Media Mornings: Thu, Apr 4 — Joe Trasolini (NDP housing critic), Jim Sinclair (BCFED), Dave Diewert (Social Housing Coalition), Charlie Smith (Straight)

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Social Housing Coalition activists (from left) Ivan Drury, Herb Varley and Dave Diewert speak with BCFED president Jim Sinclair outside last night’s NDP fundraiser in Vancouver. Photo by David P. Ball
  • Interview with Joe Trasolini (NDP critic for housing & MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam) on what voters can expect from a BC NDP government after the May 14 election.
  • Interview with Charlie Smith (editor, Georgia Straight) on continuing controversy over the BC Auditor General’s report alleging that BC falsely claimed it had balanced its carbon emissions. Plus update on growing anti-gentrification tensions.
  • Music: Po’girl (“Home to You”), Ben Harper (“Give a Man a Home”), Bear Mountain (“Two Step”)


  • TOP STORY: ANTI-MINING PROTESTS WORLDWIDE — Canada is the target of numerous protests around the world this week over its companies’ mining operations. Tens of thousands of Colombians took to the streets of Bucaramanga, the country’s sixth-largest city, to defend their water supply from a Canadian-owned gold-mining project. But it’s only one in a string of Canadian mining and exploration companies that have drawn the ire of local communities around the world. On March 12, for example, more than 10,000 Greeks protested in Thessaloniki against several gold mining projects owned by Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold. Then on March 21, Catholic priests marched with 5,000 locals in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, against a project owned by Vancouver-based B2Gold Corp. Canadian companies have also been targeted in Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Israel (CBC, Guardian).
  • DTES: ELECTIONS BC OUTREACH — A Downtown Eastside outreach organization and Elections BC have come up with a creative way to make voting more accessible to residents without a fixed address in the Vancouver neighbourhood. The Election Act requires voters to provide two pieces of ID to vote, one containing their residential address. A prescription pill bottle can be used as one form of ID, but residents are still required to provide a second piece, and one must contain an address (Tyee).
  • VANCOUVER: SEX WORKER LEGAL APPEAL — B.C. sex trade workers are asking Canada’s highest court to hear their stories before deciding whether the nation’s prostitution laws should be deemed unconstitutional. Lawyer Kat Kinch says she’s representing sex workers and advocacy groups who want to intervene in an ongoing Supreme Court of Canada case launched by three sex workers in Ontario. Kinch says the 2007 case seeks to abolish three laws from the Criminal Code, which currently prohibit prostitutes from living off the profits of their sex work, meeting up with clients in indoor bawdy houses, or communicating to set up potential dates (VancouverSun).
  • BC: CARBON REPORT SCANDAL — IN A RECENT report on carbon trading, B.C. auditor general John Doyle relied on the research of an academic who’s denied that human-induced global warming poses a serious threat to the planet. University of Victoria agricultural and resource economist Cornelis van Kooten was the lead author of a working paper on forest-sector carbon credits, which was cited on page 26 of Doyle’s report. Van Kooten, a senior Canada Research Chair at UVic, is also a senior fellow with the Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship of Creation. It has declared that there’s “no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming”. Van Kooten has also attached his name to the Cornwall Alliance’s controversial Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming (Straight).
  • BC: WIND POWER — Wind power is a late arrival to the British Columbia electricity grid. But as the Vancouver Sun reports, it’s catching up and is eventually expected to surpass run of river hydro power as the largest source of private-sector generation in B.C. Since turbines first began turning in 2009 at the Bear Mountain wind farm near Dawson Creek, shipping power onto the BC Hydro grid, B.C.’s wind sector has grown to three projects, with five more in various stages of development (VancouverSun).
  • ALBERTA: LOBBYIST APPOINTED REGULATOR — The Alberta government has appointed the founding president of the Canada’s most powerful oil and gas group as well as an active energy lobbyist to head its new energy regulator. Gerald Protti, a long-time senior executive for Encana from 1995 and 2009, served as the inaugural president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). He is also registered as an active lobbyist for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (Tyee).
