Showing posts with the label Opinion

Part of the Solution? Or part of the Problem? The Government of Manitoba fails in its sacred duty to protect our precious waterways

  by John Fefchak - PinP guest-writer.          Lake Winnipeg, clogged with toxic algae. Nutrients from human and animal waste (including large commercial hog operations) pollute the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world. More than twenty years ago, I, along with many others, became aware of how Lake Winnipeg and other Manitoba waters were becoming polluted. Our government was ignoring the dire situation; and pressing on with the expansion of Intensive livestock (hog) Operations (ILO's).  Our concerns over the massive amounts of manure being created, were ignored. Despite evidence being presented in the media, including a major TV documentary, "Choking Lake Winnipeg," we were called fear-mongers.  Still, we didn't give up. Eventually, there was a glimmer of hope. In 2007, Manitoba's Clean Environment Commission released a ground-breaking report, recognizing a problem with the environmental sustainability of hog production.   The Lake Winnipeg Act was establis

The Government of Manitoba robs its rural citizens of their local autonomy to serve its political friends and big business. (Opinion)

        by Larry Powell  The Premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister. A Gov't. photo. The lengths to which the Pallister government is going to enable the unfettered exploitation of Manitoba's resources and massive expansion of its hog industry, should now be clear for all to see. For the past few years, it’s been rolling out, at significant taxpayer expense, the truly draconian measures it’s now taking, to make this happen.  While the writing has been on the wall, only now are the worst fears being realized. They expose this government’ naked contempt for the democratic rights of rural Manitobans who have the audacity to point out that these goals are misguided - that the emperor has no clothes. Late last year, the Municipality of Rosser, near Winnipeg, rejected a bid for a gravel mine (euphemistically called a limestone aggregate quarry). The politically well-connected owner of the construction company proposing the mine (who made a substantial contribution to the Conservative P

Beyond Covid 19. Are we risking yet another pandemic if we continue to embrace "assembly-line" livestock production into the future?

by Larry Powell No one would argue that Covid 19 demands our undivided attention. Surely,  defeating this "beast" has to be "Priority One." But, once it ends, and it will, here’s another key question that needs answering. Are we flirting with more such tragedies down the road if we do not soon end our love affair with an industrial, factory-style model of meat production?  Six years ago,  Dr. Margaret Chan (above), then the Director-General of the World Health Organization, delivered this positively prophetic message to an Asian investment conference.  “The industrialization of food production is an especially worrisome trend.  Confined animal feeding operations are not farms any more. They are protein factories with multiple hazards for health and the environment."                                         Photo credit -  Mercy for Animals, Manitob a "These hazards come from the crowding of large numbers of animals in very smal

Does your place of residence make you immune from climate calamity? I think not! (Opinion)

by Larry Powell UPDATE...The Rivers dam mentioned in this story has now been declared by government engineers to be safe. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard one of my fellow "prairie dogs" remark, how "lucky" or how "blessed" we are to be spared the kind of brutal weather that may be pummelling another part of the country or the world at the time. Occasionally, I'll try to remind them, we've already experienced disastrous conditions in our own "neck of the woods" (the eastern prairies) in recent years. They seem either unaware of what I say, or believe they're nothing worse than we've ever had.  So are they or aren't they?  The examples I list below (starting last fall up to the present) are extreme weather events which have broken records or are unprecedented in the human record.  They'e not born of this writer's imagination, but from Environment Canada, the body of record on such matters. (E

Of pandemics and politicians. (Opinion)

by Larry Powell Politicians need to be judged, not by their words, but their actions. Ontario Premier, Doug Ford has been generally well-received for his press conferences during the pandemic. Sounding good. Saying the right things. But it was under his watch, after all, that inspections of Ontario's personal care homes were slashed to save money. And we all know how tragic and deadly the situation has become within such homes in Ontario and elsewhere. Sadly, Ford's actions are consistent with a neo-liberal agenda that   has dominated the world, notably since the Reagan/Thatcher era. Cut, slash. Get governments "out of the way," Contract out. Lay off. Throw your jurisdictions "open for business" while shrinking public services like education and health. Let the market rule! (Music to the ears of the likes of Mike Harris, former Tory premier of ON. He seems to have done alright assuming the helm of one of the for-profit, private home-care companies in tha

2019 – A Devastating Year in Review

IPS - INTER PRESS SERVICE By any measure this has been a devastating year: fires across the Amazon, the Arctic and beyond; floods and drought in Africa; rising temperatures, carbon emissions and sea levels; accelerating loss of species, and mass forced migrations of people. Story here. Fires in the Brazilian Amazon - 2018. Photo by Ibama from Brasil.

