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Plan to re-imagine Toronto’s waterfront: How much does public know about the plan?

Thu, 2018-12-06 22:38
Rosemary Frei

An agreement that seeks to hand control of a large piece of Toronto’s waterfront and downtown core -- an area that includes the largest commercial development in Canada -- to a subsidiary of Alphabet, the giant tech company that owns Google, is raising growing alarm.

Sidewalk Labs is poised to receive the exclusive right, along with a government agency known as Waterfront Toronto, to reshape the vast area, which includes Exhibition Place, Ontario Place, Fort York, Harbourfront, Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Union Station.

The agreement is part of a plan to create “a new, first-of-its-kind, innovative approach to city-building” and employ cutting-edge technology.

But very few details have been released about the project’s full objectives and financial benefits to Sidewalk Labs, Waterfront Toronto and Torontonians. In addition, public consultations have been very narrow in scope.

And on December 5, the Auditor General of Ontario issued a report on the project, stating it is being rushed forward without sufficient public disclosure. Auditor Bonnie Lysyk said Waterfront Toronto’s “new agreement with Sidewalk Labs raises concerns in areas such as consumer protection, data collection, security, privacy, governance, anti-trust and ownership of intellectual privacy.”

The province responded to the report by saying it will work with the municipal and federal governments to determine whether any new legislation, bylaws or policies are needed to protect the public interest before the deal is finalized.

The auditor’s report also noted: “We found internal Waterfront Toronto emails indicating that the (Waterfront Toronto) board felt it was being “urged – strongly --” by the federal and provincial governments to approve and authorize the framework agreement with Sidewalk Labs as soon as possible.”

In October 2017, Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto signed a framework agreement for the project. This agreement was not made public until July 2018, when it was released along with a plan development agreement. Neither document contains many details about the project.

Stated the auditor general: “The October 17, 2017, public announcement by the prime minister, the premier, the mayor, Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs about the signing of the framework agreement was arranged on October 12, the day before the (Waterfront Toronto) board received the final framework agreement for review and approval.”

Former Research in Motion co-CEO and chair Jim Balsillie, a vocal critic of the project, slammed the project in a Globe and Mail op-ed on Oct. 5: “The most insightful comments during the public announcement (of the Oct. 2017 agreement between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs) came when Eric Schmidt, Google’s former executive chair, said they had realized their long-running dream for ‘someone to give us a city and put us in charge.’”

The framework agreement will give way to a master plan for the project, which is expected to be finalized next year, at which point the deal between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs cannot be revoked.

In addition, in June 2017, the three levels of government agreed to share the cost of a $1.25-billion bill to renaturalize the mouth of the Don River and protect a large area in the floodplain that covers a large part of southwestern downtown, the northern half of the Port Lands, and other areas to the east and north that includes the site of the large commercial development.

There have been several public consultations on Sidewalk Labs’ plans over the last year, but they have focused exclusively on the small site called Quayside, immediately northwest of Villiers Island, with these discussions centred on the buildings and public spaces planned for Quayside, and on control of data to be gathered by thousands of sensors on the site.

But just who will get a say on the rest of the plan?

The development agreement between Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto hedges that point by saying “the creation of such a plan does not itself signal any right to implement all or any part of it. To the contrary, the parties acknowledge that in many cases, the implementation of plans … will be subject to various contingencies, such as the receipt of certain governmental approvals and clearances, approvals of or agreements with landowners or other third-party consents.”

It also states that any proposed options shall be “supported by robust business planning and financial analysis.”

However, there does not have to be a vote by Toronto city council, the Ontario legislature or the federal government on whether to approve or reject the master development plan. Rather, there only will be votes on issues that required to implement the plan, such as changes to bylaws and procurement policies.

Not surprisingly, there has been some push-back.

For example, developer Julie Di Lorenzo resigned from the Waterfront Toronto board on July 30, because she and other  board members were only given four days to review the PDA before voting on whether to accept or reject it.

On Oct. 5, TechGirls Canada founder Saadia Muzaffar resigned from Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, stating Waterfront Toronto had not being forthright about its plans.

On Oct. 19, former Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian quit her role as Sidewalk Labs’ data-privacy adviser to protest the lack of a guarantee that collected data will be de-identified at source.

But many other powerful people are backing the plan.

John Brodhead, one of the architects of the federal Liberals’ plans for revamping Canadian infrastructure, took a senior role with Sidewalk Labs in April. In addition, Keerthana Rang, formerly Keerthana Kamalavasan, who was the spokesperson for John Tory’s successful 2018 mayoral re-election campaign, now works in communications for Sidewalk Labs.

Former Toronto chief city planner Paul Bedford chairs Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel and is another strong proponent of the plan. So is former federal privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier. Now a lawyer at Dentons and a counsel for Waterfront Toronto, she has publicly opined that Cavoukian’s resignation will not affect the plan.

Moreover, a lawyer working under Bernier at Dentons, Karl Schober, during a panel discussion at a large public-private conference in Toronto in November -- that included talk of how public transit could be taken over by the private sector via the use of autonomous vehicles -- said companies can make money from the huge amount of data from people using these vehicles. Another speaker at the conference showed how use of autonomous vehicles for transportation can be used to privatize roads and all other infrastructure associated with transportation. Sidewalk Labs’ plans for transportation on the Toronto waterfront focuses largely on autonomous vehicles.

Bianca Wylie, co-founder of Tech Reset Canada, is a vocal critic of the plans for dealing with data gathered in the project area. On Nov. 30, via Twitter, she asked prominent boosters of the plan to disclose whether they’re getting paid by Sidewalk Labs. “It takes a great amount of privilege to support these plans. It takes even more to provide that support without showing up to defend it,” Wylie wrote. “It’s time to make the stupid spreadsheet of who is getting paid by Sidewalk Labs.”

