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Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Economist argues that lower oil prices offer an ideal opportunity to rethink our energy policy (with a focus on cleaner sources). And Mitchell Anderson offers a eulogy for Alberta’s most recent oil bender: For now the latest Alberta bender is over, and it’s time to take stock of certain destructive lifestyle choices. The budgetary cupboards are bare, yet Canada’s allegedly “richest” province has an unfunded municipal infrastructure deficit of up to $24 billion. A badly needed new cancer treatment facility has just been delayed past 2020. The long-overdue plan to build (Read more…)

Left Over: Should the CBC Walk the Proverbial Plank?

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2015/01/what-needs-to-be-said-about-cbc-scandals.html

 

The only valid argument for saving the CBC is that it has a MANDATE, coast to coast to coast, to be there for all the people of this country, to disseminate information (however flawed that process might be these days..) and news for the entire country, especially those less well-served by the media as it exists today.. Let’s be honest here, if all CBC did was make such turgid dramcoms as Republic of Doyle, King of Kensington, etc etc I would say toss it, too… But the fact that anyone anywhere in this country (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: A sales tax for Alberta?

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice recently committed heresy. Faced with plummeting oil prices and the possibility of a $500-million deficit, the premier actually encouraged discussion about adopting a sales tax.

“I don’t think Albertans generally advocate a sales tax,” he said, “but I’m prepared to be educated and to hear from people.” And he’s not alone. Even Ted Morton, former Alberta finance

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Oliver Milman reports on research showing how humanity is destroying its own environmental life support systems. And our appetite for exploitation is proving a failure even from the standpoint of the pursuit of shortsighted greed, as David Dayen considers how the recent drop in oil prices – and consequent market forces limiting further production – may affect a financial sector relying on constant expansion.

- Michael Harris offers another look at the real Stephen Harper to counter the barrage of selective imaging we’ll see throughout the year. And Bob Hepburn discusses the need (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: A Gram of Prevention is Worth a Kiloliter of Benzine

If you don’t know how to fix things, stop breaking them.

Stewart, however, said it could take months for the steam to cool and the pressure to drop. He said that means any leaks from the well could continue for months.

He also expressed doubts that a cleanup is possible

“I don’t know how you get benzine out of an aquifer. There’s no process for filtering it out. It’s basically a mix of carcinogenic chemicals into this underground water system. It’s not like you can put in a scrubber and clean it all up,” Stewart said.

“The only solution (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: The International Game Of Chicken

The current low oil prices have been characterized as a high stakes game of “chicken” between OPEC countries and “non-conventional” producing countries like Canada and more recently the US.

I don’t pretend to know the state of the books for OPEC’s countries, but I imagine they have a significant chunk of change set aside, and won’t find that prolonged low prices won’t be a particular impediment.

The extraction techniques for both Alberta’s Tar Sands, and the Shale fields in the US are much more expensive to run.  Back in August of this past year, the rumblings of “cutting costs” were (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What’s a Single Issue Prime Minister to Do?

These are not good times for Canada’s petro-prime minister.  Harper’s Holy Grail, Canadian energy superpowerdom, has sprung a leak.  Even The Globe & Mail, says bitumen no longer makes any economic sense.

If $40 a barrel still seems a ways off, consider that the benchmark price for oil sands crude is already trading in that price range. What’s more, if production from high-cost sources isn’t withdrawn from an oversupplied market, oil prices may soon be trading even lower. The first thing Canadians should recognize about the new world order for oil prices is that – contrary to what we’re (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: …on the Entrepreneurial State

With the next Canadian federal election less than a year away – and undesirables like Wayne Gretzky soon to be purged from the voter lists – I’ve been getting a lot more fundraising emails lately. As of mid-December I’d received nineteen in eighteen days. It was like a Christmas advent calendar, but in my email inbox! (Like a beleaguered Silician storekeeper, I paid my “protection money” and now they’re leaving me alone. )

Politicians are often derided for their short-term thinking, which is probably a fair criticism. If you ballpark an election cycle at roughly four years, newly-elected (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: A Little Heresy – Alberta Style

So, according to Premier Prentice, the downturn in oil prices is going to create an $11 Billion hole in provincial revenues, and is now talking about putting the brakes on all kinds of infrastructure spending, including a new cancer hospital in Calgary.

