It doesn’t matter why they’re dressed as a tiger, have they got my leg?
Just one more thing about educational reform. Well, for the weekend at least. It relates to the video above because we’ve spent years talking about why we need to make these changes, why these new ideas make up the best way ever (with truly weak evidence), and we’re only just getting into the thicket now. But there’s more…
As we were sitting in our staff meeting on Friday, we watched a video about what kind of jobs will be available twenty years from now. Most top (Read more…)
In March of this year, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne re-introduced the Local Food Act, in which “local” is defined as the province of Ontario. This soon ran afoul of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the federal definition of local…
In times like these, it’s vitally important that we not connect dots like “oil”, “rail”, “deregulation”, “explosion” and “disaster”. Because otherwise, people might start demanding that our corporate reduce the likelihood that we’ll have far more similar incidents to come.
There are a lot of connections between the Harper government’s trade and energy agendas. From dropping barriers to foreign investment in natural resources, to signing investment treaties that (intentionally) make regulating energy and mining pro…
Banksy did it again. This time in New York City.
The renowned street artist created Sirens of the Lambs, a slaughterhouse delivery truck that drove around New York filled with 60 stuffed animals, poking their heads out of the slits, along with screams and squeals playing in the background.
On October 10, the truck was spotted in Brooklyn before ending up in the Meatpacking District.
All part of a month long visit by Banksy to New York during October. Every day, he produced a new art installation somewhere in the city.
“Banksy is brilliant,” said Anita Krajnc, co-organizer of Toronto Pig Save, Cow Save and Chicken Save.
For much of human history we lived close to the natural world. As civilization evolved we became increasingly urbanized, and most of us now live in cities. As we’ve moved away from nature, we’ve seen a decline in other forms of life. Biodiversity is disappearing. The current rate of loss is perhaps as high as 10,000 times the natural rate. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2008 Red List of Threatened Species shows 16,928 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. This includes a quarter of all mammal species, a third of amphibian species and an eighth of bird species.
The longstanding “will they or won’t they” dynamic existing between BC premier Christy Clark and Alberta premier Alison Redford took a turn for the depressing recently when they announced they had come to a framework agreement on pipelines. While short on specifics and not making any firm pledges, the deal appears intended to bring Enbridge’s controversial Northern Gateway project, which seeks to transport diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to BC’s North Coast for export, one step closer to fruition.
With Enbridge and its prospective pipeline gaining momentum, opposition to the plan is not far behind, and proposals abound (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Ish Theilheimer writes about the opportunity progressives should recognize in the scandals engulfing Rob Ford, Stephen Harper and other conservative leaders: (W)hile you’d think the (Ford) situation would be a golden opportunity for Toronto left-wingers to win back the public, this isn’t necessarily happening. Left-wing opponents of Ford’s have not used the situation to drive home a unified message — that Ford is a liar with criminal friends who can’t be trusted to deliver good and effective government.
Instead, their focus has been to harry Ford and drive him from office, a tactic (Read more…)
Don’t look too surprised, giant kitty — you’re live on candid camera trap! Zoologists and ecologists these days use “camera traps,” or motion-activated cameras hidden in natural habitats, to observe wildlife without harming them. The resulting pictures are often heartbreakingly gorgeous, occasionally goofy, and reveal animals we never knew existed.
It’s been a strange year. From the never-ending carnival of calamity at Toronto City Hall to the scandalous subterfuge on Parliament Hill, from horrific attacks by the Syrian government on its own citizenry to disasters inflicted by extreme weather on the people of the Philippines, 2013 recalls Queen Elizabeth’s description of 1992 as an annus horribilis.
Political cartoonist Gareth Lind takes a satirical approach to the ongoing pipeline debate
Canada has an obligation to help the United States pay for physically separating Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi River watershed to contain the spread of Asian carp, though the cost may reach $18 billion or more.
The latest report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released Monday found preventing the aquatic invasive species Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes could cost upwards of $18 billion over 25 years if the most expensive control option is chosen by American lawmakers.
After having spent years studying the growing problem of controlling the aquatic (Read more…)
|1% Resource Revenue Royalty Uses|
This post touches on the duty to consult, the impact of recent court decisions on the cumulative effect of energy resource development on claims of First Nations, the linkage of First Nations claims under our Constitution to the harm that might happen to their rights under global warming, developments in the Supreme Court that hold out fresh hope for a new way of looking at the problem, and two suggested principles that could radically change the way the issues are handled: the use by the Supreme Court of the Precautionary Principle now used by the European Union, and the creation of a new Impact Envelope to help define who gets what share of a proposed total revenue royalty of 1% on energy resources.
