Showing posts from July 19, 2014

With fracking, tankers “world-class safety” is a weasel word

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[As I've said before, referring anything in the oil and gas industry as "world class" is simply like being the brightest child in an extremely dull class. *RON*]

By Rafe Mair, Commonsense Canadian, 19 July 2014
Many times I have referred to Premier Clark’s demand that Enbridge and others have “world-class” cleanup processes in place. To repeat myself, these are “weasel words” and mean absolutely nothing. “World-class” firefighting procedures doesn’t mean the building didn’t burn down.

I was delighted to read Stephen Hume’s column in the Vancouver Sun of July 17, where he talks about “weasel words”, especially the term “world-class”, and other matters. This particular article is about fracking and in his surgical way, Hume carves up the government for it’s utter lack of process and covering each and every one of their tracks by use of the words “world class”.
Government naively accepts industry’s word on safety

We have seen a simila…

Mass opposition to Squamish LNG plant sparks calls for citizens' vote

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[An early favourite to gain provincial approval, Woodfibre LNG may face a Kitimat-style vote over the future of its controversial Squamish-area LNG plant. With both Kinder-Morgan in Burnaby and Woodfibre LNG in Squamish important questions are coming to a head about whether local governments have any say in what happens to the environment of their communities. The answer is simple for Provincial Environment Minister Mary Pollak: "...there are jurisdictions with respect to approval." *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, Jul 19th, 2014

A Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in the backyard of Vancouver – the tourist-friendly Squamish district on the way to Whistler – was angrily opposed by more than one hundred residents outside a city hall meeting earlier this week.

The showcase led one sympathetic Squamish councillor – Patricia Heintzman – to voice the need at the council meeting for a citizen's vote on the future of the $1.6…

Courts being used as 'end-run' around democracy, Tory MP says

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[Because, clearly, the Constitution and Bill of Rights have nothing whatsoever to do with democracy! The Conservatives believe in the most limited possible definition of representative democracy, as in "I've been elected (probably by a minority of voters), so shut up now and let me do what my ideology and the Prime Minister tell me to." *RON*]

CBC / Huffington Post, 07/19/2014

A Conservative MP says recent court decisions that call on the government to change legislation amount to a trend.

Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number of groups are using the courts to advance policies the government will not put forward.

"Often the plan B is to do an end-run around our democratic process and turn to the courts where it seems some judges are quite happy to engage. This can result in decisions contrary to what have been decided in our democratic process,"…

The Prostitution Poll MacKay and Harper Don't Want You to See

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[The disregard for, in fact the active opposition to, reality on the part of the Harper government should really be disconcerting to anyone who values living in a Canadian democracy. "The Harper Conservatives are entitled to their own ideology and their own opinions. They are not, however, entitled to their own facts. Deliberately, almost gleefully, withholding key evidence from the Committee should trouble Canadians who value honesty and integrity -- regardless of what side of the prostitution debate they may fall on." *RON*]
Sean Casey, Liberal MP for Charlottetown, P.E.I., Huffington Post, 18 July 2014

Many Canadians may not know this, but prostitution is legal in Canada and has been since 1892 when the Criminal Code was first enacted. It was actually activities surrounding the act of prostitution that were illegal, specifically three sections of the Criminal Code that outlawed communicating in public for the purpose of prostitution, …

Pipeline firm to seek hammer over Burnaby

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[Good neighbour Kinder-Morgan (a.k.a. Enron) looks at how it can force the municipality of Burnaby to do its bidding against the will of their elected politicians. *RON*]

by Jeff Nagel - Burnaby NewsLeader, 18 July 2014

Kinder Morgan Canada will ask the National Energy Board to force a resistant City of Burnaby to give it access to study a possible tunnel through Burnaby Mountain for its proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

President Ian Anderson said the company will also seek formal permission from Burnaby but hopes to secure an order from the NEB within weeks if the city doesn't relent.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has indicated his city won't cooperate with Kinder Morgan unless it's forced to do so. The city would have the ability to appeal any NEB order, potentially causing further delay.

"My hope is that we can get the permission of the city," Anderson said in a media conference call Friday, adding he hopes to repair…

Report says Kitimat, B.C., airshed can accommodate oil, gas, smelter industries

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[Talk about burying the lead, this is literally the last sentence: "The study undeniably concludes that if you put four LNG plants into Kitimat you will have critical impacts on human health." The report does not say this pollution is harmless, the Liberal government does. Also see Province's air pollution study green lights LNG build-up, but ignores climate change. *RON*]
By Dirk Meissner, CP / Huffington Post, 07/18/2014

VANCOUVER - Kitimat's air, water, land and residents can handle prospective oil, gas and aluminum industry expansions in the area, says a British Columbia Environment Ministry report released Friday.

Environment Minister Mary Polak said the government-funded, independent report concludes that with the proper management, Kitimat's airshed can safely accommodate industrial growth.

Polak said as long as companies use world-leading emission standards, sulphur and nitrogen oxide levels will be significantly re…

Democrats struggle to understand how Bush Tax Cuts wiped out $6.6 trillion in personal income

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[A lengthy but useful essay on how tax cuts can result in economic losses. *RON*]
NBBooks, Real Economics, 13 July 2014

According to an analysis by Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston, the Bush tax cuts, rather than resulting in great general prosperity – as argued by Bush and the Republican Party – cost working Americans a total of 6.6 trillion dollars in lost income over 12 years. For each American taxpayer that is $48,000 in pre-tax personal income.

Johnston is author of the 2008 book Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill), and was formerly a correspondent for the New York Times. He has been a pioneer in tracking down, calculating, and revealing to the public the trillions of dollars the very rich and various corporations have hidden in hot money centers around the world to avoid and evade taxes. In January 2009, he presented in Mother Jones magazine a point-…

Oral history goes digital as Google helps map ancestral lands

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[A good service being provided by Google, that will be helpful for various reasons, including establishing First Nations land title. Some people are outraged by the idea of using oral traditions to prove title in court. Me I'm at least a little outraged that the people who have lived here for 15,000 years need to prove title, rather than the government having to prove that title has been extinguished by treaty. *RON*]

Justine Hunter, The Globe and Mail, 11 July 2014

Traditional villages and landmarks near Ladysmith, B.C., being mapped as part of a new project

As a commercial fisherman and an elder in the Stz’uminus First Nation, Ray Harris has long been a guardian of secrets. Neither his favourite fishing spots nor the oral history of sacred spaces around his community on Vancouver Island’s east coast have been easily pried from him.

But he is now telling tales in the most irretrievably public way, contributing to an indigenous mapping project …

Newest constraint on Chinese journalists: the definition of 'secret'

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[If an article title catches my eye, but I don't have time to read it right away, I sometimes store it in Pocket. This helps keep endless "stuff" out of my bookmarks. The downside is I forget I put things there! :-) Many of today's stories are ones I re-discovered in Pocket. China has banned reporters – among the most muzzled already – from publishing secret information. In typical Chinese fashion, "The catch-all rules do not define what is meant by 'secret' information, meaning that this is open to interpretation by the authorities. China’s state secrets law allows information to be designated a secret retroactively." *RON*]
 By Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, 11 July 2014

BEIJING — The noose around Chinese journalists’ necks grew even tighter this week, with the announcement of new rules forbidding them from publishing sensitive information on their private blogs or passing it to foreign media.

The mov…