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Posts Tagged ‘alberta

[LINK] “NDP and oilpatch continue awkward first dance”

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CBC’s Paul Haavardsrud and Kyle Bakx report on the state of affairs in NDP-ruled Alberta.

The dance between Canada’s energy industry and Alberta’s new NDP government is finding a new rhythm during Stampede week in Calgary.

A day after Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wooed a non-partisan crowd of energy folks and international investors with a speech that seemed straight from the Tory playbook, a pair of top energy executives took the stage across town to deliver their own message to a collection of new NDP cabinet ministers.

Top of mind on this day? Environmental policy.

“When we think of policy issues, one role the government does have is setting long-term objectives and I think sometimes where they miss the bar is when they say ‘how,'” said Encana chief executive Doug Suttles at a lunch event put on by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “As governments set these targets, I think they need to let people go out and find the most effective way … picking winners is difficult, very difficult.”

The wants of industry, of course, are ever the same. When it comes to issues such as environmental policy, they’d like governments to lay down a broad agenda and then let market forces decide the particulars.

Whether a hands off ethos — long a given during much of the PC party’s 44 years atop Alberta politics — will continue to hold sway under the new NDP government is now an unfamiliar question mark for Canada’s oilpatch. Political stereotypes would suggest an NDP government will be more inclined to tell the industry exactly how it needs to go about meeting environmental targets. The prospects of the policymakers taking such a prescriptive approach is something that keeps energy executives up at night.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 9, 2015 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Canada, Economics

Tagged with , , , , ,

[AH] More thoughts on Riven Lands: Canada and Laurentia from 1980

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This Canada Day, I decided to revisit the OUP anthology Riven Lands: Canada and Laurentia from 1980. Back when I first posted my reaction to this book in 2008, it sparked a substantial discussion about the extent to which the dissolution of old Canada into Laurentia and the new Canadian federation was inevitable. Looking at the essays again, I’m caught by the tragic inevitability of it all. From the moment the Quiet War started, the Dominion was bound for a reckoning at terrible cost to its people. It was trapped by history.

Old Canada remains trapped. Looking south from my vantage point in Boston, there just hasn’t been much positive change in the Dominion. Laurentian nationalism remains as strong as Canadian resentment, each set of grievances distracting each country from tackling its own crying issues The economic crash hit both countries hard, though Laurentia was at least spared the housing boom. (Is it ever likely that Montréal will regain its pre-war population, or Ottawa?) The Maritime Canadian provinces continue to drift, most notable for being a source of migrant workers for anywhere that will take them: the rest of Canada, the United States, Britain and Ireland even. (Newfoundland’s separation last year wasn’t unexpected, not with oil affording it an incentive to try to start over again. Here’s to wishing them success.) In Canada west of the Ottawa, meanwhile, stagnation. Will Alberta try to follow Newfoundland? Will Premier Ford be able to save Ontario’s industry?

Maybe social democracy will rise and save everyone, uniting all of old Canada across the old borders. Who knows? By this point, I really doubt the competence of the old Canadian political classes to solve old issues, never mind resolve current problems. The world moves, and moves ahead.

I keep wondering if Canada could have survived. On a few forums today, I suggested that if not for the Social Credit governments of the post-war era and their hyperinflationary policies, there might have been enough wealth to sooth differences between Laurentians and the rest of Canada. If Spain and Yugoslavia could survive the 1970s and 1980s, could Canada not also manage? The United States was surely at least as attractive a market as western Europe, and intra-Canadian grievances until the 1960s were certainly not as deep as those in Spain and Yugoslavia. Or was the collapse of Canada preordained? Was Canada, paradoxically, not multinational enough, with a sufficiently large and united Anglo population falsely thinking itself large enough to override the Laurentians?

Written by Randy McDonald

July 1, 2015 at 9:23 pm

[LINK] “There are goldfish the size of dinner plates turning up in Alberta, biologists say”

Postmedia News’ Alexandra Zabjek writes in the National Post about invasive life in the waterways of Alberta.

The discovery of dinner plate-sized goldfish and the ongoing threat of a zebra mussel infestation has the Alberta government ramping up awareness of invasive aquatic species in provincial water bodies.

The zebra mussel, which multiplies prodigiously and can clog water pipes, has been the “poster child” for invasive aquatic species. But seemingly mundane creatures can cause problems, too.

“The mussels really scare the crap out of everyone — biologists because of the environmental impacts. And the irrigation industry, the hydropower industry, the waste water treatment industry all potentially have a lot to lose,” said Kate Wilson, an aquatic invasive species specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks.

“It’s a big, scary thing to really engage the public. I’m hoping to use that to get people to think about how … people are dumping their goldfish, which is pretty serious for a whole lot of other reasons.”

Wilson recounted the story of a fisheries biologist who last year saw two children fishing in a Fort McMurray stormwater pond. The biologist discovered they had caught two goldfish, and the municipality then hired a consultant to study the pond.

