The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.EDITORIAL PAGEs
ARCHIVED at http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com/
ARCHIVED at http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com/
CORNER BROOK WESTERN STAR -
What if the ban succeeds?
CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN -
Helmets and government regulation View comments2
Ottawa is right to begin consultations on the manufacture of helmets used in snowboarding and skiing.
CAPE BRETON POST -
Climate 'vote' a bit too easy
AMHERST DAILY NEWS -
More focus in the campaign
MONTREAL GAZETTE -
Verdict was no victory for our court system
OTTAWA CITIZEN -
Googling into your privacy
TORONTO STAR -
In search of a pension miracle
Hold firm on basic wage
GLOBE & MAIL -
Chilling thoughts at the UN
Money that has a home
NATIONAL POST -
Our borders are safe
HAMILTON SPECTATOR -
Zero tolerance for bullying
ST. CATHARINES STANDARD -
Goodyear's beliefs do matter
NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW -
Going green with cash best bet for economy
K-W RECORD -
Ontario government must show restraint
WINDSOR STAR -
Long guns A chance to repeal registry
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS -
When men are victims
Drug traffickers pose threat to North American stability
Newspaper industry will live to fight another day
SASKATOON STARPHOENIX -
Obama's secretary harder on Canada than predecessor
LETHBRIDGE HERALD -
Deal too good for crooks
PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN -
Cap and trade doesn't make sense to cap and gown crew
VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST -
Campaign rules must be policed
National daycare a great stimulus option
On reserve or off, AIDS a disease of poverty
Time is right to start making a difference
IDF ends Gaza probe, says misconduct claims are 'rumors'
Gaza probe / Either troops are liars, or the IDF is pure as snow
ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS -
Native infant mortality rate four times non-natives': report
AF-PAK PROBLEM -
Time to focus on education shortfall, not schools By SCOTT TAYLOR On Target
Obama Says He Is Sharpening Focus of War in Afghanistan
Afghans caught between two bleak options (contains a video by Canadian Commader in AF for nine onths)
- US launches new fight against Afghan drug trade
- The Associated Press (03/30/2009)
- Afghanistan Conference Draws 80 Countries
- VOA (03/30/2009)
- For Afghanistan, a Season of Promise and Peril
- The Washington Post (03/30/2009)
- Shia adoption of Iranian-style unions seen by Sunni as attack on Afghan culture
- IWPR (03/30/2009)
- US "Strongly Supports" Afghan Supreme Court's Decision to Extend Term of President Karzai
- Xinhua (03/30/2009)
CANADIAN FORCES -
Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan welcome news of fresh U.S. troops
U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan welcome but not cure-all: Harper
Canadian troops central to U.S. plan
Canadian, U.S. Afghan strategies in sync
ECONOMIC AFFAIRS -
The price of ignoring Buffett The world's most successful investor warned about 'toxic' assets years before the meltdown
The back door threat to the West
Faltering emerging markets add momentum to economic crisis
On death watch for GM, Chrysler
- GM, Chrysler get last crack at fixing business Canada.com
- Further bargaining won't help industry, says CAW CTV.ca
- Bloomberg - Reuters - Newsdu- Newsdurhamregion.com - Windsor Star
- all 393 news articles »
FOREIGN AFFAIRS -
In Iraq, 2 Key U.S. Allies Face Off
Government Riles Sunni Awakening With Leader's Arrest
The Great Afghan Bailout
It's Time to Change Names, Switch Analogies
Russia's new Arctic force to focus on border protection
'We don't want a war'
France's last colony in North America chafes under Canadian resource law
HEALTH CARE RELATED -
Early weight gain raises obesity risk, study finds
'Road ragers' underachievers who lack status in life they desire: psychologist
The promise of real-time health care
Gym classes no cure for child obesity: Study
POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES -
Dalton McGuinty the Big Lie
Turned lying to the electorate into an art form
Ontario backpedals on minimum wage
Randy Hillier, Frank Klees make bids for Ontario PC leadership
McGuinty takes political gamble with sales tax
FEDERAL POLITICS -
Conservative and Liberal MPs likely won't face any nomination challenges
Liberals take slight lead in Leger poll
Libs buy same voter-targeting software used by U.S. Democratic Party and Obama
Grits say the new 'Liberal 360' system will allow them to canvas, listen and respond better to voters.
