Canada lobbied U.S. over TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline

Canada’s ambassador to the United States wrote to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall, asking it to disregard greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta oil extraction as it decides whether to support a proposed massive Canadian pipeline to Texas.

As well, one Alberta bureaucrat warned the EPA its greenhouse gas policies could place at risk “the longstanding energy trading relationship between our two jurisdictions.”

The letters, including one from Canadian ambassador Gary Doer to the EPA’s most senior official and copied to Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, reveal an officially polite but tough disagreement over jurisdictional authority and greenhouse gas emissions.

PDF: Click here to read the letters.... Read more »

'Ethical oil' claim misleads

There's nothing ethical about Canada's "ethical oil."

A 2009 Industry Canada report found that 54 per cent of Canada's loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2002 is due to the oil sands boom replacing good, stable employment with short-term construction work in the tar sands and low-wage service sector jobs elsewhere in the economy.

What is ethical about turning the Canadian currency into a booming petrodollar, giving Canada the "Dutch Disease?"

Canada has lost one-third of its post-war gains in value-added (manufactured) exports since 1999/2000, Canadian Auto Workers senior economist Jim Stanford told the Institute for Competiveness and Productivity in 2008.

"The tar sands destroy more jobs than they create," says University of Alberta political economist Gordon Laxer. "They account for about 40 per cent of the increase in the value of the Canadian dollar."... Read more »

Ottawa to curb chemical additive in toys

OTTAWA — The federal government will ban a toxic chemical additive used to make plastic and vinyl soft and flexible in toys and other products for kids and babies.

The new regulations will reduce the amount of six different phthalates, which animal studies have shown to cause reproductive and developmental harm, that can be used in toys to such low levels they will be effectively banned.

“The fact that these chemicals are in some soft vinyl toys is not an immediate health risk, but we are concerned about the long-term effect they could have on a child when the soft vinyl is sucked or chewed, like a bib or a rubber duck,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Research shows that exposure to even low levels of certain phthalates can affect a child’s development and behaviour and that gives us reason to limit the exposure of our children to these chemicals.”... Read more »

Don't count on politicians for coherent energy policy: experts

CALGARY - Politicians aren't going to give Canadians the energy policy they need and want, a panel of experts agreed Monday night, until the public rises up to demand it.

Participants from environmental, political and corporate perspectives disagreed on many of the specifics of a policy that would guide Canada as it adjusts to an energy-hungry and greenhouse-gas-fearing world but agreed that change must come from the grassroots.

"How do you get Canadians to hurry?" asked panellist Preston Manning, chief executive of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. "You don't get it by lecturing them. They'll only change if they have to."

The roundtable, the third in a series of four organized by Corporate Knights, a magazine devoted to clean capitalism, and sponsored by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., was asked to consider the question of how best to manage the transition from a carbon-based to a low-carbon economy.... Read more »

Defenders of endangered species condemn NAFTA review process; call it a ‘sham’

Sierra Club Canada

Media Release, January 17, 2011

OTTAWA — An international coalition of environmental groups has condemned a NAFTA review process after it was made known that the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the so-called watchdog regarding NAFTA environmental matters,  halted an investigation of wrongdoing by Canada.

In 2006, the coalition of environmental groups, which included Sierra Club Canada, formally complained to the CEC that the Canadian government was failing to enforce laws to protect at least 197 at-risk species in Canada. 

A CEC decision released Monday confirmed an investigation should occur, but the scope of the complaint would be reduce to just examine 11 at-risk species.... Read more »

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