Action vs. Action Plans #GivePollutionAChance

The Liberals would like to tell you that they’ve spent a year making Real Change (TM) in Canada, since being elected in October, 2015. Undeniably, Canada has some notable differences and improvements since Harper was booted. Still, there are promised changes, not hard to make, that are forever being dangled like carrots, potentially left to lead voters to the polls yet again in 2019 to return the Red Tide.

And there is plenty of low-hanging fruit growing rotten on the vine, as a result of Government and Liberal delays. We’ve no new electoral system yet. We still can’t buy pot in a store or grow it in our yard without incurring the wrath of the Nixon/Reagan Racist War on Drugs. And freshly made micro-plastics continue to pollute our waterways and lakes, despite Canadian scientists confirming about a year ago they are a toxin.

Got this email on Friday from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

[…] The proposed Regulations would phase in prohibitions for the manufacture, import, sale or offer for sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
On February 9, 2016, ECCC published a consultation document for a 30-day public comment on the proposed Regulations […]
Stakeholders will have until January 19, 2017 to submit written comments on the proposed Regulations. […]
For further information on the Government of Canada’s actions on microbeads, please visit www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/plan/approach-approche/microb-eng.php.
Xin Gao
Acting Director, Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca
This is a fine example of the Liberal government erring on the side of protecting corporate, short term economic gains, for the creation of inter-generational health and environmental pain. And they have the gall to call it “action”.
I’m more than a little pissed off about this.
I replied to them, and my MP Ralph Goodale:
Dear Xin Gao:

I’m dismayed to see that microbeads are still not yet banned from sale in Canada. They were ruled toxic by Government of Canada scientists almost a year ago, and still the Government dithers and proposes fully banning them only 2 years from now? There’s an expression about not being able to put the toothpaste back into the tube, and it applies very aptly to this dangerous problem. Stop squeezing the toxic tube, and get microbeads off our shelves now.

Please, do not delay, and protect our water from the micro-plastic toxin.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina, SK

The Conservatives’ Canadian Economic Action Scam, err, Plan, may have been mostly a scam, but even it managed to put some shovels into the ground and could arguably be called action. The Liberals’ Canada Climate Action department can’t even stop the steady flow of a known toxin from going into our water without consulting Canadians about it for over 2 years.

The prohibition of the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing toiletries that contain plastic microbeads, excluding natural health products or non- prescription drugs, is targeted to come into effect on January 1, 2018, with the prohibition of the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2018. Prohibitions would come into effect for the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing non-prescription drugs and natural health products, (see footnote 10) such as toothpaste that contains plastic microbeads, on July 1, 2018, with a prohibition on the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2019.

Liberals wouldn’t want manufacturers and retailers of toxic cosmetics to lose their evil/bad investment by having to pull unsold toxic merch’ off the shelves before Canada Day 2019. Is that so when we go to the polls in October, the memory of Liberals freshly banning a toxic product is on the minds of ecologically minded people who missed the history of them dragging their damned heels?

9 months ago I asked them to ban the microbeads now. Instead, the Liberals have opted to Give Pollution A Chance.

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Liberal 1 Year Report Card

The Trudeau Liberals returned to power on October 19, 2015. In the last year they’ve done some things I’ve disagreed with, and some things I approve of. I’ll list them from memory, because if I can’t recall them, they probably didn’t leave too much of a negative or positive impression:

Good:

B -Allowed 25000+ new refugees into Canada, reversing a xenophobic, and Islamophobic decision by Chris Alexander and Stephen Harper. Missed their deadline, or this would have been an A.

B -Made shirtless PMs cool again.

B -Instructed provinces to finally put a price on carbon pollution, in hopes that the market place will spur improvements where ethics and good judgement haven’t.

B -Provided his wife with a platform, another nanny, and also brought gender parity to Cabinet. Parity pay will come later perhaps.

