Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Tom Korski nicely captures the essence of the Cons' omnibus attack on the environment (along with anything that stands in the way of a cheap and dirty buck):
C-38 is a gift for oil and gas lobbyists.
It repeals 20 years of environmental case law; it eliminates some 90 per cent of all federal environmental assessments, by one estimate; it tilts the rules for industry where studies are unavoidable; it deliberately fails to define “significant effect” of industrial projects. Might that be, say, a tailings pond in a lake? An open pit mine on a trout stream? “That omission is deliberate,” one lawyer told me. “Once you define ‘significant effect,’ you have to start saying ‘no.’ ”
No one can explain what vexing environmental problem C-38 aims to solve. One federal study rated Canada as second only to Chile with the fewest environmental barriers to investment—and that was before C-38...
Who wrote C-38?
The authorship is anonymous, though it is worth noting Lobbyist Registry records show Cabinet members had 81 meetings with oil and gas lobbyists before the bill was introduced.  The meetings were private. Joe Oliver hosted lobbyists 44 times. Asked once who complained about environmental assessments, Oliver told a reporter: “When I was in China – and I’ve been there a couple of times, once with the prime minister, we heard that there was a tremendous interest on the part of Chinese investors in Canadian projects.…However, they were concerned about the delays they have seen.”
So, Parliament repealed its own environmental practices to please Sinopec directors in Beijing.
- Meanwhile, David Climenhaga laments the fact that our sad track record of regular oil spills hasn't had much impact on public perceptions. But if anything, I have to wonder whether C-38 may help to change the tendency to move on from what are otherwise perceived as unconnected incidents by providing an obvious framework for future reporting.

- Miles Corak points out yet another vital piece of Statistics Canada research being shredded by the Cons - this time the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics which traces individual labour status over time. And it surely can't say much for where the Cons expect Canadians to be in the years to come if they're looking to destroy the information that would allow us to answer the question, "are you better off now than before we took power?".

- Finally, pogge highlights yet another example of how "free trade" agreements in fact serve to do nothing but prioritize corporate demands over the public interest.

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