[acn-l] Canada's Federal Liberal Policy Convention and the Environment

Gary Gallon, Canadian Institute for Business & Environment (cibe at web.net)
Mon, 06 Apr 1998 16:32:15 -0300



The federal Liberal Party held its 1998 Biennial Policy Convention, March
19 22, 1998 in Ottawa. More than 2,500 Liberals from across Canada
attended bringing with them resolutions from their ridings that they want
the federal government to act on. The Prime Minister and most Cabinet
ministers were present most of the time at the 2 ½ day event. While the
resolutions don't bind the federal Liberal Cabinet, they provide a strong
reminder of the directions their voters want the government to take.


Resolutions passed included one calling for the support for research and
development into new technologies, including environmental technologies.
Another resolution was passed asking the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
"to make maintenance, rehabilitation and enhancement of marine and inland
habitats be a top priority", and to "maximize their powers of protection
and enforcement against those who damage, pollute or otherwise alter
natural habitats and marine environments." Another resolution passed was
put forward by the Yukon Liberal Association, which asked the federal
government to finally get around to cleaning up the highly toxic abandoned
military and earlywarning radar sites in northern Canada. In a somewhat
embarrassing moment, the Young Liberals put forward a resolution demanding
the passage of the Endangered Species Act which remains dormant on the
Cabinet agenda. The resolutionn passed with a huge margin. See all of the
resolutions that were passed on the federal Liberal Website:



Resolutions 41 and 43, both urging strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions (GHG) passed at the federal Liberal Policy Convention. Resolution
41. was a combination of three resolutions that were brought to the
convention by Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario), the Liberal Party in
Manitoba, and the Liberal Party of Canada (Québec). The resolution stated
that "whereas climate change is among the most serious environmental
threats facing the planet and whereas Canada is one of the world's leading
per capita producers of greenhouse gas emissions", be it resolved "that the
Liberal Party of Canada urge the federal government to gradually equalize
tax subsidies and incentives granted to the renewable energy industry with
those granted to the fossil fuel industry; promote scientific and economic
research to better assess the environmental and financial impact of
greenhouse gases; apply fiscal tools to reduce greenhouse emissions, and,
such as policies encouraging a shift in public transportation, efficient
residential and commercial building, and efficient energy delivery".

The second global warming resolution passed was put forward by the
powerful federal Liberal Standing Committee on Policy Development. It
recommended that the federal government should increase incentives for
research and development of alternate electrical production; the use of
electricity produced through less polluting sources by promoting and
supporting the construction of infrastructure to supply power to areas of
need and promoting the production of hydro electricity through the
development of water resources in a socially and environmentally
responsible manner.



Some issues addressed at the Liberal Policy convention were emotion- laden
where science and economic factors were set aside. That was the case with
resolution 36. which barely passed. It endorsed the continuation of the
275,000quota annual commercial seal hunt. The resolution was based on the
mistaken assertion that "the burgeoning seal populations within the region
are consuming large quantities of juvenile cod in particular thereby
seriously retarding the recovery of fish stocks, particularly the large
Northern cod stock". The resolution also stated that the "commercial seal
harvest is of great economic importance to many Atlantic fishing
communities". Neither is very accurate.

On the first point, the harp seals are not responsible for the declining
cod stocks. Human overfishing is. Scientific examination of harp seal
stomachs reveal that only 3 to 8 per cent of the food content present is
cod. In other words, seals do not eat cod as their primary food source.
Secondly, seals eat squid and other natural predators of cod. When seal
populations are severely reduced, other cod predator species bloom killing
more cod. The Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) allowed the seal kill on
the Atlantic coast to jump from a sustainable 70,000 in 1991 to 261,000
recorded by Canadian sealers in 1997. Unfortunately, that is only the
reported kill. Not reported is the 59,000 seals taken from the same herd by
Greenlanders. Not reported is the high incidents of "shot and lost" of
seals that slip back under the ice and die before they can be reached by
the sealers. Not recorded is the poaching and "highgrading" of seals that
are killed and not reported. These actions could easily double the annual
seal deaths to more than 480,000. DFO scientists agree that the 4.5 million
seals estimated in the herd cannot sustain a kill rate above 290,000 annually.

