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The Disaffected Lib: The "Piss Away" Province

The key to understanding the dilemma is to realize that Tar Sand, bitumen, is just a part of Alberta’s oil history.  The province has also produced a vast amount of conventional crude oil.  It’s actually produced and exported a good deal more conventional crude oil than Norway.  That brings us to the starting point of the conversation. The CBC today features another one of those awkward, cringe-worthy stories about Alberta and Norway and why Albertans are wallowing in another recession while their Norwegian counterparts are sitting on a mountain of wealth.  The easy answer is that Albertans, while deeply Conservative, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Babad writes that we should be glad to see jobs being created in the public sector since the private sector is doing nothing to offer opportunities for Canadians. And Andrew Jackson discusses how Quebec’s progressive economic model has served it well, while offering an example which other provinces should be eager to follow.

- Konrad Yakabuski weighs in on the need for pharmacare to make an essential element of health care universally accessible. But while Brent Patterson agrees that we should be pursuing pharmacare, he also warns that ill-advised trade agreements may (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Prentice makes nice to labour

When governments find themselves in a financial bind they tend to make the civil service their first budget target. Overpaid public servants is a popular cliche. Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, his government facing a $7-billion deficit, appeared to be taking that tried and true approach, calling public sector wages unsustainable and pointing to $2.6-billion of wage increases over the next three

Terahertz: Edmonton Journal grants space to debunked anti-WiFi conspiracies

Some parents in Alberta are trying to get schools to ban wi-fi on baseless fears and scare-mongering. The kicker: these same parents are fine with wifi in their house. 

It’s not so much the parents who bother me in this story as the Canadian Teachers Federation, the local school councils, and particularlu the Edmonton Journal who all give far greater space to these conspiracy theories than to sound science and expertise.

Out of the 17 paragraphs in her article, journalist Andrea Sands gives just two for a response from Health Canada. She even repeats tired arguments that the World (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Why Do Catholic Schools Get Public Funding?

 

Let’s keep the magical thinking out of schools.

Let’s be upfront. The demographic situation in Alberta in the days gone past dictated that we have two school boards. Keeping the religious happy was much higher on up on the agenda in the 20th century. I get that.

It is, however, the 21st century. Religious cotton-brained ideas and the accompanying adherence to magical thinking should have no place in a secular society.

As a teacher I find it distasteful that fellow members of my profession are actively teaching ‘magic-as-reality’ to naive children who look to teachers (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: A Closer Look at Oil and Climate Change.

Stephen Harper will not be pleased.  The Carnegie Endowment is fingering his cherished Tar Sands.

Not all oil is created equal.  Sweet crude, of the Saudi sort, comes out of the ground almost ready to use.  It’s pumped out of the ground easily, free of most contaminants (sulphur, water, sand, natural gas).  The amount of energy required to extract and refine a barrel of oil is modest.  That, then, provides the benchmarks by which other oils from other places can be judged.

A new report from the Carnegie Endowment, “Know Your Oil: Creating a Global Oil-Climate Index,” (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Jim Prentice’s Broken Mirror – Refreshingly Arrogant.

Hey Jimmy Boy, you certainly have shown where you priorities are and what you think of Albertans.

I don’t blame you though; we let you take power basically through acclimation – no fucks were given, as long as got rid of that WOMAN who was single-handedly ruining the province. The flyby-night parachute (Hi Steven Mandel and other assorted Tory hacks! Your exercise in nepotism and narcissistic self-aggrandizement is noted) elections that merely waved at the trappings of democracy, that shit was cool here in Alberta where the electorate gave an enthusiastic “hell ya“. It’s all (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Prentice is right—Albertans are to blame

If Albertans want to know why their government is having budget problems, Premier Jim Prentice advises them to “look in the mirror.” His comment went, as they say, viral. Opposition leaders have demanded he apologize for his insult to the people of this province. “I was really quite surprised that he would come out with something that was so insulting and so disconnected from the reality in

The Disaffected Lib: Jimbo Prentice Pokes Albertans in the Eye With a Sharp Stick.

Well, this is certain something.  Alberta’s unelected premier, Jim Prentice, better learn to bite his tongue.

