Opinion up to 2014

by Susan MacVittie

The New Year is fast approaching and BC premier, Christy Clark, has set the natural resource stage for 2014 with her call for economic growth during her trade mission to Asia in November.

And what will grow the economy? Why, oil and gas exports of course. Nevermind that cheap energy is a thing of the past, we have an aging population and not everyone has ownership over resources and access to well paying jobs. Not everyone is able to find a decent place in this market system -...

Chris Turner at Desmog Blog has a succinct review of the Enbridge Panel Environmental Assessment (gaah!) report -- well worth a read. Here's the conclusion of Scenic Photos the High Point of Panel's Report on Enbridge's Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline Proposal

"This is a report that almost physically shrugs in your hands as you read it.

"I haven’t even mentioned the fact...


Many people voted for candidates representing your party in the belief we would, finally, have a government based on Christian principles.  In case you haven't read it, the Christian Bible clearly obligates us all to be charitable, to share freely with those who have less, and to at all times be kind and loving.

That's what many people expected would begin to happen when they voted for candidates representing your party, a party which is led by a man who makes no secret of the fact he is a Christian who believes...

In "Libya’s Hell, Enabled by Canadian Humanitarians," Murray Dobbin looks at the case for invading Libya, the mess of arms and fighting left behind, (entirely forseeable after Iraq in my opinion) and discusses the failure of democracy in Canada and its media that allowed this tragedy to unfold.

"The collateral damage done by our humanitarian “liberation” includes the regime (however repressive) that boasted Africa’s...

Twelve Canadians is a series about Canadian women and men who stand out from the crowd; people who've been devoting their lives to social, economic or environmental justice, and to the healthy development of Canadian communities and the world.

Canada's Green Planet Monitor producer, Dave Kattenburg,  has travelled across Canada and put together half-hour audio docs and accompanying stories about Canadians building a better world from the inside out. Each episode...

We've believed the claims of 'natural' products and 'environmentally friendly' only to discover its often a greenwashing lure by big biz jumping on the green bandwagon.

Share your greenwashing story with us and you could receive a one year subscription to the Watershed Sentinel and have your story published in the Jan/Feb issue.

Email our editor: editor (at) watershedsentinel.ca

Deadline for entries is December 15.





How can we make the most money out of these pipelines?by Susan MacVittie
Web Exclusive

There has been much press about the BC and Alberta governments reaching an agreement on pipelines. Yesterday, BC Premier Clark and Alberta Premier Redford met and agreed about the five conditions that BC proposed before approving pipelines to being built in this province.

Both Premiers are quick to remind us that they were elected

with a mandate to improve their respective province's economies...

To Russia with Love,

Эдвард Сноуден в России.
По всему миру звучит  «ура».
Русские разгромили Гитлера, 

Может быть, смогут и ГМО ?
Но Арктическую 30 - за что ?

Русская пи-ар машина умнее. 
Иногда замечательна, иногда…
Каким будет наш северный сосед?
Сахар или яд?
Или бронтозавр, за деньги  дерущийся  
Капиталистический неокон ?
Русские понимают искусство, науку,...

BC released their proposal for the new Water Sustainability Act which includes widespread changes in the regulation and use of groundwater. Critics say there is room for improvement with the new act. For instance water companies that currently do not pay any fees for extracting groundwater will only be required to pay 85 cents for every million litres of water that they take. The new legislation will also give industries that rely on heavy water usage, such as natural gas hydraulic fracturing, a fee exemption if they use non-potable water...

Opinion from Canada's top maritime lawyer and oil pollution liability expert contradicts Harper government's claim that taxpayers would not be "on the hook."

Vancouver, BC, October 8, 2013 - The President of the Canadian Maritime Law Association, John O'Connor, says the Canadian government would be responsible for any cleanup costs that exceed $1.4 billion in the event of a "huge" oil spill, directly contradicting claims by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver that any cleanup bill would be the responsibility of vessel operators and not Canadian taxpayers....

 The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment

Originally posted by John Dupuis on May 20, 2013 and updated

Science librarian John Dupuis undertook the research of this chronological list of the Harper government's war on science, and has...

We are trying to raise awareness about the imminent demise of the last remaining Old growth Cedars at 58km on the Duncan River Forest Service Road., in the West Kootenays.  Blue Ridge Land and Timber Management Ltd, (which  took over from Meadow Ck. Cedar)  has applied for a cutting permit for this small stand.

