People power will stop Woodfibre LNG

protesting the proposed Woodfiber LNG project

Last month, MLA Jordan Sturdy and MP Jonathan Wilkinson hosted a meeting in Squamish with local government and indigenous leaders with the goal “to enhance transparency with respect to progress of the (Woodfibre LNG) project.”

More than 150 supporters stood outside to voice their opposition to Woodfibre LNG, as their representatives walked into the meeting at Squamish Municipal Hall, with banners reading “No Pipelines, No Tankers, No Woodfibre LNG.” People travelled from as far away as Vancouver, Bowen Island, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast, taking time off work on a Friday morning.

“Woodfibre LNG has donated more than $60,000 to the BC Liberals in 2016 alone. That’s pretty cheap to buy a rubber stamp for your environmental assessment. But Woodfibre LNG is not a done deal. Every community around Howe Sound has expressed their opposition to Woodfibre LNG. More than 10,000 people have signed the Howe Sound Declaration in opposition to Woodfibre LNG. People power will stop this project,” said Tracey Saxby, one of the co-founders of My Sea to Sky.

Following the demonstration, supporters wrote messages to their representatives in chalk:
“BC LNG is one big lie.”
“Focus on renewable energy.”
“Save Howe Sound.”
“For our kids.”

LNG tankers put Howe Sound residents at risk

Based on International Safety Standards, we know that Howe Sound is the wrong place for an LNG export facility. Canada still doesn’t have any safety regulations for LNG tankers and the information being used by the Technical Review Process of Marine Systems and Transhipment (TERMPOL) to develop LNG tanker regulations is old or flawed. Public safety is not being taken seriously.

Woodfibre LNG threatens the recovery of Howe Sound

Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent cleaning up the toxic legacies of previous industries, such as the Nexen chemical plant, the Woodfibre pulp mill and the Britannia Beach mine. As a direct result, Howe Sound is slowly recovering: the herring and the whales are coming back. Woodfibre LNG threatens this recovery through underwater noise, which impacts herring, salmon, whales and other wildlife.

Air pollution from Woodfibre LNG will impact public health at a social cost of over $20 million per year.

Even though Woodfibre LNG is using electricity as the main power source, there will still be significant air pollution during operation. Woodfibre LNG is estimating air pollution emissions of 295.7 tonnes of nitrous oxides (NOx) and 43.8 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2) every year.



Source: My Sea to Sky, a volunteer organization that was started in early 2014 in opposition to the proposed Woodfibre LNG project. More than 10,000 supporters have signed the Howe Sound declaration. www.myseatosky.org

photo by Les MacDonald

Internet freedom: a make-or-break year

photo of David Christopher

INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

2017 is here and it’s clear it will be a make-or-break year for Internet freedom. Around the world, our digital rights are under threat as never before. Let’s take a look at some of the big challenges ahead.

In Canada, the federal government will soon be publishing its response to the National Security consultation that closed in December. It’s abundantly clear Canadians want the government to repeal Bill C-51 and deliver strong privacy rules to make us safe – but will the government listen, especially against the backdrop of a full-on RCMP propaganda campaign calling for even more invasive spy powers?

Also in Canada, the government is under pressure from industry lobbyists pushing a costly, new Internet Tax, a proposal that expert Michael Geist has called a “digital tax on everything.” This is a terrible idea that will deepen the digital divide and force even more Canadians offline, in a country where low-income and rural residents are already struggling to stay connected. If the government pursues this, expect a big fight ahead.

South of the border, Donald Trump’s recent inauguration as president means he has secured, not just the keys to the Oval Office, but also sweeping, new powers to shape the future of the Internet for generations to come.

Based on Trump’s statements, we can expect to see a dramatic expansion of NSA and FBI spying powers. Worryingly, there are very few oversight mechanisms or limitations on what Trump can do with this power. And given that so much surveillance activity takes place under a veil of near-total secrecy, it will be extremely difficult for citizens to hold Trump effectively to account.

With Trump in office, we’re also anticipating a full-on assault on the hard-fought Net Neutrality consumer protections that millions fought so hard for at the Federal Communications Commission just two years ago. Net Neutrality rules ensure that Internet users get to decide what to watch online and when, rather than having giant telcos make those decisions for us.

