Stephen Harper has to GO! Please sing along in the chorus . . .
In 2011, I wrote a song called “Government of the Canadian People”, for the 2015 election, I have added visuals to support my lyrics.
Full list of links to the articles in the film and the creative commons attributions are listed on the page Vote Canada 2015 — click here
This video is less than four minutes long, so I could not cover all of the dirty details — Canadian voters please pay attention to these news items — I have made it easy for you to check my sources and these are all reliable publications that are mostly mainstream media.
If this video receives some support, I will try to find the time to make another with new lyrics and more emphasis on the economic failure that Harper has orchestrated for the country of Canada. Putting multi-national fossil fuel companies first in all of his decision making has hurt Canada badly as the price of these fuels drops and even more as the potential of Green Tech industry jobs languish.
Harper is trying to convince Canadians that he has done a good job with our economy, but in fact Canadians are falling behind in many significant areas. In this video, I cover the “balanced budget” fraud as significant amounts were transferred from Employment Insurance surplus payments, sold off assets and the contingency fund that is only supposed to be used in emergencies. Harper has left the cupboard bare for any incoming government as this fund has been steadily reduced and the deficit has actually climbed.
In addition, I wanted to point out Harper’s royal spending habits. Like Alberta’s former Premier, Conservative Allison Redford, nothing is too expensive for Harper to order for his benefit. I did not even mention the personal groomer and paid staff of documentary video and photography professionals who cover the Prime Minister’s every move at staged events and meetings. However, when the combined salary of the “spin doctors” working in federal communications rivals that of the House of Parliament itself — I think Canadians should pay attention. Flying the bulletproof limo and SUV to India, over-using Challenger jets for himself and to provide transportation to EU delegates who changed their schedules for a Harper photo-op were just too offensive to miss. He claims to be fiscally prudent, but a brief look shows the opposite is true.
In my research, I have uncovered evidence that under Harper large amounts of money have left the country, investment has stagnated and the tax burden has been shifted to those least able to afford it while letting multi-nationals and large corporations avoid paying their fair share.
Canada – Aid not Bombs
My main focus in this video is the appalling record in Foreign Affairs that is detailed in former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark’s new book, How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change, that is not featured in the video. Instead, I chose to paint with news articles in broader strokes that people can follow up with their own reading of the links to sources provided. In my opinion, Canada is illegally bombing Syria and Iran and helping to create the flood of refugees that Harper refuses to assist. Instead of sending aid, Harper’s military posturing and photo opportunities have encouraged more suffering and casualties. We should be helping Syrians and Iranians within their own countries to lead safe and productive lives, not raining death on defenceless people from the sky.
Canada is traditionally a peacekeeping country that helps with aid, not bombs. We have lost our status in the world as a mediator and diplomatic leader and have turned into a bully. Does Harper really want Canada to become a target for terrorist groups? Bombing innocent civilians without UN sanction or approval is a great way to do that by seeding anger and hatred of Canada as an oppressor.
Harper is such a hypocrite that he tried to use John Lennon’s song for peace and coexistence, “Imagine” to gain political points as he was changing Canada’s role in Afghanistan from peacekeeping to active military force. Thank you Yoko Ono for removing the video from YouTube via copyright challenge, however a copy still exists on a Harper controlled website as I write this.
I hope this video will help Canadians make up their minds about Harper!
Unfortunately, I worry about the Conservatives cheating in this election because they have cheated in every election with Harper as leader. I mention “Ignore Robocalls” as part of my voting overview, but in my view it is very serious that Conservative supporters, employees and MP have been charged and in some cases convicted of fraud. See the-cheaters-on-harpers-watch for details. The wheels of justice turn slowly and there are still charges pending from the last election as we go into this one!
The changes to the Election Act will make it difficult for some people to vote, so please check your registration and valid ID.
We must be completely overwhelming so that the Conservatives are a very distant third in every case or they will try to steal the riding from the legitimate winner.
I will continue to write and produce more films. Please look at this information and make your decision based on facts — not on advertising and spin. I hope we can restore Canada to the generous, helpful nation we have strived to be — caring for the less fortunate and maintaing a tolerant and fair society.
It has been difficult for me to concentrate on doing anything else when I fear that the fossil fuel companies will succeed in destroying our inhabitable zone with their insatiable greed. I feel I must do everything I can to inform people so we can stop them from killing us all.
The mainstream media usually acts as a reinforcement system for the wealthy industrialists who own and control the major outlets. My task has been to try and inform as many people as possible using social media to collect news about oil, gas and other fossil fuel related events, plus offer hope in the form of news about sustainable choices and energy alternatives.
