Howdy Passengers,

It’s once again Robert (@robert_hiltz) here with some news stuff delivered to you. (Someone should really come up with a name for these things. Anyway.) 

Today, we’ve got a story about: Quebec’s new climate plan and why there may not be much to celebrate; our prime minister not having a lot to say about press freedom abroad; the House of Commons planning to look at the positively cozy relationship between government and Facebook; the 1492 Landback Lane land defenders.

Is Quebec’s Climate Plan Any Good?

Yesterday Quebec announced a sweeping new climate plan, including the headline-grabbing declaration that gas-powered cars won’t be sold in the province after 2035. Or, at least, it seems sweeping. Cut a little deeper and you’ll see it’s not a plan to transform the province in any significant way, but rather about technological wishcasting to uphold the status quo.

For example, the plan calls for a reduction of Quebec’s greenhouse gas emissions by 29 million tonnes by 2030. However, according to a CBC article, “While that [29 Mt reduction] remains Quebec’s stated goal, the plan only identifies a series of measures that will result in a reduction of 12.4 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, according to the government’s own accounting. The 17.4-million tonne difference will be achieved through unspecified technological advancements and a contribution from the federal government, also unspecified.

But the problems continue. Much of the plan relies on keeping how we live and design cities, or more specifically, suburbs, basically unchanged. The difference will be that now everyone will commute in electric cars, and their houses will be retrofitted to be more energy efficient, and so on. As the CBC notes, “[The Plan] does little to address the ways vehicle ownership, whether electric or not, contributes to climate change. Cars require roads, roads require space and space requires energy.

It’s hardly transformational. It’s barely even change. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, indeed. 

Is Facebook Too Close To The Governing Liberals?

  • A parliamentary committee is looking to study the very close links between Facebook and the federal Heritage department. 
  • Context: Facebook’s head of Canadian policy, Kevin Chan, is a former Liberal advisor and has actively been looking to recruit within the Heritage department — with the apparent blessing of at least one senior bureaucrat. In an email exchange released through access to information, Chan tells Owen Ripley, a senior Heritage official, that he’s looking to hire a department analyst. Ripley replied: “I am happy to circulate to a few people who might be good candidates.” 
  • NDP Deputy Heritage Critic Heather McPherson moved the motion to study the relationship, stating, “To think that a head of Facebook Canada is in fact basically posting a job with the government that is meant to be regulating them—it doesn’t feel good.”

Press Freedom Is Only An Issue Abroad, Apparently

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently told an international press freedom conference how important he thinks a free press is to upholding democracy, stating, “It is never acceptable for a journalist to be attacked for doing their job. A crackdown on the media puts democracy in danger. It puts lives in danger.”
  • But back in Canada, police regularly impede press freedom. Ask Karl Dockstader, who was arrested covering the Landback Lane land defenders, or Justin Brake, who had charges dismissed nearly four years after they were laid for his coverage of Muskrat Falls land defenders. Or talk to Ben Makuch about the Supreme Court forcing him to turn over a confidential source to the RCMP. Hell, the government can’t even operate a semi-functional access to information system.

ICYMI: Landback Lane Protest Holds Strong

The battle for 1492 Landback Lane continues. Since July, land defenders have kept camp on a piece of housing development near Caledonia on disputed land. Police have fired rubber bullets, tased people and arrested many of the defenders. But they aren’t giving in. 

In a story over at Ricochet, the defenders explain why they continue to fight to stop housing developments expanding further into their traditional lands, despite police pressure and judicial orders. 

“We didn’t choose this life of resistance, we were born into it. And it’s a lot to carry. There are plenty of Indigenous people who go about their lives, go to work, raise their kids, stay out of the struggle and I can’t blame them for that. There’s a dignity to that. But I can’t do it. This is my life. I don’t know if it’s a choice I make, I just do it. I just resist.” — Skyler Williams, a land defender

As always, thanks for reading this issue of Passage Daily. Tell a friend, pass it on, become a member!

Quick question: do you think the article you just read would be published elsewhere?

Odds are that it would never run in Canada's corporate media. That's why we're asking you to be a part of building a real, left alternative to corporate media — so that more people are exposed to viewpoints and ideas like this one.

But without your support, it's an impossible task. We depend 100% on readers like you becoming members to pay writers and fund our operations. We don't take money from wealthy backers and we don't run ads.

If you want to see more work like this published, become a Passage member today.

Become a member