Environmental Issue Letters and Responses Archive

This is the letter that I sent from the Sierra Club site that will be sent to:

  • Hon. Christy Clark (Premier of B.C.)

  • Hon. Rich Coleman (Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development)

  • Mr.  Adrian Dix, M.L.A. (Leader of the Opposition)

  • Hon.  Bill Bennett (Minister of Energy and Mines)

Global warming is getting dangerously close to a point of no return. The number of extreme weather events continues to increase, as scientists predicted. In June 2013, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced in the worst flood to hit Calgary and the Kootenays in eastern B.C. in nearly a hundred years. We still have a chance to act – to stop global warming before it becomes unstoppable. The most urgent and immediate action is to stop new fossil fuel projects, such as tar sands pipelines and tankers. I am pleased that the B.C. government has said “no” to Enbridge.  However, to be a climate leader requires an outright rejection of all proposals that would bring tar sands oil to BC’s coast. Far more jobs can be created by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiencies. I urge you to reject all proposals, including both Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, that would bring tar sands oil to BC’s coast and speed up global warming. To give ourselves a fighting chance to prevent the worst impacts of global warming, we must heed the warnings of scientists, the International Energy Agency and the World Bank, and immediately stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as pipelines, tanker terminals, fracking wells and liquid natural gas facilities. At the same time, we must develop a plan to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The impacts of climate change are already being felt by BC families. For a safe and just future, I urge you to develop a plan to move BC to a low-carbon economy.

The following email was the one I sent to said Leaders and the other MLA, and environmentally involved ministers:

Dear Sir/Madame:

The federal budget legislation (Bill C-38) puts our land, water and climate at risk by making enormous changes to Canada’s environmental laws.  It also contains sweeping new powers to limit debate and silence legitimate voices, including those of land owners, First Nations, charities and other Canadians.
As a concerned citizen, I care about nature and democracy, which is why I’m writing you, to express my concern about changing Canada’s environmental and charitable laws without sufficient public input and Parliamentary debate.
I am exercising my right to freedom of speech as a Canadian citizen to voice my opposition to budget legislation (Bill C-38) that attempts to skirt the proper democratic process and undermine existing environmental laws.
Sincerely,
Today I received the following responses:

Thank you for contacting me about the recent Conservative budget and its negative impact on our environment and economy.

As your Official Opposition, I want you to know that we are continuing our work in opposing this Trojan horse budget bill. Next week we will introduce amendments to delete many of the provisions contained within C-38. And, as NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen pointed out, each vote on every amendment will be a confidence vote. A process that could take many hours, if not days. Meaning, if the Conservatives do not have enough MPs available for each and every vote, the budget could be defeated.

In addition, you may be interested to know that we have released a report based on the public hearings we held in May on the budget. The report outlines our efforts to both gather feedback and inform Canadians on the seriousness of this Trojan budget bill. You can read the report by visiting: http://www.ndp.ca/press/new-democrats-release-report-on-c-38-public-hearings.

Clearly, we are dealing with a government that only listens to their lobbyist friends. They are transferring costly environmental clean-ups onto our children and grandchildren and financial debt to future generations. Please know that after carefully studying this massive 425-page bill, we can’t support it.

As a former provincial Environment Minister, I have consistently fought to protect the environment. From taking a tough stand on enforcement of environment laws and regulations to promoting sustainable development throughout Quebec. Today, I am proud to lead a party that is fully committed to these same goals. 

A good opposition not only opposes, but proposes. That is why we called for the Trojan horse budget bill to be split into five sections to ensure MPs can give this legislation the scrutiny it so desperately needs, and that Canadians demand. By refusing our reasonable request, the Conservative government has proven to Canadians that they don’t have the confidence to put their own measures under scrutiny.

I know well that governing is about setting the right priorities. The Conservatives are helping their friends in the oil industry by weakening the environmental assessments process. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has already been plagued with cuts and will now be saddled with the obligation to do more complex reviews, faster, and with fewer resources. This plan jeopardizes not only the environment, but also the health and prosperity of Canadians. Read more here: http://www.ndp.ca/press/gutting-environmental-protection-will-have-serious-consequences-leslie.

It is also troubling that these changes will be applied retroactively to the Northern Gateway project. As Northern BC MP Nathan Cullen has pointed out, the voices of thousands of individuals and groups could be silenced.

For our part, we have been consistent in our call for the government to ban oil tanker traffic on the BC coast. Further to our Party’s earlier motion calling on the government to ban oil tanker traffic on the BC coast, Nathan and fellow NDP MP Fin Donnelly have laid out a legislative proposal for a permanent ban on oil supertanker traffic off the north coast of British Columbia.

We have also put forward ideas to protect the environment, such as the Climate Change Accountability Act, a national public transit strategy, and a plan for Canada to become a world leader in renewable energy. Regrettably, these practical proposals have been ignored by the governing Conservatives.

Going forward, we will continue to push policies promoted during the 2011 election to help achieve a cleaner and healthier environment. You can read more about some of our ideas by visiting:http://www.ndp.ca/platform/tackle-climate-change. I also encourage you to visit our new website, http://www.budget2012.ndp.ca, which allows Canadians to submit their comments on the Conservative Trojan Horse bill. So far, the website has received over 4000 submissions from the public. 

Again, thank you for writing. I encourage you to pass on my response to friends and family who also share your desire for a sustainable environment. 

Sincerely, 

Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)

Leader of the Official Opposition 

New Democratic Party of Canada

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Thank you for voicing your concerns regarding Bill C-38, the omnibus budget implementation bill proposed by the Harper Conservatives. If passed, this Bill will wipe out decades of Canadian environmental law and policy. I share your concerns and am committed to addressing them in the House of Commons. It is an abuse of the democratic process to make sweeping changes in the context of an omnibus budget bill.

 

Close to half of the enormous 425 page Bill C-38 is a direct attack on nature, repealing many Canadian environmental protections. But the Harper Conservatives insist that the Bill is strictly a budget bill. This means that Bill C-38, while undermining the environment, will only be reviewed by the Finance Committee, leaving environmental experts well out of the process.  The Harper Conservatives have further placed time allocation on Bill C-38 to limit debate, so I will likely not be able to speak, and the Bill may be passed by late June. Yet the Bill includes amendments to seventy separate bills, meaning that the opportunity for accountability is being thrown out. The thorough study of each separate amended legislation will be completely foreclosed. 

 

Under Bill C-38, the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act is repealed. The National Round Table on Environment and Economy Act (NRTEE) is also repealed, even though this fundamental process promotes decisions through a wide multi-stakeholder consensus. Environment Minister Peter Kent claims that the NRTEE is no longer necessary because we can use the internet as a substitute. It is absurd to suggest the internet replaces the Round Table.