House eyes Breitkreuz's explosive gun bill
MPs push on $3-billion transparency
NDP loses ground, Hargrove questions why party doesn't look for a new leader
Scientists say Obama gets it, and Canada doesn't
More scientists may follow funding dollars to the United States.
MPs focus on economy, not Mulroney
Liberals abandon 'in and out' scheme
Full Pundit: The ubiquitous Jason Kenney
$4-billion in aid for Canadian car makers
- Video: Auto bailout details
- Report card: Highlights of the task force findings
- Timeline: Four years, $82-billion in losses
- Markets: Car woes weigh on stocks
Judge to rule on request to let British MP into Canada for anti-war speeches
No hard evidence linking U.K. MP to terror, judge says
No Canadian speaking tour for Galloway, judge upholds travel ban
British MP loses bid to enter Canada
Judge denies Galloway's bid to enter Canada
Let Gorgeous George speak
The bold, relentless, in-your-face-and up-your-nose, five-times-elected British MP George Galloway is a Scot.
He was coming to Canada to make a speech. The Harper government will not let this Scot across the border.
I never thought I would see the day when such a travesty would take place in a country as supposedly open as Canada.
- British MP Galloway to speak via video after court leaves Canada ... The Canadian Press
- Galloway speech will aid Hamas, group alleges National Post
- Varsity - Globe and Mail - Toronto Star - Bloomberg
- all 423 news articles »
Two-for-one sentencing deals symptom of deeper problem
Clogged justice system's chronic delays require fundamental reform not political posturing
Canada eyes broadening auto supplier insurance
PRESSURE POINTS -
The 2% solution to climate change: Hold the windmills and get me a cow
Vampire hour: The every-little-bit-counts crowd behind Earth Hour doesn't understand the bigger human picture
OPINION AND INFORMATION -
Mulroney-Schreiber probe finally set to go public
Mulroney minister 'encouraged' to meet project supporters
Why the world shouldn't expect too much from the G20 summit
An information security net badly in need of repair
The sins of the Christian Church
When the state runs amok
Don't care about the CBC? You should
Hypocrisy reigns in war crime fight
Galloway n'entrera pas au Canada
Affaire Mulroney-Schreiber Début de l'enquête publique
Loges corporatives Des sociétés d'État dépensent des millions
Économie: la confiance va à Ignatieff
Afghanistan - L'arrivée de renforts américains encourage les soldats canadiens
Ottawa veut plus de concessions des travailleurs de l'automobile
Afghanistan: Harper se défend de baisser les bras
L'armée vient de réhabiliter un système d'irrigation en Afghanistan
Québec touchera une compensation quand il aura harmonisé sa taxe, dit Ottawa
L'enquête sur l'affaire Mulroney-Schreiber souhaite aller au fond des choses
Le taux de mortalité des bébés autochtones est quatre fois plus élevé
BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)Training the Afghans to protect themselves has been the mantra of the Harper Conservatives, and was the linchpin of their deal with the Opposition Liberals last year that secured parliamentary approval to extend the Canadian combat mission in Kandahar by two years to 2011.
Meeting that deadline, though, will require that the power of the new al-Qaida base in Pakistan -- the wellspring of the IEDs that have claimed the lives of so many of the 116 deceased Canadian Forces members -- somehow be undermined. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1442019
Afghans caught between two bleak options
"In Iraq, 2 Key U.S. Allies Face Off" was the most important occurrence on the weekend. Should the Sunni militias and the Shia government which has been going after their leaders open hostilities the American timetable to withdraw from Iraq and focus on Afghanistan will be disrupted.
