Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Study at Manitoba's Netley-Libau Marsh Pilot Project to Find Ways of Keeping Pollutants Out of Lake Winnipeg

Manitoba News Release - November 30, 2010
Action Also Aimed at Reducing Greenhouse-gas Emissions: Selinger

A unique pilot project at Netley-Libau Marsh, supported by $150,000 in provincial funding, will explore ways of preventing pollutants from getting into Lake Winnipeg while at the same time reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, Lk. Wpg. Greenpeace Photo Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

"In partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the University of Manitoba, we are announcing funding to support the further development of a green,
 bio-energy project which builds on actions we have already taken," said Selinger. "This is a made-in-Manitoba solution to help Lake Winnipeg by keeping pollutants out, while at the same time providing a green solution to offset coal use."

The project will see the harvest of about 200 hectares of marsh grasses.  Research has shown that pollutants, such as phosphorus, are stored in the marsh grass and, as part of the project, the
grass will be turned into a clean, bio-energy product.  This product can be used to burn green biomass and reduce the burning of coal. At the same time, the pollutants would not get into the water of the marsh or Lake Winnipeg.

"The results from this pilot project could become a critical part of efforts to reduce nutrients flowing into Lake Winnipeg," said Henry David Venema, International Institute for Sustainable Development's director of Sustainable Natural Resources Management and the Water Innovation Centre. "This Netley-Libau project is a practical example of the bio-economy concept and we are excited about the partnership and the opportunities it presents."

Once fully developed the project could:

· produce approximately 3,000 tonnes of biomass;

· offset approximately 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and

· capture and recover approximately eight tonnes of phosphorus and remove 30 to 40 tonnes of nitrogen, the equivalent produced from the waste water of a town of 20,000 people.
"Netley-Libau is the largest coastal marsh on the continent and restoring and managing vegetation in the marsh is critical to the health of the marsh and Lake Winnipeg," said Dr. Gordon
Goldsborough, professor of biological sciences at the University of Manitoba.                                                                            

Through the Sustainable Development Innovations Fund, the Manitoba government has provided approximately $100,000 to IISD over the past five years to support initial research of the Netley-Libau biomass harvest project.

Other support from or action by the Manitoba government to help reduce nutrients getting into Lake Winnipeg includes:

· passing the most comprehensive legislation in the country to protect surface and groundwater from the impacts of phosphorous;

· investing millions of dollars for waste-water treatment infrastructure upgrades to remove nutrients;

· introducing the first-in-Canada ban on phosphates in dish detergent;

· instituting a moratorium on hog expansion in areas near Lake Winnipeg;

· introducing the first-in-Canada ban on lawn fertilizers containing phosphorous;

· introducing new buffer zones protecting water from spreading nutrients like phosphorous and an outright ban in sensitive areas;

· instituting a major initiative to protect wetlands and riparian areas by providing incentives to farmers to protect these sensitive lands;

· starting a wetland restoration initiative to restore Manitoba's two largest marsh wetlands, Netley and Delta;

· banning new sewage ejectors provincewide and banning septic fields in provincial parks and sensitive areas within a new enforcement initiative; and

· funding for research, planning and work with inter-jurisdictional partners to help keep phosphorous out of Manitoba's watershed and help Lake Winnipeg.

Information on other research and studies to help restore the health of Lake Winnipeg is available at

                                                                                     - 30 -

300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds (Video)

Brought to you by the Post Carbon Institute.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The UK Government has Abandoned its Sustainable Homes Policy - by Redefining Zero.

George Monbiot - the Guardian - Nov 26 '10
What does zero look like to you? Is it:
Still more large "conventional" homes go up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA with little thought given to their sustainability. 
l.p. photos 

Man Invents Machine to Convert Plastic Into Oil!

An ‘In Memoriam’ Ad For Murdered Mexican Anti-Mining Activist Refused by Calgary Herald

November 26, 2010 - The Council of Canadians
EDITOR'S NOTE: It's stories like this which remind me of one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. Disgusting, rotten things go on in this world which too many mass media, including those in my own country, are too cowardly to even shine a light on. But the cowardice isn't limited to the media. 

