For your Sunday coffee break

coffeeThere’s a number of stories I’m working on for next week, but for today, here are a few things to read on your Sunday coffee break.

The BC governments move into the Renminbi market last year should be news again shortly, as the one year bonds issued come to maturity: this is the story from last fall I posted on this to refresh your memory:

Will the BC government issue a press release heralding this experiment as a success for the province, strengthening ties with investors from China? Or will silence reign supreme in an effort to avoid examination considering the current unrest and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong? The actions of the Chinese government during these protests are currently being questioned by many, with allegations of the Hong Kong government working with gangs to break up the protests:

Keep your eye on this situation, and I’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

The situation with Mount Polley and Imperial mines has largely fallen from media view now, but still very much ongoing.

Imperial mines has issued a response to the Vancouver Sun article in which it was noted a crack was noticed in the tailings pond dam as far back as 2010. This is the article in question:

And this is their response:

The company has been busy seeding grass over tailings sediment, raising questions by many on whether or not that poses any risk to wildlife who may be attracted to graze on the grass come spring, and whether this also indicates the likelihood it may not be cleaned up at all.

Gordon Hoekstra has consistently done excellent work on this story from day 1, and this recent story again shows his attention to details and insight.

All of this has had impact on Imperial Mines operation at Red Chris mine, where they are currently advising they are seeking an injunction to have a blockade removed from the entrance to the mine, set up by a group of Tahltan families and elders known as the Klabona Keepers.

Video footage of the blockade being set up, and the elders asking for support to protect their lands.

The latest results that were released passed right over my head with back to school and an ankle injury, but here is the write up from NW:
nd here is the link to all the results :

Last but not least, Harvey Oberfeld has a thought provoking post up about Mulcair’s support for all Canadian taxpayers to pick up the bill for a new bridge in Quebec. I was equally outraged at this turn of events, simply because we continually get dinged out here for new projects, including the Port Mann, which is part of our national highway system.

Sigh. It’s so damn easy to spend spend spend when it’s not their own money.

Read and weep.

Enjoy your Sunday and the weather it’s brought with it – you know that months of rain can’t be far off in this part of the world! :)

The Duel – 24hrs, Vancouver Edition

Heads up for all my readers to pick up a copy  of 24hrs Vancouver edition tomorrow, where I go head to head with Kathryn Marshall on  this week’s topic:

Is Bill C-377 good for Canada’s union members?

My column:

Kathryn’s column:

Who wins the battle this week? You be the judge : submit your comments below the article or email in 150 word or less at

Conservatives passed new disclosure requirements to hamper Canada’s unions

Laila Yuile, Guest Columnist

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This week’s topic: Is Bill C-377 good for Canada’s union members?

Last week, those benevolent Conservative members of Parliament bestowed an early Christmas gift on organized labour in this country — or so they would like you to believe.

Bill C-377, a private member’s bill drafted by Tory backbencher Russ Hiebert, was passed in the House of Commons and with it the requirement that unions publicly disclose how they spend their members’ dues. Detailed reports will now have to be submitted to Revenue Canada yearly — a costly venture for taxpayers and unions alike. The information will subsequently be posted online and available to the general public.

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt declared it was all out of concern for those Canadian union workers who — thanks to those altruistic Tories — will now have the information they need to make informed decisions before casting ballots in union elections. Seriously, I think I saw a tear in her eye.

Now let’s talk a little reality.

I support financial transparency in member-based organizations, in particular those that collect fees. Members should know where money is going and how it is being spent. However, I know from being in a family where nearly everyone is a unionized forestry worker, that the vast majority of unions already make their financial statements available to their members. There are even a number of provincial labour codes to support this across Canada.

Because of this, it seems to me that the Conservative government is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. The Tories didn’t target any other associations or organizations that collect dues, such as medical associations or law societies. They only targeted unions. This bill is about two things — hampering organized labour in this country and hindering the New Democratic Party, which has always been backed by union support.

Unions are closed organizations, and therefore financial transparency should be a concern limited to members — publicly posting financial information does nothing to serve the membership.

It does however, give  more than a few strategic advantages to corporations during union contract negotiations;to corporations who don’t want their employees to unionize, and to the Conservatives who will be able to see where and how the unions who support the NDP, are spending their money.

Indeed, if the Conservatives are so concerned about Canadians needing the right information to make the right decisions when casting election ballots, they might want to try legislating some financial transparency of their own.

Read Kathryn Marshall’s column.

Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator.

Stories within stories: Harper,why we must stop the Canada-China FIPA and the deal you still don’t really know about.

“I can retain neither respect nor affection for government which has been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend its immorality”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

There are two very important things I would ask my readers to do today.

First, head on over to 

At the link above, you will find detailed and easy to understand instructions on how to register your comments with the sadly flawed, final environmental assessment for the Canada China FIPA that must be stopped. Please do so,because the deal has yet to be signed off on here in Canada. More on this in a moment.

