The cigars may be gone (or maybe not), but the stench of backroom politics continues to be a serious turn off for the potential Canadian voter. It is easy to despair that no one can make a difference and your vote doesn’t matter.
We think of right-wing evangelical religion as an influence in American politics, but, unrecognized by the public and mostly unreported, it is a powerful influence on the Conservative caucus. That would explain the destruction of environmental policies and those omnibus bills.
On a glorious day in Vancouver, an overflow crowd milled around in the lobby of the federal courthouse. Attendees passed around a bag of summer strawberries and shared stories of what had drawn them here, to witness the appeal of the Federal Court ruling on Hupacasath First Nation v. Canada.
Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously declared on many occasions that “there is no alternative” to economic liberalism and free trade. This popular slogan, referred to by the acronym “TINA,” has persisted beyond Thatcher’s own time in office, which ended in 1990, and has become a widely accepted wisdom.
There’s no debate about its deterioration. BC’s ferry system is on its knees, reeling rudderlessly over a tipping point, sinking into a death spiral of declining ridership – now at a 22-year low – while draconian service cuts and ongoing fare increases generate less revenue.
Canadian whistleblower Marc Mayrand is in the fight of our lives. As Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, Mayrand blew the whistle on Bill C-23, the Harper government’s grossly misnamed Fair Elections Act. In testimony to a House of Commons Committee in early March, Mayrand detailed numerous controversial features of the proposed Act, including its potential to make it very difficult for hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens
Environmental and First Nations activists are increasingly appalled by the continuing revelations that they are being spied on by police and the Canadian security establishment on behalf of the corporate sector.
On October 18, 2013, after four years of negotiations, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, signed a “tentative” CETA agreement in Brussels. CETA stands for Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and is said by Harper to be the biggest trade deal Canada has ever made, even bigger than North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
When I practiced environmental law, I used to joke that the challenge in Canada was that we didn’t have environmental laws to enforce. When Richard Nixon was US President, he brought in a slew of strong laws, with scope for enforcement by the courts. The National Environmental Protection Act (which mandated advance environmental reviews), the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act were all brought in under Nixon. The US Endangered Species Act allowed a judge to review the habitat requirements for the
Many of us are familiar with the endless amount of emails stuffed into our Inbox asking us to sign an online petition. Petition sites such as Avaaz, Change.org, SumofUs, and LeadNow have given a digital voice to millions of people and organizations. They use online petitions to work towards changing laws, influencing corporate behaviour, and making communities healthier and more equitable.
I recently took part in a “Village Workshop” at the Klahoose New Relationship Building on Cortes Island, in BC. This is a novel introduction to the First Nations perception of their history in that it involves role playing.
Unless you are a magazine publisher, you’ve probably never heard of the Canada Magazine Fund. Administered by Heritage Canada, the CMF was established 24 years ago to “contribute towards the production of high-quality magazines showcasing the diverse work of a wide cross-section of Canadian creators” and to build “capacity to help ensure the continued growth and vitality of the Canadian magazine publishing industry”. Over the years, the CMF did indeed help many Canadian publications, including small but important arts and issues-oriented magazines.
A remarkable resistance movement is gaining momentum in this country.
A few weeks ago, the federal court in Vancouver heard the case of Hupacasath vs. Canada. At issue was the China-Canada Federal Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (CC-FIPPA), which has been signed but not yet ratified. FIPPA is of concern to the Hupacasath in light of its likely impacts on their territory, encompassing watersheds and forests across 230,000
At the FIPA rally, June 5 2013
Outside the Federal Court, 701 Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC Photo: Brenda Sayers, pictured here with white blanket, of Hupacasath First Nations, Vancouver Island, has led the First Nations court action, on behalf of Canadians, against the Canada/China Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA).
Interviewer: We're talking all about solidarity. It's all about We Stand Together. How do you think the outcome of this case will affect the other cases that are up right now with the Frog Lake and the Misigaw around overturning the legislation that destroyed our Navigable Waters Act?
SP: I think that all of these court cases will serve as a
Canada’s Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, agreed at the end of March to launch an investigation into the extensive muzzling of federally-funded scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada and other federal agencies. Her decision comes after a February 20th complaint formally filed by Democracy Watch in partnership with the Environmental Law Clinic of the University of Victoria, which called for a full investigation and was accompanied by a 128-page report, Muzzling Civil Servants: A Threat to Democracy.