 

Bad:

Incomplete -Promised to decriminalize pot, but hasn’t done more than appoint a former Toronto cop to the file. This ex-cop is partly responsible for Canada’s largest illegal mass arrest during the G20 in Toronto years ago.
(Multiple people I spoke to listed this issue as central to his promises, and they’re also disappointed in the speed at which this change is taking place. It’s so bad, it’s to the point of people expecting a reversal.)

Incomplete -Promised to end First Past The Post (FPTP), but has dithered, and recently even backtracked on the promise. Doesn’t seem to realize/care that electoral reform looks very different once you’re in power.

F -Promised action on climate change, but hasn’t done more than appoint a Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Minister McKenna made an effort to engage Canadians online to obtain their ideas, but we’ve yet to see a single one implemented. She’s also stated in Paris that her goal is to stop climate change at 1.5 degrees, but then adopted a bad Conservative target instead. She also approved, with Minister Carr, the PNWLNG plant in B.C. which will ramp up Canadian emissions and provide dead-end jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

D -Sought comments on banning microbead plastic, instead of just banning the toxic crap from cosmetics and other polluting products. Yahoo! even quoted me in their story about it.

F -Promised to review Big-Brother Bill C-51, but hasn’t done anything about the rights-violating law.

 

We’re at status-quo Canada, and after 10 years of Harperism, that’s pretty close to a Fail.

A Tax on Everything Is Coming

Run for the hills!

I realize several people who I’m friends with, think Premier Wall is great for Saskatchewan. I’ve never held a high opinion of the man, I think he’s arrogant, short sighted, and nothing close to a “man of the people” that he pretends to be. When was the last time you were invited to Bilderberg as he is?

For a decade we’ve endured his constant fiscal mismanagement of our province, giving us deficit budget after deficit budget, and what do we have to show for it? Our boom/bust economy is still so fragile, that Wall admits a $10/tonne #carbontax might cripple it, even though that’s the equivalent to a 2.4 cent/L gasoline price increase by reasonable calculations.

People who live in Regina may remember the last mayor refusing to raise property taxes. Not so hard when property values were stagnant, but then 2006/7 came around, and prices doubled or tripled here. Without the benefit of incremental changes, many were caught with their pants down.

Now the same has happened with the Liberals back in Ottawa, and with 10 years of Conservative stagnation on incremental environmental pollution controls, we’re going to experience a little sticker shock when we have to buy the next generation of technology to get by in the changing world.

There will be a lot of fear and ignorance on display, but what else could we expect after the Conservatives paid (using our tax money) to deliver black and white propaganda to our mailboxes, proclaiming that a “tax on everything” was coming with Dion and Goodale.

#ERRE Electoral Reform Committee in Regina

ERRE

First Expert guests I watched presenting to the committee were unable to understand French question fired at them because they were not equipped with translation headphones. Nathan Cullen leaped up and got the headsets for them.

Me and MP Nathan Cullen in Regina after #ERRE committee meeting open mic I spoke at.

CLC points out they are a political org and that is why they are interested in this subject of electoral reform.

Now May is questioning Prof. Jim Harding. Interesting there are few environmentalists who’ve presented to this committee thus far, she notes. Is there a connection between FPTP and lackluster environmental protections.

Justice is at the centre of principles for this committee, he says. Beauty is also central to all societies, including environmental beauty. We have local representatives, but they presently have to bow to some special interests over the collective wishes of their constituents.

Ruby S. with a question to CLC now. Union polls, etc. Not keeping my interest.

Also I’m thinking about what I will say. I don’t want FPTP, and want the PM to keep his promise that last election was the last time.

I’m the youngest person in the gallery of observers, only a woman behind me is the same generation. About 35 here to watch or speak. Maybe some will come tonight to speak? I doubt it. I feel compelled to mention it and ask that whatever system change is made the committee also change voting age down to 15 or 16 to create interest in our politics among young people.

