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Otto Langer

Otto Langer

A must read from my hero in the fishing field and hugely respected former DFO officer Otto Langer. – Rafe

Q1. Did the government response to this spill in an ‘exceptional way with an immediate measured response and with knowledgeable people and the equipment necessary for the clean-up’. This is near the exact press lines used by the head of the Canadian Coast Guard and two Conservative cabinet ministers in the past few days.

Otto Langer: I feel the CCG Commissioner and Ass. Commissioner and federal MPs (eg. Moore and Pritchard) have done a great deal of spin doctoring to try and show that the feds and the CCG did respond in a responsible and effective manner. As I understand it the sailor that reported the spill did not see a CCG boast on site for at least 3 hours after the spill and the clean-up company was not on site until 6 hours later. In that this is in the middle of a large west coast city and in the middle of Canada`s busiest port this is quite sad. If you live in a more remote area of our large coast and you are concerned about spill response time and effectiveness you have every legitimate reason to be totally doubtful of corporate and government response times and abilities. If the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was still in existence (the busiest in Canada prior to its closure by the Harper Government) it could have responded to the spill within 20 minutes (my estimate). The retired commander of that station says they could have responded in just 10 minutes and had booms around the leaking ship in 30 minutes. Continue Reading »

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

I say three cheers for Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver.

The verbal assault by the Premier on the federal government was more than justified by recent events and just happens to be a move that is always popular amongst many British Columbians, frankly including me, whenever Ottawa behaves like Ottawa – which is most of the time.

The recent oil spill in English Bay is, as has been said by so many, a wake up call. In fact, however, there are many people like Dr. Eoin Finn, who didn’t need that wake-up call and have said for a long time that sooner or later an accident like this was going to happen. As sure as the penny will turn up heads sometime, there will be next one and it could be infinitely worse. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Christy Clark promotes “Clean LNG” at Vancouver conference last year (David P. Ball/The Tyee)

Christy Clark promotes “Clean LNG” at Vancouver conference last year (David P. Ball/The Tyee)

The Vancouver Sun - rapidly becoming, if it hasn’t already become the “Pravda” of Vancouver – has done it again with another article supporting LNG and the proposed Squamish plant. This one is by a father and daughter combination and they come to what to me, at any rate, is an amazing conclusion.

LNG would help the climate? Puh-leeze!

If you just read the headline you would assume that this story has British Columbia saving the world from atmospheric pollution and global warming if it just starts to produce more natural gas. If you work your way through the article – and it’s pretty crappy – you’ll see that their point is that natural gas is not as bad as coal or oil. They conclude by suggesting that it would be a very good thing if British Columbia would produce more LNG and, of course, built an LNG facility in Squamish.

Here is the reasoning as I understand it: Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Rafe Mair trusts Mayor Gregor Robertson (pictured) with our transportation future a tad more than the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation – despite big misgivings about transit management to date (Vision Vancouver/Twitter)

Rafe Mair trusts Mayor Gregor Robertson (pictured) with our transportation future a tad more than the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation – despite big misgivings about transit management to date (Vision Vancouver/Twitter)

I am a lifetime contrarian. Whatever I’m supposed to do, I rebel against. I have not changed much in my dotage.

But I’m going to vote “Yes” in the Transit Plebiscite, notwithstanding the fact that I have grave concerns about the Translink and the city councils offering their ideas about how to spend the money.

There are several reasons that I came to this conclusion.

Look at who’s leading the “No” side

To begin with, I always like to see who is lined up on each side of an argument so that I can judge a little better what the issues really are. There are a great many people who have expressed simple annoyance, deep annoyance in fact, at the way Translink has been run. I have a lot of sympathy with that but in a moment I will tell you why that is not my major consideration. Read full story at The Common Sense Canadian

Boaters raise the alarm over plans to re-industrialize Howe Sound (Future of Howe Sound Society)

Boaters raise the alarm over plans to re-industrialize Howe Sound (Future of Howe Sound Society)

Howe Sound needs the help of all British Columbians and it needs it now. The proposed Woodfibre LNG plant in Squamish has got some very powerful allies.

Both governments support it. That means that there’s no point in citizens seeking help from their MP or MLA, who in fact are the vanguard of the enemy forces.

Industry group spews hot air in LNG PR

Industry is of course in favour and their stalking horse is a bunch called Resource Works which I exposed here last week as a group quite prepared to completely distort the words of a Supreme Court judge, to have phoney baloney TV interviews, and to twist adverse findings by a scientist and make them appear as if they actually favour tanker traffic in Howe Sound!

