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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Reevely writes about the stench of corporate corruption hanging over a privately-sponsored premiers’ conference. And Paul Willcocks nicely contrasts the professed belief by politicians that campaign contributions don’t unduly policy against the expectations of everybody else affected by the political system – including big donors themselves: Most people figure that money matters. That when someone who gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to a party calls a politician, they get access and a chance to ask for favours. That they are buying special treatment.

The people taking in all that cash, unsurprisingly, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Glen McGregor reports on Michael Sona’s conviction as part of the Cons’ voter suppression in 2011. But both Michael den Tandt and Sujata Dey emphasize that Sona’s conviction was based on his being only one participant in the wider Robocon scheme – and that Stephen Harper and company remain fully responsible for covering up the rest of it.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar duly mocks Tony Clement’s attempt to talk up open government while serving as one of the least accountable ministers in the most secretive Canadian government ever.

- And Justin Ling discusses (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Green looks at Quebec as a prime example of selective austerity – with tax cuts and other goodies for the wealthy considered sacrosanct, and well-connected insiders being paid substantial sums of public money to tell citizens they’ll have to make do with less: In a move that seems perfectly symbolic of the sort of politics his government represents, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced this week that the five members of the government commission charged with reviewing government programs and recommending where to make cuts will be paid the tidy sum of (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: FOAD #Tarsands

With the mountain of evidence piling up against dirty tarsand bitumen extraction, those who’ve sucked on the oilpatch teat too long to maintain any perspective, are desperate to save face.

Some think saving face means making fun of mine.

@saskboy New compelling evidence that saskboys goatee is a climate change denier. @JJRossi_ k I'm done now. http://t.co/yVjz20y1Lk— FWC (@welloiledgun) August 09, 2014

Federal government has spent $40 million in promoting the #oilsands: study ht.ly/A7NZ2 cc @CleanEnergyCan http://t.co/RsqMfOXKlJ— Vancouver Observer (@VanObserver) August 09, 2014

@saskboy @JJRossi_ @Fitzzer777 I am (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: On conscience-based medical exemptions

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is currently reviewing its Human Rights Code policy on conscience-based exemptions for medical professionals, and their effect on access to medical services.

This review was sparked by a number of news reports of doctors in Ontario and Alberta refusing to prescribe birth control because of their religious beliefs. In some of those cases, patients were refused in clinics where there was only one doctor on duty.

Concurrently, south of the border, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of a corporation’s right to deny medical insurance to its employees when doing (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

This story out of The Star hits at two major problems of the Harper government – an inability to take environmental concerns seriously, and a desire to limit access to critical information by the media and citizens.

“Environment Canada’s enforcement branch asked a spokesman to “limit information” given to reporters about how long it took to launch a federal investigation into a serious Alberta oilsands leak last summer. The comments were included in more than 100 pages of emails obtained by the Star that were generated in response to questions from journalists last summer about the mysterious leak in (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: "Limiting information" on oilsands probe demonstrates Harper government problems with both openness and the environment

Alberta Diary: What the Fraser Institute’s numbers actually show, minus the spin: Alberta has a revenue problem, not a spending problem

The Fraser Institute: peddling conclusions that don’t match the evidence and have enough holes to store captured carbon. Actual Fraser Institute “fellows” may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: A piece of Swiss cheese, which may actually resemble the claims in a Fraser Institute press release, metaphorically speaking.

If the Fraser Institute told the whole truth, or if the mainstream media did its job, here’s the what the first sentence of the Edmonton Journal’s story about the institute’s most recent “report” could have said:

“Alberta’s finances are in better shape than other energy-producing provinces and states, says a report released (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: A meditation on the parlous state of the prime ministerial belfry: is he batty, or what?

Psychological-political portrait of Prime Minister Stephen Harper by Edmonton artist William Prettie. (Used with permission.) Below: The young Vladimir Putin; the young Stephen Harper.

