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At our AGM on Nov. 23, Comox Valley Council of Canadians welcomed Terry Dance Bennink, chair of the Fair Vote Canada – BC Steering Committee (FVC-BC).
Ms Bennink gave the keynote address about what is happening with electoral reform in the province of BC. She spoke about the need for reform. Our current system is outdated and does not represent the diverse nature of our society. Proportional representation (PR) is a more democratic way to govern and almost every vote counts. You can watch her speech at this link.
The BC Government has introduced legislation to hold a referendum in the fall of 2018 which will ask British Columbians to decide whether B.C. should keep its current voting system (First Past the Post) or move to a system of Proportional Representation.
The most important thing you can do now is to participate in the government online survey before February 28, 2018.
FVC-BC steering committee has put out a guide to the survey in order to help answer questions that are difficult to understand.
The survey is asking for input from voters on key elements of the fall 2018 referendum.
It is also very important to sign the pledge to vote yes for PR in the upcoming referendum so that you can be counted on to help change the way we fulfill democracy in BC.
We have a very good chance to bring democracy into the 21st century for both British Columbia and the rest of Canada in the future.
This award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated progressive action in our community and promotes the values endorsed by the Council of Canadians. Recent recipients include Janet Fairbanks and Wayne Bradley, Walking with Our Sisters K’omoks, and activist Gwyn Frayne, posthumously.
A non-profit environmental society, Project Watershed’s mission is to “promote community stewardship of the Comox Valley watersheds through education, information and action”.
“In doing so”, noted Chapter member Linda Safford, “they are protecting our shared environment, our commons, for the public good and future generations.”
Bio-remediation to protect Baynes Sound, salmon studies and enhancement on the Puntledge River, eel grass restoration, salt-marsh construction, and the lagoon breech at the Airpark are a few of the many initiatives Project Watershed has spearheaded over the past 24 years.
Their current undertaking, Kus-kus-sum, is one of the largest, most high-profile initiatives in local conservation history. It is a partnership with the K’omoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay to “unpave paradise” and restore the former Fields sawmill site on the Courtenay River to estuary saltmarsh and riverside forest. The name Kus-kus-sum honours an early First Nations village in that area.
“After more than a century of industrial service and decline in ecological function, we have the chance to live with this section of river in a way that’s better for everyone,” said Chair of Project Watershed Paul Horgen, who accepted the Community Action Award on behalf the organization.
FISH FARMS OUT From First Nations’ Unceded Territorial Waters
Support the Observers!
In late August, First Nations people of the ‘Namgis, Mamalilikala, Lawit’sis and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw began observing two Marine Harvest salmon farms on Swanson and Midsummer Islands in their traditional Broughton Archipelago territories. Their actions sound alarms about:
• the collapse of the west coast wild salmon population
• governments’ inaction on the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. They have never given their consent for these farms to operate in their territories. They are calling on governments not to renew Marine Harvest’s licenses.
• Swanson Observers: https://www.gofundme.com/maya-xalaxan-sawinakola\
• Cleansing Our Waters: https://donorbox.org/fish-farm-occupation-fund-1
• c/o Alexandra Morton: www.gofundme.com/last-stand-for-wild-salmon
TAKE ACTION !!
Call on Marine Harvest and governments to drop Marine Harvest’s application for injunction against the observers.
Call on provincial and federal governments to NOT renew Marine Harvest’s licenses on the contested farms. Sample letter
Do not buy farmed Atlantic salmon.
Who to contact:
• Hon. John Horgan: firstname.lastname@example.org (250) 387-1715
• Hon. Lana Popham,AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca (250) 479-4154
• Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Oceans, Fisheries & Coast Guard: email@example.com (613) 992-1020
• Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest: firstname.lastname@example.org (250) 850-3276
• Midsummer Island Observers: www.cleansingourwaters.com; www.facebook.com/fishfarmsgetout/
• Swanson Island Observers: www.facebook.com/kwakwabalas
• Alexandra Morton: www.facebook.com/alexandramorton.wildsalmon/
• Comox Valley Supports Cleansing Our Waters: www.facebook.com/groups/512585169103558/
• Comox Valley Council of Canadians: www.facebook.com/ComoxValleyCouncilofCanadians/
The Comox Valley Council of Canadians has launched a YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
The first post, Link Arms With Us, is the inspiring video shot while covering our trip to the Broughton Archipelago. We are standing in solidarity with the First Nation observers at Midsummer Island, who are now facing the next step …. in Courts … as Marine Harvest seeks an injunction to end the peaceful occupation of the fish-farming facility.
“For me it was one of the most powerful actions I have participated in, in my many years of activism,” says Dawn Christian of PDAC.
Please view this powerful video, subscribe and like it at: https://youtu.be/clSAJUl-jLU
Thank you to Clayoquot Action for their great photography and Ed Carswell for editing Link Arms With Us. Together and in gratitude to Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Cleansing Our Waters and Molina Dawson thank you for standing so strong for all of Canada.
The Council of Canadians brought messages of solidarity directly to salmon farm observers on Midsummer Island on Saturday, November 4.
Five Comox Valley chapter supporters and two Clayoquot Action activists left from Merville to meet captain Lennie John and Ocean Outfitter’s boat at the dock in Port McNeill. Our Chapter supporters included Sally Gellard, Dawn Christian, Claire Gilmour, Dave Talbot and Charlotte. The folks from Clayoqout Action were Dan Lewis and Bonnie Glambeck. The weather changed dramatically over the previous couple of days, and they travelled into cold winds, rain and choppy water. They were greeted on Midsummer Island by Molina Dawson, the remarkable young woman who is firm in her determination not to leave until the farm is removed.
