Archive for June 2014

Rights of First Nations peoples

Quote from Chief Baptiste

It’s a great day to be Canadian(June 26, 2014).

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court of Canada has granted title to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation over its traditional territory. This is a historical step towards the recognition of Indigenous peoples as the rightful stewards of their lands and the ones to decide if and how they should be developed.

I’m so proud that the Council of Canadians and our Williams Lake chapter were able to intervene in this case in support of the Tsilhqot’in claim. In our submission, we told the court that “meaningful recognition and affirmation of aboriginal rights and title in Canada is fundamental to improving social justice for Canada’s aboriginal peoples.”

The ruling is a milestone for the rights of Indigenous peoples. But it also has immediate implications for projects like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. No longer can governments ignore the concerns of First Nations when environmentally destructive projects threaten their lands and the natural heritage we all value so dearly.

I hope that you are as thrilled as I am about this decision.

With hope and resolve,

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow
National Chairperson


Environmental Report Card – Toronto

The Greek Theatre at Scarborough's Guild Inn

The Greek Theatre at Scarborough’s Guild Inn

The Toronto Environmental Alliance has published a “report card” on the voting record of current city Councillors.

The rationale for the grades is worth looking at, as well as how each Councillor scored.

Thankfully, 17 of the 43 Councillors scored an A+. That is something to celebrate.

You can access the report card at:

Desmond Tutu’s visit to Canada’s Tar Sands

KAIROS Canada connects with Archbishop Desmond Tutu over climate change, resource extraction and Indigenous rights

Ed Bianchi, Jennifer Henry & Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Jennifer Henry, KAIROS’ Executive Director and Ed Bianchi, Program Manager, were thrilled to meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Fort McMurray at the As Long As the Rivers Flow: Coming Back to the Treaty Relationship in Our Time conference, May 31-June 1, 2014. Archbishop Tutu says climate change is a moral struggle and that we must all consider how Alberta’s tar sands impact the climate, Indigenous rights, and the global community – a position echoed by KAIROS.

The conference explored how treaties protect the environment, shape resource development, and address the promise of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Following the conference, Jennifer and Ed visited Fort Chipewyan to follow up on a delegation to the tar sands organized by KAIROS in 2009 that was comprised of leaders from Canadian churches and church organizations, as well as Indigenous representatives from British Columbia, Ecuador and Nigeria.

Jennifer and Ed’s Blogs

We are all connected, by Jennifer Henry
His was a clarion call: we need to move away from fossil fuels dependence towards cleaner and safer energies that protect the people and the planet. Read more.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: A Voice To be Heard, by Jennifer Henry
I worked as a Christian Education worker in an Anglican church in Winnipeg in the late 80’s.  Like others in the churches, we were actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  Read more.

It’s time to decarbonise, by Ed Bianchi
Winona LaDuke wants to change the terms of the discussion. She says we are in a spiritual moment, and we have a choice to make. Do we want to live for another 500 – 1000 years, or another 50? Read more. This blog also appears in – Changing the discussion on the high carbon economy.

We do have choices, by Jennifer Henry
There was rain in the morning, but when it came time to fly to Fort Chipewyan the sky was beautifully clear. It was a chance for me to see directly something of what was highlighted at the last two days during the So Long as the Rivers Flow Conference. Read more.

Fort Chipewyan: Time for Treaty Renewal, by Ed Bianchi
In so many ways, Fort Chipewyan’s story mirrors that of Canada. Its rich history includes Indigenous peoples, explorers, fur traders, disease, corporations, governments, treaties, residential schools, and the church. Read more.

For more on KAIROS’ visit to Fort McMurray, click here.

Respect Existence OR Expect Resistance

Enbridge Gateway Pipeline

Posted by the Council of Canadians – June 18, 2014

'No Means No' rally in Vancouver tonight against the Northern Gateway pipeline. Photo by Leila Darwish.
‘No Means No’ rally in Vancouver on June 17, 2014 against the Northern Gateway pipeline. Photo by Leila Darwish.