 

The proposed changes to the Fisheries Act under Bill C-38 represent another devastating decision by the Harper Conservatives that will reverse decades of policy and law. Section 35 (habitat protection) of the Fisheries Act was passed by Parliament in 1976 and is the strongest provision in Canadian environmental law. This provision has been critical to protecting our waterways, forests, and other ecosystems crucial to fish habitat for the past 36 years. Yet Bill C-38 will eliminate legislated protection of fish habitat under Section 35, and completely undermine the Act in favour of industrial development. Only habitat for commercial, recreational, or Aboriginal fisheries will be protected, and even then, habitat can be destroyed by permits. This means that industrial development will go unchecked, enabling the expansion of the tar-sands, and undoubtedly resulting in major destruction to fish habitat throughout Canada.

The Bill includes an agreement in which fisheries management could be moved to the province. Again, this allows the federal government to retreat from environmental protection responsibilities.

In terms of substitution, Bill C-38 repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and replaces it with a new Act. While the Conservative Ministers led people to think the repeal of CEAA was to bring in time limits to reviews, in fact, that is the least of the changes. This new Act guts the environmental assessment process itself. It has replaced a clear process with a muddled and confused regime in which environmental assessment will be severely restricted to narrow studies. This new Act limits the “environmental effects” to be studied to only address the impacts on fish, migratory birds, and marine plants. This means that destroying habitat or killing endangered species outright, in the completion of a project, appears to only be an “environmental effect” if the species is a fish, migratory bird, or marine plant.

 

Moreover, Bill C-38 increases ministerial control in environmental assessment even more heavily. This means that the Minister will now be able to stop the review panel at any time, if the Minister believes the panel is taking too long to complete their work. Plus the detailed rights for public participation have been replaced, simply stating that the public must have an opportunity to participate. This will leave room to exclude the public from important process environmental assessment, especially since the Minister will be granted control to decide when panels should even continue.

 

The new CEAA will allow the National Energy Board (NEB) to emerge as an environmental super agency, with full power to approve the construction of pipelines in navigable waters (amending the Navigable Waters Protection Act), jurisdiction over endangered species in the way of pipelines (amending the Species at Risk Act), and ability to destroy habitat of endangered species (Section 111, p. 120; Section 165, p. 181). 

 

I am committed to preserving effective environmental assessment and protection of sensitive habitats and wild salmon in Canada and will fight to propose amendments to Bill C-38 in the House of Commons to maintain environmental accountability in Canada. I encourage you to continue voicing your concerns over Bill C-38 by speaking with your family, friends and neighbours, by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and contacting your Member of Parliament. As well, I invite you to print and sign my petition against Bill C-38 athttp://budgetdevastation.ca. You can also watch my speech on my MP website athttp://elizabethmaymp.ca/parliament/speeches/2012/05/11/jobs-growth-and-long-term-prosperity-act-bill-c-38-20/.

I applaud your interest and concern, and hope you continue to speak out for the issues that matter to you.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada

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Dear Sir/Madame:

On behalf of Liberal Leader Bob Rae, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your recent email regarding Bill C-38, Stephen Harper’s 425 page budget omnibus bill.

 

The day after this massive bill was introduced the Liberal Party demanded that the Conservative government separate the sweeping environmental changes found in the Budget Implementation Act, so that they can be properly examined and debated by Parliament.  It is good to see that the NDP has finally agreed and is following our lead.

The reality is that the Finance Committee doesn’t have the necessary expertise when it comes to studying complex environmental regulations. The Conservatives are trying to avoid public scrutiny by cramming major environmental changes into a sweeping kitchen sink budget bill, and circumventing necessary Parliamentary oversight.

The Budget Implementation Act amends more than 70 Acts from a wide range of government portfolios.  In the 425-page document, some 150 pages are dedicated to changes related to the environment, particularly to “streamlining” environmental oversight.  The bill repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, and weakens several environmental laws, including laws protecting species at risk and water.  The bill also gives the federal cabinet the authority to approve new pipeline projects and overrule the National Energy Board.

While the Harper Conservatives ram this omnibus budget bill through the House of Commons with little regard for Members of Parliament, Liberals Senators are poised to be, once again, the last line of defence as they conduct a thorough and necessary review of this massive piece of legislation and its impact on the health and safety of Canadians.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Colin McKone

Office of the Liberal Leader

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Dear Eldy,

Thank you for contacting me.  I appreciate hearing your perspective on Bill C-38, but I must say up front that I do support this legislation.  I would like to present a few facts to you about this budget bill, particularly in response to the charge that this bill is unprecedented in terms of its size and the amount of scrutiny devoted to it. 

It has been common practice to include various measures in a budget and the subsequent budget implementation bill.  This is nothing groundbreaking, but simply reflects the central and important role of a budget to a government’s agenda.  Looking back at the last few budget implementation bills, the bill for Budget 2009 was 552 pages long, 2010 was 904 pages, and 2011 was 658 pages.  Each of these were substantially longer than the 452 pages of the current Bill C-38 and, moreover, were introduced during a minority Parliament, yet the Opposition at the time did not raise the size of these bills as an issue.

In terms of Parliamentary oversight, I would simply point out that there was seven full days of debate on the bill at Second Reading alone before being referred to Committee.  This is longer than the average time of debate for a budget bill in at least the last 20 years, and longer than any debate of a Liberal budget under their majority governments.  Furthermore, the Finance Committee and sub-committee’s 50+ hours of planned study will be the longest study of a budget implementation bill in 20 years.  As a member of the Finance Committee, I can certainly assure you that due diligence is being done on this legislation to ensure that it achieves its objectives of promoting the Canadian economy while improving environmental protection.

On that note, a truly viable economy must go hand-in-hand with strong environmental protection, which is why Budget 2012 includes the Responsible Resource Development strategy.  This plan will allow Canada to reap the benefits of rising demand for our abundant natural resources, while ensuring resource development is environmentally sustainable.  In fact, a number of the changes proposed under this plan will actually strengthen rather than weaken environmental regulation.  These new measures include:

•             Focusing environmental assessments on major projects that have greater potential for significant adverse environmental effects, which would include participation by public directly affected;

•             Ensuring that smaller, more routine projects will still be subject to federal and provincial laws, standards and permits, where applicable;

•             For the first time, introducing enforceable environmental assessment decision statements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This means proponents of major projects will have to comply with conditions set out in the decision statements or may face tough financial penalties.  The proposed penalties could range from $100,000 to $400,000;

•             Requiring follow-up programs after all environmental assessments to verify the accuracy of predictions regarding potential environmental effects and to determine if mitigation measures are working as intended;

•             For the first time, providing federal inspectors with authority to examine whether or not conditions set out in an environmental assessment decision statement are met;

•             For the first time, authorizing the use of administrative monetary penalties for violations of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, theNuclear Safety and Control Act, and the National Energy Board Act. They will be designed to address small contraventions quickly so that larger issues do not arise in the future.  The proposed penalties could range from $25,000 to a maximum of $100,000 for the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, and the National Energy Board Act, while the range of penalties under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act will be established through regulations.

