Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs have set a new record: their total compensation in 2015 hit a new high at $9.5 million, on average, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). Details here.
While environmentalists may not often approach the issue of the environment from the point of view of labour, they have made sincere efforts to link their concern with the issue of labour generally. STORY HERE.
Are hungry kids a priority for the Harper government?
by Larry Powell
The forum (for the riding of Dauphin - Swan River - Neepawa) was sponsored by the Mission and Services Committee of the Neepawa United Church. It drew about 80 people to the church on Wednesday. But only four of the five candidates (see below) took part in the debate; Ray Piché (Liberal), Kate Storey (Green Party), Inky Mark (Ind.) and Laverne Lewycky (NDP).
The 5th candidate, the sitting Conservative MP for the area, Robert Sopuck (represented by the empty chair on the right), did not attend. His office manager in Neepawa, Christine Waddell, said he was in Inglis, a small community in the western part of the riding for the evening. She did not elaborate. But she did explain that a campaign worker was mistaken when he told forum organizers earlier that Mr. Sopuck would, in fact be there.
Piché, the Liberal candidate, said the MP's absence showed “disrespect” for the rest of the candidates.
The church committee wanted to stress that child poverty in Canada is actually worse now than it was in 1989. That’s when the House of Commons voted unanimously to bring an end to the problem by the year 2,000.
A display on the church wall,illustrating the impact of poverty on children. PinP photos.
For his part, Piché pledged that, if elected, his party would allocate $20 billion over 20 years in a "social framework" which would include early learning programs, quality child care and more parental leave for mothers after childbirth.
Lewycky said parents now pay up to $1,000 a month for child care. Under an NDP government, he promised, parents can expect quality child care for just $15 a day.
Storey said the Green Party supports an experimental income support program such as the one conducted in Dauphin in the 70s, called “Mincome”. By “topping up” incomes of low - wage earners, many positive results were documented, including fewer hospital visits and lower crime rates.
Mark told the forum he too would support such a plan, but only if it replaced other programs, such as social assistance. He said children aren't the only ones who suffer poverty. Seniors do, too. And he suggested neither the Canada Pension Plan nor Old Age Security should not be taxed.
Sopuck himself hasn't yet commented on his absence.
The forum was taped and will be broadcast on NACTV in Neepawa at 8 o'clock, CDT, this evening (Oct. 1).
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Duke Energy has pleaded guilty in federal court to environmental crimes and agreed to pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants. Story here.
President Kikwete: keep your promise to the Maasai people and cancel the deal that would kick them off their ancestral land to make way for a Dubai-owned hunting reserve, and guarantee permanent rights to their lands in writing. CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!
Is a world-wide ban now the only ethical thing to do?
by Larry Powell
Did your parents farm In Canada
in the years following World War 11, as
mine did? If so, little would they have dreamed of the health dangers lurking
withinthe popular chemical, DDT, which they might well have been
spraying on their fields.
But DDT was banned in North America in the 70’s after Rachel Carson exposed
it in her book,“Silent Spring” as the
culprit in massive die-offs of birds and fish and as a “definite chemical carcinogen.”
DDT made a significant
resurgence in the early 2000’s, however. That’s when the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation and the World Health Organization began promoting programs to
control malaria, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa.DDT
is sprayed indoors and used to treat bed nets to protect people from malaria
mosquitoes. It is now estimated up to 5 thousand tonnes are applied yearly.
But the degree to which DDT can harm not only those directly
exposed, but their offspring several generations later, has only recently become
In experiments with laboratory rats, the team
discovered that the chemical seems to have the ability to cause serious ailments
related to obesity (metabolic disease)
in offspring born to parents directly
exposed, even though those offspring had
no such exposure, themselves. They include diabetes,
diseases of the liver, kidney, heart and reproductive organs, male infertility
and a shorter life.
thus joins a growing list of substances such as jet fuel and dioxins with the
same dubious ability.
the researchers now believe that, while diet and lifestyle are playing a role, the DDT applied during its heyday, too, is still
contributing to the deadly epidemic of obesity that has been sweeping this
continent for years.
“No known genetic mechanism could explain the
rapid increase in the incidence of obesity in the last 30 years,” observes the
Queens University in
estimates that 57 thousand Canadians died of obesity-related ailments between
1985 and 2,000. And Memorial University in Newfoundland has
concluded that obesity rates “tripled between 1985 and 2011.”
biology teacher at WSU, Michael Skinner (left), headed that study. In an e-mail to PinP, Dr.
