Brad Wall’s contrived outrage over foreign interference in domestic policy might be a bit less laughable if he didn’t make so much of a show of trying to dictate the U.S.’ own decisions.
[Edit: fixed wording.]
By Pembina Institute (Press Release) | Feb. 25, 2013: EDMONTON — As Canada faces increasing scrutiny of its weak climate change policy for oilsands development, a new report illustrates how both Alberta and the federal government can better manage emissions and improve the country’s international reputation. The new Pembina Institute report, Carbon Pricing Approaches in Oil and READ MORE
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Lori Theresa Waller provides her own take on the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights’ study on labour rights and inequality:
In the 1970s, all provinces used the simple card check system, whereby an employer must legally recognize a union if the majority of workers sign membership cards. Since then, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have moved to requiring that workplaces also hold a vote before the union will be legally recognized.
…Studies have found that the additional requirement of holding a vote decreases the success of union organizing drives by between 9 and 20 per cent.
A 2012 study by five UBC economists concluded that roughly 15 per cent of the growth in income inequality in Canada throughout the 1980s and 1990s was directly linked to falling rates of unionization.
- Meanwhile, the Canadian Labour Congress offers up a handy quiz about corporate tax giveaways.
- Thomas Homer-Dixon observes that the Obama administration could do Canada a favour by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and encouraging some much-needed thought as to how to build a sustainable economy:
There is a less obvious but no less important reason many Canadians want the industry stopped: it is relentlessly twisting our society into something we don’t like. Canada is beginning to exhibit the economic and political characteristics of a petro-state.Countries with huge reserves of valuable natural resources often suffer from economic imbalances and boom-bust cycles. They also tend to have low-innovation economies, because lucrative resource extraction makes them fat and happy, at least when resource prices are high.…Both the cabinet and the Conservative parliamentary caucus are heavily populated by politicians who deny mainstream climate science. The Conservatives have slashed financing for climate science, closed facilities that do research on climate change, told federal government climate scientists not to speak publicly about their work without approval and tried, unsuccessfully, to portray the tar sands industry as environmentally benign.The federal minister of natural resources, Joe Oliver, has attacked “environmental and other radical groups” working to stop tar sands exports. He has focused particular ire on groups getting money from outside Canada, implying that they’re acting as a fifth column for left-wing foreign interests. At a time of widespread federal budget cuts, the Conservatives have given Canada’s tax agency extra resources to audit registered charities. It’s widely assumed that environmental groups opposing the tar sands are a main target.This coercive climate prevents Canadians from having an open conversation about the tar sands. Instead, our nation behaves like a gambler deep in the hole, repeatedly doubling down on our commitment to the industry.
- And Kate Allen reports that the Cons’ muzzling of scientists has earned them an impending investigation by the federal Information Commissioner.
- Finally, Dr. Dawg comments on Stephen Harper’s decision to turn Canada into a hermit kingdom rather than a significant international actor. And Paul Heibecker writes that the Cons’ withdrawal from the international community goes far beyond the drought treaty that’s received so much recent attention:
There is a disappearing character to contemporary Canadian multilateral diplomacy. Like Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat, soon all that may remain of our country at the UN is a grin or, more accurately, a scowl.
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Daniel Cohn theorizes that the only real problem with RBC’s outsourcing of Canadian jobs is that they called attention to the government policies which facilitated that outcome. But for those of us who think there’s actually a problem with an economy designed around minimizing wages and employment, Susan McIsaac and Matthew Mendelsohn offer some suggestions to turn the tide. And Tavia Grant points out that the Cons’ preference for cheap, disposable foreign labour might help employers, but certainly doesn’t produce positive results for Canada as a whole.
- In the same vein, Andrew (Read more…) discusses how the last great set of attacks on workers in the name of economic efficiency proved an utter failure in producing any policy outcome other than increased inequality: Thatcherism did not provide an enduring solution to the problem of how to attain stable growth. Business profitability was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
One sector known for being a holdout on climate change is the financial community. Some of the most outlandish denialist journalism has come (and too often still does) from once credible outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Financial Post.
But now they’re being overtaken by reality. Denialism, no matter how loud and influential and constant, cannot stop the steady advance of climate change and that makes it ultimately self-defeating. The flat-earthers learned that in their day. Wishful thinking and denialism are losing strategies.
A new day may be upon us as even the Financial seems to acknowledge the writing on the wall:
A new project has asked more than 1,000 of the world’s biggest asset owners to say what their exposure is to climate risks and what they are doing about it.