Here is my facebook page — Leave the Oil in the Ground.
A study published in 2011 was one of the first limited studies documenting well water contamination by methane and other gases being more intense and likely close to drilling sites. The waste water from fracking creates a disposal problem that is discussed in this video. This was known in 2011, but fracking still continues.
Biology professor and geochemist Robert Jackson in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment performed one of the first peer-reviewed studies on the environmental consequences of hydrofracking. In a live “Office Hours” webcast September 15, 2011, he answers questions about his study
Water is our most precious resource, yet we are allowing fossil fuel extraction companies to destroy drinkable water. In addition, British Columbia’s legislature is considering building the Site C Dam, that will flood productive farmland to produce electricity for oil and gas extraction and processing. Meanwhile, California is fining people for washing cars and watering lawns and the article points out that California may not be able to produce as much food as before because of the drought. The article says,
Richard Howitt, an environmental economist at the university and an author of the report, said that while much of the state had been able to deal with the drought economically, parts of the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural heartland, were being hit hard. Huge portions of farmland have been left unplanted.
In BC, much of our food is imported and with the current drive to increased density and population in Vancouver, there will be more hungry and thirsty people here. California is now relying on groundwater for their survival and has prevented fracking companies from injecting their chemical soup into the ground.
The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells. read more at ProPublica
The entire ProPublica series on fracking should be required reading for BC MLA’s as they decide the future of our water supplies, parks and farmland. Our provincial government has opened up our parks to industrialization, is considering spending billions to build a dam and infrastructure for the industry while destroying valuable farmland and jobs. Follow the latest news on my Facebook page “Leave the Oil in the Ground” — I have been told it doesn’t come up in a search.
BC Path to Prosperity touted by Premier Christy Clark is an unrealistic dream that is not based on facts. It is in fact, a nightmare that will extract our non-renewable resources without adequate compensation.
In addition, the industry will destroy our groundwater, increase the risk of earthquakes, and damage human health.
At a time when many leading institutions and organizations are divesting from any investment in oil and gas, Premiere Christy Clark is committing increasing amounts of taxpayer funds to supporting, or even, subsidizing the oil and gas industry.
My conclusion from reviewing the facts and published studies is that the export of LNG will cost the province more than it will ever receive in royalties. In addition, groundwater contamination and methane leakage will continue from abandoned wells that will not be cleaned up by industry. Some of the damage may be permanent and no amount of money will be able to restore our pristine water. In addition, increased risk of earthquakes, health problems in our population and contribution to climate change all are strong signals to stop fracking. We must put a moratorium on fracking until we know more about this risky process.
Because companies can fully deduct all capital costs before paying the full 7 per cent LNG income tax, any cost overruns will be paid for by reduced taxes.
This means that all investment, processing and exporting expenses are paid before any tax is paid on the profit from sales. Historically, corporations find many ways to avoid showing a profit that can be taxed. Why can’t we charge a royalty on the amount of gas extracted? The gas belongs to the citizens of this province and they should be paid for taking it. When I pay for natural gas on my home heating bill, I pay for the amount used.
Based on a more realistic expectation of LNG export volumes and prices, this analysis estimates the fully-implemented LNG income tax is likely to raise between $0.2 and $0.6 billion per year. For comparison, consider that the total annual BC Budget is $45 billion per year.
BC’s current royalty regime has not achieved a good return for the development of this finite public resource, and places more emphasis on encouraging high levels of production:
- Natural gas production in BC has increased by one-third over the past five years, even in the face of extremely low North American prices.
- Yet royalty revenues have dropped significantly during this time due to low market prices and large credits for deep drilling and gas infrastructure.
This report, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, makes a well supported case that the revenue projections from fracking projects are greatly exaggerated. Now that China has made a deal with Russia to provide natural gas for the next 30 years, the price of BC natural gas will have to be subsidized to compete. Even though the industry is producing more gas, provincial income is dropping because the royalties are a percentage paid on profits. The report concludes:
BC should not proceed full-speed ahead to sign away non-renewable and public gas resources at any price.
Processing and exporting natural gas requires a great deal of investment and much of the cost will not be borne by industry. A recent article explains in the challenges faced by the LNG export industry in detail.
In a special report on global energy prospects, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that expectations for a robust liquefied natural gas industry may fall apart due to bad economics and high transportation costs.
