Ford, Scheer and Kenney deliver flapjacks and havoc at Calgary Stampede

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer flips pancakes at 2019 Cenovus Family Day Breakfast. Photo: Andrew Scheer/Flickr
Photo: Andrew Scheer/Flickr

How fitting that the wrecking crew that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney dubbed the “Gang of Five” met at the Calgary Stampede where they sported cowboy hats and jeans, flipped pancakes for the cameras and fumed about the federal carbon tax.

If this group, which included Ontario’s Doug Ford, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs and Bob McLeod of the Northwest Territories, were a middle-aged-man band, I’d dub them The Flapjacks.

Flap because of all the ideology they spout; jack because they know — or care — nothing about the havoc they are wreaking on the planet and people in the name of “prosperity.”

And so it was apt that they gathered at Calgary’s annual yahoo and rodeo show because it is likely the cruelest entertainment and “cultural” event since all those circuses of bullwhipped lions, tigers and elephants left town for good.

Animal rights groups have complained for decades that chuckwagon races, steer wrestling, bronco riding and calf roping not only panic and terrify the animals, they have killed about 100 of them — just since 1986.

Panicking and terrifying people seem to be what the gang’s ideology — and, in particular, Ford and Kenney’s — are all about.

Obviously, having just over a year under his “Premiers Stampede Breakfast” apron, Ford is winning the race to the bottom with his education and health-care cuts, his assaults on Toronto and crony-riddled government. Among other hardship-inflicting moves, there’s also his attack on the modern sex-education curriculum, the cancellation of almost 1,000 alternative energy initiatives, and even axing a 50-million tree-planting initiative to hold back climate change.

But hey, Ontarians will now have access to alcohol anytime, anywhere — although that buck-a-beer thing turned out to be pure B.S.

Which, like H.S., is all over the Stampede grounds.

One can easily predict where Kenney’s United Conservative Party is headed now that he, like Ford, has rolled back minimum wage increases, attacked the LGBTQ community and declared war on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He has even set aside a $3-million war chest to do battle against critics of the tarsands.

(On a personal note, I was targeted right after he became premier when he responded to my tweet about National Geographic magazine calling Alberta’s tarsands “the world’s most destructive oil operation” by pointing out that I was a “former Toronto Star journalist.” Which I am. But his point was …?)

Meanwhile, Ford, whose government is on a five-month sabbatical lest it further jeopardizes federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s chances of becoming prime minister, is not lying low at his cottage. From the Stampede, he went on to Saskatchewan to attend a premier’s conference.

Mind you, Scheer is doing a pretty good job already of losing support, at least if the most recent polls are to be believed. And yes, he too turned up at the Calgary hoedown, after which Kenney posted on his Instagram account, “We are united in stopping the Trudeau-NDP agenda.”

So anyway, at the Stampede, Ford joined his fellow band members to sing from the same blue songbook of building more pipelines across Canada.

And, when he faced reporters for the first time since his MPs quit Queen’s Park, he was visibly irritated by questions about the patronage controversy back home. Dismissing queries about questionable appointments as nothing more than journalists getting “into the weeds,” he declared that voters simply don’t care. Instead, he mounted his favourite hobbyhorse to ride herd on the debt and deficit that the Liberals left behind, insisting: “that’s what the people of Ontario worry about; they don’t worry about the stuff that the media worries about.”

But they probably also care about cuts to regional libraries, supports for autistic children and their families, school class sizes, the elimination of cancer screening programs, loans to university students, improving Toronto’s transit system, allowing developers to run amok and more untrammelled ideological stampeding.

Which is why the Calgary setting was so appropriate for Scheer, Ford and Kenney.

These horseman of the climate apocalypse are, as floodwaters rise and fields and forests burn, intent on inflicting cruelty not just on their constituents but on every living being on Earth. SOURCE

Scheer promises to scrap clean-fuel standard

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, attends a Stampede breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he would scrap new standards that will force cleaner-burning fuels in addition to eliminating the federal price on carbon if his Conservatives win the fall federal election.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning, Scheer surmises the new standards, due to take effect on liquid fuels like gasoline in 2022, could increase the cost of gas by at least four cents a litre in addition to the national price on carbon.

Scheer’s letter brands these new fuel standards as a “secret fuel tax” and calls for Trudeau to scrap them.

The clean-fuel standard is meant to reduce overall greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 million tonnes a year, a portion of the nearly 200 million tonnes Canada has to cut to meet its commitment under the Paris climate-change accord.

Scheer says he would get rid of the fuel standard as well as the carbon tax if he is elected prime minister.

The fuel standard was first promised three years ago but final a draft of the regulations isn’t expected until 2020. SOURCE


Green technology will not save us

Putting our faith in technology alone to fight climate change is mistaken.

Image result for justin trudeau andrew scheerIn our climate emergency, technology alone is not a panacea.

