Fiduciary Duty for Environmental Legislation

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The Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) imposes statutory liabilities on directors of federally incorporated companies. In addition, directors can be held liable for a breach of their fiduciary duties owed to the corporation. By the same, the executive directors of the Conservative Party of Canada and elected government officials who by election become directors of the Government of Canada, in as much as they have a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, and agents of the people of Canada can be held liable for a breach of their fiduciary duties owed to the people they represent.

the Conservative Party of Canada, the Executive, Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty, Joe Oliver (and others) did deliberately with fore knowledge exacerbate the problem of environmental pollution and ecological degradation in Canada.

They did:
1. Fail to enforce laws, rules and regulations intended to protect the environment and the surounding ecology from industrial operations contamination, namely the Oil Sands region in Northern Alberta.
2. Did enact legislation which places waterways, the surrounding ecology and peoples at risk, namely Budget Implementation Bill, C-38 which restructures the Fisheries Act and repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
3. Did willfully and purposefully limit their obligations in environmental protection by failure “to protect the components of the environment that are within the legislative authority of Parliament from significant environmental effects caused by a designated project.”

The Citizens of Canada, the plaintifs, ask that this court rule that the Conservative Party of Canada and the named persons have a fiduciary obligation to the Citizens of Canada to use best practices for protecting the environment and ecology of and within Canada and areas extending beyond Canada’s natural boundaries, namely the offshore and the air above from which Canada and all Canadians gain mutual benefit.

The plaintifs contend that the Conservative Party of Canada collectively, in that the elected representatives are agents under the name and council of the Conservative Party of Canada and do form the majority of seats in the Parliament of Canada and hence have control over the agenda and legislation enacted by the Government of Canada, have a fiduciary obligation on behalf of the peoples and citizens of Canada.

The plaintifs contend that the Conservative Party of Canada working through the named perpertrators did benefit financially and politically gain from their actions and failures there-by breaking the fudiciary trust between Government and the peoples of Canada. Many of the laws enacted and or changed have benefit mainly and often solely for corporations (oil and pipeline companies) where environmental and ecological protection laws and rulings may effect their profits. It is these corporations which give huge financial benefit to the Conservative Party of Canada and influence over conservative media and advertizing.

By admission of the Government of Canada, “The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). CEPA 1999 is an important part of Canada’s federal environmental legislation aimed at preventing pollution and protecting the environment and human health. The goal of CEPA 1999 is to contribute to sustainable development – development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The plaintifs will show that the accused have deliberately failed in as;

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act makes very clear that the Governments written obligations by law;
– makes pollution prevention the cornerstone of national efforts to reduce toxic substances in the environment;
– sets out processes to assess the risks to the environment and human health posed by substances in commerce;
– ensures the most harmful substances are phased out or not released into the environment in any measurable quantity;
– strengthens enforcement of the Act and its regulations;

From the act;
Whereas the Government of Canada will continue to demonstrate national leadership in establishing environmental standards, ecosystem objectives and environmental quality guidelines and codes of practice;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to implementing the precautionary principle that, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation;

And whereas the Government of Canada must be able to fulfil its international obligations in respect of the environment;

2.
(a) exercise its powers in a manner that protects the environment and human health, applies the precautionary principle that, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation, and promotes and reinforces enforceable pollution prevention approaches;
(a.1) take preventive and remedial measures to protect, enhance and restore the environment;
(b) take the necessity of protecting the environment into account in making social and economic decisions;
(c) implement an ecosystem approach that considers the unique and fundamental characteristics of ecosystems;
(d) endeavour to act in cooperation with governments to protect the environment;
(e) encourage the participation of the people of Canada in the making of decisions that affect the environment;
(f) facilitate the protection of the environment by the people of Canada;
(g) establish nationally consistent standards of environmental quality;
(h) provide information to the people of Canada on the state of the Canadian environment;
(i) apply knowledge, including traditional aboriginal knowledge, science and technology, to identify and resolve environmental problems;
(j) protect the environment, including its biological diversity, and human health, from the risk of any adverse effects of the use and release of toxic substances, pollutants and wastes;
(j.1) protect the environment, including its biological diversity, and human health, by ensuring the safe and effective use of biotechnology;
(k) endeavour to act expeditiously and diligently to assess whether existing substances or those new to Canada are toxic or capable of becoming toxic and assess the risk that such substances pose to the environment and human life and health;
(l) endeavour to act with regard to the intent of intergovernmental agreements and arrangements entered into for the purpose of achieving the highest level of environmental quality throughout Canada;
(m) ensure, to the extent that is reasonably possible, that all areas of federal regulation for the protection of the environment and human health are addressed in a complementary manner in order to avoid duplication and to provide effective and comprehensive protection;
(n) endeavour to exercise its powers to require the provision of information in a coordinated manner; and
(o) apply and enforce this Act in a fair, predictable and consistent manner.

