The Alberta government is facing a deficit in the area of $4 billion. By now we have all heard the discussions regarding the recommended courses of action that the government should take to make sure that Alberta's finances get back into the black; reform Alberta's taxation system (although the budget saw no such reforms), cut government spending, and diversify Alberta's energy export markets.
Canada has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world, but the province of Alberta is planning to cut education and health care spending this year, and Canada's national debt stands at a whopping CDN$600 billion. How can that be? With so many people calling our massive tar sands reserves the "Saudi Arabia of the North," how can we be so cash-strapped?
In my life as a community blogger I occasionally get emails and messages from those curious about where I live. Sometimes they come from those who have been to northern Alberta, and sometimes they come from people from countries far away, wondering if this is the place they have been looking for to change their fortunes.
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.
We've got to come clean about the unethical use of our retirement funds. There isn't enough money to expand the Canadian Pension Plan because the surplus was earmarked to boost the military-industrial complex. When our hard-earned money isn't being used to cause bloodshed, it's going to companies affiliated with the CPP's own CEOs and the Alberta oil sands.