The West Moberly decision set an important precedent confirming the need to address cumulative effects of a number of projects on treaty and Aboriginal rights. In the West Moberly case, the issue was the cumulative impact of various development projects in the region on the shrinking caribou population.The Court also found that nothing in the Carrier Sekani decision says that future impacts should be disregarded. In the West Moberly decision, the impact of full blown mining (which was the next step after the sampling process being contested) was within the scope of the duty to consult about impacts on treaty rights.
As noted in the May 2011 update, the Court of Appeal’s divided decision leaves some uncertainty with respect to the scope of the duty to consult and accommodate as it relates to past wrongs, cumulative effects and future development. However, based on the approach favoured by the B.C. Court of Appeal in West Moberly, the law provides that consultation must include a consideration of cumulative effects extending beyond the consequences of the permits at issue, but that accommodation should relate solely to the potential impacts flowing from the project or application at issue. While past effects may be relevant, there must be a causative link between the proposed conduct and the alleged impacts in question.
A small First Nations band in Alberta has racked up a big win against the energy industry, clearing the way for a trial over whether its treaty rights are being infringed upon as industrial development such as the oil sands expands.The Beaver Lake Cree Nation argues the so-called cumulative effects of oil sands and other industries such as mining and forestry violated their treaty rights. The provincial and federal governments grant permits which allow for development. Beaver Lake Cree Nation launched a legal battle five years ago and now Edmonton and Ottawa have lost their attempt to have it tossed out.The cumulative effects argument is a touchy topic in Alberta and if the Beaver Lake Cree Nation comes out on top, it could force the governments to revamp the way they review and approve industrial projects – namely the oil sands. In short, it could put a damper on a key driver of the Canadian economy.“This case is about limiting the development of the tar sands,” lawyer Drew Mildon, who represents Beaver Lake Cree Nation, said in an interview.Energy, mining and forestry projects are typically judged case-by-case, but Beaver Lake Cree Nation argues the overall effect of numerous projects hinders their traditional way of life. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation believes its ability to hunt, fish, and trap have been dented because of roughly 300 projects in which about 19,000 permits have been granted, according to a judgement from the Court of Appeal of Alberta delivered April 30…The judgement means the case can go to trial, which Mr. Mildon expects to begin winding its way through the legal system this fall. He believes the appeal judgement demonstrates the Beaver Lake Cree Nation has a viable case…
The trial will not result in the 19,000 development permits in the area being revoked, but it will determine and define how companies should consult with aboriginal groups on the cumulative effects of oil sands development in the future (and whether or not the respective governments need to pay the First Nation for damages to its traditional lands).Cumulative effects management is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in aboriginal consultation: the provincial government has drafted new legislation and new frameworks specifically to deal with the issue.Oil sands developers, too, are finding it popping up more frequently. Lawson Lundell LLP partner John Olynyk says, “In a lot of the proceedings that we’re involved in, we’re seeing cumulative effects and cumulative impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights being raised as a concern in part because communities feel there is no other good forum in which to raise those concerns.”But how are company executives, who normally consult with aboriginals on a project-by-project basis, supposed to manage consultations that take into account the projects of their competitors and peers?…Many oil sands producers, including Shell, have participated in cumulative effects consultation through the Fort McMurray-based Cumulative Effects Management Association, which studies environmental issues in northeastern Alberta and makes policy recommendations to the Alberta government…The net effect is that producers will now need to include some consideration of emissions at neighboring projects, including the projects of their competitors, in their applications for development.
The SCC denied leave to appeal in the West Moberlycase, so issues of past projects and cumulative effects remain unresolved. But the notion that cumulative effects warrant some consideration is becoming generally accepted.
The Court’s comment suggests a recognition that project-specific consultations between proponents and First Nations are not the appropriate forum for consultations on cumulative effects, and that governments must be directly involved in the latter consultations.
Critics of the Line 9 project say the pipeline should not be approved to ship bitumen because of the likelihood of a rupture and the adverse impacts further expansion of the tar sands will have on climate change and the people and environment of northern Alberta.