Is there not a case in which the peoples of Canada can sue the administration of the Government of Canada for failure in their duties under law and their fudiciary duties to the welfare of the peoples of Canada?

Election Contract

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Whom Do You Serve?

While researching for information on Parliamentary Reform. I have come to the conclusion that Parliamentary reform of any meaningful form will not come via elected politicians, it is not in their political interest to do so. Therefore, I am proposing:

A citizen driven, grass roots, cross party, association in every riding whose mission will be to oversee the performance of the MP elected to represent their interests, regardless of party affiliation, through a pre-signed election contract stating that the elected MP will first and foremost serve the interests of the constituents and country only, ignoring all pressures placed upon him/her by the party on penalty of being removed from office by the electorate. In other words; “Do the job of an MP and represent your riding and not be just a party puppet.”

As we see by the lack of Parliamentary Democracy and the ever increasing Parliamentary Dictatorship by the majority party, reforms to Parliament are not about to come through Parliament. It is time for citizens, the voting public to take matters into their own hands via the only option left open to us, a riding association committee controlled “Election Contract”.

A contract between the citizens of the riding and the elected candidate to conduct themselves conclusive to open, free, consultative government responsible first and primarily to the constituents who elected him/her.
Read: Ottawa, We Have a Problem

Electoral District Associations, hopefully with the blessings of Elections Canada, will form one association committee to oversee the performance of the Member of Parliament for their Electoral District regardless from which party the MP belongs. Before each election the association committee will ask each candidate to sign a contract with the Riding as to how they shall be expected to perform in Parliament. The contract will give the association the power to remove the MP from representing their riding if contract expectations are not met. In other words the Member of Parliament will be responsible first and foremost to the constituents who elected him/her and not to the political party or the party whip.

There is a reasonable possibility that any candidate who is unwilling to sign a constituency contract and commit to Parliamentary reform is not likely to be elected. The role of a Member of Parliament is to represent the people of his/her constituency and not the political party to which he/she belongs or was nominated by even though the party may have paid for his/her election campaign.

These constituency contracts are not designed to eliminate political parties but, to limit their influence in Parliament and their control over the proceedings of both the Upper and Lower Houses. It will mean that MPs will have to engage in meaningful deliberations with their constituents and make an effort to gauge the preferences of the constituents before and after debate in the House or casting their vote on each bill that comes before the House. Political parties will still continue to be a main identifier of a candidates politics and will still be needed to aggregate information, pro and con, on any subject or matter before Parliament.

There will be the responsibility of maintaining and manning a Constituency Office in each riding perhaps apart from the political party offices. These offices could be financed by the MP allowances or Elections Canada, especially once the idea of Election Contracts becomes established and Parliamentary reforms for good governance are in place. Both Members of Parliament and Elections Canada have need of offices in each constituency regardless.

There is no doubt that communicating with the constituents will bring more overall work to each MP and will perhaps slow down the passage of bills in the House but that may be a good thing. Cramming legislation through Parliament will become a practice of the past as will omnibus bills.

