Building informed consent for a mega-project

Following a step-by-step and community-by-community process to develop a socio-economic plan

Building informed consent for a mega-projectBy the spring of 1984, it was time to seriously start developing the socio-economic plans for the Polar Gas pipeline’s construction, and it was clear that the Polar Gas team needed to grow on the ground. As a result of strong and fair Sahtu Dene community criticism of the first draft of the proposed pipeline…

Bending pipe to fit the Dene culture

Selecting a pipeline route through Aboriginal title lands requires care, consultation and attention to detail

Bending pipe to fit the Dene cultureI remember waking up in the small log cabin I had been given as lodgings on my first trip to Fort Good Hope to explain the route selection process of the Polar Gas Pipeline. There was a small stove close to my bed, and a stack of dry wood and kindling for heat. Outside it…

Pipeline politics or industry insensitivity?

The initial Mackenzie Valley Pipeline site selection process demonstrated how industry can be utterly insensitive to impacted communities

Pipeline politics or industry insensitivity?Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the Coastal GasLink pipeline project route in northern B.C. Some historical perspective might inform the debate. We’ve read that the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have a favoured alternate route but for various reasons the company can’t support it. Given that I haven’t been on site and…

Wet’suwet’en protests create a national tipping point

Wet’suwet’en protests create a national tipping pointOver the past two weeks, my wife and I have twice encountered Wet’suwet’en protesters in the B.C. Lower Mainland. I wondered what the hell was being accomplished if people like me were getting angry? The first encounter saw us turned away from the 9 a.m. ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay – we had  important…

It’s not too late to strap the skis back on

Does your basement or garage storage area contain (even overflow) with unused exercise equipment? Put it to use

It’s not too late to strap the skis back onHave you given up exercise habits formed when you were raising your kids, replacing them with gym visits and more walking? Do you even think of how you exercised in your working, middle age? Does your basement or garage storage area contain (even overflow) with unused exercise equipment? Do your cross-country skis vie for space…

Imagine only having opinions that made you happy

Readers are starved of simple stories that make human happiness seem once again possible for regular folks

Imagine only having opinions that made you happyLast week I wrote about how happy making art makes me. It got 83 ‘likes’ in 24 hours. So what does that mean? Interesting to me is the total focus of the piece on happiness. Over the past several hours, I’ve been thinking about whether opinion pieces have simply become too negative, too querulous, too…

Letting your creative spirit loose

Back in the studio after a lifetime of sporadic art lessons, embracing the spirituality and fun

Letting your creative spirit looseMaking art is fun, spiritually soothing and a wonderful outlet for non-verbal, non-scripted creativity. At least that’s what I think after nearly seven decades of observing, sketching and painting. Each of several defined periods of my life was led by one or two talented art teachers, including my mom Frankie Robinson and her pal Peg…

Keeping an eye on the uncharted course ahead

Too many right-wing politicians base their policy thinking on antiquarian dogma, and not contemporary science or even democratic values

Keeping an eye on the uncharted course aheadThe other day my wife looked at me in a familiar way and said, “You are such a ‘rowboat’ thinker.” I knew immediately what she was getting at. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a father and grandfather who were inveterate hand-line fishers out of clinker-built rowboats. They first got me out on the…

Embracing the country life

Part 2 of the retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse? It's time to put an end to urban living

Embracing the country lifeWe began to embrace country life in 2004 when we bought recreational property at the north end of the Sunshine Coast, two ferry rides and about 100 km of driving up-coast from Vancouver. Still living in Calgary, we knew it was time to start planning for retirement and the post-work world. Our 24 acres fronts…

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?

Part 1: Defining the attributes of your successful retirement community

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?Who says you have to go on living in the same location when you retire? The choice is yours. City or country retirement is ultimately a personal decision. But it draws significantly on your prior life, and the skills and personal attributes you can bring to the retirement community you choose. How you retire is…
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