If new legal issues are raised, or if there is a change in the circumstances or evidence that “fundamentally shifts the parameters of the debate,” trial judges may revisit constitutional precedents, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote. And the trial judge’s findings of changes in social norms will carry great weight with higher courts.
The European Union has already institutionalized a litmus test that cuts to the core of the differences that separate the new European view of shared risks and vulnerabilities from the older American view of unlimited personal opportunities and individual prowess.It’s called “the precautionary principle,” and it has become the centerpiece of EU regulatory policy governing science and technology in a globalizing world. Most European political elites, and the public at large, favor it. Far fewer American politicians and citizens would likely countenance it…The key term … is “uncertainty.”When there is sufficient evidence to suggest a potential deleterious impact but not enough evidence to know for sure, the precautionary principle kicks in, allowing regulatory authorities to err on the side of safety by either suspending the activity altogether, employing alternative scenarios, monitoring the activity to assess causal impacts, or creating experimental protocols to better understand its effects…
Significantly, over 19,000 tenures and approvals (authorizations) alleged to have contributed to the cumulative effects are, as a result of the decision, no longer subject to possible revocation.
The precautionary principle is designed to allow government authorities to respond pre-emptively, as well as after damage is inflicted, with a lower threshold of scientific certainty than has normally been the rule of thumb in the past. “Scientific certainty” has been tempered by the notion of “reasonable grounds for concern.”
The dozens of First Nations along the route of TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline should not expect offers for equity stakes in the $12-billion project as the company seeks approval, although a host of other economic benefits would accrue to the communities, TransCanada’s chief executive officer said.The sheer size of the Energy East pipeline, 4,500 kilometres to New Brunswick from Alberta, and differences in degree of impact among the native communities along the route make that option too complicated for the project, which is aimed at moving oil-sands-derived crude to Eastern Canadian and export markets, TransCanada’s Russ Girling said in a year-end interview.
The band wants a portion of shale gas royalties – echoing a condition Ms. Clark set for allowing new pipelines to take Alberta oil to the coast. The Premier has insisted that B.C. should get a greater share of the benefits because it carries most of the environmental risk.
The message from Downing Street could not be clearer: David Cameron announced on Sunday the government would be going “all out” for fracking, in an effort to bring to the UK the shale gas revolution that has sent gas prices plummeting in the US, and transformed huge swathes of its landscape.Cameron’s plans involve a giveaway of millions to communities that allow fracking, through a scheme whereby councils will retain all of the business rates liable on the sites, and payments to local communities from fracking companies of £100,000 upfront and 1% of revenues thereafter.
A speech given at the One World Week Forum at the University of Warwick In England on January 30, 2014 on the topic of Capitalism and Sustainability: Can We Have It All?
Can capitalism solve the problems of global warming and growing ineq…
Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.” It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming! Twitter / occupythemob: http://t.co/doHx1xWO4l. December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0)December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4)January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)January 7, 2012 Opening […]
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Mark Taliano discusses how corporatocracy is replacing democracy in Canada, while Jaisal Noor talks to John Weeks about the similar trend in the U.S. And DownWithTyranny reminds us how corporations came to be – and how radical a difference there is between entities which were granted limited liability only in exchange for their pursuit of public goods, and the present model in which liability shields instead serve as cover for antisocial behaviour.
- Meanwhile, Frank Graves confirms that the Cons’ goals of public austerity and enrichment of the wealthy couldn’t be (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo
Nearly 400 youth were arrested on March 2 outside the White House during the XL Dissent, a non-violent, student-led action to stop TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.
The students had marched from Georgetown University, where US President Barack Obama made a significant climate change speech last summer, to the White House.
“Oscar for best performances by a human being go to the youth who got arrested by the hundreds in DC today #XLDissent,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, on Twitter. “I think #xldissent may be the biggest single day of civil disobedience in (Read more…)
Click into the Eat Local! Facebook event, Facebook group and babble thread for additional information on the challenge!
