Putting a Price on Carbon Web Seminar Jan. 27

17 12 2014

Dear Climate Activists in Nova Scotia,

I have great news! Citizens’ Climate Lobby is co-sponsoring a Carbon Price Forum moderated by Stephen Lewis. This is an enjoyable way to fill in all the details regarding carbon pricing through attending or watching an interesting and eloquent event. The forum will take place on Tuesday, January 27 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.  in Toronto but livestreamed and taped so you can see it in Ottawa or at home. I invite you to mark it in your calendar.

As you probably know, there is mounting pressure from industry, media, the IMF and civil society groups like CCL for Canada to put a price on carbon. You may have caught the editorial in the Globe and Mail on Saturday: Why Stephen Harper should love carbon taxes – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/how-stephen-harper-can-have-the-oil-sands-and-lower-ghgs-too/article22064617/

Our carbon pricing debate will bring in top Canadian experts to discuss how to design an effective carbon pricing mechanism for our country. I encourage you to attend or watch. Here are the details:

Putting a Price on Carbon

sponsored by

For Our Grandchildren    Citizens’ Climate Lobby

School of the Environment – University of Toronto

 

What’s the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

while stimulating the economy?

Join Stephen Lewis and an expert panel

on how to effectively put a price on carbon in Canada.

Two methods are frequently proposed: Cap and Trade and a Carbon Tax

Our forum panelists will present the case for each of these methods.

Where:                    

Isabel Bader Auditorium,

93 Charles Street West,

Victoria College University of Toronto

When:                     

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

Moderator:             

Stephen Lewis,

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University

Panelists:       

Nicholas Rivers, Chairholder, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy,

University of Ottawa

David Robinson, Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Katie Sullivan, Director, North America and Climate Finance, IETA

Gray Taylor, a leading climate change lawyer working in Toronto

Cost of Tickets:         

$20. Group Orders (5 or more) $10 each.

Details on tickets will be posted shortly here:

http://citizensclimatelobby.ca/content/forum-putting-price-carbon-tuesday-january-27-2015 .

 

Sincerely,

Joanne Light

Group Leader

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Halifax

6339 Young Street, Halifax, N.S. B3L 2A2

902-429-1571





MLA David Coon: Reply to the Throne Speech 2014

15 12 2014

Reply to the Speech from the Throne December 9, 2014 David Coon, MLA, Fredericton South Leader of the Green Party of NB Contact: Margot Malenfant, Legislative Assistant (506) 478-7781

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my response to the Speech from the Throne, I want to thank the people of Fredericton South for electing me to represent them in this Legislative Assembly. It is an honour and a tremendous responsibility to serve the community of Fredericton South in this House. I want to thank the many young women and men, some who voted for the first time in their lives, who put their faith in me. I also want to acknowledge all of the children and youth, too young to vote, who seemed galvanized by my candidacy and cheered me on during the campaign and celebrated my election. I will be forever thankful for their enthusiasm and I will be respectful of the trust they have put in me to give a voice to their hopes and dreams.

Change we must, for everything around us is in motion. Maintaining a death grip on the way we have always done things will surely rob our children of their futures. Things we could count on in the past – the predictability of our seasons, the conviction that the power will come back on in hours, the assurance that sea level will remain at sea level, the availability of work in the woods when all else dried up, the certainty of economic growth, the faith that great wealth for some will ensure a decent livelihood for many – are gone. As our footing has become uncertain, some have taken advantage of our anxiety and spread fear to benefit themselves. They have been successful, as we have become fearful. We are fearful about the economy, fearful about our debts, even fearful of each other – francophone and Anglophone, First Nation and newcomer – thanks to those who would rather divide our people to serve their interests, rather than unite them to transform New Brunswick and ensure our children have a decent future in our province. As Plato said, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Mr. Speaker, the hopes and dreams of young people are what I will keep at the forefront of my mind over the next four years. I will seek the views of youth, as much as I seek the views of the adults in my riding, and bring those views to our deliberations on the floor of this Legislative Assembly. Young people are hungry for change, even desperate for change. Youth want to play a role in transforming New Brunswick into a fairer and greener society. Youth want in. One way to let youth in is to lower the voting age to 16. This is something we can make possible as legislators.

