When cabinet minister James Moore recently laughed about how it was not his or the government's job to feed his neighbour's children, the country rightly responded with outrage. I have always believed that if we took the well-being of children as our highest value we would begin to make decisions that improve our communities and our planet. We would stop wars (with their devastating effects on children), stop wasting finite resources and start considering long-term effects of our actions including our treatment of the environment.
The holiday season is upon us. While you're getting into the festive spirit by hanging up decorations or buying gifts for loved ones, there is chance that something not-so-festive could sneak into your home: toxic chemicals. Some of these chemicals have links to cancer, obesity, asthma, and a slew of other health problems.
Like Mr. Mulcair, Dr. Jaccard has gone down to Washington to try to shame Canada into walking away from a prospective source of prosperity and employment for the people of Canada. He does his country no service tossing around overheated rhetoric which only arms Canada's competitors and critics against her best interests.
What became apparent over the duration of the House of Commons Environment Committee meeting was that Minister Leona Aglukkaq's grasp of her file is very limited. Her responses were vague and evasive, and left my NDP colleagues and I as much in the dark on her priorities when she left as we'd been before she came. Here are a few highlights -- or lowlights, as the case may be.
Canada is blessed with some of the last vestiges of pristine nature on Earth -- unbroken forests, coastlines and prairies, thousands of rivers, streams and lakes, open skies, abundant fresh air. We are also defined by our Constitution. Our Constitution's Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives us freedom of expression, equal protection from discrimination and the right to life, liberty and security of the person. But it doesn't mention the environment. How can we fully enjoy our freedoms without the right to live in a healthy environment?
Last week, I found out that my government is spying on me, Canada ranked worst in the developed world for response to climate change, Canadians rose up against pipeline proposals all across the country, and the media reported precious little of any of it. What happened to the Canada we know and love? Where is the country that holds its head high in the world, a respected leader on human rights and environmental issues?
In my first week in 2007 as the newly-minted President and CEO of the former National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, I sat for breakfast in Toronto with a leading environmental advocate. I asked why he and his ilk were so stridently opposed to the then-new Conservative government's environmental policies. He allowed that despite good work being done on chemicals and toxics and waste issues, the government was simply not doing enough about climate change. Action here was required to get credit there. This was my first introduction to the powerful political elixir of social licence.
Why should the rest of the world take the Conservative government seriously at the annual UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw or next year in Lima or in Paris in 2015? We've been regularly shamed by the international community, receiving the ignominious "Fossil of the Year" title five years in a row. As it stands now, their actions on everything from emissions regulations to climate finance aren't living up to the standards of the international community, or the standards that Canadians deserve.
The report from the Commissioner for the Environment goes on and on through painful chapter after painful chapter cataloguing, in great detail, highlighting failure after failure by the Harper government to address everything from biological diversity and the conservation of migratory birds to Recovery Planning for Species at Risk and Ecological integrity of National Parks.
In what has to be one of the most bizarre and misleading press releases I have ever seen, the B.C. government issued a report in reference to the province's Montney Formation, that claimed: "this potential [natural gas] supply can support development and LNG export operations for more than 150 years". Let's take a closer look at this 150 year number.
It's sad to see so much of our media and governance in such a sorry state that we can't even expect rational discussion of critical issues such as climate change and energy policy. The science is clear that it is real and that we are a major contributor, mainly through burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.
With the right technology, solar energy can be stored during the middle of the day and shifted for use whenever it is needed. In remote microgrid and island grid systems, PV energy generation combined with energy storage can become the primary source of power, relegating diesel generators to a back-up role and resulting in an energy ecosystem that is more reliable, sustainable and affordable.
Hi, my name is Rachel Parent. I'm 14 years old and just started high school in Toronto. People ask me all the time, "What's it like to be a child activist?" Well, it definitely keeps you busy. Insanely busy! But I love it! It's so much fun and you feel so good because you're doing good for the world.
Once again, Canada's Conservatives are bound and determined to roll right over, close their eyes and sleep through the alarm bells on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) most recent assessment is a reminder of the urgency of addressing global warming, and the dangers of ignoring rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in response that the newest report released by the IPCC is a wake-up call, and "those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire." Our largest trading partner gets it. So where's Canada's government on this critical environmental and economic issue?
Mother Nature seems to be a little out of sorts these days. In excruciating detail, the IPCC documents her unhappiness with anthropogenic (a.k.a. man-made) activity. She is even giving some early warnings directly to the PM and his Minister of the Environment. Mother Nature is not impressed and neither are Canadians.
For over a decade the Federal government has ignored warnings from transportation safety boards on both sides of the border about the unsafe nature of the rail cars Canada is using to transport dangerous goods. The warnings come because these cars are "spill prone" and tend to discharge their load on impact.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the five stages of grief. Denial of inconvenient facts is the first stage. It is followed by anger. Clearly the Conservatives have a deep well from which to draw. Bargaining is the third stage after denial and anger. The problem however is that Mother Nature is indifferent to Prime Ministers. Mother Nature doesn't do Bargaining.