– See more at: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/06/23/Nat-Gas-Transport-Costs/#sthash.fzPJMbJ6.dpuf
Why should BC taxpayers subsidize wealthy multinational corporations to extract our resources? The cost of transportation reduces profits and the estimates that have been used to paint a positive picture are based on highly optimistic scenarios. Why should we give up existing jobs in farms, tourism and other industries, as the land supporting these jobs is destroyed, for mythical jobs in the oil and gas business?
The Site C Dam will flood precious farmland and displace many people and animals to supply electricity to the oil and gas industry. It is opposed by First Nations and local residents and even BC Hydro has “not fully demonstrated the need for the Site C on the timetable it proposed” according to Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel (JRP). This dam will cost billions in taxpayer money (estimates range from 8 – 16 billion) and raise all of our rates for electricity to subsidize oil and gas extraction. However, there is some confusion, because Premiere Clark has made a statement that natural gas will be burned to create electricity to process and compress the gas. This will make the resource processing produce much more pollution, but should negate the costs of building the Site C Dam. However, BC taxpayers will have to pay for this electrical generation facility instead.
Premier Clark said B.C. will use natural gas to generate electricity needed to produce Asia-bound liquefied natural gas. The process will demand as much as four times the electricity consumed by the province’s largest city, Vancouver. – See more at – http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2012/06/25/shale-gas-coal-premier-bc/#sthash.j8YB0mSh.dpuf
Taxpayers will be covering the bill for port expansions, road and highway construction, upgrades and maintenance as well as inspection and regulation costs. The large equipment that must be transported to complete the fracking process is very heavy and requires road and bridge upgrades and maintenance. In the end, our biggest investment will be in clean up costs, as abandoned wells spew methane and leech toxins into the environment. Reports of approximately 1 million abandoned wells in Pennsylvania leaking methane in a study by a Princeton PhD Candidate discussed in this article,
Natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. So even small leaks in the natural gas production and delivery system can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas. Study after study, however, finds that the leaks are anything but small. Read more at -http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/20/3451380/abandoned-pennsylvania-wells-spew-methane/
How many abandoned wells will we have to clean up in BC?
BC’s Climate Action Plan
How does exporting LNG fit in with BC’s Climate Action Plan? We are exporting a greenhouse gas producing fossil fuel and the amount of methane that is expelled into the atmosphere during the extraction and delivery process is a serious concern. Here are three articles that discuss the effects of methane release, a serious pollution threat. Scientific American, The Energy Collective and NY Times all have published articles critical of industry practices that allow the escape of methane into the atmosphere. This problem is not limited to fracked gas, but is widespread over the entire industry.
No one can accurately say how much methane is leaking from wellheads, processing plants, pipelines and other natural gas facilities, but there is a growing body of evidence that the amount is significant.
This is important because methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and a study from Stanford shows that the amount of methane in the atmosphere is much higher than estimated in the US. No similar studies have been completed in Canada, but industry’s own studies show that fracked wells leak more than conventional wells.
. . .industry studies clearly show that five to seven per cent of all new oil and gas wells leak. As wells age, the percentage of leakers can increase to a startling 30 or 50 per cent. But the worst leakers remain “deviated” or horizontal wells commonly used for hydraulic fracturing.
Estimates show that BC natural gas can be dirtier than coal and create more climate impact, some deposits contain high proportions of CO2 in addition to methane that is released into the atmosphere..
“A 2010 study by Mark Jaccard and Brad Griffin for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions concluded that adding 4 million tonnes (MT) a year to the province’s GHG inventory, at time when the province needs to subtract millions of tonnes, means ‘that the B.C. government will sustain a 20-year Canadian climate policy tradition — failure to meet its GHG emission targets.'”- See more at: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2012/06/25/shale-gas-coal-premier-bc/#sthash.j8YB0mSh.dpuf
Why do we have a Climate Action Plan if there is no attempt made to meet the targets?
Other Negative Effects
British Columbia is an earthquake zone. There is strong evidence linking earthquakes in Oklahoma to fracking, because they are not in an earthquake prone area. The government of BC is taking on a very high risk in encouraging fracking in our province. Who will pay for earthquake damage?
Then there are health risks. There is well documented evidence that fracking contaminates groundwater and releases airborne toxins that cause serious health problems including birth defects, infertility and cancer. Who will pay for these extra health costs?
We must stop fracking in order to save our groundwater for future use. With global climate change shrinking glaciers, we will become more dependent n groundwater to irrigate crops and to sustain life. Who will pay for the de-salination plants to make ocean water useable?
