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Alberta Politics: Brace for it: Alberta is about to endure weeks of vicious climate-change-induced political weather!

PHOTOS: Environment Minister Shannon Phillips at a related announcement last fall. As you can see, some of the same supporters were with her yesterday, as shown below by the Government of Alberta photo taken at the notorious Sky Palace in Edmonton, whi… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Brace for it: Alberta is about to endure weeks of vicious climate-change-induced political weather!

Cowichan Conversations: Can BC restore sovereignty and regain control of its destiny through democratic reforms

Mid Summer Musings

Can BC restore sovereignty and regain control of its destiny through democratic reforms that make our public institutions accountable to the people they purport to represent?

Kevin Logan – Cowichan Conversations Contributor

By Kevin Logan

In BC conflating Environmentalism and Politics is a mainstay. Is it possible to restore environmentalism . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Can BC restore sovereignty and regain control of its destiny through democratic reforms

Melissa Fong: Planning the Metropolitan #Vancouver Region: A Critical Perspective

Here is a review of the Planning the Metropolitan Vancouver Region: A Critical Perspective- Thank you to AY for inviting me- great catching up with SCARP people and making new connections. […]

Politics and its Discontents: A Reminder Of Our Place

As our Cuban friends’ visit continues, we are trying to give them a sampling of life in Canada. Yesterday we went to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; the first exhibition hall we entered there was the one devoted to Canada’s aboriginal peoples, where we came upon a work by Norval Morriseau entitled Migration, . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Reminder Of Our Place

Bill Longstaff: I have met the enemy and they ain’t all capitalists

I am no fan of capitalism. An economic system based on greed and founded in patriarchal values is flawed at its roots. But the tendency of so many on the left to blame all our problems on capitalists is simplistic, unfair and false. It is scapegoating. Despite the system, like most other classes of people, . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: I have met the enemy and they ain’t all capitalists

The Canadian Progressive: Adbusters’ project to “take down Harper”: #SwaggerNoMore

by Adbusters | Jan 17, 2013 “The time has come for all of us to get involved.” He ditched the Kyoto Protocol, voted against Palestine, violated human rights, passed unconstitutional laws, changed the Indian Act illegally, passed several sneaky and sinister omnibus bills . . . he continues to destroy everything in the way of . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Adbusters’ project to “take down Harper”: #SwaggerNoMore

The Ranting Canadian: CTV: Toronto sets warm weather record, Manitoba digs out from storm

CTV: Toronto sets warm weather record, Manitoba digs out from storm :

This weekend, Toronto and other areas of southern Ontario set all-time high records for temperatures in January. In response, short-sighted morons express glee about spring-like weather when it is supposed to be winter. They spout idiotic slogans like: “If this is global warming, . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: CTV: Toronto sets warm weather record, Manitoba digs out from storm

The Ranting Canadian: Eventually people will have to get it through their heads that…

Eventually people will have to get it through their heads that cleaner alternative energy isn’t just for tree-hugging hippies. Eventually these energy sources — along with energy conservation, reducing/re-using other products, and population redu… . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Eventually people will have to get it through their heads that…

Politics and its Discontents: A Celebration of Literacy

Despite its rather lengthy history, yesterday was the first time my wife and I attended Toronto’s Word On the Street, a celebration of books, literacy, and the dispelling of ignorance. As a retired English teacher and keen observer of the political machinations that envelop our society, it was very heartening to see so . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Celebration of Literacy

CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Harper’s Canada “Making Up Terror Identities”

In Stephen Harper’s Canada, we’re all potential terror threats. Until proven otherwise. So suggests a recent study by Queens University’s Jeffrey Monaghan and Kevin Walby, published in the journal Policing and Society. Welcome to Multi Issue Extremism (MIE), Canada’s new classification of so-called domestic terror threats.

We saw it coming.

In a January letter, Joe . . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Harper’s Canada “Making Up Terror Identities”

The Disaffected Lib: The Fundamentalist Dominion of Canada

Another warning that our federal government is “beholden to a religious agenda averse to science and rational debate.”

