Increased coverage in media about the inhumane treatments of marine animals by entertainment facilities are impacting Canadian laws. Thanks to the efforts of documentarians, like in Blackfish, and concerned citizens Canada is making it illegal to capture dolphins and whales. Criminal code penalties are being considered by the senate to really drive home that Canada thinks this practice is wrong.
“The public acceptance of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity has changed and we think the law should also change to reflect that so we’re going to ban the taking of cetaceans,” Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told reporters in Vancouver. “We think Canadians massively support that principle.”
There has been no live-capture of cetaceans for captivity in Canada since 1992. In recent years, however, wild-caught beluga whales and bottlenose dolphins have been imported from foreign sources.
The Senate bill would prohibit the import of a cetacean, or the sperm, a tissue culture or an embryo of one of these mammals.
Canada announced yesterday that, like other nations, the country will be monitoring how Canadian corporations behave beyond its borders. Over the years there have been too many accounts of corporations based in Canada getting into conflicts and abusing communities of people internationally. Obviously this sort of behaviour is bad for people and tarnishes any positive thoughts people have about Canada. It’s up to the new role of the ombudsperson to check to see that Canadian corporations don’t break any human rights or the like outside the nation’s borders.
The role of the Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise will be to work towards resolving conflicts between local communities and Canadian companies operating abroad.
The position will focus on several sectors including mining, oil and gas and the garment sector.
It will also have the power to independently investigate and make recommendations in cases involving human rights complaints.
Modern capitalism encourages consumption at levels previously unimaginable which has led to an inconvenient byproduct: the globalization of waste. High levels of consumption means more waste in our system, and with the gift-giving holiday next month we’re going to see a lot of wasteful purchases. This year think about what gifts to give that don’t contribute to a landfill, indeed take some time to think about how your local municipality deals with waste created throughout the year. It turns out that in Canada we have a lot to learn form other places.
It’s time to rethink how we approach waste management in Canada beyond just saying reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Hird tells a story about a research project at Queen’s University, run by one of her grad students, Cassandra Kuyvenhoven, who tracked materials put into blue bins at Queen’s to see where they ended up. “While the system seemed functional and neat on the surface,” says Hird, “It certainly wasn’t that behind the scenes.” Kuyvenhoven found, for example, that when recyclable Styrofoam left Queen’s it was loaded onto trucks and taken to Toronto, where it was compacted chemically then trucked to Montreal where it was put on ships that took it to China, where it eventually ended up in landfill. “We might as well have landfilled it here,” says Hird, “and saved the tons of carbon that went into the atmosphere getting it to China.”
Electronics equipment made its slow way from the university’s loading docks to landfills in India and Mexico.
“When people think their stuff is being recycled, it clears their conscience, no matter what is actually happening beyond the blue box,” says Hird. “Our research shows that when their conscience is clear they tend to consume more than ever. Since Canadians started recycling in earnest maybe 30 years ago, consumerism in this country has done nothing but climb.”
Trans fats are really bad for you and governments around the world are starting to ban them. Canada just announced that they too will be banning trans fats alongside the United States next year. The ban is expected to improve the health of the nation, the Heart & Stroke foundation claims that 12,000 heart attacks will be prevented in the next 20 years thanks to the ban.
Eat well everyone!
The oils are the main source of trans fats in foods that raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol, which can take a toll on our heart health.
It will apply to all foods sold in the country, including imported products and foods prepared and served in restaurants and food service establishments.
Heart & Stroke said it will reduce the number of heart attacks in Canada and save lives.
Heart & Stroke co-chaired a task force with Health Canada in 2006 that first recommended the ban.
SHARE Canada just released a report on how Canadian companies are engaging issues impacting reconciliation efforts in the country. A few years ago the Canadian government released recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which provided suggestions to help heal the damage done from years of colonial practices. Of course, government agencies and NGOs have already started in their reconciliation processes (to varying degrees). What SHARE wanted to find out was if the corporate sector is doing their part. A few companies are making an effort, but more should be outlining what they are doing and how.
“Industry and business play an extremely significant role in how the economic, social, and cultural aspects of reconciliation are addressed, including the extent to which opportunities and benefits are truly shared with Indigenous peoples,” the report said.
Greig said she hopes her findings will be the first step toward creating a transparent, measurable benchmark to assess a company’s treatment of Indigenous people.
“Inevitably, we’ll get there. But it’s a rocky road.”
Full report (PDF).