Resource Works has not refuted these charges, even though their Executive Director, one Stewart Muir, has since published an op-ed piece on the organization in the Vancouver Province. Read full article at The Common Sense Canadian

Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the SS St. Louis. The U.S., Cuba and Canada refused to grant the passengers asylum. Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the SS St. Louis. The U.S., Cuba and Canada refused to grant the passengers asylum. Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Canada’s list of wrongs against minorities is long.

On March 9, Justin Trudeau made a speech where he castigated Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his views on the niqab issue and civil liberties in general.

“These are troubling times,” Trudeau said. “Across Canada, and especially in my home province, Canadians are being encouraged by their government to be fearful of one another.

“For me, this is both unconscionable and a real threat to Canadian liberty. For me, it is basic truth that prime ministers of liberal democracies ought not to be in the business of telling women what they can and cannot wear on their head during public ceremonies.”

Trudeau went on to say, “You can dislike the niqab. You can hold it up as a symbol of oppression. You can try to convince your fellow citizens that it is a choice they ought not to make. This is a free country. Those are your rights.

“But those who would use the state’s power to restrict women’s religious freedom and freedom of expression indulge the very same repressive impulse that they profess to condemn. It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear.” Read full article at The Tyee

Many Howe Sound residents are opposed to an LNG plant in Squamish, B.C. Flickr photo: Mercedes Dayanara.

Many Howe Sound residents are opposed to an LNG plant in Squamish, B.C. Flickr photo: Mercedes Dayanara.

Young and old are fed up with mounting betrayals from their ‘betters.’

I foresee a collision coming. Not between French Canada and the rest, not between East and West (although there is a role played by these stresses) but between the “establishment” and the general public. The “establishment” is difficult to define except everyone knows what it is. Dictionary.com defines it as “the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority.” Let me give a couple of examples leading to the conclusion to which I have reached.

I almost spilled my muesli the other morning when I read that the prime minister’s office had reacted to President Obama vetoing the Keystone XL pipeline, saying, “it has the support of the Canadian and American people… ”

Since when did our prime minister give a damn about what the people thought? Moreover, it’s a stretch to say that Keystone XL has the support of the Canadian people while in fact 54 per cent of British Columbians oppose, according to a poll from January 2014. That poll said only 52 per cent of all Canadians “somewhat” support it. Moreover, the poll was about a pipeline in the U.S., not at home. Read full article at The Tyee

Finance Minister Joe Oliver (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Finance Minister Joe Oliver (Adrian Wyld/CP)

I must apologize for being an alarmist. I now discover there is no reason for concern about hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking”. I have been alleging that this process of “mining” natural gas is dangerous not only to the atmosphere and the people around the process, but to the water used and the potential damage thereafter to the water table.

I now understand that there are no problems whatsoever with this process and that the scaredy-cats in places like New York and Quebec that have banned “fracking” – and the United Kingdom and the European Union that have limited it – are simply wrongheaded.

How do I arrive at my volte face?

I have examined the evidence carefully. Continue Reading »

The Conservative government says it will appeal a court ruling that allows an individual to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony. Niqab photo via Flickr.

The Conservative government says it will appeal a court ruling that allows an individual to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony. Niqab photo via Flickr.

Harper’s niqab stand seems ‘deliciously timed’ for a fall election.

What the hell is the matter with us, anyway?

The prime minister of Canada goes out of his way to criticize the Federal Court of Canada because it permitted a woman to take the oath of citizenship while wearing a niqab, a veil. She made it clear that she would be glad to remove the niqab privately to confirm her identity. But Harper, whose government intends to appeal the court ruling, says covering one’s face during a citizenship ceremony is “not how we do things here.”

Harper has made this and his proposed anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, into political issues, deliciously timed for a fall election.

I tell you frankly, up front, I think this is not only wrong, but also racist.

I realize those are strong words but I’ve given it a lot of thought and I can’t think of anything else. Why on Earth would anybody, much less the prime minister, care what somebody else wears? Read full article at The Tyee

Thomas Mulcair, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau

Thomas Mulcair, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has thrown down the gauntlet with his promise of federal tax giveaways for LNG enterprises.

I expected this sort of nonsense – just one look at the smug sneer of power on the face of James Moore, Minister of Industry, over the last few months, indicated that this decision was coming and that the opinions of the people of British Columbia didn’t matter a tinker’s dam.

This I think is one of the central points.

When it comes to industry and the people with whom this government are philosophically aligned, the people lose every time.

It may well be, when one thinks about it, that Mr. Harper takes few if any risks with this policy. Continue Reading »

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