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Cognitive dissonance: Canada declares climate emergency and approves a pipeline

 

[Aerial view of Trans Mountain marine terminall]
A aerial view of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain marine terminal, in Burnaby, B.C.

On June 18, the Government of Canada declared a national climate emergency. The next day, the same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), which will be able to move almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Port of Burnaby in British Columbia.

If this seems like a contradiction, you are not alone.

To date, Canada is the largest single jurisdiction to have declared a national climate emergency, following nations like Scotland, regions like Catalonia in Spain and cities like Vancouver and San Francisco.

Climate emergency vs. state of emergency

Altogether, 83 million people, living 623 jurisdictions, are now living under a state of climate emergency. The vast majority of these declarations have occurred in the last six months. The term climate emergency intentionally evokes a state of emergency — and implies imminent action on the part of the government.

Declaring a state of emergency gives governments the powers needed to respond to the emergency, from closing roads or bridges in the case of flooding to calling out the army to manage security threats.

By comparison, the declaration of a climate emergency is far less powerful. While governments may commit to actions when declaring a climate emergency, these actions usually amount to creating plans and engaging with their citizens. Yet this is not what concerned citizens and non-governmental organizations expect in response.

They demand radical action: the dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commitments to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the end of subsidies to fossil fuel producers and support for the rapid expansion of renewable energy. The TMX approval suggests that radical action is off the table — at least for now.

The climate lens approach

Governments can take a more pragmatic approach when facing a climate emergency. They can apply a “climate lens” approach to vet future policy decisions.

A climate lens forces government to address the environmental impacts of their decisions. For example, Infrastructure Canada now uses a climate lens to assess both greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and climate change resilience associated with any new project.

Using a climate lens approach, every investment should get you closer to a cleaner future. Does this logic hold up with the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

In his announcement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged every dollar in federal revenue derived from the Trans Mountain expansion project to investments in clean energy and green technology. He was, essentially, making more than $500 million a year in taxes available for these types of projects as the pipeline becomes operational, which is expected in 2022.

This level of investment may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase Canada’s resilience to climate change, allowing the government to safely claim some progress. It remains to be seen, however, if Canadians will accept this offer as a good deal.

An orca swims along the Strait of Georgia, off the coast of British Columbia. (Unsplash/Ryan Stone)

A good deal for Canada?

There are many reasons that Canadians may balk. It is not a particularly large amount of money; Canadian subsidies to the fossil fuel sector total $3.3 billion annually, almost seven times greater than the government pledge.

It is also not necessarily a competitive offer: the additional carbon emissions from the production of oil to fill the new pipeline are estimated to be between 14-17 million tonnes per year. This means the government is pricing its taxes at the equivalent of about $29 per tonne of carbon, considerably less than the $50 per tonne target price.

Canadians are also highly aware that greening the world’s economy will mean dramatically reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This doesn’t mean that oil must be completely phased out, particularly in the short term, but carbon constraints, including taxes and regulations will change the way oil is produced and used.

Canadian oil will be subject to significant scrutiny by prospective buyers around the world, who have to meet increasingly stringent carbon rules. The risk of stranded assets in the Canadian oil and gas sector is real and significant: if the country is going to build a pipeline, it should also take steps to ensure that the product that flows through it is what potential customers will demand.

Canada’s options moving forward

There is a major disconnect between declaring a climate change emergency and approving a major oil pipeline. The government could address this in one of two ways.

It could use carbon taxes (not corporate taxes) to support a low-carbon economy. The carbon tax raised more than $2.6 billion in 2018-19, and this will likely grow to more than $5 billion as carbon prices hit $50 per tonne in 2022. If the carbon price attached to every barrel of oil was invested in GHG emission reduction and climate mitigation, this would make a major difference — on par with current government subsidies for the fossil sector.

Another approach would be to ensure that every barrel of oil that goes into the new pipeline meets stringent regulations on greenhouse gas emissions intensity — the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents released in the production of each barrel. Canada introduced the Clean Fuel Standard in 2016 to incentivize the domestic use of low-carbon fuels. A similar policy could regulate the emissions associated with fossil energy production, forcing industry to adapt, yet safeguarding an important economic sector from global change.

Many Canadians are struggling with the federal government’s actions over recent days. It may be that the pro-environment and pro-industry sides are too divided to find common ground.

