Friday, October 30, 2009

expressed concerns about gold-copper mine near Prince George

Here is an email I sent to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency this morning about the proposed Mount Milligan Gold-Copper Mine Project proposed for a site 155 km northwest of Prince George:

concerns about Mount Milligan proposed mine‏
From: mary mac
Sent: October 30, 2009 9:43:12 AM

I attended the federal government hearing (Dept. Fisheries & Oceans & Environment Canada) last Thursday at the Prince George Civic Centre. I am very concerned about this project proceeding on the basis of the "comprehensive assessment report" conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. In addition to (unanswered) concerns I have about the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation more generally (the cumulative increasing extent of damage to watersheds & fish bearing waterways in the country as mining projects increase in number -- and unanswered questions around the extent of & results of any subsequent "environmental effects monitoring" around the efffects on fish & other organisms), I have some concerns about this specific Mt. Milligan proposal which I will outline below.

First, I should note I am a resident of Prince George, British Columbia and have lived in this community for the last 10 years. I grew up in the northern interior of British Columbia in nearby Vanderhoof, a town also in relatively close proximity to the proposed mine.

My specific concerns/ comments with respect to the Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans Comprehensive Assessment Review of this particular project are as follows:

1. A recent feasibility study conducted by Terrane Metals reports the gold in the reserve is 31 per cent more, the copper is 33 per cent more (reported in Vancouver Sun October 14, 2009, Prince George Citizen October 14, 2009 & other news outlets) Representatives of Terrane Metals have admitted (CBC radio interview, other media outlets) that the increase in minerals at that site will require additional digging - a deeper & wider pit, more tailings.

I asked the question about this at the hearing last Thursday - the Terrane Metals representative stated that to accommodate the increased mining, they would be applying to the federal government for an amendment in response to which the Department of Fisheries & Oceans stated there would be no triggering event to require further environmental review or amendment pursuant to the Fisheries Act. This current Comprehensive Assessment Report is considering information submitted by the mining company some years ago and is not considering this more current updated feasibility study report by the mining company.

Therefore, it is my submission that the Department of Fisheries & Oceans' Comprehensive Assessment Report has not even studied the full implications of actual proposed mine nor is there any mechanism for them to do this at a further date unless this further information about a bigger mine is reviewed at this stage of the review process. It has not been done. This omission constitutes a serious inadequacy in the review conducted by Fisheries & Oceans to date.

2. An aspect of the Comprehensive Study Assessment was to look at human components, specifically, current use of land & resources for traditional purposes by Aboriginal persons.Ironically during the course of the hearing, the Nak'adzli people on whose traditional territory the mine would operate were staging a demonstration during the course of the hearing outside the Prince George Civic Centre.

I asked the Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans representative about the extent of their study in this regard and what they had done to address this issue, and the response I received led me to believe that discussions with First Nations are very much a work in progress and absolutely not finalized to the extent that they should be considered completed in a comprehensive assessment report. I do not believe this aspect of the Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans obligations under the comprehensive assessment report is adequate enough for this project to proceed. On the basis of the foregoing, it is my submission that this Comprehensive Study Report is inadequate and the full extent of the proposed mining project has not been sufficiently reviewed to be allowed to proceed.


Mary Mac, Prince George, British Columbia

(the public have until tomorrow to submit comments about this proposed mine to

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

more on (climate change)

here is what the poets have to say about climate change (thanks to Prince George poet Al Rempel for the link:

. , . and here is a video from relating to the most inspiring - for - environment day ever, this past Saturday October 24, 2009.

Many many people around the world really do care about the environment!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Downstream (tar sands documentary)

here is a link to a 30-minute documentary movie well worth a watch:, dark oil tales & Robson autumn harvest gathering

I attended the rally here in Prince George yesterday - we had over 120 people show up, would have had more if the word got out more. It felt great to be part of such an international effort - truly global. I have been going through the pictures on the of the rallies & events held all around the world for Climate Action Day - wow. . . scrolling through the list I checked out even the most obscure unlikely (in my opinion) countries to be participating and they were. . . !

I am also glad to see that Canada had the 2nd largest number of organized rallies, next to the United States. 1000s showed up at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. It felt really good (& important) to be part of this movement. . .

as for whether it will make a difference in time for Copenhagen. . . well, here is where our federal so-called "Environment" Minister Jim Prentice is at, as published in the Globe & Mail this week (article reproduced in italics - I have further comments further below):

