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Trudeau’s Climate Change Policy Is Strategically Inadequate

Trudeau’s Climate Change Policy Is Strategically Inadequate

Approving a pipeline while declaring a climate emergency is ‘climate change denial with a human face.’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
‘This is how climate change denial will increasingly look in the future.’ Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

The Trudeau government’s recent actions — declaring a climate emergency and re-approving the Trans Mountain expansion project within two days — aren’t just hypocritical: they’re morally equivalent to climate change denial.

The United Nation’s authority on climate change recently recommended“rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to counter an imminent crisis, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent decisions have flagrantly ignored the UN’s counsel.

He’s bent over backwards to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline’s expansion, propping up the project with extensive financial and rhetorical support. In the process, the Trudeau government has perpetuated the prerogatives of an industry that has funded climate change denying research and (knowingly) pollutes the planet. 

Make no mistake: Trudeau’s actions represent climate change denial “with a human face,” a darker version of Czech communist leader Alexander Dubček’s 1968 description of his ill-fated liberalization program as “socialism with a human face.” 

Trudeau and the Liberal party affirm the reality of global warming in theory, but they effectively deny the phenomenon in practice by facilitating a harmful status quo and belittling the urgency of radical change.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

This is how climate change denial will increasingly look in the future: a mixture of symbolic proclamation and strategically inadequate policy. 

With flooding, suffocating wildfires and abnormal temperatures across much of the country, the climate crisis isn’t just a theoretical concern for most Canadians. Global warming’s impacts are now apparent, a fact that’s reflected in a recent poll showing that over two-thirds of Canadians consider stopping climate change “a priority.” 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On Climate, Does Trudeau’s Canada Play Hero or Villain?

On Climate, Does Trudeau’s Canada Play Hero or Villain?

The Tyee asked global experts, and got some surprising answers.

PolarBearsSnow.jpg
Canada’s symbolic role globally outweighs its actual emissions impact, say experts, who call Trudeau’s carbon tax ‘courageous.’ Still, it’s not enough to meet emissions pledges, upping the ante for the federal election.

How does Canada rate in fighting climate change? 

Better than most countries, especially ones where fossil fuels drive politics. 

Terribly for the world, because if every country copied Canada, that would ensure climate catastrophe. 

That’s the complicated picture climate policy experts in Canada and abroad shared with The Tyee.

They said Canada, while still far from where it needs to be in lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, is enacting “courageous” and “interesting” policies that are pushing global progress forward at a time when the opportunity for action is rapidly fading

On the surface this doesn’t seem to make much sense, given that under Trudeau’s Liberal government Canada is set to miss the 2030 climate targets it agreed to at Paris, spends billions of dollars propping up the oil and gas industry (despite promising to end fossil fuel subsidies), and last year nationalized Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion. 

But Mark Jaccard, a professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University who has contributed to assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that Canada’s record on climate change is more complex and productive than most people realize.

“It seems to me people get so focussed on the Trans Mountain pipeline as a symbol that the federal government has failed on climate policy, without paying attention to the actual policies and comparing them to the rest of the world,” he told The Tyee. “When you do that, we’re among the leaders.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Morneau is Flying Blind

Morneau is Flying Blind

Morneau is Flying Blind - Peter Diekmeyer (01/04/2019)

The Trudeau Government continues to resist calls for an overhaul of its complex tax regime. 

Yet Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, who was in town this week to address the Montreal Chamber of Commerce, wouldn’t name a single non-accountant that he knew who understands tax code.

Pressed by local media, the Minister admitted that he had no idea whether even his own university-educated daughters—who he has said are powerful influences on his political thinking—were able to complete their own returns. 

“The subject never comes up at the supper table,” he joked. 

Long-time tax reform activists greeted the news with a yawn. 

“The Minister’s answer speaks for itself,” says Aaron Wudrick, a director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Nobody understands the tax code because it’s absurdly complex.” 

Cracks in Canada’s centrally-planned economy

Less well-understood is the fact that even the brightest public officials can’t measure the far-reaching implications of the Income Tax Act and other complex legislation. 

That’s because much of the government’s spending comes in the form of increases in unfunded liabilities and hidden transfers caused by interest rate suppression. These expenses are kept off of the government’s books, making them almost impossible for activists like Wudrick to challenge. 

This in turn raises growing questions about the overall effectiveness of Canada’s centrally-planned economy, where public spending accounts for nearly half of GDP. 

