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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Good grief

This CP story about Rona Ambrose's Kyoto enthusiasm is troubling. And with Canada's Natural Resources minister being a trial lawyer from Vancouver Island, with no connection or experience in the industry, there seems to be no natural cabinet counterweight to Ambrose's burst of regulatory enthusiasm.

This is an important file to watch, and a key test will be whether or not the Tories repeal the scientifically absurd Liberal regulation that deemed carbon dioxide a "toxic chemical", as a prelude to their $200/ton carbon dioxide tax proposal.

It could be that this CP wire story is confusing the reporter's own ideas with Ambrose's; a careful look at her words does indeed show that she has big "plans"; but whether those plans are voluntary for industry, or whether they are Kyoto-style government regulations and taxes remains to be seen. The idea of "markets" to trade hot air credits is, of course, absurd -- it's an attempt to dress up government regulation in free market drag. There is no natural "market" for the right to exhale carbon dioxide, a harmless gas. It is not something that companies would naturally pay for. It's a forced carbon tax trying to get by under a different name.

I'm worried that Ambrose has more enthusiasm than judgment and experience in the Kyoto file, and will be be easily "managed" by  ideological bureaucrats in her department, Peter MacKay-style.

Posted by Ezra Levant on February 25, 2006 | Permalink


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Let's follow the chain of assumptions that the Kyoto protocol hangs from: if the earth's atmosphere is warming and if the warming is unusual and if the main cause of that unusual warming is industrial CO2 emissions, and if nothing is going to happen that would offset this warming and if a warmer atmosphere is bad for the planet, then we should try to do the things that are prescribed in the Kyoto protocol.

Would that help? Even the proponents of the Kyoto protocol admit that its full implementation would make no noticeable difference to global temperatures over the balance of this century. Kyoto won't work, by the admission of its own authors.

But hey, at least we would be doing something symbolic at a great cost. Now THAT's wise...

Posted by: Halfwise Halfwit | 2006-02-25 9:50:08 AM

Nothing controversial, remember we have a minority government. We wouldn't want to unleash the rantings of the slackers of the MSM who make a living parroting junkscience. We must build coalitions using mushy logic between fact and fiction.

Usually in business, if under new management, a change has not been made from the previous management within two years, the previous condition becomes that of the present. Politics isn't that different.

For my friends who argue for incrementalism, I suggest they look at the Czech Republic versus Russia as a case study in rapid versus incremental reform respectively.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2006-02-25 11:08:51 AM

I doubt if former PM Chretien paid much attention
to the Kyoto Protocol - he delegated authority to
Minister Anderson and his bureaucrats, and went back to staring off in space. Although there might be some movement on the file by Harper, I
agree it is about two (or three) years away. It does not appear to have any real political momentum in Canada (or the US for that matter).
One thing for sure, the current new Natural Resources Minister must have nerves of steel to sit on the Fisheries and Oceans Committee. Fact is of course, with the exception of certain high profile Ministers, the senior bureaucrats run the
government of Canada, and have since the days of Lester "Mike" Pearson, who himself after all, was
a veteran bureaucrat.

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-02-25 11:56:06 AM


FEB 24-- (Newark, New Jersey)- , Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division, announced today that the DEA New Jersey Division, along with the Canada’s RCMP had arrested 1 Canadian national in Victoria, British Columbia Canada for importation of crystal methamphetamine. The defendant, Douglas J. Sharples, a 35-year-old, was arrested at his residence without incident on Thursday, February 23, 2006 by the RCMP. This arrest was in concert with a joint federal narcotic investigation that involved crystal methamphetamine sold over the internet. The DEA New Jersey Division utilized an undercover agent to purchase high purity crystal methamphetamine from Sharples. The DEA undercover purchased several times from Sharples utilizing the internet and Sharples packaged and mailed the crystal methamphetamine to New Jersey. Acting SAC Collier stated “The internet is a tool for the 21st century drug trafficker…however; we at the DEA will continue to be vigilant against all e-traffickers that try to conceal their illegal activity by using the internet as a safe haven. Furthermore, the public should be warned that this drug has extremely anti-social implications.” Arrested on 02-23-2006, was the following defendant: Douglas J. Sharples, DOB: 01-24-1971, 507-1010 View Street, Victoria BC, Canada Defendant Sharples will be appearing in Victoria provincial court for a first appearance and scheduling of a bail hearing. Further, Sharples is awaiting an extradition hearing to the United States on federal importation charges. The investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The complaint charges the defendant with importation. If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of LIFE imprisonment and a statutory minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a $4. million dollar fine.