Shawn McCarthy, Ottawa — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 11:31PM EDT Last updated on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 7:37AM EDT
Hope is vanishing that a historic deal to address climate change can be concluded in Copenhagen, and Environment Minister Jim Prentice says the best chance is for a political agreement that would pave the way for a treaty to be signed later.
But Canada will continue to insist that it should have a less aggressive target for emission reductions than Europe or Japan because of its faster-growing population and energy-intensive industrial structure, Mr. Prentice said in an interview Thursday.
Canadians must also recognize that any national emissions cap has to reflect differing conditions across the country so as not to punish high-growth provinces, he added. The minister has been consulting with provinces on a plan that would impose a cap on industrial emissions, but allow Alberta's energy-intensive, emissions-heavy oil sands to continue expanding.
“The Canadian approach has to reflect the diversity of the country and the sheer size of the country, and the very different economic characteristics and industrial structure across the country,” he said in a telephone interview.
However, Ottawa will not release its detailed climate-change plan, including its proposed emissions caps on large emitters such as oil sands and power plants, until there is more clarity on how the United States intends to proceed in global climate-change talks in Copenhagen in December, and on what an international treaty would look like, the minister added.
“Copenhagen is a very significant factor in how matters will be approached continentally, and how matters will be approached domestically,” he said.
The Harper government has been criticized for undermining the global talks by insisting on smaller reductions for greenhouse gases than other developed countries, by demanding that emerging economies such as China and India agree to binding caps on their emissions, and by not tabling a plan for meeting Ottawa's own targets.
Mr. Prentice insisted Canada remains committed to reaching an agreement but was not hopeful it could be concluded by December.
“I have to take a realistic view that, given the amount of work that remains to be done, we're running out of time,” he said.
Top United Nations officials are expressing similar pessimism. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said Thursday it is “unrealistic” to expect a treaty to be negotiated in the weeks before Copenhagen.
In New Delhi, Indian and Chinese environment ministers agreed to a common stand, rejecting binding limits on emissions but pledging to reduce the rate of growth of emissions.
On Wednesday, John Podesta, a prominent Democratic adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, told an Ottawa audience that it is doubtful a treaty will be signed in Copenhagen, but that there may be an overarching political accord that would pave the way for a treaty.
Mr. Obama is battling to get climate-change legislation through Congress before Copenhagen to strengthen his negotiating hand, but that too appears unlikely. The President plans to travel to China and host India's Prime Minister next month in hopes of finding common ground that would allow the two Asian giants to accept binding limits tied to their need for growth. Without some commitment from the emerging economies, Mr. Obama will have a much tougher job winning passage of the bill now before the Senate.
In Canada, environmentalists and federal opposition parties have slammed the Conservative government for adopting an emission target that falls well short of the country's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, and far short of what many other developed countries are doing.
Ottawa proposes to reduce emissions by 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020. If achieved, Canadian emissions would be 3 per cent below 1990 levels; under Kyoto, Canada committed to cutting its greenhouse gases by 6 per cent from 1990 levels by 2012.
The European Union has said it would reduce emissions by 30 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, if other developed countries would accept similar reductions. The U.S. climate legislation sets a target of a 17-per-cent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020, but is more aggressive than Canada's in subsequent years.
But Ottawa's chief climate negotiator, Michael Martin, said Canada's economic and population growth over the last 20 years was much stronger than EU growth, meaning Canadians would pay a higher cost to meet the same emissions targets.
The government's 2020 target represents a 26-per-cent reduction from 1990 emission levels on a per-capita basis, after adjusting for population growth.
Mr. Martin addressed a parliamentary committee which is studying a New Democratic Party bill that would commit Canada to reduce emissions by 25 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, a target that is consistent with both Kyoto and the EU's approach for the next round.
However, the climate ambassador said Canada's targets are “comparable” to more aggressive ones because they will be just as costly to achieve.
Liberal environment critic David McGuinty said the Harper government is avoiding responsibility for addressing climate change, both globally and domestically.
“We're negotiating without a plan” to achieve the reductions Ottawa has already committed to, he said. “They're ragging the puck, killing time and hoping to avoid the issue until after the next election.”

Meanwhile, I am reading on the internet about this oil spill in the Timor Ocean SINCE AUGUST and still spilling! The spill is in a rich coral reef area. According to what I am reading, it is thought that thousands of sea creatures (dolphins, turtles etc etc) have already perished, and the oil is continuing to spill. Question I have: WHY IS THIS NOT A NEWS HEADLINE IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES? I happened to watch CNN last night (lasted about 10 minutes, was all I could tolerate) & there, the focus is swine flu etc. This whole swine flu thing in my opinion has been blown way out of proportion by the media - it is not like it is the only danger out there, and I am definitely not convinced that it is imperative to get a swine flu vaccination when one factors in all the other bugs out there (the bugs are winning. . . strengthening one's immune system is where it is at in my opinion!) Why does the media decide to fixate on only certain issues & virtually ignore others that relate to maintaining long term viability of human life (& other life) on this planet?

Our world is currently AN OIL DISASTER! I am becoming increasingly convinced of this, and if we don't turn things around, it can only get worse.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed a lovely harvest dinner at Kakwa Ecovillage in the nearby Robson Valley yesterday. We had delicious food, most of it locally produced, in a chilly post-rain afternoon under the trees. I really enjoyed meeting some of the local people from Dunster & surrounding area. They are thinking of forming a cooperative to share their food / develop a market for local farmers. . . I think this is an excellent & most-needed idea. I would like to see such a cooperative evolve in Prince George. Something to work toward. A couple of the farms take on WWOOFERS - we are thinking we will have a local WWOOFER holiday this coming summer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

coming out of retirement for letters to the PG Citizen editor

after attending the Environment Canada review of the proposed Terrane Metals Mt. Milligan mine northwest of Prince George last night, I have to come out of retirement re: writing letters to the Prince George Citizen editor . . . .!

More on this later.

I will be at the 350 rally here in Prince George tomorrow ( - so exciting to see such an international campaign coming together. . . I hope to get some signatures on a petition to ask Prince George Mayor Rogers to step down from the Northern Gateway Alliance in support of Enbridge. . . prejudicial to be supporting them at this early stage.

Then I will be heading out to Kakwa Ecovillage for a Harvest Celebration . . .

will post more soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Community Climate Rally this weekend

Please come out and join with others who care about climate change and the Canadian government's inaction leading up to Copenhagen -- part of an international campaign of action movement this coming Saturday - RALLY TO BE HELD HERE IN DOWNTOWN PRINCE GEORGE!

10 am - March starts at 6th & Victoria Street (by Cimo's)11 am - Rally at PG Civic Centre Please, spread the word, thanks Mary

Thursday, October 15, 2009

finding the peaceful energy & inspiration to cope with the challenges of being human these days

Sometimes the challenges confronting the human world these days can be absolutely overwhelming to say the least, that is, unless you are simply choosing not to pay attention to what is going on (which maybe is the best way to be sometimes. . . I am still not really sure. . . )

Earlier today, I felt overwhelmed. Earlier this week I listened to an interview with Australian author and scientist Tim Flannery who was discussing his view that we have about 15 years at the most to turn the current human way of being/ operating on the world in order to possibly avoid catastrophic climate change. He stated that beyond that timeframe, what will happen with the climate & Earth's weather patterns will become absolutely unpredictable & out of our control if we do not act to significantly reduce carbon emissions before then. Meanwhile, I am driving around in my vehicle for work feeling like something of an environmental sabateur & hypocrite which puts quite a toll on my conscience -- is this the right way to be spending my time these days? Then, I get an email from biologist Alexandra Morton on the west coast (her blog listed as one of my favourites under my profile) that only 71 fish (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) were counted in the Nechako River System this year when the forecast was for 374,000. . . many creeks, zero were counted. I checked the Prince George Citizen blogsite and read the article about local conservation officers seizing seven illegally-harvested moose over the weekend, hunted by people without hunting licenses. . . what else? Oh yeah, Enbridge is wining and dining the Chamber of Commerce in Vanderhoof, selling them on this oil pipeline thing . . . throwing money around at northerners to buy us & our communities over. . . and the strange kind of surreal & disturbing disconnect with what this oil pipeline really is & what it means for the future direction of Canada & this area. . . I listened to the radio news, the same old status quo stuff day in and day out, dictating to us what is important and omittting into silence that which is not considered important. . .