We need policies that acknowledge the urgency of the climate emergency and work to address the critical issues that have led to this emergency — a solution that works for all.The Conversation

_______________________________________________________________________________

Warren Mabee is the Director of the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation, and, as of July 1, 2019, will be the Associate Dean and Director of the School of Policy Studies . 

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

New fellows recognized for research and leadership in engineering

[Pascale Champagne and Kevin Deluzio]
Pascale Champagne, Director of the Beaty Water Research Centre and Canada Research Chair in Bioresources Engineering, and Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,
were inducted as fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering at its annual general meeting in Quebec City on Friday, June 21. Presenting them with the recognition is Eddy Isaacs, President of the CAE Board of Directors. (Supplied photos)

Two faculty members from Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering) and Kevin Deluzio (Dean; Mechanical and Materials Engineering), were inducted as fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering at its annual general meeting in Quebec City on Friday, June 21.

The CAE, comprised of many of Canada’s most accomplished engineers, is an independent, self-governing and non-profit organization established in 1987 to provide advice in matters of engineering concern. Fellows of the Academy are nominated and elected by their peers in honour of distinguished achievement and career-long service to the engineering profession.

Recognized for their strength in leadership and research, CAE Fellows work closely with the other national engineering associations in Canada and with the two other Canadian academies (Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences) that comprise the Council of Canadian Academies.

“Drs. Champagne and Deluzio have been recognized for distinguished contributions to engineering in Canada,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Their work has had international impact on the well-being of many people. I take pride in their accomplishments and extend congratulations on behalf of Queen’s to them.”

Dr. Champagne, Canada Research Chair in Bioresources Engineering, is director of the Beaty Water Research Centre. She is an innovative and collaborative researcher and an internationally-recognized authority in the development of alternate water and waste management technologies, and sustainable environmental approaches with a focus on integrated bioresource management. Her diverse background spanning biology, green chemistry, and environmental and civil engineering supports her creative approach to developing solutions to environmental problems. Her work has important societal, economic and environmental implications, for which she has been recognized both nationally and internationally, including, most recently, with the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize.

Dr. Deluzio is Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen's University and an international leader in biomechanical engineering. He collaborates across disciplines to develop new biomedical technologies for the measurement and assessment of human motion and has over 200 publications in refereed journals and proceedings. Dr. Deluzio leads the Human Mobility Research Laboratory located at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston. This state-of-the-art facility is optimized for the comprehensive biomechanical and neuromuscular assessment of total body movement and physical performance. Most of the work there is focused on factors related to knee osteoarthritis and its treatment. He has served on the executive committee of the Canadian Society for Biomechanics and is past-president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society. Dr. Deluzio is recognized for his research and teaching excellence, his leadership in ensuring education standards and increasing diversity in engineering, and his mentorship of faculty and students.

“I am delighted to learn that Dean Deluzio and Professor Champagne have been invited into the fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Engineering this year,” says Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s. “Drs. Champagne and Deluzio join friends and colleagues at the very top of the engineering profession here in Canada. I extend my most sincere congratulations to them both.”

For more information on the CAE, visit the website

Leaders in their fields garner competitive research chairs

Three new Canada Research Chairs emphasize commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Queen’s University welcomed three new and eight renewed Canada Research Chairs as part of the Government of Canada’s recent announcement of a diverse group of Canada Research Chairs.

Announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sports, the investment of $275 million for 346 Canada Research Chairs across Canada builds on the minister’s vision for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive research community. The most recent competition results are 47 per cent women, 22 per cent visible minorities, five per cent persons with disabilities, and four per cent Indigenous peoples.

The new chairs include two current faculty members: Heather Aldersey (Rehabilitation Therapy), Canada Research Chair in Disability-Inclusive Development (Tier 2), and Lindsay Morcom (Education), Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education (Tier 2). Anna Panchenko (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Canada Research Chair in Computational Biology and Biophysics (Tier 1), will join Queen's as of July 1.

Tier 1 Chairs are recognized by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields, while Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas. Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

“Canada’s advancement as a world leader in discovery and innovation has been greatly influenced by the CRC program, which supports talented researchers while fostering an inclusive research community,” Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Our success in garnering three new chairs and a number of renewals is demonstrative of Queen’s leading research, addressing complex issues both domestically and internationally.”

The three new Canada Research Chairs at Queen’s will focus on topics critical to Canadians and global citizens, including families affected by disability, the causes of cancer, and Indigenous education.

Dr. Aldersey’s research identifies needs of families affected by disability, then develops and evaluates supports available to meet those needs, with a focus on populations in low- and middle-income countries.

