On the Left Side


Bill C-51 Reveals Harper's Inner Bully

Night OwlThe Hidden Brilliance of Late Risers

isil-cda-politics-20150324ANALYSIS: Iraq debate gets heavy topspin from Canada's politicians

ChongMichaelD_CPCVIDEO: Conservative MP 'disagrees' with Stephen Harper on C-51 oversight

thMakers of Firefox web browser "strongly oppose" Stephen Harper's Bill C-51

Special Representative of the Secretary-Je suis Margot

CanadaSupremeCourt.141251Citizens Take Constitutional, Free Speech Challenge Against National Energy Board to Supreme Court

MicrobeadsNDP passes motion to ban microbeads from personal products

canal1_moore1-800x430Lobbyist claims Monsanto weed killer is safe to drink, then bolts when TV host offers him a glass

top1At least five American Shot Off Their Penises Since 2010

screen_shot_2015-03-25_at_11.19.46_amMass arrests in Québec signal start of Printemps 2015

Rafe-Howe-Sound-needs-public-support-in-face-of-Woodfibre-LNG1Rafe: All hands on deck for Howe Sound as LNG storm brews

pwild_dsc3435Heiltsuk heartbroken by herring fishery's re-start, with RCMP protection

162661269-250x166Texting a big factor in teen car crashes

SS-StLouisRefugees_610pxRafe Mair: Trudeau Was Right to Call Out Racist Past

FreddyShelley Fralic: When holidays end and old friends die

hi-istock-windfarm-852Canada missing out on green energy revolution

Geologist_610pxWhy Are Young Workers Shunning the Oilsands?

shutterstock_96798841-638x478How Many Birds Are Killed By Wind, Solar, Oil, And Coal?

adobe-house1-1024x516Santa Fe –“the best small city in America”

lake-erie.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxScathing report on health of Canada’s waters accuses Ottawa of wilful negligence

be2c0e4bc68e97336862a76636fd8047_XLGovernment removes 'Trans' from Trans-Canada Highway citing family values

med-hat-mayor-clugstonMedicine Hat on brink of ending homelessness, mayor says

First-Nation-tells-DFO-its-closing-commercial-herring-fisheryFirst Nation tells DFO it’s closing commercial herring fishery

DFO-uses-stealth-to-open-herring-fishery-despite-First-Nations-banDFO uses stealth to open herring fishery despite First Nations ban

Stephen-King-007Stephen King: I'm rich, tax me

Mulcair 20140620Pitbull vs. prime minister: Thomas Mulcair comes out swinging against Stephen Harper

COnfederation BridgeConfederation Bridge closed to all traffic

athens_ii_071-326x159Acropolis of Athens Was Built to Withstand Earthquakes, Engineers Say

BearsThe bears are waking up it's time to get bear aware

Casgrain2Feminist Therese Casgrain disappears from public history

Elizabeth MayWhy I Am Fighting Bill C-51

George AbbottVaughn Palmer: Province pulls a fast one on George Abbott (with video)

Spring-Snow-Storm-SizedMan Badly Beaten With Toques After Claiming He Saw a Spring Robin

10904397CRTC orders changes that include pick-and-pay TV channels

PM Stephen Harper- Playing A Divide and Conquer GameShould Canadians be worried about tyranny or fascism?

mbira-spirit-1Mbira Spirit Make Canadian Impact

par8096573Universal Drug Plan would save Billions

COL COYNEHonest boy who handed in ‘large sum’ of cash to Nanaimo Mounties may keep it if remains unclaimed

STEPHEN-HARPERHarper Conservatives-Rules Be Damned!