Prentice has sparked a bit of a furor by blaming his constituents for the mess the province now finds itself in.

Premier Jim Prentice is facing a social media backlash after telling Albertans to “look in the mirror” to find who is responsible for the province’s current financial woes.

Speaking on CBC’s Alberta@Noon Wednesday, Premier Jim Prentice told host Donna McElligott that “in terms of who is responsible, we need only look in the mirror. Basically, all of us have had the best of (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Alberta woes—It ain’t the economy, stupid

Here in Alberta, energy superpower, we are going through the bust part of one of our infamous boom and bust cycles. The premier is weighing the government’s options. Cutting MLA salaries, imposing health-care premiums and hiking post-secondary tuition are some of the ideas mentioned. He has even floated the possibility of adjusting the province’s regressive flat tax and—the heavens tremble—

Political Eh-conomy: Stagnant wages for over 80% of Canadian workers

Are wages in Canada stagnant or growing? The short answer is another question: do you live in an oil boom province? There’s a fairly common meme that while Canada, like the US, saw wages stagnate, this is no longer true. Indeed, overall wage growth has picked up since the last crisis.

“Stagnant real wages” is yet another US talking point imported into Canada without checking the data pic.twitter.com/Z6fg2G4uMZ

— Stephen Gordon (@stephenfgordon) December 29, 2014

The baggage that comes with this meme is that we here in reasonable, responsible Canada shouldn’t care about all those things that the US and (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Even the Fraser Institute Can’t Look the Other Way But It Can’t Tell the Truth Either.

There’s a bumper sticker line that could double for the provincial motto of Alberta:  Dear God, Please Give Us One More Oil Boom and, This Time, We Promise We Won’t Piss It Away.Now, with another boom gone bust, Alberta has fallen back into a raging deficit and even the uber-Right Fraser Institute can’t bite its tongue although it can’t face facts either.  Naturally, the neo-liberal Fraser Institute sees workers’ wages, especially government workers’ wages, as the culprit.

Ten years ago, before the boom started in earnest, Alberta spent $8,965 (in 2013 dollars) per person in program spending. (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: “Anti-Petroleum” RCMP Explodes Gasoline In Their Cars’ Engines

RCMP called ‘anti-petroleum’ critics (aka anyone concerned about climate change) a potential security threat http://t.co/sollGvyhdB #cdnpoli

— Keith Stewart (@climatekeith) February 18, 2015

The RCMP have displayed Climate Change Denial symptoms. This is bad for Canada, because if the police tasked with interfering in climate change related activism do not understand the science that drives the determined actions of peaceful activists, then they’re more likely to act against protesters without a measure of human sympathy.

@climatekeith @JohnKleinRegina Like these "dangerous" people:) pic.twitter.com/wZ71TpEu2n

— margaret resin (@margaretresin) February 18, 2015

Remember that RCMP bombed an oil installation just (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Tweeter’s Block

"#TweetersBlock" is a terrible thing. It doesn't mean you've nothing to write, rather you can't write it in under 140 characters.

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) February 16, 2015

I’ve a mild case of Tweeter’s block. I guess that means I need to write on my blog instead.

"#TweetersBlock" is a terrible thing. It doesn't mean you've nothing to write, rather you can't write it in under 140 characters.

— Saskboy K. (@saskboy) February 16, 2015

What’s going on? A whole lot of nothing, and a lot of somethings simmering. My to-do list is impossibly long as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Stanford highlights the fact that a deficit obsession may have little to do with economic development – and calls out the B.C. Libs for pretending that the former is the same as the latter: I found especially objectionable the article’s uncritical cheerleading for expenditure restraint, praising the government for below-average per capita spending on health care and education, and for welfare rates that are “frozen in time.”  Why are these things assumed to be “good”? To the contrary, the lasting debts that B.C. is accumulating by underinvesting so badly (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to end your week.

