Local chapter disappointed with federal government pipeline approval


November 29, 2016

For Immediate Release


The Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council of Canadians wishes to respond with grave disappointment to Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement today (November 29/16) of the approval of 2 pipeline projects in Canada.

When this government was elected, we, along with many other Canadians, regarded them with cautious optimism, waiting to see which of their many election promises they would keep.  Today, they have disappointed and angered us with the cabinet approval of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline proposal to carry bitumen from Alberta through Vancouver to the Pacific Ocean, and the approval of Line 3 which is a smaller pipeline to carry Alberta oil to Wisconsin in the USA.

During the election, Mr. Trudeau promised, among other things:

  1. A revamped National Energy Board and a renewed process for reviewing energy proposals.
  2. Climate leadership, to make Canada a climate-positive force in the world;
  3. A new, respectful alliance with indigenous people in Canada, respecting their rights to consultation.
  4. Development which would bring many more new jobs to Canada while guaranteeing Canadians’ health and safety and the environment.

With today’s announcement, Mr. Trudeau has broken every one of those promises.

To quote the youth who marched on Ottawa in October “Climate Leaders Do Not Build Pipelines”.  Since his election, Mr. Trudeau and his Environment and Climate Change Minister have repeatedly used “get our products to market’ almost as a mantra.  Many of us were unable to figure out how this fit with the climate leadership we had been promised both pre-election and in the signing of the Paris agreement.  These pipelines are only needed to allow production in the Tar Sands to expand.  They have sufficient pipeline capacity to carry present production to market now.  This expansion will unleash a whole tidal wave of carbon emissions on the world, in the production of, the shipping of, the refining of, and the burning of this extra amount of very carbon-heavy fossil fuel.

Many indigenous communities from all across the country and particularly in BC have expressed their opposition to pipeline development. This opposition continues to grow: there were more signatories today to the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.

This does not look like a respectful new relationship with indigenous people.

There is a great deal of research which indicates that the investment of money in a green economy, from developing alternative energy sources to better insulating homes to protecting eco-systems, and so on.  Estimates are as high as 15 jobs in a green economy to 1 job in the fossil fuel industry for a comparable investment.  Green economy jobs nor only provide worthwhile employment, they protect the environment and the health and safety of the population.


We are extremely disappointed in these pipeline announcements today, and will continue to struggle against pipeline development and Tar Sands expansion in the days to come.

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Contacts: Ruth Cook



National Canadians’ coverage of local chapter Think Tank

A recent open forum hosted by the Thunder Bay CoC chapter caught the attention of the National Council of Canadians office.

The think tank session featured Dr. Charles Levkoe (Canadian Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Lakehead University).

Chapter activist Ruth Cook tells us, “We had a great meeting, lots of good discussion and I think people learned a lot about food production and distribution, and corporate control of the whole system.” She adds, “There was lots of commitment to local and wild foods, to ensuring poorer people were ensured access to good food (gleaning programs, ‘grow a row for the food bank’, etc).”

Read the full story here.

Upcoming public meeting


For more information call the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers Support Group: 622-8897

People Power Community Think Tank: Who owns your food?

Did you know only 10 multinational corporations own most of the food products we buy? These giant companies have taken over many aspects of our food chain, from the farms where our food is grown to fast food restaurants and supermarkets.

How are these corporations lobbying governments, influencing research, and impacting our health, our local economies and our environment? What can we do about it?

Join the Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council of Canadians, and guests Dr. Charles Levkoe (Canadian Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Lakehead University), and Wilma Mol (Slate River Dairy) in our third Community Think Tank series.

Where: Hammarskjold High School cafeteria, 80 Clarkson Street South

When: Tuesday, October 4th. 7 – 9 pm

Refreshments and snack will be provided



Local chapter organizes edible plant walking tour fundraiser

The Council of Canadians Thunder Bay chapter organized an edible-plant walking tour this summer. In July, The Chronicle-Journal reported, “Will Stolz, an environmental science master’s student at Lakehead University, hosted two-hour walking tours around Boulevard Lake on Saturday [July 23] to identify the many edible plants that grow readily in the area.”

Among the edible plants identified were golden rod, dandelion, clover, berries, wild raspberries, strawberries and pine needles.

