Monday, August 28, 2006

gov climate change info

hey Tim,

Just checking out the can gov enviro page. There is still some decent information about climate change probably left behind from before: but its not that easy to locate. this "science" section affirms that climate change is a global issue - of course! keeping that in mind check out this obviously updated comment: holy nationalist bullshit!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Information Cleansing, Canadian Style

by Bill Berkowitz

If you're a teacher, student, journalist or just a plain concerned citizen interested in finding well-researched documentation about climate change, you can no longer depend on the Canadian government to supply that information.

According to Canada's Liberal Party, since early July, the country's government - under conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper - has been systematically scrubbing its websites of information regarding global warming and the Kyoto Protocol treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

(As of Wednesday, Aug. 16, when you visit the government of Canada's Climate Change website,, you find the following message: "The Government of Canada Climate Change site is currently unavailable.")

Despite its relatively short time in office, the Harper government has been repeatedly accused of following the lead of the George W. Bush administration in the United States.

Now, it appears it has taken up the Bush administration's habit of mixing science and politics by purposefully expunging information from federal websites dealing with climate change and its ramifications. In addition, in designing its new "Made in Canada" plan to deal with the environment and global warming - a plan due to be unveiled in October - government officials are working in secrecy and without significant participation from environmental organisations.

Harper's scepticism about global warming seems in line with the position of Pres. Bush, who has repeatedly claimed that the "jury is still out" on the issue. The prime minister has himself questioned the science of climate change, calling it a "controversial hypothesis."

His former environment critic, Bob Mills, has described the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to address climate change, which had been ratified by Canada's parliament during the previous government, "a great socialist plot."

According to a statement issued in late July by the Liberal Party, the Harper team "is engaging in revisionist science [However, revisionist science is not science, of course. Only science is science.] by systematically removing references to climate change from government websites."

"This is a government in denial about climate change," said Liberal Environment Critic Hon. John Godfrey. "They don't like the science, and now they want to censor it. [The Canadian government, under either Conservative or Liberal leadership, has been censoring scientists since the 80s.] This is Orwellian."

MP Mark Holland pointed out that the Harper "government is tied closely to leading climate change sceptics in the United States and the petroleum industry. This government has a track record of listening to people with dubious views on the environment and climate change. They pretend to be interested in a 'Made in Canada' approach, but this is code for doing nothing."

"The feds' own climate change site once offered a verbose, but realistic analysis of the problem [of global warming] and a high-minded, but unconvincing account of what the government was doing about it," wrote Richard Littlemore in a commentary posted in mid-July at

"Never mind removing a reference to Kyoto; the words 'climate change' have been expunged from everything except the website title," maintained Littlemore, a journalist, speechwriter and senior counsellor at James Hoggan & Associates, a Canadian public relations firm.

"The government's strategy of pretending to be concerned about the environment while both dismantling programs to address climate change and scrubbing government websites clean of any information proving that global warming exists has Frank Luntz written all over it," added Liberal Party MP Mark Holland.

Luntz, who met with Harper and his conservative colleagues earlier this year, is a high-profile political pollster and strategist, who has helped shape the U.S. Republican Party's political agenda and messaging for more than a decade. The New Yorker magazine's Hendrik Hertzberg recently described Luntz as the "Johnny Appleseed of such linguistic innovations as 'death tax' for estate tax and 'personal accounts' for Social Security privatization."

One section of an infamous 2002 Luntz-authored memorandum, instructing Republican congressional candidates, was titled "Winning the Global Warming Debate: An Overview." Luntz advised candidates to "continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."

He maintained that "The most important principle in any discussion of global warming is your commitment to sound science... [Keep in mind that there is no such thing as "sound science" versus "junk science." There is only "science" and "not science."] The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science."

Ironically, while the Bush administration, and the Harper government, may still be sticking with this script, Luntz appears to have changed his mind on global warming. In a recent documentary first aired on the BBC, Luntz said that he "think[s] most people would conclude that there is global warming taking place, and that the behaviour of humans is affecting the climate."

