February 10, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that, "International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the world's advanced economies -- the U.S., Western Europe and Japan -- are 'already in depression,' and that the IMF could slash its global growth forecasts further. The 'worst cannot be ruled out,' he said."

BRITISH PM SAYS GLOBAL ECONOMY IN DEPRESSION "Last week, when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown used the word 'depression' to describe the global economy, his aides quickly said it was a slip of the tongue."

"Political figures generally avoid using the word depression because of the association with the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment hit 25% in the U.S. and economic output fell even more steeply...Former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, said the term refers to a significant contraction that lasts around five years."

In January alone, the American workforce lost 598,000 jobs.

February 9, 2009

The Globe and Mail is reporting this afternoon that, "Syncrude Canada Ltd. is facing federal and provincial environmental charges and could be liable for up to $800,000 in fines and executives could be sent to jail in connection with the deaths of 500 ducks in one of the tailings ponds at its oil sands operation north of Fort McMurray."

"The Alberta government announced the charge this morning under section 155 of the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, which states that 'a person who keeps, stores or transports a hazardous substance or pesticide shall do so in a manner that ensures that the hazardous substance does not directly or indirectly come into contact with or contaminate any animals, plants, food or drink.'"

"Syncrude has also been charged federally under the Migratory Birds Convention Act for 'allegedly depositing or permitting the deposit of a substance harmful to migratory birds in waters or an area frequented by birds.' The maximum penalty is $300,000 or six months in jail or both."

February 9, 2009

Dawn Paley writes in Edmonton's Vue Weekly that, "When Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in Peru on November 21, it was a happy day for Canada’s oil and gas sector..."

"The Canada-Colombia FTA was negotiated in secret, and the texts of the deal have yet to be made available to the public. As Day’s pen slid across paper in Peru, a massive mobilization of popular movements had taken over the central plaza in Colombia’s capital....Crystal clear among the demands of the tens of thousands mobilizing in Bogotá was the immediate end to all Free Trade Agreements and the economic system these deals represent."

CANADIAN OIL AND GAS COMPANIES SUPPORT THE FTA "Along with select exporters, Canada’s extractive industries are among the sectors that could cash in on a free trade agreement with Colombia...More than 20 oil and gas companies from Alberta are currently active in Colombia, including Nexen, Enbridge and Petrominerales."

February 9, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "A new poll of Americans and Canadians by Environics has found that more than 70 per cent of respondents in both countries want restrictions on the ability of energy companies to use the North American free-trade agreement to sue governments over their environmental-protection polices."

The page four article continues, "The survey was commissioned for the Council of Canadians, an Ottawa-based nationalist group, which said the results indicate widespread public support for renegotiating what are known as the investor protection provisions in Chapter 11 of NAFTA...The Council is using the poll, which it is releasing today, to support its campaign to have U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper discuss renegotiating the NAFTA provision at their meeting scheduled for later this month (on February 19)."

The article concludes with, "The poll also found overwhelming support among Canadians for a green-jobs program of the kind touted by the Obama administration involving investments in wind and solar energy and energy efficiency, with more than nine out of 10 in favour."