Alberta appeals to Ontario and Quebec

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was quite well written, explaining the importance of the energy sector in Alberta and Canada in general.

On the eve of our Canadian Federal Election, I feel it is prudent to share with our fellow Canadians in the East how pivotal this election is for our Country. I recognize a strong disconnect between the regions and believe I have a responsibility to share our feelings, perceptions, and fears with the men and women of these provinces.  It is no secret that the election is decided before the first vote is counted in Manitoba. 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by your two provinces. Your votes decide our election. This is why I am appealing to you. The fate of Canada and our incredible province of Alberta rests in your hands.  We’ve had a rough couple years out here. Since 2015 unemployment has soared, the price of our most valued resource has plummeted, and our access to foreign and domestic markets has been blocked by federal Liberals. While this industry thrives south of the border in the US, Canada’s energy sector has been plunged into a ‘Legislated Recession’ thanks in part to the cancellation of 2 crucial pipelines and the poorly handled expansion of a third. These projects are crucial, allowing access to foreign and domestic markets and closing the gap between the price of Canada’s oil and the oil produced elsewhere in the world. The newly passed Bill C-69 makes new interprovincial projects nearly impossible to complete, and Bill C-48 restricts domestic tanker traffic on Canada’s West coast, while US tanker traffic navigates the same waters unimpeded. We’ve been put in a box, and the lid is slowly closing. Our Federal Liberal government is the architect of this disaster.  You may ask why this should matter to you? It is simply a matter of economics. According to the Alberta government and World Bank websites, Alberta’s economy accounts for 20% of our Nation’s GDP. In this province of 4.7 million, it means that 11% of Canada’s population produces 20% of our GDP. From 2000-2014, we contributed $200 Billion to equalization, all of it travelling East. On its own, Alberta is the 7th strongest economy on the planet. We’re the core of this country’s economic engine. We’re being told our money is OK, but the oil, our largest economic driver is not. Hell, we can’t even wear our T-shirts on Parliament Hill.  Alberta’s oil is Canada’s oil, and there are a few facts I would like to share with you about it. We are at the forefront of the sector’s clean technology and everyone in this country should be proud of this industry and the highest environmental standards in the world. During this election I’m sure you’ve heard about O&G subsidies and how everyone intends on stopping them, so I feel it is important to break that down. Last year, there were $1.4 Billion dollars given to clean tech by our government. O&G received 75% of that. Rightfully so. That money has been used to increase efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of production significantly.  A recent study showed that if every country around the world produced their resources to the same standard as Canada, the carbon intensity of production would drop 26% worldwide. Suncor, Canada’s largest producer, just announced a co-gen project that will reduce their carbon footprint by a further 30%, and we’ve championed cutting-edge carbon capture and storage technology. We would love to displace dirty foreign oil in the East, but we are told there is no social acceptability for a pipeline. We would love to know why there is social acceptability for Saudi tankers in your waters, but none for us? Last I checked, Saudi didn’t contribute to equalization.  The environment has been a big topic in this election, and there have been some strong assertions from the parties, some of which may be a little out of reach. 30% reduction in GHG, 60% reduction in GHG. The backbone of these reductions focuses on shutting Alberta’s economy down. There seems to be a huge target on Alberta’s back, and little red dots are starting to dance around the bullseye.  Canada contributes1.6% to the world’s total GHG emissions. China contributes 27.2%, US 14.6%. A 30-60% reduction in Canada equates to a 1.8-3.6% reduction in China and a 3.5-7 % reduction in the US. Al Gore once said that CO2 knows no borders, so rather than shut down the economic engine of our nation, why wouldn’t we export the clean energy and technology to the countries that need it the most, boosting our economy and helping everyone on this planet reach these targets? What we do as Canadians to reduce emissions means nothing on the grand world scale. It is these heavy emitting countries that could benefit from Canada’s LNG to replace coal, and clean tech to further drive down emissions. It’s a win-win-win for Canada, the environment, and our economy. The Conservatives have proposed this and it has been highly criticized as ‘not enough’. This is the most viable solution and environmental policy for everyone in this country, and it doesn’t include plunging the entire country into debt and recession. It is ironic that the one country (US) that pulled out of the Paris Agreement has made the most progress reaching that agreement’s targets. How? By doing exactly what the Conservatives have proposed to help us and other nations achieve: transitioning coal to significantly cleaner natural gas power generation.  -There is another sentiment out here that likely resonates with our fellow Canadians from Quebec. If you asked the average Albertan if they would support separation 2 years ago, you’d be laughed at. Today it is no laughing matter. At the time of the provincial election only a few months ago, it was estimated that 50% of Albertans were open to separation. A poll of 6000+ Albertans only a week ago yielded the same results. We’ve been beaten into submission by the federal Liberals, and we continue to get kicked. Terms like ‘Western Alienation’, ‘Republic of Alberta’ and ‘Wexit’ have become very common. All too often you see ‘Liberal on Oct 21, Separatist on Oct 22’. This movement is real. I mean, REAL. If another Liberal government is elected, even worse a Liberal minority with the Green or NDP propping it up, Alberta’s energy sector will just board up the windows and go elsewhere. It will be crippling for the entire nation. It is ALREADY crippling for Alberta. We can’t take any more of this. We are the victims of a current Legislated Recession and it will only get worse. Half of us want to leave now. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry.  Alberta separation would be a crushing blow to this country and its economy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Albertans are resilient, wholesome, hard-working people that have been happy to help our fellow Canadian citizens maintain a high standard of living. We’re only asking for reciprocation. We don’t want hand-outs, tax revenue, or power. We want the right and ability to do what we’ve been doing all along, without having fellow Canadians standing in our way. We’re a part of the solution, not the problem.  Fellow Canadians, please consider this when casting your ballot. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. There is a fragility in this nation that could be fractured with stroke of a pen, and the power rests firmly in the hands of your provinces. Vote wisely. Vote Canadian. 

