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Archive for October 17th, 2012

VANCOUVER – A private company has conducted what is being described as the world’s biggest geoengineering experiment off Canada’s west coast, dumping tonnes of iron into the ocean that may have triggered an artificial plankton bloom up to 10,000 square kilometres in size.

The experiment, which critics say is a ”blatant violation” of United Nations rules, involves controversial Californian businessman Russ George who teamed up with a First Nations village on Haida Gwaii to establish the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation to run the project.

Environment Canada said Monday it is aware of “the incident,” which is reported to have entailed dumping 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the sea in a scheme to enhance both plankton and salmon and generate lucrative carbon credits. […]

It reports that George’s team dumped about 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the ocean from a fishing boat 370 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii in July. George and his colleague John Disney sold the people in the village of Masset on the idea of ocean enhancement, and the HSRC agreed to channel more than $2.5 million into projects.

“He promised a plankton bloom and he got it,” Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, told Postmedia News on Monday. “You can see it on the satellite images.”

A large plankton bloom covering an area up to 10,000 square kilometres was visible off Haida Gwaii in August, but it is not known how much was stimulated by the iron sulphate dumped into the sea and how much of it occurred naturally. […]

George is the former chief executive of Planktos Inc. and his vessels were barred from ports by the Spanish and Ecuadorean governments after previous attempts to produce plankton blooms near the Galapagos and Canary Islands. The Haida Gwaii experiment is believed to be the biggest geoengineering attempt to date, Jim Thomas, of the technology watchdog ETC Group, said Monday. The group has long tracked and publicized what Thomas describes as George’s “scams” and “schemes.”

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A group of labour unions has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Christy Clark to raise concerns about a pending influx of temporary foreign workers to the B.C. mining sector. The unions say Canadian workers could do the jobs for which foreign workers are being hired.

“We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China,” said the October 15 letter from the Bargaining Council of B.C. Building Trades Unions, which represents 15 unions whose members include plumbers, sheet metal workers and others involved in the construction industry.

“The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and well being of the workers in that country.”

The letter comes as HD Mining International Ltd. – the Vancouver-based mining company that is developing the Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge – has obtained permission to bring 200 workers to B.C. under the federally administered Temporary Foreign Worker Program. […]

HD’s partner in Murray River is Canadian Dehua International, a Chinese-backed company that is working on three other proposed coal projects in the province that could also involve hundreds of foreign workers.

The prospect that mining companies might want to hire foreign workers has been known since at least 2007, when Canadian Dehua filed a project description for its proposed Gething project that said as many as 400 foreign workers would likely be needed to build the mine.

Ms. Clark did not mention foreign workers in an official announcement last November, when she trumpeted Chinese investments in B.C.’s mining sector – including projects involving Canadian Dehua – that would “eventually create over 6,700 jobs.”

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Conservative Party “ethnic outreach”

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been giving tips to David Cameron’s British Tories on how to win ethnic votes. […]

“They asked for a meeting when they learned I’d be in London,” Mr. Kenney told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. “Obviously the Conservative Party has a partnership, certain links, with the other centre-right parties in democratic countries, like the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom.”

Mr. Cameron, who leads a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, now faces the task of trying to fight a second election, and like the Canadian Tories who spent five years in minority government, they are seeking to expand their base. But most immigrants and ethnic voters lean to his Labour opponents.

Mr. Kenney has for years assiduously courted Canada’s ethnic communities to win over voters who were once thought to be locked up by the Liberals. The Tories have not only devoted time and attention to ethnic organizations, and money to some of their causes, they have made a pitch that many new Canadians share the small-c conservative principles of the Tories.

He noted that polls show 42 per cent of voters born outside Canada supported the Tories in 2011 federal election – a greater portion than those born in the country.

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