Thursday, December 29, 2011

Information About the Costs to the Alberta Environment from the Tar Sands

is extremely difficult to find.  I don't know how students in schools studying Geography and having to write a report can make sense from the statements issued in 2011.  It seems to me that what I really wanted to know is missing.  Questions like:

1.  How much water is used for the tar sands that is not part of the entire water use of Alberta.
2.  What is the air quality index in various monitoring stations?  Surely we have that technology.

Most Recent information on the cost of Tar Sands is not here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canadians Need a Better Government Portal Site

For better access to our elected MP's, Canadians need a complete overhaul of the presentation of the government website. Have a look at the example of this one in the U.S.

I would also add that each MP should give recent comments on how they voted on an issue and have that on the website.

If Ignatieff didn't show up for his parliamentary sittings, then it would be noticed. Similarly, if an issue is not discussed in Parliament, but decided behind closed doors, then that ought to be immediately made clear to all instead of requiring a filing of Freedom of Information.

Here's a look at what a Canadian website looks like.

Notice how the space is taken up with graphics that promote policy that appears to be benign and official looking. Quite corporate and friendly. Reflecting back what we think of ourselves so we seem to be the focus. In reality, the function of it is to give documents a place to sit and be retrieved. There is no concept of our government wanting to know what we think or feel. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Athabasca River Toxicity Facts

  • Mercury levels (total mercury in sediments) are as much as 98% higher in parts of the Athabasca delta over the historical medians.
  • Dissolved arsenic levels have jumped as much as 466%.
  • Sediment arsenic levels have increased as much as 114%.
  • Alkylated PAH levels in sediments have risen as much as 72% above the historical means in some areas.

"With a tone of exasperation that so many years have passed without action, the federal Parliament’s Standing Committee on Natural Resources has called on all government agencies to “step up research in order to: determine the true impact of oil sands activity on the Athabasca River ecosystem, as well as on Aboriginal fisheries in the Peace and Athabasca river delta.”34

"In 2005 and 2007, an independent and prize-winning air pollution specialist studied the area and found that existing levels of pollution already rival the most polluted cities in China.57 This included elevated levels of benzene near the Shell complex that should be of concern to employees there. The results disputed the conclusions from industry air monitoring for the area."

Source: TarSands_TheReport final.pdf 963.2 KB

Pollution and Fires Threaten the Lubicon

Fort MacMurray Boomtown

Would you want to start off your new family living in a town close to the tar sands? It only smells when the wind blows your way.

Health care is ok. Not great. Wait times are still about 4 hours.

Average salary is 80K. But remember, you have to work the night shift at 40 below and it's dark for 17 hours out of 24 in the winter. But it can also snow randomly anytime, basically.

The weather's been pretty unstable lately. Wonder why?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keystone XL: a line in the sand for Obama

