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The federal government committed to support businesses and individuals through this pandemic. We will see investment in a child-care program, standards for seniors care, a disability benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, and initiatives in the areas of homelessness; and support for working women, migrant workers, Indigenous people, and racial minorities. COVID-19 has exposed a lot of problems that are not new. We need to ask ourselves, “Did this Speech from the Throne address the problems while embracing a Green New Deal and Just Recovery?”


Sadly, not.  There was little new commitment to take action on climate change and the environment.   CCPA quoted from Seth Klein’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency, that we must adopt an emergency mindset. 

 They also say that the speech “fell far short of expectations for a bold, just and green recovery - and is silent on the billions of dollars this government is spending on fossil fuel subsidies and the Trans Mountain pipeline.”  The bottom line is that we hoped to see more green initiatives at the federal level. 


The speech also failed to address a guaranteed base income. And its proposed measures are largely downstream measures, rather than investing in the root causes of, for example, incarceration for racialized and Indigenous peoples. The vulnerability of migrant workers is another issue and you can learn more on the  Together For Full & Permanent Immigration Status For All campaign. We are also falling short to support a resilient public health care system that includes funding to address the opioid crisis, a mental health crisis, and ongoing climate emergencies. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, worsened poverty, and we are more vulnerable by the economic shocks of COVID-19.  


We need a stronger commitment towards a Just Recovery at all levels of government.  We are now entering the provincial election campaign and have an opportunity to ask our candidates some hard questions and vote for representatives that commit to helping us weather the pandemic and ensure a just recovery. 


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We’ve come to a fork in the road. We need to decide if we are an ‘oil country’ or a ‘country of nature?’ Do we want the previous status quo, with its now-obvious holes in our health and social well-being nets, and its trajectory towards climate catastrophe? Or do we want to “build back better” in ways that fight climate change, inequality & injustice?


We talk about  building a healthier, fairer, greener province based on a clean economy. We want to support strong climate and clean energy policies needed to build a resilient economy. We know the projects generated from a clean energy framework can put people to work in safe, healthy, well-paid jobs. We understand that a green recovery is a  just recovery and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. 


The Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force is scheduled to release its findings from the 6 week public consultation process this month. The report aims to provide recommendations on how the $1.5 billion fund set aside for recovery spending will be deployed.  A member of the task force,  The BC Federation of Labour, submitted, “We must make up for lost time in addressing the climate crisis, with an accelerated and inclusive path to a green economy. The global collapse of oil prices is only the latest drastic swing in the fossil fuel economy — and one more sign that a sustainable future must rely on a swift transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.” They continue by saying, “We must look beyond economic indicators to human outcomes — our goal entails nothing less than the end of poverty, homelessness and other inequities. And it goes deeper: a meaningful connection to the communities they live and work in and with — even in times of crisis, with no exceptions.” Reading submissions like those of the BC Federation makes it sound hopeful that the BC Economic  Recovery Plan will support a Green New Deal. 

At the same time, however, we continue to invest in fossil fuel projects. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, owned by the Canadian Government, continues to be built despite knowing there is no longer a market in Asia or in the US to sell the gas; that we publicly committed  to climate action in the Paris Agreement; we have a flawed consultation process with Indigenous communities; a  failure to consider the risks posed by increased tanker traffic; ongoing protests and other concerns.  We know that the BC Recovery Plan Task Force is represented in favour of heavy industrial business and is  lobbying to have their projects be financially supported through the Plan.  

The Report
is scheduled to be released this month.  Let’s see how well the  recommendations reflect the importance of workplace safety, strong public services, and our collective responsibility to take care of each other. We have the chance to address those gaps, and to do much more. We can build back better than before.

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The plastic pandemic is getting worse during COVID. The city of Vancouver’s and the local Farmers Market, as examples, have put on hold their initiatives on the phasing out of single use plastics. 