When asked about the advice about climate change that he had been giving for years, Luntz said it was fair when he gave it. He added that if the Bush administration is still questioning the science, "That's up to the [them]. I'm not the administration. What they want to do is their business. And it's nothing to do with what I write. And it's nothing to do with what I believe."

The Liberal Party's press release also pointed to Harper's "close friendship" with former EnCana President and CEO Gwyn Morgan, "a leading climate change sceptic in Alberta, who Harper tried unsuccessfully to appoint to a position overseeing government patronage appointments."

"This is all about controlling information and not about controlling greenhouse gases," said Godfrey. "The government would be thrilled if the Canadian public simply forgot about global warming, and we're simply not going to allow that to happen."

Meanwhile, the Harper government has pledged to produce a comprehensive environmental initiative in October that will supposedly include programmes dealing with curbing greenhouse emissions blamed for global warming. Still in its formative stages, government officials maintain that they have been seeking a broad range of views on the issue, but according to a recent report by the Chronicle Herald, "many environmental groups say they've been shut out."

"The reality is that the public has not been consulted at all," said Ann Coxworth of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, one of the groups in the Climate Action Network, a coalition of environmental groups that has organised public forums and workshops in a number of Canadian cities.

Shortly after taking office, Harper put the kybosh on the Liberals' Project Green. The creation of the new environmental initiative appears to follow in the footsteps established by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney when he set about developing the Bush administration's energy plan. The Cheney Energy Task Force worked in secret and saw the Bush administration lean heavily on advice from utility companies, and the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy industries, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defence Council.

The Harper project has thus far pretty much excluded environmental groups, and has been working "under tight secrecy," The Chronicle Herald reported.

"They're not giving us enough of what they intend to do for us to give them any significant advice on how to proceed," said John Bennett, executive director of the Climate Action Network. "We need to have a plan that all Canadians can work together on and you don't get a plan like that by going into a back room and then making an announcement six months later."

*Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative Watch" documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the U.S. Right.

Monday, August 21, 2006



Whereas The Federal Government of Canada and all non-Aboriginal Canadians have the obligation to see that the treaties entered into by Aboriginal peoples and the British Crown are honoured and fully implemented according to their broad spirit and intent, including as understood by the Aboriginal peoples, and

Whereas Development of the land covered by the above treaties without the consent of the recognized and accepted or traditional authorities of the Aboriginal peoples is contrary to morality, the honour of the Crown, and the treaties themselves and

Whereas Canadians and Aboriginal peoples cannot live in peace, justice and harmony if the above treaties continue to be violated and disrespected, evidence of which abounds (confrontations at Oka, Akwasasne, Burnt Church, Ipperwash, Grassy Narrows, Sun Peaks, and Caledonia, to mention a few), and

Whereas Canadians and Aboriginal peoples want to live in peace, justice and harmony, which requires that each respect the other and the formal agreements made between the authorized representatives of each.

Therefore, We the undersigned demand that the Federal Government of Canada halt development of land covered by treaties made between First Nations and the Crown by individuals/organizations without the freely given consent and approval of the traditional First Nations authorities that have descended from those that signed said treaties and that no attempt at such development be allowed in land that is in dispute, until any claims or issues of Aboriginal title on said lands by First Nations are honourably and justly settled.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

I am concerned for the safety of Ahmad Batebi. I seek some assurance that he is not being tortured in detention. Please give him access to lawyers, his family, and any necessary medical treatment immediately. I urge the authorities to allow him medical leave, to seek treatment outside prison, as has reportedly been recommended by the doctor treating him, in accordance with the provisions of article 291 of Iran’s Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows courts to order that inmates receive medical treatment outside prison. I call on the authorities to order a judicial review of the case against Akbar Batebi, and to release him immediately and unconditionally if the review finds that he was imprisoned solely for the expression of his conscientiously held beliefs.


