Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Oil Spill Will...

...hurt your business base. Companies will relocate or close. Your tax base will disappear. Your communities will lose tourism and future businesses, as companies don’t want to locate there,” she said.

“…You’ll have to pay more into the medical care of your citizens. Your system is different than ours, but you’re going to need to bring in toxicologists and environmental health experts. You’re going to have to bring in people to deal with the psychological stress.

So says a gal from Kalamazoo.

Another One Bites The Dust

Sun Media says they're committed to the town of committed they're going down the road to Woodstock, where their new HQ will be a decommissioned school bus.   No, I'm lying!  They'll be sharing space at a radical mosque.  No, I'm lying about that too.  Austerity now, Sun Media. AUSTERITY NOW!


Odds Of An Ontario Spring Election

...just went down a little bit:

Wynne’s Liberals led with 24 per cent to 23 per cent for Hudak’s Tories, 20 per cent for Horwath’s New Democrats and 7 per cent for Mike Schreiner’s Greens. There were 14 per cent undecided, 11 per cent who refused to respond or would not vote, and 2 per cent who supported other parties.

I suspect Kathleen can convince the NDP to play ball for awhile, especially since the default answer to "Do you want an election?" is usually "no".  So hang tight and pray for 3% GDP growth, which is the answer to  many a problem.  (but which, unfortunately, does not look to be coming any time soon).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Press Accountability In An Age Of Industry Decline And Despair

To me, the take-away from this J-source piece is that Canadian journalism can no longer afford accountability; thus the slow death of provincial press councils.  As more journos are sacked, the result is fewer members, and fewer members willing to spend money that might, after all, be used to bring disciplinary action and the costs associated with fighting such action, against them. This was the same argument made by OpEd people against the now repealed section 13 of the CHRA: make us fork out lawyer's fees fighting hate speech charges and we can't bring you  this stuff.  Its a typical argument when your industry is circling the drain: free us from regulation, or we shall perish.  However, its pretty clear from  the piece that the end is coming soon.  Unfortunately, it will get uglier before it is over.  Print media as a profession will exit this world without a shred of grace or dignity.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Enbridge Tries To Screw Kalamazoo

Two and a half years after the costliest oil pipeline spill in U.S. history, the company responsible for the disaster is balking at digging up oil that still remains in Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

The cleanup has been long and difficult because the ruptured pipeline was carrying bitumen, a heavy oil from Canada's tar sands region. Bitumen is so thick that it can't flow through pipelines until it's mixed with liquid chemicals to form diluted bitumen, or dilbit. When more than one million gallons of dilbit poured out of the broken pipeline in July 2010, the chemicals evaporated and the bitumen began sinking to the riverbed.

Two and a half years of bad corporate citizenship by Enbridge.  They sent their lawyers around to weasel out of paying; they threw sod over-top polluted land and called it clean.  And who knows how long the whole misery will go on?  It took them three years to give this a quick tape-job.

The question is: why would we expect them to do a better job in the B.C. interior?

Quebecor Shutting More Papers

From the Toronto Sun Family blog:

Rumors are spreading that the Niagara region has shut down some of the Shopping News Papers including St. Kits, NF and Welland.

No rumour. Closures, plus layoffs, but not sure exactly how many for each paper. Also not sure where survivors are going.

Let-go's (not lay-offs) in Calgary and Winnipeg too. Market is saturated, no where for people to go.

But they're still willing to paying Ezra's legal fees over at Fox News North.

Its All About Oil

This nice piece from The Oil Drum explains why all that talk about how unconventional gas and oil will save us is mostly hype. It has this nice graph:
...and answers the question: if we're in a new age of oil abundance, why is gas still $1.20 a liter?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

OLPLDR Convention Roundup

Archaic and undemocratic as these delegated convention things are (and may they be gone forever after last night), the Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Convention of January 2013 turned out to be a wildly entertaining ride and, at least for we bloggers in attendance, one helluva good party.

Of course, things didn't go according to the conventional narrative--ie a Sandra Pupatello victory--and that it would not was already becoming apparent after the first ballot, when the vote counts showed Sandra only a fraction of a percentage point ahead of eventual winner Kathleen Wynne.  People soon realized that Gerard Kennedy would prove to be the Queenmaker, and began to wonder where he would take his votes when the time came?  And the answer should have been obvious.  Kathleen and Gerard have known each other for years.  In fact,  I remember Kathleen introducing Gerard Kennedy at Citizens For Local Democracy meetings way back in the day.

Now, as they say, the real work begins.  Kathleen Wynne has a big job ahead selling herself to rural Ontario.  I'm not 100% sure she can do it successfully, and the some of the gestures she has made in that direction are, let us just say, not to my liking.  However, I think she may have more time than people think to make this sale; I am not convinced that the opposition parties will, push comes to shove,  trigger a Spring election.  The NDP is still in debt from last go-round; Tim Hudak is looking at polls showing him behind the NDP.

But whatever, at the end of the day all I really want from the new OLP is the email/cell number of their research guy and whoever they have running their war room. I will be glad to stomp Tories in Kathleen's  name.

PS.  Every leadership convention has its low moments.  Here is a shot of me the moment I realized that my guy was never going to be Premier.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And Its...

Pupatello: 866
Wynne: 1,000 and something.