John Wilson, co-chair of the West Don Lands Committee and a board member of Waterfront For All, which supports the plan, rebuffed Wylie by tweeting: “Christ, what kind of crap is this - now everyone who has a rejoinder to your line must be on the payroll? If this is your implication, can you please get a grip. The last person who confronted me like this was DoFo (Ontario Premier Doug Ford). I'm sorry, I won't be self-disclosing for your pleasure.”

The final public consultation about the plan in 2018 takes place on Saturday, December 8, and will focus only on Quayside.

Rosemary Frei is an independent, full-time journalist, videographer and activist focusing on economic and social-justice issues.

Categories: News for progressives

Decades after Montreal massacre, gun control is still a hard sell

Thu, 2018-12-06 20:42
December 6, 2018Decades after Montreal massacre, gun control is still a hard sell Twenty-nine years after 14 women were killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal, advocates for gun control renew their call for the federal government to do more.
Categories: News for progressives

Decades after Montreal massacre, gun control is still a hard sell

Thu, 2018-12-06 20:36
Karl Nerenberg

It is 29 years since the Montreal massacre, when a shooter armed with a hunting rifle killed 14 women at the École Polytechnique, the engineering school of the Université de Montréal.

Each year at this time, gun control advocates call on the federal government to enact more effective measures to limit firearms. But those who manufacture, sell and own guns have considerable political clout, and they are pushing back hard.

The Trudeau Liberals arrived in office having made only small-bore promises on gun control. They did not, for instance, pledge to restore the long-gun registry, which the Chrétien government created in the aftermath of the Polytechnique massacre, and which the Harper Conservatives scrapped after they won a majority in 2011.

Trudeau promised modest measures like obliging manufacturers and importers to engrave all guns they put on the market with identifying markings. These would include the serial numbers, the name of the manufacturer, and the origin of the weapon, whether Canadian or foreign.

The Liberals promised to bring in this small measure with no delay, but instead have chosen to delay and delay and delay yet again. After a long wait, gun marking regulations were supposed to come into force on December 1 of this year, but at the last minute, the government deferred them for two more years, until 2020.

As we reported here a year ago experts such as criminologist Irvin Waller say gun markings would “make it a lot easier to trace the sort of guns that are being smuggled across borders, the sort of guns that get into the hands of the mafia and street gangs."

When the Trudeau government announced the most recent delay this past November, its excuse was that it needed to find a way to mandate markings that did not impose “undue constraints or costs on firearms owners and businesses.”

Bill C-71 includes measures gun control advocates welcome

Organizations like the Coalition for Gun Control are not happy with the markings delay, but they are willing to cut the government some slack because it has introduced another series of firearm regulations in Bill C-71.

Bill C-71 has passed the House of Commons and is now before the Senate. It provides for a better screening process before anyone can purchase a firearm, obliges gun dealers to keep records of all weapons they sell, and provides for the transfer of the Quebec data in the defunct long-gun registry to the government of Quebec.

The 2012 Harper government legislation that scrapped the long-gun registry also stipulated that all the data it contained should be destroyed. At the time, the Quebec government was setting up its own registry and it went to court to force the federal government to preserve the data. Early in 2015, the Supreme Court, in a split decision, ruled Quebec had no right to the data, but the Harper government did not then go ahead and immediately destroy it. Now, finally, if and when the Senate passes C-71, the federal government will hand over the now somewhat outdated gun records to Quebec.

As for the measure in C-71 requiring gun vendors to keep records of all sales: those had been in force since 1971, but were abandoned as no longer necessary when the Chrétien Liberals created the centralized long gun registry.

In 2012, during debate and committee hearings on the Conservative bill to abolish the long-gun registry, the Harper government and gun lobby spokespeople assured Canadians that once the registry was gone, the old record-keeping system would be revived and maintained, so that authorities would still have information on all guns sold in Canada.

The minute the registry disappeared, however, the governing Conservatives -- encouraged by their friends in the gun lobby -- went to great pains to assure that gun merchants kept no records whatsoever of their sales. Harper’s Public Security Minister Vic Toews even went so far as to forbid provincial authorities from requiring such records.

The gun lobby is now characterizing C-71’s restoration of the 1977 record-keeping system as a back-door reinvention of the gun registry, which it definitely is not. C-71 merely makes mandatory what is already a standard retail sector practice.

The Coalition for Gun Control worries, however, that gun lovers and makers have loud voices and political influence that far exceeds their numbers. Even at this late date, the gun lobby could place obstacles in the way of C-71, as it makes its way through the Senate.

The anniversary of the Montreal massacre is an occasion for the advocates of gun control, whose views align with those of a large majority of Canadians, to make their voices heard.

Photo: By Bobanny/Wikimedia.org 

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble's politics reporter.

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Categories: News for progressives

Canadian author Tony Clarke charts path to zero carbon emissions

Wed, 2018-12-05 22:05
December 5, 2018Canadian author Tony Clarke charts path to zero carbon emissionsRespected activist Tony Clarke has a new book mapping out how Canada can get to net carbon emissions of zero by 2040.CA
Categories: News for progressives

To head off climate catastrophe, a World War II-type effort needed, Canadian activists say

Tue, 2018-12-04 21:43
December 4, 2018To head off climate catastrophe, a World War II-type effort needed, Canadian activists sayA group of Canadian activists are calling on Canada and the world to do more to slow the advancement of global warming, including allocating billions of dollars to the effort.
Categories: News for progressives

To head off climate catastrophe, a World War II-type effort needed, Canadian activists say

Tue, 2018-12-04 19:50
Karl Nerenberg

On Monday, December 3, Canadian environmental activists convened by the Group of 78 (G-78), a progressive foreign policy institute, demanded that the world – and especially Canada – do more to help the victims of a warming planet.

Those who suffer most from climate change are in the poor countries of the global south, the activists point out, yet they are the least responsible for it.

To help mitigate the devastating impacts of global warming, the G-78 proposes that the Government of Canada allocate $3 billion to $4 billion a year toward international climate finance, in the form of grants.

In addition, the group wants the Government of Canada to lead an initiative to reform global trade institutions so that they “enforce climate change mitigation measures” and oblige the richer nations that have, for the most part, caused climate change, to share environmental technology with the world’s poor.

