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The Common Sense Canadian: Consider the global impacts of oil pipelines

Read this June 25th story by Wendy J. Palen, Thomas D. Sisk, Maureen E. Ryan, Joseph L. Árvai, Mark Jaccard, Anne K. Salomon, Thomas Homer-Dixon& Ken P. Lertzman in Nature on how debates over oil-sands infrastructure obscure a broken policy process that overlooks broad climate, energy and environment issues.

The debate over the development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada, is inflaming tensions in and between Canada and the United States.

In April, US President Barack Obama deferred a decision on the fate of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite escalating pressure to approve it from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Paths old and new: beyond the tar sands

This is an expansion of my last piece on the tar sands. The expanded form was republished as a Bullet at Socialist Project. I’ve decided to post the new bits here as they can stand alone.

On a path to nowhere

One way to see how this happens is to turn to the concept of path dependence from the language of mainstream economics. Path dependence is the idea that history matters and reverberates strongly in the present; more metaphorically, economic decision-making (whether about production or consumption) can follow increasingly well-worn grooves. Indeed in many ways, path dependence is actually a (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Energy East pipeline: TransCanada told to “cease and desist”

The Council of Canadians this week told TransCanada to “cease and desist” from the deplorable practice of purchasing the silence of Canadian towns likely to be affected by the Energy East tar sands pipeline.

The post Energy East pipeline: TransCanada told to “cease and desist” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Marc Lee looks in detail at the risks involved in relying on tar sands development as an economic model: The UK outfit Carbon Tracker was the first to point out this means we are seeing a “carbon bubble” in our financial markets – that  fossil fuel companies, whose business model is the extraction of carbon, are over-valued on the stock markets of the world. This analysis was subsequently picked up by Bill McKibben in his now-famous article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying Math,” which launched the fossil fuel divestment movement, plus some local (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Boothe responds to the C.D. Howe Institute’s unwarranted bias against public-sector investment: Is the public sector holding back provincial growth rates by crowding out private sector investment?  That’s the contention of a recent C.D. Howe paper by Philip Cross.  The paper provides a great case study of the danger of confusing correlation with causality.

Let’s begin with the simple arithmetic.  Gross domestic product (GDP) is the sum of spending on consumption, investment, government services and net exports.  Whether the investment spending is initiated by the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ralph Surette highlights the dangers of a pollution-based economy which fails to account for the damage we’re doing to our planet and its ability to provide food for people: This is something to behold. A more-or-less hurricane in early July. Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

This is climate change, and it’s getting worse. And whereas the news of the day is about people with the power out, the long-term story is about the hit to agriculture, now and in future, here and worldwide — keeping in mind that farming is more (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that to end your weekend.

- PressProgress takes a look at the OECD’s long-term economic projections – which feature a combination of increasing inequality and slow growth across the developed world, with Canada do worse than almost anybody else on the inequality front unless we see a shift toward more progressive policies when it comes to unions, employment protections and fair taxes.

- Meanwhile, Derek Leahy discusses how much we have to lose by relying on the tar sands as our sole economic engine.

- David Cay Johnston points out that several of the largest forms of consumer (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report

A new study confirms that pollutants from the Alberta tar sands contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods.

The post Tar sands pollutants contaminate traditional First Nations’ foods: Report appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Stephen Hwang and Kwame McKenzie discuss the connection between affordable housing and public health and wellness: In 2009, researchers followed 1,200 people in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. It was found that they experience a high burden of serious health problems like asthma, high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They are also at high risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, and of going hungry.

There’s more. We know that housing in disrepair can lead to accidents, fires and infestations. That overcrowding can lead (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The outsize (un)importance of the tarsands

It’s easy to overestimate the importance of the tar sands to the Canadian economy. Tar sands and their pipelines are after all hailed by the ruling Conservatives, sections of the business press and the ever-present oil lobby as this young century’s “nation-building” project. Yet, a survey recently making the rounds highlights the relative unimportance of the tar sands to Canada’s overall economy: while most Canadians overestimate the importance of the tar sands and 41% are guess that the tar sands account for 12 %to 48% of Canada’s GDP, the reality is that they directly contribute a mere 2% to our (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape

For Canadian activist Brigette DePape, participating in last weekend’s final tar sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was akin to “witnessing a war on the earth, and being part of a growing movement to stop it.”

The post Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape

For Canadian activist Brigette DePape, participating in last weekend’s final tar sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was akin to “witnessing a war on the earth, and being part of a growing movement to stop it.”

The post Alberta tar sands a “war on the earth”: Brigette DePape appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta

Hundreds of people from all over Turtle Island are currently participating in this weekend’s fifth and “final” tar sands Healing Walk, taking place in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The post Final Tar Sands Healing Walk Under Way In Fort McMurray, Alberta appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Opponents Vow To Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline

First Nations groups say that the pipeline would disrupt their traditional seafood harvest and endanger their culture.

The post Opponents Vow To Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Song of the Watermelon: It’s the Climate, Stupid!

Not two weeks since the federal government’s long-anticipated approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the magnitude of the obstacles faced by the project are becoming clearer by the day.

There is widespread public hostility — both in Kitimat, envisioned as the pipeline’s end location, as well as across British Columbia more generally. First Nations and environmental groups have launched several court challenges, with more expected to come. Massive protests and civil disobedience are inevitable. Efforts will soon be underway to initiate a province-wide referendum. The government of BC, which must provide about 60 permits, is ambivalent about the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Harry Stein discusses how government policy is currently designed to exacerbate inequality by subsidizing the concentration of wealth: This issue brief puts aside the question of whether new policies, such as a global wealth tax, should be enacted to reduce economic inequality. Instead, it explores two existing policies that actually subsidize wealth inequality. First, reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends increase the after-tax rate of return on wealth, which makes it more likely that the rate of return on capital will exceed the overall economic growth rate. Second, capital gains (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Harper Will Regret Approving the Enbridge Pipeline: Forest Ethics

Vancouver-based environmental group Forest Ethics says Harper’s approval of the politically toxic Northern Gateway pipeline may cost him the 2015 election.

The post Harper Will Regret Approving the Enbridge Pipeline: Forest Ethics appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Northern Gateway Pipeline Opponents: This Means ‘War’

by: Lauren McCauley | First published by Common Dreams on June 18, 2014

“It’s official. The war is on,” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told a crowd of hundreds who had flooded the streets of Vancouver late Tuesday following the announcement that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.

Phillip, who is president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, told reporters that people are prepared to go to jail over this fight, “because that’s what it’s going to take.”

Phillip’s statement exemplified the widespread condemnation and vows of resistance that swiftly (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Northern Gateway Pipeline: First Nations “Disgusted” With Harper’s Approval [VIDEO]

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Enbridge’s vice president lies about winning over local First Nations [VIDEO] First Nations vow to fight Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project Elizabeth May Questions Harper on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline [VIDEO] Enbridge Inc Rebuked: “This is not an Enbridge animation” (VIDEO) Five strategies to stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline

The post Northern Gateway Pipeline: First Nations “Disgusted” With Harper’s Approval [VIDEO] appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

. . . → Read More: THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Northern Gateway Pipeline: First Nations “Disgusted” With Harper’s Approval [VIDEO]

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: Enbridge’s vice president lies about winning over local First Nations [VIDEO]

by: Obert Madondo | June 18, 2014

Appearing on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, Enbridge’s Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, D’arcy Levesque, gushed about Jim Prentice’s efforts to court First Nations’ support of the energy giant’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. He said the former federal Conservative cabinet minister “helped open up a dialogue with many of those First Nations”. And then he said the lobbyist, now running for premier of Alberta, had made “progress”. Meaning: First Nations were on board.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Chiefs, tells a different story. “In many ways, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kathleen Geier discusses the U.S.’ culture of overwork and its human toll: There is abundant evidence that long working hours is incredibly dangerous from a public health perspective. Fatigued or sleep-deprived workers who drive or operate heavy machinery are an obvious menace to public safety, but there are other health costs associated with overwork as well. A 2004 Center for Disease Control report found that excessive overtime was associated with “poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses, and increased mortality,” and a 2008 study linked long work hours to (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: First Nations vow to fight Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project

“We are prepared to go to unprecedented lengths to conserve and protect our territories and waters from heavy oil” – First Nations Leadership Council

by: First Nations Leadership Council | Press Release | June 17, 2014

Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC) – On December 19, 2013 the Joint Review Process released its report on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project which included 209 recommended requirements for approval of the project. Today, the federal cabinet announced that it would approve the project. The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), which is composed of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and Union of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: !!!***BREAKING***!!! THE FIX IS STILL IN!!!

Plenty of commentators theorized this week that the Cons might pay some heed to public opinion when it comes to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

But let’s remember where this process all started: from the beginning, the Cons consistently decreed that nobody was permitted to say “no”. And we can hardly be surprised that they’ve ended a review process which was never intended to allow for any other answer by decreeing that Enbridge shall have its way.

The Canadian Progressive: Five strategies to stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline

by: Brent Patterson | First published by The Council of Canadians on June 16, 2014

A map of Enbridge’s proposed $6.5 billion Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. Map from Mining.com

The Harper government must announce its decision on the 525,000 barrels per day Northern Gateway tar sands export pipeline by midnight tomorrow.

On CTV’s Question Period yesterday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said, “We fully expected the Harper government to make every effort to ram this project through. But…there’s enormous solidarity here in British Columbia between First Nations people, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses the need to address inequality through our political system. But that will require significant pressure from exactly the citizens who have decided they’re not well served by today’s political options – and Trish Hennessy’s look at Canadian voter turnout reminds us of the desperate need for improvement.

- Meanwhile, Tim Harford points out just how far we’ve gone in focusing on dollars over all other considerations – as even Scotland’s referendum on independence is being spun mostly as a matter of dueling fiscal projections rather than community, culture or other (Read more…)