Across the Duncan River at 59km the  remaining old growth is said to be on the BC Timber Sales agenda in 10 years. 

These stands provide an essential...

After Omnibus Budget Bills, the proroguing of Parliament, and the Senate scandals, Canadians may be asking themselves, “How's my democracy?”

On Wednesday, September 18th, Hupacasath First Nations' Brenda Sayers, M.P. Elizabeth May, and Emma Pullman of Lead Now will be coming together in a special public forum to tackle that burning question. Taking place at All Saints by the Sea, the evening kicks off with a potluck supper from 5-6:30, where the public can informally meet (and eat) with special guests. From 6:30-8, a lively...

We've been wondering just how Japan has managed for electricity these last couple of years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused the country to take all their nuclear plants offline for safety planning. Only a handful, if that, are powered up now. Finally the answer comes, in the form of an opinion piece by Jeff Kingston in the Japan Times: Tepco’s follies, reactor restarts and...

By Trevor Jones, Updated September 4, 2013

According to BC Hydro’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan, Site C power is not needed in 2024, the year the project is projected to be completed.

All the power would be exported at a huge financial loss, estimated at $240 million in each of years 2025 and 2026 alone.


The BC government directed BC Hydro to build the Site C dam and generating station on the Peace River.  This project carries substantial financial risk.


Published on Sunday, August 25, 2013 by Waging Nonviolence, and reprinted on www.commondreams.org

by Marta Molina

The 1700 students who travelled from across Mexico and the world to attend the Zapatistas’first school last week are leaving with an important homework assignment: to transfer what they...

Heavy equipment through protected land, First Nations solidarity, arrests but "Not over by a long shot."

by Indra Das, Reprinted with permission from DeSmog Blog

Lawyers for West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) sent an open letter to the NAFTA-affiliated Commission for Environmental Protection...

Web exclusive report by Delores Broten, August 2013

Every second sentence around my table this August weekend started with "Elizabeth May says...."  I am sure my friends are getting sick of it, so it is time to write up the short interview "our gal in Ottawa" gave the Watershed  Sentinel.

On the workload of being the Member of Parliament for Saanich and the Islands and Leader of the Green Party: "I don't know why but I am holding up remarkably well. It's a heavy work load but I think the work is easier because it is...

"Respect existence or expect resistance"

Earlier this week activists converged at PR Springs, site of the first proposed tar sands mine in the United States. They shut down work at the mine, and road construction, for the entire day. Check out the amazing video of the action below, and for more information visit: http://www.peacefuluprising.org/actioncampaction


‪#‎FearlessSummer‬ ‪


Tomgram has posted some remarkable reporting on the American social crisis -- war on blacks, economic mayhem, gross negligence -- what can you call it when 10 million people, mostly African Americans, are evicted, under the watchful eye of a "reformist" (black) president?  And no, for these folks, it is not getting better, and the only corners that are turned lead deeper into the chaos of drugs, street life, and pimpery. As of 2010, the median net wealth of black families was $4,900; of white...

David Ellis goes into the field to look at Kinder- Morgan's aging pipeline which had just sprung a leak in the upper Coquihalla region.


by Nelle Maxey, Wed., July 31, 12:30 am

Just came home from a 4.5 hour town hall meeting on the jet fuel spill. Very, very, very bad news for the residents of this valley.

Water is under a do not use order...use the “smell test” to judge if it is okay to drink and bathe and wash dishes in! Organic farms no longer are organic,  hay fields are contaminated, eggs, meat, milk and vegetables must be discarded if contaminated by irrigation or livestock watering or air particulate accumulations, not to be sold, must be tested before consumption......

Anaham elder saying a prayer and drumming , M.Paquet photo “We teach our children to GET—get a car, get a job, get an education—but not what they can GIVE BACK to society. We need to let go of the modern colonialism, telling the Tsihlqot’in what they need. Let’s let go of our arrogance.” -- Barbara Hooper of Friends of Fish Lake

Web Exclusive Report from Maggie Paquet

Williams Lake, BC, 25 July 2013 - Day 4 of CEAA hearings re...

Opening Songs, M. Paquet photo

Jay Nelson, TNG’s lawyer, asked, in regard to the comments about compromises, “What do you see people in 100 Mile House sacrificing, compromising about [compared to what the Xeni Gwet’in are being asked to sacrifice? There was no response.

Web Exclusive Report from Maggie Paquet

Williams Lake, BC, 24 July 2013 - Day 3 of CEAA hearings re Teztan Biny & Taseko’s “New Prosperity” mine proposal.

