A Climate Emergency Calls for a Green New Deal (Not a Pipeline)

I feel like I’m living in two alternate realities. On the one hand, governments in Canada and around the world are heeding the voices of the youngest and most vulnerable communities and have declared a state of emergency on climate change, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement targets.

Yet on the other hand, the Canadian government has approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that would triple its capacity and make those emissions reductions targets next to impossible to hit. This pipeline would necessitate expansion of the tar sands – Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions – against the authority of many Indigenous nations whose territory it crosses, in the absence of an economic basis for the project, and with apparent disregard for the costs of climate impacts brought on by the pipeline.

As a concerned young person, I’m try to reconcile these events — happening not only in the same world but in the same week and by the same government. The hypocrisy is incomprehensible.

This is what we’re conditioned to expect in an election year: political jockeying, symbolic gestures, and industry-pleasing stunts in an elaborate act to attract as many votes as possible. Five months out from the federal election and the major parties are starting to unveil their various plans for economic development and climate action – all of which fall short of what science and justice demand.

What the federal candidates must not forget is that youth and millennials will make up the largest voting bloc in October’s election – over 37% of the electorate.

We’re also the voters that will face the largest impacts of climate change in our lifetimes.

That’s why young people across the country have launched the Our Time campaign to demand bold action that matches the scale of the crises of climate change and colonialism that we face. We’re demanding a Green New Deal for Canada.

Because it’s our time for transformation of our society and culture away from consumption without consequence, and toward sharing, gratitude, and reciprocity.

It’s our time for a plan that meets the demands of science by creating millions of good jobs through historic economic mobilization to get Canada to 100% renewable energy.

It’s our time for a plan that lifts up frontline communities that bear the worst impacts of climate change, and prioritizes upskilling workers in the transition. A plan that enshrines Indigenous rights and title and takes real action towards reconciliation, as defined by Indigenous communities.

It’s our time for a plan that addresses the concentration of political power and wealth by corporate CEOs, slashes oil and gas subsidies, and reverses the widening income gap across Canada.

These aren’t new ideas. Indigenous leaders, community organizations, and grassroots groups have been fighting for justice since long before I was born. But at this critical moment, the Green New Deal is an effort to join these struggles in a unified movement for racial, economic, migrant, and climate justice, recognizing the intersections and common issues at their roots.

This is the vision of a safe and just world that we are demanding, and we won’t settle for anything less. We won’t fall for any half measures or incremental market-led solutions. We won’t be placated by a symbolic declaration of climate emergency if it isn’t accompanied by a serious emergency response plan. We won’t concede to new pipeline development in the name of fundraising for the energy transition. We won’t accept a “clean new deal” that fails to meet the urgency of the climate crisis and provide a safe future for children around the world.

Like the growing numbers of hot days in the Prairie summer, like the swelling seas of the Atlantic coast, like the disease-bearing pests of the BC forests, like the fanning flames of Alberta’s record wildfires — young people across Canada are rising. We’ve come of age in a moment in history when the world is at a tipping point, and rather than turning away, we’re turning to face it.

Over the past months local hubs of the national youth-led Our Time campaign have be established in over 10 cities across the country – from Yellowknife to Winnipeg to Halifax – building an unstoppable social movement to push for a Green New Deal for Canada. Our Time is part of the national Pact for a Green New Deal, a coalition of nearly 100 civil society organizations calling for ambitious action on climate change and inequality.

The momentum building around the Green New Deal in Canada is palpable. In May, over 200 townhalls were organized by communities across the country to talk about what these solutions look like on the local level — building the Green New Deal from the ground up.

And this week, organizations from the Pact for a Green New Deal are in the midst of a coast-to-coast tour to continue galvanizing support and local organizing energy for the Green New Deal in the lead up to and beyond the fall election.

The tour hits Winnipeg this Saturday. The Leap Co-founder Avi Lewis will be joined by Prairie Climate Centre Co-Director Nora Casson, Aboriginal Youth Opportunities organizer Jennaliiciious, and local artists and Our Time youth leaders to talk about the hope that a Green New Deal offers and how people across the country are working together to make climate change an election issue.

The climate emergency is a palpable reality, not just a political campaign ploy. We must demand that our leaders build an emergency response plan. A Green New Deal can be that plan, and young people speaking up and showing up can make it happen.