Julian Poulter, executive director of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, says it is becoming more . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Canada’s Sub-Prime Disaster Waiting in Harper’s Wings
Richard Hughes-Political Blogger
Lately it seems that the politics of ‘Climate Change’ is like the classic children’s story ‘Alice in Wonderland. The roles have changed as if we are guests at the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.’
Instead of the Americans dragging their feet it is in fact right here in Canada where our governments have rolled over for the Oil and Gas Industry Lobbyists!
In BC and Alberta we have divorced any notion of reducing our ecological footprint and shouldering our share of the responsibilities to the planet and future generations.
Our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is happily gutting regulations as we shuffle on like mesmerized and confused droids of some sort embracing denial and fracking our way forward to new found wealth and happiness.
It is the USA where the push to a saner approach is gaining traction. Democracy Now delves into it right here. Great . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Tens of Thousands Rally to Urge Obama to Move “Forward on Climate”
If Alison Redford gets to define Canadian patriotism, then I don’t want to be patriotic.
The Alberta premier yesterday accused federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair of “a fundamental betrayal of Canada’s long-term economic interests” after the latter took a trip to DC in what is being widely interpreted as an effort to convince the Americans not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta.
Other Conservatives at the federal level have adopted the same rhetoric. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — of “foreign-funded radicals” fame — implied that the Opposition leader was unfit to govern, stating, “Governing means standing for Canada’s interests and Canada’s jobs.” Heritage Minister James Moore taunted, “It’d be nice for once if the NDP leader could put the country ahead of his own ambition.” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, meanwhile, went for the trifecta, accusing Mulcair of “bad mouthing Canada,” “trash talking Canada,” and “running down . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Of Petrostates and Patriotism
It’s time to internalize the externalities of the fossil fuel industry. For far too long, the extremely high price we all pay in the pollution of our “commons” – air, water, and climate, which also affects the health of far too many of us, has been ignored by governments and the fossil fuel industry. Putting [...]
As the pro-bitumen export crowd notices the gathering storm clouds over their Northern Gateway and Kinder-Morgan options, and, further south, sees long shadows falling over the Keystone XL pipeline to refineries on the shores of the Texas Gulf c…
Aamjiwnaang and Idle No More talk on Monday
Monday January 21, 2013
60 Lowther Avenue
The Call Out:
by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 15, 2013: Support from Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, David Suzuki, and others: OAKLAND, Calif — Prominent Canadians from a variety of backgrounds have signed on to a letter in support of the “Forward on Climate” rally on February 17, when tens of thousands of committed activists will converge on Washington READ MORE
U.S. labour activists, like their Canadian counterparts, warn that Keystone XL will actually hurt workers.
Five reasons the Keystone XL pipeline is bad for jobs, as well as the environment
We love covering local stories on Earthgauge and this week, we get just about as local as we can, focusing on some compelling environmental research taking place at Carleton University in Ottawa. We also take a look at the environmental provisions of last week’s federal Budget 2013. We have 3 interviews on today’s show:
Glennys Egan on the environmental and human impacts of urbanization in Kenya Brendan Haley on the tar sands “staples trap” Andrew Van Iterson on the environmental measures in Budget 2013
We also have our usual update from Kathy of Ecology Ottawa on local events and campaigns.
Click the audio player above to stream the show or right click here to download.
Part 1 – Budget 2013
To kick off the program this week, I speak with Andrew Van Iterson who is the manager of the . . . → Read More: Earthgauge Radio: EG Radio March 28: Federal Budget 2013, urbanization in Kenya and the tar sands “staples” trap
Political satirist Andy Cobb’s take on the recent ExxonMobil tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas: America’s oil industry is terribly misunderstood. When a lot of people hear “364 pipeline spills in 2012″ they think it’s a big mess, like a nearly realized advent calendar of crap. What they fail [...]
The post Tar Sands: Exxon’s New “Energy Everywhere” Program (Satirical Video) appeared first on The Canadian Progressive .
Shorter Enbridge, responding to the revelation that a tidy 94% of its Canadian pumping stations are missing required backup generators and/or shut-off buttons:So the question is whether we’ll take steps to comply with environmental laws if nobody’s bot…
|400 parts per million …|
Those Albertans who have voted for Harper’s Conservatives in election after election must be starting to wonder whether Stephen Harper and his Cabinet are the best choice for their main industry: oil.
