Wealth Inequality in Canada

Stephen Harper photo courtesy of Rabble.ca
Stephen Harper
photo courtesy of Rabble.ca

Are you concerned about wealth inequality in Canada?

How do you feel about Stephen Harper? Almost every day, I ask myself, “How could he possibly be Canada’s Prime Minister?” I’ll bet there are a lot of people who feel the same way I do. Did you know that over seventy-five percent of registered Canadian electors did not vote for the Harper Government?

Party of One book cover

Have you read ‘Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover’ by Michael Harris? You may remember the author hosting The Harris Report on the CBC or recall his other books and many articles. Amazon’s book review teases: “… Harper… is a profoundly anti-democratic figure” and “… has made war on every independent source of information in Canada since coming to power. Party of One is about a man with a well-defined and growing enemies list… : union members, scientists, diplomats, environmentalists, First Nations peoples, and journalists.”

Q: How did we end up with Stephen Harper and a Conservative majority government?
A: Canadians weren’t paying sufficient attention! Many actually bought into his lower taxes, jobs and prosperity propaganda.

Canada has a long history of electing governments in teeter-totter fashion, when the Liberals are down, the Conservatives are up and vice-versa. Ask yourself a very serious question, “Does voting Conservative or Liberal make sense with the wealth inequality we’re facing”?

Are you sick of Stephen Harper’s political direction? What’s your plan? Are you planning to vote Liberal? If so, remember today’s Liberals:

  • are fiscally conservative
  • placed third last election (trailed the Conservatives by about three million votes and trailed the NDP by about two million votes)
  • are led by Justin Trudeau.

It’s absurd that Justin polled as well as he did in 2014. He’s young, has his mother’s hair and his father’s name. That’s not enough to be the Prime Minister of Canada. Canadians who answered pollsters calls, clearly weren’t thinking. Leading up to the 2015 election I’ll bet Justin’s numbers will plummet.

Have you noticed that when we elect right-leaning politicians, be they Conservatives or Liberals, the corporations and folks who are already wealthy, get richer and the rest of us lose ground? It’s been getting worse for decades. Please watch the following four-minute video titled ‘Wealth Inequality in Canada’.

Canada needs to change course! Stephen Harper has had his moment. I’m certain you will agree that it’s time for a new leader, but who will lead us? Ask yourself, “Who is the smartest guy in the room”?

Tom Mulcair photo courtesy of NDP.ca
Tom Mulcair
photo courtesy of NDP.ca

If you put Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau in a room, there’s absolutely no question that Tom Mulcair wins, hands down. Tom:

  • has a hopeful vision for Canada’s future
  • is very well educated, but is still immensely likeable
  • is a compassionate, honourable gentleman with deeply held Canadian values
  • will work for your family and for mine
  • has a made-in-Canada plan that will begin to address inequality, as quickly as possible.

Q: What’s holding the NDP back?
A: Unfortunately, far too many Canadians have a many-decades-old perception that the NDP are communists.

Bluntly, that’s absolute nonsense. If you fear political parties other than the Conservatives and the Liberals, you need to smack yourself on the forehead and then educate yourself. Check out the NDP platform. Now that you’re up to date, put your knowledge to work.

Now, ask, “Which political parties created wealth inequality in Canada”? The Conservatives and the Liberals have served Canadian elites, the investor-class and corporations, for decades.

Hard-working Canadians have tremendous power when we work together, sadly, it’s been a while since the last time we did. Now’s the time, let’s remind the Conservatives and the Liberals who we are and that we matter. We will not allow wealth inequality to run riot. It’s time to restore balance and renew hope within our democracy.

Challenge: Correct wealth inequality in Canada.

Only you have the power to change Canada. My recommendation is to vote for the NDP and Tom Mulcair.

Happy New Year. 2015 will be a wonderful year for Canada’s politics!

Arrogant Harper Government

Arrogant Harper Government, confused Liberals and the NDP preparing for 2015

Have you played a team sport? Did you ever lose to an inferior team, a team that had no class? Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to sit as an altruistic, progressive, NDP, Liberal or Green MP facing the arrogant Harper Government majority?

Two phrases spring to my mind,

  1. “Bullshit baffles brains” and
  2. ‘Never Fight with a Pig’.

Every time the Liberals point out a problem with Conservative governance and their stewardship of Canada, the Harper Government responds with a childish taunt, “Neener, neener, neener, when you were in power you did that too”. Clearly, Stephen Harper ignored his mother when she taught him that, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. That would be number one, “Bullshit baffles brains”.

