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Showing posts from April 28, 2014

Keystone proponent found 'non-compliant' again

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[It should be the law that the gist of this article be read following every single airing of all Keystone XL ads that run on television, radio and on the internet. *RON*]
By Andrew Nikiforuk, Tyee, April 25, 2014

The Calgary proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has spent millions telling North Americans that "pipelines work," continues to break federal pipeline laws, says the national regulator.

A comprehensive 2013 audit that looked at the company's take on public safety, emergency management, public awareness, pipeline crossings, and environmental protection reported nearly two dozen examples of non-compliance this week.

The audit again confirms allegations made by former TransCanada employee Evan Vokes that the firm supported a "culture of non-compliance."

Major instances of non-compliance were highlighted in five categories. Pipeline companies, for example, must have in place a crossing program so that they can pre…

Are You Being Monitored? New Tool Helps Find Out

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[Interesting piece in which a civil liberties group shows how to unearth dirt that the government may have on you. Click where indicated below to learn more about the resources available through the Don't Spy On Me campaign and to add your voice to those who would like to see protections for citizens and activists strengthened. *RON*]

By David P. Ball, 24 Apr 2014, TheTyee.ca

With the federal government's monitoring of Northern Gateway pipeline critics, revealed last year, civil liberties advocates yesterday unveiled a new online tool that helps people find out if authorities are keeping tabs on them.

While the B.C. Civil Liberties Association admits there may be no data at all on most people, advocates hope the exercise will shed light on the right of citizens to file Access to Information requests on themselves. Revelations of government monitoring environmentalists and First Nations activists could prove the exercise a fruitful one, t…

Cities Demand Cross-Exam of Trans Mountain Pipeline Hearing

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[Vancouver, Burnaby ask federal regulator to reinstate 'critical' process. "Failing to include oral cross-examination will be interpreted as a clear sign that this process is designed to limit the influence that citizens can have on its outcome." Andrew Weaver *RON*]

By Andrew Nikiforuk, 25 Apr 2014, TheTyee.ca


Proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would increase transport of heavy oil diluted with condensate from Alberta by 540,000 barrels per day, ramp up super tanker traffic in the port of Vancouver by nearly 800 ships a year.

The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby have asked the federal energy regulator to reverse its decision to exclude oral cross-examinations from the Trans Mountain bitumen pipeline hearings.

A refusal to amend the hearing process would mean that Kinder Morgan's proposed expansion project would be the first National Energy Board hearing on an oil pipeline triggering an environmental assessment which doe…

Ottawa well under way to balanced budget, but restraint saps growth, jobs: PBO

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[Harper's austerity policies are holding back the economy and slowing job creation, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. *RON*]

CP / Huffington Post, 04/28/2014

OTTAWA - Canada's budget watchdog says federal spending curbs will shave 0.5 per cent from the economy by 2016 and result in about 46,000 fewer jobs.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer also anticipates that the government will virtually balance the budget during this current fiscal year, one year earlier than projected.

The estimates are contained in the PBO's latest economic and fiscal outlook, which on balance is a little more optimistic than previous forecasts.

The PBO says the economy is likely to advance by 2.1 per cent this year and remain above its potential growth rate until 2018.

The pace of growth and job creation would be even faster, the office says, but for spending restraints introduced in budget 2012 as a means to eliminate the deficit.

The PBO says the govern…

Harper's dangerous petro-politicking with rail safety

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["Doable is another word for economically feasible. The directive represents a reasonable timetable for shippers to address the market-access logistics to get oil to refiners rather than create any sort of 'stretch objective' for industry to quickly remove a known threat to public safety." *RON*]
By Michael Butler, rabble.ca, April 28, 2014


There was more smoke and mirrors on Canada's rail tracks last week when the Harper Conservative government finally announced their long-awaited changes to rail safety 292 days after the preventable Lac-M├ęgantic disaster.

Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt announced that the federal government plans to phase out or retrofit older DOT-111 tank cars over the next three years. Further, a certain 5,000 tank cars that are the least crash resistant will be removed within 30 days by ministerial order. Mandatory emergency response plans will be required for all crude oil shipments, some reduction in…

Bill C-23, Fair Elections Act, Illustrates Harper's Vindictiveness, Pragmatism, Tom Flanagan Says

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["Harper has managed to succeed politically. However,... the cost of that success has been an ever-shrinking inner circle around the prime minister as insiders quit or get thrown under the bus." Plenty of sour grapes on Flanagan's part, but his characterization matches with pretty well every other published report on Harper's personality and style. *RON*]

By Joan Bryden, CP / Huffington Post, 4/28/2014

OTTAWA - The federal government's controversial proposed overhaul of election laws illustrates the ruthless, vindictive and hyper-partisan side of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's character, a former chief of staff says.

But Tom Flanagan says the fact the Conservative government has suddenly backed down on some of the most objectionable aspects of the bill shows another side of the prime minister — his capacity to be pragmatic and realistic.

"The whole episode illustrates the complexity of the man," Flanagan said…