Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for June, 2014

PESTICIDES IN WASCANA PARK

Posted by strattof on June 27, 2014

Wascana Park, officially known as Wascana Centre, is a 9.3 square kilometer urban park located in the heart of our city. Owned by the City of Regina, the University of Regina, and the Province of Saskatchewan, it includes Wascana Pool, the Science Centre, the Legislative Building, the University of Regina, and SIAST.

Every week, from early spring through the fall, the Wascana Centre Authority sprays Wascana Park with pesticides, including RoundUp and 2-4-D, one of the ingredients of Agent Orange.

PARK USERS BEWARE: According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing.”

TYPICAL WASCANA CENTRE SPRAYING SCHEDULE

WEEK OF JUNE 23 – 27, 2014 – Weather Dependent

MONDAY, June 23, 2014 Roundup – F.N.U.C. – Wascana Parkway – Roadways 2-4-D – F.N.U.C. – Wascana Parkway Dipel – Wascana Parkway – U of R Gopher Control – Douglas Park Mice Bait Control – All areas

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 Roundup – F.N.U.C. – IMAX – Douglas Park 2-4-D – F.N.U.C. – Wascana Parkway Dipel – SIAST – U of R Gopher Control – Douglas Park Mosquito Control – U of R to Douglas Park

WEDNESDAY, June 25, 2014 2-4-D – T.C. Douglas – Research Park Dipel – T.C. Douglas – Wascana Rehab Gopher Control – T.C. Douglas Mosquito Control – North Wascana Park – Legislative area

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 Roundup – President’s residence 2-4-D – Research Park – President’s residence – Goose Hill from Broad St to Douglas Park north side

“Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides. Learning disorders, reproductive issues and acute health effects are also associated to pesticides. By eliminating the non-essential use of pesticides, exposure to these harmful chemicals will drastically decrease, contributing to better overall public and environmental health.” —Canadian Cancer Society

3 NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES

  1. Children and unborn babies are at high risk for health problems related to pesticides. These include developmental problems, lower intelligence scores, birth defects, endocrine disruption, allergies, asthma, and leukemia, as well as several other types of cancer. Pesticides drift far on the wind and can be breathed in or land on toys, food, and clothes. They can also be tracked into buildings. Children are particularly vulnerable as their bodies and brains are still developing and their immune system is immature. Older children doing active sports breathe in more air with its burden of toxins.
  2. Seniors are also at high risk. Immune systems and organ functions weaken with age. These systems which help the body deal with toxins are often already overworked by daily medications and chemically grown food. So exposure to pesticides has a more damaging effect.
  3. Pesticide exposure damages the same brain areas as those linked to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It is also becoming clear that pesticides are hormone disrupters. Thus long exposure to chemical pesticides can cause cancers such as prostate cancer and other degenerative diseases.

 PESTICIDE BANS

  • Five Canadian provinces have banned the cosmetic use of pesticides: Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Manitoba will bring the number up to six in 2015.  In Saskatchewan, it is still legal to use dangerous pesticides in parks and on lawns and gardens. When will Saskatchewan join the ban?
  •  Over 170 Canadian municipalities have banned the cosmetic use of pesticides. But not Regina. Here it is still legal to use dangerous pesticides in parks and on lawns and gardens. When will Regina join the ban?

TAKE ACTION

STOP WASCANA CENTRE AUTHORITY FROM USING PESTICIDES FOR COSMETIC PURPOSES

Contact Darcy Schenk, Manager of Horticulture and Forestry at Wascana Centre Authority, and tell him:

  • You want the Centre to stop using pesticides for cosmetic purposes.
  • In the meantime, you want the Centre to display signage where and when pesticides are being applied so as to give the public fair warning.

darcy.schenk@wascana.ca

Posted in peace activism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

CANADA’S MILITARY SPENDING: WHAT ELSE MIGHT OUR MONEY BE SPEND ON

Posted by strattof on June 21, 2014

Last month, Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence spoke favourably of boosting Canada’s military spending from 1% of GDP to 1.7%, or from about $20 billion to $33 billion. The current conflict in the Ukraine was offered as one of the justifications.