Settled.  Let us now go hunt Torys together.

2nd Round Results

Kennedy: 285 (13.7%)
Pupatello: 817 (39.4%)
Sousa: 203 (9.8%)
Takhar: 18 (0.9%)
Wynne: 750 (36.2%)

Takhar missed the 2nd round drop off but unofficially went to Pupatello, That's why his number above is so low.  Right now its a coin flip with Kennedy the possible Queen maker.  If Sousa goes to Pupatello, which is the speculation, Kennedy may go now as well so we can end it in the 3rd...but to whom, and how many delegates  come along?  Right now its looking like Wynne by a hair.

PS.  Sousa has gone to Wynne; so has Kennedy.  Only question now is: does Pupatello concede and end this sucker now?

A Picture While you Wait

Everyone is waiting for 2nd ballot results, but they have not arrived.  So I thought I would post this instead.  I'd forgotten that B. Farber took a pic of me and Ralph Benmergui  at the K. Wynne hospitality suite last night:

It looks like  am getting a little bit puffy.

OLPLDR First Ballot Results

Hoskins: 150 (7.2%)
Kennedy: 281(13.5%)
Pupatello: 599 (28.7%)
Sousa: 222 (10.7%)
Takhar 235 (11.3%)
Wynne: 597 (28.6%)

Wynne's total is the surprise here, just a hair behind Sandra.  0.2% rather than the 2.0% predicted.  Big cheer from her supporters.  Gonna be an interesting, if long, afternoon.

Sandra Pupatello Pitch Speech

The inestimable Jeff Jedras (who is sitting next to me)  said Sandra Pupatello sounds a bit like the gal from Fargo, and there is some truth to that in her small-town accent.  "What you see is what you get" seems a key part of her message, and what you see is a big personality with big hair, a little corny at times but with a touch of the Iron Lady in her  as well.   "I will bring the opposition to their knees," is a paraphrase of one of her applause lines, and so far its the one this morning that made me laugh out loud, because it sounds like she's actually prepared to do it, with a baseball bat if necessary.

I think Sandra's speech was an explicit  attempt to contrast herself with Kathleen Wynne, though most of the differences between them are a matter of degree and tone.  Sandra gave a more full-throated defence of  OLP policy, though in fact she is proud of the same things, generally speaking, as Kathleen is.  She also projects as more of a warrior than Kathleen, though Sandra too has promised to  work with the opposition as far as possible.  And whereas Kathleen pushed her social justice credentials, Sandra struck with what I would call "meat and potato" issues.  No call out to First Nations; a bit more of a focus rhetorically on jobs jobs jobs.

Also, fellow progblogger Rachel DaCosta made a note of how she liked the pearl necklace Sandra was wearing, and indeed (at the risk of sounding a bit sexist) Sandra is a handsome woman who would look like a natural in any boardroom on Bay Street.  I spent some time picturing in my mind what she would look like on a debate stage next to Andrea Horwath and the squirrelly Tim Hudak.  In my mind I see Tim Hudak getting his ass handed to him.

To be Premier you have to win the next election, and of all the candidates so far, Sandra is the one that looks the most campaign ready which, when you think about, might be the thing most likely to scare the opposition out of provoking one.

PS.  I'm not going to blog the Eric Hoskins speech, but he is possibly hotter than Gerard Kennedy.

Kathleen Wynne Pitch Speech

Kathleen Wynne's presentation started ominously, with break dancing old people.  Her bio basically cast her as...technocrat is too harsh a term...but someone who has spent time solving problems within "the system".  Tough but caring, maybe like your old high-school principle.

As for the speech itself, there was an acknowledgement that we are on FN territory (though Jeff Jedras thinks we swiped it from them fair and square through a treaty).  She made a FN ref  last night as well, and  has been the only OLDLDR potential to do that.  And a bit later there was an explicit reference to forging better relations with Metis, FN, and some other group I can't remember.  Her way of appealing to Northern Ontario?

A particularly good bit came about the halfway point, when she noted that the Liberals must acknowledge their mistakes "and promise not to make them again", which played to her strong suit--competence.  Her terms as minister of whatever were pretty much scandal free.

And then she dropped the bomb: can a gay woman win in Ontario?  "Not surprisingly, I have an answer to that."  Quite well done. But how will it play in Lanark?

I should say that I remember Kathleen speaking back in the 1990s.  She could be very effective at times, but would often get caught up in bureaucratese or reference some obscure Romanian existentialist.  This performance was far, far above that.  No notes.  No nothing.

Though Charles Sousa had by far the best guest suite last night, I am going to skip his presentation and do a little book shopping.  Will be back for Pupatello, though.

PS. Rumour is he goes to Pupatello after dropping out.

Gerard Kennedy Pitch Speech

Gerard Kennedy is, beyond all else, a gorgeous specimen.

His speech this morning was all about "doing politics differently".  It was, however, a pretty standard issue "doing politics differently" speech.  A "new day"; "it starts now"; "nobody left behind" and so forth.  I suppose you are supposed to hear echoes of other great progressive speeches in it, and not just clichés   but I'm not sure how well the whole  party outsider approach works from a guy that's been around Cdn/Ont politics for so long.  And, as for me, I don't have a problem with the current OLP status quo: green belt; green energy; shorter wait times; better test scores.  But I suppose being outside in GK's context means outside Toronto.  There was a shout-out to Northern Ontario, and a promise to the effect that it would no longer be "the other side of the map".  Don't quite know what that is supposed to mean policywise.  And, again, I'm not sure how all of this sounds coming from the mouth of a T.O. boy.

