Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Conservative premiers betray feds with fertilizer disinformation

The National Observer

Days after signing a landmark $2.5-billion deal with the provinces and territories to subsidize Canada's farmers, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she was betrayed by a cadre of conservative premiers. The leaders of the three Prairie provinces, who had supported the pact, echoed a far-right disinformation campaign linked to Canada's Freedom Convoy movement telling farmers the feds were going to force them to drastically curb fertilizer use. 

Details here.

Monday, November 2, 2020

For at least a decade, three founders of HyLife Foods have contributed thousands of dollars to the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

by Larry Powell

Giving money to political parties, while older than Manitoba itself, has now erupted into something of a political storm in the province. And, to give context to the role of party donations, it's necessary to explain it in chronological order, going back a few months.
Colleen Munro, owner and president of Hugh Munro Construction Ltd.,
Winnipeg. (HMC) A company photo.

This summer, Opposition parties slammed the provincial government when a financial contributor to the PCs, Colleen Munro (above), got the green light to develop a controversial limestone quarry in the southeastern RM of Rosser. The Government-appointed Municipal Board, made up of at least two other PC party donors, approved the project, over-ruling opposition to the quarry, both from local residents and the duly-elected local council. (There is no appeal from Board rulings.)

As the Manitoba Liberal Leader, Dougald Lamont put it at the time, "If you want something done, all you have to do it to give lots of money to the PCs."

Now, PinP has uncovered a strikingly similar scenario - with a twist - in another part of the province. Except this time, the role that political donations may be playing has, so far, flown beneath the radar. 

Over the ongoing objections of several local residents, Canada's biggest pork processor, HyLifeFoods has just won approval to build a multi-million dollar hog factory near the Village of Elgin in the southwestern RM of Grassland. After initially rejecting the proposal, the local council there reversed itself and announced, last week, it was approving it. 

The Reeve publicly claimed, the turnaround came only after winning concessions from the company. But, had the RM not reversed itself, it almost certainly would have faced a lengthy and expensive appeal before the Municipal Board. Given the precedent the Board set in Rosser, it surely seems approval would have been the final outcome, anyway.

My search of ElectionsManitoba records (see screen shots, below) reveals the following: three of four HyLife founders, Claude and Denis Vielfaure and an associate, Donald Janzen (above) of the southeastern Manitoba community of  La Broquerie, have, since 2010, contributed almost 24 thousand dollars ($23,569.75) to the PCs. 





(There is no record of the fourth founder, Paul Vielfaure, having made any contributions. And it doesn't show any of them donating to any party other than the provincial PCs. My search did not go further back than 2010.) 

A Thai-based company took over controlling interest in HyLife last year. The three have now stepped down, at least from full-time duties at the company. But they remain a large part of the image it presents to the public.

For about a week, I've sent several messages to the three, inviting them to comment on my story. They have not answered at the time of this posting.

"He who pays the piper calls the tune?"

Over the years, HyLife and its forerunners (including HyTek and Springhill) - along with other players in the livestock industry - have received significant taxpayer support from governments at other levels and political stripes, in the form of grants and loans. 

But, it's Manitoba's current Government, led by Brian Pallister's Conservatives, which has, arguably proven to be the friendliest to the hog industry. 

Soon after coming to office in 2016, it set aside environmental regulations under the previous NDP which had been seen as roadblocks in the way of industry expansion. 

Local RM councils used to be able to reject new factory barns or expansions of existing ones. Now, it's much harder, if not impossible, to do. 

And, there's more. 

One informed source tells PinP, "A plethora of bills have been introduced into the Manitoba legislature. There are more changes to the Planning Act proposed which are designed to further erode local government authority over planning decisions."

So, despite a pandemic, hog industry expansion in this province seems set to continue apace.

Meanwhile, voices of dissent in both cases cited here, have not gone away. Here's what Steven Tufts, who farms close to the site of the future barns in Grasslands, thinks of HyLife's decision to re-submit its application after initial rejection by the local council.

"I am again writing a letter to who it may concern about the Hylife Gibsons Nursery. I am a small farmer south of Elgin with land across the road from the proposed barn. This is all fine. What really turns me off greatly is how this sneaky, devious bunch would reapply for this barn after the neighbours and RM of Grassland said no to them the first time. It is very obvious how sneaky these people are to reapply in Harvest time when other real farmers are too busy to deal with it. That is just an ignorant thing to do. I do not want people in my area who are like this. We have enough crime in our area."