Okay, that’s a significant chunk of change.  Let’s talk about this for a moment.

As the leader of the governing party, Mr. Prentice has a responsibility to all Albertans to ensure that the machinery of government continues to operate smoothly.  Over the last 25 years, we have seen the government make further tax cuts all over (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On The WRP Collapse

Much has been made of the WRP’s collapse in Alberta this past week.  Everything from speculation about the role of various people, to Ms. Smith more or less admitting that she was being undermined by the Social Conservative rump of the party.  

Back when the WRP was just getting itself going, and Ms. Smith was a mere candidate for the leadership, I had thought that the WRP was going to follow the same trajectory that Preston Manning’s Reform party had back in the 80s.  Start off with some reasonable, if unrealistic dreams about a more open, democratic government; (Read more…)

Left Over: Reflections on Defections….

 

ANALYSIS

MP Glenn Thibeault’s defection leaves the NDP feeling ‘hurt’ Sudbury MP’s decision to join provincial Liberals leaves former party searching for answers

By Rosemary Barton, CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2014 11:00 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 11:00 AM ET

9 Wildrose MLAs, including Danielle Smith, cross to Alberta Tories Progressive Conservative members say they’re willing to look beyond past grievances

CBC News Posted: Dec 17, 2014 11:09 AM MT Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 9:36 AM MT

 

I think that ex=NDP Thibeault crossing the floor to the Liberals was typical political expediency, although the fact (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Harper Has No Plan B

The Hill times regarding the recent plunge in oil, and unspent money on renewable energy:

Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said the report is evidence the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) has favoured Alberta’s oil and gas industry at the expense of other sectors.

“We’re not nearly dead last in climate change progress for nothing, we worked at it, and we worked at it by emphasizing the oil sands in preference to everything else,” he said.

“So when we have this impending oil deflation, the price of oil deflation, all of our eggs (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: SaskPower, How’s That 14 Year Test Going?

Dear SaskPower,

I’m interested in seeing the statistics regarding the electricity generated by the test panels installed on the Saskatchewan Science Centre, in the attached picture, and as mentioned in the below quote from your website a couple years ago.

Solar research: In 2000, we installed a photovoltaic array at the Saskatchewan Science Centre for research purposes. Results showed that the cost savings realized from the solar energy system cannot effectively offset the capital costs for installation. As a result, this technology is better suited to niche applications where connection to the grid is uneconomical or when passive solar enhancement (Read more…)

Too Much Geography: An Open Letter to Premier Jim Prentice on Gay-Straight Alliances

Dear Premier Prentice;

I graduated from high school in Alberta ten years ago, and I am gay. I like to think there are more interesting things about me, but these are the relevant points right now. At my school, there was no such thing as a gay-straight alliance, but you might know that already – I went to the same private school as your daughter.

We’ve met a couple of times, not that I’d expect you to remember me – I gave you a demonstration at our school’s science night that you seemed interested enough in, given you were busy (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Legislatively “Balancing” Human Rights

There is a simple, time-honoured rule about attempting to “balance” human rights classes in legislation so that it works out a particular way every time, and it goes like this:

You can’t.

That is a court’s role. When two human rights classes are put into conflict in a way that creates hardships for both, a court becomes the arbiter, weighing the context of a given situation in order to determine which party has experienced the most undue hardship.

Legislating such a way that one party’s rights always supersedes the other creates a hierarchy of rights, and defeats the whole (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Putin congratulates Prentice on LGBTQ bill

Russian President Vladimir Putin hunting for grizzly bears. Will Alberta Premier Jim Prentice join him? Below: Mr. Prentice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Alberta Premier Jim Prentice today for his government’s effort yesterday to make it easy to deny the existence of LGBTQ Albertans by making it difficult for students to talk about LGBTQ issues.