There should be a practice of keeping the electorate apprised of the goings on in Parliament on a weekly basis apart from what the national news broadcasters deliver. In this day of electronics with email and website forums at almost everyone’s immediate demand, the ability to keep the public informed is basically easy. In those remote regions of Canada where the internet is not as readily available then the old fashioned method of letter correspondence will have to do. The main colaboration will take place between the riding association committee and the MP and it will be the riding association committee’s job to keep the residents in the riding informed as to matters in the House and to keep the MP informed as to the general concensus of the riding, to become the liason between the MP and his/her constituents.

The full intention of the Election Contract is to allow the electorate more say in the affairs of Government. Whether or not a person chooses to partake in offering their opinion is entirely up to the individual. The opportunity is given.

Ottawa: We Have a Problem

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“It’s now entirely obvious that many powerful forces are engaged in our politics that are diametrically opposed to those men and women of goodwill who wish for a more equitable Canada, a more peaceful world. And the problem for the average politician is that they can’t get there from here – the powers of polarization far outmatch their individual abilities to truly represent their communities and the greater good. And since their parties don’t permit them to work together to counteract such alienating forces, they have little choice to conform to the politics of the age, realizing that they are being personally diminished in the process.” Glen Pearson http://www.glenpearson.ca/

Canada's Parliament in session

Canada’s Parliament in session

“Realistically, government was about winning aggressively, not governing judiciously. People were ultimately voters who could also donate money to keep the machinery going.”

Just a couple of quotations which quite accurately sum up the state of democracy in Canada. One thing is obviously very clear; the work of reforming Parliament into the democratic, fair debate, honest deliberation, judicial enactments of law for the betterment of all, the House of Governance, Parliament is supposed to be, cannot be left to those whom the people elect. Change can not and will not happen. It is not in their political parties’ interest even though back bench MPs suffer under the yoke of party discipline and a neutered system of parliamentary oversight of the executive.

“Although we like to think of ourselves as living in a mature democracy, we live, instead, in something little better than a benign dictatorship,” Stephen Harper wrote in 2006, referring to Chretien’s Liberals.

Every Prime Ministerial reign since Trudeau, and many before, has promised the electorate to reform Parliament and make it less partisan and more equitable and impartial, less polarized and factional and more congenial and open.

  1. Pierre Trudeau espoused participatory democracy as a means of making Canada a “Just Society”. Introduced procedural reforms to Parliament.
  2. Joe Clark introduced the Freedom of Information Act, which would establish the right of access to government records.
  3. John Turner attacked patronage appointments and vowed changes to the legal system. His term as PM was too short to accomplish much.
  4. Brian Mulroney threatened to abolish the Senate and introduced the ill fated Meech Lake Accord. Brian Mulroney came to power in 1984 and promised major parliamentary reform. Jim McGrath, a veteran Tory MP, headed a committee that recommended fundamental changes: free votes, effective committees and measures to allow private members to create law.
  5. Kim Campbell had too short a term as PM to carry through with any meaningful legislation. Has been said it was her frank honesty that ultimately caused her defeat.
  6. Jean Chrétien pioneered the Clarity Act and focused on reform of the justice system rather than reform Parliament. Under Chrétien, answers in the Commons question period were reduced to just 35 seconds, providing great sound bites for TV, but wholly lacking in substance.
  7. Paul Martin vowed a “6 point Plan” to reform the house, “restore the individual member of parliament as the link between his or her constituents and government in Canada in a meaningful way”.
  8. Stephan Harper vowed to reform Canada’s “archaic” upper house of Parliament, the Senate?

As we see by the lack of Parliamentary Democracy and the ever increasing Parliamentary Dictatorship, reforms to Parliament are not coming through Parliament. It is time for citizens, the voting public to take matters into their own hands via the only option left open to us, a riding association committee controlled “Election Contract”.

A contract between the citizens of the riding and the elected candidate to conduct themselves conclusive to open, free, consultative government responsible first and primarily to the constituents who elected him/her.

