Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Will the Pipeline Stand Up or Will it Fail?

Imported Pipe from India, S. Korea
Rumours spread that the pipeline might not stand up to possible fractures as there has already been 12 breaches.  Do we dare continue building this project where benzine may spill into rivers, wetlands or muskeg that could catch fire?

It seems the pipeline was built not in Canada, but outsourced from a not very reputable company which has used inferior grade steel.  source:  Pipe dreams?
Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL
a report by Cornell university Global Labor Institute

KXL will require over 800,000 tons of carbon steel pipe.23 TransCanada has contracted with an Indian multi-national company, the Mumbai-based Welspun Corp Limited, and a Russian company, Evraz, to manufacture steel pipe for KXL.24. In fact, a significant portion of the $1.7 billion already invested in KXL by TransCanada has likely been used towards the manufacture and import of the pipe. Clearly, this is an investment that is for the most part generating economic activity and job creation outside of the US. TransCanada’s claims that US manufacturing would reap considerable benefits from the project need to be viewed in the light of these data.

Of this writing, TransCanada has not received the Presidential Permit that is required to construct the KXL pipeline, but has already signed contracts for almost 50% of the steel pipe for the project.25 The Russian company, Evraz, will manufacture about 40% of KXL pipe in its Camrose and Regina mills in Canada. This information is based on Evraz’s own contract announcements and their contracts with Bredero Shaw, the company coating the KXL pipes.26

The Indian company, Welspun, is likely to be manufacturing the rest of the pipe for the KXL project. To date, Welspun has manufactured and imported almost 10% of the pipe for KXL. Shipping and customs records show that TransCanada imported over 70,000 tons of carbon steel pipe from Welspun through the Port of New Orleans since April 2011.27 The pipe TransCanada has imported from Welspun since April 2011 meets the specifications for KXL (36 inch diameter) and has been imported after the completion of Keystone Phase 2, which also used 36 inch pipe. It therefore seems likely that the rest of the pipe needed for KXL will probably be manufactured in Welspun’s Indian plants and then shipped to the U.S for final processing (double jointing and coating) or manufactured in Welspun’s Arkansas plant, which imports raw coiled steel and other production inputs (notably from India and South Korea.)28 These arrangements allow TransCanada to state that “approximately 75% of the pipe for the US portion of the proposed project would be purchased from North American pipe manufacturing facilities.”29 This claim is misleading on two levels. Firstly, it is possible to purchase from a North American facility, but this does not necessarily mean that the steel was produced in those facilities. Secondly, the jobs created in Canada-while important to the Canadian economy—should not then be pitched as “American jobs” to the media and the American public.30

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Canadian Media Supports the Old Boys' Network

Our major papers support the status quo and function as propaganda tools for positive spin.  How else to explain the recent glowing headlines:

  • Stephen Harper in HOC

    Why Canada’s corporate tax cuts rate a collective cheer

Think about it.  Reading this, I would assume we, the working poor, will see the corporate elite pay more in taxes.  No.  Harper's really referring to a Forbes magazine article indicating Canada as attractive to investors because of its inviting low corporate tax rate.  Here's the  evident outrage from a Globe reader:

  from: Changing Canada 7:27 PM on January 3, 2012

The only "collective" cheer that is going to take place is at the Granite Club, or University Club, or any other good old boys club in Canada. The rest of the nation is completely well-understood economic principle to the fact that this is a tax transfer from the poor to the rich. No wonder the good old boys are cheering collectively! Foxes in the roost eating them chickens.

It is the role of the media to deconstruct the message of the elite.  But the only real contrary view comes from the readership, frustrated by the nonsense we are being offered by our key newspapers.  We cannot have a democracy without an open dialogue in our mass media.

 The "Old Boys Network", began with Jean Chretien and helped to insulate political figures from embarrassment.  Favourable stories often lead to more leaks and headlines for reporters.  Or the opposite.  Witness today the spat between The Toronto Star and Rob Ford over a supposed insult.  While Harper's grudge against the CBC curtailed his annual interview with Peter Mansbridge and was instead cast with Gord Martineau at CTV, a much less hardball press.

Over Christmas we had spin after spin of Harper voting results both from Naxos and Macleans attributing positive reception of the Harper agenda.  Using polls is fraught with deception and manipulation, but more on that later.  We are being numbed with fluff informercials of the nature that Harper is writing a hockey book while in fact, the country is being sold out to the Chinese.

The way in which the stories develop is mainly a one version of events with mollifying qualifier words or abstruse constructions that avoid saying the difficult words.  Here are the examples of economic speechifying.

Economists predictably disagree on the economic importance of corporate tax rates, mostly on an ideological basis, but it makes good sense to keep this particular tax as low as possible. These taxes, after all, are a direct cost of doing business – and Canada’s corporate cuts ensure that this country will have a cross-border edge for the next two or three years at least. With a combined federal-state rate of 39.2 per cent, the United States has the second-highest rate in the world (after Japan, with 39.5 per cent).

Yes, our low taxes encourage investment.  Then our Harper government also gave tax incentives, and then the US Caterpillar company cut salaries by 50%.  from $35.00 to $16.00.  Are we not delighted with this strategy?  See:  Net Benefit to Canada

You can call this a one party state, with an information cartel.
Reader Comments in The Globe and Mail (800 comments)


6:29 PM on October 18, 2011
Saskatchewan Wheatfield
Prairie farmers vote to keep Canadian Wheat Board.

The fact that the Canadian Wheat Board has served Canadian farmers and ultimately consumers for generations seems to have been lost on Conservatives over the decades and now by the Reformatories under Harper. This of course in due to fact that the Conservative supporting agribusiness want full control of grain production in Canada in order to control pricing.
Currently farmers depend upon stable pricing for their products. A study conducted in the mid 1990s suggested that farmers gained on average a premium of $13.35 a tonne on wheat as a result of the board's market. Supporters of the marketing fear that an end to the board would put farmers in a situation like that in the early part of the 20th century where farmers effectively competed with each other to sell their grain, a situation that effectively put them at the mercy of big agribusiness and the railroad monopolies and reduced farm incomes. Should the Reformatories pass this legislation to scrap the Wheat Board look for a wholesale loss of family farm operations in favour of the giant agribusiness producing Monsanto grain clones.
Port of Churchill Depends on Wheat Shipments

Disbanding the Wheat Board makes little sense given the losses in jobs in this mainly single industry town.  The future of the Port of Churchill is doomed.  Grain shipments from the CWB make up more than 90 per cent of the port's business but the expected end of the single-desk is likely to cause a serious reduction in the number of grain shipments.
Legislation to disband  the  single-desk is poorly planned and will cost money to fix the problem of lost revenues.  But as is common with the PC tactics,  the federal government will just doll out money which includes $5 million a year for five years for incentives to encourage grain companies to use the port for their shipments. Sounds like a giveaway to me.  As well, Transport Canada will provide up to $4.1 million over three years to help maintain the port.  These are taxpayer funded monies which didn't need to be spent in this way.

It's not clear yet exactly how the cash will be used or what incentives will be introduced.  Why are these decisions being made is such a random manner with no real plan, no real purpose except to follow a policy of unregulated economy.
Are Canadian Journalists Up to the Task of Real Political Analysis?
Or are we getting mediocre opinion and commentary of the lowest caliber which assumes that either Canadians don't care, or can't tell the difference.  What Are Journalists For? will remind me of the methods by which true journalism can demand change, confront wrongs, make us think hard about complex issues. 
The Toronto Star does investigative reporting very well.  But only on safe issues like bed bugs for example.  Rosie DiManno will get weeks of traction from an honor killing while the Indigenous Peoples housing is a mere two day coverage from the point of view of a few politicians and a debate issue in the HOC.  Not good enough.
The National Post is a newsletter for the Harper Government and releases the latest secret legislation even before a sitting Parliament gets to see it.
The Globe and Mail has its favorite cronies like Ibbitson, Taber who are P.R. people for the present Harper party.
Is it little wonder that Canadians are getting their news elsewhere?  Twitter, Tumblr, blogs and RSS feeds, new aggregators and following key stories from publications abroad, like The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and The New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times.
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.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Monsanto is Destroying Argentinia's Agricultural Lands

click on cc to read the English captions.

Click on cc to read English captions. Canadian's must guard against agribusiness enterprises which will result in similar catastrophic events. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Water Quality is Not Being Monitored, Seriously Under Reported

  • Why did it take three months for the results to reach the desk of John Baird and why isn't he responding to questions about the study?
  • Why is a perfectly credible study not being taken for its perfectly credible results and recommendations?  The study is comprised of cross panel of Aboriginal, industry, scientific and environmental contributors. 
  • Why have recommendations from 2004 not been taken?

The Athabasca River Basin

At 159,000 km square kilometers, the Athabasca River Basin (the area in green ) is the world’s third-largest watershed. The basin contains 94 rivers, 150 named creeks, and 153 lakes, and contains 4 of Alberta, Canada’s 6 natural regions: Rocky Mountain, Foothills, Boreal Forests, and Canadian Shield. Topographically, the region includes ecosystems as varied as snow-capped mountains, boreal forest, and wetlands. Due to the diverse habitats the basin supports, it is recognized as one of the most diverse, and therefore essential, providers of ecosystem services in the world.

Yet water monitoring has been entirely mismanaged by the tar sands industry, neglected by the Alberta government and highly under reported in the media.

A December 2009 campaign blog notes that the Canadian Press reported: “(A) study (that suggests pollution from Alberta’s oilsands is nearly five times greater and twice as widespread as industry figures say).  Full verification can be found in an American publication  Proceedings of National Academy of Science, and also criticizes Alberta’s monitoring program. ‘Our study confirms the serious defects of the (regional aquatic monitoring program),’ it says. ‘More than 10 years of inconsistent sampling design, inadequate statistical power and monitoring-insensitive responses have missed major sources of (contamination) to the Athabasca watershed. …(David) Schindler said nothing has changed in the province’s monitoring program since it was criticized in a 2004 review.” E & E News adds that, “The (Alberta) government has relied in part on the industry-funded joint Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) to monitor aquatic ecosystems near the oil sands sites. But RAMP lacks scientific oversight and keeps its methods and its data confidential, the study said. …RAMP has not measured PACs for several years after its tests revealed little or no water pollution, Schindler said. …RAMP should submit to oversight by an independent board of experts and make its data available for public scrutiny, the authors said.”

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