Posted by: MABUMBA | 2006-02-25 1:27:09 PM

• A woman kicked my car and did $700 damage. I phoned police to file a complaint. Two days later, an officer from the gang unit called me back to tell me I should have the car fixed and "move on." And this is justice? Edmonton Journal Monday, February 20, 2006

bad lazy no good cops in Alberta too now

Posted by: REAL ABUSE | 2006-02-25 1:32:11 PM

Port Mouton, N.S. man arrested, charged with sex offences PORT MOUTON, N.S. (CP) - RCMP have arrested a 58-year-old male from Port Mouton and charged him with numerous sex offence charges involving a 13-year-old girl. Police in the south shore community say the offences date back to 2003. Family Children Services in Queens County brought the complaint to the RCMP on Feb. 9. The man will appear in court in Liverpool, N.S., on March 21 to enter a plea. The name of the man charged wasn't released. NOR HIS POLITCAL AFFLIATION, He is likley a liberal.

Posted by: Liberal | 2006-02-25 1:34:58 PM

Richard Bronstein of the province of Alberta had his newspaper, the Jewish Free Press (JFP), publish four of the Danish cartoons
Bronstein, publisher of the JFP, has yet to hear from the police for the police came to him when he turned over to them a phone recording of a death threat from a man with a noticeable eastern European accent who warned him to watch his back. Yeah Muslims in Alberta, canada too are peace livigjn persosn , hust watch your back?

Posted by: Watch your back | 2006-02-25 1:37:57 PM

More Grief

So, the auto insurance premium freeze is ending, which means all of the rate levels and rates based on age are supposed to change over time.

Any excuse for a big Albertan insurance increase.

and what about now having a valid real consumer protection too in Alberta Ralph?

Posted by: Insured | 2006-02-25 1:41:05 PM

OTTAWA — Passenger screeners at Canadian airports say an increase in unruly travellers, insufficient training and confusing rules have made it difficult to keep the skies safe. A frequent complaint from the front-line airport workers who inspect passengers and carry-on baggage was a growing lack of respect from the flying public. ‘‘Screening officers noted that there is a rise in unruly passengers and verbal abuse directed towards screening officers from both passengers and non-passengers,’’ says the summary of a September meeting with 50 Winnipeg airport employees. ‘‘ They feel as though they are treated as third-class citizens.’’ A synopsis of sessions in Calgary last August with more than 100 screeners said participants ‘‘noted that they needed better training to do their jobs well.’’ They likley stressed they neededa course on not just how to use firearms, but more paid for by the government guns, ammuntion for the job too.

Posted by: Yahooed | 2006-02-25 1:46:22 PM


One summer afternoon in 2004, two men tried to force their way into the home of Sam Van, a 51-year-old contractor who emigrated to Canada from Vietnam in 1979. They claimed to be "investigators"; Mr. Van didn't believe them and called 911, but had trouble explaining the situation because of his poor English. Within minutes, Mr. Van alleges, the police turned up, forced their way inside, handcuffed him and administered a beating. Mr. Van lodged a complaint with the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, which has yet to hear the case. But there's no doubt reforms are needed. In 2004, retired judge Patrick LeSage was appointed by Queen's Park to investigate the failings of the civilian oversight process. He recommended wholesale changes. His report, released last April, slammed the current system as "flawed" and highlighted the lack of public outreach, accessibility and "systemic barriers" that prevent individuals -- some of whom may have a legitimate grievance -- from going to police stations to file complaints.

Posted by: SAM | 2006-02-25 1:51:52 PM

From now on folks, if you want an RCMP or a Silly servant to be on your doorstep as soon as he/she can get there; report a Cigarette smoker for lighting up almost anywhere!
This week in Whitehorse, Yukon, we have been harassed in every pub and public event by two silly servants trailed by two RCMP (they work in foursomes -the better to intimidate the criminals - the tobacco smoker is a DANGEROUS felon)) about every two hours in every single place. Slamming fines in the criminal's faces with glee and rigor; they terrorize EVERY smoker of tobacco who Dares to light up. It is our Winter Festival week here and the City is intent on filling the coffers at the expense of people who do not know about the "LAW" enacted by the city last Tue. If a kid is overdosing or a drunk driver is killing a pedestrian or someone is knifed by the river, nothing much will happen for hours or weeks BUT if you dial the city and tell them someone is smoking a cigarette in a public place the silly city servants AND the R.C.M.P. arrive in minutes!! A brigade - all at your expense, BTW, since the Yukon is totally dependant on Federal transfer payments for spending money - will be there eager to enforce, with fanatical stringency, the LAW. No smoker will escape the men?/women in red and blue, they will get their money er man! By default they will arrive in a timely manner if a real crime has been committed.
Maybe this is the route to follow down south also, from reading about the 'smoke patrol' in Sask and B.C. and Ont., I suspect that it would work there . Sorry for you in Alta, civilized laws have their limits.
We must learn to be innovative or nothing of any importance will ever be addressed. BTW the fine here is 100 dollars for the criminal actually smoking and 500 - 5000 dollars for the person paying the taxes on the structure ( I cannot say 'owner' because ownership in Kanadar is a myth in every aspect but taxation). Now that is incentive. I don't know what the 'cut' is for the public servants.
My legal tip for the day. Free.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-02-25 9:42:39 PM

