Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tax Fairly, Spend Wisely

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Winnipeg.

According to CBC news, 45% of Canadians wait until the last week before the deadline to file their tax returns. The mad pencil sharpening, digging through receipts and online filing is unlikely to generate a great deal of goodwill towards the tax collector. Perhaps this is why the Winnipeg Free Press chose April 30th to run two anti-tax View from the West Editorials…details here.

Stephen Harper and the NDP

Act Up in Saskatchewan PDF Print E-mail
John W. Warnock   

It is a year this week since the last federal election. Active members and supporters of the New Democratic Party (NDP) celebrate this event, for their party passed the Liberals to finally become Her Majesty's Official Opposition in the House of Commons. However, others, like myself, remember that day for the fact that Stephen Harper and his Canadian Alliance/Reform Party colleagues were able to squeeze out a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. For us, it was a day of mourning. Full story here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stop the Pipeline - Join the Movement

Greenpeace Canada

Local Paper Gives Editorial Support to Citizens in the Rural Municipality of Shell River

Roblin, Manitoba - The Roblin Review in this west-central Manitoba town has come to the defense of citizens trying to get information about a new sewage lagoon their RM is planning. See editorial, below.

Please also read Larry's letter-to-the-editor here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ottawa Appeals Court Declaration That Said it Broke Wheat Board Law

By: Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press May 23  - '12
PLT photo
OTTAWA - The latest chapter in the long and bitter saga of the Canadian Wheat Board played out Wednesday in the Federal Court of Appeal. Full story here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Cost, the War On Weeds?

By Melody M. Bomgardner - Chemical and Engineering News
PLT photo
New crop traits that allow use of older herbicides may help farmers manage resistant weeds. Full story here.

Pollution in Thunderstorms is Warming the Atmosphere


PLT photo
Summer thunderstorm clouds strengthened by pollution are warming the atmosphere, says a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Full story here.

The Play's the Thing to Catch Conscience of Parliament

Frances Russell - Winnipeg Free Press
It's time for opposition brinksmanship in Ottawa; time for real drama to highlight Parliament's degradation. Full story here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Scientists Lash Harper Government for Pulling Plug on Experimental Lakes Area

By: Mary Agnes Welch - Winnipeg Free Press

Scientists from Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institute, and other elite research centres are condemning a decision by the Harper government to shut down a world-class freshwater research program. Details here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Canada Asked to Address 'Reality' of Food Insecurity

May 16'12 Manitoba Co-operator

UN rapporteur flags poverty, obesity, Aboriginal issues
. Details here.

Customers line up at a farmers' 
market in Regina. PLT photo.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Rural Municipality in Manitoba Gets Served With Freedom of Information Papers

Dear Editor,

I guess only time will tell whether my local government, the RM of Shell River, will opt to build another earthen sewage lagoon, this one in the country west of Roblin, or turn to more modern technology for the treatment of human waste.
A Manitoba company called Blue Diamond Technologies, Ltd., briefed the Council last week on its own, more modern system which is already treating hog waste right here in this province. Three company officials presented details of their technology to the last RM meeting. They explained they are already testing their system on sewage in the Town of Carman. They maintain their way is not only more eco-friendly but likely cheaper than a lagoon, as well.

The Reeve and Councillors gave them a fair hearing and asked questions to get more information.

I've certainly read and heard enough to know, I think, that there are many drawbacks with the old-style lagoons. Given this fact, and based on what I learned in the Blue Diamond presentation, I hope that system, at the very least, gets a closer look.

To their credit, Councillors seem prepared to take that look.

The sad part is, they have brought down a virtual shroud of secrecy over their original plans for a lagoon.

What are the results of drill tests done back in March on a site east of Lake of the Prairies? Is the soil there suitable for a lagoon? Is it impermeable enough, or will it require an expensive liner?

"We sort of know," is the answer. But they won't tell us and won't say why not!

Will the "feasibility study" now being done by a Winnipeg company, J.R. Cousin Consultants Ltd, be made public when it's done?

"Not sure," is the answer.

Is it true that that same firm (Cousin), is also in the running to actually build the lagoon? If so, can a company hoping to profit from building a major project, do an objective job of finding out if it is feasible or not? Will it accurately assess the need for it, or will it be tempted to exaggerate that need?
Has the RM given Cousin some kind of commitment to do the job, even before opening it up to any kind of public input, whatsoever? I have no idea and I'm not suggesting they have. I'm only saying, given the current level of secrecy, it's impossible to sort rumour from fact.