but then there were the bright spots in the day too. . . having my health, spending time with family, enjoying basic rights and freedoms, receiving a link to a very inspiring movie trailer about northern BC swimmer Ali Howard who swam the full length of the Skeena River to try to protect it from harsh industrial developments that would threaten it I went for a walk in the forest and sat quietly beside a marsh. When I arrived, my mood was frenetic and upset by too much bad news and too many fears - when I left, I was much calmer. On the walk out all of a sudden, the forest around me became vibrantly alive. A sudden wind rustled audibly through the forest, birds near and far sang, and a squirrel came down to a low branch nearby and chattered at me holding tightly to its pine cone it was taking to its shelter somewhere to store away for the winter. It may sound flaky but I felt the energy of the place - it is a powerful energy that we cannot fully understand amidst the general ratrace of human life these days.

It is an energy that we need to connect with, become part of - the energy that tells us we cannot understand the reason for everything that happens. There is a bigger picture at play beyond one's comprehension. . . we have to believe in that bigger picture & the enduring power of goodness and hope, even in the darkest hours. It is an energy found in these silent reflective moments spent in a forest or other calming space.

And on a personal level, we can only do our best. When all is said and done at the end of the day, that is a legacy we will leave.

Friday, October 9, 2009

wondering about PetroChina in Canada. . .

Am very concerned about Petro China's bid to take over $1.9 billion interest in the Alberta tar sands and I am going to outline some of the reasons below.

First, here is the email I wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the response I today received back from his office - this email outlines my major concern.

Subject : PetroChina & oil sands

Email from Mary Mac to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: I have heard of PetroChina's intentions to purchase major interests in the Alberta oil sands. I also understand the federal government is in a position to review this pending deal. I am writing to urge you to look SERIOUSLY at this proposed purchase. As I understand it, PetroChina has a less-than-positive role (to say the least) in such nations as the Sudan.They have been implicated in serious human rights violations. I am concerned about the future legacy for Canada if such companies are allowed to come in and take such major interests over Canadian resources. Please, consider this issue very carefully & do what you can to safeguard Canada for future generations. Sincerely, Mary Mac in Prince George, British Columbia

Response Email received today from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office: Dear Ms. Mac: On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to thank you for your e-mail regarding foreign investment in the oil sands. You may be assured that your comments have been given careful consideration. As they will also be of interest to the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, I have taken the liberty of forwarding copies of your message to them. I am certain that the Ministers will give your views every consideration. Thank you for taking the time to share your views with the Prime Minister on this important issue. P. MonteithExecutive Correspondence Officerfor the Prime Minister's OfficeAgent de correspondancede la haute directionpour le Cabinet du Premier ministre from

On this same issue of PetroChina's plans to hugely move into the tar sands, below is an article I took from which outlines the issues of concern with the major PetroChina bid over the tar sands (aka oil sands). I am bold-fonting the issues that are directly relevant to Prince George & area and plans to punch Enbridge oil pipeline through here . . .

