Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

A great line, and half of a good idea

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So, I consumed way too much blogosphere to tell people that I have no real position on the Upper Fort Garry debate. I'm still having trouble getting my dander up about one side or the other. However, a recent post by one of my all-time favorite blogs, Comments Closed, really snaps off something very funny, and very profound:So, its stupid. A bunch of ridiculously wealthy Manitobans have started arm-twisting a Premier who loves having his arm-twisted. All so we can tear down some buildings and show the world we mean business by building a fur-trading fort. Seriously. Winnipeg is building a fur-trading fort.Okay, so I don't think it's so stupid, but that doesn't mean I don't recognize a good burn when I see one. It also made me think about a scene in Michael Moore's breakthrough documentary, Roger and Me. In one seen, the city fathers in Flint Michigan conjure a plan to turn their city into a major tourist attraction by building an exact replica of Flint in its glory years. The real downtown was a rat and crack infested oozing wound, but the city spent millions recreating downtown flint in an indoor amusement park. I've always thought that was a fantastic example of how misdirected some people are in their pursuit of the next big idea.Hey, perhaps I'm getting close to actually taking a position.*****A story in this morning's Globe and Mail describes a federal government plan to force oil sands projects and coal-fired electrical generating plants to spend money retrofitting their projects to caputre CO2. At first blush, it's a great plan.As the story notes, the oil sands projects in Alberta are expected to contribute 25 per cent of the entire country's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Canada's plan is to cut emissions by 20 per cent below 2006 levels by the middle of this century.A good start, but why does it seem that all the federal green programs put off the inevitable? Reduce emissions below 2006 levels by 2050? The mathematics of emission reductions appears to be a "smoke screen" (sorry) for the fact that we're moving at a glacial pace.In the end, forcing emission reductions later rather than sooner will just put Canadian businesses at a disadvantage in the future. The faster we retrofit heavy industry to reduce emissions, the more competitive we will be. In the future, those industries that have delayed investments in green technology to reduce emissions will be left behind; those who have made the changes will be sitting pretty. Surely it's a good idea to make the necessary changes now while oil is hovering near $105 a barrel and profits are flowing much faster than the bitumen is being excavated?I guess half of a good idea is better than a bad idea. I guess.-30-

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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