The (Right) News Rundown
- We've talked about the importance of energy independence on the show before, it's something that can be summed up with a few key points.
- that Canada produces and exports more energy than it consumes and imports
- that Canada continues to develop energy projects to further economic growth and support our growing population
- developing natural resources in a sustainable way that ensures future growth of those energy projects
- maintaining the environment in a sustainable way that doesn't impact the economy adversely or our world energy market share amongst other energy exporters
- That said, lately we've had a number of energy projects grind to a halt in BC over the last year or so, including the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, the Site C hydroelectric dam project, Pacific LNG, among many others. It's a trend that's worrying not just economists and industry workers, but also the First Nations that would stand to benefit from the treaties, employment and development that these projects would give. Many pro-development First Nations groups worry they'll lose once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that could lift people out of poverty.
- Ellis Ross is the former chief counsellor of the Haisla Nation near Kitimat and he ran and won a BC Liberal seat in the provincial legislature last May to help get LNG industry off the ground, in an electoral district that since 1972 has mostly elected NDP candidates. He has spent more than 13 years to improve Indigenous lives through economic self-sufficiency, it’s how he says he measures success, and now it could all come crashing down because of what he believes are misguided government actions that burden those projects with unnecessary costs.
- “We were right on the cusp of First Nations in my region being able to look after themselves. We were just starting to turn the tide on that opposition to everything. For the first time, since white contact, we were ready to take our place in B.C. and Canada. Instead, B.C. is not going to exist pretty soon in terms of investment. That is how worried I am.”
- Ross said governments in Victoria and Ottawa in particular are “competing to get rid of industry” rather than competing to attract industry, like the United States aggressively does, echoing the experiences of Indigenous leaders in other regions, where environmental activism has crushed the fur trade, seal hunt and natural resource extraction and left behind poverty, isolation and resentment.
- “The more sickening thing for me is that these people who oppose development in Canada truly believe they win when they defeat a project,” Ross said. “Actually, you don’t win. It’s just that the United States buys the Canadian product at a discount and sells it on the international market.”
- For example, if the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG project had proceeded to construction, the Lax Kw’alaams Band, one of the largest Indigenous groups in B.C., could also have become one of Canada’s wealthiest. Instead, it’s counting its opportunity losses because Petronas shut everything down this summer after years of regulatory delays and clashes with opponents. The band had negotiated an agreement that involved more than $2 billion in cash, benefits and jobs over the $36-billion project’s 40-year time span.
- Karen Ogen-Toews, past chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, said the collapse of Pacific NorthWest LNG was a wake-up call for the First Nations LNG Alliance, which she leads and which represents six groups, primarily in northern B.C., that signed benefits agreements. She said up to 50 First Nations in the province’s north could benefit if the LNG industry moves ahead and most are supportive. “It was a no-brainer for our nation to say yes,” said Ogen-Toews.
- Calvin Helin, an indigenous lawyer and author said there is rising disillusionment with green activists among Indigenous communities. He said, “These environmentalists are happy to make a park in somebody else’s backyard. Well, screw that. You are talking about people where there is 90 per cent unemployment.” Helin, who is a member of the Lax Kw’alaams, leads the Eagle Spirit pipeline project, a group that's backed by over 30 First Nations. The project is fighting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed tanker moratorium for the northern B.C. coast, which was announced last year at the same time the Northern Gateway project was killed. “Who the heck are these people from big cities coming into their traditional territory telling them what they can and can’t do in their traditional territory?” Helin said. “What these trust fund babies are basically doing is parachuting into traditional territories whose people have looked after the environment for thousands of years.”
- Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, of the Woodland Cree First Nation in northeastern Alberta, hopes the Eagle Spirit project is given a chance. “If we have the ability to prove ourselves, we could show the country and the world how to do things collaboratively and coexistently. I want the ability to share the wealth that has been taken out of our territories for the last one hundred years.” he said. Laboucan-Avirom’s band, which is surrounded by oil and gas development, supports energy projects that benefit First Nations communities over the long term. Otherwise, he says he is just administering poverty despite sitting on some of the world’s richest oil and gas deposits.
- With all this said, it's a wonder why Trudeau and the federal government want to stop projects that would lift First Nations out of poverty. With the NDP and John Horgan's ascension to Premier a few months ago, many were hoping that the energy projects would still go forward. Instead, just like the economic progress of the First Nations, they have stalled.
- UCP issued a FOIP request in 2016 for message tracking log files for a number of NDP staffers.
- Explain FOIP
- One of these was John Heaney, who became Chief of Staff to Premier Rachel Notley.
- The request also included current Chief of Staff Nathan Rotman.
- Emails obtained by the UCP through this request show that Heaney wasn't satisfied with the response to the request that was prepared by the bureaucrats. He recommended changes to what should be released.
- This was only determined after a second FOIP request was issued after lengthy delays were noticed in responding to the first request.
- Issue of skirting FOIP requests.