“I am so excited for the opportunities that this Canada Research Chair will provide,” says Dr. Aldersey. “This chair will enable me to expand my research with people with disabilities, their families, and their communities to promote disability-inclusive community development globally. I will also be able to support more research trainees who are passionate about inclusion in their own communities, and engage with key stakeholders to identify strengths-based, culturally relevant, and solutions-driven action for human rights and inclusion.”   

Building on current on-reserve and urban research on language revitalization, Dr. Morcom will work in partnership with Indigenous communities to develop best practices for education and language planning.

"I’m especially proud to be named the Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education in 2019 because the United Nations has declared this to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages,” says Dr. Morcom. “All Indigenous languages in Canada are either vulnerable or endangered, but there is a tremendous amount being done within Indigenous communities and in partnership with external institutions to revitalize them. I am grateful to be able to use this position to contribute to those efforts and help make sure our languages survive and are passed on to generations yet to come.”

Dr. Panchenko is working to identify the causes of cancer progression and to find out what factors can contribute to cancer mutation occurrence in DNA.

In addition to the three new chairs, also announced last week were eight chair renewals for Queen’s University:

  • P. Andrew Evans - Canada Research Chair in Organic and Organometallic Chemistry – Tier 1
  • Mark Rosenberg - Canada Research Chair in Development Studies – Tier 1
  • Christopher Booth - Canada Research Chair in Population Cancer Care – Tier 2
  • Ahmed Hassan - Canada Research Chair in Software Analytics – Tier 2
  • Jeffrey Masuda - Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity – Tier 2
  • Jordan Poppenk - Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience – Tier 2
  • William Take - Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical Engineering – Tier 2
  • Ying Zou - Canada Research Chair in Software Evolution – Tier 2

For more information, visit the website.

Sustainable finance: Canada risks being left behind in low-carbon economy

Global investors are already mobilizing capital to take advantage of investment opportunities in climate-smart infrastructure, emissions-reducing technology and updated electricity grids. (Photo by Zbynek Burival/Unsplash)

Earlier this spring, the most in-depth analysis to date on Canada’s changing climate provided clear evidence that Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average. As we increasingly experience the physical impacts (flooding, extreme weather, forest fires), we will experience the financial impacts as well in the form of both increasing market risks and unprecedented investment opportunities.

For the financial sector, this is a pivotal moment where it can realign its structures to ensure global capital flows toward solutions that will protect Canada’s economy and our prosperity, more broadly. However, Canada’s financial community has yet to fully grasp the numerous challenges and opportunities that climate change presents for us in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

On June 14, an independent panel of experts released recommendations on what Canada’s financial system needs to do to support this transition. The key message: we must empower our financial sector to design a made-in-Canada sustainable finance system so that Canadian firms can compete successfully among their global peers over the long term.

In its simplest definition, sustainable finance means aligning all of our financial systems and services to promote long-term environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. That includes channelling investments toward climate solutions and managing climate-related financial risks.

Canada has the talent, resources and institutional muscle to define sustainable finance for our economy. We need to grow and harness that capacity now, if we want to captain our own ship through one of the most significant global economic transitions in history.

Much to lose, but more to gain

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, a 2C global warming scenario will trigger global financial losses of roughly US$4.2 trillion. With 6C of warming, those losses balloon to $13.8 trillion. That represents about 10 per cent of the global assets currently under management.

Losses at this scale will have wide-reaching implications for investors and the asset-management industry. Everyday people who are depending on investment income for their retirement will find themselves in dire straits. That includes every Canadian counting on the Canada Pension Plan.

On the flip side, there is tremendous value — some $26 trillion worth — to be gained by shifting economies to avoid worst-case climate scenarios. This represents massive and economy-wide investments in climate-smart infrastructure, emissions-reducing technology, updated electricity grids, to name just a few examples. Global investors are already mobilizing capital to take advantage of these opportunities.

The question for Canada is: how do we attract global investment while, at the same time, protecting Canadian assets, investors and firms from risk?

In essence, this is what sustainable finance is about — harnessing our financial systems to help accelerate the activities, decisions and structures that will put Canadian industries and our economy ahead of the curve without ignoring the environment.

[Wind turbines]
Climate change is expected to trigger global financial losses in the trillions, but there are also opportunities for investment. (Photo by Karsten Wuerth/Unspalsh)

We can’t afford to fall behind

Other global players are already acting. The European Commission has spent the past two years mobilizing expertise to build a financial system that supports sustainable growth. It has made significant progress in establishing disclosure rules for climate-related financial risk and creating unified definitions (a taxonomy) on what can be considered environmentally sustainable economic activity.

