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Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Northern Insight / Perceptivity 2014-09-13 22:52:00

Trailer – THE PRICE WE PAY – a feature documentary by Harold Crooks from Filmoption International on Vimeo.

Playing in Vancouver as part of the VIFF, International Village #9, October 4 – 1:00 pm and October 5 – 8:45 pm.

Nobles did not pay taxes, and apparently some people would like to keep it that way! In his latest incendiary investigative documentary, Harold Crooks (Surviving Progress) examines the sordid history of offshore tax havens and the dire contemporary ramifications of such malfeasance. It’s not just oligarchs (our new ‘nobles’?) that are the problem, but our shiniest corporations (Apple, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: “Fundamentally uneconomic” Site C Dam would lose $350 million a year for taxpayers: Industrial energy expert

The retired head of the Association of Major Power Users of BC, Dan Potts, estimates the proposed Site C Dam would lose $350 million for taxpayers and BC Hydro ratepayers. The 30-year pulp mill manager told media in Vancouver yesterday that the project, estimated to cost $8 Billion or more, is “fundamentally uneconomic” – based on its outmoded technology and power trading prices that are likely to remain far lower than the cost of electricity produced by Site C.

Potts made the comments at a press conference organized by the District of Hudson’s Hope – where the 80 km-long reservoir would be located (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: How a “Fiscally Conservative” Government Facing a $20 Billion Debt Delivers on its Promises

“Tonight, we begin the work of advancing and protecting sound, conservative fiscal principles.” —Future Premier Jim Prentice, victory speech, Sept 6, 2014

It hasn’t escaped Ms Soapbox’s notice that the party that bills itself as fiscally conservative has us on track for a $20 billion infrastructure debt—at a time when Alberta’s economy is booming.* Heaven help us when the economy tanks.

Mr Prentice

Mr Prentice promised on a stack of political bibles to build 90 new schools (40 more than Redford promised) and renovate 70 more. He’ll repair hospitals that were cited for health violations (and yes, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Against Collective Forgetting

Workers must do our part to Stop Harper!

Happy Labour Day!

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, we keep enumerating the things we’re losing: meaningful legislative debate, evidence-based policy, public science, a free and open society, among other things. But what happens if we go too long with a slow erosion of the features that make our society vibrant? What happens if we let the right wing continue to teach us that we shouldn’t expect anything meaningful from government?

What happens if young Canadians grow up without a sense of what used to be the Canadian birthright: Medicare, the CPP, and (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: SFU Prof Mark Jaccard: BC LNG a race to the bottom

BC Premier Christy Clark addresses a conference on LNG (Damien Gillis)

This is a guest post by Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University and a convening lead author in the Global Energy Assessment – republished with permission from desmog.ca

During B.C.’s 2013 election campaign, at a conference of energy economists in Washington, D.C., I spoke about how one of our politicians was promising huge benefits during the next decades from B.C. liquefied natural gas exports to eastern Asia. These benefits included lower income taxes, zero provincial debt, and a wealth (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Petronas seeks billions in federal tax handouts for BC LNG

Malaysian PM Najib Razak and Stephen Harper in Kuala Lumpur (AP/Lai Seng Sin)

Read this July 24 story by Jeff Lee in the Financial Post on the federal tax concessions Malaysian energy giant Petronas is seeking for its bid to build a major pipeline and LNG near Prince Rupert. The Common Sense Canadian has discussed in detail taxpayer handouts to the nascent LNG industry.

CALGARY — Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd is seeking potentially billions in tax relief from the federal government in exchange for opening new markets for Canadian natural gas, as it inches closer to a final (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: TFWP: How Racist is Canada?

Here’s one way to tell how racist a person/nation is.

Have them read this excerpt and see if they fly into a rage about “those” people, or just come up with economic arguments to keep “them” out.

Hopefully, everyone you know will nod and say, “obviously!”

Since this is a chronically underpopulated country with an aging population and an inadequately sized consumer and taxpayer base for its geography and culture, there is no reason for Canada to make any of its immigrants anything other than permanent.

Those who say “Canadian jobs for Canadians” are right: We should continue to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC, China sign deal for foreign temporary workers to build LNG facilities

Read this July 25 story from the Vancouver Sun, which undermines the BC Liberal government’s promises of jobs for British Columbians from their proposed LNG industry. The federal government’s foreign temporary worker program – which the BC Liberal government has actively encouraged – has become an increasing source of controversy over the past year.

VICTORIA — B.C. and China have inked a new agreement that will see the two governments work to allow foreign workers into the province if needed to help build a liquefied natural gas industry.

The provincial government and the People’s Republic of China signed (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Examining the BC Liberal Government’s real fiscal record

The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis discusses the BC Liberal government’s real fiscal track record with CFAX radio’s Ian Jessop in Victoria.

The two contrast a history of serious cost-overruns on major infrastructure projects with the oft-repeated myth of the government’s sound fiscal management. From the Port Mann Bridge and Hwy 1 widening (550% of initial estimate) to the a new roof for BC Place Stadium (514% of original projection), emerges a shocking pattern of inept project management.

From July 29 (19 min)

The post Examining the BC Liberal Government’s real fiscal record appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley farmland, ecosystems worth $8 Billion a year: study

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

Keeping the Peace Valley’s farmland and ecosystems intact would be worth $7.9 billion to $8.6 billion a year, says a new study from the David Suzuki Foundation.

The region, in northeast BC, is under threat from the proposed Site C Dam – which would flood or disturb over 30,000 acres of prime agricultural land – along with natural gas fracking operations, logging, mining and other forms of industrialization. The study is a follow-up to an earlier report which analyzed the area via satellite imagery, determining that some 67% (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: What the Fraser Institute’s numbers actually show, minus the spin: Alberta has a revenue problem, not a spending problem

The Fraser Institute: peddling conclusions that don’t match the evidence and have enough holes to store captured carbon. Actual Fraser Institute “fellows” may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: A piece of Swiss cheese, which may actually resemble the claims in a Fraser Institute press release, metaphorically speaking.

If the Fraser Institute told the whole truth, or if the mainstream media did its job, here’s the what the first sentence of the Edmonton Journal’s story about the institute’s most recent “report” could have said:

“Alberta’s finances are in better shape than other energy-producing provinces and states, says a report released (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The Minimum Wage from first principles

The minimum wage, like most government policies, is first and foremost a form of wealth distribution. There are winners and losers from the distribution. The biggest group of winners is the obvious one: low wage workers who now get paid more. Raising the wage floor also raises wages somewhat for workers above the bottom as employers needs to differentiate on wages to attract higher valued workers.

The losers depend on how companies react to a minimum wage.  If they fire low wage employees to compensate, then those fired or not hired suffer and the unemployment rate will rise. If they (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: You could drive one of those tar sands heavy haulers through the gaping holes in the latest Fraser Institute ‘study’ of Alberta’s finances

A worker in Fort McMurray prepares to drive this truck through the holes in the Fraser Institute’s “report,” which claims Alberta’s finances are in worse shape than those of places like Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana. Below: The Norwegian oil port of Stavanger, which, according to the Fraser Institute, doesn’t exist!

Alberta should adopt a sales tax, according to the latest press release from the Fraser Institute.

But don’t worry, the latest piece of far-right puffery from the market-fundamentalist “think tank” – which prefers to refer to this bumpf as a “study” or a “report” – only advocates a consumption (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Conservative Chris Tells A Tall Tale

.@CBCNews – @calxandr HarperCON’s trained MP seal, announces Poverty has been eliminated in Canada. Yes, really youtu.be/ncUtF2E7D8Y— StopApartheid Israel (@NadineLumley) July 24, 2014

How Chris Alexander stacks up with James Moore, and Lying Leona A. I’ll leave to you to sort out.

The Common Sense Canadian: Under Liberals, big projects often double in cost…Why would Site C Dam be any different?

Seeing red: The roof on BC Place Stadium is just one of many cost overruns on the BC Liberals’ watch

Oh, for the days of the fast ferries…compared to what we have now.

Most British Columbians will recall Premier Glen Clark’s late 1990′s boondoggle, which saw the construction of three new coastal vessels balloon from a projected $210 million to nearly $460 million.

How could we forget? After the relentless salvos from pundits like Vaughan Palmer and Mike Smyth led to the NDP government’s collapse, in every election cycle since, the incumbent BC Liberals have dragged out these ghost ships to bolster their own (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam threatens BC’s credit rating: Hudson’s Hope Mayor, Council

The following is a July 15 open letter to Premier Christy Clark from the District of Hudson’s Hope – near the location of the proposed Site C reservoir.

Dear Premier Clark,

Re: British Columbia Utilities Commission Review of Proposed Site C Dam Project

I am writing to urgently request that you refer the proposed Site C Dam Project to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for further review of project costs, alternatives to Site C, and related issues prior to making a decision on this project.

Prudent fiscal management requires further review of Site C

The District of Hudson’s Hope, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Class Warfare CAUSED Income Inequality, Not the Opposite

Horatio Alger mythology is designed to make us leave the 1% alone and shut the fuck up.

If you haven’t yet seen John Oliver’s amazing rant about the perils of inequality and how the rich shame us out of talking about it by suggesting we’re trying to invoke class warfare, you can see it below.

The truth is, income inequality doesn’t just happen one day, then the classes fight each other. Class warfare is what creates the conditions for income inequality.

But as long as the 1% can keep us from talking about class issues, we can say income inequality (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Fort St. John businessman isn’t buying economic promises

Longtime Fort St. John businessman Bob Fedderly isn’t buying the economic benefits touted for the proposed Site C Dam.

The owner of Fedderly Transportation sat down with The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis at his office in Fort St. John last month to discuss the project, which would be located near Fort St. John, with an 80km reservoir stretching west to the town of Hudson’s Hope.

Among Fedderly’s biggest concerns are the boom-and-bust effects of project construction on his community, the impact it would have on already skyrocketing power bills for his business, and the waste of tax dollars on the $8 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: The Economist calculates the enormous cost of ignoring climate change

Rendering of New York City from “World Under Water”, an app designed by Carbon Story

Read this June 28 story from The Economist on the cost of doing nothing to curb climate change – and interesting corollary to the World Bank’s recent determination that tackling global warming could significantly grow the global economy.

It has been the hottest May ever, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The world’s average surface temperature was 0.74°C above its 20th-century average. Alaska was almost 2°C above its 1971-2000 level.

The heat has brought American business out in a rash. Two weeks after (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: World Bank: Battling climate change would grow global economy

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim

Read this June 24 story from The Guardian on the World Bank’s view that tackling climate change would be good for the global economy, contradicting statements by national leaders like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australia’s Tony Abbott.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6tn (£1.5tn) a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How the Tsilhqot’in Land Title Ruling Can Help Kill Enbridge

Watch Pam Palmater’s response to the SCC ruling. Click above.

Stephen Harper had about a week to enjoy the glory of his remarkably understated whispery notification that the Enbridge climate killing pipeline will proceed.

Yesterday the Supreme Court shut down the prime minister, which they have a tendency to do because he so flagrantly intends to violate it. So they keep slapping his hand.

With the Tsilhqot’in ruling, our hope that first nations are our last line of defense against more climate killing tarsands development, has been greatly augmented.

In the coming weeks we will see how this may be (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson tally cost of climate change

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson

By Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Climate change is likely to exact enormous costs on U.S. regional economies in the form of lost property, reduced industrial output and more deaths, according to a report backed by a trio of men with vast business experience.

The report, released Tuesday, is designed to convince businesses to factor in the cost of climate change in their long-term decisions and to push for reductions in emissions blamed for heating the planet.

It was commissioned by the Risky Business Project, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: New Quebec government choosing fossil fuels over green jobs

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is putting green jobs on the back burner (Photo: facebook)

One thing Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, BC Premier Christy Clark and new Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard all share in common is the dated notion that economic and sustainable development are competing concepts that need to be reconciled, with great difficulty. And in hard times, the economy must take precedence.

The term reconciliation seems totally out of place when one considers that the green sectors are among the fastest growing and highest job creation sectors of our time and that this growth can only get better as nations adopt more aggressive (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C dam would hike power bills, drive mills, mines out of business

Read this June 10 column from Judith Lavoie at Demog Canada on the opposition to the proposed Site C Dam from major industrial power users.

Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a reality, rate hikes could put mills and mines out of business while saddling taxpayers with a costly white elephant and ballooning BC Hydro debt.

A decision on the $7.9 billion plan to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River will be made by the federal and provincial governments this fall.

Economic questions about the mega-project were raised (Read more…)