Without Net Neutrality, your telecom provider could decide which websites to speed up and which to slow down – effectively creating an Internet Slow Lane for everyone except deep-pocketed conglomerates. Put simply, Net Neutrality is essential for a free and open Internet and we’ll need to pull out all the stops to defend it.

Elsewhere, MEPs in the EU are considering controversial proposals from the European Commission to impose a new ancillary copyright fee – effectively a Link Tax – on anyone who shares links and accompanying snippets of information online. The Link Tax will have a devastating impact on access to information and freedom of expression and we’ll be working hard to convince MEPs to block this reckless idea.

With so many tough fights ahead, 2017 will be a pivotal year for digital rights. But if the history of the pro-Internet movement can teach us anything, it’s that the more challenging the times, the more inspiring the response – and there’s no doubt we’ll need to mobilize millions of people around the world if we’re to successfully protect our basic rights over the weeks and months to come.

Keep in touch at OpenMedia.org and on Facebook https://facebook.com/openmediaorg and see our Twitter https://twitter.com/openmediaorg feeds for all the latest.

David Christopher is communications manager for OpenMedia, which works to keep the Internet open, affordable and surveillance-free. openmedia.org

Diluted bitumen unsafe in any waters and should be banned

bitumen

Bitumen, the product being extracted from the Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan Tar Sands operations, is similar to bunker crude. It also must be heated to be pumped. To make it flow in a pipeline a thinning agent is added.

The faulty logic of Trudeau’s Kinder Morgan Pipeline approval

by Merv Richie

For many years now the British Columbian population has endured news, commentaries and protests regarding the prospects of petroleum products being piped across the province and shipped by tankers from West Coast ports. Missing from the debate, including the recent decisions by the government of Justin Trudeau, is the various types of product and the present day dangers the coast faces now with all vessels.

The Nathan E. Stewart, which ran aground and sank at Bella Bella on October 13, 2016, highlights these dangers. Almost every vessel, from small fish boats to dry goods freighters has all their fuel uncontained. The MV Rena, which struck a reef and broke up spoiling the beaches of New Zealand five years ago, was a dry goods freighter. Everyday there are approximately 15 similar freighters moored in English Bay, each with an average of 3 million litres of Bunker Crude in their keel holds. Only 3/4 of an inch of steel separates the bunker fuel from the open ocean and our waterfront. A full 45 million litres or as much as the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. All of this bunker crude and all fuel in almost all vessels waits to be spilled. The Nathan E. Stewart is our wake up call to demand fuel containment in all BC waters.

Most common of the refined petroleum products are diesel and gasoline. Besides the dozens of other products refined from crude oil the remaining sludge, a dirty sulphurous residue, is bunker crude. This is stored as ballast in the ‘keel hold’ at the bottom of all freighters. The consistency is such that it cannot be pumped without heating. When cold, it is like tar; in fact it is exactly the same substance we mix with gravel to pave our road surfaces. All freighters run on this filth after they leave populated harbours.

Bitumen, the product being extracted from the Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan Tar Sands operations, is similar to bunker crude. It also must be heated to be pumped. To make it flow in a pipeline a thinning agent is added. This is where the term Dil-Bit comes from; diluted bitumen. The thick bitumen is diluted with a product called ‘condensate’. Condensate is a very toxic and explosive gas. It is a by-product of wet natural gas wells. Commonly called ‘white gas’ it contains hydrogen sulfide, methanol, ethynol, cyclohexane, naphthene, benzene, toluene, xylenes and ethyl benzene. This product is being imported into Canada by ship and by rail from Kitimat to Alberta for the present pipeline system.

Therefore, we have a variety of substances to consider along with the manner in which these substances are transported. Each has their own hazards and management issues.

When the Lac Megantic disaster happened, the tragic explosion of a runaway train carrying oil, the product was not just oil. It was a mixture of oil and gas. Most adults understand one cannot light a litre of 10W30 engine oil. But if one was to add a bit of gasoline to the bottle we would essentially be creating a bomb. One wouldn’t want to stand too close when lighting it. That is exactly what was on the rails at Lac Megantic: bombs, crude oil mixed with gas.