Later that day, as though in response to these demands, the World Bank, whose leaders are attending the UN climate change meeting in Poland, pledged US $200 billion to the fight. The government of Canada has yet to make a commensurate pledge.

A national carbon budget and a transition away from fossil fuels

The G-78’s annual conference, which it held in September in Ottawa, was devoted to the global challenge of climate change, with a focus on Canada’s role and responsibilities. The conference’s damning conclusion was that Canada is “losing the fight against climate catastrophe.”

G-78 executive members Roy Culpeper and Susan Tanner were blunt in their appraisal: “We have insufficient resolve to reduce the supply and consumption of fossil fuels; we need better incentives to promote the development of and shift to renewable energy; and national and provincial plans to prepare for catastrophic weather extremes are absent.”

The G-78 came out with the full report from the conference on Monday, which it unveiled at a news conference on Parliament Hill. The report has a number of practical and tangible suggestions for ramping up the climate-change fight.

For starters, the Group of 78 proposes that the federal government, and all other levels of government, commit to what it calls a “national carbon budget,” which would beinformed by Canada’s equitable share of the global carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in order to reduce greenhouse pollution.”

The group believes the federal government’s carbon-pricing scheme is a good idea, but argues that it does not go nearly far enough. The report recommends that the federal government “substantially increase carbon pricing to align with mitigation scenarios that limit warming to 1.5°C above the pre- industrial level.” Currently the target for Canada’s climate plan is quite a bit higher. It is the Paris target of 2˚C above pre-industrial levels.

In addition, the activists make the radical, but eminently reasonable, suggestion that the “Government of Canada and its provincial counterparts facilitate the managed decline of fossil fuel production that includes the elimination of all fossil fuel subsidies.”

Rather than continuing to subsidize the oil and gas industries, through such measures as tax write-offs for exploration, the G-78 proposes that Canada “accelerate renewable energy production and infrastructure.” This entire enterprise, the report adds, “should be achieved within a just transition framework to support workers and communities adversely impacted.”

Finally, the Group proposes that all levels of government work toward a “transformation of our food system away from industrial agriculture towards small scale ecological farming with the aim of carbon neutrality in both distribution and production.”

None of this is on any government’s agenda in Canada. In fact, despite the evidence that Canada is not doing nearly enough to head off the global catastrophe of a 4-degree rise in temperature by the end of the century, there is neither political will nor momentum to adopt any new and more robust anti-climate-change measures.

All the pushback is from the who-cares-about-the-climate side

What the G-78 proposes would be a mobilization on the scale of World War II – a far more radical approach than the Trudeau government’s mild, moderate and revenue-neutral carbon-pricing scheme. Instead of pressure to do more, however, we have increased and vocal pushback against any climate-change fighting measures from Ontario, from New Brunswick, from Saskatchewan and from Conservatives throughout the country.

Populist and right-of-centre politicians have sensed the advantage in making a simplistic and demagogic appeal to the hundreds of thousands of car commuters of this country’s burgeoning suburbs. We’ll give you cheaper gas at the pump, they say, adding, with neither fact nor convincing arguments, that carbon taxes “kill jobs.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford even tried to claim that carbon taxes were somehow responsible for General Motors’ abandoning its Oshawa workers. That is the opposite of the truth. GM wants, in fact, to produce more environmentally-friendly vehicles and is closing plants in both the U.S. and Canada as part of that new direction. It’s a nasty decision, but nothing to do with carbon pricing.  

The federal Liberal government, and those few provincial governments that still care about the climate crisis, are fighting a rear-guard action now. All the noise they hear and all the heat they feel is from the other side. They will hardly be in a frame of mind to consider the more vigorous measures activists, such as those convened by the G-78, advocate.

Nor will they likely be motivated toward stronger action by the dire warnings of the   UN’s international panel of climate scientists.  That panel argued, not too long ago, that the Paris Accord’s targets – which we are not yet meeting – are, in truth, way too weak. If we want to even begin slowing down the rate of planetary warming, we will all have do much more that we agreed to do in Paris three years ago.

Perhaps what we need, in Canada and elsewhere, is some serious and concerted pressure from the pro-environment side, from those who can see beyond the price of filling their gas tanks and who care about the perilous fate of the planet we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren.

 

Photo: Representing the Group of 78 at a news conference in Ottawa on Monday: Susan Tanner (left to right), Anthony Garoufalis-Auger and Roy Culpeper. (Karl Nerenberg, rabble) 

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Categories: News for progressives

In cutting Alberta oil production, Notley gives brilliant performance - but will it play in Ponoka?

Mon, 2018-12-03 19:51
December 3, 2018In cutting Alberta oil production, Notley gives brilliant performance - but will it play in Ponoka?Alberta will impose an 8.7-per-cent oil production cut to shrink gaping price differential, steely NDP premier says.
Categories: News for progressives

In cutting Alberta oil production, Notley gives brilliant performance - but will it play in Ponoka?

Mon, 2018-12-03 10:56
David J. Climenhaga

As expected, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Sunday that her government will order an 8.7-per-cent cut in the province's oil production -- 325,000 barrels a day -- to squeeze some of the air out of the bitumen price differential that has bedevilled Alberta for several years.

The short-term production cuts, permitted under the province's legislation, will take effect on New Year’s Day, the premier said. They will remain in place, dropping over time, until a backlog of about 35 million barrels of already processed oil has been shipped to market, which the government expects to take three months.

Production controls will impact both bitumen and conventional oil producers, although some of the smallest companies will be exempt.

It barely took Notley 10 minutes of her live-streamed news conference, which began at 6 p.m., to prove that even in this neoliberal era governments can act, and do so decisively. 

As political theatre, it was brilliant.

Notley looked positively prime ministerial. She was steely-eyed and -- dare I say it -- at some moments evocative of Margaret Thatcher on the eve of that war at the south end of our then-still-chilly planet. She even offered an acknowledgment to the neoliberal zeitgeist of our era: "One never wants to begin by reaching into the market and telling people they have to produce less …"

But so she did.

