Sandra Finley

Aug 142018

3/4  of the way down:   Watch the jury’s verdict being read out.

  • interesting to see the process in the court vis-a-vis the jurors, judge and lawyers.   A model court; well done.
  • I scrolled through the “Comments”, also interesting.
  • be patient at the beginning of the video,  there is shuffling about (mostly silence) before things get rolling.


Monsanto to pay $289 million to cancer patient

“This case is way bigger than me. I hope it gets the attention that it needs.”

– Dewayne Johnson, former school groundskeeper awarded $289 million from Monsanto
A jury in California has found that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides contributed significantly to Dewayne Johnson’s terminal cancer. Mr. Johnson, 46, was a school groundskeeper who repeatedly sprayed Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro glyphosate-based herbicides. The verdict also found that the potential risks were known by the scientific community and Monsanto failed to adequately warn of the danger.

“I never would’ve sprayed that product on school grounds or around people if I knew it would cause them harm.”


After an eight-week trial, the jury deliberated for three days and found that:

  • Roundup contributed substantially to the plaintiff’s cancer and awarded him $39.3 million in pain and suffering and economic damages;
  • Monsanto acted “with malice or oppression” and awarded an additional $250 million in punitive damages.

“The jury’s verdict found not only that Monsanto’s Roundup and related glyphosate-based brands presented a substantial danger to people using them, but that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Monsanto’s officials acted with “malice or oppression” in failing to adequately warn of the risks.” – from The Guardian article “One Man’s Suffering Exposed Monsanto’s Secrets to the World” by Carey Gillam.
Monsanto, a leader in genetically modified seed technology, is now owned by the chemical and seed company Bayer. On Monday, Bayer’s shares plunged as much as 14%, losing about $14 billion in value. Monsanto faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits in the US over claims that it did not warn of cancer risks. Bayer will appeal the ruling.
Glyphosate is the world’s most common herbicide. The use of glyphosate has increased dramatically with the widespread adoption of genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant crops.

  • In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, concluded that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” 
  • The European Commission recently granted glyphosate another five-year license but the French President is seeking a national ban by 2021 and the German government is discussing a similar measure.
  • Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge suspended registration of all glyphosate products in the country until the government reevaluates their toxicity. The government is contesting the decision.

Watch the jury’s verdict being read out. “This verdict is without question truly historic. What Mr. Johnson has done, taking on this massive corporation, the courage, the tenacity and the willingness to speak out against what he believed was a real problem is truly spectacular” – Brent Wisner, one of the lawyers for Dewayne Johnson, speaking on Democracy Now! August 13.
Organic farming prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides and genetically modified organisms.
Check for more information and updates.
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Phone: 902 852 5555

Check out the six reports
in the GMO Inquiry!

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Aug 112018

Court finds in favor of Dewayne Johnson, first person to take Roundup maker to trial

Dewayne Johnson listens during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco last month.

DeWayne Johnson listens during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco last month. Photograph: Reuters


Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.

Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.

In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.

“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement. The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.

Speaking in San Francisco on Friday, Johnson said that the jury’s verdict is far bigger than his lawsuit. He said he hopes the case bolsters the thousands of similar lawsuits pending against the company and brings national attention to the issue.

Johnson’s case was particularly significant because a judge allowed his team to present scientific arguments. The dispute centered on glyphosate, which is the world’s most widely used herbicide. The verdict came a month after a federal judge ruled that cancer survivors or relatives of the deceased could bring similar claims forward in another trial.

During the lengthy trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys brought forward internal emails from Monsanto executives that they said demonstrated how the corporation repeatedly ignored experts’ warnings, sought favorable scientific analyses and helped to “ghostwrite” research that encouraged continued usage.

Monsanto has long argued that Roundup is safe and not linked to cancer and presented studies during trial that countered the research and testimony submitted by Johnson’s team. The herbicide is registered in 130 countries and approved for use on more than 100 crops, but in 2015, the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, triggering a wave of legal and legislative challenges.

After the trial, Scott Partridge, the vice-president of Monsanto, rejected any link between glyphosate and cancer, insisting the “verdict doesn’t change the four-plus decades of safe use and science behind the product”.

Partridge said the IARC, whose evidence was key in persuading the jury of the link between glyphosate and cancer, “has been demonstrated as having been corrupted”, asserting the organisation does “no testing, they do no analysis, they have no laboratories, they simply render an opinion”.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today show on Saturday, Partridge expressed sympathy for Johnson but continued to dispute the evidence used in the trial.

He said the internal company emails, which were used by Johnson’s attorney as evidence the agrochemical firm had rejected critical research and expert warnings about the weedkiller, had been “taken completely out of context”.

Monsanto has long argued that Roundup is safe and not linked to cancer.

Monsanto has long argued that Roundup is safe and not linked to cancer. Photograph: Jeff

Johnson, 46, is a father of three who worked as a groundskeeper and pest manager for the school district in Benicia, a suburb just north of San Francisco. That position began in 2012, and he testified that it involved him spraying herbicide to control weeds on school grounds, sometimes for several hours a day.

He argued that his exposure to the chemicals caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a blood cell cancer, and when he took the stand, he discussed his pain and suffering as skin lesions took over his body.

“I’ve been going through a lot of pain,” Johnson, who goes by the name Lee, testified weeks earlier. “It really takes everything out of you … I’m not getting any better.”

He also testified that Monsanto should not have let him use the herbicide near schoolchildren, saying: “I never would’ve sprayed that product on school grounds or around people if I knew it would cause them harm.”

Johnson may have just months to live, according to his doctors. His wife testified that she has had to work two jobs, sometimes with 14-hour days, to help pay for the medical bills.

The financial award included past and future economic losses and punitive damages.

Another Roundup cancer trial is scheduled to begin in the fall in St Louis, Missouri. According to Johnson’s lawyers, Monsanto is facing more than 4,000 similar cases across the US.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

Aug 082018


2018-08-18  SIGNIFICANCE EXPLAINED: U of Saskatchewan taken to Court, Refuses to disclose Right to Know symposium proceedings

Documents show agri-business coached Peter Phillips, edited academic articles

Monsanto is under fire for what one researcher calls a ‘Machiavellian’ campaign to recruit academics to speak for the company. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

The University of Saskatchewan and one of its well-known professors are acting like “sock puppets” for agri-business giant Monsanto, says a U.S. researcher.

Gary Ruskin of U.S. Right to Know has obtained thousands of pages documenting North American university ties to corporations involved in genetic engineering.

U.S. researcher Gary Ruskin is criticizing the University of Saskatchewan and one of its professors for what he says are overly close ties with Monsanto. (Submitted)

Ruskin recently shared with CBC News nearly 700 pages of U of S emails and other material. Ruskin said the documents show Monsanto has recruited a team of top academics in a “Machiavellian” effort to sway public opinion.

But a Saskatchewan professor featured in the documents says there’s nothing inappropriate about his work with Monsanto. The U of S agrees.

Peter Phillips, a distinguished professor in the U of S Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, said no money ever changed hands, and academics are mandated by their universities and granting agencies to partner with industry and other groups.

“We don’t do research in isolation,” Phillips said. “Where appropriate, we have been fully transparent.”

The documents show Monsanto coached Phillips on social media and public relations strategies. It also enlisted Phillips to help solve its problems with U.S. government agencies.

According to the documents, Monsanto edited U of S academic articles with no public mention of the corporation’s role. As well, the documents indicate the company’s executives oversaw the guest list and content of a U of S symposium.

(Click here for a summary of selected correspondence between Monsanto and Phillips.)

Ethically complicated field, says consultant

CBC News asked Saskatoon consultant Steven Lewis to review the documents. Lewis served a lead author of the widely-cited journal article, “Dancing with the Porcupine: rules for governing the university-industry relationship.”

I think most academic ethicists would be queasy about his tight relationship with Monsanto.– Steven Lewis, consultant

Lewis said Phillips is a credible academic in an ethically complicated field. Phillips said he didn’t receive any direct payments from Monsanto, and Lewis said the professor appears to sincerely hold the beliefs he espouses publicly.

That said, Phillips seems all too willing to serve as “a bit of a cheerleader” for the industry, Lewis said.

“It stinks that he is co-creating propaganda with Monsanto, but he seems to do it because he wants to, not because they have bought him,” Lewis said.

“I think most academic ethicists would be queasy about his tight relationship with Monsanto and his eagerness to do their bidding.”

Profs should declare Monsanto connections: Ruskin

Ruskin, whose website lists the U.S. Organic Consumers Association and other groups as donors, said academic partnerships with outside groups are one thing. This goes much, much further.

They gin up professors and academics as sock puppets to speak for them.– Gary Ruskin, U.S. Right to Know

Monsanto relies on these academics to spread their message to the public and to regulators, Ruskin said. Phillips and other professors should declare their Monsanto connections and stop helping corporations “hide their dirty laundry,” Ruskin said.

“They gin up professors and academics as sock puppets to speak for them.”

At its heart, this is about the public’s right to know about “experts” speaking and writing about our food system, he said.

‘I don’t have to explain myself’

Phillips called Ruskin’s accusations “innuendo.” He said there is nothing interesting or out-of-the-ordinary in the emails.

Phillips, who has been applicant or investigator on $150 million worth of grants, said funding agencies now require academics to work with outside groups. That includes oversight of their research.

Peter Phillips said he partners with many companies and other groups, including the organic agriculture sector. (CBC News)

He said Monsanto controls 90 per cent of the market in certain aspects of agriculture, so it would be foolish for an academic not to have a relationship with them.

He said he’s never taken payment from Monsanto, and stands behind any writing with his name on it.

Phillips said he partners with many companies and other groups, including the organic agriculture sector.

CBC asked Phillips to provide any emails or names to show comparable relationships to that of Monsanto. He declined.

“It’s not my job to prove I’m innocent … I don’t have to explain myself,” Phillips said.

Monsanto stands by academic collaborations

Monsanto’s senior media communications manager, Charla Lord, called CBC and questioned the relevance of the story. Citing her 25 years of work as a television reporter, she said it’s tempting for journalists to be “spoon-fed” and “led down the wrong path” by interest groups.

She asked whether Ruskin and U.S. Right to Know was also being investigated. When asked to elaborate, she declined.

Lord later provided Monsanto’s response by email.

“At Monsanto, we see public-private collaborations as essential to the advancement of science, innovation and agriculture … We fully stand by our professional relationships and collaborations …”

In an emailed statement, the U of S said it reviewed Phillips’ work in the context of the university’s research ethics policies. As a result, Phillips was “absolved of any wrongdoing.”

Aug 072018

RE:  2018-08-02  Press Release:  University of Saskatchewan is taken to Court, Refuses to disclose Right to Know symposium proceedings


The significance of the court case becomes clearer, through connected postings below.    The titles of the links abbreviate the story, while providing details, if you want them.

The story is simple:

Philanthropy is noble. But when it’s mostly in the hands of a few super-rich and giant corporations, and is the only game available, it can easily be abused.

Our democracy is directly threatened when the rich buy off politicians.

But no less dangerous is the quieter and more insidious buy-off of institutions that democracy depends on to research, investigate, expose, and mobilize action against what is occurring.


From the following,  you will understand that we are not – – just one example – –  going to get the bee killing class of agricultural chemicals (neonics) banned in Canada (and the U.S.?), if we don’t mobilize action against what is occurring.   The lawsuit, University of Saskatchewan is taken to Court,  is one vehicle.

More than the pollinators are at stake.

I am very grateful to those who initiated the lawsuit.

Money for legal counsel and court costs is being raised through GoFundMe.   I am contributing.

The work is far more valuable to next generations than dollar bills they might inherit.


– – – – – – –

By the spring of 2013,  on-line international opposition to what is happening with our food supply coalesced and targeted.

The international movement elevated the name “Monsanto” to red flag in front of a raging bull, the public.

List of March Against Monsanto (MAM), No to GMO, & GE Free Groups, emphasis on Canada

– – – – – – –

Within 5 years,  the even greater global public awareness resulted in

2018-06-04   Monsanto is No More  

However, action aimed at Monsanto is a problem for ALL the industry and their collaborators.   “Monsanto” is just shorthand.

– – – – – – –

Communications Specialists had begun the re-framing of public perception – –  This has nothing to do with Agriculture – – it’s about food! and feeding the world!  don’t ya know!

Launched with fanfare in 2012,  the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), at the University.

The guy who was for 20 years the chief lobbyist for Bayer CropScience (& Monsanto when it still existed, & Syngenta, Dow &  so on)  is Chair of the Board of the Global Institute for Food Security.  

Croplife Canada, President, CEO. Lorne Hepworth on the Board of Directors, University of Saskatchewan “Global Institute for Food Security”.

The background on Hepworth and his associations is enlarged in the posting, so you might better assess the situation.

(You should know the name CropLife.   There’s CropLife International, CropLife Canada, CropLife America, CropLife Australia, . . .  One description fits all.  They are the lobbyists for a very profitable industry. 

CropLife Australia (CropLife) is the peak industry organisation representing the agricultural chemical and biotechnology (plant science) sector in Australia. CropLife represents the innovators, developers, manufacturers, formulators and registrants of crop protection and agro-biotechnology products.)

– – – – – – –

You need to remember the name “Phillips”  (professor, University of Saskatchewan).

Excerpt from  University of Saskatchewan is taken to Court:

A critical news report about Phillips’ associations with Monsanto had appeared in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix just weeks before, and it had both Phillips and Ryan very concerned.

(INSERT by me:  The news report spells out HOW public perception is manipulated. A backup copy is at


2017-05-10  U of S defends prof’s Monsanto ties, but some faculty disagree

2017-05-07  U of S professor says there’s nothing unusual about his ties to Monsanto

– – – – – – –

Things are not going well.   See the bullet list,  What it’s really about,  in:

2018-07-06  ‘This is a horror story’:  $100M  U of S global food institute plagued by conflict, CBC News– – – – – – –

– – – – – – –

August, 2018   We have the lawsuit.

Under a Freedom of Information request, the University chose not to disclose details about a “Symposium” organized by Prof Phillips.   The Government official who oversees access to information in public institutions, said the public has a right to know.   One might think that the University, a stellar role model in the community, might comply with the Report, willingly.

The “Symposium” in question is about  corporate  agriculture oops!  – – food supply.

2018-08-02 University of Saskatchewan is taken to Court, Refuses to disclose Right to Know symposium proceedings

– – – – – – –

The U of S is named a few times in a list on  (2017-06-02)   The “Monsanto Papers”    under the heading

Undisclosed collaborations between academics and the agrichemical industry

(The “Monsanto Papers”    became public as a consequence of lawsuits.  Lawsuits everywhere.  June 2017:   59 lawsuits against Monsanto Co. are pending in U.S. District Court in San Francisco . . 

– – – – – – – – –

The chemical/biotech – – ag/food guys are sinking.  In Canada:

2018-04-12  Lawsuit blaming pesticides for bee deaths will go ahead (neonics, imidacloprid, PMRA)

– – – – – – –

The University is riding the wrong horse.

– – – – – – –

Assess it you should.   We tend to think in separated silos.    We understand “Monsanto” and CropLife, what that’s about – – agriculture, re-framed as food (motherhood); regulatory capture, capture of parts of the university, corruption.

But Industry influence is  insidious and not confined to silos.

The University also has Departments of Hydrology, Toxicology, Biology, Medicine . . . all of those disciplines, and others, are seriously affected by heavy loads of human-made chemical poisons in the world around us.

Excerpt,  2015-04-06 The Big Chill: How Big Money Is Buying Off Criticism. . .

Philanthropy is noble. But when it’s mostly in the hands of a few super-rich and giant corporations, and is the only game available, it can easily be abused.

Our democracy is directly threatened when the rich buy off politicians.

But no less dangerous is the quieter and more insidious buy-off of institutions that democracy depends on to research, investigate, expose, and mobilize action against what is occurring.

– – – – – – –

WHO did the research

2018-03-09   Study says neonicotinoid ban not the answer ?

Note the connection to agrichemicals and Saskatchewan.

How the chemical agriculture industry finessed the bee-killing neonics (so far) is in  Letter to my MP: No, imidacloprid has NOT been “withdrawn” in Canada.  