Missed Takhar entirely.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Teachers' Protest And OLPLDR Notes

Looks like they've manage to pull in a few 100 protesters.  On another note, it looks like some delegates were caught behind that pileup on the 401 and I think the party has decided to extend the hours for casting the first ballot.  Interesting what it might portend if this makes  the delegate composition on the floor more 416-centric.

A Quick Note On First Batch Of OLPLDR Protesters

Unfortunately, I'm having troubles emailing pictures from my new tablet (piece of crap just like old tablet, as it happens) to my netbook, but Jeff posted one.  The race horse farmers are here protesting  the end of the Slots at Racetracks Initiative.  I counted about 20 to 30.  Not that many, and remember: when they get too old to race these horses become glue or are sold  to  restaurants, where they are made delicious.

Tomorrow I might wander over to Edwards Gardens where the anti-wind people are protesting (I think).  I want to see how many bodies they bring out, or are they the same old gang as always?

Off To OLP Convention Today

I think about eight bloggers were chosen to cover the event.  Of the group, Pupatello supporter Lisa Kirbie will offer spirited partisanship; Imp (who I think leans Wynne) and Jim  will offer careful analysis.  And I of course will be doing hair: who among the candidates has the best hair, and whose hair holds up over the course of the long, hard weekend, because this will provide a helpful indicator as to how the candidates might fare during the heat of a real election campaign.

The convention scheduling strikes me as being a bit weird, with nothing much on the first day and then everyone's pitch speeches crammed into a couple of hours on the morning of day two.  I will probably be out on the floor more on the second day.  At the NDP gig most of the voting had been done weeks in advance, and it turned out there were all of about 1,600 votes available on the floor to be haggled over (as well as 6,000 on-line).  Here, on the other hand, with an old fashioned delegated convention, there will be actual horse trading and negotiatin' going on!  More fun to cover, and maybe somebody will offer me a cabinet post by accident.

Here's where they've got us bloggers stuck:
We are allowed to have guests, though I'm told the quarters are a bit cramped.  A fair bit of this will probably happen over twitter, and I rigged up an account here.  The hashtag is apparently going to be #OLPLDR.  

If anything else happens during the day, I will try and do write-ups.  There's plenty of dead time at these things.  I just hope they don't wheel-out some old white guy to rap.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tough Day For Team Wynne

A couple of flubs-ups from the Wynne campaign in the last 48 hours or so.  Here a letter from her team identifying a supporter of hers as Muslim,  who is not; here a letter in Punjabi sent to a delegate, (I think she is a delegate) who speaks no Punjabi.  Both of these people presumably got the letters they did because they have Muslim/Indian sounding names.  Racial or "ethnic" profiling sounds a bit harsh for what is going on here, but it is certainly awkward, as though I was trying to impress a Chinese guest by serving them Japanese food because I couldn't tell one from the other.

I should say that I originally had my doubts about the provenance of these letters--whether they actually came from the Wynne campaign.  So I emailed this morning and have as yet  received no reply.  Certainly the address on the first letter is one of the ones given out on her website.

Meanwhile this got tossed over the transom earlier:

Not much context of the quote is provided--you don't hear what does drive Kathleen.  However, there is a good possibility that the next OLP leader will be thrown into an Ontario election immediately after having ascended to the Premier's chair.  Therefore it seems to me your message for the OLP leadership campaign must be the same message you will take on the road in any provincial contest.  I don't care if I win isn't that message.

Kathy Shaidle Debunks Stereotype That Every Encounter With The Legal System Makes You Wiser

That is all.

Actually, if you don't it: she and husband have been getting sued left right and center.  And I think there's a new one coming down the pipe from an unlikely source (not any of the folks ref'd through the link either).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gal That Said Gay Men Like To Walk Around Naked Gets Diamond Jubilee Medal From Tory MP

The admittedly still hot Connier Fournier of FreeD gets a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Tory MP  from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin MP Maurice Vellacott:
Just a few highlights from Connie's freedom fighting career.  Here she is suggesting that gay men like to walk around naked.  Here is where she received a reward similar to the DJM from Doug Christie; one of the folks in the audience that evening was a neo-nazi, later gunned down by cops.  Here is Edward Kennedy, an old friend of Tory MPP Randy Hillier and one of the FreeD regulars.  Here he is issuing what might be described as a death threat.  That one was against Warren Kinsella; I've had a few similar ones directed at me.  As a result Ed has, just let us say, met with the authorities on several occasions.    Still, Tim Hudak  has given him some love.  Here is another FreeD participant trashing Muslims.  Proud to say I got him booted off Tory MP potential Elie Salibi's campaign in 2008.

And so on.  The number of far right kooks that Connie and FreeD have nutured over the years is really quite high.  That Mr. Vellacott would choose to honor her and her enterprise is frankly appalling.  If the Queen heard about it she would puke.

Justin Trudeau Is NOT Opposed To Pipelines

Just this pipeline...and this one...and this one over here.  Clever strategy, actually. Don't attack the tar sands in the abstract, just any concrete manifestation of the tar sands.

