Bill Sundhu Interviewed on Radio NL

Bill Sundhu gave a Radio NL noon hour interview yesterday, March 31. You can listen to it here.

News of the up-coming Federal Nomination meeting was also posted by Radio NL and Infotel, as well as by Kamloops This Week and Castanet.

Notice of the meeting (to be held by Zoom) has already been sent to current NDP members in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.  If you haven’t been notified but think you should be, please email Garry Worth at <ktcnpd.gmail.com>. Registration closes on April 3rd.

 

 

NDP Welcomes the Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Federal Carbon Tax

Federal NDP critic for Environment and Climate Change, Laurel Collins, issued the following statement:

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling, but Canadians are still worried about the climate crisis and the lack of meaningful action from the Liberal government. They’re being asked to do their part, and they want to know it is making a real difference.

Canada has missed every single climate target we have set, and the Liberals are not on track to meet our current weak targets. The Liberals have staked their entire climate plan on the carbon tax. Putting a price on pollution is important, but it’s not nearly enough.

While families are being asked to pay more, the Liberals are still giving huge subsidies to big polluters. That’s not right. Canadians want to see real leadership and bold investments in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure that will help us fight the climate crisis while creating good, sustainable jobs.

Instead of the Liberals expecting the carbon tax to be a silver bullet, we need immediate investment in transit, energy-efficient homes and buildings, and clean energy. We need a real plan that supports workers and creates jobs in communities across Canada, instead of continuing to subsidize big polluters.”

REALITY CHECK: Liberal MPs Protect Greed in Long Term Care

Nobody should be profiting off the care of our seniors. This is the crux of the NDP’s Opposition Day in Parliament. And it should be a no-brainer for all-party support following the tragic failure of for-profit long-term care homes throughout COVID.

Yet in a recent town hall hosted by Canadian4LTC, two Liberal MPs were already ignoring data and referencing anecdotal evidence to undermine removing greed in long-term care:

“If we don’t get the national standards in, you can eliminate all the corporate profit care and you still won’t have the level of care that we think seniors deserve. I’m open to the argument that … private care can’t be as good as public care, I’d like to see the data that backs that up.”

-Etobicoke Centre MP, Yvan Baker, timestamp 53:50

“In the pandemic, I noted that some of the best and least affected homes were for profit ones in my riding … I have 2 for profit homes that had no cases of COVID, when all of my public ones had many, many cases.”

-Mont-Royal MP, Anthony Housefather, timestamp 50:20

Evidence has been clear – greed in long-term care led to worst outcomes. A recent report showed that Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes have 78% more COVID-19 deaths than non-profit homes and showed that chain private ownership is one of the main risk factors for serious outbreaks.

Even anecdotally, these MPs should remember the horrible stories that happened in for profit long-term care centres in their backyards at Vigi Mont-Royal in Montreal and Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke.

While Liberals side with wealthy shareholders, big corporations and profits — New Democrats side with seniors, their families, and frontline health care workers.

Canadian seniors deserve so much better.

Jagmeet Singh Commits to Cancelling up to $20,000 per Person in Federal Student Loan Debt

OTTAWA — On March 20, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh presented the NDP’s plan to help young people thrive instead of being buried in debt. Singh’s plan includes putting a moratorium on student loan payments, cancelling up to $20,000 per student of federal student loan debt and giving new graduates a five-year head start without having to repay any federal student loan.  The NDP will also work towards tuition free post-secondary education. While Justin Trudeau had to be forced to help students throughout the pandemic, the NDP has a plan that puts young people first.

“Young people are making student loan payments the size of mortgage payments — spending years under crushing debt not able to get ahead. And the COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse. Young people in Canada have been among the hardest hit and have had to make fundamental shifts in their education, employment and financial situations,” said Singh. “But instead of helping young people, Justin Trudeau had to be forced give students support and then cut support by stopping the moratorium on student loan payments. New Democrats will continue to fight for young people and the help they need to get through the pandemic.”

58 per cent of youth have experienced an impact on their financial situation due to the pandemic. And 61 per cent have faced difficulties with employment including fewer hours, job loss or absence of seasonal work. Our economy won’t bounce back if young people are held back having to pay hundreds of dollars in loan payments every month, with thousands of dollars going to the federal government just in interest.

“An education should help young people get ahead, not leave them further behind,” said Singh. “Since they have been in government, the Liberals have taken over $4 billion from students in interest payments – profiting off the backs of young people already feeling the squeeze. New Democrats are committed to a future where tuition is free and where no one needs to take on debt to get an education.”

The NDP reiterated its commitment to work with provinces and territories towards tuition free post-secondary education and to re-instate the moratorium on student loan payments – cancelled in September by the Liberals – until the pandemic is over.

Finally, the NDP will permanently remove interest on all federal student loans so the federal government stops profiting off the backs of young people.

REALITY CHECK – O’Toole Tries to Change His Stripes

In a recently released letter, Erin O’Toole claims he will make wealthy Canadians “pay their fair share”. The truth is, he won’t. Why? Because Erin O’Toole has a long history of supporting the rich in every thought, word and deed.