Note: Bayer CropScience is the owner of the neonic imidacloprid.

BAYER does not want imidacloprid shut out from vast farm fields in North America.

European countries WILL save the pollinators, as opposed to corporate profits – –   PROVIDED that Bayer is not successful in using the trade deals and bribery of officials (one form or another) to circumvent regulation.

In 2017, at a Standing Committee of the House of Commons, the PMRA (Health Canada – Pest Management Regulatory Agency) TOLD MPs that the neonic imidacloprid was withdrawn in Canada.  The PMRA, by its own account, had received 46,000 communications on the issue.

But the industry was successful (in regulatory terms) in re-framing the killing of pollinators, to a question of neonic impact on aquatic creatures, in need of “further study”.

How Memory Works:   Canadians will remember that neonics were banned.   That’s all.   It’s what my MP told me (the PMRA told the Standing Committee).   BUT! they were NOT banned,  and are unlikely to be banned.   It is a myth, propaganda, as explained in    Letter to my MP: No, imidacloprid has NOT been “withdrawn” in Canada.   

One of the reasons this lawsuit is important is to help break the industry stranglehold on both the Regulatory system and Educational institutions that democracy and our well-being depend on.

On-line international opposition got us this far – –  (2018-06-04)   Monsanto is No More.   

But BAYER  just bought and wrapped  MONSANTO into BAYER.

– – – – – – – – –

In a University where “Agriculture” rules,  whether through

  • the College of Agriculture,
  • the Global Institute for Food Security,
  • the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy,
  • the Administration,

how likely is it that scientists, professionals in

  • Hydrology,
  • Toxicology, or
  • Medicine, or
  • Biology

will do needed, rigorous research and teaching on the relationships between the poisons and health, whether of bees, humans, water or land?

Thinkers of the Day on the Unholy Alliances between Government (public institutions) and Industry

7 simple statements of what’s been known and acknowledged for ever, except by those tasked with teaching our children.

– – – – – – – – –  –

In case you missed it earlier:

2018-07-30 The mysterious case of Alberta’s rogue GMO wheat: Could it happen again? Calgary Herald

– – – – – – – – – – –

The chemical-biotech industry has the university by the short hairs.   Not to mention Government officials.

I have been driven by water issues, since the early seventies on the shores of Halifax Harbour.  A summer Sunday, kids playing in the water with mini-submarines, their parents nearby chatting with friends.  I did a double-take.   The little submarines were pastel plastic – – pink, blue and white.   Surely to God they weren’t what they appeared to be!  . . .   But then . . . that would explain all the condoms on the rocks at Point Pleasant Park, also on the Harbour.

FORTY YEARS later . . .  in spite of on-going efforts by citizens over decades, pre-dating the 1970s,  the Halifax Metropolitan Area finally took steps to provide some protection to the water in Halifax Harbour.

The protection of water has been a constant theme in my life.  It is critical to all life, including the future lives of my children and yours.


I hope the preceding helps make clear the benefits to you, of spreading the word about the Lawsuit.

Just forward the URL to this posting (  to people everywhere!   It’s an international effort.

There is complexity – – it’s about so many inter-connected issues.  And it’s simple:

Philanthropy is noble. But when it’s mostly in the hands of a few super-rich and giant corporations, and is the only game available, it can easily be abused.

Our democracy is directly threatened when the rich buy off politicians.

But no less dangerous is the quieter and more insidious buy-off of institutions that democracy depends on to research, investigate, expose, and mobilize action against what is occurring.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

UPDATE:     GoFundMe

Goal: To fund the legal costs of forcing the University of Saskatchewan’s senior administration to comply with the recommendations of Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and the public’s right to know.

If this cause resonates with you, please do consider making a financial contribution to the fund.

Many thanks!


Aug 062018

With thanks to Elaine:

– – – – – –

Estimates of exceedances of critical loads for acidifying deposition in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Paul A. Makar1, Ayodeji Akingunola1, Julian Aherne2, Amanda S. Cole1, Yayne-abeba Aklilu3, Junhua Zhang1, Isaac Wong4, Katherine Hayden1, Shao-Meng Li1, Jane Kirk5, Ken Scott6, Michael D. Moran1, Alain Robichaud1, Hazel Cathcart2, Pegah Baratzedah1, Balbir Pabla1, Philip Cheung1, Qiong Zheng1, and Dean S. Jeffries7

  • 1Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto and Montreal, Canada
  • 2Environmental and Resource Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
  • 3Environmental Monitoring and Science Division, Alberta Environment and Parks, Edmonton, Canada
  • 4Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Canada
  • 5Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Canada
  • 6Technical Resources Branch, Environment Protection Division, Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment, Regina, Canada
  • 7Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Canada

Abstract. Estimates of potential harmful effects on ecosystems in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan due to acidifying deposition were calculated, using a 1-year simulation of a high-resolution implementation of the Global Environmental Multiscale-Modelling Air-quality and Chemistry (GEM-MACH) model, and estimates of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem critical loads. The model simulation was evaluated against two different sources of deposition data: total deposition in precipitation and total deposition to snowpack in the vicinity of the Athabasca oil sands. The model captured much of the variability of observed ions in wet deposition in precipitation (observed versus model sulfur, nitrogen and base cation R2 values of 0.90, 0.76 and 0.72, respectively), while being biased high for sulfur deposition, and low for nitrogen and base cations (slopes 2.2, 0.89 and 0.40, respectively). Aircraft-based estimates of fugitive dust emissions, shown to be a factor of 10 higher than reported to national emissions inventories (Zhang et al., 2018), were used to estimate the impact of increased levels of fugitive dust on model results. Model comparisons to open snowpack observations were shown to be biased high, but in reasonable agreement for sulfur deposition when observations were corrected to account for throughfall in needleleaf forests. The model–observation relationships for precipitation deposition data, along with the expected effects of increased (unreported) base cation emissions, were used to provide a simple observation-based correction to model deposition fields. Base cation deposition was estimated using published observations of base cation fractions in surface-collected particles (Wang et al., 2015).

Both original and observation-corrected model estimates of sulfur, nitrogen, and base cation deposition were used in conjunction with critical load data created using the NEG-ECP (2001) and CLRTAP (2017) methods for calculating critical loads, using variations on the Simple Mass Balance model for terrestrial ecosystems, and the Steady State Water Chemistry and First-order Acidity Balance models for aquatic ecosystems. Potential ecosystem damage was predicted within each of the regions represented by the ecosystem critical load datasets used here, using a combination of 2011 and 2013 emissions inventories. The spatial extent of the regions in exceedance of critical loads varied between 1 × 104 and 3.3 × 105km2, for the more conservative observation-corrected estimates of deposition, with the variation dependent on the ecosystem and critical load calculation methodology. The larger estimates (for aquatic ecosystems) represent a substantial fraction of the area of the provinces examined.

Base cation deposition was shown to be sufficiently high in the region to have a neutralizing effect on acidifying deposition, and the use of the aircraft and precipitation observation-based corrections to base cation deposition resulted in reasonable agreement with snowpack data collected in the oil sands area. However, critical load exceedances calculated using both observations and observation-corrected deposition suggest that the neutralization effect is limited in spatial extent, decreasing rapidly with distance from emissions sources, due to the rapid deposition of emitted primary dust particles as a function of their size. We strongly recommend the use of observation-based correction of model-simulated deposition in estimating critical load exceedances, in future work.

Aug 052018

Below is the actual press release.   See also

Significance explained:   U of Saskatchewan taken to Court . . .

= = = = = = = = =

UPDATE:  GOFUNDME  has been set up.

Goal: To fund the legal costs of forcing the University of Saskatchewan’s senior administration to comply with the recommendations of Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and the public’s right to know.

If this cause resonates with you please do consider making a financial contribution to this fund.

Many thanks!


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Please share widely.


University of Saskatchewan is taken to Court

Refuses to disclose Right to Know symposium proceedings




For immediate release: Thursday, 2 August 2018


For more information contact:  D’Arcy Hande    AT  1 306 220 0321


Saskatoon, Sask. – Notice of Appeal against the University of Saskatchewan was filed today in Court of Queen’s Bench.  Retired archivist D’Arcy Hande, the applicant, is asking the Court to enforce recent recommendations by Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner that the University lift most of its redactions in the transcript of proceedings of a closed symposium involving university and agriculture industry representatives, held on campus December 2, 2015.