The second thing I would ask you to do, is to send Elizabeth May a note of thanks for keeping her eyes out for this deal in the first place.

Yes, indeed, the press has featured a somewhat outraged Mulcair riding in on a giant waffle at the last moment, demanding an emergency debate and then… oh well, this is what we might do if we are elected… seriously, you really need to try and digest this mans words – if you can actually swallow this bafflegab.

Oh me! Oh my! Indeed the leader garnered great attention at this “11th hour” demand, such drama, such… politicking. Don’t get me wrong – if I had to choose today between Harpo Harper, the libs who are quite possibly going to be led down the fairy path by the fair skinned machismo laden young Trudeau, or the NDP- I would still vote NDP because the other two are simply not options for a true north strong and FREE. However, take note there’s a big waffle maker in Mulcairs closet somewhere…

Here is the story within the story behind this fiasco, and why I think we should give credit where credit is due to Ms. May, who the press for the large part, tend to ignore :

“On September 26, 2012 (the day after my Island Tides deadline), with no press release or briefing, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, rose in the House to table a few documents.  It was during a part of every day called “Routine Proceedings.”  The media had sped off for scrums after Question Period.  I was waiting my turn to table petitions.  Maybe another twenty MPs were in the Chamber when Deepak Obhrai tabled a deal with Norway and two with China – the agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy and the “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments” (the Canada-China Investment Treaty). “


“On October 1, 2012, I asked the Speaker for an Emergency Debate on the treaty.  I explained in a letter I had tabled with the Speaker on September 28 (and available on the website) all the reasons that it was an emergency.  Sadly, he ruled that it was not a case for an emergency debate.   I asked in Question Period on October 4th, with 16 sitting days left until the treaty takes effect, whether the Prime Minister had chosen to approve this treaty by Order in Council to keep its details from Canadians or to avoid having to force Conservative MPs to vote for something they did not believe in.  House Leader Peter Van Loan said there could be debate if an Opposition Party chose to use one of its Opposition Days to do so.  I cannot get either the Liberals or the NDP to agree to give it an Opposition Day.”

Well, well. Isn’t that something indeed?  Kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth for the grand performance of Mulcair being portrayed as the savior – which speaks more to political opportunism than good government for Canadians. If Elizabeth May had not been paying strict attention to this deal, it is likely it would have passed without fuss or muss in the typical Conservative stealth strategy and for that, I thank her. We should also give a shout out to MP Don Davies who did a fine job in the Standing Committee for International Trade, trying to get somewhere with the cons, to no avail – you can read that transcript here:

It was also Ms. May who noticed the second treaty tabled that day at the same time as the FIPA, one with quite alarming implications although not as far-reaching as the Canada-China FIPA. And while we must all concentrate on stopping the FIPA, I think you need to know about this as well.

It is the Protocol to the Agreement Between the Government Of Canada and the Government Of The People’s Republic Of China for Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Again, Ms. May sums up the contentious nature of this treaty:

“The nuclear deal is a cover for our sales of uranium to China.  Under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, no country is to sell nuclear materials to a country with nuclear weapons unless it can absolutely guarantee a system of verifications and monitoring to ensure uranium for peaceful uses does not end up in nuclear weapons.  The two page deal released September 26, cannot do that.”

And whose idea was this, Mr. Harper ? Rather alarming, considering the political situation in China is about to change and quite possibly things could get much more liberal… or step things back a decade to a more hardline time.

Here’s the thing about this “peaceful” nuclear treaty as well as the Canada-China FIPA.

They were never meant to be negotiated any further. They were never meant to be examined,dissected or otherwise discussed by the public at large.

They are exactly written as those who dictate such things behind this prime minister, and those who came before him in recent history, wanted it written. Terry Glavin said it best in a stunning commentary titled ‘ The Canada-China investment protection racket”:

“. . . The final thing you need to know about the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is its specific function. It’s to elevate Canada’s China-trade business executives from their hitherto mostly supine position as accomplices of Beijing’s gangland regime to a more formalized and official status as willing accessories to the beggaring of the Chinese people and the plundering of their wealth.

Protection is precisely what FIPPA’s Canadian beneficiaries will be very much wanting one day when all their trade agreements, their exquisitely-phrased contracts and their joint-venture undertakings are ablaze in bonfires from Guangdong to Xinjiang. Protection is what they will want, and they will deserve no such thing.”

Terry gets into a little more, including Mulcair, in his later blog post aptly titled ‘ The Sopranos with Chinese Characteristics.’ 

All that’s missing in this deal is Harper in a thug hat and a pimped out low rider car with full tint windows.

Head over to this link and find out…

How You Can Help Stop Ratification of Canada-China FIPA

( for a full list of what happened in China back in February, please check out Wai Young’s website, MP for Vancouver South –her list of items signed or agreed upon, is twice as long as Harper’s list … and included items I have not heard before such as negotiations to share proceeds of crime with the Chinese government)