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…)
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…)
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.
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
Despite repeated efforts by Toronto’s mayor to make transportation in the city worse, things are improving. Local condo developers are finding ways to build condo towers that don’t require more parking than the building needs (an archaic law in the city wants room for two cars for every bedroom built). They are using the cash saved from not building room for cars to build infrastructure for bicycles – which the condo buyers are asking for.
Other cities around the world already do this and it’s thanks to the effort of the developers and councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that Toronto benefits from (Read more…)
Yesterday Toronto got more rain in two hours than it normally does in a month which meant some serious flooding happened. This got me thinking of a program that Toronto (alleged crackhead) Mayor (busted for DUI) Rob (loves pollution) Ford (reads while driving) cancelled. The cancelled program promoted green roofs to help with flood control while lessening wear on existing infrastructure.
So the ineptitude of the current Toronto mayor got me thinking of how things could have been different with forethought of climate change. It’s worth noting that Rob Ford spent the (Read more…)
Chicago politicians understand that people in their city commute sustainably via bicycles and that this is a great component to their transit planning. What’s more is that by building proper infrastructure for cyclists they can draw people to the city and show the world what the future looks like – again. Over at Roads Were Not Built For Cars they provide a very interesting historical perspective on the bicycle in Chicago and how it relates to cities today.
“Bicycling is an integral part of Chicago’s transportation system. Every day, thousands of people bike on our streets, whether it is to (Read more…)
It was built below specs and has been poorly maintained. Saving on maintenance costs in the first 3 decades created full time maintenance contracts that has cost, and will cost taxpayer’s, over 100′s of million of dollars to maintain a structure that is scheduled to be torn down. Somebody has done alright with that. But not you and me.
By Billy Shields Global News
MONTREAL – Transport Quebec announced a series of closures this weekend as it ramps up badly needed work on the Turcot Interchange.
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, the (Read more…)
To say I am behind the times on Turcot would be an understatement. Seems I have drifted into focusing a lot of my online attention into relaying the ongoing tragedy that is our federal government under Stephen Harper via Facebook and occasionally Twitter in recent years. Of course it is all interconnected when you follow the dots.
A non corrupt Turcot? It sure is an interesting concept, pretty much a fantasy actually. But all of us in Quebec owe the Charbonneau Commission a big tip ‘o the hat for showing us how corrupt the City of Montreal has been.
. . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Goverment Talking Corruption Free Turcot
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Michael Harris takes aim at Stephen Harper’s thugocracy: There is little that Stephen Harper has done that other prime ministers before him have not. But no one has used closure, time allocation, committee secrecy or omnibus legislation to a degree that renders Parliament itself irrelevant.
And he has done some other things that no prime minister ever has. He is the only one to have been found in contempt of Parliament. And has any federal government ever tabled a budget without also tabling the Planning and Priorities report? If the government’s spending details
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Paul Krugman discusses how a myopic focus on slashing taxes and services figures to cheat future generations out of desperately-needed social structure: You don’t have to be a civil engineer to realize that America needs more and better infrastructure, but the latest “report card” from the American Society of Civil Engineers — with its tally of deficient dams, bridges, and more, and its overall grade of D+ — still makes startling and depressing reading. And right now — with vast numbers of unemployed construction workers and vast amounts of cash sitting . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
I was talking to one of my friends around the the university the other day and I brought up Raj Sherman’s interview in the Calgary Herald on some form of cooperation between the two Liberal parties in Alberta. It was an off-hand comment and I didn’t really expect a conversation to come of it. He [...]
Danielle Plamondon is one of the most respected, admired, and loved urban explorers on the planet. From the abandoned factories of Montreal and the rooftops of Europe, through the sewer systems of London and Paris, she has photographed these locations with a passionate eye and a creative energy that radiates throughout her images.
Her night photographs bring us to the scene as we have never experienced it before, such as this image that shows the Turcot Interchange (obviously a personal favorite of mine).
Below street level is a second home to her as she documents the drains and tunnels she
. . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Danielle Plamondon at Cafe Victoria in Verdun
Here, on how a narrow focus on balancing budgets misses the more important story as to how our elected officials manage public money.
For further reading…- Paul Krugman makes a similar point with reference to happiness economics, while highlighting the particular value of stimulus within a depressed U.S. economy. – Ian Lovett reports on California’s proliferation of “capital appreciation bonds” as a prime example of the dangerous buy now, pay later approach, while Douglas Hainks points out that Miami’s new baseball stadium will escalate in cost from $91 million to $1.2 billion under a similar scheme.
Assorted content for your Sunday reading.
- Ian Lovett reports on the use of “capital appreciation bonds” in California to ensure that future generations pay an inflated price to private-sector developers for infrastructure today.
- Justin Ling’s review of Joyce Murray’s message about electoral non-competition pacts is well worth a read – but I’ll particularly highlight this part: Do you want Stephen Harper to be defeated in the next federal election?
Alright, we’re already off to a rocky start.
Politics of negation is dangerous, ugly, and unfortunately rears its ugly head very often in leadership campaigns.
“Elect me and I’ll
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
by Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives | Jan. 24, 2013: OTTAWA— Underinvestment in infrastructure is not a crisis but a chronic problem in Canada, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The study, by economist and CCPA Research Associate Hugh Mackenzie, reveals the extent of underinvestment in infrastructure over the READ MORE
Assorted content for your Friday reading.
- In addition to providing my latest tagline, Alex Himelfarb takes aim at the austerians who seem happy to attack social well-being and economic development alike in the name of government-slashing: (A)usterity had never been driven by fiscal policy or economics or evidence. It was driven by ideology. Market fundamentalism. A desire to make government much smaller, eliminate or reduce, as much as politics allowed, so-called entitlements, create a “pro-business” climate of less regulation, less government, and, above all, lower taxes.
Think about the irony of this: that the huge recession-induced deficits
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
If you want to see why there isn’t much of a real left wing in the USA, this graph of those seeking the White House in 2008 pretty much covers it.
2008 US presidential candidates show little actual left wing juice.
If you want proof of how the neoliberal US Democratic Party is like the neoliberal Harper Conservatives, see this great piece:
Rahm Emanuel is not just any Democrat. He was Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, responsible for hiring many of the Obama administration’s key personnel. One of Obama’s appointees, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is a former
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Privatization Via Blackmail
Roads are often overlooked when it comes to the impact of cars on the environment, but we can’t ignore the roads have on the environment when discussing the practicality of cars. Asphalt is used to make roads and the process of creating asphalt is very energy intensive. In Vancouver, they are looking into ways to [...] . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: A Greener Asphalt
People in urban centres walk more and are generally more active than those who live in the suburbs, which is great for urbanites but not so great for the health of suburban dwellers. Years of poor urban planning in the suburbs have had a negative effect on the health of those who live there, which is most visible in increased obesity rates. In the suburbs of Toronto, Peel region is leading in new urban planning that encourages people to live a healthier life.
Instead of telling people what they shouldn’t do they are encouraging people to live healthy through passive,
. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Fight Fat with Urban Design
Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.
- Jim Stanford reviews the effect of NAFTA (and associated corporatist policy choices) on Canada’s economy: Quantity of exports: In the mid-1980s, before Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan inked their deal, Canada’s exports to the United States accounted for 19 per cent of Canadian GDP. Today, they account for 19 per cent of Canadian GDP. Any boost to exports from the deal was temporary, and has since been completely reversed.
Composition of exports: In the mid-1980s, most of Canada’s exports to the U.S. consisted of relatively sophisticated manufactured goods (including automobiles, electronics and
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links