Skinner confidently defends his team’s research results.
the 40s and 50s, all of North America and the entire population was exposed to
DDT. We are now three generations from the 1950s, when the obesity metabolic
disease frequency was around 5% and today is near 40% of the population. So,
yes, some of the disease today is due to these ancestral exposures.”
Some researchers now believe DDT should be banned, worldwide.
This summer, WSU did a follow-up study, this
time with unusual input from the
its School of Philosophy. It examined
the ethical and moral implications of
DDT’s continued use, in the wake of last year’s disturbing revelations. “Current day exposures need to now be considered
in light of the transgenerational actions of DDT,” the team concludes. As
Prof. Skinner puts it, a worldwide ban is now a matter of “environmental
justice. There are alternatives with shorter half-lives that need to be
But convincing the world that a total ban is needed,
may not be easy.
In 2009, the Annual Review of Entomologyreported that, after some two decades
of DDT application, the death rate
from malaria had plummeted. In 1900, it was claiming more than 19 lives per
ten thousand population; in 1970, fewer
than two. The Review calls that “a massive reduction.” And the Gates
Foundation claims its
program has helped reduce the death toll from malaria by more than 40 percent
over the past dozen years or so.
But the WSU ethics paper poses some convincing
arguments of its own; Health implications uncovered by the recent research are endangering individuals "who are not able to have any
voice in the decision to use the pesticide." So we must now balance the number of lives being saved from
malaria, against the implications that its continued usage will surely have. “There are now many accounts of socially
disadvantaged, ethnic groups and the poor, suffering the ill effects of
environmental degradation,” states the report. “DDT use in the developing world looks set to be yet another case in
that sad history. The harm will only fully emerge over the course of a number
The report concludes that the burden of proof must
now shift back to those advocating for its continued use. And the worst thing that could happen would be to
carry on with the status quo without careful consideration of the consequences.
-30- Postscript: I asked the Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization for comments on this some time ago. I am still waiting for their responses. ---------
In a future chapter, Larry will explore this. Is there a new DDT on the horizon?
Stay tuned! (This article is also posted on "OpEd News," where it drew about a dozen comments! Please read them here.)
More than 100 people from the Cross Lake First Nation (Pimicikamak Cree Nation), located north of Lake Winnipeg, occupied the grounds of the Jenpeg hydro-dam last week. Chief Catherine Merrick said the First Nation is taking control of its traditional territory and evicting Manitoba Hydro. Story here.
As a member of the Green Party, I'd like to invite two prominent Conservatives in my area, Ken Waddell, the publisher of the Neepawa Banner (formerly the Mayor) and Robert Sopuck, my Member of Parliament, to join the "Greens!"
I was delighted, Mr. Waddell, to read your recent column, supporting (or, at least inviting a debate on) a guaranteed minimum income, as embodied in the successful "Mincome" pilot project in Dauphin back in the 70s. It so happens my party has endorsed such a policy for years. I actually wrote a paper for the Green Party of Manitoba myself a few years ago, detailing the success of "Mincome" and pointing out what a "win-win" effort it was, enriching the lives of many poor and disadvantaged people in just about every way that counted.
And I don't think we need to agonize over how to pay for it.
New York - I was in federal court here Friday for the sentencing of Jeremy Hammond to 10 years in prison for hacking into the computers of a private security firm that works on behalf of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, and corporations such as Dow Chemical. Details here.
263 cities, 43 countries. Today, thousands of people took their outrage
over the ongoing detention of the Arctic 30 straight to the doorsteps
of Russian embassies and oil giants Shell and Gazprom. In a massive
global day of action people all over the world demanded the release of
the Arctic 30 and showed the oil companies that we will not let them get
away with the silencing of peaceful protest.
That’s what the new rules being smuggled into trade agreements are delivering.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 5th November 2013
Remember that referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States? You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws? No, I don’t either. Mind you, I spent ten minutes looking for my watch the other day, before I realised I was wearing it. Forgetting about the referendum is another sign of ageing. Because there must have been one, mustn’t there? After all that agonising over whether or not we should stay in the European Union(1), the government wouldn’t cede our sovereignty to some shadowy, undemocratic body without consulting us.