Showing posts from August 13, 2014

The Alberta Billionaire, A B.C. Mine And Clark's Liberals

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[The BC corporatocracy, rule by the 1% - corporations have our BC government wrapped around their little finger. *RON*]
Dermod Travis, Huffington Post, 08/12/2014

This weekend, the Vancouver Sun reported that Alberta billionaire Murray Edwards helped organize a $1 million fundraiser for the B.C. Liberal party at the Calgary Petroleum Club last year. Rapidly becoming a household name in B.C., Edwards of course is the controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals, which operates the Mount Polley Mine.

Putting aside that the cash was raised in another province and likely from folk who can't vote in B.C., Edwards' political generosity didn't stop at selecting canapes for his oil and gas pals.

Since 2005, Imperial Metals has donated at least $149,890 to the B.C. Liberals. With a win, place and show wager, that total includes $2,500 to each of the leadership campaigns of Christy Clark, Kevin Falcon and George Abbott. It also tossed $3,000 into th…

Beware Hasty, Unwise Policy Decisions After Mount Polley

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[Gee, do you suppose the Canada Revenue Agency will be investigating the nonprofit status of the Fraser Institute for its blatantly "political" activities any time soon? *RON*]
Kenneth P. Green, Fraser Institute Senior Director, Huffington Post, 12 August 2014

The pictures coming out of northern British Columbia where the Mount Polley mine tailings pond ruptured on Aug. 4 are painful to see. The fact that the site is remote, and that only a small number of people are likely to be directly affected doesn't mitigate the visceral pain one feels at seeing images of uprooted trees, and mud-clogged streams and rivers. Humans inherently find healthy ecosystems beautiful and degraded ecosystems painful.

One also has to sympathize with the people near Mount Polley, who have been (temporarily at least) told not to consume water from their local waterways, and who fear damages to salmon and other wildlife, and damages to their livelihoods that p…

How have taxes changed over the last half century

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[Counters the claims of a misleading report by the right-wing think tank The Fraser Institute about trends in Canadian taxes. *RON*]
By Iglika Ivanova,, 13 August 2014

The Fraser Institute's annual Consumer Tax Index report generated some media buzz with its outlandish claims about just how much taxes have risen since 1961. Before you get worked up about this, consider that 1961 was over half a century ago, before the time of universal health care that we all benefit from, before the Canada Pension Plan and the Guaranteed Income Supplement that hugely reduced poverty for seniors, before the Canada Child Tax Benefit which is helping lower child poverty (though not enough!).

There are big problems with the Fraser Institute report's methodology which lead them to grossly overestimate the tax bill of the average Canadian family.

The Fraser Institute misleadingly includes all business taxes, import duties and resource royalties in t…

30 Democratic Mayors Meet in NYC to Discuss Income Inequality

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[Send the link to this article to your local mayor - - ask him or her why Canadian mayors are not doing this. *RON*]

By Petr Svab, Epoch Times | August 11, 2014

NEW YORK—Three dozen democratic mayors of American cities, including four of the five most populous, met in Gracie Mansion Monday to share ideas on income inequality, pre-school education, and access to fast internet. They hope local success stories on handling such issues will give them arguments to get their efforts funded federally.

The mayors signed up on the Cities of Opportunity Task Force formed two months ago under the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), a 1,400-strong membership organization for cities with populations over 30,000. Mayor Bill de Blasio is a chair of the task force.

They agreed to, within a year, “advance” on reducing income inequality by either increasing minimum wage, pushing a change of local laws to allow the city to increase minimum …

What Do the World Bank and IMF Have to Do With the Ukraine Conflict?

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[In this column, Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Directory of the Oakland Institute and co-author of the report 'Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict', argues that IMF and World Bank aid packages contingent on austerity reforms will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country. *RON*]
By Frederic Mousseau, Inter Press Service (IPS) News, 13 August 2014

OAKLAND, United States, Aug 12 2014 (IPS) - Mostly unreported as the Ukraine conflict captures headlines, international financing has played a significant role in the current conflict in Ukraine.

In late 2013, conflict between pro-European Union (EU) and pro-Russian Ukrainians escalated to violent levels, leading to the departure of President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and prompting the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and ev…

Fewer foresters leaves B.C. short of proper forest management, union says

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[An older article that my friend Harry just ran across. Forestry is going the same route as mining. Our approach to natural resource development is shaped by the combination of austerity policies and the neoliberal belief in unregulated capitalism. *RON*]

By Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun 20 March 2014

The province has cut back the ranks of professional foresters by more than a quarter in the past five years, which is reducing its ability to monitor logging and enforce forest practices, the union that represents them says.

At the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Forests employed 525 Registered Professional Foresters, down from 722 in 2009, according to the count of the Professional Employees Association.

The ones that are left are overworked and unable to conduct the “boots-on-the-ground” field work that they used to do to make sure forest companies are in compliance with the forest resource plans they are required to file, says association e…