Recently+Updated24Astroturfing, Liberally

Mulcair-TrudeauTom Mulcair Remains Open To Knock out Conservatives

PM Stephen Harper- Playing A Divide and Conquer Game
Conservatives hit new 12-month high on Nanos Party Power Index

hedges_rabbleExclusive Chris Hedges on Bill C 51

grizzly-bear-wright_1Suzuki--It's Time To End The Grisly Hunt

AeromobilAeromobil says get ready for the flying car

canada_student_debt_0Canadian students crushed by debt

The democrat and republican symbols of a donkey and elephant facing off.Conservative Politics, 'Low-Effort' Thinking Linked In New Study

Harper and Supt. Bruno Saccomani.jpgReports link Islamic State recruiter to Canadian Embassy in Jordan

Pikangikum_SadGirl50-07/24/01-A sad young girl plays by herself on a dusty road in Pikangikum. PikanCanada’s race problem? It’s even worse than America’s.


The Retro Electric Moped that's Taking Over Europe

Perry BellegardeFirst Nations vow legal challenge of anti-terror bill


cvrd-boardRondeau--CVRD board defeats 2015 budget

israeli-soldiers.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoConservatives amend law to allow export of prohibited weapons to Israel, Kuwait

440px-John_Horgan_2011Horgan looks to 'Proportional Representation' as he eyes the election ahead

Daniel TherrienBill C-51: Privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien blocked from committee witness list

Thomas Mulcair-NDP Leader
Mulcair would amend anti terror Bill C51

AJW501_Commons_20150310Niqabs ‘rooted in a culture that is anti-women,’ Harper says


How Harper Turned Canada into a Rogue State

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It was not easy for those who went before us to build Canada into the remarkable and much respected country that it has been until now, until the reckless and unbalanced power hungry Prime Minister Steve Harper has grabbed Canada by the throat.

Crawford Kilian’s article, presented in the Tyee is a most worthwhile read.


Harper Cartoon


As Economy Stumbles, Our Self-Styled Wartime Prime Minister Bets On Fear.

By Crawford Kilian-The Tyee

Stephen Harper’s greatest booster for the 2015 federal election unfortunately can’t vote for him: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau died last October in a hail of bullets.

In the space of a few dramatic minutes, Zehaf-Bibeau saved the Conservative Party of Canada from having to fight an election on the economy, and threw them the lifeline of a dubious war.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a guy who reportedly cowered in a closet while the guns roared in the hallway, has collected his wits and mapped out a whole new course to a new majority with admirable speed.

By parlaying one mentally ill drug addict into a terrorist threat, he created the embryo of a Canadian police state in Bill C-51.

Meanwhile, riding on the slipstream of the Americans’ attacks on the Islamic State, he has found an unrelated casus belli, a cause for war, just as George W. Bush did after 9/11.

Read the Full Article Here

It Has Now Been 100 Years Since Vancouver Won a Stanley Cup

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

I have been following the Canucks since about 1956 when they played in the Western Hockey League. Jim Cox was still doing play by play on CKNW and then later a young Jim Robinson stepped to broadcast Canuck games. Jim was behind the mike from 1958 until he retired in 1994.

Don Maroc Still loves to retell the events of that game

Don Maroc – Still loves to retell the events of that game

I was not around when the Millionaires won the Stanley cup but I do recall some very good Canuck hockey prior to them joining in with the NHL in 1970.

Don Maroc saw the Millionaires win and marvelled at their daring performances sans heavy protective gear that todays players enjoy.

Tonight the Canucks are to wear the Vancouver Millionaires uniforms to commemorate the champions, and perhaps spark the Canuck’s to their fourth consecutive win over the Colorado Avalanche.


A Tyee primer on the most notable centennial of the season.
By Jesse Donaldson, Today, TheTyee.ca

Get ready, hockey fans! Today marks the most exciting centennial celebration in local history. Break out the party hats and air horns, because it has been exactly a century since Vancouver won a Stanley Cup.

On the evening of March 26, 1915 (less than a year after the outbreak of the First World War), more than 5,000 eager spectators piled into the Denman Arena to watch the fledgling Vancouver Millionaires nab the city’s first (and only) Stanley Cup, in a decisive 12-3 victory over the more established Ottawa Senators.

The win was historic; in addition to being the first official cup championship between east and west, it was also the first series to successfully implement the forward pass, a radical new maneuver that would change the game of hockey forever.

