They may have discovered something – it was bull all along

April 22, 2019

When you’re on a roll it’s hard to stop, there’s always just that one more level to go, that one more shovel to unload.

In the past week we were bombarded with the message that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Even our Fisheries minister referred to “An Environment Canada report” this month found that Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average. Jonathan Wilkinson said with that in mind, the nation is a pre-cursor in seeing the effects of climate change, and said it should underline the urgency for action.

So with due diligence, off to the Environment Canada website, and would you believe it, there’s no such report on their page. I finally found it at www.changingclimate.ca. which falls under the Natural Resources department. The report is there, hidden under a Newsroom section. It makes claims that it says are scientific and then quotes a number of federal cabinet ministers spewing the party line.

When you look at the graphic at the top of this article and you see everywhere is reportedly warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, that’s an impossibility. But that's what governments do, they write reports.

The old saying that BS baffle brains is very appropriate here, especially in view that the purveyors of this diatribe are now actually blaming cow farts as a large part of the problem. They may have discovered something – it was bull manure all along.

The headlines are dire. Here as sample of a few of the hundreds of  links to supposedly legitimate news outlets blasting out this doomsday message. It’s the same message but the location is different.

Here's a sampling of some of them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/04/08/canada-is-warming-3-times-faster-than-the-united-states/#12f7012579fb

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/04/22/earth-day-colorados-climate-is-warming-faster-than-the-national-average/

https://news3lv.com/news/local/report-las-vegas-climate-is-warming-faster-than-any-other-city-in-the-nation

 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/02/ipcc-europe-warming-faster-global-average

 https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/europe/longyearbyen-doomsday-vault-climate-change-intl/index.html

 https://oceansgovernclimate.com/why-europe-is-warming-up-faster-than-elsewhere/

 Following are the headlines that have appeared in media over the years.

IPCC: Europe has been warming faster than the global average.

Global warming stretches sub-tropical boundaries.

The atmosphere is warming faster in sub-tropical areas than anywhere else in the world.

Northeast is warming faster than the global average: New York Post.

Spain warming faster than the rest of northern hemisphere: study.

Red Sea warming more than global average.

Weather service: South Africa warming faster than the global average trend.

Australia temperatures rising faster than the rest of the world: official report.

China warming faster than Global average.

China's heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Floods first, then drought: Tibet warming four times faster than China.

Parts of United States are heating faster than globe as a whole.

Where is all the money coming from for the bylection?

April 22, 2019

Voters probably don’t look at it that way, but the parties seem to be using the current byelection as a dry run for the real battle in October. Many voters sound like they’re tired of all the elections and could have done without this byelection.

The parties are taking it seriously, campaigning door to door like there’s no tomorrow, but there is a tomorrow – we’ll be doing the same thing in six months in the general election. And that involves a lot of moolah.

What piqued my interest was a directive April 3 from Jonathan Dickie, National Campaign Manager for the Green party of Canada. They seem to have a lot of that long folding green in their campaign account. “We‘ve already raised $150,000 for this campaign. We’re over halfway to meeting the goal Elizabeth set for us.” says Dickie.

Since the election cap for spending in the byelection is just over $120,000; the $300,000 target may already be for a war chest for the general election in October. 

In the same memo, Dickie also points to a large influx of hundreds of supporters from across Canada to campaign on behalf of the party. Do those hundreds decending upon Nanaimo-Ladymith get reimbursed for their expenses from campaign funds? Or are they volunteers living and travelling on grants from the various tax-deductible foundations which support the anti-oil and climate causes of the Green Party?

Be that as it may, we have to wonder whether the other parties are blowing their budgets now and won’t have any money left for the general election. That's doubtul, somehow the money always shows up. Nanaimo supporters have been hit in a civic election, a provincial byelection and now this federal byelection, followed by the October general election.

What Trudeau wouldn't give for a diversion like this

April 11, 2019

In big-time politics when you find yourself in deep water, simply change the subject, divert the narrative to something else, redirect to spotlight.

South of the border, in the good old USA, when the Muller Inquiry ended with a whimper, and no collusion between presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia, the Democrat party’s presidential nomination race was capturing the news spotlight along with the weaseling bleating after the Muller issue didn’t come out as they had planned. 

Oh, what to replace it with, what to capture the News At Six? 

Enter Julian Assange who has been a shadowy figure hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after he was charged with sexual misconduct in Scandinavia. After seven years he finally got on the nerves of embassy staff and the Eduadorian government, so they turned him over to British Police. Now he faces extradition proceedings to bring him to the U.S. where he’s wanted on charges of illegally exposing U.S. military secrets in collusion with a former U.S. soldier Bradley Manning who was posted in areas where secrets are kept.

