Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Yes, it's alarming that the Cons are eliminating environmental assessments on a huge number of projects. But even more worrisome is the complete lack of a connection between the basis for the exclusion and the possible environmental impacts:
Ottawa is also walking away from conducting assessments on various agricultural and municipal drainage works, log-handling facilities, small-craft harbour and marina development and expansion, the sinking of ex-warships as artificial reefs, the disposal of dredged material, and a 73-hectare mixed-use development on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.

Under the new legislation, BC Hydro also no longer requires a federal assessment for replacement of its John Hart Generating Station near Campbell River on Vancouver Island because the project won’t increase the generating capacity by more than 50 per cent or 200 megawatts. No provincial assessment applies, either.
Now, it would seem obvious enough that the number of megawatts added by a project won't necessarily correlate to its environmental impact. Which means that the Cons' move to limit assessment based on project size rather than actual need will only encourage the development of a large number of dirty, small-scale projects.

- Barbara Yaffe is right to note that the NDP is doing just fine consolidating its national strength under Tom Mulcair. But she's far too willing to buy the Cons' spin about Mulcair's environmental message - which is in fact far closer to the views of Canadians than the Cons' determination to put the oil industry's profits over public health and safety.

- The CLC highlights the positive effect of unions on wages in Saskatchewan:
On average, unionized workers earned $5.28 per hour more than non-union employees. That union advantage translated into more than $26 million more every week paid into the provincial economy to support businesses and community services.
- Meanwhile, Tom Graham notes that the Sask Party's focus on privatization and corporate development only looks to increase costs to the province.

- And finally, Erin Weir suggests expanding the Bank of Canada's mandate to maximize employment and bolster economic stability, rather than being limited solely to addressing inflation targets.

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