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ParliamANT Hill: Western premiers ask federal government for $1B spend on infrastructure

Satire inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/western-premiers-ask-federal-government-for-1b-spend-on-infrastructure-1.2826670

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman look into the spread of wealth inequality in the U.S., and find that it may be worse than we already knew. And Paul Krugman discusses how toxic anti-government ideology is preventing the U.S. from both getting its economy on track in the short term, and investing in infrastructure it will need down the road: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Abdul Abiad, David Furceri and Petia Topalova highlight the IMF’s research confirming that well-planned infrastructure spending offers an economic boost in both the short and long term: (I)ncreased public infrastructure investment raises output in the short term by boosting demand and in the long term by raising the economy’s productive capacity.

In a sample of advanced economies, an increase of 1 percentage point of GDP in investment spending raises the level of output by about 0.4 percent in the same year and by 1.5 percent four years after the increase (see chart, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Hey, Think You’re Resilient?

“Resilience.”  It’s the new climate change buzz word.  It applies to individuals, communities, institutions, and infrastructure.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from repeated climate change impacts. It’s the ability to withstand repeated floods, for example.  That might require making your home resilient by having it mounted on stilts well above ground level.  It might entail constructing new floodways to channel flash floods away from communities.

Resilience planning was one topic of discussion at the 2014 World Climate Week summit in New York.

It’s not just the Third World that is taking up the issue of resilience.  In (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: You’re Paying for Those Pot Holes Whether They’re Fixed or Not

It’s no secret that essential infrastructure in North America is in a bad way. Neglect driven by tax cutting has led to deterioration in everything from roadways to overpasses, bridges, sewers and water mains.  The end result is essential infrastructure in immediate need of repair and replacement.

An illustration of the problem comes from a forced retreat of the “just in time” manufacturing sector.

Companies like Whirlpool and Caterpillar are making costly additions to their otherwise sinewy supply chains to compensate for aging U.S. roads that are too potholed and congested for “just in time” delivery. Some (Read more…)

PostArctica: Disgraceful Street Work In Verdun

For many, many years one of the most common pedestrian complaints on Wellington street has been the less than ideal condition of the granite tiles that run up the center of the sidewalks. People have tripped and fallen from getting a foot stuck on an uprooted tile or one that has sank or is to some degree not flush with the sidewalk. Recently Maçonnerie Gratton was awarded a contract to fix the tiles. You would think that being a well known business with over 60 years in experience in Verdun that nothing less than a good, effective professional job would (Read more…)

THE FIFTH COLUMN: What Are Cyclists Lives Worth

While I cannot answer that question I can tell you what our society and its governments have decided cyclists lives are not worth.

Cyclists lives are not worth the cost of installing truck side guards on all large trucks.

Cyclists lives are not worth the cost of developing and installing better mirror or camera monitoring systems for large trucks and all motor vehicles.

Cyclists lives are not

The Disaffected Lib: Sometimes In Life, It’s the Little Things That Matter

It’s really a little thing.  A little worse.  A little more frequent.  A little longer lasting.  A little more severe.  A little more damaging.

That’s the face of early onset climate change. It’s the face of severe weather events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration.  It’s weather made a little worse, a little more often, a little longer.  Yet it is, indeed, the little things that can really matter.

A little heavier rain, an extra day or two, once or twice more often per month. The thing is, all these little things add up and they multiply the overall impact (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is kicking Ontario while it’s down by demanding that it let stimulus funding leak out of a province which actually needs it – and how Saskatchewan and other provinces stand to suffer too if Wall helps the Cons impose similar restrictions across the country.

For further reading…- The Leader-Post reported on the Sask Party’s own rejection of the TILMA here, while Matthew Burrows noted Saskatchewan’s overall consensus not to pursue it here. – I posted here on the absence of any substantive differences between the TILMA which Wall rejected based on public (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: We Need To Do What These Guys Are Doing

“These guys” are the Brits.  What they’re doing is taking an inventory of their transportation infrastructure to assess its vulnerability to severe storm events caused by ‘early onset’ climate change.  The good news is that the Brits get it. They know climate change is real and that they’re going to have to adapt or else.  In other words, the Brits have concluded that infrastructure designed for Halocene conditions just can’t cut it in the Anthropocene.

Britain’s crumbling rail network is not built to “modern standards” and is at risk of a repeat of the severe disruption of last winter unless (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: We Need To Do What These Guys Are Doing

Things Are Good: A Call to Think Bigger About Transit

The way we get around in North America is changing from a work-home orientation to a node based network with multiple destinations. At first cars were used to fulfil this but as traffic worsens we need to rethink how we all get around. The solution, of course, is to kick the addiction to owning cars.

This raises bigger questions about the role of TOD in shared transport networks. One of the reasons services like Uber and Lyft, not to mention autonomous cars, make some planners nervous is because they don’t have a fixed node associated with them. So how do (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Post-fight analysis: Round 1 to Jim Prentice as Wildrose comes out swinging over debt remark

Jim Prentice and Wildrose champion Rob Anderson square off in Round 1, as members of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce look on. Actual scenes from Alberta political discourse may not appear exactly as illustrated. Judge Dave gives Round 1 to Mr. Prentice. Below: The real Mr. Prentice and the real Mr. Anderson.

Well, it’s hard to know for sure, but I’d say the first open policy scrap between Jim Prentice, Progressive Conservative Premier Apparent of Alberta, and the Wildrose Opposition yesterday morning went to Mr. Prentice.

Leastways, by most accounts Mr. Prentice managed to sound like a grownup when he (Read more…)

PostArctica: Turcot “neighbourliness” Meeting on April 23 in Saint Henri

Info Citoyens

Comité de bon voisinage

Dans le but de faciliter les échanges avec les riverains des secteurs touchés par les travaux de Turcot, le ministère des Transports met en place un comité de bon voisinage. Ce dernier vise à maintenir un dialogue tout au long des travaux, aussi bien avec les résidents que les entreprises et les institutions touchés par le projet. Ces rencontres permettent de faire le point sur les travaux, d’aborder les préoccupations de chacun et de travailler à mettre en place des solutions communes.

Une rencontre d’information qui s’est tenue le 11 février 2014 a permis d’en apprendre davantage sur ce comité et de faire (Read more…)

PostArctica: Turcot “neighbourliness” Meeting on April 23 in Saint Henri

Info Citoyens

Comité de bon voisinage

Dans le but de faciliter les échanges avec les riverains des secteurs touchés par les travaux de Turcot, le ministère des Transports met en place un comité de bon voisinage. Ce dernier vise à maintenir un dialogue tout au long des travaux, aussi bien avec les résidents que les entreprises et les institutions touchés par le projet. Ces rencontres permettent de faire le point sur les travaux, d’aborder les préoccupations de chacun et de travailler à mettre en place des solutions communes.

Une rencontre d’information qui s’est tenue le 11 février 2014 a permis d’en apprendre davantage sur ce comité et de faire (Read more…)

PostArctica: How Climate Change Will Kill Us in the Dumbest Possible Way

Couldn’t agree more, stupid is our our story to the end…

AKIRA WATTS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

When we’re not actively engaged in killing each other, watching TV, or occupied in other such entertaining diversions, one of humanity’s favorite hobbies is imagining that we live in the end times, with extinction lurking around every corner. I’ve never been a huge fan of this sort of thing. I tend to hold that, as Copernicus explained, we don’t occupy a privileged position at the center of the universe, nor do we occupy a privileged position in time, either at the beginning or (Read more…)

PostArctica: How Climate Change Will Kill Us in the Dumbest Possible Way

Couldn’t agree more, stupid is our our story to the end…

AKIRA WATTS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

When we’re not actively engaged in killing each other, watching TV, or occupied in other such entertaining diversions, one of humanity’s favorite hobbies is imagining that we live in the end times, with extinction lurking around every corner. I’ve never been a huge fan of this sort of thing. I tend to hold that, as Copernicus explained, we don’t occupy a privileged position at the center of the universe, nor do we occupy a privileged position in time, either at the beginning or (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: Policy Proposal 36 – Sustainable Infrastructure Investments ( #lib14 #lpc #cdnpoli #NoPickeringAirport )

There are a great number of prioritized policies up for debate at the 2014 Liberal Biennial Convention in Montreal. To go into each one, would need a month’s worth of blog posts.

Readers of my blog will know that I have long advocated against the development of a new international airport in the City of Pickering. Unfortunately, the policy proposal I authored to Protect the Pickering Lands and subsequently prioritized by Central Region did not make it to the biennial.

The proposal to build an airport is irresponsible. In the absence of a business case, it represents a dangerously reckless (Read more…)

Things Are Good: More Evidence That Streetcars and Light Rail Improve North American Cities

In Toronto there is a crack smoking mayor who believes that streetcars and light rail are an urban blight. The evidence that rail-based transit is an economic boom to cities in North America continues to grow and more cities on the continent are benefiting from political decision (not made while smoking crack). It’s nice to see rail transit making a resurgence in cities that have invested billions into inefficient auto infrastructure.

Within prime walking distance from streetcar stops, commercial permits in neighborhood areas got roughly 20% more frequent for every 100’ closer to stops. Crucially, distance to streetcar stops was (Read more…)

the reeves report: Ontario to roll out Green Bonds in 2014

GO workers wait ahead of announcement from Ontario government about green bonds (Oct. 30, 2013)

Ontario made a small splash in the financial world at the end of October when Premier Kathleen Wynne and two top cabinet ministers announced the province was set to become the first Canadian jurisdiction to issue “green bonds,” a debt tool for governments to raise money solely to fund environmentally friendly initiatives.

“These bonds will help attract institutional investors, and they will be competitively priced based on what the market bears,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa at the announcement.

Craig Alexander, senior vice president (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that Canada needs far more investment in infrastructure – rather than the austerity that’s constantly being prescribed by the Cons: The fiscal policy choice we face is often miscast as one between austerity to deal with public debt and short-term Keynesian-style stimulus. But the real choice, Mr. Summers argues, is whether or not to finance public investments that would have positive long-term impacts on both the economy and on public finances.

Take the case for repairing or replacing Canada’s crumbling basic municipal infrastructure, some 30 per cent of which is (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Changing Car-Based Infrastructure for Walkable Communities

The suburbs are designed for cars as opposed to people and this is a problem that has surprising side effects from personal health issues to an increase in violent deaths. So how do we modify the suburbs to stop these side effects? In this TED talk, Jeff Speck explores what can be done.

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how P3 structures create a divergence of interest between short-sighted governments and the general public – and a few policy fixes to ensure we don’t lose value or accountability as a result of politically-motivated choices to use them.

For further reading…- The Saskatchewan NDP introduced its P3 accountability legislation (PDF) here.- And Murray Mandryk has some questions of his own about the Saskatchewan Party’s reluctance to subject P3s to any oversight or accountability.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom notes that the Harper Cons’ latest EI cuts look to amplify the pain of unemployment in Ontario while serving the broader purpose of forcing workers to conclude their federal government doesn’t care if they go hungry: The great irony is that these days hardly any jobless qualify for EI to begin with.

Latest figures from Statistics Canada show that only 37.6 per cent of unemployed Canadians qualified for employment insurance in August.

In part, that’s because the nature of work is changing. More people have the kind of jobs (such (Read more…)

Things Are Good: The Types of Cyclist Change Thanks to Bike Sharing

Bixi is a bike sharing program that started in Montreal but the concept exists in cities around the world. In Montreal where there are more bicycle commuters every year,researchers at McGill University surveyed cyclists before and after Bixi began. They were able to identify the types of cyclists that ride and their commitment to commuting via bicycle.

The study found that cycling demographics are changing rapidly. In a 2008 Montreal study, conducted before Bixi and the growth of bike paths, 65 percent were men and 35 percent women. But in 2013, the study included 60 percent men and 40 percent (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On consistent rules

Bill Curry reports that many Canadian municipalities are wondering why Rob Ford has access to funding streams not available to anybody else: Ottawa’s $660-million gift to Toronto for a subway extension will come from a program that does not yet exist, leaving Canada’s other cities confused as to how they can get in on the action.

Mayors and municipal officials scrambled this week to understand the broader implications of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s surprise announcement on Monday that Ottawa would help finance a subway extension in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough.

Now, the broader implications seem to me to be (Read more…)