John Bennett's blog
Life is full of contradictions. While the prime minister's office is busy bombarding Canadians with industry junk science (thinking it will convince us asbestos if good for the Third World) warning signs adorn Parliament Hill urging us to steer clear while people in space suits remove asbestos.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party of Canada - that just a few months ago was plastering its logo on every available space in Canada - has threaten legal action against a Canadian widow for putting the CPC logo on her anti-asbestos website.
Now here is the contradiction: Prime Minister Harper proudly announced during the election that only the Conservative Party supports asbestos mining. So why is displaying the CPC logo in the context of asbestos damaging to the party? Why is it threatening legal action against this widow?... Read more »
Someone recently emailed me to say that the Harper government’s cutting 700 jobs at Environment Canada was no more than plain "vindictiveness".
It is tough to argue against that.
The environment is the only file where the government spin masters have failed to win the communications battle. The people being laid off are largely scientists associated with climate change and other areas that have embarrassed the government in the past (and will likely do so again in the future).
In my 30 years doing this work I have never been treated with such contempt and arrogance by a government. There is an utter refusal by the Harper government to even politely listen to reasoned argument.
... Read more »
Canada's energy ministers met in Kananaskis this week. This was the first meeting since the meltdown of the Fukushima reactor in Japan. The first since the unprecedented floods in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Québec. The first since 900 temperature records were set in the United States. The first since the Town of Slave Lake was nearly destroyed by a wild fire. And it was taking place while Canada was in the midst of a record-setting heat and scientists were marveling over the appearance of an ice sheet off Newfoundland half the size of New York (that broke off in Greenland).
You would think the ministers might have been taking about what all this means to Canada and our future. Or at least what Canada should be doing energy wise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase-out nuclear power. At least I did, but then again I'm environmentalist and by definition an optimist.
... Read more »
When asbestos is cut, ground-up or disturbed, tiny fibres become airborne where they stay for a long time. People working with, or around, asbestos end up with these tiny fibres embedded deep in their lungs.
What happens next is not pretty - the tiny asbestos fibres lead to:
• pleural diseases and plaques (thickening/hardening of the lining that covers the lungs & chest);
• mesothelioma and other kinds of lung cancer; and
• cancers of the larynx and digestive system, including cancer of the esophagus, stomach and colon.
At first, people are short of breath when they do any kind of physical activity. This condition gets progressive worse until people are short of breath even when they are resting. Eventually they cannot breathe.
That’s why Stephen Harper’s support for the asbestos industry is irresponsible vote pandering.... Read more »
Well, the election that nobody wants is upon us.
We're not partisan, so we don't back a particular party. But we are not disinterested - Sierra Club Canada has a purpose and it has been thoroughly thwarted for the last five years.
So what should our role be in an election?
Some advise a long-term approach of getting along with all parties, believing the logic of our arguments and truth of our facts will eventually win them all over. This approach prevents you from saying anything too critical during an election as to not alienate the winner.
Some suggest targeted intervention, drawing attention to party positions and promises. Done in a fair and open way, and treating all parties the same, report cards and other comparisons at least give voters a sense of how the environment might fair after an election.... Read more »