#RoboCon: Revisiting the 2008 Election Fraud

In light of this news from Elizabeth May, it may be worth re-reading these blog entries from 2012  and 2009. Duffy’s trial raised some damning information about the first infamous robocalls used to steal an election for the Conservatives in B.C.

And read Alison’s more recent recap. I certainly think that Duffy’s testimony should be taken seriously by investigators and charges should be pursued.

Head In The Tarsand

When an out of control fire roars toward you, it’s totally fine to stick your head (and the rest of you) into the sand, in a fireproof shelter preferably. After the fire passes, you’ve got to come out and ask what the heck happened, and why.

Facebook has been bustling with people talking about the tragic fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The partially razed city is the epicenter or Mecca of Canadian Conservative politics (not Calgary which is simply the more urbanized version of Fort Mac and area). It’s been booming for years and years, but with the glut of OPEC oil, and the resulting price slump, it’s been going bust. The ravages of fire are kicking a city that already is down and maybe on its way out.

The Politically Correct thing in Conservative western Canada is to not mention the fire’s connection to the global disaster For Mac is infamous for contributing to: climate change. For the love of dog, don’t you dare mention holding an opinion that we should use much much less oil. You might as well suggest someone breathe less deeply, when you see the insult on their face for having suggested it. After all, you breathe too, so why would you say such a thing?

Conservatives preach about “personal responsibility”, no? There are victims of crimes and perpetrators of them, and everyone else. In a crime against an oppressed demographic, observe how many people suggest her clothing was a contributing factor; personal responsibility, eh? Claiming the Fort Mac refugees are completely blameless for their economic situation is an affront to Conservative values and saying they don’t deserve compassion and help from government is an affront to socialist values. There’s a middle ground available somewhere between shutting up, and praying your heart out on Facebook.

Saying the fire is unrelated to politics and our economy is what politicized the tragedy.
Suggesting there is no cause also implies we can’t mitigate it to stop future evacuations.

The following is from Facebook, in response to some of these thought listed above.

Elizabeth Todd:The NDP government in Alberta just cut millions in forest fire budget. As SK did before our wildfires last year. When climate scientists have been predicting droughts and increased wildfires.

And to make up for the costs of these events our government made cuts to education and health care. This is just shitty planning that they can get away with because it is politically incorrect to talk root causes and how we plan to address issues. It is political that we are paying for climate change disasters with frontline workers, cuts to research chairs, and cuts to maintenance workers.

Its political to ignore the causes of these events. It’s also not very political, but very human to want to find out why something awful happened in order to prevent it from happening to more people.

The boreal and other forests around the world are burning like this, McMurray isn’t the exception, this is going to become the new rule if we don’t get serious about a transition to green energy.

And yes, it’s not really the workers in the patch, but they do tend to vote for oil politicians in droves and so do their families and communities because the oilfield companies frame environmental concerns as attacks on workers. Which is very effective.

And even if they don’t vote for oil politicians, the NDP is still promoting pipelines- infrastructure that guarantees decades of tar sands expansion.

Guilt is useless and a conversation around whether we- I myself, you over there- are dependent on fossil fuels doesn’t mean we have to consent to this kind of future or should feel guilty if we use the stuff. We are politically and economically hooked on it and our current state of politics has us debating whether our dependence on oil means we have to be ok with it, rather than planning the transition in our communities and demanding the government support these plans.

Its also just difficult to read about evacuees being hosted in Fort McKay and being surprised to learn that the First Nation there can’t drink their water due to fossil fuel development.

This moment of crisis goes back much further than the city of Fort McMurray burning and the moment we can move from a debate about whether we should have this debate, to a debate about what we are going to do about the issues will be the moment I actually believe that the chorus of people de-politicizing this moment actually give a damn about what happened to the people in McMurray.

Empathy without analysis and strategy is just charity. It wont stop the next blaze.

We could hold our comments about the destruction of another Canadian community in reverence of the families hurt, and for political correctness, or we could simply start talking about another tragedy contributed to by poor planning, budget cuts, and our non-renewable, fossil fuel economy driven global crisis. Lac Megantic, Slave Lake, La Ronge, which disaster shall it be if not the relevant one going on now in Fort Mac?

