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Display Panels from UNESCO bid celebration event at the Manitoba Legislative Building

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Protecting the Bloodvein River

Protecting the Bloodvein River

The Pimachiowin Aki project aims to designate Manitoba’s Bloodvein River and surrounding forests a UNESCO World Heritage Site
[caption id="attachment_1648" align="aligncenter" width="486" caption="These men, who were born and raised near the Bloodvein River, point to ancient pictographs that are part of their heritage. (Photo: Hidehiro Otake)"][/caption]

Bald eagles soar over Manitoba’s Bloodvein River and a forest of lichen-draped Jack pines and mattress-thick moss. Piloted by grinning guides who shout at one another in Ojibwa, our boats splash through a series of churning rapids en route to an ancient rock painting on a granite cliff.

This river and the forest surrounding it are at the core of a campaign to create a UNESCO World Heritage Site on approximately 4.3 million hectares of boreal forest straddling the Manitoba-Ontario border, about one-third of the way up the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg. The goals of the Pimachiowin Aki …


David Suzuki: Protecting the boreal wilderness known as Pimachiowin Aki

David Suzuki: Protecting the boreal wilderness known as Pimachiowin Aki

According to a study published several years ago in the journal Science, few places on our planet have been untouched by modern humans. Satellite images taken from thousands of kilometres above the Earth reveal a world that has been irrevocably changed by human land use over the past few decades.

From Arctic tundra to primeval rainforest to arid desert, our natural world has been fragmented by ever-expanding towns and cities, crisscrossed with roads, transmission lines and pipelines, and pockmarked by pump jacks, flare stacks, and other infrastructure used to drill, frack, and strip-mine fossil fuels from the ground.

The need to supply food, fibre, fuels, shelter, and freshwater to more than six billion people is driving the wholesale conversion of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other ecosystems. Researchers have discovered that farmland and pasture now rival natural forest cover in extent, covering 40 per …


Fast Facts: Bi Pole III: Winnipeg Free Press and the Conservative campaign of misinformation

The Winnipeg Free Press editorial “Best use of Hydro’s millions” (July 4) obfuscates several straightforward matters on Bipole III. The editorial states that Manitoba Conservatives claim that Bipole III’s west route “wastes” $3.2 billion (actually $3.62 billion is the latest claim by Hugh McFadyen on June 28). The editorial says the Conservatives “appear to reach their number . . . by throwing in every conceivable expense, including the kitchen sink.”

What the Free Press does not make clear is that the Conservatives don’t arrive at their costs by some innocent procedure of including various questionable expenses.

First, they cite the overall cost of the west route as being $4.4 billion, asserting that this is based on a Manitoba Hydro estimate, without disclosing the exact source so it is impossible to verify this number. Second, they cite the east route’s cost as being $800 million and subtract this from $4.4 billion. They …


Transmission corridor or World Heritage site?

World Heritage site map

BLOODVEIN RIVER, MANITOBA—Rob Whaley and his friends just discovered something about one of Canada’s most pristine wilderness areas: just when you get away from it all, you can’t, because a provincial premier and 38 other people might drop in.

That’s what Whaley, a Huntsville, Ont., family doctor, found out as he and his four-canoe expedition enjoyed the austere, rugged beauty of this roiling river near the Manitoba-Ontario border.

Things couldn’t have been more peaceful and isolated, when suddenly seven motorboats pulled up, bearing Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger along with two of his top cabinet ministers, aboriginal leaders, environmental scientists, international philanthropists and media.

“We hadn’t seen anybody for eight days, and now this,” joked Whaley, who organized the journey with friends from Huntsville, Flesherton and Markdale.

While the canoeists’ objective was relaxation, there was urgency to the premier’s …


Bipole III: $11,000 vs $13.68

Here’s a partial transcript of what happened Monday night at the legislative building.

It was sent to me by the NDP.

The Selinger government sees itself increasingly under pressure from Hugh McFadyen’s Tories on the Bipole III file, and whether the line should be built down the short, and less expensive, east side of Lake Winnipeg instead of the west side of the province.