“There was a lot more on the line than just the Stanley Cup,” explains hockey historian Craig Bowlsby, author of Empire of Ice and 1913: The Year They Invented The Future Of Hockey. “There was this new process called the forward pass, which everybody in the east hated. At the time, the [Millionaires] were considered crazy, these renegades who basically forced the eastern teams to play a few games using the forward pass. If the NHA had had their way, it would have died right there, and we would still be passing backwards or laterally. But it didn’t.”

Naturally, local newspapers lost their minds over the result.


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Cowichan Politicians Reject Staff Driven Bid For Hiring PR Spinners-Slash Budgets

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It is too easy to poke at our politicians of all stripes and all stations but recently encouraging signs have emerged that show our elected folks are paying attention.

At the CVRD table perhaps it is an injection of newly elected Directors that is making the difference. They actually turned down the budget a couple of weeks back sending it back for further adjustment and trimming.

cvrd-boardLast night they lopped off a chunk headed for the black hole known as the Economic Development function.

Too bad they did not just deep six the entire Economic Development operation. It has been a non productive unjustified sop from the beginning.

Efficient and effective local government will do far more to attract business investment than that anything coming from the Economic Development Commission. It is just another bureaucratic distraction.

One of the additional costs put to the elected reps was for a ‘Communications Officers’ aka ‘Spin Doctors.’

This was to be an exempt position, non union in other words, part of the management team. This is the last bloody thing that we need and our CVRD and North Cowichan politicians are to be congratulated for cutting through the bovine droppings.

NorthCowichanLOGONot all rejected the notion but the majority did and tossed it as it was correctly considered to be inappropriate.

Over at North Cowichan where they are not inoculated against opinionated pushy senior staff the bid for a PR flak has hit some pushback as well.

Nice to see politicians joining together on issues rather than traditional left-right  split that so often gets in the way of good governance. Populist style politics is most welcomed in the local arena.

The City of Duncan may be the worst in regard to the Mayor and the Administrator driving the agenda. Their Administrator and Mayor Kent too often exclude councillors from their deliberations and schemes.

Nobody elected any of our Administrators/CAO’s. The Senior staff should keep their noses out of politics and the politicians should not be aligning with them to advance their control style agendas

Duncan City HallPersonally I find it a tiresome to repeatedly hear the constant cop out of politicians asking what staff thinks when they elected types are hesitant to stand up and be counted on the various issues that hit the table.

Lately it seems to be an almost default position. It is also a means of derailing and undermining debate.

We do not elect staff and we do not expect them to overly influence the representatives that we elect to represent us politically.

The Directors and Councillors are elected to determine the agenda and personally I reject putting staff in an awkward position of having to couch their responses to fit the agendas of the politicians asking the questions.

Robert'sLeave the political debate and decision making to the elected types. The senior staff are there to give background and assistance and the ways and means of implementing political directives.

The alliance between some of the old guard and the key senior staff is an unholy alliance fraught with downsides.

Finally it would be a good idea to bring in a parliamentarian like Eli Mina to provide needed training for our elected people. They could all benefit from learning to conduct their meetings with attention to Robert’s Rules. It would help focus and produce more efficient and productive sessions.

Coming up, I will comment on the folly of marathon meetings. It is difficult to concentrate the mind on what the backside cannot endure.

Harper and Coillard Hate Our Democracy and Freedoms-Thousand Hit The Streets in Montreal

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Reacting to  draconian austerity measures  students loaded down with massive debt hit the streets of Montreal.

They were met with the  oppressive hammer of the riot police given licence by fiscal conservative politicians who have drastically cut the budget and they have done it on the backs of students and others already marginalized and struggling.

In this case the attack comes from a so called Quebec Liberal government headed by Premier Philipe Couillard.

Premier Philipe Coillard launched austerity attack in Quebec.

Premier Philipe Coillard launched austerity attack in Quebec.

Seems that both BC and Quebec Liberals are every bit as conservative as the Conservatives.

Truth is that when the Conservatives meet with rejection from voters they just shift over to the Liberal parties.