Mr. Speaker, a recent Report from the Human Development Council reported that 21% of New Brunswick children lived below the poverty line in 2012, an increase from 19.8% in 1989, despite a 40% increase in New Brunswick’s per capita GDP over that period. Between 1989 and 2012 we saw the construction of not one, but two pipelines across our province, a massive expansion of the Irving Oil Refinery and a 61.5% increase in J.D. Irving’s allowable cut of softwood over the same period. Clearly, a growing economy has not reduced child poverty. In fact, it has increased, with the child poverty rate in Saint John, our most industrialized city, at 30.4%. If we want to reduce child poverty, parents need access to affordable childcare so they can afford to work. Parents need access to reliable public transportation so they can afford travel to work. While the government is committed to increasing the minimum wage, it’s not enough. Parents earning minimum wage should not have to pay the provincial portion of income tax, so they can better cope with their week-to-week expenses. Mr. Speaker, children need access to early childhood education to help equip them with the skills they need to break out of the poverty trap. UNB’s Early Childhood Research Centre has created impressive curriculum for early learning, but those children who need access to early learning the most cannot take advantage of it. It has been estimated that universal access to low-fee childcare in Quebec led to nearly 70,000 more mothers holding jobs than if the program had not existed, representing a 3.8% increase in women’s employment. The resulting increase in tax revenue exceeds the costs of the childcare program. We need to look at ways of ensuring universal access to childcare and early learning. Children need access to meal programs in their schools so they can learn optimally, and they need greater access to our alternative education system operated by our school districts for those who cannot function within the regular system. It is overcharged and the waiting lists are long.

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago the Child and Youth Advocate released his State of the Child report. It shows that the New Brunswick rate of hospital admissions for children and youth struggling with mental diseases and disorder is 80% higher than the national rate. It is estimated that 22% of youth from Grade Six to Twelve have low mental fitness. There is an urgent need to guarantee rapid access to mental health care for our children and youth. The State of the Child report also indicates that New Brunswick has a rate of children and youths who are victims of family violence that is 37% higher than the national average. It is well established that boys who witness violence in the home are at a higher risk of committing violence against women in adulthood. Sixty-five percent of women seeking shelter in Transition Houses were witnesses to domestic violence as children. There is a pressing need for therapeutic treatment for these children, which is not something Transition House staff are able to provide. According to the State of the Child Report, the rate of persons charged with sexual violations against children in New Brunswick is 63% higher than the national rate, which the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate describes as cause for alarm.

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw special attention to the difficulties faced by youth between the ages of 16 and 18 in finding a safe place to live when escaping violence, sexual abuse, neglect, or reaching the age where they are too old for foster care. The youth residences such as Chrysalis House in Fredericton and the Miramichi Youth House have long waiting lists, leaving youth at tremendous risk by lacking the ability to accommodate youth in emergency situations. Frankly, I was appalled that the Telegraph Journal, in its editorial commenting on findings of the State of the Child Report, chose to limits its focus to child obesity. I was also disappointed to see so little attention given to advancing the rights and well-being of children and youth in the Speech from the Throne, given the findings of the State of the Child Report. Parents will sacrifice much to ensure the health and well-being of their children. A similar priority must permeate our policy and budget priorities. We need to build an infrastructure of midwifery to provide the continuity of care for invents and support for Moms. We must invest in strengthening the infrastructure of childcare and early learning. We must invest in providing preventative mental health care and rapid access to diagnosis and treatment. We must invest in safeguarding women from domestic violence and that means investing in treating children who have been witness to violence in the home to break the chain of violence.

As the Leader of the Third Party in this House, the criticisms I make regarding government policy and priorities are not to condemn, but to highlight our challenges so we can work together as legislators to better serve the common good. My arguments will be based on reason, on evidence, and on principles. Mr. Speaker, you have my word that my critiques will be directed toward ideas, not individual personalities on the other side of this House. Mr. Speaker, we can and must afford to build a just society based on fairness and equality. We can and must afford to build a sustainable society based on living within ecological constraints, reducing our fossil fuel use to safe levels, and living within our financial means. I will support, or work to improve those policies, budget commitments and legislation brought forward by government that are consistent with these goals.