A bill in the House of Commons, designed to clamp down on Canadian-based mining companies who commit acts abroad similar to this one, was recently defeated. Some Honourable Members, representing mining constituencies, apparently afraid they would offend their voters if they supported it, stayed away when the vote was taken! Such courage! Such principle! l.p.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Put a CAPP on Tar Sands Greenwashing

Mike Hudema - Greenpeace - November 23, 2010

Faced with the grim realities of...

World Hunger and Obesity Both Trend Upwards. Aljazeera Tries to Make Sense of it All in This Video.

You Did It! Success on Alberta Parks

Earlier this week, we let you know about a proposed new Alberta's Parks Act that would have set a dangerous precedent for provincial parks.  You wrote in, and Cindy Ady, Alberta's Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation listened -- she is withdrawing the legislation.

Public opposition was key to the decision, said the Minister: “What I have heard throughout debate on Bill 29 is that people are passionate about parks, and I respect that passion”.
THANK YOU for writing! Your letters made the difference.
While we celebrate this victory, there's still work to do – Alberta intends to introduce new legislation in the spring, after public consultation. CPAWS will continue to push for legislation that puts the ecological integrity of parks first.

Here's what you can do now:

  • Thank the Minister -- write a quick note
  • Donate to CPAWS
    CPAWS has worked relentlessly against Bill 29 since it was introduced on November 4th.  We’ll continue to speak out for the protection of Alberta’s precious parks and wilderness areas.  Every dollar helps us make victories like this one possible.
  • Get news coverage on the Bill at CBC and the Edmonton Journal

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UN Issues Severe Climate Warning Ahead of Summit

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor - THE INDEPENDENT - Nov 24-'10

The world is now firmly on the path for dangerous...

New Study Claims FDA Review of GM Salmon Is Incomplete

24 No 10 - Truthout - Mike Ludwig Nov 24 '10

The process used by... 

Manitoba Turkey-Breeding Operation Tests Positive For Strain Of Bird Flu

Manitoba News Release - November 24, 2010
Consumption of Properly Prepared Turkey Products Remains Safe

Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) is working with federal officials of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at a quarantined turkey-breeding operation in Manitoba. Manitoba has a comprehensive federal-provincial-producer plan to respond to avian influenza and the plan is being implemented.

·     Some Manitoba turkeys have tested positive for an H5 strain of bird flu. There is no evidence this is the Asian strain of H5N1 influenza and it is considered highly unlikely it will be. There is no indication of any human illness.

·     The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will lead the response to this situation. Veterinarians and other specialized staff from MAFRI are working closely with CFIA and assisting with the response.

·     Workers at the breeding operation are being contacted and offered preventive antivirals.

·     Further testing by federal officials is continuing with the support of MAFRI.

·     The risk of impacts on humans is considered very low at this time.

·     Human consumption of turkey products continues to be safe if the meat is properly prepared and cooked.
- 30 -

Roundup-Resistant Ragweed Spread Tracked in Ontario

Manitoba Co-operator - Staff - Nov 1-2010

Rendering by Paul Hoppe.
Giant ragweed resistant to glyphosate...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

University of Manitoba Becomes Home to "One of the Worst Corporate Citizens on the Planet:" U of M Student

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). Nov 23 - '10
Protestors were on hand this morning for the official opening of the Monsanto Canada’s new $12 million Canola Breeding Centre at at the University of Manitoba. One student,  Alon Weinberg, says there is little to celebrate with the opening. In his words, "Monsanto’s operations poison the environment with chemicals, steal from farmers their age-old right to save seeds and threaten biodiversity by proliferating genetically engineered crops."
Is GMO canola out of control in Canada?  