When Tom Mulcair uses his analytical mind to ask Stephen Harper a serious, foundational question, Stephen Harper’s sycophants arrogantly demean the Official Opposition by:

  • consistently failing to answer the question and then
  • muttering something about unions, communism or even Nazism.

The Harper Government obviously isn’t classy or intelligent, but they’re clearly very skilled at fighting dirty; I suspect many of the Conservative MPs have been fighting dirty from childhood right on through until the fuddy duddy, angry-old-uncle, stage of life, they’re at now. By now, it’s evident, to almost everyone, that meaningful democratic debate has gone missing under the Harper Government and it’s been replaced with condescension and disrespectful nastiness. That would be number two ‘Never Fight with a Pig’.

Stephen Harper is a relatively clever fellow, but he is a long, long way from being the smartest guy in the room. My suspicion is that China very quickly got the best of him, but they’re still letting Mr. Harper believe that he has the upper hand.

Background: First, China purchased a major stake in the tar sands and then they demanded a Pacific pipeline. The Harper Government’s 2012 Budget and Bill C–38, devastated Canadian environmental laws and granted the Conservative Cabinet dictatorial powers to ensure the Northern Gateway Pipelines’ approval. Unfortunately, China will benefit and Canada will lose.

Canada:

  • loses a chunk of our boreal forest
  • wastes our natural gas
  • wastes our fresh water
  • sells another raw natural resource (heavy crude oil)
  • pollutes our air, land and water
  • risks a pipeline and/or supertanker related environmental disaster.

China:

  • fuels their thriving economy
  • refines our heavy crude oil
  • transitions to a greener economy
  • snickers at us.

Canadians generally prefer viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses. Perpetual optimism led some people to ignore warnings, about Stephen Harper, from Michael Ignatief, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May. Their warnings were dismissed as “politics as usual”. The end result was that in Canada’s last federal election, a minority of voters took a chance and offered Stephen Harper an opportunity to govern. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and Conservative MPs have arrogantly wielded Canada’s authority in unanticipated ways. Embarrassed Canadians will soon remind the Harper Government that it doesn’t have the power, the people of Canada do. Less than a year into his mandate, support for Stephen Harper and his Harper Government has already declined significantly.

It’s likely that we’re going to have to put up with inadequate, dictatorial governance for another three years. Opposition MPs won’t be able to do much within Parliament, but they will have time to educate the Canadian public about the Harper Government’s scary, Big Oil, China-focused agenda. Canadians care about our environment and our international reputation. The Harper Government isn’t just disgracing Canadian democracy, they’re degrading Canada’s reputation around the world.

Q: What’s the first step, what can we hope to accomplish with the arrogant Harper Government in power?
A: Step one: Let’s stop spending billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the richest corporations on earth. The profiteering multinational oil and gas corporations will do just fine without even more of Canada’s money.

Next step: A comprehensive, sustainable Canadian energy strategy that benefits Canada first.

>> Hopeful Canadians

Related post:

  1. Peter Van Loan, “…job done”

Related article:

  1. Harper’s ‘bullying’ ways gives opposition hope, Economist says

Dirtiest Oil on Earth Video

The National Sierra Club (USA) has just released a new video titled, ‘Tar Sands Pipelines: The Dirtiest Oil on Earth’


Dirtiest Oil on Earth Video

What should Canada do with the one of the largest crude oil deposits on Earth (it’s either the 2nd or 3rd largest)? The Sierra Club’s position is even more extreme than my own; they want us to leave all of our heavy crude oil in the ground. I advocate leaving the vast majority of it in the ground, for future technologies and future generations, but I would like to see Canada use our resource today, in a limited way, right here in Canada. Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the United States, but we still import over forty percent (40%) of the oil we consume domestically. Using our own oil today, will pay for our transition to green technologies. We don’t need or want the Northern Gateway Pipelines that will service China and India.

I suspect Big Oil and foreign ownership are demanding that Canada’s Government streamline approval of pipelines to ports, here in Canada and to the United States. Heavy crude oil delivered to Canadian ports will be shipped as is, crude delivered to the USA will be refined before delivery. Multinational oil and gas corporations can earn the biggest profit by selling Canadian oil to countries like China, India and Japan.

Did you know that multinational oil and gas corporations and their shareholders pocket the vast majority of the profits generated from our tar sands?

“In the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute study, completed in mid-March (2012), the Edmonton-based think-tank concluded the oil and gas industry has raked in $260-billion in pre-tax profits since 1986, while the public received less than $25-billion — less than 6% of the total value.”
– according to The Toronto Sun 20120409 (VINCENT MCDERMOTT, QMI AGENCY)

The Harper Government gets a failing grade for their stewardship of Canada’s environment. Canada needs new leadership that will stand up to Big Oil. As it stands today, the oil companies are taking the money and leaving Canada and the world with a mess that they tell us will be cleaned up. Can it be cleaned up? Will it be?

