Canadians Answer The Call To Defend Our Coast While Climate Silence Reigns South of Border


It was a cool rainy day in Victoria, British Columbia yesterday, but that didn’t stop thousands of people from coming out to the B.C. Legislature to show both the provincial and the federal governments that they are opposed to the two pipelines that industry and governments want to build to carry tar sands oil across the province for export to China. But it’s more than just about these two pipelines, as the Defend Our Coast website makes clear:

We’re here because the Canadian tar sands are the most destructive industrial project on earth, and will be “game over for the climate” according to NASA’s Jim Hansen. We are here because we’re tired of being bullied by the biggest, most profitable industry on earth, Big Oil. And we’re pushing back on the anti-environment, anti-democratic, dissent-crushing actions of Canada’s federal Conservative government.

The head count varied, from 5,000 according to the organizers to the 3,000 reported by the CBC. Shaun Atleo went up the middle and tweeted that there were 4,000 people at the Legislature. In my experience, organizers try to get an accurate count and (these days, at least) the media chronically under reports the number of protestors. Here’s one report on the protest by CTV News:



And here’s another more personal video:



Meanwhile south of the border the mockery of democracy that’s called the American election continued with a third debate between presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. As @petridishes  tweeted, it was “...the most aggressive bout of Two People Basically Agreeing On A Large Number of Points I’ve seen in a long time.” And the climate silence continued – for the first time since the 1980s when the world became aware of the threat of global warming, there was no mention of it in any of the presidential debates. put this out before last night’s debate, and sadly it remains true, only the number is now 390 minutes:


In contrast, via comes this video from 24 years ago (!!) showing how the threat of global warming was addressed during the vice presidential debate between Dan Quayle and Democratic challenger Lloyd Bentsen in 1988:



Grist’s David Roberts does an excellent piece on the reasons behind this dangerous silence – Climate Silence: It’s the Right, Stupid.


*Thanks to Emma for the Defend Our Coast links!*

Can’t Make It To Victoria To Defend Our Coast? Be Part of A “Flash Phone Mob”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadians are going to be gathering in Victoria, B.C. over the next few days to take a stand against the Northern Gateway Pipeline that Enbridge, and our current federal government, is intent on building through the pristine Great Bear Rainforest to the northern B.C. coast. One of my daughters is planning to attend, but like many Canadians I will be supporting this event at a distance. What I can do from my home today is participate in a “flash phone mob” organized by Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. The goal is to fill Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s answering machine with messages about reducing taxpayer subsidies to the richest industry on the planet, in this time of fiscal restraint. I invite you to join me.  Here’s the suggested message, but feel free to improvise; just keep it polite – we are Canadians, after all:

SUGGESTED SCRIPT  (please use your polite Canadian voice)

Hello My Name is [ __________________ ]

The government of Canada introduced a second omnibus budget bill this week. If lawmakers in Ottawa are looking for ways to reduce spending, it seems that subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industries are the best place to start.

I believe that Canada should stop giving a $1.4 billion annual bonus to rich fossil fuel companies that are recklessly polluting our land, air and water(1) .

By doing so, Canada will meet its 2009 commitment made in Pittsburgh, along with other G20 leaders, to phase out subsidies to fossil fuel companies (2) .
The richest industry on Earth doesn’t need our tax dollars. Instead, Canada should invest responsibly in clean energy sources that create good jobs and sustainable prosperity.

I call on all Members of Parliament to support the motion drafted by the youth-led movement PowerShift to end to subsidies and tax incentives fossil fuel companies.

Specifically, I would like to know how much of the tax incentives and subsidies to the fossil fuel companies were cut in Omnibus Budget Bill C38 and will be cut in the latest omnibus budget bill.

Please send the information to [ your mailing address].

Thank you for your time and service to Canada.


Minister Flaherty’s contact info is:

Parliament Hill Office – Ottawa: Telephone: (613) 992-6344

Have fun! And feel free to comment below if you do call, and let me know.


It’s Time To Get Real About The Risks Of Dirty Energy

Tomorrow  This Monday is the day that the largest tar sands protest in Canadian history is to take place, in Victoria, British Columbia, to defend our coast from the dangers of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline. I wish I could be there but I can’t.  In honour of all those taking the time to stand up for the Great Bear Rainforest, and future generations, here’s a video that went viral after it was posted by film maker Dave Shortt a month ago. To see the original Enbridge animation, click here:

This is a response to oil giant Enbridge, and their animation of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in which they deleted all the islands in the Douglas Channel in British Columbia Canada.


More links:

Dogwood Initiative: No Tankers Petition

The Man Behind The Viral Video: This Is Not An Enbridge Animation

Largest Oilsands Protest In Canadian History: Fort McMurray Today

Enbridge’s Keystone Kops Routine Extends To PR Campaign

After being labelled “Keystone Kops” by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board for their vastly inadequate and incompetent response to pipeline spills in Michigan recently, Enbridge is now making headlines for a glaring omission in an Northern Gateway publicity video. The company’s material omitted 1,000 square kilometres of islands off the northern B.C. coast. Here’s what they did:

Can we believe anything these guys say?  Climate scientist Andrew Weaver thinks not; I agree.