Oil Sands: Field of Dirt

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EU row over Canada’s “dirty oil”
Feb.22 – Canada says it will take the European Union to the World Trade Organization in protest if it labels oil sands as highly polluting in a key vote on Thursday. See: http://uk.reuters.com/ Video (1:39)

Transcript:

“This field of dirt is at the centre of a row between Canada and Europe. It’s oil sand from which Canada extracts fuel. The European Union considers it highly polluting and is about to vote on whether to include oil sands in a bill ranking the most carbon-intensive fuels. The move has angered many in Canada. They say fuel from oil sands doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide as coal. Canada is also home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves and almost all of it comes from sand. It’s accused the EU of discrimination and is threatening to complain to the World Trade Organization. Travis Davis from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the law would create an unreasonable administrative burden. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVIS DAVIS, CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCERS, SAYING: “You look at other jurisdictions doing fuel quality standards – we maintain that this is poor example of a policy that isn’t going to reward performance enhancement, or being transparent.” Alberta holds some of the largest oil sand deposits. Cal Dallas from the region’s legislative assembly, says they are committed to its production. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CAL DALLAS, PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA, SAYING: “We are going to responsibly extract and develop that resource. We have a responsibility to market that on behalf of Albertans. There’s a net benefit for Canadians, and North Americans as a whole.” But environmentalists say there is firm scientific evidence supporting the EU view that oil sands crude is more polluting than oil from other sources. They say a shift to greener energy would avoid the need to extract every last drop of oil.” Ciara Sutton, Reuters.

The move has angered many in Canada. They say fuel from oil sands doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide as coal.” This is a silly argument that any thinking person (Except Joe Oliver, Ezra Levant and co) can see through. Yes coal when burned for energy produces more GHGs than oil sands oil. But, the production of oil sands oil is so energy intensive the GHGs produced far outweigh the benefits diminishing the value.

Unless the governments of Canada and Alberta place proper environmental restrictions on the oil sands producers, the oil sands will forever be classed as “Dirty Oil”. No country (except Canada and China) wants to be associated with encouraging the no. 1 single source of GHG in the world.

If the oil sands cannot be environmentally and ecologically properly developed, then perhaps that oil is better off left in the ground. Otherwise the cost to Canadians, who will be left with the clean-up bill, and the world, who bear the brunt of GHG pollution, is far too high.

Pipeline on Rails

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The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails

Since 2012, nearly a dozen plans have emerged to ship crude oil by train to Northwest refineries and port terminals. Moving large quantities of oil by rail would be a major change for the Northwest’s energy economy, but so far the proposals have largely escaped notice.

The projects are designed to transport fuel from the Bakken oil formation in North Dakota, but the infrastructure could also be used to export Canadian tar sands oil. In fact, if all of the oil-by-rail projects were built, they would be capable of moving nearly 800,000 barrels per day—that’s more oil capacity than either of the controversial pipelines planned in British Columbia.  Read Full Story

The Northwest’s Pipeline on Rails from Sightline Institute on Vimeo.

Harper Doesn’t Care About Environment

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Stephen Harper doesn’t care about the environment, wildlife, fisheries, the whole ecology. The environment, the fields and forests, the waterways, rivers and inlets and all God’s creation that dwell there in, are just in the way of Harper’s goal of unimpeded resource extraction.

Syncrude's Mildred Lake mine site and plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Syncrude’s Mildred Lake mine site and plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta

The Harper motto is, “Dig It, Sell It, Let the future generations pay the price.”

Making liquid fuels from oil sands bitumen requires massive amounts of energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates 12 percent more greenhouse gases per barrel of final product than extraction of conventional oil. Overall, the tar sands development produces 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil reserves. In 2012 estimated 100 Mega Tons of carbon dioxide which is more than the all emissions from all passenger cars in Canada put together.

When added up, the machinery used, the extraction process, the transportation of bitumen oil including trucks and trains, and the refining process, the Alberta Oil Sands is the no 1 single source of GHGs Green House Gas emissions in the world.