This time it’s Andrew Nikiforuk writing in the latest Tyee.

Any Canadian listening to the news these days might well conclude that the Republican extremists or some associated evangelical group has occupied Ottawa. 

…transparency and full disclosure . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Fundamentalist Dominion of Canada

350 or bust: It’s A Mystery

Nothing in life ever stays the same, so why should this blog be any different? Since 350orbust was created in November of 2009, in response to 350.org’s “International Day of Climate Action” campaign in the lead up to the Copenhagen Climate Conference, I have been transformed. While Copenhagen was a bust, and international and national . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: It’s A Mystery

gay persons of color: Hockey defenceman Andrew Ference in support of gay players

Canadian hockey defenceman Andrew Ference who plays for the Boston Bruins came out in support of gay athletes last week in an article discussing open displays of religious fervour by professional football players, namely Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. From NESN: “It’s the same thing with anything in sports,” Ference said. “If a guy . . . → Read More: gay persons of color: Hockey defenceman Andrew Ference in support of gay players

Red Tory v.3.0.3: Candle Power!

Who knows where our power is coming from in the future? Canada’s candlelight providers: ready to meet the surge in demand that comes from people wanting to turn the lights on but rejecting every possible means of making that happen. . . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: Candle Power!

Runesmith's Canadian Content: The Orange and the Green

When provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced this summer that her party wanted to reduce the HST on gasoline, I must say I raised an eyebrow. After all, the NDP is supposed to be (among many other things) an environmentally friendly party, and conventional environmental wisdom states that high gas taxes are an effective way to reduce consumption.

Now, it’s one thing to argue against that premise, and certainly many have done just that. But to completely ignore the environmental implications of cutting an energy consumption tax and just drop it straight into the ‘saving taxpayers money’ file seems a little… well, un-NDPlike.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. 


NDP losing its green allies


In a stinging letter to Horwath, circulated to members of a green coalition, Environmental Defence executive director Rick Smith complained that her party had lost its way:


“Some of your existing policy positions are not in the best interest of environmental or human health protection,” Smith wrote last month.


“How can any party that claims to be concerned about global warming advocate de facto subsidies for buying oil and gas. This is absolutely the wrong direction.”


Significantly, Smith is a former chief of staff to the late federal NDP leader, Jack Layton, who made environmentalism a cornerstone of his campaigns in a way that Ontario New Democrats have not. The party’s former research director, Hugh Mackenzie, has also condemned its recent positions.

Ouch!

The article also calls into question Horwath’s delicate dance around the issue of wind turbines, in which she seeks to simultaneously avoid offending either her green allies or her sizeable rural constituency without tying herself in a knot and falling off the stage.

I’m sure some political operative is telling them that this is the best way to capitalize on the perceived momentum from their federal cousins. And maybe they’re right. But if the provincial NDP really wants to bask in the orange afterglow from Jack Layton’s passage, they might want to try adopting his principles and his strength of resolve instead of emulating his opponents’ political flexibility. . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: The Orange and the Green

Runesmith's Canadian Content: The Orange and the Green

When provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced this summer that her party wanted to reduce the HST on gasoline, I must say I raised an eyebrow. After all, the NDP is supposed to be (among many other things) an environmentally friendly party, and conventional environmental wisdom states that high gas taxes are an effective way . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: The Orange and the Green

CalgaryLiberal: Oil Spills: The beavers do it better.

Media scan: David Suzuki – Alberta’s biggest oil spill in 30 years is a call to action for Canadians BBC – Oil spill in Canada’s Alberta ‘biggest in 35 years’ Sun – Spill making kids sick Market Wire – Lubicon Lake Nati… . . . → Read More: CalgaryLiberal: Oil Spills: The beavers do it better.

Runesmith's Canadian Content: Harper, Energy and the Environment: It’s the Politics, Stupid!

This is getting embarrassing.

Up until recently, the best the Harper government could say about our dismal record on climate change, energy and the environment was that we were doing better than the Americans. But now that even the beleaguered Obama administration is making progress on this front, Canada’s intransigence is starting to make us look like we’re actually moving backwards.


U.S. to impose new emission rules on power plants, refineries

The Obama administration has announced plans to impose new greenhouse-gas emission rules on power plants and refineries, a move that will increase pressure on the Harper government to introduce its own national emissions regulations in 2011.

The U.S. Environment Protection Agency said over the holidays that it will propose emission performance standards for new and existing fossil-fuel facilities this year, despite opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.

The sad thing is, the Harper government’s blinkered approach to the environment has translated into a bizarre, visceral aversion to anything remotely resembling a national energy policy. Which, for a party that continues to insist they are the best bet for the Canadian economy, may be their most insanely retrograde policy position yet.

Seriously – when even the oil companies are figuring out that renewables are the way of the future, you’d think their buddies in government would be willing to help them out with some sort of coherent policy that would bring us in line with their international competitors and customers.

Of course, now we have a brand new Environment Minister who might finally… oh, never mind.


With serious action ruled out in advance, the Harper government’s environment minister must be a smooth talker. He must be prepared to repeat things that are demonstrably false – as in Canada will reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels – with a straight face while all those around you are cracking up in derision. When necessary, the minister must bluster.

Peter Kent, a former television presenter, should therefore fit the definition splendidly of what is required of a Harper government environment minister. Since all important decisions are taken by the Prime Minister anyway, it shouldn’t matter that Mr. Kent has no background in the file nor has ever shown any interest in the issues. He is there to rag the puck, so to speak.

To understand the reasoning behind this economically unreasonable position, one need look no further than the poll numbers for Ontario’s Liberal government.

Dalton McGuinty has implemented one of the most ambitious and progressive energy policies in North America, and although it’s not without its flaws (cough… nuclear… cough), lo and behold it seems that it’s actually working. He’s implemented a feed-in tariff, similar to systems in Europe, that has resulted in a boom in renewable energy projects and the creation of thousands of much needed manufacturing jobs in the green energy sector. He’s well on his way (better late than never) to fulfilling a promise to shut down every coal-fired power plant in the province. He’s investing millions in upgrading our energy grid to make it more efficient and less vulnerable to surges and blackouts, and allow for decentralized, greener power generation.

These are exactly the sorts of large scale, long-term projects that save economies but kill governments. Why? Because they cost money and/or raise prices in the short term, and that’s all people see. Who cares if we’re going to be world leaders in energy and green technology ten years from now when gas is $5.00 a litre and we’re all charging our electric cars for pennies a ride? Dammit, my Hydro bill went up two and a half bucks!

Which is why the Ontario Liberals may well find themselves out of power come the next election, and by the time we start reaping the real rewards of their policies, the PCs will be there to gleefully take the credit.

(Of course the converse works as well: the inevitable results of the Harris/Eaves government’s popular but short-sighted tax and program cuts have also taken years to take their full effect – just in time for the Liberals to wear that, too.)

These are the political equations which guide Stephen Harper’s every move – not economics, and certainly not public benefit. Which is why he will continue to do absolutely nothing on the environment or energy files that won’t immediately benefit him politically. In other words, nothing.

Short-term gain, long-term pain. That’s how you stay in power. . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: Harper, Energy and the Environment: It’s the Politics, Stupid!

Runesmith's Canadian Content: Harper, Energy and the Environment: It’s the Politics, Stupid!

This is getting embarrassing.

Up until recently, the best the Harper government could say about our dismal record on climate change, energy and the environment was that we were doing better than the Americans. But now that even the beleaguered Obama administration is making progress on this front, Canada’s intransigence is starting to make us . . . → Read More: Runesmith’s Canadian Content: Harper, Energy and the Environment: It’s the Politics, Stupid!