By Pierre Chénier
July 6, 2020 marked the seventh anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, one of the worst train disasters in Canadian history.
On the evening of July 5, 2013, a freight train comprised of five locomotives and 72 tanker cars, unsuited for the type of crude oil they carried, was left unattended in Nantes, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. At around 1:00 am the train started to roll down the slope towards the town of Lac-Mégantic. Shortly after, 63 of the tanker cars derailed in downtown Lac-Mégantic, spilling their contents and causing a series of fires and explosions of catastrophic proportions. Continue reading
Filed under Canada, History
By TAMARA LORINCZ
Last July, the federal government launched a $19-billion competition for 88 new fighter jets — the second-most expensive government procurement program in Canadian history.
In the running are Boeing’s Super Hornet, SAAB’s Gripen and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter. Bids are due in July, the winner will be selected in 2022 and the first combat aircraft will be delivered by 2025. Continue reading
Vigorous picket held in Toronto outside the NATO Association of Canada headquarters, 44 Yonge Street, on December 3. The action condemned the 70th Anniversary NATO Summit being held in London that day.
By TAMARA LORINCZ
Last week, the 29 leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went to celebrate their alliance’s anniversary in London, but snubbed the opening of United Nations climate conference where the other 164 world leaders and their delegations are meeting in Madrid.
Despite several scientific reports urgently warning about the devastating impacts and security implications of rising carbon emissions, climate change was not even on the NATO agenda.
Instead, the alliance leaders discussed Russia and China as adversaries, space as a new warfighting domain, greater warfare readiness and more defence spending. Continue reading
Filed under Canada, Europe
As many as 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to the scientists and researchers behind a new UN report. The assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the most comprehensive review to date of the damage humans are causing to biodiversity. The group’s chair, Robert Watson, says: Continue reading
By NICK LIN
The annual CANSEC weapons fair is being held in Ottawa May 29 and 30. Anti-war activists are holding a protest during the opening speech by Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan on May 29. Two other federal ministers – Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement – and Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff will also deliver keyote addresses. The “weapons fair” is organized by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), involving some 900 corporations. It has been hosted annually in Ottawa since 1998 and just as often opposed by the people of that city. Continue reading
Affirmation of social solidarity and need for measures to protect shoreline municipalities
Devastating floods are currently affecting many regions of Quebec, as well as parts of Ontario and New Brunswick. According to the provisional report published by Urgences Québec on April 28, there are 6,424 flooded homes, 3,508 dwellings isolated by water and 9,522 evacuees in Quebec. Continue reading
“Something strange is going on at the top of the world,” reports Alexandra Witze for Nature: Continue reading
By LYNN MARIE PETROVICH*
War affects everyone. While some are adversely affected more than others, there is no one that escapes the war machine’s reach. One example in the United States is war funding. The defence budget is mind-boggling. The U.S.’s 2019 Pentagon budget supports 883 overseas bases and is lethal to humanity. Continue reading
(Part of a series) This Saturday, September 29, marks 15 years since Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax in the middle of the night toppling trees, smashing boats and knocking out power for many days and even weeks in some neighbourhoods. Wind speeds of up to 178km an hour were recorded at McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour. Continue reading
Canada must provide humanitarian assistance without conditions to the people of the Philippines | SAM MacLEAN
My thoughts have been with all my friends and the fraternal peoples of the Philippines and South Asia threatened from super typhoon Mangkhut. My aim in this reflection is to analyze the news coverage of both Florence and Mangkhut and to inform Canadians about the reality facing the Filipino people.
(September 15) – Mangkhut is the 15th and strongest storm this year to batter the Philippines.
Mangkhut (also known as Ompong) has brought ferocious winds of up to 130mph and a storm surge of up to 23ft. The Category 5 typhoon greatly surpasses the strength of Hurricane Florence now striking the US Atlantic coast.
“We can’t fix the climate crisis if we aren’t talking about it. It’s critical that the media start reporting on the crisis with the quality and quantity it merits. We’re talking about the greatest challenge of our time.” | JKW JOHNSON, commondreams.org
“Given the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis, as well as a surfeit of relevant, newsworthy developments, one would expect U.S. media to report on climate and clean energy issues daily,” Public Citizen’s David Arkush writes | Public Citizen
Despite the fact that 2017 saw a flurry of devastating and “record-shattering” hurricanes, enormously destructive wildfires, and extreme droughts, a new report by Public Citizen published on Friday concludes that major American media outlets “largely failed” to connect these weather events to the broader global climate crisis. Continue reading
The social effects of extreme weather for the homeless, the poor, the elderly and the colonized, in the cities and on the roads; the abnegation of social responsibility and the public interest by the media and governments shows the need for empowerment. “When tragedies do occur, the monopoly media focuses on the technical mechanics of the disaster, excluding who should be held accountable, how the concerns and campaigns of the community were dealt with or ignored, and the response of the public bodies” | TONY SEED
(December 30, updated January 5) – According to the CBC, the main “news” and social consequences of the record extreme cold weather seems to be the status of outdoor civic New Year’s parties, the condition of the ice on a short-term, multi-million dollar outdoor rink erected on Parliament Hill, polar bear dips, and an outdoor World Junior hockey game between Canada and the U.S. in Buffalo on Friday December 28th.