brentmcgillis's comment 24 August 2011 7:56PM

I honestly doubt that most readers even have the most rudimentary understanding of the issues at hand it this debate. Most Canadians, and I am sure that most Americans simply do not have enough information on the Keystone Project or the relationship between the Houston Oil magnates and their historical relationship with the province of Alberta, where all of the wide open destruction is being carried on with wild gleeful abandon. Houston Texas, basically runs the province of Alberta. We do have farcical elections every 4 yrs to satisfy the public need for some kind of verification that we actually live in N. America. But the our entire phony democracy facade here in Alberta is corrupted by the Conservative Good Ol' boys club, that has ruled here for 40 years. The Alberta Conservative Party corrupted our political process in the last election by appointing All of the returning officers from their own party. I know a proud election worker with 30 years experience, a woman who worked the last election and vows never to work a provincial election in Alberta ever again. Because they did not even know who the returning officer was until the last moment, and then some guy just showed up and whisked off with the returns. They were severely short of staff, with no observer and were treated very rudely by election officials, this is how an election is conducted here in the Oil Industrial heartland of Canada. The opposition party was almost wiped off the map in our last election. The ruling Alberta Conservative Party has very close ties to the Republican Party in the United States. Our next Premier in waiting for the province of Alberta is Ted Morton, the son of a Republican Speaker of the house in Wyoming. Ted father worked for the Oil & Gas companies. Alberta has for the last 20 years elected the "Chosen One" to run this province so rich in Natural resources. By some miracle of god, this province elected a self confessed drunkard 3 times to run Alberta. Our last premier had one of his corrupt backbenchers Hung Pham, who was caught and charged by police with elections fraud appointed to run the Treasury of Alberta less than 2 years after he and his cronies were charged with elections tampering. This is how corrupt Alberta is. There is no separation between the executive and the Justice Department in this province. The very building blocks of Democracy No Longer exist here in the most corrupt province in Canada. Our own prime minister and the Conservatives across Canada are very closely linked with the Republicans in the United States. Including such wing nuts as MIke Huckabee who worked closely to influence and mentor Conservative youth, in the Prime Minister drive to split the left and unite the right, in order to win supreme power in Canada. Canada is now primarily, simply another super corrupt Oil State. Canada is increasingly a "Petro Dollar" reliant economy. The Conservative Party of Canada, run by Stephen Harper, who worked for Esso Canada is now fully in control. Environmental laws have been completely thrown out the window in this super corrupt "Oil State", and it has been this way for years now. Ralph Klein, our half corked ex-premier paved the way for the eco-disaster looming before us. As Canadians, we are now powerless to stop the corruption and wide open destruction, deforestation and ultimately what will result in a wide scale Eco-disaster which will permanently poison one of the worlds longest watersheds, the Mackenzie river drainage basin. Stephen Harper, Ed Stelmach, and the next premier of Alberta simply do NOT CARE what the rest of the world thinks of the wide open unregulated pollution of our rivers and the biosphere itself. The Conservative Party and their unbridled GREED will not allow them to deviate from there gluttonous pursuit of Tar Sands Wealth, even if it's costs the rest of Planet Earth horrible consequences. What the rest of the World does not realize, is that Oil & Gas is allowed to "Self Regulate" themselves here in Alberta. So the true numbers of not only harmful substances being released into the atmosphere{e.g. So2}, but the true data of how much green house gases that are being voraciously pumped into the biosphere here in Alberta will NEVER be known. The province of Alberta is like a Oil Executives Wet Dream come true here in Alberta, wild, wide open, unregulated freedom to do as you please. With absolutely no fear of any pesky politicians or any other prying eyes being allowed to ask or investigate what is really going on here. And all of this is being run from Houston Texas. Our electoral system here is nothing more than a Dog & Pony show. Bush & Cheney still run the Oil of America which includes Alberta, and they are not going to allow a Black Guy & a bunch of whiny Eco-nuts stand in the way of their complete and total domination of the price of Oil in America. To much of "Their Own Money" is at stake, for them to allow that to happen.
"And so it goes".

Friday, December 23, 2011

Canadians Lobby UK - Citizens See Through It

“Unacceptable” threatening behaviour: March - April 2011

That month Reuters reported that “Canada has threatened to scrap a trade deal with the European Union if the EU persists with plans that would block imports of Canada's highly polluting tar sands, according to EU documents and sources.” The “sources” within the EU told Reuters that Canada was not just raising the issue of tar sands at meetings but was even “threatening to void the free trade deal”. The Commission was “readying its defenses for a legal fight with Canada”. “We are saying 'be careful', because Canada will not hesitate to take us to the WTO, so we have to have something rock-solid,” an EU official told Reuters. 120

Advert Circulating UK and US about the Alberta Tar Sands Horror

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Environment Canada has not fulfilled its reporting obligations under the Canada Water Act

2.75 Under the Canada Water Act, Environment Canada is required to prepare an annual report to Parliament “on the operations under this Act.” We found that, from 2004 to 2009, the Department did not submit annual reports to Parliament as required under the Act. For example, the reports for the period 2006 to 2009 were submitted in 2010. The report for the year ending 31 March 2010 has yet to be submitted to Parliament. In addition, departments are required to submit annual departmental performance reports to Parliament on the performance of their programs. We found that information on key aspects of program performance and results for these two programs were not included in Environment Canada’s Departmental Performance Reports.

Source: Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (2010). 2010 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Chapter 2: Monitoring Water Resources. Ottawa: Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Quotes from the Posters

Join a forum and read the posts because not all the news is fully developed. Many times you'll get additional feedback from how legislation affects people in real terms instead of just the abstractions of policy language.