Making liquid fuels from oil sands bitumen requires massive amounts of energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates 12 percent more greenhouse gases per barrel of final product than extraction of conventional oil. Overall, the tar sands development produces 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil reserves. In 2012 estimated 100 Mega Tons of carbon dioxide which is more than the all emissions from all passenger cars in Canada put together.

When added up, the machinery used, the extraction process, the transportation of bitumen oil including trucks and trains, and the refining process, the Alberta Oil Sands is the no 1 single source of GHGs Green House Gas emissions in the world.

Environment Canada has projected that tar sands operations could account for about 44 per cent of the increase in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 to 2020. In Environment Canada’s “reference case” projection, oil sands emissions would rise from 4 per cent of the national emissions in 2006 to 12 per cent in 2020.
Source: Environment Canada, Turning the Corner: Detailed Emissions and Economic Modelling (2008), 42.

“Contrary to claims made by industry and government in the popular press, the oil sands industry substantially increases loadings of toxic PPE [priority pollutants] to the Athabasca River and its tributaries via air and water pathways. This increase confirms the serious defects of RAMP [Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program] (11–13), which has not detected such patterns in the Athabasca River watershed. Detailed long-term monitoring is essential to distinguish the sources of these contaminants and control their potential impacts on environmental and human health.”
Source: Kelly, Erin N, David W Schindler, Peter V Hodson, Jeffrey W Short, Roseanna Radmanovich, and Charlene C Nielsen. “Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2010): 1-6.

Reclamation

This was once Boreal Forest

Only 0.2% of the area disturbed has been reclaimed.
Of the 602 square kms of land disturbed by oil sands mining operations, only 1.04 square kms (104 hectares) is certified by the government as reclaimed.
Source: Government of Alberta, “Alberta’s Oil Sands: Facts and Stats” (accessed September 2, 2010).

Reclamation is a very different goal to restoration, which is an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability.
Source: Society for Ecological Restoration International, The SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration. SER has identified nine attributes as a basis for determining when restoration has been accomplished.

Downstream from the Tar Sands People Are Dying

Harper stifled scientists on tar sands pollution and emissions.
A 128-page report chronicling “systemic efforts” to obstruct public access to researchers. Read Report.

Muzzled  “This all started back in 2008 when the Tories implemented a policy in which federal scientists were told to direct all media inquiries to national headquarters and not respond to requests to talk about their work. As a consequence, many Canadians, and especially the media, are not hearing about the latest findings, including those published in prestigious journals. Canadian scientists are starting to slip on the world stage.”

‘Stand Up For Science’ Protests: Scientists Protest Harper Government ‘Muzzling,’ Cuts
CP | By Ben Makuch, The Canadian Press Posted: 09/16/2013

” Hundreds of frustrated scientists clad in their telltale white lab coats descended Monday on Parliament Hill to demand that the Harper government stop muzzling scientists and cutting research funding.

“What do we want? Evidence-based decision-making!” chanted the protesters as they gathered in the shadow of the Peace Tower, complaining about what they see as the government’s efforts to commercialize research.

The very fact that such a typically apolitical group felt the need to make their voices heard speaks volumes, said Jeremy Kerr, a biology professor at the University of Ottawa.”

“More than anything, it was when you put all the pieces together, how vivid a picture emerges of a very clear and very malicious agenda to facilitate rapid resource extraction by dismantling an entire century’s worth of environmental regulations, environmental monitoring, and basic science. I was amazed by the extent of it and how deliberate it is.”
On the book: The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Willful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada by Chris Turner, an award-winning environmental writer who lays bare how science has been politicized, controlled, and methodically stifled. He also explores the underlying motivations for the Conservatives’ turn away from verifiable research.

“They’ve reduced the government’s capacity to gather data, and they’ve downsized or eliminated offices that monitor and analyze scientific information. They’ve also seized control of the channels through which science is communicated, and explicitly prevented the publication of research that could interfere with private industry.”

“Bill C-38, for example, amended 60 different pieces of legislation, repealed a half-dozen more, and essentially rewrote the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It triggered cuts and closures at research labs and monitoring stations across the country. It was “like a hundred vicious scalpels”, Turner writes.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada was unable to complete a risk assessment for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, because of Harper Government cutbacks they lack the capacity to provide relevant scientific information.