That report documents systematic silencing since 2007 of
Excerpt from Joyce Nelson's WS article, "Harper's War on Science"
Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, has consistently defended the Harper government from accusations of a War on Science by emphasizing the $5.5 billion that the Feds have provided to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), including another $225 million to the CFI in Economic Action Plan 2013 released on March 21.
The CFI – the key decision-maker for all science funding in
Polling consistently shows that British Columbians have strong environmental values, some of the strongest in Canada: from protecting salmon to keeping our coast and streams free from oil spills, British Columbians across the political spectrum speak loudly and proudly to defend our natural legacies.
In early January, a man identifying himself as a seventh-generation descendent of Chief Tecumseh, who led the Native Nations in an alliance with General Isaac Brock in the War of 1812, came to see Chief Theresa Spence on Victoria Island. He stood across the sacred fire from where she sat, and explained that he’d felt “called” by the spirit of his ancestor to “stand up” and support her. “You speak from the heart of the earth,” he said.
As I listened, I realized that he was using a language that’s virtually extinct in public discourse. Yet it’s a language that
In 2012, the Conservatives ended the 70-year monopoly seller status of the Canadian Wheat Board, one of the world’s largest and most successful “state trading enterprises.” The government decision came without a vote among prairie grain farmers, required by the Canadian Wheat Board Act, and despite a 2011 plebiscite in which a majority of farmers voted to maintain the Board’s status. The matter is now before the courts, but the Board cannot simply be revived after having been dismantled. Instead, a coalition of farmer groups has launched a class action suit against the government seeking billions of dollars in compensation.
Over the past years, environmentalists and activists from North America have consistently looked to the south for inspiration and guidance in environmental and climate struggles. Throughout the hemisphere, and in the face of adversity, poverty and repression, communities have organized on a local level in defense of the health of their water, land, and air.
On occasion, these local struggles have translated into national issues
Co-operatives are falling back into favour as a way to organize for sustainable economic alternatives and social change.
Though Canada has one of the largest co-operative movements in the world, it is – with some exceptions – a rather conservative sector, which has drifted away from grassroots organizing.
Ecotourism has been touted as being the panacea for preserving wilderness, biodiversity, local economies, and indigenous cultures. It is considered by many to be the "non-consumptive" alternative to industrial uses for land whereby communities can develop "sustainable" economies.
The restrictions placed on welfare recipients make it virtually impossible for them to break away from the system. To begin with, in order to qualify for social assistance, an applicant must have an address. When faced with the requirement of paying a damage deposit plus a month's rent in advance, for someone with no financial resources, an address is very difficult to establish.
"In Western culture, we live with chronic anxiety, anger, and a sense that something essential is missing from our lives, that we exist without a soul. What could be wrong with us? I believe Western culture is suffering from 'Original Trauma,' caused by the systemic removal of our lives from nature, from natural cycles, from the life force itself. This removal began slowly with the introduction of agriculture (about three hundred generations ago) and has grown to crisis proportion in technological society (which began only about five generations ago). With it comes the traumatic loss of a sense of belonging on the Earth."
Bhutan is a country that has been insulated from the outside world and corporate control. This country didn’t get TV or the internet until 1999 and there are no Starbucks or McDonald's. Tourism, which began only in 1990, is carefully controlled.
by Barb Brouwer
Imagine living in a world where decisions are based on environmental impact, good government, culture and socio-economic factors. A place where government dictates that at least 65 per cent of the country must be forested and where forest watchdogs make sure
In 1990 in British Columbia, the environmental movement played a large role in defeating the Socred government and electing a party that promised environmental reforms. This was achieved by a general uprising of the public that was led by virtually every environmental group in the province.
Environmental groups thus hold a large amount of power. They are transmitters in an electrical circuit that can sometimes greatly affect the reactions of the public. Because of that, they bear a grave responsibility in what they do with their endorsements. This is the crux of a moral crisis within the environmental movement today.
The world has reached a place where the consequences of environmental damage are more dire than ever (for instance, the extinction of a species, or high cancer rates around the tarsands development.) Nowhere is this more so than in the issue of climate change, in which all life on Earth is threatened.
