Has anyone else noticed the explosive rise of fact-checking in the Canadian media as of late? This is certainly a welcome development. Instead of the usual “He said, she said,” muddle in the name of balance, we are in the throes of a renewed quest for pure facts and unadulterated veracity. Surely this sea-change in fact-checking must be in response to some scandalous claim by a major politician or some other Canadian that wields an immense amount of power over our daily lives.
Unfortunately, no. ...Read more
Tags: Brad Wall·Neil Young·oilsands·Saskatchewan·tarsands
The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) has released its third Alternative Person of the Year Award. In 2011, rating agencies had been its recipients whilst last year Chinese labour camps rose to the top. This year, competition was rough. After lengthy discussions, our jury did come to a conclusion: in 2013, oil pipelines came first.
In contrast with preceding editions, we did not choose a subject which goes under the radar, but one which is discussed using the wrong terms of reference. In Québec, especially since the Lac-Mégantic disaster last July, the ongoing conversation on oil transportation has often taken strange turns. As early as August, commentators praised the merits of the Line 9B Reversal Project, which was developed to bring Alberta’s tar sands oil to Québec, in the name of security and economic development. The reaction of oil producers and their experts following the trauma of last summer’s tragedy was swift. ...Read more
Tags: Enbridge·Lac-Mégantic·Ligne 9B·Line 9B·oil pipelines·Person of the Year·Tar Sands
Images of three separate but interconnected events are in my mind tonight.
The first is the outcome of another negotiating session of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw two weeks ago. The second is a sunny fall afternoon in 1998 when South African President, Nelson Mandela, spoke at Ottawa’s Human Rights Monument. The third is a classroom of seven year-olds in a small medieval town called Montluçon, in the Auvergne region of France. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Environment·Human Rights
In times like ours of accelerated islamization in Québec, we cannot possibly ask the government to do everything. Of course, in an ideal world, it would worry about the consequences of the pipeline through which Enbridge will transport dirty oil across Québec and it would put an end to austerity which has revealed itself counter-productive both for the economy and for services to the population.
But one must prioritize, and the government launched a battle against religious symbols in the public service. Now the attack is taking up all the space available in public debate. ...Read more
Tags: CETA·free trade agreement·MAI·Québec Values Charter
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be a wake-up call for Canada. With a development model based on ever more fossil fuel extraction, Canada’s economy and financial markets are on a collision course with the urgent need for global climate action.
The IPCC, for the first time, stated an upper limit on total greenhouse gas emissions – a global “carbon budget” to keep temperature increase below 2°C. This is considered to be the threshold for “dangerous” climate change, and also the target for international climate negotiations. ...Read more
I have a post as part of a new series from the Progressive Economics Forum celebrating 50 years of Mel Watkins’ publication of “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.” Watkins’ piece follows the insight of Harold Innis to develop an understanding of economic growth uniquely rooted in the Canadian experience. The series begins with an intro by Jim Stanford here. The CCPA will be publishing a volume with all of the commentaries at some point. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·Environment
This is the text of remarks I made today to Vancouver city council on divestment. Earlier this year, Council requested that staff report back on how the city’s financial investments align with the city’s mission and values, and various ethical programs like the city’s purchasing policy and the greenest city initiative. So the meeting was essentially about the contents of the staff report.
The outcome of the meeting was a small victory for divestment. Council recommended: ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·Environment·Fossil fuel divestment·Vancouver
Political commitments on climate action, to the extent they exist, are usually pitched in terms of targets and timelines. BC, for example, has a legislated target of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020; Canada’s official target is a 17% reduction by 2020 relative to 2005 levels. Neither target will be met under status quo policy, which is, de facto, to extract as much carbon and put it in the atmosphere as possible. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Environment
Ever since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, there’s a question which constantly comes up with regards to oil transportation. Are we better off transporting oil by rail or using pipelines? That’s in fact a red herring.
All the projected pipelines announced by the Canadian oil industry would be insufficient to transport all of the tar sands’ oil production capacity. The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI)’s estimates indicate that tar sands oil production will exceed 2.5 million barrels per day in 2013. Projections based on the industry’s announcements predict that tar sands production will reach around 9.2 barrels per day. ...Read more