Emma Pullman

Freelance writer and researcher.

ballot

Yesterday, federal Conservatives announced the “Fair Elections Act” may be studied this spring in 12-13 hearings likely to be held in Ottawa. The announcement comes after widespread criticism of the bill, including concerns that Elections Canada is being stripped of its powers, that increases to donation limits will not in fact close “loopholes” to big money, and that Elections Canada will be barred from encouraging people to vote. A government press release on the Act says that “Each time someone votes fraudulently, they cancel out the ballot of an honest voter.” New voter identification rules are designed to ‘crack down’ on the[...]

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Yesterday, MPs began debate on electoral bill C-23 tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons. The sweeping 247-page “Fair Elections Act” is a calculated overhaul of Canada’s voting laws and would, among other things, increase donation limits to political parties, exempt some fundraising from campaign spending, and establish a robocall registry. Canada’s chief electoral officer Marc Maynard was not consulted on the bill that would restructure his office, and his request that elections officials be able to compel testimony during investigation is absent from the new bill. Canada’s Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre has proclaimed that the Fair Elections Act would make it easier[...]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the stage tonight in Calgary to a packed room of 3,000 delegates. For the media and Canadians at large, this was their first glimpse inside this week’s Conservative Party convention in Calgary. Both pundits and delegates have called tonight’s speech a make-or-break moment for the party. So how did the Prime Minister do? Harper’s keynote was mostly what you’d expect — it focused on jobs and the economy. He spent most of his time on stage praising his government’s record on job creation, protecting the economy, keeping taxes down and protecting children from criminals. He[...]

Inside Hall D reserved for media.

As the party’s national convention kicks off today, over 2,000 Conservatives from across Canada are converging on Calgary. While protesters and picketers line the streets, swarms of well-dressed people in suits are entering Calgary’s BMO Centre. Tories are calling it an opportunity for the party to reconnect with the party’s base ahead of the 2015 election, but the party’s base may be wondering if their faith has been misplaced. In theory, this convention should be a triumphant gathering. Old friends from the campaign trail get to reconnect. It’s the midterm point before the next election. The party is celebrating a[...]

  • image shows spill has been going on for months

Underground oil spills at an Alberta oilsands operation have been going on much longer than previously thought, according to new documents. Files released to the Toronto Star show the spills were discovered nine weeks ago, but new documents show that bitumen has been leaking since the winter. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. operates the Primrose oilsands facility three hours northeast of Edmonton where four ongoing underground oil blowouts have contaminated forest, muskeg, a lake and have already killed dozens animals including beavers, ducks and birds. According to a government scientist who has been to the site, neither government or industry are able to[...]

Written by Emma Pullman and Martin Lukacs. Oil spills at an oil sands operation in Cold Lake, Alberta have been going on for weeks with no end in sight, according to a government scientist. Oil spills at a major oil sands operation in Alberta have been ongoing for at least six weeks and have cast doubts on the safety of underground extraction methods, according to documents obtained by the Star and a government scientist who has been on site. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been unable to stop an underground oil blowout that has killed numerous animals and contaminated a[...]

Some fifteen years ago, at a Peace Gathering, an elder shared a prophecy. A baby boy would be born in a teepee on a buffalo robe, his birth signalling that now is the time to act. Last Thursday, on the eve of the 4th Annual Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a young woman went into labour. Her contractions came closer together. Grandmothers and mothers gathered to pray. And, at the stroke of midnight, inside a teepee, a healthy boy was born on a buffalo robe. The baby was born on the Healing Walk grounds amidst the tents of the over 400[...]

“We don’t know what the hell is going on under the ground”. That’s what Crystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation told me this morning. On June 27, an oil spill occurred at Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s (CNRL) Primrose operations 75km east of Lac la Biche. The spill happened on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR), located in a region The Royal Canadian Airforce calls“the inhospitable wilds of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.” This ‘inhospitable’ region happens to be in her community’s traditional hunting territory where her family traditionally hunted and trapped and where her elders are buried. DeSmog.ca reported a[...]

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While many Canadians are celebrating the 146th anniversary of this country, I don’t much feel like celebrating today. Right now, I am at the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, a community whose traditional territory is on both the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands projects. It’s hard to take part in the festivities when you understand the colonialism, genocide, theft of land and resources and broken treaties that are part of the history of this country. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation activist and educator Susana Deranger wrote in Briarpatch magazine: “This Canada Day, I reach out to you all and appeal to your consciousness and ask[...]

Alice Rigney boat

As I walk up Alice Rigney’s driveway in Fort Chipewyan, I pass a garden with vegetables growing, and a dog happily chewing on a bone in the shade. It’s already 7 p.m., yet the air is still hot and humid, the sun high in the sky. Inside, Rigney has just finished carving a caribou shoulder. She graciously invites me in for dinner and shares her story. Her story helps me understand the tar sands mega project as part of a broader colonial project and what is at stake for her family, community and culture if this project continues unchecked. “It was a wonderful life” Alice Rigney was born on the shores[...]