A Presidential Decision That Could Change the World: The Strategic Importance of Keystone XL

tarsandspipelineboomMichael T. Klare, TomDispatch.com, February 11, 2013

Presidential decisions often turn out to be far less significant than imagined, but every now and then what a president decides actually determines how the world turns. Such is the case with the Keystone XL pipeline, which, if built, is slated to bring some of the “dirtiest,” carbon-rich oil on the planet from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. In the near future, President Obama is expected to give its construction a definitive thumbs up or thumbs down, and the decision he makes could prove far more important than anyone imagines. It could determine the fate of the Canadian tar-sands industry and, with it, the future well-being of the planet. If that sounds overly dramatic, let me explain. Continue lendo

The High Stakes of Native Resistance

Idle no moreGeneviève and Pierre Beaudet, lifeonleft.blogspot.ca, January 25, 2013

The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec.

With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45. [1] Its origins lay not in the work of established organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations (although the AFN supports the initiative), but in a grassroots mobilization that has arisen in several parts of the country. This process echoes other recent citizen mobilizations such as the student carrés rouges in Quebec and the worldwide Occupy movement. Continue lendo

Canada’s Indigenous Movement Gains Momentum

First Nations groups denied their rights, targeted by the government.

Inside Story, Al-Jazeera, January 2, 2013

Canada’s Idle No More movement began as a small social media campaign – armed with little more than a hashtag and a cause. But it has grown into a large indigenous movement, with protests and ceremonial gatherings held almost daily in many of the country’s major cities. The movement is spearheaded by Theresa Spence, the leader of the Attawapiskat, a small native band in northern Ontario. Spence is now 22 days into a hunger strike on Ottawa’s Victoria Island just across from the Canadian Parliament. Inside Story Americas, with presenter Kimberly Halkett, discusses with guests: Pamela Palmater, a lawyer and chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, Toronto, and Clayton Thomas-Muller, an indigenous rights activist and tar sands campaign co-director at the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Why the silence on Ottawa’s role in the Quebec student strike?

GRAVELINE Pierre Graveline, L’aut’journal, June 12, 2012

The following article draws attention to an important issue that has been largely overlooked in the Quebec student strike.

The author, Pierre Graveline, is a well-known journalist, editor and publisher, and is currently the executive director of the Fondation Lionel-Groulx. A former official with the Quebec teachers union, he is the author of a book on the history of education and teacher unionism in Quebec.

I have translated this article from the Quebec on-line newspaper L’aut’journal [1]. Richard Fidler , June 16, 2012 Continue lendo


Serge Halime, Le Monde Diplomatique (ed. portuguesa), 8 de junho de 2012

A revolta dos estudantes do Quebeque também o demonstra: as políticas «austeritárias» já não podem ser impostas sem métodos autoritários. Quando o governo liberal (centrista) de Jean Charest decidiu aumentar em 75% as propinas das universidades, mais de um terço dos estudantes desta província entrou em greve. No passado dia 18 de Maio, os direitos de associação e de manifestação foram suspensos numa sessão especial da Assembleia Nacional do Quebeque. É um encadeamento fatal: restringir uma conquista democrática (no caso vertente, o acesso ao ensino superior) leva bastante depressa a suspender uma liberdade fundamental. Continue lendo

“Primavera do Quebec” sacode província canadense em defesa do acesso democrático à educaçã

Ana Cristina Carvalhaes, Correio da Cidadania, 30 de maio de 2012

Claro que os processos de mobilização ampla sempre impressionam, em particular aos que simpatizam de antemão… De qualquer modo, não é exagero afirmar que há algo de novo no reino do Primeiro Mundo. No Quebec, a província mais populosa e mais rica do industrializado Canadá, uma greve começou estudantil e se tornou a maior mobilização popular do pós-guerra. Continue lendo

Student-government talks collapse in Quebec ; protesters take to the streets

The following is a slightly improved version of my article appearing on today’s Rabble.ca.

