The four founders of Idle No More didn't start out famous. Until flash-mob round dances, prayer circles, and blockades spread across Canada, few people knew Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson. But today, Idle No More is emerging as a powerful movement for the rights of native peoples to protect the lands and waters.
I told an audience of oil tycoons eight years ago that their country's best bet would have been to invest $250 billion to develop the oil sands and back out all foreign oil imports. "For $250 billion, you'd have acquired all the oil you need, you wouldn't have had to invade Iraq and nobody would have died."
I do not think Obama will impose a carbon tax. That would require Congressional consent. And he will never get that. But he will not kibosh the Keystone pipeline either. There are too many jobs on the line. If Obama nixed Keystone, he would lose the Senate.
The Conservatives have lobbied vigorously in support of Calgary-based TransCanada's plan to build a $7-billion pipeline to take up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. As a result, environmentalists have used social media and traditional protests to heap scorn on Canada.
The battle over Keystone XL has been brewing for more than four years. With a final decision on Keystone expected from President Obama as soon as the next month or so, the situation has reached a fever pitch: on February 17 in front of the White House, if expectations hold true, we will witness the largest rally ever held in the U.S. on the issue of climate change. More than 20,000 people will gather to lobby for action on climate change and to pressure their president to disallow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. These tens-of-thousands of everyday Americans, whether they know it or not, are protesting Canada as much as they are the Keystone project.
Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Friday with his Canadian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. If I were advising Kerry, I would suggest one question he should ask of John Baird to see if he is an honest broker. The question is: "Is Canada committed to confronting climate change?"
On November 6, 2012, the citizens of the United States decided to maintain, essentially, the status quo: they re-elected Barack Obama as President, left the United States House of Representatives solidly in Republican hands, and left the United States Senate under the control of the Democratic Party. But as with all U.S. elections, there are implications for Canada, which, for better or worse, is usually pulled by the tides of American regulation and economic prosperity - or the lack thereof.
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline carrying raw bitumen to the B.C. coast is a bad idea, but it's ultimately the wrong fight. Let's assume the momentum of bringing Enbridge to its knees leads to a mass protest across Canada and all the proposed pipelines are stopped. Oil companies still have other options.
It's not Ottawa or Ontario that stands in the way of Alberta's success, nor will the rants of Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau have any noticeable impact on the well-being of Albertans. An independent Alberta would face the same problems as now, and even worse, because British Columbia next door would be even less inclined to open its territory to a pipeline from the "Republic of Alberta".
A group of Canadian businessmen has obtained the blessing of Alaskan tribes and Canadian First Nations to build a railroad through their lands that could carry up to five million barrels per day from the oil sands to the super tanker port in Valdez, Alaska. This is truly a nation-building project that must be seriously evaluated by all governments and the oil industry.
The two best kept secrets in Washington are the degree to which Canadians have been rooting for a post-election American economic turnaround, and the extent to which that turnaround is dependent on removing the barriers to trade with the United States largest export market, Canada. Will Obama lead America there?
I can't actually vote for Barack Obama -- though I live in New York City I'm from Canada and it's stamped on my passport as surely as on the way I say "out." But there is no being part of the great churning American media machine -- whether as a viewer, reader, listener, Tweeter, Instagrammer or random Canadian who somehow snuck her way on television -- without forming an opinion. Sometimes, it's even educated! As for me, the more educated I got, the more I came to realize that my support for the 44th President of the United States and his party actually has its roots well north of the border. Really, every reason I can think of to vote for Barack Obama I learned from Canada. In the language of my people, et voila...
When it came to colour and discrimination on account of colour, Obama's election four years ago was a much-needed opportunity to heal the soul of his troubled nation. With a black man in the White House, old scars left by slavery could finally mend. What will happen if he loses?
One implication of my predictions would be Ohio losing its status as a predictor of Presidential election victories. More importantly, this would be the first election in recent history where the winner of the election will not win two out of the three "big swing states." This seems to be indicative of a shift, where future swing states will be comprised of a collective of smaller states with rapidly rising populations, such as Nevada. As opposed to the past rigidity of the "big three" swing states, this will lead to future Presidential candidates having to chase after electoral votes in a more decentralized manner.
As Canadians, we are well aware that we are sleeping next to an elephant, and that the choices made by the American president have broad implications not only for Canada but for rest of the world. Much to the chagrin of many conscientious Canadians, the implications of a changing climate were off the radar in the American election before Hurricane Sandy swept in. The topic was not raised even once during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. You would think it would be a no brainer to talk about this issue, given that the United Nations has called climate change "the single biggest threat facing humanity today."
The Canadian media rarely bears even the slightest apprehension about bossily dictating U.S. elections. Our papers state their partisan preferences loudly and often, but thankfully no one south of the 49th seems to give a doodle-dandy. And to be fair, as far as nefarious foreign endorsements go, you could do a lot worse than the Canadian stamp of approval. Anyway, who's getting the honour this year?