China's oil sands pushPosted: October 2, 2009 Section: Global Warming

Derek Brower, October 2009, Petroleum Economist--PetroChina has staked China's claim to Canada's oil sands, providing local developers with an export alternative to the US market, writes Derek Brower.
"THREAT to the new energy economy," reads the strapline on literature from the Dirty Oil Network, a coalition of environmental groups opposed to Canada's oil sands and the US' use of them.
China does not agree. At the end of August, one of its state-controlled companies, PetroChina, bought a 60% stake in two new oil-sands projects, paying Athabasca Oil Sands (AOSC) C$1.9bn ($1.7bn) for control of the MacKay River and Dover developments.
The two AOSC properties could eventually produce around 0.5m barrels a day (b/d), based on 5bn barrels of reserves. AOSC has not set a schedule for development of the oil. Previously, the company was planning to export its bitumen to refineries in the US Midwest, where demand for Canadian heavy crude is expected to reach 2m b/d by 2015. The company says it would consider other export routes, too.
Provided the Canadian and Alberta governments approve the deal, the destination of the crude will be PetroChina's decision. Crucially, the Chinese company has backed a new pipeline to the west coast of Canada, which would open up a route for exports to its home market. Enbridge, the company that hopes to develop that 0.525m b/d line, could start building it next year. PetroChina has an agreement with Enbridge to take up to 50% of the capacity.
The AOSC deal makes sense for China, whose oil-sands presence had been notable for its restraint, especially in the recent boom years while other companies were rushing to invest. PetroChina's stake in AOSC will dwarf the positions held in the oil sands by two other Chinese state-controlled firms. CNOOC has a minority holding in a smaller project and Sinopec bought 10% of Total's Northern Lights development earlier this year.
Li Ka-Shing, a Chinese businessman, also owns a majority stake in Husky Energy, another oil-sands player. But Husky, which also has a downstream presence in Canada, is still considered a local firm.
It could also herald another round of acquisitions from China's state-owned energy companies. Last month, China National Petroleum Corporation, PetroChina's parent company, received a five-year discounted loan from the China Development Bank to help it buy more upstream assets overseas.
That might include another offer for YPF, the Argentine unit of Spain's Repsol, or part of it. CNPC failed to buy control of the company after offering almost $15bn for it earlier in the summer. It could also lead to further acquisitions in Alberta.
Strategic rewards
Strategically, the PetroChina deal looks rewarding for China and Canada. The US has long enjoyed a monopoly on Canadian oil exports and its control over the oil sands has annoyed many developers. Opening up a new export route to Asia – assuming this results from the PetroChina deal – would be welcome to some in the sector. Tom Katinas, chief executive of Syncrude, one of the largest oil-sands developers, told a conference last month that he would "love" to see infrastructure to the west coast brought on stream, "to be able to export some of the Alberta oil".
Others in Alberta are less sure. An editorial in the Calgary Herald, a staunch supporter of the oil sands, called on the federal government to block the deal. Citing China's human-rights record, its totalitarian regime and its aggressive pursuit of assets elsewhere, the newspaper suggested that if Canada accepted the deal, it would be hard-pressed to justify blocking any bigger purchases later.
Yet, so far, the indications are that the federal government will not interfere. Prime minister Stephen Harper said the government would "apply the law that's in place". That includes a review of any foreign acquisition of Canadian assets worth more than C$312m. He added, however, that his government had been "very clear that in the middle of a global recession we will not be introducing further barriers to foreign investment".
The Alberta government, a long-standing adherent to the principles of laissez-faire economics, is also inclined to accept PetroChina's acquisition. Its premier, Ed Stelmach, claimed it "shows that we are going to be game-changers in oil resources around the world". If PetroChina's bid triggers more Chinese interest, this would also inject momentum into the oil sands. Since the collapse in crude prices last year, about $100bn worth of projects have been shelved or scrapped.
The US, meanwhile, has watched the deal's progress with a degree of alarm, to judge by some comments from Congress. Yet for Canada, PetroChina's interests could not have come at a better time. New proposals in Congress aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions have worried Canadian oil producers. Last month, Harper met President Barack Obama and reiterated his opposition to some of the new legislation, saying a plan to erect tariffs against countries that did not reduce emissions would "become a front for protectionism quicker than you can say 'hello'".
Meanwhile, environmental groups such as the Dirty Oil Network (which lists Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and various other pressure groups as members) are hoping to reverse a decision by the State Department to allow construction of a new pipeline to supply bitumen from the oil sands to the Midwest. Enbridge's C$1.2bn Clipper project would export 450,000 b/d to Wisconsin and be on stream by 2010. In August, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, approved the project despite the vociferous campaign against it.
Alberta's executives resent the sway they believe such campaigners now hold in the US, and consider that the Obama administration is much less enthusiastic about the oil sands than was the Bush White House. Samuel Bodman, the Republican energy secretary under George Bush, was a frequent visitor to the oil sands, emphasising their strategic importance to the US. Since then, several US states have begun legislating against Canada's "dirty oil", despite a recent study showing that fuel produced from the oil sands is scarcely more carbon-intensive than fuel from other crudes.
In Alberta, the Enbridge decision was welcomed as a signal that the US has not forgotten its long-standing ally. But China's entry into the oil sands will remind the US that Canada has options. Even if PetroChina's investment remains financial – and none of AOSC's bitumen ever ends up in Asia – China will now control some of the Canadian crude refined in the Midwest's refineries.
That could be galling for the US, which resisted CNOOC's bid to buy Unocal in 2005 because it would be against the country's strategic interests. A controversial provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement guarantees the US a proportion of Canadian oil exports. But if PetroChina's arrival heralds sustained Chinese interest in the oil sands, the US might remember the value of Alberta's "dirty oil".


On the international scene - particularly Africa - Petro China has a deplorable human rights record to date. . .


Last month, PetroChina's parent China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) was awarded $260 million of engineering and construction contracts for an area known as Block 6, China’s largest oil and gas producer said on its website today.The contracts in Sudan include the expansion of a power plant and construction of two crude oil tanks with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters each, CNPC said.Sudan had 5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of January, the fifth-biggest in Africa, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The majority of the reserves are located in the Muglad and Melut basins in the south. China is the country’s largest investor.China’s oil consumption doubled in the last decade to 8 million barrels a day in 2008, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review. It imported about 3.6 million barrels of oil a day last year, meeting about 45 percent of its needs.Source: Report by Bloomberg News, Friday, October 9, 2009. Copy:PetroChina Parent Wins Engineering Contracts in Sudan (Update2)
China National Petroleum Corp. said it beat 13 bidders from countries including India to win seven engineering contracts in Sudan, holder of Africa’s fifth-largest crude oil reserves.A unit of China National Petroleum was awarded $260 million of engineering and construction contracts for an area known as Block 6 in September, China’s largest oil and gas producer said on its Web site today.China National Petroleum, the parent of Hong Kong-listed PetroChina Co., said last month it had received a $30 billion loan to fund overseas expansion as the world’s third-largest economy stepped up its hunt for energy resources overseas. China National Petroleum led the development of the first oilfield in Sudan where President Umar al-Bashir is accused by the International Criminal Court of committing war crimes in Darfur.“Given the good bilateral ties between China and Africa, Chinese companies have the advantage with infrastructure engineering contracts,” Wang Jing, chief oil analyst with Orient Securities Ltd., said by telephone in Shanghai.The contracts in Sudan include the expansion of a power plant and construction of two crude oil tanks with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters each, China National Petroleum said.Sudan had 5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of January, the fifth-biggest in Africa, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The majority of the reserves are located in the Muglad and Melut basins in the south. China is the country’s largest investor in Darfur, In western region of Darfur, clashes between pro-government forces and rebels, along with tribal fighting, banditry and disease, have killed about 300,000 people, according to United Nations estimates. The rebels took up arms against the government in 2003 accusing it of neglecting the area. The government puts the death toll at about 10,000.China’s oil consumption doubled in the last decade to 8 million barrels a day in 2008, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review. It imported about 3.6 million barrels of oil a day last year, meeting about 45 percent of its needs.To contact the reporter on this story: Ying Wang in Beijing at