 Roger Annis,  http://www.rogerannis.com, May 31, 2012

”Nothing is working anymore in Quebec City.” So began the report on Radio Canada (French language CBC) of the collapse of negotiations between the Quebec government and the four associations of post-secondary students on strike. Around 4 pm on Thursday, Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne walked out of the talks.

Both sides held press conferences following the collapse. The government explained the sole, effective offer it made (varying only in form) over the four days of talks–to reduce its proposed hike in tuition fees by $35 to $219 for each of the coming seven years and to also reduce proportionately tax credits available to students and their families. Continue lendo

Canadá é o primeiro país a abandonar formalmente o Protocolo de Kyoto

O ministro do Meio Ambiente do Canadá, Peter Kent, afirmou ontem que seu país está abandonando o Protocolo de Kyoto, que pretende combater o aquecimento global. Segundo o político, o Canadá está invocando o seu direito legal para se retirar do acordo climático e reforçou que Kyoto não representa um avanço nem para seu país nem para o planeta.

O Estado de S. Paulo, 13 de dezembro de 2011

No ano passado, o Canadá, juntamente com o Japão e a Rússia, afirmou que não aceitaria novos compromissos com o Protocolo de Kyoto. Mas renunciar totalmente ao acordo é uma nova derrota na história do tratado, concluído com bastante estardalhaço em 1997. Até agora, nenhuma nação havia renunciado formalmente ao protocolo. Continue lendo

With the Keystone Pipeline, Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands

For environmentalists protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, the battle is about more than just transporting tar sands oil from Alberta. It’s about whether the United States — and the rest of the world — will finally come to its senses about global warming.

Bill Mckibben, Yale Environment 360, October 6, 2011

In the last three years, three things have happened to the climate movement, one political, one meteorological, and one geological. Taken together, they explain why 1,253 people were arrested outside the White House in late summer protesting the Keystone XL pipeline — and why that protest may be the start of something big and desperate. Continue lendo

Huge hole opens in Arctic ozone layer

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News, October 2, 2011

A massive Arctic ozone hole opened up over the Northern Hemisphere for the first time this year, an international research team reported Sunday.

The hole covered two million square kilometres — about twice the size of Ontario — and allowed high levels of harmful ultraviolet radiation to hit large swaths of northern Canada, Europe and Russia this spring, the 29 scientists say.

The discovery of the “unprecedented” hole comes as the Canadian government is moving to reduce staff in what Environment Minister Peter Kent calls the “streamlining” of its ozone monitoring network. Continue lendo

Welcome to Bizarro World

Stephen Leahy, IPS, August 11, 2011

UXBRIDGE, Canada — Canada and the United States are now the center of Bizarro World. This is where leaders promise to reduce carbon emissions but ensure a new, super-sized oil pipeline called Keystone XL is built, guaranteeing further expansion of the Alberta tar sands that produce the world’s most carbon-laden oil.

“It’s imperative that we move quickly to alternate forms of energy – and that we leave the tar sands in the ground,” the U.S.’s leading climate scientists urged President Barack Obama in an open letter Aug. 3. Continue lendo

The Great American Carbon Bomb

It’s Yes or No For a Climate-Killing Oil Pipeline — and Obama Gets to Make the Call

Bill McKibben, Tom Dispatch, July 14, 2011

The climate problem has moved from the abstract to the very real in the last 18 months. Instead of charts and graphs about what will happen someday, we’ve got real-time video: first Russia burning, then Texas and Arizona on fire. First Pakistan suffered a deluge, then Queensland, Australia, went underwater, and this spring and summer, it’s the Midwest that’s flooding at historic levels.
The year 2010 saw the lowest volume of Arctic ice since scientists started to measure, more rainfall on land than any year in recorded history, and the lowest barometric pressure ever registered in the continental United States. Measured on a planetary scale, 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year in history. Jeff Masters, probably the world’s most widely read meteorologist, calculated that the year featured the most extreme weather since at least 1816, when a giant volcano blew its top. Continue lendo

To the Last Drop: A David and Goliath-Style Battle over Dirtiest Oil Project Ever Known

Witness – Al-Jazeera, June 23, 2011

Residents of one Canadian town are engaged in a David and Goliath-style battle over the dirtiest oil project ever known. The small town of Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta is facing the consequences of being the first to witness the impact of the Tar Sands project, which may be the tipping point for oil development in Canada. The local community has experienced a spike in cancer cases and dire studies have revealed the true consequences of “dirty oil”.

