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Katherine Palmer Gordon

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  1. Posted November 30, 2020 Image: A female black bear pulls organic material into her den. Wildlife advocates say that unless urgent action is taken to protect their winter dens from the impacts of industrial logging, black bears may disappear from Vancouver Island within a generation. Go to story
  2. Wildlife advocates say that unless urgent action is taken to protect their winter dens from the impacts of industrial logging, black bears may disappear from Vancouver Island within a generation. A black bear pulls organic material into its den tree to create a soft floor (video still by Artemis Wildlife Consultants) DALLAS SMITH is President of Nanwakolas Council, a coalition of five First Nations on Northern Vancouver Island. Smith can’t understand why black bear dens are protected in the Great Bear Rainforest and on Haida Gwaii, but not on Vancouver Island. “It
  3. September 2016 The Province’s failure on First Nations burial sites is leading to more Grace Islets and potentially another Gustafsen Lake. ON THE EVENING OF March 17, 2015, the Tseycum longhouse in Saanich was permeated with a sense of profound relief. The desecration of 18 ancestral graves on Grace Islet, a First Nations’ burial site in Saltspring Island’s Ganges Harbour, had finally been stopped. Hundreds of people gathered together in the longhouse not only to express their thankfulness that the desecration had ended, but to share their grief over the spiritual insul
  4. June 2015 You’d think Fisheries and Oceans Canada would be on the side of wild salmon. Think again. MAY 6 2015 was a great day for wild salmon,” says Margot Venton, staff lawyer at Vancouver-based environmental legal group Ecojustice. It was a good day for Alexandra Morton, too: The biologist and the wild fish both scored a potentially significant victory in court. Two years earlier, Ecojustice had commenced legal action on her behalf against Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Marine Harvest Canada Inc in the Federal Court of Appeal, contesting the fish farm company’s
  5. February 2015 The extraordinary potential of Vancouver Island forests to sequester carbon is being lost due to government inaction. VICKY HUSBAND, one of BC's best-known environmentalists and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of BC, states the situation in her typical forthright fashion: “Our forests are being completely plundered. It’s a cut-and-run approach that isn’t providing local jobs, isn’t going into value-added products, and certainly isn’t seeing money coming back into the pockets of the people of BC. Forest management in BC, as it is practised today, is
  6. January 2015 Failure to protect First Nations graves on Grace Islet may lead to the first aboriginal title claim on private property in BC. ON NOVEMBER 10, Chief William Seymour of the Cowichan Tribes wrote a polite letter to Premier Christy Clark. Attached to the letter was a formal notice of claim to aboriginal title over Grace Islet, a three-quarter-acre rocky knoll located in Saltspring Island’s Ganges Harbour. It’s not unusual these days for the provincial government to receive claims of aboriginal title over Crown lands in British Columbia. But this one is differe
  7. October 2014 A recent scientific report implies we are close to a point of no return on climate change. UVic’s Dr Tom Pedersen weighs in. LAST AUGUST, a draft report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), leaked to the news media, set out some cold, hard facts about global warming. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million in pre-industrial times to 400 now. The rate at which emissions are rising has never been higher. In 2013 alone, the concentration of carbon dioxide increased by nearly
  8. September 2014 Is the Supreme Court of Canada’s declaration of Aboriginal title the death knell for proposed resource projects in BC? TRIBAL CHAIRMAN of the Tsilqhot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse, 46, was sitting in the Supreme Court of Canada on June 26 this year when it declared that the Tsilqhot’in Nation holds Aboriginal title to more than 1750 square kilometres of what is now former provincial Crown lands. “This decision will be remembered as a turning point in the history of Canada and its relationship with First Nations,” reflected Alphonse. Some corpor
  9. July 2014 There’s little evidence to support the Joint Review Panel’s critical conclusion that diluted bitumen is “unlikely to sink.” WHETHER DILUTED BITUMEN WILL FLOAT on the surface or sink in the ocean, says chemical scientist Thomas King wryly, “is a simple question, but it trails a raft of complex issues.” King, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is leading Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s research into the behaviour of diluted bitumen under various environmental conditions. “The trouble is,” he says, “that we have very limited information about dilbit’s properties in water
  10. June 2014 With a likely capital cost of between $800 million and $1 billion, it had better. Focus explores the issue with two scientists. LAST DECEMBER, retired University of Victoria ocean physics professor Chris Garrett wrote to Focus, along with some of his former marine science colleagues, stating: “The allegedly scientific arguments put forward in support [of land-based secondary sewage treatment] are very superficial… [there is no] detailed, quantitative, rational analysis of what the problems are with the present system or how the proposed schemes will fix them.” G
  11. November 2013 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission process, aimed at raising awareness of the impacts of the Indian residential schools and building bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians, has proved a remarkable and moving experience for those involved. But much more is needed to make the process of reconciliation meaningful. “THE POLITICAL ELITE ALL KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING in the residential schools and they did nothing. I am filled with incandescent rage,” seethed celebrated humanitarian Stephen Lewis during his address to September’s Truth and Reconcili
  12. December 2012 The final report of the 3-year, $26-million Cohen Commission may signal the end of fish farming on BC’s coast. IN THE SUMMER OF 2009, the number of Fraser River sockeye salmon reaching their spawning grounds could be counted in mere thousands rather than the ten million fish originally predicted to arrive in the river that year. By then, steadily declining returns had already led to closures of the fishery for three years in a row. Bowing to vociferous public demand for action, in December 2009 the federal government commissioned BC Supreme Court Judge Bruc
  13. September 2012 While fleets of log-laden ships depart our shores in growing numbers, scores of mills have closed resulting in massive job losses in BC. With so few mills left to send logs to, logging companies claim exports are the only way to stay in business. With the removal of the requirement that forest companies holding tenure on Crown forestland must mill that timber locally, there’s little or no impetus for them to invest in much-needed infrastructure that would provide an alternative to log exports. What will it take for BC to stop exporting so much home-grown opportunity to Asia
  14. September 2011 Will the city have what it takes to minimize loss of life and property damage when the Big One hits? Not if expensive, politically driven band-aid measures are the norm rather than comprehensive resilience planning focused on well-considered priorities. WHEN A CATASTROPHIC EARTHQUAKE struck Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22, 2011, thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed; 181 people died. Christchurch was almost completely unprepared for that level of devastation. The cost of rehabilitation is likely to be around $11 billion (CAD). Six months
  15. December 2010 British Columbia’s 32 indigenous languages were almost completely obliterated during the infamous reign of the residential schools. In 2010, they remain close to extinction. In a province where English predominates, does restoring them to active use make any sense? Overwhelming evidence suggests that the answer is yes—not only for the First Nations people from whom they were stolen, but for everyone. “ALL OUR SOCIAL PROBLEMS STEM FROM the disconnection of our young people to our culture because they don’t know our language,” says Renée Sampson, tears sparkling in
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