Update on Canada’s Chemical Management Plan

Sheila Cole, NSEN Environmental Policy Advisor shares her update on Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. The report from meetings in Ottawa in November 2018, is written to brief members who want an overview on this subject and includes Cole’s opinions on where Canada can and should lead in the global arena of chemicals management and also where improvement is needed.

Chemicals Management Plan & Stakeholder Advisory Council 2018

Advertisements

We Must Build Community and Food Security

As Karen Theriault stated, in a recent article, “Healthy Diet too Costly for Some: Expert,” in the Chronicle Herald publication, “We know that Nova Scotia has a particularly high rate of food insecurity with about one in six households experiencing this.” We know from farmers locally that growing food is getting more and more difficult. In fact, even mid-income households report that a lot of the vegetables and fruits are unaffordable now that drought and other factors of the climate change crisis that have driven up the prices for imported produce as well, all which spell more food insecurity in Nova Scotia.
People struggling without property or capacity to profit, even the working poor and the lower middle class, who are also MORE insecure than if they were working communally, building more resilient communities, have to face the runaway climate emergency without the cushion of “means,” [though, as the difficult-to-attribute (Alanis Obamsawin is one source) quote, “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” points to], we need new, radical strategies to secure food for everyone.
 
Before the notion of private property and profit, was that of the “Common,” by which all indigenous and pockets of other cultures (including in Nova Scotia in my grandmother’s era) shared resources sustainably. An example of this in present-day has occurred, for the last five years, on the Halifax Peninsula, on land that belongs to the people–the Halifax Commons. This movement is called the Common Roots Urban Farm which catalyzed and enriched food production capacity for food banks and any citizens who paid the $40 fee for a growing plot at the now demolished Queen Elizabeth High School site. Now this vital development has been forced to move to make way for a new hospital (where many of the diseases being treated are largely as a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices (of which the sufferers of them have few) . The “irony loop” never ends.)
 
Apparently, no socially-minded citizen with fallow land has offered to lease to this vital health movement of urban farming. But, wait! Directly across the street from that site is another parcel of “Common” land, the site of the now demolished Saint Patrick’s High School. A citizens’ group has collected over seven thousand signatures for the municipal council imploring them to allow the Common Roots Urban Farm, a movement, the like which we will need more and more, as produce becomes too expensive to buy and too hard to grow.
 

We need strategies to apply the new Canada’s Food Guide with its 50% vegetables and fruits at every meal. How else can most segments of the population begin to attain this standard if we don’t sometimes shift our thinking away from prioritizing a monetary tax base of “condos for the rich” to the basic needs of the majority? This requires politicians to be far-thinking in the service of survival for the many, instead of short-sighted in the service of covering our common lands with private enterprises for the recreational and pecunious obsession for power and luxury of the few. This part of the common should be available to all citizens who need to grow and supply food to themselves and the neediest. Otherwise, the new Canada’s Food Guide will only be for the few who can afford its platform.

 

By Joanne Light

Comments Needed: List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Atlantic Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada is inviting you to comment on the proposed amendment to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA): the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

Of the 21 terrestrial species that are eligible to be added to Schedule 1 or to have their current status on Schedule 1 changed, four are known to occur in Atlantic Canada:

Taxon Proposed Schedule 1 status Species Range Consultation path
Reptiles Special Concern Eastern Painted Turtle QC NB NS Normal
Taxon Proposed change to Schedule 1 status Species Range Consultation path
Birds From Threatened to Special Concern Common Nighthawk YT NT NU BC AS SK MB ON QC NB PEI NS NL Extended
Birds From Threatened to Special Concern Olive-sided Flycatcher YT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON QC NB PEI NS NL Extended
Birds From Special Concern to Not at Risk Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundruis YT NT NU BC AS SK MB ON QC NB NS NL Extended

For further details about this consultation opportunity, please see the document “Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act – Terrestrial Species: January 2019″ which is posted on the SARA Public Registry at: https://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/document/default_e.cfm?documentID=3378.

Please submit your comments by May 13, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 14, 2019, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.

Nova Scotia Ministry of Energy and Mines Withholds Toxic Leak Information

“Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) members, the 900 signatories to our petition opposing gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the population of Tatamagouche are shocked by the news that the Ministry of Energy and Mines has withheld information about a leaking exploration drill hole contaminating the French River Watershed area with arsenic and iron” says SuNNS spokesperson John Perkins.

“The government has been in conversation with Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) many times since the polluting leak was discovered but not once has the leaking well been mentioned, risks explored or remediation efforts discussed. As I understand it the government has taken a hush- hush and wait and see approach” says Perkins. “It makes me wonder if the current governments open for business approach means open for business whatever the human or environmental cost” notes Perkins.

Nova Scotia already is known as a most mining – friendly place given its lax regulatory requirements and enforcement and it is this lax approach that has heightened the concerns of Tatamagouche area citizens. Minister Derek Mombourquette’s Op-Ed in January 2019 Tatamagouche Light assured residents that “ Communities have an opportunity to be involved in all stages of the exploration process” but SuNNS is now asking “how does Energy and Mines not telling Colchester County about a failed, leaking exploration drill site meet the Ministers promise?