Monday, November 22, 2010

National Conservation Group Slams Proposed Alberta Parks Act for "Setting the Clock Back 40 Years"

No. 22 '10 Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society
Calgary -- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s national board of trustees is voicing outrage...
EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to CPAW's request, I wrote a letter to Alberta's elected officials which is reproduced, directly below. After that, you will see a response from an Opposition member in Alberta. l.p.
Dear Mr. Chase,
Having lived in Calgary for 10 years, I had the opportunity to visit many of your beautiful parks.
I would plead with you to take pity on their vulnerability and err on the side of conservation, not 
I plead with you, please withdraw this Parks Act Bill!
Larry Powell
Dear Larry,

Thank you very much for speaking out about Bill 29. With your permission, Mr. Chase would like to table your letter in the Legislature as being opposed to Bill 29 and your email will become part of the permanent record of the Legislature.
 I look forward to hearing from you.

Debbie Puppato,
Constituency Assistant

Shadow Minister for Children & Youth Services; Education; Advanced Education & Technology; Tourism, Parks & Recreation
Calgary Varsity Constituency

Air Pollution in Chinese Capital Called "Crazy Bad!" Diplomatic Blunder or Some Frank Honesty?

guardian.co.uk No 22 - '10
An unexpected phrase in US embassy's hourly pollution tweet for Beijing, gives its followers cause for amusement and concern.

Climate Change and Disease Will Spark New Food Crisis, says UN

By Sean O'Grady, THE INDEPENDENT 18 Nov '10

A food crisis could overtake the world in 2011...An ethanol plant in Manitoba, converting food into fuel, with the help of government subsidies. 

Poll Suggests Harper Government Out of Step With Canadians

Council of Canadians - Nov. 22 - '10

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Unavoidable Climate Change: We've Passed the Point of No Return

 AlterNet / By Peter Gleick - Nov 20 '10

How bad it gets depends on how much longer we fail to act.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are Hypocrites and Opportunists Taking Over Our Lives?

Dear Editor,

 When a hollow man like Jim Prentice can don a phony cloak of "green," take on a sacred trust as this nation's "Minister of the Environment," then hightail it off to a cushy job with "CIBC" (which is helping to bankroll the Alberta tar sands, the world's dirtiest energy project), be afraid. Be very afraid. 
Jim Prentice, Climate Criminal
Dead ducks in an Albrta tar pit. (Vancouver Sun photo)
As Prentice skulks off into the night with visions of money bags dancing in his head, he gets a pat on the back from Stephen Harper and a free pass from a polite media.
Fish caught near tarpits - Jason Franson CP
Preoccupied with political "process," "strategy" and "positioning," news outlets obviously no longer believe they have any duty to actually hold the ethical behaviour of our leaders up to any kind of public scrutiny. That would just be wrong! Instead, they pontificate on how the balance in the cabinet might now be affected or, if Prentice might now be positioning himself to become Prime Minister!

(Remember my reference to "hypocrites and opportunists? I rest my case.) 

One newspaper fit for fish-wrap actually referred to this traitor as the "epitome of public service" and a "capable" leader! Yet this is the same climate criminal who, while in office, did squat on the carbon file, the most important if the climate change genie is to be put back in the bottle. Squat. Nothing. 
What can be done?

Before the story of Prentice's departure broke, it hadn't really occurred to me that companies involved directly in tar sands extraction, along with big banks who lend money to them, would even qualify as "ethical" fund investments. (And who would?)

The Don of Canada's Climate Criminals
Upon checking my own, I discovered, with dismay, that they included both!

So I have now personally set the wheels in motion to divest myself of any financial holdings I may have in the development of that despicable project known euphemistically as "the oil sands."   
If you want to be remembered as a friend of Mother Earth, rather than one who stood by while the Harpers and Prentices of the world acted as accomplices in her demise, I hope you'll do likewise.

Larry Powell is a blogger and activist near Roblin, in western Manitoba. 


A couple more climate crooks. Sen. Duffy (l.) & Sen. Wallin (r.).

Also conveniently neglected by Prentice/Harper et al in this scenario are the indigenouse people living downstream from this incredibly destructive project. Here is an excerpt from a submission by the Indigenous Environmental Network. l.p.

