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Cowichan Conversations: In Medicine Hat, Homelessness Is (Almost) Over

Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston: ‘What we’re saying to other municipalities is that you can do it, too.’ Photo: David Dodge, Green Energy Futures.

According to its mayor, Medicine Hat is ”a hardworking oil,

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Terahertz: How to lose an election

Alberta’s election continues to be far more entertaining than the one here in the UK.

Amid his party’s plummeting polling numbers, Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice needed to re-connect with voters and rebuild trust for his party during the leaders debate last night.

Instead, he told the only woman on stage that “I know the math is difficult…” in a discussion around tax increases. Very soon after #MathIsHard started trending in the province and NDP leader Rachel Notley was able to remind viewers that this is the leader who doesn’t want Albertans to “worry their pretty little heads.”

There’s (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Morning Line: Alberta 2015.

The May 7 provincial election in Alberta is something of a wake up call as Albertans shake themselves from the Tar Sands dream. It was probably the recent Prentice austerity budget more than anything else that told people that times are changing. There is no question but Albertans need to adapt to reality. There is just is no way they will like it.

In producing a Morning Line for this election you start by ignoring all the polls. Albertans lie to pollsters. They have been lying to them since the days of Bible Bill Aberhart. And if you had voted (Read more…)

centerandleft: Alberta and Polls: Never Again

The Calgary Flames are preparing to host their first playoff game since 2009 in a matter of days. While the Flames are working hard to even up their series, the politicians are working the doors. The province of Alberta may be preparing to elect a new party to power for the first time since 1971.

Does this sound familiar? Just three years ago I was responsible for the following assumption:

Danielle Smith is likely to be the next premier of Alberta

It doesn’t sound like a terrible statement, but this type of statement reveals a foolish reliance on poor (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Henry Mintzberg rightly challenges the myth of a “level playing field” when it comes to our economic opportunities: Let’s level with each other. What we call a “level playing field” for economic development is played with Western rules on Southern turf, so that the New York Giants can take on some high school team from Timbuktu. The International Monetary Fund prepares the terrain and the World Trade Organization referees the game. Guess who wins.

The rules of this game have been written by people educated in the economic canon of the already (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eric Morath points out that a job (or even multiple jobs) can’t be taken as an assurance that a person can avoid relying on income supports and other social programs. PressProgress offers some important takeaways from the Canadian Labour Congress’ study of the low-wage workers. Angella MacEwen writes about the spread of the $15 minimum wage movement in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar writes that while we should be looking to improve our social safety net, we need to do so while taking into account the real experience of the people relying upon (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alison picks up on Armine Yalnizyan’s important question as to whether the Cons have a Plan B other than hoping for factors beyond our control to boost oil prices. And Brad Delong argues that based on the foreseeable direction of our economy, we need a stronger public sector now than we’ve ever had before: (A)s we move into the twenty-first century, the commodities we will be producing are becoming less rival, less excludible, more subject to adverse selection and moral hazard, and more subject to myopia and other behavioral-psychological market failures.

The (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Alberta stumbles as the Hair’s empire crumbles.

There are at least a couple ridings in Alberta that could attract some smart Liberals for the federal election. Voters in that province are not stupid you know. They might also like to send a message to the Prime Minister after what he has helped to do to the province’s economy. The message is simply: Bye-bye Hair.

Canadians are inclined to forget much of what the Hair has done to this country over the past nine years. The effect of that bad stewardship has had an even worse effect on the province that gave him its 100 per cent support. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the sudden disappearance of Danielle Smith and her fellow Wildrose Party defectors offers a case in point of the dangers of forgetting that politicians ultimately answer to the public.

For further reading…- CBC reported on the actual deal between Smith and Jim Prentice here, while Darren Krause reported on Smith’s nomination defeat. And CBC examines Wildrose’s bounce back in the polls as it elected a new leader.- Don Braid notes that Smith was warned about some of the dangers of crossing the floor at the time, while Andrew Coyne sees a bait and (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Canada’s Economy: Not Exactly Healthy

If you are a worker, you already know that Canada’s economy is a mess.  The only people who don’t seem to know it are at the top.

Press Progress published a very detailed analysis of how messed up our economy is today.  A few of the highlights: First, the good news: Corporate Canada’s profits have hit a 27-year high, according to a new report by CIBC World Markets. Bay Street has never been happier, right? 

Well, there’s just one little catch: new Statistics Canada data shows the Canadian economy shrank in January. All those layoffs and store closures you’ve (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Simon Wren-Lewis connects the UK’s counterproductive austerity program to the lack of any wage growth. And Gary Lamphier observes that Alberta is serving as a case in point that jobs generated through public policy rigged in favour of the wealthy are no less precarious than any other type, while Erin Anderssen comments on the connection between public-sector work and greater wage equality.

- Adam Liptak writes that the First Amendment’s protection for speech – like so many other rights which have been redefined to suit the powerful – is now serving primarily (Read more…)

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…)