And from

Petrochina Blasted for Indirectly Supporting Human Rights Violations
Posted Jan 11 2009 3:38pm
Over 80 civil society organizations from 25 countries, along with government officials and activist actress
Mia Farrow, have filed a complaint with the United Nations charging PetroChina, the publicly traded arm of China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), with indirectly supporting the Sudan regime that is responsible for the human rights crisis in Darfur. The complainants, who are coordinated by Investors Against Genocide (IAG) in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), are issuing a double-barreled challenge. They're calling out PetroChina for not using its power and influence to persuade the Khartoum government to abandon its oft-demonstrated indifference to human rights, and they're also tasking the United Nations with enforcing the language in its Global Compact, which PetroChina has signed. With over 500 signatories, the Global Compact is the world's largest and best-known voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative. Its first principle states that businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights, while its second principle requires that businesses ensure they are not complicit in human rights abuses. The complaint charges PetroChina with violating both these principles. If a Global Compact signatory behaves in ways that are inconsistent with its commitment, the UN has an affirmative duty to de-list the organization. This is what the IAG coalition is asking the organization to do. Says IAG Chairperson Eric Cohen, If a company seeks legitimacy by joining the Global Compact, it should be required to have a genuine commitment. If the Compact's principles aren't enforced, the UN risks making the Global Compact an international joke. These are two mighty big meals that the IAG consortium is trying to digest. For all practical purposes, PetroChina is an arm of the Chinese government, and we all know how receptive that regime has been to chastisement by the international community. As for the UN, since its earliest days it's been characterized by the gaping chasm between its aspirations and its actions. To date this pattern has applied to the Global Compact as well: the UN has never de-listed an organization for substantive (as distinguished from procedural) reasons. In one fell swoop, the IAG group is asking the Chinese government, as fronted by PetroChina, to change its evil ways, and the UN to grow some teeth. IAG's Eric Cohen is cautiously optimistic about the chances for success. We're not asking PetroChina to threaten to withdraw from Sudan if the oil companies' demands aren't met, he says. We're only asking them to step up to their responsibility to be an ethically good business partner. As for the likelihood of getting the UN to enforce its integrity measures, I believe we can get the people in charge of the Global Compact to help the program actually be the agent for change it aspires to be, Cohen says. The world is on the move. Maybe it's ready for the changes we want to see.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the legacy of big business mining, oil and gas

I have been thinking about the role of major oil, gas and mining companies not only in Canada but also in other countries around the world. Certainly here in northern BC, we see increasing focus on these areas of industrial endeavour particularly with the downturn in the forest industry.

I have concerns about this direction, especially the scale at which these developments are proceeding. What I believe is that there is far too much deference provided to these major industries. I believe there is not adequate accountability in the laws & regulations that could govern the development of these sectors.

Last year after I did a hike up on the gorgeous Cameron Ridge Trail hike between Likely & Wells (Cariboo Mountains), I witnessed large ATV track gouges in the landscape well up into the fragile alpine & right through creekbeds. I felt sad to think these tracks will likely be there for 100s of years, certainly long after this current generation is gone. There was a sign at the trailhead informing us this was an active mining road we were hiking up, and we did see surveyors on quads while up there (not sure if the alpine tracks were from the mining exploration but it certainly was a question I had). After seeing the appalling state of the environment in this most gorgeous surrounding, I made some enquiries about who exactly regulates mining at this early stage of exploration. I initially attended at the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines who sent me to the Integrated Land Management Bureau, a government office vested with creating land use plans throughout BC in consultation with various stakeholders & in consideration of the local environmental issues at stake.

Ironically, what I learned is that when it comes to large mining companies' endeavours (and I suspect the same occurs with oil & gas), overarching land use plans are virtually ignored. The person at the land bureau looked perplexed about why the Ministry had sent me to her office for answers. It appeared to me that there is a significant disconnect between the integrated land management bureau & the BC Ministry of Energy & Mines. . . . not a lot of communication was happening.

Currently in the news, we are hearing a lot about the EnCana situation up in the Peace River area - whereas the EnCana bomber initially hit the news (and is being described as a type of "terrorist" by law enforcement officers who are allegedly acting very intrusively - and quite possibly illegally in certain situations when the Charter of Rights & Freedoms is considered) in undertaking their investigations, what has more recently come out is the extent of environmental damage perpetrated on the previously agricultural landscape by mega oil company EnCana. Regular flaring & black smoke emissions appear to be a significant issue for locals in the area of Tom's Lake & other small farming communities. The locals, although they are scared to speak out to much for fear of being framed as "terrorists" are nevertheless starting to discuss the rampant disregard for their health, safety & concerns they have endured by the oil and gas sector.

The current BC Minister of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources Blair Leckstrom (who also hails from the Peace River area) has announced voluntary measures on flaring. According to a recent article that ran in the Daily Herald Tribune, Grande Prairie, Alberta, he is quoted as saying, the voluntary measures are meant to ''improve industry and resident relations.''

Here is an excerpt from the Daily Herald Tribune article:

Leckstrom, who hails from Dawson Creek, was adamant that the changes were not made in response to what RCMP have labelled domestic terrorism near the hamlet of Tomslake, near the Alberta boundary.

''We've been working on this long before whoever is responsible for those bombings began their crazy actions, so this is not a reaction to any of that," he said.
"There was no intent to try and address whatever this crazy person is trying to accomplish. This has been in the works for some time.''

What I am wondering Mr. Leckstrom is this: why are these provisions VOLUNTARY on the part of industry? That is not my understanding of what government regulation is supposed to be. . . I mean voluntary means nothing. What is the point of wasting paper (and public money) on enacting these kind of supposed "regulation"?! Why the deference to these big businesses to police themselves?

On the international level, the themes relating to mining, oil and gas are similar although much more severe in consequence to the locals. I heard an interview today (Dispatches on CBC radio) with New York Times journalist Peter Maass who has just written a book, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. He has travelled to some of the most devastated corners of the world where major oil companies make shady & private deals with local corrupt governments at the ultimate expense of the locals who suffer grave environmental ruin, horrific poverty, severe health problems, violence and harsh human rights violations. Several African nations are extremely sad cases in point.

These oil companies & the dark trails of pollution & damage they leave behind are contributing to a wrecked world. That is my opinion. The author Peter Maass spoke of how we are all complicit in this trend when we use oil without thinking about where it comes from and the usually dire environmental and social consequences of its extraction for our world.

Also, worthy of mention is that international human rights organization Amnesty International has really been looking at the issue of corporate responsibility & human rights violations over the past several years. They are currently gathering Canadians' signatures on a petition to take forward to the Canadian government to enact Bill C-300 which would serve to hold Canadian mining, oil & gas companies accountable for their actions overseas. Here is the information:

Take action to prevent corporate human rights violations

Amnesty International is concerned about human rights violations committed directly or indirectly by some Canadian mining, oil and gas companies in developing countries.
To ensure that all Canadian companies respect human rights in developing countries, we need mandatory human rights standards and stronger regulations to hold transnational companies accountable.
This fall, the Canadian Government is considering adopting a bill on corporate accountability (Bill C-300).
Amnesty International supports Bill C-300. But to ensure that the bill passes into law, we need everyone who cares about human rights to express their support.
Please send a message to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and express your support for Bill C-300 -

I was really happy to see how many Canadians have already signed onto this petition & the comments posted there at that link. . . wondering when the politicians are going to catch on that Canadians really do care about these issues.