Nowhere is humanity’s slavery to exploitative economic forces more apparent than in its inability to undertake any substantial action to reverse climate change. Instead we have seen corporations combine with
G8: Group of Eight Industrialized Countries --
United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Canada
G6B: Global Six Billion -- the people in the rest of the world
Were the recent G8 protests in Calgary effective in affecting positive change? Is summit hopping, the practice of activists travelling to globalization summits in large numbers, a now defunct strategy? Where is the anti-globalization movement going? Does the movement have a unified vision to keep its momentum? These are difficult questions for activists to answer in these times of repression.
The creation and spread of ecological ideas may be one of the most important ways that we can work to stem the destruction of our environment. If we change the deep-seated opinions in people, then the desire to make positive change should come from within us. If that occurs, change will be easy, because it will not be forced. I experienced the joys and failures of pursuing this goal.
Some startling new developments into what disasters await Canada if it ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, as Prime Minister Jean Chretien has promised.
by Linwood Barclay
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein released a new, hard-hitting report this week that suggests the number of jobs lost through implementing the Kyoto accord may be higher than originally thought. Said Klein, "At first we thought it was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100,000 jobs, then 250,000 jobs, then a million, but now our studies indicate that the number is somewhere in the area of a jillion and a half."
In the mid-nineties, in the midst of the NDP's "over-regulating" grip on British Columbia, an inside source in the pollution prevention arm of the environment ministry once muttered to the Watershed Sentinel that the favouritism shown to large industrial polluters and the lack of concern for toxic pollution in the ministry was shocking, "Much much worse than Ontario under Mike Harris."
While the over-borrowing problems of Greece and Italy are making headlines, Comox Valley BC taxpayers are learning they will have some very big bills in the near future – to pay the upkeep on past development.
Bill C-38, The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, received Royal Assent and became law in Canada on June 29th, 2012. The Omnibus Budget bill is the most targeted attack on democracy, the environment and environmental advocates by any Canadian government in history.
The Wilderness Committee came up with the idea of presenting an award to someone who had stood alone in the defence of nature, as all environmental activists must do from time to time, in remembrance of a dear friend. And so was born the Eugene Rogers Award.
Can you envision a BC that doesn’t cut old growth forest any more, has endangered species legislation, bans toxic chemicals, puts transit before freeways, wants to see our power stay public and our rivers stay wild, and salmon farms go away? Tears over needless tragic loss mixed with the courage can make the change for a better future.
The time is now for us to create those rivulets that will lead to a mighty, sustainable future BC where oil tankers are banned from our coast and dirty tar sands pipelines are not allowed; where laws ensure the preservation of our remaining old growth forests and our endangered species; and, where many more wilderness areas have the provincial park protection they deserve.
Landscapes are a central theme to all of humanity, probably as much a state of mind as of geography. All cultures, and individuals within those cultures, hold within their very centre, like an engraving on the mind and heart, a vision of landscape that is personal and precious.
During the recent BC ferry strike there was much talk about how BC Ferries has been privatized by the neo-Liberal provincial government. The question which is immediately top of mind is, who bought it?
After all, we know CN bought BC Rail, we know the names of the companies who offered to buy the Coquihalla Highway. Surely someone would report on who picked up an entire transportation monopoly for a
What is being projected as an indicator of spectacular economic growth hides the enormous environmental costs that these countries have suffered and will have to undergo in future.
by Devinder Sharma
As the first news reports of the devastation caused by the tsunami killer waves began to pour in, a newsreader on India’s Aaj Tak’s television channel asked its correspondent reporting from the scene of destruction in Tamil Nadu in south of India: “Any idea about how much is the loss to business? Can you find that out because that would be more important for our business leaders?”
Proportional Representation is within our grasp in BC, if we can just figure out what BC-STV means. It’s the BC Single Transferable Vote, and it’s our best chance to change the way we “do politics” in BC.
by Delores Broten
It’s that time again, when BC hits the hustings for our favourite blood sport, politics. Gordon Campbell’s Liberals passed legislated electoral dates, so we know that, barring a disaster, the next provincial election will take place May 17th, 2005.
The world’s most powerful governments are proud to declare that they are fi ghting a global war on poverty. They back their rhetoric with foreign aid in the form of massive expenditures of public money, surplus goods, and often, military assistance, commonly known as peacekeeping.
