Environment and sustainability

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With the country facing significant and unpredictable headwinds going into another federal election year, the 2019 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) shows that Canada can boost competitiveness and encourage innovation by investing in people, not by giving corporations more tax cuts.
Since late last year, tens of thousands of French have hit the streets in protest of the country’s rising cost of living and shrinking opportunities. Many of these gilets jaunes protesters, named after the yellow safety jackets they wear in public, rely on their vehicles to get to work, or to do their work. President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed carbon tax, which would have added painfully to the cost of working in France, was the final straw.
Over the past seven years Canadians have been bombarded with a steady stream of nationalist commemorative projects. In 2012, the Conservative Harper government did its best to convince us that the War of 1812 was a proto-national conflict in which a Canadian identity was forged on the field of battle. Commemorations of the centenary of the First World War followed the same format—the war was all bravery and nation building without any of the futility, let alone class conflict, which defined public debate at the time. This continued even after the Liberals took office in 2015.
This May, Canada marks the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, when tens of thousands of people walked off their jobs in sympathy and solidarity with building and metal trades workers whose employers were refusing to bargain for fair wages and working conditions.Though the strike failed in its immediate goals, the example it set reverberated across the country and the world, inspiring political upheaval at all levels in Canada, and ultimately transforming the balance of power between workers and the bosses for many generations.
VICTORIA—A new, more generous child benefit for children under 18, funding the CleanBC climate plan and capital investments in infrastructure around the province are positive elements of BC Budget 2019, but more ambitious action is still needed for middle and low income British Columbians, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office.
First it was 44 million, then 66 million and now 78 million tonnes of C02: every year Environment Canada increases the amount by which Canada is projected to miss its Paris Agreement target [i]. “Transitions to a cleaner future are hard,” said Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in a press conference last December [ii]. If Minister McKenna is in need of guidance, I would respectfully direct her southwards, to newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal—the legislation of which was just released Thursday February 7, 2019.
Update from “What the Frack is Happening in Manitoba” Nov. 22, 2018 see tab below. The corporation proposing a major mining operation on the shores of Lake Winnipeg is not providing accurate and timely information. This is putting the integrity of the public environmental review process at risk. Government need to do more to demand this information be provided in the public interest.
Illustration by Tim Scarth / Photos of Montreal by the author
Ten years ago the political geographer David Harvey wrote, “The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is…one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.” With roots in 1960s civil rights struggles, Henri Levebvre's concept of a "right to the city" was revitalized by Harvey and others in the heat of the 2008 financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street.
The news media play a strong role in shaping how many Canadians understand issues like climate change—and the tensions between the fossil fuel industry and those seeking to transition to a low-carbon economy. But are the media providing a clear view of the debate surrounding these issues? And are all stakeholders’ voices being heard? Short answer: There’s reason for concern.

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