Crowdfunding launches new era for Firehall Brewery

firehallBrewmaster Sid Ruhland pours a pint of his craft beer. A new draught system will be the main addition to the beer tasting room he hopes to have ready within a few weeks. Photo by Trevor Nichol

Posted by: Posted date: April 22, 2016 In: Featured, News

When Sid Ruhland, the “brew chief” at Oliver’s Firehall Brewery, needed money to expand the business, he didn’t go to a bank for a loan, or hunt down rich investors; he simply asked the Internet. And the Internet responded.

The brewery’s Kickstarter campaign wrapped up late last week, with the final tally coming in at $16,891. That money will allow Ruhland and his crew to open a brand new tasting room, installing a draught system, fridge and refurbishing with new furniture and decorations.

“The people have spoken,” Ruhland wrote on the Kickstarter web page after reaching the fundraising goal. “We cannot overemphasize our sincerest thanks of deep appreciation to every backer for joining the effort by taking action. We look forward to rewarding you for your belief in our dream.”

That kind of communication, the enthusiastic thanks and frequent public updates, are some of the hallmarks of crowdfunding. As Ruhland pointed out in an interview after the campaign reached its goal, crowdfunding is all about the community.

Crowdfunding works by harnessing the power of the Internet to bring a whole bunch of small donations together in one place. A Kickstarter campaign, for example, will ask backers to pledge a small sum in exchange for a “gift” of appreciation (the Firehall’s gifts ranged from free high-fives for small donations, to designing a beer with the brewmaster for the largest).

If hundreds of people all donate a small amount, it can quickly add up to a significant chunk of change. Typically, crowdfunding is used to collect money for charitable causes or to fund passion projects, but Ruhland also saw it as an opportunity for his for-profit business.

Collecting many small donations from individuals and community members on the Internet is a powerful way to raise money, but it also allows a business to bypass the monolithic organizations that for so long have controlled the flow of money.

“We could have gone to a bank as well, or look for investors, but crowdfunding allowed us to go straight to the people who will use this new beer room,” he said.

“That is part of what the Kickstarter was about, was instead of taking years accumulating the stuff we need and eventually get the doors open down the road … if everybody is willing to chip in 25 bucks, it’s getting a shop open now.”

Ruhland said he sees crowdfunding as part of the “share economy,” which he says “seems like it’s an answer to the capitalism that has been created by past generations.”

“Opening a business, there’s just an incredible amount of organizations that put their fingers in your pocket: every year some of our biggest expense items are licences and dues and fees and permits, and everything like that,” he said, adding that the share economy can be a great way to build a strong local economy with businesses that aren’t’ dependent on big banks.

But Ruhland admitted a Kickstarter campaign is not the same as a typical loan or investment; the money raised is all from donations, and the people who donated naturally feel like they have a stake in the business now.

Ruhland said that is actually a good thing for him, as it will help create more of a sense of ownership and belonging with the new tasting room, but it also means people will expect more.

“I’m sure that if people pledge for the project, and they’re also people in town who would become customers, if we create something they’re not happy with then they’re going to feel not only that it’s not a business they want to spend money at, but also that their investment, so to speak, is not a success,” he said.

To combat any potential ill will, Ruhland said he has spent a lot of time interacting with backers on social media, asking for input on T-shirt designs, the colour of the beer fridge and even some larger operational questions.

There is also a detailed financial plan on display on the campaign’s website outlining exactly what all the donated money will be used for.

Ruhland said they’ve already started ordering equipment, and the new tasting room could be open within a few weeks.

The lion’s share of the money collected will go towards the new draught system, with a little more going to the product fridge and the rest to spruce up the room with new furniture and signage.

Ruhland said the final product will be a retail space that has a pub feel to it, featuring an open space with standing tables and a bar. Customers will be able to come in during the day and evening and drink a pint, listen to a few tunes on the record player and hang out for a while.

There’s more plans for the future, but Ruhland said they will be starting with the most important things first.

“We’re going to start simple: beer.”

Ruhland says the new beer tasting room will feel a little like a cross between a traditional pub and a wine tasting room.