Bill C-38 slashed funding for Canada’s Environmental Emergencies Program, which was the federal government’s first response unit for oil spills. It also closed environmental regional offices in B.C., disbanded Vancouver Island’s marine contaminant group, and closed field offices in Prince George and Smithers (the two offices closest to the proposed route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline).

“The kindest thing I can say is that these people don’t know enough about science to know the value of what they are cutting,” David Schindler, a scientist at the University of Alberta.

The Harper Government de-funded the internationally acclaimed Experimental Lakes Area in Kenora, ON. only because the findings of scientists such as the effect of crude spills on water, or the impact of air pollutants on an ecosystem, were an impediment to Harper’s reckless resource extraction. With the absence of this core scientific data projects like the Tar Sands can continue unchallenged, but the problems remain and the impacts on the environment, including humans, are perpetuated.

Instead of addressing challenges the government chooses to deny that the problems exist, or to minimize their impacts. Both strategies of evasion (deny or minimize) are enabled. See story

“The government rationale for the de-funding and transfer of funding is that tax payer-funded research should serve the needs of industry. However, the shift in focus corrupts core research by creating research parameters that compromise thorough examinations of any given hypothesis or premise.

While these restrictions serve the government’s agenda to create an unimpeded/streamlined environment for both industry and government ideology, they endanger the public. Core research that interferes with the government/corporate agenda (but sometimes negatively impacts public health and safety) is discarded or suppressed, while narrowly focused research that doesn’t contradict corporate government messaging is rewarded.

Public dangers inherent in this strategy of information suppression and distortion are not always tangible, but they are toxic nonetheless.”

As NWF (National Wildlife Federation) President Larry Schweiger said in a letter to President Obama:

“We continue to believe that it is imperative that Canada put in place measures to reduce the carbon emissions from its fossil fuel sector. However, the expansion of tar sands production is counter to serious climate change mitigation. Tar sands crude is one of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels in the world and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a linchpin for massive tar sands expansion. Canada cannot reduce its carbon emissions while also expanding tar sands production.”

“In recent years, Canada has prioritized the development and expansion of tar sands over addressing climate change. During this same period, Canada has withdrawn from its Kyoto Protocol obligations, stifled climate science, hollowed out Canada’s federal environmental regulations, and recorded a troubling increase in Canada’s carbon emissions.”

– See more at: http://blog.nwf.org/

If the Harper Government manages to win another term in office, Canada is potentially going to lose a generation. Recovery from the environmental and ecological damage caused by the Harper administration could take a lifetime to repair. If possible to repair at all. Stephen Harper said in 2007, “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.” He was definitely right.

Enbridge Environmental Priorities

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Enbridge Inc. must be held to a high corporate standard in living up to the agreements they have made. Their website tends to boast about how they are leading Corporate Citizens.

From their website we read this:

“Responding to Environmental PrioritiesEnbridge is engaged in environmental stewardship activities to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment.

In 2003, Enbridge became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, an international initiative in support of human rights, labour and the environment.

Why then is Enbridge Inc. so interested in developing the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project or the Line 9 Project which would expand the developement in the Oil Sands and by doing so:

  • encourage and be party to further production of GHG emissions adding to the pollution of the atmosphere and the consequences of climate change,
  • further the degradation of the ecosystem surrounding the Oil Sands causing loss of biodiversity and long-term damage,
  • further pollution of the Athabasca River Valley and MacKenzie River system promoting damage to aquatic ecosystems,
  • encourage further land degradation along with the impacts of chemicals use and disposal and continual waste production

What then is the Enbridge Inc. Environmental Priority or is it just all talk?

Just what did Enbridge Inc. sign on to?

United Nations Global Compact  –   Environment

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

The Origin of the Environment Principles

Internationally co-ordinated work on the environment has been led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), since its inception in 1973. UNEP has provided leadership and encouraged partnerships to care for the environment, for example, through Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) which have addressed issues such as species loss and the need for conservation at a global and regional level. UNEP has created much of the international environmental law in use today.

