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The Common Sense Canadian: Canada, Quebec’s political leaders blind to clean tech revolution

Part 1 of a 2-part story from innovation expert Will Dubitsky on Canada’s missed opportunity to build a prosperous green economy.

The ardent defenders of our resource economy are in no way limited to the climate skeptics who support TransCanada’s Energy East project, the Keystone XL pipeline and the tripling of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline capacity to Vancouver. There are also much larger and perhaps more influential groups of traditional resource economy supporters – the greenwashers such as Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, the majority of mainstream journalists, economists, Bay Streeters and more.

These stakeholders would have us believe that with a little tinkering of the status quo, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC income growth declines to last place in country

Photo: Tourism Vancouver

Read this Jan. 22 Vancouver Sun story by Peter O’Neil on a new study suggesting average incomes in BC actually declined from 2006-2012.

OTTAWA — B.C. experienced the worst income growth — in fact, incomes declined — of any province in Canada during the 2006-12 period, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada data by an Ottawa think-tank.

B.C.’s inflation-adjusted median income fell 2.4 per cent, from $29,917 per tax filer to $29,200, during a period when Canada’s overall employment income grew by 3.5 per cent. Median income is the midway point (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Oil prices drop as global warming rises: Suzuki

Cheaper gas means more fill-ups at the pump

With oil prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, the consequences of a petro-fuelled economy are hitting home — especially in Alberta, where experts forecast a recession. The province’s projected budget surplus has turned into a $500-million deficit on top of a $12-billion debt, with predicted revenue losses of $11 billion or more over the next three or four years if prices stay low or continue to drop as expected.

Alberta’s government is talking about service reductions, public-sector wage and job cuts and even (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why BC Hydro always overestimates future power demand: Economist

What BC Hydro says about its own work clearly establishes the forecast as a foundation document for future planning for new generation and distribution investments:

Load forecasting is central to BC Hydro’s long-term planning, medium-term investment, and short-term operational and forecasting activities. (1)

Because of this importance, the forecast needs to be as accurate as possible and that is where matters get interesting.

Getting the numbers wrong

An illustration of getting the numbers wrong can be seen on page 21 of the 2012 Load Forecast: “Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Forecasts”. There is a forecasting error of about 4% in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: When The Tories Left Office

I was too young in 1991 to put the news I was hearing into context. My family had worked for months on my Dad’s campaign for the Sask Liberals in Moose Jaw, and he’d come away in second place. Roy Romanow was the new Premier of Saskatchewan, and Grant Devine would soon fade into political obscurity as some of his cabinet and other MLAs would go to jail, and in the sad case of Jack Wolfe an early grave. Future Lieutenant Governor Linda Haverstock was the only Sask Liberal MLA in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Soon, the new hospital in Lafleche (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Lang Should Be Fired Or Suspended

CANADALAND's investigation of @AmandaLang_CBC , by @sdbcraig , is now online: http://t.co/W7s8XUoX03 pic.twitter.com/FL23x8af34

— Jesse Brown (@JesseBrown) January 12, 2015

It’s been brewing for Lang for quite some months now.

Another Code Red crisis for CBC MT @JesseBrown CANADALAND investigation of @AmandaLang_CBC by @sdbcraig now online: http://t.co/Aj3IsE6mb1

— Chris Selley (@cselley) January 12, 2015

@ChuckTCBC @sdbcraig @CNDLND @JesseBrown @AmandaLang_CBC untrue like this? https://t.co/1zjFhZJs3T

— mvsyyz (@mvsyyz) January 12, 2015

.@JesseBrown @sdbcraig False & misleading to characterize these interviews as favourable, same tone and style as all her others over 15 yrs.

— Chuck Thompson (@ChuckTCBC) (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Lang Should Be Fired Or Suspended

The Common Sense Canadian: Public-Private Partnerships a bad deal for BC: Finance Ministry report

P3 skytrain construction by SNC-Lavalin killed many businesses on Vancouver’s Cambie St. (Wikipedia)

The following is republished with permission from Policy Note – the blog of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office.