The Americans did not win in Iraq. 100 000 Sunni armsmen turned against their allies Al Quaeda in support of the Americans. This shift not the surge was the key factor. They were paid $300.00 a month.
The insurgents in Afghanistan are not Al Quaeda foreigners yet The Pres and The PM have got the focus on this world wide threat,
or so we are to believe. Our military there is protecting us from terrorism, don't you know!
Enough. It's near the witching hour as this is written and the subject will undoubtedly be with us again and again.
- MEDIA ADVISORY - March 30, 2009
- Call on world leaders:
- Global parliament to exert "oversight" of international system
- Call on world leaders:
(BERLIN, International) - Three days prior to the gathering of world leaders in London to address
the global financial crisis, politicians, academics and representatives of civil society organizations
from 61 countries have issued a joint statement calling for the establishment of a United Nations
Parliamentary Assembly. The proposal is in line with similar recommendations already passed by
the European Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament, the Latin-American Parliament and the
Senate of Argentina.
"The establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly should be an important part of
the renewed system of international financial and economic governance," the document
stipulates. According to the statement, this global parliamentary forum could initially be created
as a consultative body. It suggests, however, that "in the long run", the parliament "could
exercise genuine global oversight over the system's institutions."
The list of signatories to the "Call for Global Democratic Oversight of International Financial and
Economic Institutions" includes 140 members of parliament and numerous former government
ministers, among them Hans Eichel who served as German Minister of Finance from 1999-2005.
The request is also backed by former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
from Egypt. "At this critical juncture we urge the United Nations and the governments of its
member states to support the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in their
deliberations on the reform of international monetary, financial and economic institutions," Mr
The statement notes, among other things, that the new body could "monitor the interlinkage and
impact of the system's financial and economic policies in other fields such as sustainable
development, food supply, education, health or eradication of poverty."
The document is issued by the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary
Assembly, a global network of over 600 parliamentarians and 150 non-governmental
organizations advocating more effective citizens' representation at the United Nations.
Full text of the statement: http://www.unpacampaign.org/documents/en/UNPAIFI.pdf
List of signatories: http://en.unpacampaign.org/g20.php
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW CONTACTS:
Andreas Bummel, Head of Campaign Secretariat,
firstname.lastname@example.org , phone +49(0)6131-6278376
Fergus Watt, Executive Director,
email@example.com phone 613 232-0647
From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Lovin' the Earth Hour bonfire, Lorrie Goldstein, March 29
- Re: Lovin' the Earth Hour bonfire, Lorrie Goldstein, March 29
From: The Natroses
To Jacob and others: Regular everyday folk knew it was coming. For most people, they did what they could to protect themselves with what they had in resources. Anybody over the age of 50 had enough of a 'hard-knock' education over the years of the up and down economic cycles. Our voices were drown out by the politicians, bureaucrats, and economists who told us we were silly ninnies and to stop worrying. It doesn't take much to figure out when your wages stay the same, prices are increasing and the rich get richer - something is wrong. Oh, I forgot the politicians get pay more, more perks, life time pensions to keep them quiet and not alert the public. They do not get pay to warn citizens in a timely way, but get pay for the spin that is created, to cover up the damn economic mess.
To Ray: When I read about Iggy calling Galloway a clown, I went huh too. This morning the usual plea for money from the Liberals was sitting in the box. I hit reply, and said "I would dearly love to donate, but since Iggy called Galloway a clown, I now know where he stands on a lot of issues. If more people did this, maybe more politicians would start to have explanations as to why and in this case why Galloway is a clown. I would love to hear this one without making anyone donating or using their own time in helping another people in another country that may or may not be considered a hotbed of terrorists, all clowns. Or maybe in Iggy's world, clown is code word for terrorist.