•             As a safeguard, providing the Minister of the Environment authority to order an assessment for any project subject to federal jurisdiction;

•             Consolidating responsibility for environmental assessments with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for most projects, as well as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board for projects within their mandates;

•             Increasing the budget of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency so that it can conduct and complete high quality environmental assessments in a timely and predictable way;

•             Providing $13.5 million over 2 years to improve pipeline safety across Canada by enabling the National Energy Board to increase the number of inspections for oil and gas pipelines by 50 percent, from about 100 to 150 per year and double, from 3 to 6, the number of annual comprehensive audits in order to identify safety issues before they occur;

•             Providing funding of $35.7 million over 2 years to further strengthen Canada’s tanker safety regime, including ensuring appropriate legislative and regulatory frameworks related to oil spills and emergency preparedness and response.

•             In certain confined Canadian waterways, tanker operators must take a marine pilot with local knowledge on board before entering a harbour or busy waterway, and in special circumstances, more stringent measures may be taken. This could, under certain circumstances, include requiring two pilots on board oil tankers, escort tugs, additional training standards, and navigational procedures, restrictions and routing measures;

•             New regulations enhancing the tanker inspection regime by strengthening vessel inspection requirements;

•             A review of handling process for oil products by an independent panel of international tanker safety experts;

•             Improved navigational products, such as updated charts for shipping routes;

•             In cooperation with provincial governments, allowing for greater use of regional environmental assessments to identify and address potential regional and cumulative effects, particularly in areas experiencing large-scale developments;

•             Making the conditions of Fisheries Act permits enforceable.  This means proponents will have to comply with conditions set out in the authorizations or face penalties; and

•             Improving compliance and environmental protection by introducing enforceable conditions for permits under the Species at Risk Act. This means that project proponents may face financial penalties if they fail to comply with those conditions.

As a member of the Finance Committee I recently travelled to Washington, D.C., where my colleagues and I met with U.S. officials to discuss the recent economic situation in the U.S. and overseas.  We came away from these meetings with a strengthened sense that Canada needs a long-term plan to ensure prosperity for our nation in years to come, and that is exactly what we are working to achieve with this legislation.

Thank you once again for contacting me.

Sincerely,

Cathy McLeod, M.P.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

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I sent this letter to Terry Lake:

Dear Sir:
Poaching of old growth trees in Provincial Parks is a shocking and unacceptable occurrence. The following actions should be implemented:
-Double the operational budget for BC Parks as recommended by the government-appointed Park Legacy Panel;
-Increase the amount of full time BC park rangers from the current 10 to at least 100 rangers.
-Implement the recommendations of the BC Auditor General to protect the ecological integrity of our park system;
-Strengthen park protection laws to ensure ecological integrity of protected areas is first and foremost; and,
-Reinstate government-funded interpretive programs.

BC parks more than pay for themselves. A report commissioned by the provincial government in 2001 shows that “for each dollar invested by government in our protected area system, there were about $10 in visitor expenditures.” Although provincial parks and protected areas make up almost 14% of the land-base scientists recommend that 40-50% of the land base needs to be safeguarded to retain invaluable ecosystem services, help us fight against climate change and to provide habitat for endangered species such as grizzly bears and badgers.

Please make our Provincial Parks’ a priority, by supporting them with the funding and management recommended by the Auditor General, so they may continue to be places of natural wonder for future generations of British Columbians.

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Dear decision makers,

I’m writing to express my sincere opposition to the Beaver River Hydroelectric Project that is being brought forward by Selkirk Power.

I fully oppose this project and here’s why:

• Adding roads, power lines, human activity and three substantial creek diversions will compromise existing wilderness refuge areas.

• A major effect of run-of-river is the detrimental reduction in flow that results in a loss of habitat for aquatic organisms, including endangered bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

• There are (at least) five known at-risk species living in these drainages that will be impacted: wolverine, grizzly, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, olive-sided fly-catcher.

• Early winter old-growth habitat for mountain caribou will also be impacted.

• Downstream water quality will be negatively impacted and waste rock created during development could lead to acid rock drainage that is toxic to all aquatic life.

• Wild watersheds that are ecologically intact deserve to be protected from run-of-river developments. You cannot mitigate or compensate enough to replicate an ecologically-intact watershed such as Ventego.

• Local decision-making authority has been removed because of Bill 30. I want this bill revoked before any run-of-river projects move forward.

• The Columbia Valley Transmission Line will bring reliable energy to the Town of Golden for at least the next 30 years.

• The Beaver River project is therefore not justifiable due to energy supply issues.

• The potential for socio-economic or environmental benefits coming from these projects does not outweigh the very real, negative impacts they would have.

I sincerely hope the Beaver River Hydroelectric Project does not go forward.

I support a comprehensive and truly green alternative energy strategy for the province of B.C., which is something we do not have in the Clean Energy Act.

I support the implementation of a comprehensive energy conservation program for our province.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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Dear Premier Clark, Minister Thomson, Minister Bell, Assistant Deputy Minister Walters and MLA Norm MacDonald:

I strongly oppose the Jumbo Glacier Resort project because it will be detrimental to the overall grizzly bear population in the Columbia Mountains. I do not believe that the value of more remote, difficult-to-access resort real estate is greater than the value of our Kootenay wilderness and its intact wildlife populations.

I believe that the Jumbo resort proposal is unsustainable and will damage the glaciers, watershed and wildlife of the Jumbo Valley and beyond.

After nearly 20 years, it’s time to make a final decision about this project, and that decision has to be ‘no’.

Please advise me that you have received and noted my comments.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

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Response:

Thank you for your email to the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regarding the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal.
 
After an exhaustive review and consultation process, Minister Thomson approved a Master Development Agreement for the resort on March 20, 2012.  This followed extensive review and consideration of documents and records as per responsibilities of statutory decision making.
 

I encourage you to follow this link to read more:  http://www.gov.bc.ca/for/index.html, Jumbo Decision Press Release.pdf
 
 
 
Sincerely,
Original signed by
 

Gary Townsend Assistant Deputy Minister Integrated Resource Operations
pc:     Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

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I sent the following letter verbatim from that page as it truly reflects my feelings:

Dear Senator Eaton, Members of the Senate, and Members of Parliament,

As a Canadian who cares deeply about the future of our country, I am extremely disappointed by the recent attempts of some senators to silence and demonize those who don’t share their positions.

Some senators have labelled those who raise concerns about environmental degradation as “anti-Canadian” and have questioned the integrity of legitimate Canadian organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation.