In addition to her government's plan to manage the supply of Alberta oil to narrow the yawning gap between oilsands bitumen and the sweeter crude found closer to the U.S. Gulf Coast, she promised more rail cars would be coming on line next year and that there will be no end to the province's push for more pipeline capacity.

As political strategy, Notley's newser wasn’t bad either. Whatever its other impacts may be, taking immediate action to raise the price of Alberta crude by limiting supply is likely to see some results because it acknowledges the most basic law of economics.

But Notley certainly did this with the knowledge that prices will rise relatively soon anyway as U.S. refineries now partly closed for maintenance come back on stream. When Enbridge's Line 3 starts pumping at the end of next year, that, too, will increase demand and raise prices -- although too late for the NDP’s electoral strategy.

Notley made sure in her brief remarks that the principal opposition parties -- the United Conservative Party and Alberta Party -- were implicated in her plan. Indeed, it soon became clear to anyone listening thanks to a reporter's question that the Opposition UCP had demanded even deeper production cuts. This will be useful for voters to know in the event jobs are lost in some places as a result of the limitations in supply ordered by the government.

And the premier showed enough steel to demonstrate she has no problem pushing around the few billion-dollar oil companies that made it clear they don't want supply management of their output, seeing as they're making out like bandits already with things the way they are.

While praising her main opponents in the Alberta legislature, Notley put the blame for the current state of affairs right where most Albertans seem to think it belongs: On the federal government for not approving the pipelines Albertans have now persuaded themselves will solve all their economic problems.

She also made sure the blame was shared between the current federal Liberal government and the past Conservative one -- in which provincial opposition leader Jason Kenney was an influential minister.

So, Notley’s short news conference Sunday evening was a bravura performance.

However, whether this will play in Peoria -- or, rather, Ponoka, Alta., -- remains to be seen. This is especially true if companies with their own U.S. refining capacity, like Husky Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc., decide to squeeze their own workers till the pips squeak to punish the government for reducing their profit expectations for the greater good.

Similarly, while oilsands giants like Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will likely be happier, it's far from clear whether this will translate into anything that helps the NDP’s political circumstances.

And there is no sign whatsoever that any method developed to ship Alberta oil -- whether in the form of rail cars, new pipelines or rehabilitated old ones -- will not eventually be used to its fullest capacity, with predictable impact on global climate change.

When it comes to market failures -- which Notley spoke of Sunday and Kenney did recently, too, to justify interfering in the market -- the problem is that the biggest market failure of all is climate change.

Photo: Rachel Notley/Flickr

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca

Categories: News for progressives

If Notley caps Alberta oil production Sunday, how quickly will Kenney change his tune?

Mon, 2018-12-03 01:23
December 2, 2018If Notley caps Alberta oil production Sunday, how quickly will Kenney change his tune? Fasten your seat belts. Alberta's premier will make history if she sets out a plan to deflate the Bitumen Bubble.
Categories: News for progressives

If Notley caps Alberta oil production Sunday, how quickly will Kenney change his tune?

Sun, 2018-12-02 13:14
David J. Climenhaga

If Alberta Premier Rachel Notley uses her government's power to put a cap on oil production Sunday, as she hinted she would do in a newspaper op-ed Friday, how long will it take Opposition leader Jason Kenney to change his tune?

Not long, one imagines.

Of course, if Kenney does turn on the proverbial dime and say the opposite of what he was saying before, it will be a reversion to form. But the logical pretzel he will have to twist himself into either way -- whether he changes back to his old course or sticks with a new one -- promises some light entertainment in what otherwise is likely to be a grim spectacle.

Kenney has lately been trying to out-Notley Notley by demanding more and deeper production cuts sooner than later. He justifies this change from the uncritical market-fundamentalist boosterism by claiming there has been a "market failure" in Alberta's oilpatch, as if there was anything unusual about such a phenomenon.

For her part, a case could be made that Notley, a lifelong social democrat, has been trying to out-Kenney Kenney in the way she lectures Ottawa about how the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion must swiftly be completed.

Still, at least when it comes to using state power to impose production cuts, if that is indeed what has been decided, Notley will be acting consistently with her long-held social democratic beliefs, to wit, that there is an important role for government in directing the economy.

In addition, Notley will be in accord with well-understood economic laws, specifically, the famous one that says when the supply of a commodity declines, its price rises, and when supplies fall, the opposite happens. 

As an aside, if only from the perspective of pure propaganda, it seems to me both Notley's NDP government and Kenney's United Conservative Party opposition would benefit from ceasing and desisting all talk about how we need to increase the supply of Alberta heavy oil via a pipeline to tidewater so that we can see higher prices, a nonsensical proposition in economic terms. Instead, they would get farther arguing the market is already there and the problem is merely the bottleneck.

In other words, the solution to the Bitumen Bubble, as former Alberta premier Alison Redford called it once upon a time, is to end the Bitumen Bottleneck, a term that Notley has my permission to use Sunday as her own.

Regardless, while the premier is bound to face some criticism for her decision, whatever it turns out with her statement Sunday, at least she won't have to twist herself into a pretzel to justify it.

For Kenney, this will be harder. He will be required, as the leader of a rather-far-right opposition party, to insist that the market is always right. Except, of course, when it isn't.

From his perspective in this case, that appears to mean when it isn't acting in the interests of giant oil companies. Alas for Kenney and his UCP, this situation is complicated in more ways than that because not only are some giant oil companies demanding production cuts immediately to save them from the cruel logic of the almighty market they normally laud, but others are demanding there be no cuts, because they're making out like bandits the way things are.

The dividing line between these two groups of oil companies is whether or not they have their own in-house refining capacity. If they do, the current situation works for them, because they can buy feedstock cheap, upgrade it and sell it dear. If they don't, the current situation doesn't work for them, because their only options are to sell low and pray prices rise soon, or shut down their operations immediately.