The following is a solidarity statement from Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Councilof Canadians:
“The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with the wild salmon defenders, water protectors and observers of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations.
We honour the strength and spirit of those who have been at Midsummer and Swanson Islands since August.
We recognize that these islands in the Broughton Archipelago off the north-eastern tip of Vancouver Island are unceded territories.
We hear the strong voices from these Indigenous communities who are sounding the alarm about the collapse of their food fishery, and the health of wild salmon and the ocean itself. This concerns all peoples and species on this coast, and across the country.
We recognize that the presence of Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest fish farms on these territories is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP), notably the right to free, prior and informed consent.”
The Council of Canadians will be asking its chapters, members and allies to support the following demands and actions:
* Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau engage in ‘nation-to-nation’ negotiations with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis nations who are united in their legitimate demand to have these Atlantic salmon farms removed from their territories.
* The federal government to support independent scientific reviews on the environmental impacts of farmed Atlantic salmon, to have their promise to implement UNDRIP at the forefront of their engagement in this issue, and to act responsibly within their jurisdiction over fish farms to stop the spread of disease and the impact of sea lice on wild migrating salmon.
* The British Columbia provincial government to respect UNDRIP and not renew the licences for these fish farms when they expire in June 2018.
* Marine Harvest to remove their Atlantic salmon farms from these territories.
* All supporters of indigenous rights and wild salmon to stop purchasing farmed salmon.
We stand united with wild salmon defenders to protect the waters of the Broughton Archipelago and the Fraser River.
It has been another busy year for the Comox Valley Council of Canadians. On Thursday, Nov. 23, the Chapter invites you to attend their 2017 AGM and presentation Proportional Representation Gives Every Voter a Voice!
The evening will begin with the Chapter’s news and updates on their various campaigns and activities, in what has been an exciting year. We will also present our Community Action Award for 2017.
Keynote speaker Terry Dance-Bennink, chair of Fair Vote Canada-BC, will address how, by moving forward with proportional representation (PR), we can make sure every British Columbian’s vote counts.
“B.C. is a vast and diverse province and people want to know their values are being represented in the legislature,” says Barb Berger, member of the CV Chapter. “Canada is one of the last Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries yet to adopt a proportional voting system. It’s time we take this important step to bring our democracy into the 21st century.”
“We may just get our chance,” says Dance-Bennink, “when BC holds its referendum on PR next fall. With PR, parties will no longer be able to rely on ‘safe’ seats during an election.”
Dance-Bennick will highlight why we need to change our voting system. She’ll also discuss the benefits of PR and lay out the Fair Vote campaign strategy to win the 2018 referendum.
The Chapter invites you to bring your questions to our highly regarded guest speaker. Let’s talk and grow the PR discussion!
Everyone is welcome to what promises to be an interesting and informative evening – bring a friend – Thursday, Nov. 23, Lower Native Sons Hall, Courtenay 7 p.m.
Salmon farms on the BC coast have catapulted to the top of the political agenda, as increasing controversy and pressure from wild salmon defenders now dominates the news. To support awareness at this critical juncture in BC coastal history, the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians will host an encore screening of the 2014 documentary Salmon Confidential on Thursday, Nov. 16, 7pm at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College.
The film was produced by Twyla Roscovich, the young BC filmmaker who died earlier this year in Campbell River. Her provocative film follows biologist and coastal icon Alexandra Morton as she tackles the multinational salmon farming industry and contests government science which maintains, despite her evidence to the contrary, that Atlantic salmon farming is safe for the ocean and our food supply.
The Musgamagw Dzawda’enuxw, Namgis and Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwamis First Nations, in opposition to the possible renewal of fish farm tenure licences in their traditional territory, are currently observing two foreign-owned salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago.
You can help by writing letters urging the federal government to revoke the company’s in-ocean fish farm licences, and the provincial government not to renew their sea floor tenure licences.
Each year the Comox Valley Chapter presents the Community Action Award to a person or group in the Valley. This year we will be presenting the award at our AGM on November 23.
We would like to receive your nomination for this award. Include a short paragraph that gives:
- the length of time the group or individual has been active
- the Canadian values that have been demonstrated
- the progressive action in the community
Send your nomination by November 10 to email@example.com
Past recipients of the Community Action Award are:
2007 – Valley Greens
2008 –Citizens for Quality Health Care
2009 – Food Not Bombs
2010 – Coal Watch
2011 – Water Watch
2012 – CV Seed Savers
2013 – Dawn to Dawn
2014 – Gwyn Frayne
2015 – Walking with Our Sisters K’ómoks
2016 – Janet Fairbanks and Wayne Bradley
1. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The Council of Canadians is calling for the removal of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA. NAFTA’s Chapter 11 grants private investors from one country the right to sue the government of another country if it introduces new laws, regulations or practices – be they environmental, health or human rights – that might cause corporations to lose their anticipated profits.
To the best of our knowledge financial services are not being negotiated in NAFTA, and financial institutions will not have access to ISDS claims under NAFTA, but the special ISDS power of large corporations to challenge our government’s policies is of great concern.
Financial services ARE part of the TPP package that continue to be discussed by Canada and the remaining TPP countries (the United States has withdrawn). The TPP would make it possible for the finance industry to challenge laws that could prevent another financial crisis. The TPP would:
• Require TPP governments to allow new financial products and services to enter their economies if these services are permitted in other TPP countries
• Constrain governments’ ability to ban risky financial products – including those not yet invented!
• Empower financial institutions to launch ISDS claims against governments.
3. Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)
The draft of TISA’s Financial Services chapter sets out rules that would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The US has been particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.