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Carbon49 – Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Greening Offices Without Adding to Landfill

Many corporations are moving their staff into modern green offices in LEED buildings. But the left-behind furniture and equipment often end up in landfill. It’s better to recycle, resell, and donate them to minimize your footprint, recover costs, and benefit charities. Let’s see how Chevron did it and what you can learn from their experiences for your next move or renovation. . . . → Read More: Carbon49 – Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Greening Offices Without Adding to Landfill

A. Picazo: Re: Death By Pseudoscience – The Misinformation Campaign

First, a quick review of the facts: David and Collet Stephan are on trial for failing to provide the necessaries of life — for failing to seek medical care for their son in a reasonably prudent time/manner. They are NOT on trial for murder or manslau… . . . → Read More: A. Picazo: Re: Death By Pseudoscience – The Misinformation Campaign

atypicalalbertan: How Much are we Subsidizing Private Education?

I have been actively involved lately in plenty of discussion about the public funding of private education that we do in Alberta. I don’t believe that we should be providing any public funds to private education. If you decide that the public system is not for you, that’s fine, then you should pay for it … Continue reading How Much are we Subsidizing Private Education? . . . → Read More: atypicalalbertan: How Much are we Subsidizing Private Education?

Bill Longstaff: Canada earns a D for environment

Last week the Conference Board of Canada released its environment report card and Canada did not do well. We earned a D, ranking third from last against 15 of our international peers. The only countries that performed worse were Australia and the U.S… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Canada earns a D for environment

Bill Longstaff: Canada earns a D for environment

Last week the Conference Board of Canada released its environment report card and Canada did not do well. We earned a D, ranking third from last against 15 of our international peers. The only countries that performed worse were Australia and the U.S… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Canada earns a D for environment

Bill Longstaff: Prairie blues

On Monday, a political colour map of the Prairie provinces would have shown a blue stripe hemmed in by orange on both sides. Today, the palette shows a decidedly blue shift. The Conservatives’ impressive win over the incumbent New Democrats in Manit… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Prairie blues

Bill Longstaff: Prairie blues

On Monday, a political colour map of the Prairie provinces would have shown a blue stripe hemmed in by orange on both sides. Today, the palette shows a decidedly blue shift. The Conservatives’ impressive win over the incumbent New Democrats in Manit… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Prairie blues

Michal Rozworski: Why Alberta shouldn’t look to Norway, and why that’s a reason to Leap

One of the clearest memories I have from my only trip to Norway is the repeated failures at hitching a ride. What appeared to be an unbroken string of brand new Audi’s and BMW’s whizzed by my friend and I, dirty and sweaty after a few days hiking and camping in the mountains. “Where am I […] . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: Why Alberta shouldn’t look to Norway, and why that’s a reason to Leap

Bill Longstaff: Alberta’s carbon tax—benefits plus

The Alberta government released its 2016 budget last week, revealing the details of the new carbon tax and the details look good. The tax will kick in on January 1, 2017, at $20 per ton of carbon burned and increase to $30 per ton in 2018. The bulk o… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Alberta’s carbon tax—benefits plus

Bill Longstaff: Alberta’s carbon tax—benefits plus

The Alberta government released its 2016 budget last week, revealing the details of the new carbon tax and the details look good. The tax will kick in on January 1, 2017, at $20 per ton of carbon burned and increase to $30 per ton in 2018. The bulk o… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Alberta’s carbon tax—benefits plus

Bill Longstaff: Supporting two NDPs

Like many members of the federal NDP, I support a shift back to socialism from wherever it is we have drifted. The now famous (or infamous) Leap Manifesto may help in that regard. Re-establishing the NDP as a social democratic party would give its memb… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Supporting two NDPs

Bill Longstaff: Supporting two NDPs

Like many members of the federal NDP, I support a shift back to socialism from wherever it is we have drifted. The now famous (or infamous) Leap Manifesto may help in that regard. Re-establishing the NDP as a social democratic party would give its memb… . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Supporting two NDPs

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Why Did Obama Kill the #KXL Pipeline?

Everything in this article isn’t perfect, but these parts are: Alberta’s problem is twofold: Its oilsands have been buried by fracked American oil that is both higher-value and cheaper to produce, while longer-term they face marginalization in a world committed to weaning itself off carbon. So another pipeline isn’t needed; oilsands production won’t be expanding […] . . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Why Did Obama Kill the #KXL Pipeline?

Bill Longstaff: Will Notley get a pipeline built?