I am proud to support Canada’s environmental organizations, which have a long history of protecting biodiversity, promoting public understanding of environmental issues, and providing science-based information to help Canada steward the natural environment on which we all depend for our health and future prosperity.

The Senate is supposed to be a house of sober second thought. As such, we expect more from our senators than uninformed and immature rhetoric that does nothing to further debate about matters of vital national importance.

Like many Canadians, I believe that the issue of relatively small amounts of international funding is a distraction and effort to silence and discredit Canadian organizations that are looking out for the interests of Canada and Canadians.

A democracy functions best when all points of view are considered rationally and carefully, and when our leaders, both elected and appointed, examine the facts before speaking.

As a Canadian who looks to the House of Commons and the Senate for leadership, I ask you to get back to the business of thoughtful debate rather than trying to stifle the voices of millions of Canadians with whom you may not agree.

Sincerely,

This letter was sent to:

  • Senator Nicole Eaton <eatonn@sen.parl.gc.ca>

Cc:

  • Sen. James Cowan – Leader of the Opposition in the Senate <cowanj@sen.parl.gc.ca>,
  • Sen. Grant Mitchell – Senate Liberal Environment Critic <mitchg@sen.parl.gc.ca>,
  • Sen. Marjory LeBreton – Leader of the Government in the Senate <lebrem@sen.parl.gc.ca>
  • The Honourable Cathy McLeod will also be sent this email.

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Responses:

Hello,

Thank you for your email regarding Senator Eaton’s inquiry in the Senate about the funding of environmental organizations.

I have always prioritized climate change issues in my work as a senator and spoke out against this unfair demonization of environmental charities. You can read the speech I delivered to the Senate by clicking here and I encourage you to track this inquiry as other senators contribute their thoughts. Senator James Cowan, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, delivered a tremendous speech last week and it can be read by clicking here.

Conservative senators like Senator Nancy Greene Raine and Senator Bert Brown have recently delivered speeches that question the legitimacy of the science behind climate change. In his own speech about this inquiry, Senator Don Plett (former Conservative Party president) suggested that environmental charities wouldn’t be opposed to taking money from al-Qaeda.

These types of speeches serve only to detract attention from the real issue: this Conservative government is not interested in addressing the effects of climate change and seeks to silence those who have opposing opinions. This much was made clear when this year’s budget included a provision that would grant the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) more money to investigate the source of funding and political involvement of charities, something that was already being done and reported online.

The budget implementation bill is expected to be tabled in the House of Commons by the government when parliament resumes the week of April 23rd. I urge you to contact the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, your Member of Parliament and any members of the Finance Committee, who will be studying this bill, including the provision that will give CRA an additional $8 million to investigate the advocacy work of charities.

Thank you for taking the time to write and getting involved on this issue. We need your help in holding this government to account.

Sincerely,

Grant Mitchell

Senator – Alberta

www.senatorgrantmitchell.ca

Tel. 613-995-4254 ~ Fax. 613-995-4265

Please visit our website, www.liberalsenateforum.ca,

a place where you can offer us your ideas, follow our blogs

and track the work we are doing for all Canadians.

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Thank you for your email about the Inquiry launched by Senator Eaton and other Conservative senators on, in her words, “the involvement of foreign foundations in Canada’s domestic affairs.”

I agree with you.  I am deeply concerned when anyone tries to silence and demonize anyone simply because they disagree with their views.  When it is a campaign apparently orchestrated by members of the Government of Canada, then the concerns are raised to a new, very disturbing level.  And as we learned in the recent Budget, these concerns are evidently well-founded.

Environmental issues are serious.  Like you, I am very proud of the work of Canadian organizations like the Suzuki Foundation and Tides Canada (two of the organizations singled out by Conservative senators). As parliamentarians we should welcome the contributions these organizations make to public policy debates.  I was personally shocked to hear Conservative senators attack them simply because the government disagrees with their conclusions.

What has been said during the course of this Inquiry and what we then learned of the government’s plans in the Budget concern me greatly, and consequently I spoke to Senator Eaton’s Inquiry last week.  A copy of my speech can be found at the following link:

http://www.liberalsenateforum.ca/In-The-Senate/Statement/15902_Involvement-of-Foreign-Foundations-in-Canadas-Domestic-AffairsInquiry

I appreciated having your email as I prepared my remarks, and indeed referred in my speech to the thousands of emails I had received.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to me and to others about this very important matter.

Yours very truly,

James S. Cowan

             Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

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The following is brief letter that I sent through Wildsight to support the final proposed Columbia River boating regulation:

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I support the final proposed Columbia River boating regulation, currently under review by Transport Canada.

I understand the regulation would allow for the historic use of motors of 20hp or less only on the Columbia River between Fairmont Hot Springs and Donald Station, except on Lake Windermere, which would not be affected.

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The following is a copy of the letter that I sent to:

Dear Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Environment, Premier of British Columbia, and Leaders of Opposition Parties,

CC:  Kootenay-Columbia MP, David Wilks and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett,

I strongly urge you to complete the world’s first Peace Park, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, by creating a national park in the lower one third of B.C.’s Flathead River Valley.

I further request that a Wildlife Management Area be designated on provincial land in B.C.’s Southern Rockies to connect the Waterton-Glacier World Heritage Site to Canada’s Rocky Mountain Parks to the north.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to bring British Columbia into one of the greatest stories of peace and protection on the planet: the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

British Columbia took a welcome first step in February 2010 by establishing a ban on mining and oil and gas development in the Flathead. Removing the threat of industrial development in the B.C. Flathead has cleared the way for completing the Peace Park and connecting it to the Rocky Mountain wildlife sanctuaries to the north.

If we can seize this chance to protect the B.C. Flathead in these ways, we can truly claim a share of one of the greatest areas of natural wilderness in the world.

I strongly believe that British Columbia must do its part to protect one of the most significant wilderness areas in the world.

Thank you,

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Response:

Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. Please be assured that your comments have been noted and that they will receive due consideration from the Minister, who has already received a copy of your correspondence. Once again, thank you for taking the time to write. M.F. Bustos Manager/Gestionnaire Executive Correspondence Services for the Prime Minister’s Office Services de la correspondance de la haute direction pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre  

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The following is a copy of the letter that I sent  to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield, local MP John Duncan and DFO Senior Habitat Biologist  Al Magnan:

I have grave concerns about the enviromental impact of the following project which in my opinion should not go forward or be approved by the province of British Columbia.  The 10-kilometre long Kokish River is home to a rare population of wild summer-run steelhead – seagoing rainbow trout that migrate to the ocean at a young age and return to their river as salmon-sized adults one to three years later. The private power project would divert much of the Kokish River into a pipe three metres in diameter and nine kilometres long. The entire length of the diversion is important rearing, spawning and migration habitat for summer-run steelhead, other trout, char and salmon.