"Fort Chipewyan, which is located on the shore of Lake Athabasca and downstream from numerous tar sands mines, has been described as ‘ground zero’ for the devastation caused by Alberta’s oil boom. A local doctor has raised concerns over alarmingly high rates of what should be very rare bile duct cancers in the town, as well as reported abnormal rates of immune-system related conditions. A study commissioned by the Alberta Health Services confirmed in 2009 that there were indeed elevated cancer rates in the community.
"High levels of dangerous toxins in the Athabasca River have been found in areas downstream from tar sands developments. A study in 2007 commissioned by the local health authority of Fort Chipewyan revealed high levels
of arsenic, aluminium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, phosphorous, selenium, titanium, and phenols in the water. It found high levels of arsenic, cadmium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and resin acids in the sediment, as well as high levels of mercury in tested fish."

Larry - I read your letter. This is a shameful act. And replacing the environment Minister, we have none other than Mr. Baird. Now that is a joke.

Virden, MB

Layton Blasts Senators for Killing Green Bill

Winnipeg Free Press - By: Mike De Souza - 18/11/2010

Scrapped without Senate hearings, debate...
Dear Editor: Re Unelected Tory senators kill climate bill passed by House , Gloria Galloway, Nov.17/2010

I am so shocked and ashamed, and disappointed by this callous political act, once again.

This action by the Tory dominated Senate is the straw that broke the camel's back. The senators were undoubtedly following orders from the Tory leader who appointed them, even though he campaigned against such underhanded and devious tactics.

Harper holds tyrannical control of his party, and the government whenever he can, and wields it in a condescending and undemocratic manner. Little by little he has eroded Canada's democratic government.

But we Canadians just stand back and let him do it. Sometimes I wish we had more political gumption and fire in our bellies like our American neighbours.

Penelope Bell, Toronto

Senate kills Bill C-311 without debate.
View contact details

Keep Senate from subverting democracy

David Suzuki Foundation, 219-2211 West 4th, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6K 4S2
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November 19, 2010

Stephen Harper has done what he promised never to do: allow the Senate to go against the will of the majority of Members of Parliament and the Canadian public. On November 16, after a surprise vote and without any debate, unelected Conservative senators killed the Climate Change Accountability Act.
The Act would have made government accountable for putting in place the solutions to reduce global warming emissions to safe levels – in line with targets that leading scientists say are necessary to avoid the devastating consequences of uncontrolled climate change.
It was overwhelmingly supported by and passed in the elected House of Commons, thanks in part to the support of Canadians from across the country. This decision by Conservative senators to avoid debate and call a snap vote shows disrespect for our democracy and for Canadians, who time and again have told our elected representatives that we want the federal government to act on the most serious threat facing our country and the world.

Please call or write the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament to let them know that we expect them to live up to their responsibility to be accountable to the will of Canadians and our democracy. Consider also sending a letter to your local newspaper to let others know how you feel.