Technology, not taxes. That’s how Canadian conservatives plan to fight climate change. Their long-awaited proposal — unveiled last week — promises plenty of fiscal goodies for going green. Under the plan, companies could see hefty cuts in corporate taxes for using eco-friendly technology while homeowners could receive thousands of dollars in tax credits for adopting energy efficient products. Conservatives say these measures will help Canada meet its emissions targets (the country is signatory to the Paris climate agreement), move the global needle on climate action, and establish Canada as an environmental leader.

One thing the proposal won’t do is tax Canadians. “Our plan does not have a carbon tax,” the 60-page write-up emphatically states. That position clashes with the ruling Liberal government — and the governments of 40 other countries — who see carbon pricing as the best way to fight climate change. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls the move, “putting a price on pollution”. Trudeau’s conservative rival disagrees with punitive taxes. At a rally last week, Andrew Scheer told supporters, “conservatives fundamentally believe that you cannot tax your way to a cleaner environment.” For Scheer, the real solution to reversing climate change “lies in technology”, which should be encouraged via tax subsidies.

Scheer’s position has some merit. A recent United Nations report found energy-efficient technology could — on an annual basis — cut 25 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, 17 million tons of particular matter (linked to respiratory illness), and three billion tons of human-toxic waste. Sensors and software could also improve the energy efficiency of buildings, homes and cabins by up to 50 per cent, reduce metal consumption by up to 75 per cent and save precious natural resources, like water and land, by 200 billion cubic meters and 150,000 square kilometres respectively.

Renewable energy: a thermo-solar power plant. World Bank/Dana Smillie

But that not the whole story. The UN also warns that using green technology may be less beneficial (and in some cases, more harmful) than expected. It’s called the rebound effect – instances where technologically-driven advances in energy efficiency increase, rather than decrease, consumption leading to net-zero (or worse) emissions. For example, because electric cars cost less to run, consumers may drive them further and more often which wipes out the eco-advantage these vehicles have over their gasoline-powered counterparts. According to the Breakthrough Institute, a research centre that promotes tech solutions for environmental and human challenges, this effect means that “for every two steps forward we take in energy savings through efficiency, rebound effects take us one (and sometimes more) steps backwards.” This may erode up to 50 per cent of the eco-benefits promised by green technology by 2030, according to a paper by Barker, Dagoumas and Rubin.

Consumer behaviour affects energy efficiency in other ways, particularly at home. For example, British researchers have found buildings designed to save energy don’t always perform as expected, “partially because occupants behave in more complex ways than designers account for; they open windows, leave doors open, generate body heat, keep tropical fish tanks and install plasma TV screens”. To put it simply, buildings don’t use energy — people do. And predicting what people will do is notoriously difficult. A family must insulate their home to save energy only to then use those savings on buying home appliances that use even more energy.

This reality undercuts the idea that economic prosperity and climate action can — thanks to technology alone — go hand-in-hand. MORE


EU clarifies funding scope for CO2 capture technology

An Early Voter’s Guide to Trudeau (Bad) and Scheer (Worse)

“Voters may suspect the Shiny Pony is phoney. But if they think that makes Andy dandy, they have forgotten something. Answered prayers are often a special brand of nightmare. Could it be time for change with risk? Could it be time to elect a government committed to saving the planet, rather than four bucks on a fill-up of gas?”

Don’t let negative partisanship trick you into backing Harper lite.

ScheerPlatformComic.jpgCartoon by Greg Perry.
Nothing the Conservatives have done so far has been remotely as effective in that cause [to elect a Conservative federal government this October] as Trudeau’s remarkable, and mystifying, blundering.

Take the environment. Everyone wants to claim this baby, but no one wants to raise it. Trudeau began as the champion of the blazing issue of our times. But these days, the prime minister looks less like the climate guy from Paris than he does a Texas oil man with gushers on his mind. When he gives the green light to the Trans Mountain pipeline in June, that impression will only deepen.

Apart from his much-ballyhooed carbon tax, there is not much to celebrate on this file, despite all the right words and excellent photo-ops. As Canada stumbles towards missing the modest emission targets of Paris, Stephen Harper’s targets, this PM acts more like Jason Kenney than David Suzuki.

 As disappointing as Trudeau has been to many voters, the traditional alternative, the official Opposition, is far, far worse.

Trudeau overpays for a pipeline carrying dirty oil through pristine rivers and forests in British Columbia;

He exempts certain tarsands projects from new environmental assessment rules in a crude trade-off with Alberta;

He considers loosening restrictions on the pollution of major rivers with toxic effluent from tarsands tailing ponds;

He allows the unregulated use of seismic blasting to explore for oil and gas on Canada’s east coast, right whales be damned;

And he has nothing to say about a pulp and paper mill building a 10-kilometre pipe to carry and dump hastily treated toxic effluent into prime fishing grounds in the Northumberland Strait. MORE

Andrew Scheer Told Anti-Abortion Group He’d Let Conservative MPs Reopen the Abortion Debate


“I’ve always voted in favour of pro-life legislation”


Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants Canadians to have “absolute confidence” he will never reopen the abortion debate, even though he said the exact opposite when he was running for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

After Alabama and several other Republican-controlled US states moved to pass draconian anti-abortion laws that criminalize abortion and jail doctors, Scheer’s Conservatives were quick to distance themselves from their American cousins.