While single-use items have helped in our fight against COVID for safety especially for our front-line workers, helped us maintain our physical distancing, and supported society during COVID, will we see their increase in use and availability become more permanent?  Single-use items that have increased lately include masks, gloves, coffee cups, packaging for take-out food orders, and shopping bags -  even at the farmers markets. If we are not careful, our short-term thinking during the pandemic could lead to an even larger environmental and public-health calamity in the future.


There are a number of alternatives and plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from COVID. For example, let’s all wear reusable masks and swap latex gloves for more frequent hand washing. There are many ways to reduce our plastic waste that include: 

  • Use a reusable shopping bag. Ask us for a CCEC bag, you can make your own or buy one from a local business. Be sure to wash them often, even after each use. Keep one in your pockets, panniers and bags so you have one when you go out.

  • Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic. 

  • Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.

  • Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins.  As part of our Restart, the bulk-bins are available and fill a reusable bag or container. 

  • Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. 

  • Don't use plastic ware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.

  • Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It's healthier and better for the environment.

  • Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.

  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.

  • Use a razor with replaceable blades and biodegradable toothbrushes.  

At CCEC, we don’t use plastic and are limiting our handling of paper.  We encourage our members to switch to paperless statements and bank online.  We want to promote our members' activities and ask you to send us information we can post on our social media channels, monthly newsletter, website, banners, as a featured member and for our in branch bulletin boards.  Please do not leave literature on our counters. 

Be sure to ask us for a CCEC Shopping Bag. They fold into a small pouch and are easy to have with you. 

Let’s get in the habit of being ‘plastic-free’ every day.  Share with us your stories, challenges and successes in kicking the plastic habit.  

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We are in the same storm, not the same boat.

As we are in Phase 2 restarting, we ask ourselves: What do we want our community to look like? What did we learn from our time of self-isolation? What will be our economy?

At CCEC, we support a just recovery for all. We agree that now is the time to move forward with innovative, progressive recovery and rebuilding plans with a strong focus on social spending. Now is the time to invest in rebuilding our communities and cities based on care and compassion.

We cannot go back to the way things were. We are seeing the results of chronic underinvestment and inaction in the face of the ongoing, pre-existing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, ecological degradation, and climate change. We see that the people most impacted by the inequities are those living in poverty, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), racialized, newcomer and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people with disabilities, and seniors. We are seeing that the situation is forcing governments and civil society to face the inadequacies and inequities of our systems. There is no going back as “normal” caused our current situation and problems.

The recently formed Just Recovery Canada, an informal alliance of more than 150 civil society groups, have released “Six Principles for a Just Recovery.” The principles ask that all recovery plans being created by governments and civil society:

  1. put people’s health and wellbeing first;
  2. strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people;
  3. prioritize the needs of workers and communities;
  4. build resilience to prevent future crises;
  5. build solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and
  6. uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous people.

The principles aim to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind.

 

Now is the time to get involved and fight for a Just Recovery. We need to be on the path toward an equitable and sustainable future. 

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“This is not a return to normal … we’re going to a new normal," said Premier John Horgan.


But what does “a new normal”  look like for you? 


Dogwood BC says, “It marks the beginning of our next big test. Will we seize this opportunity to rebuild a more resilient province — or rush back to business as usual?” They ask you to help shape this essential public conversation by sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or through their webpage.


Dogwood BC also says that in BC, “normal” was failing to meet our climate targets. “Normal” was Indigenous and rural communities with no economic opportunities. “Normal” was housing, homelessness and addiction crises in our cities. “Normal” was a wildly inequitable distribution of wealth and power in our province. Let’s not go back to “normal”. 

The province has set aside $1.5 billion to get our economy back on its feet again as we transition out of the pandemic. ‘There’s a huge opportunity for very important economic growth and economic benefits to be invested in greening our economy, in energy efficiency,’ says interim Green Leader Adam Olsen.

But, the Premier’s task force in charge includes big business and unions, but not green groups.

Our members say:  

Advocating for a "hard hat" or "shovel ready" recovery is grabbing the wrong end of the stick. We  need to see retraining and placement programs at an unprecedented scale, with gender equity outcomes far beyond anything anyone's achieved in any economic recovery I've heard about.