The RCMP do still have to live up to their Mickey Mouse image, mascot for they like Mickey Mouse are now not real professionals, just more bad cops.

Posted by: Sad. | 2006-02-25 11:40:29 PM

Kyoto and Voodoo - both require faith in doomsayers and the scientific basis for each is equivalent - except the Kyoto priests will be sticking the pins into average Canadians.

Environmentalists should live their dreams and commit suicide to save the planet, perhaps take some Muslims with them - it would save the rest of us having to listen to their snivelling protests of humanity.

Posted by: simpleton | 2006-02-26 12:02:59 AM

Kyoto's proponents have apparently never heard of "opportunity cost". For a fraction of the money required to implement its ineffective reductions in CO2, we could do real work towards reducing conventional pollutants with real, proven negative effects.

But logic has long since departed the environmental realm. It's now a moral and philosophical campaign more than anything else.

Posted by: dr_dog | 2006-02-26 11:07:20 AM

More studies have been released in the past month that show further evidence of global warming. The fact remains that the vast majority of scientists belive that climate change is a reality, and that CO2 emissions must be reduced. It's a very tiny minority of scientists and pundits who believe that climate change is a hoax. And, interestingly, most of them are funded by large oil companies.

You have to consider the motivations behind those who question climate change science. The fact remains that those who deny climate change stand to gain financially, while environmentalists gain nothing. Why should I believe Encana, Imperial, the Alberta government or any other individual or organization that gains financially by polluting with impunity? Moreover, why should I NOT believe a scientist who gains nothing by informing the world that there are consequences to CO2 emissions?

I simply do not understand people who have such a hatred for the natural world. Everything we depend on comes from the natural world, and I can't imagine why anyone would not want to ensure the viability of earth and its ecosystems. Greed and selfishness, I suppose.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-26 1:37:00 PM

newsjunkie: I don't agree that we should judge an argument solely based on who is making it (possibly an "Appeal to motive" fallacy). However, if you choose to do so, you should at least consider that this sort of thing goes both ways.

For instance, many of the scientists who favour Kyoto have vested interests (funding, reputation, etc.), in promoting it, as do certain environmental groups. In your words, "you have to consider the motivations" behind those who advance climate change theory.

I, and I'm sure most of the posters here, have no "hatred for the natural world". I agree that efficient use of resources is crucial, which is why we shouldn't let our earnestness obstruct a serious analysis of whether Kyoto is worth the money it's going to cost.

Posted by: dr_dog | 2006-02-26 6:56:38 PM

As a right-wing Canadian nationalist, I'm sad to say that if Kyoto is implemented by Mr. Harper's government - Alberta independence will become inevitable.

Posted by: Ace | 2006-02-26 11:20:47 PM

Alberta independence will become inevitable. They will pack up their marbles and go home like the little kids they are. What is taking them now so long? They are late for their diaper change already.

Posted by: Non Albertan | 2006-02-27 5:49:37 AM

Newsjunkie: Most scientists agree that global warming is real, yes. About 50% of them however refer to it as a completely natural cycle of climate change. Our planet has gone through an immeasurable number of such cycles and for you to ignore that is completely dishonest. Refocus. The debate isin't about whether change is happening, rather, it's about the cause of the changes and as noted previously, the scientific community is split on that.

Non-Albertan: It may be a stretch, but pretend you have a job. In this job, your efforts generate a sizable % of the company's revenues. Lets say 50%-ish for the sake of argument. Now, your employer doesn't give you the periods of rest that are required by law (coffe breaks, lunch breaks and adequate hours between shifts). Your employer doesn't pay you for working on stat holidays. Your employer has a brother and nephew alsoworking for him that don't generate any revenue and they get all the things you don't including promotions and bonuses. Being the resourcefull and productive employee you are, you know that you can either go and work for another employer or set up your own company. In either case you're going to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors far more than you would with the current employer. Do you stay out of some sort of loyalty even though you're getting screwed or do you bail and leave the brother and nephew to fail? Really, what do you do?