If they don’t grow up voting they are less likely to care. They grow up disenfranchised teenagers able to drive and participate in society in most ways except choosing our lawmakers.

I told story of time I voted at University versus at parent’s riding, thus triggering a tie vote in that other riding.

Dave Orban speaking on behalf of non human organisms. Humans could be voted off the planet. MMP favoured by his constituents.

First woman at open mic. is a PR supporter. Doesn’t like strategic voting. Global warming is most urgent issue of our time. Earth cannot last another Harper style government.

“We’ve become a backwater.” In how we don’t have PR, what stable countries tend to use.

Next woman said other presentations were great and committee is on an adventure meeting Canadians.

Next man wants a referendum and “didn’t vote for this government”. Wants them to take their time.

Voted for 20 years and never been represented by her choice. She is a parent of teenagers “I’m used to not being listened to.” “FPTP is undermining Rule of Law”.
People may feel they shouldn’t follow the law if they don’t have a say in how laws are made. People will stand in front of bulldozers to stop pipelines and not pay taxes and that’s a problem.
-Really good presentation by Patricia Farnese

Jane had a good presentation too.

Next guy wants a referendum. Doesn’t trust Liberals to get it right. Concerned extreme parties could elect MPs.

May thanks crowd after.
Me and Elizabeth May in Regina after #ERRE.

Bogus Brokerage Bull, and Other Online Obstructions

“by keeping that purchase threshold at $20 instead of giving Canadian shoppers a break and raising it to $80, Ottawa spends about $166 million to collect $39 million in additional taxes and duties.”

Here’s something the Industry Minister should fix this year. Especially in light of the Liberals’ support of the TPP, why are they dinging consumers for buying Chinese and American made goods? In the case of mid-range bicycles, there’s no Canadian manufacturer, yet they’ll easily make a beach cruiser (made in China) sold in California for $100US, cost over $350CAD in a Canadian bike shop.

Premier Wall Has Hack Hurling Hypocrite Insults #skpoli

The Premier recently had the Lieutenant Governor read the throne speech for his new government session. In it, she said that some unnamed people following a “misguided dogma” with “no basis in reality” needed to be stopped from destroying our economy while they aim to protect our environment.

“They look at those jobs [in oil & gas, coal and uranium] like they are somehow harming the country and the world.” No dark side to those industries whatsoever, right? Place hands firmly over eyes after stuffing ears, please.

It’s an obvious bit of climate change denialism formalized by a government who has then inexplicably spent over $1.5 Billion on carbon capture and sequestration with the guise of reducing climate change causing emissions. Why solve a problem that isn’t real and isn’t somehow harming anyone, right? (Here’s the answer to that rhetorical question.)

After my blog post, a Wall hack contacted me (and nearly anyone who tweeted the Premier about the shocking attack on reality).

christina s. 2016-05-19 00:19:00 -0400
I contacted Premier Wall recently to ask why Saskatchewan continues to advertise drilling for oil and gas while fires rip through the province and I was told that because I use plastic and petroleum I was a hypocrite and deserved ridicule. I’m stunned to know that we have politicians operating at this infantile, ignorant and arrogant level.

If you doubt that claim, check out what Premier Wall’s “professional hack” wrote:

With the country’s Climate Change Minister coming to Saskatchewan, I hope she has some very frank and public words for Premier Wall and Climate “skeptic” Environment Minister Cox.

The government should not be telling people they won’t talk with them about reducing pollution if they have a car, or a cell phone. It’s a blatant attempt to silence critics of a province who has lagged in developing its wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power resources. Boldly, their unproven claim is that no other SK government has ever invested as much in renewable energy. The throne speech also mentions investing in “clean” energy, but never in the context of reducing climate change causing gas emissions. It does take a moment to give a shout-out to Ronald Reagan though.

For those keeping score at home on your Throne Speech Bingo Sheet, that’s
Dead Presidents – 2 & Climate Change – 0.