There is nothing remotely liberal about the Quebec or BC Liberal governments.

US President George W. Bush often justified his intrusions into Iraq and Afghanistan with Karl Rovian double speak suggesting that they hate our democracy and freedoms. Harper has embraced those same obnoxious misstatements in declaring that the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy.

PM Stephen declares war on our rights and freedoms through Bill C 51

PM Stephen declares war on our rights and freedoms through Bill C 51

This deliberate distortion does not mask the real war on terror, against our own democratic freedoms being waged by our own provincial and national  governments under direction from Premier Coillard and PM Steve Harper.

In Quebec the students are leading the pushback and are being met with the full force of the militarized police forces. A hot summer has already kicked in and we can expect an increasing attack on our so called rights and freedoms with the over the top terror bill against Canada’s democracy aka Bill C 51.


By Stefan Christoff -Rabble.ca


Thousands of students and social activists hit the streets in Montreal

Last night on the streets of Montréal thousands joined a spirited protest against austerity, targeting the violent cuts to the public sector currently taking place under the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard, occurring within the wider context of the Conservative austerity hammer coming down across Canada.

“On avance, on avance, on ne recule pas!” chanted thousands together while departing from place Émilie-Gamelin, the now iconic gathering point for night protests in the city.

In real terms, a collective move forward is taking place, tens-of-thousands of students are now striking, as community groups and activists work vigorously toward creating a social strike in May.

As thousands took the streets for hours across downtown, the riot police moved consistently to block and attack the protest, utilizing flash bang grenades that include a charge chemical gas, striking people with batons and shields, all while a police helicopter occupied a bright spot of the sky above.

On this point, its really important to note that clear street tactic lessons have been learned since 2012, as collectively on multiple occasions people joining the protest successfully broke through police lines attempting to block the protest.

Certainly this has been done before, but last night it took place with focus and determination by many people at the protest, illustrating the ongoing breaking down of fear barriers on the streets.

At moments throughout the protest the streets really did feel like a collective space for expression in the city, not roadways dominated by toxic cars and governed by the laws of the powerful.


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Shawnigan Community Fights Against Contaminated Soil Dump



More than 200 residents from Shawnigan Lake showed up to discuss last week’s decision by the provincial government to allow a company to dump contaminated soil near Shawnigan Lake

CHEK  TV reports

Shawnigan area residents jammed into an overflow room at the Community Centre to get updates on their failed effort to reverse the permit to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Watershed.

The Environmental Appeal Board, controlled by the BC Environment Ministry rejected the communities efforts to protect their watershed, creek lake and drinking water.

Rocco Galati in court to challenge how Bank of Canada does business

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The mysterious world of money, making it, printing it,spending it. There has been contrary views regarding the role of banks in controlling our money supply since the Bank of Canada stepped away from providing debt free money to cities, town and municipalities.

Across the country, budgets are being prepared at all levels of government. Local boards and councils wrestle with funding facilities and services for their communities. The impacts of interest free money should gather considerable interest. Why was the role of the Bank of Canada changed from its established direction and purpose?

We should look at this court case with considerable interest. The impacts could be considerable, the benefits significant.

Renowned Toronto lawyer brings unusual case to change the way Canada’s central bank operates.


AARON HARRIS / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is representing a small group that contends the Bank of Canada is mandated to provide debt-free support for public projects undertaken by federal, provincial and city government

OTTAWA—Renowned Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is pursuing a court case intended to do nothing less than force the Bank of Canada to reorient its activities on behalf of Canadians.

Galati, who led a successful challenge against an appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, is representing a small Toronto group whose legal bid is attracting increasing attention from people in Canada and elsewhere who distrust global financial institutions.

The unusual case originated with William Krehm, a much-travelled 101-year-old Toronto native and former Trotskyite who was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and once stood guard over Leon Trotsky’s corpse after the Russian revolutionary was assassinated in Mexico City.

