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Canada a major polluter
I wish to thank Don Hermiston for reinforcing the fact that Canada creates a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases that contributes to the global warming problem (America's useful idiots, May 8).
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With a population of only 35 million, 0.5 per cent of the world's population, Canada's two per cent of the planet's carbon dioxide emissions is grossly disproportionate. China emits the highest at 23 per cent, but has 19 per cent of the world's seven billion people. Canada has the second highest greenhouse-gas emissions, just slightly behind the U.S., per capita.
Hermiston also correctly points out that sometimes politics, unfortunately, trumps good judgment. To surrender Canada's entire economy to one unpredictable and foreign manipulated industry is lunacy.
Don Hermiston could have also mentioned that besides Americans trying to keep oil prices low and the NDP playing politics with Canada's oil patch, environmentalists in general are playing a similar role with their denunciation of new pipeline construction, particularly Keystone XL and Northern Gateway. Yet they are deluding themselves and the public with this opposition since even the most optimistic studies show that rail transport of unrefined petroleum is still almost three times more likely to experience spills than are pipelines.
When U.S. producers recognized legal wrangling was likely either to delay new pipelines or cancel them outright, they turned to the railways. As a result, the amount carried by tank cars has increased more than 20-fold during the past few years, and from the start of last year until the end of 2013, rolling stock manufacturers will have produced 105,000 new cars each capable of holding an average of 600 barrels. All this extra traffic has seen the number of spills jump from only 10 during the 2007-2009 period to 124 in the three years following.
So what's the rationale behind blocking pipelines when the oil will flow regardless and through a more accident-prone medium?
Airships are the future
From time to time we see articles promoting the use of airships for northern transportation. Perhaps they may also move manufactured homes as well.
Could the military find need for them in maintaining our Arctic sovereignty? The uses cited to date are only the obvious -- the tip of the iceberg into a vast undeveloped area.
Put Bipole under water
John Fefchak (NDP talks good game) and Dave Ennis (Stop the Bipole Charade) in the May 7 paper have essentially the same complaint. We elect governments to make decisions and take action in the best interests of the majority, but the present government is apparently unable to do so.
The NDP government needs to realize there is never a perfect answer to any problem. We almost always need to choose the least of several evils. In the case of the three outstanding problems facing us just now, I would suggest they put the Bipole III line down the centre of the lake and dredge the Red and Assiniboine rivers to a depth of 10 metres from the lake to Brandon.
Putting the power line under the lake requires adopting the technology the Norwegians developed 40 years ago. Once we have established the plant to manufacture the line, we will be able to put many more lines underground, where they will be safe from ice storms and bush fires.
Dredging the rivers will ameliorate the flooding problems by getting the excess water to its inevitable destination more easily. It will also help to solve the problem of eutrophication of Lake Winnipeg by removing much of the phosphate, which is carried in the mud.
NDP compares favourably
Next to the laments and axe-grinding of retired hydro engineers, my favourite Op-Ed interventions are those of that old war-horse of Manitoba politics, the estimable Sidney Green (NDP's spending chickens coming home to roost, May 3).
Green launches with the broadside that the one percentage point PST hike is "required simply because government spending has spun out of control."
A simple accuracy check reveals that Manitoba's debt to GDP ratio for 2012/13 was 27.1 per cent and for 2011/12 was 25.5 per cent. This compares to the debt/GDP numbers for the final full two Conservative years, i.e. 1997/98 at 32.7 per cent and 1998/99 at 32 per cent. Coincidentally, both two-year periods come in the aftermath of significant flood events, in 1997 and 2011.
And another point the sky-is-falling brigade might wish to consider is that the size of the Manitoba economy in 1999 was $32 billion, whereas today it has almost doubled to over $62 billion.
The 2013 budget cuts or freezes 11 departments, and this is on top of cuts and freezes to five departments last year. The Justice Department, however, sees an increase of 9.5 per cent and local government increases by 9.6 per cent. Perhaps the lawyers and the rural municipalities would like to see cuts in these areas? I suspect not.
Accuracy prevails, however, and Green does acknowledge the referendum legislation enacted by the Conservatives was both confusing and a "blatant piece of window dressing that was doomed to failure." So true.
Re: PST hike decried by business group (May 6).
What is the sound of the Manitoba NDP popularity balloon inflating? Answer: SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSPEND.
What is the sound of the same balloon deflating? Answer: PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2013 0
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