The day...

 a group of singers and drummers from both the Tsihlqot’in and Secwepemc Nations, M Paquet photo

Whether or not “New Prosperity” entails significant harm to the Aboriginal peoples in this region is the primary focus of these hearings. Throughout the day, a range of perspectives were offered by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal presenters. Web Exclusive Report from Maggie Paquet

NOTE: All submissions, whether in person or in writing, as well as audio recordings, are on the...

MC Cecil Grinder of the Secwepemc Nation in war paint and full regalia, photo M PaquetFirst Nations Come Out Strong at Fish Lake Mine Environmental Hearings Underway in Williams Lake

Web Exclusive Report from Maggie Paquet

Williams Lake, BC, 22 July 2013 - The CEAA hearings on Taseko’s “New Prosperity” gold-copper mine opened today in Williams Lake. Before the 1:00 p.m. official start, The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG)...

"If Edward Snowden is proving one thing, it’s this: in 2013, Planet Earth isn’t big enough to protect the American version of dissidents.”  Instead, it looks ever more like a giant prison with a single implacable policeman, judge, jury, and jailer."

Tom Engelhart takes a grim look at the state of civil liberties in the Uunited states and its disregard for normal process around the world. The pursuit of Edward Snowden, who leaked the details of US surveillance of its citizens, is proof enough that this is now, says Tom, a prison planet...

by Eric Swanson, Dogwood Initiative

When it comes to elections, groups can walk three basic paths: do nothing, back a specific candidate or party, or develop a credible non-partisan approach.

In “The Successful and Disastrous Election Politics of the BC Environmental Movement” Bruce Edson implies groups should have endorsed the NDP or at the very least refrained from anything that could cast doubt on them, and then trust if the NDP got elected they’d “do the right thing.”

I suspect we can all think of examples where that approach hasn’t worked out....


by David Ellis, June 28, 2013

It was spring in the British Columbia coast mountains, a glorious time, no mosquitoes yet, here in the high country, 4100 feet up, the sun felt hot, you are closer to it, up here. The last of the snow patches were still hanging on, in the shade of the aromatic balsam firs. I had several times that day pulled balsam needles off as I passed, crushed them, and put them to my nose, the scent, was exhilarating. The roar and murmur of streams and runoff, was everywhere...

by Bruce Edson

During the election, a number of high profile environmental campaigns put pressure on the NDP to take a stand on Kinder Morgan, yet many candidates in BC can pinpoint the beginning of their slide from public favor to the NDP rejection of the bitumen pipeline project. Had that decision not been made, we could have perhaps even seen an NDP win. The environment movement embarked almost in unison on campaigns which had real potential to contribute to an election loss which would devastate their cause. Why?


We often receive letters from citizens who are concerned about protecting water sources. These folks volunteer hundreds of hours to ensure drinking water is protected for future generations.

Here is one we received from Vancouver Island filmmaker, Paul Manly addressed to Nanaimo City Council, Vancouver Island, BC.

Dear Mayor and Council

Further to my presentation to council on Monday June 17th I would like to draw your attention to an update on the situation in the Shawnigan Lake watershed provided by...

by Lauren Kaljur

As I walked through Yaletown on election night, peering through a restaurant seated with well to-do clientele smiling as they sipped their fine victory wine, I was reminded that we are divided. With a popular vote split between 47.5% for progressive left parties and 49.2 % for the right we indeed are. Resisting the temptation to storm out of province in frustration, I'd like to propose we look past the divisions and instead take responsibility: This is our journey, our...

GBR Spring 2013 Election

Something anything curbing elite destruction,

Possibly poking point thorns continuation.

Stopping one crime at a time only consolation.

Political decisions corporations manipulations.

Coastal greens almost all voted NDP.

Orange line along greenest coast we see.

Even hard core freaks like me voted NDP.

Searching some semblance of continuity.

Collaborating dreaming from within.

Who needed motivation or justification.

If you did you've got it now in spades.


The Wilderness Committee has taken a close look at the NDP’s platform. Campaign Director (and Watershed Sentinel columnist) Joe Foy gives us an assessment of what the party says it will do if it wins the provincial election on May 14. Joe Foy is National Campaign Organizer for the Wilderness Committee. He speaks with Redeye host Jane Williams.

Foy is disappointed that the NDP has not agreed to end the grizzlie bear hunt (as they had done in the 1990s) and get tougher on salmon farming, but praises the NDP stand on pipelines, environmental assessment, endangered species,...