Bradley Manning has become Chelsea Manning in the meantime, having already paid his/her debt to society with time in the crowbar hotel for revealing the secrets. (Being entitled as a soldier, Manning got a taxpayer-funded gender reassigment while in prison.)

Aha, collusion – turn on the flood lights, switch on the microphones. Who cares about the Democrats scampering around unsure if they want to become president president or only spew their socialist agenda? This one has all the things that people crowd around the TV set for, spying, government secrets, sex and even gender reassignment. 

The British legal system is notoriously slow when it comes to the extradition process, and we’re led to believe it could be up to a year before Assange finally sets foot on American soil. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to figure out that in one year from now the U.S. will be into the full press of its presidential election in November. No political strategist could write a better script than this – the spotlight will be on this and people won't obsess on Democratic presidential nomination campaign?

What wouldn't our own prime minister Justin Trudeau do to have an issue like this to change his present narrative?

What happened to accountability and transparency?

April 3, 2019

Remember the most-promised virtues candidates espoused in the last civic election not so long ago?

Accountability, openness and transparency come to mind. They were all going to live up to that, they promised.

Now that the restraining order legal matter with former CAO Tracy Samra has been dismissed, I wonder if there are any other legal matters between the city and Mrs. Samra. As well, are there any ongoing legal files involving the former Chief Financial Officer, Victor Mema. No confidential information, just a yes or no answer.

A request to the city’s chief administrative officer Jake Rudolph brought a reply that it would not be “appropriate” to provide that information. I am not aware of any statute in the Community Charter relating to appropriateness as it would apply to this request.

Earlier my cohort Brian Peckford asked the city for the legal costs of the tent city issue, and also the extra policing costs. The response from the city was that this involved solicitor-client privilege.

A retired lawyer and former long-time Island Mayor who is also the former president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities opined that argument does not apply, that information should be available. And he’s a former lawyer.

Accountability and transparency, big words but they should mean something. That brings me back to the question about any active legal files between the city and those two former employees. I’m not asking for details, but a simple yes or no.

So now we are left to wonder. Usually this type of answer means yes there are open files but they don’t want to admit it. Otherwise they would just say no.

 

COMMENT

Dominic Jones In general I agree that the new council is less open than the prior one. They don't seem to subscribe to the notion that the public needs to have all the information council has in order to understand their decisions. Too often they make decisions where it's obvious that they have reached consensus outside of the council chamber and with apparent disregard for the public meeting requirements. This started with some of their earliest decisions and has persisted. It's going to be a big problem for them later on.

However, neither instance you've referenced is all that surprising. Litigants, or potential litigants, typically shouldn't say anything outside of formal legal process. The legal costs issue is a little dubious, but there is some precedent if there is any pending litigation around tent city. 

Keep pressing them for information.
 

Byelection projection shows a three-way tossup

March 30, 2019

Here we go, the candidates are all in place for the Nanaimo Ladysmith byelection May 6 and it’s projected to be a barn burner. 

There will  be polling from now until byelection date and beyond, heading toward the Oct. 21 general election. Polls have not had a great track record recently, but combining the data from all polls could prove more accurate.

CalculatedPolitics.com is not a polling company, it projects likely election outcomes in each riding, using statistical methodology based on all publicly-available polling data. In other words, combining all the polls into a single one in hopes of getting the best over all picture.
Their latest report is from Thursday, March 28 and it shows a tight three-way race in which every single vote could affect the outcome. All parties will be burning the midnight oil getting out every possible vote. 

As of Thursday, The NDP has a one-point lead over the Green Party, which has a one-point lead over the Conservatives. The projected percentages show it’s a toss up.

NDP 28
Green 27
Conservative 26
Liberal 16
Other 3

Candidates have been canvassing door to door for some time and they are exuding confidence that they all have the winning formula. but one single misstep by one of the candidates, or a major event on the national scene could spell the difference on whom we send to Ottawa.

Needless to say, we will be keeping a very close eye on CalculatedPolitics.com to see any movement in support. And we'll report all developments to our readers.

 

March 29, 2019

Speaker won't get away with 
cover-up in the Legislature

Sometimes it is difficult to comment on issues – I strive to present a balanced argument and not go off the deep end. That's not possible with the events in the halls of government this week.

Don’t people use their brains any more?