For example, this includes defining the labels and criteria for green financial products, which will, among other things, significantly shape the direction of the rapidly expanding green bond market.

The problem is these rules and definitions are being pioneered elsewhere and are unlikely to benefit Canada. They may even penalize us, because they are designed for economies significantly different from our own.

For example, there is a current gap, and huge opportunity, to pioneer financial mechanisms and incentives could be created to expedite the sustainable transition of higher-emitting sectors like oil and gas and agriculture.

This requires our leadership.

If we allow others to direct the innovations in sustainable finance, we will find ourselves without the financial tools and structures that Canada’s resource-rich economy needs to determine its own path through a global transition.

The expert panel’s report is our wake-up call. It is time to catch up and get ourselves to the table. Our financial sector — and the broader ecosystem including our accountants, lawyers and actuaries — needs to start answering some big questions.

What does meaningful, responsible and consistent disclosure look like in a Canadian context? How do we create incentives and opportunities to draw in private capital to boost clean tech innovation across our economy and to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure? How do we better assess risk and the value of assets through a climate-smart lens?

We must, and we can, build the knowledge, understanding and capacity of our financial system to rise to these challenges. We can do this by investing in the research, education, professional training and the collaboration necessary to lift our current generation of professionals to the next level, while preparing an emerging generation to lead.

For those of us in the financial sector, this is about the future of our industry. For all Canadians, it’s about the future of our economy and well-being. Let’s get started now.

_________________________________________________________The Conversation

Sean Cleary is BMO Professor of Finance, CFA, ICD.D at Smith School of Business at Queen's University, and Ryan Riordan is Associate Professor and Distinguished Professor of Finance at Smith School of Business at Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Powerful pollen

Queen’s University researcher P. Andrew Evans has uncovered a new process to deliver antibiotics using pollen to shield them.

Antibiotics are powerful medication that are used to fight infections, but the ongoing and well publicized issues with resistance has made the search for new medicines critical to human health.  

Queen’s University researcher and Canada Research Chair in Organic and Organometallic Chemistry, Dr. P. Andrew Evans (Chemistry), in collaboration with groups from the universities of St. Andrews and Hull, has discovered a new way to deliver light sensitive drugs that could combat the problem of antibiotic resistance.

P. Andrew Evans has discovered wrapping antibiotics in pollen could protect them from light.

Dr. Evans has shown that wrapping a new class of antibiotics, called the marinomycins, in the outer shell of plant pollen can protect these antibiotics from rapid decomposition in the presence of light. Antibiotics are normally handled in light, so it would be impossible to avoid exposure – much like taking 35 millimetre film out of a old fashioned camera on a sunny day.

“Everyone is likely going to get an infection at some point during their life-span and will require an antibiotic,” explains Dr. Evans. “There is an urgent need for new antibiotics to tackle the rising tide of microbial resistance in existing antibiotics. We have taken a powerful and potentially useful new antibiotic that disintegrates in sunlight within seconds and packaged it into a pollen shell, which then protects the antibiotic for hours against UV radiation.”

Different sized pollen spores are produced by different plant species, which can potentially be used to protect and deliver different drugs. Dr. Evans says all the allergens are removed from the pollen first to make space for the binding and protection of the drug molecule.

Pollen has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for oral consumption, which makes this a very attractive strategy for drug delivery.

“The World Health Organization has recognized antibiotic resistance as a priority,” says Dr. Evans. “We are facing the possibility of a future without effective antibiotics, which would fundamentally change the manner in which modern medicine is practiced.  Additionally, there are other drugs that have been abandoned because of light-sensitivity issues that could be reexamined using this strategy.”

This research is published in Chemical Science, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s peer-reviewed flagship journal. It also appeared as the “Pick of the Week” in the same journal.

Solving crime through chemistry

Queen’s University chemist Diane Beauchemin earns lifetime achievement award for her cutting-edge research.

Queen’s University researcher Diane Beauchemin has spent years working on techniques to help law enforcement solve crime and to more pragmatically assess food safety.

Thanks to her efforts, Dr. Beauchemin has earned the Canadian Society for Chemistry's Clara Benson Award, recognizing a woman scientist who has made a distinguished contribution to chemistry while working in Canada. In 2018, she was the first woman in Canada to receive the Gerhard Herzberg award from the Canadian Society of Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy and the Maxxam award from the Canadian Society for Chemistry in 2017.