>> there’s something to hope for…

Cleanup Update (20120609): Still no decision on who pays for oil sands monitoring

What’s Happened to Canada?

An Internet friend recently asked me, “What’s happened to Canada?”. After a little back and forth discussion, my British friend’s opinion was crystal clear.

“From here (UK), it looks like you folks are becoming a little arrogant, as though you’re trying to become mini-Americans.”

Summarizing his perspective of the new Conservative Canada:

  • we bloviate about our economy and our banks
  • we bully the EU with our economic ideas
  • our new focus on guns and military power doesn’t seem worthy of a peacekeeping-focused country whose former Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, won the Nobel Peace Prize
  • our vast oil riches have made us lose sight of the environment and global warming.

He even asked “Will we be banning gay marriage and bringing back the death penalty?” I responded, “Any other thoughts?” and he replied, “I think I’ve already said too much.” I chuckled and let him know that I share all of his views and I even emailed him a link to a blog post I wrote in early March of this year.

I concluded by telling him that I remain hopeful that a majority of Canadians will rectify their mistake in our next federal election.

My viewpoint today is that the Harper Government is arrogant and is an embarrassment to many Canadians, myself included.

>> there is something to hope for…

Related article:

  1. Oh Canada: the government’s broad assault on the environment

Northern Gateway Pipelines

Northern Gateway Pipelines route

The proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines will travel all the way from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, BC (~ 1,200 km long, crossing more than 750 streams). Heavy crude will then be pumped into supertankers that will then transport the oil to China for processing and consumption.

Important: Contrast Enbridge’s PR website, the one I linked to in my first paragraph, to this one from the Sierra Club.

If you listen to the Harper Government or the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan the pipelines will usher in a new income stream, new jobs and lead to a booming Canadian economy.

The tar sands are a precious Canadian resource, but they’re less precious than the multinational oil and gas corporations would have us believe; there are immense environmental costs. That said, if they’re developed in a sustainable, environmentally sensitive fashion they could help Canada pay for our transition to a green economy.

Problems:

  1. Extracting oil from the tar sands is currently devastating Alberta’s boreal forest and undoubtedly contaminating the watershed. Have you watched the film Petropolis? If not, it’s currently available for viewing on Netflix.
  2. Do you know what a tailings pond is? If not, click here.
  3. It doesn’t make economic sense to export raw natural resources. Why isn’t Canada refining the bitumen (heavy crude oil) here?
  4. What happens when the pipelines leak?
  5. What happens when one or more of the supertankers has a spill. Have you watched ‘Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster.’ HBO often shows reruns. Check out the pathway a supertanker has to travel before it reaches open ocean. Launch Google Earth and search for Kitimat, BC Canada and drill down for a closer look at the route the tankers will have to travel.
  6. Kitimat to the ocean

  7. If Canada really has the second largest oil reserves in the world, why are we still importing over forty percent of the oil we consume? My suspicion is that this has something to do with multinational oil and gas corporate profits.
  8. Why is the Canadian taxpayer subsidizing the richest, most powerful, corporations on earth?
  9. How much is the massive, Harper Government’s, pro-oil, PR campaign costing us?
  10. Has Canada forgotten about Global Warming?

Alberta and Saskatchewan’s tar sands have been there for thousands of years. What’s the rush? Conservatives would have us believe extracting the oil and building pipelines has to be done immediately.

I’ve always wondered why Alberta didn’t select a single tar sands location and use it as a proof of concept to demonstrate to environmentalists world-wide that tar sands’ oil could be delivered in as friendly a way as any other oil that is currently produced. Alberta’s government chose not to do that, likely because it was impossible, with current technology. The unfortunate result is that Canada is viewed as a source of ‘Dirty Oil’ around the world. Once again, I suspect Big Oil exerted their influence and made more than one location an urgent priority for Conservative governments.

Q: Why is Big Oil in such a hurry?
A: My understanding is that, over ninety-percent of all the income earned goes directly to multinational oil and gas corporations.

Update (20120530) – Enbridge™ will spend up to $5 million (5,000,000) on a multimedia ad and PR blitz for the Northern Gateway Pipelines. >> Vancouver Sun

Related Posts:

  1. The Enbridge Conundrum
  2. Dirtiest Oil on Earth Video

Related website:

  1. Radicals for Our Coast