Archive for the ‘economic globalization’ Tag

Oil train trouble in Toronto: citizens demand answers   Leave a comment

A Toronto neighbourhood is taking the unusual step of asking the Auditor General of Canada to get answers to the urban community’s oil train concerns.

Oil trains in Toronto - Safe Rail Communities group
Oil trains rolling past a Toronto west end homeowner’s backyard at dusk. Photo by Safe Rail Communities.

A Toronto neighbourhood group, alarmed by what appears to be a surge in oil trains rumbling past their urban backyards, is taking the unusual step of urging the Auditor General of Canada to intervene to help it get answers to safety concerns.

The group, called Safe Rail Communities, says it has been asking basic questions to CN, CP Rail and the federal government about the safety of transporting these explosive fuels, but found the responses lacking.

“We’re getting stonewalled,” said Helen Vassilakos, co-founder of Safe Rail Communities, who lives near the train tracks.

“Transport Canada is refusing to speak with us and the minister is actually refusing to send anyone out to our meetings.”

Full story from the Vancouver Observer at:


Canada and climate change   Leave a comment

Canada has the worst climate change record in the industrialized world

This is embarrassing.

Canada is dead last among industrialized nations in a new climate change performance index.

“Canada still shows no intention on moving forward with climate policy and therefore remains the worst performer of all industrialized countries,” says the report released by Germanwatch, a sustainable development advocacy group.

The index takes into account a variety of indicators related to greenhouse gas emissions, development of emissions, climate policy, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Canada particularly stands out when comparing its low scores on emissions, renewable energy investments and climate policies.


This shouldn’t come as much surprise to Canadians.

Back in June, when U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans for historic reductions in carbon emissions, Stephen Harper reversed his long-standing wait-and-see what the Americans do position on emissions, shifting to a new line that he had actually solved the problem two years ago.

That, of course, isn’t true. Earlier this month, an audit conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development found the federal government’s policies to reduce emissions has only gotten us 7% of the way to meeting Canada’s Copenhagen Accord targets.

On the other hand, we’re dealing with a government that believes increased fossil fuel use has a correlation with improved air and water quality.

Photo: ojbryne.

Global Frackdown   Leave a comment


Majority of Canadians want fracking moratorium, says EKOS poll

October 8, 2014 – Media Release from The Council of Canadians

Global Frackdown

Today, (Oct. 8/14) the Council of Canadians released the results of an EKOS Research poll that found most people, regardless of political affiliation, support a fracking moratorium. Seventy percent support “a national moratorium on fracking until it is scientifically proven to be safe.”

“Regardless of age, region or education, people from coast to coast are calling for an end to fracking,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Communities understand very well the impacts that fracking has on water sources, climate and public health. With the moratoriums in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it’s clearly the way communities want governments to go.”

Significantly, this support for a moratorium cuts across party lines: nearly half of Conservative voters support a moratorium. The highest support for a moratoria came from NDP voters: 87% of them support a national moratorium as do 78% of Liberal voters. Currently, the Green Party is the only party calling for a national moratorium.

“Based on these numbers, political parties may want to rethink their positions to put them in line with what the population wants. We’re urging NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to support a moratorium as the Green Party has,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

The results are being released leading up to the Global Frackdown on October 11. The Global Frackdown is an international day of action where hundreds of communities around the world call for a ban on fracking. Local Council of Canadians chapters are organizing events across the country on that day.

Fracking is a risky technique where sand, water and chemicals are injected into the ground to break apart rock formations to extract natural gas or oil. Communities have raised a number of concerns including excessive water use, water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions and health impacts of fracking chemicals.

While the provinces issue water and drilling permits, the federal government has a responsibility to regulate fisheries, environmental assessments, pollution prevention and oil and gas in First Nation reserves.

Other results:

  • 67% of people are aware of fracking (25% are very aware; 42% are somewhat aware)

  • 70% of people support a moratorium on fracking, which is fairly consistent across age groups, regions, income groups and education

  • 78% of Liberal voters, 49% of Conservative voters and 87% of NDP voters support a moratorium

  • 53% of Liberal voters and 67% of NDP voters strongly support a moratorium

The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Survey results are statistically reliable in all major regions of Canada.

Read the media backgrounder and see the poll data tables.

Can Increasing Inequality Be a Steady State? (2)   Leave a comment

Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility

Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital In The Twenty – First Century is selling very well.

Is this because people are concerned about the growing inequality of wealth (and incomes), or is it because, as Piketty writes, the current state of capitalism could be a threat to democracy as we know it?

Piketty, in the closing paragraph of his analysis, calls upon us all to be concerned. He writes:

“Yet it seems to me that all social scientists, all journalists and commentators, all activists in the unions and in politics of whatever stripe, and especially all citizens should take an interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it, and its history. Those who have a lot of it never fail to defend their interests. Refusing to deal with numbers rarely serves the interests of the least well-off.”

For Christians, who believe in a Gospel message of God’s preferential option for the poor, Piketty’s words are a call to prophetic action.

Optimism about Climate Change   Leave a comment

(Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)




Here’s Why Al Gore Is Optimistic About the Fight Against Climate Change.

A new study predicts that more than half the world’s energy will come from carbon-free sources by 2030. “The 2030 Market Outlook is Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s long-term view of how the world’s power markets will evolve to 2030. These are the findings from the global overview report, covering the major economic and technological findings.”


The full report from Bloomberg is available at:

What’s Missing from Canada’s Fracking Debate?   Leave a comment

Andrew Nikiforuk, who has authored several books and articles on the energy industry, discusses four important questions in response to the question above. These questions are a valuable contribution to a debate that is happening across Canada, among concerned citizens.

1. How do you fix polluted groundwater or, even worse, a fracked aquifer?


2. How do you prevent regulatory capture?


3. How do you control a non-linear process?


4. What about shallow formations and the case of Jessica Ernst?

The full article from Nikiforuk can be found at:


First Nations response to Northern Gateway   Leave a comment

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: