Clean Green Saskatchewan

Pandora’s Promise – Film and Panel Discussion – October 1, 2013

Posted Wed, 09/18/2013 – 14:44

From the Pandora’s Promise web site: “Impact Partners and CNN Films present PANDORA’S PROMISE, the groundbreaking new film by Academy-Award®-nominated director Robert Stone. The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? An audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, PANDORA’S PROMISE asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty. In his controversial new film, Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process. Stone exposes this controversy within the environmental movement head-on with stories of defection by heavy weights including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger. Undaunted and fearlessly independent, PANDORA’S PROMISE is a landmark work that is forever changing the conversation about the myths and science behind this deeply emotional and polarizing issue.”

This film will be shown at the Roxy Theatre in Saskatoon, 320 20th Street West at 7:00 PM, followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Dr. Jim Harding, Retired Professor of Justice Studies at the University of Regina and author of “CANADA’S DEADLY SECRET Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System”, and Heather Kleb, Interim President & Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association.

From the Globe and Mail: Pandora’s Promise: Is nuclear energy really the only way to save the planet? Published Friday, Jul. 12 2013, 12:00 AM EDT

“Could going green really be the same as going nuclear? That’s the argument presented in this nuclear energy advocacy documentary from Robert Stone (Earth Days), which suggests the public’s knee-jerk fear of nuclear energy is naive and risks derailing our best hope for preventing an environmental catastrophe.

While the idea is provocative, especially in the aftermath of Japan’s post-tsunami Fukushima disaster in 2011, the movie’s focus is narrow. The five nuclear converts surveyed are journalist-authors who all seem to have reached identical conclusions: There’s Richard Rhodes (“To be anti-nuclear is basically to be in favour of burning fossil fuels”), Gwyneth Cravens, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, Mark Lynas (author Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet) and Michael Shellenberger, of the pro-nuclear environmental group Breakthrough Institute. Also interviewed is scientist Dr. Charles Till, co-developer of the Integral Fast Reactor, which purports to be both accident-free and capable of recycling waste material.

The film’s tone is boosterish, and the cursory treatment of the cost of a nuclear-based energy overhaul, or the viability of renewable energy, tends to arouse skepticism rather than allay it. Opposing voices are limited to vintage clips of anti-nuclear protesters and one gotcha confrontation with septuagenarian anti-nuclear crusader Dr. Helen Caldicott, and that supports the impression that Pandora’s Promise is less an exploration of the subject than a well-constructed sales pitch.”

From Beyond Nuclear: “The impetus for this two-page summary document and the full report referenced above, was the release in July 2013 of the pro-nuclear propaganda film, Pandora’s Promise. The film, like the nuclear industry propaganda in circulation generally, both omits and misrepresents key facts in order to cover up the very real dangers and detriments of nuclear energy. These documents serve to rebut the misleading messaging about dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power.”

Click to download PDF

5 Reasons Solar is Beating Fossil Fuels by Jacob Sandry

Posted Sat, 09/14/2013 – 14:49

The solar industry is growing drastically every year, while fossil fuels continue to be phased out. This is why it’s frustrating to hear people say that renewable energy is not ready to compete with fossil fuels as a means to power our country. Here are five reasons why solar is already winning.

JOBS

There are more people in the U.S. employed in the solar energy marketplace than mining coal. The banal argument that transitioning to a clean energy economy will cost us jobs is simply false. Solar is growing more than 10 times faster than the American economy.

Solar already employs more than coal, and that gap is widening. In 2012, solar added 14,000 new jobs, up 36 percent from 2010 and the industry will add another 20,000 jobs this year. The fossil fuels industry cut 4,000 jobs last year. So when it comes to employing Americans, solar is winning.

PRICE

Solar panels have a seen a consistent drop in prices over the last three decades, and in the last few years that drop has been meteoric. In the last 35 years prices have gone from $75/watt to around $.75/watt. Since 2008, the cost of coal has risen 13 percent. In some parts of the market, solar has already reached parity with coal.

I’m sure you’ve heard the argument that solar is economically effective only by relying on government subsidies. Currently this may be true, but if solar prices reach Citigroup’s prediction of $.25/watt by 2020, subsidies may not be needed. And then there’s the glaring fact that oil, gas and coal receive subsidies that dwarf those of renewables ($409 billion vs. $60 billion globally).