In a way, this puts Kenney in a more difficult position than Notley -- although, granted, without much responsibility.

There is a sense Kenney may find himself hoisted with his own petard, since it seems likely he demanded a production cut reasonably confident in the belief Notley would not have the intestinal fortitude to actually do it.

If there is one thing to know about Notley, it's that she's bold, and actually willing to make a decision, even if that means rolling the dice, metaphorically speaking, on her political future.

People sense this about her, and her toughness as well, which is undoubtedly among the reasons she outpolls Kenney on personal qualities, even as the two politicians' parties are in the opposite position relative to one another in popularity. In other words, Kenney projects bluster; Notley projects the real thing.

I expect Kenney knows this, which is why I think that if things unfold Sunday as expected, he'll retreat pretty quickly to his comfort zone, whence he'll excoriate Notley's NDP for daring to "pick winners and losers" in the oilpatch and tout the magical benefits of the market.

The fact three of the biggest oil companies in the Alberta oilsands -- Husky Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. -- want things to stay the way they are will doubtless speed his return to the neoliberal ideological mothership.

Embarrassing, but I don't think politicians like Kenney experience embarrassment the way ordinary people do.

Notley took note of Kenney's support for a production cap in her op-ed in the Calgary Herald on Friday, as she did of Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel's. She also acknowledged the lack of agreement in the oilpatch.

"While a consensus appears to be forming among some political leaders, no such consensus exists within industry," she wrote. "At this point, no industry consensus is expected. So, Alberta, it comes down to what is best for us, all 4.3 million of us, the owners of our oil resources. As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value possible."

Notley will set out her plan to journalists at 6 p.m. Fasten your seatbelts. She's braver than your average politician. She will make history.

Whatever the plan is, she told us Friday, "I promise you this: your jobs, your kids and your futures will remain our absolute focus. No matter what, I won’t stop fighting for you."

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Categories: News for progressives

Yellow vest protests in France may be a warning to governments around the world

Sun, 2018-12-02 06:53
Brent Patterson

While there may be the impression that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement in France is simply a right-wing populist reaction to an increase in gas taxes, and, thus, a cautionary tale against measures intended to counter climate change, there is much more to it than that.

Reuters reports, "The popular rebellion erupted out of nowhere on Nov. 17 and has been coordinated via social media, with protesters blocking roads across France and impeding access to shopping malls, factories and some fuel depots."

The New York Times further explains, "The catalyst for the protests was the government’s decision to increase gas taxes in 2019 to help pay for the transition to more sustainable energy."

But that article notably highlights, "It [also] reflects the bite of French payroll taxes, which are among the highest in Europe, and disposable income that is below that of several other western European countries."

The Local -- France adds, "While initially focused on fuel taxes, the 'yellow vest' movement has snowballed into wider protests against economic hardship in provincial France and perceived elitism on [French president Emmanuel] Macron's part."

Radio France Internationale notes, "The call for action has received a particularly big response in small towns and rural areas, whose inhabitants complain that public transport and other services are poor to non-existent and cars a necessity for daily life."

RFI also notes, "It has also given voice to wider concerns over the government's policies, perceived as favouring the wealthy and big-city dwellers, and against allegedly heavy taxation."

Al Jazeera adds, "Political foes [have also dismissed Macron] as the 'president of the rich' for ending a wealth tax, while his popularity has slumped at barely 20 per cent."

In October 2017, Macron, in effect, cut the country’s wealth tax by 70 per cent. It had been applied to households with personal assets of more than $2.2 million. The tax break for the wealthy came as Macron cut housing benefits by $8.50 a month for 800,000 students.

Benoit Coquard, an expert at the National Institute for Agronomic Research, has told The Washington Post: "It’s important to understand that this movement of 'yellow vests' is not at all an opposition to the environment."

Coquard says, "What is disputed is that drivers from the middle and lower classes are made to pay, but that in their eyes we don't ask enough of the big companies and the rich, who also pollute the most because they often take airplanes."

The yellow vests also have significant left-wing support.

La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), Europe Ecology-The Greens, and the Socialist Party have all expressed support for the movement, as have the CGT and Confédération Paysanne (although the leadership of these unions -- in contrast to some in the rank and file -- have expressed concern that the movement has been infiltrated by the far-right).

The Macron government's imposition of neo-liberalism (a tax break for the rich, austerity for students, a fuel tax that disproportionality hits the poor and working-class in rural communities) has spawned a populist rebellion.

The 100 companies that have generated more than 70 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 have made huge profits from the extraction of fossil fuels.

The yellow vest movement in France may be a warning to liberal-democratic governments around the world that if the burden of solving the climate crisis falls on the working-class, they risk a populist rebellion.

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Categories: News for progressives

Six Nations youth leads protest against Nestlé water operation in Ontario

Sat, 2018-12-01 00:04
November 30, 2018EnvironmentIndigenous RightsSix Nations youth leads protest against Nestlé water operation in OntarioMakasa Looking Horse is a youth from Six Nations and a student at McMaster University. She led the organizing for the Putting a Stop to Nestlé events on November 24.nestlebottled waterON
Categories: News for progressives

Canada’s carbon-pricing policy is not a climate-change action plan

Fri, 2018-11-30 01:20
Will Dubitsky

One of the issues that will be debated in the next federal election campaign in Canada will be the pros and cons of carbon pricing, to the satisfaction of Liberals and Conservatives and at the expense of the environment. 

The Trudeau administration has decided to impose a carbon tax on provinces for which there is no current price on carbon. This is the only significant pillar of the federal government’s climate-change action plan. There is just a sprinkling of other smaller measures.

Having a single stand-alone carbon price strategy is a bit like saying the way to raise a child is to buy the child a winter coat -- and that is it. This doesn’t work. The findings of 2016 studies of 16 carbon price countries and two Canadian provinces indicated the carbon emission intensity and energy use affected by the price of carbon is less than one per cent. 

