Posts from our progressive community

The Tibetan Plateau - Asia's Armageddon?

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:03


To Asia's three nuclear powers, the Tibetan plateau represents life or death. China, India and Pakistan are all dependent on the headwaters of rivers that are fed by the glaciers in Tibet.  The geo-political enormity of these rivers drove China to invade and occupy Tibet in 1950.

What happens in the Himalayas powerfully impacts the security of these three Asian powers.  That's why a new study on the state of the plateau is particularly worrisome.

The report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences concludes that the Tibetan plateau has experienced double the average level of global warming and that the past fifty years have been the warmest in the past two millennia.  Further warming is predicted for the balance of this century that could accelerate the retreat of Himalayan glaciers and the spread of desertification.

The rivers fed by the Himalayan ice fields constitute the water supply to hundreds of millions of people in Asia.  These rivers include the Yellow and the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Bhramaputra and Salween, the Indus and the Ganges.

The Chunder Down Under

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 09:18


Let's get this unpleasantness out of the way.  "Chunder" is an Australian colloquialism for vomit, puke.  The latest chunder from Down Under comes to us via Tony Abbott's chief business adviser, Maurice Newman.  The chairman of the prime minister's Business Advisory Council warns that Australia is dangerously unprepared for - wait for it - global cooling.

Newman ...said there is evidence that the world is set for a periuod of cooling, rather than warming, leading to  significant geopolitical problems because of a lack of preparedness.

Mark Butler, Labor's environment spokesman, said of Newman's article: 'These kinds of comments would be laughable if he didn't have the prime minister's ear.'


When Confidence Fails

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 08:58


Few of those who lived through the Cold War with its constant threat of nuclear annihilation realize the role confidence played in preventing an outbreak of apocalyptic hostilities.  Even at times when we thought the "other side" was nearing the point of pre-emptive attack, we had a sufficient degree of confidence that they would do no such thing.  The Red Telephone that connected the White House to the Kremlin was specifically intended as an instrument for maintaining confidence.

The Cuban missile crisis demonstrated the leadership needed to maintain confidence - and peace - in stressful circumstances.  Kennedy was being pulled by contradictory advice given by competing forces some of which demanded a shooting war.  In the end, Kennedy's confidence in Khrushchev prevailed and a diplomatic result was obtained.

Today I have a sense that we have discounted the importance of confidence and confidence-building between major powers.  Under Bush/Cheney, America drove NATO right up to Russia's doorstep.  That was an act of diplomatic aggression that showed no interest in maintaining, much less building, confidence between west and east.  It was both a threat to Russia and a humiliation of Vlad Putin. Imagine if Russia reached a pact with Mexico and wound up parking tanks, surface to air missile batteries and mobile rocket artillery along the south bank of the Rio Grande.

What has the Ukraine conflict become?  It resembles a proxy war reminiscent of the Cold War era.  We support the west-leaning government that ousted the previous democratically-elected (yet horribly corrupt) government in a coup. Putin sees us as interlopers, meddlers, once again wreaking mischief at Russia's doorstep.  That he took Crimea should have been expected.  That he should support pro-Russia rebels seeking to pry loose the Donetsk region is equally predictable.

It's probably safe to say that the confidence level between Putin and western leaders has fallen into an abyss.  We have imposed successive waves of sanctions against Russia and its leaders.  We have actually threatened Russia with dire consequences that await if it doesn't leave Ukraine alone.  NATO Secretary General Anders "Foggy" Rasmussen, an avowed and bellicose neoliberal, is using the final months of his tenure to get straight into Putin's face.  He gives the impression that he's just itching to see NATO jets over the Ukraine before he's put out to pasture.  There are plenty of other prominent hawks in Rasmussen's camp including our own warrior-prince, Stephen Harper.

The German financial newspaper, Handelsblatt, recently warned that the people of the west are being "mentally mobilized" for war by our corporate mass media cartel.  This could hardly have gone unnoticed by the Kremlin.