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say you're the nephew, Non-Albertan. Realizing that the star employee is going to bail and your meal ticket will disappear along with him.

Whine as much as you like but folks out here are tired of being screwed by the east and yes, we're going to take are marbels and leave. Contrary to your assertions though, it's a very grown-up decision. Only juviniles or intellectual light-weights would stay in such an abusive relationship.

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2006-02-27 8:16:21 AM

Frankly, I fail to see how Kyoto will ruin the Alberta economy. Klein and a few of the big companies have simply been fear-mongering so as to avoid having to make any improvements. Companies like Shell and BP have already met their Kyoto targets, and I believe they have saved money by doing so.

Dr. Dog - you make some good points. I still think that one has to be more skeptical of statements coming from businesses, simply because they stand to gain more by doing nothing. Sure, certain environmental groups like to promote doom and gloom, but I think most environmentally minded folks would much rather NOT have to deal with global warming. There are myriad other (and less nebulous) environmental issues to deal with, and I think most enviro types would much rather focus on those issues. After all, it's easier to get support for a cause that is visible and tangible than one that is complex and debatable.

There are environmental problems that we face as a society. There is absolutely no debating that. Some may debate global warming--and I hope the skeptics are right--but we certainly have other issues to face. Simply denying that any problems exist is ignorant in the extreme, and that's why I find folks like Levant, Cooper, Klein, Morgan, etc. very tiresome.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-27 10:22:16 AM

Think NEP and Carbon tax newsjunkie. Good post Richard Evens.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-02-27 10:37:17 AM

Jema - I AM thinking NEP. I just don't see how Kyoto resembles anything close to the NEP, though. Can you please show me how it does? Kyoto requires emmission reductions from all industries, including the heavy emmitting industries in Ontario and Quebec (think Inco, Alcan, auto plants, etc.).

Is Kyoto really another NEP? Or is that just what Ralph Klein and Gwyn Morgan told you?

I'm an Albertan and I sure wish we could stop whining about the NEP. It was twenty years ago, after all.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-27 11:08:26 AM

It comes naturally. All that had to be said was "Liberal" and "Energy Sector" and the horrors of the NEP come flooding back in technicolor. Ontario's exemption from Kyoto makes it even worse. There will be NO Kyoto here, or we will secede, pure and simple. If the easterners want a war over it, bring it on. You'll be sending your troops to Iraq for some peace and quiet afterwards.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-27 11:20:06 AM

newsjunkie: Those who ignore their history are destined to repeat it. The emissions levels have been set so low within Kyoto that it can't possibly be met within the alloted time frame. That means that carbon credits will have to be purchased. From 3rd world polluting countries who are exempt from the restrictions themselves. Where is the money to purchase said credits going to come from? Oil companies and the manufacturing industry (OT companies excluded). Where are these companies going to get the cash for this? From you and me. Both with reduced royalties gained by the province and in higher materials costs which always make their way back to the consumer.

Think about it. The government coffers will be reduced. That means increased provincial taxes. Couple that with increased inflation and it will result in a stalled economy. It's not exactly the same way the NEP fiasco played out but the end result will be the same.

Perhaps you should do some more reading on the issue...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2006-02-27 1:34:33 PM

jemma: CHEERS!

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2006-02-27 1:36:57 PM

Ontario is not exempt from Kyoto. That is just an outright lie. I don't think Kyoto is the greatest plan myself, but I also recognize that we need to start acting on climate change.

You might not agree with Kyoto, but don't make stuff up. Kyoto is not a new NEP, despite what Ralph tells you. Kyoto is just a bad plan to address a real problem. What we really need are market based solutions to environmental problems... there needs to be a direct cost attached to polluting and inefficiency. Can't argue with that.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-27 6:19:57 PM

Market based solutions aren't created by government newsjunkie...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2006-02-28 5:34:27 AM

Newsjunkie “what we can’t argue with” is that successful, i.e. capitalist countries, have a much better record on pollution than non-capitalist countries. An example would be what was found after the collapse of the USSR.

So maybe we could agree that conservatives by definition should own the conservation and environmental thrust. We want to leave a better place for the next generation. It looks like we also agree that Kyoto is “a bad plan”.

Kyoto is simply a Lilliputian plot by Maurice Strong and his band of world-government-transnationals to try and tie down the wicked giant (USA) Gulliver. As it happens Clinton’s US Senate voted unanimously against Kyoto, the other Gullivers: China, Russia, India aren’t in it, nor are the really big pollutants: the 3rd world. The whole thing is a bureaucratic obfuscation of the facts, typical of Maurice Strong.

