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I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF…

Posted by strattof on July 23, 2016

This Saturday, July 23, is I Love Regina Day. First observed in 2002, I Love Regina Day is an occasion for celebrating our city and its achievements.

It is also a good time to think about the changes we need to bring about in our city to make life better for all Regina citizens.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED A LIVING WAGE POLICY.

In May, City Council voted to delay until 2017 any decision on councilor Shawn Fraser’s motion that the city adopt a living wage policy for city employees. In the words of Mayor Michael Fougere, such a policy is “premature.”

A living wage is the amount two working parents, with two children, need each to earn to meet the family’s basic needs and ensure it does not slip into poverty. Regina’s living wage is calculated to be $16.46 per hour.

By contrast, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is $10.50 per hour—a poverty level wage.

Many US cities and some Canadian cities, including Port Coquitlam and New Westminster, have adopted a living wage.

Regina should follow suit. After all, our city pays 700 city employees in senior positions $100,000 or more! (Mayor Fougere is a member of this six-figure salary club.) The living wage should also be extended to cover employees of firms contracting with the city and then to all workers in Regina and the province.

 I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED THE BLUE DOT MOVEMENT’S DECLARATION OF CITIZENS’ RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT.

The Blue Dot refers to planet earth, as seen from outer space. The Movement is an initiative of the David Suzuki foundation.

When the Blue Dot motion calling on the City of Regina to respect citizens’ right to a healthy environment came before Regina City Council in January, Council voted to postpone making a decision.

What kind of city does not want its citizens to have a healthy environment? 125 other Canadian municipal governments have already passed the Blue Dot resolution.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

REGINA POLICE SERVICE BANNED CARDING.

Carding—also known as street checks—is the police practice of randomly stopping people for questioning when there is no valid reason for doing so.

Statistics show that so-called “random” stops always end up targeting racialized and marginalized people. Moreover, the information elicited gets entered into a police data base where it stays indefinitely and becomes the basis for further police harassment.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

THE CITY MADE A FIRM COMMITMENT TO ACT ON ALL THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION CALLS TO ACTION THAT PERTAIN TO MUNICIPALITIES.

Kudos to the City of Regina for unanimously approving Mayor Fougere’s motion to begin acting on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

However, the Mayor’s directive to administration that it focus its attention on three areas—the Regina Indian Industrial School, the formation of a Diversity and Inclusion committee, and the inclusion of First Nations culture in the creative side of the city—seriously limits the effectiveness of the motion.

The TRC report contains a number of other calls to action that apply to municipalities. For example:

# 43: Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as the framework for reconciliation.

# 57: Provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools.

# 62: Make curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for K-12 students.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE

Join the I’d Love Regina More campaign. Let Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor know what they could do to make you love Regina more.

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

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GO GREEN! LIVE HEALTHY WITHOUT PESTICIDES

Posted by strattof on May 28, 2015

It’s SPRING in Regina! HURRAH!!  But wait! Is that a dandelion I see poking its head up in my pristine green lawn? Not already!! Where is the number for the pesticide company I called last year? 

STOP: Before you dial that number, please consider the following facts: 

  • The Canadian Cancer Society warns against the use of pesticides, citing research that links their use to cancer and other serious health issues. 
  • Dandelions have many health benefits. All parts of the plant – flower, leaves, stem, and root – are edible, highly nutritious, and medicinal.

4 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, 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, garden food, and clothes. They can also be tracked into the house. 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.
  4. Bees are gravely threatened by pesticides. Bees depend on dandelions, their first spring source of nectar. We depend on pollination by bees for about one-third of our vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Neonicotinoid pesticides are particularly harmful to bees, attacking their nervous system and hence threatening their survival.   

“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

PESTICIDES IN WASCANA PARK

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.

A recent World Health Organization report warns that glyphosate, the key ingredient of RoundUp, “probably causes cancer” in humans.

2-4-D has also been linked to cancer, as well as to cell damage, hormonal interference, and reproductive problems.

Wascana Centre Authority has confirmed that in 2015 it will continue to include RoundUp and 2-4-D in its spraying program. 

PESTICIDES IN CITY PARKS

  • In 2010, the City of Regina instituted a one-year pilot pesticide reduction project, designating three parks ‒ Gordon Park in southwest Regina, Al Pickard Park in north Regina, and Queen Elizabeth II Court in front of City Hall ‒ as pesticide-free.
  • This experiment, now in its 6th year, has been a success in both economic and aesthetic terms. However, the project has not been expanded to all city parks.
  • Like the Wascana Centre Authority, the City of Regina includes RoundUp and 2-4-D in its spraying program.