As a Bay Street corporate lawyer, Erin O’Toole spent his career defending profits of rich corporations that make Canadians’ lives more expensive.

As an elected Member of Parliament, Eric O’Toole never missed a chance to cut taxes for wealthy corporations and the rich.

Look at the record:

Here’s O’Toole’s Conservative Party opposing “cap the stock option deduction loophole and to take aggressive action to combat tax havens” on February 13, 2018.

Here’s O’Toole’s Conservative Party opposing “one percent tax on wealth over $20 million and an excess profit tax on big corporations that have been profiteering from the pandemic” on November 16, 2020. That was less than 6 months ago!

Of course, one cannot forget that during the Steven Harper reign, of which O’Toole was a Cabinet Minister, corporate taxes plummeted from 22% to 15%.

The fact is, Erin O’Toole has always sided with wealthy corporations over Canadian families. A tiger can’t change its stripes and Erin O’Toole can’t run from his record.

Canadians deserve better.

Nomination Meeting for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

MP Peter Julian will attend our on-line Zoom meeting to formally nominate Bill Sundhu as the Federal NDP Candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo!  Plan to attend April 7 at 7 pm. Members will shortly be notified by email or phone. (Members of the BC NDP are automatically members of the Federal NDP.)

Interested in attending, but unsure if your membership is up to date? Are you on our email list but haven’t heard yet? Contact the KTC Secretary, Inga Thompson Hilton, at <ingathomsonhilton@gmail.com>.

Join us on April 7 in welcoming the Federal Leader of the NDP and the next Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo!

Legacy Sites Restoration Program Cleans up Environment, Supports Good Jobs

The Government of British Columbia is launching a first-of-its-kind effort to restore oil and gas “legacy sites” across northeastern British Columbia.

This effort will support good-paying local jobs, clean up the environment and restore traditional lands in northeastern B.C.

A legacy site is an area of land disturbance, such as a seismic cut line previously used for oil and gas activities. The disturbance to the natural environment has long-lasting effects on traditional land uses by Indigenous peoples and on wildlife habitat.

Historically, all vegetation on these sites was removed to allow for the movement of large vehicles and equipment. These sites were created at a time when restoration or reclamation was not required to meet today’s higher standards.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program is a collaboration between the provincial government, the federal government, Indigenous communities and a consortium of industry members.

“This new program is one of three aimed at cleaning up the environment by restoring lands impacted by the oil and gas sector in northeastern B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation. “Our $6.5-million investment with our partners will put British Columbians back to work, clean up our environment and advance reconciliation.”

Historical oil and gas development has had a variety of impacts on the regional environment as well as the people and wildlife that rely on it. For example, wide swaths of deforested land make it easier for predators to hunt caribou that traditionally travel these routes, causing caribou populations to decline. Legacy site restoration includes soil and vegetation replacement, providing caribou with a suitable habitat to raise their offspring.

In 2020, the Province and the oil and gas sector signed the Petroleum and Natural Gas Restoration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on planning and jointly funding projects designed to restore and/or reclaim legacy oil and gas disturbances of the natural landscape.

“Working with Minister Ralston and the Government of British Columbia, we are creating jobs, cleaning up our environment and supporting the hardworking people in our oil and gas sector,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal Minister of Natural Resources.

The Province and signatories to the MOU initially contributed $1.5 million to help implement the restoration program. Subsequently, the Province allocated an additional $5 million to restore legacy sites from the $120 million provided by the Government of Canada to clean up oil and gas sites as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The Province divided this funding into three programs: the Dormant Sites Reclamation program, the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation program and the Legacy Sites Restoration program. The three programs will boost the provincial economy and accelerate restoration of the environment.

The implementation of the MOU, overseen by a restoration management committee, will provide opportunities for Indigenous communities, service contractors and stakeholders in B.C. to apply for funding to support restoration and reclamation activities.

Quotes:

Tristan Goodman, president, the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada –

“The $5 million in funding allocated to the restoration of legacy sites will build off the investment the oil and gas industry and the Government of B.C. previously made in caribou and habitat research, significantly augmenting our efforts to restore lands of important environmental and cultural relevance. We look forward to continued collaboration with the provincial government, Indigenous communities the federal government and other funding entities as we work toward accelerating restoration activities.”

Brad Herald, vice-president, Western Canada operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers –

“Canada’s oil and natural gas industry is the country’s leading investor in clean technology and innovation, and we welcome this funding to the Legacy Sites Restoration program as it complements our commitment to minimize land impacts. This program represents a positive extension to the ongoing partnership with government, Indigenous peoples and communities, and will help advance reconciliation while creating jobs as we move into recovery.”