A fiery crash of a tractor trailer truck on the QEW (pictured above) that shut down the Niagara bound lanes near Bartlett Ave. in Grimsby was reported merely as a freak obstacle or an inconvenient “long delay” to the many Canadians heading to the game. While no one was hurt this time, the damage to the highway was extensive and will take time to repair.
One CBC anchor, Hanna Thibodeau, joked with meteorologist David Phillips as to whether Russia was to blame for the Arctic front.
In seeming contrast, CBC published on December 29 a long photo feature titled “Toronto has officially frozen over. See it here in all its icy glory” highlighting the beauty of a nature that is benign. The kicker called on readers to “Take in the stunning sights of the city during the deep freeze.” (The photos were submitted.)
As 2017 ends, the working people face a media onslaught about what is going on in Canada and around the world, of which the weather occupies one sphere. We think that a sober approach going into 2018 is of importance.
An awesome lake effect snow squall (snowsquall) drops heavy snow over Sudbury on February 27, 2014. Lake effect squalls from Georgian Bay are noted for their persistence and linear banding, producing blinding visibility on Highway 400.
The following reflection was written on February 28, 2014 but for some reasons was not published at the time. I am posting it now in the midst of the extreme cold weather front that is gripping Canada and the United States.
The view from Blantyre
By TONY SEED
WHEN extreme weather event strikes, the reporting of the media proceeds from the premise of the insurance companies: it is a supernatural “act of God,” a natural disaster divorced from the social conditions made by man. It has become a genre and given a name – disaster journalism. It was all so “unexpected.” Hurricane Katrina? Just blew in suddenly from the Gulf. That ice storm in Atlanta? The weather suddenly shifted upstate in the morning. That tsunami in the Indian Ocean? No-one at the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had the phone number of the Sri Lanka president and hence the island received no warning. Thousands of people, mainly poor fishers, along the eastern and southern coastline were engulfed by the deep blue sea, as if an act of Buddha. Due to the large number of victims, that far-off disaster did make the evening news. These were not “accidents”; natural disasters became crimes. Continue reading
As global temperatures rise, warmer oceans are expected to fuel stronger hurricanes, with disastrous consequences | SABRINA SHANKMAN*
For the first time since 2010 three hurricanes were active in the Atlantic at the same time, and a rare case of multiple Atlantic hurricanes threatening land at the same time | NASA/NOAA GOES Project
A third of the way into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department] looked at the ocean and air temperatures and issued an ominous new forecast: the region would likely experience “an above normal hurricane season” that “could be extremely active,” with more named storms than previously expected — 14 to 19 this season — and two to five major hurricanes. Continue reading
All Out to Defend and Humanize the Natural and Social Environment
The second People’s Climate March is taking place in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 29 at the National Mall, blocks from the White House. Tens of thousands are expected to attend, highlighting the deep concern of the people over climate change and their demand for deep-going transformations to avert the dangers it poses and defend the natural environment. Continue reading
“Environmental groups have released a report saying the proposed Energy East pipeline would drive a huge increase in crude tanker traffic, jeopardizing the environment and marine life between New Brunswick and the U.S. Gulf Coast,” reports the Canadian Press:
The report, prepared by the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defence Council in partnership with groups such as Greenpeace and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says the pipeline would result in a 300 to 500 per cent increase in tankers delivering western crude to refineries in the southern United States.
Anthony Swift, a spokesman for the report, says the large number of crude tankers creates extraordinary threats to the U.S. East Coast and marine life in the Bay of Fundy.
The group has launched a petition calling for a moratorium on tankers carrying oilsands bitumen in U.S. waters.
The report can be found here.
A group of artists have replaced Paris ads with a campaign called “Brandalizing” to decry attempts by the monopolies to “greenwash” their environmentally destructive practices.