Remember how Harper and his Cabinet were whistling past the graveyard, blissfully unaware of the massive threat to our civilization’s financial underpinnings posed by the bank meltdown, until the opposition parties forced them to pay attention by signing the Coalition Accord.
The biggest proponents of bitumen oil – the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, the Harper Conservatives and the oil industry itself – have, in some respects, been the authors of these troubles. They could have acted differently and possibly made things easier. But a different course of action would have required a different strategic understanding…
The two governments insisted that critics were ill-informed when they said bitumen is dirtier than conventional oil. They swallowed the canard that bitumen oil is somehow “ethical” because Canada has better standards than Iran and Venezuela – standing ethics on its head by defining our practices against the worst, rather than the notional idea of the best.These self-comforting but delusional starting points led to trouble. Instead of analyzing how to deal with criticism constructively, the governments decided it was to be denounced…Instead, the governments, presumably with the industry’s blessing, acted as if salesmanship rather than statesmanship would suffice. As such, they have contributed to this sea of troubles.
One of Canada’s top environmental economists has a stark warning for the country’s oil sands producers: Find ways to dramatically cut carbon emissions or risk becoming the buggy-whip producers of the 21st century.Simon Fraser economist Mark Jaccard has worked with governments in British Columbia, California and even Ottawa to fashion climate policies.
But on Thursday, he said the federal government and the oil industry are embarked on a high-risk path that could leave billions of dollars in stranded assets, including pipelines like TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL…Governments around the world will eventually move to reduce emissions from fossil fuels, he said, meaning lower demand for gasoline in transportation and lower prices for crude, as well as more pressure for producers to virtually eliminate the release of carbon dioxide from their production methods. That will create survival issues for high-cost producers like those in the oil sands.“It really depends on your ability to innovate,” he said.His comments come at a sensitive time for the government on the energy file. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is heading to New York next week to press the case for approval of Keystone, and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has been touring European capitals this week, making the argument in favour of developing the resource, one of the largest crude oil reserves in the world.Dr. Jaccard joined a dozen scientists and researchers Thursday in releasing a letter to Mr. Oliver, arguing that Ottawa’s support for oil sands expansion and the pipelines needed to carry the crude to market is inconsistent with the stated goal of the Harper government and other G20 countries to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. The economist is travelling to Europe on Friday with former NASA scientist James Hansen to rebut the arguments that Mr. Oliver made during his week-long tour.
|From Well to Wheel|
Transportation is a hot point in the carbon debate because oil sands supporters want Alberta’s production compared to other oil after transportation is taken into account. Shipping oil by tanker, for example, jacks up emissions. Oil used in France may have originated in Africa. Oil burned in Colorado may have been extracted in Venezuela. Oil sands proponents argue the emissions tied to shipping crude to refineries and then to consumers must be considered when comparing emissions.
Pipeline companies also use the argument when lobbying for support of their proposals and Alberta’s oil sands. Trans- Canada, citing the U.S. Department of State, notes the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline will offset as many as 200 ocean tankers a year. This equates to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 19 million tonnes. Using trains to move oil, TransCanada notes, produces three times as much greenhouse gas as pipelines.
Witness the inability to act duting the financial meltdown. And witness also their dangerous reduction of the revenues of the federal government (through the reduction in the sales tax rate, and other tax reductions). Instead of properly managing the country during good times so that it better placed to weather bad times, Harper and his Cabinet seem to lack the ability to think beyond the next few months.
Let’s fix things up come the 2015 election, starting with a new government to replace the tired, myopic and inept Harper government.
January 28, 2013
A new film follows three people who are fighting environmental destruction: an inventor from Australia, a water defender from India and a F…
…though it hasn’t got there yet. No good way to sugar-coat this (though the shill from CAPP makes a good attempt in the linked article):Two unsurprising facts noted in Mike DeSouza’s twitter feed. The Harper government knew abou…
Dear President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry:
As a concerned Canadian, I am writing to urge you to reject TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline for purposes of transporting dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in the United States.
I assure you that not all Canadians are quite as eager to export climate-busting bitumen as our federal government seems to be. Many of us recognize that the high energy demands required to exploit this unconventional resource give it a dangerously large carbon footprint. For this reason, we consistently oppose similar projects, such as pipelines to the Canadian West Coast by Enbridge and Kinder Morgan.
According to estimates of greenhouse gas trajectories needed to avert runaway climate change, global emissions need to be peaking right about now (if not earlier). That means that we as a planet need to start drastically decreasing our use . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Barack Obama and John Kerry