And what happens when confidence plummets?  Rearmament is one usual result. Rearmament that further undermines confidence.  Russia is rearming with a new strategic bomber, a new ballistic missile that may breach one or more of its nuclear weapons treaty obligations, two new submarine designs and a dandy new stealth fighter designed to turn F-35s into lawn ornaments.  Is this a Russian provocation? Hardly.

America kicked off today's arms race when Bush/Cheney introduced the incredibly bellicose Bush Doctrine that threatened friend and adversary alike with the use of pre-emptive and overwhelming military force against any country or group of countries that should deign to rival America militarily or economically.  That was accompanied by an enormous increase in military spending focused on achieving enormous technological advances that would leave all other nations so far behind that they couldn't catch up.  Out of that depraved mentality emerged the F-35.

For Beijing, a real confidence-buster came with the staging of "Operation Chimichanga", a full scale, dress rehearsal of a pre-emptive "first strike" stealth attack on China to render the Peoples Republic defenceless.  Provocative, yes. Confidence building, plainly not.

America is doing no end of sabre-rattling and we're playing our part in it also.  Our foreign policy has been subsumed into America's.  The F-35 is our admission ticket into America's Aerial Foreign Legion.  There's a reason American commanders refer to it as their "kick in the front door weapon."

On this, the centenary of World War One, it's important to remember that not all wars are intended or even desired.  History shows it's remarkably easy for leaders to back us into wars of duration and dimensions that were never foreseen.  It doesn't take much - an arms race here or there, sabre-rattling and other provocations, a power vacuum real or perceived, the "mental mobilization" of society - go ahead, light the fuse.

Without seemingly recognizing it, we're creating an incredibly dangerous world packed with stressors such as arms races; geo-political transitions with contested spheres of influence; power vacuums and the rise of failed states; militarized foreign policy; economic, resource and territorial rivalries; and, of course, early onset climate change impacts, all under the umbrella of western neoliberalism. What could possibly go wrong?

Hacktivists Out Alleged Michael Brown Shooter — Only It’s The Wrong Guy

Bastard Logic - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 08:46

Not at all helpful (quite the opposite, actually):

On Thursday, a name released by the hacking collective Anonymous began circulating, but St. Louis County Police said that the name was inaccurate. The same kind of thing happened Wednesday, as another name began floating around and gaining traction. Ferguson police said that that name was also inaccurate, telling The Post that these reports were false.

A spokesman with the St. Louis County Police was critical of the group Anonymous for releasing the information.

“People really need to harshly judge the accuracy of this group, given that they’ve now given false information about several important things,” Sgt. Colby Dolly said on Thursday.

Dolly said that authorities were trying to locate the person identified by Anonymous on Thursday to warn him.

Of course, such recklessness could easily be prevented by, y’know, releasing the name of the shooter (even the NRO, etc).


Filed under: Uncategorized

Another Indictment of Neoliberalism, This Time from Monbiot

The Disaffected Lib - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 07:14


Neoliberalism, sometimes known as "market fundamentalism", is the scourge of our age.  It infests our federal politics.  Stephen Harper is a disciple.  Mulcair and Trudeau may be somewhat less neoliberal but it's a matter of degree and it ain't much.

Neoliberalism is a path littered with flawed assumptions and empty promises.  It is a cancer that eats away at social cohesion, that drives inequality that itself arises mainly out of privilege and unjust government largesse from tax favouritism to outright gifting of public property.  It is the engine of economic feudalism.

Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has additional insights into the scam of neoliberalism:

Even at the beginning of the process, when markets are first deregulated, we do not start with equal opportunities. Some people are a long way down the track before the starting gun is fired. This is how the Russian oligarchs managed to acquire such wealth when the Soviet Union broke up. They weren’t, on the whole, the most talented, hardworking or innovative people, but those with the fewest scruples, the most thugs, and the best contacts – often in the KGB.Even when outcomes are based on talent and hard work, they don’t stay that way for long. Once the first generation of liberated entrepreneurs has made its money, the initial meritocracy is replaced by a new elite, which insulates its children from competition by inheritance and the best education money can buy. Where market fundamentalism has been most fiercely applied – in countries like the US and UK – social mobility has greatly declined.If neoliberalism was anything other than a self-serving con, whose gurus and thinktanks were financed from the beginning by some of the world’s richest people (the US multimillionaires Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others), its apostles would have demanded, as a precondition for a society based on merit, that no one should start life with the unfair advantage of inherited wealth or economically determined education. But they never believed in their own doctrine. Enterprise, as a result, quickly gave way to rent.All this is ignored, and success or failure in the market economy are ascribed solely to the efforts of the individual. The rich are the new righteous; the poor are the new deviants, who have failed both economically and morally and are now classified as social parasites.The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness.

