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May 2012

Two reports on pesticide risks

31 May, 2012

When a politician says that his report is about the science, and not about the politics, it’s probably wise to take that claim with a grain of salt.  That’s made crystal clear by two studies released in the last month about the risks of pesticides – one written by politicians, and the other by scientists. 

When a politician says that his report is about the science, and not about the politics, it’s probably wise to take that claim with a grain of salt.  That’s made crystal clear by two studies released in the last month about the risks of pesticides – one written by politicians, and the other by scientists. 

On importing U.S. “Job-Killing” rhetoric

28 May, 2012

The phrase “job killing regulation” is beginning to enter Canadian discussions about environmental laws and Bill C-38 – the Budget Implementation Bill which would repeal several laws that protect nature, democracy and marginalized society.  This phrase has been embraced by politicians in the U.S. who are seeking to gut environmental laws there, despite having been discredited by a number of studies.  It would be unfortunate to have this inaccurate and misleading phrase become a prominent part of Canadian political discourse (more below on why it’s inaccurate and misleading). 

The phrase “job killing regulation” is beginning to enter Canadian discussions about environmental laws and Bill C-38 – the Budget Implementation Bill which would repeal several laws that protect nature, democracy and marginalized society.  This phrase has been embraced by politicians in the U.S.

Who is silenced by the animal health law?

25 May, 2012

You may have read about a provision in the proposed Animal Health Act which would make it illegal for journalists or scientists to report on animal illnesses at fish farms or other agricultural operations. But the Minister of Agriculture, who is responsible for the Bill, insists that that the section doesn’t apply to citizens or journalists.  So who is right?

You may have read about a provision in the proposed Animal Health Act which would make it illegal for journalists or scientists to report on animal illnesses at fish farms or other agricultural operations. The Province story said:

Freedom Train 2012: Taking Enbridge opposition Canada-wide

17 May, 2012

The cross-Canada railway has always been a powerful symbol. Over the years it has been celebrated as a “nation-building” exercise by some, while it is remembered as a source of deep injustice by others. Chinese and Indigenous labourers worked to build the tracks in dangerous conditions inferior to those of white workers. The railway itself was a tool of colonization that brought significant change to Indigenous society throughout the West, and hastened the imposition of the British-Canadian legal order with almost no treaties in British Columbia, a history that is the source of continuing legal and political conflict today. Conscious of that history, a number of BC First Nations led by the Yinka Dene Alliance, have transformed those rails into a source of power for Indigenous peoples, as they recently completed a journey across the country to assert their rights and their inherent authority to govern themselves.

March to Enbridge shareholders meeting in Toronto

Vancouver joins local governments opposed to increase in oil pipelines and tankers

14 May, 2012

West Coast Environmental Law applauds two of Vancouver’s elected bodies – Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver Parks Board – for passing resolutions to take a formal position on the proposed Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project, and associated oil tanker traffic. West Coast Environmental Law, along with several other groups, made submissions recently to both the Parks Board and City Council on the importance of local governments – the elected bodies closest to the people – taking positions on such issues.

West Coast Environmental Law applauds two of Vancouver’s elected bodies – Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver Parks Board – for passing resolutions to take a formal position on the proposed Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project, and associated oil tanker traffic.

Pesticide Incidents confirm that domestic pesticides pose risks

11 May, 2012

As the BC Legislature’s Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides grapples with the question of whether to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides, a recent report by Health Canada seems to confirm that humans, pets and the environment have something to fear from such pesticides.  The Pesticide Incident Reporting Program – Third Annual Report, released on April 27th, found that a large portion of reported pesticide poisonings and other unexpected side effects in Canada involve domestic pesticides used in people’s homes.

As the BC Legislature’s Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides grapples with the question of whether to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides, a recent report by Health Canada seems to confirm that humans, pets and the environment have something to fear from such pesticides.  The Pesticide Incident Reporting Program – Third Annual Report, released on April 27th, fou

When the Landman is forced to pay legal costs

10 May, 2012

In northeastern BC, the “Landman” is a representative of an oil and gas company, who shows up at your door when the company wants to drill an oil or gas well on your property.  Unfortunately, you don’t have a lot of say in it.  Even the cost of fighting about how much compensation you should pay has been a David versus Goliath battle, with land owners often outgunned (or at least out-lawyered).  Which is why we’re glad to learn about a recent order from BC’s Surface Rights Board, issued last November, that ordered Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to pay $40,000 in “advance costs” to allow Mr. Kerr, a pensioner who lives in a care home, the funds to pay the lawyers and experts that he needs to fight for fair compensation.  The possibility of an advance costs award does not level the playing field between large oil and gas companies and individual land owners.  But it is clearly an option that land owners involved in compensation disputes, and their lawyers, need to be aware of. 

In northeastern BC, the “Landman” is a representative of an oil and gas company, who shows up at your door when the company wants to drill an oil or gas well on your property.  

Why we should all Black Out and Speak Out

7 May, 2012

The Black Out Speak Out campaign wants to mobilize concerned citizens, businesses and organizations across the country to speak out for Canadian democracy and our environment on June 4th.  Our websites will be going black for a day as a symbolic start of a major online campaign to empower Canadians to speak out for democracy and nature. Working together, we’ll be speaking out for as long as it takes. Join us in working for stronger environmental laws, not gutted ones, and help us spread the word.  This Environmental Law Alert will comment on the 5 top reasons that the Black Out Speak Out campaign has for speaking out, and provide links to more resources if you'd like to know more.

Have you heard about the Black Out Speak Out campaign?  West Coast Environmental Law is working together with other organizations across the country to let Canadians know that changes proposed for the country's environmental laws will silence laws and voices that speak out for our environment – for clean air, clean water, wild creatures and fish. 

Special treatment for oil industry means poor environmental laws

3 May, 2012

The roll-back of Canada’s environmental laws – legal environmental protection that Canadians have worked for decades to put in place – give the oil and gas industry a host of changes that they've been asking for for years.  While other industries will benefit, It may be useful to list, in one place, just how the oil and gas industry – which is getting a number of perks that are unique to the energy sector – is effectively subsidized by the changes to Canada’s environmental laws.  

We’ve been clear that the roll-back of Canada’s environmental laws – legal environmental protection that Canadians have worked for decades to put in place – can only benefit the oil and gas, mining and other big industrial players, at the expense of our communities and the environment

Limiting fish protection to “serious harm” is a serious problem

1 May, 2012

The federal government’s Budget Implementation Bill, Bill C-38, recently introduced in Parliament, is self-servingly called the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act 2012, which is ironic because most Canadians recognize that you can’t have long-term prosperity by destroying wild stocks of fish. Proposed changes to Canada’s Fisheries Act written into the Budget Bill remove protection for fish habitat in many cases. Join us in sending a message to the federal government by signing the envirolawsmatter.ca petition

The federal government’s Budget Implementation Bill, Bill C-38, recently introduced in Parliament, is self-servingly called the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act 2012, which is ironic because most Canadians recognize that you can’t have long-term prosperity by destroying wild stocks of fish.