Laura Cameron is a volunteer community organizer with Our Time Winnipeg and the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition. More info on A Green New Deal & the June 22nd Winnipeg event visit: https://theleap.org/portfolio-items/tour/

Previously published in the Winnipeg Free Press, Friday June 21, 2019 




CCPA-MB hiring administrator of the Manitoba Research Alliance: Application deadline June 17

Job posting – Administrator

Manitoba Research Alliance / Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba Office

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Manitoba office (CCPA – MB) is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice. Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates. The Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) is a group of academic researchers, students, and community and government partners producing community-based research on solutions to Aboriginal and inner-city poverty. The MRA, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba, has held three successful Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants.

The Administrator of the Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) is an employee of CCPA MB and supports the administration of the MRA grant and funds. They report to the MRA Project Coordinator. This is a part time position, two days / week. The position is a term, at 2 days/ week for June and July, 3 days/ week for August – December and then back to two days/ week until March 1, 2020.



Administer Social Sciences and Humanities Research (SSHRC) grants:

  • Liaising with each of the four leads of the research streams
  • Support to the MRA Research Committee, including organizing meetings and taking minutes
  • Administering project grants, including managing contracts, liaising with principal investigators and student researchers, administering cheques, expenses, liaising with Universities and maintaining records and lists, monitoring progress on projects and keeping track of publications
  • Application preparation
  • Financial management and reporting (with the assistance of financial admin)

Reporting to SSHRC

  • Preparing information needed for reports to send to Project Coordinator, securing final signatures
  • Preparing the final grant report for SSHRC
  • Maintaining information (media; publications; numbers of students, etc.) in preparation for SSHRC reporting

Communications / events

  • Maintaining the website
  • Ensuring successful MRA events including event logistics, supporting participants with travel

Skills and experience:

  • Undergraduate degree in social sciences with preference given to graduate degree
  • Strong project management, administrative and budgetary skills
  • Knowledge of SSRHC and University research protocols
  • Understanding of research methods
  • Understanding of challenges facing inner-city
  • Understanding of policy environment
  • Experience working with academics and community-based organizations
  • Strong oral and written communicator

The successful candidate should share a commitment to CCPA’s social justice mandate. The person hired for the position will be self-directed and feel comfortable working in a small office team environment.


Salary commensurate with experience – $21 – $24/ hour.


Please send a resume or CV and cover letter to ccpamb@policyalternatives.ca with “MRA Administrator” in the subject heading. Applications due Monday June 17, 2019.

CCPA seeks to achieve employment equity. If you identify as First Nations, Métis, Indigenous, racialized, and/ or a person with a disability, you are encouraged to indicate this in your cover letter.

Thank you to all who apply, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.




Time to move forward with respect

By Marcel Hardisty

First published in the Winnipeg Free Press June 5, 2019

For the last 100 days Camp Morningstar has nurtured a sacred fire on Hollow Water First Nation traditional territory in order to provide balanced information to counter the one-sided proposals and outdated scientific research presented by Canadian Premium Sand (CPS). We have been silenced, lost our jobs, and ignored, but we are still here.

The crux of our concerns is the ability of an Indian Act chief to abrogate Treaty rights with the stroke of a pen before consulting with the people. Those rights, as well as the consultation rights that are due to us under the Constitution, were waived without letting the membership know. These are communal rights. As such, the community must be consulted first. What took place is wrong and, we think, open to litigation.

To date we have lobbied the Crown and Manitoba Sustainable Development according to their procedures for review of the Environment Application.

In their own document, Manitoba First Nations Mineral Development Protocol, the Manitoba Government calls upon the “…corporate sector to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands.”

It’s not happening. It will never happen until relationships between industry, the government regulators, and First Nations have improved. Elders complain about the lack of respect for protocol that honours Traditional agreement making. Essentially, nobody asks the people. Meet the Elders? Tick a box. Have one community meeting that falls into disarray because the cottagers have never had a chance to consult? Tick a box. It goes on. Relationships are not built on ticked boxes.

CPS’s application was a hot mess. Incomplete studies describing threats to water, air, and land used old data. That was disrespectful to the people here. They figured we wouldn’t understand them. Sustainable Development held the company’s feet to the fire and granted a license with 92 conditions. For the conditions I am grateful. But everyone has missed the point.

The point is respect. Respect for our way of reaching agreements that have worked since time immemorial. Respect for the intangible that does not fit into some government checklist on consultation, but is the core of our culture.

Indigenous scholar, Leanne Simpson refers to the challenges of incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into review processes. It is now standard practice that Elders are interviewed, their observations on wildlife, the land and water are listed in tables and charts. But traditional worldview doesn’t work that way. Just as drops of water cannot be separated into those that are in lakes, streams, ocean and atmosphere, traditional knowledge and relationships cannot be separated and dropped into a chart. Yet today’s process of consultation does just that.

