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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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Indigenous fisher peoples in Canada are busy mobilizing knowledge and networks to celebrate the spirit of wild salmon and revitalize the inter-tribal networks where the strength of Indigenous fisheries governance can be realized more fully. The Wild Salmon Caravan is led by the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and is entering into its 5th year of public arts-based engagement through a series of events that calls on the Rainbow Coalitions “People of all Colors”, to come together to address the systemic injustices that are killing wild salmon, our most important Indigenous food and cultural and ecological keystone species.  

Following the theme of Rainbow Warriors, this year’s caravan will feature over 20 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) artists. Each artist will be featured on the Wild Salmon Caravan website and facebook page from September 15 to October 4th. 

WSC Sept 19 Event

 On September 19th, the caravan will lead a ceremonial procession with Indigenous fisher peoples and knowledge holders, as well as artists who are calling for a just transition out of an unjust system of fisheries research, policy, planning and governance that has led to the decline of the wild salmon and their habitat since the time of colonization. The procession and program will begin at False Creek near Science World. Following strict COVID-19 safe protocols the caravan will proceed to Tent City at Strathcona Park where the WGIFS holds an artist’s residency. On Sunday September 20, the WSC will host a panel discussion with 4 well known Indigenous thought leaders, Marilyn Baptiste (Tsilhqot’in), Darrell Bob (St’at’imc), Eli Enns (Nuu chah nulth), and Peter Oewies from an Indigenous fishing village in Doringbai South Africa. 

 As we enter 2020, wild salmon and Indigenous Peoples who rely upon them for sustenance are facing a complex, tangled web of existential crises defined by the climate crisis, capitalism and colonial rule. The Indigenous lens is ever more critical to understanding the interwoven strategies needed to dismantle the destructive paradigms, structures and processes of colonial policy, planning and governance that have led to the demise of wild salmon, and look to Indigenous fisher peoples for leadership to reconceptualize a framework for coastal and inland fisheries and regenerative life-giving economy.  

As Stó:lõ Elder and President of the Wild Salmon Defender’s Alliance, Eddie Gardner says “if wild salmon goes, we go. Both Eddie and Dawn Morrison, Founder/Curator of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, have been quoted as saying: “It is our sacred responsibility to return to our original instructions as Indigenous Peoples to uphold our responsibility to our sacred trusts of land, water, plants and animals that have provided us with our food for thousands of years”. 

“In a similar spirit as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela who organized for a post-apartheid South Africa; and the African American Black - led Rainbow Coalitions of the 1960’s, we call on all people to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples on the front lines of stopping widespread destruction to wild salmon and their habitat in our forests, fields and waterways. We urge you to ‘swim with us’ and join the diverse and powerful alliances forming to save wild salmon - aligned with the principles of Indigenous Food Sovereignty and social justice” stated Morrison”.

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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 have an opportunity to build back better. We need a recovery map that fixes the systemic inequalities that are embedded  in our communities. 

It is tempting to want to return to the status quo pre-Covid, but that cannot happen.  There were too many crises raging that will worsen if nothing is done.  For example, last month Vancouver recorded our highest number of opioid related deaths.  Income inequality, an inadequate social safety net and climate change are just three of the crises that must be addressed. 

We have an opportunity to redesign our economic programs, social infrastructure and public services to build an inclusive, fairer and more resilient economy. During Covid we learned that we need to invest in our workers, our shared prosperity and to have economic justice for historically marginalized groups. 

We can all agree that out of Covid, we are more aware of care and compassion.  Dr. Henry’s words, “Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Calm”  resonated with us. 

CCEC was formed in 1976 by groups who were unable to access financial services through banks and other credit unions. We continue working to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services.  

We encourage our members to get involved, speak up and be part of shaping our community economic development.  For example,  @JustRecovery and the #BuildBackBetter campaigns.  Share your stories with us.


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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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“Many of today's greatest challenges are global and they can only be solved when we work together. That is why Canada stands united with its German, French, and Japanese friends,” says Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.  She continues by saying, “We face the most turbulent moment in terms of the rules-based international order since WW2.”

#MultilateralismMatters   #AllianceOfMultilateralists 

COVID-19 was a wake-up call for multilateralism. The virus doesn’t recognize borders. We need strong global cooperation and solidarity to fight COVID-19. Containing and countering this pandemic calls for a co-operative, transparent, science-based and coordinated global response. Only by building a more sustainable and resilient world through enhanced international cooperation can we overcome this threat to humanity.

Multilateralism is founded on respect for international law as the only reliable guarantee for international stability and peace and that the challenges we are facing can only be solved through cooperation. It aims to bring together willing partners who can express themselves and take action.

The initiative is organized around three goals:

  • 1) compensating for the insufficient involvement of States and defending fundamental standards;
  • 2) reforming and modernizing the international institutions compared with the status quo;
  • 3) driving strong initiatives, particularly where governance is absent or insufficient.

Other initiatives will continue to develop that include human rights, international humanitarian law, cyberspace, future technologies, disarmament and arms control, global public goods and strengthening international institutions.

As we strive to “recover better”, the Alliance’s roadmap is the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

We encourage our members to support a  Green New Deal, say no to pipelines and fossil fuel, stand up for Indigenous sovereignty and rights.  This crisis has created opportunities
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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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Businesses that manufacture, import and sell products need to be responsible for the waste they generate. They need to be accountable for their products beyond selling them and change their manufacturing process “to design out waste and keep products and materials in use”.  Businesses need to use less plastic and stop producing single-use items. This shift in responsibility and accountability from consumer to business also entails recognizing the Circular Economy. 


Currently, Coca-Cola is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste. In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic. Nestlé is third in the list of top plastic polluters globally as 98% of their products are sold in single-use packaging. There are hundreds of multinational brands contributing to plastic pollution across the globe.


Did you know that seventy-nine percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled?  Our consumption of packaging and single-use items has a real impact on climate change: just under 30 percent of our greenhouse gases come from the way we make, consume, and dispose of stuff.  We know that compostables don’t outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits, and biodegradable packaging is even worse. We are overwhelmed with the quantity of  waste we cannot process. Our single-use culture needs to change and the solution is not in recycling. 


We need a solution that will have a positive impact on the environment and mitigate climate change.  Tell Us Yours! One strategy is a program called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR’s push the manufacturers and retailers to contribute to the cost of collecting and reusing their products.  Businesses can introduce take-back programs or arrange waste collection and drop-off points, so the products can be re-purposed and re-introduced for another manufacturing process.


Adopting the Circular Economy model, we can design stuff better to last longer; food chains and toy makers can make better quality goods; producers can use fewer raw materials; waste can be made a resource; excess can be discouraged in schools and homes; we can shop hyper-locally and at secondhand shops, where, in an ecologically literate world, should be seen as pioneers of a new kind of socially aware consumerism.  


Vancouver has a plastic ban bylaw and a single-use-item reduction strategy as action to support their Zero-Waste 2040 Goal.  Over the next year we will see changes in the food industry as we ban styrofoam, plastic straws and plastic shopping bags. These are great steps and we need to do more. 


Let’s work towards a circular economic model and invest and shop locally, avoid buying products from the plastic polluters and advocate for increased manufacturer responsibility to avoid waste.

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