TAKE ACTION

  • Banish toxic pesticides from your property.
  • Let the folks at the Wascana Centre Authority know you want them to stop using pesticides for cosmetic purposes:

Bernadette McIntyre, Director: 306-347-1846 or bernadette.mcintyre@wascana.ca

Mike Mamona, Chief Operating Officer: 306-347-1812 ormike.mamona@wascana.ca

  • Let the Mayor and your City Councillor know you want the city to eliminate the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes in all our parks: regina.ca/site/contact/contact-your-city-councillor/ Over 170 Canadian municipalities have banned pesticides from both public and private spaces.

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EARTH DAY APRIL 22 2015

Posted by strattof on April 17, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, is EARTH 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. 

CLIMATE FACTS

  • The upper safety limit for CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. Today the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 400.26 ppm, well over the safety limit.
  • The leading cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere are the main cause of climate change.
  • Average global temperature has already risen by .85° C.
  • A global rise in average temperature of 2° C must be avoided if catastrophic consequences for human, animal, and plant life are not to follow.

TAR SANDS OIL COMING TO A PIPELINE NEAR YOU

ENERGY EAST HARBOUR LANDING REGINA 6

Site of proposed Energy East pipeline, Harbour Landing

TransCanada Pipelines wants to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to eastern Canada, mainly for export. Energy East is its proposed method: a 4,400 Km stretch of pipeline—the largest oil pipeline ever built in North America.

To save money, TransCanada plans to convert an already existing natural gas pipeline, originally built in the 1970s, for the Saskatchewan and Manitoba portions of the pipeline. This pipeline cuts right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area.  

The metal structure near the centre of the photograph above marks the pipeline, which comes into Harbour Landing from the west and then turns south at the drainage ditch. The photograph, taken from James Hill Road, shows how close the pipeline is to people’s homes in Harbour Landing.

Energy East will carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil a day, putting the communities it passes through 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 43 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.

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

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.

ENERGY EAST: AN ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD

  • Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada.
  • Over the last 25 years, Canada’s CO2 emissions have increased by 18%.
  • Climate scientists warn that, if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must leave at least 80% of tar sands oil in the ground.

TAR SANDS MADNESS

  • The Harper government subsidizes the tar sands industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year. It also supports Energy East, along with every other tar sands pipeline project.
  • Premier Brad Wall is a vocal champion of Energy East.
  • Even though it endangers his city, Regina’s Mayor, Michael Fougere, thinks Energy East is none of his business.

TAKE ACTION FOR EARTH DAY 

Join the People’s Intervention. Go to http://350.org/stop-the-energy-east pipeline/  

Tell Mayor Michael Fougere you want Regina to follow the good example of Toronto and ban the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline: 306-777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

Tell Premier Brad Wall you don’t want Energy East running through your community or province: 306-787-9433 or premier@gov.sk.ca

2015 is a federal election year. Tell the candidates in your electoral district you want the government to stop subsidizing the tar sands industry and to start investing in clean energy.

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CLIMATE COUNTDOWN

Posted by strattof on March 26, 2015

This year, as every year since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets its Doomsday Clock to indicate how close humanity is moving to destroying itself. This year, the scientists, in consultation with 17 Nobel laureates, have set the clock at three minutes to midnight, in part to reflect the threat of “unchecked climate change.”

The threat of climate change to a just and sustain-able future is real, and people in Saskatchewan have a special responsibility—and special opportunities—to do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGES

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide or C02) are higher today than they have been in the past 800,000 years, and that human activities have been the primary cause of warming since the mid-20th century.

A global rise in average temperatures of two degrees celsius must be avoided if catastrophic consequences for human, animal and plant life are not to follow.

Some signs of significant harm from climate change are already apparent:

  • Worldwide, the 12-month period January to December 2014 has gone on to be the warmest year in the 135 years since humans have been keeping accurate records of temperature.
  • 2013 was the hottest year on record in Australia. California has experienced severe droughts and an extended wildfire season.
  • Globally, crops are being affected, ice sheets are melting near the poles, global sea levels are rising, pests are spreading into new areas and some diseases such as malaria are affecting new populations.
  • In Saskatchewan, which disproportionately contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions and therefore to climate change, threats include more extreme weather events, damage to valuable agricultural land, and harm to sensitive prairie species and ecosystems.