Some examples:

1. Subsidizing electric vehicles, but giving bigger breaks for gas-guzzlers

Morneau’s proudest achievements include the government’s environmental record, notably the measures announced in his budget to support the electric car industry.

Unfortunately, the Canadian government also provides billions of dollars of much-larger subsidies to buyers of gas-guzzling cars, trucks and SUVs.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Judy Wilson’s Message for Canadians: ‘The Land Defenders Are Doing This for Everybody’

Judy Wilson’s Message for Canadians: ‘The Land Defenders Are Doing This for Everybody’

RCMP raids in Wet’suwet’en territory can’t bring justice, reconciliation or a better future, Neskonlith chief says.

The Tyee reached out to Wilson to talk about RCMP action against pipeline protesters in the Wet’suwet’en nation in northwest B.C. because of her extensive involvement with government and industries and her long history of environmental advocacy. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What are your thoughts on how governments are responding to the RCMP action in the Wet’suwet’en territory?

I was just reading Premier [John] Horgan’s response to the Unist’ot’en, and I think he was trying to stay on the middle ground. He mentioned the bands who signed these agreements [to allow the pipeline], but to me, the issue is clearly about the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs. They are the proper titleholders to their unceded territory, and they already made a decision. They said no pipelines in their territory.

As for Trudeau, I don’t think he’s really responded. It’s concerning that on one hand he talks about truth and reconciliation, he talks about implementing UNDRIP [the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People] and has supported Bill C-262, which is about implementation — and then he’s using forceful, militarized RCMP to remove people and arrest them at Unist’ot’en and Wet’suwet’en territory. He’s speaking contradictorily, and he’s actually in violation of some of the conventions that he signed at the United Nations.

You called for Canadians to ‘stand with land defenders.’ How can they do that?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian

Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian

One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

In a story headlined “Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder”, Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that “Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months.” Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

While Ottawa recently called for a ceasefire, the Liberals only direct condemnation of the Saudi bombing in Yemen was an October 2016 statement. It noted, “the Saudi-led coalition must move forward now on its commitment to investigate this incident” after two airstrikes killed over 150  and wounded 500 during a funeral in Sana’a.

By contrast when the first person was killed from a rocket launched into the Saudi capital seven months ago, Chrystia Freeland stated, “Canada strongly condemns the ballistic missile attacks launched by Houthi rebels on Sunday, against four towns and cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh’s international airport. The deliberate targeting of civilians is unacceptable.” In her release, Canada’s foreign minister also accepted the monarchy’s justification for waging war. “There is a real risk of escalation if these kinds of attacks by Houthi rebels continue and if Iran keeps supplying weapons to the Houthis”, Freeland added.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Questions Remain As Shifting Narrative, Conflicting Testimony Indicates Cover Up in Quebec Terror Incident

Questions Remain As Shifting Narrative, Conflicting Testimony Indicates Cover Up in Quebec Terror Incident

Witness statements and reports which conflict with the Canadian government’s account of what occurred during the tragic January 29th, 2017 Quebec terror attack at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City raise questions about what actually happened the night of the tragedy. The evidence indicates that contrary to the official narrative, there was more than one gunman and multiple weapons were captured in the possession of arrestees. Media outlets also were so eager to claim the incident was caused by white supremacists that they were fooled into reporting false information from parody news accounts on twitter.

I. Multiple Media Sources Cited Witness Statements Claiming There Were Multiple Gunmen, Number Of Weapons Seized Inconsistent With “Lone Wolf” Narrative

The Canadian government’s claims that the Quebec shooting was a “lone wolf” incident is not consistent with multiple media reports and witness statements that there were at least two gunmen participating in the incident. Canadian news source Le Soleil reported that “at least one gunman” participated in the attack. A witness told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that they saw two masked gunmen enter the building, shout the Takbir (Islamic phrase “Allahu akbar” which means “God is great” in Arabic) and open fire on worshippers. The Sun also ran a statement from a 22 year old student named Abdi, who was reading the Koran with his friends at the time of the attack. Abdi similarly said he was convinced he had seen two attackers and that they shouted the Takbir before opening fire. Reuters also ran an additional report citing another witness statement which said that three attackers had taken part in the incident.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In September, Did the Liberals Out-Harper the Conservatives?

In September, Did the Liberals Out-Harper the Conservatives?