On another more cheery note,

Happy Thanksgiving Day.
We do have much to be thankful for, and we don't want to lose those beautiful things that make our world so wonderful.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dead Letters Rising

Today I headed up to to Artspace, the space about Books and Co in downtown Prince George (in my opinion the cultural hub of the city rests within these walls. . . ) I was there to check out the visual art display of artists Graham Pearce & Magda Partyka entitled Dead Letters. First off let me say, the name of this show intrigued me very much when I first heard the show was to happen.

And let me tell you, I was not disappoimted. Clearly the work of 2 very creative people who are daring to look at the limits of our societal constraints, problems and buring-our-heads-in-the-sand kinds of attitudes.

In the semi-dark of Artspace, the powerful paintings, masks, sculpture and other works dominate the space. Collectively, they evoke image and form of subject matter not easily digested. It is not exactly a feel-good display, but most certainly, thought-provoking and eery. There is a desperate and bothered message here, calling out to the beholders to pay attention immediately, and it is a message not easily ignored. A number of animal figures were strung up on a mobile-type apparatus. The raven in particular stands out in my mind. Also, I carried away with me the haunting image of the oil-slicked mask on the wall.

I knew there was some important social commentary here so because I missed the opening & artists' talk (held last Friday evening) I asked Graham Pearce for further explanation of what Dead Letters has to say; what exactly is going on within those walls of Artspace? Here, in his own words, if what he told me about the display in responding to a couple of questions:

1. What prompted putting this display together?

In March 2009, Magna Partyka inquired about hosting an art show with me, and I thought it was a cool idea to bring together artistic impressions of our mutual discomfort with current political/ social/environmental affairs. We started work on the art for the show soon after. Although Magda included art from prior to our decision to host an art show, everything in my half of the exhibition is from the last 8 months

(wow Graham you must have been working like a madman - comment from Mary Mac).

We set up the show together with certain shared ideas: the opening would be vegetarian and as egalitarian as would be possible in respect to its invites.

2. Can you tell me more about the significance of the title of the display?

The title is taken loosely from Herman Melville's short story, "Bartelbythe Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street." Bartelby, the story's protagonist,worked in a dead letters' office -- this is a metaphor to explain why Bartelby drops out of capitalist society and eventually humanity. Dead Letters seemed to capture the sentiment of outsider art. Rather than give our audience an easy experience, we wanted a conceptually charged and passionate art that challenges systems and institutions that water-down or dismiss most art that risks. We knew that most people would either not understand our intentions nor care enough to work to think about them. Consequently, Dead Letters fit. On another level, Jacob Marley's warnings to Ebaneezor Scrooge are as popular now as ever -- but people seem to conveniently ignore that the message works through the layers of capitalism to how people destroy the environment for short term gains. Jake Marley Jr. seems to be sending dead letters.

The concept of the zombie animals is connected to the overall theme of Dead Letters: messages that are not received/ understood by the audience listed on the address. The masks on the wall represent the ghosts from A Christmas Carol reinvented to address some of the major troubles of our times. For example, Jake Marley Jr. is drenched in oil ("Let them eat gas"), and the Ghost of Corporate Future is caught-up in the physical blow-back of climatechange. The zombie animals are hunting down the human (a version of Bartelby the scrivener), who is awakened to the dystopia albeit in a nightmare.

OK man, on the theme of Dead Letters. . . umm, you had 250 people at your opening and people (like me) are still checking out your work. . . maybe they were dead man, but may now reincarnated or risen from the dead?

Oh and by the way. . . I just have to say . . . I love the combination of the creepy with the Christmas Carol - here we are in October heading to Hallowe'en and thereafter the Christmas season. . . how timely is that for such a display! (and we won't mention the most capitalist driven time of the year these days. . . ) Very intriguing stuff and it is good to see the arts are alive and well (with a little help from dead & ill) at looking seriously at the harsh negatives that come with unfettered capitalism and the associated environmental destruction. Inspiring indeed in a heart-stopping freaky sort of way.

The show continues at Artspace for another week and sculptures (plus a few more) will be in the College of New Caledonia Library for a month.

Monday, October 5, 2009

some thought about Evo Morales, Bolivian president

I heard Prince George CBC reporter Betsy Trumpener's coverage this morning on Daybreak North of the Latino CBC radio announcer who recently spent a couple of days in Prince George, reporting from here. She interviewed this man who came from an Aymaran background and felt connected to the First Nations people in this area, because he said, he too is an indigenous person, from the Andes of South America. I too have observed these strong parallels between the cultures of First Nations peoples in this part of the world and the ancient cultures of the mountain people of the Andes Mountains.

Today, I am thinking back to my time spent in Bolivia. I am thinking about how there my reverance for Pacha Mama, the great Earth Mother, was founded. I first observed widespread respect for the Earth Mother in the Bolivians regular habit of sprinkling some of their drink onto the ground or floor in her honour. There is much to be said about Pacha Mama and what we can learn from cultures steeped in ancient traditions based on respect for this feminine divine presence. In thinking about Bolivia, I am thinking about Evo Morales, the current indigenous president of the country.

I just came across the following submission (excerpt) recently made by President Evo Morales to the UN General Assembly:

"I want to take this opportunity to propose a few themes that are very important to the inhabitants of Mother Earth. For the indigenous movement, not only harmony with human kind, but harmony with Mother Earth is sacred.

Mother Earth gives life, water, natural resources, oxygen and everything that supports the well being of our people. If we talk, work and fight for the well being of our people we first have to guarantee the well being of Mother Earth; otherwise it will be impossible to guarantee the well being of our citizens. Mother Earth, Planet Earth, will exist without human life, but human life cannot exist without Mother Earth.

