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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ian Gill: Who will protect the land from reckless development? (in The Toronto Star)

"...if we can’t find investors here at home, we can always sell off nationally crucial energy assets to countries like China, who will be happy to extract resources in a foreign country when it can exploit that country’s weak environmental laws.

"That irony alone should give serious pause to Canadians. Certainly, it adds more fuel to Idle No More, given that First Nations are at the front lines of just about every attempt — large or small — to develop Canada’s natural resources in this, our climate change century. ...

"On a trip to Toronto: decidedly unradical, un-environmental Canadians telling me that they are ashamed of the country’s addiction to oil and its treatment of aboriginal people and, unprompted, making a causal link between the two.

"I’m asked about Australia, where I lived and worked most recently, and the news from there isn’t really any better. Canada is not alone in suffering from a split personality when it comes to managing the demands of a growing and greedy society in an era of fiscal austerity and rapidly accelerating environmental stress — let alone dealing fairly with its Indigenous people."

Full article: Who will protect the land from reckless development?.

Ian Gill, who served as president of Ecotrust in Canada, the U.S. and most recently in Australia, is a former newspaper and CBC Television journalist, and the author of All That We Say Is Ours: Guujaaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation. He is an Australian and Canadian citizen. He lives in Vancouver.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thomas Walkom: It’s time to end the Korean War (in The Toronto Star)

"The great secret of the Korean War is that it has never ended. An armistice was signed in 1953 to halt the fighting and let belligerents begin talks on a final peace treaty.

"But those talks never occurred. ...

"North Korea has long insisted it wants normal relations with the U.S. and others. Why not call Pyongyang’s bluff?"

Full article: It’s time to end the Korean War.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tyler Hamilton: Ontario drags its feet on offshore wind opportunity (in The Toronto Star)

"two years ago Ontario was in a strong position to lead the world on freshwater offshore wind development, attract a major turbine manufacturer, establish a compelling local supply chain, and create many thousands of jobs. Today, the government is being sued for billions of dollars for turning its back on this potential, not to mention the investors it originally wooed.

"Meanwhile, Ohio has picked up the slack. The non-profit Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDco) received $4 million (U.S.) last month from the U.S. Department of Energy that will go toward engineering, design and permitting work for its “Icebreaker” offshore wind project. ...

"The power crunch will come. Offshore wind, responsibly developed and set back far enough from the shore, could be an important part of Ontario’s clean energy mix. If we need more research, maybe it’s time we actually dipped our feet in the water and actually built something we can properly study.

"Or we can just look over our neighbour’s shoulder."

Full article: Ontario drags its feet on offshore wind opportunity.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tony Burman: Hugo Chavez legacy will reverberate beyond Venezuela (in The Toronto Star)

"We need to remember the past to better assess the future, and we can be certain that most Latin Americans do.

"The legacy of Latin America’s most dominant leader since Fidel Castro will undoubtedly reverberate beyond the borders of Venezuela. ...

"I made my first visit to South America in the mid-1970s, travelling by bus for more than a year from one country to another. ...

"I recall so many people remarking to me that the Canadian government, above all, was promoting a foreign policy that was independent of the United States. As we try to assess the legacy of Chavez, it is striking to realize that, since that period, Latin America and Canada seem to have switched places."

Full article: Hugo Chavez legacy will reverberate beyond Venezuela.

Thomas Walkom: Alberta’s oil woes mean trouble ahead for Canada (in The Toronto Star)

"Curiously, Alberta has much in common with the Venezuela that Hugo Chavez bequeathed to the world. Both rely on heavy oil exports to the U.S. Both are one-party states (Alberta more so than Venezuela). Both are utterly dependent on the price of oil and both have economies that, in different ways, have been deformed as a result of this dependence.

"Venezuela faces a reckoning and so does Alberta. So, indeed, does Canada as a whole.

"We are already seeing a decline in the Canadian dollar as a result of the resource slowdown. In the long run, this should be good news for Canadian manufacturers who export their goods. In the short run, it means all of us are a little poorer.

"Where we don’t see any change is in the federal government’s approach to the economy. The Harper Conservatives remain dazzled by resources. They believe that if the markets want Canadians to hew wood and draw water, that’s what we should do.

"But markets are notoriously fickle. This is a fact the entire country will have to face. Alberta is just getting there first."

Full article: Alberta’s oil woes mean trouble ahead for Canada.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

NDP bill would free Toronto from the OMB (in The Toronto Star)

"Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey said the minority Liberal government is “keeping an open mind” about the NDP proposal.

"“It’s a very interesting private member’s bill. I’m always receptive to hearing ideas about how we can make our institutions stronger,” Jeffrey told the Star.


"Last year, when she was municipal affairs and housing minister in former premier Dalton McGuinty’s government, Premier Kathleen Wynne expressed the need for changes to the OMB."

Full article: NDP bill would free Toronto from the OMB.