- Contamination of groundwater
- Methane pollution and its impact on climate change
- Air pollution impacts
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Blowouts due to gas explosion
- Waste disposal
- Large volume water use in water-deficient regions
- Fracking-induced earthquakes
- Workplace safety
- Infrastructure degradation
It is up to the citizens of BC to know the facts and work to ban fracking in BC.
Direct Democracy In Action:
A New Vision for the Senate of Canada
We can use the power of the internet to give people more of a voice in their democratic process. I propose a model that will empower people to be directly involved in government decisions that affect issues they care about.
I propose creating a Digital Senate that will act as a second opinion to the current elected legislators in Canada as a new system for governance. This Digital Senate will be a website community that will exist on the internet and be an economical and efficient delivery system for direct democracy.
The current Senate of Canada is an appointed body that is allowed to propose legislation and may block legislation passed by the elected parliament. We do not think such a body, based on the British House of Lords, has any place in a democratic society.
The powers of the current Senate should be assigned to the Digital Senate, but not the salaries and perks.
A New Model for Governance
The Senate of Canada is in dire need of reform, but old models retain the idea of concentrating decision making power into the hands of the few. The Senate has never been an elected body, but recent scandals have emphasized the problems inherent in granting a Senate seat by the authority of the government in power.
There is wide public support for a change in the Canadian Senate, and some are in favour of complete abolition. However, we need a system of checks and balances in a democracy, so we propose an innovative reform using internet communications.
The Digital Senate
The current level of internet connectivity in Canada, with many public access points in libraries, government offices and community centers, means that internet access is not a barrier to participation. Part of the funding that is used for the current Senate could provide free internet for everyone in Canada.
A Canadian citizen eligible to vote in Federal elections can be a member of the site
Members of the Digital Senate site can choose to be Senators in order to vote on behalf of others
Issue Based Model
The current system has political and geographical influence in the choice of who will be a senator. Now our country is tied together by the internet, we would like to propose an issue based model, instead of a geographic or political affiliation.
With a Digital Senate, there is no need to meet in Ottawa because the Senate is a web site. This immediately gives national public access to the discussions and issues that citizens are interested in. Our government currently trusts our income tax and other personal and sensitive information to be sent through the internet, so a similar system of encryption and identification can be used to identify Canadian citizens who are qualified to vote.
Each voting citizen has one vote on each issue tabled in the Senate. Each Senator represents one issue of their choice, then voters can assign their vote on that issue to a Senator representative or vote independently for themselves.
The default is to limit each Senator to one issue at a time, but it may be permitted by the Senate, upon application, that a Senator can represent more than one issue, especially if the issues are related.
How it Works
The Digital Senate would be a web site that would enable the citizens of Canada to have direct input into issues or to assign their vote to a representative or proxy.
Citizens of Canada who are eligible to vote can register to be a member of the Digital Senate.
The current Senators will be retired and collect whatever pensions are owed to them. They will be welcomed into the new organization as members, the same as any other Canadian registered to vote.
Members have their own private page that shows who they are supporting on certain issues and where they can manage their votes and proxies. They can sign up for news on what issues are before the Senate so they can be aware and decide their vote.
If a citizen member wants to be a Digital Senator, then they must make parts of their page public, so everyone can see who they are supporting and their network of influence. Senators would be citizens who are experts in the field or otherwise interested in an issue and are willing to work on legislation or other tasks.
A Senator candidate then posts their qualifications on the page that has been created for the specific issue they are interested in working on. They invite other citizen members to assign their votes to them by stating their position and how they plan to act.
Citizen members who are interested in that issue, then go the page to learn the news and to see if there is someone they want to support. There will be public forums and discussion on the issue page.
If a citizen finds someone who has similar opinions to their own, then they can assign their voting proxy to them. If a citizen collects enough proxies, then they are recognized as being a Digital Senator and become eligible for tax deductions and support through the Canada Council for the Digital Senate.
Every citizen can vote on issues directly, or they can assign their vote by proxy to a Senator. If the Senator does not vote the way they said they would, then the citizen’s vote can be immediately withdrawn. If there is a suspected pay off or other reason the Senator did not vote as promised, the citizens who gave the proxy can complain and appeal the vote.
If the citizen finds that the representation is not what they hoped for, in general, they can withdraw and reassign their proxy at any time. If a Senator loses too much support, they revert back to member status and are no longer eligible for financial support. Citizens are encouraged to vote directly, but as each issue will take time, we anticipate that most citizens will want to have the option for proxy representation on some issues.
The virtual nature of the Digital Senate will enable us to have many more Senators because there is no direct financial compensation for involvement in the process.