By Keith Reynolds

The BC Finance Ministry has produced a report much more critical of Partnerships BC and its activities around public private partnerships (P3s) than might have been expected by a province so committed to the practice. It raises issues of conflict of interest, dubious practices and questionable assumptions in the multi- billion dollar program. The story has received no media coverage.

While it is likely the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Which BC Corporations Would YOU Like to Euthanize?

Oh, what a list it would be!

Enbridge?

Kinder Morgan [the zombie child of Enron]?

Imperial Metals [fanciful producers of the Mount Polley Mine disaster]?

Other companies that treat workers badly like IKEA or Rocky Mountain Railtours?

Capitalism is all about worshiping Frankencorporations that are immortal, legally a human being, limit the liability of owners if the company screws up, taxed much lower than real humans, and are designed to maximize shareholder wealth while minimizing risk to capitalists and maximizing consequences for others. Raping and pillaging is just an added bonus.

But what if a company, in its cancerous (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: No, It’s the Environment, Stupid.

David Suzuki once observed that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment.  It shouldn’t require a PhD to grasp that yet it’s astonishing how so many well-educated people, including our political leadership, simply don’t get it.

In his year-end column, Gwynne Dyer concludes that climate change isn’t a major problem.  It’s the problem, the threat that supercedes all the rest.  It’s the Alpha and Omega, the Big Enchilada, the Sword of Damocles. …imagine that we are a panel of high-priced medicos reviewing the health status of our most important client, the human race. The first thing to (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: What’s this "fat" and "gravy" they speak of anyway?

Are schools and hospitals fat? Are veterans’ pensions gravy?

So what have we cut already? 32% of Veterans Affairs staff supporting disability, death and financial benefits for veterans. One-fifth of Canadian food inspector positions. One-third of Statistics Canada’s data analysts. One-quarter of positions in the department that handles EI claims. And in other news, Canada Revenue Agency is slated to kill 3,000 positions in a division specializing in offshore tax avoidance at the same time as it ramps up what increasingly looks to be politically motivated audits of progressive and environmental charities.

And those are cuts at the federal level. (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Wrong path, wrong time

Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and Liberal friends are like 1980 promoters excited to spend someone else’s money to open a giant disco club, despite unmistakable signs the dance craze was soon to end.

Focusing on a costly fossil fuel start-up is a mistake of giant proportion for British Columbia. The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists says we must curtail, not expand, output of greenhouse gases. Undoubtedly, fugitive methane from unconventional gas production is far worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and that is a fact ignored through contrived ignorance of industry and government regulators.

For people caught up in (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Oilmart: Low, low prices!

By Lorne Craig

Cartoonist Lorne Craig’s take on plunging oil prices and what they mean for Canada’s one-track economy.

The post Oilmart: Low, low prices! appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Ontario squanders extra $8 Billion on public private partnership infrastructure: A-G

A bridge built under the P3 model is likely to cost taxpayers more than a publicly funded one, says a new report

Read this Dec. 9 story from The Globe and Mail on a new report from Ontario Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk suggesting that public private partnerships are far more costly to taxpayers than publicly-funded infrastructure projects.

Public-private partnerships have cost Ontario taxpayers nearly $8-billion more on infrastructure over the past nine years than if the government had successfully built the projects itself.

The revelation, from Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk, comes as Premier Kathleen Wynne stakes the province’s future on a vast (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: SaskPower Says Bigger Is Better, Even Losses? #PowerToGrow

As a followup to the Star Phoenix’s article on the hugely expensive, and (public) money losing CCS plant at Estevan, comes word of further cost overruns. The overruns, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would have been sufficient to buy Regina its Stadium II, outright, fix its pension shortfall, or replace its Waste Water Treatment Plant.

SaskPower has apparently been misleading people by saying we need coal for “baseload” power, when Saskatchewan’s abundant wind source, coupled with Manitoba’s hydro, could safely provide a reliable power supply to homes, schools, etc.

And it appears that viable, cleaner, lower-cost solutions (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: Harper’s “crazy” Comments

So, @PMHarper, if oil/gas regulations don’t work at $65 a barrel, at what price are they “uncrazy”? $80? $100?