Gripped in a Faustian pact with the American energy consumer, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to protect the dirtiest oil project ever known. In the following account, filmmaker Tom Radford describes witnessing a David and Goliath struggle.

Environmental Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry, Maude Barlow, Bill McKibben and Others, CommonDreams.org, June 23, 2011

Dear Friends,

This will be a slightly longer letter than common for the internet age—it’s serious stuff.

The short version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will likely get you arrested. Continue lendo

The Social Democrats Rise in Canada

Gary Engler, CommonDreams, May 3, 2011

That “wow” you heard late Monday night from north of the border was the sound of Canada electing a record number of social democratic Members of Parliament. The New Democratic Party (NDP) won 103 seats out of a total 308 to become the official opposition, the first time Canada’s socialist party will fulfill that role. Continue lendo

Europe moves to ban imports of tar sands oil from Canada

An attempt to classify tar sands oil as more environmentally-damaging than conventional oil would effectively ban its sale within European Member States

William McLennan, The Ecologist, March 29, 2011

The European Union is moving to prevent tar sands oil from entering the European market due to the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with its production. Continue lendo

Canadian Gov’t, Alberta Fighting Foreign Climate Laws to Push Tar Sands: Report

CBS News, November 23, 2010

The federal government and Alberta are working to weaken climate policies in the U.S. and Europe in order to support the oilsands, according to environmental group Climate Action Network Canada.

‘Canada is not just exporting dirty oil anymore; we’re also exporting dirty policies,’ Climate Action Network Canada says of efforts to protect the oilsands. (Canadian Press)The group released a report Monday finding “a concerted effort to weaken climate policies outside our borders, with the aim of ensuring that no doors are closed to Canada’s highly polluting tar sands.” Continue lendo

‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’: Canada Sees Climate Change Prosperity Instead of Calamity

Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, October 8, 2010

UXBRIDGE, Canada – The first comprehensive look at the expected impacts of climate change on Canada offers an embarrassing and misleading “don’t worry, be happy” vision, citing more golf days and better access to northern deposits of oil and gas courtesy of global warming, critics say.

“The chart needs to be withdrawn,” said climate scientist Danny Harvey of the University of Toronto. “It is full of bad science and utterly downplays the serious impacts of climate change.” Continue lendo

After the Gulf, an Oil Sands Debate Looms

Mitch Potter, The Toronto Star, July 15, 2010 

WASHINGTON—America’s gaze may be fixed on the Gulf of Mexico, as a tentative bid to stanch free-flowing environmental catastrophe begins to take hold. Suncor Energy’s oil sands upgrader facility with the Athabasca River seen on the right near Fort McMurray, Alta. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press). But with one pipe poised for closure, the Obama administration now must grapple with another, as a bid to dramatically increase the flow of carbon-heavy Canadian crude to the U.S. approaches its witching hour. Continue lendo

The G20 Debacle : What it Might Have Looked Like Inside the Fence

Justin Podur, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontiere, July 2, 2010

Hosting the G20 in Toronto was the first of a series of political gambles by the Conservative Canadian government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. At a time when U.S. President Barack Obama, leader of the world’s greatest debtor nation, was seeking additional stimulus money and therefore deficit financing (something the previous regime of George W. Bush was no stranger to), Harper’s Conservative Finance Minister and delegate to the G20, Jim Flaherty, was advocating austerity. Flaherty, who was Finance Minister for the province of Ontario in the late 1990s, introduced to Canada’s biggest and wealthiest province what the poor countries had come to know as neoliberalism – shrinking public finances through tax cuts and spending cuts, privatization of public services, and the ideological use of the fear of ’deficits’ to justify it all. Continue lendo