The recovery plan MUST include:

  • clean energy development - lots of new jobs there!

  • fossil fuel use reduction

  • remove subsidies to fossil fuels - stop investment in dying industries

  • develop local power grids like solar roofs and wind power (there are bird friendly windmills already developed)

  • invest in green transportation like public transit and safe bikeways

BC Transit needs to establish a province-wide public bus company that uses as much electric power as possible.  Many communities in BC cannot be reached by bus…forcing people to drive their cars, if they have them, are agile enough and can afford to drive.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to invest these precious public dollars into projects that build the kind of B.C. we all want to live in.  We need to be louder. Spark a conversation in your community about what our province should look like as the economy powers up again.  

Get involved. We need a Green New Deal, a CleanBC and a Way Forward. 

Like and follow groups including DogwoodBC, Wilderness Committee, and  STAND.earth


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There are 19 proposed actions in the City’s five-year Climate Emergency Action Plan.  In 2019 Council declared a Climate Emergency and have now rolled out their proposed targets and actions for dealing with the emergency.  They ask for your feedback by completing their online survey,  attending a dialogue or hosting a dialogue.   The City has created a Dialogue kit that you can download that has instructions, tips, and discussion prompts. The categories they are exploring with Actions are “How We Move” and “How We Build/Renovate”.  The deadline is April 22 to gather your input for the plan that will go to Council in October 2020. 


Another climate change dialogue project is Cool 'Hood Champs: A workshop to teach local climate action.  Hosted by the CALP (Collaborative for Advanced  Landscape Planning), the workshop provides hands-on training for community members interested in bringing positive climate action to their neighbourhoods. There are three workshop dates to choose from. 


The Neighbourhood Small Grant program is accepting applications for small projects (up to $500) that help connect and engage us with our neighbours.  Applying for their Greenest City Grant to host a neighbourhood conversation on climate action using the materials from the City or at the Cool ‘Hood Champs would be a good idea. 


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“Keystone pipeline shut after spilling 1.4 million litres of oil” reads a headline on October 31, 2019. Did you know that our pipeline, Coastal GasLink, is a project of the same corporation funding the Keystone XL and Energy East Pipeline projects?  All pipeline projects are wrong for many reasons and today, we are asking our members to support our members the Unist’ot’en Brigade Society, the Mountain Protectors, the Wilderness Committee and other groups saying, NO to all pipelines. 

How can you get involved?

The Unist’ot’en Brigade Society, wants your help to get the story out to the larger public.  They released, INVASION, an 18 minute powerful film that covers many of the events of the last year.  They want you to share with friends and host a screening in your community!  

Their press release says, “In this era of "reconciliation", Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is a new film about the Unist'ot'en Camp, Gidimt'en checkpoint, and the larger Wet'suwet'en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against indigenous people.”

Join a conversation and tea to learn more. 

November 13th from  7pm - 8:30pm at Kafka's,  2525 Main Street,

you can meet a couple of  Unist’ot’en Brigade Society supporters. They can also let you know more about volunteering  at the Unist'ot'en Camp. 

INVASION the film

Simply download the film here, make a Facebook event using this graphic, and download and print the poster designed by Gord Hill. You can host anywhere from a living room to a local theater.

Email robertages@telus.net for any help you need organizing an event or if you have any questions.  Their website has resources to help as well.

Join the “We Support the Unist’ot’en and the Wet’suwet’en Grassroots Movement” facebook grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/SupportWetsuweten/about/ 

The  hereditary chiefs have spoken, “NO to all pipelines.”  At CCEC, we stand in support and are asking our members to also support the Indigenous movements for self-determination.

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As an intervenor on the NEB process, CCEC stands in support of our members saying NO to the pipeline.  Here is what some of our members have to say.

“It’s ridiculous! The economic case for this pipeline is from 2012,” said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “How can you argue these impacts are justified at all, let alone based on a dying industry doomed to fail.”

Ian Marcuse, Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network says, "The NEB decision is deeply troubling. The loss of species and food sources for indigenous communities speaks to the economic, corporate interests prioritizing over environmental and cultural well-being.”