Free market capitalism, market fundamentalism, neoliberalism - call it what you like - relentlessly moves to clear-cut social democracy to sweep away the last obstacles to the ascent of oligarchy.  It is a corruption of both capitalism and democracy.  It is the conquest of human dignity.  It is very much Kapitalism as foreseen by Karl Marx.  

It is a devilish thing that neoliberalism is becoming so entrenched at the very time that our world is struggling with the early onset impacts of climate change. Neoliberalism, the ethos of modern political classes, can only hasten and deepen our decline.  It is our societal thumbscrew.

We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.  

Exactly.   

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 07:04
Here, on how the Harper Cons' kabuki consultations can't mask the fact that their budgets utterly neglect what's most important to Canadians.

For further reading...
- Dean Beeby has previously reported on the disconnect between the public position on policy issues and the Cons' budget choices, while Andy Radia also comments on the lack of public interest in tax baubles.
- And both CBC and Bill Curry note that the same pattern is playing out once again, as the Cons' anti-government orientation is taking precedence over any interest in listening to good ideas.
- James Baxter writes about the Cons' general message of "shut up" to Canadians. 
- And among the submissions which do deserve further attention, I'll highlight those of the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres and Citizens for Public Justice (PDF). 

Loss

Fat and Not Afraid - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 06:30

Ok, so I guess the Universe is never really done kicking anyone in the pants. A few days ago I found out a dear former professor and idol passed away from cancer. I hadn't spoken with her in a couple of years but I still feel her loss keenly. Dr. Alanna Bondar was a my introduction to feminist and Canadian literature greats like Margaret Atwood, and I credit her with beginning me on my path to actual critical thinking of the media I used to blindly injest. She introduced me to post-modernist analyzation of works and the Old White Guys club of literature, and when I began university she was a powerful symbol to me of what a woman could do. I remember one night very early on she introduced herself as "Doctor Bondar" and we should remember the Dr. part because she had worked very hard for it and it meant something to her. She wasn't "Ms" or "Mrs", she was Doctor. Alanna was the heart of our university's annual creative writing publication and our poetry night. She travelled and wrote a book and had not a few articles published in various feminist and eco-feminist publications. I looked up to her and always thought she'd be out there somewhere in the world, drinking wine, having conversations that sparkled, wearing ridiculously colourful outfits and absolutely refusing to settle down and be anything but her most authentic self. Her memorial will be sometime in November and I plan to attend regardless of whatever else life has in store.

Rest in peace, dear teacher. Or don't; I imagine the after life is an even brighter and more interesting place now that you're there, and there are some who could use a good conversation.

Then we lost Robin Williams. This stings. Every time I think about how I'll never get the chance to meet him, to tell him how much I love (most) of his work, I get a bit teary. But the worst is how much Robin always reminded me of the best of my dad. For me this has been a tiny insight into how much it will hurt when someday my own father dies. I am rarely, if ever, affected by celebrity deaths as I have no actual connection to them. Sure, I might like their shows or movies or know a little bit about their personal lives, but more than "Aw, that's too bad" doesn't happen. This time, however, it's very different. Ever time I see a picture of him, grey blue eyes sparkling with mirth and irreverence, hairy arms and short, broad torso in mid gesture, I am strongly reminded of my dad at his absolute best, and it just hurts. Thankfully, my dad is still here so I have (I hope) lots of time to tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me, but in the meantime I'm just avoiding the media circus as best I can around Robin's death.