On the budget and fiscal monitor, as far as I see it the numbers do not reflect the true state of the finances of the government. Debt has increase, but their numbers it appears to be manageable. However reading different articles in respectable media publications, the economists have stated that Canada has has a deeper deficit than what has been reported, and it started back in 2007. Now a few have gone further to state them publically on national TV. The Harper government is in deep trouble, just as a household who is deep in debt, and is dependent on a job in a field that may disappear tomorrow. It does explain Harper's pleas to the G-20 to spend 2 % of the GDP to stimulate and kick start the global economy, and allowing the free market to continue. If you take a look at the government revenues in relationship to government expenses - where there is a tax deduction such as the GST, there is a corresponding one on the other side that increases the costs to businesses and individuals. Such as the increases to duties and excise taxes. It was not revenue neutral, and retailers and individuals stop buying goods or did not buy as much, because of the increase duty. This even happen when the dollar was at par. So the government is relying on a smaller pool of businesses and individuals to make-up the revenue short-fall. As an individual, it certainly stop me from buying through the Internet, when the duties were going to cost me more than what the product was worth. As for retailers, sure they can pass on the costs to the consumers but than when the mark-up is added by the retailer - there is fewer people willing to buy that product at that price.
It did not help the deficit situation, when the government went on a spending spree on their pet projects, using up the excess surplus in the process.
As far as I am concern, Canada has a much deeper deficit than what is reported, and Harper is calling out for more stimulus spending because he put all his eggs in one basket, without ever thinking that his policies are affecting and hindering the recovery or even anticipated a downturn. By the way, revenue of income taxes went up. I was right, we are paying more income taxes and being nickle and dime to death, and the right to a smaller share of the pie when applying for Canada Pension, IE, and other benefits.
What I have heard on TV, where the Big 3 is demanding wage cuts from their workers. Tough position for anyone of them to be in, but it is a tough call for any citizen. But politicians are on the same band wagon. If the worker of the BIG 3 take wage cuts, it would have a rippled affect across all industries. The CEOs of other industries will be demanding wage cuts for their workers. At the same time, will we see a reduction in prices of goods and services? Will we see credit loosen up for regular folk? I think NOT!
From: "Ross Bateman"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest March 26, 2009
Joe: A headline, below, hints that George Galloway will also up the cost of same-sex marriage. But I can't find much support for this in the body of the article. Ross Bateman
- OTTAWA CITIZEN -
- The costs of same-sex marriage
- The costs of same-sex marriage
. . . I could say "Ross, every once in a while I put in a test to see whose awake and whose not".
It'd be what is sometimes called a terminological inexactitude, or prevarication or down right lie.
I screwed up!
From: Rebecca Gingrich
Joe--reality hasn't been a strong suit of any government for a long time. Now that EI payments are going to have to be paid big time, the General Revenue bank account will be in deficit also. Oh what lies they weave when first they practice to deceive. I guess they feel we have been led by the nose for so long that a negative balance(deficit) can be called a surplus and no one will be able to tell the difference? I think it is called creative accounting? You know, like Nortel, Livent and Madoff? Don't worry, go back to sleep--we are in good shape. It is not governments that are losing their jobs, it is just the taxpayers, so no worries! Our great leaders are still swanning all over the world while we are supposed to walk to save the earth. They have never heard of conference calls or computers? We still get to pay for the more equal to live the high life.
From: "Barbara Reid"
Subject: Fw: Military Humor
I'm sure you'll enjoy these photos. A cousin sent them to me from her friend. I've never seen pictures in the DD but thought you might want to forward them if possible.
These guys are so very precious that I don't want to loose even one more of them. The quicker we bring them home the better.
Why is it mainly the United States that seems to care so much about what goes on in the Middle East? I suspect inflated egos and quite possibly big money. To me, it's more like a personal fight between the United States and the Middle East countries than it is a world problem or is it that North Americans is the only culture with a bit of compassion and a will to help. Perhaps the US is trying to copy what the British did in India but by flexing muscles rather than by instruction.
If it's all that threatening to everyone, then why aren't there more countries along with NATO and other organizations doing more. I never hear of anything from South America, Russia, Japan, China, Sweden, etc.etc. It seems most of the world poputaltion doesn't care very much about what is going on there.