Over the years, governments have always found ways to justify huge military expenditures, claiming they were necessary to keep Canadians safe.  The real spending record, however, tells a different story.

LAND: THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Estimates of the financial cost range from $12 billion (Canadian Press) to $22 billion (Parliamentary Budget Officer) to $30 billion (Daryl Copeland, former Canadian diplomat).  162 Canadians have been killed, while some 10% of the more than 40,000 Canadians who have returned home from Afghanistan are estimated to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or related mental health problems, with follow-on effects for their families, co-workers and communities.

These figures do not include, of course, the lives of the soldiers and fighters of other countries (including Afghanistan), or the countless thousands of Afghan civilians killed in the conflict. In 2011, a researcher at Boston University estimated the total death toll in Afghanistan to be between 30,000-45,000 people. The current total may well be higher.

Canada’s 12-year war in Afghanistan has cost billions of dollars—to say nothing of the human toll.  The promised gains in human rights, democracy, quality of life and safety from terrorism have not been made.

SEA: SUBMARINES

Canada’s fleet of four used diesel-powered submarines has been plagued with problems. Initially purchased for $750 million from the United Kingdom, the submarines’ real costs have more than doubled, with one CBC estimate placing the total cost at over $3 billion.

Meanwhile lengthy, expensive refits and repairs have meant that, at times, Canada has had no functioning submarines at all.

Submarines that were supposed to help protect Canadian arctic sovereignty and assist the US in guarding against Russian sub threats have done little to keep Canada’s coasts safe.

AIR: AIR WAR IN LIBYA

2012 figures from the Department of National Defence (DND) placed the incremental cost of Canada’s 2011 Operation Mobile in Libya at $100 million, double the original estimate. The total cost of the mission came to nearly $350 million.

F-35s

The federal government may decide within days to purchase 65 new F-35 Stealth Strike Fighters from Lockheed-Martin. The government estimates the cost at $45 billion; a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute says the cost will be at least $10 billion higher—or $56 billion, and perhaps much greater still.

Three years after Operation Mobile, Libya is still on the brink of civil war, while the F-35 program threatens to be a hugely expensive boondoggle that does little to keep Canadians safe, while enabling our participation in further overseas airstrikes along with the US and NATO.

SPACE: BALLISTIC MISSILE “DEFENCE”

This week, the Canadian Senate called for our country to join the US’s anti-missile program, which aims to destroy enemy nuclear missiles in space during mid-flight. An April report from the US General Accounting Office found that this program has cost $40 billion dollars so far, and that its last three tests had failed.

This flawed system offers no protection against supposed missile threats, while wasting billions and threatening a dangerous and destabilizing arms buildup on land and sea and in the air—even in space.

MEDIA

CBC reported last month on a $4 million advertising campaign by the department of Veterans Affairs, including TV ads to run during the NHL playoffs. $28 million was earmarked for celebrating the War of 1812, with over $80 million more set to be spent on a range of World War I and World War II anniversaries over the next several years.

All the while, Canadian veterans struggle to get benefits or receive treatment for physical and mental health concerns.

WRONG PRIORITIES AND LOST OPPORTUNITIES

Time and time again, Canadian governments and associated experts tell the population we need massive spending on guns, planes, ships, missiles and other weapons systems—all to protect us from the enemy, be it the Taliban, the Iranians, the North Koreans or the Russians.

Time and time again, the dollars spent on these programs—and many more—have failed to produce the promised gains in safety, security, justice and peace.  Meanwhile, money that could be spent on health care, education, the environment and a host of other projects is missing.

Email your MP and say you want Canada’s spending priorities straightened out: resources should go to support priorities of peace and justice, not wasteful and destructive military equipment and missions.

Ray Boughen: ray.boughen@parl.gc.ca

Ralph Goodale: ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca

Tom Likiwski: tom.lukiwski@parl.gc.ca

Andrew Scheer: andrew.scheer@parl.gc.ca  

Posted in justice, peace activism | Leave a Comment »

ENERGY EAST: PIPING TAR SANDS OIL THROUGH REGINA

Posted by strattof on June 5, 2014

 

TransCanada Pipelines wants to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to eastern Canada and beyond. Energy East is its proposed method: a 4,400 km stretch of old and new pipelines.

