Alberta tar sands oil and North Dakota light shale oil flows into the same markets, have access to the same refineries, and rely on the same pipelines and railroads to get them to the same customers. So it was never terribly plausible that Keystone would be good for the U.S. -- it was designed to make Canadian oil more competitive in global markets.
It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Prime Minister of Canada is deliberately stirring up prejudice against one group of Canadians for one reason only -- political advantage. The sad reality is that many Canadians and Quebecois seem to be vulnerable to embracing an anti-Muslim sentiment. We are all appalled by the brutality of ISIS, with their voyeuristic killing of innocent victims. The tragic murder of two soldiers in Canada has added a sense of vulnerability inside our own country. Stephen Harper's response is to declare that Canada is under attack by "global Jihadists" and introduce sweeping legislation giving new powers to CSIS.
Over 90 percent of Canada's oil reserves are bitumen, the costly production of which nets only 4 percent to Canada's GDP. But oil represents 40 percent of the country's exports. So the urgency to develop and export the tar-sands oil has become a national priority.
The outcome of the retrial, and its timeframe, remain uncertain. But more importantly, Mr. Fahmy should not be subjected to this process at all.
Conveniently, the fear appeals being made by ISIS, Al Shabab, and the other myriad terror groups we tend to lump together are quite literally textbook examples of fear appeals. What's more, the terrorists and our own government actually work together for a good part of the process, increasing the fear we feel for their own insidious ends.
The bottom-line is that Canada needs to get serious about climate change, and that starts with acknowledging that the emperor has no clothes. It's a reality made even more glaring by recent United States Environmental Protection Agency report that found that the Keystone XL pipeline would have a significant impact on carbon emissions from tar sands expansion. With the NEB application period closing on March 3 and hundreds of people across Canada already having applied asking to speak on climate, the NEB could choose to buck from Harper's agenda and include climate change in the review.
It is sad to observe but I fear that Mr. Harper has found such an evil but effective issue for the coming election, will exploit it, and that many will support him for it.
The legal threshold for police to obtain a warrant to arrest individuals who have committed no crimes would be lowered. Canadians could be held in custody for up to seven days without charges. Bill C-51's gives powers of "preventive detention," which means jail time for individuals even when there isn't any suspicion criminal activity has taken place.
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No matter how you slice it, Harper has failed to lead Canada towards a sustained economic recovery from the financial crisis seven years ago. It doesn't matter how much public money he spends on ads claiming otherwise. Facts are facts. So, what does a government facing re-election do when its top agenda item, economic management, is in tatters? It changes the channel to something else.
With much ado about crossing the floor from the Conservative to the Liberal Party, the talk seems to centre on whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals gained much, if anything. That talk misses the point: the question is not what the Liberals got, but what the Conservatives lost. Coming on the heels of the clearly unplanned departure of John Baird, the real story is not the questionable value of the asset Trudeau has acquired but the fact that a sitting government member has crossed the floor to sit with a third party.
On January 30, a reporter asked Harper how newly-introduced anti-terror legislation will differentiate between somebody who is "radicalized" and "a teen who's just messing around in the basement." Harper answered by saying promoting terrorism is a serious offence no matter "what the age of the person is, or whether they're in a basement, or whether they're in a mosque or somewhere else." Harper's response to this question associates hundreds of mosques across the country with the promotion of terrorism and violence and is misguided for multiple reasons.
Why hasn't my Facebook feed filled with at least the same level of indignation about our government's disgraceful treatment of our Veterans as it was about the a tobogganing hill? We must learn to calibrate our anger so it's proportional to the injustice or slight. Let's fight for the things that make life fun for us like tobogganing while also fighting the things that make life miserable such as payday loan companies, multinational corporations, venture capitalists, a failed War on Terrorism and the self-serving hacks in the media and government who enable it all.
Mexico's human rights crisis is staring Canada in the face. According to Amnesty International, there are six times more reported cases of torture and ill-treatment than a decade ago. The 43 disappeared in Ayontizapa are only a needle in the hay stack of more than 80,000 estimated dead and 26,000 disappeared in the last 8 years.
It's strange indeed to see the federal government and the central bank headed in opposite and contradictory directions. The Bank of Canada is moving to stimulate greater growth, while Mr. Harper pushes more austerity -- with the net effect of reducing aggregate demand.
Trudeau is the most impressive, practical, and smart political leader since the Jean Chrétien era. Since taking over a near-bankrupt, third place, humiliated party less than two years ago, he has made it a growing political movement. The party is now well-organized, better funded, and has attracted strong candidates and volunteers that truly represent the new Canada.