Senators may claim a tax credit using a formula based on the number of people who have assigned their vote. The tax credit could be a refund for those who do not have sufficient income to need this deduction. If additional funding is required for meetings, projects, research or conferences, then a Senator can apply for funding through a system based on the Canada Council for the Arts jury process, called the Canada Council for the Digital Senate.
The Canada Council for the Arts is a proven model used for decades for arts funding, so provides the impartial checks and balances required in a democracy. If this model is considered inadequate for the Senate, then any changes to funding practices for the Senators must also be applied to funding for artists.
We can keep the current Senate Chamber for historical and meeting purposes, but practically, no permanent physical presence is required.
The present Canadian system costs $106,264,111 a year, not including contributions to the pension plan.
That is a lot of money that can be used to establish the administration for a web based community and fund the Canada Council for the Digital Senate. It would be available for information, discussion and voting from your phone, tablet or computer.
If required, it could fund public internet access points or internet for every voter in Canada, specifically to make sure any citizen of Canada can participate. There would be enough money to fund some instructors or resource persons based in the community to assist anyone who wants to participate.
On Tuesday, I will meet with Moira Stillwell MLA who represents Marpole in the Provincial Legislature. We met previously at a Marpole Residents Meeting that was focussed on the re-zoning of our neighbourhood. Moira Stillwell is trained as a doctor and has held many responsible positions in the medical industry. I was impressed by her intelligence and approachable manner, so I can only hope that what I will say will make a difference. I still have some work to do to prepare my submission, but here is a preliminary look.
1. Oil and Gas
Our Premier, Christy Clark, is closely associated with the oil and gas industry and is heavily promoting the development of natural gas in the province using fracking. The LNG industry is the new gold rush — with the same level of sustainability. Have you seen ghost towns in BC? Source: http://shalebubble.org/ Northern Gateway pipeline referendum is now being supported by many BC residents because it is still being promoted by our Prime Minister as a “done deal” despite opposition. plus, Expanded pipelines through Vancouver (see more below)
2. The Agricultural Land Reserve
Agricultural Land protected under the land reserve is less than 5% of all land in the province of BC. Now changes to the Act have made it easier to use land in that reserve for other purposes.
Established in 1973, the ALR has successfully halted the conversion of, on average, 6000 hectares of agricultural land per year into residential, commercial and industrial uses – a transformation that is largely irreversible.
A quote from West Coast Environmental Law on a page that contains a great deal of information praising our former Agricultural Land Reserve Act. The changes to the Act have made it easier to do oil and gas exploration on agricultural land in Zone 2, that is central and northern BC.
But farmland advocates are concerned such changes will lead to more development because it will be easier for oil and gas companies to use Zone Two land for activities like drilling for oil and gas. Source: CBC News
The Site C Dam will flood some of the best farm land in the north of the province of BC. Who is paying to build the dam? BC taxpayers will pay an estimated $8 billion. Who will benefit? The oil and gas industry. BC Hydro reports tell us that BC can meet our on-going energy needs with conservation.
BC Hydro says it is because we need the energy, but we don’t: Hydro’s own reports say we can meet current demands through energy conservation. Site C is not about meeting the electricity demands of British Columbians; it is about subsidizing BC’s oil and gas and mining industries. It’s an $8 billion taxpayer subsidy to a dirty fossil fuel industry that needs cheap energy to expand. Source: Wilderness Committee
3. Water Sustainability Act
Tied in with the oil and gas industry needs is our new water act. We need an Act like this one in BC because water will become increasingly scarce as we loose our glaciers to global warming. Right now, we are lucky to have clean water in this province, but many of us are wondering where the water will come from for fracking and who will pay to clean it after it is contaminated with a cocktail of unknown chemicals?
In April, the government granted the energy industry regulator — the OGC — authority to issue long-term water licences to natural-gas companies, making the fossil fuel industry the only entity in B.C. with its own dedicated water regulator, a regulator established by the province to speed approvals of industry development applications. Source: David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute
Oil and gas exploration use huge amounts of water that is contaminated and half of the fracking chemical soup is left in the ground to contaminate water in future. Other industries also use huge amounts of water, but contribute very little to support the province or to clean the water after they are finished using it.
4. Development in Vancouver and Affordable Housing
Belacarra cottages — eviction of long term residents Provincial Social Housing in Vancouver
5. The Arts as an Industry for Full Employment
OIL and GAS IN British Columbia
Our Province is embroiled in a teachers strike that is affecting many student’s education and the livelihood of our teachers. Although the government insists there is no more money in the budget to pay teachers, there is money to help the LNG industry bring northern students to an expensive industry conference.
