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OPINION: Greta Thunberg the world’s new environmental hero

Theo van de Kletersteeg

During her impassioned speech at the United Nations on September 23, Greta Thunberg made it very clear who she thinks is responsible for the world’s climate change woes: the world’s political “leaders” who, for the past thirty years, have known about the coming impacts of increasing levels of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) in the earth’s atmosphere, but have chosen to do nothing about it.

It is certainly true that carbon concentrations in the atmosphere have steadily increased over the decades, indeed, over the centuries. And, despite all the soothing words about “green” developments, and promises of emissions reductions decades into the future, no actual progress has been made in reducing GHG emissions. (more…)

Government delays labour regulations that would have caused chaos for transport companies and shippers

Government delays labour regulations that would have caused chaos for transport companies and shippers

By Alex Binkley

A furious mid-summer protest by transport companies and shippers has won them a one-year exemption from several Canada Labour Code hours of work changes that could have created chaos in the federally-regulated air, marine, rail, and interprovincial trucking industries. They were scheduled to come into effect on September 1. The Labour Code changes were intended to provide better work-life balance and strengthen workplace standards in federally-regulated industries. They were buried in the 2018 Budget Implementation Bill passed last December. (more…)

Iran’s Guardian Council urges action against Canada – do comments represent a threat to Canadian shipping?

Tehran Times reported that Abbasali Kadkhodaei, spokesperson for Iran’s Guardian Council accused Canada of “economic terrorism” and called for retaliation. “Economic terrorism is a method in which Western governments seize or confiscate other nations’ economic resources and interests through misusing legal tools without fair legal procedures,” Kadkhodaei tweeted, Tasnim reported. “Canada’s seizure of Iranian state properties is a blatant example of state-run economic terrorism,” remarked Kadkhodaei, a law expert. “Canada’s action is contrary to generally recognized principles of international law, including the principle of sovereignty,” the Guardian Council spokesman added. He called on Iran’s Judiciary to take countermeasures against the Canadian government. (more…)

Vancouver to benefit from $100 million in federal funding to support trade-enabling infrastructure

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced that it has received a commitment for over $100 million of funding from the federal government’s National Trade Corridors Fund to support infrastructure projects.

“As a Canada Port Authority, our job is to make sure the port is ready to handle Canada’s growth in trade, but we are also undertaking a number of projects beyond the port to improve the flow of goods and seek to alleviate the impacts of growing trade on local communities,” said Robin Silvester, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s President and CEO. “With this federal funding, we are able to take on five new projects that will enable us to continue this critical work.” The five funded projects include three infrastructure projects in Richmond and Surrey to reduce interactions between the community and road and rail activities by building overpasses and making other improvements in operations. Additional funding will support two studies that will look at how to move goods more efficiently throughout the Lower Mainland.

The funded projects were identified in the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 Strategy, a strategic plan developed by the Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum. The forum is an ongoing collaborative effort to ensure the Greater Vancouver gateway is ready to manage growing trade, and its membership includes Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, TransLink and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council.

Federal government contributes $47.5 million to help reduce container movements through Halifax’ downtown area

Federal government contributes $47.5 million to help reduce container movements through Halifax’ downtown area

By Tom Peters

The age-old issue of large trucks hauling shipping containers through the busy, narrow streets of downtown Halifax may soon be addressed in a major way.

The federal government recently announced it is investing $47.5 million for two projects that will increase capacity at the Port of Halifax to move Canadian goods to international markets, and secondly, upgrade the Windsor Street Exchange, a main access route to the port. The federal government is working in collaboration on these projects with the provincial and municipal governments plus CN, the rail provider, and the Halifax Port Authority (HPA). (more…)

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

By K. Joseph Spears

Since Canada is an Arctic nation, there is a strong requirement for icebreaker capability in our Arctic waters. The Canadian Coast Guard, operating within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is tasked with providing the necessary icebreakers in support of its own mandate and other government operations (search and rescue, hydrographic work and resupply, to name just a few). These are hard-working ships, with experienced crews who often work in hostile environments. Interestingly, former CBC  National news anchor Peter Mansbridge, a former Churchill, Manitoba resident, described his time aboard Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker’s CCGS Louis St. Laurent in the Northwest Passage as among his most cherished moments in broadcasting. Yet, Canada’s icebreakers are old, with the average age of Canadian icebreakers being just shy of 40 years, which adversely impacts their operational readiness and reliability. (more…)