What happened at Kalamazoo Michigan from the ‘Dil-Bit’ was a different result from the same mixture. When the Enbridge pipeline burst, a spray of pressurized ‘Dil-Bit’ hit the atmosphere. The local population suffered the effects of the toxicity. The suddenly aerosolized poisons of the condensate created neurotoxins.

Dil-Bit therefore is nothing short of an extremely explosive toxic nerve gas bomb.

Raw crude oil, without any added or present gases is difficult to transport by pipelines; for bitumen it is impossible. The added difficulty for Canadian bitumen is the corrosive sediment remaining after initial processing. The life of the pipelines is substantially reduced due to increased wear, much like sandpaper, the bitumen presents.

Transporting bitumen by rail car is not dangerous as long as it is not diluted or heated; shipped cold and raw. Bunker crude is shipped this way today. A derailment would see the product simply stay where it spilled even if a rail car broke open. A fully refined product, Dil-Bit or condensate would pollute flowing freely, vaporize or even ignite.

All these products are loaded onto vessels plying our waters completely un-contained. The rail cars or pipelines fill storage tanks next to the waters or are emptied directly into the vessel at port. This in itself presents a variety of potential for spillage. At Kitimat the condensate is reportedly spilled regularly. Tank farms are known to spring leaks including the one Kinder Morgan operates at Burrard Inlet, and spills occur while filling vessels. In fact most pleasure craft and fishing vessels are filled until the overflow spills out into the waters. All of these hazards and spillages could be resolved by a demand for containment by our governments.

In 1965 Ralph Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed. It was a critical examination of the Automobile Industry’s refusal to consider adding safety features such as seat belts. The industry, Nader detailed, sacrificed the lives of thousands by their combined refusal to address the very real and obvious hazards. A clear analogy is obvious here. The automobile industry complained loudly against regulation of their product, arguing the extra costs would bankrupt them or make their product unaffordable. Now safety is one of the auto industries greatest advertising features, adding airbags and protection devices wherever possible.

The petroleum and marine shipping industry could achieve the same result. Just as was required for the auto industry, regulations and changes will need to be enforced.

All vessels must be required to be retrofitted to have their fuel stored in removable containers. In the case of freighters, the rail cars presently delivering bunker crude could be redesigned to be detached from the rail bed, just as containers are today. These could then be lowered into refabricated holds on the vessel. A Panamax freighter would likely require 30 of these removable tank cars. Each could be connected to the fuel system by an electrically operated solenoid valve such that in the case of loss of power or impending disaster, the valves would secure the fuel. The very same fuel containment system must be made mandatory on all vessels. Sealed, removable fuel modules.

Just like a family going out for boating trip on a boat with a small outboard motor, the fuel is generally carried on board in a specially designed fuel tank. The hose is connected and with a couple squeezes on the fuel ball, the motor is ready to start.

Presently most vessels are unsafe in any waters. While there is justifiable outrage at Prime Minister Trudeau’s approval of the Kinder Morgan expansion plans, there is the opportunity to address the dangers present today.

If we demanded an immediate change to all fuel containment systems having bunker fuel and crude or bitumen transported cold and raw in detachable rail cars, sealed from the point of production to the destination, loaded in the same manner as ‘Sea Can’ containers are today, the dangers would be greatly reduced. An added benefit would be the reduced need for importing condensate to make toxic nerve gas and bombs. Dil-Bit needs to be completely banned. j

The Nathan E. Stewart was a wakeup call, as is the still-leaking Queen of the North; and the MV Bovec balancing on a reef off Prince Rupert in 2000 is similar to the MV Rena in New Zealand. British Columbia is just lucky to not have a disaster on its shores. And this is long before more tanker traffic arrives.

Resistance to Arctic drilling worth remembering

standing before an oil rig

From activists who scaled Shell’s rig in April or who stopped one of Shell’s ships this July, to the millions of people all over the world who signed petitions, paraded with polar bears, shared stories and helped organize for real environmental justice, this is YOUR victory.