The provincial government and companies working on developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry spent approximately $60,000 taking nearly 60 Coast Mountains School District secondary school students, teachers and chaperones to a Vancouver LNG conference last week.
Funding was given to the school districts at $800 per student to attend an industry conference about natural gas from an industry point of view. The industry sponsored admission to the conference, priced at $1,680 for a full pass.
“The provincial government offered funding to all school districts from the north to attend this conference, and that was the impetus for industry to sign on and fund the rest,” said Coast Mountains school board chair Art Erasmus . . .”
They were among 110 students, teachers and chaperones from the northwest at the May 21-23 provincial government-sponsored conference attended by 1,400 delegates. taken from http://www.terracestandard.com/news/260549231.html
Other individuals and groups also are suspicious about this “educational” opportunity . . .
But one local environmental group raised concerns that the students would not receive a balanced view of the LNG industry and its potential impacts. “Students are young minds and easily moulded and they’re forming opinions, and when industry offers an all expenses paid trip to an industry conference when 90 per cent of the speakers are pushing industry, I don’t think they’re getting a very balanced view,” said North West Watch representative Anne Hill. “I think it’s much more than a field trip.”
I agree that this is more than a field trip! As evidence mounts that fracking is an irresponsible practice, Christy Clark is making sure that the industry has an opportunity to make a huge impression on these students. Somehow, I am sure that no research on birth defects caused by fracking, methane leaks, groundwater contamination and other problems were presented. In fact, here is a review of the conference as an opportunity to sell investors on the projects, surely not a time to mention that fracking is BANNED IN FRANCE. Here is a list of other areas that have banned fracking as a potentially dangerous practice.
Clark is focussed on the LNG export business as being an economic saviour, but she is ignoring all the evidence that points to the exact opposite conclusion.
The massive push to frack our pristine wilderness and productive farmlands is creating anger and resentment in BC.
People are seeing the actual jobs they have in farming, tourism and other industries threatened by the mythical jobs that may or may not be created by natural gas. First Nations tribes see this development as further destruction of their ancestral rights. We all worry about contaminating our drinking water and pollution causing climate change. Although natural gas has always been considered a “clean” fossil fuel, studies show our emissions would be 2/3 that of the Alberta tar sands development. What is the royalty for natural gas that goes to the BC government? Only 7% on the PROFIT.
So, in 2012, Premier Clark amended BC’s Clean Energy Act by order-in-council (no debate), to exempt LNG-conversion emissions from being reportable. Source: http://www.nomorepipelines.ca/Start.html
With leaks from fracked sites that contaminate ground water and cause health problems, how can we allow industry to go ahead with this destruction of our drinking water?
In a report to the Council of Canadians, Dr. Theo Colburn found that 94% of the fracking chemicals in her database are associated with skin, eye and respiratory harm, 93% with harm to the gastrointestinal system, and 83% with brain and nervous system effects (p.14). Only an average of 50% of frack water is recovered. The other water remains underground. The concern is when people come in direct contact with these fluids or when these chemicals get into freshwater supplies. The new fractures can connect with other geological conduits. http://www.bcwi.ca/hydraulic-fracturing-of-natural-gas/
Citizens of BC are so upset with decisions that favour the oil and gas industry that we are requesting a referendum to block Enbridge’s Northern Gateway. Source: CBC News
People are protesting the expansion of pipelines through Burnaby and Vancouver and the increase of tanker traffic.
DESTRUCTION OF PROVINCIAL PARKS
Recently, a law was passed in BC to allow oil and gas exploration and pipelines in our Provincial Parks! Yes, unbelievable, but true. The Park Amendment Act will open the last vestiges of wild areas to the destruction of our last wild spaces. Tourism as an industry? Not in BC. No thought is given to the impact of this industrial expansion into our last remaining protected areas.
It is time for BC to move away from the boom and bust resource based economy. Given the current climate change scenario on our planet, it would be best if the government of BC recognizes that the train has left the station. There will be no amazing revenue stream from exporting natural gas. China has signed an agreement with Russia to obtain natural gas, plus they have some of the world’s largest reserves. Who are the clients? By the time we have the infrastructure in place to export fracked gas, the flow from the wells may have already declined as geologists have confirmed, initial wells provide much more gas than subsequent fracking. Please see Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future by Richard Heinburg.
