Special needs students falling by the wayside in BC

Increases in the number of special needs students and decreases in the number of special education teachers leave unions and parent groups worried that these students aren’t getting the qualified instruction they need. They point the finger at the BC government’s passing of Bill 28 in 2002, which removed funding for special needs services, and 2011/12 budget shortfalls for school districts across the province. The Vancouver School Board and Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid are not convinced there is a problem. Read the full story in The Tyee. 

PoCo considers ban on cosmetic pesticides

Port Coquitlam city councillors will consider limitations on the use of cosmetic pesticides on private property later this month. PoCo Mayor Greg Moore believes that provincial legislation would be the most effective way in curbing cosmetic pesticide use, however inaction in Victoria is forcing the municipality to come up with its own bylaws. Read the full story in BC Local News. 

Japan’s nuclear disaster raises concern about Canada’s nuclear power

The growing nuclear crisis in Japan is raising concerns regarding the safety of Canada’s nuclear reactors, particularly as Ontario considers an expansion of its current fleet. Nuclear safety reps claim that Canadian plants are seismically stable and designed to withstand an earthquake that could be expected every 1000 years, however government officials and anti-nuclear activists from Greenpeace are pushing for tougher standards. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail. 

How one New York bike lane could affect the future of cycling worldwide

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan established new bike lanes as part of PlaNYC, NYC’s blueprint for a sustainable city. A lawsuit recently filed against the city of New York over one particular bike lane in Brooklyn could put PlaNYC at jeopardy. As the proclaimed ‘world’s greatest city’, NYC’s management of transportation planning will be seen as the global template, and if cycling is pushed off the future of sustainable transport will be bleak. Read the full story in The Guardian.

Distict Council concerned CETA may be trading Canada’s water

Concerns arising over talk to commodify Canadian water during negotiations of the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have prompted Lillooet City Council and Mayor Dennis Bontron to prepare resolutions for higher governments. The resolutions, which will be sent to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) convention, appeal for provincial and federal governments to refuse discussions of free trade negotiations to commodify water. Read the full story in the Lillooet News.

Trade agreement percieved as threat to Canadian water systems

A report from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Council for Canadians expresses concern over the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union. The report states that EU negotiators want Canadian municipal water utilities to be included in a chapter on public procurement, which may lead to the privatization of public water systems. Many municipal councils are voicing their opposition. Read the full story in the Sicamous Eagle Valley News.

Why feminism still matters

Sixty-five years after the United Nations officially recognized March 8 as International Women’s Day, gender equality still remains a work in progress. Women are disproportionately represented as victims of violence, and comprise the majority of the world’s poor. Gender discrimination is also apparent in workplaces across the globe, including Canada where the gender inequality gap has increased since the 1980s. Read the full story in the Vancouver Sun.

Why human rights, safe schools, and Pink Shirt Day matter

On February 21 the Vancouver board of education unanimously passed a motion of support for Bill C-389, a federal bill that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. Gender identity and expression are common grounds for bullying and harassment among school-aged youth. As schools take part in antibullying campaigns on Pink Shirt Day (February 23), they should also show their support for Bill C-389. Read the full story in The Georgia Straight.

BC’s school libraries are most affected by chronic underfunding

Many schools across the province are facing major budget shortfalls, and according to a recent report, it is libraries that bear the brunt of cost-cutting measures. In the 2009-2010 year, parents and schools were able to raise 1.2 million dollars to keep school libraries afloat. However, dollars raised varied widely according to neighbourhood income, underscoring the reality that those living in poorer communities suffer most when budget cuts are made.
In Vancouver and Burnaby school board chairs, Patty Bacchus and Larry Hayes are challenging new Premier Christy Clark to put her “Families First” commitment into play by supporting public schools.

Read article in the Georgia Straight.
Read BCTF new release.

UNDP Interactive Project Map

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) created an interactive map highlighting the projects they have implemented across the world in an effort to combat or mitigate climate change. Projects can be categorized into the following sectors: climate change adaptation, capacity development, enabling activity, finance, and mitigation. Check out the map at the UNDP website.