SASKATCHEWAN’S SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The IPCC has said that if greenhouse gas emissions are not addressed quickly, disadvantaged persons and communities around the world will suffer a disproportionate share of the risks. Climate change is an issue of global fairness and social justice.

Unfortunately, Saskatchewan governments have been too willing to pursue financial wealth and short-term economic development at the expense of local and global well-being.

Saskatchewan has set a goal of reducing emissions to 20% below our 2006 level of emissions by 2020. Yet, emissions continue to rise even as the provincial government cuts funding to the Ministry of Environment.

Saskatchewan’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are over 74 million tonnes, making us the highest per capita emitters in Canada. For each Saskatchewan person, approximately 67 tonnes of greenhouse gases are sent into the atmosphere each year.

According to a recent study issued by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Saskatchewan’s single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions is its oil and gas industry, including the venting and flaring of natural gas during oil and gas extraction.

Electricity generation and transport are Saskatchewan’s other two largest emission sources. Together they account for 42% of Saskatchewan’s annual greenhouse emissions.

Yet, despite Saskatchewan’s huge greenhouse gas emissions and the challenges they create for the local and global climate and environment, the provincial Ministry of Environment’s budget has decreased 12.5% since 2007, from $186 million in their first budget in 2008-09 to $162.7 million for 2015-16.

The ministry branch responsible for climate change has seen its budget drop from $16.7 million in 2010-11 to $2.6 million in the most recent budget, according to a report in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

SOLUTIONS AND ACTIONS

Saskatchewan has great potential for renewable and sustainable energy sources such as solar power, wind power and geothermal energy for heating.

We could phase out coal-fired electricity generation in 10 years, invest in better transit systems, improve building codes to make houses and offices more energy efficient and reduce subsidies to oil and gas development.

CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

Later this year, there will be a major international climate change conference in Paris.

In advance of the conference, email Premier Brad Wall or your local Member of Parliament to say that you want Saskatchewan and Canada to do our part to reduce our reliance on an unsustainable and unjust plan for short-term economic development.

Premier Brad Wall: premier@gov.sk.ca

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

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

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

Sources: Star Phoenix, Leader-Post, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, International Panel on Climate Change

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THE HUNGER GAMES & CANADA 2014

Posted by strattof on November 28, 2014

Mockingjay‒Part I, the third installment of The Hunger Games series of films, just opened in theatres. Based on Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy, the movies, like the novels, have been enormously successful. Set in the near future, the story takes place in a country known as Panem, a post-apocalyptic totalitarian society established in North America following the destruction of our civilization.

At the centre of the story is Katniss Everdeen, a mere 16 years old at the beginning of the series. We learn of her struggles, first to provide for her mother and beloved younger sister after their father’s death, and then to survive the Hunger Games, a nationally televised event in which children between the ages of 12 and 18 are required to fight to the death until there is only one remaining.

The Hunger Games trilogy is categorized as “young adult fiction.” However, its multitude of fans represents a broad demographic, extending from pre-teens to senior citizens. As many of us know, it tackles serious issues and offers a critique of contemporary society.

What can The Hunger Games tell us about present-day Canadian society?

CLIMATE CHANGE

In The Hunger Games, climate change is responsible for the demise of North America. As the Hunger Games contestants are about to be selected in District 12, the mayor “tells the history of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America. He lists the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land, the brutal war for what little sustenance remained.”

On the 2014 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks 58th out of 61. We are one of the top 10 CO2 emitters in the world. To protect tar sands development, the Harper government has gutted environmental regulations and blocked progress at international climate conferences. 76% of Canadians believe Canada should sign on to an international climate agreement.

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY

Panem is an extremely unequal society, with a disposable periphery where Katniss and her family struggle to survive, being exploited to feed the glittering capital where people live in unimaginable luxury. It is a classic case of what the Occupy Movement calls the 1% and the 99%.

Since the 1980s, inequality has been rapidly increasing in Canada, reversing the trend since the 1930s that saw increasing equality.

Today in Canada

  • The richest 1% earn 13.3% of income, up sharply from 7% in 1982.
  • The highest paid 100 CEOs earn 171 times more than the average worker, up from a ratio of 105 to 1 in 1998.
  • 900,000 people use food banks every month.
  • 1 in 5 children live in poverty.