This single formula is overwhelmingly outweighed by the US$46 billion in direct and indirect subsidies for the oil gas and coal sectors in Canada each year, as per the estimates of the International Monetary Fund.

Ideally, a green economy can be defined as one where economic development and sustainable development are the same. Hence, it is not a question of new government funding, but rather of redirecting existing funds.

And the redirecting of government financing activities to the green economy would include the stimulation of innovation and manufacturing of clean techs, essential for Canada to participate in one of the world’s fastest growing, high and well-paying job creation clusters, the green sectors. For the same government investment unit, financing of green sectors delivers six to eight times more jobs than the resource-economy sectors.  But, Justin Trudeau’s vision of Canada remains that of a resource economy.

Federal Liberals and Conservatives would like the price on carbon to be a ballot question in the upcoming 2019 election. This would distract from having a serious public discussion on what needs to be done to make Canada competitive in the emerging new green economy and take seriously the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the effect that we only have until 2030 to adopt actions to avoid catastrophic climate change

With current policies in place, Canada is certain to fail on its target of reducing emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

We do not need to re-invent the wheel

Transportation, heating and industry account for two-thirds of global energy needs. To date, buildings and transportation have not been major vectors in the transition to a green economy, but this is about to change, thanks largely to the actions of the governments of China, the European Union and California.

With 60 per cent of global oil consumption associated with transportation, China wisely has set sales/credits quotas on plug-in vehicles beginning in 2019 at 10 per cent, increasing them to 12 per cent in 2020 and 20 per cent in 2025. The nature of the sales/credit quotas go beyond sales numbers, because extra credits are given for battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles. And non-compliance will come with penalties, with the government reserving the right to shut down a manufacturer’s production.

Few automakers can mess with China. The country represents 40 per cent of Volkswagen’s and 50 per cent of BMW’s global sales. Accordingly, nearly all global automakers are developing models, and preparing to offer sufficient volumes of these models for the Chinese market in order to comply with these sales/credits requirements. 

Prepared for its self-created rapid vehicle revolution, there were 214,000 charging stations installed in China as of the end of 2017, and the country expects to have 500,000 charging points by 2020. The aim is to have a 1-to-1 ratio of electric vehicles and charging stations by 2020, when 5 million electric vehicles are expected to be on China’s roads .

Similarly aggressive, the EU has not only stiffened its corporate average emissions exigencies as of 2018, but also, beginning in 2020, it will impose fines for each vehicle sold by an automaker that doesn’t adhere to its fleet average emission standards -- standards that will incrementally become more stringent. By 2021, the EU emission standards will necessitate that electric vehicles are very present in each manufacturer’s sales lineup.

Three studies indicate that even a modest market penetration of electric vehicles will hasten the arrival of peak oil demand, when petroleum demand peaks followed by a decline.

As for buildings, they account for 30 per cent of China’s greenhouse gases. China has partnered with the World Green Building Council to set a standard for near zero emission buildings beginning immediately, in 2018.   

California is not far behind with goals that all new residential buildings be carbon-net-zero buildings as of 2020, with the target for commercial buildings set for 2030.

All things on the green economy being interrelated, California adopted legislation requiring all new buildings and parking lots have the wiring and control panel infrastructure in place to accommodate charging stations.

The EU recently approved similar regulations that all new and renovated homes and apartments must have charging stations in place beginning in 2019.

The myriad of measures adopted in China will be accompanied by the world’s largest cap and trade system as part of a five-year plan leading up to 2020 that will ultimately include energy consumption and emissions intensity stipulations, plus 39,000 inspectors.

These are but a few examples of the hundreds of measures adopted by China, European countries and California, recognizing a price on carbon alone is not effective.

While China, the EU and California have hundreds of complementary initiatives to accelerate the transition to a green economy -- aggressive policies, legislation, programs incentives/disincentives etc. -- Canada has only one major policy on climate change.

But in Canada, we can’t even get the stand-alone policy on carbon pricing right. A case in point, the federal government will exempt the New Brunswick Belledune coal-fired plant for its first 800 tonnes of annual emissions. Since the plant emits 838 tonnes annually, the cost per tonne will be less than $1.

 

Will Dubitsky formerly worked for the Government of Canada on green economy policies, legislation, programs, projects and other related activities. Since retirement in 2012, he has become a green economy blogger and is active in various environmental causes.

Photo: Noya Fields/Flickr

 

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Categories: News for progressives

Canada's Saudi weapons sales a moral race to the bottom

Thu, 2018-11-29 22:55
November 29, 2018Canada's Saudi weapons sales a moral race to the bottomWith each new reported Saudi atrocity, Canadian leaders dig in their heels and issue earnest statements about "troubling" revelations, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Categories: News for progressives

Harry Leslie Smith: Anti-poverty activist and author dies in Ontario at age 95

Thu, 2018-11-29 03:29
November 28, 2018Political ActionHarry Leslie Smith: Anti-poverty activist and author dies in Ontario at age 95The writer of Harry’s Last Stand and Don't Let My Past Be Your Future, spent a lifetime advocating for the poor in Britain, Canada and around the globe.
Categories: News for progressives

Reaction to closure of Canadian GM plant: Flurry of words and one radical suggestion

Wed, 2018-11-28 01:42
November 27, 2018Reaction to closure of Canadian GM plant: Flurry of words and one radical suggestionIn the wake of General Motors’ decision to close its Oshawa plant, politicians offer regret, promises to help workers. Meanwhile the idea of nationalizing the car-maker’s Canadian assets is floated.CA
Categories: News for progressives

Reaction to closure of Canadian GM plant: Flurry of words and one radical suggestion

Wed, 2018-11-28 01:20
Karl Nerenberg

Almost as soon as General Motors announced earlier this week it would be closing its Oshawa plant, political leaders in Ottawa and Toronto took to the microphones and social media.

And a Toronto-based journalist proposed a radical idea.