Further dissenting voices can be viewed here.


Monday, December 30, 2019

Onward, Christian Fascists

truthdig - by Chris Hedges

The greatest moral failing of the liberal Christian church was its refusal, justified in the name of tolerance and dialogue, to denounce the followers of the Christian right as heretics. By tolerating the intolerant it ceded religious legitimacy to an array of con artists, charlatans and demagogues and their cultish supporters. It stood by as the core Gospel message—concern for the poor and the oppressed—was perverted into a magical world where God and Jesus showered believers with material wealth and power. The white race, especially in the United States, became God’s chosen agent. Imperialism and war became divine instruments for purging the world of infidels and barbarians, evil itself. Details here.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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 amazingly 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. 

Here's why.

A carbon tax in BC in the early 2000s, worked.  It actually reduced emissions without damaging the economy in the least. It has also been endorsed by leading climatologists, a Nobel prize-winning economists and the respected think-tank, the Pembina Institute, to name a few. 

Here's the proof.
Vast acreages like this remain in Manitoba fields due to storm
conditions some have described as "historic." A PinP photo.
The irony of Mazier’s position is striking. He's a conventional farmer who uses lots of fuel in his big machines and synthetic fertilizers on his crops. And he's almost certainly facing economic losses himself from a wacky growing season which bears all the hallmarks of manmade climate change. Drought, torrential rains, hail and snow have left vast amounts of crop in the fields (see above) and many livestock producers on the verge of ruin. And the irony only deepens when you consider the deeply-flawed way Trudeau imposed the tax on Manitoba. It exempts producers like Mazier from paying it at all on much of the fuel he burns on his farm.

For years, Conservative has been the party of choice for most rural Manitobans. The outgoing MP for this area, Conservative Robert Sopuck, criticized organic production and strongly opposed action on climate change. He was a strong supporter of the status quo in regard to conventional farming and livestock production.

I'm not convinced that I fully believe Conservatives who say they accept that manmade climate change is happening. They take that position because the science is now so compelling, it would make them look ridiculous in the public eye to say otherwise. So their condemnation of a carbon tax is their "fallback position," where they can deny the science in private but publicly still appear to be disagreeing only on solutions.


Friday, December 22, 2017

It will be months before Canada can restore a critical pollution monitoring site


Canada has chosen an alternate site for a critical air pollution research station that was shuttered in June, but almost a year will have passed before it's operational again. Story here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rationale for Site C ‘Utter Nonsense,’ Says Former Hydro CEO

The Tyee

Province had ability to cancel project without cutting services, argues Eliesen. Story here.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

While America Focuses on Tax Bill, Congress Quietly Tries to Open Arctic Refuge to Oil Drilling


The U.S. Senate has passed a Republican tax-reform package that contains a provision to authorize oil drilling on the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, placing the biological heart of one of our last pristine, untouched places in severe peril. Story here.

Barrenground caribou, Nunavut. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why Did Trump Release a Report Confirming Climate Change Is Real?


Last Friday, the White House stunned many after it released a sweeping report concluding that climate change is not only real, but it also poses as a major threat to the U.S. and humans are "extremely likely" to be responsible. Details here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change

The Washington Post

The Trump administration released a dire scientific report Friday calling human activity the dominant driver of global warming, a conclusion at odds with White House decisions to withdraw from a key international climate accord, champion fossil fuels and reverse Obama-era climate policies. Story here.

Another disastrous wildfire season in Portugal. 
Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Political History is Written in British Columbia, Canada

Dear Larry -

We just witnessed history.

Yesterday’s BC election was a MAJOR breakthrough for Greens. The BC Green Party have re-elected their leader, Andrew Weaver, as well as two new MLAs. Sonia Furstenau has won in Cowichan Valley, and Adam Olsen has won in Saanich North and the Islands.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trumping Canada’s Environment

A/J Alternatives Journal by Bob Paehlke
The election of Donald Trump is unlike any change in American history. It will transform America’s role in world politics. It is my view that Canadians should not pretend otherwise (however polite our government might choose to be in the diplomatic realm). Story here.

