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The Common Sense Canadian: IPPs an even worse rip-off than Site C Dam, SFU economist warns

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

The following article by renknowned energy expert and SFU economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer is republished from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Policy Note

You would think that the fiasco of the government forcing BC Hydro in recent years to buy run-of-river and other IPP supply that it didn’t need, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, would have put that unfortunate policy on the back burner for a long time.

Not so. Clean Energy BC, the lobby group very ably representing (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Order Your Opportunities

My job, trying to change the world, is at least twice as hard as a conservative’s. I have to overcome others’ instinctual fear of change and new technology. Monday evening I proposed my condo board “investigate” using solar energy, if the association’s Winter expenses don’t exceed our budget. 2 Board members opposed the idea! The motion passed anyway, but why would someone oppose an investigation of saving money on electricity? They stated it was an opportunity cost. Let’s look how that claim stacks up:

They suggested raising property value by installing carpets as a competing example. If we spent $10K (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Economist catches Kinder Morgan skimping on Canadian taxes

Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson talks a good game on Canadian benefits from his company’s proposed pipeline – but economist Robyn Allan disagrees (photo: Kinder Morgan)

The following is an open letter to Premier Christy Clark from economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan

November 19, 2014

Dear Premier Clark,

Your government is an Intervenor in the National Energy Board Section 52 public interest review. The hearing is to determine if Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project is worthy of a public license to construct and operate a twin pipeline. The system will transport more than 890,000 barrels a (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: You’re Richer Than Your Stink

If you like to know how banks screw everyone, you’ll want to read Alison’s latest.

Between September 2008 and August 2010, Scotiabank received a $25 billion bailout amounting to 100% of the bank’s value – or as Steve and Jim preferred to call it at the time: “liquidity support” ***.

Last year Scotiabank made a record $6.7 billion in net profit and CEO and president Brian Porter netted a total compensation package of $6,902,242 for the same year.

Nonetheless, Scotiabank has announced it will cut 1,500 jobs, including about 1,000 in Canada.

Check out Alison’s blog.  

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Clearing The Forest

The Queen’s act against this homeless woman is unkind, and Canada’s laws shouldn’t be unkind for the sake of protecting unused land from First Nations people building a temporary home. Further, we don’t need to urbanize more people, and this law is clearly aimed at clearing Canada’s wilderness of humans, and putting them into overcrowded cities without the means to buy food, shelter, and drink.

Canada should stop at Clearing the Plains, and not push the same outdated, genocidal agenda into this century.

Larry Hubich's Blog: Project:Community – We can do more, together

The Common Sense Canadian: Bank of England’s Mark Carney: Most fossil fuel reserves shouldn’t be burned

Mark Carney in Davos, Switzerland, 2010 (Photo: Wikipedia)

Read this Oct. 13 story in The Guardian about Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s decision to join a growing list of global economic leaders suggesting that the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The governor of the Bank of England has reiterated his warning that fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change, and called for investors to consider the long-term impacts of their decisions.

According to reports, Carney (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Evidence shows no need for Site C Dam: Economist to Energy Minister

Energy Minister Bill Bennett

Dear Minister;

I know you have heard it all so I guess it is now all about the legacy you and your cabinet colleagues are willing to create. Thinking in terms of demand for electricity in BC, the reported record of sales by BC Hydro has flat-lined at about 50,000 GWhrs between 2008 and now. BC Hydro reports sales for four categories of customers.

Even with a 1.2% annual population growth, as estimated by BC Statistics, sales on a per capital basis are have been trending lower. It is a fact, long denied by the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: People Want BC Corporations to Pay More Tax

…or do they?

Every year the BC government consults with citizens on what should go into their budget.

Last year over 25% of the online survey respondents said new revenue should come from increased corporate taxes, triple the rate of people who thought personal income taxes should go up.

But there are problems with that; see below:

Programs and services are largely funded by tax revenues, and government works to balance where the money comes from. How would you generate one new dollar of tax revenue from among the sources below?

- from Report on the 2014 Budget Consultations

Problems:

(Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: It’s been all downhill since 1978, when real “prosperity” peaked

We never had it so good as 1978, says a new report on historical “prosperity”

“The good ol’ days”, is seems, were 40 years ago. A recent study of global wealth by the Australian National University — it analyzed the quality of life in 17 countries representing over half the world’s population — revealed that prosperity peaked in 1978 and has been declining ever since (NewScientist, July 13/13).

The study’s conclusion was that “social and environmental woes have outpaced the growth of monetary wealth” More to life than GDP

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the sum of all the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Ex-TD Bank Comptroller: Site C Dam too costly, unnecessary, rushed

Site C Dam will unnecessarily cost taxpayers billions, says one financial expert

The following is a transcript of Rob Botterell’s recent speech to the BC Select Committee on Finance and Government Services. Mr. Botterell is a lawyer, former senior government official and former comptroller of TD Bank’s BC division.

I’m here today to talk about the pending Site C decision and the budget and fiscal implications. This project will be the biggest public infrastructure project in the next 20 years if it proceeds. It’s estimated, currently, to cost $8 billion, which would increase the provincial debt by over 10 percent. (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Investors: Good Economics is Taking Action on Climate Change

It’s no secret that carbon trade, carbon caps, and various other policy tools improve economies and diminish negative environmental impacts caused by economic activity. Yet, the myth that having a sustainable economy isn’t possible with a growing economy.

Environmentalists have been arguing for better policy and enforcement for decades, and now global investors are also arguing for the same thing. Hopefully with this announcement and others from the recent UN Summit on Climate Change we will see good movement on improving our economy and planet.

“The international investor community has today made it clear that the status quo on climate (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Rockefellers Got Rich From Oil, Switching to Renewables

As the UN climate summit continues there is good news coming from it. It’s worth noting that Canada is not part of any of this good news thanks to the climate-change denying Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The “pro-corprate” Harper is actively doing the opposite of corporations: supporting renewable energy. Even Shell (of all companies!) has called for stricter carbon regulations.

Yesterday it was announced that the Rockefeller family, who made billions from oil, have changed their mind on the planet-destryoing industry. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is divesting from all oil companies and focusing on renewable energy sources. This means (Read more…)

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…)