I am grateful for Sustainable Development’s attempts to include our concerns in the license conditions. They require that the Licencee “with guidance from local Indigenous communities, undertake surveys for traditional use plant species used for medicinal or cultural purposes within the project area…and implement appropriate mitigation measures. Also, “the Licencee shall work with local Indigenous communities to identify where Indigenous members practice ceremonial and customary land practices in close proximity to the project area of the Development”.

This poses our greatest challenge. The Hollow Water community created an alternative restorative justice program that served both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse, using traditional approaches. The very same tract of land that has already been clearcut for the massive sand cleaning plant was a center for ceremony in the healing journey.

Returning to the land to heal also meant returning to the stories, in particular the creation stories. We have kept them secret. Too much was destroyed and stolen by the people who govern through the Indian Act with oppressive policies that were designed to kill the Indian in the Child. But they couldn’t. We are still here. At one time we were jailed for practicing ceremonies. So we buried our rattles and drums on the islands, telling the Priest we were going blueberry picking. When returning to the land became such an important part of our healing, the first thing we did was to take our people back to their spiritual home, known today as Black Island. We shared the stories of our ancestors; stories that start with the sand.

The silica sand of this unique landscape is central to Ojibwe spirituality. It is like the stars in the milky way. We come from the stars and we return to them. That is our belief. As a way of honouring that link, sand was used in burial rituals – placed on the ground around the deceased to guide them home to their place among the stars with their ancestors.

When the thunderbirds come in the summer, they visit their nest on Black Island, and when lightning strikes the sand on the mainland it makes special stones that are used in rattles. Inside the sweatlodge these stones light up within the rattle. Sacred stones, sand, and stars.

So here we are. Sustainable Development has made an effort at reconciliation. Their way. Now we need people to spend time with us. To reconcile this environmental review process experience.  Come to the sacred fire at Camp Morning Star. Hear the sacred stories for yourself. Join us in the sweatlodge. Listen to the ancestors. Tell us how we can move forward with respect. It is time. We need to talk.

Marcel Hardisty is with the Community Holistic Circle Healing Program, Hollow Water First Nation.



Why Strong Manitoba School Boards Matter

Notwithstanding discussions and concerns about recent provincial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) test scores, or the importance of always looking for improvement, Manitoba has a high quality public school sys­tem that is the envy of most other jurisdictions around the world. Two touchstones of this sys­tem, we argue, are: (i) a vision of the purpose of schooling as fundamentally educational and in­clusive; and (ii) a structure that values and nur­tures professional expertise within a framework of public responsibility and accountability.  READ FULL REPORT HEREBy Jon Young and Dick Henley

MB Liquor Between Rock and Hard Place

By Lynne Fernandez

The issuance of mandate letters to provincial crown corporations has put management and staff on notice, warning that “the old way of doing things” is over.

The preamble for all the letters is the same, with claims that this government is committed to “prudent fiscal management, creating jobs, improving health care and education” etc. etc. Each letter then spells out the specific changes the government expects each crown to make. Read More

New Manitoba Housing Data

Cutting Access Program funding is bad for Manitoba

By Christine Rossman

First published by CBC Online May 11, 2019

Getting ahead is becoming virtually impossible for people in severe financial need who want to go back to school and turn their life around. Last year the Manitoba government terminated 210 Provincial Access Bursaries valued at $1.5 million dollars. Access students who need financial support the most to finish up their degrees are now not receiving it. In addition, the Access program was cut by an additional $1 million. Read More

Education reviews must focus on kids

By Erika Shaker

In January, Manitoba’s education minister Kelvin Goertzen announced the creation of a commission to review the provincial school system and propose a ‘“renewed vision for kindergarten to Grade 12 education,” to “ignite change” to existing systems, structures and programs’. Read More

The changing nature of social housing in Manitoba

By Sarah Cooper

What makes social housing ‘social’? In part, social housing is different from private-market housing because it intentionally provides low-cost housing for low-income households. But it is also a way of taking housing out of the market. It’s a way of keeping housing affordable, and of stabilizing housing as shelter, by removing the potential for speculation. And, it is provided collectively through community-based organizations and government programs, and funded collectively through taxes and government spending. Read More

It is time to stop contracting Transit Plus out

By Carlos Sosa, Zach Fleisher, and Sara Atnikov

First published in the Winnipeg Free Press April 12, 2019

For years, an open secret in Winnipeg has been the poor quality of service associated with Transit Plus (previously Handi-Transit), which exists to provide a parallel Winnipeg Transit for those with disabilities. The service provides transportation to approximately 7,500 people a year. Due to problems with the services, the Independent Living Resource Centre (ILRC) was able to, with the assistance of the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC), submit a complaint to the Manitoba Ombudsman. Read More