Instead of worrying about what some UN committee of despots have to say about pollution, a Conservative government should set achievable standards (agreed upon with industry) and encourage investment in making Canada a shining example of environmental responsibility.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-02-28 6:21:17 AM

I am willing to entertain reasonable, fact-based arguments, not conspiracy theories. "Kyoto is simply a Lilliputian plot" falls into the latter category (and, I might add, Mr. Swift would take offence).

Anyway, Richard Evans, I am not saying that government needs to *create* a market solution. Rather, government needs to play its traditional role of regulation to ensure that the market values things correctly and operates fairly. For example, if way back in feudal times the British Crown had not insisted that land be owned, then it would presently have no value. Land has value, and is thus treated responsibily by its owners. You cannot trespass, pollute, or dump garbage on someone's land with impunity--the land has value and that value will be protected by its owner.

The point here is that we do not have a market system in place that properly values other aspects of the environment. The air and water are a "commons," and thus we pollute them without fear of penalty or reprisal. If there were a direct value attached to these things, and therefore a cost to befouling them, it is almost certain that they would be treated more responsibly.

Societies, through their governments, help determine which things have value and which things do not. Governments also have the duty of ensuring that a market operates freely and fairly. An oil company will never argue that a cost should be placed on pollution, as that would ultimately impact its bottom line. Yet in a true market system, this is precisely what is called for. The fact of the matter is that individuals and corporations are capitalists when it is convenient, and collectivists when its not.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-28 8:24:39 AM

newsjunkie: "that we need to start acting on climate change."

Not so fast. What we need to do is determine whether climate warming/cooling/change is actually happening, then determine why it's happening and then determine if anything can be done done that will have an actual effect rather than make people feel warm and fuzzy. There is no point in solving a problem unless and until the problem is clearly identified.

If the earth is going through natural changes, there is nothing to be done. Period.

If these changes are man-made, then effective and efficient action should follow. Crippling Canada's economy* with little or no effect on climate is beyond stupid. Sending Cdn. money to another country as a penane for our lack of change is also stupid. Emissions are at the same level and we're poorer.

The US is further ahead in emission control and they did not sign Kyoto. What are they doing? Will it work in Canada? Is ignoring effective and efficient strategies because they came from the States wise?

From "The Independent" via Tim Blair:

"The implication is that some of global warming’s worst predicted effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we do."


I'll argue that the doom and gloom is way over the top, but if this research pans out, we might as well ignore the topic and move on to the next disaster du jour. And it is a disaster du jour. We've been subjected to the fearmongering of the next ice age, the population bomb, AIDS, SARS, bird flu, not enough food or water, flouride, garbage and the heartbreak of psoriasis and we're still here, chugging along just fine.

Fearmongering sells papers.

*Licia Corbella in the Calgary Sun, April 24, 2005 (links have expired) wrote that if Canada shut down manufacturing, construction, CSL freighters, planes, trains and automobiles, and if everyone changed to compact fluorescent bulbs, we would still miss Kyoto targets by 12 megatonnes. She provides links to several government sites verifying her claims.

One last thing - CO2 is not a pollutant and Kyoto has nothing to do with pollution. That is an entirely separate issue.

Posted by: Kathryn | 2006-02-28 9:10:53 AM

Kathryn - I haven't defended Kyoto here, so I think your comments are slightly misdirected. Your point about needing to know positively whether climate change is in fact occurring is a red herring. There are few scientific theories that are absolutely proven, and therefore we will never reach your desired goal of concrete proof of man-made climate change. I happen to trust the vast majority of scientists and climatologists, rather than corporate sponsored scientists and pseudo-scientists (ahem, Barry Cooper). That's why I think we need action on climate change.

I do not think Kyoto is a good plan. However, I also think that all of the babble about how it will ruin Alberta's or Canada's economy is, as you point out, pure fear mongering. In addition to selling newspapers, fear also keeps the electorate in line.

I think this thread has moved past Kyoto... we're now debating the merits of environmental preservation and protection. I'd be interested to hear your views on this broader topic.

One last point: you point to AIDS and a number of other issues as pure fear mongering. I agree that the press does like to sell fear, however not all of the issues you point out can be so easily dismissed. AIDS, for one, is wreaking absolute havoc in Africa. Maybe you don't care about Africa, but you can't say that everything is just chugging along fine. Just because you are rich, happy, and healthy doesn't mean everyone else is.

Posted by: newsjunkie | 2006-02-28 9:59:51 AM

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