Senate vote to kill Climate Act disrespects Canadians and democracy

By Morag Carter   November 17, 2010
Update: Please call or write the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament to let them know that we expect them to live up to their responsibility to be accountable to the will of Canadians and our democracy.
Last night, in a near-unprecedented move, the Canadian Senate held a surprise vote and defeated Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The snap vote to kill the Bill in the Senate happened without notice and without debate — even though it was put before the Senate more than half a year ago. Had notice been given of the vote, more senators would have been present and the bill may have passed.
And so, just as Canada prepares to join world leaders at the UN climate change negotiations in Mexico, a group of unelected senators have decided, without any debate, that the future of Canada's youth is not worth the bother. It's a shame these elderly senators may not be around to face the most severe consequences of their actions.
The Bill is now dead.
Just as tens of thousands of Canadians wrote to their MPs and government to ensure the Bill's passage through the elected House of Commons, Canadians must now let their politicians know that enough is enough. Yesterday's decision by Conservative senators to avoid debate and call a snap vote shows disrespect for our democracy and for Canadians, who time and again have told our elected representatives that we want the federal government to act on the most serious threat facing our country and the world.
Bill C-311 passed through the House of Commons with a strong majority (NDP, Liberal, and Bloc Québécois), thanks in part to the incredible support of Canadians from across the country. It was originally introduced by federal NDP Leader Jack Layton as a private member's bill in the last parliament and was set to go to the Senate when the election was called in 2008. After the election, the Bill was re-introduced by Bruce Hyer, NDP MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. The Bill was debated in the House of Commons, where Conservative government members tried to obstruct it. It was then amended and sent back to the House for a final vote. It passed in the House and was sent to the Senate for the last stage in its passage through parliament before receiving Royal Assent and becoming Canadian law.
Over the five years that this piece of modest legislation has been going through the parliamentary process, the science behind global warming has become far more certain. The Bill would have committed Canada to an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. We now know that these reductions are the very least that we should be achieving if we are to avoid the devastating consequences that go along with uncontrolled climate change.
These unelected senators killed the Climate Change Accountability Act just as the United Nations climate change conference is set to open in Cancun, Mexico, on November 29. Once more, it appears our government plans to show up to talk to the world with nothing but empty rhetoric, unfulfilled promises, and the hopes of Canadians firmly cast aside. It's time to let the government know that this is unacceptable and that Canadians will not be silenced. We can all make a difference. And we will. Please call or write the Prime Minister and your government representatives to let them know that we expect them to live up to their promise and responsibility to be accountable to all Canadians.

It's tough to be a climate scientist when dinosaurs are making the calls
Jack Knox Times Colonist November 18, 2010
Having tried, in vain, to peel a spitting-mad Andrew Weaver off the ceiling, I ask Canada's best-known climate scientist whether he ever feels like chucking it all in and stomping off to a quiet corner with a bottle of Jack Daniel's.
"Absolutely," he says. "Retiring with a bottle of Jack Daniel's sounds good right now."
It's 8:23 a.m.
Listening to Weaver, it's hard to know what he's angrier about, the fact that Stephen Harper's Conservatives just sabotaged climate-change legislation, or the sneaky way in which they did it.
At question is a global-warming bill that passed through the House of Commons with the support of the NDP, Liberals and Bloc Québécois, only to be abruptly killed by the Conservatives with a snap vote in the Senate on Tuesday.
It ticks off Weaver that Harper, having been voted in on a promise to do away with the unelected Senate, instead packed the institution with ill-informed patronage appointments ("Mike Duffy, climate scientist extraordinaire") who waited until 15 opposition members were absent before defeating, without debate, a bill that had already been OK'd by the elected arm of Parliament.
The UVic climatologist, sputtering words like "unbelievable" and "dictator" and "shocking affront to democracy," says he hopes the opposition will force Harper's minority government to fall. "He's got to get kicked out. This is Canada, not Zimbabwe ... or maybe it is.
"It's all about not wanting to do anything about the issue," Weaver says of the Senate sabotage. It's about pandering to the oil industry, to the Conservatives' Alberta power base.
- - - - SNIP - - - -
A truly conservative government would gather the evidence, do a rational analysis of the facts and react accordingly, he says. He sounds almost wistful about the approach of Britain's Conservatives, who yesterday
declared their intention to shove the U.K.'s electricity industry into using lower-emitting fuels. Meanwhile, our social reformers are roaring around in Hummers, refighting the Scopes Monkey Trial and pit-lamping hippies. They pay lip service to climate change, but in their hearts believe it's some New Age crystal crap that the Liberals left in the basement.
Climate scientists are "a collective Noah," Weaver says. They have done their job, given the evidence to the politicians -- only to be ignored.
Weaver, the author of Keeping Cool: Canada in a Warming World, also had a key role when the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its report in 2007. People like him must be tempted to throw their hands in the air and walk away, particularly when constantly challenged by the half-informed.
"Mainstream media, could you please stop pitting the ignorant versus the educated and framing it as a debate?" asked U.S. political commentator Bill Maher in a YouTube piece that Weaver loves.
Climate change is a reality, Maher says. "Like it or not, no one can change the nature of reality, except with mushrooms and Pabst Blue Ribbon."
Or maybe a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