It started Wednesday when a senior government staffer was told to cover her bare arms in the legislature hallway. She was wearing a blouse and was told to put on a jacket or not be in the hallway. 

The first reaction is “you’ve got to be kidding”. One would have thought we had progressed past the age of bustles and frilly lace collars.

There is a dress code in the Legislature, from another era. This obvious brain cramp came from the Serjeant at Arms office which oversees decorum in the Legislature. That office has had its challenges of late so you would think they would put their brains in gear before putting mouth in motion.

On top of that, Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau said on Twitter that one of her staff was told to wear a slip under her dress as it was clinging to her legs as she walked. Taking note of the cling of her skirt borders on voyeurism.

Speaker Darryl Plecas has reportedly ordered a review of the dress code, but he later appeared to favour the current guidelines. He was quoted as saying “Gender-neutral business attire generally constitutes layered clothing that includes covered shoulders. For an individual who identifies as a woman, this would typically include a business suit, dress with sleeves, or a skirt with a sweater or blouse.”

Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Speaker. There are better ways than cruising the Legislature hallways accosting women over how they dress. It boggles the mind that at a time when he and his office are under a cloud of fading credibility, he would go looking for trouble.

Candidates are ready to make their case for votes

March 24, 2019

Nanaimo-Ladysmith by election candidates are not letting any grass grow under their feet. The first candidate hitting the sidewalks after the by election call rang my doorbell at 11 a.m. Sunday morning – Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield.

The Conservatives’ John Hirst was quick with a direct message informing that the campaign is ready.

The party having the most catching up to do appears to be the NDP which has not selected a candidate and was reportedly not planning to until May 11. But when it comes to preparedness, the NDP appears to always be campaign ready. They have a rush job to do to determine between the two people interested in running under their banner. 

Bob Chamberlin is in his third, three-year term as vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs as well as an electred chief of an up-island First Nation. The other contender is Lauren Semple of Nanaimo.

Ordinarily the NDP would be seen as being in the driver’s seat at the start of this race, but that may not be the case. Nationally the party has shriveled in the polls and a number of their Members of Parliament have announced they will not run again. The list includes B.C. MP Murray Rankin, Alberta MP Linda Duncan, Ontario MPs Irene Mathyssen and David Christopherson, Quebec’s Helene Laverdiere, Romeo Saganash, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Anne Minh-Thu Quach and B.C.’s Fin Donnelly.

Green Party candidate Paul Manly has been ready for some time and we should be getting an update from him fairly quickly. He’s likely the one candidate who doesn’t have a huge hill to climb, he’s been ready for some time, and his message is unaffected by the goings on in Ottawa in the recent past. The question for Manly is can he build on the swell of support he gained in the federal election, almost tripling the party’s support.

People’s Party of Canada candidate Jennifer Clarke is the unknown other than she ran unsuccessfully for the Conservative nomination.

Liberal Corfield has a big challenge to say the least. Even though it’s not a local issue, she will have to overcome the shadow of the SNC Lavalin scandal and Prime Minister Trudeau’s deficit budgeting and growing debt.

For Conservative candidate Hirst, much will depend on his party’s national standing and popularity or lack thereof. He will also have to try to regain some 6,000 votes for the party that disappeared in the last general election.

 

March 17, 2019

The scenario has changed,
expect a federal byelection

Earlier assumptions that Prime Minister Trudeau would not call a byelection in Nanaimo Ladysmith since the federal election is in October have been swept away. The nomination of Michelle Corfield as the candidate for the Federal Liberals casts a whole new light on the political spectrum, making it likely that we’ll be getting a date soon.

This riding became vacant when Sheila Malcolmson stepped down to run for the NDP in a provincial byelection, which she won.

It really was not that far fetched to think we’d be saved having another two elections this year – a byelection and the October general election. There is really no rush to have an election here because one seat in Parliament either way cannot threaten the Liberal government. The only argument is that we’re not represented in Parliament at present.

On the other hand, we’re pretty experienced by now when you count last October’s civic election, the provincial byelection and now the federal byelection and the general election after that. Hopefully nobody creates a vacancy on city council or the school board in the meantime.

Corfield has established an excellent portfolio as a director and chairman of the Nanaimo Port Authority. She does not have to resign, she can take a leave of absence from that role, as have other directors in the past. Her bio has numerous other notable achievements to place before the voters.

The Liberals control the script on when to drop the writ, so nominating their candidate at this time pretty well signals a byelection in the near future. If there was any further confirmation needed, the first public opinion polls began on Sunday when we were asked, “If there were an election today, which party would you vote for”? The first choice trotted out was the Liberal party with the others following.