When I ponder our prime minister’s mental state nowadays, my mind spontaneously offers up a rude phrase about the things bats leave behind in belfries.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has got a national election looming; he’s none too popular in certain essential parts of the country and not quite popular enough just now in others; Disgraced Canadian Senator Mike Duffy is facing a criminal trial and apparently wants the PM on the witness stand; it’s (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: You could drive one of those tar sands heavy haulers through the gaping holes in the latest Fraser Institute ‘study’ of Alberta’s finances

A worker in Fort McMurray prepares to drive this truck through the holes in the Fraser Institute’s “report,” which claims Alberta’s finances are in worse shape than those of places like Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana. Below: The Norwegian oil port of Stavanger, which, according to the Fraser Institute, doesn’t exist!

Alberta should adopt a sales tax, according to the latest press release from the Fraser Institute.

But don’t worry, the latest piece of far-right puffery from the market-fundamentalist “think tank” – which prefers to refer to this bumpf as a “study” or a “report” – only advocates a consumption (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Paths old and new: beyond the tar sands

This is an expansion of my last piece on the tar sands. The expanded form was republished as a Bullet at Socialist Project. I’ve decided to post the new bits here as they can stand alone.

On a path to nowhere

One way to see how this happens is to turn to the concept of path dependence from the language of mainstream economics. Path dependence is the idea that history matters and reverberates strongly in the present; more metaphorically, economic decision-making (whether about production or consumption) can follow increasingly well-worn grooves. Indeed in many ways, path dependence is actually a (Read more…)

calgaryliberal.com: The Alberta Liberals’ Biggest Gamble Yet

In life, and in politics, risk normally matches reward. And the Alberta Liberals are throwing a die so far, so long, that it overshadows any risk the party has ever taken on before. And the reward may in fact be massive if all goes well. Today Kent Hehr announced his run for Member of Parliament by […]

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The New York Times editorial board chimes in on how Kansas serves as an ideal test case as to illusory benefits of top-end tax cuts: The 2012 cuts were among the largest ever enacted by a state, reducing the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating all taxes on business profits that are reported on individual income returns. (No other state has ever eliminated all taxes on these pass-through businesses.) The cuts were arrogantly promoted by Mr. Brownback with the same disproven theory that Republicans have employed for decades: There will (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Financial Risk and Alberta’s Tar Sands

When it comes to global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that what matters is the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions going forward. This amounts to about 30 years of emissions at current levels – a global carbon budget that would provide the world a 66% chance of staying below 2°C. There is some debate about whether an upper limit of 2°C is itself too high – it poses unacceptable and catastrophic consequences for the most vulnerable countries – but nonetheless the 2°C target has been adopted in international negotiations towards a new treaty to address climate change.

Carbon budgeting is (Read more…)

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Reflections On Canada Day: The Impact Of Canadian History

I’m writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2014, thinking about all the fascinating things I’ve read about and seen, and all the people I’ve met. One thing I’ve come across is all the different parts of Canadian history I’ve studied, and how they’ve tied into many of the recent issues we’ve faced in Canada.

Take, for instance, the recent Quebec election and the idea of separatism popping up yet again; Aboriginal people disputing developments in places like northern B.C. and Caledonia; Alberta’s development of its energy resources and the disputes it’s had with other parties over the (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Wikipedia’s Entry On Momentum

Political momentum is nothing like the momentum of physics. In the world of Newton and Einstein appearances don’t cause forces, whereas in politics, appearances are forces.

Stephen Harper became Leader of the Conservative Party in 2003, he faced two subsequent general elections before finally winning a minority government in 2006. Up until 2011 his Conservative Party only increased the number of seats it held in Parliament; since then however, the Conservative Party has only seen its numbers decline.