Reducing Income Inequality: 5 Measures Governments Can Take 

  1. Increase tax rates on high incomes. In 1948, the top income tax rate for Canadians was 80%. Today it is only 43%.
  2. Reverse corporate tax cuts. The federal corporate tax rate has been slashed from 48% in 1984 to its current 15%, a 69%% tax rate cut.
  3. Raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour and then index it to inflation.
  4. Invest in social housing.
  5. Introduce high quality universal early childhood education.

BREAD AND CIRCUSES

Panem, the name of Katniss’s country, refers to the phrase “Bread and Circuses.” Coined by a first century Roman writer, it describes how ruling classes pacify commoners by providing entertainment that serves as a distraction from their exploitation and subjugation.

In ancient Rome, it was gladiatorial contests that provided the deadly distraction. In Panem, it is the Hunger Games. What is it in our society?

Collins has said that her main model for the Hunger Games was Reality TV. Her portrayal of the Panem games suggests that Reality TV not only diverts our attention away from the REAL issues; it also hardens viewers to violence, suffering, and cruelty.

WAR AND PEACE

The Hunger Games are a metaphor for war. We too send our young people off to kill other young people–in our case in other countries, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. As Collins indicates, even the most brutal of the young fighters in her novels are creations of the adult world which programs them, almost from birth, to fight and kill.

The anti-war stance of The Hunger Games is also evident in the portrayal of the impact of violence on the young characters. Like many soldiers who fought in Afghanistan, Katniss suffers from PTSD, experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and guilt.

Spoiler alert: Another indication of the novels’ attitude to war is the resolution of the Gale-Katniss-Peeta love triangle in favour of Peeta, “the boy with the bread,” and not Gale, Katniss’s childhood hunting partner. A man so consumed with “rage and hatred,” Gale sees violence, no matter the cost, as the only way forward.

The ultimate futility of armed resistance is, however, most clearly apparent when Coin, the president of District 13, the centre of the armed rebellion, begins to replicate the power plays of the Capital, dropping bombs on children and planning to reinstate the Hunger Games. Violence begets violence is Collins’s message.

If armed resistance is not the way to respond to brutal, unjust power, what is? Collins’s answer seems to be a fostering of certain values – community, resourcefulness, self-sacrifice, love – combined with a strategy of revolutionary non-violence.

THREE-FINGERED SALUTE

In The Hunger Games, the three-fingered salute is a symbol of resistance to unjust and corrupt power. Let’s do the three-fingered salute in Regina!

  • ENERGY EAST PIPELINE: This pipeline will cut right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area, thus expanding Canadian tar sands production and driving dangerous climate change. ►Let Premier Brad Wall know we want him to join the premiers of Ontario and Quebec and demand an assessment of Energy East’s climate impact.   
  • MILITARY TRAINING IN REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS: Starting in February, Regina high schools, public and Catholic, will offer a military training program to grade 11 and 12 students. Students will earn 2 credits for taking the course. They will also be paid $2,000. ►Sign the petition, No Military Training in Regina High Schools. We have copies with us. Petitions can also be downloaded from facebook.com/PeaceQuestRegina ►Let Premier Brad Wall know we do not want our schools used to program young people to accept war as normal.

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I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF….

Posted by strattof on July 20, 2014

This year I Love Regina Day was celebrated on July 19. First observed in 2002, I Love Regina Day is an occasion for celebrating our city and its achievements.

It is also a good time to think about the changes we need to bring about in our city to make life better for all Regina citizens.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF 

A CITY-WIDE BAN WERE IMPOSED ON THE COSMETIC USE OF PESTICIDES.

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.

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

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

REGINA TRANSIT WAS PROVIDED WITH ADEQUATE FUNDING. 

The past four years have seen a dramatic increase in transit ridership. Yet there has been no significant increase in Transit’s operating budget.

Our growing city is experiencing traffic congestion and parking problems. Transit is the answer. Transit is also part of the answer to a major global problem: climate change. One bus load of passengers takes the equivalent of 40 vehicles off the road, reducing emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes a year.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

OUR CITY HAD MORE BIKE LANES.

Currently we have two measly downtown bike lanes: on Smith and Lorne between College and Victoria.

Bike lanes help keep cyclist safe. Cycling helps the environment. It is also good for human health.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

EVERY REGINA RESIDENT HAD A SAFE, SECURE, HABITABLE, AND AFFORDABLE HOME.