In a recent Rabble article, David Climenhaga quotes a unite-the-right Albertan as predicting that if the NDP "actually get a pipeline built. … they’re going to govern for the next 20 years!" That may be the overstatement of a panicked conservative, but certainly if the NDP want to win the next election, they will have to make nice with the oil industry. Premier Notley made that clear in her . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Will Notley get a pipeline built?

Bill Longstaff: Will Notley get a pipeline built?

In a recent Rabble article, David Climenhaga quotes a unite-the-right Albertan as predicting that if the NDP "actually get a pipeline built. … they’re going to govern for the next 20 years!" That may be the overstatement of a panicked conservative, but certainly if the NDP want to win the next election, they will have to make nice with the oil industry. Premier Notley made that clear in her . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Will Notley get a pipeline built?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Using Data to End Homelessness in Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Using Data to End Homelessness in Calgary.” The link to the English version is here; the link to the French version here. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Using Data to End Homelessness in Calgary

A. Picazo: Legitimizing Pseudoscience: What’s The Harm?

This column ran in The National Post on March 24, 2016. After weeks of trying “natural” extracts and homemade remedies like smoothies cut with ginger root and horseradish to cure a suspected case of meningitis, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan’s … . . . → Read More: A. Picazo: Legitimizing Pseudoscience: What’s The Harm?

Left Over: BC Voters: Clean Up Your Act..

B.C. Energy Minister says clean power projects aren’t the priority JUSTINE HUNTERVICTORIA — The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 10:21PM EST Premiers’ exclusive fundraisers violate conflict of interest rules, says Democracy Watch Charging $10,000 for exclusive access to premiers … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Left Over: BC Voters: Clean Up Your Act..

Alberta Politics: Deconstructing political discourse in Alberta: Doublethink is alive and well in recessionary Wild Rose Country

PHOTOS: Parson Manning spreads the Gospel of Market Fundamentalism in his days as leader of the Reform Party of Alberta. The actual neoliberal preacher-men of Confederation may not appear exactly as illustrated. Photo grabbed from Elmer Gantry, the mov… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Deconstructing political discourse in Alberta: Doublethink is alive and well in recessionary Wild Rose Country

Alberta Politics: B.C. politics as seen from Alberta: Christy Clark’s re-election strategy exposed

PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon reads the notorious Throne Speech attacking Alberta on Tuesday. Below: B.C. Premier Christie Clark, NDP strategist Brian Topp, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan. You no longer … . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: B.C. politics as seen from Alberta: Christy Clark’s re-election strategy exposed

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

So, the Catholic Church thinks it has something relevant to say about physician assisted death?

After reading through the Bishops’ letter to Alberta’s Premier Notley, it’s an amazing piece of hypocritical nonsense.

The Catholic Church is committed to protecting and caring for the most vulnerable people in our society; this includes, of course, those who suffer and dying Albertans. Catholic healthcare in Canada, and in our province, has given witness to this from our earliest history.

Except for those Albertans who happen to be LGBT, apparently.  

We want to be clear that, from a Catholic perspective, the intentional, willful act of killing oneself or another human being is morally wrong. Therefore, no Catholic – including elected officials and healthcare professionals – may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Once again, we see the Church attempting to dictate the actions of its membership through coercion.  I saw Bishop Henry use exactly this tactic during the gay marriage arguments in the 2000s, where he threatened to excommunicate any Catholic politician who voted for gay marriage.  It wasn’t persuasive or relevant then, it isn’t now.  

First, if laws and regulations governing the legalized acceptance of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia are to be adopted, then we must accept that they will, in principle and practice, affect all Albertans. Therefore, we ask that your government undertake a consultation process open to any and all who wish to speak to the issue.

Well, since the laws involved are predominantly Federal jurisdiction, I don’t see where Alberta’s government has much to say about the matter.  Outside of Quebec, no province seems to have significant plans on this matter, and are waiting for June when the Federal Government has to have passed new legislation.

Second, we are gravely concerned that the legalization of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia will place certain members of our common home at serious risk. In jurisdictions that have already adopted laws permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, what are purported to be “safeguards” against abuse of the law have proven in practice to be no safeguards at all. The measure of a just and ethical society is the extent to which it cares for – and protects – its most vulnerable members.

Really?  What examples would you cite?  Oh, I know, you’d probably dredge up the idiotic crap that LieSite has been spouting ever since a couple of countries in Europe changed their laws.  Besides being largely hysterical reporting, LieSite has an extreme agenda to start with.