By Trevor Nichols

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Who owns water? Nestlé’s ambitions in Southern Ontario raise big questions about an essential – and finite – resource

nestle

A worker inspects bottles of water at the Nestlé Waters Canada plant near Guelph, Ont.
KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/BLOOMBERG

WATER FIGHT: Bottles, wells, big business

Who owns water? Nestlé’s ambitions in Southern Ontario raise big questions about an essential – and finite – resource

Formerly the site of a chicken-processing plant and, later, a small water-bottling facility, the five-acre plot at 7334 Middlebrook Road near Elora, Ont., attracted no more attention than neighbouring land when it quietly came up for sale last spring.

But that was before one of the world’s largest multinational companies offered to buy it. Nestlé Waters Canada, a subsidiary of Swiss-based food giant Nestlé S.A., didn’t come for the land: It sought what lies beneath. The title comes with a 110-metre-deep well and, more importantly, the right to pump 1,300 litres of water per minute.

“We’re looking at this as a supplementary well for future business growth and to allow for redundancy for our current operations,” explains Andreanne Simard, natural resources manager for Nestlé Waters Canada.

This story is part of a Globe and Mail series on the future of our most critical resource. Visit theHeadwaters series page here.

The backlash arrived swiftly. Wellington Water Watchers, a non-profit group that casts itself as the area’s groundwater watchdog, deems Nestlé’s consumption “a wasteful use of our community’s precious water resources.”

Save Our Water, another local organization, argues Elora will get a raw deal. “They’ll be putting it into large tankers and driving it over our roads and bridges and paying taxes on five acres of land,” says spokesperson Donna McCaw. She points out that industrial users across Ontario pay $3.71 per million litres of water. Elora residents pay $2.14 per thousand litres – a rate 576 times higher.

Save our Water's Donna McCaw walks around the five-acre plot that Nestlé conditionally offered to purchase.

Save our Water’s Donna McCaw walks around the five-acre plot that Nestlé conditionally offered to purchase.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

 

Nestlé Waters North America, an affiliate of the Canadian company, has found itself at the centre of many similar disputes across the continent. Concerns about water are spreading in step with the advance of global warming, drawing attention to businesses that depend on cheap sources. At the heart of the conflicts lie fundamental questions about ownership of an increasingly scarce resource.

As the battle lines are drawn in Elora, water activists say Nestlé is a lightning rod for a much bigger issue. Other industrial water users – in agriculture, paper manufacturing and metals extraction, to name but a few – use far greater volumes than bottlers do, yet seldom receive a commensurate level of scrutiny.

Fears of water scarcity remain fresh in the minds of many in neighbouring Waterloo region. The area suffered shortages in the late 1980s, prompting a flurry of groundwater monitoring and conservation measures. James Etienne, senior water resources engineer with the Grand River Conservation Authority in Cambridge, Ont., says the Elora area’s existing water supply is adequate. But the area “has been flagged as a longer-term drought concern,” depending on future municipal demand. “We’re in the middle of the largest lake system in the world, and we don’t draw any water from it,” he explains. “The main communities – Guelph, Waterloo Region – are all groundwater fed.”

Nestlé points out that the Middlebrook well has been permitted and operated for two decades, without incident. “This is not additional water that’s being pumped out of the watershed,” says Nestlé Waters Canada spokesman John Challinor. “It’s already in the province’s inventory.” And regular testing has never identified any contamination.

Nestlé’s Middlebrook Road purchase is conditional on a regimen of pumping tests and data analysis to ensure the well meets the company’s requirements, and also on a water permit renewal. The public consultation period for a pumping-test permit, which ended in mid-November, attracted about 1,200 comments. Should the province approve its 60-day pump-testing permit, Nestlé will confirm the water’s quality and quantity, and study how proposed bottling operations would impact nearby wells, fish, animals and plants. If Middlebrook passes, Nestlé will apply to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment for a water permit. It seeks the same maximum pumping volumes enjoyed by the previous owner, whose permit expired Oct. 31, 2015. Nestlé then plans to buy the property at an undisclosed price.

Top bottle water companies in 2014, by billions of litres shipped
THE GLOBE AND MAIL » SOURCE: EUROMONITOR

0102030DanoneNestléCoca ColaPepsiCoTing Hsin

Bottled water is big business. During the last two decades, Nestlé’s bottled-water sales in North America exploded tenfold from $400-million (U.S.) to approximately $4-billion. “Over the last decade we’ve seen a shift away from carbonated soft drinks towards bottled water,” says Howard Telfer, a beverage analyst with Euromonitor International. “And Nestlé has been at the top of the pack, at least in North America.” It has become Canada’s largest bottled water manufacturer, and according to Euromonitor sells 9.5% of all soft drinks in Canada, making it the second-largest soft drink vendor behind Coca-Cola, and ahead of Pepsi.