Read the rest of this entry »





Saint John City Council officially endorses pipeline

14 12 2014
TJ  NOV 25
Concerns expressed about environment
KARISSA DONKIN TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL

 SAINT JOHN • Common Council has unanimously endorsed Energy East,indicating that the city’s municipal government believes the west-east pipeline project is in the best interest of its citizens because of the“possibilities of economic and community development.”   Mayor Mel Norton proposed the motion at Monday’s meeting with the goal of showing some leadership on energy from the city.   TransCanada filed a 30,000-page project application to the National Energy Board in October and the $12-billion project faces several regulatory hurdles before it could go ahead.y   If it gets a green light, the cross-Canada project would see an existing 3,000-kilometre natural gas line converted to pump crude into Quebec and a 1,400-kilometre extension built to push the crude as far east as the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.   “This is a real opportunity for us,” the mayor told councillors.   Before they could vote on the endorsement, Norton amended the motion to add a line saying that safety and the environment is of the utmost importance to the city. He also added a line saying the city will work with TransCanada and regulatory bodies to ensure the pipeline is safely constructed“in such a way as to protect the environment.”   At the same time, two people at the back of the public gallery waved placards urging city politicians to protect Saint John’s water and land.   The mayor asked them to put their signs down or they would be asked to leave. The protesters complied.   Ward 3 Coun.Donna Reardon said she spent time puzzling over the motion,because industry has been both a “bane and a benefit”for the city.   “Saint John has seen industry come and we’ve never really seen the benefit of it for the city,”Reardon said, as the protesters in the gallery nodded.“A lot of times we’ve made crazy deals where we don’t even get tax dollars.”   She said the city needs a negotiator to make sure the city gets a win from the pipeline and not just industry.   “We need a win for the citizens.”   Safety should trump any potential economic reward of the pipeline, Ward 1 Coun. Bill Farren said. “Safety and the environment are my main concerns,”he said.“If we get jobs out of it, fantastic.”   Council will send letters to neighbouring municipalities and the provincial and federal governments indicating they’ve endorsed the proposed pipeline.   Councillors also unanimously approved a second motion to get advice from city staff on how Saint John can play a role as an intervener in the regulatory process.   In an interview after the meeting, Norton said he amended his motion after speaking with councillors and representatives for the National Energy Board, who are in town for a presentation to Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.   “Part of that discussion (with the NEB) was in how important safety is going to be to this project,”Norton said.   While it may go without saying that the city wants the pipeline to be safe if it’s built,the mayor said it was important to put that on paper.   “We wanted to reinforce that not only is the economic part of this important, but also the environment in terms of safety is important.”

GetContent.asp

Coun. Donna Reardon had some concerns but eventually voted to endorse the Energy East pipeline project on Monday.   PhoTo: Michael STringer/TelegraPh-Journal





NDP Strategist Hired for Energy East Astroturf Campaign

14 12 2014
Thu, 2014-11-20 15:20BEN JERVEY

Ben Jervey's picture

Former NDP Comms Director Key Strategist on Edelman Energy East Astroturf Strategy

TransCanada

TransCanada has bought some unlikely support for the company’s public relations astroturf offensive aimed at winning support for the Energy East pipeline.

As first reported by Ricochet, Erin Jacobson, the recent director of communications for the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party, will be helping advise TransCanada on developing the astroturf campaign, bringing her expertise in Canadian public affairs and developing digital political campaigns.

As revealed in documents obtained by Greenpeace (reported Monday on DeSmogBlog), TransCanada hired Edelman, the world’s largest PR company, to create a “grassroots advocacy” campaign to help push the oilsands crude pipeline through the eastern provinces to New Brunswick.