ADDED: Wall’s comments “immature“. I’d go a step further and call them reckless and dangerous given what we know about climate change’s dangers.

Head In The Tarsand

When an out of control fire roars toward you, it’s totally fine to stick your head (and the rest of you) into the sand, in a fireproof shelter preferably. After the fire passes, you’ve got to come out and ask what the heck happened, and why.

Facebook has been bustling with people talking about the tragic fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The partially razed city is the epicenter or Mecca of Canadian Conservative politics (not Calgary which is simply the more urbanized version of Fort Mac and area). It’s been booming for years and years, but with the glut of OPEC oil, and the resulting price slump, it’s been going bust. The ravages of fire are kicking a city that already is down and maybe on its way out.

The Politically Correct thing in Conservative western Canada is to not mention the fire’s connection to the global disaster For Mac is infamous for contributing to: climate change. For the love of dog, don’t you dare mention holding an opinion that we should use much much less oil. You might as well suggest someone breathe less deeply, when you see the insult on their face for having suggested it. After all, you breathe too, so why would you say such a thing?

Conservatives preach about “personal responsibility”, no? There are victims of crimes and perpetrators of them, and everyone else. In a crime against an oppressed demographic, observe how many people suggest her clothing was a contributing factor; personal responsibility, eh? Claiming the Fort Mac refugees are completely blameless for their economic situation is an affront to Conservative values and saying they don’t deserve compassion and help from government is an affront to socialist values. There’s a middle ground available somewhere between shutting up, and praying your heart out on Facebook.

Saying the fire is unrelated to politics and our economy is what politicized the tragedy.
Suggesting there is no cause also implies we can’t mitigate it to stop future evacuations.

The following is from Facebook, in response to some of these thought listed above.

Elizabeth Todd:The NDP government in Alberta just cut millions in forest fire budget. As SK did before our wildfires last year. When climate scientists have been predicting droughts and increased wildfires.

And to make up for the costs of these events our government made cuts to education and health care. This is just shitty planning that they can get away with because it is politically incorrect to talk root causes and how we plan to address issues. It is political that we are paying for climate change disasters with frontline workers, cuts to research chairs, and cuts to maintenance workers.

Its political to ignore the causes of these events. It’s also not very political, but very human to want to find out why something awful happened in order to prevent it from happening to more people.

The boreal and other forests around the world are burning like this, McMurray isn’t the exception, this is going to become the new rule if we don’t get serious about a transition to green energy.

And yes, it’s not really the workers in the patch, but they do tend to vote for oil politicians in droves and so do their families and communities because the oilfield companies frame environmental concerns as attacks on workers. Which is very effective.

And even if they don’t vote for oil politicians, the NDP is still promoting pipelines- infrastructure that guarantees decades of tar sands expansion.

Guilt is useless and a conversation around whether we- I myself, you over there- are dependent on fossil fuels doesn’t mean we have to consent to this kind of future or should feel guilty if we use the stuff. We are politically and economically hooked on it and our current state of politics has us debating whether our dependence on oil means we have to be ok with it, rather than planning the transition in our communities and demanding the government support these plans.

Its also just difficult to read about evacuees being hosted in Fort McKay and being surprised to learn that the First Nation there can’t drink their water due to fossil fuel development.

This moment of crisis goes back much further than the city of Fort McMurray burning and the moment we can move from a debate about whether we should have this debate, to a debate about what we are going to do about the issues will be the moment I actually believe that the chorus of people de-politicizing this moment actually give a damn about what happened to the people in McMurray.

Empathy without analysis and strategy is just charity. It wont stop the next blaze.

We could hold our comments about the destruction of another Canadian community in reverence of the families hurt, and for political correctness, or we could simply start talking about another tragedy contributed to by poor planning, budget cuts, and our non-renewable, fossil fuel economy driven global crisis. Lac Megantic, Slave Lake, La Ronge, which disaster shall it be if not the relevant one going on now in Fort Mac?