“I’ve made it very, very clear,” Scheer told reporters last week when he was asked if he would reopen the abortion debate.

“Canadians can have absolute confidence that a Conservative government after the election in October will not reopen this issue.”

There’s just one small problem, of course — Scheer gave a very different answer to an anti-abortion group when they asked him the same question about reopening the abortion debate.

During the 2017 Conservative leadership race, Scheer sat down for an interview with the anti-abortion group RightNow who asked him if he’d allow Conservative MPs to table private members bills targeting abortion as well as permit backbenchers and cabinet ministers to vote freely on anti-abortion legislation.

Scheer said yes. MORE


Scheer talked energy policy with Imperial Oil boss at posh Ottawa fundraiser

Even With Fewer Seats, Justin Trudeau Should Try To Form Minority: Elizabeth May


Image result for elizabeth mayGreen Party Leader Elizabeth May says not enough is being done to tackle climate change, and the future is at risk if that doesn’t change.(Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Elizabeth May has high hopes for the 2019 federal election.

OTTAWA —  If the 2019 election ends up in a minority situation but the Tories have the most seats, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May thinks the Liberal government should try to form a new  government with support from other parties.

In an interview with HuffPost Canada’s politics podcast ‘Follow-Up,’ May said that if the campaign results in a hung Parliament, “yes, of course” the party in power should try to convince the governor general that they can hold the confidence of the House.

“We’re now up to 17 elected Greens across Canada. And that’s pretty cool.”

May thinks the party’s support is due in part to the public’s increasing concern over climate change but also to “a general disillusionment with the idea that any of the old three parties tend to disappoint and will say one thing in an election and something else afterwards.”

“I don’t think that, you know, adherence to ignorance is really something that encourages voters to support you.”
—Elizabeth May

She remains concerned that support for her party could swing back to the Liberals or the NDP during a campaign when voters are told a vote for the Green candidate would indirectly help elect a Conservative member. But she’s hopeful “fear factor voting” has prompted enough voter remorse that Canadians will feel free to vote for candidates they believe in.

What’s more, May said, is that while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer may represent the same policies as former prime minister Stephen Harper, he is less polarizing a figure. Not that she thinks he should become prime minister. She calls him “unfit to govern” due to his position on climate change. MORE


History will judge ‘reckless, even criminal’ politicians ignoring climate change crisis: Elizabeth May

The war on women is still on


Planned Parenthood rally. Photo: American Life League/Flickr

On Wednesday, in the wake of the majority vote by 25 white Republican men in the senate of one of the most impoverished states in the U.S., #AlabamaAbortionBan was trending both south and north of the Canadian border. Also trending, #Talabama.

That’s because the Alabama abortion ban is one of the most draconian revocations of women’s rights since women won the vote, a ban that would force even 11-year-old victims of rape and incest to carry to term.

As for Ontario Premier Doug Ford, he just couldn’t deal with the topic. He ducked NDP MPP France Gélinas during question period by tapping one of his ministers, who also dodged the question by talking about — what else? — the “job-killing, regressive carbon tax.”

Later, Ford’s office issued a statement saying “the government will not re-open the abortion debate.”


Meantime, in Alberta, Jason Kenney got the blessing of anti-choice groups in his successful run for the premier’s post. And, although he too has said he won’t re-open the debate, recall that he was the founder of the “Pro-Life Caucus” on Parliament Hill. What’s more, he appointed Adriana LaGrange, the former president of Red Deer Pro-Life, as his education minister.

So the war on women is still on and my side is still losing.

We don’t have equal pay. Lawmakers are trying to strip us of the right to control our bodies. And, when we do make babies, we have little access to safe and affordable child care. It’s no wonder there are so many struggling single mothers and children who go hungry — in Canada, in 2019.

It’s obvious, let women work and everybody profits, and that includes government coffers via taxation. It’s been proven in Quebec.

But in Ontario, Ford has cut child-care centres’ general operating funding, which helps pay child-care workers, by $40 million. He has also slashed the capital funding portion, which is used to build new centres, by $93 million, leaving only $10 million in the kitty. That’s a full-frontal assault on women’s rights, and a short-sighted one as well.

This week, Oxfam Canada urged federal parties to put publicly funded child care on the ballot. Citing a 2017 International Monetary Fund study, Oxfam reported that a 40 per cent reduction in child-care costs would result in 150,000 highly educated stay-at-home mothers entering the workforce. This would increase Canada’s GDP by two percentage points, or $8 billion a year.

But there’s little chance this will happen, even in another “feminist” Justin Trudeau government. (Remember years and years of child-care promises by the federal Liberals in the ’90s?) But at least Trudeau openly stands firm on abortion rights.

As for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, there’s no chance at all. In fact, given his “pro-life” beliefs, even abortion rights are at risk. In Canada, the war on women is escalating, but slowly and stealthily, as Conservative governments form majorities across the country. MORE


The Global Legacy of Quebec’s Subsidized Child Daycare