And that’s ignoring the extra costs that burning fossil fuels impose on the rest of society, that aren’t paid by fossil fuel companies (called externalities by economists). The Harvard Medical School estimates that burning coal in the U.S. costs $500 billion in environmental and health damage (and then there’s, you know, the whole climate change thing). If those costs were taxed onto coal plants, the price of coal would more than double.

CAPACITY

With the cost of solar dropping rapidly, installations are escalating at an exciting rate.

Earlier this year, the U.S. became the fourth country to have 10 gigawatts of solar energy capacity, with installations increasing at a rate of 50 percent annually for the last five years, that rate is expected to increase to 80 percent this year.

Two-thirds of global solar capacity has been installed over the last two years. In contrast, 175 coal fired power plants in the U.S. are expected to be shut down over the next five years (more than 10 percent of total capacity). This reflects the rising costs of coal and the implementation of stricter environmental regulations.

INVESTMENT

While fossil fuels have been an omnipresent part of investment portfolios for decades, their reign may be coming to an end.

Recently a number of reports have shed light on an impending carbon bubble. Fossil fuel companies are valued in the market based on their reserves of unburned fuel still in the ground. If international regulations are put in place to prevent atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from rising above 450 ppm (the estimated cap to avoid irreversible climate change), much of the listed reserves couldn’t be used.

This means that many fossil fuel companies are overvalued as they potentially have huge unburnable reserves of fuel. British bank HSBC estimates that once stricter climate regulations are put in place, the value of fossil fuel companies may fall drastically. Already, coal companies have dropped in value 75 percent over the last five years.

Firms like Mercer and WHEB are advising investors to move their investments out of coal and oil and into renewables. Major investors are already making this move. Warren Buffett has invested in one of the largest solar farms in the world and has predicted the end of coal as an American power source.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Environmental impact should be pretty clear, but here are some interesting impacts of coal extraction and burning that you may not be aware of: acid mine drainage and coal sludge pollutes rivers and streams

  • air pollution causes acid rain, smog, respiratory illnesses, cancers and toxins in the environment
  • coal dust from mining causes respiratory illness
  • coal fires in abandoned mines put tons of mercury into the atmosphere every year and account for three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions
  • coal combustion waste is the second largest contributor to landfills after solid waste
  • mountaintop removal coal mining causes flooding, destruction of entire ecosystems and communities, and the release of greenhouse gases
  • emissions of 381,740,601 lbs of toxic carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur dioxide, mercury, radioactive materials and particulate matter annually
  • enormous contributor to global climate change

Jacob Sandry is a fellow at Mosaic, a company connecting investors to high quality solar project.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

Activists challenge Brad Wall on energy, environment

Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 – 16:27

Prince Albert Herald, April 12, 2013, Matt Gardner,

Unimpressed by Premier Brad Wall’s defense of his recent controversial comments about Cameco, area activists directly challenged the premier on Friday to improve his record on a range of social, economic and environmental issues.

“We’re not here to say that Premier Brad Wall is a bad person,” Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam said at a press conference in the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library.

“We’re here to tell him that the tar sands are not working. They’re hurting people. The water is being devastated. We’re here to tell our leaderships, all leadership, to start looking towards the energy that is clean, that doesn’t harm humanity or the earth.”

Speaking on behalf of the same groups that recently called for Wall’s resignation, Fish Lake Métis Local 108 president Bryan Lee read out a list of 10 questions addressed to the premier.

“As a result of Premier Brad Wall’s comments in a letter to the editor of the P.A. Herald, it is clear that he has no intention of resigning, nor of retracting his earlier public comment, ‘Do you know what the best program for First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan is? No program at all, it’s Cameco,’” Lee read.

“We grassroots First Nations and Métis now bring forward several questions for you, Premier Wall.”

The first question asked Wall to cease what native activists consider his “campaign of targeting our people as to what you determine is best for us.”

The second and third, respectively, asked the premier to “stop humanizing Cameco” as a citizen and to instead humanize water, given its necessity for life.

Pointing to moratoriums on uranium production in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Quebec, the statement called on Wall to bring forward a similar policy.