More, including photos, at the site.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 23, 2015 at 10:53 pm

[LINK] “Without Wildrose or a divided right, the Alberta NDP would have still won”

ThreeHundredEight.com’s Éric Grenier has an updated version of his post arguing that the NDP won in Alberta because they were populated, not because the vote on the right was split.

In Ipsos Reid’s final poll of the Alberta campaign, one of the questions asked voters what their second choice would be if they were forced to make such a choice.

For the most part, the results were intuitive. The top second choice option for PC voters was Wildrose, while it was the Liberal Party for New Democrats (it wasn’t all so simple, though, as a large proportion of PCs chose the NDP as their second choice, and a large proportion of New Democrats chose Wildrose).

But the results for Wildrose showed that they were not all, or even mostly, lapsed Tories. The New Democrats were the second choice of 33% of Wildrose voters, compared to just 21% for the PCs. More Wildrosers would vote for the Alberta Party (15%) and the Liberals (9%) than the Tories if forced to make a choice.

Another 16% were undecided and 5% would not vote, while 2% would support another party.

Immediately, we see that Wildrose was not an obstacle to the Tories. In fact, Wildrose potentially drew away more anti-PC voters from the NDP than they did conservative voters from the PCs.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 6, 2015 at 1:04 am

[LINK] “More bad news for Alberta Tories in latest election poll”

The Edmonton Sun reports on the collapse in Progressive Conservative support in Alberta polls as the province prepares for election. I’m sure I’m not alone in being surprised by the strength of the Wildrose Party, so soon after it had seemingly been gutted by the defection of its leader Danielle Smith.

The Alberta Tories continue to slide, while the NDP surges and the Wildrose maintains the lead, according to the latest election poll released Tuesday morning.

The NDP is dominating Edmonton at 51%, according to the survey, and is in a three-way race in Calgary.

The telephone poll of 3,121 Albertans conducted Monday showed that compared to a week earlier:

•Wildrose is flat with 24% support
•NDP increased to 23% support, up 3%
•The PCs dropped to 18%, down 3%
•Liberal support is down a point, to 8%
•The Alberta Party is up a point to 3%

The survey was conducted by Mainstreet Technologies.

“One thing is becoming clear at this stage of the campaign, the effect of the budget and residual anger to the governing PCs will have a lasting impact on the outcome of this election,” said Mainstreet’s Quito Maggi.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 15, 2015 at 10:33 pm

[CAT] “Chanel Lethbridge hopes to open Edmonton’s first cat cafe”

CBC Edmonton describes the efforts of one Edmonton cat-lover to set up a cat cafe, on the Japanese model. It is worth noting that she is encountering the same issues with regulation and landlords responsible for stalling like efforts in Toronto.

Lethbridge, a first-year business student at NAIT, hopes to open a one-of-a-kind cat cafe that would give pet-less Edmontonians or anyone else who loves cats the chance to cuddle up with a feline friend, and then grab a coffee.

Due to Alberta Health regulations, the cafe will have a glass wall running down its centre; on one side, the cafe. On the other: a lounge full of cats.

“It’s like an extension of your living room,” Lethbridge said of the cat lounge. “There’s comfy furniture in it and friendly cats live there, so you can go and spend time with the cats. And then the other side is a regular cafe.”

That “regular” cafe will serve cat-themed snacks and drinks, along with pet merchandise.

[. . .]

Similar cafes have already been opened in Europe, Japan and Montreal, and plans are in place to open cat cafes in Toronto and Vancouver.

Lethbridge says the cafes are a big draw for people who aren’t able to have a pet of their own — something she has run into herself, as rules at her current apartment building don’t allow her to have a cat.</blockquote

Written by Randy McDonald

April 11, 2015 at 11:42 pm

[LINK] “What is going on in Alberta?”

Mike on Facebook linked to this post at Three Hundred Eight by Éric Grenier looking at next month’s election in Alberta. Out of nowhere, the governing Progressive Conservatives are in third place, behind the gutted Wildrose Party and the New Democratic Party.

The Calgary Herald is doing double duty on Alberta polling these days, coming out with new numbers from ThinkHQ last night (also reported by Metro Calgary and CTV) and then even more new numbers this morning (here reported by the CBC) from Mainstreet Technologies. And the two polls, one conducted online and the other via IVR, showed virtually identical results.

Wildrose scored 31% in both polls, with the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats only a point apart for second place.

ThinkHQ had the NDP with 26% to 25% for the PCs, while Mainstreet had the PCs at 27% and the NDP at 26%.

Both polls also put the Liberals at 12% support.

There is a lot of agreement to go around, but these numbers are unprecedented. In my Alberta polling archive going back to 2008, I have no poll showing the PCs in third place, and only in the darkest moments before Alison Redford resigned have the Tories polled this low before. In none of these polls going back seven years has the NDP even managed 20%, but here they are at 26%. From an electoral perspective, the last time the New Democrats took this much of the vote was in 1989.

This is not to say that the polls are unbelievable. With the Insights West poll from last week, we now have three separate pollsters showing broadly the same thing. Jim Prentice has gambled on an early election, and the first roll of the dice is looking very bad for him.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2015 at 10:41 pm


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