The symposium, entitled Research Management and the Right to Know (referring to the US organization “Right to Know,” which has brought to light several instances of undue influence on research by industry partners) was by invitation only. The 20 attendees included members of the University of Saskatchewan administration, faculty from this and other universities, research funders, communications personnel and representatives from industry.


“I strongly believe that the University, a publicly funded institution, needs to demonstrate that its research and scholarship is in fact serving the broadest public interest,” said Hande. “The redactions to this document imply that the University wants to avoid scrutiny of its affiliations with controversial industry partners like Monsanto/Bayer.”


Emails previously obtained through FOI indicate that UofS Professor Peter Phillips, assisted by Monsanto Canada’s “social sciences lead” Camille Ryan, organized the symposium in order to develop strategies for managing the intense media scrutiny of collaborations between university researchers and the agricultural chemical industry. A critical news report about Phillips’ associations with Monsanto had appeared in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix just weeks before, and it had both Phillips and Ryan very concerned.

(INSERT by me:  The news report is important. A backup copy is at

Hande submitted an Access to Information request to the University in August 2017, asking for a copy of the Symposium’s proceedings. In November the University provided a 42-page transcript, but it also blacked out 85% of its contents, claiming to protect third parties and academic freedom. Names and affiliations of non-UofS participants and almost all of the discussion at the meeting had been redacted.


Hande asked Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski to review the University’s actions. In Kruzeniski’s opinion, delivered on June 5, 2018, the University had not applied the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act appropriately.  He therefore recommended that they lift most of the redactions to make the transcript more publicly accessible.  The University refused to comply, which has impelled Mr. Hande to begin legal proceedings.


– 30 –


[JPEG attachment]

Symposium proceedings excerpt



D’Arcy Hande

Box 32040, Erindale P.O.

Saskatoon, SK  S7S 1N8


Email  AT

1 306 249 1392


Aug 012018

GIFS, the Global Institute for Food Security, at the University of Saskatchewan.

It is NOT about global food security.  It is a re-framing of  agriculture.

WHY is re-framing necessary?

an international movement made the name “Monsanto” the red flag in front of a raging bull, the public.  Awareness of the industry and its tactics through Monsanto is a problem for ALL the collaborators in Corporate Agriculture.

So the Communications Specialists re-frame it – –  It’s about food and feeding the world, don’t ya know!    See APPENDED:  I made a bullet list,  What it’s really about.

If you want to understand what’s going on,  I think you have to have some



‘This is a horror story’: $100M U of S global food institute plagued by conflict

Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) in need of urgent reforms, says report, staff

When launched in 2012, the goal of the Global Institute for Food Security was to translate research into food. (Tory Gillis/CBC)

The University of Saskatchewan’s $100-million Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) is operating under a cloud of suspicion, fear and open conflict, according to a series of interviews and internal documents obtained by CBC News.

File photo of Maurice Moloney, CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC)

One report from an external consultant warns the host of problems could lead to “complete disintegration” of the institute.

Much of the criticism revolves around CEO Maurice Moloney, recruited to the post in 2014 after overseeing top research institutes in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. But most say the problems run far deeper.

“It’s absolutely bizarre. This is a horror story,” said Tim Sharbel, a world-leading expert in seed biology, one of four “research leads” of GIFS teams, and one of Moloney’s harshest critics.

The institute attracts top scientists and grant money to the university. It’s a significant contributor to Saskatchewan’s economy and its researchers are working hard to decrease world hunger.

Neither Moloney, GIFS board chair Lorne Hepworth, U of S President Peter Stoicheff nor U of S vice-president of research Karen Chad returned CBC News interview requests.

A U of S official said in an email that many reforms are underway, including the creation of a task force, but critics say little has changed.

‘Key relationships have deteriorated,’ says report

The institute was conceived over lunch in 2011 by former Premier Brad Wall, former U of S President Peter MacKinnon and then-Potash Corp CEO Bill Doyle, Doyle has said.

It was launched soon after with a $15 million contribution from the provincial government and $35 million from PotashCorp (now Nutrien). It has since grown into a $100 million operation.

Premier Brad Wall (left) helped launch a Global Institute for Food Security. He stands beside former U of S president Ilene Busch-Vishniac (middle) and former PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle. (CBC)

But tensions have been escalating for the past two years, say critics.

Last September, GIFS research staff sent a letter to U of S administration unanimously demanding action. They said team members are fleeing GIFS or being forced out because of Moloney and the toxic environment.

In the letter, obtained by CBC News, staff said there’s been interference with their research funds. Requests for lab time and materials have been rejected without explanation. Confidential data has been leaked to competitors. Rumours have been spread to pit staff against each other.

“There is a general feeling that any pretext can be used to justify actions that seem unconscionable,” states the letter.

The authors said they were suffering from exhaustion, panic attacks and depression. They didn’t want to apply for long-term research grants or move their families to Saskatoon because of the uncertainty, according to the letter.

The Global Institute for Food Security is located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. (CBC)

Shortly after staff sent the letter, GIFS leadership commissioned McGill University professor Dirk Schlimm to produce a report on the situation. Completed in December, it said the institute has the potential to answer key questions about how to feed the world’s rapidly expanding population.

“Food security is a massive global problem and GIFS is at the forefront of solving it through advanced, ground-breaking research,” states the eight-page report.

It also stated Moloney did a “superb” job expanding the institute’s scope and was a “visionary” fundraiser and ambassador.

He feels he can do whatever he wants.– Tim  Sharbel

However, the report also confirmed the complaints made in the letter and by individual team members. Moloney is seen by many as an “absentee manager” with “little or no reporting back on his activities,” the report states.

When he is present, some staff said Moloney has a “micromanaging leadership style” and controls information between staff and the board, according to the report.

There’s a deep conflict over whether to run GIFS like a “top-down” corporation or a research institute respecting academic freedom, states the report.

And no one knows who’s ultimately in charge, the report says. Some staff think it’s U of S vice-president of research, others say it’s the institute’s CEO, while others say it’s the scientists who produce the results, the Schlimm report says.

“…key relationships have deteriorated with the consequence of a high degree of dysfunction,” states the report. “If left unaddressed, the current situation could lead to complete disintegration.”

Moloney to step down in November but may work on ‘super-cluster’ project

Several months after the report was issued, staff interviewed say they were relieved to hear Moloney was leaving.

That relief turned to anger when they learned the changes won’t take place until the end of November. They’re also afraid Moloney may not actually leave.

In his farewell post in May on the GIFS website, Moloney said the goals he set out to achieve with the institute “have been realized” and he “will assist with succession planning and identification of the next CEO for GIFS.”

Tim Sharbel is the research chair in seed biology at the Global Institute for Food Security. (Submitted by Tim Sharbel)

He said he hopes to continue working on the university’s prestigious $200-million “protein super-cluster” project, which is closely tied to GIFS.

“He feels he can do whatever he wants,” Sharbel said.

Sharbel, like the other team leaders, was recruited and promised multi-million dollar budgets for equipment, labs and staff.

Sharbel said those promises were not kept. He said Moloney then told him salaries and other expenses would be deducted from his budget. He and another team leader would also be charged $20,000 per month for lab rental. When Sharbel protested, he said Moloney withheld research funds. The report detailed these and other disputes.

Fellow team leader and renowned digital agriculture specialist Dave Schneider called Moloney brilliant, but said in his opinion “prevailing standards of scientific ethics and due process” have been repeatedly ignored in Scharbel’s case and others.

Schneider said an institute’s CEO is not supposed to have any control over scientists’ research funding. No such safeguards existed at GIFS, he said.

Schneider said staff had little recourse because Moloney was given “unilateral” power.

“It is what it is. That’s how the system was designed,” Schneider said.

No official harassment complaints, says U of S

A U of S communications officer emailed a response to CBC News questions.

They say the decision for Moloney to step down was “mutual,” but declined to say whether he’ll receive any form of payment.

They said the university received no harassment complaints under the “Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy” and would act swiftly if there was one.

