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Showing posts from July 30, 2014

LNG backers worry B.C. could see similar cost spikes as Australia

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[An older piece I just ran across, on a topic I haven't seen mentioned much locally. Australia's experience with a boom in liquid natural gas has been that it has contributed mightily to inflation for the general population. *RON*]
Jeff Lewis, Financial Post, 22 May 2014

VANCOUVER — A pint of beer that cost A$5 in Perth, Australia, in 2004 this year cost A$11. The reason: A decade-long boom that is poised to make Australia the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The chief executive of Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. said the state-run energy giant will not proceed with a planned liquefied natural gas export terminal proposed for Canada’s West Coast at all costs, even as the company eyes a potential final investment decision on the plant by year-end.

It’s a small sign of what could happen in British Columbia, where major energy companies are jockeying to export natural gas in hopes of supplying higher-priced markets in As…

Temporary foreign worker restrictions will hurt B.C.’s LNG development, minister warns

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[The point, in case you thought you or your children were going to get a job out of these projects, is this: "B.C. is counting on temporary foreign workers to help fill as many as 100,000 jobs if LNG projects materialize as planned." *RON*]
Jeff Lewis, Financial Post, 25 June 2014
CALGARY — British Columbia’s minister of natural gas urged the federal government to keep the doors open on temporary foreign workers as the province looks to head off a skill shortage tied to development of a liquefied natural gas industry.

A shortage of skilled workers will be one of Canada’s greatest future economic challenges, Employment Minister Jason Kenney told a skills summit Wednesday.

The conference held in Toronto brought together stakeholders to discuss the labour market, employee training and those under-represented in the labour force.

“It’s critical, quite frankly, to the Canadian economy,” Rich Coleman said Wednesday in Calgary. “We can’t be like …

Ten reasons not to bet the farm on fracking

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[A good summary! Also, links to useful facts. *RON*]
Bob Landell, Vancouver Observer, 27 July 2014


We’re told that LNG is needed to keep growth and progress alive. The planned development of LNG would lock BC into fifty more years of increased fossil fuel production. Although the LNG story is attracting votes from believers, some see this as the future of fracking:

First Nations: June’s Supreme Court ruling giving Aboriginals more control over pipeline and resource developments may add another layer of complexity to the proposed LNG pipelines and is likely to delay or kill projects - particularly as the projected impact of the industry becomes clearer.

Flawed Policies: our current BC government has added a loophole to the package of science-based climate policies adopted by the previous Liberal government. To benefit LNG proponents, they have exempted LNG plants from the Clean Energy Act - the plants are now free to burn huge volumes of fracked gas…

Why Aren't Harper And Baird Angry About Dead Babies In Gaza?

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[See also An interview with Marci McDonald, author of The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada. *RON*]
Mohamed Omar, Huffington Post Canada, 29 July 2014

Should the government of Canada denounce the intentional and accidental slaughter of babies and other civilians caught in the crossfire between two military forces?

It's a question as redundant as "does Red Lobster serve Lobster?"

Yes. Of course the government, or any other organization run by rational and peace-loving people, should condemn such violence. The killing of civilians has always and will always be a reprehensible act.

And yet Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird remain silent on the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza.

It's baffling, since a quick peek at Baird's Twitter timeline or a gander at his foreign affairs press releases will reveal that he regularly condemns a lot of things: church attacks in Niger…

National Defence Looking For System To Protect VIPs From Heat-Seeking Missiles

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[At a cost of around $3 million per airplane, systems like the Israeli C-MUSIC are generally thought to be quite ineffective. After all, military aircraft have far more sophisticated systems and are routinely shot down by so-called MANPADs - Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems. I had to create a new label for this story, "austerity-not." *RON*]
By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 29 July 2014


OTTAWA - The Canadian military is looking for an air defense system to protect its VIP aircraft, including the one used by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from surface-to-air missiles.

And one of Israel's top defence contractors, Elbit Systems Ltd., has been working behind-the-scenes for months to get in on the anticipated project. The downing of Malaysian Airlines jet MH-17 may have given defence officials more urgency.

The program is meant to deliver a system that will "defeat modern, man-portable infrared missiles,&quo…

UN human rights body slams Canada's immigration detention system

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[The Canadian government has an official policy of indefinite detention for people undergoing investigation for possible immigration violations; a policy that directly contradicts anybody's concept of fundamental justice. Do you think Mister Harper will be swayed by the opinions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission? *RON*] 
By Miriam Katawazi, rabble.ca, 28 July 2014

Canada's immigration detention system is under fire after a United Nations human rights monitoring body released its first opinion stating "detention should be the last resort and permissible only for the shortest period of time."

This opinion was in response to demands that Canada immediately free Michael Mvogo, a man who has been imprisoned in Ontario for eight years because of immigration violations. The Toronto Star reports that officials cannot determine who Mvogo is, where he comes from or how to deport him.

The UN stated in their opinion that Canada&#…

Small foreign-aid charity struggles with onerous CRA demands after audit

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[Using government resources for such patently political, ideological pursuits should be illegal. It is pure vindictive heartlessness, but this Harper has $13 million for. Imagine what would happen if Harper tried imposing something like this on a bank - not that he ever would; they are his "base". *RON*]
By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 30 July 2014

OTTAWA - A small Vancouver charity that helps the poor in Latin America has survived an audit of its political activities but is now struggling with fresh demands from the Canada Revenue Agency.

CoDevelopment Canada Association — known as CoDev — faces the crippling prospect of translating every scrap of paper it receives from 17 partners in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and elsewhere from Spanish into either English or French.

The demand, set out in a January compliance letter from the CRA, will start to bite this fall as the tiny four-person shop begins to receive banker…

Goldman mortgage deal with federal agency could reach $1.25 billion: source

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[Goldman Sachs has, of course, been fighting this bitterly. As noted, the government has recovered a grand total of $16.1 billion in "settlements" with banks. It has been estimated that a true accounting of the size of the bank bail-out is in the range of $12.2 trillion to $29 trillion. *RON*]

By Lauren Tara Lacapra, Reuters, New York, 26 July 2014

(Reuters) - A deal to resolve a U.S. regulator's claims against Goldman Sachs Group Inc over mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leading up to the financial crisis could cost the bank between $800 million and $1.25 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person said Goldman Sachs is discussing a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which filed 18 lawsuits against Goldman and other banks in 2011 over about $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later went sour.

Goldman Sachs and the FHFA declined to comment on S…

Ireland preparing to lift austerity measures

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[Both the IMF and the EC still demand that Ireland continue to make cuts, but the economy is in fact doing well and there has been tremendous push-back from the electorate for an easing-up on austerity measures. Ahead of elections, "it is recognised that there is a political imperative not to impose as much austerity." *RON*]
, The Western Australian, 30 July 2014

Dublin (AFP) - Ireland is moving closer to a switch away from deep austerity measures as it prepares for a key budget -- the first since the eurozone nation emerged from a massive international bailout.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is predicting the Irish economy to do better than expected this year, meaning fewer cutbacks to state spending and a reduction in tax rises.

The government had forecast in April that a two-billion-euro ($2.69 billion) adjustment was required in October's budget, to reach a deficit target of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2…