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The Common Sense Canadian: With Duke Point incinerator, property values could go up in smoke

The following is a letter from Common Sense Canadian economic columnist and Gabriola Island resident Erik Andersen to Nanaimo city council, which is hearing arguments on a controversial, proposed waste incinerator at Duke Point this evening.

Over the past several decades the City of Nanaimo has single-mindedly pursued a course of beautifying the City by putting behind itself its industrial past of coal mining and logging. Gradually success has and is being achieved.

The prospect of a garbage incinerator at Duke Point, or anywhere else near by, will only undo these decades of progress.

Studies show incinerators seriously affect property values

Numerous (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Yoko Ono Knows About Fracking

Today we are fresh off the tar soaked heels of Enbridge’s lie and spin machine in Kitimat, leading to a vote AGAINST their toxic future.

In Kitimat, in a non-binding plebiscite, the people of Kitimat, but not the first peoples who live outside the town boundary, voted about 60-40 to kick out Enbridge.

They’re liars, don’t you know, making up a fake map of BC’s coast to pretend that oil tanker risks are lower than they are.

But it also turns out that Yoko Ono knows a thing or two about fracking and carbon energy.

And we also know (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Canada at the bottom of barrel as oil negotiator

(Photo: Naija247 News)

Read this March 31st op-ed piece in The Tyee about Canada’s poor oil negotiating skills compared Norway and the UK’s 2012 oil revenues:

There is an old adage in business that you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. And there are few businesses bigger than Big Oil. The top 50 petroleum companies collectively have annual revenues over $5.6 trillion.

Subsurface mineral rights worldwide typically remain the property of sovereign nations, and oil companies only access that bounty through negotiated leases. You can imagine these negotiations are high stakes affairs. With potentially trillions (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Petro-state economy costs Canada far more jobs than it creates

Canada’s economy – including its dollar – is too attached to fossil fuels, financial experts warn

The current trajectories of Canada’s predominant political economies are increasingly dysfunctional, due in no small part to the fact that we have become, in many respects, a petro state, rather than the much vaunted “Energy Superpower” that we were promised.

A petro-state, as defined by Bruce Campbell, executive director of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is “dependent on petroleum for 50 per cent or more of export revenues, 25 per cent or more of GDP, and 25 per cent or more on government revenues. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Deconstructing the language of corporate power

Corporate power uses special nomenclature to deceive Canadians (image: Bloomberg Business Week).

by Mark Taliano

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best ones. Unfortunately, though, Canada’s extreme concentration of corporate power often precludes the solutions from ever seeing the light of day.

The first step towards resolution of this problem is nomenclature. We need to free corporate-fashioned words from their false meanings.

Here are some examples:

Trade deals, including the so-called ‘free trade’ deals which have crippled North American manufacturing, are more accurately described as ‘corporate empowerment’ deals. Invariably, these deals empower transnational companies to relocate where wages are (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Canada used to be our moral paradigm

“I wished [Americans] were more like Canadians…until you elected Stephen Harper,” quipped Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at a recent Vancouver event.

“You used to have this great law called the Fisheries Act…but now that law is gone.“

Kennedy was in town last Wednesday to address Vancouver’s annual Globe conference, an “international forum on business and the environment”. Following his panel discussion at Globe, titled “Clean Capitalism”, the renowned environmental lawyer and president of the global Waterkeeper Alliance was the main attraction at an evening gathering of business and environmental leaders from BC and around the world.

Canada’s fall from (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Hemp Revolution

Hemp has enormous potential to help us build an ecologically sound society. It can replace most uses of tree-derived paper products and lumber, thus saving vast amounts of forests. It can eliminate and replace most uses of synthetic fibres, which are used in clothing, furniture, carpets and textiles, and virtually all uses of plastics, […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Economist: BC’s private waste, recycling plan is garbage

Money, money, money. Just like the ABBA song says; it makes the world go round. Our garbage is the newest target for those who love only money and lots of it.