How Has This Pesticide Not Been Banned? Opinion.

The New York Times Government scientists say chlorpyrifos is unsafe. And yet it’s still in use.  Details here. A "crop-duster" sprays a pesticide believed to be chlorpyrifos on a canola crop in Manitoba. Circa 2006. A PinP photo. A related story that may interest you: Thirteen years after the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) sickened a Manitoba family, Health Canada is proposing it be severely restricted in Canada. The European Union will ban it in the new year.  by Larry Powell

Blogger supports the embattled climate campaigner, Greta Thunberg. (Opinion)

Dear Editor, So I guess the bully-boys of the world's petro-states sure have Greta Thunberg on the run now. Apparently their "eyebrows were raised" because the 16 year-old schoolgirl suggested global leaders be put "up against the wall" for their lack of action on our climate crisis. I guess they were terrified Greta was going to unleash her standing armies against the likes of Saudi Arabia's murderous Crown Prince and Brazil's homophobic, rainforest-destroying (and Trump wanna be) President. Apparently Saudi   Arabia, busily killing children in Yemen as we speak (quite possibly with the help of Canadian-made weapons), and Brazil, whose leader fires scientists for telling him the truth - that his policies are committing Brazilian rainforests to death by wildfire - were major hurdles in the way of any meaningful progress at the recently-failed environmental summit. (Canada's own role, I might add, was weak, unconvincing and disgusting.) So, sho

Rural Manitobans need to stop electing Tories if we hope to make progress on climate mitigation. (Opinion)

by Larry Powell I believe we rural Manitobans need to do a deep “re-think” of how we traditionally vote if we want to do anything meaningful about our looming climate catastrophe. In my own riding of  Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, for  example, we're about to elect Dan Mazier (l.), to a four-year term as our Conservative Member of Parliament. While he wouldn't accept the label of " climate-denier"  (he does use solar panels to help power his farm and has been endorsed by an environmental group), he’s still echoing on social media, his own party’s shrill opposition to the carbon tax. (In my books, this makes him a candidate for that label.)  Despite the fact the tax applies to fossil fuels only, is refundable and exempts many farm fuels like the ones Mazier burns on his own farm, he a mazingly concludes, it will “increase the cost of almost everything!”  In my mind, one cannot be a true supporter of climate action while opposing a price on carbon.  

Jury rules Roundup gave a California couple cancer - orders the manufacturer, Bayer, to pay $2B.

by Larry Powell (Opinion) A pesticide collection depot in Manitoba. A PinP photo. It’s a record settlement in a Roundup case, so far. In Canada, there are no signs of similar court actions, even though   Roundup is generously applied here, too.   Sadly, our Canadian regulators seem far from vigilant in protecting the public against harmful chemicals. For example, less than a year ago, the PMRA re-registered a fungicide so its main uses can continue . That same product has just been banned in the EU as a possible carcinogen! And the same corporation, Bayer, is busily registering (or trying to register) its latest insecticide for use, worldwide, including Canada. Never mind that scientists are questioning Bayer’s claim that it is not harmful to pollinators.  The PMRA has been stone-silent on my own requests to justify this apparent inaction in either of these cases. I call it governance by neglect.  It is to be hoped that punishing fines like this will

Humanity Sleepwalks as Earth Burns.

--> by Larry Powell This is the Ashcroft Reserve fire in BC in 2017. That was the worst year ever for wildfires in that province - until this year!  Photo by Shawn Cahill. As I write this, human bodies incinerated beyond recognition, are being pulled from the ruins of wildfires in California. More than a thousand people are either missing or confirmed dead, with property damage set to top several billions of dollars. Smoke from the fires has now enveloped San Francisco. President Trump blames "poor forest management,"and, after first threatening to withhold it, finally grants emergency aid. His critics take him to task for his lack of empathy for the victims. After visiting the fire zones, he continues, disgracefully, to deny the role manmade climate change is surely playing here. But what's worse, his absence of a heart (which has been evident for some time), or his actual  policies  which have shown him to be