Nestlé’s sprawling water production apparatus comprises a crucial component of its competitive advantage. It operates 29 bottling facilities across the continent; Canadian operations include plants in Puslinch, Ont., and Hope, B.C. Although many brands (including Nestlé’s Pure Life) are little more than filtered municipal water, many of Nestlé’s mid-priced brands require spring sources. Through direct ownership, leases, easements and other arrangements, Nestlé accesses 75 springs across North America in 40 locations. “They control most of the production capacity,” and the springs, Mr. Telfer notes, which has “allowed them to remain fairly dominant.”

In 2013, Nestlé Waters North America chief executive Tim Brown said his company had enough to meet its water needs for a decade. “But we will always be looking for springs, because water is finite,” he added. “We’ll always be on the lookout for it, all around the world. And we will never sell a spring.”

Nestlé’s market dominance made the company a natural target for environmental non-governmental organizations, some of which also decry the environmental impacts of the plastic bottles most beverage products ship in. They also point to the extraordinarily low fees the company pays for the water it bottles.

Tony Clarke, president of the Polaris Institute, founded his organization in 1997 as a response to what he regarded as transnational corporations seizing control of public policy. Nestlé soon entered his crosshairs. “Often, these water-takings on the part of Nestlé are in areas that are prone to drought,” he says.“There have been major cases in California and Florida, and more recently in Oregon and British Columbia.”

Those activists in Ontario better be ready for a long fight – the company doesn’t back down easily. Nestlé first suggested establishing a bottling plant in Cascade Locks, Ore., (population 1,200), for example, in 2008. Now, six of seven city councillors support the project; Gordon Zimmerman, the city’s administrator, welcomes Nestlé as a potential employer in a community wracked by an unemployment rate of nearly 19 per cent.

But to secure water from the nearby Oxbow Springs, the company and the municipality must negotiate with arms of the state. NGOs litigated throughout the regulatory approval process. “They were successful in getting this shoved into court,” Mr. Zimmerman says.

A dwindling snowpack last winter in Oregon led to droughts this year declared in most of the state’s counties, including Hood River County where Cascade Locks is situated. Julia DeGraw, an organizer with Food & Water Watch, one of Nestlé’s NGO opponents, says Nestlé’s proposed extractions from Oxbow Springs, albeit small, are part of a larger effort to access springs throughout the Columbia River Gorge. “They’re not going to open up shop and bottle 118-million gallons out of Oxbow Springs per year,” she says. “This is their foothold.”

In early November, Oregon Governor Kate Brown intervened to prevent a transfer of water rights. Seven years on, Nestlé has made little discernible progress. Following another protracted dispute, in 2009 the company abandoned entirely efforts to construct a plant in McCloud, Calif. Mr. Zimmerman says he’s worried the company’s patience might wear thin. “We’re hoping they’re sticking this out,” he says. “I mean, they’ve waited this long. They might as well wait a couple of years more.”

Nestlé has been thwarted in finding a backup well in Ontario, albeit primarily by hydrology. In 2008, Nestlé considered siting a backup well near its Puslinch plant. But the property straddled two water basins; despite considerable testing, Nestlé couldn’t figure out which it was pumping from. Because Nestlé was permitted to draw water from one basin and not the other, the obstacle proved insurmountable.

Middlebrook presents its own technical challenges. It’s artesian (meaning it’s under pressure), which makes testing more difficult. “If you take the cap off, it would naturally flow 15 metres above ground surface,” says Ms. Simard. The greater challenges, though, are human. Ms. McCaw’s organization, Save Our Water, wants a moratorium on new water permits while further studies are conducted. Pointing to new subdivisions sprouting up around Elora and nearby Fergus, she wonders whether the area’s groundwater can accommodate both Nestlé’s pumping and future expected growth. She cites projections suggesting the population of the Township of Centre Wellington (which includes Elora) will grow about 40% over the next 15 years, from today’s 27,000 to more than 41,000. “New residents and business coming in are going to need water,” she says.