Professor Diane Beauchemin

“I am working in a variety of areas of chemistry and I hope the work I am doing has impact on people’s health and safety and society in general,” says Dr. Beauchemin. “I’m also very focused on my students and how to help them in my lab so that they can contribute the science.”

One of her most unique areas of research is developing new and revolutionary tools to help Canadian law enforcement agencies solve crime.

One promising area of her ongoing research involves analyzing head hair to determine gender and ethnicity. She recently discovered a new method where the root of the hair isn’t needed for proper analysis. This work has caught the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as it provides a new tool to use to solve new crimes and cold cases.

Dr. Beauchemin adds it may also be used to identify the gender of incomplete skeletons, even if only a small piece of head hair is available.

Along with that work, Dr. Beauchemin has developed a process to analyze paint scraping which could offer a new way to identify vehicles involved in hit and runs. And she is also working in her lab to identify solder left at crime scenes following a blast caused by an improvised explosive device. Her tool can determine the solder used and possibly even the type of soldering iron, which will help investigators identify the culprit if the solder and soldering iron indicated by her method match what was found in a suspect’s home. 

Diane Beauchemin demonstrates how she analyzes human hair.

Currently, Dr. Beauchemin is working on risk assessment of food safety. This includes chemicals in staple foods like rice, wheat, couscous, bread, and corn.

“Not only did my group develop a realistic method taking into account the bio-accessibility and the chemical forms of, in particular, arsenic and chromium in food but we are also looking at ways for consumers to protect themselves,” says Dr. Beauchemin. “For example, simply washing rice before cooking it can remove a large fraction of toxic arsenic.”  Her on-going work on how the cooking method may affect the levels of toxic components aims at identifying the safest way to prepare staple foods. 

For more information about the award visit the website.

Home game: Rethinking Canada through Indigenous hockey

Indigenous Hockey Research Network members pause during their 'visioning gathering' earlier this year at Queen's for a pick-up game at the Leon's Centre in Kingston. (Supplied Photo)

“Damn, we got it. We won one in their barn!”

To Cree hockey player Eugene Arcand, these words made little sense. You see, in the 11 years he had skated for two Saskatchewan Indian residential schools — as sweater number 14, residential school number 781 — no settler teams had ever visited the dilapitated outdoor rinks at St. Michael’s residential school in Duck Lake or the Qu'Appelle school in Lebret.

It wasn’t until he was 23, when Arcand became the only Indigenous player in the region’s Intermediate AAA hockey league, that he learned from settler teammates that “home ice” is supposed to be “an advantage.”

We — Mike Auksi (Anishinaabe/Estonian) and Sam McKegney (white settler of Irish/German descent) — are researchers with the Indigenous Hockey Research Network (IHRN). We interviewed Arcand in Kingston, as part of our network’s preliminary work to cultivate critical understandings of hockey’s role in relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Arcand, whose Cree/nēhiýawēwin name is aski kananumohwatah and whose treaty number is 380, knows what it’s like to be denied the right to play in a “home barn” in his traditional territory of Treaty 6. He was a member of the Indian Residential Schools (IRC) Truth and Reconciliation survivor committee and has been honoured for his work in support of Indigenous sport in Saskatchewan and across the country.

As such, he understands hockey as a site of prejudice, but also as a site rife with potential for positive change.

‘We didn’t ever get to socialize’

Regimentation, discipline and control were at the core of residential school design, as a means of conditioning Indigenous children to shed their cultural values. Physical education was well suited to this enterprise, say Indigenous studies scholar Braden Te Hiwi of the University of British Columbia and sport historian and sociologist Janice Forsyth of Western University, also an IHRN researcher.

Exactly how sport curricula was used varied over time and territory, as well as along gender lines, during more than 100 years of residential schooling in Canada.

Where they were present, sports like hockey were built into the institutions’s social engineering regime as what University of Ottawa health researcher Michael Robidoux calls a “disciplining device.”

Yet, the experiences of Indigenous players were not confined by institutional objectives or the goals of individual overseers. Forsyth and historian Evan Habkirk, also of Western University, argue that sports helped many students “make it through residential school” by being a forum in which they could develop “a sense of identity, accomplishment and pride,” even in the context of trauma and abuse.

As Cree residential school survivor Philip Michel explained in a talk he gave at Opaskwayak Cree Nation:

“We were told we were no good in residential school. But in hockey, we were good. We were just as good as anybody. In many cases, we were better.”