A decade ago some of those sharpest guys in the room, runaways from bankrupting Enron, secured legal authority from President Bush over all the production and distribution of electricity in North America, yes even Canada. The “North American Electricity Reliability Corporation” (NERC) came into being. It was given the “authority to monitor and enforce compliance” of electricity to over 334 million people; installed production capacity of 1,200 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada’s Seeks the OECD Record for Income Inequality

America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!

Yesterday I wrote about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 10 days. I’m very excited.

And to help you understand why this is such a big deal, especially in Canada, it’s important to see how Canada is increasingly becoming the poster child for income inequality. We are not nice and neighbourly and friendly. We are increasingly unequal society. Unless we step up and say that we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more, the rich in Canada will continue to pad (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Yes, Your Parents’ Standard of Living Was Better

Ugh. We’re so much poorer than our parents!

Yes, your parents’ standard of living was better, so what are you going to do about it?

When I was growing up in the 1970s, most [maybe 80%?] of my friends had a mom who stayed home and didn’t work.

Over the last 40 years the proportion of single income households seems to have flipped so that it seems to be only about 20%.

So what’s wrong with this graph over there?

There’s a huge increase in the number of families with more than one income source in the last 40 (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: My life as the son of an Alberta oil man

Alex (right) and father (left) riding dirt bikes. (Photo: Matt Sutton’s Facebook)

by Matt Sutton

In November, 2013, I drove to Lacombe, Alberta, to visit my Dad and his family, accompanied by my best friend Alex – a chemical engineer technologist at Imperial Oil, responsible for conducting research on how to clean up tailing ponds.

My Dad has worked in Alberta’s oil and gas industry for twenty-two years.

Both Alex and myself have been shaped by this multi-billion dollar industry, Alex working in it and me having grown up in a household financially supported by it.

This reality was reflected (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Stop Listening to the Big Oil Spin!

Do the math. Please.

For a great long time, I’ve been talking about how we must dump the oil, gas, fracking, tankers, pipelines, coal…all the carbon-based energy systems because of climate breakdown [aka climate change, aka global warming, aka the greenhouse effect]. We need to transform our society to a post-carbon energy infrastructure.

The lie that there are billions in government revenue and 90 gazillion jobs just waiting for us all (sigh) is so incredibly compelling. But if you look at some data, like…facts, you might find some startling surprises that indicate that you’ve been swallowed whole by the carbon-based (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC Budget a work of fiction: Economist

BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong tables a fairytale budget – Feb. 18, 2014

The crafting of a government budget is always fictional because it comes from the minds of politicians who are universally optimistic about the future. All that needs doing is to determine if the exaggerations will be tolerable or drive us all into a deepening fiscal hole for no good purpose.

BC’s resource revenues have tumbled from $4.527 billion in 2006 to $2.473 in 2013. Exaggerating GDP

The first question we should ask is whether the BC Liberal government’s record of estimating the Gross (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Measuring progress with GDP is a gross mistake

Governments, media and much of the public are preoccupied with the economy. That means demands such as those for recognition of First Nations treaty rights and environmental protection are often seen as impediments to the goal of maintaining economic growth. The gross domestic product has become a sacred indicator of well-being. Ask corporate CEOs and politicians how they did last year and they’ll refer to the rise or fall of the GDP.

It’s a strange way to measure either economic or social well-being. The GDP was developed as a way to estimate economic activity by measuring the value of all (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Blustery Winds of Stupidity Hit Weyburn Hard #skpoli

At least 2 Weyburn City Councillors were not duped by anti-Wind propaganda that afflicts many municipalities. There’s probably no bylaw against this family running a noisy, polluting diesel generator in their backyard, contributing to poor health of their neighbours. I’d have to reason that the neighbour(s) who complained about this windmill isn’t very bright.

The time frame given to Dustin and Vanessa Storle, owners of the turbine, was to have it removed by July 30. After this, there will be no more residential wind power in the windy city of Weyburn.

