Exciting B.C. Election

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The Liberals and Christy Clark did not receive a majority … yet.

They might not get one. They won 43 of B.C.’s 87 electoral districts, one short of a majority.

That means that the NDP with 41 and the Greens with 3 may form a coalition or other governing arrangement, and NDP leader John Horgan could find himself premier of B.C. This gives a special kind of power to the Greens (under leader Andrew Weaver) which they haven’t had before.

B.C. hasn’t had a minority government since 1953.

The outcome of the election is not yet final, however, as there will be recounts. Some districts were close, with Courtenay-Comox the closest at a 9-vote NDP win over the Liberals.

Alberta To Introduce Economy-Wide Carbon Tax Of $20/Ton

Rachel Notley
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Alberta will begin to phase out it’s cheapest energy source at the cost of an extra $320 per household in 2017 and $500 per household in 2018, setting its sights on 30 percent renewable energy by 2030.

The plan was announced by the provinces first non-Conservative party in 44 years. Premier Rachel Notley of Canada’s New Democratic Party assumed the role of premier last month.

The plan is expected to reduce carbon emissions in the province, despite an expected increase in population and industry, and at a cost born by all Albertans.

Currently, the cheapest form of electricity in Alberta is coal-fired power. Coal-fired power is to be phased out under the new plan, and coal-fired electricity generators are expected to cease business, according to energy authorities.

“I think the expectation would be that they would be ceasing their operations,” Gerard McInnis, Ernst & Young’s Canadian sector leader for power and utilities, commented.

The price of consuming carbon will begin at $20 per ton on Jan. 1, 2017, and rise to $30 per ton in 2018, and everyone will pay it. Currently, only the largest carbon producers — those who emit 100 megatons per year — pay such a levy.

For most Albertans, the price will be felt at the pump and when opening home electricity bills. Gas prices will rise 5 cents per liter next year — 7 cents per liter by 2018. Natural gas-fired furnaces will be more expensive to run — rising over a dollar per gigajoule next year and up to an additional $1.62 in 2018.

The levy may continue to increase indefinitely. An NDP-formed panel published a “Climate Leadership” report this week which contains proposed increases to the levy every year to 2030. The report recommends an increase from 2017’s $20 per ton to $100 per ton in 2030.

The plan includes a goal that 30 percent of Alberta’s electricity will come from renewable sources in 2030. Currently, 9 percent of the province’s electricity generation comes from sun and wind.

The money paid by Albertans for carbon-emitting power is expected to generate $3 billion annually for the government. Alberta has faced a deficit since oil prices began to collapse in 2014 — the current deficit is $6.1 billion.

Also part of the new plan, oil sands emissions will be capped out, but above current levels of 70 million tons. The limit will be 100 million tons, allowing the industry to continue to grow.

By James Haleavy

The confounding nature of Canadian politics

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The trees might be blooming now, but it wont be long until leaves will begin to turn yellow and red. The next federal election shall soon be upon us, whether we like it or not. Yet, I find myself baffled, foolhardy, and even, I dare say, perplexed. A great deal of people in their juvenile nature might point their finger at me and pronounce outright that I am neglecting my duties as a citizen. The only thing I can say to that is: what are my options?

In an age when politics has become even more about personalities rather than the ideals and principles upon which governing our nation could best be decided — namely democratic deliberation — what is someone who does not follow celebrity culture do? Yes it had to be brought to light. It seems that in the last few years, Canadian politics does not seem so different from your standard celebrity news spectacle.

It seems to have shifted from the “ideas” part of the rhetoric — not that it was only about that — to a complete personality-based silliness. Ask yourself: Is Trudeau really up for it as a leader, or is he using his legacy, looks, and personality as Rex Murphy argued two years ago in one of his CBC rants? Although at first I saw this as another facile Conservative-styled argument, it seems that it might turn out to be more true than one would think.

Yet, I ask, and I say that I have to ask, what are your other two feasible options? Muclair, whose lack of certainty and poise in his demeanor only makes for an infallibly weak leader, for what otherwise could be a decent left-wing party. Then there is Harper, who has become hated by some, and increasingly loved by others — especially now amid the controversial Bill C-51 which recently led to nation-wide protests. There are the independents who are there for no perceptible reasons whatsoever, but only to bring about the sensations that come with democracy.

