Living/Working February 14, 2020


February 14, 2020

Environmental Assessment Office granted extension to Coastal GasLink project based on ‘irrelevant political promises,’ Wet’suwet’en claim in court

BIV's lawsuit of the week

BIV files

The Wet’suwet’en Treaty Office Society is taking the executive director of the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office to court to quash a decision extending an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

The society, which is governed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the project, filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on February 3, days after the company was granted an injunction to clear protesters who have been resisting the company’s efforts to build a natural gas pipeline on the nation’s territory.

According to the petition, the original certificate authorizing the project was granted in October 2014, and expired in October 2019. The company applied for an extension, the treaty office claims, when the company had done “minimal” work on the project including clearing work for the pipeline right-of-way, worker camps and roadway upgrades.

But, the Wet’suwet’en claim, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) was allegedly unreasonable in granting the extension for failing to consider Coastal GasLink’s (CGL) “pattern of non-compliance” with certificate conditions. The company, according to the treaty office, had 50 instances of non-compliance with the environmental assessment certificate, including failing to notify land tenure holders about construction activity and wrongfully denying Indigenous Peoples’ access to lands where they “harvest medicinal and food source plants, or … carry out other traditional use activities.”

In addition, the company was required to develop a “Social and Economic Effects Management Plan,” designed to lessen “‘potential adverse socio-economic effects on the regional and community infrastructure and services’ during construction of the Project.” Such adverse effects were indentified in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the petition states, including “impacts arising from an influx of transient workers and industrial camps.”

The Wet’suwet’en claim the company’s management plan fell short, and “does not contain a gender-based analysis or indentify any gender-based harms, nor any mitigation specific to the potential adverse impacts on Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people arising from the Project.”

“CGL has exhibited non-compliance that is lengthy in duration. In one instance, CGL was non-compliant with pre-construction certificate conditions for almost two years,” the petition states. “CGL has failed to consistently remedy its non-compliance promptly or voluntarily.”

“The statutory purpose of the EAO is to assess, review, and make determinations regarding projects that may have significant adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage or health effects,” the petition states. “By relying on B.C.’s promise of a ‘path forward’ and a cross-ministry review process to address gender-based violence in the future, the Decision is incorrect. Administrative decision-makers should not rely upon proposed future actions of the political branches of government when discharging their regulatory functions.”

The Wet’suwet’en Treaty Office Society seeks to quash the decision extending Coastal GasLink’s environmental assessment certificate. The petition’s factual basis has not been tested in court and the Environmental Assessment Office had not responded to the case by press time.


Age of Anxiety stoking fires of widespread economic instability

We all love stability in our economy.

At a personal level: predictable prices for food and shelter, incomes we can count on, taxes that don’t gyrate.

Even at a level we cannot personally influence, we want it, too: allies who have our backs, trade patterns and supply chains that keep on keeping on, foreign leaders who seem hinged.

Face it, though: we are in an Age of Anxiety.

It is difficult to recall how so many economic concerns and disruptions have reached into so many quarters in recent weeks to test our resilience and our leaders’ qualities to manage them. Europe is split, with the Brexit dust nowhere near settling. Latin America is mired in a high-corruption, low-growth scenario.

America has been made irrational for what feels like an eternity by its current president.

China, entangled with the United States, is very simply angry and doling out punishment for our role in apprehending the CFO of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, and subjecting her to a protracted extradition hearing. The uncertainty and dithering of the Canadian decision concerning the implementation of Huawei’s 5G technology is a related irritant.

The coronavirus, COVID-19, is incapacitating large elements of the crucial chain that furnishes many of our essentials and conveniences. The panic about it is hobbling businesses and depriving millions of work worldwide as Xi Jinping’s first existential crisis.

The impact on well--being locally and globally is disproportionate to the threat to our health, but the pernicious virus has thrown a log on a fire we thought we had doused: a 2020 recession or economic stumble. So many scrutinized the bond market, its yield curves in particular, and concluded last year that a recession was inevitable. But the markets, consumers and businesses kept chugging along to perpetuate stability against the odds.

Well, the bullet may not be dodged, after all.

While China’s economy will rebound, the virus will shave what our finance minister says will be a “significant” slice from our entwined economy this year. 

As if these conditions were not enough, closer to home you cannot look past the sudden focus on the division within the Wet’suwet’en leadership, and on the fierce effort of climate change activism to align with hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline to wreak havoc and instability.

Trains, planes and automobiles – well, helicopters if not planes – and goods, services and officials were diverted from their routines of serving this economic stability. Like COVID-19, there is a viral unpredictability about its path or its duration.

In an age of social media oversharing, the aggressive economic intervention last week of blockades was an absolute surprise attack. If anyone in authority knew it was coming, no one let on, so we should suspect there is a parallel, ingenious method to fly below the radar that imperils at will and will not soon relent in the era of climate concern.

Debates erupted among scholars about who holds the hierarchy among band chiefs – the elected or the hereditary – and what will constitute credible rule of law in an evolved environment of free, prior and informed consent and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  on ancestral lands. Do any of us have a clear answer to that question?

Last week’s show of force in the face of power was a wake-up call in one respect, a layering of anxiety in another. It is going to require more formal, uncomfortable recognition – not just scolding about the overstepping of the protests – but both John Horgan and Justin Trudeau are authors of their own misfortune here.

They established expectations of nation-to-nation negotiation, prodded of course by the courts, and did not brace wider society for the implications of what they promised. Now they will need to step up, at least to address the reasonable voices in this chorus, given that there is within that chorus a radical mission to stop everything and oppose anything in the service of breeding our anxiety.


Kirk LaPointe is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and the vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.


Northern lights, dogsledding and other reasons to visit Iqaluit in the winter

Inukpak offers secret spots with sweeping city views, including a cemetery with a photogenic arch made from bowhead whale bones.

Inukpak Outffiting’s Martine Dupont stands on a hill by Iqaluit’s mysterious bell | Photo: Jennifer Bain

Electric green Northern Lights are dancing through the black Iqaluit sky above a snow-dusted hill where a large steel bell on a twisted pole has been drilled into the rock.

Nobody knows for sure who put the mysterious red bell here or why, but Inukpak Outfitting’s Martine Dupont is happy to share one of the urban myths floating around the capital of Nunavut.

Our loved ones are up in the sky and when you ring the bell, they come down, in the form of dazzling lights, to say hello. There’s another legend, this one Inuit, which says the magical and fleeting lights represent spirits playing with a walrus head.

I know something of the science behind the aurora borealis, but let’s just say it always feels like a miracle to spot the lights in Canadian skies. Especially tonight when the aurora forecast was calling for just a 10 per cent chance of success.


Jovan Simic leads dog-powered adventures with Kool Runnings. Photo Jennifer Bain

Dupont continues our aurora hunt by quickly zipping over to a boat launch that has an unobstructed view of downtown. The light show continues. Today it’s green. Other days it mutates to shades of yellow, violet, pink and even orange.

It’s the start of winter on Baffin Island. The sea ice is starting to freeze. The number of daylight hours has dwindled to five. The sun, even when it comes out, hangs low in the sky. The 8,000-odd people who call Iqaluit home are ready to have fun. So are the dogs.


Preparing the dogs for a dogsledding adventure with Kool Runnings. Photo Jennifer Bain

Jovan Simic gets his sled dogs ready, putting on their harnesses and figuring out the current state of their hierarchy. His young company Kool Runnings offers dog-powered adventures. It’s too early to safely travel on the sea ice, so we will brave the rocky tundra.

“There’s a short loop we can do — it won’t take much more than an hour,” Simic promises. “We’re going to be pretty alone out there running through different valleys. I’ll try not to flip you although I flipped Jagmeet Singh last week.”

It’s true — the New Democrat Party leader just visited Canada’s youngest territory with newly elected Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq. Singh, his party’s critic for Indigenous affairs, was thrown from the sled, but was a good sport and jogged through the snow to catch up.