Please correct me and fill in where wrong and in plain language please as I've had quite enough smoke and mirrors and razzle-dazzle..
From a Grandma,
West Vancouver, BC
. . probably the best I can do is offer
to send them upon request.And hope
some do to pass them on.
I share your view." The quicker we bring them home the better. "
To: --- Joe Hueglin
You'll want to make a small correction ---
REFERENCE: -- Daily Digest March 29, 2009
From: Ray Strachan ---- Subject: Ignatieff ---
Ray Strachan wrote that Ignattief said on CTV National News
"George Galloway should be able to make his talks, that is
is not a threat to National Security "Besides he is just an idiot"
I doubt that he used the word "idiot." -- I didn't hear it,
but on the CTV page he is quoted as saying: -
"George Galloway is not a security threat - George Galloway
is a clown, and this government doesn't seem to know the difference."
Raher perhaps a Jester?
1.1 Political significance
In societies where freedom of speech was not recognized as a right, the court jesterprecisely because anything he said was by definition "a jest" and "the uttering of a fool"could speak frankly on controversial issues in a way in which anyone else would have been severely punished for, and monarchs understood the usefulness of having such a person at their side. Still, even the jester was not entirely immune from punishment, and he needed to walk a thin line and exercise careful judgment in how far he might gowhich required him to be far from a "fool" in the modern sense.
From: "Eduard Hiebert
Subject: Robert Fisk: A Brave Man Who Stood Alone. If Only the World Had Listened to Him
Fisk's apology of one young person is worth a read as is the concluding comment among the readers comment made by "smendler". For ease of reference, both story and comment quoted below.
A Brave Man Who Stood Alone. If Only the World Had Listened to Himhttp://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/03/30-2
Published on Monday, March 30, 2009 by the Independent/UK
smendler March 30th, 2009 5:58 pm
Tom Hurndall joins a growing list of unarmed humanitarians who have sacrificed themselves for others -- Rachel Corrie, Marla Ruzicka, Tom Fox -- such people would of course not want us to make a fuss about honoring them, but i think it is important that we do so - not so much for their sake as for our own. We need to be reminded that not all fighters for freedom and peace carry guns or wear uniforms, that soldiers are not the only martyrs worth remembering.
So I want to know: is there a site somewhere that lists an Honor Roll of such people? If you know of one, please drop me a note
smendler March 30th, 2009 7:29 pm
Hey, I found one:
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"
Budget wise there's a January 2009: budgetary surplus of $37 million.
Total interest-bearing debt
Can anyone explain how we can be Budget in the black and Fiscal Monitor that much more in debt?
It being a 'budgetary' surplus means that the feds have $37M more in hand than they budgeted for this time. That is, they've either spent less than what they'd planned, or they had greater revenues than planned, or both. However, the feds' 'fiscal' deficit means that they're still in the red.
. . . so the budget has no relationship to reality.
It's on paper what you say you're planning to do.?
From: "Glenn Harewood"
Subject: Re: NEWEST U.S. STRATEGY: AIMS AND HURDLES
The short and long answer to the poll question is "NO. No. Afghanistan isn't called the "graveyard of empires" for nothing."
Bah! My Greek ancestors over-ran it, no problem, 2,300 years ago. Before that, the Persians had done it. Later, some Emir (I don't recall his name) founded the Mughal empire by storming Northern India from Afghanistan.
I tell ya, the Brits thought that their Empire was the be-all and end-all when they said that.
How long were they in control? And you forgot the White Huns http://www.silk-road.com/artl/heph.shtml
Hephthalites are among the ancestors of modern-day Pashtuns. According to academic Yu. V. Gankovsky, "[Pashtuns began as a] union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy.[...] Of the contribution of the Epthalites (White Huns) to the ethnogenesis of the Pashtuns we find evidence in the ethnonym of the largest of the Pashtun tribe unions, the Abdali (Durrani after 1747) associated with the ethnic name of the Epthalites -- Abdal. The Siah-posh, the Kafirs (Nuristanis) of the Hindu Kush, called all Pashtuns by a general name of Abdal still at sing of the 19th century." 
