2017 Community Action Award

The 2017 Community Action Award was presented to Project Watershed at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians AGM.

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.


Standing with Standing Rock, NO to Kinder Morgan!

A small but determined group of activists braved the wind and rain today to send the message that we stand with Standing Rock and say NO to Kinder Morgan. Thanks for the honks and waves of support from so many vehicles passing by!img_0718 img_0720 img_0721 img_0722 img_0723 img_0726 img_0728

Stop Site C

site-cA new poll conducted by Insights West, sponsored by readers of DeSmog Canada, found that 73 per cent of British Columbians support sending the Site C dam for an independent review of both costs and demand, as recommended by the Joint Review Panel in its 2014 report.

Seven in 10 respondents supported pausing construction of Site C to investigate alternatives to meet future power demand.  http://www.desmog.ca/2016/11/16/video-70-british-columbians-support-pausing-site-c-dam-construction-poll

It’s not too late to stop this project!  Use the letter writing points and contact info in the link below to tell the BC and the federal government to put Site C on pause. site-c

LFG Townhall Video

Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE2ND6CTIek&feature=youtu.be

lng-tankerA video of the townhall event with Emma Lui, national water campaigner for the Council of Canadians and Ben Parfitt, policy analyst for Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The BC government has made extravagant claims about the benefits to British Columbians regarding LNG development – but were they just election promises? Realistically, how many jobs will be created? The lower global prices, an increased supply of natural gas on the market, and a tax and royalty regime that has been roundly criticized for favouring industry, will there be any significant economic benefits for British Columbians? What will the consequences be for our environment and for Canada’s climate change commitments? How does the Site C dam fit into the picture? What are the effects of fracking on our fresh water supplies?

Thanks to Kayla McDonald Video Productions and Chris Smith of Heavyset Media for donating their time, equipment and expertise to the Comox Valley Council of Canadians in the making of this video.

LFG Townhall Update

lfg-768x512The federal Liberal government’s recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project poses a grave threat to one of the most important wild salmon habitats in Canada.

Aboriginal groups and SkeenaWild are preparing to launch a series of legal actions against the construction of this liquefaction facility off the Flora Bank where 80-90% of Skeena’s salmon and steelhead have their nurseries.

SkeenaWild and the Skeena Corridor Nations, a powerful group of hereditary leaders from Gitanyow, Lax Kw’alaams, Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Takla, Lake Babine and Haida, are exploring all political and legal options to obtain long-term protection of the Skeena River estuary and the salmon run that forms the economic, social and cultural foundation of life in the area. Continue reading

Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business

The recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project has intensified debate about BC’s economic and environmental future.

The BC government has made extravagant claims about the benefits to British Columbians regarding LNG development – but were they just election promises?

Realistically, how many jobs will be created?

The lower global prices, an increased supply of natural gas on the market, and a tax and royalty regime that has been roundly criticized for favouring industry, will there be any significant economic benefits for British Columbians?

What will the consequences be for our environment and for Canada’s climate change commitments?

How does the Site C dam fit into the picture?

What are the effects of fracking on our fresh water supplies?

These are some of the questions that will be answered at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians town hall, Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business, Thursday, October 27, 7 pm in the Rotary Room of the Florence Filberg Centre. Continue reading

Open letter to Liberal Cabinet on recent push to support tar sands pipelines

This morning Prime Minister Trudeau and Liberal Cabinet members received an open letter endorsed by over 40 Canadian organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people, calling on them to reject the pressure to champion tar sands, or oil sands, pipelines.

Most notably, this pressure has come from both Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

The open letter challenges key myths being used to support the false argument that more pipelines will fix Alberta’s economic woes and emphasizes the very serious risks presented by the projects and the viable alternatives we have.

Click here to read the whole letter and list of endorsers, including the Comox Valley Chapter.


BC’s Climate Leadership Plan Public Consultation

BC’s Climate Leadership Team has put forward 32 recommendations, designed to help the province reduce carbon pollution while maintaining a strong economy.
Key recommendations include:
• Increasing B.C.’s carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year starting in 2018 (and using the incremental revenue to lower the PST from 7% to 6%, protect low-income households and implement measures to maintain the competitiveness of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry);
• Cutting methane emissions from the natural-gas sector by 40% within five years;
• Committing to 100% renewable energy on the electricity grid by 2025 (except where fossil fuels are required for backup);
• Requiring new buildings to be so energy-efficient that they would be capable of meeting most of their annual energy needs with onsite renewable energy within the next 10 years (and starting in 2016 for new public buildings);
• Requiring an increasing percentage (rising to 30% by 2030) of light-duty vehicles sold in the province to be zero-emission vehicles;
• Reviewing the Climate Leadership Plan every five years.
At a minimum, a strong Climate Leadership Plan must include a commitment to implement all of the Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations. According to the team, the government must adopt the entire package of recommendations to put B.C. on a “credible pathway” to meeting its legislated 2050 emissions target.
Show your support for a strong Climate Leadership Plan and the economic and environmental opportunities it would provide for the province.
Read the Consultation Guide and submit your comments by March 25. Write a letter to the editor and spread the word on social media. This is a conversation we should all be involved in.
For further background information, check out the Pembina Institute’s webinar series.
The first two webinars are available to view ( and there’s still time to register for the last two: Carbon Tax: Developer and local government perspectives and Maintaining a strong economy while moving ahead with climate policy.