[insert your name here]


His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Diplomatic Missions Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa ON K2P 2K2

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Abstract of "Farm Women and Agricultural Policy"

by Carla Roppel, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Diane Martz

While women play a critical role in the day-to-day operation of Canadian farms and the Canadian government have committed to achieving gender equality at all levels of decision making, there has been no explicit effort to identify farm women’s policy needs or their vision of an inclusive Canadian agricultural policy. This research project documents critical issues that rural women and girls believe need to be fully integrated into Canadian agricultural policy. In five regional workshops across Canada, during the winter of 2003-2004, farm women expressed deep connections with their farms and communities despite overwhelming social and economic pressures. Farm women established that the major stress in their lives and the lives of their families is the farm financial crisis created primarily by current government policy directions and corporatization of agriculture. Women confirmed that if these root causes of the financial crisis were solved, the quality of life in rural communities, and their health and environment would improve. Women’s vision for agricultural policy rests on four pillars: financial stability, domestic food policy, safe, healthy food and environment, and strengthening the social and community infrastructure. The agricultural policy that farm women envision is grounded in their daily life experiences. It responds to the needs of their families and their communities, and addresses social, cultural and environmental aspects of life and community, as well as economic well-being. To make those changes, women must be present at all levels of policy making, and their concerns and needs given equal weight to those of others. To address this need, the research outlines policy recommendations that will enhance the inclusion of farm women’s concerns, and their participation in developing Canadian agricultural policy.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

From Evangeline by Longfellow

Alike were they free from
Fear, that reigns with the tyrant, and envy, the vice of republics.
Neither locks had they to their doors, nor bars to their windows;
But their dwellings were open as day and the hearts of the owners;
There the richest was poor, and the poorest lived in abundance.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Temagami Callout

Your comments are needed by August 28th, 2006. Several years ago, Earthroots lobbied for the initiation of a planning process related to Temagami’s unique recreational, cultural and ecological resources. This process addresses the present and future management of these values – such as motorized access, the canoe route network, park zoning, visitor management, etc. This process is now in the “Management Options” stage, and we need you to take a stand and send a strong message to the government. There is a current posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) and comments are being accepted until August 28th, 2006. To view the posting please visit: You will find a PDF version of the Management Options Workbook by visiting Please fill this out and submit it to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) by August 28th (be sure to include the EBR registry number PB04E2003 on the front of the document to ensure that your submission is officially counted). You can also visit and click on the “Take Action for Temagami” button where you will find a template letter that you can copy and paste into a new document. You will then have the option of personalizing your submission before signing it and sending it via fax or regular mail. Please consider: Motorized access (especially via ATV) has been steadily expanding in the Temagami backcountry and must be curtailed and regulated to protect the region’s unique features. A road has no place whatsoever in a Wilderness Class Provincial Park such as Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater. MNR is considering an option whereby the management of crown lands and conservation reserves is put into the hands of private contractors. Don’t allow our public lands and forests to be further privatized! If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit or contact 416.599.0152x13. Make sure your comments are directed to both MNR and Earthroots:

Rick Calhoun, District Planner
MNR North Bay District
3301 Trout Lake Road
North Bay ON P1B 4L7
Phone: 705-475-5546
Fax: 705-475-5500

Victor Lorentz
401 Richmond St. W. Suite 410
Toronto ON M5V 3A8
Phone: 416-599-0152 x13
Fax: 416-340-2429

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why genetic engineering is dangerous

by Pat Howard and Arne Hansen

“The Canadian GM risk assessment process is so simplistic that not a single submission has ever been rejected in Canada. Everything submitted, almost wholly by industry, has been accepted,” according to Ann Clark PhD [E. Ann Clark from the University of Guelph Department of Plant Agriculture] one of this country’s leading experts on the dangers of genetically modified organisms. “The Canadian GM regulatory process is a ruse, claiming to safeguard human and environmental health, but actually intended to facilitate commercialization of GM crops,” according to Dr. Clark. In a 2005 brief to Parliament regarding its controversial Bill C-27, Clark warned that if the federal government passes the pending Canadian Food Inspection Agency Enforcement Act, it will have voted to, “Facilitate international trade primarily by streamlining inspections, replacing Canadian assessment with those by foreign powers, and harmonizing regulations with the US and other countries, all of which challenge, rather than safeguard, the health and safety of Canadians.” Clark is an outspoken critic of Canada’s regulatory policies and the processes related to field trials and commercial production of genetically modified crops, whether modified to produce pesticides in every cell of the plant, to resist spraying by soil-sterilizing herbicides, or to produce proteins for medicinal or industrial uses. She provided expert advice to the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on Food Biotechnology in 2001. The panel, the most influential and respected group of scientists in the country, concluded that the “regulatory process was severely flawed,” despite the government’s claim that ours is the best regulatory system in the world. Beth Burrows, president and director of the Edmonds Institute, a public interest organization working on ecology, technology and social justice, tells us that “Genetic engineering increasingly means agribusiness and pharmaceuticals, two industries already important as sources of funding for science, higher education and those who run for office. Talking biosafety can mean putting one’s job and financial security at risk. “Even diplomats charged by their governments to discuss biosafety balk at doing so, perhaps because they are also charged to protect their countries’ industrial interests. The discussions that took place during the biosafety protocol negotiations begun in 1995 under the aegis of the UN Convention on Biodiversity were almost surreal in their avoidance of the topic [of bio-safety],” she stated recently. Burrows ought to know. She has spent more than a decade attending UN biodiversity meetings and continues to provide vital background information on biosafety issues to Third World [i.e., Majority World] delegates negotiating these international agreements. Beth Burrows is founder of the non-profit public interest think tank, the Edmonds Institute, a “group of smart, passionate people working flat-out for environmental and social justice.”

These critical remarks should be read in light of growing evidence of extremely serious impacts on health, environment and the livelihoods of Third World [er, Majority World] farmers. A European regulatory requirement for genetic safety testing, which is not required in Canada or the US, has revealed genetic instability in many GM crop varieties. Scientists are finding harmful impacts on soil micro-organisms, beneficial insects and laboratory animals exposed to genetically modified crops and GE food. Farmers in India are committing suicide by the hundreds in Andra Pradesh and other states because of GM crop failures. (

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wave of the future

[There are four technologies with which I (and you, perhaps) may address the climatological crises, and here's a story having to do with one of them.]

Serpentine solar boat to set sail

The boat cruises at four miles an hour. A shuttle boat powered entirely by the sun is to be launched on the Serpentine lake in London's Hyde Park. The 14.5m (48ft) Solarshuttle, thought to be the biggest of its kind in the UK, will carry 42 passengers between the north and south of the water. Cruising at 4mph, the boat - driven by two electric engines - is silent and pollution-free, say the makers. The Solarshuttle's launch comes amid a heatwave which has driven temperatures in London up to 32.7C (90.9F). When not in use and docked, any surplus electricity generated by the boat's solar panels will be fed back into the National Grid, they say. Designer Christoph Behling was also behind one of the world's largest solar boats, the Hamburg Solarshuttle, which now ferries passengers across the city's harbour.

His latest design will ferry park visitors every half-hour between the boat house on the north side of the Serpentine and the jetty in the south, near the Princess of Wales memorial fountain. Mr Behling's family and friends will be aboard the Solarshuttle for its maiden voyage on Tuesday while members of the public will have to wait until Saturday for their turn.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Civil society > civil + society

Civil society refers to the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system) (

Alternatively, civil society refers to the set of institutions, organisations and behaviour situated between the state, the business world, and the family. Specifically, this includes voluntary and non-profit organisations of many different kinds, philanthropic institutions, social and political movements, other forms of social participation and engagement and the values and cultural patterns associated with them (

1594 Richard Hooker Of the lawes of ecclesiasticall politie Book I. §10 (R.) "Ciuill Society doth more content the nature of man then any priuate kind of solitary liuing."

1770 John Jortin Sermons on different subjects VII. i. 14
"Since then infants are subjects of the State and members of civil society."