Showing posts with label canadian politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label canadian politics. Show all posts

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Environment Canada Doesn't Report on Environment Since 2007

Harper body language when abroad
I've been looking for up to date statistics from Statistics Canada and can't get anything recent.  Here's why Canada Cuts Environment Spending

spending more than 60 billion dollars on new military jets and warships
slashing more than 200 million dollars in funding for research and monitoring of the environment.
crippled is Canada's internationally renowned ozone monitoring network, which was instrumental in the discovery of the first-ever ozone hole over Canada last spring.

Canada was the pioneer in ozone monitoring, developing the first accurate ozone measuring tool that led to the discovery that the world's ozone layer was dangerously thinning in the 1970s, which in turn led to the successful Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances.
Canada has about one-third of the ozone monitoring stations in the Arctic region. It also hosts the world archive of ozone data, which is heavily relied on by scientists around the world.
"There's only one guy running the entire archive, and he's received a lay-off notice letter," Duck told IPS.
 Environment Canada, charged with protecting the environment, conservation and providing weather and meteorological information.

A similar gutting of science and research is underway at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the department responsible for protecting and managing Canada's ocean and inland waterways including the Great Lakes.
In addition, the main source of public funding for environmental science for Canadian universities has run out of money, and is expected to close early next year. Not surprisingly, scientists are leaving Canada in droves.
Government scientists are under a "gag order" to not to speak to media under any circumstances without permission from Prime Minister Harper's office. 
Non-government scientists working at universities declined to be interviewed, fearing loss of funding or other forms of reprisal."There will be fallout for anyone talking to you," Duck told IPS. "My prospects for doing any work for Environment Canada are now zero."
Canadian civil society organisations know all about the Harper government's reprisals. Many that once received funding but questioned government policy have lost their funding.
For 34 years, the non-partisan Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) successfully walked the line between the needs of government and the needs of its more than 650 civil society members. But on Oct. 13, after waiting more than six months for its expected 536,000 dollars in annual funding, the group was informed by letter it would not be coming. Ever.
The network had been Canada's best two-way communication channel between the public and the federal government on all matters environmental. Now the government says this can be done more cost- effectively online.
Just six days after the pressing need to save 536,000 dollars, the Harper government awarded contracts totaling 32 billion dollars to build ships for the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard. It has also committed to spending another 29 billion dollars for 65 fighter jets.
"Among the first acts of the Harper government was to cut our funding to zero," said Hannah McKinnon of the Climate Action Network Canada (CAN Canada), an environmental NGO that used to get some government funding prior to the 2006 election.
CAN Canada has obtained some funding from its more than 80 member civil society organisations. It acts as the coordinator on climate issues, and once worked with government to improve programmes and policies for the benefit of all Canadians. Now has become the de facto watchdog on government promises and actions to tackle climate change.

"If there is a need to reduce the federal budget deficit, why is Canada continuing to give the oil and gas industry 1.4 billion dollars (1.3 billion U.S.) in subsidies every year?" she asked.
Harper promised to end these government subsidies in 2009. The International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency, the United Nations and many others have called for an end to such subsidies to the world's most profitable industry.
"Canada can't afford to pay scientists but we can line the pockets of big oil? That is totally backwards," McKinnon said.
Blogs are being blocked in Canada
 It's getting tougher to get real news on the environment from the internet because of censorship like the above.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tar Sands are Responsible for Canadian Job Losses
Source:  Matt Price, Huffington Post

What follows is a brief excerpt in terms even a non literate economist like myself would understand.  I did expect that the tar sands were a sink hole for federal monies, not only directly in terms of capital investment based on tax write offs but also in giveaways through lack of environmental cleanup, CO2 emissions and resultant burden on the environment.  I did think that as we were up until recently tied to costing on carbon tax, that there would be monies owed by high polluting companies.  It is, in the main, a factor of petro dollars dictating our real finances.

The term "Dutch Disease" was coined in the 1970s after the Netherlands discovered a large natural gas field. The country's exchange rate became tied to the rising price of natural gas, pricing its manufacturing goods out of international markets and leading to job losses.

In 2011, the Canadian dollar traded on average above the U.S. dollar for the first time since 1976. This puts an extra burden on Canadian companies who export, since it makes their products less competitive versus products from other countries.

While experts will tell you there are various factors behind our exchange rate, it's hard not to see the close correlation between the price of oil and the exchange rate, charted in a graph here. Thanks to increased oil production, we now have a petro-dollar that rises and falls with the price of oil.
And, with oil being a finite commodity, its price will only rise, taking our dollar and manufacturing jobs in Ontario and Quebec along with it.

How many? One economist at the University of Ottawa has estimated that 42 per cent of manufacturing job losses in recent years are due to Canada's case of Dutch Disease. Another study out of Montreal points out that while 95 per cent of Canada's oil reserves are in Alberta, 75 per cent of Canada's manufacturing output is located in Eastern Canada, making this a growing issue of regional fairness.
So when you hear boosters argue how great the tar sands are for the Canadian economy, it's a new kind of snake oil, this time of the viscous and toxic kind called "bitumen."

If we were at all serious about both regional economic fairness and about charting a new economic future that isn't based on trashing our planet, we'd reverse the growth of tar sands production and instead invest heavily in the ample renewable energy resources that exist all across the country.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CBC Is Canada's Best Programming

CBC is a world class programmer for the Arts and News uniting Canadians across our country with relevant, newsworthy and entertaining material.  It is of the quality comparable to PBS and BBC with its newscasters, interviewers, hosts and specialty programs which have endured over all of my lifetime.  I remember listening to Barbara Frum and Mary Lou Finley while on my way to university,  to have As It Happens theme music begin at the same time as the start of my drive.  Today, the radio is my lifeline, with Q and Jian Ghomeshi, George Strombolopolous on TV interviewing on his show and of course The National.  Many of these programs are becoming affiliated in the US because of the quality of their content.  At a time when the Conservative government is beginning an anti immigrant campaign masquerading as anti multiculturalism, I cringe to think where they are heading by CBC cutbacks.  The CBC reflects Canada, with its pluralism and celebrates our inclusiveness, our diverse culture, our shared experiences both past and present.  It is clear that The retro thinking PC party does not understand the value of our hard won rights to promote a voice for all peoples who call themselves Canadian, of all voices, regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious orientation.  Stand up and refuse the CBC cutbacks.

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?

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.