Blog: Harper approves Northern Gateway pipeline, June 17, 2014

Pipeline basics: The Enbridge Northern Gateway project involves two pipelines. One pipeline would ship 525,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta to the coastal community of Kitimat. The other pipeline would move 193,000 barrels a day of condensate, which is used to dilute tar sands bitumen so it can flow through the pipelines, to Alberta.

The route: The pipelines would cross a 1,177 km path through northern B.C. including more than 50 Indigenous territories. It would cross ecologically sensitive areas including hundreds of salmon-bearing rivers and streams, the Great Bear Rainforest and mountainous and landslide-prone lands. Tankers would bring the crude through ecologically sensitive coastal waters known for being perilous, including high winds and waves.

OppositionMore than 130 Indigenous communities and First Nations have endorsed the landmark “Save the Fraser Declaration” which opposes the project based on the upholding ancestral laws, title, rights and responsibilities. Opposition to the pipeline proposal has also been expressed by the Union of BC Municipalities and Terrace, Prince Rupert and Smithers City Councils. The Council of Canadians, alongside many other social justice and environmental organizations, actively oppose the project through campaigns, events and grassroots mobilization. Public polling in B.C. demonstrates the majority of residents do not support the project.  Many suggest that opposition will include future legal battles, particularly over Indigenous rights, as well as acts of non-violent civil disobedience. There are multiple reasons why opposition to the project is strong and growing. This notably includes the pipeline’s role in helping to drive unsustainable expansion in the tar sands and the risks to the environment, subsistence livelihoods and the tourism and fishing industries from a pipeline and tanker spill. The transport of tar sands crude – bitumen – poses heightened spill risks. Bitumen is more viscous and corrosive then conventional crude oil and needs to be mixed with diluents (solvents such as naphtha and natural gas condensate) and transported at higher pressures and temperature.

Where does government stand? There is an ongoing Joint Review Panel mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board that is reviewing the environmental impacts of the proposed project and whether it is in the national interest. A decision is expected in late 2013. Prime Minister Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver are actively promoting the project and have already stated that the project is in the national interest. Former interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae and former interim NDP leader Nicole Turmel have both raised concerns about the project, and have suggested that the NEB decision may not fully address these concerns. The Alberta government promotes the project. The B.C. government is withholding their opinion on the project until the results of the NEB review are available.

Renewable Energy Provides 6.5 Million Jobs Globally

This is a “good news story” about what is being done to assist humanity live with respect IN creation:

Press Release – 11 May 2014 

In 2013, approximately 6.5 million people were already employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide, a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency reveals. Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014’ underlines the important role that renewables continue to play in employment creation and growth in the global economy.

The comprehensive annual review shows steady growth in the number of renewable energy jobs worldwide, which expanded from 5.7 million in 2012, according to IRENA.

For more complete information, check out the IRENA website at:

First Nations response to Northern Gateway

IMG_1840On June 17, 2014 the Government of Canada, with the leadership of Stephen Harper,  approved Enbridge’s application to construct the Northern Gateway pipeline. This pipeline is designed to transport dilbit from the Tar Sands of Alberta, through the territories of First Nations peoples, to the west coast of Canada for export to international markets.

In immediate response to the federal government’s decision, First Nations across B.C. are uniting to defend their lands and waters from the unacceptable risks posed by Enbridge’s project. Read their response at:

Jesuit educated Neanderthal

Theology in the Vineyard


The world is burning and these two leaders are laughing.

Australian PM Tony Abbott last week in Ottawa

Christopher Hume wrote this in the Star today

Unlike most world leaders — if that’s the right term — these two want to be frank; they will do nothing to stop global warming, they proudly declared, if it might hurt the economy. Not one dollar, certainly not one job, shall be lost in the fight to control climate change, the gravest issue we face today.

That pained smile Harper adopts when forced to explain his most indefensible actions to a room full of doubters was much in evidence Monday when the two PMs showered the benefit of their wisdom upon ungrateful media hordes. The difference between us and them, we were reminded, is that other nations are hypocrites and we’re not. We’re upfront about it — the environment is not our issue…

View original post 259 more words

Posted June 16, 2014 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Is Canada’s biggest billboard advertiser censoring green messages?

