False choice between Economy and Environment

In its bid to balance what’s urgently needed with what’s politically expedient, British Columbia’s new climate policy is a perfect symbol of society frozen in inaction

Certainly, this is the moment of impending catastrophe. In just the last few weeks, one scientist predicted that next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice.

Rolling Stone magazine warned we’ve reached “the point of no return,” that sea levels could rise 10 times faster than predicted, and suggested “historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan;” the small village of Newtok, Alaska, voted to relocate as rising waters erode the town’s land; global coffee production is estimated to be halved by rising temperatures; and a New York Times map of projected temperatures across the U.S. showed 37c/100F days soaking the continent by 2100, like some deadly red dye.

Tossed into this whirlpool of bad news is the B.C. Liberals’ much-anticipated climate change policy, (downloadable documents available) providing a perfect example of a society frozen in inaction.

Released last week, it’s a document written for gentler a time, or a time when we had time on our side. Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénécleuze, a senior advisor at the Pembina Institute, described it as disappointing, but another equally apt word would be useless. Premier Christy Clark is seeking to balance something desperately needed, the curbing of greenhouse gas emissions, with something politically expedient. Protection of gas prices at the pump as well as jobs and the economy.

The carbon tax will remain frozen, instead of increasing by $10 per tonne a year, as the province’s Climate Leadership Team recommended. B.C. is already off track in meeting 2020 emissions targets set in 2007.

The new plan aims to keep a promise to reduce emissions by 80 per cent from the 2007 level by 2050, suggesting accountability is really only important a few decades from now.

(Rosemary Westwood is a columnist with Metro News. She’s worked as an editor, writer and broadcaster for Canadian and international media. She’s a former writer for Maclean’s magazine and has contributed to the Edmonton Journal, Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. As a broadcaster, she’s produced and reported news for the CBC and the BBC world news programs.)

Read entire article at Source: The false choice between ‘economy’ and ‘enviroment’ | Metro News

Proportional Representation Leads to More Diverse, Cooperative Politics

Response to Bill Tieleman and other Electoral Reform naysayers

Canadian society is incredibly diverse. However, we currently use an antiquated electoral system that was designed in the 13th century for a country that had only two political parties. As such, Canada’s House of Commons is overwhelmingly dominated by a small number of political parties – usually just two. This lack of variety fails to represent the multitude of voices and opinions in Canadian society.

Tieleman slights the federal Green party, whose seat count remains low due to the current voting system. Does Tieleman think that smaller parties such as the Greens shouldn’t have a voice in our parliament? I can’t help but think of 1990s provincial politics, when the leader of the BC NDP, the party Tieleman once served as an advisor to, labeled environmentalists as the enemies of B.C. Or again in the 2000s when the BC NDP opposed the province’s incredibly progressive carbon tax.

Having a party like the Greens, even if just on the periphery, has ensured that the more regressive policies of the BC NDP have been challenged. The party had to adapt to such criticism, and become a more progressive political party for it. Sometimes even opposition parties need to be opposed.

Tieleman wants us to believe a greater diversity of voices will mean racism and intolerance in Canada’s parliament.

New Zealand, a country that uses proportional representation, shows that exactly the opposite can happen: Indigenous people have a louder voice in parliament, which encourages tolerance, cooperation and respect. The Māori party regularly wins seats (even outside of the seven electorates set aside for Māori candidates) and is part of New Zealand’s current coalition government. Of the eight political parties that contested New Zealand’s 2014 election, three of them had leaders of Māori heritage.

Coalition and minority governments can be extremely productive. Lester Pearson’s minority Liberal government was one of the most fruitful governments that Canada has ever had. Pushed to cooperate with the NDP, we saw the creation of public healthcare, Canada Pension Plan, Student Loans, a Canadian Flag, the 40-hour work week, two weeks of vacation time and a new minimum wage. So when detractors of proportional representation warn of parliamentary gridlock, be skeptical. The exact opposite can happen when parties work together.

When was the last time that a federal Canadian political party with seats had a non-Caucasian leader? Certainly not during my lifetime, if ever.

Read the entire Article: Proportional Representation Leads to More Diverse, Cooperative Politics | The Tyee

Top 10 Acceptable Western Conspiracy Theories

The label conspiracy theorist is used by Western Establishment gatekeepers as a means of shutting down debate and smearing those who have the temerity to challenge elite-friendly narratives.

So here are the top ten acceptable Western establishment conspiracy theories. If you peddle them you won’t be labelled a crank or nut-job, but be hailed as an expert who may even be deserving of a column in a serious newspaper like the Washington Post, or the London Times. And who knows, you might even get a lucrative $offer$ from a top publishing house to write a book about conspiracy theories.

1. Iraq has WMDs which Threaten the World!

The most deadly conspiracy theory of them all – one which led to an illegal invasion and the destruction of a sovereign state and the deaths of up to 1m people. But the people who promoted it paid no professional penalty. Thirteen years on, the punditocracy in the US and UK is still dominated by those who assured us Saddam had WMDs (and also that the secular, cigar-smoking Sound of Music lover had links to al-Qaeda). Remember that the next time you see a smug, self-regarding member of the neocon elite journos club loftily accuse someone they regard as their social and intellectual inferior of being a conspiracy theorist. (mushroom clouds)

2. Iran’s Developing Nukes!

Since the early 90s we’ve been told the Islamic Republic is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, or has already got them. The claims made repeatedly over the past 25 years by Israeli PM Netanyahu have been echoed by the same bunch of uber-hawks who pushed conspiracy theory 1. If you assert, without any evidence that say, Zambia is on the brink of developing nukes, you’ll be called a nutcase. But if you assert, without any evidence, that Iran is doing the same, then you’ll greatly increase your chances of being invited as an expert into the studios of Fox News or Newsnight.

( Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. )

Read and Recognize the other 8 from source: Top 10 ‘acceptable’ Western Establishment conspiracy theories — RT Op-Edge