From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject:Grain Commission and C-13
Sorry--but I see no reason for this commission to exist. I thought this was the job of the CWB(see above site)! I would think that farmers, being the independent folks they are, would welcome getting rid of another government stone around their necks, and the Canadian taxpayer would welcome getting rid of another trough that we have to fill?
"The Canadian Grain Commission certifies the quality, safety and weight of Canadian grain that is delivered to domestic and export markets." I wonder if this Commission is as effective as CFIA? After all, they have done such a bang up job of keeping our food supply safe, eh? Perhaps our tax dollars could be spent better checking the produce that is imported?
The only benefit I can see for farmers from this Commission is the last entry re producer protection. Now, since the CWB controls Western grain production and sale why are they not responsible for collecting the payments owed to farmers? OH, I forgot--this Commission must be set up mostly for Eastern farmers as Western farmers do not have the right to sell their grain privately.
On the contrary, the Grain Commission has a big valued-added role in the grain business. One of the reasons that Canada's grain can command premium prices everywhere is that it's segregated by type. Durum ('hard') wheat, which serves to make pasta, is kept separate from 'soft' wheat, which is used to make other stuff (like bread, I believe), which means that Canadian wheat is of greater value than non-sorted wheat.
The US doesn't have a wheat-sorting system, which means that a given batch may contain all sorts of wheats. Some wheat consumers don't care much about that (quite obviously, else the US wouldn't find takers for its wheat), but consumers that require particular types (e.g., pasta makers; couscous makers) pay higher prices in order to get wheat certified to be of their desired type.
There's quite a decent-sized infrastructure behind all this. Stockpiles have to be segregated by type, orders have to be taken and accounted for by type, train cars have to be scheduled to transport specific types of wheat, etc., etc. Add to that the fact that Canada grows about 6% of the world's wheat but that its wheat exports account for around 25% of the international market (the last time I looked, a few years ago) means that Canada has significant market power in international wheat markets. And it has even more, given that not all countries segregate their wheat types (for all I know, Canada may be the only one), which means that Canada's probably in an even stronger position in the premium-wheat markets. Compare this to the US, which can only sell 'commodity' wheat.
Interesting note: some US farmers have asked to be suppliers to the CWB, but have been refused because of the CWB's and the Canadian Grain Commission being owned and run by Canada's federal government. Also, we hear the occasional voices in the US condemning the CWB for anti-competitive behaviour, unfair competition to US farmers, yada yada.
US has taken Canada to WTO and always lost so far - but Harper & Co. will get it for them - if they are able.
The Global Warming Scam
Roger Revelle & Al Gore: Coleman's Video Report, 3/6/09
How the story got hatched
The founder of the Weather Channel has a message for you. Global warming is a scam - and Al Gore knows it.
Fossil fuels are a bad idea, but there is no evidence they're responsible for the warming of the planet.
'No evidence' may be going a bit far, but we're are indeed nowhere near knowing if and how much CO2 drives global warming. Or, for that matter, that global warming isn't a natural phenomenon against which reducing our CO2 output will have little or no effect.
Consider that in the relatively recent past, Earth has been much warmer than it is now. Back around 50,000 years ago (I think), Earth's average temperatures were 5 C to 8 C warmer than they are now. The Rocky Mountains had much less snow and much smaller glaciers on them, the polar ice cap was much smaller, etc. All this hoo-hah about polar bears becoming extinct if the Earth warms up a degree or two more from now doesn't explain how said bears survived the great heat just 50,000 years ago.
As for Al Gore: he may sincerely believe that CO2 is driving global warming. But the fact that he says that it cannot be questioned that this is what's happening makes him a bald-faced liar when seen from the scientific point of view. NO ONE knows how global climate works, and the science behind it just hasn't been developed to any degree sufficient to tell us what our climate's doing (how much do YOU rely on your weather forecasters to tell you what the weather will be like one week from now?), let alone in years, decades, and centuries to come.