Trudeau on Forest Fire Tragedy

The Prime Minister spoke about forest fires’ connection to climate change at a community affected by a massive evacuation due in part to climate change.

“The reality of climate change is that we’re going to see more and more extreme weather events and we need to make sure that as a country we’re properly equipped to deal with these challenges.”

Trudeau said he expects a better collaboration between all levels of government on resources, training and funding when it comes to fires.

Fast forward a few months to this week.

Responding to comments made earlier, Trudeau said May’s suggestion that the disaster was “very related to the global climate crisis” was neither helpful, nor accurate. […]

“It’s well known that one of the consequences of climate change will be a greater prevalence of extreme weather events around the planet,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference.

“However, any time we try to make a political argument on one particular disaster, I think it’s a bit of shortcut that can sometimes not have the desired outcome. There have always been fires.

Yeesh.

The Trudeau government was also advised when it was sworn in last November that wildfires were getting worse. The bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada told their new minister, Jim Carr, that governments across the country hadn’t provided enough funding to help communities prepare for the worst.

The provincial, territorial and federal governments developed a Canadian Wildlands Fire Strategy in 2005, calling for “more resilient communities, improving fire management approaches to balance ecological integrity with protection of life and property, and implementing modern business practices.”

But Carr was told that governments didn’t invest enough money to support that strategy in the last decade.

“Governments remain supportive of the Strategy, but progress towards implementation over the past decade has been limited, primarily due to fiscal constraints,” said briefing notes, prepared for Carr.

“The frequency and severity of wild land fires have been trending upwards in the past few decades and summer 2015 was particularly severe. As a result, there have been calls from the public, communities and provinces for increased federal involvement in wildfire management.”

David Schindler, a University of Alberta scientist who studies the ecology of inland bodies of water, said there have been increasingly favourable conditions for forest fires in recent years. He noted that climate scientists have been predicting the increase in forest fires for at least a decade.

Despite the obvious drought conditions (we got almost no snow last Winter), the federal government wasn’t warning people of the extreme danger.

Wildfires briefing by mikedesouza
https://www.scribd.com/book/311550761/Wildfires-briefing

Hat tip to Daniel.

It’s Saskatchewan’s Election Day

I basically stopped writing about the Saskatchewan election on my blog following the hair pulling, anti-democratic decision by CBC and its consortium of TV broadcasters to block most party leaders from debating with Wall and Broten. So we’ll go another 4 years not knowing how those two shouty leaders behave when there are adults in the room with different political views and preferred methods of governing.

The campaign will not be memorable, as the media’s skewing of coverage can be summed up this way:

You could say the conservative media got what they set out to preserve. I hope they enjoy the next 4 years of more scandals and little positive change.

Saskatchewan Democracy’s Unsolved Problem Didn’t Fix Itself

Please show you support democracy in Saskatchewan.

Last Saskatchewan election, this happened instead thanks to our lackluster media ignoring the Greens who fielded a full slate of 58 candidates.

A snooze fest of a debate took place, and CBC couldn’t find anyone not involved in the broadcast who watched it. Basically it had the viewership my blog has on a Sunday morning.

I made some effort to fix the problem by showing the broadcasters there was public opposition to their method. Even newspaper columnists who usually have a rosy view of the world were disappointed in the prospects of the following four years.

Saskatchewan Royalty Is Oil?

The debate rages in Saskatchewan now about if federal money should go directly to oil companies and contractors capable of sealing defunct oil wells abandoned by irresponsible and ancient corporations. Those wells are left in the trust of our politicians, the people who tend to tell us that without oil jobs, Saskatchewan doesn’t amount to much.

Tucked away in our piggy bank is about $10 Million dollars, built up since 2007. I guess before then there was no plan to clean things up, or at least make those making the holes, pay for it. Wall’s savings are off by more than a factor of 10, because he wants over $156 Million to get the work done quickly.