If the project proceeds, there would be major and harmful ongoing fisheries habitat impacts such as:

  • •The amount and quality of fish habitat will be severely reduced as a result of decreased stream flow Adult fish migrating upstream will be blocked or delayed.
  • •Juvenile fish migrating downstream will encounter blockage or delay when migrating downstream by the water intake, and further delay in the reduced-flow diversion reach.
  • •The project poses significant risks to fish and fish habitat during low summer flows, when migration could be stalled, causing mortality or reduced spawning success.

Kwagis Power, owned by Brookfield Renewable Power and the ‘Namgis First Nation, has an electricity purchase agreement with B.C. Hydro.  This project must–not–be approved to prevent the above mentioned harmful impact.

Respectfully,

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Sir:

The recent report released by the Royal Society of Canada, Sustaining Canadian Marine Biodiversity, strongly criticizes Canada’s “consistent lack of action on well-established knowledge and best-practice and polices”. According to the report, we have the knowledge and the policies, but are not meeting our commitments. I strongly urge you to carefully review this report, and implement its recommendations.

In the short term, please ensure that the Spring 2012 Federal budget reflects a commitment to increase Canada’s investment in the management and conservation of our oceans. Please commit to create new marine protected areas over the next year, in line with Canada’s new National Marine Protected Areas Policy. Second, properly fund oceans planning initiatives, including the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area. Third, invest in the recovery of Canada’s fish stocks, particularly for Pacific salmon and Atlantic cod.

I am disheartened to see that Canada is lagging behind other developed nations, such as the U.S., Norway and Australia. I hope you will act decisively to catch up by implementing strong protection for large and ecologically significant ocean areas. Canada’s current open-ended policies are not acceptable. It’s time to develop targets and timelines that match international recommendations and commitments.

Sincerely,

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Sir:

Industrial fish farming along the coast of B.C. has become a danger to our wild salmon and immediate action must be taken.

Salmon farm pens are tightly packed with hundreds of thousands of adult farm salmon, thus becoming an ideal breeding ground for parasitic sea lice to proliferate, and for disease to grow.  ISA outbreaks are linked to fish farms in Scotland, Norway and Chile. The ISA virus has appeared everywhere that industrial Atlantic salmon farming operates, and has had devastating impacts on the industry.

During the Cohen Inquiry, Alexandra Morton found over 1,100 reports of ISAV-like lesions in the provincial fish farm vet reports. Later, testing on smolts confirmed the presence of the European strain of ISA in salmon on the BC coast.

Salmon farms are situated in channels, inlets and bays close to shore, where they are near stream mouths or along migration routes. Juvenile wild salmon have to swim by these sea lice producing farms and vulnerable to diseases and parasites.

Industrial fish farms are an experiment that has failed. We need to act now to save our wild salmon, and the first step is to close industrial fish farms.

Respectfully.

————–

Dear Premier Clark:

It was reported on the news that the logging that is occurring in the Chilliwack Lake Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Area is fragmenting an important area of intact spotted owl forest habitat. When the Chilliwack Wildlife Habitat Area was first designated in 2006, absolutely no logging was to be allowed there.  This logging must be stopped without delay.  I can assure you that allowing loopholes for the logging industry to slip through is wrong on all ethical levels.

The spotted owl is one of the most endangered species in Canada. There are now thought to be less than a dozen spotted owls remaining in the wild in Canada. Furthermore, spotted owls are considered an important indicator species, meaning that the health of the spotted owl reflects the health of the old-growth ecosystem in which it lives.  Logging of the spotted owl’s forest habitat is the main reason that this species is endangered.

Please order an immediate halt to logging in spotted owl forest habitat currently underway near Chilliwack Lake. Ensure that all spotted owl forest habitat within this Canadian endangered species range in southwest BC is protected from logging.

In fact, if BC were to ban raw log exports it would help ensure mill jobs remain in BC, making it possible to protect spotted owl forests, while getting more jobs out of the trees we do cut outside of habitat areas.

Respectfully,

—————————–

Dear Mr. Terry Lake, Minister of the Environment

Abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol by the federal government has made clear their reluctance to act on behalf of the environment regarding climate change.   Individual provinces of Canada can still take up the challenge of addressing causes of climate change.  The province of British Columbia as a leader in promoting awareness of the need to take action against climate change, should consider legislating a ban on plastic grocery bags.  Many other countries world-wide, and numerous states in USA have already done so.

The continued manufacture and use of plastic grocery bags has become a serious concern to the health of the environment. These plastic grocery bags do NOT biodegrade in our landfills; they emit toxicity as they eventually breakdown over decades.  They also pose a serious health risk to wildlife while still intact. Landfills and oceans around the world are glutted with discarded plastic grocery bags.

As I am sure you are aware many grocery stores offer customers a sturdy, well made, washable, reusable cloth bag at a reasonable price.  Many people are aware of the need to be more environmentally responsible; they have purchased reusable cloth bags and use them without fail.  There are, however, many people out there who have not taken this positive action yet.  The “take it or leave it” option appears to be largely ignored by far too many.  Every shopper will get into the habit of keeping their cloth bags handy for use in the car…we have already.

Premier Christy Clark has assured me “that British Columbia remains a leader on climate policy and that our government is firmly committed to reducing the province’s carbon emissions”.  The ecological damage caused to our air quality, land and oceans can and should, therefore, be addressed by our British Columbia government.  Legislation that bans the manufacture, distribution and use of plastic grocery bags would most certainly validate the credence of this assurance.

I would appreciate a reply regarding the provincial government’s position on this specific important issue.

Respectfully,

Cc:       Christy Clark, Premier of BC

Rob Fleming, Official Opposition Environment Critic

—————————

Response:

Reference:  163797

March 5, 2012

Dear Ms. ____:

Thank you for your email of February 7, 2012, regarding plastic bag bans. It has been sent to me for response.

While an outright ban on plastic grocery bags is not currently being considered, there are initiatives underway in British Columbia (BC) that I hope will address your concerns.

In 2008, leading retail organisations in BC voluntarily committed to reducing the use of disposable plastic shopping bags by half by 2013. They also committed to developing reuse and recycling options in order to reduce the amount of plastic bags disposed in landfills. Here is a link to their first report on the success of this voluntary initiative: www.cfig.ca/docs/feature_BCPlasticBagAnnualReport2009_Final.pdf

Extended Producer Responsibility is one policy approach that aims to address waste. In BC, this policy is implemented through the Recycling Regulation (the Regulation), which requires producers of designated products to take responsibility for the entire life cycle management of their products, including collection and recycling.

In May, 2011, the Regulation was amended to include the Packaging and Printed Paper Category. This amendment calls for the collection of all packaging and printed paper, which includes plastic bags. This means that producers of packaging and printed paper will have to consult on and submit a product stewardship program to the Ministry by November 19, 2012, and implement this plan by May, 2014.