Join rabble.ca in our new Eat Local! food and sustainability challenge Sunday September 29 to Sunday October 6!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Vancouver is the largest city in North America without a downtown freeway, and is influential globally in urban development and …
Christopher Nolan is filming his hard science-fiction movie Interstellar, and we couldn’t be more excited. Originally written by Jonathan Nolan for director Steven Spielberg, Interstellar is based on the theories of CalTech physicist Kip Thorne. But no…
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Lana Payne writes that it’s long past time for Newfoundland and Labrador to boost its minimum wage: Last year, a statutory review of minimum wage, conducted by a government-appointed panel, called for action to be taken on the minimum wage. The panel recommended an increase to restore any erosion to the wage since 2010 as well as a formula, tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which would see annual, incremental increases in the wage to ensure that it keeps pace with the increases in the cost of living.
The report and its (Read more…)
A lot of hope is dangerous. – President Snow
This may be a little hokey, but I think Catching Fire is an important film to see right now.
And it’s awesome!
I read the books ages ago, but even though I know how they each end, it didn’t stop me from being on the edge of my seat. And I was surprised by how inspirational I found the film to be.
Grist relates how the books chronicle what happens after climate change destroys the world and makes for scarce resources for the survivors to fight over. We have a really (Read more…)
Imagine that you step out your door for the morning commute, but your street is flooded. Not with water, but with bitumen from the tar sands.
This is precisely what happened with Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline when it spilled over one million litres o…
The Government of Canada will clearly spare no expense in extolling the environmental virtues of oil sands bitumen. We spend millions in promotion, domestic advertising for our “Responsible Resource Management” and promotion around the worl…
Theo Jansen (born 1948) is a Dutch artist. In 1990, he began what he is known for today: building large mechanisms out of PVC that are able to move on their own, known as Strandbeest. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering; in a car company (BMW) television commercial Jansen says: “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” He strives to equip his creations with their own artificial intelligence so they can avoid obstacles by changing course when one is detected, such as the sea itself. Read whole wiki page here.
Canadian scientists probing two sites in the High Arctic have found fresh evidence pointing to a fiery Siberian suspect in the greatest mass extinction of all time — a planet-wide cataclysm that wiped out more than 90 per cent of […]
The Matt Ridley prize for exposing environmental pseudoscience was inspired by Matt’s discovery that a Ridley family trust was making money from a wind farm company. All too often, hysterical groupthink, based on bad science, creates a climate in which politicians intone … Continue reading →
After one week filled with delicious recipes, hot gardening tips and helpful biking notes, our first Eat Local: food and sustainability challenge is over.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge and contributed on babble, o…
Garlic is pretty cool.
There are lots of types — Duck Creek Farm’s farmer John’s favourite is Portugese Red — to try and you can even try to grow your own.
John mentions how he modified his techniques for curing tobacco for curing garlic (“works pretty well!”), how to prevent molding (“put em in a place with air movement”) and which are the best to save for seed (“the biggest bulbs!”) among other tips.
The Farmer’s Filmanac aims to explore the different ways that farmers approach their systems and celebrate this diversity through video.
As temperatures and sea levels rise around the world, Canada will feel the impact, says a full report by a group of the world’s top climate scientists. Monsoon patterns will change globally, triggering intense tropical cyclones along the western coast … Continue Reading
Militarily and economically — and in most other ways — Canada is a middle power, as befits a country of 34 million.
But in mining and other extractive industries, this country is a super power.
Most major — and many minor — mining and extrac…
EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford will make her fifth trip to Washington next month to speak about the need for the Keystone XL pipeline. She will meet with officials in the U.S. State Department as they finalize an environmental … Continue Reading
They have tried everything to fix the oil spill. Garbage. Giant containment units. Golf balls. They even (briefly, I hope) considered nuking it. There was one solution they hadn’t considered, though. Until now. Kevin. Costner. Not content to just build baseball fields and rob from the rich anymore, the intrepid thespian has turned to solving […]
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- The Economist discusses research by Miles Corak and others on intergenerational inequality. And interestingly, other studies seem to suggest Corak has actually underestimated the barriers to social mobility:
THE “Great Gatsby curve” is the name Alan Krueger, an economic adviser to Barack Obama, gave to the relationship between income inequality and social mobility across the generations. Mr Krueger used the phrase in a 2012 speech to describe the work of Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa, who has shown that more unequal economies tend to have less fluid societies. Mr Corak reckons that in some places, like America and Britain, around 50% of income differences in one generation are attributable to differences in the previous generation (in more egalitarian Scandinavia, the number is less than 30%).