When the sea ice isn’t frozen, Kool Runnings heads out on the tundra. Photo Jennifer Bain

Dogsledding here is different than in southern Canada, where you’re likely to stand on your own small sled as pairs of dogs run in a straight line. Here, Simic’s 12 Canadian Inuit dogs are each attached to a long, wooden sled by their own towlines and fan out to run. The musher (Simic) and the passenger (me) follow behind, seated on a qamutiq (traditional Inuit sled).

“There’s always a chance of ptarmigan and rabbits,” offers Simic. “There was a polar bear not far from here last week. I’ve seen wolves four or five times in the last four years.” None of those creatures come out today — just lots of ravens, a low-hanging sun and endless tundra once we pass through Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park and cross a narrow river.

We dodge most of the exposed rocks, but it’s Simic who goes flying this time when the sled hits a large rock and comes to a dead stop.


Khaldoun El-Shamaa owns Yummy Shawarma, Iqaluit’s first Lebanese eatery. Photo Jennifer Bain

We laugh about the ejection over lunch at Yummy Shawarma, Iqaluit’s first Lebanese restaurant. Owner Khaldoun El-Shamaa happily dishes out extra garlic sauce to go with my chicken shawarma. Later I pop into the popular Black Heart Café for a caffeine fix and food made from scratch

I’ve been to Iqaluit four times — twice on the way to other Nunavut communities and twice as the main event. It’s a ridiculously expensive flight, so a journey that too few Canadians make. Here’s a secret — use Aeroplan miles. It’s just 25,000 points for long-haul flights within Canada, but you have to call the Aeroplan Contact Centre to book so it’s still a largely unknown option.

Once you’re in Iqaluit, hail one of the flat-rate taxis for $8, but don’t be surprised when the driver stops to fill the empty seats. You can explore downtown by yourself on foot, but to cover more ground take the historical and cultural tours that Inukpak Outfitting offers when it’s not leading outdoor adventures.


Iqaluit’s famous, and photogenic, “igloo church.” Photo Jennifer Bain

There’s the famous igloo-shaped church (St. Jude’s Cathedral), Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum with its gift shop full of Inuit art, and Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre with its cultural exhibits and wildlife displays. There’s the Legion for wing night, Nunavut Brewing Co. and the beer and wine store, a pilot project that tracks and limits sales by making customers show ID.


Apex is home to a pretty seaside cemetery with a bowhead whale bone arch. Photo Jennifer Bain

There are secret spots with sweeping city views, a cemetery with a photogenic arch made from bowhead whale bones, and impressive murals on the wall outside the hospital.


Some of the murals that you’ll see outside the Qikiqtani General Hospital. Photo Jennifer Bain

The old jail, Makigiarvik Correctional Centre, quietly sells carvings made by inmates every Friday.


Outside an Iqaluit home, a polar bear and seal skin are seen drying. Photo Jennifer Bain

Keep an eye out for homes where Inuit hunters are stretching and drying polar bear or seal hides in the yard. Don’t miss the Inuit doll collection at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, which offers free tours.


Part of the Inuit doll collection of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. Photo Jennifer Bain

Cindy Rennie shows me the building’s dolls, art collection, coat of arms and impressive mace and explains how consensus-style government works.

Iqaluit has most things a remote city could need. “Hopefully one day we’re going to have a local performing arts centre,” says Inhabit Media’s Jesse Unaapik Mike, who recommends visiting during April’s Toonik Tyme spring festival.


Caroline Ipeelie-Qiatsuk shows off Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. Photo Jennifer Bain

Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park’s Caroline Ipeelie-Qiatsuk, meanwhile, favours June to August when the park promotes Inuit culture with free “learn to” sessions every Tuesday.

Whatever you do, don’t miss the satellite community of Apex. The Grizzlies, based on the true story of how lacrosse transformed an Inuit community, was partially filmed here and the beach is home to several historic and very photogenic Hudson’s Bay Company buildings.


The red boat of Apex beach was immortalized in a White Stripes music video. Photo Jennifer Bain

And the abandoned red lifeboat on that same Apex beach? The White Stripes made it downright famous by putting it in their 2007 music video for “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” when they visited Iqaluit during a cross-Canada tour.

I love that song. After admiring the red boat, I climb the hill between Apex and downtown Iqaluit one last time to admire the mysterious red bell, this time in daylight.