Excerpt from the opening speech of the 16th annual Bioneers Conference, which took place in October in Rafael, Calif. and 16 locations across the continent including Vancouver, BC.
A friend of mine in Texas had a hobby of doing grave rubbings. She favored old, out-of-the-way cemeteries, the final resting places of the notably not rich and famous. She would place a large piece of thin paper over the tombstone and rub it with charcoal to take an impression. My favorite was one that was
Money recognizes neither geographical nor political borders. It controls the fate and daily activities of populations throughout the world. While heaping riches on someone in Hong Kong or Rio de Janeiro, it may, at the same time, be destroying the fortune of someone in Halifax or Melbourne. Money is insensate
The Youth and Ecological Restoration project (YER) was established in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, and involves youth with community environmental groups to restore the health of local watersheds and ecosystems.
There are not too many examples in history when a one-day event has shaped the course of an entire decade and perhaps even an entire century. What occurred on September 11, 2001 was that event and its repercussions impact the entire world and the environment. Some very disturbing questions about that day deserve more attention from the general public, the alternative media and all concerned about justice, human rights, peace and the environment.
Of all of human activities, it is perhaps war that has the greatest environmental impact. Besides the damage by bombs, armament and missiles, there are the impacts from the depleted uranium now used in armour and ammunition.
Betty Krawczyk, the elder arrested for blocking construction of the Olympic highway to Whistler, has some words about Contempt and the Law.
by Betty Krawczyk
It’s true. Doing something important the first time is scary, whether it’s sex, inviting the boss for dinner, getting behind the wheel of a car, or committing your very first act of civil disobedience.
The most important and neglected law of science and technologyis Murphy’s Law:“Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”
by Gordon Albright
We have all been brought up to believe that the human race was making greater and greater progress all the time, and was certain of a glorious future of peace and plenty for all. Unfortunately, the truth is exactly the opposite. Almost all our apparent “progress” has been made at the expense of our
A proposed free-trade area promises to radically change Canada’s east Coast – but would it lift all boats?
by Drew Nelles
A makeshift smoke bomb flies through the air, hurled anonymously from a crowd of black-clad protesters. It bursts at the feet of a line of nervous police officers. As smoke billows, the “Black Bloc,” about 75 strong, shifts uneasily before suddenly running in the opposite direction, away from the building guarded by police. Nearby, a much larger crowd of protesters looks on as the Black Bloc scrambles. There are a few desperate cries: “Where are we going?”
With the ultimate aim of helping to create a sustainable society, I lecture and write in Japan, and I also translate into Japanese the latest information as well as key messages from around the world. I have been honoured to have had the opportunity to bring to Japan the words and writings of the environmental academics Lester Brown, and Dennis Meadows, for
In the mid-1990s, the British Columbia environmental movement was in its chronic fractious mood, split by in-fighting, competition over funding, and divergent social and political analyses. At that time, Bill Moyer was invited to the province and to the BC Environmental Network to give his Movement Action Plan (MAP) workshops. Although it proved to be
Forbidden fruits; the more we demand, the less we get.
by Gordon Albright
From the dawn of the human race, our greatest challenge has been to keep our higher intelligence from doing us more harm than good. Our growing cleverness opened up all kinds of tempting new opportunities. Unfortunately, most of them turned out to be “forbidden fruits,” which seemed wonderful at first, but ended up costing us far more than they were worth. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, when we tried to make our lives easier and better, we usually brought disaster on ourselves.
Probably the most frequently asked question throughout the world on any given day is, “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?” At the moment of birth, a child’s first priority is to fill its lungs with air, establish a voice, and then to eat. After finding the mother’s breast and satisfying its hunger, the next priority, for the baby and the mother, is to drift off to sleep. They have both worked hard. Throughout their lives food will be a major consideration for both mother and child.
Through the lean times and the fat, throughout North America, children rarely went to bed hungry. Wild game such as venison, grouse and fish, along with wild fruits,
On November 8th 2006, for the 15th consecutive year, 183 nations within the UN General Assembly voted to end the US blockade against Cuba. Only four nations voted to maintain the embargo, which causes shortages of food, medicine, and other important supplies for eleven million people – the Marshall Islands, Palau, Israel, and the USA.