They’ve been “engaging consultants and advisors in conflict resolution, leadership coaching, and mentoring.” A task force has been created, with former interim provost Ernie Barber serving as an advisor, stated the email.

INSERT by me:

Ernie Barber is a former dean of Agriculture, and former Acting Dean of Engineering, a vigorous defender of the status quo at the University.

2012-10-20  Lockheed Martin, as reported in the University of Saskatchewan Minutes of Senate, misleading information from Acting Dean of Engineering, Ernie Barber.


Most interviewed were skeptical a solution can be found.

U of S Faculty Association grievance officer Patricia Farnese has worked with Sharbel and others to press their case to U of S administrators. She said a lot of powerful people created the current situation and won’t easily change.

“You can draw your own conclusions as to whether this was taken seriously or not,” she said. “I do know that it’s been frustrating for our members.”

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I used to get so frustrated:  WHY do we have to spend so much time, energy and money – – literally years – –  to stop the introduction of GM Wheat?    NObody wants it – – not farmers, not consumers.

What it’s really about
  • concentrated corporate control of seeds;
  • genetically-engineered plants, insects, animals;
  • the majority of GM seeds (“food” to feed the world) are seeds engineered to be resistant to many and various chemicals, so this is also about chemical sales;
  • propaganda and myth-building by the industry, the university, and Governments;
  • stupidity – – use one example – – as organisms evolve to be resistant to the bT toxin engineered into a plant to kill insects,  scientists look for other “solutions”, like GM insects.   They don’t look to correct, for example, the role of monoculture.
  • people dispossessed of their land;
  • serious chemical pollution of water and land enabled by
  • archaic, dangerously-flawed nonsense that passes as “economics”, served up by our “knowledge” institutions;
  • disease and developmental problems caused by chemicals that are KNOWN TO BE carcinogenic, teratogenic, a hormone disruptor, a neuro toxin, an allergen.
  • neonic chemicals that are KNOWN TO kill bees, other pollinators, song birds;
  • manipulated science, including “science” that does not get done because it has the potential to affect corporate bottom lines;
  • a sham of a regulatory system.   In Canada that is the PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency in Health Canada) and the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Agriculture Canada).
  • Canadian Government officials actively trying to negotiate Trade Deals that entrench the interests of the GM industry, in spite of  the “no” by citizens around the world.
  • corruption of Governments and in universities
  • an international movement that made the name “Monsanto” the red flag in front of a raging bull, the public.  “Monsanto” was an excellent symbol under which to create awareness of what this is all about.   That awareness is a problem for ALL the collaborators.  The Global Institute for Food Security is a response;  the industry has to re-brand itself,  re-frame the discourse.
  • Bayer CropScience bought up Monsanto.  So now, the name “Monsanto” is dead;  but the awareness is not.   “Bayer CropScience” becomes the red flag.
Jul 312018

The mysterious case of Alberta's rogue GMO wheat: Could it happen again?


(INSERT, Sandra:   Re “Could it (rogue GMO wheat) happen again? – –  There have already been rogue GMO flax and rogue GMO rice.   The information is in these postings:

What does “regulated or registered by the Government” mean?  The perpetrators of the rogue GMO flax are known, no one was ever held to account.   Farmers, not a Government regulatory agency, working through the courts held Bayer to account over the “rogue” GM rice.

I looked for an update on what’s happening in the realm of genetically-modified insects, and found “4 GM Insects You May Not Know About“,  May, 2016:

  • GM Mosquitoes
  • GM diamondback (cabbage) moths
  • GM pink bollworm moths (cotton), and
  • GM honey bees “in the works”.

The author, in relation to cabbage and cotton crops says:   As some pests have become increasingly resistant to the toxins in GM crops over the last couple of years, Oxitec’s mission is to “pair” these insects with their GM crops.    AND

Oxitec developed these moths because pests such as the pink bollworm moth are becoming increasingly resistant to the Bt toxin, used in genetically modified cotton and corn.

The thinking behind the idea of GM bees appears to be to create a species that can withstand the “colony collapses”.   If neonic chemicals are related to the deaths of honey bees, then I suppose the next thinking will be to develop GM songbirds and hummingbirds and wasps and . . . you know, all those beings that neonics are killing, with extended exposure.

(REF:   2018-05-19   Summary, NO, Health Canada DID NOT decide to de-register one of the chemicals linked to death of bees and song birds (the neonic “imidacloprid”)

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BACK TO  The mysterious case of Alberta’s rogue GMO wheat . . .

Prairie farmers breathed a collective sigh of relief last week, when Japan — Canada’s second-largest buyer of wheat — lifted a month-long import ban imposed in the aftermath of the discovery of a few stalks of genetically modified wheat growing in a ditch in southern Alberta.

But with the origins of the rogue wheat still a mystery, activists say the Canadian government should put a halt to all field testing of GM wheat or risk such an incident happening again.

“It’s a concern that the government was unable to identify the cause of this contamination,” said Lucy Sharratt, coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “We think that in the case of genetically modified crops — where there is a serious risk of economic harm if contamination occurs — that there needs to be a ban on field testing those crops.”

Extensive testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the wheat plants found in Alberta — which contained a gene that made them resistant to the herbicide Roundup — matched a strain of genetically modified wheat produced by the American agricultural biotech giant Monsanto. However, Monsanto had not conducted field trials of that strain of wheat since the early 2000s and even then, the trials took place approximately 300 km away from the southern Alberta road allowance where the unusual wheat sample turned up.

While the CFIA concluded there is no evidence this GM wheat is present anywhere other than the isolated spot where it was discovered, it has so far been unable to identify where the wheat came from or how it turned up in the ditch in question.

Genetic engineering is already commonplace in some agricultural crops — the vast majority of canola, sugar beets, corn and soybeans grown in Canada have been genetically modified to resist herbicides. However, genetically modified wheat has never been approved for commercial production by any country. Monsanto never did pursue commercialization for GM wheat seeds, in large part due to resistance from wheat-importing countries that were strongly opposed to the product.

However, experimental field trials of various strains of GM wheat continue to this day. Biotech companies have done field trials of genetically modified wheat most years since 1998, including 52 in Alberta in 2014. Most of the recent field trials have been done in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2017, 54 field trials of genetically modified wheat — including 32 by Bayer Crop Science, which recently purchased Monsanto — were carried out in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Any company or research institution testing a genetically modified crop is expected to follow strict protocols to prevent any of the seeds or plants from “escaping” into the surrounding environment. But the system is not foolproof. The United States has reported three separate incidents of unauthorized GM wheat releases which occurred in Oregon in 2013, in Montana in 2014, and in Washington in 2016.


In 2009, traces of genetically modified flaxseed — another product that has not been approved for commercial production — were found in Canadian shipments to the European Union, at that time this country’s largest buyer of flax. The incident proved devastating to the flax industry, which spent years trying to eliminate all traces of contamination from the Canadian crop. To this day, the EU market for Canadian flax has not fully recovered.

“Despite the reassurances about protocols, etc., this stuff always seems to escape,” said Terry Boehm, who farms in Saskatchewan and chairs the National Farmers’ Union seed committee. “It’s a natural process. These things want to reproduce.”Boehm added for an individual farmer, the discovery of stray GM wheat plants growing within a regular crop would be a nightmare scenario.

“It would be disastrous, really,” he said. “One would have to go into all sorts of measures to root out those plants and do follow-up monitoring — all probably at the farmer’s expense.”

The Alberta Wheat Commission, which represents the province’s wheat farmers, said the recent incident is a reminder that genetically modified material potentially has the ability to resurface, even years later.

A farmer harvests wheat on June 6, 2013 in Okayama, Japan. Japan is Canada’s second-largest buyer of wheat. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images“It is a possibility, and we need to be vigilant and ensure all the proper protocols are in place when these research trials are being done,” said general manager Tom Steve.

While the AWC does not have a position on the merits of GM wheat, the organization is broadly supportive of agronomy research aimed at the development of new wheat varieties. The organization’s chair Kevin Bender, who farms in the Sylvan Lake area, said he believes GM wheat could reduce the amount of herbicide used in crop production and allow farmers to produce more wheat on less land. He pointed out that other GM crops have been in the food chain in Canada for 20 years and there has never been any evidence they are harmful to human health.