Ian MacRae grew up in a farmhouse adjacent to the Middlebrook property; his father owned the land in the 1960s and operated a chicken-processing plant there. Back then, water was used to thaw and wash chickens, then spread on nearby fields. He recalls that his godfather went cross-country skiing along Elora’s gorge one winter. “He saw something odd in the cracks of the rocks,” Mr. MacRae says. “On closer examination, he noticed it was chicken fat.” The plant ceased spraying contaminated water on the fields afterward, he says.

Mr. MacRae now lives about a kilometre away in the nearby community of Salem, where he has a 20-metre well. He worries large-scale pumping on the Middlebrook property could draw contaminants into the aquifer, or might lower groundwater levels. “If I’m suddenly inconvenienced by not having any water in my well, then I’m going to have to drill a deeper well. And that’s obviously going to be at my cost.”

Nestlé and its defenders frequently point out that the entire bottling industry’s water consumption is small in relation to other industries. Nestlé’s Mr. Challinor, for instance, cites data showing Nestlé and other bottlers extract just 0.6 per cent of permitted water from the Grand River watershed, in which Elora is situated. (Agricultural irrigation accounts for more than 6 per cent, while aggregate washing and livestock both account for 4 per cent each.)

Jane Lazgin, a spokesperson for Nestlé Waters North America, believes the obvious link between her company’s products and water consumption helps explain the challenges it faces when winning communities over. “I don’t think people necessarily look at other beverages, or their blue jeans, or their iPhones or the tires on their car and say, ‘Oh my goodness, they use so much water,’” she says.

Water activists are hoping to train the spotlight on many other industries that are heavy water-consumers. “The focus does tend to be very much on Nestlé,” says Ian Stephen, an organizer for WaterWealth, a non-profit based in Chilliwack, B.C. He laments that other large industrial water users largely escape scrutiny. “Agriculture is the biggest user in B.C., and really gets overlooked,” he says. “Our agricultural practices will certainly have to be looked at, especially as things get drier and drier.”

Five key Nestlé disputes

Map data ©2016 Google, INEGI
PREVIOUS
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1. Aberfoyle, Ont.

Dispute duration: 2012-2013

When Nestlé applied to renew its water-taking permit in Erin, Ont., in 2012, the province sought to impose new mandatory pumping restrictions during droughts. Nestlé retorted that other municipal or commercial water users didn’t face such restrictions and proposed the requirements be relaxed. The Ministry backed down and reached an agreement with the company, but three NGOs — Wellington Water Watchers, Ecojustice and the Council of Canadians — intervened and persuaded the Environmental Review Tribunal that the matter should receive a full hearing. Nestlé bowed out a month later, and the NGOs declared victory.

Outcome: Opponents win

INTERACTIVE BY DANIELLE WEBB AND MATTHEW MCCLEARN

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Health Canada blocked quit-smoking aid after Pfizer complaint

smoking

Health Canada blocked quit-smoking aid after Pfizer complaint

Health Canada set out to drive a Canadian-made stop-smoking aid from the market after a complaint from Pfizer Canada Inc., a pharmaceutical company that makes competing products, a judge has found.

In its first few months on the market, a lozenge called Resolve, billed as a natural way to stop or reduce smoking, sold more than 250,000 cartons across Canada, according to its manufacturer, The Winning Combination Inc. (TWC) of Winnipeg. Then Pfizer wrote Health Canada a letter saying the product posed health risks. (That same year – 2007 – Pfizer sought and obtained Health Canada approval for a quit-smoking prescription medication, Champix.)

What followed, according to a scathing ruling from Federal Court Justice James Russell, was a process in which a lone bureaucrat, Robin Marles, set up roadblocks to Resolve while other Health Canada officials stood by or supported his efforts. At every stage, as the company tried to make its case for a licence to sell Resolve, Dr. Marles, the director of Health Canada’s clinical trials bureau, denied it any fairness, Justice Russell said. (Under Health Canada rules at the time, a company could sell a natural health product while its application for a licence was under consideration.)

Checks and balances “were abandoned and those with the authority and responsibility to make the decision simply followed Dr. Marles’ directions, whose directing mind appears to have lost all sense of objectivity and procedural fairness as he attempted to shore up his own misperceived conclusions,” Justice Russell wrote in his 68-page ruling this month.