Greens Decry Conservative Snap Vote on Climate Change Bill
18 November 2010 - 9:51am
OTTAWA -- The Green Party of Canada is denouncing the decision of the Canadian Senate to kill the Climate Change Accountability Act, Bill C-311, and in so doing, killing Canada's best chance to take real action on climate change and move into a Green economy.
"With COP16 less than two weeks away in Mexico, it is stunning that the Conservative majority in the Senate would use a sneak attack to defeat the only climate legislation before Parliament," said Green Leader Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May is now calling on Canadians to get on the airwaves and into the newspapers letters section to protest this anti-democratic move. The Bill had passed Third Reading in the House of Commons in May. After being presented to Senate 193 days ago, Bill C-311 was defeated 43-32, with no debate and without being sent back to committee, an extraordinary move not seen in over seventy years.
"Voters should be outraged at the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Harper for using the Senate as an end-run around the House of Commons when he campaigned vigorously for an accountable Senate. His obvious abhorrence of the Bill surely influenced the Conservative members of the now stacked Senate who killed this Bill without any consideration," said May.
"Harper’s assertion that action on climate change throws millions of people out of work is utter absurdity. We could be putting Canadians to work in a Green economy, but this government only hears the special pleadings of the fossil fuel lobby. Even though we pledged at the G20 to kill fossil fuel subsidies, we have not even done that," said May.
A 2009 study by the European Commission found almost half a million jobs will be created by reaching their target of 20% of energy coming from renewables by 2020.


Shocking defeat of climate bill at the hands of Harper's unelected Senators
NDP Press Releases Wed 17 Nov 2010
OTTAWA — NDP leader Jack Layton said he was appalled to learn last night of the defeat of his party's landmark climate change bill at the hands of Stephen Harper's unelected and unaccountable Conservative Senators.
"Last night, Stephen Harper's appointed Conservative Senators quietly voted to kill a critical environment bill," said Layton. "This bill had already received final approval from elected Members of Parliament -- and yet Stephen Harper's unelected Senators killed it last night. So much for sober second thought.”
Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, received final approval by the House of Commons on May 5th when it passed Third Reading by a vote of 149-136. Last night in the Senate, the bill was defeated in a snap vote, 43-32.
“As a result of this bill's defeat, Canada now heads to the UN climate change meetings in Cancun completely empty handed," said NDP Environment Critic Linda Duncan. "Despite endless promises to act on climate change, Stephen Harper's government has not even tabled one law to address our rising greenhouse gas emissions."


