2 min

Putting the pipeline on ice

Down in the States, President Obama has nixed the Keystone XL pipeline – for now. The company behind it can reapply
using a new route, and it’ll go through the whole process again (not expedited),
and he’ll get the political points he was after (this was in part about smacking
the Republicans for giving him a 60-day deadline that could not allow for an adequate assessment of the new route, or something like that, while he protected his
own environmentalist base before the November election). Back home, Harper and
Alberta Premier Alison Redford have expressed their profound disappointment
and are talking energy-market diversification. The New Democrats, meanwhile, are
declaring victory but still won’t articulate what exactly they plan to do with
the oil coming out of the tar sands. Build new upgraders and refineries in
Alberta for billions of dollars, blowing all carbon emissions targets out of
the water, and then shipping away the “value added” product, rather than
sending it to where existing refining capacity exists? How exactly is this a “victory
for climate change,” as Nathan Cullen termed it? It might be helpful to know.

Paul Wells recalls the speech Stephen
Harper made in the Commons when he became leader of the opposition, about how
the government was unable to do anything about US protectionism because they
weren’t really free traders willing to engage the Americans. With the demise of
Keystone XL (for now anyway), it really makes one wonder if Harper feels he
no longer deserves the confidence of the House for the very thing he lambasted
the Chrétien government for.

Embassy magazine looks at why the government is vocal about (basic) queer
rights at home while they simultaneously try to limit the extent of
equal marriage.

The perpetual story of MP pensions has come
up yet again, and lo, their “platinum-plated” pensions are oh so lucrative.
Except that it seems to ignore the fact that a) these people work
24/7, unlike people in the private sector, b) most of them have to give up
established pension and benefit plans from their previous jobs for a life of
public service that has no guarantees (I know several MPs who were defeated
without getting their six years for MPs' pensions and were not able to go
back to their previous pensions to retire on), and c) I don’t know of a single
MP who got into politics for the great pension and benefits plans, so it’s
really disingenuous to present this as some kind of consideration or ulterior

There was an “unofficial” NDP leadership debate in Toronto last night on the topic of cities. Apparently the consensus
is that we need more national strategies for everything.

The government released its report on
reducing red tape yesterday and promised to cut one piece of regulation for
every new one implemented – except for health and safety ones, of course.

Here is a very interesting piece on the way
that CIDA is being run, and it’s evident there are major problems with the
agency, largely stemming from political interference.

And candidates for Alberta’s nonsense
Senate “consultative election” are looking at the job ahead of trying to become
known before such an election happens sometime in the spring, and are seeing
what a daunting task it’s going to be.

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