Archive for 2008 March

Not with a bang but a whimper

I’m beginning to get some real sympathy for Jack Layton’s Dion-bashing.  I still don’t like the mocking tone, but the substance is true.  And here‘s Mr. Dion, once again letting the budget slide without much of a peep.  The funny thing is, I wouldn’t want Dion to do anything different.  I just want a better explanation.

Truth is, if we had an election today, the Conservatives would win a fresh mandate, possibly even with more seats, and we would have wasted a lot of money just to end up with the status quo or worse.  I’m assuming that’s Mr. Dion’s calculation, and he sees nothing to fight that would suddenly propel him to victory.

But if that is Mr. Dion’s calculation, I wish he would say so.  I wish he’d say “I don’t particularly agree with this budget, but I don’t see the point of dragging Canadians through an election only to end up right where we already are.”  Instead, he just seems kind of limp.

Update:  Elizabeth May disagrees with me.  She thinks the budget was a lot worse than mediocre, that it is leading to the militarization of Canada, and that Canadians deserve to be consulted on issues such as this.  She is a wise lady, and in many ways much smarter than I am.  But it’s hard for me to consider taking the risk of bringing in a Conservative majority.

Electric cars

At the transportation talk I attended the night before last, one audience member pointed out that Israel expects to stop selling internal combustion engine vehicles by 2020.  Here‘s support for that statement, though the details are a little different.

On gun control, Conservatives not so tough on crime

The gun registry is supported by police associations and most Canadians.  The Conservatives, who have made a point of saying they’re tough on crime, don’t want to put a vote on the gun registry to the House of Commons.  They certainly don’t want their government to fall on this issue.

So they’re killing the registry by funding cuts and amnesties.  According to CTV:

The Liberals say the Conservatives are unwilling to debate the issue in the Commons and have instead submitted the latest proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Canadian government.

“Instead of putting the future of gun control to an honest vote in the House of Commons, they are achieving the same ends through back door tactics like sweeping amnesties and funding cuts.”

The measure would push back an amnesty originally issued in 2006. An extension set to end later this spring could now be in effect until May 16, 2009.

2008 Mar 6: Chris Tindal and Elizabeth May all in one event

Elizabeth May is coming down to campaign for Chris Tindal in the Toronto Centre byelection.  Chris Tindal’s campaign will be hosting a cocktail rally where you can meet the leader of the Green Party of Canada.  Admission is free and you can stuff your face with hors-d’oeuvres.

Chris Tindal Cocktail Rally with Elizabeth May
Thursday, 2008 March 6, 6:30-10:30 pm
Pantages Hotel and Spa
200 Victoria Street

corner of Victoria and Shuter, 1 block east of Yonge, between Dundas and Queen
free, hors-d’oeuvres provided

Also, don’t forget to help Chris on his campaign.  He is a very creditable candidate and one of my favourite Green Party people.

Carbon tax petition

I’ve been participating in JustEarth, an environmental coalition spearheaded by former MP Lynn McDonald when the riding was called Broadview-Greenwood.

Although Lynn is an NDP member, she is pushing for a carbon tax, which the NDP has so far rejected.  If you have some time, download the carbon tax petition and get your neighbours to sign it.  In my experience, it’s actually an easy sell.

Be sure to mention that the petition specifically asks that the carbon tax be offset by a corresponding reduction in income taxes, and that these reductions be structured so that low-income Canadians aren’t hurt by the change.

Energy shortages and silly solutions in the tar sands

The Calgary Herald recently reported here on the need for more energy to fuel expansion of tar sands extraction.

The tar sands require a lot of energy in extraction.  Most of it comes from natural gas.  And natural gas supplies are diminishing while the demands of the tar sands increase with expansion.  Nuclear power company Areva  sees great promise in these developments:

Speaking in Calgary, Areva CEO Armand Laferrere said continued oilsands development would consume virtually all of Canada’s current natural gas supply — some 92 per cent — by 2030.

“You need to diversify,” he said on the sidelines of the Canadian Energy Research Institute’s natural gas conference.     Read more »

Oil Companies as Environmental Stewards

I got this message a few days ago from the Friends of the Lubicon.  It’s a very eye-opening glimpse into the political games of tar sands oil.     Read more »

2008 Mar 29: Earth Hour 2008

Don’t forget to turn off all your electricity for Earth Hour this year.

Earth Hour
Saturday, 2008 March 29, 8 pm

And while you enjoy a candlelit dinner, consider how you can make some changes that go beyond that one hour.

2008 Mar 5: Elizabeth at Hart House

Elizabeth May's smiling faceElizabeth May will participate in a debate this Wednesday.  The question posed is “Is Canada’s participation in multilateral environmental agreements futile?”.  Until Elizabeth’s place in the Leader’s debates is secured, we should encourage our friends to go hear her speak in public whenever possible.  Come early, it promises to be a packed house.     Read more »

Climate change being ignored: Gore

In the US elections, all the major contenders now (Clinton, McCain and Obama) have serious climate change strategies in their platforms.  But Al Gore doesn’t think there’s enough focus on climate change and plans to push the candidates on this issue.

No solace if climate science is wrong

This Financial Times article points out that if the science on global warming is not clear, then we should be even more worried.

I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson

Well, we’re back to sending detainees into Afghan custody.  But this time, we’re convinced they won’t be torturing anyone.  Of course, we were convinced of that before.  When human rights organizations think there’s a problem, we should be concerned.

Party ’til you drop

James Lovelock, the environmentalist who developed the Gaia hypothesis, suggests that we can party for about 20 years and humanity is doomed.

UNLESS

We convert to a wartime economy and radically change the way we all live.  Sounds like the Green Party may require a major policy rewrite.