For 19 years the Pastors for Peace, an ecumenical agency whose mission is to help forward the struggles of oppressed peoples for justice and self-determination, have defied this immoral embargo, transporting humanitarian aid, international citizens, and Americans (whose government forbids them
Ecologists ignore that everything we use rests on the earth's natural resources. We now see that our galloping economies rely on handouts, massive debt, war, abuse, waste, and a diminished earth. Rivers die, species go extinct, forests disappear, deserts grow, and people suffer.
by Rex Weyler
In the 1980s, fishermen caught the last wild Beluga sturgeon from the Sea of Azov, source of prized caviar. Wild sturgeon in the Caspian Sea failed to reproduce. The sturgeon catch plunged by 95%, and the cost of caviar soared. Such extraordinary price growth is known as “hyperinflation,” or as economist Eric Sprott says, “the caviar syndrome.”
Real change will arise from our allies whose vision of victory includes the end of exploitive capitalism and colonialism.
by Dawn Paley
On a cool August morning, members of the Unist’hot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation sit around an unfinished porch, sipping coffee, looking over the Morice River. A pathway connects the cabin to the river, where they fetch drinking water. Enbridge Pipelines Inc, wants to build two pipelines across the Morice River at that very site.
Sleepy campers drift onto the porch, in toques and
I was under the impression that Canada and the world were going to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. What happened? Did those people who bought new Priuses and installed private power plants on wild rivers help reduce our carbon footprint? Doesn’t appear so.
Now, here we are, in “Super Natural British Columbia,” acting as enablers to Oilaholic Alberta/Ottawa as they try to turn Vancouver and Kitimat into tar sands shipping ports. We are, in oxymoronic terms, amateur whores permitting devastating spills in our pristine marine environment.
Last July, US Congressman Ron Paul asked US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, “Is gold money?” On YouTube you can watch Bernanke squirm in his chair.
The US Federal Reserve is a money- spewing monster. Like any central bank, its main function is to print money. However, the more they print, the weaker the currency becomes.
A private banking cartel created the US Fed in 1913. The bankers got rich, but the US dollar has retained only 2% of its 1913 real value, so the average citizen – and this applies to Canada as well – has
Our government is using the economy to trump the environment, largely by exploiting people’s ignorance of economics. Allegedly to reduce the deficit, the Harper government cut 776 jobs at Environment Canada and threatens to cut $12.9 million (43 per cent) from the Environmental Assessment Agency budget, while axing one-third of its staff.
Have you stopped watching or listening to the news, or reading the newspaper because it all seems so bad? Do you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over your head? Yeah, me, too. Forcing myself to try to figure out how to deal with the dismal news from all corners of the globe, let alone our own country, I began to think about the state of the
Interviews with Environmental Elders and Senior Leaders in British Columbia
by Maggie Paquet
The “Voices for Change” project is a partnership of the Watershed Sentinel Education Society and the BC Environmental Network. The project highlights the contributions to environmental education and activism by British Columbians who are considered to be elders in the environmental community.
We hope you are inspired by the words so generously
Interviews with Environmental Elders and Senior Leaders in British Columbia
by Maggie Paquet
The “Voices for Change” project is a partnership of the Watershed Sentinel Education Society and the BC Environmental Network. The project highlights the contributions to environmental education and activism
Interviews with Environmental Elders and Senior Leaders in British Columbia
by Maggie Paquet
The Watershed Sentinel, in partnership with the BC Environmental Network, has embarked on a New Horizons project called “Voices for Change.” The project highlights the valuable contributions to environmental education and/or activism by people in BC who are considered to be elders and “senior leaders.”
Excerpted with permission from Share the World’s Resources
As the 21st Century unfolds, humanity is faced with a stark reality. Following the world stock market crash in 2008, people everywhere are questioning the unbridled greed, selfishness and competition that has driven the dominant economic model for decades. But the economic meltdown is just one of a long series of interrelated crises that have combined to leave billions of people in the Global South without access to the basic necessities of life.
As the devastating costs of climate change and financial turmoil continue to unfold, it is no longer possible to ignore the urgent need for transforming our social, political and economic structures along more just and sustainable lines.