However, then the Bishops delve into the bag of “pro-life” lies on the subject:

These are our mothers and our fathers; they built our homes and our province. They are not a burden, and they must not be led to feel that way through our individual and collective indifference.

Yeah.  Sure.  People are not going to ask the doctor to kill their parents off.  However, these Bishops might want to spend some time in a palliative care ward filled with people dying slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of disease before they pull such emotional arguments out of their cassocks.  (I’ll come back to this in a moment)

Even today, many of these people often experience unjust discrimination and the sting of stigma from their family, friends, colleagues and society. In other jurisdictions, this group has in particular been disproportionately represented in cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Coming from a Church which denies the validity of transgender identities, and calls homosexuality “a sin”, this position is almost laughable.  I wonder if it has occurred to them just how much their teachings contribute to an attempted suicide rate among transgender people that runs upwards of 40%?

They save the money shot for the very end, and delve into the messy pot of issues called “Conscience Rights”:

Third, other provincial jurisdictions in Canada have proposed regulations that undermine the conscience rights of physicians and other healthcare workers. This must not be allowed to happen here. Physicians, other medical professionals, and our institutions have to be allowed the freedom that is theirs by right to exercise their conscience, not only to accord with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but also as a matter of good medical practice.

Conscience rights is nothing more than the latest pro-life gambit to create a hierarchy of rights that places an individual’s religious conscience at the top of the heap.  

Let me be clear.  Assisted death is a very prickly, emotional subject.  Yes, there are religious and conscience issues involved.  Lots of religions teach a particular ethic about life, and even without that stricture in someone’s life, many would be rightly uncomfortable with such decisions.

However, it is far too simplistic to simply say “it’s a sin, therefore it should be banned”.  One only has to spend time in and around palliative care wards watching people in their last days and weeks to know that exiting this world is not always a peaceful, quiet experience.  Terminal illness can be painful and brutal, robbing people of autonomy, dignity and peace.  It’s a terrifying, painful experience for some, and one that is not always remediated well by painkillers.

This is a matter of patient rights to self-determination and caregiver ethics coming into some degree of conflict.  Most ethics codes reflect the right of the patient to informed consent, and to refuse treatment.  We have to remember that the person at the center of this discussion is the patient, not the caregiver and definitely not the caregiver’s church.  Even the CMA’s statement on this subject is fairly clear – a doctor does not have to participate in the actual act, but they are not allowed to be an obstacle to it either.

Where the religious notion of “conscience rights” becomes problematic is that they have begun to extend it to include being “complicit in the deed”, usually as a means to try and sidestep the duty to refer to a caregiver who is willing and capable.  We’ve seen this played with the abortion game, and I have no doubt that’s what the Bishops would advocate here as well.  This is where we tip the scales and pass from supporting the individual’s conscience rights and it becomes a matter of imposing one’s conscience objections on the patient.  Considering the patient’s state and vulnerability, this is not only problematic, it is arguably exploitative as it places the patient in a jeopardy situation where they then would have to find the means to access a willing caregiver.  (Which, if you are hospitalized or bedridden, can be damned difficult)

Alberta’s Bishops would do us all a favour if they took a more nuanced approach to matters rather than simply trying to railroad the rest of the province with centuries old dogma.  

. . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

So, the Catholic Church thinks it has something relevant to say about physician assisted death? After reading through the Bishops’ letter to Alberta’s Premier Notley, it’s an amazing piece of hypocritical nonsense. The Catholic Church is comm… . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

Montreal Simon: Michael Harris On the Con Smearing of Justin Trudeau

I was glad to see Justin Trudeau have the courage and the decency to visit Alberta, a province where so many Cons hate him with an intensity that borders on insanity.I was happy to see him provide Rachel Notley with some badly needed support, and reass… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Michael Harris On the Con Smearing of Justin Trudeau

Bill Longstaff: Notley quite correctly accepted the Royalty Review Panel’s conclusions

The Alberta Royalty Review Advisory Panel has concluded its study and issued its report. One of its conclusions, and certainly its most controversial, was, "Alberta’s total fiscal take (including royalties) from crude oil and natural gas wells is reasonably positioned against its most direct competitors." In other words, there is no justification for raising royalties. Was I surprised? . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Notley quite correctly accepted the Royalty Review Panel’s conclusions

Accidental Deliberations: On delayed rectification

I’ll largely echo David Climenhaga’s take on Alberta’s oil and gas royalty review (PDF). But it’s well worth highlighting the difference between the two main interpretations of the review’s recommendations – and what they mean for future resource polic… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On delayed rectification