I hope they find a resident of a less (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Bernie Madoff, Robin Hood and the present dark age

Why is Bernie Madoff the only Wall St. criminal to face jail time? Because he robbed the 1%, and not the 99%. Rob the rich, and you are attacked, reviled, vilified and quite possibly imprisoned as well, if not burned at the stake or publicly beheaded, drawn and quartered – and whether you are Bernie […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Bitcoins – Where to Start?

Someone recently asked me (okay, multiple people did) where to start to learn about getting Bitcoins? You can start here at my blog, now. A better place to look will be at one of the links below in my 15 minute introduction. Don’t put off learning, it’s the Napster of the financial world, it will change how we do banking, like Napster changed how we get and share music.

You could download the client first. It’s an easy install, it’s where I began, but stalled out… 2 years ago. What’s easier I think is getting a wallet at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are!

Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.”

It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming!

Twitter / occupythemob:

December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0) December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4) January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)

Politics, Re-Spun: Capitalism: Swing Your Sledgehammer

It’s all about vision and hope, in an effort to envision how economics and markets can exist after the toxicity of capitalism is gone, gone gone. Are you up for it?

Last night, John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism, was the SFU Institute for the Humanities‘ guest lecturer, skyped in from Mexico. He was full of inspiration and clarity. Enjoy my twitter reflections below.

[View the story "John Holloway on Fixing Capitalism" on Storify]

January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Capitalism: Swing Your Sledgehammer

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Valentine’s Day’s Dirty Chocolate Secret

While you’re stocking up on chocolate, as the stores fill with it for Easter and Valentine’s Day, consider only treating yourself and others if the candy is labeled Fair-Trade. Fair-Trade chocolates come where the supply chain has been verified to be ethically providing a living wage for the workers growing and harvesting the plants critical to the production of cocoa.

Only a decade ago, human rights orgs were warning that a large portion of our chocolate is the result of child slavery. This is from 3 years ago:

Many people admire Abraham Lincoln for his effort to free slaves in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: CFIB members please post: ‘Money from public sector wages & pensions NOT wanted here!’

CFIB AstroTurf technicians roll out part of their campaign against improved pensions for Canadians, a plan certain to harm the group’s naïve supporters. Below: A suggested sign for the windows of CFIB-member businesses.

Whew! That was a close one! We almost improved the Canada Pension Plan!

So says the so-called Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Listen carefully:

“Small business owners and employees can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being,” the CFIB said in an undated commentary posted to its website recently. “Finance ministers did not reach an agreement on increasing CPP and QPP premiums…” (Emphasis added, of (Read more…)

The Political Road Map: Fossil Fuels, Neil Young and Plastics

To start things off, let me quickly make mention of Neil Young and his current efforts to bring more attention to the oil sands and first nation rights. Good on ya Neil! It is about time someone with some international clout got on board to make Harper sweat a little, even though in a few weeks the media will probably pretend this intervention or concert never happened…anyways moving on.

Individuals who work out west in the oil sands are hard working people, they often times leave their families to work long hours and get all dirty just so a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: More Clever Climate Change Awareness Actions!

…Burning oil caused the melting in the first place…

A week ago [was it that long?] two climate change activists pulled a Yes Men on our greatest employee, Mr. Stephen Harper.

But last summer, you may not have seen an equally clever, but more hi-tech, stunt by Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign against Shell in Belgium, also about climate change.

Watch the video here, then join the other 5 million people and click here to join the action:

Shell’s priceless Grand Prix moment BREAKING: Our @Shell Grand Prix ceremony video has been banned from YouTube. So, we put (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Conservation is good business, new trophy hunting study reminds us

Photo courtesy of Trish Boyum / Ocean Adventures

A new study on trophy hunting in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest found that bear-related ecotourism generates “12 times more in visitor spending than bear hunting and over 11 times in direct revenue for BC’s provincial government.” The study, from the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST), also found that bear viewing companies create roughly 50 times as many jobs as do bear hunting guide outfitters in the same region (510 vs. 11 in 2012).

In other words, conservation pays. That should be common sense. A bear shot by a camera instead of a rifle lives another (Read more…)