The issue of nuclear waste storage in northern Saskatchewan was another hot-button issue. The fifth question asked the government to stop supporting the mandate of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to locate a waste repository within the province, and to implement legislation similar to Manitoba’s that would ban nuclear waste storage.

The sixth question noted that medical isotopes can be produced using a cyclotron and asked Wall to end a campaign to develop small nuclear reactors.

The seventh question brought up the government’s duty to consult with indigenous peoples and accused the premier of “interference in fundamental justice” by failing to consult before securing an agreement with Cameco and Areva to expand uranium mining in the province.

“Your public support of Cameco, and the relationship you have publicly declared should happen between Cameco and Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis people, is a clear gross interference with the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on duty to consult and accommodate,” Lee charged.

The last three questions asked Wall to remove all water allocation intended for the recovery of oil and gas, to support compensation for those adversely affected by radioactive contamination, and to promote the development of renewable energy by SaskPower through tax incentives and subsidies to private renewable energy companies in partnership with the province’s indigenous peoples.

While that list of questions was the main focus of Friday’s press conference, speakers also went into detail about why dependence on Cameco, in the words of Saskatoon renewable energy consultant Mark Bigland-Pritchard, would be “bad health policy, bad social policy, bad economic policy, bad foreign policy, bad environmental policy, bad energy policy and is unconstitutional.”

In response to government claims that development by Cameco would create jobs, English River First Nation resident Candyce Paul — one of the founding members of the Committee for Future Generations — offered a long list of social ills affecting communities living near mining operations.

“For the most part, northerners live in substandard housing,” Paul said. “The money that is being made by employees in Cameco is not being used to improve their home situations, their houses and upgrade their homes.

“Aboriginal workers note they don’t receive proper training, even in the apprenticeship programs, and they come into the employment at entry level and low-paying jobs.

Paul pointed to the problem of underfunded schools and the paucity of adult education programs.

She also criticized the influence of Cameco in changing school curriculums to gear students towards employment in the mining industry.

One example was the appointment of Cameco vice-president for corporate social responsibility Gary Merasty as head of a task force on improving First Nations and Métis education.

Mining developments, Paul argued, had caused or exacerbated a variety of other social problems.

“Alcohol and drug addiction problems are on the increase,” she said. “Prior to the mines opening, there was no such thing as drugs in our communities. It wasn’t there until the mining culture introduced it.

“There’s a lack of self and community development program for First Nations and Métis. We suffer a lot of family dysfunctions, which take parents away from their children for weeks at a time, and when they come home it’s party time …

“Because we’re starting on our second generation of workers in the mines … (children) are starting to see their grandparents dying of cancers, and they’re begging their parents not to go work in the mines.”

Another point touched on during the press conference was the shipping of uranium to other countries for the development of nuclear warheads.

Following this lengthy criticism of government policies, Bigland-Pritchard — current director of Low Energy Design Ltd. and a former Green Party of Saskatchewan candidate — tackled the issue of how the province might transition to more sustainable forms of energy.

Describing four sources for clean energy — the sun, wind, plant material and water — Bigland-Pritchard argued that Saskatchewan was particularly well-suited to the latter two.

The abundance of trees in the province, he suggested, could be harvested sustainably under local ownership to generate energy.

Hydroelectric power was the other option, though here Bigland-Pritchard again emphasized smaller-scale operations that would not affect the local environment and could be controlled locally.

“Those are the two options for the north,” he said. “Those would supplement wind power, for which there is some potential in the north, and solar power, for which there is growing potential throughout the province.

“The price is already coming down. They’re not down quite low enough yet, but they will be very soon.”

Bigland-Pritchard cited other countries and regions that have been pushing hard for increased use of wind power, including numerous parts of the United States.

Germany, he noted, has a land area half the size of Saskatchewan and 80 times the population, yet has set itself the goal of 80 per cent renewable energy dependence by 2050.

Bigland-Pritchard argued that the transition to greener forms of energy would create plenty of jobs for northern communities.

“The mining industry provides relatively few jobs,” he said. “They can be quite well-paid, but it’s relatively few jobs. There’s no way that the mining industry is going to be able to provide jobs for the whole of northern Saskatchewan.”