The Saskatchewan portion of the pipeline would be converted from an already existing natural gas pipeline originally built in 1958. It would carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil a day.

This pipeline cuts right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area. It will put our city, along with the wider community, at great risk.

TRANSCANADA’S POOR SAFETY RECORD

TransCanada claims its pipelines are safe. Its safety record tells a different story. In its initial year of operation, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline, constructed in 2010, had 12 spills, including one that spilled 79,493 litres of oil in North Dakota.

The Energy East pipeline plan is extra risky:  

  • The Saskatchewan portion of the pipeline is over 50 years old.
  • This pipeline was constructed to carry natural gas, not tar sands oil, which is much thicker and more acidic and corrosive and must be pumped at a higher pressure.

If Energy East is approved, the question is not if, but when there will be pipeline leaks and spills.

ENERGY EAST: A HAZARDOUS PIPELINE

Energy East will put hundreds of communities across Canada, including Regina, at risk of a tar sands oil spill. A spill would be hazardous to the health and quality of life of thousands of Canadians.

THIS COULD HAPPEN IN REGINA

On March 29 2013, the citizens of Mayflower Arkansas woke to find their streets flooded with tar sands oil. An old Exxon pipeline had ruptured, spilling more than 1 million litres of tar sands oil in community neighbourhoods and waterways.

HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH

Conventional oil fumes are toxic enough, but tar sands oil contains even more poisonous materials.

In Mayflower, residents showed symptoms of exposure to harmful tar sands oil chemicals, including benzene and toluene, a month after the spill. Benzene is a known carcinogen, while toluene can cause nerve damage.

HAZARDOUS TO QUALITY OF LIFE

A spill would contaminate the soil, turning lawns, backyards, playgrounds, and parks into toxic places. The land would be damaged for years and property values would plummet.

N O T   I N   O U R   B A C K Y A R D !

ENERGY EAST: AN ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD

The purpose of the Energy East pipeline is to expand Canadian tar sands production and export more oil.

  • Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada.
  • The Harper government has pledged that by 2020 Canada will have dropped its carbon emissions by 17% below 2005 levels, a relatively easy target compared to Kyoto which the Harper government withdrew from in 2011.
  • At the moment, Canada is 24% above the target and our emissions are still growing.

In April, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its most dire warning about how the rapid pouring of carbon emissions into the atmosphere is already altering earthly existence in every region of the globe, including Canada.

 If the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake” (Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

TAR SANDS MADNESS

  • The Harper government supports Energy East, along with other tar sands pipeline projects.
  • The Harper government subsidizes the tar sands industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year.
  • Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has been weakening environmental regulations in order to protect the tar sands.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

Today, Thursday June 5, is WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, a time to reflect on the catastrophic damage we are doing to the earth systems that give us life, and a time to start taking action to reverse that damage.

TAKE ACTION FOR WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

Regina citizens should have a say in the Energy East pipeline project. Do we want tar sands oil to be piped through our city?

In Kitimat BC, the City Council voluntarily held a non-binding referendum on the Northern Gateway pipeline project slated to run through Kitimat. 58% of voters said “NO” to the pipeline.

Let Regina City Council know you want Regina to follow the good example of Kitimat and hold a referendum on the Energy East pipeline project:

Mayor Michael Fougere 777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

Ward 1: Barbara Young 539-4081 or byoung@regina.ca

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins 789-2888 or bhawkins@regina.ca

Ward 3: Shawn Fraser 551-5030 or sfraser@regina.ca

Ward 4: Bryon Burnett 737-3347 or bburnett@regina.ca

Ward 5: John Findura 536-4250 or jfindura@regina.ca

Ward 6: Wade Murray 596-1035 or wmurray@regina.ca

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce 949-5025 or sbryce@regina.ca

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell 545-7300 or modonnell@regina.ca

Ward 9: Terry Hincks 949-9690 or thincks@regina.ca

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel 537-9888 or jflegel@regina.ca

Posted in climate, environment, justice, peace activism | 1 Comment »