The article highlights, “The tours served as a fundraiser for the Council of Canadians, Thunder Bay branch. The council advocates for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care and democracy. Tom Cook, who took part in the afternoon tour, was thrilled to discover wild hazelnuts growing in the green space behind the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. …Stolz says to watch for a think-tank discussion on the corporate ownership of food that will be hosted by the Council of Canadians this September.”

Click here for more information and story. 

Critics concerned about lack of transparency in Saskatchwan oil/diluent spill

In a report from the Globe and Mail:

Last month more than 200,000 litres of oil spilled into the North Saskatchewan River. Officials have praised the company for its financial response to the crisis, but critics are concerned about the lack of transparency, Carrie Tait reports.

Green Rights tour coming to Thunder Bay

On October 24 the Green Rights tour will be coming to Thunder Bay. For the last four years executive producer and host Silver Donald Cameron and his colleagues at www.TheGreenInterview.com have been working on a big multi-media project on environmental rights called GreenRights (www.GreenRights.com).

About the project: The right to breathe. The right to clean water. The right to wholesome food. Air, water, food – these are the sources of life. Without them, we die. And in most nations – more than 180 nations, in fact – citizens are legally entitled to these essential elements of life.
But not in Canada or the United States. And that’s what the Green Rights multi-media project is all about: the human right to a healthy environment, and Mother Nature’s right to be respected and protected. The citizenship of North Americans is hobbled because we don’t have these green rights. Canadians and Americans literally don’t know what they’re missing. So we’re telling the dramatic stories of how citizens use those rights in other countries – and are fighting for them here. Green rights are among humanity’s most powerful tools for protecting and repairing the natural world.

In October, Cameron will be promoting the film and book with his wife, Marjorie Simmons – and her new book – with a trans-continental tour by motorhome. The tour will stop at universities across and be financed by film screenings and guest lectures coupled with book sales.

In Thunder Bay, the tour will include an event or two on campus, potentially a book reading, followed by a screening in the evening.

Click here for more information on the Green Rights project.



Letters needed: B.C. coalition asking for support to save provincial medicare

A British Columbia coalition is asking for the Council of Canadians’ help to send letters to the editor in their local newspaper.  On September 6th, the Province’s medicare is being put on trial in British Columbia, yet most Canadians are unaware.

The British Columbia Health Coalition has a guide for writing a letter to the editor, found here: http://bchealthcoalition.ca/what-you-can-do/save-medicare/save-medicare-resources/letter-editor-resources.


A quick background:

Dr. Brian Day is attempting to dismantle the public health care system in the B.C. Supreme Court with a reckless constitutional challenge aimed at allowing for-profit, US-style delivery of medically necessary services. Dr. Day, better known as “Dr. Profit,” will be making his case starting September 6. Can you join us to defend the principles of universal, accessible and publicly funded health services that support all members of our community, not only those who can afford to pay for-profit fees?

Dr. Day owns the Cambie Surgery Centre, a for-profit clinic in Vancouver. His lawsuit tries to make the claim that government regulations that place limitations on private for-profit medical services are in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But, what Dr. Profit and other health privateers are up to isn’t about real solutions to health care challenges; what Dr. Day really cares about is making more profit for himself.

A court decision supporting the claim could open the door to privatized health care with private insurance companies and market-based pricing for medical services. Many people are familiar with this model, which is burdening U.S. residents with crippling medical bills and outrageously high insurance premiums.

Private clinics increase wait times because they entice doctors, nurses and other health care providers to work outside of the public system. Ultimately this puts pressure on governments to privatize health care. Let’s not let it happen.

Studies show for-profit clinics are less safe and offer poorer quality of care. The clinics also “cherry pick” patients with low risk conditions while leaving the public system to take care of patients with complicated and expensive health needs.

A 2012 audit conducted by the B.C. government found that in one month Dr. Day’s clinic had illegally billed patients nearly $500,000, including $66,734 in overlapping claims where Day billed both the patient and the province.

According to the coalition, the outcome of Dr Day’s court case will determine the future of medicare in B.C. and threatens medicare across Canada. He has launched an aggressive attack on the fundamental principle of our medicare: health care should be provided according to a patient’s need and not their ability to pay.