Showing posts from February 11, 2015

B.C. Throne Speech Highlights Diverse Economy But Lacks Bold LNG Predictions

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[ *RON*]
By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 10 February 2015

VICTORIA - A diverse economy will buffer British Columbia from declining oil prices that could affect investment decisions in the liquefied natural gas industry, says Premier Christy Clark.

Her comments follow Tuesday's delivery of the Liberal government's throne speech, which was mute on previous bold forecasts of an LNG bonanza but delivered the political agenda for the coming months.

Opposition New Democrat Leader John Horgan called it a half-hearted attempt by a government content to read a shopping list of old ideas that don't ease the burdens of British Columbians and help them make ends meet.

"That was a half hour none of us will ever get back," said Horgan.

The speech did not include estimates on future LNG plants, even though Clark said last month that B.C. remains on target for three such facilities by 2020.

"The price of oil will have …

Canada’s Access to Information Act Doesn’t Really Provide Canadians with Access to Information

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[On our government's ongoing disinterest in transparency. *RON*]
Sean Holman, DeSmogBlog, 16 January 2015

In their recently published book Your Right to Know, journalists Jim Bronskill and David McKie have done yeomans' work explaining how Canadians can use freedom of information requests to get government secrets. But, at the federal level, it's work they shouldn't have needed to do - pointing to another problem with Canada's broken access to information laws.

Introduced in 1980 by Pierre Trudeau's Liberals, the Access to Information Act gave Canadians a limited right to request government records. The bureaucracy's filing cabinets could now metaphorically be opened by anyone - unless the records in them included 75 different kinds of information that would still be considered secret.

But, even with those limits, the Trudeau administration seemed to have little interest in telling voters about their newfound rights or h…

Canada’s Public Companies Should Disclose Political Spending: Report

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[A new report on the Canadian corporatocracy. There is little problem with corporate contributions to federal election campaigns - they aren't allowed in Canada! - yet the corporate funds and soft influence flow into the capital the other 99.9% of the time with very unsatisfactory controls and little documentation. *RON*]
Carol Linnitt, DeSmogBlog, 6 February 2015

Unlike the U.S., where the wellspring of cash flooding federal elections is reaching a new level of absurdity (try $5 billion), Canada has kept federal political campaigns relatively grounded by placing an outright ban on corporate donations during elections.

Yet the influence publicly-traded corporations exercise in Canada – through lobbying, political contributions during provincial elections, think tank support, advertising and advocacy campaigns – remains hugely significant, according to a discussion paper recently released by the Shareholder Association for Research and Educat…

$20,000,000 Project Launches to Help Bring Back Salmon

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[Good news that will hopefully improve the BC wild salmon fishery - largely private funds with some public participation. *RON*]

By Bob Kronbauer, Vancouver Is Awesome, 10 February 2015

It’s easy for stories about declining numbers of salmon to get lost when we've got sockeye salmon returning up the Fraser River in record breaking numbers, but the truth is that for every really great salmon stories there are a couple of dismal ones that don’t get any play in the media. One that has managed to fall between the cracks for the past couple of decades is how the thriving coho and chinook fishery in the Strait of Georgia was almost completely obliterated over just two years in the mid 1990s. But thankfully the Pacific Salmon Foundation have recently launched a joint project where $20,000,000 is being spent to study the biological and environmental factors limiting this salmon production and the marine ecosystem, then to apply that research and hel…

Coal Export Markets in Freefall

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Falling prices, declining Chinese imports spell bad news for export proposals. This is yet another hopeless fossil fuel boondoggle that Harper is getting us tied to through Port Metro Vancouver, with no complaints being offered by Premier Clark, despite public protests. More and more people are seeing the writing on the wall and saying 'no thanks' to expanding thermal coal exports in B.C. Unfortunately, our provincial and federal governments are slow to catch on. Help us send them a message - click here to sign the Dogwood Initiative petition. *RON*]
Clark Williams-Derry, Daily Sightline, 2 February 2015

For more than two years, the US coal industry has predicted that international coal prices would soon rebound, breathing new life into coal export and mining proposals that are now languishing on financial life support. But despite the industry’s hopes, the bottom keeps falling out of the global coal market.

Market conditions for Pacific Ri…

Autism Speaks Alters Position On Vaccines

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[It will be interesting to see if this has any influence whatsoever on the Jenny McCarthys of the world. Generally speaking the attitudes seem to be pretty impervious to evidence (witness some of the comments that follow the Disability Scoop article) or this New Yorker piece, I Don't Want to be Right. *RON*]
By Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop, 9 February 2015
Amid concerns about measles, the nation’s largest autism advocacy group has updated its stance on vaccines and autism, but remains mum on whether it will fund further studies on the issue.

Autism Speaks revised its policy on immunizations in a statement published on its website last week.

“Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated,” reads the statement from Rob Ring, the group’s chief scienc…

FactsCan plans to test political claims during election

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[Founders of new group want to 'lay out the truth, as truly as possible, with no BS or alternative agenda' The first few stories on the site were not too exciting, but I've added it to my newsfeed and will keep an eye on it. *RON*]

By Kady O'Malley, CBC News, 10 February 2015 External Links
(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Tall tale-telling politicos, take heed: You could soon find your claims put through the truth grinder by the folks at FactsCan, a newly launched website that aims to provide an independent, non-partisan fact-checking service during the upcoming federal election.
FactsCan website

According to co-founder Dana Wagner, who also works as a researcher at Ryerson University in Toronto, the team behind the site wants to help voters "separate out the truth from spin, distortion, omission, error and lies."

"Our goal is to enable Canadians to critic…