Justice

Public consultation is a real chance to repeal unpopular legislation

photo of David Christopher

INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

It’s here. Almost a year into their mandate, the Liberal government has finally launched its long awaited public consultation on Bill C-51, and a broad range of privacy and national security issues.

Speaking at the launch, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said they had already identified a limited number of areas of Bill C-51 they wanted changed and that they wanted to get Canadians’ views on how to deal with the rest of the unpopular legislation.

Bill C-51, readers may recall, is the highly controversial spying bill forced through Parliament by the previous Conservative federal government. Notably, the legislation turns the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) into what the Globe and Mail has called a “secret police force,” with little independent oversight or accountability.

Site C and LNG: a tenuous relationship

Site C would be BC’s most expensive infrastructure project ever. Its debt funding will be loaded onto the shoulders of our children. It needs a convincing business case and, so far, that case is anything but convincing.

by Eoin Finn B.Sc., Ph.D., MBA

The relationship between the LNG industry and the Site C’s power is tenuous at best. To date, four LNG plants – LNG Canada, Kitimat LNG, Woodfibre LNG and now Pacific NorthWest LNG – have received export licenses and environmental certificates from Canada’s Governments. Only one – the small-scale Woodfibre plant in Vancouver’s Howe Sound – will use grid electricity to power its liquefaction process. All the much-larger plants will each burn about 10 percent of their gas intake to power the minus 162oC refrigeration process. If built, they would together add about 30 million tonnes to BC’s annual carbon emissions – a 50 percent increase. Upstream emissions would at least double that.

When I first settled in Vancouver in 1978, I went to a Canadian Club lunch. The guest speaker was BC Hydro’s CEO, who sternly warned the audience that, unless he got the OK to build three nuclear plants, the coal-fired Hat Creek and the Site C dam, we would in future have to munch on sushi in the dark. That was my introduction to “hydronomics”, and the engineers who want to keep on building dams – proving that, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Natural health products are not drugs

Changing the way NHPs are regulated will have an impact on the products you will find on your store shelves. Providing the evidence required for drugs is vastly expensive, which is why the price for drugs is significantly higher compared to NHPs.

Tell Health Canada to leave our NHPs alone

 

by Helen Long

Health Canada has recently launched the Consulting Canadians on the Regulation of Self-Care Products in Canada document. Previously referred to as the Consumer Health Product Framework, this document has changed dramatically since its original inception, and proposes that, in the future, many natural health products (NHPs) be regulated using the same rules as drugs.

Canadians want climate plan, not fracked LNG

by Bruce Mason

 

• On October 2, when Canada’s environment ministers met in Montreal, they were made aware of how Canadians view key climate issues. Topping the list: the majority (66%) of Canadians support an effective climate plan to meet targets.

The new public opinion research revealed a substantial majority of respondents (70%) believe climate change is a significant threat to Canada’s economic future. It also found that 60% support a price on carbon emissions everywhere in the country.

The survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted by Nanos Research for Clean Energy Canada, was released as federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers gathered to prepare for a First Ministers’ Meeting on climate change later this year.

“The public is sending a clear signal. They’re tired of bickering among politicians,” reported Merran Smith, Clean Energy’s executive director. “Canadians want to see provinces do their part, but they also want the federal government to pick up the slack if provinces don’t deliver necessary results.”

Why Non-GMO labels don’t go far enough

GMOs and glyphosate

by Jeremy Caradonna and Thierry Vrain

spraying herbicides• The total sale of products with Non-GMO labels is now in the billions and the growth of this market is certainly to be applauded. However, the Non-GMO label inadvertently shields health-conscious consumers from one of the scarier realities of the modern food system – that glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, is also being applied to non-genetically modified crops.

The world now has 500 million acres of GMO crops: mainly soy and corn in North and South America; cotton in the US, China and India; and canola, sugar beet and alfalfa in the US and Canada. These crops are genetically modified to withstand the application of glyphosate, in the form of Roundup – hence the label “Roundup Ready” crops. Glyphosate is a synthetic amino acid, a glycine analogue that kills all plants except for the crop engineered with a bacterial gene that provides resistance to the herbicide.

Monsanto tribunal in The Hague

For an increasing number of people from around the world, Monsanto today is the symbol of industrial agriculture. This chemical-intensive form of production pollutes the environment, accelerates biodiversity loss, and massively contributes to global warming.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Monsanto, a US-based company, has developed a number of highly toxic products, which have permanently damaged the environment and caused illness or death for thousands of people. These products include:

  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), one of the twelve Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that affect human and animal fertility;
  • 2,4,5 T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a dioxin-containing component of the defoliant, Agent Orange, which was used by the US Army during the Vietnam War and continues to cause birth defects and cancer;
  • Lasso, an herbicide that is now banned in Europe;
  • and RoundUp, the most widely used herbicide in the world, and the source of the greatest health and environmental scandal in modern history – this toxic herbicide is used in combination with genetically modified (GM) RoundUp Ready seeds in large-scale monocultures, primarily to produce soybeans, maize and rapeseed for animal feed and biofuels.

Monsanto promotes an agroindustrial model that contributes at least one third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions; it is also largely responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide. This is a model that threatens peoples’ food sovereignty by patenting seeds and privatizing life.

Syria in crosshairs of corporate pipeline war

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949, barely a year after the agency’s creation… Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria.

by Mike Whitney

The conflict in Syria is not a war in the conventional sense of the word. It is a regime change operation, just like Libya and Iraq were regime change operations.

The main driver of the conflict is the country that’s toppled more than 50 sovereign governments since the end of World War 2 [see williamblum.org]. We’re talking about the United States, of course.

Washington is the hands-down regime change champion; no one else even comes close. That being the case, one might assume the American people would notice the pattern of intervention, see through the propaganda, and assign blame accordingly. But that never seems to happen and it probably won’t happen here either. No matter how compelling the evidence may be, the brainwashed American people always believe their government is doing the right thing.

Keep the Peace and feed us all

Will BC create a Peace Valley breadbasket or a Site C basket case?

by Bruce Mason

In photo, Caroline Beam and her children Xavier, Lucas and Tristan at their home on the banks of the river, with the Gates pictured in the background. The Beam children have grown up with the river as their backyard. From the upcoming book, The Peace in Peril, by Christopher Pollon. Photo by Ben Nelms.

• Let’s focus for a moment on some fundamental issues for Common Ground readers – nutrition and food security, safety, sustainability and sovereignty – as they relate to the most costly ($9 billion and rising), unnecessary mega-project in BC history.As you read this, scorched-earth infrastructure for a massive, otherworldly wall of compacted earth is being constructed to crush and greedily swallow up nature in the northeastern Peace Valley. Towering 60 meters high, and more than a kilometre wide, the Site C dam will cause an apocalyptic, man-made, 93-square-kilometre flood, engulfing enough precious topsoil to grow the nutritional requirements for at least one million people.