Monday, April 27, 2015 - 13:27 • Emma Gilchrist
B.C. Clean Energy Jobs Map
B.C. Clean Energy Jobs Map

An interactive map released Monday by the Pembina Institute creates a visual of B.C’s 14,000 jobs in clean energy.

The B.C. Clean Energy Jobs Map quantifies the number of jobs from 156 renewable energy projects including wind and solar power, run-of-river hydro, large hydro, biomass and biogas. Fifteen per cent of the projects are currently under construction. Large hydro provides the most jobs (5,800), followed by biomass and biogas (4,400), run-of-river hydro (2,600) and wind and solar (1,300).

 “Clean energy is a real success story, employing thousands of British Columbians in communities across the province,” said Aaron Ekman, secretary-treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “Smart, targeted policies will help generate even more of these family-supporting, career-track jobs across British Columbia. The future economic health of our province depends on a strategy that will put more dots on this map.”

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Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:15 • Kyla Mandel

What would you do with an extra $30 million dollars? That's the question currently facing the Government of Nunavut.

The recent drop in oil price means that the Arctic territory is set to save up to $32 million in fuel costs. This offers a unique chance to invest in green energy argues George Hickes, Iqaluit-Tasiluk representative in Nunavut's Legislative Assembly.

“Very few people have actually brought up the topic of renewable energy, so I want to highlight the fact we have an opportunity now, with some of the potential savings and fuel resupply, to invest in alternative energy pilot programmes,” Hickes explains.

“It gives us an opportunity to show ourselves, and the federal government, and the rest of the world, that we're serious about alternative energy solutions as well.”

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 16:18 • Carol Linnitt

Internal documents obtained by B.C.'s Haisla Nation show the federal government had concerns about the consultation approach proposed for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline since at least 2009.

The documents, requested by the Haisla Nation nearly four years ago, were released through Access to Information legislation recently and show the federal government was warned it wasn’t fulfilling its duty to consult Aboriginal peoples as required under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

An Environment Canada e-mail included in the documents contained a list of concerns regarding the consultation process, stating, “it is not clear that [the process] would meet the honour of the Crown duty.”

The e-mail also acknowledged “First Nations were not involved in the design of the consultation process” and that there was a “lack of clarity” concerning First Nations’ rights and title.

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said he received the trove of documents with “mixed emotions.”

We’re very satisfied to know the staff of Environment Canada agreed with us in terms of the inadequate process in place to address rights and title,” Ross said. “But it’s disappointing this information is in our hands now when we can’t do anything with it legally or politically.”

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 13:57 • Derek Leahy

For the first time in several years, carbon pricing in Canada is back on the national radar.

Recently a group of more than 60 Canadian experts published a report, Acting on Climate Change, that outlined Canada's path to a low-carbon future. Their first recommendation? Put a price on carbon. The idea seems to be gaining serious traction with Canadians, the majority of which support carbon pricing according to a recent Angus Reid poll. 

In the lead up to this month’s Premiers’ Climate Summit in Quebec City, Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne announced her province would join Quebec’s cap-and-trade agreement with California — putting major stock in a carbon-pricing solution to provincial emissions.

The conservative Manning Centre conference was praised for holding an “adult conversation” about carbon pricing in March just after a collaboration between oilsands majors and green groups working together for a carbon tax hit the press.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 14:49 • Carol Linnitt

A new poll released today by Angus Reid finds the majority of Canadians support carbon pricing programs and more than half the population would like to see a national climate policy instituted at the federal level.

Although Canadians say they’re ready for climate action, there’s a lot less certainty surrounding climate leadership at the federal level, according to poll results.

There also appears to be some question about the actual impact of a carbon price but, despite the uncertainty, 75 per cent of Canadians support the idea of a national cap and trade program, and 56 per cent support the idea of a national carbon tax.

Currently Canada has a smattering of province-led carbon price initiatives — B.C.’s celebrated carbon tax being perhaps the most notable — although no national program to reduce emissions exists.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:05 • Stephen Leahy

Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in British Columbia has won the prestigious $175,000 Goldman Prize  for her five-year effort to prevent construction of the Prosperity gold and copper mine 600 kilometres north of Vancouver.

I hope the Goldman award will bring world recognition to help us protect our land,” Baptiste told DeSmog Canada.  “We’d like to improve our lives, but our land and water comes first.”

That simple statement echoes the words of millions of indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world facing governments and industries intent on extracting minerals, oil, coal, gas and timber from their lands.

It’s the same story everywhere,” she said.

However, the beginnings of a new story may be in the works in Canada. Baptiste is a member of the Tsilhqot’in people who won a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 that granted aboriginal title to more than a 1,750-square-kilometre area in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 14:40 • Emma Gilchrist
Taxes
Taxes

Open any newspaper and you’ll find umpteen stories about taxes — from Vancouver’s ongoing transit tax referendum to Alberta’s budget crisis to Toronto’s property tax increase.

It’s probably safe to say that there was no golden age where everyone loved paying taxes,” says Alex Himelfarb, co-editor of Tax Is Not a Four-Letter Word. “Then again, there’s probably never been a time when paying the bill was our favourite part of shopping.”

Case in point: the 40,513 responses the Alberta government received to its online budget survey. Citizens were evenly split between reducing spending, increasing revenue (i.e. increasing taxes) and running a deficit to make up for the government's $7 billion revenue shortfall.

Meantime in Metro Vancouver, voters are participating in a mail-in ballot until May 29 on a 0.5 per cent sales tax increase that would fund part of a $7.5 billion, 10-year transit plan. Yes, that's right, citizens are actually being asked to vote in favour of increasing taxes.

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