Regarding the financial picture, the seal hunt is not economically
sustainable. It is heavily subsidized. For example, the federal and
provincial governments pay .35 cents per pound for seal meat (20 cents feds
and 15 cents prov), then turn around and sell the meat for about 9 cents
per pound to be processed for low end uses such animal food (mink,
chickens, etc.). Another several hundred thousand dollars are spent by DFO
to organize and monitor the hunt. The new income generator is the sale of
seal penises for aphrodisiac purposes within the Asian community. About
30,000 boney seal penises and scrotum were reported harvest by Canadians
last year. They are sliced or ground into tea and other ingestibles. The
sealing communications programs are also subsidized by the governments.
Total income reported from all seal part sales was $11 million last year.
Subsidies reduce that number substantially. And the sustained annual seal
over hunt for at the 275,000 quota may well collapse the herd again
bringing about a similar fate that befell the cod fishery. See the Dept. of
Fisheries and Oceans websitehttp//www.ncr.dfo.ca/. Or visit International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) websitehttp//www.ifaw.org/home.htm/.



Most of the federal ministers were in the audience of some 1,800 liberal
delegates attending the latest polling results from Pollara Polling Inc.
presented by its chairman, Michael Marzolini. He reported that while
environment was not at the top of the mind in the Canadian public, concern
for the environment sat as one of the top three subsurface issues that
remain core in the public concern, the other two being health care and high
taxes. These issues, he said, will flare up in the near future, if
corrective measures aren't taken. Marzolini said that the top environmental
issues remain water pollution and drinking water, along with air pollution
and the impact on breathing. He found that the issue of global warming was
less understood by the people and remained low on the concern spectrum.
Pollara also found that public concern for the environment was seasonal,
being higher in the Spring and Summer when people are closer to the water
and more affected by smog. Email: mmar at pollara.ca ;



Industry Canada's Strategis Website has added nine new international
environment market studies which can be used by companies to expand their
services worldwide. Go to website:
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/ea01301e.html. The studies are:

Norway Industrial Process Controls ISA970901
Philippines Water and Wastewater Chemicals ISA970901
Philippines Water Supply/Distribution/Treatment EQ. ISA970901
Spain Overview of the Natural Gas Sector ISA970701
Spain Water Pollution Control Equipment ISA970701
Taiwan Recycling Equipment ISA970701
Thailand Architecture/Construction/Eng. Services ISA970801
Turkey Civil Engineering & Consulting Services ISA970801
U.K. Waste Water Systems & Equip. (Rev) ISA970801



Massive new clearcutting operations being launched in Manitoba and on the
border of Manitoba in Saskatchewan has raised concerns that the extraction
may have negative impacts on other economies in the region. Non consumptive
economic uses such as those of the native communities (trapping, hunting,
and fishing, and non consumptive uses) and those including tourism,
birdwatching, and biodiversity protection will be negatively impacted. The
three logging operations are Louisiana Pacific which plans to harvest wood
to feed its waferboard mill in Swan River, Manitoba. Adjacent is
SaskforMacMillan Inc. on the adjacent Saskatchewan side of the boundary.
The third is Tolko Manitoba Inc. which has a 13 year agreement with the
Government of Manitoba. It will be allowed to log 11 million hectares.
Manitoba has doubled the cutting area ceded to Tolko, which now runs the
pulp and paper mill at The Pas, Manitoba, started by the province 30 years
ago. Tolko, a B.C. based company, took over last year from Repap
Enterprises ltd. Tolko wants to expand and modernize the existing pulp
mill at the site and build a new one. It will also build 800 kilometres of
all weather roads to help in its logging operations.

The native peoples and other affected economies are asking both the
federal and provincial governments to conduct environmental assessments
before allowing the projects to proceed. Regarding Tolko, Don Sullivan of
Manitoba's Future Forest Alliance said "I'm tired of waiting for
Environment Minister Christine Stewart to respond to our requests for
action. It's time to go to court and get the courts to force the federal
government to enforce their own environmental assessment act.'' For
example, Tolko Manitoba Inc. requires permission from the federal
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to build bridges needed for road
construction, Ottawa's responsibilities are triggered under the 1992
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Sullivan claims. The alliance says
the province of Manitoba's decision to conduct dozens of individual reviews
for each aspect of Tolko's proposal rather than view it as a whole, makes a
mockery of the environmental review process. The Canadian Environmental
Defence Fund (CEDF) filed an application in Federal Court of Canada in
Toronto asking a judge to intervene. Unfortunately, the possibility of the
federal government intervening in a Canadian problem to correct any
missteps, has been reduced by the "Harmonization Accord" which effectively
blocks the federal government out of provincial jurisdictions. Source:
Scott Edmonds, Winnipeg, Canadian Press.



Consumptive and non consumptive users of forests, waters, and soils in the
Saskatchewan River Basin will hold a conference and annual general meeting
April 23 & 24, 1998 McEwan Student Centre, University of Calgary, 2500
University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta. Opening Remarks will be made by
Susan Lamb, CEO of the Meewasin Valley Authority. Henry Katarnuk, TEC
Corporation, will speak on the values of tourism. Ecoeconomist, Dr. Dixon
Thompson, University of Calgary, will also speak on environmental economic
values. For registration information contact the Partners for the
Saskatchewan River Basin office ph. 1 800 567 8007.



Montreal will be the venue for talks beginning June 29, 1998 on a second
treaty that will focus on the release and emissions of persistent organic
pollutants (POPs). These include some of the most toxic chemicals ever
developed by industry. The negotiations on a new international
environmental agreement (IEA) will start with a list of twelve (12) POPs
aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, dioxins, endrin, furans, heptachlor,
hexachlorobenzene, mirex, PCBs, and toxaphene; more will be added later.

These negotiations, also under the auspices of UNEP, are to be completed by
the year 2000. The negotiations build upon the new Basel Convention PIC
treaty where 95 governments finalized the text of the Convention on the
Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and
Pesticides in International Trade. Negotiated under the auspices of UNEP
and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Convention
will establish an international alert list and help developing countries
obtain the information they need to protect themselves. It is based on the
principle of Prior Informed Consent, or PIC, which states that exports of
dangerous substances should not proceed unless explicitly agreed by the
importing country. The exporting country is notified about the products the
importing country no longer wants to receive, and it works with its
chemicals industries to ensure that illegal imports do not occur.
Decisions must be trade neutral that is, if a country does not wish to
accept an import, it must not produce the chemical domestically or import
it from non-Parties.

The treaty also contains provisions for the safe labeling of toxics in the
event of export. At first the treaty will apply to around 27 chemicals,
with potentially hundreds more qualifying on the basis of future decisions
by the Parties. Governments have asked that the Convention commitments be
carried out on a voluntary basis immediately after the Diplomatic
Conference in Rotterdam next September, where the Convention will be
formally adopted and opened for signature by ministers and other senior
officials. Additional data and documents are at website
http://irptc.unep.ch/. For more information or to arrange interviews,
contact Gertrud Attar in Geneva at (4122)9178234 or Michael Williams at 917
8242, fax 797 3464.



POPs remain in the environment and circulate globally through the
"grasshopper effect". POPs released in one part of the world can, through
a repeated (and often seasonal) process of release, deposit, release,
deposit, be transported to regions far away from their original source.
This is why POPs can be found in people and animals living in the Arctic,
thousands of kilometers from any major POPs source. POPs are also
transported via living organisms through a process known as
bioaccumulation. POPs are not soluble in water but are readily absorbed in
fatty tissue, where concentrations can become magnified by up to 70,000
times the background levels. Fish, predatory birds, mammals, and humans are
high up the food chain and so absorb the greatest concentrations. When they
travel, the POPs travel with them.

With worldwide sales of some $1.5 trillion annually, the chemicals industry
is a vital part of the modern industrial economy, providing a range of
goods and services essential to our lifestyle. The number of different
chemicals in production is on the rise, and estimates of the chemicals
currently on the market vary widely, from 20,000 to as many as 70,000.
Annual production levels are some 400 million tons (1995 figures).
Clearly, the dramatic growth in both the quantities and the variety of
substances being released into the environment increases the potential for
damaging human health and the environment. Source UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.



On December 1, 1997, the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Wildlife (MEF)
ended its online system for tracking the transportation of hazardous waste.
Previously, trucks in Quebec could not haul such wastes without a
government issued waybill number. The waybill system was used to prevent
midnight dumping. The system was also used to ensure that waste disposal
companies were receiving only those wastes for which they had a permit.
For example, the company called RecupereSol in St. Ambroise, Quebec
received a shipment of PCB contaminated concrete. MEF used the waybill
system to track the infraction. MEF issued a Notice of Violation which is
now currently under investigation. Philip Preville from Quebec's "Mirror"
magazine wrote that "Alain Boutin of MEF said such enforcement would be
impossible." Source "Mirror" Magazine, Montreal, March 12, 1998.



The Quebec Ministry of Environment and Wildlife (Fauna) (MEF) has licenced
Vancouver based Bennett Environmental Inc. to burn soils contaminated with
PCB's at its recently purchased RecupereSol incinerator in St. Ambroise
near Chicoutimi, Quebec. Bennett conducted test burns at the facility in
August 1997 and received their permit October 1997. Bennett Environmental
reports that it signed a large contract to import PCBlaced soils from
Ontario. The Company's PCB destruction operation in St. Ambroise has
attained a throughput of 8 tonnes per hour, and the throughput is
approaching the equipment's maximum throughput level of 10 tonnes per hour.
The company has received delisting certificates from the Québec Ministry of
Environment for material processed through the facility. Destruction
certificates are issued after the processed soils are tested, and the test
results confirm that the levels of PCB and organic contaminants are below
acceptable levels for disposal. Bennett reports in its press release (March
4, 1998) that it expects to complete its $2.8 million contract with Philip
Services Corp. (PSC) of Hamilton Ontario, to burn PCB soils from Toronto
ahead of schedule at the end of March 1998. For more information contact
Bennett Environmental Inc., Suite 200 1130 West Pender Street Vancouver,
B.C., V6E 4A4, Tel(604) 681 8828, Fax(604) 681 6825; email:
info at bennettenvironmental.com; Website: http://www.bennettenvironmental.com/.



The former Jenkins Foundry in Lachine was left to provincial and municipal
governments to manage and clean up after the former owner walked away. Most
of the soil in the 648,592 square feet property near the St. Lawrence
River, is contaminated with heavy metals like lead and zinc and contains
three large containers filed with 80% pure PCB oil. The cost of clean up
will run in the many millions of dollars. The Jenkins Foundry provincial
public trustee, Roland Chretien appeared to have recently disowned
responsibility for the property. This raised concerns with the City of
Lachine's Mayor, William McCullock who was "speechless when told by a
reporter that the Quebec curator denied it has assumed ownership of the
Jenkins property." Source The Gazette" Montreal, March 10, 1998.



Every year the United Nations Environment Programme awards the Sasakawa
Environment Prize to individuals who have made outstanding global
contributions to the management and protection of the environment. Some of
the past winners include Dr. M. S. Swaminathan of India, the father of the
economic ecology movement; Lester Brown, Director of the World Watch
Institute and Chico Mendes, the rubber tapper from Brazil who died leading
the fight against the cattle ranchers' destruction of the rainforest. The
Prize is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding global
contributions to the management and protection of the environment
consistent with the policies, aims and objectives of UNEP. Candidates can
be associated with any field of the environment. Those eligible to make
nominations include, but are not limited to, specialists in environmental
sciences, academies of science, engineering and research, members of the
United Nations system, governments and intergovernmental organizations,
trade unions and Non -governmental organizations. Nominees will be
considered on an annual basis. A new letter of nomination and updated
description of achievements is required every year. Nominations for the
Prize, related credentials, information in support of the nomination and
letters of reference must be received no later than 31 May 1998. No
candidates may nominate himself or herself. Nomination forms may be
obtained fromThe Secretary, UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize, Information
and Public Affairs Branch, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya; ph. (254 2) 62
3401/62 3128, fax (254 2) 62 3692/62 3927; email
elisabeth.guilbaudcox at unep.org, or, rajinder.sian at unep.org



The estimates, being unveiled today before the House Commerce Committee by
the White House Council on Economic Advisers, say that the treaty will add
only $70 to $110 to the average household's annual energy bill over the
next 15 years. Independent assessments of the impact of the Treaty by the
highly respected Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates, Inc. (WEFA),
however, project that ratification of the treaty would force per household
reductions in Gross Domestic Product of $2,061 in the year 2010, and $1,715
in 2015. "The Administration's own Interagency Analysis last July projected
that the agreement would add a quarter to the price of a gallon of gasoline
by the year 2010," said RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson. "Yet today, we're
expected to believe that the added cost will actually be only 4 to 6 cents
a gallon in the year 2008 with a much tougher Treaty, thanks to Al Gore's
cavein at Kyoto. To gain an understanding of those who feel the costs are
too high visit the website: http//www.rnc.org/news/kyoto.



The Ninth Pacific Science Association Inter Congress on SIII2 Economics of
Sustainable Development Linking Economics and the Environment, will be held
November 16 18, 1998 in Taipei. Organized by Taiwan's Institute of
Economics at Academia Sinica, it will have 20 related symposia on
environmental economics covering aspects of humanities, social sciences,
physical and life sciences. One will be on the Economics of Sustainable
Development Linking Economics and the Environment which is organized by the
Institute of Economics of Academia Sinica (IEAS). The program will consist
of contributed papers on environmental policies and the economy,
economywide policies and the environment, and green national accounts and
macroeconomic performance. A limited amount of financial support for
transportation is available. Those applying for financial support must
submit more comprehensive information than the one page abstract. Papers
will be selected in accordance with subject matter and potential
contribution. Those wishing to contribute a paper are welcomed to submit a
one page abstract or complete manuscript by July 31, 1998. Selected
presenters will be notified by August 30, 1998. Complete papers must be
mailed to the committee by November 1, 1998. People are encouraged to
organize a session related to one of the subject areas. A session should
consist of three to four papers with a chair and discussants. Contact Dr.
Daigee Shaw (IEAS), The Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Nankang,
Taipei, 11529, Taiwan; ph. 88627822791 ext.616, fax 88627853946;
emaildshaw at sinica.edu.tw.



The American Water Works Research Foundation (AWWARF), a nonprofit
organization dedicated to advancing the science of water, is seeking
applications for new research projects on protecting and delivering
drinking water. Since 1986, AWWARF has managed research projects worth over
$24,100,000. Requests for proposals (RFPs) for these projects will be
available on the AWWARF website at http://www.awwarf.com. Proposals
submitted in response to RFPs must be postmarked by May 4, 1998. Project
proposals must include at least 25% of the total project budget from the
proponent as inkind services, or cash contributions. Contact awards for all
projects will be determined by an AWWARF project advisory committee
appointed for each project.. RFPs can re viewed a AWWARF's homepage
http://www.awwarf.com/ in the What's New section and can be requested and
sent through email to dhughston at 40awwarf.com or to gpreston at 40awwarf.com.
Interested parties can also obtain RFPs from the AWWARF RFP Desk, 6666 W.
Quincy Ave., Denver, CO 80235; or by calling (303) 347 6117 or (303) 347 6211.


The economies of many villages and towns outside Jakarta are being harmed
by the massive forest fires deliberately set to clear the way for palm oil
plantations. Ironically, the IMF conditions for bailout loans to Indonesia
include requirements to expand export earnings from palm oil. The issue no
longer environment versus the economy. It is one type of economy versus and
other. In other developments, the United Nations has identified the
Indonesian fires as a top priority. Secretary General, Kofi Annan has
appointed Mr. Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), to coordinate a worldwide response. Toepfer
will fly to Indonesia for a meeting with the government at the highest
level. On March 28, 1998, a United Nations Assessment and Coordination Team
(UNDAC) left Geneva for Indonesia. This team is composed of four
firefighting members from OCHA and three environmental experts from UNEP.
An OCHA/UNEP team is also on standby to fly to Brazil this weekend where
fires are now rapidly spreading deep into the ainforest and over a million
hectares of savannah woodland have already burnt. The aim of both missions
is to assist the Governments' priorities in fighting the fires. The teams
will look at the assistance being provided from all other sources and
assess the extent of damage caused and the threat to irreplaceable
biodiversity and wildlife. To aid both the Indonesian and Brazilian
efforts, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is in the process of
providing immediate financial assistance of US$750,000. Additional data and
documents are available at UNEP's website http//unep.ch. For more
information contact Vladimir Sakharov at 917 1142, or Gertrud Attar at
telephone (4122) 929 9234, fax (4122) 797 3464, or email gattar at unep.ch; or
Jim Sniffen, UNEP Information Officer, New York, tel(1212) 9638094, fax
(212) 9637341, email sniffenj at un.org



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Copyright (c) 1998 Canadian Institute for
Business and the Environment, Montreal
All rights reserved.

Gary Gallon
Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
506 Victoria Ave.
Montreal, Quebec H3Y 2R5
Ph. (514) 369-0230, Fax (514) 369-3282
email: cibe at web.net