The result: Resolve was wrongly banned from the market for eight years, he said. Rather than send the matter back to Health Canada to rethink whether Resolve meets its standards – the normal course for this situation, he said – he ordered Health Canada to approve a natural-health-product licence within 30 days.

“To simply return the matter for reconsideration to a system that has shown itself to be so dysfunctional might simply plunge TWC back into the quagmire and trigger more litigation,” he said. The judge did not criticize Pfizer.

Shazad Bukhari, chief executive officer of The Winning Combination, said the company did not receive fair treatment from Health Canada. “The sense of fair play you would expect and you hope the government would provide isn’t always the case,” he said in an interview.

Dr. Marles would not comment when reached by phone.

A spokeswoman for Health Canada said the department is appealing the court’s decision. “The department remains committed to a fair and impartial review of all health product licence applications,” she said.

Pfizer said it had been beyond reproach. “Pfizer Canada always conducts itself appropriately,” a spokesman said by e-mail after receiving a copy of the ruling from The Globe and Mail. “There is absolutely no conclusion or statement in the court decision to indicate otherwise.”

Justice Russell said that after Pfizer complained to Health Canada in mid-2007, the government claimed Resolve contained a substance drawn from passionflower, and would be harmful. The company showed independent lab tests confirming the product contained no passionflower, and Health Canada ultimately accepted that it was not harmful.

Next, the judge said, Health Canada said Resolve was not a natural health product, defined as one whose key ingredient occurs in nature, or is a synthetic version of a natural product. Instead, it said, Resolve was a drug, and would need a more thorough process to prove its effectiveness.

“Dr. Marles has conceded that he had no evidence that the active ingredient in Resolve was not a [natural health product]. All he had was his own opinion,” Justice Russsell wrote. “And yet Dr. Marles actively sought to have the Active Ingredient delisted … without giving any notice to TWC that classification was a problem.”

Then came a “reconsideration,” at the company’s request, in which Health Canada retained an expert – Dr. Marles’s former postdoctoral supervisor. The reconsideration came to the same conclusion – that the key ingredient was not natural. But the ruling said the expert had done a faulty search of a database, and missed convincing evidence that it was natural.

Finally, accepting that Resolve was a natural product and not a drug, Health Canada said it would need conclusive evidence it was effective – a standard that it had not applied to any other natural health products, or even to drugs, Justice Russell found.

Even in its handling of the court case, Health Canada allowed Dr. Marles to serve as its front man, the source of all evidence about how it handled Resolve.

“He is an advocate for himself. Health Canada remains firmly in the hands of Dr. Marles and is apparently unwilling to provide the court with reliable factual evidence from others in the system who were involved,” Justice Russell wrote in the ruling. Health Canada never should have fought to uphold Dr. Marles’s conduct in court, the judge said.

So reprehensible was the government’s conduct, he said, that Health Canada must pay The Winning Combination’s legal costs, which Mr. Bukhari estimates at $1-million. The company laid off 15 employees, at a time when it had just 35, and its suppliers laid off more, Mr. Bukhari said, adding that the company now has 100 employees, and plans to launch Resolve in Europe, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere.

Pfizer’s quit-smoking prescription medication, Champix, was described in a Canadian Medical Association Journal article in 2011 as being linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Health Canada has published warnings, but has allowed it to be sold.

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Glyphosate Found in Popular Breakfast Foods

bagel.jpg

Analysis revealed the presence of glyphosate in oatmeal, bagels, eggs, potatoes and even non-GMO soy coffee creamer. Photo credit: iStock

Glyphosate Found in Popular Breakfast Foods

Alliance for Natural Health USA | April 19, 2016 9:51 am
Today, the Alliance for Natural Health-USA released the results of food safety testing conducted on an assortment of popular breakfast foods. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing revealed the presence of glyphosate—the most widely used agricultural herbicide—in 10 of the 24 food samples tested.

 

Glyphosate is an herbicide developed in 1970 by Monsanto, who began developing genetically modified (GMO) crops designed to withstand high doses of Roundup. Today, these seeds account for 94 percent of all soybeans and 89 percent of all corn being produced. The prevalence of these crops means that hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate are dumped onto the land every year.