I’m standing between Shell and the Arctic – join me

by Audrey Siegl

» Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam woman from BC, is a First Nations artist, activist, renowned public speaker and a drummer and singer. In the photo above, she stands in a Greenpeace rhib launched from the MY Esperanza holding her arm out in front her, defiantly signalling Shell’s subcontracted drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, to stop.

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Let’s mark Canada’s 150th birthday by establishing a Department of Peace

Canadian Peace Initiative logo

There is currently no strategic focus for peace in government, and there has rarely been a greater urgency or a better window of opportunity to consider the creation of a Department of Peace in our country.

by Canadian Peace Initiative

Canada has a proud history of peacekeeping. Now, more than ever, we need Canada to take leadership and open the road to peace for the rest of the world.

The call is out to establish a Department of Peace on our 150th birthday. We have the opportunity to bring a beacon of light to the fragile state of our planet, racked by war, devastation and fear.

This is not a far-fetched idea, but something tangible that the Canadian Peace Initiative has worked on for years. Right now, a unique opportunity is open: You can directly ask Canada to increase its capabilities in peace leadership.

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Issues that demand connection and action

Thanks to donations from readers, DeSmog Canada was able to send photographer Garth Lenz to the Peace to capture the ongoing construction and the landscapes and lives that stand to be affected by Site C Dam.

Connecting the dots

by Bruce Mason

Corporate media may be denying or ignoring their existence, but the world is awash in unprecedented, existential crises: from Syria to Standing Rock, global climate tipping points, to so-called trade deals that enable greedy elites to prevent action, from international anti-nuclear arms initiatives, to the ugly, unwelcome return of the Cold War. The army of so-called mainstream media journalists, increasingly irrelevant and nearing extinction, are paid to prop up the multi-national corporate agendas. Instead of calling it mass media, the more accurate moniker is corporate media.

We turn your attention instead to independent social media; just type the headlines below into your search bar.

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Why we need a Natural Health Products Act!

Common Ground, along with many other organizations, businesses, and millions of natural health products customers across Canada, for decades have demanded that the government of the day leave our very safe natural products alone. They are not drugs and should be respected as such by giving then their own Natural Health Products Act.

Open letter to
Prime Minister, Right Honourable Justin Trudeau;
Minister of Health, Honourable Jane Philpott; and
Deputy Minister of Health, Simon Kennedy

I object to Health Canada’s (HC’s) proposals to classify Natural Health Products (NHPs) with prescription drugs! It is no secret in Ottawa that the pharmaceutical industry exerts massive influence on HC, and HC’s excuses for these proposals, based on safety and claims, are invalid. I urge you to use my tax dollars to support the creation of a new Natural Health Products Act (NHPA) to protect my access and freedom of choice.

In over 60 years in Canada, involving far in excess of 100,000 NHPs, taken by millions of Canadians daily, totalling billions to trillions of doses, the death total is zero (0). This makes NHPs safer than food or water and means that HC legally has no jurisdiction over NHPs since the Food and Drugs Act only grants HC powers over substances that pose a demonstrable risk, not made-up, theoretical risks with no actual occurrences like HC poses for NHPs.

Conversely, according to a report by past MP, Terence Young, as many as 20,000 Canadians die each year from pharmaceuticals, hence, over a million deaths in the same 60-year time period. And HC is proposing to regulate them together based on safety? This is absurd.

Not surprisingly, HC’s proposals come now with the Liberal government signalling they will sign the misleadingly named “free-trade deals” with Europe and Asia, i.e. CETA and TPP, which contain allowances for expansion of pharmaceutical patents and massive losses of Canadian sovereignty in all areas of our lives. See www.canadianbankreformers.ca for an important update and call to action on CETA. Huge pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer hold hundreds of use-patents on NHPs. (Eg: www.google.com/patents/US20140271923) Such patents use the most advanced research and put to rest claims by media and medicine that there is no evidence for NHPs. Big Pharma is running out of drugs, and coming for them. Consider this patent, which outlines a tablet delivery system for several hundred NHPs: http://www.google.ca/patents/US8883205

To create a single marketplace, regulations between Trade Agreement member nations must be “harmonized,” and restrictions on NHPs are being attempted in countries around the globe. This is occurring under the auspices of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authority, (ICMRA), and until recently, Health Canada was both chairing and acting as the secretariat for this group. As its regulatory model, ICMRA is using the EU where pharmaceutical companies control all aspects of healthcare.