“Now, it may be that nobody’s going to make enormous piles of money,” he added. “But there will be enough for everyone, and … the point of economic development is that there should be enough for everyone, not that a few people get rich and everybody else starves.”

Finally, Bigland-Pritchard noted that any economic benefits the mines might provide to local communities would be relatively short-term.

“The mines will run out of ore within 30 or 40 years, and then what do you do?” he asked.

“There’ll be some jobs in cleanup, and some of those will be dirty jobs and some of those will be highly technical jobs. But is that the way that you want to create economic development — cleaning up radioactive mess?

“So let’s go the clean way. Let’s actually respect the world that we live in. Let’s respect each other, and let’s respect our future generations.”

Link to original article: http://www.paherald.sk.ca/News/2013-04-12/article-3219443/Activists-challenge-Brad-Wall-on-energy%2C-environment/1

Cameco not panacea for northern Sask., Group says gov’t shortchanging First Nations

Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 – 15:58

By Charlene Tebbutt, For The Star Phoenix April 13, 2013

A northern advocacy group is urging local residents to think hard about the provincial government’s commitment to economic diversification in northern Saskatchewan following recent comments by Premier Brad Wall about Cameco and First Nations employment.

New North – Saskatchewan Association of Northern Communities said in its newsletter this week that northerners should question Wall’s comments and whether the provincial government is really working to build on economic opportunities other than mining. While Cameco does bring thousands of jobs to the north, the company can only do so much.

“Governments are asked to provide the backbone for healthier and safer communities,” the organization said in its newsletter.

“Mr. Wall would probably argue that revenue from Cameco ensures that governments have the capacity to do all those things (but) northern residents are entitled to the same quality of life and the same level of respect as people in the rest of the province.”

The piece was written in response to Premier Brad Wall’s remarks at an event in Prince Albert last month that Cameco is one of the best programs for First Nations and Metis people in the north.

“It’s a job in the north. It’s a chance to engage in the prosperity that we see in Saskatchewan. We will say ‘yes’ to that opportunity,” Wall was quoted as saying at the dinner event.

New North CEO Al Loke said Thursday that Cameco has contributed much to the northern economy, including job training and education. But he said government has to be involved to have a successful northern economy, including more roads and infrastructure.

“Up here, we’re still 10 years behind some places in the south,” Loke said.

“We want them (provincial government) to recognize that the north is still part of the province … you can’t expect a private company to look after the north.”

In a letter written last week, Wall said he was surprised by the controversy but that he stands by his comments. Given that First Nations and Metis people make up more than 40 per cent of its workforce, Wall said Cameco has been better than government programs at providing training and helping to reduce the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal employment.

The provincial government is moving away from paying for government programs with few tangible results, Wall wrote.

“If those who are misinterpreting my remarks as anything but a results-based comparison between government programs and real private sector jobs want us to return to the failed practices of the past, then they will not like the approach of our government,” Wall said.

“Our government believes that a strong economy and good-paying employment opportunities are the most desirable outcomes for everyone in Saskatchewan, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal … we are going to continue with our growth plan whose aim it is to replace government programs with high quality jobs every chance we get.”

Nevertheless, Wall’s comments angered many, prompting calls for his resignation. A loosely-organized group led by spokesman Bryan Lee, who is president of the Fish Lake Metis Nation Local 108, hosted a second press conference Friday in Prince Albert to voice their concerns.

In an interview, Lee said Wall should not be commenting on the needs of First Nations and Metis people in Saskatchewan’s north.

“It’s just a preposterous statement and it’s offensive,” Lee said.

“I don’t think it’s the responsibility at all of government to provide some sort of answer … The First Nations and Metis are very capable of handling their own affairs.”

The group planned to present a list of questions for the premier on Friday, focusing on Wall’s comment regarding Cameco and the provincial government’s use of natural resources, as well as the use of renewable energy.

Lee said it’s unlikely Wall will resign over the controversy, but said the group is hoping for some response to the questions.

“It more or less did get his attention and that was our objective,” Lee said.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Cameco+panacea+northern+Sask/8238418/story.html

Top U.S. climate expert calls Conservatives ‘Neanderthal’

Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 – 15:27

The former NASA scientist criticized by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver earlier this week for his views on the Keystone XL pipeline is responding by calling the Conservatives a desperate and “Neanderthal” government.