A document prepared by Edelman for TransCanada, titled “Grassroots Advocacy Vision Document,” dated May 15, 2014, lists Jacobson as “Canadian program lead,” and explains that she “will join the Energy East team to provide Canadian-specific advocacy counsel.”

Jacobson started at the NDP in 2008, working first as a communications assistant and rising through the ranks to her position as director of communications. Immediately before leaving to work for Edelman, her title was “Deputy Director of strategic communications” in Tom Mulcair’s office.

According to Edelman’s blog, while at the NDP, Jacobson “was critical to developing the party’s national brand and identity in a period in which it grew from 36 elected Members of Parliament to 100…This appointment is the next step in Edelman’s ongoing efforts to play a bigger role in the Canadian public affairs marketplace, with a focus on political campaign style, digital public affairs advocacy.”

Supporters of the social democratic party, which is generally progressive on environmental and social issues, will likely be surprised to learn that the mind that created the NDP’s iPhone app and designed the website template used by most of the party’s members of parliament is now thinking of ways to convince Canadians that a pipeline, carrying oilsands destined primarily for export, is in their best interest.

Examples of TransCanada’s social media strategy. 

Edelman’s plan, according to the leaked documents, includes “[adding] layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources,” and argues for developing “supportive third parties, who can in turn put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can’t.”

The timing of Jacobson’s hire also raises some questions. The Edelman document says that Jacobson would start work on Energy East on June 1, mere weeks after she left the NDP. On June 19th, Edelman officially announced Jacobson’s hire.

Only weeks removed from her position inside Opposition leader Mulcair’s office when officially joining Edelman (and, no doubt, in close communication with the Energy East team no later than May 15th, the date of the “Grassroots Advocacy Vision Document”), Canadians are left to wonder what sort of privileged Parliamentary information could have been passed along to the Edelman and TransCanada teams. Mulcair recently re-emphasized his support for Energy East — though with rigorous environmental review and “transparent, credible process.”

According to Ricochet, current NDP Deputy Director of Strategic Communications Valérie Dufour said that Jacobson “was never involved in developing the party’s policy on energy and that she had not contacted any former colleagues on official business since her departure for Edelman.” DeSmogBlog reached out to multiple members of the NDP for comment by phone and e-mail, including the office of Mulcair, but none responded by time of publication.

Edelman did not respond to requests for comment.

On the Energy East project, Jacobson will be reporting to Edelman Senior Counsel Michael Krempasky, an outspoken right-wing activist with a long history of shady digital PR tactics. Krempasky was a prolific blogger at RedState.org, which he co-founded, and has been tied to many Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Leadership Institute. Krempasky will, according to the documents, be spending a quarter of his full-time schedule on Energy East.

Krempasky put his firm in hot water when it was revealed that he was using fake “grassroots” bloggers for a digital astroturfing campaign that he created for Walmart, a tactic for which Edelman had to apologize. Jacobson will also be working with Nate Bailey out of Edelman’s DC office, a self-described “ex-flack and GOP hack,” who will be spending between one-quarter and half of his time on Energy East.





Stanley Divided Over Sisson brook

14 12 2014
DG   DEC 10
Village divided over mining project

Sisson Brook tungsten mine would create jobs, but also evokes fears
JOHN CHILIBECK LEGISLATURE BUREAU

STANLEY • A big mining project that could bring hundreds of jobs to this picturesque village has divided the community just like the pristine river that runs through it.

Stanley, about a 45-minute drive north of Fredericton, is nearby the proposed Sisson Brook tungsten mine. The Liberal provincial government supports the $579-million project to create an open-pit mine that would bring with it up to 300 permanent, full-time jobs.

But some people fear the environmental risks are too great and worry about the future of the Nashwaak River, which winds its way for more than 100 kilometres through the heart of Stanley, Nashwaak Bridge, Taymouth, Durham Bridge and Penniac before draining into the St. John River at Fredericton.

“People who don’t need the work, don’t want it,” said Heidi Flynn, who works at the local pharmacy. “There’s nothing to do in Stanley. There’s no work here. I’m not completely for it or against it because I worry about the environment too. But I’d like to see the work. It would be a big bonus around here.”