After hearing many speeches, I’ve concluded that in this new twenty- first century, defending Mother Earth will be more important than defending human rights. If we do not defend the rights of Mother Earth, there is no use in defending human rights. I am willing to debate this concept, but now or later it will be proven that the rights of Mother Earth supersede the rights of human beings. We must protect what gives us life. Coincidently, as we are in the climate change debate, we want to propose, dear presidents, delegates from distinct countries, to the brothers of the world that are listening, a very simple proposal which can be summarized in 3 points.

First: Developed countries must honor and pay the climate debt they owe to mankind and planet earth.

Second: We currently do not have a structured manner in which we can quantify the damages committed by nations. My dear presidents, it is of utmost importance to create a Court for Climatic Justice, in which countries will be tried and punished assuming they do not follow international laws and continue to destroy the earth.

Third: A proposal derived mainly from Indigenous farmers: nations must declare and expand the rights of Mother Earth’s natural regeneration. Nations must also declare rights on behalf of the right to life, a clean life and the right to harmony and equilibrium for all and everything.
Hopefully these proposals will be taken into account and debated in Copenhagen, Denmark. We hope the discussions in Copenhagen will provide us with short and long term solutions over the enormous problems that our distinguished countries endure.

There is much of interest to me in the words of Evo Morales. He is consistent with his reverance for Pacha Mama, Mother Earth. I am so intrigued with what is happening in Latin America these days - how some of these countries are really coming into their own, creating a new way of being with the world and with each other. I am intrigued with Evo Morales' arguments for rights on behalf of the right to harmony & equilibrium for all living things. I agree - whereas rights are important, the time has come to broaden them into the environmental / natural world protection realm at the universal level.

Bolivia will soon be heading to another presidential election (December 6) - Evo Morales came into power in 2005. I was in the country for the previous election, and he narrowly lost that time but was rapidly gaining power in the country as evidenced by the number of marches through La Paz and the Che Guevara flags hung in many windows -- the country then had the feel of a country on the verge of a revolution. And, looking back, I see that it was.

Since coming into power, Morales has introduced a new constitution for the country. It includes a bill of rights with significant provisions dedicated to Bolivia’s 36 indigenous nations. It also put the economy in the hands of the state, limited landholdings and redistributed revenues from gas fields in the eastern lowlands to the country’s poorer areas.

On a related note, Oliver Stone has just released a new movie about the current Latin American leaders. It is called South of the Border. Probably worth a watch.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

An Inspiration

Last night I attended the Gala Evening for the Aboriginal Writers & Storytellers Festival at the PG Playhouse. Performing were young Dakelh drummers, singers & dancers from nearby First Nations communities, Award-winning Haisla author Eden Robinson (who seems to be a joyful, friendly & vivacious person) and Juno-winner Yellowknife-based Dene singer Leela Gilday (note to self: purchase her album).

I was so encouraged to see the Dakelh youth taking up their traditional cultural songs and presenting them so powerfully & proudly. . . it brought back memories of gatherings with the elders & dancers when I was a child in Vanderhoof, the smoky smell of moose hide from the dancers' costumes wafting through the air and the dreamy rhythm of the elders' voices telling the tales of the wilderness passed down by their ancestors. We have an incredible cultural legacy in our midst.

I was very inspired by Leela Gilday's music - her song "One Drum" is very riveting & rousing. She had the whole audience clapping & swaying together, and it was pretty powerful.

What was the coolest moment of the evening was when she spoke about how inspired she is by Eden Robinson's writing (especially her book Monkey Beach) & has actually written a song based on the book for her forthcoming album because it inspired her so much. Wow! It may seem odd but I did not realize that singers find writers such sources of inspiration - it has always been the other way around for me - I find much inspiration in the notes of powerful song.

I purchased Eden Robinson's Blood Sports which is set in the east end of Vancouver. Inside the front cover, she wrote to me in her big scrawl handwriting, "may good spirits guide you." This woman exudes an incredible kind of warm & engaging energy. She really impressed me.

We discussed the situation of the ship running aground in the Kitimat inlet in the past several days. The Haisla people were the ones who questioned in the media what had happened when they observed the damaged ship crippling into port. The ship had run ashore. The Haisla people then sounded the alarm about Enbridge plans to put in the oil pipeline/ have oil tankers come into the Kitimat inlet for the first time ever. For some time they have been expressing grave concerns about oil spills in this pristine area, now this ship incident really lends weight to their argument.

Eden currently lives in Kitimaat Village. She tells me they now have a chief by the name of Delores Pollard who is a powerful leader. The Haisla people are a strong voice of opposition to the proposed oil pipeline project & associated oil tankers.

I came away from last evening feeling really inspired by these amazing & talented people and how awesome that we can all be inspirations for each other, and together, strive to create a more beautiful world.

We are not in this alone.

Friday, October 2, 2009

write letters for PG air

Email from PACHA president Dave Fuller:

Subject: Please Take 5 Minutes to Clear the air in Prince George
Please Write a Letter to Canfor – Asking them to reduce their pollution!

PACHA (Peoples Action Committee for healthy Air) and MACC the Miller Addition Citizens Coalition is asking the people of Prince George to write a letter to Canfor executive Brett Robinson to ask him to reduce the pollution that the pulpmills are dumping on the city of Prince George.

Canfor is the biggest polluter in the airshed. Some of the emission sources at the pulpmills have not been upgraded despite the fact that the technology is available so that they could make a significant reduction and improvement to odor and particulate emissions.
Currently they are about to receive over $100 million Dollars in taxpayers money for a black liquor subsidy- They have indicated that they are not going to use this money to reduce odor in Prince George. 40+ years of pollution by these mills is enough! Please write Mr Robinson and demand a change in policy! Tell them how the pollution is affecting you and your family / friends. Even a few lines will make a differece!

Mr Brett Robinson, VP Operations, Canfor Mills,
5162 Northwood Pulpmill Rd
Prince George.
V2L 4W2
Please send a CC to Dr Charles Jago - Canfor Board Chair (same address)

If you drop your letter off to Ave Maria on 20th ave or Mother Marias Market we will send your letter out for you to ensure a steady stream of letters reach Mr Robinson! We will even provide the stamp for you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some babbling about rights. . .