In an interview with Evan Solomon airing Saturday on CBC Radio’s The House, James Hansen defended his position that approving the proposed pipeline would be disastrous for the environment.

During a stop in Washington, D.C., to shore up support for Keystone XL, Oliver said Hansen, a leading climate change activist, is “crying wolf” with his “exaggerated” comments about the effects of Alberta’s oilsands development on the environment. The minister also said that when a source of energy represents 1/1000th of global emissions, “to say it’s the end of the planet if that’s developed is nonsense.”

Hansen has said if nothing is done to stop Canada’s oilsands development it will be “game over for the climate,” a position that Oliver said he likely regrets taking and that has hurt his credibility.

Not so, Hansen told Solomon. “Not at all,” the award-winning researcher said. Hansen was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2006. He retired earlier this month from NASA so he could devote more of his time to environmental activism.

“I think he’s beginning to get worried because the secretary of state, John Kerry, is well-informed on the climate issue and he knows that his legacy and President Obama’s is going to depend upon whether they open this spigot to these very dirty, unconventional fossil fuels,” Hansen said about Oliver. “We can’t do that without guaranteeing disasters for young people and future generations.”

Conservative government ‘getting desperate’ TransCanada’s proposed pipeline would stretch from Alberta to Nebraska and the project is on hold while the Obama administration considers whether to give it a stamp of approval. Oliver was in Washington lobbying for the pipeline just as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publicly rebuked the State Department over its positive environmental assessment of the proposed pipeline.

In a letter sent Monday that was widely seen as a setback for the pipeline, the EPA raised serious concerns about the project’s carbon footprint and criticized the State Department’s draft analysis.

“That shows that they’re getting desperate,” Hansen said, referring to Oliver’s comments about him. “They realize that the Keystone XL pipeline probably will not be approved because the secretary of state and the president are beginning to realize what the implications (are) for young people and future generations.”

He also had a blunt assessment of the Conservative government’s approach to climate change and action on the environment.

“The current government is a Neanderthal government on this issue, but Canada can actually be a leader,” he said. Hansen mentioned British Columbia’s carbon tax as a positive step. “I have hopes that Canada will actually be a good example for the United States but the present government is certainly not.”

“They’re in the hip pocket of the fossil fuel industry, as you can see, but that doesn’t mean that the Canadian people are,” said Hansen.

He said many governments, not just Canada’s, are denying what science is telling them and ignoring the long-term climate change projections.

By Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News, updated April 27, 2013 http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/top-u-s-climate-expert-calls-conservatives-neanderthal-1.1367144

68% of Saskatchewanians say: Stop Mining Uranium

Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 – 00:00

More than two-thirds of Saskatchewanians believe that no more uranium mines should be approved in the province until the huge mess of toxic radioactive tailings, which have been left behind over 50 years of mining activity, have been contained and cleaned up. Oracalepoll Research Ltd. conducted a survey of 800 people in the province from September 10 to 16 in which respondents were presented with the following information and related question:

“Citing public record, some opponents have been critical of both government and industry for failing to effectively manage or contain radioactive uranium mine tailings in northern Saskatchewan over the past 50 years. Would you support or oppose a proposal to stop further uranium mining in Saskatchewan until all radioactive mine tailings have been satisfactorily and permanently contained?”

A 68% majority support the plan, while 23% would oppose it and 9% remain undecided.

The poll was commissioned by the HUES3 Campaign Committee and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).

Dr. Helen Caldicott, a physician and world-renowned speaker on nuclear issues, commented on the poll results. “It is morally indefensible that the federal and provincial governments and the uranium companies continue to rake in huge revenues from uranium mining, yet are unwilling to clean up the highly toxic radioactive tailings in Saskatchewan’s North more than fifty years after they were left behind,” she explained. “The public is right to say, Enough is enough!” Dr. Caldicott is the author of eight books and subject of the Oscar award winning film If You Love This Planet.

PDF version with methodology and graphics.

No nukes in the tar sands: survey

Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 – 00:00

The Saskatchewan public does not feel that it is safe to use nuclear reactors for oil sands extraction, according to Oraclepoll Research Ltd. survey results released today by the HUES3 Campaign Committee. By a margin of three to one, respondents said they do not feel safe with such plans, even though the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) at the University of Saskatchewan has accepted millions of dollars in government and corporate funding to explore the feasibility of developing small nuclear reactors for this purpose. (See backgrounder documents.)