Learn More:

To read more about the Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-gas-oil/responsible-oil-gas-development/petroleum-and-natural-gas-restoration

To read the Petroleum and Natural Gas Restoration MOU between the Province of B.C. and the oil and gas sector, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/natural-gas-oil/png-crown-sale/restoration/png_restoration_mou.pdf

Find out about the restoration projects managed by the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society here:
http://www.bcogris.ca/

Facts about legacy sites, reclamation
  • All caribou in British Columbia are woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou).
    • These caribou are comprised of 54 herds or subpopulations and are now classified into four kinds: southern mountain, central mountain, northern mountain and boreal.
  • Of about 25,000 oil and gas well sites in B.C., approximately 770 are considered orphan.
    •  In addition, there are more than 8,500 dormant well sites in B.C.
    • The number of legacy sites is to be determined with the help of affected First Nations communities.
  • The Dormant Sites Reclamation Program provides $100 million to reclaim dormant oil and gas sites, which are wells that have been inactive for five consecutive years and are unlikely to be returned to service.
  • The BC Oil and Gas Commission administers the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation program, which provides $15 million to reclaim orphan oil and gas sites where the operator is insolvent, no longer exists or cannot be located.
  • The Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program provides $6.5 million ($5 million from the federal government, and $1.5 million from the Province and industry partners) to address the legacy effects of historical oil and gas activities that continue to have environmental impacts, such as those on wildlife habitat or on the traditional use by Indigenous peoples.

 

Federal NDP Statement on International Women’s Day

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh released the following statement:

“Today, women in Canada are disproportionately feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From homeschooling to household responsibilities, Canadian women are carrying their families through the COVID-19 crisis.

And to make matters worse, women face the highest rates of unemployment. Businesses owned by women have been hardest hit by the pandemic taking nearly twice as long to recover.

The ability of women to return to the workforce is essential for a successful economic recovery in Canada — when women succeed, our economy prospers.

New Democrats will continue to fight to make sure the recovery is a feminist one that advances gender equity.

Families need real progress on universal childcare and the Liberals have failed to deliver. The NDP won’t stop fighting until affordable and universal childcare is accessible for families in Canada.

Indigenous communities, particularly women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people, have been waiting for way too long on the Liberals to implement the MMIWG Inquiry’s Calls for Justice and the calls to action. This is unacceptable. New Democrats will continue to call on the Liberals to stop the delays and take action to save lives.

We know that domestic violence against women is on the rise – it’s been called a pandemic in the pandemic. We need a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence.

Through the pandemic and afterwards, New Democrats will continue to fight for a fair recovery for women, affordable childcare and an end to gender-based violence.”

The zero-sum vaccine game: How a dose in the U.S. takes a dose away from a poorer country

Not to mention Canada…

I thought that today’s analysis by Adam Taylor in the Washington Post made some interesting points, which I summarize here. Please look at the original article for more complete information.

“The swift development of effective coronavirus vaccines has been one of the few bright points of the pandemic. Since Britain administered the first fully tested vaccine in December, well over 130 million doses have been delivered around the world — 44 million in the United States alone.

“But most countries have yet to see the benefits of this accomplishment. Months into the global vaccine rollout, the pace remains staggeringly unequal, with wealthy countries leaving poorer ones in the dust. And the success of the former has come very much at the expense of the latter.

It remains to a large degree a zero-sum game, which means that every dose that goes to the U.S. or the U.K. or an E.U. country is a dose that’s off the shelves, and the shelves aren’t going to be restocked for a while,” said Andrea Taylor, a researcher at Duke University.

“The zero-sum nature of vaccine supply is rooted in a wide variety of factors, but boils down to the simple fact that manufacturers cannot yet meet demand. The potential consequences are wide-ranging. Unmitigated spread in any country, rich or poor, can lead to variants that may be more virulent or resistant to vaccines. This is already happening.

“Thus delayed introduction of vaccines in poorer countries is likely to lead to a longer pandemic, with a deadlier human toll and more long-lasting economic damage.

The first focus should not be on getting an entire country vaccinated, but on working to vaccinate the people who are most at risk around the world. “It is not unfair that countries vaccinate their population — they definitely have to meet local demand and open local economies,” Sgaier wrote in an email. “But once each country reaches a threshold (e.g. age and risk groups), there should be some sharing.”

But this is not happening. “Hanekom said many nations failed to see that vaccination is a fundamentally global issue. “Thinking that we can protect our own population, when others are not protected? There’s incredible risk with that approach,” he said.

“Some countries have ordered more doses than they need to reach full vaccination. By the end of January, Canada had arranged deals to acquire 338 million doses for its population of 38 million — giving it the potential for 500 percent coverage, according to Taylor’s team at Duke.

“Covax announced last week that it plans to distribute 330 million doses to poorer countries in the first half of the year, but that remains a fraction of the total number required. At the same time, wealthy nations with their own supply of vaccines, including Canada, are set to receive doses through Covax.

“The effects of and solutions for vaccine inequality are not clear-cut. Canadian officials last week defended their decision to accept 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by summer through Covax, arguing that their responsibility was to their citizens first and foremost. Officials told The Washington Post in December that Canada would donate excess doses, but have not given a firm time frame….

“The redistribution of doses to the world’s most vulnerable could help avert a steep human toll, buying manufactures more time to meet global demand — which they might, in theory, by next year, Taylor said. But the very nature of the virus means any timeline could change.

“It may well be shifting under our feet. WHO officials suggested this week that the prevalence of virus variants may necessitate annual vaccinations or booster shots. “That would completely change the picture. It blows everything out of the water,” said Taylor. “And I think it’s where we’re heading.”