April 28, 2009

Columnist Don Martin writes in today's National Post that, "Lost in the mad rush to keep shovels digging and auto workers assembling is any sense of Canadian economic policy beyond surviving the recession...When 100 Canadians per hour are joining the bloating ranks of the jobless, long-range strategy is a hard sell to the masses. (But) Scott Paterson believes the moment has arrived for the federal government to help launch the all-Canadian car."

"With Canada poised to dump what will inevitably be the first batch of taxpayer billions to keep General Motors and Chrysler alive as a struggling concern in Canada, it might be a pitch worth pondering."

"Several Liberal MPs have expressed keen interest in his car concept as a dare-to-dream notion, perhaps sensing public skepticism over the impact of the budget’s two-year $35-billion stimulus package. Without something galvanizing like a domestic car, a Golden Horseshoe bullet train, a world-class container port system or an overdue upgrade of the Trans-Canada Highway, the stimulus seems poised to roll out as a patchwork of press releases and Conservative MP ribbon cuttings."

April 27, 2009

Director of Organizing Carleen Pickard wrote in Canadian Perspectives (Autumn 2008) that, “The Council of Canadians has joined with environmental groups, labour organizations, citizens’ advocacy groups and sports organizations to call on the B.C. government to enact a moratorium and stop the reckless give-away of B.C.’s rivers and the control over public power. Council chapters in Powell River and Golden are opposing projects under way in their regions, while other chapters – Campbell River and Comox, for example – are working with their regional districts to support the moratorium…It’s time to turn out the lights on Run-of-River projects and the B.C. government’s privatization agenda.”

This weekend, "Delegates at CUPE BC’s 46th annual convention passed 21 resolutions, including an emergency resolution calling for a moratorium on run-of-river private power projects in BC..."

April 27, 2009

The Toronto Star reports that, “A cross-border garbage war is brewing over an ambitious Ontario effort to recycle 12 million used tires and kick-start the creation of green jobs. The Ontario Used Tire Program might help save the planet, but American business owners and New York state legislators argue the province's plan unfairly subsidizes Canadian-based firms, could cost ‘hundreds’ of American jobs and compromise the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

April 27, 2009

Although a government or two may fall in the fourteen months between now and then, the G8 summit on June 25-27, 2010 is expected to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcome US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, which is located 200 kilometres north of Toronto.

Stephen Harper has already said, "As hosts, our government will have considerable say over the agenda. It will be a tremendous opportunity to promote Canada’s values and interests; to advocate for open markets and trade opportunities; to assist on global action against global warming; and to champion values like freedom, democracy and human rights and the rule of law."

The Council of Canadians has started to explore ways to have the concerns we share with millions around the world heard at this summit.

April 26, 2009

Andrew Willis Garcés of the International Peace Observatory in Colombia recently wrote that, "Led by Ecofondo and the Committee to Support the Referendum, a coalition of labor unions, environmentalists, consumer organizations, indigenous groups and student unions have been organizing since 2007 to win an official referendum to add the human right to water to those guaranteed by Colombia’s constitution."

CUPE has also noted that, "The alliance is alarmed by dramatic increase in water prices across the country since cost-recovery tariffs and privatization were introduced. Bogotá, Colombia now has the highest water rates in South America."

Willis Garcés highlights that, "In September of 2008, organizers submitted two million signatures in support of the effort; well more than the 5% of the population needed to put the issue on the ballot. The measure was submitted before Congress on March 16, 2009..The first days of debate failed to yield agreement in Congress. Interior Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said the Uribe government opposes the referendum, because it is 'unclear' and 'inconvenient'."