Vancouver Courier


Vancouver is getting the first-ever smoothie vending machine (VIDEO)

Plant-based, self-cleaning and zero human interaction required

Ordering from The Smoothie Machine | Photo: The Smoothie Machine

Who needs humans anymore? Vancouver is getting the world's first automatic smoothie-making vending machine, and it's basically like having a robot make you your drink.

The Smoothie Machine is a fully-automated unit that blends up made-to-order plant-based smoothies, each containing two to three servings of fruit, 200 calories, and no added sugar or other additives. The bevs are blended from scratch using fruit, ice, water, and a touch of stevia - and they are even pasteurized. Flavours include options like Mango Tango, Passion Peach, Pineapple Glory, Cool Banana, and Tropical Berry.


Photo courtesy The Smoothie Machine

Brought to Vancouver by Trendy Vending, the machine takes cash or charge, is fully refrigerated, and is self-cleaning. The packaging is compostable and recyclable, though Trendy Vending says they hope to soon be able to have customers use their own cups. 

Each 16-ounce serving is priced at $6.

The first Smoothie Machine will be installed as a pop-up at Parker Studios (1000 Parker Place), launching February 25.

Vancouver Is Awesome


Vancouver International Auto Show shares vintage car photos ahead of 100th anniversary

A procession of 20 unique vehicles will be led by industry leader Jimmy Pattison through downtown March 25

The inaugural Vancouver Auto Show, held in 1920 at the Pacific National Exhibition | Photo: Vancouver International Auto Show

It was September 1920, when the Vancouver Motor Dealers’ Association decided to show off the must-have cars and trucks of the day at the Pacific National Exhibition.

Looking at black and white photos from those early days, it’s obvious some effort was made to showcase the vehicles at their best. Potted and hanging ferns were set out amongst the cars and trucks in what was likely an attempt to spruce up the building, often used to showcase farm animals.


The 1932 Vancouver Auto Show, held at the Pacific National Exhibition. Photo Vancouver International Auto Show

This year marks the 100th anniversary of what today is known as the Vancouver International Auto Show and to celebrate, a procession of unique vehicles will parade through downtown Vancouver March 25.

“Starting in Vancouver’s Crab Park, travelling through Vancouver and arriving at the Vancouver Convention Centre, will be a special procession or mini-parade of 20-plus vehicles to showcase the length of time the show has existed and to celebrate the wide range of design aesthetics, technology and flare that have been offered over the last 10 decades,” Jason Heard, executive director of the Vancouver International Auto Show, told the Courier in an email.  

He added the procession starts at 11 a.m. and will arrive at the Vancouver Convention Centre at 11:30 a.m. with honorary chairman and grand marshal of the procession, Jimmy Pattison, in the lead car to help kick off the opening ceremonies. Heard noted each of the 20 vehicles will be parked on the Pacific Terrace and displayed for the remainder of the show, which is presented by the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. (NCDA).

Meanwhile Pattison, chief executive officer, chairman and owner of the Jim Pattison Group, Canada's second largest privately-held company, said he’s very proud of his company’s involvement in the automotive industry.

“It’s where our company began back in 1961,” said Pattison. “Today, the automotive industry remains the heart of our organization.”

Jeff Hall, chairman of the NCDA’s board of directors, said it’s an honour to have Pattison, “one of the most impactful contributors to the sector in Canada,” act as honorary chairman and grand marshal. He noted the procession will include vehicles that represent each decade of the Vancouver Auto Show.


In 1936, the Vancouver Auto Show was held at the Seaforth Armoury. Photo Vancouver International Auto Show

In a press release, the NCDA detailed how the history of the automobile in British Columbia provides a road map for the development of communities throughout the province.

“Just as the arrival of train travel allowed cities to grow, the personal automobile has helped British Columbia to become far more than a port gateway,” reads the release. “B.C. is one of the best places to live in the world and our love affair with the automobile can be seen throughout this amazing province with long-standing dealer retail outlets selling a variety of brands for over 100 years!”