LETTER: LITTLE: Senate’s decision to kill Bill C-311.
From: Phil Little
To: Stephen Harper
Cc: Gilles Duceppe ; Jack Layton ; Rae.B@parl.gc.ca ; Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca ; Jean Crowder ; Charlie Angus ; Davies.L@parl.gc.ca
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:08 AM
Subject: Senate’s decision to kill Bill C-311
I am appalled at the way the Harper government continues to repudiate the will of the Commons - both the house and the people. The latest example is the Senate manoeuvre to kill Bill C-311 which had been passed by the House of Commons. The directed move by the Senate at the will of the Prime Minister displays another act of contempt of Parliament. Furthermore it shows that Canada, under the minority government of Harper, is unwilling to be a responsible global citizen.
Bill C-311 had been delayed and barely debated by the Senate. Instead, a vote was taken on an evening when a number of Liberal Senators were absent which enabled the Conservative appointees to kill the vote. I agree with Mr. Layton when he called this manoeuvre, which apparently hasn’t been used in 70 years, ‘fundamentally wrong’ and an affront to Canadian democracy. “Canadians must not allow the Senate to get away with this…”
Bill C-311 passed the House of Commons last May. It is unacceptable that an unelected Senate voted to kill this Bill without even having a full debate at the Senate, or opportunity for witnesses. Canadian democracy deserves better.
The climate crisis is real and requires urgent action. Bill C-311 was a first step in the right direction. It would have committed the Canadian government to emission reductions (25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020), these are half of what many at the Cancun UN climate negotiations are demanding is necessary.
I am very concerned about Canada’s international reputation entering the next major round of UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico November 29 to December 10. Canada’s current emission reduction target amounts a 2.5 percent rise above 1990 levels by 2020. When compared to the 25% called for in Bill C-311 and the 40% to 50% called for by many Global South countries, this is shocking.
And, yet, mere days ahead of the next major round of international climate negotiations in Cancun, the majority of unelected Conservative Senate members killed the Climate Change Accountability Act. Bill C-311 – this is shameful!
I can understand that these unelected Harper appointees have an agenda to play the partisan game at the behest of their benefactor, Stephen Harper. But these Senators are also citizens of Canada and the world, probably have children and grandchildren, live and breathe the same air and drink the same water as the rest of us. Can it be that partisan politics is more important to them than the long term survivability of the planet, its people and all other forms of life. For the sake of the prestige and benefits of a senate position are they so willing to contribute to the denigration and destruction of the environment and ultimately the good of future generations of Canadians?
I reject the recent actions of the unelected Senate, as manipulated by the Senators of the Conservative party, which not only is an affront to the will of Parliament, but an attack on the foundations of Canadian democracy. The arrogance of these Harper appointees brings shame to the Canadian people - and it demonstrates that our democratic institutions are as much threatened here at home as elsewhere in the world.
I urge Parliamentarians to use all means to repudiate this attack on Canadian democracy, including a vote of non-confidence. At this time Canadians will be willing to endure another election to remove Stephen Harper from the position of authority and power which he has abused in so many instances, supported by a weak and wavering official Opposition.
Phil Little
10846 - Grandview Road,
Ladysmith, B.C. V9G1Z7

LETTER:  ARNEY:  Senate reform

To the Honourable Steven Fletcher,

I have been full of admiration as you have overcome enormous odds to get to where you are and do what you are doing.
It was with some dismay and anger then that I watched you yesterday allow yourself to be used in such a deceitful and yes disgusting way by Stephen "I make the rules" Harper.
Change the Senate with just a Bill and vote in the House of Commons?
What a waste of time and money and what arrogance to think that the constitution of this country can be bent in such a fashion.
Mr Fletcher you should know better.
Harper has in a few short years done so much to destroy Canada both internally and externally, that his hatred and contempt for Canada and the Canadian people can no longer be in any doubt.
Parliament has been deliberately made totally dysfunctional;
Decorum in the House is deteriorating not improving;
Members statements are being used as political means to accuse other members in the House of falsehoods just to score cheap points and could not be repeated outside the House;
Oral Question period is not even good theatre as no questions are answered, and mostly the 'answers' are an attack on the questioner or his/her party;
Open and transparent government is not even a pathetic joke;
This government has been fooling around since 2006 and is still blaming the previous government for almost everything and the NDP and Bloc for the rest. 
Internationally we are becoming known as backward and a stout defender of a terrorist government in Israel. 
I expect cheap and gaudy things from the Government House Leader, who is just a buffoon anyway, but the very last person I expected to join the parade of stupidity was you. 
Democracy is defined in the Canadian Oxford dictionary as:  a form of government in which the power resides in the people and is exercised by them either directly or by means of elected representatives;  a classless and tolerant form of society. 
This government ignores the wishes of the people of Canada, and does not even recognise the aboriginal people. 
Democracy in Canada has been dead for years, more so since 2006, and to hear you repeat over and over again in a TV interview about democracy and 'democratise the senate' demeans us all. 
I wish you well, but I have to tell you that my admiration for you has taken a real shellacking.

Jeremy Arney
CAP candidate for SGI in 2008
6254a Springlea Road, Victoria. BC  V8Z 5Z4
Letter to Mr. Garry Breitkreuz - 
MP - Yorkton/Melville

I am outraged at the cowardly tactics the Harper government uses to have things the way the corporate lobbyists (and, apparently, the members of his party) want them to be; this last one which killed Bill C-311 is a classical example of the contempt with which Mr. Harper and his government hold the people of Canada and of the world.