And finally, because bad things tend to happen in threes, a part of my son's innocence was stolen from him at knife-point at the park on Monday. He and a friend went to play and a pair of bigger kids from his school were already there and somehow, none of us grownups is sure, one of the bigger kids ended up threatening Gabe with a knife. Gabe knows him from school and as far as we can figure out he was telling his friend to avoid the two bigger kids because he'd had problems with the one before. Gabe and his friend ran home and we had the police here Tuesday morning to speak with Gabe and the friend and figure out who had done the threatening and then go talk to that kid and his parents. While things seem to be resolved for now I'm planning on calling the school to advise them of what happened so they can keep an eye on that kid, and on the bus too (He takes Gabe's bus too and from school every day).

I don't know if I can express how angry I am that this happened to my son, my baby boy, in a place that should have been safe for him. It was the park. The park! It was two streets over, less if you take the forest path. He was with a friend. This should not have happened but it did and I'm at a loss. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that he's alright; things could have gone much worse, especially if the knife weilder had tried to hurt his friend, but I know that after Monday he's different. He knows that there are people out there who will hurt him for real, for no other reason that they can. I don't want to think what might have happened if he had been alone. He didnt' tell us about it himself because he was afraid the big kid would find out and hurt him. We had to find out about this from Gabe's friend's parents, who live across the street. My son has the biggest heart. He is a good person. He is a sweet, funny, caring boy. This should not have happened.

So I'm sad. And I'm angry. I don't know what to do with it, as usual. So I'm writing. Thanks for reading.

 

 

Hot Air And Bad Law

Northern Reflections - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 05:58
                                                                                  http://o.canada.com

Steve Sullivan writes that Stephen Harper's obsession with PR makes for bad laws. Consider the recently passed "Increasing Offenders Accountability For Victims Act:"

The latter bill, which came into effect in October 2013, requires judges to impose $100 or $200 surcharges on convicted offenders. Prior to the law, judges had the discretion to waive the surcharge for offenders who could not pay. Across the country, provincial governments rely on surcharges to fund services for victims of crime, such as sexual assault centres.

Recently, Ontario Court Justice David Paciocco convicted Shaun Michael of nine offences, including theft, assault and breaching probation. Michael is a drug-addicted alcoholic Inuit man; he had to steal food before he was 10 and started abusing alcohol when he was 13. He lives on $250 a month.

Paciocco could have imposed $900 in victim surcharges but he noted that each of the surcharges represents 40 per cent of Michael’s monthly living allowance. Paciocco found the mandatory surcharge law to be “cruel and unusual” punishment and ruled it unconstitutional. He will no longer impose the surcharge in any cases, even when an offender can pay. Although the ruling is not binding, other judges are following suit; an offender who volunteered to pay the surcharge was told he did not have to.
By removing judicial discretion in the application of the law, Mr. Harper is crippling services for the very people he says he is working for. As is the case with so many other files, the prime minister's take on criminal justice makes things worse.

Hot air makes for bad law.


Justin Trudeau Speaks

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 05:51
But, unfortunately, says nothing.

As I have noted elsewhere in this blog and in comments on others', I have grave misgivings about the Liberal Party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. Despite the latest EKOS poll showing the party with a commanding lead while the Conservatives continue to sink under the heavy hand of Herr Harper, I cannot escape the notion that Trudeau is superficial, intellectually flaccid, and a political opportunist (the latter quality, of course, putting him in good company with so many others who hold elected office).

Earlier in the week I wrote a post entitled Thomas Mulcair Speaks which revolved around the fact that the NDP leader, likely due to political pressure from within his own party, moved beyond his usual platitudes in discussing the Israeli assault on Gaza that has killed about 2000 innocent Palestinians. In his strongest words yet, he called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Unfortunately, Trudeau has not been moved to make a similar gesture.

In today's Star, Haroon Siddiqui writes the following:

Liberal supporters wondered why Justin Trudeau issued a statement July 15 laying all the blame on Hamas but not calling on Israel to show any restraint. They were further outraged by a solidarity trip to Israel by two Toronto-area Liberal MPs, John McCallum and Carolyn Bennett — paid for by the pro-Israeli lobby group, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

Trudeau's response was to give an address Monday in Mississauga that began rather inauspiciously:

About 100 protesters waited for him at the Derry Rd. locale, carrying placards and shouting slogans for more than an hour — “Killing children is wrong,” “End the occupation,” “Occupation is a crime,” etc.