On climate, foreign workers, and unions, Trudeau government moves this month have rankled progressives.

The key players in Stephen Harper’s government would have been high-fiving after the month Justin Trudeau’s is finishing up.

In September, the Liberal government took a hard line stance with a public union, held steady to the Conservatives’ greenhouse gas targets, approved a liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline assailed by environmentalists and Indigenous groups, and some say signalled it may extend, rather than curtail, powers to spy on citizens granted by the Harper government’s controversial Bill C-51.

For good measure, Trudeau’s Liberals also suggested making it easier for businesses to bring more temporary foreign workers to Canada, taking a position even Harper had backed away from after abuses of the federal program hit the headlines. The Conservatives tightened restrictions on who can hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Earlier this month, a Liberal-dominated Parliamentary committee released a report recommending easier access to the program for businesses.

Trudeau rode to victory in October by running to the left of the NDP on many issues. In New York this month, he painted his government, and Canada, as progressive beacons to the world, particularly in welcoming refugees.

But at home, the Trudeau government’s actions have left many progressive Canadians feeling frustrated and misled.

Even Conservatives are concluding that Trudeau’s team has come to embrace Harper’s political agenda.

Conservative Colin Carrie, Oshawa MP and critic for health, says the Liberals’ decision to “copy” Conservative policy shows the Harper government was on the right track.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Wayne Smith, Head Of Statistics Canada, Quits On Point Of Principle

Wayne Smith, Head Of Statistics Canada, Quits On Point Of Principle

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada chief Wayne Smith has resigned, saying the independence of his agency is compromised by new information-technology arrangements.

It marks the second time in just over six years that a chief statistician has quit over a point of principle.

In an email to the National Statistical Council, Smith says Shared Services Canada now holds an effective veto over many of the statistical agency’s operations.

wayne smith
Chief Statistician of Canada Wayne Smith appears before a standing committee in Ottawa on April 12, 2016. (Photo: Matthew Usherwood/CP)

Smith says he can’t support federal initiatives to centralize IT services that effectively undermine the independence of Statistics Canada, which the federal government has committed to protect.

“All of you are aware of my view that this loss of independence and control is not only an apprehension, but an effective reality today, as Statistics Canada is increasingly hobbled in the delivery of its programs through disruptive, ineffective, slow and unaffordable supply of physical informatics services by Shared Services Canada,” says the email, obtained by The Canadian Press.

“I have made the best effort I can to have this situation remediated, but to no effect. I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised.”

Smith says he does not wish to preside over what he describes as the decline of a world-leading statistical office. “So I am resigning, in order to call public attention to this situation.”

The decision of the previous Conservative government to make the long-form census a voluntary survey led to the July 2010 resignation of Munir Sheikh, Smith’s predecessor.

“I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Interest on Gold Is the New Tempest in a Teapot

Zero Hedge published an article on Canadian Bullion Services (CBS) last week. Other sites ran similar articles. The common thread through these articles, and in the user comments section, is that CBS is committing criminal fraud. Or, if not, then it’s a conspiracy by the Canadian government to confiscate gold. Terms like fractional reserve and re-hypothecation were dusted off for the occasion.

t-bill3-month t-bill rates: all the way to nada – click to enlarge.

I don’t know anything about this company other than what I read that day. I am writing today to make a different point, not to address or defend CBS. My point is: a company offers interest on gold, and the gold community goes ballistic. Why so visceral a response? To answer that, we need to look at the backdrop of today’s bizarre financial world.

Interest rates have been falling for well over three decades. This has caused endless asset bubbles in which to speculate to make a fortune (or lose one). And now, in the terminal stage of our monetary disease, there is scant yield to be had even in the US. Negative yields already prevail in several other countries.

We have become accustomed to it. We’re trained to not expect to earn interest, to not even think about it. Instead, we’re like Pavlov’s dogs who know to salivate at the sound of a bell. Only we’re not after food, but opportunities to speculate. All we want to know is, what’s going up next.

PavlovPavlov looks at one of his dogs. The dog is probably not happy, but it is certainly well-trained…Photo credit: Corbis

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Liberal fiscal plans less transparent than under Harper, Kevin Page says

Kevin Page, Canada’s former parliamentary budget officer, says the Liberal government is even less transparent on fiscal matters than their Conservative predecessors. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

 Listen 9:40

Canada’s former parliamentary budget officer says the Liberal government is even less transparent on fiscal matters than the Conservative government it succeeded.