From Ontario Premier Doug Ford to members of the Trudeau government in Ottawa, the messages were similar: There is not much they can do to keep the GM Oshawa jobs. That ship has left the dock, in Ford’s words. But both levels of government did promise to do what they could to help the displaced workers, through enhanced employment insurance and job re-training.

Ford also took gratuitous swipes at the previous provincial Liberal government and the NDP government of the 1990s for their supposedly business-unfriendly policies.

Federal Liberals pointed to the efforts they are making to keep the auto industry in Canada alive, such as the automotive innovation fund.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains sighed wistfully that reducing corporate taxes and signing free-trade agreements did not appear to be sufficient to keep good jobs in Canada, let alone create new ones. That’s why the government created the fund, he said, to leverage private investment. And he flaunted a few of its successes.

“Toyota invested over $1 billion, which helped maintain and create 8,500 jobs,” Bains told the Commons. “And the same thing with Honda. (The fund) was able to secure $492 million, which helped secure 4,000 good quality middle-class jobs.”

The NDP’s Nathan Cullen was not impressed. He pointed out that just days ago the Trudeau government’s Fall Economic Update offered significant tax breaks to corporations to encourage investment. And how did GM respond? In the MP’s words: “Last week, the Liberals gave companies like General Motors $14 billion in tax giveaways, saying it would protect jobs here in Canada. Less than five days later, GM announced its plan to close its Oshawa plant, shattering the lives of more than 5,000 families.”

Billions for bailout – where’s the accountability?

Cullen, like many others, also pointed to the generous financial support Canada has provided GM going back to the 2009 bailout, which helped rescue the company from certain bankruptcy.

“In 2009, the Canadian and Ontario governments loaned GM $9.5 billion and acquired some of its shares. Then, it ended up losing almost $3 billion,” Cullen said. “In 2014, the Auditor General of Canada found out that GM could not account for how more than half a billion dollars of that money was used. In October, Export Development Canada showed a $1-billion outstanding loan to General Motors that now apparently is going to be written off.”    

With all of these billions of dollars going to profitable corporations, Canadians are wondering where the accountability is, the B.C. MP said.

Conservatives do not question the advisability of corporate giveaways and bailouts. The GM bailout happened on former prime minister Stephen Harper’s watch. Indeed, Conservatives want the current government to double down on the corporate welfare policy by cutting corporate taxes even further, cancelling the carbon tax and even removing the tariffs Trudeau imposed in retaliation to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

As Ontario Conservative MP John Brassard put it, “our retaliatory steel and aluminum tariffs would be better removed at this point to allow us to be more competitive.”

The NDP’s main constructive proposal is for a national automotive strategy.

The party's London MP, Irene Mathyssen, said that a “cohesive, well-thought-out strategy would attract investment, support research and engineering, support innovation and sustain good jobs.”

That strategy, she explained, “would begin by convening an auto summit with provincial, municipal, industry leaders and labour, and labour is constantly forgotten in this scenario.”

It was left to a non-politician, Toronto Star business writer David Olive, to propose the most radical and far-reaching solution -- a publicly owned Canadian automaker. Canada is one of the very few car-making regions without an automaker of its own, Olive wrote. He suggested the government nationalize GM’s Canadian operation.

“Nationalizing GM Canada is a compelling proposition. It would not only save jobs, but also create them, as Canada repatriated the engineers, designers and experts in advanced manufacturing who have been obliged to make their careers abroad. It would be a significant advance in economic sovereignty, in a Canada that is stunted by its status as the world’s biggest branch-plant economy.”

Years ago, a wing of the NDP used to propose that sort of measure, frequently decrying the colonized nature of Canada’s branch-plant economy. Indeed, the idea of using of public ownership in key sectors as an instrument of policy was once shared virtually across the political spectrum in Canada.

The Conservatives created the CBC in the 1930s and the Liberals created Petro-Canada in the 1970s, in part, by buying the Canadian assets of foreign-owned companies.

Perhaps the evident failure of the currently fashionable strategy of corporate bribery to foster environmentally and economically sustainable private investment will encourage political leaders to once again consider the idea of public ownership.

Photo: Robert Taylor/Flickr

 

 

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble's politics reporter.

 

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Categories: News for progressives

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

Tue, 2018-11-27 04:52
November 26, 2018Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passportIn 2014, Christianne Boudreau’s son was killed fighting with ISIS in Syria. After his death, she became an advocate for counter extremism. In 2016, her passport was revoked.CA
Categories: News for progressives

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

Tue, 2018-11-27 04:06
Rick Sterling

In the fall of 2012, 20-year-old Damian Clairmont of Calgary received a new Canadian passport. He received it despite the fact the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been monitoring him and knew he intended to fly to Turkey and then go into Syria to join an armed extremist organization, according to information his mother, Christianne Boudreau, was told by CSIS agents.

In sharp contrast, in the spring of 2016, the Canadian government forced Boudreau to surrender her Canadian passport. Unlike her son, who had been indoctrinated then recruited to join a terrorist group, since her son’s death, Boudreau has worked with other parents internationally to create and promote educational programs to counter extremism.

Dr. Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, described her role:

“Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world ­– the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization.”

Mothers for Life works with the important goal of countering extremist ideology and violence that has exploded in the West as well as the Middle East. It uses human connections and sharing among families who have experienced radicalization, not just lectures and lofty seminars. 

Boudreau has travelled and spoken at many places across Canada and internationally. She says the problem is not Islam or religion. A writer who covered Boudreau’s visit to the Islamic Institute of Toronto in an article titled “Christianne Boudreau’s visit to Toronto left us inspired,” reported: Chris was asked, “Do you blame Islam and Muslims for the death of your son? Everyone held their breath. I couldn't look her in the eyes. ‘No, I don't blame Muslims or Islam for what happened to my son. I blame misguidance and bad choices. It is ideology similar to that of gangs and cults. It is the same. They prey on young impressionable adolescents and exploit them."

Boudreau has also criticized the intelligence service of her native Canada. When CSIS agents first contacted her in January 2013 and told her they had been monitoring Damian for nearly two years, she asked why they had not warned her about his real intentions. Why did they not prevent him from getting a new Canadian passport?