Its Purpose Served, And Etc.

A new site, has also launched as the full-out offensive begins by Team Ford to keep their man and their mantra going forward at City Hall. The site was registered Nov. 27 for a year, through a hosting provider, so it doesn’t immediately reveal the people behind the site, although the username seems to be “Danielda”. But you can guess.

Click through, though, and the site has disappeared.  Presumably our mayor's campaign to keep his job has evolved, if you can use that word in conjunction with Rob Ford, or perhaps the site was a flop.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nukes In The Tar Sands: Deja Vu

From The Daily Yomiuri:

Toshiba Corp. has been developing a small nuclear reactor for mining oil sands at the request of a firm engaged in such mining projects in Alberta Province, Canada, and aims to begin operating the reactor by 2020, it has been learned.


The output of Toshiba's new small reactor will be 10,000 kilowatts to 50,000 kilowatts, about 1 percent-5 percent that of a regular nuclear reactor, according to the sources.

Steam generated in the reactor will be sent to strata located at a depth of about 300 meters, where oil sands are found, to turn the sand into slurry. The slurry will then be extracted from the strata using a separate pipe.

To ensure the reactor's safety, Toshiba reportedly plans to construct a nuclear reactor building underground, while the building itself will be equipped with an earthquake-absorbing structure.

This is hardly a new idea, and I've covered it a couple of times previously.  For our current purposes, the most important bit is this passage out of a Rand Corporation study from several years back:

But Would Nukes Even Work

Nuclear power could be used to produce electricity, steam, and hydrogen for oil-sand
projects. However, in addition to concerns about radioactive-waste management and proliferation, there may be limitations on the use of nuclear power in the oil-sand industry. Oil-sand projects are generally dispersed, whereas nuclear plants generally provide a large amount of power at a single site. Piping steam over great distances would not be practical, 21 and electricity transmission would require significant infrastructure investments to reach many small, often remote oil-sand sites. H2 production via electrolysis today is expensive, and, again, there is no existing infrastructure for moving large amounts of H2 to remote oil-sand sites (NPC, 2007). At present, there is insufficient information to provide cost estimates if nuclear power were used in oil-sand projects.

So, what this implies, and what the pic from the Yomiuri story implies... that each of these new mini reactors would serve a single project.  You want to power The Tar Sands per se with these things, you need to build a whole whack of them.

The Beginning Of Something?

OPP in Haldimand County believe the vandals struck the Summerhaven Wind farm project overnight Friday, painting a disassembled tower, setting a fire and causing about $60,000 damage.

As the article notes, the turbine is near where MOE workers removed an active but currently unused bald eagles several weeks back to make way for an expansion of the project.  Last week local first nations protested the removal.

While this vandalism appears to be the first act of its kind, last summer an employee with one of wind companies was the subject of death threats.  Police investigated, but it looks as if nothing came of it.

Sun News Network--Beacon O' Diversity

By the same logic you could say they've  really been a great help to the Roma.

From here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sun News Network Begs For Taxpayer $

Application by TVA Group Inc. and Sun Media Corporation, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Sun News General Partnership, for mandatory distribution on the digital and analog basic service pursuant to an order issued under section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act of the national English-language specialty national news Category C service Sun TV News.

As I have mentioned previously, I've heard from insiders that if they don't get mandatory carriage they're screwed, and indeed Steve Faguy says they are losing $17 mil a year and need 18 cents per subscriber per month  to get by.  That in mind, you can leave "an intervention" on this issue at the CRTC home page.  You will, I think, find plenty of material on the Sun News Network in the archives here at BCLSB that should help you craft your intervention.  Remember, when you are writing, that if this application fails, Ezra Levant will have to move back home to his dad's basement.

PS.  They are also demanding a better spot on the dial.

From their supporting docs:
Demographics (they've got angry old guy crowd sewn up):
Viewer numbers:
This might have to be my last update for awhile.  I'm laughing too hard.

Pupatello And Wynne Support Offshore Wind

Offshore wind should be a slam-dunk.  After all its offshore, way out of sight of any protesting NIMBYs.  So it is good to know that the two front runners in the OLP leadership race have come out in support of the concept. From a North American Wind Power presser:

The good news is that Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne - two of the front-runners vying to lead Ontario's Liberal Party - both have expressed support for offshore wind. 

It is worth pointing out that these kinds of projects have even less environmental impact than the on-shore variety:

Siting the project further from the shoreline alleviates much of the avian impact, because 93% to 95% of such incidents happen within 1 km of the shore... 

And its also worth pointing out that the purpose, or at least one purpose, of the Green Energy Act was to get Ontario off coal.  If anyone remembers T.O. summers from the late 1980s, you might recall those smog clouds that would float in over the city and hang there for days, until your sweat tasted of chemicals. They're not so frequent anymore, and the McGuinty's government can take some credit for it.

Blazing Cat Fur Takes One In The Money Belt

From the website of Richard Warman:

Richard Warman is pleased to confirm settlement of his libel action against Arnie Lemaire (aka BlazingCatFur) on terms acceptable to the parties including removal of all material identified in the current statement of claim.