As late as 2011 aristocratic surnames appear among the ranks of lawyers, considered for this purpose a high-status position, at a frequency almost six times that of their occurrence in the population as a whole. Mr Clark reckons that even in famously mobile Sweden, some 70-80% of a family’s social status is transmitted from generation to generation across a span of centuries. Other economists use similar techniques to reveal comparable immobility in societies from 19th-century Spain to post-Qing-dynasty China. Inherited advantage is detectable for a very long time.
A second method relies on the chance overrepresentation of rare surnames in high- or low-status groups at some point in the past. If very few Britons are called Micklethwait, for example, and people with that name were disproportionately wealthy in 1800, then you can gauge long-run mobility by studying how long it takes the Micklethwait name to lose its wealth-predicting power. In a paper written by Mr Clark and Neil Cummins of Queens College, City University of New York, the authors use data from probate records of 19th-century estates to classify rare surnames into different wealth categories. They then use similar data to see how common each surname is in these categories in subsequent years. Again, some 70-80% of economic advantage seems to be transmitted from generation to generation.
That said, I do wonder whether a “rare surname” starting point would pick up factors which might be better classified as relating to family reputations and connections than wealth – though the advantages presented by those factors obviously serve to create an unfair playing field as well.
- Meanwhile, Tim Dickinson notes that the wealthy in the U.S. have stacked the deck even further in their favour with the help of the Republican Party – as a massive increase in high-end incomes since 1997 hasn’t been matched with much added contribution to the greater good by way of tax revenues.
- Crawford Kilian reviews Paul Wells’ The Longer I’m Prime Minister while noting that Stephen Harper may have planted the seeds of his own demise.
- Finally, Stephen Maher points out that the Cons’ attitude toward law-breaking by their own allies would be better applied to the criminal justice system in general:
The Conservatives’ tough-on-crime message, delivered at every opportunity, is a message about the criminal as other, like the late Anthony Smith and the other guys in hoodies in that photo of Ford outside a crack house. They are evildoers who need to be punished.
The Tories, like Ford himself, oppose supervised injection sites for drug users, which save lives and reduce crime. They give voters what they want: the emotional satisfaction of punishing wrongdoers.
This government has imposed mandatory minimum sentences across the board, not just on violent criminals but also on pot growers.It sounds tough, but taking away discretion from judges costs us more, does nothing to make us safer and leads to injustices.Consider the case of Leroy Smickle, a gainfully employed 27-year-old with no criminal record who in 2009 had the bad luck to be caught posing with a loaded handgun for a Facebook profile pic, and found himself looking at three years in prison. Ontario Superior Court Judge Anne Molloy ruled that the sentence would be “fundamentally unfair,” and declared the minimum unconstitutional. The Crown appealed, demanding that he serve his three years.Flaherty shed tears for the Fords because he knows them and knows they’re suffering, because whatever the tawdry facts of the case, he feels for them.We should show as much compassion for Leroy Smickle and his family.
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Angella MacEwen rightly slams the Cons’ attempt to use Employment Insurance funds as a subsidy for employers at the expense of workers. And Don Lenihan sees the Cons’ structure as a cynical means of trying to claim success by ignoring the actual purpose of funding for training: This reassignment of resources from one social group to another is neither open nor transparent. On the contrary, as we’ve seen, the CJG requires an investment by the sponsoring employer. The unspoken point here is that employers are highly unlikely to sponsor anyone other than (Read more…)
I’m doing the Stoic Week thing this week. It’s just a matter of contemplating specific quotations each day. Even though I studied them years ago, and teach about them even, and maybe should have figured this all out long ago, I’m still stuck on the first reading. I’m a slow thinker.
Here’s the reading from yesterday – a little bit from the Encheiridion of Epictetus:
Some things are under our control, while others are not under our control. Under our control are conception [the way we define things], intention [the voluntary impulse to act], desire [to get something], aversion (Read more…)
Canada is blessed with some of the last vestiges of pristine nature on Earth — unbroken forests, coastlines and prairies, thousands of rivers, streams and lakes, open skies, abundant fresh air. Many of us live in urban areas, but our spectacula…
Occasionally a spark of hope interrupts the dreary flow of environmental news. Such a spark occurred in Alberta last week with the announcement by Premier Redford that Donna Kennedy-Glans would be the new Associate Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy. The ministry will be the first of its kind in Canada.
Considering that Alberta’s heavy reliance on coal results in it being responsible