Questions for Candidates 2015

The following are issues that we care deeply about, but are not necessarily hearing discussed in the public coverage of the election. Each of these are crucial areas of federal responsibility and we feel all Comox Valley residents would benefit from knowing each Candidate’s position on all of these questions.

What is your strategy to conserve and protect our water resources? Will you develop a National Water policy that recognizes water as a human right, invests in water and wastewater infrastructure in municipalities and First Nations, bans fracking, and transitions away from tar sands and other fossil fuels?

What is your strategy to deal with fracking, the natural gas extraction process that uses and pollutes massive volumes of water and has been proven to be the cause of earthquakes?

Clean drinking water is an irreplaceable resource for communities, yet many have little control over what happens to water before it arrives in their community. Will you support the development of community based watershed management plans?

Do you commit to reinstating protections on the 99 per cent of lakes and rivers delisted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act?

Will you commit to reinstating changes to other environmental legislation and reallocating the more than $100 million cut from critical water research and programs?


Current “Trade” deals include more than tariffs and quotas, and increasingly include important public policy initiatives. They are considered “treaties” and do not require a vote in the House of Commons. Do you support full federal parliamentary debate and vote on any future trade deals?

Current trade agreements include Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses that make it possible for corporations to sue Canada if they feel their anticipated profits have been lost or threatened. What is the position of your party on Investor State Dispute Settlements?

Do you support a public, unbiased assessment of the effect of any unsigned and future trade agreements on: i) environmental protections; ii) public health protections; and iii) human rights protections?


What will you do to prioritize issues that matter to young people, as well as to reduce barriers to voting faced by youth and students, to engage them more in electoral politics?

Will you commit to introducing electoral reform to ensure every vote counts in future elections?

What will you do to ensure Elections Canada has the power to find the perpetrators of the 2011 election fraud and prevent it from happening again?

Will you repeal Bill C-51?


Canadians are currently subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year. How will your party support alternative energy sources to reduce demand for fossil fuels?

In light of recent climate change agreements between the United States and China, does your party believe a price on carbon should be set by the federal government?

What plan and climate change targets would your government take to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November?


Canadians share a deeply held belief that access to needed health care services should not be based on how rich we are, but rather on our medical need. What will your party do to provide the funds and national standards needed to give everyone in Canada access to quality public health care regardless of where they live or how much money they earn?

Studies show that 1 in 10 Canadians don’t buy the prescription drugs they need because of their cost. What is your party’s position on a publicly funded and administered national drug plan?

What is your party’s position on a national seniors care strategy would provide homecare, hospital care, long-term care, hospice and palliative care to aging Canadians as they need it?

LNG Townhall: Don’t Frack with our Future

With over 14 massive LNG terminals and supertankers proposed for the coast of BC, there is rising concern and opposition from communities across the province as the true impacts of fracking and LNG come to light. Why put communities and climate at risk, and threaten B.C.’s drinking water, rivers and ocean, wild salmon, air quality, farmlands and wilderness areas for a dangerous LNG pipe dream?
From the frackfields of northeastern BC and the many fracked gas pipelines and LNG terminals vying for approval in the northwest, to the proposed LNG projects closer to home in Howe Sound, Delta, Campbell River and Alberni Inlet, come learn the true impacts of LNG and what you can do to protect your community and the coast.
Continue reading

Mt Polley Mining Disaster

On September 12, the Freshwater Alliance and the Council of Canadians hosted an interactive webinar on the Mt Polley disaster. It featured presentations from presentations from Jacinda Mack of the Xastull First Nations, Ramsey Hart from Mining Watch, and Amy Crook from the Fair Mining Collaborative with up to date info on what’s happening on the ground now and what is being planned for the future.

As a follow-up, here are some useful information links as well as an action you can take and share with your group or community and networks.
TAKE ACTION: Continue reading

Questions we need to be asking about LNG in British Columbia

• When will the province commission a proper cumulative impact study and full risk/benefit analysis on the seven approved LNG projects?

• Why are so many public subsidies necessary for shale gas development including free water, low royalties and tax-payer funded geoscience?

• Given that BC’s shale gas resources use three times more water than any other North American shale plays, why does the government give this water away for free?

• What are the methane leakage rates for shale gas fields and infrastructure in BC?

• Why has the authority to grant water permits been placed in the hands of the Oil and Gas Commission? Is this not a conflict of interest?

• According to energy expert David Hughes, the National Energy Board calculates that Canada will have no more than 4.5 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas export capacity by 2035. Yet it has approved 14.6 bcf/day in 2020. Why?

• Why has BC adopted the riskiest royalty/rent model (HIS CERA) for the owners of the natural resource that earns very little money up front?

• Are there any controls on foreign ownership of LNG in BC?

-compiled by Andrew Nikiforuk