The three environmental principles of the Global Compact are drawn from a Declaration of Principles and an International Action Plan (Agenda 21) that emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janerio in 1992. Chapter 30 of Agenda 21, identified that the policies and operations of business and industry can play a major role in reducing impacts on resource use and the environment. In particular, business can contribute through the promotion of cleaner production and responsible entrepreneurship.

The environmental principles of the Global Compact provide an entry point for business to address the key environmental challenges. In particular, the principles direct activity to areas such as research, innovation, co-operation, education, and self-regulation that can positively address the significant environmental degradation, and damage to the planet’s life support systems, brought by human activity.

Key Environmental Challenges

  • loss of biodiversity and long-term damage to ecosystems
  • pollution of the atmosphere and the consequences of climate change
  • damage to aquatic ecosystems
  • land degradation
  • the impacts of chemicals use and disposal
  • waste production
  • depletion of non-renewable resources

Harper Doesn’t Care About Health Care

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“I couldn’t care less” Stephen Harper’s own words at the Calgary Convention Friday Evening November 1, 2013.  By his actions he very much wants to change Canada’s Public Health System to a private health system and user pay. This will dramatically hurt the chronically ill and the elderly and lower income families. But Harper could care less.

From The Star. “Health Ministers from across Canada were recently told by the Harper government that it will stop funding the Health Council of Canada and wants it “wound down” in order to save $6 million. When the Harper government says it is time to wind down the Health Council of Canada, it is saying in effect, it is time to wind down national medicare. Let me explain.

The Health Council of Canada was formed in 2003, following the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, to provide accountability, oversight, planning and national coordination for our health care system. Its achievements to date include lowering wait times and encouraging innovation in the public health care system to ensure access to a continuum of services, in and out of hospital.

The federal role is to facilitate national approaches to health system issues and promote the pan-Canadian adoption of best practices and innovation. This is the glue that holds medicare together and keeps it responsive to the evolving needs of the Canadian people. Provinces and territories cannot perform this role. The vacuum in federal leadership will fragment the health care system into 14 separate systems operating independently from each other. This fragmentation undermines the core principles of the Canada Health Act, especially comprehensive coverage and portability between provinces and territories.

Lack of federal coordination and guardianship means that more and more Canadians will lack access to comparable health services in primary care, prescription drugs, home care, rehabilitation and longer-term care. The Harper government’s decision to terminate the Health Council will put an end to pan-Canadian health outcomes, common standards across the country and comparable indicators. It also strikes a blow to accountability, transparency and evidence-based health care policy. The official line is: “Let the provinces experiment.”

National surveys consistently show that Canadians and the provincial and territorial governments want federal leadership in health care. Instead Harper is choosing to cut and run – cut the funding and then put distance between his government and universal health care. It is difficult to overstate the damage – to people and their public health care – of these cut-and-run policies. Those most at risk from this federal abdication of responsibility are the frail and elderly.” See More

From The Globe and Mail: Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented his provincial and territorial colleagues with a take-it-or-leave-it deal at the end of 2011, three years before their current funding arrangement was supposed to expire. Flaherty told the provincial and territorial finance ministers that the federal government would keep increasing health-care funding by six per cent a year until the 2016-17 fiscal year.

But starting in 2016, the amount given to the provinces will be tied to economic growth. The government will link the amount to nominal GDP, the monetary value of all goods and services produced within the country annually, including inflation. If nominal GDP rises four per cent and inflation is two per cent, the economy’s real GDP growth is two per cent. When Health Care increases have typically been 6% annually, the federal governments decrease will severely cut into Health Care. Poorer performing provinces will receive less funding than better performing ones.

As of today, many Canadians suffering from chronic illnesses say high costs are preventing them from filling the prescriptions they need and from seeing specialists, according to a new survey. Federal cuts to health care will exacerbate the problem.