With their candidate now confirmed, the Liberals are as ready as they’ll get. But so are two other main parties – The Greens with Paul Manly and the Conservatives with John Hirst. No word from the NDP to date. Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada has named former school board candidate Jennifer Clarke as its candidate. 

Looking back at the 2014 general election, with revised electoral district boundaries, the NDP took 23,651 votes in winning it, even while getting 12 per cent fewer votes than in 2011. Malcolmson winning was not a real surprise, it was three other candidates who achieved what many thought was unexpected. Manly built the Green Party support to almost triple from the 2011 election, a better than 12-per-cent increase. That matched the NDP’12-per-cent loss of support while still winning.

Liberal Tim Tessier was a surprise, gaining almost 17 per cent, virtually the same as what Mark MacDonald lost for the Conservatives while finishing third.

Those comparisons were adjusted to allow for the boundary changes.

Tessier was unknown when he ran for the Liberals, Corfield is not unknown. Manly jumped from seven per cent in 2011 to almost 20 per cent in 2014. Depending on who the NDP candidate will be, it could be an interesting race.

Corfield and Manly are well known in the electoral district, both representing the parties that engineered the biggest gains in the last election. Hirst has a big task at hand.

Anyone up for putting up election signs before the end of May? You may well get your opportunity.

March 15, 2019

Government studying right-wing groups
but no word on left-wing organizations

The federal government is funding a study on right wing extremism. Any study of extremism should be welcome.

But the news story says will focus on the Yellow Vest Movement, which draws attention to job loss in Alberta as a result of government inaction on the oil industry. Albertan have legitimate concerns about job losses of 100,000. 

The study will probe right-wing extremism in Canada to better understand how it's taking shape across the country. Prof. Barbara Perry, a researcher at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, will examine why right-wing extremism movements emerge in communities across Canada, and what can be done to prevent them. The study will take three years, and has received $367,000 from the federal government.

Had the report of the study put the spotlight on extremism related to racism and fomenting hatred, that would have been palatable.

"We are particularly interested in the social context and environmental factors that are shaping the movement today," Perry said. The final product will be a national survey documenting beliefs, motivations, activities and connections of the right-wing movement to help policy makers, the intelligence community, law enforcement and community organizers prevent violence.

That statement alone demostrates the one-sided aim, demonstrating the predetermined bias in the study. It's one-sided at best.

When the Yellow Vests first launched their social media site it was obvious that it was being trolled and infiltrated by the anti-oil lobby, posting vile comments aimed at decreditting the Yellow Vests. And it worked, mainly because those trolls are experts at what they do. They do this all the time.

We can't just gloss over the classroom indoctrination of our children, being fed a constant menu of ideology, encouraging student walkout from classes and the like.

If there are two sides to every story, when can we expect a government-funded study on left wing extremism like that which is fuelling all and sundry semi-professional protest groups? Their zealotry on the climate delusion is much scarier than a bunch of Alberta truck caravaners. Those extremists are out in the wide open, appearing on your nightly TV news.

March 8, 2019

What the heck is going on here?

ONE OF THE ASTOUNDING facts related to the SNC-Lavalin scandal is that the chairman of the company Kevin Lynch is a former clerk of the privy council (2006-2009) and he has been talking about the issue with the present clerk of the privy council, Michael Wernick. Talk about conflict.

Lynch voiced his frustration to Wernick last October about the government’s refusal to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement, the Commons justice committee heard on Wednesday. Hollywood could not top this for intrigue.

TIMELINE of what is described as the biggest bribery scandal in Canadian history.

March 7, 2019

Public has a right to
know expenditures

We’re learning a lot about solicitor-client privilege these days, what with the scandal from the Prime Minister’s office. 

What can either side reveal when it comes to the inside of legalities in a particular case, especially when confidential information is involved that could influence the the outcome? Solicitor-client privilege may be well and good as it applies to legal details, but how wide a net can that cast?

There’s something disturbing when the City declines to disclose the costs for legal services related to the illegal homeless camp that was cleaned up at Port Drive in December.

A freedom of information request by the News Bulletin revealed how much the city has spent but did not disclose the cost of policing and legal fees. It’s public expenditures of public money. Though the legal details may fall under solicitor-client privilege, since when does that not include the costs of public funds?

If both added on to the city's expenditures, directly or indirectly, the public has a right to know.

I talked to a prominent lawyer who is also a former mayor and he agrees expenditures for legal services should be made public.