Health Care

Hey Mr. Flaherty, how about adding 6% a year to my pension. I might even forgive you for the theft from my Retirement Savings Account by reversing (lying about) the Cons election promise about the treatment of Income Trust dividends.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Question Period in the House Raises Concerns About Abuses

Government Fiscal Irresponsibility in a Time of Restraint
  • Conservatives also expect us to vote tomorrow for a budget without telling Canadians what their waste is going to cost:
  • waste on corporate tax giveaways;
  • waste on prisons; waste on jets, which they do not have accurate costing on for Canadians.
  • Instead of telling Canadians the truth, they went out last week and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on government partisan advertising. Ignatieff

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was illicitly using his government connections to finance the purchase of $400 million worth of water filtration units.

According to the contract witnessed by Mr. Carson, his fiancé stood to gain $80 million from the scam. Carson had inside information that could only have come from the Prime Minister's office, like, for example, who would be the next minister of Indian affairs.

Who in the Prime Minister's office was funnelling information to Mr. Carson? Have they, too, been referred to the RCMP?

Conservatives Hold Grudges Against Quebec

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, said that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa regarding harmonizing GST with sales tax are far enough along to conclude an agreement. He even sent a draft agreement to his federal counterpart on February 22. The ball is in the Conservative government's court.

Will the minister finally resolve the sales tax harmonization issue and include in the budget the $2.2 billion the federal government has owed Quebec for years now?

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians hear of secretive, controlling governments that have political operatives, they likely think of other countries. Yet last week the Information Commissioner revealed that this was happening in Canada and the RCMP had to be called. We know she is studying other departments for interference in access to information.

How can we trust the Conservative regime when every week there is evidence of new abuses? How can we trust a government that hides information? How can we trust a government that does not believe Canadians have the right to know?

Mr. Speaker, after four months of stonewalling Parliament, the Conservative regime continues to hide the true costs of their U.S.-style prison bills. It is treating this Parliament and Canadians with contempt. Canadian taxpayers have a right to know how much these U.S.-style prison bills will cost.

Mr. Speaker, that minister told Canadians that his prison bill would cost $90 million. Now he is talking $2.1 billion. Canadians cannot trust the government's numbers. It is a government that has spent Canada into a $56 billion deficit and now it continues to hide the true cost of its prison bills. The Conservatives are ignoring the Speaker's ruling. They are asking MPs to vote on legislation without telling us what the costs will be for Canadians.


Keep the Guns out of the Hands of Civilians

Police Seizure of Automatic Weapons Triple in 2011 due to Border Laxity
automatic weapons seized in B.C. coming from the U.S.
Well just because some guy wants to get through the border five minutes faster, we might be shot at if in the wrong place, just as in the States.  Yessiree.  The drunk gangs have been cleaned up from South America and Mexico is now the leader in the drug trade.  Marijuana from B.C. travels south from B.C. in hollowed out logs and cocaine moves north for cross Canada distribution.  Given the declining job prospects in Vancouver, little wonder that the gangs may grow as they did in L.A.  All because of three key ingredients:  laxer border security, dissolution of the gun registry, and very desperate people who are out of work and have no future job prospects. 

I'm using this blog to add content as it comes up from twitter and other feeds. Here's the source for what follows: VanObserver Vancouver Observer American #guns, Canadian deaths: VO investigates. #Vancouver @CanBorder #guncontrol.  So that you might want to follow @VO  or use the other search terms yourself.

Today's issue is the recent attempt to end the gun registry. What that means to every Canadian is that we would be coming closer to normalizing a gun culture as so often seen in films these days. Most of us live in cities and read about shootings, random gun violence in the streets. Even though Ontario is statistically low in per capita crime, guns are still being used by criminals and often in domestic violence.

We must end the symbolism attached to gun ownership. No individual is above the law. We don't need to kill animals; farmers can call the Animal control to deal with wildlife and have it humanely relocated.

City people pay agencies to remove skunks, racoons. Farmers don't need guns as their lives are not on the line.

Follow this issue on twitter under #Coalition4GunControl
Show support for a re-enstatement of this legislation. Conservative Jim Hilyer makes gun shooting signals after the vote to ban registry goes through. Remember it is still be contested by Quebec to keep their files. Hope they win.