April 24, 2019

Yesterday in a ballot referendum, PEI residents opted not to change their voting system from first-past-the-post to mixed-member proportional representation (MMP). Still, a record number of Islanders thought the change in electoral system was a good idea.

Islanders were asked to vote “yes” or “no” to the following question: Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?

According to the CBC, “more than 50 per cent of Islanders voted ‘no.’ ‘Yes’ was the popular choice in 15 ridings, but only took around 49 per cent of the popular vote.

P.E.I.'s Referendum Act required a "yes" vote to meet two thresholds to trigger a change: the support of a majority of Island voters in the referendum (50 per cent, plus one vote), and majority support in at least 60 per cent of the Island's electoral districts (17 of 27 districts).

April 24, 2019

The CBC reports that air samples taken over northern Alberta operations suggest previous pollution figures could be way off and operations in Alberta's tar sands may be emitting significantly more carbon dioxide than previously calculated according to newly published research from federal scientists.

Researchers, including some from Environment Canada, calculated emissions rates for four major tar sands mining operations using air samples collected in 2013 on 17 airplane flights over the area.

The results, which were published in the journal Nature Communications, show that “carbon dioxide emissions are 64 per cent higher, on average, than what the companies themselves reported to the federal government using the standard United Nations reporting framework for greenhouse gases.”

April 24, 2019

In his new book Falter: Has the human game begun to play itself out?, Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of the grassroots climate campaign, writes about the undeniable reality of climate change.

“We are now truly in uncharted territory,” the book excerpt on the website Literary Hub begins.

April 24, 2019

On April 30 at noon, people from across Ontario will converge on Queen’s Park to oppose new legislation that will result in unprecedented changes in the province’s health care system, including the privatization of public services.

According to the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), the Ford government has exposed its intent to undertake the “most radical health care restructuring in our history.” Bill 74, legislation that would enact these sweeping changes, passed final reading in the Ontario Legislature late last week.

The OHC says the so-called “People’s Health Care Act” does not improve a single health care service. Instead, it creates a Super Agency that gives extraordinary restructuring powers to the government. This new law will allow restructuring for hospitals, long-term care, home care, community mental health and addictions, community care, cancer care, palliative care, labs, eHealth, air ambulance, community health centres, home care, non-profit primary care and more.

April 19, 2019

While the Mueller report was making its rounds, just before Easter break, another critical report was released: the U.S. International Trade Commission report on the new NAFTA—otherwise known as the Canada United States Mexico Agreement.  The report is an essential part of the U.S. Congress fast track process which permits U.S. Congress to vote for the deal without adding amendments. 

The report showed absolutely tiny gains—less than one percent—for the U.S. economy.  With 35/100 percent GDP growth over five years. 

While U.S. President Trump lauded the agreement’s huge gains, and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said this showed that the agreement was a “classic win-win outcome”, U.S. progressives remained unconvinced.

Lori Wallach from the consumer rights group Public Citizen called the gains minimal.