Bill C-311 had not even been debated by the Senate. Instead, a vote was taken on an evening when a number of Liberal Senators were absent to kill the vote.  I agree with Mr. Layton when he called this manoeuvre, which apparently hasn’t been used in 70 years, ‘fundamentally wrong’ and an affront to Canadian democracy.  “Canadians must not allow the Senate to get away with this…” 

  • Bill C-311 passed the House of Commons last May.  It is unacceptable that an unelected Senate voted to kill this Bill without even having a full debate at the Senate, or opportunity for witnesses. Canadian democracy deserves better.

  • The climate crisis is real and requires urgent action. Bill C-311 was a first step in the right direction. It would have committed the Canadian government to emission reductions (25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020), these are half of what many at the Cancun UN climate negotiations are demanding is necessary.
  • I am very concerned about Canada’s international reputation entering the next major round of UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico November 29 to December 10.  Canada’s current emission reduction target amounts a 2.5 percent rise above 1990 levels by 2020. When compared to the 25% called for in Bill C-311 and the 40% to 50% called for by many Global South countries, this is shocking.
 And, yet, mere days ahead of the next major round of international climate negotiations in Cancun, the Canadian unelected Senate killed the Climate Change Accountability Act. Bill C-311 – this is shameful!
What is the matter with you people?  Can it possibly be that the Harper government doesn't understand or doesn’t know what has to be done to protect the Planet and its inhabitants . . . which happen to include you, your grandchildren and their grandchildren!? 

I am so ashamed of the shoddy way the Harper government treats people, not only Canadians but everyone - the arrogant way it treats the Earth and all living things on it.  We're all in this together - either this civilization survives or we destroy it.....this is NOT a rehearsal!

What is it going to be?

Elaine Hughes
Box 23, Archerwill, SK  S0E 0B0
19 November, 2010
Layton blasts Senators for killing green bill (Free press 18 Nov.)
Canada has always been recognized as a country who's democratic  values have never been questioned.
Canada's military personnel have fought and sacrificed their blood in two World Wars, the Korean War and Afghanistan.
There were no Canadian casualties in the Gulf War.
Those who died (112,168) and those who were wounded (194,369) all served in the name of democracy and freedom for others in countries far away.
But suddenly Canada is no longer a democratic country. Not when a non-elected Senate has made a political decision,as directed by the Prime Minister to abolish an environmental bill that had passed 3rd reading in the House of Commons.
What we have now, in Canada, is "fascism". Fascism is here and evident when corporate interests are advanced by the state, over the environment and public interests.
Canadians shouldn't tolerate this.  Democracy is too precious.
Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin wants the government to set the record straight and exonerate Louis Riel who was convicted and hanged for treason. We need more people who we can recognize as Louis Riel's to champion the return of democracy to Canada. For if left unchecked, fascism will spread like a cancer, and all of us will be the victims of our complacency.
Further more, all our troops presently serving in Afghanistan must return to Canada as soon as possible. for there is much work to be carried out here.  And their presence is needed.
Otherwise those who have given so much in their suffering and death to suppress dictatorship and fascism will have laid down their lives in vain.
John Fefchak,
Virden, Manitoba.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Better Food Security Will Elude Us Without Human Population Controls

  No 9 ’10 - Lester R. Brown  
Earth Policy Institute

The Coming Water Shock (Video)

Monday, November 15, 2010

None Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: A World Without Birds

Monday, 15 November 2010 THE INDEPENDENT
Could we be facing a future without birds? Our reliance on pesticides has cut a swathe through their numbers. We must act now, argues Kate Ravilious
Bird photos by l.p.

The Arctic may be sea-ice-free in summer by the 2030s

  Nature Communications                                                 Photo by Patrick Kelley   The Arctic could be sea-ice-free during th...