“I don’t think it is [more transparent]. The documents — they’re not better from a government that promised to be better, more transparent … there’s no more information, perhaps even less information, than what we got from the previous government,” Kevin Page said said in an interview CBC Radio’s The House.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the transparency yet,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to run three “modest” deficits of no more than $10 billion a year. But Finance Minister Bill Morneau released his second fiscal update this week ahead of the March 22 federal budget, and his figures show it will be much higher than that.

The deficit will balloon to $18.4 billion in 2016-17 and $15.5 billion in 2017-18 — and that is before any new spending Morneau outlines in the March budget. Those numbers are drastically different from the $3.9-billion and $2.4-billion shortfalls forecast just three months ago.

“A less ambitious government might see these conditions as a reason to hide, to make cuts or to be overly cautious. But our government might see that the economic downturn makes our plan to grow the economy even more relevant than it was a few short months ago,” Morneau said Monday.

Page, who frequently squared off with the previous Conservative government over their fiscal secrecy, says his concerns about transparency stem from a lack clarity around the deficit figure.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New mortgage rule might ‘temper’ hot markets, but not for long

New mortgage rule might ‘temper’ hot markets, but not for long

Starting Feb. 15, mortgage insurers require 10% down payment on portion of mortgages above $500K

Vancouver and Toronto saw real estate prices, particularly for detached and semi-detached home, continue to rise last year. Most other markets saw only modest increases, or even decreases in some cases.

Vancouver and Toronto saw real estate prices, particularly for detached and semi-detached home, continue to rise last year. Most other markets saw only modest increases, or even decreases in some cases. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Beginning next week, many Canadians hoping to buy an abode will need to put more cash down before they can call it home. The extra cost might keep some would-be homeowners from mortgages they can’t really afford, but it’s unlikely to leave any lasting impressions on the country’s most “overheated” real estate markets.

The federal government announced in December that mortgage insurers, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation — by far the largest in the country — will require a 10 per cent down payment on any portion of a mortgage it insures above $500,000 and up to $999,000.

That’s double the five per cent down they currently ask to insure mortgages worth more than 80 per cent of a home’s value.

“We want to make sure we create an environment that protects the people buying homes so they have sufficient equity in their home,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau at the time, also noting that “elevated” house prices were the driving force behind the move.

The change will “likely impact a broad spectrum of buyers,” though it will surely be the highest hurdle for those who don’t already have a good bit of equity from one home already.

“The majority of the impact is going to be on first-time homebuyers, particularly first-time buyers in the hotter markets,” says Don Campbell, senior analyst at Real Estate Investment Network, an organization that tracks Canadian housing trends.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Alberta’s Oil Companies Warn Government On Taxes

Alberta’s Oil Companies Warn Government On Taxes

Big oil is taking no chances with the outcome of Alberta’s royalty review currently underway. In 2007, the industry was surprised when royalties were jacked up despite dozens of corporate presentations to the royalty review panel warning of the fragility of investment economics and the damage increased royalties would cause. Therefore producers and others with significant vested interest have already started the lobbying process.

Such is the case with Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) which made a slide presentation to the new NDP Alberta government on August 20. The industry has obviously learned never to assume politicians actually understand what makes the economy and oil industry work.

The presentation’s key messages were: CNRL is a responsible operator in every way; jobs are created by investment, supported by a positive return on capital; Alberta needs a supportive environment which creates jobs; Alberta is a high cost place to do business, and historically, returns on investment have been poor. That’s when prices were high. It is worse now.

CNRL has been very successful because it is all business. Any oilfield service contractor working for CNRL knows how much price matters to that operator. The company’s Mission Statement reads, “To develop people to work together to create value for the Company’s shareholders by doing it right with fun and integrity.” There is little confusion about why CNRL is in business and what it is trying to accomplish. The presentation ended with the message, “Share the contents of this presentation with your friends and family.” So here we go.

You hope when CNRL talks somebody listens. The company is a made-in-Alberta success story. The public corporate entity started life in Vancouver in 1973 as AEX Minerals Corporation, a junior miner which explored for zinc and lead in the Yukon. In 1975 it was renamed Canadian Natural Resources Limited and registered in Alberta 1982. The company has been on a breathtaking growth tear ever since.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canadian Supreme Court’s top judge dismisses activist label

Canadian Supreme Court’s top judge dismisses activist label

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin brushed off criticism on Thursday that her court, which has clashed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been too activist.