“I think it would be beneficial for all of us if we did have it (GM wheat),” Bender said. “But for whatever reason, it hasn’t been generally accepted yet. In every other aspect of our lives we embrace technology but when it comes to food production, we want to do it the way it was done 100 or 200 years ago. It just seems very backwards to me.”

Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and dean of the faculty of management at Dalhousie University, said the anti-GM movement has actually quieted in recent years, as more time has passed without any scientific evidence of harmful health effects. But he said there are still many consumers, particularly outside North America, who are uncomfortable with the idea of “tampering with nature” through genetic engineering.

“I think producers need to accept that we’re in an era where perceptions are quite important,” Charlebois said. “The science is actually quite clear — there is little risk involved here for consumers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll deal with rational, unbiased human beings on the other side of the world.”

Jul 312018

COMMENTARY & UPDATES,  followed by the news article, “Cameco lays off . . . ”

Recent postings,  tax-payers are on-the-hook for large portions of

It doesn’t end there.

The nuclear/uranium industry is a Ponzi scheme;  the last man to buy in, gets creamed.   Except that bill too, is funded by all tax-payers.   Along with the multi-million dollar salaries, perks, and so on, for the “executives” – – the “1%”  we help create and to whom we defer.


Canadians should be aware of a trick, increasingly used by Governments, to dodge the bullet on responsibility, while tax-payers continue to pay the bill:

EXCERPT from  The Nuclear Renaissance was a flop  (Gordon Edwards)

Just before the last federal election, the Harper government turned over control of all federal nuclear holdings to a consortium of private, profit-oriented, multinational corporations. The staff of the government-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) went from 3600 to 40.  A new corporation, called Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) was created as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECL, and then turned over completely to be owned and operated by the consortium, most of whose people are not Canadians.

In the last two years the hollowed-out shell of a company called AECL has been getting close to a billion dollars in annual allocations of Canadian taxpayers’ money, most of which goes directly to CNL and some of  it into the profit statement of the consortium members. The Auditor General of  Canada has estimated the “nuclear liability” associated with AECL’s radioactive waste management,  site decontamination, and decommissioning of hundreds of radioactively contaminated buildings, at about seven billion dollars.

But it’s CNL that is in charge, and getting the lion’s share of the money, under the nominal “control” of AECL — whose main task seems to be to funnel money to CNL.

But CNL has grandiose plans of its own. . . .  more at The Nuclear Renaissance was a flop

= = = = = = = =

No Nuke News“, is a very good feed you might like to check out, with thanks to Angela:    From today’s News:

The Nuclear Renaissance was a flop. Let’s (not) have another one – made in Canada By Dr. Gordon Edwards. If big reactors aren’t going to save the nuclear industry, what about SMR’s (small modular reactors)? What’s needed is lots of public money to fund the research. But they’re prohibitively expensive and will require an enormously large market to break even, meaning thousands or even tens of thousands of units being ordered. . . .

Nuclear power is “ridiculously expensive” compared with solar power and cannot compete from a financial standpoint, said the former head of the International Energy Agency

= = = = = = = = =


The short article below  (“Cameco lays off . . . “)  is followed by a REMINDER that the nuclear industry is attempting salvation by switching from the monolithic reactors to “small modular reactors”.

An IMPORTANT UPDATE,  today (July 31, 2018), is in the reminder:

The CNSC has released a thirteen page “regulatory document” to guide proponents in applying for licenses for small modular reactors, with a September 28th deadline for public comment.  

= = = = = = = = =


Cameco lays off hundreds of Saskatchewan employees, extends site shutdowns

CEO says uranium prices have continued to slide over past 7 years

INSERT by Sandra:

The price slide started in 2007 – – 11 straight years of going nowhere but down, according to my arithmetic:

excerpt from  2018-03-19:   Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, Bonn Germany, May 2018?  My letter to the Minister.

No longer:  Nancy Hopkins, Saskatoon corporate lawyer who had been on the Cameco Board since 1992, had Cameco shares and options worth $1,001,871 in 2008;  valued at $1,843,273 in 2009.

The fight over reactors in the Peace River, AB – – successful – – preceded the fight in Saskatchewan.

The fight over a North Sask River reactor was in 2009 (successful). . . . Not good news for Cameco’s share value.

The Fukishima nuclear reactor disaster was 2 years later, in March 2011.  Cameco shares fell, but had been falling.  The high was in mid-June, 2007,  $59.46 per share.  The next high, mid-Feb 2011, $41.34.   Down to $18.41 by the end of 2011;  no recovery – – trading around $12.00  in mid-March, 2018.   Today’s share value is down by 80% over its June 2007 high.

If Nancy did not unload her shares, the value of her portfolio investment in Cameco has plummeted.  The same is true for other Executive members of Cameco.  But investment in shares is only part of their Cameco money.   . . . 

NOTE – – the news article makes no mention of the huge battles in Canada, and in other countries, over WHERE and HOW the accumulated radioactive waste will be handled.   The West to East success in Canada of opposition to the nuclear industry and a sampling of the corruption between the nuclear industry, the Government and the University, Saskatchewan – – see Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW . . .


BACK TO the article:

Cameco announced Wednesday it would be extending its mine and mill shut-down, resulting in permanently laying off hundreds of employees. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Uranium miner Cameco Corp. has permanently laid off hundreds of employees in Saskatchewan, with the company’s CEO laying the blame on a market that has become progressively worse since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

“The Japanese very quickly shut down 54 reactors, which was about 20 per cent of the world market. And so, that really had a huge effect,” said Tim Gitzel, noting over the course of the past seven years, uranium prices have slid from $75 US per pound to its current price of about $23 US per pound.

Only recently, companies including Cameco have been cutting back production to deal with a surplus of uranium sitting on the market, he said.

About 550 total employees from the Key Lake and McArthur River uranium mine sites have been terminated and another 150 were laid off from the corporate head office.

The layoffs are a result of the company indefinitely extending production suspensions at its McArthur River and Key Lake operations, according to Cameco.

The company said last November that the closures were expected to last 10 months, but Gitzel said the uranium market has not improved and has only worsened in that time.

= = = = = = = = = = = =


Be careful with interpretation.   This earlier article, Australia, announced nuclear power “dead in the water”.

2018-02-23  Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the water (?)

The industry knows that the large reactors are no longer tolerated.   They are moving ahead as fast as they can with “SMRs”  (Small Modular Reactors), with little public awareness and discussion.

 From  2018-06-04   Ha ha! Election – The people of Ontario don’t like the high cost of nuclear energy. The Federal Govt, the 1%, and the spin doctors think nuclear power is great!

Here they are, pushing the industry again – –

BIG NUKE Conference – Saskatoon – June 3-6, 2018 –  SMRs are on the Agenda . . . .


Sites with active or shut-down reactors are being targeted for SMRs, especially Chalk River.  The former Licence Conditions Handbook for CRL (INSERT:  Chalk River Laboratories) (attached) had extensive safety provisions for new facilities.  All of these have now been deleted from the new LCH.

— Original message —

Subject: CNSC Releases Draft REG DOC-1.1.5,  “Licence Application Guide: Small Modular Reactor Facilities” Comments Due September 28th

Date: Tuesday, 31/07/2018

The CNSC has released a thirteen page “regulatory document” to guide proponents in applying for licenses for small modular reactors, with a September 28th comment deadline.  The preface summarizes purpose and intent as follows:

Regulatory document REGDOC-1.1.5: Licence Application Guide: Small Modular Reactor Facilities,
sets out requirements and guidance for submitting an application to the CNSC for the following types of
licences for a small modular reactor (SMR) facility in Canada: licence to prepare site, licence to construct,
and a licence to operate. REGDOC-1.1.5 also identifies considerations that the CNSC takes into account
when assessing the adequacy of submissions.

This document will be used by CNSC staff to assess licence applications for proposed SMRs, which also
include advanced reactors. If the Commission grants a licence, the safety and control measures described
in the licence application, along with the documents needed to support the application, will form part of
the licensing basis.

A graded approach, commensurate with risk, may be defined and used when applying the requirements
and guidance contained in this regulatory document. The use of a graded approach is not a relaxation of
requirements, but rather the application of requirements in a manner commensurate with the risks and
characteristics of a facility or activity.

