules … to the killing of the Energy East project – the resource industry has faced never ending challenges that have killed important projects for our province – and for our country.

Here’s just a brief refresher for you to check out.

Oil Tanker Ban of BC’s North Coast:
CBC (Nov 2015) "This ban ends the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal," said Karen Mahon, from ForestEthics. "Without tankers, crude oil has no place to go, that means no pipelines, no oil trains moving tar sands to the northern BC coast."

Northern Gateway Pipeline:
National Post (Jan 2016) … alliance of First Nations is celebrating a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that it says could set back the Northern Gateway pipeline by years and throw a wrench into another high-profile project review

CBC News (Nov 2016) … cabinet killed the Enbridge-backed Northern Gateway … "It has become clear that this project is not in the best interest of the local affected communities, including Indigenous Peoples," Trudeau said.

Trans Mountain Pipeline:
Globe and Mail (August 2017) … BC NDP government warned Kinder Morgan that the company won't be able to begin construction on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as the province pledged to join a legal challenge to ultimately kill the project.

CBC News (Aug 2017) … company's statement noted the project was approved by the National Energy Board and the federal government after "unprecedented" scrutiny and said the project would bring jobs and economic benefits

iPolitics (August 2018) … the federal government must go back to the drawing board and ask the National Energy Board to redo the report that had recommended the Trans Mountain project … the court’s decision means the building of the pipeline must stop

CTV News (August 2018) … (the Federal Court of Appeal) has overturned Ottawa's approval of the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, halting construction on the project and sending the government back to the review phase

Energy East project cancelled … Oct 2017
… the move came after the National Energy Board (NEB) said its review would now consider indirect greenhouse gas emissions. TransCanada warned the project could now ultimately be cancelled … the plan faced stiff opposition from environmental groups concerned about oilsands extraction and pipeline construction

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt had much to say about that, including these comments posted on Twitter:
Govt created "double standard in the energy sector that's detrimental to Canadian interests"
… When will our Prime Minister see his policies hurt Canadians & economy?
Liberals put Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Algeria before Canada. What's our PM got to say?

And now from Justin Trudeau's federal government comes the latest in efforts to stonewall one of our nations biggest economic drivers – key in generating high-paying jobs … and taxes that support Canada’s social programs, infrastructure, health and education.

FELDSTED: Equalization is broken, and the federal government is complicit in perpetuating a system of support to provinces that is unequal, unfair and unreasonable

Quebec to receive $1.4-billion equalization boost while oil-producing provinces face deficits
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press ~~ Bill Curry/Globe & Mail ~~ December 9, 2018

Quebec will receive $13.1-billion in equalization payments next year – a $1.4-billion increase – while Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador continue to be left out even though Canada’s oil-producing provinces are facing deficits and hard times.

The equalization system is … aimed at ensuring provinces can provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation … it is a frequent source of tension between the “have” provinces and the “have not” provinces that receive the payments.

The governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador – where government finances are heavily influenced by the state of the energy sector – are all running budget deficits … in contrast, Quebec’s government announced last month that the province’s finances for the year were sitting at a $3-billion surplus …

CLICK HERE to read full story

Equalization is broken. The federal government is complicit in perpetuating a system of support to provinces that is unequal, unfair and unreasonable.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Our freedoms of belief, conscience expression, and thought are of little value if they do not lead to robust public debate on all issues relevant to our society

Political parties are intent on using pollsters, and focus groups, to measure the mood of the public and intently scrutinize results to see how it might affect policies they adopt.  Fair enough … governments and opposition parties are elected to serve the people, but with 338 elected members in the House of Commons, one would expect that they have a finger on the pulse of the public they serve.  However, we should be wary of political parties being heavily influenced by polling results, rather then listening to their representatives.

That leads to a second problem … risk aversion. Political parties are wary of any policy or political decision that might cost them support and votes. One group they are concerned with though are the voices of lobbyists and pressure groups – the ones that do not represent mainstream society. Their fear of minorities leads to risk aversion and increases paralysis. The reverse is also true as politicians seem to be serving the interests of minorities rather than the mainstream.

The third indicator is a universal fear of controversy, which leads to censorship; controversial issues are shunned. When Liberal backbencher Iqra Khalid tabled motion M-103 (the anti-islamophobia motion) many were surprised that the Liberal Party came out in full support.  The Motion was controversial and had stirred considerable debate in the media, and in public. As long as the motion was before the House of Commons, controversy would continue. By supporting the motion and getting it passed, the government effectively stifled debate and is under no obligation to act on the Motion. The Motion will now gather dust.

The same tactic was used to deal with pipeline construction. Energy East was choked off by the government continually raising the bar for construction approval. Eventually investors and contractors withdrew, tired of silly games and took billion in investments with them. Trans Mountain proved more difficult, so the government bought it.  Now it seems there is no visible plan for completing the extension, or for removing the regulatory chaos that led to frivolous law suits and legal chaos.