One day before the opening of the Paris Climate Change Conference the peoples of the world set the tone with mass actions to affirm their urgent demands and emphasize that whatever transpires in Paris must accord with the needs of humanity and Mother Earth. Organizations report that some 2,300 actions were held on November 29 in at least 175 countries with more than 570,000 people participating. Continue reading
While in Paris during the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change, Prime Minister Trudeau joined with multi-billionaire Bill Gates and the war presidents François Hollande of France and Barack Obama of the U.S. to launch “Mission Innovation” and its private sector partner the “Breakthrough Energy Coalition.” The initiative is not a movie spinoff but rather a public-private partnership (P3) for privileged private interests to become even richer using public funds in the booming climate change sector. Continue reading
Host state says climate marches will not take place, all outdoor events cancelled
Peoples Climate March of more than 100,000 in New York, September 21, 2014. Such marches are being outlawed in France during the World Climate Conference this month. | John Minchillo/AP Images
France is hosting the UN Conference on Climate Change from November 30 to December 11 in Le Bourget. The Conference is the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11). Continue reading
Protest against Keystone Pipeline, Ottawa, September 26, 2011.
The United Nations’ Climate Conference will take place from November 30 to December 11 in the Parc des Expositions, Le Bourget, Paris, France. This is the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties, serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). Continue reading
The event is, at best, merely window dressing that does little to effect long-lasting positive change, and at worst, provides an ideal platform for corporate greenwashing and dirty fuel propaganda. In 2010, one of Earth Day Canada’s corporate sponsors was Royal Bank of Canada, a lead financial backer of the environmentally destructive oil sands operations in the Canadian boreal forest. REYNARD LOKI*
Incensed to read a recent article in the Independent newspaper – ‘Prince warns of planet in crisis’ Independent The News Matrix: Thursday 26 February 2015 – the people of Cornwall responded in kind.
Duke Charles of Cornwall – not to forget Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay; Prince and High Steward of Scotland and Lord of the Isles; Admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy, General in the Canadian Army and General in the Royal Canadian Air Force*; and Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle – is reported to have addressed the Royal Society in London on Feb. 25 warning that global warming is “already causing ecosystem collapse, loss of habitation, poverty, starvation, migration and conflict.” The prince declared: “Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health.”
NY Times – A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. Continue reading
Pentagon argument to militarize the environment and strategic resources in the name of a “national security threat”
In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, 125 mph winds and high tides converged to create a storm surge that inundated Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The military is bracing for a global warming crisis that will cause sea levels to rise by at least 12 to 18 inches over the next 20 to 50 years and make severe weather more common | US Air Force
U.S. military is bracing for a global warming crisis that will cause sea levels to rise by at least 12 to 18 inches over the next 20 to 50 years, the U.S.-based Military Times reports.
That will put at risk port facilities around the world, including some that are critical to the military, such as San Diego, Hawaii and Norfolk, Virginia, the article adds.
Labour Day march in Hamilton, 2014
Harper Conservatives Enable U.S. Steel’s Latest Blow to Canada
– United Steelworkers –
• Fraudulent Bankruptcy Without an Owner
– Rolf Gerstenberger, President, Local 1005 USW –
Local 1005 USW Press Conference
• Transcript of Presentation by President Rolf Gerstenberger
• August 13 Letter from Local 1005 to U.S. Steel
• August 14 Response from Local 1005 to U.S. Steel’s Self-Serving Restructuring Proposals
An Appeal to the Court of Public Opinion
– Local 1005 USW –
Local 1005 condemns in no uncertain terms this phony CCAA bankruptcy filed by U.S. Steel on September 16. It creates a very serious situation for active and retired Canadian steelworkers and their union, the United Steelworkers (USW), as well as the locals directly involved, Local 1005 USW at Hamilton Works and Local 8287 USW at Lake Erie Works. This phony CCAA filing also directly affects present and former salaried employees of the company, the citizens of Hamilton and their Municipal Council, and the Province of Ontario. Continue reading
Strategy for control of energy resources
In June of this year, the major monopoly financier Goldman Sachs organized a North American Energy Summit at their New York City headquarters. According to their webpage, the summit “brought together the most thoughtful and influential public and private sector decision-makers – including leading CEO, public sector officials, and experts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as key global investors and companies involved in the North American energy sector – to discuss how the region can achieve its energy potential.”
Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. President Pena of Mexico participated, as did Canadian Ministers of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Joseph Oliver of Finance and Greg Rickford of Natural Resources and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. Continue reading
Green Med Info (25 Feb.) – A NEW STUDY from the U.S. Geological Survey, accepted for publication online ahead of print in the journal Enviromental Toxicology and Chemistry, reveals that Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its still-toxic degradation byproduct AMPA were found in over 75 per cent of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007. Continue reading