- The government response from Children Service's Minister Danielle Larivee was that Heaney's actions were inline with the law and Freedom of Information practices.
- Those who follow the news closely will remember that last month Alberta's privacy commissioner launched an investigation into 800,000 deleted emails. Hillary. This is not the first issue this government has had with digital record keeping.
- Going back further to brief coverage this past May also reveals that an internal Alberta Justice email obtained by the CBC showed political interference as well.
- This directive by the government ordered junior FOIP officials back in January to provide the Justice Minister's office with a copy of all records requested by journalists and opposition politicians.
- This ultimately ended up in Alberta's independent information and privacy commissioner, Jill Clayton, citing the government for a "lack of respect" for freedom of information this past February. It is also Jill Clayton who will be investigating the missing 800,000 deleted emails.
- Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retires in mid-December, and it's not something that's been discussed in the media very much, even though it has the potential to shape Supreme Court decisions for years to come. And no matter who gets picked to replace her seat on the Supreme Court, it's likely that someone won't be happy about it.
- From the Globe and Mail: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing the politics of gender, race, language and region as he prepares to make his second appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada. To some legal observers, keeping a gender split in place with at least four women on the nine-member Supreme Court is vital. But some say that the need for an Indigenous judge is more pressing, as there are already 3 women, but there aren't any First Nations judges on the Supreme Court.
- And then there are regional politics to consider. Legally, 3 of the 9 judges must be from Quebec. Then by convention, 3 are from Ontario, 1 from Atlantic Canada, and 2 from the West, one of those from BC, which the retiring McLachlin is. "I'm very much of the view this is a British Columbia appointment," said Ted Hughes, a former deputy attorney-general in the province. On top of all that, Trudeau is insisting candidates be functionally bilingual in Canada's two official languages. That requirement may stand in the way of putting the first Indigenous judge on the top court.
- The Globe and Mail spoke to more than 20 senior members of the legal community in several provinces on the condition of anonymity, so they could speak freely about top legal talent and who is making their way through the process. Two female judges – Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, and Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Justice Georgina Jackson – are widely seen as contenders. At least one Indigenous candidate – University of Victoria law professor John Borrows – is viewed as a contender. He has been studying French. A second possibility is British Columbia's former Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. She is bilingual.
- So basically, a multi-lingual indigenous woman from BC would ideally be the best candidate for the Supreme court. But the chances of finding one are slim. Something that articles on the subject don't talk about are the qualifications necessary for a Supreme Court pick. How much experience in the court system, or competency or how their judgements have affected people. Whoever gets picked for the Supreme Court will have a huge impact on Canadians, and who becomes Chief Justice will affect how that Supreme Court impacts Canadians. Outside of a few articles here and there every few weeks, it's not something that's been on the radar of the media at all.
The Firing Line
- 7 weeks ago Edmonton suffered a horrible terrorist attack. On Sept 30 Constable Mike Chernyk was run down by a SUV while he was on patrol near an Eskimos football game. 3 hours later a U-Haul van made its way through downtown attempting to run down pedestrians. 4 people were struck and suffered varying degrees of injuries.
- Constable Chernyk returned to duty one month ago. As of October 30 3 of 4 victims were released. The final victim, Kimberly O'Hara was still in hospital recovering from a fractured skull, brain bleeds, and a broken leg. She had gotten to the point where she was able to take day trips to visit family.
- Let us also remember that this was an ISIS attack. There was an ISIS flag found in the car of the attacker. Edmonton Police confirmed this mere hours after the attack.
- The terrorist this week on Tuesday made a brief court appearance. The defence asked the court for two assessments.
- The first: to determine fitness to stand trial.
- The second: To figure out if he is criminally responsible.
- The RCMP is still investigating but terror attacks have not yet been laid. After the recent attack in New York, the FBI laid terror charges less than 2 days later.
- The charges in question today are 5 counts of attempted murder, 5 counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, one count of criminal flight causing bodily harm, and one count of possession of a weapon.
- Defence attorney Karanpal Aujla said, “From the information I’m being told, from review of the initial disclosure, it appears to me that there certainly may be issues that pertain to mental health."
- University of Alberta law professor Steven Penny said, “There are additional elements that need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that wouldn’t be needed to be proved in the ordinary attempted murder-type of scenario,” when discussing the reason as to why terrorism charges are "more difficult to prove"
- This attacker came into Canada by declaring asylum in 2012 and was given refugee status. He initially arrived in the US as an illegal immigrant and was ordered to be deported, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released him due to not having the resources to pursue the case, this meant he was to be integrated into the American population.
Word of the Week
Responsibility - the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone, the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something, or the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Responsibility and Obstruction
Teaser: First Nations in BC worry about energy projects, the Alberta NDP interfere with freedom of information requests, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is retiring, and the terrorist in the Edmonton attack has not been charged with terrorism yet, why not?
Recorded Date: November 18, 2017
Release Date: November 18, 2017
Edit Notes: Windows startup noises