Flynn, who grew up in the area, said everyone in the community of about 400 people knows family and friends who have left to work in Western Canada. Many still commute between New Brunswick and Alberta, resting at home for seven days before shipping out for two weeks to toil in the oilsands.

“They’re tired. By the time they get back from Alberta, they’ve lost one of their days off because of all the travel. Nobody wants to leave home.”
Shirley Wilson, who lives in North Tay and whose son attended school in Stanley, is leery of the big mine.
“I’m not against people having more business, better employment and people prospering, but I don’t think we have the whole picture yet and know enough about the long-term consequences,”she said.

“We’ll have jobs created over the short-term and we’ll bring in a lot of people with skills from other places because many people from this community have already left for out west.”

She worries whether Northcliff Resources, the company behind the Sisson Partnership, will do enough to clean up the site once the mine is closed.   It’s impossible to overlook the importance of the river when you approach the village, nestled in a deep valley, with homes, businesses, schools and the village office sharing its banks.

Traditionally, people in Stanley made their living in the woods or on nearby farms, enough to support dozens of stores. But much of that work has dried up, people have moved away and businesses have closed.

The schools, an elementary school attached to a middle school and high school but run by separate administrations, has a combined enrolment of 252 children. A decade ago, 370 children attended classes there. It’s the same sort of steady decline many rural areas have suffered throughout New Brunswick.

Last week, district officials held a meeting in the village to flog the idea of putting the schools under one administration, something that has confused and angered parents who say the community could be on the cusp of a mini-boom and reverse in student enrolment.

The company is waiting for environmental and regulatory approvals from Ottawa and the province, and needs to attract more investment before getting the massive project underway, still many months away.

But there is also deep concern for what could happen to the clear waters of the Nashwaak and its plentiful fish.

Some people in the village declined interview requests, saying they didn’t want to anger their neighbours.

Bernard Gullison, 80, wasn’t shy to give his opinion. The retired lumberjack once moved to Alberta to find work, but he retired to his hometown. When he was a forestry worker, he helped cut the right of way for NB Power that skirts beside the mine site.

“It’s too late in my life to worry about the river,” he said after finishing his breakfast at the local diner. “I salmon fished all my life, and they closed the river to salmon fishing, so I’ve kind of given up on it.”

He said it was more important to create jobs and grow the village again.

“I’d like to see the mine open. It’s been 10 years since they started looking at it,” he said.“It’ll make some work.”

Marilyn Steele, who lives just outside the village, said anything that would bring jobs to Stanley and the surrounding area would be a blessing.

“I feel the same way about shale gas,” she said, a position that’s at odds with people who have posted red Say No to Shale Gas signs on their properties along the highway to Stanley. The new Liberal government is about to impose a moratorium on shale gas development, arguing not enough is known about the potential risks to people’s health and the environment.

But Steele says Stanley needs some kind of economic development.

“Look around. There are no jobs around here. Most people have to travel to Fredericton to work, and we have a decrease in our student population in our schools. I’ve lived here all my life and seen a lot of demographic changes   – the population is getting older.”

Enos Baggs, a prep cook at the diner, has heard plenty of patrons chew over the idea of the mine.

“Some people worry about what it would do and the environmental impact of it,” said Baggs, who’s originally from Newfoundland. He married a woman from Stanley and moved to the village about 20 years ago. “But at the same time, I think people would like to see some of the younger people come back and be able to work in this community again, instead of everyone going out west to work.”

Many people worry whether the tailings from the mine would be properly contained and if they’d ever leach into the surrounding watershed and the Nashwaak, whose headwaters are just upriver. People still fish and canoe in the area, and they are proud of their waterfront homes and cottages, which fetch a higher price on the real estate market.

“I’d hate to see anything happen to the environmental part of it. The jobs won’t mean much if our watershed is gone,”Baggs said.“But it’s like anything, jobs grow the town.”