Air pollutants from Texas used to be found in the Canadian Arctic. Will history now repeat itself?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America


In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king. Story here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brace for War - Against Trump's Impending Attacks on the Environment.

Dear Larry,
The election is over. Donald Trump is our next President.
There is no sugar-coating this. Trump is a grave threat to everything we stand for. He could unravel decades of hard-fought victories for people and the planet.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Be Afraid. Writer Warns of the Possible Rise of "Trumpism" Right Here in Canada.

by Larry Powell

I hope we Canadians are resisting feelings of superiority while watching the horror show unfold before our eyes that is the U.S. election. If we haven’t done it ourselves, I’m sure we’ve seen others wag their fingers or click their tongues at that pitiful excuse for a  “Commander-in-Chief,” Donald Trump. And rightly so. But make no mistake, he has his supporters right here in Canada, too. I just read a letter-to-the-editor from a fellow Manitoban, for example, which loudly proclaims “I think we desperately need a Donald Trump here in Canada!” 
Odd, isn’t it? Those words are eerily similar to these. “I think Donald Trump would be best for the job.” Who said that? That was the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S.

Beating the drum, as Trump does, for a wall on the US-Mexico border and a ban on Muslims, he wears his racism on his sleeve like a badge of honour. How this hateful, lying demagogue can attract supporters here in my country, or anywhere for that matter, leaves me truly gobsmacked.

Trump is immune to evidence, facts or truth. Up 'til today, at least, he has clung to the lie he helped manufacture, that President Obama is a Muslim who was not even born in the ‘States. After sowing those toxic seeds (fuelled, no doubt by the fact that Obama is black) and unleashing the kind of harm only such conspiracy theories can do, he's had a death-bed repentance. Yes, Obama was US-born, Donald proclaims! I guess, just because Trump has now said it, Obama is finally qualified to carry on in his post! But Trump followed up immediately by launching another bald-faced lie: that Hillary Clinton had started the whole, ugly "birther" controversy. This man does not know when to quit. He is pathological.

And Canada, of course, once “belonged to the U.S” and ought to be returned! Trump actually said that? He sure did!

He has also labelled the now well-founded science of manmade climate change as a hoax, having been “created by & for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He actually promises to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, the last bastion shielding the American people, their health and their environment, from unbridled destruction by soulless corporations bent on mining and polluting the Earth (and its oceans) to death.

While Trump may have dreamed up his own personal, perverted brand of climate denial, he has plenty of company right here in my country, too. Trust me, that denial, in one form or another, runs deep. It’s even ingrained to some degree in our educational, journalistic and faith communities.  

Not many may come out publicly, as that letter-writer did, to proclaim their support for this “wart on the rump of history.” But I fear they still privately share way too many of his dangerous, misguided beliefs. 

Please don’t let another Donald Trump slither into a position of power in Canada. If we do, we should all be afraid. Very afraid.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Free Trade, the Democratic National Congress and the Climate Crisis


The same day TransCanada Pipelines sued the U.S. government for $15 billion, the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee met in Missouri. Between the two, there is a lesson to be learned about free trade and the climate crisis. Story here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

SASKATCHEWANIANS! This Climate Crank Does Not Deserve Another Term in Office!

Don't forget, Premier Brad Wall opposes a carbon tax but supports nuclear power and federal tax dollars to help the oil industry "clean up." He is not a leader we need in an era of profound and destructive climate change. We need, instead, visions for alternative energy sources other than fossil fuels. Nuclear is not one of them. (Read post directly below.)

Friday, October 23, 2015

12-Star Conservatives Who Will No Longer Be With Us


After a long decade in power, the Stephen Harper years are now history. Here are 12 other Conservative stars who will no longer twinkle following Monday night's vote. Story here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

High Stakes – Cleaning Up After Harper

Common Dreams

Canadians couldn’t have been much clearer on Monday when they hit the polls in numbers that haven’t been seen for decades…Story here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lynton Crosby Abandons Harper


The Australian dirty tricks strategist brought in last month to salvage Stephen Harper’s re-election campaign has abandoned the Conservatives, according to the spin doctor’s partner. Story here.