The information in this document is consistent with modern national and international practices
addressing issues and elements that control and enhance nuclear safety. In particular, it establishes a
modern, risk-informed approach to the licensing of SMRs.

The 150 words outlining the waste management provisions is classic: generate the waste, send the waste somewhere else. And same “safety control areas” approach that already doesn’t work with existing nuclear facilities.

The deadline for comments is September 28th, 2018.

——– Forwarded Message ——–


Public invited to comment on draft REGDOC-1.1.5, Licence Application Guide: Small Modular Reactor Facilities

REGDOC-1.1.5 is intended to be used in conjunction with consultations with CNSC staff, as well as within the context of other licence application guides. Licence applications for small modular reactors (SMRs) have to address both design and safety and control measures to support the safety case; REGDOC-1.1.5 will assist proponents in developing risk-informed proposals that take CNSC expectations into account.  Along with the release of REGDOC-1.1.5 for public consultation, the CNSC is also posting the Stakeholder Workshop Report: Application of the Graded Approach in Regulating Small Modular Reactors, as a companion to the draft regulatory document. This report summarizes a workshop held with stakeholders on November 24, 2017 and provides specific examples of how the CNSC would apply the graded approach to SMRs.  The public has until September 28, 2018 to provide comments.

For more information:  ————————

For all the latest CNSC news, visit CNSC’s homepage at————————

Follow the CNSC on Twitter: ————————

Subscribe to the CNSC’s YouTube channels: ————————

Follow the CNSC on Facebook: ————————

Follow the CNSC on LinkedIn: ————————

If you experience any difficulties in accessing the CNSC website, please send an email to

Elaine maintains a store of info on Small Modular Reactors – – with thanks to her, see:

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2018-03-15 Climate: Trudeau government is banking on nuclear power

2018-03-19   Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, Bonn Germany, May?  My letter to the Minister.


The assertion  “nuclear . . . will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.”   struck me as incongruent.   Why would a political party in Canada promote the nuclear industry?  Canadian provinces, moving from the West eastward:

  • British Columbia‘s policy is no-nuclear. The Crown corporation, BC Hydro “reject(s) consideration of nuclear power in implementing B.C.’s clean energy strategy.”
  • Albertans fought down nuclear reactors on the Peace River (from 2007 until 2011 when Bruce Power completely bailed out of efforts to build reactors in Alberta).
  • Saskatchewanians fought down nuclear reactors planned for the North Saskatchewan River, 2009.

(WASTE:  Saskatchewanians also fought down 3 separate attempts by the industry to build a deep geological repository for high level radioactive waste disposal in northern Saskatchewan.)

  •  Manitobans gained their experience at Pinawawa (“Whiteshell”) in 1978.   “No.”

(WASTE:  The High Level Radioactive Waste Act was assented to in 1987.  It is illegal to import radioactive waste into Manitoba.)

  • The citizens of Ontario have had enough experience to know the high cost of nuclear energy.

(WASTE:  Mayors of Cities around the Great Lakes, on both the Canadian and American sides, banded together to stop the transport of radioactive waste through their water supply bound for disposal on the other side of the Atlantic.   I don’t know the number of communities in Ontario that have said “No” to the disposal of radioactive waste anywhere in their vicinity.   For fifty years the industry has been trying unsuccessfully to get rid of their waste.   Meanwhile the old reactors in Ontario have to be dealt with, as they near end-of-life.  What happens then?)

  • The Province of Quebec put an end to nuclear reactors.

(WASTE:  The Quebec Legislature prohibited import of radioactive waste for storage in Quebec.)

  • Point LePreau has been a financial sinkhole for the people of New Brunswick.


What are the Liberals thinking?!    . . . Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future?      I have to laugh.   It’s getting politically expensive to keep backing that which citizens have fought against.  Except that . . .  there’s a reason.   Always is.

WHY  are Canadians so opposed to nuclear energy?   . . .  It’s because the economics don’t make sense.    Most Ontarians, Quebecers, and New Brunswickers, provinces that have had nuclear energy, understand that.  And the rest of us learn from their experience.  (UPDATE:  a large issue in the Ontario Provincial Election, June 7, 2018, is the high cost of electricity in Ontario, which is to say,  the high cost of nuclear.)

Citizens become the paupers.


The question then, is, who wins?   Not in general terms, but SPECIFICALLY.  That is the role of investigative journalists to discover – – there ARE beneficiaries.   WHO are they?   . . .  follow the money.   I will get to that after this comment:

When a population fights a reactor because it will enslave them to very expensive electricity, at the cost of investing in alternatives, and

then turns around to fight the transportation of (the industry’s estimate in 2009, more now) 20,000 truckloads of accumulated high level radioactive waste, you may, as I did, come to view the nuclear industry as a Ponzi scheme.  Someone gets left holding the bag, at the end.   “Someone” is the good old, not-yet-angry-enough citizen.

It’s pretty simple:   a business needs a revenue stream to cover its costs.  The industry has old reactors in Ontario;  billions of dollars are being spent to extend their lives.   Costs go onto electricity bills.  The last “new” reactor began construction in July 1985,  more than three decades ago.

No new reactors means no new revenue streams to replace the old ones.

BUT,  simultaneously, the industry has (by its own estimates in 2009, more now) upwards of $24 billion for the cost of building a Repository for its accumulated waste.  That estimate does not include the cost of transporting all the waste to the site. (Some years ago, the industry was required to start putting money into a fund to address those eventual costs.  It has so far collected a small portion of the necessary money.)

There’s the Ponzi:

Without new reactors they don’t have a replacement revenue stream.  So, dwindling cash in-flow.  Large out-flows.  How are they going to pay the cost of accumulated waste disposal, an estimated $30 billion dollars?   I have no idea what their existing debt-loads are.  There are contaminated sites to be cleaned up, at large expense.  There isn’t one insurance company willing to sell insurance to them.    A new reactor requires capital investment.  But investors don’t line up when the potential for returns looks lousy.

No new reactors?  . . . in a Ponzi, the last guy to buy in (Ontario?) ends up footing the bill.   Most of the other provinces have said. “It’s not going to be us.”

UNLESS  . . .  unless the industry has access to the public purse to foot the bills, they’re hooped.  Seems to me.

The Liberals appear to be gambling that they can use spin doctors and count on ignorant voters.  I don’t think we are that gullible.


So WHY the big push, by the Trudeau Government, to commit Canada to nuclear reactors and to have other countries adopt them as a (false) answer to climate change?   . . .   follow the money.

When I read the words of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s parliamentary secretary,  we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its placeI went to Cameco’s website.  (If you don’t know Cameco, see

Who are the current Executive and Board members? 


QUESTION 2:   Are you aware of former 4-term Liberal Cabinet Minister (under PM’s Martin & Chretien) Anne McLellan’s role on the Board of Cameco (nuclear industry)?

(Re  DSU:  Most of the deferred equity-based compensation paid to directors takes the form of deferred share units (DSUs)).

From   (at end of Dec, 2016, McLellan held almost a million dollars worth of Cameco shares)

Securities Held

As of December 31, 2016

Year Cameco Shares DSUs Total Shares & DSUs Total value of Shares & DSUs Meets share ownership targets
2016 100 38,253 38,353 $ 538,478 Yes (145%)
2015 100 33,413 33,513 $ 572,066 Yes
Change –– 4,840 4,840 $(33,588)

For share ownership compliance, Anne’s shares and DSUs held at December 31, 2016 are valued at $929,756.00


These people are in the 1%, having been given access to a public resource, once owned by a Crown Corporation.   From 2013 to 2014 Key Executive Compensation rose by 43% (from $10 million to $15 million), at a time when their share value had been in uninterrupted decline since February, 2011.   And just after the CRA – – –

Grant Isaac was into his fourth year with Cameco (Chief Financial Officer), Nancy Hopkins, corporate lawyer, her 21st year on the Board, when the CRA went after Cameco, over offshore shell companies:

The uranium producer estimates it has avoided declaring $4.9-billion in Canadian income, saving it $1.4-billion in taxes, over the last 10 years.