Krehm, later an economic writer, asked Galati to launch the case on behalf of his Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER). Galati first filed the case in 2011 and after several legal rounds — including a court skirmish with federal government lawyers — is expected to return to Federal Court within days to move the challenge forward.

COMER contends the Bank of Canada, a publicly owned national financial institution created in the Great Depression, is mandated to provide debt-free support for public projects undertaken by federal, provincial and city governments. Not doing so has deprived Canadians of the benefits of larger infrastructure investments, COMER alleges.

Among other arguments in its court submission, the group alleges Canada ceded its sovereign ability to conduct independent monetary policy to the “secret” deliberations and control of private foreign bankers. This unconstitutional move, COMER argues, was a result of Ottawa’s decision to join several multinational financial organizations, particularly the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Headquartered in Switzerland, the BIS is an organization that brings together the central banks from 60 countries to co-operate in the promotion of international monetary and financial stability. Canada joined in 1970.

“It’s by far the most serious and important case I’ve ever done,” said Galati, who gained national prominence in a classic David versus Goliath case last year in which he moved to block Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to Canada’s top bench.

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Harry Smith the 92-year-old anti-austerity campaigner is coming after Harper

Harry Smith has lived through the good times and the bad times. He sees a return to the lean mean 20’s of his youth and he is going to go after Steve Harper. Inspiring, he tells it like it is. By Jerry Nuttall 


Harry Smith: ‘Since Harper has come into power, everything has gone downhill.

Harry Smith Is Coming for Stephen Harper

Harry Smith Is Coming for Stephen Harper The 92-year-old anti-austerity campaigner, a UK sensation, sets his sights on Canada. By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today, TheTyee.ca

By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today, TheTyee.ca

A sparkling-clean nation where everyone willingly paid their taxes is the Canada that Harry Leslie Smith remembers choosing as a place to raise his family and live his life decades ago.

Now, at 92, Smith has become a sensation in the United Kingdom for his opinion pieces and memoir Harry’s Last Stand, in which he draws parallels between his brutal childhood in the U.K. and where the western world is headed today as government austerity grips many of its countries.

Smith, who splits his time between Canada and Yorkshire, was recently asked by the U.K. Labour Party to be a spokesman for its campaign in advance of the May 7 election. He now finds himself in the midst of a gruelling speaking tour, travelling through 30 cities in 50 days, to rally the fight against austerity and corporate greed.

When that’s done, Smith told The Tyee, he will be returning to Canada to do the same, in a ”full-tilt” effort on his part to help oust Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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CVRD Failed To Enforce Their Land Use Authority–Shawnigan Faces 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Waste

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Here is the CVRD response to the BC Liberal governments decision to allow 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil into the Shawnigan Watershed property on Stebbings Rd.

Truth is the CVRD blew it from the outset by refusing to enforce their land use authority, or even try until the temporary permit was issued.

The anaemic response by then Director Bruce Fraser, supported by the then mostly Liberal friendly CVRD Board proved to be a deadly combination.

When the finger pointing and blame game commences look first to the ‘do nothings’ at the CVRD. This should and must serve as an example of how the Board works, or more importantly does not work.

Something very wrong has taken place. The CVRD abdicated their responsibility and their method of facing this issue deserves the most severe scrutiny.

CVRD Logo2

News Release 


March 20, 2015

CVRD Disappointed with Environmental Appeal Board Ruling 

Duncan, B.C. – The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is disappointed with the recent Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) decision to allow a contaminated soil relocation permit issued by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment (MOE) to Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. and South Island Aggregates Ltd (CHH/SIA). The permit, which gives CHH/SIA permission to treat and store contaminated soil on property located within the Shawnigan Lake watershed, was confirmed in a decision handed down by the EAB Friday.

The EAB decision was in response to an appeal filed by the CVRD under the Environmental Management Act in opposition to a permit issued by the MOE in August, 2013 for the treatment and landfilling of 100,000 tonnes per year of contaminated soil and ash material at 640 Stebbings Road. The EAB considered the appeal between March 3, 2014 and July 25, 2014.

