Stephen Harper recently announced that dealing with climate change will not come at the expense of crippling the economy, and said that he encourages other countries to do the same. He claimed he was just being honest and that no leader really wants to take action on climate change, but based on recent actions by China, United Kingdom and the United States, this doesn't seem to be the truth.
Harper and Abbott have to understand that we can no longer have economies that exist outside of the ecological limits of our planet. Our reliance and exploitation of fossil fuels is endangering our future as well as our present and it needs to end. We need to transition to green energy and we need to keep more fossil fuels, especially high-carbon fuels like the tar sands, in the ground.
In 2004 voters barely had a clue who Stephen Harper was. So he appeared in those hilariously contrived ads in which he complained about the Liberals, offered some kind of solution, and then paused and added, slowly, "My name is Stephen Harper." Viewers came away wondering about his speaking style but pretty sure, whoever this guy was, his name must be Stephen Harper.
Alberta Premier Allison Redford was forced to resign last week following revelations that she had charged the treasury $45,000 to attend President Mandela's funeral. Redford's quick hand with the expense account chequebook, in turn, obviously brings to mind the shenanigans of our old pals in the Senate.
I guess Prime Minister Harper is busy finding a new finance minister along with all the other stuff involved with his single-minded pursuit of the Alberta carbon bubble. Because he sure doesn't have time to join the hand wringing over a key engine of growth in a once prosperous province called Ontario. I'm talking about the so-called "free" trade agreement with South Korea and the future of the auto industry.
Canada's economy has lost its balance. Trouble looms. Those are not words you will hear from Prime Minister Stephen Harper but it is the grim reality of the unsustainable economic ethos of his Conservative government. Instead of the telling us the truth, the government is spending unprecedented gobs of our money to mislead us about the health of the country with the Canada Action Plan advertising campaign saturating the airwaves. In reality, our petro premier has transformed a balanced country into a petro-state that is "hollowing out" the economy.
The Jewish community in Canada didn't even concentrate on Israeli politics until the Six Day War in 1967. Resulting, however, from the fear that Israeli Jews were facing a second Holocaust, as well from a new confidence that was born out of decisive victory in the war, Israel was officially adopted by the Canadian Jewish mainstream.
We're producing so much oil sands crude that we've overwhelmed cross-border pipeline capacity. Now the industry is stuck in a Catch-22. Profit margins have dropped dramatically. To reassure investors, bitumen miners talk about dramatically expanding production. But the more we produce, the more we exacerbate the supply glut.
Stephen Harper's first-ever trip to the Holy Land wrapped up this weekend, and the reviews were basically worse than I, Frankenstein. But if one specific outrage loomed above all others, it was the PM's January 20 address to the Israeli parliament, during which, in the words of Warren Kinsella, "Harper, a Gentile, literally took it upon himself to redefine anti-Semitism."
To say that rock legend Neil Young has been making waves on his ACFN 'Honour the Treaties' tour would be an understatement. His comments about the horrors of the tar sands have made front-page headlines, set social media ablaze, and have brought out more than a few attacks mostly from stalwarts of the oil industry.
We've always loved being such a "cool" country. We've loved our own brand. We've loved comparing ourselves to our gigantic southern neighbour and bragging about our much more progressive, much more "worldly" social values...from racial integration, to gender equality, our social safety net, our smaller income disparity, lower crime rates, gun laws, gay marriage, environmental sensitivity -- you name it! We just loved being the continental superstars and we always corrected every unaware European who would dare call us "American." But is that still the case?
Our constitutional amendment rules are so terrible, so poorly-written and caked with complex regulations designed to eliminate any hope of ever achieving any meaningful improvement to anything, we barely even know how to read some of them. And we're not talking about 18th century legalese here -- this stuff was written all of 30 years ago.
In perhaps the most significant line of his keynote Harper proclaimed, "As Conservatives, we believe that actions have consequences." Harper might not realize it, but this is perhaps the most telling line of the weekend and goes to the core of the Senate scandal. Opinion polls have slammed Harper for his handling of the scandal, and delegates at this conference have called for him to take responsibility and accept the consequences.
Prime Minister Harper finally has his very own tombstone-ready one-liner, too: "he got us free trade with the Europeans." That seems to be the consensus bouncing around the Canadian punditocracy at the moment, at least. Everyone agrees this trade deal rules. An estimated 80,000 new jobs, an annual $12 billion boost to GDP, cheaper vino from Italy, yadda yadda. But perhaps there's another story here, too.