— David Akin (@davidakin) December 9, 2014

Here’s an impressive takedown of the Prime Minister’s “crazy” comments in the House the other day. Since 2006 he’s promised to regulate oil and gas. Now he admits that would be “crazy”. Harper is nuts, and a liar, and he’s our Prime Minister for another year.

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…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Who Needs Water Anyway?

A delusional remark in a CBC article: “Canada, which has long been criticized for being heavily dependent on shipping natural resources to the rest of the world.” Our Prime Minister, and Saskatchewan’s Premier spend millions, hundreds of millions actually, to tell Canadians and the world how many resources we should be sending elsewhere.

Consider the stat from Gasland II, where about 60% of some wells’ casings are expected to fail within 30 years. Naturally that stat is going to err on the sensational, but even the more conservative ~10% estimates are extremely worrying. “Leaky plumbing on energy (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Even Clark’s Black Friday LNG tax giveaway couldn’t satisfy Petronas

Video by Kevin Logan

Common Sense Canadian LNG commentator Kevin Logan threw together this little spoof of BC Premier Christy Clark’s Black Friday address, which brought to a close legislative debate over her government’s plans to further slash a proposed export tax on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised this tax would help deliver a $100 Billion windfall to our provincial coffers in order to pay down our debt and pay for public services. What has ensued instead is a steady clawing back of those benefits to the public, under pressure from the likes of (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: “People are going to die”

First Nations Financial Transparency Act: Watch Pam Palmater put the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in its place. “We don’t even have enough money to have websites, how the heck are we supposed to post it online?”

“What’s non-essential on a First Nation?” Palmater asks Evan who is quoting the Conservative government. “We have suicides every day, contaminated water, we have a major housing crisis, food and security in the North that Minister A. (#LyingLeona) could[n’t] care less about. What’s non-essential in a First Nation? People are going to die, if there is not enough funding for (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…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Kind of Politicians Ignore THEIR OWN SCIENTISTS?

In BC and Canada, politicians actively ignore the people and their own scientists. Why?

OK, you tell me.

What do you call politicians who ignore their own scientists?

It’s not a trick question.

What if scientists tell their political bosses about the climate impacts of ramping up a mythical $1 trillion LNG industry, then the politicians ignore the warnings so they can go frack ahead anyway?

Ignorant? Stupid? Corrupt? Bought-off by industry? Science-deniers?

I don’t really know. It’s just so irrational.

But are they fit to lead? No.

If it’s all about the mythical job-creation capacity, green jobs create more (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Inequality for All

I watched Robert Reich’s film last summer on a camping trip.  I woke up in the middle of a pitch-dark night and couldn’t fall back asleep.  I tried a movie on my phone to lull me into a coma, but this was the wrong one to choose.

Reich’s film clearly explains how we’ve gotten into this economic pickle, and he offers solutions to get ourselves out.  Here’s the film (90 minutes), followed by my synopsis.  It’s about the U.S., but much of it applies to Canada as well, so I use “we” throughout.

The (corporate controlled) media has (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Citizenship For Sale

Are there things that money shouldn’t be able to buy? In an age when the ‘wisdom of the market’ is an orthodoxy embraced by many, it is a question that the neoconservative agenda would suggest borders on heresy.

Yet that is precisely the question economist Michael J. Sandel poses in his compelling and thought-provoking book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, which I recently read. Written in very accessible language, it’s thesis is that while market principles can work very well in many areas of our society, the increasing reach of those principles into regions once (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: #BlackFriday Is So Very Offensive

A few years ago when the media started buying into the spindoctors’ PR BS about “Black Friday”, in the USA, I was severely disappointed. I’ve let that grow into a healthy disgust for what’s now an extra week of consumer manipulation perpetrated even on the supposedly “ad free” CBC Radio.

.@DaniMarioCBC @SheilaColesCBC I mean, what's the point of listening to ad-free radio, if the subject is the ads we're missing? @Adbusters

— John Klein (@JohnKleinRegina) November 27, 2014

Our extreme consumerism, greed, materialism and gluttony disgust me during the Holiday season. The whinning, fighting, the pettiness WHY?!?!

— Emily (@MsEffieLou) (Read more…)