Regina is experiencing a homelessness crisis. The city’s shelters are filled to capacity.

City Council’s response is to offer a capital incentive of $15,000 per unit to developers to build more rental units ‒ units that are to be rented “at or below average market rent.” As everyone knows, “average market rent” is not very affordable.

In other words, the city is shifting millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of developers who will not be building any truly affordable rental units. In the meantime, 1000s of Regina residents are suffering because of the lack of affordable rental housing.

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE IF

TRANSCANADA PIPELINES WERE NOT ABOUT TO SHIP TAR SANDS OIL THROUGH OUR CITY.

TransCanada’s Energy East is the largest tar sands pipeline proposed yet. Over 4,000 km long.it would run from Alberta to New Brunswick, carrying 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil per day to the Atlantic Ocean, mainly for export.

Energy East cuts right through Regina, in the Harbour Landing area. It would put our city at risk of a tar sands oil spill. TransCanada does not have a good safety record. It would expand Canadian tar sands production, thus driving dangerous climate change.

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

I’D LOVE REGINA MORE

Join the I’d Love Regina More campaign. Let Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor know what they could do to make you love Regina more.

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

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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 »

HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY MAKING PEACE VIGIL

Posted by strattof on May 15, 2014

VIGIL 7TH BIRTHDAY MAY 15 2014VIGIL 7TH BIRTHDAY MAY 15 2014VIGIL 7TH BIRTHDAY MAY 15 2014

Today, May 15, the MAKING PEACE VIGIL is celebrating its 7th birthday. Every Thursday, from noon to 12:30 pm, we stand on the corner of Scarth Street and 11th Avenue handing out pamphlets with a message of peace and justice.

We haven’t missed a week in 7 years.  If for nothing else, we get full marks for stubborn perseverance. J

Thanks so much for taking our pamphlets.

  • A special thank you to those who have stopped and discussed issues with us.
  • Let us know what other issues you would like us to examine.
  • Should you ever be free on a Thursday at noon, please join us.

P   E   A   C   E

WHEN THE POWER OF LOVE OVERCOMES THE LOVE OF POWER THE WORLD WILL KNOW PEACE —Jimi Hendrix

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy? —Mahatma Gandhi

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. —Albert Einstein

Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns  and told to settle their differences themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder. —Harry Patch, Britian’s last surviving World War I veteran

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. —Martin Luther King

All we are saying is give peace a chance. —John Lennon

You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb the world to peace. —Michael Franti

J   U   S   T   I   C   E

Our motto should be: let us make peace so that we can concentrate on the really important work that needs to be done. That is, alleviating the plight of the poor and the defenceless, for as long as most of humanity feels the pain of poverty we all remain prisoners. —Nelson Mandela

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. —George Monbiot

W E   A R E   T H E   9 9 % —Occupy Movement

He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us. —The Prophet Muhammad

Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty.  Clothe the naked. House the homeless. —from the Christian corporal works of mercy 

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela 

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing. —Arundhati Roy

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

Bearing witness to our society’s involvement in violence and injustice

Committing ourselves to creative action for change

EVERY THURSDAY

until   PEACE breaks out 

FROM noon to 12:30 pm

ON SCARTH STREET AT 11TH AVENUE 

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

The vigil takes a stand on a range of issues, including:

  • Canada’s involvement in war and the arms industry
  • Canadian Pension Plan investments in corporations making weapons
  • Saskatchewan’s involvement in the uranium industry
  • The suspension of human and civil rights in the name of national security
  • The Canadian government’s failure to keep its treaties with First Nations
  • Social inequity in housing and employment in Regina
  • Racism in Canada and elsewhere
  • Violence against women in Canada and worldwide
  • The lack of a national early learning and child care system
  • The unequal distribution of wealth both in Canada and worldwide
  • Canadian Pension Plan investments in the tar sands industry
  • War against the earth systems that give us life

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ENERGY EAST: PIPING TAR SANDS OIL THROUGH REGINA

Posted by strattof on April 20, 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, running down the back alleys of Harbour Landing. 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.

NOT IN OUR BACKYARD! 

ENERGY EAST: AN ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD

The purpose of the Energy East pipeline is to expand Canadian tar sands production. The expansion will bring about a significant increase in Canada’s carbon emissions.

According to a Pembina Institute report released in February, Energy East will:

  • Add an additional 30-32 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year ‒ the equivalent of adding more than seven million cars to Canada’s roads; and
  • Help spur 650,000 to 750,000 barrels per day of additional production from the tar sands.