Oraclepoll posed the question: “The provincial government and the nuclear industry have recently pledged approximately $40 million to create the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) at the University of Saskatchewan. One of its purposes is to research and design nuclear reactors that can be used as an energy source for Oil Sands (Tar Sands) extraction or for the electrical grid. . . . How safe do you feel that it will be to use nuclear reactors for oil sands extraction?” In response, 45% of Saskatchewanians said it was “totally unsafe;” only 15% said they thought it was “totally safe.” (A graphic representation and detailed methodology appear in the print version.)

The HUES3 (Health, Uranium, Environment: Sustainability, Survival, Solidarity) Campaign Committee was formed earlier this year in part to highlight the fact that the Saskatchewan government and corporations like Hitachi have been funneling millions of dollars to CCNI for this kind of research since last year.

Dr. Helen Caldicott, physician and world-renowned Australian anti-nuclear activist, was so alarmed to hear about how the University of Saskatchewan has been co-opted into the nuclear industry agenda that she volunteered to come to Saskatoon to “raise hell,” as she put it. “It is astonishing that both government and university have fallen under the dark influence of the nuclear industry, even though the general public knows instinctively that neither building nuclear reactors nor depositing radioactive wastes in Saskatchewan’s north is safe or desirable. The impact on public health would be devastating,” she explained.

Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks in Saskatoon

Posted Tue, 10/09/2012 – 21:31

Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks in Saskatoon on November 1, 2012. Her topic: “Our Toxic Nuclear Legacy: Let’s END Saskatchewan’s Growing Radioactive Footprint”

She will be speaking at Third Avenue United Church at 7:30pm. We look forward to Dr. Caldicott setting the whole issue in a global context.

There will be opening and closing ceremonies from First Nations elders, and First Nations youth will speak. Topical books including Caldicott’s brand new Loving This Planet will be available for sale.

This event brought to you by the HUES3 Campaign Health, Uranium, Environment: Sustainability, Survival and Solidarity

Poll: 75% Against Nuclear Waste

Posted Mon, 10/08/2012 – 22:19

Seventy-five percent do not want nuclear waste disposal sites in Saskatchewan, says public opinion poll By Hues³ Three-quarters of the people in Saskatchewan don’t want radioactive waste brought into the province and deposited in underground storage. That’s the message from a public opinion survey conducted from September 10 -16, 2012. The study was commissioned by CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) and the HUES3 Campaign (Health, Uranium, Environment: Sustainability, Survival, Solidarity).

“The nuclear industry has not found a way to dispose of the over 270,000 tonnes of high-grade radioactive waste generated around the world. Now the industry knows for certain that no one wants it brought to Saskatchewan,” says Dr. Warren Bell, Salmon Arm, BC, a prominent member of both CAPE and the HUES3 Campaign.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) continues to target three communities in Saskatchewan as sites for radioactive waste reprocessing and disposal: Pinehouse, Creighton and English River First Nation.

The failure by government to ban the importation of radioactive waste (as done by Manitoba and Quebec) means Brad Wall’s administration in Saskatchewan is allowing the NWMO to create totally unnecessary tensions and division within northern communities. (The NWMO is an industry organization tasked with disposing of the mounting waste from nuclear reactors in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec and the U.S.)

The citizens of Saskatchewan, through the UDP Hearings in 2009, rejected high-level radioactive waste disposal in the province. The recent Oraclepoll Research Ltd. survey asked several questions intended to measure how public opinion on nuclear industry expansion compares today with opinion in 2009. Among other results, it found that the Government does not have a mandate to allow waste disposal to proceed here. 75% of citizens are opposed; only 15% support the plan; another 10% are undecided. (See attached report.)

  • QUESTION POSED: “The Canadian nuclear industry wants to transport high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power reactors in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, to northern Saskatchewan for storage. Do you support or oppose this plan?”
  • STATISTICAL RESPONSE: 18 years of age or older, 800 persons, margin of error +/- 3.5%, 19/20 times.