I would encourage you to bring forward any ideas on the program during the consultation phase. The Recycling Council of British Columbia, on behalf of the producers of regulated products, posts information on industry stakeholder consultations. For further information on these opportunities please visit http://rcbc.bc.ca/education/product-stewardship.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

Angie Mallhi

A/Senior Policy Advisor

————————————-

My Letter to Prime Minister Harper Re: Enbridge

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

As a Canadian citizen I have serious concerns about the Enbridge Pipeline Northern Gateway Project.  My concerns are not only regarding the possibility of damage from leakage from the pipeline.  Further I am not just concerned about the potential for a massive oceanic oil spill along our northern coastal waters.  These are hugely important issues which have been greatly downplayed by the environmental impact statement provided by Enbridge.  After all there have been at least 80 reported leaks in their other pipelines which have resulted in at least 15,900 gallons of leakage.  The impact on the land, the people living on the land and the risks to the health of all including the environment, to me and many others, is far too great and unpredictably risky.  Believe me I am concerned about that.

However, of even more critical importance is the Canadian government’s endorsement of continued dependence on fossil fuels which consequently pollute.  There is also a negative impact on other sectors of the economy when our natural resources are exploited by foreign countries which must be taken into account.  The current economy of Canada, based on the rising and falling price of oil, is detrimental to labour intensive manufacturing industries which rely on export.  The manufacturing sector has seen a loss of jobs as a result.

Canada would be better served by implementing opportunities in the production of renewable-energy technology.  Canada should be a leader in developing and implementing incentives to invest in cleaner energy rather than supporting the highly polluting fossil fuel industry. There are no long term benefits to providing an infrastructure for increased tar sands production.  The financial winners of this scenario are foreign investors and shareholders from the U.S., Korea and China.

I would like to see the presence of ethics which embraces a sense of closeness to all of mankind. This would help to humanize your corporate and government policies and decisions.  Renewable energy technology is the key to the future, not abetting the continued reliance on fossil fuel industries which spew harmful emissions.  In the wake of the Kyoto Protocol abandonment fiasco it is time to make an environmentally sane choice to regain at least some of your constituent confidence.

Respectfully,

————-

Responses:

Dear Ms.          ,

Thank you once again for you further communication, I appreciate knowing your position on the Northern Gateway project.

Sincerely,

Cathy McLeod, M.P.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

——————

Dear Eldy,

As Opposition Environment critic, I want to extend thanks for copying me on your email and sharing your concern regarding the Enbridge pipeline. Please be assured that this is also huge concern for Leader Adrian Dix, myself and the rest of the Opposition caucus. We have consistently opposed the Enbridge pipeline, as we have opposed expansion of oil tanker traffic on our coastline.

I enclose some recent media releases for your consideration to review:

http://www.robflemingmla.ca/new-democrats-stand-coast-oppose-enbridge-pipeline

http://www.robflemingmla.ca/ndp-proposes-stronger-actions-sustainability-and-environmental-protection-%E2%80%98fracking%E2%80%99-expands-bc%E2%80%99s-na

http://www.robflemingmla.ca/report-confirms-alberta-tar-sands-pipeline-not-worth-risk-says-ndp

http://www.robflemingmla.ca/new-democrats-challenge-premier-and-energy-ministers-priorities-enbridge-plan

http://www.robflemingmla.ca/bc-liberals-throw-out-new-relationship-boost-enbridge

I hope this clarifies our position for you. Thanks again for sharing your perspective on this important issue. Take care and do stay in touch.

Cheers,

Rob Fleming, MLA

Victoria-Swan Lake

Official Opposition Environment critic

www.robflemingmla.ca

——————

Dear Eldy :

Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. In your e-mail, you raised an issue that falls within the portfolio of the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. Please be assured that your comments have been carefully noted. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to Minister Oliver. I am certain that the Minister will wish to give your views every consideration. For more information on the Government’s initiatives, you may wish to visit the Prime Minister’s Web site, at http://www.pm.gc.ca. Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

M.F. Bustos Manager/Gestionnaire Executive Correspondence Services for the Prime Minister’s Office Services de la correspondance de la haute direction pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre >>>   Received : 13  Jan  2012 06:23:13 PM   >>> >>>   Subject : Re: Enbridge Pipeline Northern Gateway   >>>>

———————

My Letter to Premier of BC RE: hydraulic fracturing

Dear Premier Clark:

As a resident of British Columbia, I have serious concerns about the environmental issues surrounding the practice of hydraulic fracturing that is underway in several areas of Northern B.C.  Yesterday, I viewed a re-airing of the November 5, 2011, Global TV’s program 16:9 segment: “Untested Science”.  I have taken the time since to research the process and its harmful cumulative impacts on the environment and human health.  There is vast environmental impact documentation, much controversy and various world-wide bans and moratoriums on this hazardous process.

The government of B.C., whose mandate is to represent the people and protect the environment of B.C., has allowed Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy to proceed without “an extensive process of public consultation,” as promised by Energy Minister Rich Coleman in BC’s Legislature on June 1, 2011?

In one of the fracking zones near the town of Hudson’s Hope, Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy were each granted 20-year, 10 million liters/day, water withdrawal permits ( and by the way contamination of said water) by the B.C. government, without any notification to the public, let alone holding ‘extensive’ consultations and discussions.  It is fundamentally wrong for a government mandated to represent its people to skip the process of consultation and environmental impact review given the serious documented implications inherent with hydraulic fracturing.

The under the table decision to allow Talisman to repeatedly “frack” a planned 1400 wells in the corridor from BC Hydro’s Williston Reservoir to the Farrell Creek fracking lease concessions north of Hudson’s Hope will impact negatively on the lives of families living in the area as well as the environment for decades upon decades.

The process of “fracking” uses up to or more than 4,000 cubic meters of water which is treated with toxins before being injected underground each time.   Large amounts of contaminated and possibly radioactive water returns to the surface up the well bore.  Environmental concerns with hydraulic fracturing include the potential contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the potential migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, the potential mishandling of waste, and the health effects of these.

Documented incidents of contamination include improper/inadequate disposal of fluids, and environmental concerns such as water quality, fish kills and acid burns.  The shocking demonstration shown on the 16:9 television segment whereby water drawn from a kitchen tap explosively ignited when lit by a match is a startling revelation of the implications of hydraulic fracturing.

Emissions that are routinely vented from this process include particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide methane, ethane, liquid condensate, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contain benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene.   Health effects of exposure to these chemicals include neurological problems, birth defects, and cancer.   Further, when these emissions are mixed with nitrogen oxides from combustion and combined with sunlight the result is ozone formation. Ozone has been shown to impact lung function, increase respiratory illness, and is particularly dangerous to lung development in children.

The documented detection of methane and other chemicals such as phthalates in private water wells impacted by hydraulic fracturing in the area is alarming.  Fresh drinking water is undeniably the most basic of human needs for families of B.C.