The NDP is feeling that pressure as we inch closer to the Oct. 4 provincial election.

McFadyen has said if he becomes premier he’ll cancel the more expensive west side route for the transmission line and build it down the east side of the province.

McFadyen said Tuesday he stuck by his number.

“Our number is absolutely firm,” McFadyen said. “It’s very clear it’s the cost of west side minus cost of east side divided by the number of Manitoba families. It means $11,748 in extra cost for every family in Manitoba …


Proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site east of Lake Winnipeg would be Canada’s first to earn status for both natural and cultural value: Premier Selinger

Premier Selinger

International guests welcomed to one of the last great forests of the World
Over a dozen special guests from across Canada and the United States spent the last two days in the boreal forest of Manitoba learning first hand why the area is worthy of UNESCO World Heritage site status and world wide support. Premier Greg Selinger and Pimachiowin Aki Corp. Spokesperson Sophia Rabliauskas co-hosted the tour.

“It’s an honour to welcome new friends to Pimachiowin Aki, which means ‘The Land that Gives Life’ in Ojibwe,” said Rabliauskas. “As Anishinabe people we enjoy a special connection to the lands and waters that have sustained our ancestors forever. We look forward to sharing our culture and teachings with more visitors from around the world as we work to ensure this unique place remains here for future generations.”

The visitors included heads of foundations and funds; journalists and researchers; and representatives from governments. They met …


Suzuki slams PC Bipole stand

David Suzuki
[caption id="attachment_635" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="David Suzuki says the Bipole III power line route shouldn't be a political issue. Credits: TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / THE CANADIAN PRESS archives"][/caption]

Canada’s most prominent environmentalist didn’t mince words Friday when he slammed Hugh McFadyen’s Progressive Conservatives for wanting to build the new Bipole hydro transmission line through one of the last intact wilderness areas in North America.

A blunt-talking David Suzuki said the topic should not be a political issue.

“If the planet in which we live, the very things that keep us alive, become a political issue, we’re screwed. We’re absolutely screwed,” Suzuki said at the Manitoba Legislative Building. “We’re talking about the life-support systems of the planet. How can that possibly be a political issue?”

Suzuki was one of almost 40 dignitaries and media in the province this week to discuss protecting …


Look, there in the forest – it’s a provincial premier

William Young brings Premier Greg Selinger and Pimachiowin Aki Corp. spokeswoman Sophia Rabliauskas

Tour of boreal land part of UNESCO bid
[caption id="attachment_627" align="alignright" width="300" caption="From left, Bloodvein River Lodge owner William Young brings Premier Greg Selinger and Pimachiowin Aki Corp. spokeswoman Sophia Rabliauskas to shore. PHOTO BY J.J. ALI / PIMACHIOWIN AKI CORP"][/caption]

BLOODVEIN — Imagine their surprise — a crew of grubby diehard wilderness canoeists on the Bloodvein River were welcomed to Manitoba by Premier Greg Selinger Thursday.

They also met some 39 conservation scientists, dignitaries and major media from Toronto, Chicago, New York and Winnipeg, also on tour on the Bloodvein River.

The dignitaries and media had just finished hearing traditional elders talk about how their culture is a heritage for all mankind if the …


Manitoba’s Bi Pole III Debate: Where The Rubber Hits The Road

Proposed World Heritage Site map

It is not coincidental that whether to run Bi Pole III down the east side of Lake Manitoba or the west side of the province is becoming a controversy just before the provincial election, but it is also true that as we collectively begin to acknowledge our negative im­pact on the environment, polemics of this nature will become more common, elections or not.

It is difficult for the public to fully grasp the impli­cations of the Bi Pole III debate because firstly, it’s a complicated issue and secondly, details are being spun and contorted to fit political aspirations. In order to allow some light to enter the debate, we would like to present the controversy within the context of a sustain­able development framework.
What is sustainable development?
Use of the word “sustainable” originated with The Brundtland …


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