“No one is allowed to talk about gay people in Russia and now Alberta is following our Russian example thanks to the leadership of Premier Prentice,” President Putin said. “Albertans will find, just as we Russians have, that if you don’t talk about something, there (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: From Ground to Store: We Look at Carbon Neutral Wines

When you see a product that says carbon neutral, what does it mean? I recently enjoyed a bottle of Italy’s number one selling wine in Canada, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio. Each bottle has a green label that says “Carbon neutral from ground to store. Measured and offset with Carbonzero”. It is produced in Italy, imported into Canada by Lifford Wine, and certified by Carbonzero as carbon neutral. I investigate its Italian supply chain and production, shipping to Canada, and sales and consumption in Canada to learn what it means to be carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality, or having a (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Are Gore, Suzuki, and Neil Young Hypocrites for Using Oil?

No. They are victims of circumstance, and despite their wealth and fame, they alone cannot change ‘the system’.

A voice from the Facebook-sphere intones: “I appreciate your commitment and respect what you are trying to achieve but bashing fossil fuels while you continue to use them adds no value to your cause.”

Not true. As Shane’s made plain, there’s no means for someone to hop off the oil bandwagon, because we’ve built our society around it for generations. It will take generations to leave it behind (completely), but that isn’t an argument to stop trying. Quite the opposite, (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Pipelines in every direction

Our new premier, Jim Prentice, claims he is committed to making Alberta an environmental leader. That’s on Sundays, just after church. The rest of the week his commitments lie elsewhere. He made that plain in a speech to the Economic Club last week when he declared his goal is to see pipelines built in every possible direction. The Northern Gateway gushing oil west, Keystone gushing oil south

Dead Wild Roses: Premier Jim Prentice – Forgetting Simple Truths

Funny Juxtaposition of our Fossil Fuel Premier in front of a Nature themed backdrop.

I love Alberta! Where else can you see bought politicians spew unvarnished truth about who is important in Alberta and who isn’t. I skip ahead of myself though, allow me to backtrack a bit.

Reading this article from the CBC stoked up the cranky cynic in me. I wish that our politicians would make their allegiances to power less obvious.

“Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says the province has forgotten some key points about the sustainability of the energy industry and is vowing (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Whether You Support Pipelines or Not, Here’s Something We Can Surely Agree On.

No secret I’m opposed to both Kinder Morgan and Northern Gateway.  A sizeable majority of British Columbians are of the same mind but a significant minority supports the pipeline initiatives.  In situations like this it can be helpful to seek out areas of agreement, common ground.

Here’s an idea we should all be able to endorse.  If you insist on shipping Athabasca oil to Asia, why not ship oil?  That may sound facetious but it’s not.

Bad as these pipelines are, they’re made far worse by what Ottawa and Alberta want to push through them – dilbit.  Dilbit is bitumen (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Calgary inches closer to a charter

In 1867, Canada’s founding fathers created two levels of constitutional government—provincial and federal. The municipal level didn’t make the cut. This was excusable at the time. Over 80 per cent of Canadians lived on farms and in villages, so local government seemed rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things and was left to the tender mercies of the provinces.

How things have changed.

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eugene Lang discusses the importance of fiscal choice in the lead up to the 2015 federal election. And Don Cayo reminds us that the Cons’ determination to hand free money to the wealthy – most recently through income-splitting and increased TFSA limits – means that everybody else has to pay more for a lesser level of public service.

- Jordan Press reports on the latest conclusions from Canada’s Environment Commissioner, who finds the Harper Cons predictably doing nothing whatsoever to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. And Karl Nerenberg looks at the Environment Commissioner’s (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Alberta Activists Join Tar Sands Bloc at People’s Climate March

Activist members of Alberta First Nations to tell world leaders: “We will not stop fighting until we’ve stopped tar sands at the source.”

The post Alberta Activists Join Tar Sands Bloc at People’s Climate March appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Alberta tar sands claim the soul of Conservative MP Rob Merrifield

Conservative MP Rob Merrifield resigned his elected seat this week to work as Alberta Premier Jim Prentice’s leading tar sands lobbyist in Washington.

The post Alberta tar sands claim the soul of Conservative MP Rob Merrifield appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.