It would be any organization’s worst nightmare. On Feb. 12, 2010, a fax arrived at Vancouver’s Talon Books marked “With Prejudice” in black capital letters on Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP letterhead. “Dear Sirs,” the fax began. “We are counsel to Barrick Gold Corporation and are writing concerning the announcement...that Talon Books is scheduled to publish, in May 2010, a book called Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries.”
by Joyce Nelson
The lawyers for Barrick demanded that the publisher, the Quebec authors, and the translators of the French manuscript turn over any portion of it “that makes direct or indirect reference to Barrick, [its subsidiary] Sutton Resources Ltd., or to any of their past or present subsidiaries, affiliates, directors or officers” or face legal proceedings.
To family, friends, and allies on the west coast and elsewhere;
I'm writing you almost a week after close to half a million people gathered in Montreal to mark the 100th day of the student strike, and to express their anger and rage at the passing of the Loi 78 in Quebec. Many of you have asked me for information about what is going on; it is also a time of need for students and their allies. My apologies for the length-- there's a lot to say, and this barely begins to cover it.
On February 8, 1921 twenty thousand people, braving temperatures so low that musical instruments froze, marched in a funeral procession in the town of Dimitrov, a suburb of Moscow. They came to pay their respects to Petr Kropotkin, and his philosophy, anarchism.
Some 90 years later few know of Kropotkin. And the word anarchism has been so stripped of substance that it has come to be equated with chaos and nihilism. This is regrettable, for both the man and the philosophy that he did so much to develop have much to teach us in 2012.
Garret Hardin's projection of his own flawed values onto communities managing commons should have been discarded instead of embraced. As Dr. Elinor Ostrom's recent Nobel Prize in Economics has shown, local community management is often the best option.
by Tim Kelly
Garrett Hardin's The Tragedy of the Commons remains a bastion of environmental and political policy to this day,
Economics is failing to improve well-being for Earth's seven billion people. The high priests of economics have forgotten that economics' primary concern - the meaning of the word - is the well-being of the household. Economy (Greek oikonomia) means "household management." Most economists have also forgotten the meaning of "wealth," from 13th century Middle English, meaning "conditions of well-being." Instead of practicing genuine economics, the high priests have become experts at chrematistics (which Aristotle defined as the art of getting rich).
Howard T. Odum redifined economics using the fundatmentals of energy transformation. Odum's daughter, Mary Odum Logan, Ph.D., adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, helped Watershed Sentinel excerpt her father's key concepts, such as why consumption has limits and why "success" in Nature can be a liability.
In the 1960s," recalls Mary Odum Logan, "I heard dinner table lectures regarding the energy and ecology problems we witness today. My father appeared more optimistic in the classroom and saved his gloomier fears for intimate conversation."
Odum consulted on the Limits to Growth project and respected Herman Daly (Steady State Economics, 1977) as a rare economist, who saw reality in its complex whole.
In a packed room in Courtenay on Thursday July 21, seven Comox Valley organizations announced the formation of the Peaceful Direct Action Coalition. The coalition will be providing apparently-eager citizens with education about the history and role of direct action in defending and expanding democracy, civil rights, and justice.
With a provincial election coming up on May 12th, the Watershed Sentinel decided to do its civic duty, and a simple run-down on the party platforms for the environment. Of course, it turned out to be anything but simple, although each party did reveal its natur, goe in the responses to our questions. Actually, our questions consisted of an entirely unscientific list of topics of eco-concern, with the questions, "What are you promising to do about it?" And "Is there anything else you want to add?"
The most important outcome of the May 12th BC provincial election will not be which party forms the government, but the results of BC's second referendum on changing to a proportional voting system.
A very similar referendum question, in 2005, was very narrowly defeated, with "yes" coming in at 57.69% of the total valid votes cast instead of the required 60%. The rules also required at least 48 of 79 electoral districts to approve the change by more than 50%, and in 2005, 77 out of the 78 ridings did so. The results were so close to passing that Premier Gordon Campbell decided that BC's Single Transferable Vote (STV) should have a second chance, in the 2009 election.
Four years ago the US and Britain unleashed war on Iraq, a nearly defenseless Third World country barely half the size of Saskatchewan.
For twelve years prior to the invasion and occupation Iraq had endured almost weekly US and British bombing raids and the toughest sanctions in history, the “primary victims” of which, according to the UN Secretary General, were “women and children, the poor and the infirm.” According to UNICEF, half a million children died from sanctions related starvation and disease.
Then, in March 2003, the US and Britain — possessors of more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of