Blamed CSIS for not doing more 

After Damian’s death, Boudreau said she thought CSIS had some responsibility for his actions and death. In May 2014, she wrote a letter to CSIS: “We, as a family, have a right to know what has happened, and how our system has failed us.”

She described her efforts to get answers, how a CSIS agent had asked her to stop speaking out and asking questions. Finally, almost six months later, CSIS director Michel Coulombe responded to her inquiries.

Coulombe did not answer her specific questions, yet concluded that “the service acted professionally and within its legislated mandate.”

Regarding the warning of a CSIS agent, Coulombe evaded the issue, saying: “We have found no indication of an attempt to interfere in your relationship with other parties.”

Regarding the disturbing consequences of radical indoctrination and violence, Coulombe said CSIS “is conducting research to better understand this phenomenon in Canada.”

This “research” is small comfort to a woman whose son was misled into joining a violent terrorist group, perhaps killing innocent Syrians and being killed himself.

Despite the CSIS subterfuge and request that she not speak publicly about the matter, Boudreau continued her work reaching out to other families, speaking out against radical extremism and violence.

Canada takes away Boudreau’s passport

Fifteen months later, in February 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada acted in a way that definitely restricted and interfered with “her relationship with other parties.” While Boudreau and her other son, Lucas, were visiting family in France, the Canadian government ordered her to surrender her Canadian passport. Boudreau and her son were stuck in France, dependent on the generosity of family, for the next 18 months.

Finally, in November 2017, when Lucas’s father was dying of cancer, the Canadian embassy in France provided temporary emergency documentation so that Boudreau and her son could return home to Calgary.

The official reason Canada took away her passport

Boudreau has tried repeatedly to get her passport back. The official reason it was taken away and cannot be returned is that she provided “false or misleading information” in the passport application for her son Lucas. The “false and misleading” information was that she did not include the name of Lucas’s father on the passport application and did not disclose court orders from 2004-2007 that defined the father’s visiting rights with the child, who was born in 2004.

Lucas’s birth certificate does not include the father’s name because the father wanted no responsibility, according to Boudreau. The applications for Lucas’ previous passports in 2007 and 2010 were filled out the same way without raising any objection by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, there was a court order and signed agreement between Boudreau and the father in January 2016 that confirmed a summer visit with the father.

‘Very few people have been denied passports’

Ray Boisvert, former head of CSIS counter-terrorism, was previously asked why CSIS did not prevent Damian Clairmont from receiving a passport if CSIS knew about his radicalization and intentions. Boisvert responded that denying a passport to a Canadian citizen was an infringement on freedom of movement and required solid evidence. “There have been very few people who have been denied passports because the threshold is so high. And rightfully so.”

If Boisvert’s assertion is true, then why has CIC acted so harshly against Boudreau? The violation in the passport application caused little or no harm. The complaint by the biological father was resolved in January 2016 by court order and agreement. This was not an issue of parental joint custody because Boudreau had been the sole parental custodian of the child since his birth.

Boudreau’s effectiveness in countering extremism

This decision is not only harming Boudreau and her children. It is also hurting the international campaign against extremism and violent radicalism.

As Koehler, the director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies stated in correspondence, “(Boudreau)’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.”

Dr. Amar Amarasingam, senior research fellow at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society at University of Waterloo, has said in support of Boudreau: “Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try to prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, (Boudreau)'s activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I'm not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.”

In 2016, as Boudreau was having her Canadian passport revoked, the CBC produced a documentary describing her good work. Producer Gail McIntyre and director/writer EileenThalenberg have recently written, “Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC - TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy-makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it. Her work in this area was far-reaching – uniting mothers in North America and Europe…. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high-profile work. This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.”

Public Appeal to return Boudreau’s passport

Boudreau, who was born in Toronto, is still being denied a Canadian passport. She deals with the anguish of knowing her son died in a foreign land. She has the pain of not knowing what he might have done with others in the terrorist group. She has difficulty finding a job when employers easily see and identify her as the “jihadi’s mother.” She was punished by being left in a foreign country without a passport for a year and a half. She has been mentally and emotionally abused by Canadian government authorities. Why is this being done and who is benefiting from this? 

A petition to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Canadian Passport!” has been launched and can be seen here.

Rick Sterling is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay area of California. He grew up in Vancouver and studied at Simon Fraser University. Since retiring as an engineer at UC Berkeley, he has researched and written about international relations, especially the Middle East. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.co

 

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Categories: News for progressives

Open Letter: Senators voice concern bill to end postal strike could violate charter of rights

Mon, 2018-11-26 22:27
rabbe staff

In a special sitting of the House of Commons, members of Parliament early Saturday, November 24, passed Bill C-89, a back-to-work bill that would end the strike by Canada Post workers. This bill then went proceeded to the Senate.

After studying the bill, the Senate adopted a motion Saturday evening to adjourn its discussions until Monday afternoon.

As the Senate prepared to review the bill, two senators issued this public letter on November 23.

 

The Honourable Patricia A. Hajdu,
MP Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Dear Minister Hajdu,

As your government moves forward with back-to-work legislation to force an end to the dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, senators must consider their constitutional role.

One of the duties senators are tasked with is to pay particular attention to legislation that might impinge upon protections found within the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 2(d) of the Charter states that the freedom of association is a fundamental freedom. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that infringement of the legal right to strike, in certain contexts, is a violation of this freedom of association. As such, any legislation that might restrict this legal right — as Bill C-89 does — presents the risk of a Charter violation.

We received a clear commitment from you that your government would issue a Charter statement, clarifying your analysis as to how this bill falls short of a violation. As senators prepare tonight for this weekend’s debate, we are still yet to receive any such statement.

It is essential that your office issue and publicize the statement immediately.

Sincerely,

Hon. Diane Griffin
Senator

and

Hon. Frances Lankin
Senator 

 

Photo: David Wilson/Flickr

 

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Categories: News for progressives

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