I have been thinking about rights lately and about how fragile they are. Recently a friend telephoned me and told me I had better be careful having a blog. He heard a story on the news about a person who was stopped at the American border because the border guards had some kind of alert on their system because of the type of stuff he blogged. . .

it is called freedom of expression, a right enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms & the International Declaration of Human Rights. To be scared about saying what is on one's mind for fear of repercussions constitutes an incursion into this right, and by being too scared to state our opinions empowers those who would stifle our rights. In my opinion, we cannot be scared to stand up for what we know with certainty to be right - and I am going to keep speaking out probably until my dying day when I believe it is important to say something. I may not be right, I may be easily contested, but at least the speaking out generates discussion & thought & permits me to feel a certain amount of integrity to myself & what I believe is right.

On the fragility of rights, I think back to the Enbridge Northern Gateway baseball tournament held this past summer. Interestingly, the coordinators of this event just won an award for "making a difference" by local MLAs Pat Bell and Shirley Bond. What was missing in the bright advertisement about the award is the piece about the security guards assaulting the protestors who attended the game for the sake of raising people's awareness of the risk of oil spills should Enbridge's pipeline project proceed. One of the protestors told me she felt very violated when one of the burly security guards grabbed her - another protestor had someone kneel on his chest. Although they had all bought tickets and were only distributing information about Enbridge, they were all arrested by the police, removed from the premises & told by the police that they were not going to be pressing charges against the security people for assault. This violation of their rights was missed completely from the community award now being presented by our local politicians.

Lately the issue of rights has also shown up in the pages of the Prince George Citizen, and discussion around Prince George about the "homeless'' people who congregate downtown (I have many more thoughts about the people downtown Prince George. . . . more later). The below letter appeared in the Citizen in the past several days about the BC government's new law aimed at getting homeless people off the streets:

Dead Rights
Written by mick kearns
Monday, 28 September 2009

Renowned Canadian author W.O. Mitchell (Who has Seen the Wind) had a wonderful phrase that he used to describe his method of weaving various things that had happened in his life into a single narrative. It all happened, just not all at once as he described it. W.O. used to say “Everything’s the truth, the whole thing’s a lie.” A homeless woman burns to death in her makeshift shelter after refusing police requests (three times) to take her to a shelter. The B.C. government introduces legislation to force homeless people into shelters during extreme cold, or police will lock them up for the night for their own protection. “Absurd,” says B.C. Human Rights president David Eby.“Staying out in the streets is a homeless person’s right. People shouldn’t be forced to do things they don’t want to do,” says Central Interior Native Health director Murry Krause. Both statements may have an element of truth in a country where everyone has rights, but only the honest and hardworking have responsibilities. But the whole thing is a lie. The homeless do not have the right to die on our streets. Throwing more money at this problem is not the solution, just as we found with the billion dollars spent on the Lower East Side with little effect. Tuesday night the city held a public meeting on councillor Krause’s idea to build a Downtown Health and Wellness Centre. Not only will this save money, according to Krause and Dan Milburn, city manager of long range planning (although at this point they don’t know how much), but it will allow Krause to “provide better service to his clients, while minimizing the disruption to the retailers and people working and shopping downtown.”The plan calls for the consolidation of the needle depot (exchange), the Native Health Society, and The Firepit. Because Murry’s plan calls for supportive housing in the same building, it is unlikely, according to Milburn, that the facility could be located across Queensway and away from the downtown due to noise and air quality concerns. This may all be the truth, but the whole thing’s a lie. This facility will still have a negative impact on the surrounding businesses or public facilities wherever it were to end up. At the same meeting a 65-year-old woman spoke about her fear of going downtown with her friend to shop during the daytime. She then went on to show the pair of scissors she carried in her pocket for protection.“I’ve lived here my whole life and downtown has become sad,” she said wistfully. At the same meeting, one of this city’s landmark downtown business owners, Ted Moffat of Northern Hardware, talks about having caught five shoplifters just that day, and how theft is costing him $100,000 a year. “I’m tired,” he said. “Maybe it’s time we moved out of the downtown.”“Let’s not focus on the negative
and lose sight of why we are here,” responded mayor Dan Rogers, who was in attendance.” Meanwhile, on the same day, employees of another destination shop downtown, The Pastry Chef, had their vehicle windows smashed yet again for the few pieces of loose change contained inside. “The panhandlers are so aggressive, they follow the customers from their cars, right into the store,” said owner Petra Haus. The Wellness Centre concept was part of yet another study called “Smart Growth on the Ground” (cost between $400,000 and $600,000), which, along with the mayor’s Task Force, was the latest exercise in social engineering on how to save our downtown. Everything’s the truth, the whole thing’s a lie. While the civil servants at City Hall and the consultants do their studies, and the mayor, fellow councillors and the members of his Taskless Force talk, the people who pay the bills, and who elected them, suffer. We need action on the downtown now. We have become the refugee centre for northern B.C. for the poor, dispossessed and drug-addicted, and all the social ills that go with it. As Ted Moffat remarked, “We’ve had them long enough, it’s someone else’s turn.” We couldn’t agree more.

This letter outlines the bones of debate that's been going on for many years in Prince George - at least for the 10 years + that I have been hanging around this city . . . on the one hand the supposed "bleeding hearts" that would advocate for these people & try to bring about improvements to their lives, on the other hand the "rednecks" who would like them all rounded up and taken somewhere, anywhere, to be out of sight. . . more on this later (guess it is pretty easy to see which side of the debate I fall on. . . ok, I guess "social worker" kind of gives me away), but I do have some thoughts about these people.

I do not get the point of this new law the BC government is planning to implement to get people off the streets - in my view it would easily be challenged pursuant to the Charter so I am not sure where the BC Attorney General's advice is in all of this. . . reactive politics trumping reason. Already we have the Mental Health Act and Adult Guardianship Act which permit removal of persons who are constituting a risk to themselves or others & are cognitively vulnerable. The problem is though sometime the supporting infrastructure, resources and police knowledge of the laws - especially the Adult Guardianship Act - are really lacking. . . Now we are going to have yet another law (which will likely violate people's Charter rights) layered on top of these laws that are not even being used as effectively as they could be? What a waste. . .

So what am I saying?
There is a lot to be said about rights. They are something to be appreciated.
They are fragile indeed. We have to believe in rights as a starting point, that they are something worth believing in & expecting.