Here we go again -- the media howls for war, trotting out the same old variations on a theme to justify war against Syria, and, by all accounts, it will turn out just as well as Iraq and Libya, arming and empowering religious fundamentalists completely opposed to western interests. One really wonders if these "strategies" in the west -- USA and Britain in particular -- are being writen by the ghost of Osama Bin Laden? It is practically the first time in my life that I have actually agreed with Canadian foreign minister John Baird who pointed out that arming fundamentalists might...

Dr. Thierry Vrain, formerly a head of research science at Agriculture Canada, shares his understanding of why the science behind genetic engineering is flawed -- the assumption that one gene makes one protein has been outdated since 2002 and the actions of foreign proteins in the genome are unpredictable and unknown.

Here's a critical piece that is well worth a few minutes to read - a discussion of the current trend in environmentalism to boosting green energy and green tech as THE solution, instead of looking at the longer term implications and searching for real solutions to the human ecological problem.

This interview by Steve Horn, Power Shift Away from Green Illusions, in truthout explores the paradigm.

"Things aren’t as...

by Dermod Travis

Trivia time: who was the last leader of the BC NDP to lead his party to more than 45 per cent of the popular vote in a provincial election?

One would have to go back six leaders and eight elections to 1979 when Dave Barrett won 45.99 per cent of the popular vote and still lost the election to Bill Bennett and the Social Credit party.

And even though NDP leader Carole James won a higher percentage of the popular vote in both 2005 and 2009 than either Mike Harcourt or Glen Clark did when they went on to form government in 1991 and 1996...

Writing for Island Tides, Elizabeth May discusses the issues around all the pipeline proposals, eastern Canada's reliance on foreign oil, and comes to the only sensible solution -- slow down the expansion of the tar sands to a managable and steady 2 million barrels a day, which would cool inflation, and construct the refineries needed so that Alberta is shipping conventional oil and gas to eastern Canada instead of dilbert. May says this would be thinking like a country.

Sounds like a plan to me.


YES! A no-brainer.

For example, the Therapeutics Initiative was studying  Aricept for Alzheimers treatment - it is widely subscribed although not covered by Pharmacare yet except by special permission, and once someone goes on it no one ever takes them off (because MAYBE it is doing some good - it is only effective for about half the people or less, for a 5%-to 10%  improvement in cognition for 6 months in the first place - but who wants to risk it?) The pillls cost between $5 and $7 a DAY and there are 120,000 Alz patients in BC -- that would be $219 million dollars a...

Re: David Black signs deal with major Chinese bank to help finance Kitimat refinery

Every time David Black gives the media a story on his Kitimat refinery, he sets himself up as one or more of: naïve, silly, unbusinesslike, misleading, a con man, a man with a less obvious agenda for which the refinery is just his sleight of hand device or his Trojan horse. I dunno. He’s way too smart to fit most of those first options...

April 15 is the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. In 2012, the Canadian government spent $22.7 billion on National Defence but only $1.6 billion on Environment Canada.

The federal government will spend $25 billion on new warships, $16 billion on new fighter jets and $1 billion on armed drones. However, the greatest human security challenges are climate change and poverty.

Join the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and call on the Federal government to redirect...

The only quarrel we would find with this post by our  colleague Andrew Gage, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, is the title -- we'd call the National Energy Board requirement to apply to be allowed to comment on running tar sands dilbit in aging pipelines through Ontario cities downright anti-democratic. Here's the lawyer's comments.

10 April, 2013 - Last Thursday, April 4th the National Energy Board (NEB) announced that anyone who wished to comment on Enbridge’s Line...

This is one of the most serious attacks on Canada in history, perpetrated by our own government on behalf of Chinese business oligarchy, giving a handful of industrialists power over our choices about labour, ecology, and Canada's future. Please see this short video and support the Hupacasath First Nation case.


Amazingly few Canadians are aware of FIPA,...

I see they (the pipeline PR guys, er- sorry - experts asked their opinion by the TV anchor) ) are arguing that the pipeline that burst in that Arkansas neighbourhood

was "old" as opposed to the new modern (and of course, bigger) pipelines like Keystone and Enbridge Northern Gateway the companies are slathering for now. However, one should pause to think -- the SAME companies were operating those old decrepit lines at full capacity even though they knew the risks of spills were there. 

Similarly, what about that Suncor pipe that froze and burst, dumping tar...