March 5, 2019

Now we know why spec tax
needed your SIN number

Many people questioned why the province needed people's social insurance numbers with their speculation tax exemption applications. Now we have the answer.

Paul has owned his home for 21 years and has lived in it all along, and never rented it. He just got a whopping $1,471 tax bill from the B.C. Finance Ministry under the speculation tax program. 

Many people complained but paid little attention to one other question about filing your income tax. What the heck, that’s federal, it should have nothing to do with the provincial speculation tax, right?

Paul has been unemployed for some time and has not filed income tax. He’s had no income, he’s been living off his savings. The first question that would raise, how would provincial bureaucrats know that?

When Paul tried to launch an appeal to the finance ministry he was informed the province’s computer system is linked to the federal income tax department and they can check up on your income tax record, using your social insurance number.  

When the program was rolled out by B.C. Finance Minister Carole James she said there would be an appeal process. However, Paul was not offered any options by department officials other than to file his income tax. There apparently is no appeal other process available. 

Paul knows he has to file his income tax, it’s the far-reaching arm of Big Brother that should raise alarm bells. So far, Paul has been unable to find a way to get the $1,471 tax bill cancelled.

After numerous comments on social media, this is not about someone not filing income tax, this is what happens when someone doesn't follow the rules. 

Politicians so often are too full of themselves, trying to play out of their league.

It was refreshing to see Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne with some wise words for municipal politicians as his city council voted against banning single-use plastic bags. Advice well worth emulating by others at council tables. 

His Worship said he has a real problem with council getting involved in issues not pertaining to the city. “As soon as you do this you’re opening a can of worms, where does it stop? My view on this is if it was a major issue then the feds and the provincial governments need to take action, not municipalities,” the mayor said.   

Amen to that!

How journalism has been led astray

FEb 22, 219

Journalism that sets the agenda
"From subtle policy points to fighting words, our opinions are a click away."

This promotional message for subscriptions sales, posted by the Chicago Tribune, clearly spells out what has happened to journalism. News media can not be allowed to "set the agenda" but rather just report on the issues.

Advocacy is not journalism.

Feb. 10, 2019

Opportunity knocks as never before. The "Green New Deal" proposed by some of our American neighbors is a gold mine for Canada. Let your imagination wander at this good news for opponents of pipelines on Canadian soil. We won't need to worry about them any more. All Albertans can rejoice, happy days are here again.

Never asleep at the switch when it comes to new opportunities, Canadians are always looking for opportunities. Secret talks are doubtlessly under way between U.S. Defence officials and Canada, to access all Alberta fossil fuel production and have it used up right in Alberta, with no need for pipelines to the West Coast, or oil tanker traffic in our waters.

Newly-elected representatives in the U.S. Congress are pushing what they call a Green New Deal for the complete elimination of all fossil fuels within 10 years – no oil-motorized equipment, including aircraft, would be able to fuel up in the U.S. Their defence officials should be examining a move of all Air Force operations to Central Alberta for direct access to fuel to power the military machinery.

That could also include ground forces which rely heavily on fossil fuels. Since oceans are international waters, the U.S. Navy would still be able to ply those waters, but would have to find gas stations to fuel up. Ouch, that would mean a pipeline from Alberta after all, to fuel those ships, and they would be transiting through our waters, including tankers to fuel the ships. 

Look at all the extra carbon-tax revenue that would generate for our country. We might even be able to pay off our governments' collective debt.

In the immediate future, the solar and wind energy switch over will create endless opportunities for Canadian business to build solar panels and windmills. Remember, it takes fossil fuels to build that infrastructure and maintain it. Same with electric cars – GM may be able to keep it’s Canadian plant open, producing millions and millions of electric vehicles.

Air Canada and Westjet are also looking at the opportunities when flights originating in the U.S. are grounded due to a fuel ban. Unboubtedly, Canadian politicians are looking at expanding bike lanes to the U.S. to bring Americans to Canadian airports. The opportunities are endless. Or think of convoys of electric golf carts by the millions transporting Americans to our airports.

The New Green Deal also includes a guaranteed wage for those who cannot work and those who don’t want to work. This is only a partial list, think of all the possibilities. We could even revive the pogo stick industry.

The biggest challenge is who would pay for the inevitable wall that would have to be constructed on the Canada-U.S. border. We'll just get the Americans to pay for it.

And we can say please and thank you more often than we already do.

Merv Unger is a retired Canadian journalist with too much time on his hands.

COMMENT HERE – Editor@nanaimonet.com

 

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