No details on cash amounts, but rumor has it Arnie and his wife Kathy Shaidle will be moving to new digs shortly.  The particulars of the defamation are the same as those in the Ezra Levant case, as those in the case of KKKate from SDA, as those in the case of the Fourniers from FreeD.  Expect all of them to go the same way when they eventually conclude.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Edgar Schmidt Case Is Scarier Than You Thought

Edgar Schmidt is the government lawyer who revealed this week that his department has been told not to inform the government or opposition MPs when upcoming legislation is likely to fail subsequent legal scrutiny.  Such has been the policy since 1993.  Dennis Gruending tells the story in greater detail than the Globe piece, and he's not behind some stupid pay-wall:

The basis of Schmidt’s case is as follows: The Justice Department is required by law to “pre-examine” new laws and regulations to ensure that they conform to the Charter and Bill of Rights, which exist to protect the fundamental freedoms and rights of citizens. Schmidt says that, in practice, the department has since at least 1993 had its lawyers apply only a flawed and minimal screening test. It does not identify and report on legislation that the department itself considers almost certainly to be illegal and unconstitutional.

In other words the department rarely, if ever, warns the Justice Minister about a bill that is likely to offend the Charter of Rights. Nor does the minister inform Members of Parliament of such a possibility before they vote on new legislation. In his statement of claim, Schmidt says that the department would not warn the minister even if it found there to be a 95 per cent chance that legislation does not comply with the Charter and Bill of Rights.

And, by the way, for taking this matter to court, Schmidt has been suspended without pay.

Oh, and speaking of jack-booted thuggery, you ever hear of  Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada?

In 2007, Blackstock filed a human rights complaint accusing the federal government of willfully underfunding child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves.

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network later used Access to Information requests to discover that the government sent its employees to listen in on between 75 and 100 meetings at which Blackstock was a participant. They monitored her every word and reported back to their bosses at Indian and Northern Affairs.

Government employees in that department and in the Justice Department also monitored Blackstock’s Facebook page, both during and after working hours. Her Status Indian file was accessed along with its personal information, including data on her family. Blackstock has responded by launching a complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which is scheduled to be heard in February 2013.

The government has been following this lady, and not in the cute twitter sense either, and all because she wants to close a funding gap between native and non-native child welfare services.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Randy Hillier, Then And Now

Tory MPP Randy Hillier has been taking some flack over on his Facebook page for condemning Idle No More  protests after having  having engaged in some highway blocking himself back in the day.  Here's his initial statement:

McGuinty states"In our democracy, we do not direct the police, that would be inappropriate" Either Dalton does not understand his responsibility or is purposely skirting it. The legislature directs police by passing laws and appointing judges and Police to enforce them. Here's my advice - any protest that unduly interferes with economic activity and harms or injures people or property, is no longer a protest but a criminal activity.

And you can see part of the exchange between him and one Andy LaPier below:

Well, here's the statement from the old "Rural Revolution" website:

Canada's busiest Highway 401 and the International Bridge  at Johnstown Ontario to the USA 
were closed for 3 hours by 270 vehicles and 50 tractors in show of the demonstration of rural dissatisfaction. 

Closing a bridge sounds a lot like "interfering" with economic activity to me.  And as to "keeping a lane open for emergency vehicles", I'm not sure that's relevant if its even true.  Here's a shot of the 401 that day from the same website:

Looks pretty damned closed to me, and anyone travelling West would have had their "economic activity" pretty thoroughly interfered with.

Thanks For Not Helping

In Calgary, a group that includes at least one oil-industry bigwig and a former Progressive Conservative party insider held a private fundraiser to support the B.C. Liberals’ re-election bid. If Ms. Clark overcomes the odds and manages to stay in office, she could have some prominent Albertans to thank.

Accepting what almost mounts to foreign money?  If I were Adrian Dix I would be all over this one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Can You Torch A Burned Out Building?

This Tory blogger asks: why would Tim Hudak promise to enact the very same reforms Mike Harris already enacted 15(ish) years ago?  What would Mike Lite do that Mike Heavy didn't already accomplish during the last go round?  Throw autistic people out on the street?  Good question.

Emissions From Northern Gateway And Kinder Morgan

I think these graphs speak for themselves:
But if they don't. Simon Donner of UBC says:

...the pipeline expansion would completely undermine not just B.C.'s emissions reduction policy, but the entire country's emissions reduction policy. 

The second graph shows the estimated gap (i.e. necessary reductions) between the most recent national emissions estimate (2010, 692 Mt) and the policy goal for 2020 (17% reduction, ~607 Mt). The emissions embedded in the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline (82.5 Mt) is alone almost as great as the Canadian 2020 emissions gap (85.3 Mt). Add in the original Kinder Morgan proposal, the recent proposed bump in capacity, and the emissions embedded in oil exports of the pipeline would be 1.6 times the national emissions gap.

So the Harper government's policy re Northern Gateway undermines its (stated) policy on emissions.

A Quote From A G&M Story

“The day after the filing of this statement [by Mr. Schmidt], bang: ‘You’re suspended,’ ” said Justice Noël, pointing out to federal lawyer Alain Préfontaine that the government has taken away Mr. Schmidt’s income and reputation. “It’s unbelievable … Your client has done everything it can to kill this thing. The court doesn’t like that … We see that in different countries and we don’t like it … Canada is still a democracy.”

From an actual judge, not from some hippy on twitter.