NB Drug Plan Reworked

9 12 2014

Mandatory drug coverage eliminated, Liberals announce

Comprehensive review of plan introduced by former government to be conducted

CBC News Posted: Dec 09, 2014 4:29 PM AT Last Updated: Dec 09, 2014 4:29 PM AT

New Brunswickers will not be forced to have prescription drug coverage, Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced on Tuesday.

Boudreau introduced amendments to the provincial Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act that eliminate the mandatory requirement under Phase 2 of the Progressive Conservative’s plan, which was slated to take effect on April 1.

Victor Boudreau

Health Minister Victor Boudreau says a comprehensive review of the drug plan will be conducted. (CBC)

​”This is a temporary solution,” pending a comprehensive review, said Boudreau.

“Our government is committed to reviewing the New Brunswick drug plan to ensure that its costs are reasonable for individuals, its coverage is sufficient and employers are not subject to a required contribution,” Boudreau said in a statement.

Under Phase 2, a family earning $50,000 would be forced to pay $1,400 per year per adult, he said.

“Our government will also provide additional premium relief to lower-income individuals to ensures costs, for those that choose to join the New Brunswick drug plan, are fair and reasonable,” said Boudreau.

The voluntary Phase 1 remains in place, but low enrolment numbers show it’s not set up properly, he said.

“We were being told this plan was there to address the needs of 150,000 New Brunswickers that were without drug coverage. In fact to date only 2,400 people have taken the program up,” said Boudreau.

“That’s a pretty clear indication to me that the program is not meeting the needs it was set out for.”

Former health minister Ted Flemming, who introduced the plan, had said people who couldn’t afford the premiums would be subsidized.

But there was no subsidy plan in place before the Liberals won the election in September.

Flemming, now a Progressive Conservative MLA, contends by freezing Phase 1, the Liberals are shifting from a sustainable insurance plan to a costly social program.

He previously referred to the drug plan as the most important piece of health legislation since the introduction of medicare.





Fracking opponents want long moratorium

8 12 2014
Moratorium ‘pussyfooting,’ young lawsuit claimants say
james foster Times & TranscripT

COCAGNE • Young claimants in an anti-fracking lawsuit filed against SWN Resources Canada and the New Brunswick and Canadian governments on Friday called for a 25-year countrywide moratorium on all fossil fuel operations in Canada.   The youthful litigants involved in what they call The People’s Lawsuit gathered here Friday to discuss how to move ahead with their opposition to hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.   Marcel White said he is unhappy about a“regional”fracking moratorium being discussed in the New Brunswick legislature, terming the proposed moratorium for this province“pussyfooting.”   “What part of no fracking don’t they understand?”White asked.   Plaintiff Marc Bernard called the move: “a weak effort that only pleases the companies, not the people.”   The group urged other young people and the not-so-young as well to join what they term a“lawful rebellion.”   “We are asking young people, all people, to join us and support our lawsuit,”Bernard said.“We are claiming our right to a future. Fossil fuels are known to contribute to climate change. It’s insane.”   Bernard urged others to get involved in the group’s stand against hydraulic fracturing, a process by which natural gas is freed from sandstone by pumping a mix of water, sand and some chemicals into sandstone formations to fracture the rock.   “Write letters, complain about the injustices we’re facing, support our cause by sharing on social media and especially by joining Lobby For The Future groups to counter powerful industry lobby groups who have been influencing local and national governments,” Bernard said.   Willi Nolan, the plaintiff in the suit who has been designated Grandmother of the young litigants, underlined that all ages are affected by hydro-fracking, but young people will be affected the most.   “They are facing problems that older generations won’t have to,”she said.   “I’m kind of ashamed of my generation, with so many indifferent to problems like climate change because they’ll be gone in a few years. The young people need us to stand up with them.”

GetContent.asp

Youth claimants of ‘The Peoples Lawsuit’ – from left to right, Jean-Sebastien Theriault, Willi Nolan, and Marcel White – host a media conference at the Vortex Free Café in Cocagne on Friday to announce their proposal for a territorial, federal and provincial moratorium on fossil fuel operations, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas and oil. They also provided updates on the status of The Peoples Lawsuit.   PHOTO:VIKTOR PIVOVAROV/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT





APTN Nov. 2013: NB Chiefs Group had Contracts from SWN, Irving

7 12 2014

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firm

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firmBy Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The main New Brunswick chiefs organization received a contract from a Houston-based energy company facing ferocious opposition from Elsipogtog First Nation residents over its shale gas exploration.