Another thing. Is this $600 thousand dollars said to be available to the RM from senior governments for wastewater treatment, transferrable to technology other than a lagoon? No one is explaining that, either. As a matter of fact, no one is really explaining anything.

The secrecy has now built to such a level, I served the RM with papers last week, requesting some answers, under the Government of Manitoba's Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides we, the public, with a right of access to records held by public bodies, including local governments like Shell River. If answers are not forthcoming by June 5th, I will, as the Act provides, be launching a formal complaint with the provincial ombudsman.

I remain eternally hopeful, however, that my RM will do the right thing and voluntarily disclose this information before then, so that such action will not be necessary. This information is also crucial to a wise decision, one which involves the knowledge and participation, not only of our local government, but of all concerned residents and ratepayers, as well.

Larry Powell
Roblin, MB

Sunday, May 13, 2012

EARTH MEANDERS - Raping Kids and Earth

PLT does not necessarily endorse articles posted here by others. They are here for you to read - or not.
May 13, 2012

By Dr. Glen Barry - Ecological Internet

What kind of sickos destroy children and ecosystems? Well actually, a surprising number do. Most are against both types of victimization of innocence and purity - as long as you don’t talk or do anything about it when it happens.

Earth is so beautiful, so perfect in its intimate interconnectivity, as are humans in their ability to create and transcend, to pass down knowledge, love, and ecological habitat to our children. Yet we know –especially direct victims of childhood rape and ecocide – that Earth and her humanity are filled with a dark, narcissistic self-destructiveness as well.

Two of the very worst evils stalking the land are those who sexually abuse children, and those who wage ecocide upon ecosystems. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. This is going to be a deeply revealing and challenging essay. If you don’t think freely with an open mind; and are, well, dumb and insensitive, you may not want to try.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Environmental Devastation Bill - The Green Party Speaks Out

(AKA the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act - Bill C-38)
Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-38. I am very sad, because this bill is the worst of all bills of this House, for two reasons. Details here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Game Over for the Climate

By JAMES HANSEN - May 9, 2012 - New York Times

 PLT photo
GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why…Details here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gutting the Fisheries Act in Canada

By: Gus Van Harten  05/3/2012 Wpg Free Press
Among the Harper government's latest environmental reforms -- packed like sardines into the budget -- Canada's Fisheries Act will soon protect fish habitat only in designated waterways. Details here.
 Fishing boats at Gimli, Lk. Winnipeg.

Envoironmentalism Has Failed.

by David Suzuki. 
"Over the past 50 years, environmentalists have succeeded in raising awareness, changing logging practices, stopping..." Complete story here.
PLT: A chilling admission from a great Canadian. I'm sure your message was as hard for you to deliver as it was for us to hear, David. That you have kept fighting in the face of incredible odds over the years is what needs to be remembered here. And, just as I will not give up the battle in my own small corner, despite those odds, I just know that you will not, either! Thanks for the courage and wisdom you have already shown and for that which so many of us will be counting on in the time ahead.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Did the CCPA Get it Right?

PLT; I'm no fan of the big banks, God knows. But, listening to "The Current" on CBC Radio this morning, I began wondering whether the CCPA got it quite right in its recent report, "The Big Banks' Big Secret." Did Canada "bail out" the banks with massive aid, or was it something subtly but significantly different? Listen to the CBC podcast here as it asks the question, "Was there a secret Canadian banking bailout?," then decide for yourself. 

Budget Implementation Act is Gutting of Environmental Laws in Disguise

Elizabeth May - Leader, Green Party of Canada.
Columbia Icefield - Jasper/Banff Nat'l. Parks. 
Larry Powell. P in P photo.
“Most of Bill C-38 has nothing to do with fiscal matters or what a budget is supposed to do.  Instead, it attacks environmental legislation, amending the Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and repealing the Kyoto Implementation Act, along with cancelling the National Round Table on Environment and Economy,” said May. Read more here.

Life in a Toxic Town (Letter)

Wpg Free Press May 2 '12
(Fort McMurray, Alberta)....this former small northern town is perhaps the most polluted and....Details here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exposures to the Pesticide Dursban, in Utero, Linked to Brain Abnormalities

Apr 30'12 San Francisco Chronicle
April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth, according to a study that looked at children born before the U.S. limited the chemical's use. Details here.
A "crop-duster" sprays Lorsban, (Dursban's "sister" chemical, sharing the same active ingredient, chlorpyrfos) on a canola crop in western Manitoba PLT photo.
Please also read: "Are Pesticide Regulators on the Take?" (See chlorpyrfos reference in section headed "So Who or What is to Blame?)

Diesel vehicles in oil sands operations contribute to regional pollution

EurekAlert Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been l...