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Friday, June 29, 2012

Geoff Dembicki: The taboo tax the energy industry (not-so) secretly wants (in The Toronto Star)

"What would it take, I wondered, to create an oilsands sector that both the “for” and “against” sides could live with?

"Was it even possible?

"After months of interviewing dozens of insiders on both sides of the debate, I reached a surprising conclusion. ... They actually agree on quite a bit.

"In particular, they agree on the one issue you might expect would most divide them: the economic price on CO2 that the Harper cabinet has denounced as a killing machine for Canadian jobs.


"Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has merely dismissed the idea as “crazy economics” and a “crazy environmental policy.”

"Yet the most recent academic inquiry confirms my own findings. A study released earlier this week by researchers at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University after they surveyed business, community, civil society and academic leaders on that province’s unique-in-Canada economy-wide carbon tax, found that “a strong majority (64 per cent)” felt the policy has had positive consequences to date."

Full article: The taboo tax the energy industry (not-so) secretly wants.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gwynne Dyer: Rio 20 culprits set stage for climate ecocide (in

"We now have a 20-year history of defeats on this agenda, and there is a lot of defeatism around. Politicians are always reluctant to be linked to lost causes, and the struggles against poverty and environmental destruction now seem to fall into that category. Thus we sleepwalk towards terrible disasters—but that doesn’t absolve our leaders of responsibility. We didn’t hire them to follow; we hired them to lead.

"One day, after many great tragedies have occurred, there will be a law against ecocide. But almost all the real culprits will be gone by then. "

Full article: Gwynne Dyer: Rio 20 culprits set stage for climate ecocide.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Omar Khadr’s lawyers, Senator Romeo Dallaire head to Ottawa to demand Gitmo prisoner’s release (in The Toronto Star)

Full article: Omar Khadr’s lawyers, Senator Romeo Dallaire head to Ottawa to demand Gitmo prisoner’s release.

One wonders if anyone remembers or cares that this is a Canadian citizen, child soldier, who was almost killed, abused, and then used as an exhibit to try to legitimize the US military tribunals. He was pressured into confessing to a killing that he may or may not have done, and is now the last Western national remaining in Guantanamo. He remains shackled to the floor in a solitary cell. For some strange reason Canada refuses to repatriate him, even though a deal was struck allowing him to return 8 months ago.

Ocean systems in peril (Al Jazeera English)

"[In] the Caribbean, a place where just a few decades ago coral was abundant, 80 per cent of the reefs have died.

"Oceanographer Carol Turley from the Plymouth Marine Lab in the UK has projected that by 2040, most of the Arctic Ocean will be too acidic for shell- forming species, including most plankton, and significant areas of the Southern Ocean (Antarctic Ocean) will also be affected.

"The effect causes the polar-regions' cold waters to allow more CO2 to be absorbed at an accelerated rate, which turns the oceans more acidic sooner.

"According to Turley, the oceans have not seen a rapid change like this in 60 million years."

Full article: Ocean systems in peril.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bob Hepburn: Lessons for Justin Trudeau from John Turner on being Liberal ‘saviour’ (in The Toronto Star)

"Ultimately, Justin Trudeau may emerge as the new leader when voting is conducted next April. If that happens, it had better be because he has developed solid, imaginative ideas, backed by a strong organizational team.

"That’s because if Trudeau triumphs in what amounts to the equivalent of a coronation, then the Liberals may well be repeating their mistakes of the past — mistakes that John Turner, the golden boy of 1984, knows only too well."

Full article: Lessons for Justin Trudeau from John Turner on being Liberal ‘saviour’.

Thomas Walkom: What’s behind Canada joining Trans-Pacific trade deal (in The Toronto Star)

"Citing documents obtained through freedom of information requests, the National Post has reported that Canadian officials literally begged the U.S. to let them into the Trans-Pacific talks.

"The begging worked. This week, Pacific Partnership members agreed to let Canada and Mexico join — on the understanding that they would have to abide by whatever the original nine had already decided (all of which is secret).

"What did Canada give up to get inside this particular door? Harper won’t say. But there is a strange air of panic around the decision."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: What’s behind Canada joining Trans-Pacific trade deal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tim Harper: Federal budget 2012: More subterfuge hidden inside The Trojan Horse bill (in The Toronto Star)

"“If the House cannot hold the government of the day to account, then why have the House at all?’’ [NDP House leader Nathan] Cullen asked.

"“If Members of Parliament cannot do their jobs and cannot go back to their constituents with a clear conscience and understanding of the legislation that has been brought before us and its implications, then why are Members of Parliament in the service of Canadians at all? They are not.’’"

Full article: Canada News: Tim Harper: Federal budget 2012: More subterfuge hidden inside The Trojan Horse bill.