SWN Resources Canada also “did everything right” under the consultation process agreed to between the provincial government and the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick, according to the lawyer for the chiefs organization.

The AFNCNB has been receiving funding from SWN for the past two years to provide environmental monitoring for the company while it explores for shale gas in the province, said Mike Scully, who is the consultation liaison for the AFNCNB.

Scully said six people have been hired to follow SWN’s workers as they work exploration lines in their search for shale gas deposits.

Scully also said that Industrial Security Ltd (ISL), which is on contract with SWN, issued a subcontract to the North Shore Mi’kmaq District Council for nine people to do “security related work” associated with SWN. Elsipogtog First Nation is not part of the district council which includes seven Mi’kmaq communities in the region.

The council includes the communities of  Bouctouche First Nation, Eel Ground First Nation, Eel River First Nation, Fort Folly First Nation, Indian Island First Nation, Pabineau First Nation and Metepenagiag First Nation.

ISL also subcontracted work to Chief to Chief Consulting. 

The Irving shadow

ISL is owned by JD Irving Ltd. and it is part of a corporate empire headed by the Irving family which dominates New Brunswick.  The Irvings have cast a large shadow over the ongoing Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking protests.

Along with owning ISL, JD Irving also owns the compound at the centre of the RCMP’s heavily-armed Oct. 17 raid. The raid freed SWN’s trucks which were in the compound that had been blocked by an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 in Rexton, NB.

ISL is also expected to play a key role in the upcoming trial of six members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. Some of the warriors face charges for allegedly confining up to seven employees of “Irving security” in a compound holding SWN’s vehicles on Oct. 16, according to RCMP charge sheets.

Irving Oil , which is operated independently from JD Irving, has an interest in seeing the development of shale gas deposits as a source of cheap energy to expand its refining capacity to handle Alberta mined bitumen which is expected to flow to the province if TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project gets approved. TransCanada and Irving Oil announced a joint venture in August to build a new $300 million marine terminal in Saint John.

AFNCNB says forced to consult on NB’s terms

Scully couldn’t say how much money the contracts with ISL and SWN are worth.

Scully was asked to speak to APTN National News on behalf of the AFNCNB by Eel Ground First Nation Chief George Ginnish. Ginnish is co-chair of the AFNCNB.

Dozens of Elsipogtog residents and their allies turned back SWN’s exploration trucks Thursday after an hours long standoff involving the RCMP on Hwy 11, about 46 km north of the community. One woman was arrested for allegedly “causing a disturbance,” the RCMP said.

Elsipogtog Coun. Craig Sock said the band had also filed for an injunction Thursday against SWN with the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. Sock said the band is seeking to have a judge stop SWN’s work until the company conducts more consultation.

“They never did any consultation with our community,” said Sock.

Scully also said Elsipogtog gave the AFNCNB the mandate to conduct consultation on the community’s behalf about two years ago.

“The assembly has delegated authority from the member bands to conduct the procedural aspects of consultation on their behalf,” said Scully.

Sock said that delegated authority was signed over by a previous band council.

“This is a whole new chief and council and the community wasn’t consulted properly,” said Sock.

But Scully said SWN did everything it had to do under the phased in consultation process agreed to by the AFNCNB and the province which focused exclusively on exploration. Scully said SWN only received licenses from the province to explore which narrowed the scope of the consultation.

“In my view SWN did everything right,” he said.

Scully said the chiefs weren’t happy with that approach and wanted consultation on all aspects of the planned project, from exploration to extraction, but the province wouldn’t budge.

“(The province) asserted the decision was to issue permits for seismic exploration and that is the decision that technically and legally we were limited to consult on,” said Scully. “There is a reciprocal duty to consult…we didn’t like it but we worked within the parameters that were proposed.”

