Environment, Tax Fairness

Mr. Trudeau, please end fossil fuel subsidies.

Right now, Canada gives big oil $3.3 billion in handouts to fossil fuel companies every single year. To put that in perspective, that’s enough money to hire over ten thousand new teachers, four thousand new doctors, and still have enough money left over to end the water crisis on First Nations reserves.1

Mr Trudeau, stop fossil fuel subsidies now! I don’t want my tax dollars contributing to climate change. You talked the talk at the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. You now need to walk the walk

Click here to go to Leadnow page and sign petition.


  1.  Leadnow. No more handouts!

Tim Hortons and Starbucks are not recycling their cups

According to a report done by Marketplace produced by the CBC, Tim Hortons and Starbucks are not recycling the paper cups that customers deposit in their recycling bins.

Marketplace producers placed cups with tracking devices at 14 Tim Horton locations and 14 Starbucks locations in Toronto. They then returned at night to look for them.They were only able to recover 7 cups from each chain. The cups were found in the regular garbage bins.

Several experts told Marketplace that coffee cups cannot be recycled with regular paper and require a special process because of their plastic lining.

Read the full report at CBC News website.


Time for national carbon tax!

It is time to introduce a progressive national carbon tax. The tax would be harmonized with provincial carbon taxes, or “carbon prices,” where they exist in order to ensure a minimum rising threshold that would sent strong price signal to businesses and households. We need to ensure a broad-based carbon tax is in effect in all provinces and territories starting at a minimum rate of $30 per tonne of CO2 emissions on January 1, 2017. This rate would rise by $5 per tonne, per year until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2021.

A substantial share of the the revenues from a carbon tax would go to a “green” tax refund to ensure a majority of Canadian households are better off after accounting for increased costs as a result of the carbon tax. This would amount to an annual cheque equivalent to $10 for every adult and $5 per child for every $1 per tonne in carbon tax (e.g., $300 per child for a carbon tax of $30 per tonne).

The remainder of the revenues would go to complementary investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation, including for renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transit, retrofits for low-income housing , and transition measures for the most affected workers and communities. The carbon tax would also include border tax adjustments to ensure Canadian industry is not put at a competitive disadvantage, and to put more pressure on other countries to also introduce similar measures (with exemptions for impoverished nations).

For more details, read the 2016 Alternative Federal Budget issued by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. 


Environment, State Surveillance

CSIS spied on Canadian environmental groups

According to a Vancouver Observer story that was published on November 2013, the National Energy Board (NEB) coordinated the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands. The groups of interest are independent advocacy organizations that oppose the Harper government’s policies and work for environmental protections and democratic rights, including Idle No More, ForestEthics, Sierra Club, EcoSociety, LeadNow, Dogwood Initiative, Council of Canadians and the People’s Summit.

This was all revealed by information gained through the Freedom to Information Act. The information includes 140 pages of emails from December 2012 to April 2013.

I remember reading something about CSIS spying on environmental groups. As I read more details about this story now, I am a little blown away.

First of all, the NEB is supposed to be an independent federal agency. They should not all be in involved in any type of intelligence gathering. The NEB actually coordinated efforts between CSIS, the RCMP and private oil companies. How can Canadians expect to take any rulings of the NEB seriously? How can Canadians trust that the NEB will rule in favor of the interests of the Canadian public when they are clearly conspiring with private oil companies to crack down on any discussion of Canada’s energy policy.

The groups listed above are peaceful public advocacy groups and they have a right to voice their opposition to government policies. Read my blog about Edward Snowden where I talk about the chilling effects of surveillance.

The NEB just recently approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Tim O’Neil, Senior Criminal Intelligence Research Specialist with the RCMP wrote a memo dated April 20, 2013 and send it to the NEB and associated stakeholders. In the memo, he states that there is “no intelligence indicating a criminal threat to the NEB or its members” and “I could not detect a direct or specific criminal threat.”

In a January 7, 2014 article published by the Vancouver Observer, we learn that Canada’s chief spy watchdog, Chuck Strahl, then head of SIRC, had registered as a lobbyist for Enbridge. Further investigations revealed that Strahl, a former Conservative cabinet minister, had been contracted by Enbridge since 2011. There is clearly a conflict of interest in this arrangement.

According to the article, Mary Dawson (Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner) refused to investigate the matter and refused to provide any further information on the matter.

This is very troubling for Canadians who believe transparency is the cornerstone of a functional democracy.