It’s also noted that the annual auto show has always been a showcase for new technology so this year’s event will not only reflect B.C.’s rich automobile history, but also showcase what’s next for the industry.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming auto enthusiasts from across British Columbia and the Northwest to the 2020 event,” said Blair Qualey, president and CEO of NCDA. “Planning for the 100th event started more than a year ago, and we’re excited to showcase many special vehicles, activations and displays that will be part of the 2020 event.”

Other highlights of the 2020 show will include a special invitational Concourse-style showcase, which will include more than fifty specialty vehicles — some never previously displayed, as well as the Look to The Future display, showcasing emerging and advanced technology options for consumers.

As well, on opening day Roger Penske will help celebrate the 100th anniversary. Penske, a former race car driver, formed his own race team in 1966. Team Penske has been winning ever since, with more than 540 all-time race wins — including a record 18 Indianapolis 500 victories and 37 national championships.

Penske was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame (2015) and the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2019) and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year — the highest civilian honour awarded in the United States.

Two of Team Penske’s most recent winning race cars will also be featured at the show — the Dallara/Chevrolet driven by Josef Newgarden in the 2019 IndyCar Series Championship and the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winning car, which was driven by Will Power. 

The Vancouver Auto Show runs March 25 to 29. For more information visit


Vancouver Courier


What are we reading? February 13, 2020


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Kirk LaPointe, publisher and editor-in-chief:

Yuval Noah Harari is one of the world’s most influential large-picture public intellectuals. His book, Sapiens, sold more than 12 million copies. He has made himself a hard act to follow, but he has a plan. The New Yorker


An essay on the challenges of journalism is difficult for a journalist to read, but perhaps the non-journalists reading this can read that, because Nicholas Lehmann is one of the most adroit observers of the craft around. Here, he reviews a pile of books to review a pile of trouble. – The New York Review of Books


Even the Democrats concede Donald Trump has a much better social media machinery in the battle for the presidency, but this look into the disinformation apparatus is quite mind-boggling. – The Atlantic


Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Will upwardly spiralling global anxiety sparked by the coronavirus COVID-19 disease drive more initiatives to work from home? – Seeking Alpha


Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier busy spawning 300-square-mile Malta-sized icebergs and other "piglets" as climate change messes with South Ocean thermostats. Interesting visuals courtesy of the European Space Agency. – ESA


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

After Chinatown seniors led successful opposition to a controversial condo project, a new generation of community organizers began taking up the challenge of protecting the historic neighbourhood. – CBC


Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes on how former National Security Council staffer Alexander Vindman is the latest to join the club of people targeted for abuse by the U.S. president for the crime of telling the truth:

“It is all part of a civil-liberties violation so profound that we don’t even have a name for it: the power of the president to suddenly point his finger at a random person and announce that this is the point in the story when that person’s life gets ruined.” – Atlantic


Tyler Orton, reporter:

The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Derail Xi Jinping’s Dreams of a Chinese Century. – Time 

What’s the deal with airplane food? From multi-course menus in the Golden Age of flying to the pre-packaged buns that landed on our trays today, the aviation industry has transformed how and what we eat on long flights – and companies are also quite wary of revealing too many of its secrets about the food we eat. – VOX 

Hayley Woodin, reporter:

The intelligence coup of the century: the story behind Crypto AG, a dominant maker of encryption devices that were secretly rigged by the CIA. – The Washington Post

More people are choosing to represent themselves in court, foregoing legal representation for any number of reasons, but often because legal costs can be prohibitive. The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) advocates on behalf of self-represented litigants. They also conduct research, and their latest report highlights an important trend: that self-reps may be unintentionally labelled as “vexatious” litigants when really, they are struggling to understand and navigate court processes. It’s a concern, because that label can in some cases restrict a person’s court access. – NSRLP


Glen Korstrom, reporter:

There's much ado about how e-commerce is hurting bricks-and-mortar retail. This piece expands the scope of the problem, as there is also more big-box store shopping, income inequality and a trend toward buying services over hard goods – New York Times


With the above challenges for bricks-and-mortar retail, some are fighting back with drink service, as this piece, headlined Shopping Under The Influence makes clear. Yes, that's Chardonnay in the shoe department – Washington Post