“We decided to do this testing to see just how ubiquitous this toxin has become in our environment,” explained Gretchen DuBeau, executive and legal director of the Alliance for Natural Health-USA. “We expected that trace amounts would show up in foods containing large amounts of corn and soy. However, we were unprepared for just how invasive this poison has been to our entire food chain.”

Analysis revealed the presence of glyphosate in oatmeal, bagels, eggs (including the organic variety), potatoes and even non-GMO soy coffee creamer. Glyphosate was recently named a probable carcinogen or cancer-causing agent, by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Glyphosate has been linked to increases in levels of breast, thyroid, kidney, pancreatic, liver and bladder cancers and is being served for breakfast, lunch and dinner around the world,” said DuBeau. “The fact that it is showing up in foods like eggs and coffee creamer, which don’t directly contact the herbicide, shows that it’s being passed on by animals who ingest it in their feed. This is contrary to everything that regulators and industry scientists have been telling the public.”

The presence of glyphosate in eggs and dairy supports the fear that the chemical is accumulating in the tissue of these animals and therefore presumably also in human tissue, in a process called bioaccumulation.

Furthermore, testing for glyphosate alone does not even give us the full picture. The amounts detected by the ELISA test for glyphosate do not include any analogs of glyphosate, such as N-Acetylglyphosate, which is used by DuPont in its GMO formulations. These analogs may also be present in food and would add to the amount of glyphosate accumulated in human tissue. Glyphosate and its analogs are known endocrine disruptors for humans.

Watch this video produced ANH-USA on the findings of the study:

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LSL Media – Trustee Bruce Johnson on school closures in district 67 (Penticton & Summerland)

One on one with Trustee Bruce Johnson on school closures in district 67

April 23, 2016
 
by Kevin Proteau of Locals Independent Media 
  (VIDEO INTERVIEW BELOW ARTICLE)
We had the extreme pleasure of having a one on one discussion with Bruce Johnson,  School District Trustee,  who was, and still is, opposed to the closure of any school in School District 67. Trout Creek Elementary School in Summerland, and McNicoll Park Middle School and West Bench Elementary School in Penticton are all targeted for closure. Bruce Johnson was the only trustee who voted not to close any schools believing that we should wait one more year and see what monies come in from  the Province.
 
In our interview with Bruce we discussed the proposal, ” Summerland Solutions”,  that has been submitted by a passionate group of concerned citizens.   In it they proposed ways in which, by keeping Trout Creek and Middle bench schools open, the district could actually have a surplus of $422 000 dollars.( Visit our LSL video media page to view hearing ) The district has agreed to apply due diligence and look at the solutions presented and will have a hearing on the decision on May 9, 2016 at 6:30pm at  425 Jermyn Ave, Penticton.
 
We also discussed  The B.C. Trustee’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) that took place this past week in Vancouver. Six of seven of District 67’s Trustee’s attended, as well as the Superintendent and Treasurer. We have yet to get the costs from the 2016 AGM but we were able to obtain the district’s  costs of the  2015 AGM. It was roughly $1500 a head for a grand total of $11,976.28. They hold two AGMs a year.
 
Just at the end of our discussion with Bruce,  LSL brought up an article we stumbled upon from the April 17, 2016 issue of the Vancouver Sun. The article exposes how our Provincial Government is collecting money from School Districts and Regional Health Authorities under the pretense of remaining carbon neutral. We will follow up with what we learned from this article and  research further into the Carbon Tax and Credit that is causing a financial burden for our public services. We feel that is VERY IMPORTANT that every parent, school teacher and citizen in B.C.  review and research on their own. You will find a number of quotes and links below that will assist you in this research.
 (SEE BELOW)

Is Carbon tax or Carbon Fraud responsible for the closing of schools? You decide! 

Summary of Research

Note : In 2010, the B.C. government starting making schools, hospitals and universities reduce their net carbon emissions to zero, and as a result the public institutions were forced to pay to have outside projects reduce carbon emissions in their stead. These reductions are often called carbon credits or offsets.

Note : British Columbia had paid out $53.4 million to buy these carbon offsets from major forest companies such as Canfor and Interfor, energy companies such as ARC Resources, and increasingly from a First Nation consortium whose traditional territory encompass the Great Bear Rainforest on B.C.’s central coast, according to data assembled by The Vancouver Sun.

Note : “In 2014 alone, the province purchased $10.2 million in carbon offsets from the Great Bear initiative.”