Then there is the problem of increasing drug costs due to CETA. Provisions in the new trade deal being negotiated between Canada and the European Union could add about $2.8-billion a year in costs to Canadian drug plans if implemented, a new report warns. The estimate includes $1.3-billion more for public drug plans and $1.5-billion for private drug plans.

“This will create a huge hole in provincial budgets in particular,” Aidan Hollis, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary and co-author of the report, said in an interview.

Read Drug prices could rise

“First the Harper government derailed the national pharmaceutical strategy contained in the 2004 Health Accord. As the Health Council pointed out, the national pharmaceutical strategy was integral to the renewal and sustainability of the entire health care system. It is perverse for the Harper government to encourage excessive growth in pharmaceutical costs and abusive marketing practices, and then tell provinces, territories, employers and individual Canadians to pay the bills and deal with the fallout from unsafe and ineffective new prescription drugs.

Then the Harper government unilaterally announced major cuts to federal transfer payments for health as well as fundamental changes to equalization payments. The cumulative effect will be to take more than $60 billion out of health transfers and equalization payments in the decade following 2014.” The Canadian Health Coalition

Harper’s plan is to balance the budget by 2015 on the backs of the Provinces by cutting transfer payments to health, education, public service, municipalities etc.

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The Canadian Health Coalition is a public advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Medicare. Our membership is comprised of national organizations representing nurses, health care workers, seniors, churches, anti-poverty groups, women, students and trade unions, as well as affiliated coalitions in 9 provinces and one territory.

Harper Doesn’t Care About Workers

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Harper Doesn’t Care About the Unemployed

“I couldn’t care less” Stephen Harper’s own words at the Calgary Convention Friday Evening November 1, 2013.

Harper and the Tories are making a concerted effort to eliminate what is left of the Employment Insurance that all working Canadians pay into.
Stephen Harper’s strategy is: Destroy whatever political support exists for employment insurance by making the benefit almost impossible to collect. The aim is to crush any social program that interferes with the downward pressure on wages. – See more

“Buried on page 196 of Bill C-38, Stephen Harper’s 425-page budget implementation document (ironically dubbed “The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act”), was a provision to eliminate the boards (EI Boards of Referees). They are to be replaced by 74 members of a new Social Security Tribunal, to be appointed by the Harper government. No more labour or employer appointees. The Tribunal will also hear appeals from Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security claimants.”
(Government appointed Tribunal?
Is Stephen Harper steering Canada into Fascism?)

“And it’s not that the EI system couldn’t afford the payouts. Employer and employee EI contributions had built up a surplus of $57 billion by 2010. With a stroke of the legislative pen the Harper government reduced the surplus to $2 billion and siphoned the rest into general revenues”. – See more

Harper Doesn’t Care About Workers

Bill C-4, Harper’s undemocratic 321-page Omnibus budget bill(one of several), dramatically tipped the balance of collective bargaining in favour of the federal government and effectively took away public service workers’ right to strike and also put the lives of workers in the federal sector at risk by redefining dangerous work. This is the tenth labour law restricting or eliminating labour rights of Canadian workers by the Harper government since they took office in 2006.

The arbitration option has been removed for all bargaining units except those where 80 per cent of employees perform work that has been designated “essential” by the employer. Groups that do not meet the 80 per cent threshold are automatically put on the conciliation-strike route. In the few cases where arbitration is allowed, the process will no longer be independent of government. Arbitrators will be limited to consider only two factors: recruitment and retention, and the government’s fiscal circumstances relative to its budgetary policies.

That is the road to Fascism.

Harper Doesn’t Care About Job Creation

Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial premiers unanimously rejected Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new job training plan Thursday, arguing that its design flaws could damage their existing efforts to help people find jobs. Harper’s Job Grant program would remove much of existing federal transfers and require the provinces and territories to make up the $600 million shortfall. The business sector, mostly small business, would have to pay an equal amount in the job creation scheme with little guarantee of employee retention. Obviously Harper doesn’t care much about small business either.

Read: Premiers reject Stephen Harper’s job training plan, fearing it will cause damage