Showing posts from June 25, 2014

Jason Kenney: Skilled Worker Shortage Country's Greatest Economic Challenge

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[And does Mr. Kenney believe that the "unacceptable" shortage of skilled Canadian workers is the will of Allah, and has nothing whatsoever to do with years of Conservative austerity policies? *RON*]

By Clare Clancy, CP / Huffington Post, 06/25/2014

TORONTO - A shortage of skilled workers is the biggest challenge many Canadian businesses face today, Employment Minister Jason Kenney told a skills summit Wednesday, warning it could also jeopardize Canada's economic development in the future.

The problem would continue to grow as the population ages, Kenney told the one-day conference, which brought together stakeholders to discuss the labour market, employee training and those under-represented in the labour force.

Currently 30 per cent of the skilled trade workers in Canada are baby boomers, Kenney said, adding that they will soon retire.

"They are going to take with them a lifetime of knowledge and skill," he said.


What are the Net Benefits of Northern Gateway?

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[A good piece to hold on to for future reference. This economist looked at the net benefits (i.e., cost-benefit) of the Enbridge proposal, not simply the benefits, which is what the corporation did in its submission to Harper. For example, not assuming that all jobs created by Enbridge go to people who are otherwise unemployed (i.e., not simply changing jobs to work there), and that no jobs would be lost elsewhere in the economy (e.g., railways) as a result of the pipeline. Using this approach, the gross benefits of $69.9  billion put forward by Enbridge shrink miraculously to net benefits of $41 million. *RON*]
Marvin Shaffer, CCPA Policy Note, 18 June 2014

One of the more disheartening features of the political and media commentary on the economic benefits offered by major resource projects is the general failure to properly assess what those benefits in fact are. We are inundated with reports on economic impacts — the amount of investment and j…

Japan considers restarting nuclear reactors. Could it hurt US liquefied natural gas suppliers?

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[Yoohoo, Christy? Oh, Ms. Clark?! You may want to read this one... Or not. "The enormous difference in pricing between natural gas in North America and Asia is starting to shrink as new supplies come online and Japan considers restarting some of its nuclear reactors." *RON*]
New US liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers are seeing a shrinking window of opportunity as new supplies come online and Japan considers restarting some of its nuclear reactors. What does this mean for new LNG suppliers and the difference in natural gas pricing in North America and Asia? By Nick Cunningham,, Reprinted in Christian Science Monitor, June 24, 2014
The window of opportunity for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers in the US is beginning to close, and it is not because of slow permitting from the government. The enormous difference in pricing between natural gas in North America and Asia is starting to shrink as new supplies come onli…

The Chairman of the Largest Private Company in America Just Told the 1 Percent to Worry About Climate Change

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[But will Greg Page’s call to arms influence business leaders? Or the Republicans his firm donates to? I he now considered a "rogue" chairman at Cargill? If so, we could use a few more rogues. *RON*]

Robert S. Eshelman, The Nation, June 25, 2014
The US economy could suffer damages running into the hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study released yesterday. The report, titled “Risky Business,” is the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks of climate change to the United States. It was commissioned by a panel of influential business leaders and former government officials, including hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

“I have had a fair amount of experience over my career in attempting to understand and manage risk,” said Paulson, alluding to the 2008 fina…

Another Texas WTF - Open Carry Gun Extremists Plan March Through 'Black Neighborhood'

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[No comment needed. *RON*]
by Leslie Salzillo, Daily KOS, 24 June 2014
This one's a doozy. Even some of my friends and family in Texas are squinting their eyes, twisting their arms and saying, "WTF?"
The 'Open Carry Texas' group out of Houston has decided to march through a predominantly black neighborhood to 'educate' people of their rights. The first thing that comes to most of our minds? What if armed black men decided to march through a predominantly white neighborhood to educate… Wait, let's go one deeper. What if armed black men decided to march through a white 'Stand Your Ground' neighborhood to educate them… Let that one roll around in the brain for a minute.