Apparently, federal lawyers have been told to green light any legislation/regulation (ie not flag and report it to the HOC) that has as little as a five per cent chance of passing constitutional muster.

That is, is likely unconstitutional.

That is, the gov. is passing bills that it knows will likely fail, after much wasted time and expense, in court.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Calling The Canadian Revenue Agency. Hellooo? Hellloooo?

The Fraser Institute  continues to take ($150,000) in Koch Brothers money, and claims zero political activity in 2011.  If the Sierra Club is in violation, you would think Fraser would be. Mind you, its probably not enough to bitch.  Someone would probably have to lodge a complaint with the Compliance Division of the Charities Directorate of Revenue Canada.  The way Ethical Oil did.  Hmm.  A template for similar action against Fraser?

A Fund To Fund Underfunded Funds

From the government presser re their Venture Capital Action Plan:

$250 million to establish new, large private sector-led national funds of funds (a funds of funds portfolio consists of investments in several venture capital funds)

Can anyone tell me this isn't straight out corporate welfare?  But wait!  It is, it is straight out corporate welfare!

Monday, January 14, 2013

OLP Candidates On Wind Turbines

Didn't like this bit:

Kathleen Wynne is uneasy about the quality of information fuelling the renewable energy debate.

“Where is the evidence and science in making these decisions?” asks Wynne. “I’m not sure there are conclusive arguments on either side of these issues—whether it’s health issues or environmental issues. I want to make sure we are operating on the best evidence possible.”

Actually, the evidence that wind turbines effect Ontario property values is crap; the evidence that their presence has a negative effect on the health of people living close by is crap; and the claim that they are endangering local/migratory bird populations is wildly overstated.

If the next premier wanted to make some possibly useful tweaks to the Green Energy Act, they might look at the advice of their own Environmental Commissioner.   But pandering to NIMBYs gets you 0.  They don't have a problem with the process; they have a problem with the product: wind turbines, spinning infernally, within sight of their retirement properties.

Of the three candidates who offered a response, Sandra Pupatello gave the most full-throated defense of the Green Energy Act which, incidentally, will get this province off coal--the dirtiest fossil fuel of all of them--by the end of 2013.  So good on her.

Friday, January 11, 2013

AFN Demands: My Favorite One

All legislation must be unquestionably consistent with s.35 of the Canadian Constitution and the UNDRIP.  Legislation and provisions of legislation as in C-38 and C-45 that contravene our Treaty and inherent rights must be reconsidered and implementation of these provisions be put to a halt. We must have an environmental regulatory regime in this country that respects our rights. Legislation that tinkers around the edges of the Indian Act must stop and be replaced with support for First Nation government and nation re-building including a mechanism for our Nations to push away from the Indian Act as they determine. To fulfill the original relationship, Canada must put in place an ongoing process that all new bills and policies of the federal government must be in full compliance with section 35 and consistent with international human rights standards. 

This complaint is the thread that has always woven together the disparate strands of the Idle No More movement.  Now, "reconsidering" this legislation may sound like the AFN is getting a bit sucky, but if you were to split these two bits off from the omnibus bill and debate them again--reconsider them--I'm sure they would go the same way as the Lawful Access.  Harper wouldn't dare reintroduce either--especially C-45--because who among Canadians wants to gut the laws that protect our rivers and lakes from despoilation?   Or at least so I would wager (maybe a fin, maybe a $20).

So, if I may offer some friendly advice to INM, I would over the next few days and weeks make these concrete bits of legislation the focal point of any protests.  And, if I were Chief Spence, I would forgive Mr. Atleo and give hugs all around and go out together for some Chinese-food and scarf four plates immediately.  If you two get the ball rolling on repealing these bits of noxious legislation, then you've already won your Order of Canada.  In fact, the nation will owe you both a Senate seat for when you get old.

But of course it won't happen overnight; chief Spence needs to get strong for the next round.

Omnibus Bills, Pipelines, First Nations

Chief Justin George of the  Tsleil-Waututh Nation connects a few of the dots leading from omnibus budget bills C38 and C45 to Kinder Morgan's expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.  Most interesting bit from the news release:

[Trans Mountain] is a brand new pipeline following a new route; the existing pipeline was built without First Nations consent; and there have been 78 spills since 1951. 

My contention has been that the success of the Trans Mountain expansion project will be a function of its ability to keep to the same right-of-way as the old line.  Kinder Morgan has said it will do this where possible.  However, the  Tsleil-Waututh Nation's complaint, when added to similar complaints from other FNs and Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart, suggests that the company  may have to expropriate or otherwise acquire more land than its been letting on.  That suggests that a heckuva  fight is in the offing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Postmedia Continues Its Failing Failure

TORONTO - Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (TSX:PNC.A) had $8.3 million of net income and $26.7 million of operating income in its latest quarter, both down from a year earlier.

The Toronto-based publisher's revenue also fell, dropping to $211.7 million in the three months ended Nov. 30 from $231 million a year earlier.

I think I saw Jonathon Kay outside their building on Don Mills this morning.  He was boiling his belt for the extra calories.

