If there ever was a time . . .

By Scott Harris

First published in the Chronicle Journal January 18, 2017

Right-wing Fraser Institute’s Ken Green champions the “rule of law” vs “special interests” (Protesters Aren’t in Charge – Guest Column, CJ, Jan. 16). He states that pipeline protesters should take heed.

He qualifies that civil disobedience “is most appropriate when a group faces oppression without representation.” How better to describe future, unborn generations, a group which has no voice, which nevertheless has a right to a tolerable climate, but whose present-day governments don’t see it that way.

Read moreIf there ever was a time . . .

Common Voice Northwest out of turn on pipeline

By Tom Cook

First published in the Chronicle Journal January 13, 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the Jan. 2 article about Common Voice Northwest and their Energy East forums. Who is Common Voice Northwest?

They are a Thunder Bay-based non-profit group which was formed via a collaboration of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) and the regional chambers of commerce. NOMA is an ‘old boys’ network’ of representatives from Northwestern Ontario municipalities to share information and concerns, and to promote business in the area. Their president is Mayor Dave Canfield from Kenora and board member, Coun. Iain Angus from Thunder Bay is executive director of Common Voice Northwest.

Unfortunately, NOMA sometimes makes pronouncements such as support for the Energy East Pipeline proposal which has not been supported by either Thunder Bay city council or Kenora city council. Given this situation, I have some concerns about a possible bias in Common Voice Northwest research.

Read moreCommon Voice Northwest out of turn on pipeline

Confirmation bias: Science and the Internet form a double-edged sword Story

First Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 in the Chronicle Journal

By Scott Harris
For The Chronicle-Journal
‘By either stressing or ignoring the information that bombards us, we create our own reality” (author unknown). Such, perhaps, is what it means to be human. Our own opinions are formed by our own unique experiences, cognitive intake and reflection.
The advent of universal, electronic transmission tools such as the Internet amounts to an information strafing unlike anything we humans have experienced before.
But the Internet is a double-edged tool. With the current availability of electronic information, one can find validation for virtually any opinion, no matter how bizarre. On the other hand, there are impeccable, peer-reviewed sources which help us separate truth from fiction. That distinction is becoming increasingly important, as we begin to address global issues triggered by human behaviour.

Read moreConfirmation bias: Science and the Internet form a double-edged sword Story

EBR moose and coyote regulation: CUSP submission

EBR Registry Number: 012-6073
Comment ID 192372
Contact name: Lynn Palmer
Organization Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet (CUSP)

CUSP is a group of citizens that live in or near Thunder Bay who are committed to promoting healthy communities, a healthy environment, and social and ecological justice. CUSP strongly opposes this proposal, as we do not believe is likely to benefit moose and which may actually result in negative impacts.

CUSP does not oppose hunting. However we do support science. We do not see strong scientific evidence in this proposal that it will have the intended effect to improve the health of moose populations.

Read moreEBR moose and coyote regulation: CUSP submission

Forests For All, Forever

First published in the Chronicle Journal Wed April 20, 2016

Julee Boan

Debate over the use of Ontario’s forests has intensified in recent years. At the heart of the matter: how do we determine which activities are sustainable, and which are not? How much risk is too much risk? And most importantly, who should decide?
Even in a democratic society, such as Canada, expectations for determining whether forestry activities are sustainable go beyond mere compliance with federal and provincial laws. They also go beyond assertions of sustainability from companies themselves or their industry associations.

Read moreForests For All, Forever

Fracking is a bridge to nowhere

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS
First published in the Chronicle Journal Jan 11, 2016

BY JASON MACLEAN
For Canada and other parties to the recent Paris climate change agreement to meet their commitment to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, “‘plan A’ must be to immediately and aggressively reduce GHG emissions.”
Why? Because there’s no plan B.
That’s not the cry of crazy environmentalists. That’s the cool-headed conclusion of a recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change entitled “Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions” assessing the potential of what are called NETs (negative emissions technologies), which are designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Read moreFracking is a bridge to nowhere

Is NOMA ignoring democratic values?

By Julee Boan and Scott Harris
We have concern regarding the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s (NOMA) recent resolution, passed with support from Thunder Bay, calling on a number of environmental organizations to “cease and desist” their forestry “campaigns.”
While Environment North is not specifically mentioned, we are also a registered charitable organization. Since 1972, we have strived to improve and protect the ecological sustainability and socio-economic wellbeing of Northwestern Ontario through leadership, research, partnerships, education, community advocacy, information and community capacity building.
At times, we have called for changes to forestry practices and policy, including voicing questions and concerns when the province exempted the forest industry from the Endangered Species Act. We also voiced support for forest tenure reform to increase local decision making, and the expansion of Wabakimi Provincial Park, among other issues.

Read moreIs NOMA ignoring democratic values?

The terrorists we know by Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I suppose that Stephen Harper must believe that if he plays the terrorist card he will win a majority of votes in the upcoming election — but I think he’s wrong. This time I believe voters will see through Bill C-51 and its overblown scare tactics. In truth, I’m more concerned about the terrorists we know.

Read moreThe terrorists we know by Peter Lang

Walking With Our Sisters a moving experience

Thursday was my birthday. To celebrate, my wife took me to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to see the exhibit, Walking With Our Sisters. And, while I knew that it was commemorative in honour of murdered and missing First Nations women, I had no idea that the exhibit would affect me so deeply.

Upon entering, visitors are met and introduced to the significance of what they will see, and then ‘smudged’ by an Elder who blesses you and sets you on your way.

Read moreWalking With Our Sisters a moving experience

Mayors back bullies

BY JULEE BOAN

First published in The Chronicle Journal Monday March 3, 2014

In 2010, two municipal councillors from Thornhill, Ont., advocating for the protection of prime farmland in their community were sued by a developer who accused them of trespassing on his land. The developer seemingly forgot that he had leased the land back to a local farmer who had given the councillors permission to hold a news conference on the side of the road at the farm.

The lawsuit was, of course, dismissed as nonsense by the courts. But it took two years and substantial lawyers’ fees to resolve. In response, one of the councillors said, “To us, this looks like an attempt at intimidation and bullying … In my opinion, this is a SLAPP suit.”

A SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) is a lawsuit initiated against one or more individuals who speak out on an issue of public interest.

Read moreMayors back bullies