No longer quite the accessible and forthright politician he has been promoted as, Trudeau dodged them to enter the hall where he read a prepared speech.

The speech itself had little substance, his boldest declaration being, “There is no military solution to the crisis that continues to plague the Middle East . . . A safe and secure Israel can only exist when it exists next to a safe and secure Palestinian state.”

According to Siddiqui, the rest was a homily on Canadian diversity. No questions were taken from the floor.

After reading the column, I couldn't help but think of the boxing match in which Trudeau bested Patrick Brazeau. Doubtless there was much bobbing and weaving involved. Perhaps the leader of the Liberal Party has not yet learned that in the political arena, such a strategy will only take you so far.

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Shattering Impact of the EKOS Bomb

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 03:44


By now it should be obvious, if only by the bizarre way he has been behaving, and the way him and his Cons have been trying to smear Justin Trudeau, that Stephen Harper has never been so desperate.

And just one look at that much talked about EKOS poll must have given him the shakes, or had him climbing the wall.

Or riding the bomb.

With good reason...



Because with numbers like those he won't be Great Warrior Leader for much longer. He'll be Tiny Shrunken Leader looking for another job.

But although much of the discussion has centred on the suggestion that Canadians are returning to their centre-left roots.

What is even more striking, as Paul Adams points out, is the number of assumptions the poll shatters.
Read more »

Reefer Madness:The Cons Try To Use Doctors to Attack Justin Trudeau !!

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 23:19


There is apparently no sordid depth to which Stephen Harper will not stoop or plunge, no sewer he will not crawl through, in his depraved and desperate attempt to smear and destroy Justin Trudeau.

He's called him a girly man, a junkie and a terrorist.

And now he's trying to use doctors to attack Trudeau's position on marijuana. 
Read more »

“You got me so that my nerves are breaking”

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 21:15

nervebreakers2

Late night Hump Day rawk out continues unabated:

(h/t)


Filed under: music, Uncategorized Tagged: music, Nervebreakers, power pop, punk, rock, Texas, The Troggs, video

Finnish Rock N Roll Represent

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 21:05

daggerplay-forest-hills-520x490

Bedtime rawkout in 3, 2, 1…

(h/t)


Filed under: music Tagged: bandcamp, Daggerplay, Finland, punk, punk n roll, rock, rock 'n' roll

Just Another Quiet, Peaceful Night In Sleepy Ferguson, Missouri

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 18:45

Via Charles Johnson: Cops in paramilitary gear are now pointing sniper rifles at peaceful black protesters in Ferguson, MO.

NBD.


Filed under: law enforcement Tagged: #michaelbrown, #mikebrown, Ferguson, Michael Brown, racism

For The Naive, This Sounds Impressive

Politics and its Discontents - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 16:24
For the seasoned political observer, it is Harper propaganda of the the worst kind.

Recommend this Post

When the Cons Make the Poor Pay for Their Mistakes

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 15:51


It really couldn't be more disgusting or more Kafkaesque. 

Or more of a horror show.

The Cons gut Statistic Canada. The battered agency screws up its job numbers.

And now Jason Kenney is making the poor pay. 
Read more »

How An Algorithim Caught The Ebola Outbreak

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:03

Science: this is why we keep you around:

Nine days before the World Health Organization announced the African Ebola outbreak now making headlines, an algorithm had already spotted it. HealthMap, a data-driven mapping tool developed out of Boston Children’s Hospital, detected a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” after mining thousands of web-based data sources for clues.

“We’ve been operating HealthMap for over eight years now,” says cofounder Clark Freifeld. “One of the main things that has allowed it to flourish is the availability of large amounts of public event data being accessible on the Internet.”

[...]

As anyone who’s ever looked at the Internet knows, any bulk consumption of web content is bound to scoop up tons of noise, especially when sources like Twitter and blogs are involved. To cope with this, HealthMap applies a machine learning algorithm to filter out irrelevant information like posts about “Bieber fever” or uses of terms like “infection” and “outbreak” that don’t pertain to actual public health events.