Am I opposed to getting over a hundred million from the feds to clean up environmental disasters? Nope. Do I think taxpayers should bear the bulk of the burden? Heck no.

It’s clearly something oil companies both old and new should be doing for the rest of us, because of the reasons Scott lists in his video. Royalties should have been, and should now be paying for this sort of predictable mess. Budgeting of the past very clearly bequeathed this festering inheritance to us, and tough times in oil country are making it apparent just how much the Boomers and the Greatest Generation prepared for now.

Touted CCS Technology Not Working As Boasted About

SNC-Lavalin-built carbon capture facility has ‘serious design issues’: SaskPower
Despite conflicts, SaskPower gives SNC another multi-million dollar contract

Mind you, the fact there’s legal action in the cards hasn’t stopped SaskPower from awarding the firm a $4 million portion of the $45-million Island Falls Powerhouse Concrete Rehabilitation project.

Nor did a September 2014 SaskPower carbon capture briefing note, obtained by the NDP, which says SNC “is more concerned about getting paid for the 6.5 million than fixing the deficiencies of our plant.”

It goes on to note “very poor to no support from SNC Lavalin,” and “serious design deficiencies” in the project.

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh says “because there’s a contract dispute (with SNC) on one job, doesn’t mean we don’t use them on another job.”

I happen to work at the same university, the one primarily responsible for research that made Boundary Dam CCS possible:

Associate professor of marketing at the University of Regina, Lisa Watson, says “of course people are going to be upset” over the issues at Boundary Dam.

The bigger question, she says, is whether they should be.

The consumer push for more environmentally sustainable options and clean energy is a “major change” for government, she says, and perhaps people shouldn’t be upset when projects involving groundbreaking technology don’t go as planned.

Carbon capture has “huge potential, and if it was working properly, we’d be shouting from the rooftops,” she says, and “to not do it at all, I don’t think that’s the right thing.”

Premier Brad Wall touts Sask. carbon sequestration project
Some premiers are sitting out today’s climate change summit in Quebec City, but Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is there, talking up the province’s efforts to capture and store carbon dioxide.
[…]
Wall told an audience that the world needs to follow Saskatchewan’s example if there are to be serious reductions in greenhouse emissions.

I tried to find Brad Wall on a rooftop shouting to people about it, instead there is video of him on Sun News TV boasting about it to Brian Lilley, and more than a smattering of articles on the Web boasting about it.
“YouTube’s great, you can learn anything on YouTube.” – Premier Wall

Wall at Boundary Dam CCS

Boyd admits issues surrounding the plant have “a bit of a negative connotation,” adding “I think any time there’s losses, any time there’s problems, there’s certainly a degree of loss of confidence.”
On the other hand, he thinks taxpayers “would rather have SaskPower delivering power to them,” rather than the private power companies that operate in other jurisdictions.

Wow, neat way for Boyd to suggest the alternative to fixing SaskPower is only to ditch the Crown Corp and go with a rob-you-blind private power corporation instead. (The Saskatchewan Green Party is proposing converting SaskPower into a Crown Co-op instead.)

An aware commenter notes:

Myek O’Shea:

Holy spinning neckties Batman! Our loss of confidence is with Bill Boyd and those politicians that chose carbon sequestration over renewable energies. The Sask Party keeps green washing this sequestration turd as if we asked for it in the first place. Want to restore our confidence? Lets go 40% wind and solar by 2020. But on the other hand, maybe tax payers should waste their money on subsidizing the petroleum oligarchy. Oh and ‘groundbreaking’ here is a pun, nothing more.

There’s also the huge matter of SNC-Lavalin’s criminal charges. The Federal government stopped dealing with HP after a bribery conviction for that company.

More from Global News Regina.
“SaskPower says the project is now on target to be fully operational by the end of 2016.”

ADDED:
“Out of the more than 250 companies year to date on the World Bank’s running list of firms blacklisted from bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy, 117 are from Canada — with SNC-Lavalin and its affiliates representing 115 of those entries, the World Bank said. “