Earlier this month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its most dire warning about how the rapid pouring of carbon dioxide 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 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.

EARTH DAY

Tuesday, April 22, is EARTH 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 EARTH DAY

Learn more about the impact on climate of Energy East. Read the Pembina report: www.pembina.org/pub/2519

Contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper and your MP and let them know:

→ You do not want tar sands oil pumped through Regina;

→ You want the federal government to stop subsidizing tar sands development and to start investing in sustainable energy; and

→ You want the federal government to implement strong environmental regulations.

Follow the lead of Nobel laureate and anti-apartheid campaigner, Desmond Tutu:

“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel companies. We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings. We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil fuel industry. We can organize car-free days and build broader societal awareness.”

To read the rest of Desmond Tutu’s inspiring essay, visit http://bit.ly/1qyvSpU or google “tutu guardian climate change.”

 

Posted in climate, environment, justice, peace activism | 2 Comments »

PUBLIC TRANSIT IS THE SOLUTION

Posted by strattof on April 20, 2014

When it comes to public transit, Regina needs an attitude makeover. We tend to see transit as the problem, when, in fact, it is the solution to many of our problems.

Take the problem of traffic congestion on 11th Avenue. Some city officials have proposed removing regular transit buses from 11th as the solution to this problem. Such a policy would, however, have the opposite effect. By discouraging people from using public transit, it would increase traffic congestion on 11th Avenue.

FACTS

  • A regular transit bus seats 40 passengers.
  • A regular busload of passengers takes up far less road space than 40 cars.

The past four years have seen a dramatic increase in transit ridership. Between 2012 and 2013 alone, it grew by a whopping 13.8%. It is a trend that needs to be encouraged, not discouraged.

PUBLIC TRANSIT IS THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM 

Increased transit use is the solution to many of our city’s problems, including:

  • Traffic congestion on 11th Avenue
  • Downtown parking
  • Rush hour traffic jams

Public transit also has a number of advantages over private vehicles:

Transit saves you money.Downtown parking costs on average $200 per month. A 30-day adult bus pass costs $62. If your employer participates in the Employer Pass Program, you will pay only $53 per month for a bus pass.

Transit is relaxing. You can read or meditate or text on the bus with no safety worries.

Transit is safer. Studies show that transit is safer than driving a car. Transit travel has about a tenth of the traffic injury or death rate as car travel; and residents of transit-oriented communities have about a fifth the per capita crash casualty rate as in car-oriented communities.

Transit also makes streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Transit is a common good. It benefits everyone. Folks who serve us in hospitals, restaurants, and stores need transit to get to work. Businesses need customers and workers to get there. Transit is essential for people who cannot afford, or do not have the health, to drive a car. It is also necessary for people who choose not to drive.

We need a transportation system that does not privilege the car over other forms of transportation.

TRANSIT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Public transit not only provides solutions to local problems. It is also part of the answer to a major global problem: climate change. Last week, the UN issued its most dire warning about how rising carbon emissions are affecting lives in every region of the globe, including Canada.

FACTS

  • Transit cuts carbon emissions.
  • One bus load of passengers takes the equivalent of 40 vehicles off the road, reducing emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes a year.

IMPROVING REGINA TRANSIT

To further improve ridership, transit service will have to be improved in the following ways:

  • Extend transit service to new areas of the city
  • Provide more frequent service
  • Provide earlier and later service
  • Offer holiday and full Sunday service

However, to improve service, transit needs more financial support. In the past four years, there has been no significant increase in transit’s operating budget. Moreover, revenue from additional rides, as well as from ads, keeps being put back into general revenue.

PARATRANSIT

Kudos to Regina Transit for making its entire fleet of buses accessible to those with mobility issues.

Now the city needs to turn its attention to Paratransit where, because of a lack of vehicles and drivers, requests for service often go unanswered. “Equal access for persons with disabilities to public services is a human right” protected under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and Canadian law.

TAKE ACTION FOR EARTH DAY: APRIL 22

Help forge a sustainable future. Start riding the bus. 

TAKE ACTION FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT

Remind Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor that public transit is the solution to many of our city’s problems. Let them know you want:

  • An annual 20% increase to the transit operating budget for the next four years.
  • All surplus transit revenue to be reinvested in Regina Transit.
  • The provision of enough paratransit buses and drivers for all calls for paratransit service to be answered.

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

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