Perkins also notes “this purposeful withholding of information – especially from the municipal water authority –about an ongoing leak adds to a complete lack of faith in the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Provincial Regulatory and enforcement frameworks”.
SuNNS demands the proper authority act to cap the contaminating drill hole!
SuNNS once again calls on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to withhold any issuing of a Request for Proposals for gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the six other watersheds in the current Enclosure Area. “ It never made sense before and less now; the Request for Proposals should be abandoned” says
Perkins.
SuNNS further supports the efforts of the Municipality of Colchester as it seeks “Protected “status for the French River Watershed under the Environmental Act given that the French River is the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche.
SuNNS will make a formal request to meet the Premier regarding this serious threat to the Tatamagouche water
supply.
SuNNS spokesperson John Perkins concludes “I think it is fair to say that the government and any interested mining companies should expect a monumental increase in local citizen opposition to gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed.
Media Contact: John Perkins, Phone, 902-657-0406 or

Nova Scotia Nature Trust – Volunteer Opportunities

Nova Scotia Nature Trust is currently in need of volunteers to help with the following:

Fundraising Assistants – We are looking for volunteers to help with donor calls. This can be done from our office, or remotely from home.

Writers – We are looking for volunteers to help write donor stories, blog posts and other content (maybe you want to write a piece for Landlines!?!). If you have a knack for the written word, this is a great opportunity for you.

Office Assistants – we are looking for volunteers who can contribute regular weekly hours to assist with organization and research.

25th Anniversary Volunteer Team- we are looking for creative individuals with a PR or marketing background to lead special activities to celebrate the Nature Trust’s 25th Anniversary.

Property Guardians – Even though the wintery weather is upon us, we are looking ahead to our next field season. We are continuously recruiting property guardians and plan to have a team of new guardians ready to go in the spring! If you love exploring the outdoors, this may be a perfect fit for you!

Attention experienced birders! If you have a passion for our avian friends and want to contribute to the Nature Trust, let us know. Our Bird’s Eye View (BEV) program offers you the chance to enjoy one of your favourite pastimes, while contributing to our conservation efforts!

Should you be interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Ryan at ryan@nsnt.ca or by calling (902) 425-5263.

Green Greetings from Parish of Blandford

The Parish of Blandford is busy with lots of green projects. Read on to find out more and how to get involved!

Pens, Markers and highlighter project.

Bic alone makes over 8 billion units of writing instruments a year. Until
recently everyone threw away their dry pens and markers. Staples supports
a project by Teracycle that turns those pens and markers into bench ends
and clipboards. So far since we started last year on Earth Day, we have
collected 2200 pens. Maybe that sounds nice but what I am proud of is that
we have, as of this week, EIGHT collector stations in a 30km radius. A new
bin goes into a day care on Monday. It’s a small thing but has really got
interest recently.

Bottle cap project

Knowing how bottlecaps are killing hundreds of seabirds and mammals
yearly, two years ago we started collecting bottlecaps but had no place to
really pass them to until Matt’s Bottle Exchange started accepting them
for a project. We just passed in our first few gallons of caps. What I am
proud of here is a partnership I am trying to foster between Mathew and a
large company with a thousand employees in Dartmouth. I will brag when it
goes through.

Eye Glasses
Just a tiny project as we are a collector point for the Lion’s Club

Planting Night
For seven years we held a planting night on the Friday closest to Earth
Day. It was a great time to teach how to grow in all sorts of containers,
make bird feeders and have a multi generational night together. This year
we are changing a bit and passing out planting kits. See our Facebook page
or www.grandmasgoingreen.com for updates

Community Gardens
There are garden boxes back of the community centre. I just got this job
half way through last summer, so I topped up the gardens and are ready to
give away plots. I’ll brag as the season goes on

If any of these projects interest anyone I can get them started. If anyone
needs help or needs us for a collector spot for their project, we are here
to help

Claudia Zinck
www.grandmasgoinggreen.com

Ministry of Energy and Mines Backtracks on No Plan to Cap Contaminating Drill Hole

John Perkins spokesperson for Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia says “SuNNS membership and Tatamagouche area residents are pleased to hear the Ministry of Energy and Mines is committed to capping a leaking exploration drill hole in the French River Watershed”.

Perkins notes “this is a big change in the Ministry of Energy and Mines
approach to this contaminating drill hole.” Frances Willick reported in a January 25 CBC article that Don James, Ministry of Energy and Mines, had stated “the responsibility for the hole now rests with the landowner”. “Mines and Energy’s reversal indicates the power of a Free Press, the effectiveness of local community advocacy groups like SuNNS and the power of municipal governments to bring pressure on the provincial government” says Perkins.
“The contaminating drill hole sits in the French River watershed, the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche, so I think the Municipality of Colchester and area Councilor Michael Gregory were very upset when Mines and Energy failed to contact them regarding their plans to not address the polluting drill hole” says SuNNS member Paul Jenkinson.
“The discovery of one uncapped contaminating drill hole on Warwick Mountain and the possibility of more leaking drill holes has raised the spectre of 780 other unmonitored mining exploration drill holes across the province”, Perkins notes.
SuNNS is asking the Ministry of Energy and Mines to immediately instruct staff to visit all drill hole sites and return in 6 months with a report on their condition.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to issue an order that any polluting drill holes be immediately capped by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, upon discovery of their “leaking” status.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to remove new regulatory language that allows landowners to request wells remain uncapped.
SuNNS once again calls on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to abandon plans to issue a Request for Proposals for gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the six other watersheds in the current Enclosure Area.
SuNNS further supports the efforts of the Municipality of Colchester as it seeks “Protected“ status for the French River Watershed under the Environmental Act given that the French River is the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche.