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Protester re-occupies Burnaby tree after Trans Mountain suspends project – BC News – Castanet.net

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Someone has re-occupied a forested Burnaby area in the way of the Trans Mountain pipeline project just days after all work on the project was stopped due to safety issues.

On Dec. 9, a protest treehouse called the Holmes Creek Protection Camp was cleared out of a wooded area just west of North Road and south of Highway 1 in Burnaby.

According to that protest camp’s organizers, Timothee Govare, with the help of a small crew, has now climbed to a 20-metre-high perch near the same area and that he plans to remain.

Many of the trees in the area are slated to be cut down and there are concerns about Trans Mountain impacts along the Brunette River.

“I am here in the canopy of the trees of Lost Creek to prevent their imminent logging preceding the installation of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” said Govare, in a news release. “I see the urgency of acting on the climate crisis. Even though they took down our first two treehouses, we’ll keep coming back because our commitment to delay construction of this disastrous project remains unchanged. Our future depends on it. My future depends on it.”

Trans Mountain suspended all work in Burnaby and across the entire pipeline route starting Friday, Dec. 18 until Jan. 4, 2021.

The move came after a worker with a contractor at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby was seriously injured on Tuesday. Another work in Edmonton died after an accident.

In a statement, the company admitted it needs to “improve” safety on the project.

“Trans Mountain is proactively taking the step to temporarily stand down construction on the Expansion Project to review, reset and refocus our efforts, and those of our contractors and their workers,” said Ian Anderson, president and CEO of Trans Mountain, in a statement. “We are committed to a strong culture of safety above all else and insist that our project contractors and subcontractors are equally committed. The critical success of any organization is its ability to self-reflect – to honestly and courageously ask the question, ‘where can we improve?’. This is non-negotiable, we must improve the safety culture and performance on our project.”

The injury was reported to the Canada Energy Regulator late Tuesday and its safety specialists were on-site Wednesday. All work in Burnaby had been shut down, but now the work will halt across the entire project.

The accident follows revelations that federal regulators recently found “systemic non-compliances” of COVID-19 mask rules at Trans Mountain worksites in Burnaby and the Lower Mainland.

Four workers were sent home following an inspection that found more than three dozen violations by contractors in three days.

Canadian Energy Regulator staff conducted a compliance inspection at the Westridge Marine Terminal (Dec. 1) and the Burnaby Terminal (Dec. 2) on Burnaby Mountain. The inspection also focused on “Spread 7,” the section of the pipeline expansion construction being done in the Lower Mainland, on Dec. 3. Work at each of these sites is contracted out to Kiewit-Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership (KLTP).

Over the course of those three days, the inspector found 37 violations of three COVID protocols set out by Trans Mountain’s COVID-19 response plan.

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Unifor members approve pact that will see GM invest $1B in CAMI plant – CBC.ca

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Unifor members have voted to approve General Motors Canada’s plan to invest $1 billion in an electric vehicle plant in southern Ontario.

The union’s 1,900 Local 88 members voted online Sunday on a tentative deal with the automaker to transform GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., into a hub for producing electric commercial delivery vans.

The union said members voted about 91 per cent in favour of the deal and that work will begin immediately to ready the plant to begin van production in November.

The industry has been hit hard over the last decade as automakers cut jobs in the province and production work flowed to the U.S. and Mexico. Unifor has spent much of the last year striking deals with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler that will pump $6 billion into Canada’s auto manufacturing industry.

“The stakes going into these negotiations were high with the (Chevrolet) Equinox program ending, and there wasn’t a time during these difficult negotiations that we were not thinking about our members and their families,” said a statement by Mike Van Boekel, chair of Unifor’s master bargaining committee.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias credited the deal to hard work by the local bargaining unit and collaboration with the Ontario and federal governments despite complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To achieve this level of commitment for auto manufacturing shows what can happen when we have a collective vision to secure this sector and create good jobs for Canadians,” Dias said in a statement.

With the Ingersoll plant wrapping up Chevrolet Equinox production in 2023, the plan also comes as GM is trying to transform its business to focus more on electric vehicles.

Last week, the automaker unveiled an updated logo focused on electric vehicles and made headlines at the CES technology trade show. GM Canada president Scott Bell said it was a good sign that Canada was identified as the home of the new electric van just three days after GM announced the new venture.

“GM Canada engineers in Markham and Oshawa were instrumental in the early stages of ideation and testing of this truly innovative solution for the massive global delivery industry,” Bell said in a statement.

“With more than $2 billion in new combined investments announced for Oshawa, St. Catharines and Ingersoll, we are standing up as one of Canada’s most confident investors.”

Bell said the mayors of the Ontario communities, as well as the union and nearby universities, helped move along the Canadian investments. He also said GM’s vision aligns with the Canadian government’s “leadership in addressing electricity prices, industrial taxes.”

Federal Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement on Monday that the government will work with the company on the project and that it is “prepared to support the future of Canada’s auto sector.”

The investments from GM and other automakers, said Champagne, “demonstrate clearly that our government’s policies, working alongside our partners in industry and labour, are driving historic private sector investment.”

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Alberta cancels 11 coal leases, pauses future sales – CTV Toronto

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After weeks of public pressure, Alberta has cancelled 11 coal leases and is pausing future sales in former Category 2 lands, Energy Minister Sonya Savage announced Monday.

“We have listened carefully to the concerns raised in recent days, and thank those who spoke up with passion,” she said in a statement.

“I want to be absolutely clear: Under the current terms, just as it was under the 1976 coal policy, coal leases do not allow for exploration, development or production without a comprehensive regulatory review.

“A lease holder has no more right to set foot on lease property than any other Albertan. The same rules apply now, as before.”

The cancelled leases are a small portion of the coal exploration leases the government has issued since revoking a policy that protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies — home to endangered species as well as the water source for millions downstream — since 1976.

The decision came as more than 100,000 signatures had been collected on two petitions opposing increased mining on two related fronts.

One, sponsored by environmental groups on Change.org, was addressed to the provincial government and had 77,000 signatures Monday afternoon — an increase of about 10,000 over the weekend.

Another, sponsored by a private citizen and addressed to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, had nearly 28,000 names opposing the Benga coal project in southern Alberta, which is undergoing a federal-provincial environmental review.

As well, a Facebook site called Protect Alberta’s Rockies and Headwaters has more than doubled its membership over the last week to more than 10,000. The Benga review has received more than 4,000 statements of concern from members of the public, the vast majority opposing the project.

Alberta’s NDP Environment Critic Marlin Schmidt issued a statement soon after the announcement was made.

“Today’s backpedaling from the UCP on their removal of protections for Category 2 public lands is a small victory for the thousands upon thousands of Albertans who have spoken up against this UCP government’s reckless decision to rip up Peter Lougheed’s coal policy,” he said.

“While the UCP government has agreed to cancel the 11 most recently issued coal leases, there are another eight leases they sold last May that remain in effect.

“Further, they still have not committed to reinstating the coal policy and to consulting before making further changes. Without these commitments, these precious wild spaces are still under threat.”

Katie Morrison, the conservation director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) said in an interview that the move was “actually not that significant of a change,” saying it still leaves 420,000 hectares of land unprotected, including the area around Grassy Mountain, which has been the source of media interest because of comments from country musicians Corb Lund, Paul Brandt and kd lang opposing mining.

“It’s a step that they’re feeling the pressure,” Morrison said, “but I think it still shows they are still not listening to Albertans.”

“Albertans are saying we don’t want you doing open pit coal mining. We want the coal policy back and this announcement in no way addresses those concerns of Albertans.”

Savage said the pause “will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.”

“Coal development remains an important part of the Western Canadian economy, especially in rural communities, but we are committed to demonstrating that it will only be developed responsibly under Alberta’s modern regulatory standards and processes,” she said.

“This decision has no impact on existing coal projects currently under regulatory review.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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Alberta cancels recently issued coal leases in response to public outcry – Global News

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The Alberta government has reversed its plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

Public opposition to the move has grown significantly in the last number of days, with tens of thousands of people signing petitions, writing letters and joining online groups.

Read more:
Public opposition growing: Petitions against Alberta coal mines top 100K signatures

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in an emailed statement that the province would cancel 11 recently issued coal leases and pause any future coal lease sales in former Category 2 lands.

“We have listened carefully to the concerns raised in recent days, and thank those who spoke up with passion,” she said.

“As a result, we will pause future coal lease sales in former Category 2 lands. The coal leases from the December 2020 auction will be cancelled.”

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Click to play video 'Impact of Alberta rolling back open-pit coal mine restrictions'



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Impact of Alberta rolling back open-pit coal mine restrictions


Impact of Alberta rolling back open-pit coal mine restrictions – Aug 19, 2020

“I want to be absolutely clear: Under the current terms, just as it was under the 1976 coal policy, coal leases do not allow for exploration, development or production without a comprehensive regulatory review. A lease holder has no more right to set foot on lease property than any other Albertan. The same rules apply now, as before.”

Read more:
Alberta offers Rocky Mountain coal leases after rescinding protection policy

“This pause will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.

“Coal development remains an important part of the Western Canadian economy, especially in rural communities, but we are committed to demonstrating that it will only be developed responsibly under Alberta’s modern regulatory standards and processes.

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“This decision has no impact on existing coal projects currently under regulatory review.”

More than 100,000 signatures had been collected by Monday on two petitions opposing the United Conservative government’s move on two related fronts.

READ MORE: Alberta offers Rocky Mountain coal leases after rescinding protection policy

A Facebook site called Protect Alberta’s Rockies and Headwaters has more than doubled its membership over the last week to more than 10,000.

Last week, musician Corb Lund posted a Facebook video lambasting the province’s plans to open a vast stretch of its Rocky Mountains to open-pit coal mining.

“The scope of this thing — it’s huge,” Lund said in an interview.

“I’m from the foothills and it threatens the hell out of our water. And the mountains. It’s a big one.”

Read more:
Alberta musician Corb Lund on proposed coal mines in Rockies: ‘I 100% oppose these policy changes’

The NDP said the decision is a “small victory” but that eight leases that were already sold remain in effect.

“Today’s backpedaling from the UCP on their removal of protections for Category 2 public lands is a small victory for the thousands upon thousands of Albertans who have spoken up against this UCP government’s reckless decision to rip up Peter Lougheed’s coal policy,” NDP Environment Critic Marlin Schmidt said in a statement.

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“While the UCP government has agreed to cancel the 11 most recently issued coal leases, there are another eight leases they sold last May that remain in effect.

“Further, they still have not committed to reinstating the coal policy and to consulting before making further changes. Without these commitments, these precious wild spaces are still under threat.”

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is still very worried about existing coal leases.

“While this is a step in the right direction, this ‘pause’ will have little effect on the ability of existing leases to be explored and developed for coal in the region,” said Katie Morrison, conservation director with CPAWS Southern Alberta.

“There are more than 840,000 hectares of coal leases and rights in the Eastern Slopes (of the Rocky Mountains). This area includes around 420,000 hectares within lands formerly protected as Category 2 (an area approximately the size of Kananaskis Country) that are now, and still with today’s announcement, open for development as open-pit coal mines. These areas continue to be open and at risk from coal exploration and mine development.”

The group says the 11 leases covered in the province’s announcement are small and only cover about 1,800 hectares — or 0.002 per cent of the area that’s already been leased.

“Whether or not the coal leases were existing or new, open-pit coal mines are now allowed in Alberta’s headwaters where they previously were not,” Morrison explained.

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CPAWS is urging the government to fully reinstate the province’s previous coal policy, hold public consultations on the issue and permanently prohibit new coal proposals, exploration and open-pit mines in these areas.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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