He's Number Two

This story about everyone's 2nd choice for LPoC leader is really just an excuse to show off my awesome unofficial Marc Garneau campaign buttons.
There are still some buttons available.  In fact, other than the one that fell behind the fridge they all are.  They've gone viral a bit more slowly than I expected.  So I'll be selling them at various venues in the run-up to the April leadership event thing.  You can read the "making of" story here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Yo Federal Liberal Leadership Candidates (Esp. Justin Trudeau): Bullshit Cometh Before The Fall

If you take the numbers from the last NDP leadership convention as a guide--and there is no reason not to--about 10% of the people you recruit on-line will be arsed enough about the whole enterprise to actually vote. The rest will forget they signed up.  So this story is just puff.  As a matter of fact, I think the only possible way to defeat Justin Trudeau at this leadership thingy in April is to get actual bodies on the floor and hope his internet army is busy dating their bong that weekend.  Though it probably won't work.

And, the thing is, with the NDP nobody cared because nobody watched.  I know real political affairs professionals who managed to entirely avoid that weekend of conventioneering, and I was the one to tell them how shitty the whole thing went.  But it didn't matter.  Mulcair gave a nice interview on Sunday, and here we are. The LPoC doesn't have that advantage.  The media obsesses over us even when we're the 3rd party.  We are just that sexxxy.  So no flaw will go unexposed.  Over-hype your on-line ambitions, and all you'll hear about afterwards is how disappointing the result was.

Word, sexxxy babies.

Some Numbers

Government spending per capita, Toronto: $24,000.
Government spending per capita,  Attawapiskat: 11,355.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

More On Attawapiskat Finances And Chief Spence's Diet

From an APTN interview with Clayton Kennedy, the band's former co-manager.  Looks like yesterday's outrage was a tad overblown.  A couple of interesting facts re some of the "controversy" around the band's financial arrangements.

Firstly, as most people seem to have figured out by now, much of the inadequate documentation of expenses took place before Theresa Spence became chief.  In fact, I would also say it occurred after the time Mr. Kennedy first worked for the band (2001-2004) and before the time he returned to it (2010).

About Mr. Kennedy's salary:

Kennedy said the band was previously co-managed by BDO Canada from November 2009 to April 2010, but the band council decided to not continue with them after the firm asked for $400,000 a year over five years to do the job. Kennedy said he earned about $140,000 by comparison.

About fundraising for Chief Spence:

Clayton Kennedy, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s life partner, said he wants to allay concerns raised in the media about a savings account he set up to for donations to support Spence’s hunger strike.

So far, the account has received about $31,000 in donations and spent about $20,400 on expenses like hotels for support staff at the site and Spence’s family along with food, stoves, gasoline and the rental of a car, he said.

Kennedy said he has kept all the receipts and will be providing a detailed breakdown of the spending to the major donors.

According Kennedy, Chief Spence is not staying in a hotel and is not collecting a per diem from the band.  Also, from another source, re her diet:

Speaking to Postmedia in late December, Dr. Yoni Freedoff, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, estimated that Chief Spence is probably getting between 200 to 400 calories a day — a quarter of the 1,200 an average person requires.

So there you have it.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs That Tim Hudak Would Kill

Green Ones, too:

Niagara Region Wind Corporation is on a recruitment drive as it gears up for one of the largest wind turbine projects in Canada.

It estimates it and its suppliers will require about 770 workers until the construction phase is complete by 2014.

After that, it’s expected to employ about 110 to maintain the structures.

But, give us a PCPO government under Tim Hudak and they'll all be gone and the province will have paid $1,000,000s to kill them.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Chief Spence Is A Sideshow

This is the shit.  And you know what?  When First Nations sue the federal government, they win.  Its a bit like when someone sues Ezra Levant--its a slam dunk.  That not actually a coincidence.  Harper's droogs and Ezra share a lawsuit losing gene.

Ethical Auctions: E-Bay Rejects Oil From Tar Sands

This week, Patagonia and eBay became the two newest US brands to join the fight against tar sands oil. The two companies have announced that they will no longer use oil obtained from Canada’s tar sands in their transportation vehicles. Businesses that oppose tar sands oil typically reduce or eliminate their consumption of the unclean fuel by asking their transportation companies not to purchase oil produced in the tar sands.

Patagonia and eBay join 16 other US companies (Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Chiquita, Seventh Generation, Fifth & Pacific Companies, Quiksilver, American Eagle Outfitters, Levi Strauss & Co., Timberland, LUSH Cosmetics, FedEx, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Avon) in taking the lead on banning tar sands oil as part of company transportation policy. The US border city of Bellingham in Washington state, one of two US cities used as a gateway for Canadian tar sands, has also agreed to purchase less fuel from factories that source oil from tar sands.

How Much Will It Cost Tim Hudak To Unwind The Green Energy Act?

You thought cancelling that gas plant was expensive?  Here's PCPO MPP Monte McNaughton, representing Lambton-Kent-Middlesex:

…we realize that when we make the commitment, we’re not going to build them, if they’re not built. So scrap the 50,000 projects that are in the queue.  We realize that there is going to be a cost, our lawyers have told us that there are opt-out clauses and we sure as hell are going to pay those out because it’s going to be cheaper to pay them out than to honour contracts for 20 years. So we’ve been clear that we will not going ahead with however many projects are left, if we’re fortunate enough to form the next government after the next election. But clearly there will be a cost associated with that, but it will be cheaper to buy them out than to honour them for 20 years.