Signed, Alberta

I was at a dinner party this past weekend where the topic of discussion turned (unfortunately) to the bitter and controversial political battle our country is embroiled in.  The guests and hosts of this evening are all good friends, so it was especially frustrating to see the discord amongst them when discussing our political leaders, parties and platforms.  Thank heavens our campaign only lasts 40 days!

The most disturbing comment (for me) was someone defending the SNC Lavalin issue as “that’s the way business is done.  To be competitive globally, Canadian companies have to do anything they can to get contracts.  Everyone does it”   Yet, conversely, when it was pointed out (as does the letter writer above) that Canada contributes very little to the world’s carbon emissions this same person said “well, we have to set an example to the rest of the world”

I am all about setting a good example, but think we should be consistent.  Ethical business practices, effective climate change solutions and compassion for our fellow Canadians.  The reason this country is so wonderful is because of its diversity, not just in the people, but the assets and resources each province contributes to the nation.

As I said before, get out and vote, but do your research first and vote responsibly!

Post Debate Discussion and Opinions

I had an interesting (and very telling) post debate discussion with my youngest son (22 years old) this morning.  He asked me whether the federal debate changed my opinion of the political leaders we have to choose a prime minister from.

My own post debate opinion?  If you are interested in personality, I thought Singh (NDP) was the “winner” last night. He was charming, funny and an eloquent speaker (no ums or aws), but weak (sometimes even evasive) on the primary issues.  Unfortunately (for Singh) nice and charming does not necessarily make a good leader, at least not a leader of a country as diverse and large as Canada.

Scheer (Conservative) had to repeat himself often as was often talked over by either Trudeau (Liberal and current PM) or May (Green), although he did a fair share of it himself.  Not a good look for any of them.  The other two, Bernier (People’s Party) and Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois), were/are only interested in Quebec.  Their presence was distracting in my opinion for a federal election debate. I don’t think they should be included in these circumstances.

My son’s opinion?  “The debt our country is faced with is not really a problem.”  I believe (with a sick feeling in my stomach) this is a typical response from his age group.  They are more interested in the “perks” that might be promised or taken away.  This opinion was spoken like an uninformed youngster who does not (yet) pay for his own:

  • mortgage
  • taxes
  • car loan
  • groceries
  • insurance (except for his own car)
  • expenses for children
  • education
  • etc, etc, etc

Maybe that’s why I was so impressed with a youngster the same age as this son.  Chris Kitchen’s wrote an article at Queen’s University on why Canada’s oil and gas reserves would and should be beneficial to our economy.