  • ALBERTA: SUNCOR OIL SANDS SPILL — Meanwhile, oil sands companies also face heightened strutiny In Alberta, a week after 350,000 litres of oil sands industrial waste spilled into the Athabasca River from an oil-sands project, the Alberta government has revealed toxic water flowed into the river from the same site for three days in 2011 (CP).
  • SASKATCHEWAN: SENATOR’S HUSBAND OVERSEAS MONEY — A prominent Canadian lawyer, husband to a Liberal senator, moved nearly $2 million to secretive financial havens while he was locked in battle with the Canada Revenue Agency over his taxes, according to documents in a massive leak of offshore financial data (CBC).
  • MANITOBA: ELDER RE-STARTS HUNGER STRIKE — Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is willing to meet with Manitoba Elder Raymond Robinson who began a no-liquids hunger strike on yesterday. Robinson, from Cross Lake First Nation, also said he wouldn’t drink any water during the hunger strike which he plans to hold until Prime Minister Stephen Harper agrees to meet with First Nations leaders on a “nation-to-nation” basis and the department of Aboriginal Affairs scraps controversial changes to its funding agreements with First Nations (APTN).
  • CANADA: ROBOCALLS CHARGES FILED — A junior Conservative campaign worker in Guelph, Ontario, has become the first person charged under the Elections Act in relation to fraudulent robocalls made during the 2011 election campaign. Michael Sona, 24, has been “charged with having wilfully prevented or endeavoured to prevent an elector from voting at an election.” Sona was a young employee on the campaign of local Conservative candidate Marty Burke in Guelph. Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer, has said Elections Canada has almost 1,400 complaints from more than 200 of the country’s 308 ridings (Postmedia).
  • BRAZIL: INDIGENOUS DECLARE WAR — An Amazonian community has threatened to “go to war” with the Brazilian government after what they say is a military incursion into their land by dam builders. The Munduruku indigenous group in Para state say they have been betrayed by the authorities, who are pushing ahead with plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without their permission (Guardian).
  • SOUTH/NORTH KOREA: JOINT INDUSTRIAL PROJECT CLOSED — In past deadly confrontations between North and South Korea, a jointly operated industrial park stayed open, churning out goods. But in the latest sign that North Korea’s warlike stance toward South Korea and the United States is moving from words to action, the North on Wednesday barred South Korean managers and trucks delivering supplies from crossing the border to enter the Kaesong industrial park. It’s an announcement that further escalates a torrent of actions that analysts say is aimed at pressuring the U.S. and South Korea to change their policies toward North Korea (AP).
  • CHINA/TIBET: TIBETAN PRISONER RELEASED — A Tibetan political prisoner has been released after 17 years in a Chinese jail and is reported to be in poor health, an overseas Tibetan spokesman and a US a broadcaster have said. Jigme Gyatso’s condition was allegedly as a result of treatment he received in jail. The 52-year-old former monk, held by the Chinese government on charges of endangering national security and separatism, returned on Tuesday to his hometown in an ethnic Tibetan area in the northwest province of Gansu. Gyatso was among Tibet’s better-known political prisoners, with numerous organisations including Amnesty International calling for his release (AlJazeera).
  • INDIA: DRUG MAKER LOSES LAWSUIT — India’s highest court has dismissed Swiss drug maker Novartis AG’s petition seeking patent protection for a cancer drug, a serious blow to Western pharmaceutical firms which are increasingly focusing on India to drive sales. In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court said on Monday that the drug Glivec failed to qualify for a patent according to Indian law. T he ruling could raise questions about India breaking rules set by the World Trade Organization (AlJazeera).
  • PALESTINE/ISRAEL: PRISONER DEATH LEADS TO RIOTS — A Palestinian prisoner sentenced to life has died of cancer in Israel, sparking unrest and a three-day hunger strike in several jails. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has blamed the death on Israel. Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, serving a life sentence since 2002 for attempted murder, membership in Hamas and weapons possession, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus two months ago. His death set off a series of riots in the Ketziot, Eshel and Ramon prisons, with inmates banging on cell doors and throwing objects (RT).

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