Another article on the "ominous" omnibus bill, by R. Michael Warren, former corporate director, Ontario deputy minister, TTC chief general manager and Canada Post CEO: .

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thomas Walkom: Is Stephen Harper’s global military policy delusional or just plain mad? (in The Toronto Star)

"Steven Staples, a military analyst and head of Ottawa’s Rideau Institute, calls the entire idea [of setting up a network of military bases around the world] a waste of money.

"“The notion that we’re going to have permanent bases around the world is over the top. I don’t understand the rationale for parking a bunch of equipment in Singapore in case we might need it some time. That’s why we bought C-17s in the first place — so we could move troops and material quickly.”

"My analysis is darker. I fear the government is deliberate in its madness. I think it is setting up foreign military bases because it fully expects to have Canadian troops fight alongside the U.S. or NATO in more Afghanistan-style wars."

Full article: Thomas Walkom: Is Stephen Harper’s global military policy delusional or just plain mad?

What, if anything, were we trying to do in Afghanistan? Did we know - or care?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rick Salutin: Canadians owe a debt to Quebec’s student strikers (in The Toronto Star)

"Do you ever tire of hearing about everything that’s now impossible and how we need to get real? It’s only in the last few decades that governments became bodies exclusively devoted to eliminating whatever was once built by and for everyone — like public education. Those days lie within historical memory — at a time when our society was less wealthy and its people less educated. They’re also sometimes just a plane ride away, like Finland, where schooling is free right through university — and it’s a lot like Canada, except without our natural resources! It isn’t undoable, it’s merely become unthinkable, except for those neat students in the streets of Quebec.

"They are our Indignados and we owe them."

Full article: Canadians owe a debt to Quebec’s student strikers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tim Harper: Uniting progressives at the grassroots level — is Simcoe North alone? (in The Toronto Star)

"Last Saturday, a protest against the omnibus bill was held in Orillia and it was jointly organized by all three opposition parties in the riding.

"There were calls at the rally to field one “progressive” candidate in 2015. It’s a view held by many in Simcoe North.

"Roger Pretty, a former NDP campaign manager and candidate, said he has not seen such common ground among opposition parties in more than four decades of political work.

"“It’s energizing to sit down with our friends on the progressive side,” he said. “I would suggest there is a lot more in common between the Greens, the Liberals and New Democrats in this riding than there are among the former Reformers and Progressive Conservatives who joined as the Conservative party.”"

Full article: Canada News: Tim Harper: Uniting progressives at the grassroots level — is Simcoe North alone?.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Using hydrogen to connect gas and electricity system (in The Toronto Star)

"Daryl Wilson, chief executive of Hydrogenics, told reporters at the World Hydrogen Energy Conference that there’s a potential for up to 1,000 megawatts of hydrogen-fuelled generation capacity in Ontario.

"Hydrogen can be used to store surplus power, he said. Ontario sometimes has too much power, for example, when high winds produce a flood of energy during periods of low demand.

"That depresses prices, and Ontario ratepayers occasionally have to pay neighbouring states and provinces to absorb the excess power.

"Ideally, surplus power would be stored for later use. But right now, there are few ways to do so, since electricity can’t be bottled like oil or gas.

"Using surplus power to produce hydrogen, by breaking water molecules into separate streams of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, is one way to store the energy.

"That’s where pipeline companies come in. Hydrogen produced using surplus power can be pumped into the natural gas system to supplement the gas supply."

Full article: Using hydrogen to connect gas and electricity system.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

“We’ve seen that girls’ education can bring in a lot to the community” (in The Toronto Star)

"...her outspoken mother, known simply as Mama Teriano, also played a key role. Though she never went past Grade 3, she had a fierce belief in education for her daughter."

Full article: Toronto News: How cows figured in a Kenyan woman’s Toronto education.

Finally, a good news story! Story about how Teriano Lesancha, a young Masai woman, fought for an education, and how this has turned her life around - and that of her family and village. She dreams of being the first female Masai member of Kenyan Parliament, of helping build a hospital in her village and even creating the first Masai university.

Thomas Walkom: GM Oshawa job cuts show real economy hurting under Stephen Harper (in The Toronto Star)

"Insofar as Shell and other oil companies employ workers, the government is also protecting Canadian jobs. But jobs are a side effect. If the petroleum industry could figure out a way to mine the tar sands entirely with robot labour — and with all inputs provided by cheap offshore manufacturers — this government would be fine with that as well. ...

"To this government, the only thing that matters is something called the economy. Those real people who make up this economy are irrelevant. If they are out of work, the fault is theirs. They should accept lower wages.

"They certainly can’t expect to have both an unspoiled environment and jobs. Chinese workers don’t enjoy luxuries such as health and safety standards. Why should Canadians? The “economy” doesn’t permit such things."

Full article: Canada News: Walkom: GM Oshawa job cuts show real economy hurting under Stephen Harper.