I find myself sifting through different politically motivated articles through different newspapers, and I can only find the same answers to my ever-growing questions. Infallibly answered by characters and personalities. I fear, immeasurably so, that Trudeau might end up “pulling,” excuse the candor, an “Obama” on Canada. Specifically, if he gets elected he will promise many things, and will put up an image of transcendental “hope” and ride the wave of change until it becomes clear that he wont be able to do much, and in fact won’t. This, however, is the case with any candidate, regardless of what party she or he is from.

Perhaps my obstacle is that I am rather cynical, or perhaps better said, a realist. Especially when it comes to politics. They say that politics is the “art of the possible,” but I rather think it is the “art of the improbable.” Improbable in the sense that a great deal of the things that voters expect every year wont actually materialize.

The truth of the matter is simply that people are guided by the parties in their simple demonstrations of things such as their colors: orange, red, blue, green and so on. Each, led by personalities that we can appeal to depending on what we prefer, and our political inclinations. It seems rather simple, yet my mind cannot follow such collective bromides.

I can reasonably infer that I distrust myself enough to never completely ally myself with one party and one leader, precisely because I find there are some policies from each party that I can agree on, and others that I cannot. I find some Liberal policies to be bogus, while others completely valid, the same goes for the Conservatives and NDP. This leaves me, sadly, in a rather tremendous dilemma.

At times I can agree with all candidates, yet also disagree with all of them as well, only due to the fact that I follow a politics of issues, not that of men. Sometimes I wish, despite the obvious difficulties, that Canada would run along the lines of Switzerland’s political structure, where every issue has its own referendum. Yet, would we subject ourselves as Mill said to the “tyranny of the majority?”

You must realize that politics in this country has always been driven by personality,  candor in speech, and presence. We love/loved our prime ministers, for their characters, and even their flaws. Yet, there is something very hollow, and I dare say, trivial going on. There seems to be a great lack of character and temperament, and to be honest charm, and a great deal of promises won’t fill that void. That goes for all candidates.

Now that we are left with men or women of no perceptible clout, what I am asking is that we look beyond political personalities although they are innate to the the political process and turn our attention to the issues as well, the ones which play such an important role to the future of Canada. A future mind you which is in the thoughts of all Canadians.

Despite the truth that it will be difficult to dissociate ourselves from personalities, as to do so is to go against an axiom of politics- a good smile on camera is perhaps more valuable, sadly, than any rhetoric that might come from any of the candidates, yet even that does not always prove to be of any value.

Where are the characters that are worth the rhetoric? Those such as Wilfred Laurier and Lester B. Pearson, whom have shaped this nation that holds the values which make us proud today?

Opinion by Milad Doroudian

Image by National Film Board of Canada, Library and Archives Canada.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair opposes “dangerous, vague, and ineffective” anti-terror bill

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NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has adamantly restated his opposition to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s anti-terror bill, which is set to be reviewed this Wednesday in the House of Commons. He is hoping the Liberals will do the same.

Mulcair has called Bill C-51, which has been proposed as a tool in the fight against terrorism at home and abroad, “dangerous, vague, and ineffective.” In fact, he reiterated Wednesday that, “The truth is we cannot protect our freedoms by combating them.”

If the bill passes it will give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) greater powers to combat terrorism by disrupting and intercepting information flow in regards to terrorism through the entire country and from external sources.

However, it will also give more powers to other law enforcement agencies across Canada. It will give the RCMP more leeway in obtaining peace bonds, thus being able to hold suspects if they are suspected of being involved in terrorist-related activities.

“Experts warn that broad measures in this bill could lump legal dissent together with terrorism,” Mulcair said. “And the bill would give significant new powers to CSIS without addressing serious deficiencies in oversight.” said Mulcair.

The main fear behind the bill, as expressed by Mulclair, is that it will interfere with the freedoms of Canadians, and possibly make the situation worse.

“We cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing. New Democrats have a different vision. Freedom and public safety have to go hand-in-hand. We will hold true to our principles and oppose this dangerous, over-reaching legislation.” he said.

Mulclair is not alone in opposing the bill, as Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party has also disproved of the content and aims of the bill.

Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party made it clear that his party will vote for the bill, although he expressed concern about the powers it will give CSIS.

Bill C-51 was reviewed for the second time in the House of Commons today.

By Milad Doroudian

Image by Jonathan Allard