“The algorithm actually looks at hundreds of thousands of example articles that have been labeled by our analysts and uses the examples to pick up on key words and phrases that tend to be associated with actual outbreak reports,” explains Freifeld. “The algorithm is continually improving, learning from our analysts through a feedback loop.”


Filed under: Africa Tagged: Africa, ebola, epidemiology, technology

Making Winnipeg proud ...

The Winnipeg RAG Review - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:05
... with Winnipeggers wining two thirds of the Douchebag of the Week awards on August 11. Plus making sure Toronto isn't alone in the class of "Canadian mayoral races filled with assholery".

 

Hooray, eh?

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Wednesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 08:03
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- George Monbiot discusses how a market-based society makes people unhealthy in a myriad of ways - and how it's worth maintaining our innate reluctance to value everything and everybody around us solely in terms of dollar values:
The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness.

The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers. It destroys autonomy, enterprise, innovation and loyalty, and breeds frustration, envy and fear. Through a magnificent paradox, it has led to the revival of a grand old Soviet tradition known in Russian as tufta. It means falsification of statistics to meet the diktats of unaccountable power.

The same forces afflict those who can’t find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.

These shifts have been accompanied, Verhaeghe writes, by a spectacular rise in certain psychiatric conditions: self-harm, eating disorders, depression and personality disorders.
...
So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud. - And Brian Bethune highlights the end of connections to neighbours (and any associated "social immune system") as an increasingly worrisome social trend in Canada.

- Douglas Skinner points out that major U.S. companies are increasingly obsessing over the extraction of cash (both through repurchases and dividends) at the expense of any sustainable development. And digby links the obscene profits for the U.S.' privileged few to the excessive borrowing required of anybody else wanting to live what's seen to be a normal life.

- Alexander Knight traces the incestuous relationship between oil money and political power across Canada. Fern Hill focuses in particular on Enbridge's apparent attempt to buy favour with police departments in communities which are likely to see opposition to its Line 9 project. And Dermod Travis connects crony capitalism to the Mount Polley tailings pond spill:
Since 2005, Imperial Metals has donated at least $149,890 to the BC Liberals. With a win, place and show wager, that total includes $2,500 to each of the leadership campaigns of Christy Clark, Kevin Falcon and George Abbott. It also tossed $3,000 into the kitty for Bill Bennett's 2009 re-election campaign.

Mount Polley got in on the action as well, with the mine topping up donations to the Liberals by $46,720.
...
Giraud -- then vice-president, corporate affairs at Imperial Metals -- called on the B.C. government to retain the flow-through tax credits for the exploration industry, to keep the PST off capital investments for mining companies and, most importantly, to reduce the approval process for a new mine from upwards of 10 years to as little as three.

As he noted to the committee: "I think if we're really looking for some flexibility on budget in terms of the mining sector, there is perhaps some wiggle room, but it needs to be in the context of 'I'm going to build a mine in three years, so maybe I'll tolerate those additional tax rates.' People are willing to pay for certainty and for time."

Lo and behold, six months later the BC Liberal Party was promising voters that it would streamline the mining application processes, work with the federal government to ensure mining projects undergo only one environmental review process, and that it would extend the new mine allowance and other credits allowing new mines and mine expansions to receive depreciation credits of up to 133 per cent to 2020.
...
There was one last thing about Giraud's presentation that jumped out. Arguing his case for a shorter approval process, he claimed: "Nobody trusts experts anymore from an NGO or from a third party, saying: 'You know what? We don't trust what you've done.'"

After Mount Polley, that can be marked down as famous last words.- Richard Brennan reports on a federal-provincial program which will provide money for affordable housing in Toronto. But as Brennan notes, the real story lies in what isn't included: the city is barred from using a dime of it for maintenance rather than new construction, meaning that the senior levels of government will maximize their photo ops while actively refusing to do anything to maintain the existing (and equally necessary) housing stock.

- Finally, Frances Russell weighs in on the continued clash in values between a progressive Canadian public and a hard-right Con government. But Paul Adams notes that based on current popular support, that conflict could be resolved in the next federal election by a Con collapse into third place among federal parties.

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