“The Shawnigan Lake community will be devastated by this decision,” said Area B Director Sonia Furstenau. “The safety of our drinking water is our highest priority, and we will continue to put our efforts into protecting it. It’s critical that our community and the CVRD remain vigilant about the dumping of contaminated soil within our watersheds.”

The decision by the Environmental Appeal Board allows the proponents to treat and landfill contaminated soil and ash at the Stebbings Road site subject to the conditions of the permit issued by the Ministry of Environment, additional conditions imposed by the EAB, and the CVRD’s zoning and other applicable bylaws. In its 120 page decision, the panel found that “on a balance of probabilities, the geology and hydrology of the Site and the facility design, together with the Permit conditions, will provide the required protections.” The panel’s decision was subject to six additional directives requiring the permit to include provisions:

• Providing for representation on the advisory committee by the local community;

• Prohibiting blasting while cell liners are being installed;

• Precluding the reuse of liners;

• Requiring a permanent roof be placed over the soil management area, to be constructed no later than March 20, 2016;

• Requiring the wheels of transport vehicles be rinsed before leaving the Site; and

• Requiring monitoring of water quality in the ephemeral stream immediately following a storm event greater than 1 in 200 years.

“The decision of the Environmental Appeal Board is cause for concern, particularly for residents who live within the Shawnigan watershed – the safety of their drinking water is a top priority for us,” said CVRD Board Chair Jon Lefebure. “As such, the CVRD will be examining other options with regard to managing the importation and deposit of contaminated soil and ensuring the safety of drinking water sources in the region.”

– 30 –

For more information, please contact: 

Jon Lefebure

Chair, CVRD



Quicksilvers Bankruptcy Stalls Fracking Operations On The Island

Don Maroc

Don Maroc

It is never good form to gloat over someone else’s ill fortune, but when their loss is our gain it’s hard to maintain a polite composure.

Quicksilver Resources, Inc., and its 13 U.S. subsidiaries, have joined the line-up at a Texas bankruptcy court putting itself under the protection of Chapter 11 of U.S. law.

The Fort Worth, Texas, corporation’s action does not include their Calgary, Alberta, subsidiary Quicksilver Resources Canada, Inc. but it will certainly cut the blood supply from the U.S. fracking heartland.
We are all going to be fracking rich!--Oops! --BC Premier Christy Clark

We are going to be fracking rich! Oops!

Joining the “gold rush” mentality prompted by B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s dream of bottomless wealth in shale gas exploitation Quicksilver vacuumed up 128,000 acres of gas leases in the Horn River Basin in northeaster B.C.

The Texas frackers then shelled out $8.6 million for the 1200-acre Elk Falls pulp mill site near Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

They then set to work looking for a partner finance a pipeline connection from Horn River to Elk Falls, and applied  for a B.C. permit to ship liquid natural gas from the LNG plant they propose to build at the old pulp mill site.

Quicksilvers Bankruptcy Stalls Fracking Operations On The Island.@nbsp;

That all happened during the halcyon days when oil was selling for over $120 per barrel. Money was cheap and the bankers were almost begging the glamourous frackers to take more than they needed.


The price of oil is now hovering around $50 per barrel and the bankers are worrying about getting their money back from the frackers’ empty coffers.
The politicians and business owners of Campbell River were ecstatic over the thought of regaining the tax base for the shut down pulp mill and hearing the ka-ching of their cash registers as the LNG tankers crowded into the mill’s deepwater port.

Fracking Plans stalled by US Bankruptcy

For the rest of us on the east coast of Vancouver Island there was the dread of the possibility of some wildcat drillers fracking their way into the shale and coal deposits that underlie the coast from Chemainus to Comox.

The practice of franking gas wells is notorious for polluting water wells and triggering earth quakes.

We already have serious concerns about our water supply and we’ve sitting next to one of North America’s major seismic faults.
Like it or not, however chaotic the stock market oil and gas prices and no matter how distressed the Texas frackers, it looks like we’ve dodged the bullet of producing and shipping LNG from Vancouver Island for the time being.
Also read this report from the Campbell River Mirror.