Fresh air quality, yet another basic human need is being compromised by the fracking process resulting in elevated levels of disulphide, benzene, xylene and naphthalene which have been documented as detected in the air causing families living in the area to be affected by headaches, diarrhea, nosebleeds, dizziness, and muscle spasms .

It is unconscionable to allow the emission of carcinogens and neurotoxins which cause the families near the sites to suffer chemical exposures, accidents from industry operations, and psychological impacts such as depression, anxiety and stress.

In the very least there should be strict laws and regulations fully implemented compelling companies to handle their own flow-back waste through effective disposal of fracture fluids rather than sending them to public water treatment facilities.

Other governments have taken the alarm raised seriously.  For example:

-New South Wales has a moratorium in place on the practice of hydraulic fracturing and a ban of use of evaporation ponds by existing fracking mines.

– Quebec has temporarily suspended hydraulic fracturing development pending an environmental review.                                                                                                                                   -Hydraulic fracturing was banned in France in 2011.

-There is currently a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in South Africa’s Karoo region.

-In Lancashire, UK, operations were suspended after two small earthquakes subsequent to drilling operations.

I would appreciate a written response to answer my questions:

What will the government of British Columbia do to rectify this damaging error in judgment which has allow hydraulic fracturing to devastate our environment and the lives of families living in its wake?

What, Premier Clark, is your plan regarding this serious environmental crisis which is underway in the headwaters of our most glorious northern wilderness?

I understand that there was initially a call for the resignation of Energy Minister Rich Coleman.  What action has been taken with regard to his irresponsible actions in this matter?

What role or lack of action did the Minister of the Environment, Terry Lake, have in this matter?

Just exactly where does the buck stop on this one…who is responsible for the lack of consultation and environmental impact review?

Do we have an environmentally sound government conscience working for us here in B.C.?

Respectfully,

Response:

  • RE: hydraulic fracturing environmental impact

30/01/2012
 
To ‘Eldy ‘, Minister, FLNR FLNR:EX
From: OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX (Premier@gov.bc.ca)
Sent: January-30-12 1:59:02 PM
To:  
Cc: Minister, FLNR FLNR:EX (FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca)

Thank you for your email.

Your correspondence has been forwarded to the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.  Minister Thomson will ensure you receive a response that addresses your specific questions directly on behalf of government.  You will be hearing from the Minister’s office in this regard at the earliest opportunity.

Again, thank you for writing.

pc:       Honourable Steve Thomson

REPONSE 2:

  • Response to email addressed to Honourable Christy Clark – (ref 182690)‏

31/01/12

Dear Eldy :

Your email of January 8, 2012, to the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia, regarding the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing by Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy has been referred to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNR) as water authorizations are the responsibility of  this ministry. I am pleased to respond to your concerns.

The province received an application for a water license from Talisman Energy Inc. on October 26, 2010, requesting 10, 000 cubic metres per day.  Subsequently, the province received a water license application from Canbriam Energy Inc. on February 15, 2011, for a similar 10,000 cubic metres per day.  The combined volume of 20,000 cubic metres per day falls short of the thresholds established under the Environmental Assessment Act, therefore no environmental assessment or public consultation was required due to the low level of impact on the existing resource or other users.

The Williston reservoir contains approximately 40 billion cubic metres of water at full supply level.  The proposed withdrawal for the combined applications represents approximately 0.02 percent of the daily inflow into the Williston reservoir and would reduce the reservoir level by a trace amount estimated to be approximately 0.01 millimetres.  This level of withdrawal does not have significant impacts.

The first applicant, Talisman Energy Inc., consulted with the four First Nations whose territory overlaps the project area, as well as the local community, Hudson’s Hope, between 2009 and 2011.  Water stewardship staff have engaged in a coordinated First Nations consultation with the Oil and Gas Commission, discussing the pipeline infrastructure and the water license applications for both companies.  Both of these applications have now been adjudicated and approved for the combined volume of 20,000 cubic metres per day.

Oil and gas applications and practices in British Columbia are subject to regulatory oversight and consultation processes administered by the Oil and Gas Commission and other government agencies.  The Commission regulates industry water-use with the goals of protecting public safety, conserving the environment, encouraging alternative sources of water and supporting new technologies that recycle water back into oil and gas activities.  Groundwater is a Crown resource and is protected through well designed requirements to ensure that fluids injected or produced do not come into contact with other subsurface zones, including aquifers.  As a result, there are no confirmed instances of domestic water contamination related to hydraulic fracturing in British Columbia.

I assure you that the Government of British Columbia is committed to protecting the environment, particularly our water.  This resource is the shared responsibility of FLNR and the Ministry of Environment (MoE), and in response to growing demands for water use, both ministries will continue to undertake and participate in initiatives to protect the province’s water resources.

MoE is leading the development of a new Water Sustainability Act (WSA), which will build on and replace the Water Act.  Proposed provisions for the WSA include expanded protection of stream health and aquatic environments, new planning tools, provincial water objectives and the licensing of groundwater.  These new measures will also apply to the oil and gas industry. Additional information on the development of the WSA can be found online at http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/water-act/.

This province continues to review the potential for adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing.  The Ministry of Health has announced a study, to be led by the Fraser Basin Council, which will assess the potential health risks of oil and gas development in British Columbia.  Through this process, local citizens and interested groups will be able to contribute their concerns and experiences regarding resource development in this area.  For more information, please see the Fraser Basin Council website at http://www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/.

Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns.

Sincerely,

Kevin Kriese Assistant Deputy Minister North Area
pc:       Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia             Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Environment             Honourable Michael de Jong, Minister of Health

—————————

My Letter to Save-On-Foods

Dear Sir:

My husband and I are regular customers of your store.  I would like to bring an important issue to your attention. I notice that a number of your customers use cloth bags to retrieve their groceries from your store.  However, I also notice that there are a much larger number of plastic grocery bags leaving your store as well.  This is a serious concern to the health of the environment.  These plastic grocery bags do NOT biodegrade in our landfills; they emit toxicity as they eventually breakdown over decades. They also pose a serious health risk to wildlife while still intact.  Further, the manufacture and distribution of these plastic grocery bags generates a large amount of pollution.

I know, by the introduction of optional reusable cloth bags into your store, that you are conscious of the environmentally devastating effects of continuing to use plastic grocery bags.  Therefore, may I suggest that it is now time to consider the ban of plastic grocery bags by your store?  I realize that a large corporation such as Save-on Foods has a bottom line to consider and does not want to lose any customers.  Consider this fact; thousands upon thousands of Costco customers off load their groceries from shopping cart to their vehicles.  It is not that big of a stretch for Save-on Foods customers to do the same if they are unwilling to purchase the cloth bags to reuse.  A limited supply of boxes from your weekly intake of merchandise could be reused for grocery take out, especially for the die-hard’s and the forgetful folks who do not get on board at the start.