Thomas Mulcair became Leader of the NDP in 2012, under his guidance the New Democrats have faced numerous by-elections and instead of (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta

Hundreds of people from all over Turtle Island are currently participating in this weekend’s fifth and “final” tar sands Healing Walk, taking place in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The post Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Stephen Harper’s National Energy Program May Do More Damage Than OPEC

” I witnessed first-hand the movement of an economy from historic boom to deep recession in a matter of months. A radical, interventionist blueprint of economic nationalism, the NEP caused the oil industry to flee, businesses to close and the real estate market to crash. The lives of honest, hard-working Albertans were upended and I came to know many of those who lost their jobs and homes.” (Looking Back at Trudeau, Stephen Harper, National Post, October 5, 2000)

By 2000, Harper had left the Reform Party, and was running the National Citizens Coalition, a right-wing, anti-liberal non-profit; created initially (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Edmonton Has a Massive Waste to Biofuel Facility

The province of Alberta is usually only mentioned on this site when people are campaigning against the tar sands and the destruction of the environment. Today though, the capital of Alberta, Edmonton, has done something rather great. Edmonton is home to a large industrial-scale waste processing plant that converts what would normally go into a landfill into useful energy.

Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city’s new Waste-to-Biofuels (Read more…)

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Telus Launch Green Rooftop with Community Garden

Office building green roofs tend to be a ‘spectator sport’: look but don’t touch. Telus, one of the Big-Three telecom in Canada, launch their participatory rooftop garden in their downtown Toronto building where staff are encouraged to seed, water, weed, and harvest the vegetables. I talk to Sameer Panjwani, National Chair of Telus Green Team, to see how this environmental employee engagement initiative came to harvest.

Located in Toronto’s financial district, the thirty-floor office building is surrounded by Union Station, Air Canada Centre, Maple Leaf Square, and the under-construction new RBC headquarters. On the fifth floor of this LEED Gold (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Alberta P3 News #skpoli

Here’s some news hot out of Alberta. Only one of them is satirical.

The other satirical bit is that Saskatchewan’s Sask Party recently announced they’d be saving taxpayers millions of dollars by starting a P3 Bike Share like Stettler had. No wait, they said they were going to build P3 schools, after the Alberta model, to build schools faster.

Bill Longstaff: Alberta politicos hedge on flood mitigation

After the great flood in Calgary last year, municipal and provincial governments agreed something had to be done to prevent another such catastrophe. There were, however, no shortage of sceptics. There would be bold promises initially, they said, but the commitments would wane with time, people would start to forget, and much less would be done than promised. The sceptics, it seems, may be

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Republic of CanAlberta

It's one of the oldest and best known pictures of Stephen Harper. The Toronto nerd dressed up as an Alberta cowboy.The one who fell in so much love with that province, he tried to put a firewall around it.But it turns out that picture couldn't be more prophetic.Because when it comes to the economy, as far as his foul Con regime is concerned.There's Alberta, and then there's everybody else. Read more »

Bill Longstaff: Could Alberta go green?

With 50 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than Ontario, Alberta is Canada’s pollution province. And that makes us think of the tar sands. But it’s more than bitumen. Alberta’s electrical power generation, heavily dependent on coal, produces almost as much greenhouse gas as the tar sands. The province gets 63 per cent of its electrical power from coal, burning more than the rest of the

Bill Longstaff: Calgary, I’m forced to admit, is a world class city

I have always been inclined to ignore talk about making my city—Calgary—world class. It sounds rather desperate, a sad sort of social-climbing by civic boosters. But now it appears that Calgary really is a world class city. How can it not be when two of the world’s top newspapers declare it to be so.

The New York Times, no less, has ranked our prairie metropolis as one of the globe’s top travel

The Canadian Progressive: Poll: Albertans clearly support stronger rules for industrial greenhouse gas emissions

by: Pembina Institute | Press Release | May 23, 2014

EDMONTON — New poll results show that 76 per cent of Albertans support the Government of Alberta requiring stronger greenhouse gas performance regulations for industrial facilities.

Federal and provincial greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas sector have long been in the works, and Alberta’s existing emissions rules, the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER), are set to expire on September 1, 2014.

However, recent media reports suggest the Alberta government intends to put off announcing any changes to its existing industrial emissions regulations until the fall, attributing the (Read more…)