Artificial Turf Controversy Fuels Dispute Over Health Concerns In North Cowichan

Don Maroc - Cowichan Conversations Blogger

Don Maroc

Michelle Hutton-Marinier, in a letter to the Cowichan Citizen newspaper, voices her disappointment n North Cowichan Council’s decision to delay for a couple of weeks signing a contract to install an artificial turf field to replace one of the grass soccer pitches on Sherman Road.

Her son plays for the U13 team in the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association. She downplays the possible health concerns of using some artificial turf, noting only the dangers of suffering concussions.

When North Cowichan Councillor Robert Douglas requested taking a short timeout to study the health consequences for players, especially young children, using artificial turf fields that have tons of crumb rubber as cushion it has little to do with concussions.

Studies are warning that the the dust from the pulverized auto and truck tires can cause problems as severe as damaged lung tissue and even cancers of the blood and lungs.

NC Councillor Rob Douglas Has health concerns

NC Councillor Rob Douglas Has health concerns

The tires ground up to make crumb rubber contain a dictionary of man-made chemicals, several of which are carcinogenic. In addition there are also the nanoparticles of carbon black that are used to strengthen tires. Stronger than steel these tiny strips are two or four nanometers wide.

To get an idea of the scale we are talking about a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick.

The long thin shape of the nanotubes in tires have been compared to the fibres of asbestos. We know that inhaling asbestos ends up in a deadly disease.

There is also the NBC news feature telling the story of University of Washington soccer coach Amy Griffin, that opened a flood of previously un connected stories of the results of playing on artificial turf containing crumb rubber.

The NBC report started, “It was 2009. Two young female goalies Griffin knew had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Griffin, associate head coach for the University of Washington’s women’s soccer team, had started to visit the women and other athletes in local hospitals, helping them pass the time during chemo with war stories from her three decades of coaching.

Amy Griffin-Soccer Coach

Amy Griffin-Soccer Coach

That day, the nurse looked down at the woman Griffin was sitting with and said, “Don’t tell me you guys are goalkeepers. You’re the fourth goalkeeper I’ve hooked up this week.”

With a quarter century of coaching under her belt Griffin realized that it was only ten or twelve years ago when she noticed athletes suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukaemia, both forms of blood cancer.

She tracked down 38 young soccer players who developed cancers and found that 34 of them were soccer goalies. (Later others have added many more to Griffin’s list.)

Later one of her players receiving chemotherapy Said to Griffin, “I just have a feeling it has something to do with those black dots.”

Black dots? Griffin’s mind raced to the black rubber that gives the artificial turf it’s bounce, it’s cushion. It’s called crumb rubber and is made from ground up tires with the industrial name Styrene-Butadiene Rubber. SBR comes in two types according to how it is processed, by emulsion or by solution.

According to the type of tires used it requires 20,000 to 40,000 to make the crumb rubber for a single field.

soccer 1Soccer players who play of artificial turf know that after a game they are picking the “little black dots” out of their uniforms, their hair, their cleats.

Goalkeepers spend a lot of their time in the air and landing hard on the turf. Hundreds, maybe thousands of times during both practices and games they hit the ground and know that each time small puffs of black dots hit their bodies. Some the crumb rubber ends up in cuts and abrasions they sustain, some in their ears, nose, mouths.

This is not absolute scientific proof, just as there is no absolute scientific proof that tobacco smoking causes lung cancer but we have no doubt that it does.

Councillor Douglas is not against installing an artificial turf field but he is opposed to using our kids in an experiment that could possibly end up years later with a life-threatening disease.

For one thing there is artificial turf manufactured that does not use crumb rubber as a cushion. Aren’t our kids health worth taking the time to investigate all the options. As a matter of fact it seems strange that neither the North Cowichan staff or the Cowichan Soccer Association have not researched this issue.

According to North Cowichan’s Chief Administrative Officer, not only do they not have answers, they really don’t know where to look for them.

Ms Hutton-Marinier your son and all the rest of our children deserve better than that.