Posting notices on your entrances and exit doors, stating your intention to support the environment by a Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags starting on a specific date, would give customers time to adjust.  An incentive of  getting Save-on-More points for using cloth bags would help get the ball rolling toward the change-over. As it stands right now the “take it or leave it” choice for using cloth bags is too easy to ignore.  I thank you for offering we customers a sturdy, well made, washable, reusable cloth bag at a reasonable price and the option of redeeming points to purchase the reusable.  By making the use of reusable cloth bags mandatory, every shopper will get into the habit of keeping their cloth bags handy for use in the car…we have already.

Whereas many people are aware of the need to be more environmentally responsible, there are many out there who have not taken action.  Save-on Foods could become an industry leader in promoting awareness of the need to take action against climate change by implementing a ban on plastic grocery bags.  There is a savings to your corporation to consider as well…currently you are giving money away in the form of plastic grocery bags.  However, the cloth bags will be paid for or at least partially paid for by your customers depending on your cost to retail ratio.  The banning plastic grocery bags would be such a huge benefit for the environment.  In 100 Mile House, where we shop, as in many other small cities Safeway would be your largest competitors however few, if any, Save-on Foods customers would be willing to jump ship to the competitor over plastic grocery bags.  We are a loyal bunch and much prefer your quality and pricing of merchandise.

I would appreciate a written reply regarding the suggestions herein and your company position on the use of plastic grocery bags.

Respectfully,

Eldy

—————————————–

My Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

I am a citizen with serious concerns about your lack of effective action to address climate change.  Scientific reports make it clear that climate change is the most serious environmental problem facing our planet.  Our country has one of the worst records in the world in terms of per capita contributions to the problem, with much higher emissions than citizens in other nations.  We cannot continue to use the Earth’s atmosphere as a dumping ground for emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

I would like you to do everything in your power to take the following actions:

  1. Impose a carbon tax on all fossil fuels and use the revenue generated to ensure the rapid development and adoption of renewable energy.
  2.  Place strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from industry.
  3. Enact the world’s strongest standards for the energy efficiency of vehicles, buildings, and all consumer products that use energy.

These policies have been successful, environmentally and economically, in other western industrialized nations, including Norway, Japan, and Germany.

Further, I have the following specific questions:

  1. Does the government have a detailed plan of action, with laws and policies to support it, to lead us to a sustainable future?
  2. Are targets set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduced emissions of sulphur dioxide, the use of highly toxic pesticides and the amount of garbage going to landfills and  are yearly reviews being done by an expert environmental committee to keep it on track?
  3. Does the government have any solar initiatives or any Feed-in tariff innovations as successfully implemented in Germany to replace Fossil Fuels with renewable energy?
  4. Does the government have laws and policies in place to move us as a nation toward a waste free economy such as laws of extended manufacturer responsibility or laws for absolute elimination of hazardous substances, including mercury, lead, cadmium and toxic flame retardants?
  5. Why is Canada still mining and producing asbestos and coal for export when these hazardous substances are banned for use in Canada?
  6. Is there a mandate for safe substitutes for health harming chemicals as that in Europe to protect the citizens of Canada?
  7. Has the government set high environmental standards such as zero emission standards for all products, new construction to produce zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2016, zero energy building codes and a manufacturing ban of incandescent light bulbs, plastic bags, and low efficiency furnaces?
  8. When will the Government halt industrial subsidies which are incentive to grow harmful production of harmful products and redirect the funds to programs that promote sustainable alternatives?
  9. Will the Government consider cutting taxes on employment, investment and raise taxes on pollution and waste as is done in Europe?
  10. What is the Government prepared to do to encourage people to work in their own community which lowers emissions of car travel such as give buses priority, lower or eliminate fares, tax drivers of cars through tolls, eliminate free parking and redirect parking fees to offset cost of public transit?
  11. Does the government have laws and policies in place to address serious health concerns such a ban on junk food from all schools, a ban on ads directed at children, heavy tax levies for junk food producers, reallocation of subsidies from bad production practices to organic and local production, levy fines against deceptive and noncompliant manufacturer labelling, and a ban, as is done in Europe, on the use of antibiotics to promote faster animal growth and feeding arsenic to chickens?
  12. Is the government going to provide the children and young people of all ages and all grades plus post-secondary with the proper and accurate knowledge of environmental concerns by increasing the budget for environmental education?
  13. Does the government understand that the Gross Domestic Product is lacking as measurement because it does not take into account trust, respect, community, clean air, clean water, beauty and compassion but rather equates crime, cancer, environmental destruction and war as positive due to expenditure and is it prepared to move away from an economic paradigm that has proven dysfunctional in measuring the true wealth of Canada?

I would appreciate a written reply outlining your response to these proposals and questions.

Respectfully,

Response:

Dear Ms. …:

Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. In your e-mail, you raised an issue that falls within the portfolio of the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment. Please be assured that your comments have been carefully noted. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to Minister Kent. I am certain that the Minister will wish to give your views every consideration. Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

P. Monteith Executive Correspondence Officer for the Prime Minister’s Office Agent de correspondance de la haute direction pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

I sent a copy of the above letter to the Liberal Party as well.

Response?

Dear Eldy ….:
Thank you for taking the time to write the Liberal Party of Canada. We rely on the feedback, comments and ideas from Canadians – like yourself – to help us orient and develop the projects that best meet the needs of our fellow citizens.
Please allow me to draw your attention to the Liberal Platform of the 2011 Federal Election pages 40-50, as I believe this section addresses your questions. Should you have more questions, I hope you will write us again.
Kind regards,   Isabella F. Willis
Liberal Party of Canada
From January 13-15 Liberals from across the country will come together at the Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention to engage in the Party’s rebuilding process, to discuss future policy and decide who will take charge of Party organization. Visit convention.liberal.ca to become a participant of the Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention and engage in the crucial policy debates leading up to this historic Party event.

I sent a copy to Christy Clark:

Premier Christy Clark, the following is a copy of a letter that I emailed to Prime Minister Harper.  I have not as yet received a reply however I in turn would like to know your position on the issues  and questions with specific reference to provincial actions.  These are the types of high priority issues that will determine my vote in all future elections.

Response:

Similarly I emailed the minister below  and recieved the responses below:

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Due to the volume of incoming messages, this is an automated response to let you know my office has received your email. For further information on recent initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Environment, please visit our website at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca. Sincerely, Terry Lake Minister of Environment  

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Due to the volume of incoming messages, this is an automated response to let you know my office has received your email. For further information on recent initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, please visit our website at http://www.gov.bc.ca/for/index.html&lt;http://www.gov.bc.ca/for/index.html> Sincerely, Steve Thomson Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations    

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