For more information contact:

D’Arcy Hande HUES3 Campaign
H: (306) 249-1392
C: (306) 220-0321

OR

Candyce Paul
Committee for Future Generations
H: (306) 288-2079
C: (306) 288-3157

Nuclear industry behind Pinehouse election problems?

Posted Fri, 09/21/2012 – 00:00

Is the nuclear industry behind voter intimidation and voting irregularities in the September 19 Pinehouse municipal election?

BEAUVAL, SK — Many allegations have been made, and at least one affidavit has been sworn, with regard to the highly irregular Pinehouse municipal election in northern Saskatchewan on Wednesday, September 19. Yet even before the ballots were cast, the provincial ministry of government affairs and the local RCMP detachment refused to step in and provide the monitoring and supervision requested by several seriously concerned voters. Local residents wonder what the reason is for this neglect, and some have theories to offer. They believe the nuclear industry is behind it all. And the result is an extremely divided small community of just 1,000 people.

The tension in the community arises from a concerted campaign by the industry-driven Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to co-opt the Pinehouse village council into hosting a deep geological repository for radioactive wastes from Eastern Canada. Those in the community who oppose these negotiations wished to express their dissatisfaction at the polls when voting for village councilors. But they were met with thinly veiled threats and intimidation.

Debbie Mihalicz of Beauval said, “Canada and the United Nations have poured billions of dollars into ensuring a fair democratic process in oppressed countries around the world like Syria and Afghanistan. Recent events in the Northern Village of Pinehouse, Saskatchewan point to the sad truth, that when people within our own borders require this same protection, they are denied.”

Ms. Mihalicz went on to describe specific irregularities that were willfully overlooked:

  • the ballot box remained unsealed for the duration of election day;
  • one voter was denied the right to cast a ballot;
  • several instances of voter intimidation; and
  • a report of an illegal presence inside the polling booth area, apparently photographed by the RCMP.

Some of these suspicious practices were already evident in the advance poll on September 12. Concerns were raised then, but they were ignored by provincial government officials. Sandra Cuffe, a journalist with The Dominion magazine, filed a report on September 18 describing several of the abuses and laying out the background to this highly charged situation. (See attached.)

Related: Media Co-op coverage

Letter to Minister of Government Relations, Jim Reiter

Dear Minister Reiter:

Our HUES3 Campaign Committee is deeply troubled about reports of voter intimidation and voting irregularities coming out of the northern Village of Pinehouse on September 19. As you can see from the attached HUES3 media release and from Sandra Cuffe’s news report posted to The Dominion magazine, serious breaches of election procedures appear to have occurred. These irregularities are egregious enough to call into question the legitimacy of the whole municipal election process at Pinehouse this month.

The stakes in this year’s election in Pinehouse could not be much higher. Local citizens are caught up in a contentious, even acrimonious debate over their village council’s clandestine negotiations with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to establish a nuclear waste dump in the community. NWMO appears to have offered inducements to the council without the ordinary voters being aware of what was going on. It is clear that several local officials, if not NWMO itself, have an acutely vested interest in the results of this particular election. Those Pinehouse citizens who attempted to raise their concerns in the context of this election campaign were intimidated and, they believe, received thinly veiled threats if they questioned the local council’s agenda in this regard. Reports of obvious breaches in election protocol were raised with officials in your department immediately after the advance poll on September 12, but they were met with a tepid, indifferent response.

Despite the provincial government’s known affinity to the nuclear industry, it nevertheless does have the solemn responsibility to ensure free and fair elections throughout the province. Several witnesses in Pinehouse have come forward to give evidence about the voting irregularities there, despite a very real fear of retribution from local officials for having done so. In order to protect them, and to ensure the integrity of the municipal vote, we strongly urge you to launch a thorough investigation into the Pinehouse election, if necessary to overturn its results, and then to call a new, closely supervised election at the earliest opportunity.

On behalf of the HUES3 Campaign:

Dr. Warren Bell (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment),

Dr. Dale Dewar (Physicians for Global Survival),

D’Arcy Hande,

Candyce Paul (Committee for Future Generations), and

Karen Weingeist (Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan)

c.c. Hon. Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan

Mr. John Nilson, Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Victor Lau, Leader, Saskatchewan Green Party

(b.c.c.’d widely to media and others)