Showing posts from October 10, 2014

Government’s suppression of Mount Polley report ‘verges on the absurd’: lawyer

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[The stealth state. Boy are they scared. The investigation would be 'endangered' if anyone other than themselves knew anything about it? *RON*]
Justine Hunter, The Globe and Mail, 7 October 2014

The B.C. government appears to have systemically breached its freedom of information law by withholding information related to the collapse of the tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine, environment lawyers say.

The province has refused to provide recent inspection reports related to the tailings pond, saying such information may undermine any one of three investigations to determine why the dam failed on Aug. 4, sending a torrent of toxic waste and debris into surrounding waterways.

But when provincial officials refused to hand over a 22-year-old report on the Mount Polley mine, the legal director for the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre decided the suppression of information had gone too far.

“The provincial government’s refusal to p…

Days after scathing auditor general review, new oilsands report claims all is well

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[Pretty well speaks for itself. "Spin" rules our lives; much of it simply gets posted as "news" in our "media." *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 9 October 2014

By Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald

Two days after the auditor general criticized a report on oilsands environmental monitoring as inaccurate and misleading, a followup report has been released claiming all is well.

In his October audit, Merwan Saher slammed the initial oilsands report for being 15 months late and missing “key information.” He also found management of the monitoring program projects to be “weak,” lacking detailed work plans, timelines, progress reports and reviews.

But the second annual report of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oilsands Monitoring program says the Alberta government “made notable progress in creating conditions for achieving commitments made under the joint implementation plan.”

It says the program, which is now being run by the Albert…

Harper: Children's Fitness Tax Credit To Double, Can Be Claimed This Spring

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[Crumbs for the unwashed masses. The smell of a federal election is in the air. Ain't life sweet? (Heavy sarcasm alert.) "...our view is that whatever is good for our children and good for our communities is good for Canada." *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 9 October 2014

WHITBY, Ont. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making good on a three-year-old election promise that's as much about the next campaign as it is about the last one.

The federal Conservatives will double the children's fitness tax credit starting this year — a commitment they made in the weeks before the 2011 election, when the scars of the global recession were still deep and fresh.

The promise, like several other high-priced goodies offered at the time, came with a catch: it would only be implemented once the deficit had been eliminated and the federal books were balanced.

Last week, Harper said the deficit is disappearing much more quickl…

You say tomato, I say fish: or, why we we treat property taxes differently

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[A good look behind the numbers at the tenuous arguments used by Canadian Federation of Independent Business to complain about business property taxes. *RON*]
By Hugh MacKenzie,, 10 October 2014

Recently, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business received some media attention for their report on the relationship between residential and business property taxes in Ontario.

While a step up from the norm (this report is based on some actual data as opposed to a survey of the views of its members) that the CFIB would whinge about taxes is not new, nor is the fact that their results are misleading and contradictory.

Essentially, the CFIB makes one point: that business (commercial and industrial) property tax is higher than residential property tax.

Before we unpack what that actually means, some perspective might be helpful. According to the official data from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, residential property acco…

Ottawa slow to monitor temporary foreign worker program compliance

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[Just like our environmental policy - once the disaster occurs on the BC coast they will be deeply concerned and right on it. "Newly released details on the temporary foreign worker program reveal that only a handful of public servants – and for many years none at all – were assigned to investigate whether employers were following the rules. Before 2010, not a single government worker was responsible for monitoring compliance with the program... the government did not take compliance seriously until it became a political headache." *RON*]
Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail, 10 October 2014

Newly released details on the temporary foreign worker program reveal that only a handful of public servants – and for many years none at all – were assigned to investigate whether employers were following the rules.

Before 2010, not a single government worker was responsible for monitoring compliance with the program, even as about 200 federal employees pr…

Nobel Peace Prize jointly awarded to Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi

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[Some uplifting news for once. *RON*]
Mark Lewis and Karl Ritter, The Associated Press, CTV News, 10 October 2014

OSLO, Norway -- Taliban attack survivor Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel winner ever as she and Kailash Satyarthi of India won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for working to protect children from slavery, extremism and child labour at great risk to their own lives.

By honouring a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Pakistan and a 60-year-old Hindu man from India, the Norwegian Nobel Committee linked the peace award to conflicts between world religions and neighbouring nuclear powers as well as drawing attention to children's rights.

"Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime," Satyarthi told The Associated Press at his office in New Delhi.

Since 1980, Satyarthi has been at the forefront of a global movement…

Naomi Klein: The consultation charade on Northern Gateway

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[From Klein's new book: "When the panel members looked out the van window, they evidently saw little more than a stereotypical mob of angry Indians, wanting to vent their hatred on anyone associated with the pipeline. But to the people on the other side of the glass, holding their paddles and fish paintings, the demonstration had not primarily been about anger or hatred. It had been about love — a collective and deeply felt expression of love for their breathtaking part of the world." *RON*]

Naomi Klein, Special to National Post | October 8, 2014
On Oct. 14, the winner of the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction will be announced in Toronto. In anticipation of this award, the National Post presents excerpts from all five nominated books this week. Today’s excerpt is taken from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein.

On a drizzly British Columbia day in April 2012, a 27-seat turbo-prop …

California drought pushes local food prices higher

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[Climate change and globalization give us the double-whammy right where it hurts: food supply. A new report makes case for strengthening B.C.’s food security, reversing decline of vegetable farming. *RON*]

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, 10 October 2014

Continued drought affecting California’s productive Central Valley could push the prices of some fruits and vegetables in B.C. grocery stores up 34 per cent this year, according to a new study commissioned by Vancity.

B.C. farmers are poorly positioned to pick up the slack should major price shocks and limited supply disrupt our access to many popular fruits and vegetables, according to the author, Brent Mansfield of the University of B.C.’s faculty of land and food systems

As farmers here have turned to crops such as blueberries for export markets, the area in vegetable production in B.C. has fallen by more than 20 per cent and strawberry production by 60 per cent since 1991. Local lettuce production…