The actual cost of oil and gas production is not profitable unless the taxpayers of BC invest in this industry and support it with tax dollars. BC plans to invest in building a huge mega project dam to subsidize the oil and gas industry. Damage to roads and development of transportation systems to bring in equipment is a major expense. Further subsidies in the form of cheap access to water, pollution clean up and low royalties on our resources. In addition, the cost of water contamination, leakage and spills that may never be cleaned up, will be costs that BC residents will have to live with. With the pollution, loss of farmland and the cost to human health it is not worth supporting the oil and gas industry. We should use the billions to support the farmers of BC and changing to sustainable energy instead of building a dam. With climate change an undisputed reality and the retreat of our glaciers, we will need every drop of drinking water that we can get.
Where do you think our water comes from? With groundwater being contaminated, we will be dependent on rainfall — With less snowpack, summers will be very dry. Our rivers flow in summer from snow melt, with no snow — where will we get water to drink and water our crops?
How can we remove any land from the Agricultural Land Reserve when we have so little arable land and we are increasing the population of Vancouver so exponentially? We cannot depend on drought stricken California to feed us. We have to be self-sufficient, because it will no longer be economic to use fossil fuels to bring us food. We have a food system that is designed to rely on inexpensive fossil fuel, but this cannot continue.
Development in Vancouver is providing housing for many more people. A lot of people are expected to move to Vancouver over the next few years. Where will we get the water and food for this population increase? What kind of jobs will these people have? Job estimates from pipeline development are highly suspect. Economies will contract due to climate change and energy costs. How can we maintain a civil society and have meaningful lives without constant growth? In my opinion, the current grass roots movement to local food production, energy conservation and appreciation of nature should be supported. To create jobs, invest in the Arts. The Arts is an unlimited source of human employment that is very difficult to automate, outsource or replace.
There is an on-going problem in Vancouver because wealthy people are using homes as investments. In a time of stock market volatility, the super rich have decided that owning a home in Vancouver, BC, Canada is a safe and profitable investment. This has led to housing prices here that are completely unaffordable for people who actually live and work here. As City Council and the developers work hand in hand to demolish the older, affordable housing stock using the premise that the land is “under utilized”, long term residents are forced out and only wealthy people can afford to live here.
I have issues with the idea that because land is considered valuable it must be completely covered with the highest density possible or it is “under utilized”. I am interested in documentary film as a vehicle for getting ideas to the public, so I learned about The Little Mountain Project, a film project by David Vaisbord.
This film is about the destruction of a social housing project in the Mount Pleasant district of Vancouver, also known as Little Mountain because of the small extinct volcano in the area that houses Queen Elizabeth Park. David is a film maker who lives close to a social housing project where long term residents were evicted to make way for condo development.
Does Vancouver really need more condos? The whole city is a massive condo development site with towers going up everywhere and the older housing stock being demolished to squeeze two massive houses on to a lot where one used to stand. I will write another blog post on this, but for now, please pay attention to David. Please check out his film project and donate if you can.
If you’ve landed here and want to know where you can go to fund The Little Mountain Film, here’s how.
Go to a new dedicated website at:
or directly to the INDIEGOGO crowdfunding site at:
The funding campaign runs from May 9 to Jun 23rd.
Please come on board and contribute to this project.
David Vaisbord & and my Indiegogo Fundraising Team
It was so difficult to find this film project on the internet. I had to put in the following search string to get any results “film maker evictions social housing mount pleasant Vancouver bc”. On Indiegogo I tried searching “mount pleasant” and other related words, without results. It was only when I entered “little mountain” that I reached David’s film. So I am providing some more keywords here and I hope that the search engines start to consider these types of projects more important.
Last evening, I attended a screening of a movie that had a profound effect on me when I first saw it ten years ago. The Corporation was a powerful film that revealed a world that had been hidden to me before. This event was a fundraiser, so if you can, please go to their website and donate by clicking here.
I am really impressed by the power of this film.
I think every school should show the truth of how children are being manipulated.
It make me think about making a film, but I know how difficult and expensive it can be.
The after party was held at the Pull Focus Film School that offers training in film creation.
It may be possible to learn more about film and find collaborators — I will find out more about their programs.
There are things I am compelled to speak out about and it seems that songs do not have the impact.
I will be posting some of my ideas on this blog because I am starting a new webspace for my work.
This will now be my personal opinion and news blog on VIX.ca and my work will be on a new site.
As a Canadian who is very upset with the current government policy, I am writing to my MP.
Update: After I posted this letter and sent a copy to my MP, I found that someone had hacked into my website. Please use the following shortlink when sharing this post because there is now a hidden code if you copy the URL. http://vix.ca/blog/?p=1239 I do not know how to remove this hidden text. You can only see it if you copy the URL and paste it.