The Mountain Protectors say, “We are outraged and utterly disappointed by the NEB’s decision to prioritize profit for a fossil fuel corporation above the health and well-being of all people, the land, the ocean and all life that depends on the health of the land.  The NEB decision endangers our long-term well-being by pushing to destabilize the climate when we urgently need to transition to renewable energies.”

Dawn Morrison, with the Wild Salmon Caravan and chair of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty says, “The NEB structures and processes are one glaring example of how the system is failing in its ability to implement collectively held Indigenous title and rights and Free and Prior Informed Consent, and adequately assess the 1).inter-generational equity of both present and future generations in decision making matters impacting the broader ecological, cultural and temporal scope and scale of Indigenous land and food systems, and 2) assess cumulative impacts to our climate and complex system of Indigenous biodiversity and cultural heritage.”

So, what happens next?  The federal cabinet will mull over the NEB’s report, and continue consultations with Indigenous communities, before they make a decision on whether on not to proceed with building the Trans Mountain expansion. With 5.4 billion dollars sunk into purchasing the pipeline, most likely the government is going to green light the project.

Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee continues by saying, “It’s a travesty Trans Mountain has never, and likely will never, receive a proper, thorough environmental assessment.  We will continue to stand behind Indigenous nations that have never consented to this project.”

Dawn Morrison’s final words on their press release says, “STOP the Trans Mountain Pipeline that is threatening the health and integrity of Indigenous social and ecological systems for the benefit of all!”

While the report found that the project would have "adverse effects on southern resident killer whales" and that greenhouse gas emissions from tankers would be 'significant', they approved it anyway. Today’s announcement is bad news for all of us who support Indigenous rights, understand climate change is real, and are committed to making sure Trans Mountain never gets built at all.

For more information like and follow these groups:

Wilderness Committee

 Mountain Protectors

Stop KM Legal Defense Fund

Wild Salmon Caravan

Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Read the NEB Report here.

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The Yarrow Eco Village released photos and other details on the loss of salmon spawning grounds in the Upper Fraser. The issues are well set out in the Huffington Post article.  The pipeline croossing of a local salmon bearing stream had gravel beds 're-installed', but they have been eroded quickly, leaving no suitable terrain for the fish to lay eggs. .  

Yarrow Eco Village (a CCEC member) was one of several intervenors at the National Energy Board, and this environmental damage was just one of the issues raised as a concern in the review process.  The review process that was found to be inadequate by the courts subsequently.  

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Image result for yellow vestsSeveral stories in the news feature angry gripes and protests.  Too often the superficial issues get the attention - a carbon tax, a luxury home tax or a pipeline.  Councillor Christine Boyle is represented in a recent piece properly identifying 'inequality', growing inequality, as the key issue.  She is right.

The BC government taxes are an attempt to re-balance taxation, but those who have homes valued in excess of $3M cry out that they are 'victims'. Entitlements, such as those we have given to homeowners and which benefit those at the upper end very handsomely, will not be given up easily.  We need to shine a light on these entrenched economic advantages if we are serious about egalitarianism,  

Many in the 'yellow vest' protests in Paris express their discontentment as added tax burdens are placed on ordinary people.  This is the core sentiment communicated by individuals on the street.  The street, in this case the Champs Élysées, is a venue for conspicuous consumption for the very wealthy, who are obviously distressed, not that the rabble are rising, but that their limo's may need to go elsewhere.  

And then we have the climate conference in Poland, where again rich nations delay action.  A sense of entitlement reigns. The recent IPCC report raised alarm, saying that warming is advancing faster than foreseen.  The BC government issued a new Climate Change Plan, but just as with the Canadian government initiatives to date, the actions are to little and even contradictory.  Vested interests, moneyed interests, such as the oil and gas industry, are not only 'entitled' but well integrated into the political apparatus that we have created. 

The discontentment that is growing may have dramatic implications.  Many, such as Chris Hedges, champion local community organizations as the key counter force to large scale capitalist machinations. 

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