Arcand recalled his teammates showcasing their skill against settler teams at tournaments. However, their experiences differed dramatically from those of the non-Indigenous kids:

“We’d put all our equipment on at the school and get on the bus and we’d go to whatever town… and we’d play sometimes three games in one day. After each game, we’d get back on the bus… We didn’t ever get to socialize against our opponents.”

Years later, Arcand asked a former supervisor from the residential school, “‘Why would you make us wear our equipment all day like that? Other kids got to undress. Other kids got to run around the rink. And we didn’t. We had to wear our same stinky equipment all day long.’” The supervisor replied, “‘So you wouldn’t run away.’”

Project to assimilate

In an 1887 memorandum to cabinet, John A. Macdonald, prime minister and minister of Indian Affairs, identified the “great aim” of the Indian Act legislation as being to “assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion.”

Contradictions, however, persisted at the heart of this legislation. When residential schools were at their peak, policies like The Pass System on the Prairies actively prevented Indigenous people from integrating into settler society. While residential schooling was ostensibly about absorption, contemporary policies enacted barriers to inclusion by restricting mobility.

In Arcand’s team’s segregation from the settler teams, we see a similar contradiction at play. Residential schools were intended to condition Indigenous youth to self-identify not as Indigenous but as Canadian — with hockey functioning as a marker of such identification.

Yet the Indigenous players at the tournament were treated as second-class citizens, forbidden from fraternizing with the other players.

The government’s political goal of eliminating Indigenous rights and identities was never accompanied by a similar commitment toward eliminating settler perceptions of Indigenous inferiority.

Assimilation, in Canada, has never meant equality.

Calls to action in sport

Another factor complicating Indigenous experiences of hockey is the way the sport is romanticized in this country.

The IHRN’s early research suggests that hockey is linked to the naturalization of settler entitlement. Hockey belongs to Canadians because it belongs in the Canadian landscape, so the story goes. Thus, participation in the game allows settlers to imagine they belong here too — with adverse implications for Indigenous people.

Arcand remembers the ferocious nature of anti-Indigenous racism in Saskatchewan hockey in the 1970s. So much so, he shares, that when his team’s trainers packed up the sticks after a road game, they’d leave his out for safety.

“I had to use my stick to defend myself in those arenas.”

Anti-Indigenous racism persists in Canadian hockey today. In the past year, the First Nation Elites Bantam AAA team faced taunts of “savages” from spectators, players and coaches at the Coupe Challenge tournament in Québec. Five First Nations teams from Manitoba found themselves without a league to play in when the non-Indigenous teams against which they used to play formed a new league from which they were excluded.

Yet teams, coaches, players and fans are not without the artillery to make positive change. The Final Report of the TRC provides guidance via Calls to Action 87 to 90 on Sport and Reconciliation.

The report calls for government-sponsored athlete development, culturally relevant programming for coaches, trainers and officials, as well as anti-racism awareness training.

Arcand has worked much of his life to eliminate barriers to participation in sport for Indigenous, racialized and economically challenged athletes. To truly foster inclusion, he says, hockey associations need to confront racism and settler entitlement through disciplinary actions with sufficient teeth to create conditions of safety.

“Why are the people in power,” he asks, “not stepping up to properly enforce excluding these people who deserve to be excluded from the sport?”

‘We still need the game’

Between 1975 and 1981, long before Colin Kaepernick’s and other football players’ celebrated acts of protest, Arcand refused to stand for the Canadian national anthem. When told to do so during a playoff game, he responded, “‘Coach, you want me to stand up? I’m going to get up and you’ll never see me again. Your choice. Make it right now.’” The coach never bothered him again.

Years later, when the horrors of residential school were coming to light through the TRC, one of Arcand’s settler teammates from those days embraced him at the International Ice Hockey Federation World U20 Hockey Tournament in Saskatchewan. He told Arcand, “Now we understand.”

Arcand, a target of brutal assimilation policies and racist violence, says:

“Sports saved my life, hockey saved my life.”

Provided Canadians reckon with hockey’s relationship to settler colonialism and racism, Arcand insists, “We still need the game.”The Conversation

____________________________________________________________________

Sam McKegney is an associate professor of English Language and Literature at Queen's University, and Michael Auksi is an Indigenous research officer at University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Robots converge on campus

Top minds meet at Queen’s to discuss sector’s emerging research and technology.

  • NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference
    The Aqua Autonomous Amphibious robot from Dr. Gregory Dudek's research group at McGill University emerges from Lake Ontario. (University Communications)
  • NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference
    Members of the Ingenuity Labs team at Queen's University display their robots outside Mitchell Hall on Tuesday, June 4. (University Communications)
  • NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference
    A drone hovers over a field as part of a demonstration during the NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference. (University Communications)
  • NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference
    A conference participant manipulates the robot arms he helped develop to show their versatility as part of the the NSERC Canadian Robot Network Conference. (University Communications)

Queen’s University was a hotbed of innovation during the five-day NSERC Canadian Robotics Network (CRN) annual meeting, during which graduate students, researchers, and industry stakeholders met to discuss the sector’s emerging trends and technology. On Tuesday, June 4, the public had the opportunity for a closer look at some of the many land, water, and aerial robots developed by teams across the country.

The conference, hosted by Queen’s University’s newly launched Ingenuity Labs, welcomed representatives from eight institutions, nine industry partners, and three government partners – totaling more than100 participants.

“This is an important event to showcase some of the exciting research being conducted by CRN members,” says Joshua Marshall, Interim Director of Ingenuity Labs. “Over the last five years, the increasing quality and profile of our work has been attracting the country’s brightest, young students. We are striving to grow Canada’s reputation as a world leader in robotics.”

The conference gives researchers and graduate students opportunities for deeper collaboration, and a chance for teams to demonstrate and test their work together with many of Canada’s leading robotics experts.

For more information on the NSERC Canadian Robotics Network, visit the website.

Setting the stage for the artistic repatriation of Indigenous music

Queen’s scholar leads first successful effort to replace misappropriated song from copyrighted opera.

Dylan Robinson, Queen's Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts
Dylan Robinson, Queen's Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts.

In what may be a classical music first, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) and the National Arts Centre (NAC) are co-commissioning new music to replace part of a copyrighted musical work – the opera Louis Riel – to redress the misappropriation of a Nisga’a First Nations song. The decision follows a consultation process led by Queen’s University researcher Dylan Robinson that brought together Indigenous artists and community members, family and friends of the composer and librettist, and performers and artistic leadership of the NAC and COC, to discuss the song’s misuse, and how reparations should be made.

“I’m grateful for the COC and NAC’s work to support Nisg̱a’a Lisims Council of Elders’ request to remove the song from Louis Riel, and to commission Métis composer Ian Cusson to re-write this section of the opera,” says Dr. Robinson, a scholar of Stó:lō descent who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. “This sets an important precedent for many other appropriated Indigenous songs that remain in contemporary compositions and arrangements.”

In 1967, when composer Harry Somers wrote Louis Riel, he decided to use his previously written composition, “Kuyas”, to open the third act of the opera. Kuyas is based on a Nisga’a song—a lim’ooy̓, or funeral dirge—recorded and transcribed by Marius Barbeau and Ernest MacMillan in 1927. The song is one of hundreds of First Nations songs collected by ethnographers during the early 20th century. The majority of these songs were collected during the Indian Act’s potlatch ban from 1885-1951, where First Nations on the northwest coast were prohibited from gathering to practice their cultural traditions.

Indigenous History Month
June is Indigenous History Month in Canada.
In recognition of this the Gazette is highlighting a number of articles throughout the month.
To learn more about Indigenous Supports at Queen’s University, visit the Inclusive Queen’s webpage.
Information is also available at the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre website.

As a recent repatriation policy by the Royal BC Museum outlines, much of the material and intangible cultural heritage (including songs) were collected under duress. Indigenous people allowed ethnographers to record their songs during the time of the potlatch ban with the understanding that doing so would keep them safe for future generations of Indigenous people. Many of those who shared were unaware that the songs might be used in future compositions without their consent, and in contravention of Indigenous law.

“To sing this lament in other contexts, and without the appropriate rights to do so, goes against Nisga’a law,” says Dr. Robinson. “More broadly, Indigenous songs are often forms of law, medicine, teachings, personal family history, and are considered to have life themselves. This means that their mis-use is not only appropriation; for Indigenous peoples, hearing this most cherished aspect of our culture ‘broken apart’ can be a traumatic experience.”

Cusson, who is currently composer in residence with the COC, says he intends to create music to replace the Nisga’a song that will be faithful to the original intentions of the opera’s creators, Somers and librettist Mavor Moore.

