Hey folks,

It’s Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) with your latest dose of Passage Daily. Today we’ve got: the latest on the Alberta government’s coal controversy; Conservative MP and all-around nutcase Derek Sloan receiving a donation from one of the country’s most prominent neo-Nazis; the federal government’s upcoming social media regulations; the latest piece of bad news for Pornhub

Alberta Government Pushes Pause On Several Coal Mining Plans, But Others Remain

After immense public outcry from Indigenous groups, environmentalists, ranchers and two prominent country singers, the Alberta government has cancelled 11 coal mining leases it signed last month. 

Back in May, while everyone was focused on COVID-19, Energy Minister Sonya Savage rescinded the province’s 44-year-old coal policy, which placed restrictions on open-pit mining in the eastern slopes of the Rockies. British Columbia does permit mining on its side of the mountains and the results have been … not great. 

The Grassy Mountain coal project in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass, which is intended to produce steel-making coal for export, has been in the works since 2015 — when the NDP was in power — but after the coal policy was rescinded, the Australian company in charge of the project, Riversdale Resources, applied for an extra 192-hectare parcel of land. 

Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association said, “Since mining came to a close, people have moved there for the environmental amenities. That certainly isn’t going to fit well in an open-pit coal mine that’s going to decapitate and take the head off of Grassy Mountain.”

Although Riversdale Resources boasts the unanimous support of Treaty 7 nations, Kainai First Nation member Latasha Calf Robe says this support was offered without any community consultation. 

Grassy Mountain will still make its way through the regulatory process. 

As CBC reporter Robson Fletcher pointed out in a Twitter thread, the 11 leases that were cancelled are a small fraction of the coal mines planned for the region. 

Meanwhile, a court challenge to the government’s rescinding of the coal policy without a shred of consultation, launched by four southern Alberta ranchers, begins today. It’s supported by the Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations, the Alberta Wilderness Association, and the Municipal District of Ranchland.

Conservative MP To Face Caucus Vote On Booting Him After Accepting Donation From Neo-Nazi

  • Conservative Party leader and Homer Simpson lookalike Erin O’Toole says he wants MP Derek Sloan booted from caucus after reporting from PressProgress revealed he accepted a $131 donation to his failed leadership campaign from prominent neo-Nazi Paul Fromm. 
  • Unsurprisingly, Sloan claims his team had no idea who Fromm is and that his campaign received 13,000 donations. Think about how many non-neo-Nazis that is!
  • To add some spice to the narrative, Sloan also claims the party itself took a 10 per cent cut of the donation, and that Fromm applied to be, and was accepted as, a Conservative Party member. 
  • Sloan has earned a reputation for being a tad unhinged after he questioned the scientific “cause of sexual orientation,” sponsored an anti-vax petition in the House of Commons and accused Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, of being more loyal to China (she’s from Hong Kong) than Canada. 

Feds Re-Working Social Media Regulation Plans After Capitol Riot

  • The federal government has gone back to the drawing board on its long-anticipated plans to regulate tech giants after a mob of Trump supporters who had organized online stormed the Capitol Building in Washington.
  • Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says that while social media networks were relatively quick to act in the wake of the riot, it’s “more effective and efficient” for the government to implement its own regulations across the board. 
  • These regulations are anticipated to be based around those in European countries, such as Germany and France, where social media companies must remove illegal content or face financial penalties, and will likely require a new regulator position. 
  • University of Ottawa law professor Vivek Krishnamurthy warns that new regulations could come into conflict with Canada’s obligations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (formerly NAFTA), as well as the Charter. 

ICYMI: Privacy Commissioner Looking Into Complaint Against Pornhub Parent Company

Canada’s privacy commissioner is “actively considering” a complaint against MindGeek, the Montreal-based company that owns Pornhub, from a woman who says pornographic images of her spread across the internet without her consent, the Toronto Star reported.  

However, the commissioner declined to confirm whether a full-blown investigation is underway.

According to the complaint, a woman’s ex-boyfriend shared “an intimate video” of them, which he pressured her into making, after they broke up in 2013. She was 24 at the time. 

In January 2015 she was contacted by people from different countries, who told her they had seen her appear in a pornographic video online, which included her full name, university and her mother’s maiden name. As of March 2020, the video was still online.

DIG DEEPER: The Left Shouldn’t Hesitate To Confront Porn Corporations

That’s a wrap on your Passage Daily for January 19. Check your inbox tomorrow for more news and analysis from a staunchly progressive viewpoint.

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