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  • Say YES to Mail-in Voting

    Posted on March 9th, 2021 admin No comments

    A friend of mine posted this Americanized meme to her Facebook page.

    She asserted, “I will stand in line to vote I will not mail in my vote for someone else to screw around with it.”

    I suspect that she has been excessively influenced by Trumpist nonsense about “mail in ballot fraud” and apparently knows little about how the Canadian election system provides security for mail-in ballots; it includes voter ID and proof of address, and there is no more chance for “someone to screw around with it” than there is for a ballot at a polling station.

    At any rate, here’s my reply.

    Good for you for standing in line to vote. Not everyone is so lucky as to have that choice. BTW in Canada it’s called a mail-in special ballot.

    • Would you deny the right to vote to CANADIAN CITIZENS who are in the military and posted away from home — the very veterans who protect your freedom to vote? They have to vote by mail-in special ballot.
    • Would you deny the vote to CANADIAN CITIZENS who are business people who need to be away from home — so that you can have a job, or things to eat and buy? They will vote by mail-in special ballot.
    • Would you deny the vote to CANADIAN CITIZENS who are students taking advantage of an opportunity to study at a prestigious school elsewhere? They can only vote by mail-in special ballot.
    • Would you deny the vote to CANADIAN CITIZENS who live in isolated areas without an actual polling station? They have no place to line up to vote, so they have to use mail-in special ballots.
    • Would you deny the vote to CANADIAN CITIZENS who are aged, infirm, ill, or hospitalized, and so cannot stand in line with you? Are they any less citizens than you? Yet you would deny their right to vote by mail-in special ballot?

    My friend, I’m proud that you’ll stand in line to vote! But there are many Canadian citizens who cannot stand in line. If you want to deny other those Canadians their right to vote by denying them access to mail-in special ballot, I say shame on you!

    Voting Habits: Living outside the country not a barrier to UBC students  voting

  • Malartic and Teck Frontier Mines

    Posted on March 1st, 2021 admin No comments

    Facebook meme gets facts totally wrong

    One of our city councilors posted this meme on his Facebook page a while ago.

    No photo description available.
    Top: Quebec’s Malartic open pit gold mine;
    Bottom: a reference to Teck Resources’ proposed Frontier oil sands development

    Mining is a Provincial Matter

    First, let’s remember that mining (except on federal lands) is a PROVINCIAL matter. Provincial governments are responsible for the exploration, development, and extraction of mineral resources, and the construction, management, reclamation, and closeout of mine sites in their jurisdiction. So how does Trudeau, as PM, have anything to say about these mines? More later.

    About Malartic Mine

    Quebec’s Malartic gold mine, the largest open-pit mine in Canada, has been in operation since 1935, according to their website. Kind of predates both Trudeau PMs, no?

    In 2008, “The ore body is located directly beneath a sector in the Town of Malartic. Osisko relocates more than 150 homes in a new neighbourhood.” Justin Trudeau took office in 2015, so how is he responsible for moving those homes?

    The highway that was moved in 2017 was Route 117, an offshoot (TransCanada North) rather than the main TransCanada Highway. The Quebec government approved the mine expansions that necessitated moving both the homes and the highway. Trudeau not required.

    Reasons for Federal Involvement in Mining

    So why does the meme insist that PM Trudeau is refusing to approve a mine in Alberta? Mining is a provincial matter; how does the PM have any say? There are a few reasons.

    1. The Environment. Under the Constitution of Canada, environmental management is a shared responsibility between federal and provincial governments.
    2. First Nations. The federal government negotiates land rights and environmental concerns with aboriginal governments.
    3. Money. Provinces often want financial support from the federal government for large projects.

    Teck Resources Ltd. Frontier Mine

    Since the Teck mine would harm the environment and generate four million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually; since indigenous lands would be affected; and since Alberta needs money, the feds are involved.

    Most of the regulatory process had been completed. Teck had agreed to be carbon-neutral by 2050 (after producing 160 megatonnes of emissions), and the first nations seemed to be onboard with the money and jobs the mine would produce. It was only awaiting parliamentary approval (that is, the whole government, not just the Prime Minister) with a deadline of Feb. 28, 2021.

    A Couple of Post Scripts

    Really, it’s moot at this point. The deadline has passed without federal government approval. Teck has withdrawn their regulatory application. Read their letter here. Don Lindsay, Teck president and CEO, had actually questioned whether the mine would ever be built, in part because oil prices were not high enough.

    PS: Malartic was in 2016 the subject of a class action suit by the townspeople; the suit was settled in 2019. https://miningwatch.ca/news/2019/10/15/largest-gold-mine-canada-settles-affected-citizens-out-court

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