Secondly, I guess we’re not going to know the entire extent of all of these contracts signed until if we form government, until we actually get in and take office. That’s why we’ve been clear that in the 24 hours after the election, we’re going to call for a moratorium. But we are going to call for a moratorium almost immediately so we can figure where the hell things are at and how deep a hole energy has gotten us into.

So, despite McNaughton's claim in the first paragraph, the Tories don't really know whether their option is the cheaper way or not, because they don't really know the size of the bill they'll have to pay.  But their lawyers must have given them some estimates.  So, a simple question to Mr. Hudak: how many $1,000,000s d'you think this promise will cost to keep?  And, incidentally, how many jobs in the green energy sector will it cost?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Don't Bet On A(n Ontario) Spring Election, Part Duh

The NDP has done well wielding the balance of power over the past year, and seems disinclined to lose its leverage by triggering an early election. Horwath has hinted that she is in no hurry to bring down the Liberals and will try again to make minority government work. Hudak’s Tories remain mired in debt and may be content to keep their powder dry as they reorient themselves rightward with neo-con policies appealing to bedrock Tories.

And an economic turn-around absolves many sins.  We're probably not there yet in Ontario, despite what the last couple of month's jobs data look like, but the longer a OLP government can hang on, the likelier it will arrive while they're in power and they'll get credit.  Remember, though, if there is a 2013 election: its only Tim Hudak.

Gruending On John Baird's Office of Religious Freedom

In fact, the plan is modeled on the Office of International Religious Freedom which was created by the Clinton administration in the United States in 1998. A common criticism is that the American office was focused almost entirely on the persecution of Christians abroad, and that it was used to create space for American evangelical Christians to proselytize in other countries. Madeline Albright, then the secretary of state, was opposed saying that the office in focusing only on religious persecution created a “hierarchy of human rights” — privileging persecution based upon religion over other that of race or gender, for example.

Another good piece by Dennis Gruending.  Probably nothing in it that's too surprising to anyone paying attention, but thorough.

Friday, January 04, 2013

I Wouldn't Support Gerard Kennedy For Ontario Liberal Leader If You Threatened To Club Me With A Dead Walrus

...but this proposal (of Gerard's) is something that is absolutely necessary for the Ontario Liberal Party going forward:

4. Support for one member one vote leadership races in the future (possibly using the federal “supporter” system).

OK.  The supporter system is still a bad idea, for various reasons.  But moving beyond delegated conventions is something that must happen, for various other reasons.

PS.  Scott says:

...bloggers can come [to the Ontario Liberal leadership convention], but only if bloggers pay a 1000$ fee for the right to be an “observer”, and not given the accreditation as regular Mainstream media journalists are.

Another awful idea.  Rise up and rebel, Libloggers!  Or at least picket the convention!

PPS.  They've relented!  Our rebellion succeeded after less than three minutes!  As you were, Libloggers!

What Idle No More Should Be About: A Brief Note

It should be about Bill C-45.  A specific piece of legislation created by a specific  government that raises a specific set of issues about treaty rights and unilateral changes to those rights. It shouldn't be about "Injustice" vaguely defined. Which is why Chief Spence's hunger strike, while generally speaking a noble act, is in one sense a bit of distraction as it allows government supporters to turn the conversation back to those stale old arguments about the dysfunction in our First Nation's communities and whose fault it is.  Therefore all efforts to promote INM should focus on the concrete legislation on the table, the specific treaty violations it will give rise to, and how non-native as well as native businesses and communities will be affected by it.  If generalizations are to be drawn, they should be that the Harper government is willing to trample the rights of anyone who would impede their ability to sell bitumen to Communist China.  That is all.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

On Simplistic Arguments

From John Ivison's column today:

Another area where the government is attempting to make structural changes that could end the cycle of poverty and despair is by creating a First Nations Education Act, aimed at dragging native education into the 21st century. Currently, reserve schools have no regular reporting system, there is no dispensation for kids who fall behind, there is no way to certify, regulate or discipline teachers and there is no way to monitor attendance. A panel on native education last year said 100 schools are “unsafe learning 

In response, a few bullet points from a talk by Dr. Pam Palmater:

First Nation Education Act
(TIME STAMP: Video Part 3, 4:40-7:20)

•Incorporates and imposes Provincial Laws into First Nation Education on Reserves.
•Violation of Treaty Right to Education.
•The Feds wish to take the Treaty Right to Education - Nationalize it, Control it, Legislate it.
•Does not account for Education being chronically underfunded, even in comparison to the Province.
•The Feds will vacate jurisdiction to the Province – not just stepping away from Treaty Obligations – but Funding Obligations (“Want to apply for Post-Secondary? Go Apply for Provincial Scholarships” is the vision for the future).
• Once they legislate a treaty right, they will say it is outside of Section 35 and there’s no way to undo it.

Part 3 of Ms. Palamater's talk, where she discusses the  FN Education act (from about 4:40 to 7:20 in on the tape):

The other parts can be found by going through the vid to the original youtube upload.

Its worth noting that Ezra Levant was accused by Ms. Palmater of jeopardizing her safety when he flashed a Google-map image of her Ajax, Ont., neighbourhood during a recent episode of his talk-show.  I suppose that was just part of the "rational debate" on these matters that John Ivison feels is slipping away.