“It’s appalling that a province known for its natural beauty is one of the country’s top supporters of the fossil fuel industry.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 25, 2019
CAMPBELL RIVER, Kwakwaka’wakw territory – A public event on forestry was cancelled with short notice by the City of Campbell River and the RCMP last night and the organizers, Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC, are looking for answers.
The groups had organized to present about forests and climate change at the Campbell River Community Centre. Because of recent curtailments and the ongoing Western Forest Products strike, the organizations decided on Monday morning to forgo their planned presentation and host an open community discussion instead. Just two hours before the event, the City of Campbell River notified the groups that the City and the RCMP had decided to cancel it for “public safety reasons” and “the high risk of emotionally charged behaviours.”
“We’re extremely disappointed about the way things unfolded last night,” said National Campaign Director Torrance Coste for the Wilderness Committee. “These public meetings are always charged and emotional, but these conversations are critical to create dialogue and build common understanding.”
Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC host events all over Vancouver Island, with last nights’ town hall set to be their third public meeting in the last two years at the Campbell River Community Centre.
“It sets a dangerous precedent to shut down a public dialogue about important community issues,” said Mark Worthing, Climate and Conservation Campaigner with Sierra Club BC. “Both the City and the RCMP need to explain the basis on which they cancelled the event. Or do we want free expression and dialogue to be suppressed just because there’s disagreement about charged issues? We must always choose dialogue.”
The two groups are calling on the City of Campbell River to issue a statement explaining why they cancelled the event. The groups also intend to work with the City and with forest industry representatives to reschedule and hold a community dialogue about forestry issues in the future.
National Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee
Climate and Conservation Campaigner, Sierra Club BC
In response to Locked In and Losing Out, a report released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) on how fossil fuel subsidies are undermining B.C.’s efforts on climate change, Sierra Club BC released the following statement from campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 25, 2019
“It’s dangerously misleading that a province trying to be a leader in addressing climate change is still one of the country’s top supporters of the fossil fuel industry.
“We’ve applauded the B.C. government for introducing CleanBC and the Climate Change Accountability Act as crucial, much-needed steps to address the climate crisis. But without ensuring the legislation includes regular reviews to bring B.C.’s climate targets in line with the science, and without shifting subsidies away from fossil fuels, B.C.’s actions will lock families into facing even worse climate risks.
“For B.C. residents and sectors of the economy who are working hard to reduce their carbon footprints, it’s dangerous and unfair of their government to be giving massive handouts to fracking and LNG companies that expand fossil fuels and add fuel to the fire of climate change. These subsidies undermine B.C.’s ability to meet climate targets, put B.C. communities at risk of worsening climate impacts, and must end.
“The risks are real. In July, the B.C. government’s preliminary climate risk assessment report showed that we’re at high risk of severe wildfire seasons, seasonal water shortages, heat waves, ocean acidification, glacier loss and long term water shortage. It spoke of ‘catastrophic’ economic consequences, loss of life and loss of social cohesion.
“We can and must expect our government to shift subsidies away from fossil fuel production and instead invest in a just transition to a clean, renewable energy economy so we can have a safe and healthy future for all.
“Sierra Club BC supports the recommendations of IISD to review and make available all data related to subsidies, create an action plan to phase out subsidies, coordinate with the Government of Canada as it reviews federal fossil fuel subsidies, and ensure no new fossil fuel subsidies are created.”
International Institute for Sustainable Development report, Locked In and Losing Out: https://www.iisd.org/library/locked-in-losing-out
Campaigns Director, Sierra Club BC
Photo: Leila Darwish
Last spring was Emily’s first time on a front line as she joined the movement to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Moments of connection with people Emily met at the Watch House in Burnaby have stuck with her, even with people she only knew for a few minutes. This is a comic about some of those moments, as we might be entering another construction season.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 25, 2019
Legislation introduced today by the B.C. government confirms multi-billion dollar giveaways to foreign multinationals that make it impossible to meet meaningful climate targets, said Sierra Club BC today.
“Why is our government spending billions to subsidize fossil fuel corporations when the resulting extreme weather will put B.C. communities at risk of increasing wildfires and drought, and rob our young people of a livable future?” asked Sierra Club BC’s campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon. “We have just eleven years to limit climate pollution and defend our life support systems, yet instead of doubling down on the energy efficiency retrofits and public transportation infrastructure needed to fulfill the important CleanBC program, this government is throwing fuel on the flames of the climate crisis.”
The B.C. government’s legislation helps enable more than $5 billion in subsidies to the foreign-owned LNG Canada conglomerate. These include subsidized electricity rates, exemption from PST during construction, elimination of the LNG income tax, and a future tax credit once production begins.
