One Way Maritimers can Drastically Reduce their Energy Consumption

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Canada’s Maritime provinces are blustery, cold, and powered by coal. The weather is fine for most people (and lovely in the summer), but they know they need to transition to renewable energy quickly or risk losing more land to the seas and worsening storms due to climate change. The work to get the power grid to be a green one is underway.

Researchers and policy makers are looking into ways to make their power grid more robust by incorporating modern battery technology. The technology varies from smart water heaters to store heat to phase-change energy storage which is gaining popularity around the world.

Several companies in the Maritimes are investigating the possibility of integrating phase-change materials into heat sources to allow more integration of renewables. 

One is Fredericton-based Stash Energy. Dan Curwin, director of business development, said they’ve developed heat pumps with phase-change material storage built in, to store energy from renewable sources like hydro when it’s plentiful, such as overnight, and discharge it in the morning when demand is high, to be stored up again from renewables like solar during the day. 

This can help with the integration of renewables and with greater adoption of electric heat pumps, which are the most efficient heating option but risk overburdening the grid. 

Curwin said the company has partnerships with efficiency agencies across Atlantic Canada and New England, as well as housing authorities such as Housing Nova Scotia that recognize the particular burden posed by heating costs. 

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Thanks to Mike!

Pandora Papers Resonate in Canada

The Pandora Papers were released just last week and they are already having in impact in Canada. The non-profit Canadians for Tax Fairness is pushing the recently elected politicians to get on closing loopholes and exploits that only the rich get to use. All parties support tax reform to address the growing wealth divide in the country, and with the Pandora leak the need for tax reform is clear. Two Canadian celebrity athletes were exposed in the financial papers leak, which has hurt their reputations.

Support for tax fairness in Canada appears overwhelming. Eighty-nine per cent of Canadians want to see a wealth tax of one per cent paid by the richest Canadians as part of the country’s pandemic recovery, according to a recent Abacus Data pollbased on the NDP’s 2021 platform, and 92 per cent support closing tax loopholes and making it harder for corporations to strategically book profits in tax havens.

“There seems to be universal acknowledgment across the parties that economic inequality is a problem, and it’s a problem that requires government action,” said Cochrane.

In a blog post for C4TF, Cochrane outlined policies the major parties could work together on, based on similarities between party platforms, and identified an excess profits tax as one possibility.

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Refugees Who Helped Snowden Landed in Canada

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Edward Snowden did a very brave thing of exposing how the American government spies on its citizens, foreigners, and allied nations. Thanks to his efforts the web is now a safer place from spying by large corporations and governments.

When Snowden needed help fleeing from the long spying arm of the American military he turned to refugees. While in Hong Kong Snowden stayed with people who also fled to the city for protection. It’s a story of people fleeing prosecution from overbearing governments helping one another.

Last week some of those kind and brave refugees landed in Canada and granted asylum.

There are a few more refugees who helped Snowden in Hong Kong, you can support them over at For the Refugees.

Canada granted asylum to four people who hid former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in their tiny Hong Kong apartments when he was on the run after stealing a trove of classified documents.

The four – Supun Thilina Kellapatha, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their children Sethumdi and Dinath – landed in Toronto on Tuesday and were due to go on to Montreal to “start their new lives”, non-profit For the Refugees said in a statement.

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Canadians – Go Vote!

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Slap on that mask and get out to you local voting location! This election may be the most. boring in a long time, but it’s important to exercise this very important aspect of democracy. Check out the recap of the election on Wikipedia. Remember this time voting may take longer than normal due to the pandemic.

Over at Settlement.org they have an overview of what you need to vote:

To vote in a Canadian federal election you must be:

  • a Canadian citizen (temporary and permanent residents cannot vote)

  • 18 years old or older on election day

  • a resident in the electoral district

  • registered on the Voters List (also called the list of electors)

If you meet the first 3 requirements but are not on the Voters List, you must add your name to the list using the online voters registration service or by handing in a Registration Certificate at your local polling station or Elections Canada office.

Don’t like the way democracy is practiced in Canada and what to explore better, more democratic, ways to vote? We’ll, you should check out Teardown, it’s an absolutely fantastic book by Dave Merlin that explores tried and true alternatives to our current system.

Go vote to make things even gooder!

These 100 Debates Could Decide the Canadian Election

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Canadians are about to vote in the country’s 44th election and this election may finally be the moment when the nation votes thinking about a green future. From coast to coast to coast in the country there will be local debates about the environment and what the candidates will do to protect their ridings. These 100 debates are back after the very successful first run of the format last election. The debates are run by GreenPAC which is an organization that wants people to care about having a sustainable and healthy future.

Providing a forum for voters to make informed decisions and for candidates to clearly communicate their policy plans are key, he added.

Laurel Collins, another returning debate participant and the NDP’s environment and climate change critic, said hundreds of people attended the 2019 debate in Victoria, B.C.

“It was such an important conversation for community members to hear from candidates about this critically important issue,” said Collins. “It’s so critical that candidates hear from community members about the issues that are most important to them.”

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