Cap and trade doesn't make sense to cap and gown crew
Cap and trade doesn't make sense to cap and gown crew
* B.C. in forefront of climate change
Earlier this year I tried to get a feel for B.C.'s carbon emissions.
I used some very rough calculations and came up with some 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, or about 20 tonnes per person.
This is where my conversation with the former head of the Climate Action Secretariat started. I had, according to government calculations, overstated the problem. B.C. generates about 69 million tonnes per year, or just over 16 tonnes per person.
Compared to our neighbours next door, we are doing very well.
Alberta generates 70 tonnes per person. Of course, the vast majority of that is tied into oil and gas production and since the oil and gas is not actually used in the province, it might be unfair to attribute it to Alberta.
That raises an interesting question in the whole issue of "cap and trade." Who gets charged the fees? The source? The user? Some middle man along the way?
The legislation in B.C. states that it should be applied at the source. As far upstream in the economic pipeline as possible. While this is, in some senses, a good and certainly a politically expedient choice, it is also fraught with difficulties.
I say this because my economics colleagues tell me that any increase in source costs travels through the economic pipeline "as is."
That is, a $10 increase in a tonne of wheat should show up as a $10 increase in the total costs of all the goods derived from that wheat. A single bag of flour should then have a negligible increase in price - something like five cents.
But that is not the market that I experience on a daily basis. To pick on one of the most obvious market commodities where the price of the good doesn't seem to match the cost to consumer, consider oil.
It has been selling in the mid-$40 range per barrel for months now and yet the price is still around the 90 cents a litre. At triple the price for a barrel, the selling price was 50 cents more per litre. That either says that the cost of petroleum is an insignificant portion of the cost of a litre of gasoline, or the model of the economic pipeline doesn't account for the avarice of the intermediaries. You pick.
On this principle, the cost of a cap and trade system is going to feed into the system early and get multiplied out by each layer of middle man along the way. A $30-a-tonne cost will likely result in consumers paying considerably more than that by the time that the goods reach the market. Each layer in the pipeline will claim the need for increasing the costs because of their increased costs from the cap and trade market. We, the consumers, will be left footing the bill.
It is a cost that I would be willing to bear, though, if it would do the job. It won't.
But getting back to our production levels, where are we going to see a 30 per cent savings? How are we going to realize a 23-million-tonne decrease in carbon dioxide emissions?
Putting this question forward, the reply that I got was by "fuel switching." Our vast forests are going to save us. After all, wood is a renewable energy source. Trees grow back and they use carbon dioxide to do so.
Indeed, they will grow even faster with higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so the turn around time on a stand will be even shorter. We will be able to harvest them quicker for fuel.
Argh! It sounds like an answer but it isn't. Carbon sequestration in our forests - one of the Ministry of Environment's talking points - is predicated on the wood ending up buried and never used for anything other than capturing carbon. Not the type of forests that we have.
Further, the idea that forest represent a "renewable energy supply" is not accurate. It has been tried before. Indeed, for some 12,000 years of human existence the major source of fuel was wood. It is only in the past 150 years that we have switched to coal and really only in the last 75 that oil has gained dominance.
Switching back to wood is not an alternative. The amount of energy that is required by a single person living today is 20 times that required by a person 100 years ago. That means 20 times as much fuel - 20 times as much wood.
Wood burning deforested huge tracts of land. The "cedars of Lebanon" are no more because they were burned as fuel. The forests of Greece don't spread to the coast because they were burned for fuel. England's forested countryside is no more because the trees were burned for fuel.
With 6.4 billion people on this planet and nine billion projected by 2050, the idea that we can go back to wood as fuel source is absurd.
No, we need to change, in a very fundamental way, our relationship with energy.
Unlimited energy is not a right - it is a privilege and one that we enjoy. But going forward, if we are to have a sustainable planet, that is going to have to change. And a cap and trade system will not do the trick.