IMG_1781Is Canada’s biggest billboard advertiser censoring green messages?

So you can say sunshine causes climate change but you can’t promote solar energy?

If you’re in Calgary, you may have noticed a new giant advertistment on a Pattison Outdoor Advertisement billboard carrying the ludicrous claim that climate change isn’t caused by humans or CO2 . Rather, “the sun is the main driver of climate change.”

Yes. The sun causes climate change. THE SUN.

This message comes to us by way of “Friends of Science,” an astroturf group that promotes climate change denial and is linked to Big Oil funders, notably Talisman Energy, who previously gave the group $175,000 in start-up money.

But that’s not the half of it.

Turns out Pattison refused a few years back a request from Greenpeace Canada to put up their own billboard carrying a fairly innocuous, tongue-in-cheek message promoting solar energy. It read: “when there’s a huge solar energy spill, it’s just called a nice day.”

Pattison didn’t reply to a request for clarification from PressProgress. Greenpeace Canada, meanwhile, has confirmed that the ad buy was all set to go, but the company rejected it at the last minute after seeing the artwork.

Take a look for yourself. Does it make any sense why one would be rejected and the other approved?

This is not the first time Pattison has been accused of a double standard.

A Vancouver-based environmental group says Canada’s largest outdoor advertising company has refused to run a billboard bearing an anti-coal message critical of its sister company.

According to Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC), Pattison Outdoor rejected an application to display the ad which draws attention to the environmental impact of Westshore Terminals, Canada’s largest coal export facility.

– See more at:…

A Vancouver-based environmental group says Canada’s largest outdoor advertising company has refused to run a billboard bearing an anti-coal message critical of its sister company.

According to Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC), Pattison Outdoor rejected an application to display the ad which draws attention to the environmental impact of Westshore Terminals, Canada’s largest coal export facility.

– See more at:…

In 2011, Pattison rejected an ad from Vancouver-based Voters Taking Action on Climate Change that had an anti-coal message.

Last December, Pattison was criticized after declining to run billboards for the Centre for Inquiry Canada, a group that promotes secular humanism and atheism despite having run ads for pro-life groups.

At the time, CFIC complained that Pattison didn’t offer any reason for their decision or provide guidelines explaining how they make their decisions.

Greenpeace Canada is now asking Pattison to explain itself.

Photo: David Climenhaga


More on the Conservatives and climate change denial can be found at:

Taking Climate Change Seriously

Taking Climate Change Seriously

Cracked earth, Microstock Man /

Cracked earth, Microstock Man /

Climate change is about people, not just science and politics — it is an inter-generational ethics issue. The earth is the Lord’s, and in Genesis, God entrusts us with caring for Creation. The earth that we leave to future generations is already being changed by climate change, and so far, our nation has done little to stop climate pollution. The Clean Power Plan, announced Monday ( June 2, 2014) by the EPA, is a great step forward for our country in taking climate change seriously.

The policy will treat carbon the way it should be treated — as a pollutant that’s harming our health and our planet. It will reduce our carbon pollution 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, but will allow each state the flexibility to decide how it reaches that goal.

The rule reflects some of the best values we hold dear. It will help prevent premature deaths and asthma attacks caused by smog and other air pollutants. But most importantly, it will reduce the pollution that fuels climate change. It’s clear that President Obama cares about the legacy he leaves to today and into future generations. While there is a lot more that can and should be done by this administration and by Congress, President Obama deserves our appreciation for embracing the common good and taking such a big step to preserve the earth for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

More at:

Canada’s 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: ‘Threat to Public’

Canada’s 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: ‘Threat to Public’

Badly sealed oil and gas wellbores leak emissions barely monitored, experts find.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, 5 Jun 2014,

A new University of Waterloo report warns that natural gas seeping from 500,000 wellbores represent “a threat to environment and public safety” due to groundwater contamination, greenhouse gas emissions and explosion risks wherever methane collects in unvented buildings and spaces.

The 69-page report on wellbore leakage cowritten by three expert UofW professors outlines a longstanding and largely invisible engineering problem for Canada’s oil and gas industry.

For the full commentary by Andrew Nikifouk: