When you donate to a Canadian non-profit organization, with or without charitable status, did you know that your donor dollars may be used in the latest attack by the Harper government against its critics?
According to fundraising and direct mail campaign expert Harvey McKinnon, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is using the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as his own personal attack dog. "By publicly identifying and throwing suspicion on seven non-profits that are active on environmental issues, the federal government is trying to silence all other organizations that work on these issues … silence any non-profit that advocates for social change."
The National Energy Board's (NEB) announcement of its approval of Enbridge's Line 9B pipeline is generating outrage among environmental activists across Ontario and Quebec. The pipeline, already in place for nearly 40 years, has a history of leaks and the repurposing of it to carry dilbit (diluted bitumen) under high pressure is seen as an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. Mark Mattson, an environmental lawyer and president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, is particularly concerned. "There are hundreds of rivers that feed into Lake Ontario. [Line 9] will be carrying dilbit, and this pipeline wasn't made for that. It was made to carry other substances." He goes on to add, "Line 9 is just one of many, many emerging threats to the Great Lakes."
Update: The National Energy Board has approved the Line 9 project.
Update: The Harper government (Federal Ministry of Finance) is currently robocalling Canadians to participate in a phone town hall on the budget today, currently verified happening in London Ontario. Not coincidentally, this will happen at the same time as the NEB proposal is announced. Activists suspected the federal government would run some kind distraction from the announcement, and this appears to be it.
For more than two decades, Vancouver-based Taseko Mines has been trying to mine a rich gold and copper vein that just happens to run through sacred Tsilhqot'in land and waters in the B.C. interior and yesterday, in their third attempt, Taseko Mines' New Prosperity Mine proposal was rejected by the Ministry of the Environment.
Third time is not the charm
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Everyone loves a good David vs. Goliath story and Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War by Charlie Angus is as good as it gets. Centred on the campaign to keep Toronto's garbage from being dumped in a decommissioned Northern Ontario mine, Unlikely Radicals isn't just a story about the rural north vs. the urban south, it's a story about the politicization of ordinary people -- including Angus himself.
As Canadians, we’re proud of our reputation for tolerance and fairness. Even with a socially and fiscally conservative government, we still maintain that we are the sane alternative to the extreme Tea Party doctrine so prevalent south of the border. Unfortunately, this national sense of self is more illusion than reality.