Note : Under the program, the province put a $25 a tonne price on the carbon emissions of the schools, hospitals and universities to provide an incentive for them to reduce emissions. (The carbon offsets from industry have been purchased at an average price of less than $12 a tonne).

Note : schools, hospital and universities have reduced emissions by 7.4 per cent or just under 63,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, according to government data.

Note : And there are some public sector emissions under B.C.’s rules that have been deemed exempt from having to be offset — such as carbon emissions from school buses and the B.C. Transit fleet. Emissions from those exempt categories have increased about 20,000 tonnes between 2010 and 2014.

Note : The B.C. Liberal government has shown no intent to dismantle its carbon offset system, and B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said there are no plans to make any changes.

Note : “I would hold this up as a really good example of how to take incentives and turn them into benefits that are pretty direct,” Polak said in an interview.

Note : She is referring to the $14.5 million a year the province provides to schools, hospitals and universities to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Note : In essence, the B.C. government is giving back money they collected from the $25 a tonne of emissions, but it has to be directed to emission-reduction projects.

Note : NDP environment critic George Heyman says the province’s carbon trading scheme is a shell game.

Note : “The real question here is why are they taking additional money from schools and hospitals instead of letting them upgrade and retrofit their buildings for energy conservation directly,” he said.

Note : Asked why the province does not simply let the public institutions keep the money, which they could plow into projects to reduce carbon emissions, particularly given hospitals and colleges are already paying a $30 a tonne carbon tax as well, Polak said the $25 a tonne additional charge provides a needed incentive to change behaviour.

Note : Asked why this additional $25 charge was then not applied to the private sector as well, where there are much larger gains to be had in emission reductions, Polak said that question may be answered in the province’s updated climate change plan expected to be released this year.

Note : After shutting down the Pacific Carbon Trust in 2013, and moving its operations into the secretariat, the B.C. Liberal government said it would save $5.6 million a year and use only five government workers.
Note : The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been highly critical of the Pacific Carbon Trust, and continues to have concerns of the program now being run within government.

Note : B.C. spokesman Jordan Bateman called the carbon system a farce, saying the program is not about reducing emissions but a public relations exercise so the government can call itself carbon neutral.

Note : He noted that replacing boilers sounded like routine maintenance.

Note : More fundamentally, he said most people would not consider schools and hospitals priorities for reducing carbon emissions, said Bateman. “The whole program seems really ridiculous.”

Research Links

AN AUDIT OF CARBON NEUTRAL GOVERNMENT (Must Read)
https://www.bcauditor.com/sites/default/files/publications/2013/report_14/report/OAG%20Carbon%20Neutral.pdf

Public Accounts (Ministry of Finance BC)
http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/pa/14_15/Public%20Accounts%2014-15.pdf

Things that still make you go “Hmmm” (Must Read)
http://northerninsights.blogspot.ca/2012/03/things-that-make-you-go-hmmm.html

Pacific Carbon Trust Finacials (Lots of information 2008/14)
http://www.pacificcarbontrust.com/corporate-documents/

Pacific Carbon Trust Folded Into B.C. Government In Cost-Cutting Move (Article)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/19/pacific-carbon-trust_n_4303711.html

BC Conservatives Promise Pacific Carbon Trust Shutdown (Article)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/17/bc-conservatives-promise-pacific-carbon-trust_n_3104434.html

Auditor General Carbon Neutral Report Scalds BC Government (Article)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/27/auditor-general-carbon-neutral-report_n_2965552.html

B.C. Taxpayers Pay Millions in Carbon Corporate Welfare–Again (Article)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jordan-bateman/carbon-bc_b_1723907.html

Why Fear B.C.’s Clean Energy Policy? (Article)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/andrew-weaver/bc-clean-energy-policy_b_1034296.html

Meaning of “Secretariat” (Related to the change to Pacific Carbon Trust)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretariat_%28administrative_office%29

Carbon Neutral Local Government (Review Material)
http://www.toolkit.bc.ca/carbon-neutral-government

The following links are for Deloitte, this firm is presently working with the provincial government carbon tax dept! (Research Connection)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deloitte

http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/global-report-2015.html

Deloitte works with the Sinularity University! (Research Connection)
http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/strategy/solutions/deloitte-singularity-university-alliance.html

Sinularity University (Research Connection)
http://singularityu.org/