Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Yes, it's for the best that some of Canada's pre-eminent scientists are offering to walk Joe Oliver through the realities of climate change. But Nik Beeson's offer of political detoxification looks like the more important step for those of us who aren't in denial about the science:
When pushing an oil addiction to a planet in the midst of catastrophic climate change is called 'ethical,' we have indeed entered a very Orwellian world, where words come to mean their opposites. Calling Canada's oil more 'ethical' is precisely as logical as saying my crack dealer is more 'ethical' than yours.  If I was buying crack I might buy Canada's ethical crack but crack addiction is, not uncommonly, a terminal affair.

Canada needs to kick being the most savvy fossil fuel pusher in the world. It needs to start pulling its weight on limiting its carbon output. If it wants to live up to its claim of being 'ethical' in its resource extraction industry it needs binding legislation to ensure that Canadian mining companies live up to international human rights and environmental standards. It needs to accept opponents of global warming as concerned and decent citizens of our democracy. It needs to offer renewables the same kind of subsidies that the fossil fuel industry receives so that they can compete in a fair market.

Canada needs to affirm that dissent is healthy in a democracy, that federal scientists require free speech, and that mining companies don’t need to supplement their profits with federal funding previously targeted to development aid. The steroid boost given to the Canadian Revenue Agency needs to be directed to offshore tax evasion and a financial transaction tax, not towards promoting the controversial ideological agenda of a single political party.  It needs to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which it signed in 2010, affirming the need for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous peoples with regard to the use of their land and resources.
 - Diana Mehta reports on how the abuse of temporary foreign workers has already distorted Canada's labour market. And Peter O'Neil finds that both Harper Cons and Clark B.C. Libs actively pressured Citizenship and Immigration Canada to facilitate those abuses.

- But fortunately, not all Canadian governments are buying in to the philosophy that we should simply hand public resources and policy decisions to the mining sector for free - as Quebec is taking at least some steps to improve its tax and royalty revenues.

- CBC reports on what looks to be the prime example of international trade agreements interfering in public policy-making, as Ontario's feed-in tariff program may be destroyed by an effort to incorporate local manufacturing.

- Finally, Phillip Inman discusses Paul Krugman's battle against austerity.

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