2013-05-01   Cameco’s $800-million tax battle, Globe & Mail  

(Update:  2017-08-17 Cameco wins PROCEDURAL victory in offshore ‘transfer pricing’ tax battle, (not the end of the case)  Financial Post)


Citizens were pretty pissed.  We pay taxes, they don’t.  That’s not all.  Intolerable conflicts-of-interest:

Nancy served as a Director on the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan from 2005-2013, serving as the Chair of the Board in the last three years. Nancy also sat on the Board of Cameco Corporation (CCO on the TSX; CCJ on the NYSE) for 24 years, and, in that time, chaired the Compensation Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Governance Committee. (

During Nancy’s time as Chair of the University Board of Governors, the Provincial Government of Brad Wall transferred (2011) between $30 and $47 million to the University EAR-MARKED for the nuclear industry.  (  Nancy did not protect University autonomy by insisting that public funding of the University has to be “no strings attached”.  Further:

Grant Isaac was Dean of the Edwards School of Business at the U of S.   In July, 2009, Cameco Corp hired him; in 2011 he became Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.   In January 2013, Grant was appointed by the Government to the Board of Governors of the University.

(I met with Grant when he was still Dean of the Business School, to understand whether what is taught in Economics classes is still the same as it was when I was a student there, (1967-71).   Grossly deficient economic indicators, GDP, the ability of corporations to offload costs to the public to pay, etc..   The answer was “yes”.   Grant put it this way:   “If there was a way to change it, it would have been done by now.”   So, no problem teaching junk to students.   That was in 2008 when the faculty was still on strike (  Grant went to Cameco in summer 2009.  Would he have been selected if he had been active in seeking changes to a flawed economic system that is taking the planet to the brink?

Jul 282018

. . .   progressive lawyering rests on the sound assumption that no fundamental social change – be it the  eradication of racism, poverty, war, sexism, homophobia or other societal ills – can come about solely through legal reform. Only organized,  politicized mass activism from below, aimed at constantly enhancing and enforcing that social change or revolutionizing the entire social and economic order can achieve and maintain such goals.


Go to the URL.  The INTRODUCTION only, is copied below.


Fostering activism has always been central to progressive lawyering theory.

Without exception, every approach to the progressive practice of law has contemplated some form of client activity or connection with other activism – be it mass movement and mobilization, militant protest, direct action, organization-building, civic participation or simply individual empowerment – as an essential ingredient.


For many progressive lawyers, in fact, client activism is the primary object of legal advocacy.  It is both means and end, powering efforts at reform and fulfilling the promise of democracy – even revolutionary transformation.  For these lawyers, the key question driving legal practice is not what will ensure legal victory, but what will motivate, support and further effective activism.


Only organized, politicized mass action from below, these lawyers hold – not law reform – produces fundamental, lasting social change.


Indeed, this unique objective distinguishes progressive lawyering from liberal-legalist practice, which focuses intently on legal reform, secured by expert litigators, policy analysts and lobbyists.


Yet legion though the literature is that has enshrined this bedrock commitment, progressive lawyers and theorists have paid insufficient attention to the full range of factors that define this unusual professional project.


At times, client activism is an unexamined given, warranting no more mention than as a perfunctory, even utilitarian, statement of purpose.


And when progressive scholars, practitioners, activists and other commentators do examine it, they tend to do so within the confines of formalist, apolitical and transhistorical legal and organizing method, imparting important – indeed, for those of us committed to this project, canonical – lessons,but remaining disappointingly impressionistic about their analyses of the attendant, extra-legal forces that shape their mercurial objective.

This should not be surprising. After all, client activism is not formally a province of traditional lawyering theory.  Mainstream practice – individualist to begin with – contemplates a passive client reliant upon an attorney who acts, typically alone, on his or her behalf.


Indeed, it is only with the “lawyering” and “law and organizing” literature that client activism has cohered as a distinct focus of scholarly  inquiry.  But there are other reasons.


Although birthed by the social movements of the 1960s and early ’70s, progressive lawyering theory – the broad set of strategies and tactics  progressive lawyers and their activist partners have developed to advance their cause – matured during a subsequent period of prolonged political conservatism that has been defined largely by the absence of sustained mass movements and the eclipse of the radical political ideologies and militant organizations that propelled them.


For the past three decades, neoconservative and neoliberal politics have reigned supreme.  In this period, two divergent, but equally  limited, theoretical currents emerged.  On the one hand, under the banner of liberal public interest law, lawyers substituted their own  advocacy and leadership (usually through litigation) for grassroots activist efforts.  On the other hand, influenced by postmodernist, poststructural and identity-based social theories, many progressive lawyers turned inward, to ideological and parochial concerns, eschewing “meta” theories –  the political economy and class analysis in particular – in favor of a narrower preoccupation with the local dimensions of political activism, the lawyer-client relationship and the lawyer’s professional role.


Despite key differences – the most important of which is the explicit centrality of client activism in the latter approach – both theoretical currents share common ground.  First, notwithstanding progressive lawyering theorists’ commitment to fundamental social change and social movement-building, proponents of both camps either accept existing institutional arrangements (albeit critically) or are reluctant, unable or unwilling to articulate alternative normative visions.


Second, while scrutinizing legal practice, progressive theorists, like their liberal-legalist rivals, undertheorize the concomitant historical, social, economic and political forces at work and the state of client activism writ large.


And third, while committed to grassroots activity, progressive lawyering theorists rely presumptively – and often uncritically – on a similarly narrow band of approaches – “community organizing” and “mobilization,” rather than litigation and policy advocacy – as the primary and, at times, only models for political activism.


In short, progressive legal scholars have paid too much attention to lawyering (by which I mean professional role) and too little attention to carefully scrutinizing client activism – in particular its aims, contexts and methods.


The result: mechanical prescriptions that, at best, reinforce formalist (if pluralist) strategy and, at worst, miscalculate the lawyer’s role in promoting client activism and social change.  In this Article, I argue that the aims, contexts and methods of client activism are paramount in progressive lawyering theory, and therefore precede and define the question of how progressives should lawyer.


Progressive lawyering scholarship – in the fields of poverty law, clinical practice, critical theory, public interest law, and law and society – is  an invaluable resource for activists. Making full use of this literature, I suggest, requires precursory paradigms that:

  • clarify the ultimate political goals to which activism is and should be directed;
  • analyze the social conditions shaping and defining grassroots activity; and,
  • specify and systematize the myriad methods that can and should be used to further these ends.

Progressive lawyers engage in these analyses by necessity and know intuitively that there are no mechanical lawyering formulae to building, sustaining and growing client activism.


In critiquing prevailing theoretical formulations that relate to these considerations, I argue that progressive lawyers need to go beyond law, lawyering, community organizing, mobilization and social movement-building, and develop a framework for more finely analyzing political aims, contexts and activist methods.


In Part I, I summarize the various, at times conflicting, lawyering approaches to fostering activism.


In Part II, I trace the evolution of these approaches since “people’s” and “poverty” lawyers began addressing the question in the 1960s. Situating discussion of lawyering theory in historical context, my aim is to sketch an intellectual history of progressive lawyering and illustrate the decisive role of social, political and economic circumstances on theoretical development and emphases.


In Part III, I critique the theoretical limitations I have identified and argue that activists need to clarify their alternative normative visions, carefully analyze the overarching nature of ever-changing social conditions, and broaden, deepen and systematize their understanding of popular activism.  Here, I join the efforts of other scholars to situate the development of progressive lawyering theory in historical context and move it in a broader, interdisciplinary direction, including taking such “macro” historical factors into account,” examining its political  foundations and “pass[ing] through the door” of social movement and organizing literature.

In contrast to liberal-legalist practice, progressive lawyering rests on the sound assumption that no fundamental social change – be it the  eradication of racism, poverty, war, sexism, homophobia or other societal ills – can come about solely through legal reform. Only organized,  politicized mass activism from below, aimed at constantly enhancing and enforcing that social change or revolutionizing the entire social and economic order can achieve and maintain such goals.

Nevertheless, in contrast to what Steve Bachmann has called the . . .


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The article analyzes legal theory.   This five minute youtube of Eduardo Capulong on changes to the curriculum for first year law students – –  “enlivening” the experience – –  is very practical: