I have the following letter to the editor in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald:
Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade
In their letter of Dec. 3, Darryl Hickie and other Sask. Party MLAs back away from his previous claim that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) would be a boon to the Prince Albert Pulp Mill. Indeed, as the federal government’s Initial Strategic Environmental Assessment of these trade negotiations noted, “Pulp and paper products currently enter the EU market duty free, so a CETA is not expected to increase Canadian exports (Read more…)
The Conservative government generously gave First Nations in Saskatchewan enough grant money to build one impressively sized solar array that could power a half dozen homes.
Ontario is going with $5,000M.
SaskPower gave 10 times this much to the UofR to research how to put CO2 underground so more oil can be pumped out of the Weyburn area.
Lockheed manufactures illegal weapons, and is part of the F-35 dud stealth bomber boondoggle.
Solar is not “concentrated” in SK as explained in the article, we just have more sun hitting the ground throughout the year than most of Canada. There’s (Read more…)
Earlier this week, PotashCorp laid off 440 workers in Saskatchewan. Here are the closing paragraphs from today’s front-page story reporting a letter from Premier Brad Wall asking the company to consider reducing its dividend payments to shareholders in order to maintain jobs in Saskatchewan:
Regina economist and former NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir said if Wall truly wanted to transfer money from PotashCorp shareholders to Saskatchewan people, he would close loopholes in the provincial royalty and tax system.
The sternly-worded letter is “no substitute” for policy changes, Weir said.
Wall told reporters Thursday that the end result of any tax (Read more…)
On Thursday’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange (at 24:45 in this CBC video), I noted that while the Government of Canada just signed a deal with Kazakhstan allowing Cameco to invest more in that country’s uranium industry, the Government of Saskatchewan recently slashed its uranium royalties to encourage Cameco to invest in the province rather than in Kazakhstan.
It’s a win-win for Cameco: the federal government helps it invest abroad and the provincial government makes concessions to compete for those same investment dollars. But it’s hard to see how Canadians benefit from increased nuclear capacity in central Asia and decreased (Read more…)
Here’s an important story for Canadians, and Saskatchewanians in particular, which doesn’t have to do with the Riders or the Senate scandal.
The Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) wants to know why the Wall Government is still subsidizing Cameco. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently reported that Cameco owes $850-million in back taxes. And just recently Canada and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to jointly invest $200-million to develop a uranium conversion facility capable of feeding 40 nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan.
If uranium is profitable, then Kazakhstan should be able to build a uranium conversion facility without Canadian tax dollars. Why (Read more…)
Almost a year ago, Paul Krugman wrote a blog post entitled “Inaction is the Greatest Risk.” He was addressing American monetary policy, but the same theme applies to Saskatchewan politics. Much as Krugman warned readers upfront that his post was “wonkish,” I’ll admit that the following is “hackish.”
For several months, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has been trying to reposition himself as a champion of Senate abolition, a progressive and popular policy that the CCF-NDP has consistently held since the Regina Manifesto. Yesterday, the provincial Legislative Assembly passed his motion supporting Senate abolition and his bill repealing the Senate (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your day.
- Bloomberg reminds us of the nest egg Norway has built up by taking ownership of its own natural resources (and the consensus among conservative parties and business groups in favour of social spending is also worth highlighting). And Canadians for Tax Fairness point out the growing global movement calling for tax justice as part of a more fair distribution of wealth.
- But sadly, Jimmy Gutman notes that Saskatchewan is following a rather different path – with piracy taking the place of stewardship.
- And our local regressives certainly have their peers elsewhere (Read more…)
I have the following opinion piece in the latest (September 2013) edition of The Commonwealth, accompanied by this disclaimer: “The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the official position of the Saskatchewan NDP.”
Comparing the NDP and Sask. Party Employment Records
Right-wing politicians often win elections by presenting themselves as good economic managers. British Columbia’s provincial election was the latest example of how the right’s rhetorical focus on the economy can derail the NDP.
It also illustrated how simply being cautious and saying little about economic issues is an ineffective defence. New Democrats must challenge (Read more…)
The Saskatchewan Party has appropriated the province’s name, flag and football team. More recently, it asserted a new symbol of Saskatchewan patriotism: the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Earlier this year, provincial energy and resources minister Tim McMillan had the following letter in Regina’s Leader-Post:
Province Needs XL (January 28, 2013)
I write in regard to recent Leader-Post coverage of the Keystone XL Pipeline. As Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for energy and resources, I strongly support this project as it has considerable benefits for Saskatchewan’s oil industry and the people of this province.
Saskatchewan crude oil receives a price based on (Read more…)
Sask. Party spin appears to be growing even faster than the province’s population. Today’s Saskatchewan government news release quotes Premier Wall as saying, “We have the strongest job growth and lowest unemployment in Canada.”
By what measure does Saskatchewan have the strongest job growth? Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey indicates that employment grew by 2.9 per cent in Saskatchewan and 3.6 per cent in Alberta over the past year (August 2012 to August 2013).
The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours indicates that payroll employment (as opposed to self-employment) grew by 1.3 per cent in Saskatchewan and (Read more…)
As the referendum on whether to privatize Regina’s wastewater plant nears, the Regina Leader-Post is printing a column a day advocating the P3: John Gormley on Friday, Bruce Johnstone on Saturday, and Murray Mandryk today.
Johnstone and Mandryk repeat three of the City’s key claims. Gormley only gets to one of these claims because he mostly just attacks the messenger, implying that a P3 would be good because CUPE opposes it (another common City tactic).
It does not make sense for governments, which can borrow at low interest rates, to pay private operators to finance public infrastructure at (Read more…)
One thing we share is an abundance of unsafe Quebec chrysotile AKA asbestos. Most of the world stopped using the miracle mineral once they realized what a global disaster its widespread use had been. Inhaled asbestos fibres cause lung cancer. There is some ongoing effort four decades after its use in new products was stopped in Canada, to remove it from buildings we live, work, and play in.
The effort to mitigate harm from asbestos has its limits, even in a developed country like Canada. An often overlooked source of asbestos fibres in our homes has taken a backseat, while (Read more…)
The City of Regina is engaged in a controversial debate about a proposed public private partnership (P3) for the city’s wastewater plant.
Residents formed a Regina Water Watch group to keep the facility public. They collected enough names to take the issue to a municipal referendum on September 25th, despite attempts by the city to disallow signatures on spurious grounds. Regina mayor Michael Fougere launched an aggressive advertising campaign in support of the P3, spending over $300,000 in advertising and robocalls. (For its part he Regina Water Watch group has produced an excellent video, (Read more…)
Ten years ago, SaskPower was spending money to promote education about Climate Change.
The poster contest is an important component of our efforts to educate the public about the climate change issue. There are increasing concerns that human activity – such as the burning of coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity – contributes to climate change, which has been associated with increased risk of droughts, heat waves and storms.
Yet a decade later its CEO and President, Robert Watson, has written the Star Phoenix dismissing a good question from a Saskatoon Community Wind representative, James Glennie, to meaningfully (Read more…)
Source: Huffington Post: Self Driving Cars are Coming to Canada
Despite previously alluding to some of the topics we might talk about this week, I decided to go to a different route talk about something a little more abstract.
There was news today that Canadian roads can expect to see driverless vehicles within the next four years. People who have been following tech giants, such as Google, are not surprised by the fact that driverless cars being developed; though some people might be surprised that they’re closer to launch than anticipated.
Paul Godsmark, a retired highway designer, has said however (Read more…)
Beautiful weather, and beautiful music.
There’s presently no planned music festival in Wood Mountain for 2014, but I hope that changes.
The Queen City’s water debate has boiled over since I last blogged about it. City Council decided to build a new wastewater-treatment facility as a public-private partnership (P3), but a group of concerned citizens gathered 24,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether to “publicly finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant for Regina.”
There has been much debate about the City’s anti-democratic tactics as well as the substance of the P3 proposal. The City Clerk overstepped Saskatchewan’s Cities Act in a desperate attempt to invalidate the petition. Since Council conceded that it would hold a referendum, (Read more…)
The Wood Mountain Folk Festival is today, Saturday Aug. 24, 2013, at the Mergel Ranch. On Friday I drove down from Regina in my $50 rental car (for 3 days, from Enterprise). It’s getting 5.7L/100km highway driving in ECO mode. 2013 Elantra, Hyundai. I successfully passed a semi along the way in the hills.
Is this a finger? Not photoshopped.
I looked through Limerick’s centennial garden.
If this wasn’t so far away, I’d take many more photos on this hill at Lakenheath.
Here’s a bell I hadn’t seen before, and the Melaval, Sask. inscription surprised me!
It hailed in (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Go To Wood Mountain #exploresask
Well, when isn’t photography art? Maybe quite often, but there’s no disputing the photos of Naomi Harris are art. She seems to take a lot of people photos, while I prefer landscapes and architecture as they are more readily available in rural Saskatchewan.
“I just decided to do this trip to learn more about my own country, because I’ve seen more of Europe and the U.S,” Harris said in a phone interview from Minnesota.
“It’s almost as if there’s a reason why the provincial borders are drawn where they are. Even passing from Saskatchewan into Manitoba, it completely (Read more…)
*Goosebumps* I got goosebumps up the back of my head when he played Hey Jude.
A music legend played in the Queen City for the first time, and seemed to love it. The crowd sure did. What perfect weather, and a perfect night! A quick cheering poll identified most of the stadium’s audience as being from outside of Regina.
His Out There tour wrapped up.
My cell phone has pitiful audio quality, but my good camera has much better sound and some clips will be on YouTube soon.
. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Paul McCartney Rocks Regina
They were vastly underestimated.
.@theturner And yet @SaskPower as recently as 2013 was highlighting a #solarpower study from 2000 to guide their grid planning. #skpoli— John Klein (@JohnKleinRegina) August 14, 2013
Here’s info about that out of date solar power study that SaskPower was touting.
@JohnKleinRegina Maybe mention to @SaskPower that installed PV costs in Alberta have declined by 90% since then with no govt support at all.— Chris Turner (@theturner) August 14, 2013
Following last week’s troubling news about potash, the Saskatchewan government released its first-quarter financial report today. The headline seems to be “Oil Keeps Budget in Black”, with a forecast increase in oil revenue more than offsetting a forecast decline in potash and other revenues.
But the forecast West Texas Intermediate price is only up by a couple of dollars since the provincial budget. A larger difference is that the forecast exchange rate has fallen from 99 to 96 US cents.
As shown at the bottom of page 4 (3 of 5 in the PDF), the forecast US-dollar price of (Read more…)
I ended up at a house concert in Indian Head. It’s interesting where life takes you when you don’t plan your day.
Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen are on their way down to southern California and across the USA touring very soon.
Part 2 More may be coming later if Brien remembers to find time to upload when he’s back in Toon town.
The home is among the oldest buildings in the province, having once served as a hospital.
Earlier in the day, on our way to pick raspberries, the clouds were not co-operating. The mosquitoes made up pay for (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Indian Head #sask Concert
There might be a better way to entertain kids who want to skateboard in a city, other than yell at them, push them, and make their desired outdoor fun illegal. Baltimore wasn’t doing a good job 6 years ago. Regina’s not far behind.
“Dude” cop loses his temper. Doesn’t file report. Gets famous on YouTube. Gets fired.
Sousveillance wins the day.
Build a Roof-Ready skate park for Regina? Maybe one with a dome would be wiser.
I know it’s a joke song, but I like it anyway. It’s so bad, it’s good. And I finally found the original video.