McLachlin, the court’s longest-serving chief justice, has presided over numerous decisions that reversed Parliament’s decisions, and made landmark rulings on prostitution and physician-assisted suicide that were opposed by the ruling Conservatives.

In response to a question as to whether her court is improperly activist, she said: “We try to answer the questions put before us in accordance with the constitution and the law. I leave the labels to other people.”

Harper’s Conservative government has also found itself at the losing end of decisions on mandatory minimum sentences and Senate reform. Last year, the court rejected one of Harper’s picks to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

While Harper’s critics charge that he has been dismissive of the rule of law and the constitution, some social conservatives have argued McLachlin has gone to far in extending constitutional rights.

The National Post ran a headline in May dubbing her “unofficial leader of the opposition.”

Asked by a reporter how she felt about that title, she said: “My feelings are irrelevant, but descriptions of various sorts as to how institutions are perceived or function, one can expect this, so it’s par for the course.”

McLachlin, 71, was speaking at a rare press conference, during a Canadian Bar Association conference. She said she welcomed robust debate on the role of the court, but declared: “I’m not a politician, I’m a judge.”

 

Stephen Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: More Evidence

Stephen Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: More Evidence

Canada’s most ethically corrupt government? You be the judge. Second of two.

The previously published first half of this omnibus of Stephen Harper’s sins listed 31 instances of laws broken and ethics pummeled. Some happened during elections. Others were in relentless service of policing and polishing the Harper “brand.”

Today we focus on how Harper has willfully misgoverned — 28 ways the PM and his team have lied, flouted rules and stymied democracy to achieve political and ideological ends.

Please help us out. As you read, if any abuses we’ve forgotten come to mind, either make a note in the comments thread after this piece or send us an email at editor@thetyee.ca, subject line Harper Abuse List. We will fold what we get into a final, single version as a handy reference for the campaign. That runs Monday.

Thanks again to a few friends of The Tyee who researched and helped with this list.

PMO Tied to Senate Hush Money Scandal

An RCMP affidavit reported widespread involvement by PMO staffers in a secret payment to Senator Mike Duffy to try and make a political problem go away. The Senate expenses scandal brought on allegations of a cover-up, a breach of the public trust, and a whitewashing of a Senate report. The PMO was found to have hand in the altering of a damning Deloitte audit.

Harper Found in Contempt of Parliament

For refusing to disclose information on the costing of programs to Parliament, which Parliament was entitled to receive, the Harper government became the first in Canadian history to be foundin contempt of Parliament.

Against Court Order, Refusal to Share Budget Info

Even though it lost a court case and was ordered to comply, the Harper government nevertheless refused to share 170 times reasons and impacts for cuts with Canada’s independent budget watchdog, mocking Parliament’s right to control the public purse.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stephen Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence

Stephen Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence

An omnibus of sins, topping 50. Tell us ones we’ve missed, we’ll add to the PM’s rap sheet.

Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have racked up dozens of serious abuses of power since forming government in 2006. From scams to smears, monkey-wrenching opponents to intimidating public servants like an Orwellian gorilla, some offences are criminal, others just offend human decency.

To spare you abuse fatigue, we’ve divided our list into two parts. The second one runs Thursday. Please help us out. As you read, if any abuses we’ve forgotten come to mind, either make a note in the comments thread after this piece or send us an email at editor@thetyee.ca, subject line Harper Abuse List. We will fold what we get into a final version as a handy reference for the campaign.

A thanks, by the way, to a few friends of The Tyee who researched and helped with this list.

ELECTION ABUSES: SCAMS, SLIMES, STINGS AND CROOKED SPENDING

Stephen Harper having called an election, we enter familiar territory. In the Conservative gladiators’ arena just about anything goes — unless and until you are caught, that is. Kicking off The Tyee’s list of Harper abuses of power are 14 times his team violated election laws or ethics:

Conservative Convicted on Robocalls Scam

Tory operative Michael Sona was given jail time for his role in the robocalls scam. The judgeindicated more than one person was likely involved. In another court judgment in a case brought by the Council of Canadians, the ruling said the robocalls operation was widespread, not just limited to the Guelph riding. Donald Segretti who did dirty tricks for the Nixon White House told a Canadian reporter his skullduggery didn’t go so low as to run schemes sending voters to the wrong polling stations.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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