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Federal government, environmental groups take the stand in Sask. carbon tax challenge




Groups in favour of the federal carbon tax will take the stand in Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal on Thursday morning.

Lawyers representing the Government of Canada, along with environmental groups like the David Suzuki Foundation, will argue in favour of the federal government’s plan to put a national price on carbon.

“There’s more pollution per person in Saskatchewan than any other part of Canada,” Amir Attaran, a professor with the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, told reporters outside of court on Wednesday.

“When the Saskatchewan government says they’re doing a lot, they’re only doing a lot if last place counts.”

Amir Attaran, a professor with the University of Ottawa’s eco-justice environmental law clinic, is counsel for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, one of 16 intervenors in the legal case. (CBC News)

Attaran is counsel for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, which is among the intervenors that support the federal government’s position.

On Wednesday, lawyers representing the Government of Saskatchewan argued the federal government is violating provincial jurisdiction with its price on pollution.

CBC Saskatchewan reporter Adam Hunter is in court to cover the legal challenge. Follow what’s happening through his tweets below. For those on mobile, click here.

However, lawyers for the federal government are expected to argue national carbon pricing should be allowed because climate change is a matter of national concern, and falls under the peace, order and good government clause of the Constitution. 

We just don’t feel confidence that it’s going to help the environment.– Todd MacKay, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Sixteen groups, ranging from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) to the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan made submissions on Wednesday against the tax.

“This is going to take so much money from taxpayers,” said CTF executive director Todd MacKay. “We just don’t feel confidence that it’s going to help the environment.”

In court, one of the lawyers representing Saskatchewan said the province is not arguing that climate change is real.

“The government of Saskatchewan is not made up of a bunch of climate change deniers,” lawyer Mitch McAdam said in his opening remarks to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in Regina on Wednesday morning.

“The government recognizes that climate change is a serious issue that has to be addressed and that effective measures are required to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. None of that is in dispute.”

The province argues the carbon levy is an unfair, uneven, illegal tax and that it violates provincial jurisdiction.

Court is expected to resume at 9 a.m. CST.


  • Government of Canada – 3 hours.
  • Province of British Columbia – 30 minutes.
  • The Canadian Public Health Association – 15 minutes.
  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – 15 minutes.
  • Canadian Environmental Law Association And Environmental Defence Canada – 15 minutes.
  • Assembly of First Nations – 15 minutes.
  • David Suzuki Foundation – 15 minutes.
  • Ecofiscal Commission of Canada – 15 minutes.
  • Intergenerational Climate Coalition – 15 minutes.
  • Climate Justice et. al – 15 minutes.
  • Province of Saskatchewan (reply).


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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton




OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training




Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test




While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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