- Simon Wren-Lewis nicely describes the austerity con (coming soon in extreme form to an Alberta near you): ‘Mediamacro’ is the term I use to describe macroeconomics as it is portrayed in the majority of the media. Mediamacro has a number of general features. It puts much more emphasis than conventional macroeconomics does on the financial markets, and on the views of participants in those markets. It prefers simple stories to more complex analysis. As part of this, it is fond of analogies between governments and individuals, even when those analogies are generally seen (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Belief in Anti-Vaccination Makes You Dangerous (and Stupid).

We have a newspaper of record of sorts here in Alberta. I’ll be quoting from the Edmonton Journal to cover the amazing amount of stupid it takes to somehow think that vaccines are linked to autism.

1. They are not. [Pubmed, Google Scholar.]

2. See #1.

“One in five Albertans believes some vaccines can cause autism, according to a new poll that suggests a big segment of the population is wary about a perceived medical side-effect that has been widely debunked by scientists.

The telephone poll of 2,838 respondents found that 21 per cent (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Alberta – Yet Again, Number One!

It seems that Alberta has claimed another world record.  This time it’s for the magnitude of a fracking-induced earthquake, a 4.4-magnitude temblor last week at Fox Creek.

“The location of the earthquake is consistent with being induced by hydraulic fracturing operations,” confirmed Peter Murchland, a spokesman for the Alberta Energy Regulator.

“The AER regards all changes in seismicity that have the potential to indicate an increased risk associated with hydrocarbon production seriously,” Murchland added.

…For years industry and fracking experts argued the technology wouldn’t cause quakes that could be felt on the surface.

But specialists in earthquake hazards such (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Good article on "vetting" and opposition research – don’t embarrass the team

Wanted to share this post by former Alberta NDP candidate Marc Power discussing the political vetting process for candidates. As someone who used to do exactly the kind of opposition research Mr. Power talks about in the post, I found it an interesting perspective.

Mr. Power also talks about how important the role of “the team” is in modern politics, and how one individual candidate who has a scandal emerge that could have otherwise been caught in background vetting can knock an entire election campaign off-track, most notably the case of Allan Hunsperger, the anti-gay “Lake of Fire” Wildrose candidate (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Doug Saunders observes that Syriza’s strong election victory may signal a sea change as to whether austerity is inevitable, while Adnan Al-Daini notes that the financial sector can no longer take for granted that its profits will be placed above the interests of actual people. Which means that Joe Oliver may get even more lonely lecturing Canada’s provinces that the economic beatings will continue until morale improves.

- Speaking of whom, Canadians for Tax Fairness highlights how Oliver has long known that the Cons’ income splitting plans represent nothing more than a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress notes that the Cons’ economic track record is one of eliminating well-paying jobs in favour of lower-wage, more-precarious work. And Jim Stanford follows up on why we shouldn’t believe the Cons’ spin about deficits: I think that a more fruitful and principled line of attack on the government’s approach would focus on these obvious fiscal and economic errors by the government: The October tax cuts were premature; it is tax cuts, not oil prices, which have jeopardized the attainment of a balanced budget.  The Conservatives broke their own promise in implementing (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Totally Unbelievable Transformation of Stephen Harper

Even by the standards of the monstrous Stephen Harper, whose many images reflect the many warring voices in his head, it's an amazing transformation. Or mutation.For nine years he was the Oily Messiah, the maniacal missionary who once told an audience in Britain that developing the oil sands was akin to building the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids.The Father of Albertonia, and of course, Big Oil's favourite pimp…Read more »

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Why Is Canada Selling LAVs to Saudi Arabia?

This shocking news story came up about a year ago, but it’s back in the news because oil crashed, and Alberta tarsand hillbillies freaked out about Saudi Arabia (finally).

The Light Armored Vehicles will be used against civilians protesting injustice in a theocratic, and authoritarian country.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Larry Elliott writes that at least some business leaders are paying lip service to the idea that inequality needs to be reined in. But Alec Hogg points out that at least some of the privileged few are using their obscene wealth to remove themselves from the rest of humanity, rather than lifting a finger to help anybody else.

- Meanwhile, Joseph Stiglitz observes that sheer stubborn stupidity on the part of austerians is doing untold damage to the global economy. But Jon Henley notes that in advance of Syriza’s election victory, a new (Read more…)

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…)