This is HC’s third attempt to group NHPs with prescription drugs. The first came in 1997 after they were directed to partner with the pharmaceutical industry, and HC immediately came out with the Establishment Licensing Act. Canadians protested vehemently and the Act was stopped. The Standing Committee on Health performed extensive investigations, and in its final report specifically ruled out regulating NHPs as DRUGS. Parliament came out with 53 Recommendations; #1 was to amend the Food and Drugs Act to provide NHPs with a category distinct from either Foods or Drugs.

Yet HC subverted things and placed NHPS as DRUGS anyways. This was a set-up. They tried again to apply prescription drug regulations to NHPs in 2008 with Bill C51. Again, Canadians revolted and again the Bill did not proceed. So now, HC has united the departments for NHPs and OTC pharmaceuticals. As Drugs, NHPs are forced to make approved claims. HC is now using claims they approved as justification for tighter controls.

If these proposals are allowed to go forward, mass suffering will be inflicted on untold numbers of Canadians who rely on NHPs for their health, as their NHPS incrementally disappear.

The time has come for a Natural Health Products Act to protect Canadians’ access and well being, and the groundwork has already been laid. The Committees have investigated. Parliament has already decided what should happen. The department and regulatory system already exists in the Natural Health Products Directorate, and the framework for the new Act has already been written in The Charter of Health Freedom.

As a citizen of Canada, help me protect and make decisions about my own wellbeing that are rightfully mine, and push for a new NHP Act. Preserve my birthright to look after my own health.

Thank you,
www.citizensforchoice.com

Brief to House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security

Submitted by Barrie Zwicker

» 2013 Canada Day terrorist plot was a “police-manufactured crime.” – Madam Justice Catherine Bruce of the BC Supreme Court

If ever two dots needed connecting, it’s Bill C-51 and the historic judgment of the BC Supreme Court in the case of the so-called “Canada Day Terror Plot” in 2013 in Victoria.

On July 29, 2016, Madam Justice Catherine Bruce, in a 344-page ruling, struck down the terrorism convictions of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, impoverished recovering heroin addicts with mental health challenges. She called the so-called “terrorist plot” a “police-manufactured crime.”

The Mounties devoted more than 200 officers and spent millions to aid and abet the crime. A Globe and Mail editorial on August 4, 2016, observed, “The accused pair could not have managed a bomb attack on the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia without the RCMP’s step-by-step guidance.” Some counter-terrorism.

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A journey into the heart of darkness that is Site C Dam

by Bruce Mason

» It’s absolutely essential to understand as much as you can about Christy Clark’s increasingly controversial Site C Dam. We’re all on the hook for nine billion, at the very least, but most likely for much more. $9,000,000,000+ for the most expensive, unnecessary and destructive project in BC’s history. Our children and grandchildren will also bear the costs down the line of this greedy elite theft from our public commons.

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Toad People World Premiere

image toad people

Presented by
the Wilderness Committee
www.wildernesscommittee.org

» Wednesday, November 30, 6:30-9PM
At SFU Woodward’s, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
Tickets $10 – order at toadpeople.brownpapertickets.com


What does it take to save a species? A film about hope, community and the struggle to save species at risk in BC. We are thrilled to announce the world premiere of our hotly anticipated documentary film Toad People. We hope you will save the date in your calendars and join us there.

Toad People is an inspiring documentary about communities across BC fighting to protect species at risk, such as the western toad and barn owl. This film isn’t just about people standing up for toads. People living in BC know we have remarkable wildlife no other province boasts: killer whales, grizzly bears, barn owls and badgers.

Many people don’t realize that BC has no standalone endangered species legislation. With the provincial election around the corner, now is the time to change that.

After Vancouver, we’re hitting the road to screen Toad People in interior BC, Vancouver Island and northern BC.

www.facebook.com/events/1807844426161211/