Canada’s Oily Media

There are opportunities to support journalism in Canada that doesn’t take millions from the oil industry and the oil-soaked Conservative government.

Had you heard that the Conservative Party communicated with Enbridge, in secret, through Mike Duffy? If you don’t watch independent journalism online, you might miss important news like that.

The National/Vancounver Observer and CanadaLand are two independent media outlets in our country who can tell you the real story, because their funding doesn’t come from CAPP/Enbridge, and the Conservative government.

Think also about how Mike De Souza was laid off from Postmedia, after his reporting on the oil industry was about the only reason to read the National Post.

2020 Solar Power for 100% of Saskatchewan Homes Possible

This letter appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday.

In response to Kurt Soucy’s letter about the cost of powering the entire provincial grid with Photovoltaic (PV) solar power, I’d like to voice my support for his idea. It’s also possible to power every Saskatchewan household with concentrated solar thermal power plants similar to what’s already operating in California at Ivanpah. We’d need only three of those plants, and with a modification to their design, the solar power would be available into the night, using heat storage.

Mr. Soucy’s solar PV idea is sound also, and by aiming at powering only 410,000 households* instead of businesses too, we’re sure to have a diverse mix of power available for every electrical customer. Ivanpah took only 3 years to build, so at that pace, we could be most of the way to completely on renewable energy by 2020. The cost of 1 Ivanpah was $2.18 billion (USD), so 3 would be approximately $6.6 billion (USD).

The Premier just proposed we take another look at nuclear power, despite polling last year which indicated most people in Saskatchewan are opposed. Nuclear power can’t compete with the profitability of renewable energy, so I welcome a series of “[Solar] Power to Grow” forums held by the provincial government around the province. These forums were called for by citizens** during the Uranium Development Proposal (UDP) of 2009. Now that the Premier has suggested we need to revisit the UDP, this time we should give the spotlight to renewable energy. We stand to eliminate most of our carbon pollution, and lower our future utility bills if we make the best choices.

*According to http://www.stats.gov.sk.ca/stats/pop/2011FamiliesHouseholds.pdf

**

Saskatoon Riding the Coattails of History

Acknowledging that an important feature in Saskatoon was constructed by the government, then bragging that construction of a future valued feature (a wind turbine) was avoided by the government instead of an opportunity seized upon, is a repugnant attitude. People like Sandra are not leaving a better world for our children, and Stephen Harper’s grand-daughter.

Where Abstinence Sex-Ed Goes Wrong

This hilariously depressing account of an American sex-ed classroom is a sight to behold.

Opposed to Coalition?

Yesterday’s news:

Today’s news:
Most Canadians are opposed to a coalition government. Presently the only party with the word “coalition” in its founding documents is the Conservative Party of Canada, and yes it’s true as Trudeau said today, that most Canadians are opposed to the Conservative government.

The problem is, if you have a real conversation with Canadians, you’ll learn they aren’t really opposed to a coalition government, they are just afraid of political instability they’ve associated with coalition and proportional representation electoral systems. They’ll unfailingly mutter about Italy having so many elections, and overlook the countries with proportional systems that are not unstable, and have better social programs and democratic participation than Canada manages.

Tomorrow’s news:

Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and a common fantasy, like the Riders having a chance at the playoffs) together.

It’s frankly disturbing to think about how writing the paragraph above would get me killed and disgrace my family, if it was any earlier point in history. Hopefully, we don’t return to those dark days.

I’m not an atheist so much as an agnostic. I accept there may be super beings invisible and unknowable to human perception, but also it’s better to suggest that you’re open to belief in the unknowable. That’s in part to calm the fears of those who recoil at the thought of atheism, and partly because I think it’s wise to realize that what never seems possible, happens all too frequently.