We (my husband and I) have tried, over and over (in many heated discussions) to get this youngest son to acknowledge that living in growing debt is never a good thing, especially a staggering debt like the one our nation is faced with.  We feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.  Are we bad parents because he does not understand this concept?  I keep telling him he will understand in ten years (hopefully less), but he refuses to think that far ahead, let alone plan for it.  In our defence, this son does pay for his own cell phone and clothes as well as car insurance, gas and repairs .  Oh, and LCBO and Uber tabs.

Thankfully, our two older sons, both with mortgages, car payments, and children of their own, get it.  There is only five years difference between our second and third son, so it appears (to me) that it’s not a full generation, but just a demographic, that don’t get it.  At least this theory is apparent in my family.  I have heard from many others that their much older children have the same myopic outlook.

Did you watch the debate?  What are your post debate conclusions, thoughts, opinions?

 

 

 

Political battle in Canada

There is yet another political battle going on in Canada.  Four years ago I warned you to be careful what you wish for when Canadians hoping for a change gave Justin Trudeau a Liberal majority.  Many of us were skeptical that the majority of his election promises would/could never happen and those that did would cost us dearly.

One (huge) example is the federal budget.  An election promise in 2015 claimed the budget would be balanced by 2019, with Trudeau assuring voters it would balance itself.  Although many of us saw that simplistic prediction as an enormous red flag,  (the majority of) others were willing to play along, blindly.  Perhaps blinded by the handsome smile and fashionable clothing although they are worn by someone that has never balanced let alone lived on a budget in his life.

Fast forward to the present: not only is the budget nowhere near balanced, our national debt is through the roof by BILLIONS of dollars and growing by the second.  Why that does not scare more Canadians I am not sure.  I worry most about my sons’ and grandchildren’s futures as the cost of living skyrockets out of control.

Let’s not forget about the scandals that have plagued the Liberal party these past four years.  Topping the never ending list is the SNC-Lavalin (an engineering and construction company) fiasco where our Minister of Justice and Attorney General left the Liberal party because she felt bullied and pressured into intervening in an ongoing criminal case against the company. An investigation proved she had reason to feel pressured.

Then there are the recent black and brown-face pictures as well as the outlandish garments Trudeau wore representing Canada abroad. Our incredibly immature, shallow and inappropriate Prime Minister apparently likes to play dress-up, fitting I suppose for a (former) drama teacher craving the spotlight.  Hardly the image we (most I hope) Canadians want to represent us on the global stage.  Trudeau may be a charismatic and friendly man but he has also proven to be foolish, naïve, a liar, a bully and a cheater, not to mention an elitist, without a clue how most of us live.  Any of us “average citizens” with those characteristics would be fired from our jobs!

So, what’s the purpose of this rant? Not to convince you to vote for a specific political party.  To warn you to think long and hard about how you want this wonderful country of ours to move forward.  No one political party will (now or ever) tick off all the right boxes for the issues at stake.  Individual voters have to decide which party ticks off the most and the most important (to us) of these boxes, then vote accordingly.

I have not even touched on the other important issues that divide the political parties.  In addition to the budget and financial deficits, each party has their own stance on climate change, oil pipelines, abortion, gun control, health care, same sex marriage, child care, education, immigration, indigenous rights and more.  The list goes on and on, be sure to read up on these crucial issues before you vote.

Of course there are the outrageous campaign promises flying around too.  Are reduced cell phone rates really a life necessity or just another calculated attempt to grab votes from the younger, phone-obsessed generation.  Just like legalizing marijuana was last election.  After all, most of the voters thinking cell phones and marijuana are important issues don’t yet pay the exorbitant taxes or hydro and electricity rates the rest of us are mandated to.