“I am so thankful to be a part of this important and historic work of seeing this song return to the Nisg̱a’a people,” he says. “That the COC and NAC, two of Canada’s largest arts organizations, are partnering with the Moore and Somers families to enable this important act of musical redress, points to their leadership in the furthering of relations with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.”

The completed new work will be debuted by the National Arts Centre Orchestra at a concert celebrating the work of some of Canada’s leading Indigenous composers, on September 19, 2019 in Ottawa.

“This process serves as a great example of how Indigenous-led work with institutions can lead to substantive change,” says Dr. Robinson, “especially as we increase our efforts to repatriate songs back to our communities, and to foster resurgence through new Indigenous artwork. People are often surprised to learn that most Indigenous songs used in classical music were used without permission of those families and individuals who hold the exclusive rights to sing them. Many of our songs remain trapped within classical music pieces, and so much work remains to be done.”

Sending surplus food to charity is not the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Giving food that would otherwise go to landfill to hungry people does little to ensure the well-being of Canadians who are food insecure. (Photo by Chuttersnap/Unsplash)

With the recent news that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is calling for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing food loss and waste is one important action we can take. When food waste is sent to landfill, it decomposes to methane, which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. In addition, food waste represents a tremendous loss of the energy, land, water and labour used to produce the food.

And we waste a lot of food. An incredible 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is either lost or wasted. This is an enormous amount of food, worth almost $50 billion, according to a report by the Toronto-based food charity, Second Harvest.

The first proposed strategy, laid out by ECCC in a draft document circulated in early spring 2019 to academics and others with interests and expertise in addressing food loss and waste, is the most obvious: to reduce the amount of food that is wasted, most of which originates in food processing, production and manufacturing.

The second proposed strategy is to enhance the donation of surplus food to feed hungry people. This strategy appears to be a simple “no-brainer,” as demonstrated by the more than 233,000 Canadians who signed a Change.org petition to end food waste. The comments on the petition website show that many Canadians believe it to be morally wrong to waste edible food, especially when some Canadians are hungry.

However, while giving food that would otherwise go to landfill to hungry people may be a convenient part of a solution to reduce greenhouse gases, it will do little to ensure the well-being of the four million Canadians who are food insecure.

Reducing food waste by feeding hungry Canadians is a simplistic solution that is deeply problematic and morally distressing. It provides the comforting illusion of a solution to hunger while the underlying problem — poverty — is not addressed.

Food insecurity

Food insecurity — the inadequate or uncertain access to food because of financial constraints — is a symptom and result of poverty. It is a public health crisis, with profound consequences for individual health and for health-care costs. It cannot be solved by food charity.

Only one in five hungry Canadians use food banks. And even when they do, they remain food insecure. When food banks and soup kitchens distribute edible food that would otherwise go to landfill, it means that some hungry Canadians are less hungry than they would otherwise be. But food charity is not a solution to the problem of food insecurity.

Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has recounted the profound poverty affecting black South Africans when he was a boy. He explained that the free school meals provided to white — but not Black — school children were often thrown in the garbage in favour of homemade packed lunches.

Watching another Black boy rummaging in the garbage to find the food that white children had rejected was indelibly marked in his memory of childhood. “It was perfectly edible food. But I knew it was wrong,” he said. For Archbishop Tutu, the idea that some people have to eat the cast-off food that others do not want is a powerful symbol of profound, systemic injustice.

I expect he would be shocked that the government of one of the richest countries in the world, with an international reputation as a just society, would consider endorsing such a proposal.

Most food waste in Canada comes from the food industry. (Photo by Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

The right to an adequate standard of living

While Canada has committed to the Sustainable Development Goal of halving per capita food waste globally by 2030 and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 232 million tonnes by 2030, we must remember that we have other international obligations too.

In 2012, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, expressed concern about the growing gap between Canada’s international human rights commitments and their domestic implementation. He recommended that Canada ensure income security for all citizens at a level sufficient to “enjoy the human right to an adequate standard of living,” which includes the right to food.

There is no reason why we cannot achieve our goals of reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions while also assuring all Canadians the income they need for an adequate standard of living, including the ability to buy their own food. Reducing poverty through effective public policy, such as the poverty reduction strategy introduced by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the ill-fated Ontario Basic Income Pilot project, reduces food insecurity.

In a country as wealthy as ours, it is immoral, unjust and unconscionable that the Government of Canada would endorse a plan that effectively relegates four million Canadians to second-class citizenry by recommending that they eat the garbage that no one else wants.The Conversation

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Elaine Power is an associate professor in Health Studies at Queen's University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

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