“This massive giveaway can’t be squared with the provincial government’s commitment to reducing climate pollution,” said Vernon. “It’s like digging a hole and trying to fill it at the same time. There is nothing ‘clean’ about fracked gas, and we could be creating more jobs and security for our communities by investing in green renewable energy instead.”
The world remains on a path to more than 3°C of warming, which would be catastrophic. Severe climate impacts are becoming an increasing fact of life in B.C., from record breaking wildfire seasons to droughts and flooding. In March of this year, temperature records were broken across the province, and Vancouver Island is experiencing low water levels more typical of those usually recorded in August.
B.C.’s carbon pollution has continued to rise, increasing 1.5 per cent in 2016, according to figures quietly released by the Province in December.
The CleanBC strategy, announced last fall, is a plan to get to 75% of B.C.’s current climate pollution targets. As such, it is a major step forward in the race to combat the climate crisis and secure a better future for British Columbians, although it will not reduce carbon pollution as much or as fast as the climate science tells us is needed.
“B.C. communities need to be given the tools to adapt to increasing extreme weather events, secure in the knowledge their governments are doing everything in their power to reduce climate threats,” said Vernon. “We need clear-eyed, practical policies to build resilience and hope for a livable future, not obscene giveaways to fossil fuel multinationals that are making things worse.”
Sierra Club BC
By Mark Worthing, Climate and Conservation Campaigner
From Ex-Enron executives convincing the federal government to buy a leaky tar sands pipeline to SNC-Lavalin lawyers doing Indigenous consultation for the federal government, the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers is a story of corporate influence over governments, review processes and the public interest.
After turning a blind eye to the climate change impacts of Trans Mountain, the National Energy Board made a remarkable admission about the impacts of TMX on endangered southern resident orcas in its Reconsideration Report released February 22.
In short, just like in their original review of the project three years ago, the NEB admitted that the project’s oil tankers would have “significant adverse effects” on the orcas, but that they decided expanding a tar sands pipeline was more important.
Yes, you are understanding that right – the National Energy Board thinks pipelines are more important than the potential extinction of orcas.
This round of review was so problematic, inadequately scoped, rushed, and inherently compromised by the obvious bias of the federal government that it has set itself up for inevitable legal appeals.
At the same time this half-baked attempt at public review has attempted to give Trans Mountain a second rubber stamp, the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal has broken Trudeau’s cabinet into pieces.
And guess who the federal government appointed as the special envoy for discussions with First Nations regarding the pipeline? None other than the lawyer for SNC-Lavalin, Frank Iacobucci.
Would you trust SNC-Lavalin’s lawyer to handle consultation with First Nations for the federal government while the government is pushing hard for a tar sands pipeline?
That’s how I feel too.
You can almost hear the Kinder Morgan executives laughing from Texas.
So, what’s next?
On the near horizon are the constitutional challenges and referrals in the provincial tit-for-tat game between Alberta and BC.
The outstanding question is this: does a province have the constitutional right to regulate and limit certain substances that are harmful to human health and the environment if this creates implications for the economic prospects of another province?
The BC government has filed a reference case in BC Supreme Court to answer the question of whether the government can limit the transportation of dangerous substances like diluted bitumen across the province. BC’s reference case begins March 18 and could yield a ruling anytime this spring or summer.
But in a desperate attempt to protect the tar sands industry, the Alberta government has retaliated by bringing in legislation that could limit fuel exports to BC. While BC has already attempted to challenge this legislation, a Calgary court has ruled that the legislation can only be challenged if and when it is enforced. Should Alberta enact limitations on fuel exports to BC, this would likely be unconstitutional.
Curiously, however – in a move that contradicts its public stance against Trans Mountain – the BC government is actually fighting the Squamish Nation in court to uphold BC’s Environmental Assessment Certificate and Equivalency Agreement with the NEB. This is despite the project’s approval being quashed in court last year after the original NEB report was found to be too deeply flawed.
So, while Premier Horgan is throwing high-fives with Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and together stating publicly they are opposed to TMX, behind courtroom doors they are defending the provincial certificates granted to Trans Mountain during the Christy Clark era.
In short, the government is leaning on their public communications to garner support and influence popular opinion, but they aren’t using all the tools in their toolbox to fight this pipeline.
That’s why—while we stand ready for another possible round of Pull Together to support Indigenous legal challenges—we’re asking the BC government to stop fighting the Squamish Nation and re-do an environmental review of the project under a new process the public can trust. And we ask you to do the same.