There is so much desperate political garbage and yes, fake news, on every form of social media these days.  I am sick of it, yet it’s only going to get worse within the next few weeks, building up to a frenzied pitch until the election is over.  Instead of getting caught up in social media’s mudslinging, do your own research to see where each party stands on the issues. Here are a few sites to peruse, but remember, all of them have the potential to be biased!

The last one compares the platforms for each political party, sorted by specific issues.  I found it very informative.  Do your homework before you vote blindly. Please!

 

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a current Governor General and an annual pension payment of $140K for former position holders.  That’s pretty lucrative for a short term position.  The issue is even more controversial recently as expense reports (over and above her pension) for former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson were revealed by the National Post as over extravagant.  To the tune of a million dollars overly extravagant.  After her mere six year stint as our Governor General.

Governor General

These expense claims are not currently made available to the public.  In this day and age of promised transparency (at least in an election year) and accessibility to information seeking technology (google), one would think this information would be easy to find.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what other former Governors General are claiming as their expenses?

Our prime minister has promised to “look into it” but that doesn’t give too many people (myself included) a warm fuzzy feeling.  Especially as his priorities do not appear to be focused on the concerns of taxpayers.  I have a feeling Clarkson’s expenses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Did we pay a tariff on this heat?

If you haven’t noticed, Ottawa is in the middle of a heat wave, as are many places throughout Canada.  I wonder if we payed a tariff on the heat coming from the US of A.  Perhaps Donald Trump hasn’t thought of that yet.  If he did, we would have to retaliate and charge Americans a tariff on the cold fronts we send you every winter (currently) for free.

Seriously, the heat and humidity are so high that it’s just too hot for me to spend more than a few minutes in anyone’s gardens this week.  So, what else can a gardener do in this heat?  Well, I met a friend for coffee this morning and power washed my front veranda this afternoon.  Even though there was cool water involved, the power washing was a hot and dangerous job. As I was reaching into the back of my van to remove my power washer, I heard a hissing noise just before the back trunk slammed down on my head.  Just what I needed, a concussion to go with the possible heat stroke.

I guess that gives me something to work on tomorrow…getting the struts (that’s what my mechanic told me they are called) on the trunk repaired.  Then I will spend some time with my baby granddaughter.  After that I can continue working on the quilt I am making for my almost five year old granddaughter.  Although quilting is usually a winter passion of mine, this heat wave will give me some time to work on the project that is (still) spread out on my dining room table.

That’s Canada for you.  Heat waves and cold snaps alike tend to make us retreat to the comfort of our air conditioned or heated homes.  Just forget I mentioned the word tariff, I wouldn’t want to put ideas in anyone’s head!

photo from Unsplash

 

 

Mudslinging and grandstanding politicians

The worst part about pending elections is the inevitable mudslinging and grandstanding that goes on.  Don’t we teach our children that bullies are insecure when they pick on others?   The same thing applies to politicians.

Your mudslinging does not make you look intelligent or clever, instead it makes you look insecure and weak. It is not attractive, in fact it is a real turn off. Can you not run your campaign outlining your own values, plans, goals and credentials or experience instead of smearing your opponents?

The other tactic I cannot stand in politicians is grandstanding.  If you are good at something you do not have to tell everyone how good you are.  This is another lesson we try to teach our children; tooting your own horn is not attractive.

Sadly it will only get worse as elections to choose a leader for the Conservative party (to replace ousted Patrick Brown and then a premier here in Ontario are fast approaching.

Anyone else feel this way?

politicians

 

 

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Abortion has no place in politics

Abortion is a personal subject and as such has no place in politics.  There are too many different scenarios in which abortion might be considered to enforce (politically) whether one should or should not be available.

abortion
chart from Google Images

Do I believe the transition from fertilized egg to embryo to fetus to baby is miraculous?  Absolutely.   Should everyone learn and know these steps and stages of a pregnancy?  Again, absolutely. (check out the chart above for a crash course)  Should abortion be used as a method of birth control for sexually (over)active teens?  Absolutely not.   Should it be available to a rape victim?  Yes.   Somewhere in between are a lot of maybes.  I lived through two myself:

Years ago, at 22 weeks into my second pregnancy, I was told my baby would not live to full term due to hydrops fetalis that had already caused a stillbirth in my first pregnancy.  I had no choice but to continue the pregnancy.  Terminating the pregnancy intentionally (abortion) was not an option.  I went through the same thing all over again after two successful pregnancies.  I do not know if I would have intentionally terminated the unsuccessful pregnancies if I was given the option, but this could certainly be a circumstance where I would support the woman’s choice.

So, Justin Trudeau (and other politicians), leave abortion out of politics.  Screening job applicants to select only those supporting pro choice (abortion) is ridiculous.  Your own belief and support of the pro choice movement is just that; your own belief.  Whether or not a woman has an abortion should be a private matter between her, the baby’s father and her doctor.

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Mooooove over greenhouse gas emissions and carbon tax!

Can changing our cows’ diet really lower greenhouse gas emissions?  What would it hurt?  Wouldn’t that be a better way to deal with greenhouse gas emissions than creating a carbon tax?   Watch this video, courtesy of The National on CBC News, and tell me what you think.

 

 

It has been a well-known fact for years that cows produce methane gas from both ends. It is also a fact that methane gas is responsible for a large chunk of greenhouse gas emissions. Cows and their methane gas are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions around the world.

Granted, carbon dioxide from our cars and our industries is another undeniable source of greenhouse gases.  Research, however, shows that Canada is not anywhere near the biggest culprit.  Especially in the industrial sector.

 

 

 

Although greenhouse gas emissions are much lower in Canada than many other countries, we do have our share of beef.  In fact, we probably have more cows than cars in Canada.  So why is our current Canadian government gouging its citizens with a carbon tax?  That’s another beef, pun intended.  Perhaps the major contributors around the world should be more concerned about their share of greenhouse gas emissions.   Canada’s government should be less concerned about how we appear to the world since we are not the problem.  Solutions to decrease the gas emissions from cows, cars, and industries that pollute should be a priority. Then maybe the citizens of the non-complying countries should be hit with a carbon tax.  What a concept!

 

I call a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions a band-aid fix, not a proactive solution.  I believe in fixing the root or cause of the problem instead of creating a diversion from it.  Instead  of covering up the root with a carbon tax, why not help fix the problem at one of the main sources?  In other words, rather than apply a band-aid on a bleeding limb, first fix the bleed.  A band-aid is only effective at helping the victim emotionally. In this case, our Liberal government likes to make everyone, especially the rest of the world, feel that Canada is doing the right thing.  A bigger band-aid will be soon be required if the bleed is not first fixed at the source.

Let’s start feeding our Canadian cows seaweed to see if they produce less methane.  Less methane will mean lowering our greenhouse gas emissions.  And, while we are at it, scrap the carbon tax, it solves nothing!

Las Vegas tragedy makes gun control seem like a no brainer

I was going to write a post about this sickening tragedy in Las Vegas, but Jimmy Kimmel says it all right here…

well said Jimmy! I only hope the powers that be are motivated enough to do something about it.

Las Vegas
Jimmy Kimmel

Increased taxes for small business owners

Our Canadian Liberal government wants to increase income taxes for small businesses.  As a small business owner of GARDENS4U I cringe at the significance this has for me.

 

taxes

 

Like myself, many small business owners have risked starting a business based on a particular passion.  We have taken many years to build clientele and show a profit.  Tax breaks are few and far between making it possible to follow a dream and succeed, but rarely get rich.  Some years are good, others great, yet some not so good.  Proceeds from the good and great years must be used to subsidize the not so good years. You know the saying “save for a rainy day.”  Increased taxes mean less savings.

 

Most owners and employees of small businesses are dedicated and passionate individuals that do not get benefits, pensions or severance packages if the business goes under.  The absence of these “perks” creates a great risk for both the owner and the employees.  New taxes will squash the dream of entrepreneurs with a passion whether the business is already up and running or still in the planning stage.

Does the Liberal government really believe increasing the income tax levels of small business owners will significantly build their coffers?  The money gained will be a drop in the bucket compared to the massive national debt owed. They might want to look elsewhere for bigger fish and leave us little guys alone.

taxes

pictures from Pexels