Hello MP Wai Young,
The Fair Elections Act is the last straw.
Corrupting our electoral process in an attempt to maintain power reveals the dictatorial policies of Steven Harper.
I know that as an MP, you have very little say in policy. However, I see that you are allowed to stand up in Parliament — when it is permitted to be in session and not suspended from operation — and spout the party line with conviction.
How can you part of a government that is destroying the rights and freedoms of Canadians?
My mail contains many letters from your office, the latest one glorifying income splitting for wealthy pensioners while the government is delaying retirement pensions for two full years to the age of 67, for those who rely on them — but this fact is not mentioned. Tax savings initiatives are enumerated while poverty among our seniors is rising.
The Conservative government has consistently revealed their strategy of slashing taxes for the wealthy, especially corporations, while depriving Canadians of needed services that we depend on our Government to provide.
“Building a stronger future for Canada” has so far included a “fair trade deal” with China that gives Chinese companies the right to ignore our laws and to sue the government in a secret court if environmental regulations or other Canadian cultural values prevent them from profiting. Canadian taxpayers could be liable for millions of dollars in damages, but of course we will never know because the proceedings will be secret.
Now Harper is so eager to sign away more of Canada’s future in a deal with S. Korea that opens our market to their cars, but does not include clauses that the US found essential to prevent non-tariff barriers. No provision for Canadian jobs, just more benefits for others.
Craig says the South Korean government has continued to protect its home market and subsidized its exports through non-tariff barriers and active intervention in its currency.
“No Canadian manufacturer can compete with a market controlled by non-tariff barriers and currency manipulation,” she writes, adding the new agreement does not address these key issues.
Oil companies are in control of our environmental policy and the Northern Gateway ads on CBC radio are a national scandal!
Look at Norway’s oil management policy.
Because the government [of Norway] is highly invested, (oil profits are taxed at 78 per cent, and in 2011 tax revenues were $36-billion), it is as interested as oil companies, which want to maximize their profits, in extracting the maximum amount of hydrocarbons from the reservoirs. This has inspired technological advances such as parallel drilling, Mr. Lindseth says.
Look at the revenue Norway gets from oil and tell me why Canadians are in debt.
Norway produces 40 per cent less petroleum than Canada and has one-seventh our population, but has saved more than $600 billion in oil revenue and counting. This is equivalent to about 140 per cent of Norwegian GDP, or about $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. In contrast, every Canadian is in the red about $16,000 due to our $566-billion national debt.
There will only be the very rich and the very poor if these policies continue!
However, Harper will not say what his staff are earning!
Andrews and Simms weren’t the only MPs left with fundamentally unanswered written questions after the government tabled more than a dozen responses on Thursday afternoon.
In fact, the latest batch of answers reveals what would appear to be an ongoing effort to shut down one of the few remaining avenues of inquiry for parliamentarians hoping to pry loose the occasional morsel of information on the operation of government.
Secrecy and lack of accountability are firm policy in the Harper government.
Many Canadians are becoming more informed on these matters and I will do my part to try to let everyone know how the Conservative government is destroying our identity as Canadians.
Canadians who care for the less fortunate and expect health care and pensions to be paid for by our taxes and contributions.
Canadians who expect corporations to pay their fair share and governments to protect our land for future generations.
Canadians who support fair and democratic electoral process.
You are my representative in Parliament — tell them they have gone too far and the constituents are getting angry.
We will not stand aside and let Harper destroy our land and the future of our children.
How can you look at the faces of your children while allowing Canadian children to be poisoned by fracking and oil development?
These citations are taken from Canadian media outlets, like the cbc and the globe and mail. These stories are not fantasy, these stories are Canadian reality.
Enjoy your trips to China and the many perks you receive — just think about how other Canadians are struggling as this government gives to the rich and dismantles the middle class.
Please think about these issues and look at your conscience — I know Harper has none — however, I hope that all Conservatives are not only out to get as much as they can for themselves and their supporters.
If you send me another letter — I will send you one in return.
If the video above doesn’t work try this link http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13939494
I am really excited by the work of the Loco Moto Art Collective!
I first met them through Jamie Griffith, an artist who attended the same workshop at STEIM
In July, I volunteered to help out at their show at Queen Elizabeth Park, “Youth, Technology and Nature”.
I was impressed by all the work shown, particularly by Merlyn Chipman’s work using video feedback.
I will post some of my own photos of the event soon.
Merlyn will be doing a workshop, “Weaving with Light” at Aberthau where he will show you how to print these patterns on cloth.
- 6:00pm until 9:00pm
Sounds like a lot of FUN!