The AFNCNB have belated called on the province to suspend SWN’s licenses following the Oct. 17 raid.

Ginnish said in a statement that the “phased approach to consultation is incompatible with the Aboriginal perspective.”

The statement did not mention the AFNCNB receiving a contract from SWN as part of the consultation process or that SWN paid for AFNCNB staff to visit the company’s operations in Arkansas.

Scully said people from Elsipogtog also went to Arkansas on the company’s dime, but he would not reveal who they were.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera





D’Arcy Urges City to Seek Meeting with TransCanada

6 12 2014
Concerns expressed about major projects’ effects on Fredericton
STEPHEN LLEWELLYN THE DAILY GLEANER
Local environmental activist Mark D’Arcy is asking Fredericton city council to get involved in several projects close to the capital that may have an impact on climate change.
D’Arcy appeared before the city’s public safety and environment committee Tuesday and asked the city to send a letter to TransCanada Corp. requesting a public meeting in Fredericton about the proposed Energy East pipeline.
He also asked the city to do the same thing in a letter to Northcliff Resources Ltd. about the proposed Sisson Brook mining project.   In addition, D’Arcy urged the city to go on the record and say that used fracking water would never be treated in Fredericton’s waste water treatment system.
“The Energy East pipeline would be the largest oil pipeline in North America”he said.  “Citizens need to be properly informed about the public health and safety implications .”
D’Arcy said citizens have the right to know:
• if TransCanada will post a bond to cover any damages from pipeline spills,
• what chemicals will be used to dilute the bitumen in the pipeline;
• if a computer model would be created to analyze the impact of a spill here on the city’s drinking water aquifer;   • if dispersants would be allowed in cleanups;
• if the pipeline would allow the oilsands to be tripled in size;
• if such an increase in size would require the use of more train cars to move oil;
• if First Nations would be consulted; and
• if the pipeline would affect Canada’s ability to hit its greenhouse gas targets.
He said Quebec, Ontario and several First Nations groups are already on the record with opposition to the pipeline that will delay or even block the project.
That means the pipeline company has plenty of time to hold a meeting in Fredericton, said D’Arcy. He also wants to know if the city has been offered any promises or money by TransCanada. D’Arcy asked to be able to present his requests directly to council rather than just before the committee. But Coun. John MacDermid said the committee could send D’Arcy’s request to council and made a motion to that effect. Deputy Mayor Eric Megarity seconded the motion and it passed. But he also said that while he supports protecting the environment,society can’t stop all development. “You’ve got to have a plan to kick-start the economy,”said Megarity. Coun. Greg Ericson said as far as he knows TransCanada hasn’t offered or promised anything to Fredericton.




TransCanada Halts Energy East Work in Quebec

2 12 2014

-T&T   DEC 2

 THE CANADIAN PRESS

QUEBEC • TransCanada Corp.will halt all work on an oil terminal in eastern Quebec in response to concerns the project could hurt a beluga habitat.

The company said Monday it is“standing down”on all work in Cacouna after a report by a federal government wildlife committee concluded that the whale is endangered.
TransCanada wants to build a 4,600-kilometre pipeline to carry 1.1 million barrels per day of oilsands crude from Alberta to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick.
The planned Cacouna terminal was supposed to be one of the last stops for the crude oil from the proposed Energy East pipeline before being loaded onto oil tankers and shipped overseas.
TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said in a statement the company will“review all viable options” after the company analyzes the environmental report from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.   The committee announced after its meeting last month that the beluga’s numbers have dwindled to 1,000 from a high of 10,000.
“Without protection of its critical habitat, this population is expected to shrink further,”it said in a news release.“The St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga was assessed as Endangered”
TransCanada’s announcement came just a few hours after federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver warned of serious consequences for Canada’s economy if the Energy East pipeline is blocked.
In Quebec City for pre-budgetary meetings, he said he understands Quebec’s concerns about the $12-billion pipeline.
He noted the federal energy regulator has the means to determine if the project is environmentally friendly and that the pipeline should go ahead if approved by the National Energy Board.