Do check out The Province’s cartoonist Dan Murphy’s animated commentary on this latest Enbridge misstep:



Dogwood Initiative: How B.C. Can Stop Oil Tanker Plans

More links:

Enbridge Draws Critics’ Ire With ‘Shocking’ Animation

‘This Is Not Enbridge Animation’ Shows Reality of Northern Gateway Route

Enbridge Michigan Pipeline Spill: Company Acted Like “Keystone Kops”, NTSB

Saturday At The Movies

From The Post Carbon Institute comes this catchy video, We Quit You, Keystone XL (It’s Not Us, It’s You):



Until we show fossil fuel companies that we’re ready for something new, pipelines like Keystone XL are going to keep coming back like an ex-boyfriend who won’t get the hint.

Now is the time to end our unhealthy relationship with dirty energy, and the first step in this breakup is cutting them off.

Help us end subsidies to fossil fuel companies and keep Tar Sands oil in the ground. Find out more:

Enbridge’s Slick New Ad Campaign Flounders

I spent last week taking an intensive  course in citizen advocacy at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding in Winnipeg. It was a great week – I learned a lot and met some wonderful people. I’m home now, but brought home a souvenir that I’d rather do without – a very nasty head cold. It’s so frustrating because it’s a beautiful sunny June day outside, and I’d love to be spending time outside, but instead am spending most of my time resting, drinking tea, and blowing my nose (and then there’s the visits to the bathroom because of all the tea that I’ve been drinking). Blech.

So, I’d love to be posting updated pictures of my hugel kultur raised beds, but that won’t be happening today. In the meantime, check out this video that was originally posted in The Province newspaper’s online edition. In the video, the newspaper’s editorial cartoonist Dan Murphy gives his take on oil giant Enbridge’s slick new ad campaign. However, The Province pulled the video from their newspaper and from YouTube. Luckily, it was reposted by another user. Let me know if it’s not there when you view it:



Third Oil Spill Fuels Calls For Alberta Pipeline Review

Insidious Oil Finds A Way Despite Best Efforts By Response Teams

Canadian Spills Fuel Worries

The Enbridge Pipeline: What’s At Stake?

Greenpeace’s latest video about the destructive Alberta tar sands, and the Enbridge Pipeline that our current federal government is intent on pushing through over all opposition:



Together, we can stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline: click here for more.

Northern Gateway Pipeline: Not A Pretty Picture

Renowned Canadian artist Robert Bateman speaks out against the Northern Gateway Pipeline. I guess that makes him a “radical” “domestic terrorist“, or maybe he’s one of the “jet-setting celebrities” who are opposed to any development of Canadian natural resources – or possibly he’s all of the above!



Sign the petition at:

To read Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver’s open letter to Canadians about those radical anti-progress tree-hugging enviros, click here and see for yourself the lengths this government will go to demonize those Canadians opposed to their radical pro-corporate anti-democratic agenda.

Also an interesting read on the close parallels between the Harper government’s rhetoric against environmentalists, and former GOP nutbar candidate Rick Santorum: The Harper-Santorum Axis.

Freedom Train to Canadians: Our Democratic Process Is Being Lost

Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train arrived in Winnipeg last night. The Alliance is on a cross Canada trip that will end in Toronto, on Bay Street, at the Enbridge AGM. Their goal is to spread the word to Canadians about the dangers posed by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that is being pushed by the current Canadian federal goverment and its corporate friends. The pipeline is meant to carry bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands to the West Coast. In this interview, Chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en Nation discusses why he joined the Freedom Train, and the implacable opposition that the First Nations have formed to protect their land.



More links:

Yinka Dene Alliance

10-Year-Old Challenges Canadian Politicians and Big Oil: “Protect Our Coast From Oil Spills”

Meet Ta’Kaiya.  She’s a ten-year-old girl from North Vancouver who, while learning about sea otters in her home-school, became concerned about the devastation oil tankers would cause to B.C.’s coast.

When she learned about Enbridge’s proposal to build an oil pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Great Bear Rainforest, bringing more than 200 oil tankers per year to this pristine coast, she got really worried.  Then she took action. This amazing young woman wrote a letter to Canadian politicians as well as a song that became a music video. Here they are:

March 24, 2011
Open Letter to Canadian politicians,

My name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney. I am 10-years-old. I live in North Vancouver and am from the Sliammon Nation. My name means “special water.”

I am writing to you because the Enbridge Corporation is planning to build a pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to Kitimat, BC. I thought it would be very risky for our coast so I wrote a song, called “Shallow Waters” about an oil spill happening in the shallow waters.

You will be debating Bill C-606 soon, if an election is not triggered, which would ban oil tankers from our northwest coast. I am sharing my song’s music video and a personal message to encourage you to vote in favour of the bill.

Today is the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Even today, 22 years later, oil still remains a few inches under the surface of the water.

With this song, I hope to encourage government officials, people of British Columbia, and people across the world will realize the dangers of oil pollution, replace jobs that destroy the environment with jobs that help the environment. I ask government and corporate officials such as yourselves change your plans stop oil tanker traffic on BC’s coast and in waters around the world.
Please feel free to share my letter and video with others.

All my relations,
Ta’Kaiya Blaney


Join Ta’Kaiya and TAKE ACTION:

More links:

Why Enbridge is Afraid of Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Threatens Canadian Wildlife

Michigan Oil Spill Among the Largest in U.S. History: Kalamazoo Spill Soaks Wildlife

Dangerous Goods: New Report Highlights Risks of Shipping Raw Oilsands