There is talk the march was originally planned for Juneteenth Day, a holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery. That would have been June 19th, but there was some sort of schedule mix up - you know, it being open carry, open season. The…

All together now: How we stop Enbridge’s pipelines and tankers

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[The burden of bring "ideologically correct" is that anyone who disagree with Stephen Harper is by definition part of the lunatic fringe, even when that represents the majority of Canadians. Hopefully the lunatic fringe will remember to vote in 2015. *RON*]
Elizabeth May's Blog, 23 June 2014

It came to me in response to a biased question from a Sun News reporter in Toronto. The question, playing into the warped world of Ezra Lavant, prompted me to explain what “protesters” might do to block Enbridge. I am sensitive to the right-wing propagandists and new species of spin-miesters, social media “trolls.” They hope to mischaracterize the opposition to Enbridge as radicals. Former natural resources minister Joe Oliver tried it back in January 2012 when he denounced anyone opposed to tearing through our wilderness to put hazardous and toxic shipments on supertankers through even more hazardous waters. Watch for it on twitter. I get it…

Citizenship bill reveals flaws in Canada's democratic process: critic

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["If this is indicative of how the Harper government makes decisions, it means Northern Gateway, and everything that came down the pipe now is suspect," a prominent citizenship advocate said of the stifled democratic debate around a new piece of legislation that will change the rules around Canadian citizenship. For a similar illustration of the corporatist, ideologically-driven, fundamentally anti-democratic style of the Harper government, see Libby Davies' What Conservatives Have Missed About Drug Safety. *RON*]

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, Jun 23rd, 2014
"If this is indicative of how the Harper government makes decisions, it means Northern Gateway, and everything that came down the pipe now is suspect," said Don Chapman, a citizenship advocate, on the recent passage of the controversial citizenship legislation. "The whole legislative process has gone awry."

Last week, the federal government passed Bill C-…

Dear Conservatives, You Are 100 Percent Wrong That Climate Action Will Kill the Economy

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[I sent this link to the "Contact the Prime Minister" web form, which assured me that "The Prime Minister greatly values the thoughts and suggestions of Canadians." New findings from the World Bank put to rest the claims that the world cannot afford to act on climate change. *RON*]

—By Suzanne Goldenberg, Mother Jones, Jun. 24, 2014
This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Fighting climate change would help grow the world economy, according to the World Bank, adding up to $2.6 trillion a year to global GDP in the coming decades.

The findings, made available in a report on Tuesday, offer a sharp contrast with claims by the Australian government that fighting climate change would "clobber" the economy.

The report also advances on the work of economists who have argued that it will be far more costly in the long run to delay action on climate change.


Northern Gateway Pipeline Protesters Lock Doors To Tory MP Offices

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[It begins. It will be very interesting to see how the opposition is able to keep up the pressure. *RON*]
Huffington Post B.C., 06/24/2014

Chains and padlocks greeted workers at the constituency offices of two B.C. Conservative MPs Tuesday, as opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline called for the politicians to "vacate their posts."

The Port Moody office of Industry Minister James Moore and the North Van office of MP Andrew Saxton were targeted by a citizens' group calling itself "Settlers on Stolen Land."

The protesters locked the doors and posted notices on the office windows that outlined three reasons for their actions:
Your decision to allow the Enbridge pipeline project to go forward against the collective wisdom of those standing up for the survival of the planet.Your decision to further displace people in the name of profit.Your failure to respect the sovereignty of Indigenous communities impacted by this …

Kinder Morgan’s oil spill cost estimates, rejected by U.S. EPA

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[A claim of "bad science" on multi-billion-dollar oil spill costs comes as a new poll also shows a solid majority of Burnaby residents oppose the pipeline. *RON*]

By Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, Jun 24th, 2014

A key piece of science submitted by Kinder Morgan to the National Energy Board for the pipeline corporation to show its understanding of catastrophic oil spill costs was completely rejected by U.S. environmental regulators, a prominent B.C. investigator has found.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan is applying to Canadian regulators to build the $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to increase the flow of Alberta oil sands bitumen to Burnaby. The project would also increase the number of oil tankers in the Port of Vancouver by five-fold, to 400 per year.

But the company's costs estimates for oil spills on land and sea are based a scientific report that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threw out as bad scie…

Why Corporate 'Negative Speech Rights' Is as Dangerous as Corporate Free Speech

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[The corporatocracy at work. Corporations are claiming in the courts that their right to free speech as a "person" includes the right to choose to remain silent about whether or not their products will harm you. *RON*]
By Simon Davis-CohenAlterNet, 18 June 2014
We all know about political free speech. With a few exceptions, you can say what you want, whether people listen or not. But did you know that corporations have twisted the First Amendment to claim that their free speech rights as “people” also means that they cannot be forced by government to put warning labels on their packaging? There is an established and growing body of law that elevates private marketing above public health warnings.

It's called corporate negative free speech rights. It falls under one particular area of First Amendment law—commercial speech. And it's been wielded in a variety of for-profit settings. Cigarette companies have used this rationale to…