There are multiple reasons why governments choose the policy paths they do. Political survival is perhaps the most obvious explanation. But as with any organization, divesting of unnecessary businesses, projects and tasks that are off-mission helps sharpen the focus. That matters if one cares about smarter, more effective government.
There's something about a new Naomi Klein book that always seems to attract a lot of attention. And not just from middle-of-the-road Western Canadians like myself who work hard for a living and enjoy the beautiful, natural settings where we live, work and raise our families. No, Klein even seems to attract the ire of -- you guessed it -- "big environmentalism." It's a credit to her proven ability to lay out the controversial argument. People love that.
As Barrett Budgell pulled up to his new home in Cochrane, Alberta, he immediately knew something was up when he saw a massive red bow wrapped around his garage. The single father of four-year-old twin boys, Lucas and Logan, moved into Cochrane to make the commute back and forth to Fort McMurrary for work easier on his family.
The tech wreck, the thickening border with the U.S. and the soaring loonie in the mid-2000's turned the attention of Canada's exporters to fast-growing emerging markets. In a relatively short time span, our trade with this rapidly-rising part of the global economy has risen from less than 5 per cent to almost 13 per cent of our merchandise exports.
We use jargon and complicate things with acronyms that are meaningless to those who aren't in the loop. But most importantly, we miss the opportunity to engage, excite and empower others with our news. As academics, scientists and researchers, we have a unique responsibility to ensure our findings extend well beyond the lab bench.
Alberta is building a culture of continuous improvement in health care. This culture is founded on more and better data, innovative thinking, an extraordinary effort to share information, and unprecedented action on the front lines. Wait time reports cards need to examine performance at this level, and Canadians should have this kind of information to grade their health system.
The government created major problems for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program when it began to loosen the rules in 2006; it created an approval process with little oversight that largely amounted to rubber stamping applications, which has directly led to Canadians losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers.
As I watched Rosebud Theatre's brilliant performance of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" on stage for the first time, I began to quickly see why so many people from Alberta make the trip to Rosebud, located 35 kilometres southwest of Drumheller (a 25-minute drive) and 100 km (one-hour drive) northeast of the Calgary airport.
According to the poll, conducted by Environics and commissioned by Environmental Defence, 41 per cent of Canadians believe the importance of the oilsands to the economy is six to 24 times higher than it actually is. And a full 57 per cent of Canadians overestimate the value of oilsands to the country's economy.
There has been much hand-wringing over the claimed disappearance of the middle class. At the national level important policy such as a stable currency and domestic peace matter to the creation of prosperity and the formation of the middle class. But domestically, consider one issue -- tax rates -- that can be easily compared across provinces and which has an effect upon wealth creation and thus opportunities and jobs.
While we're pleased that federal and provincial regulators finally took action and laid charges against Plains Midstream, the size and nature of the settlements is somewhat disconcerting. It raises a number of questions and once again sheds light on the major weaknesses in Canada's environmental law and enforcement framework.