Our Tarnished Maple Leaf

Why the world sees an ugly Canada, and how to restore our image.

By Tom Sandborn

Maple leaf pack

Remember when everyone seemed to love Canada? Travellers who displayed a maple leaf emblem on their shirts or backpacks could count on a friendly welcome in most countries in the world.

Now, not so much.

We are perceived as ugly Canadians for reasons that include environmental foot dragging at home and complicity in death and destruction overseas.
Stare, for example, into the mirror submitted in October to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. A scathing document accuses Canada of failing to hold the many mining firms with head offices here accountable for the deaths and human rights abuses associated with their mines in Latin America.

''Canada has a very strong presence in the globalized mining industry with almost 1,500 projects in the region, and we're aware of a great deal of conflict,'' said Shin Imai, a lawyer with the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), commenting on a submission from the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability. ''Our preliminary count shows that at least 50 people have been killed and some 300 wounded in connection with mining conflicts involving Canadian companies in recent years, for which there has been little to no accountability.''

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Extensive Impact

BC LNG will jeopardize energy security and have extensive impact on water, land and climate.

CPPNews (Vancouver) As the BC and federal governments continue to push for LNG (liquefied natural gas) development and export, a major new study details the consequences of ramping up fracking and LNG production: not only serious environmental and climate impacts, but grave risks to Canada’s energy security if conducted at the scale envisaged by the BC government.
David Hughes, former federal government geoscientist and expert in unconventional energy, is the author of A Clear Look at LNG: Energy security, environmental implications and economic potential, released  by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office.

LNGHughes’s study considers in detail six possible scenarios for BC LNG export development: from zero export terminals built to the five that the provincial government is promising.

“If BC goes ahead with five terminals, it would require four to five times the current BC gas production levels,” says Hughes. “This means drilling up to 43,000 new fracked wells in the northeast by 2040, and using up to 22,000 Olympic swimming pools of water per year in the fracking process. We’re talking about serious environmental impacts.”

Despite efforts to brand LNG as a “clean” fuel, nearly all natural gas for export would be extracted by fracking, which uses massive amounts of water, produces high levels of greenhouse gases through fugitive methane releases, and has been linked to water contamination and increased
seismic activity.

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