X Marks the Spot

It’s E-Day in Sask and for the second or third provincial election running, I’m not working anyone’s campaign.

I’m a disgruntled voter.

The Liberals and the Sask Party are way too far to the right for my liking.  Besides that, Brad Wall scares me, and did long before the NDP came up with their stupid election ads.  And that brings me to the next party on the list, the NDP, which Politics’n’Poetry gave up on long ago, after party brass rammed through a pro-nuke policy on the convention floor.  It was placed in the  economics batch of issues and not in the environment batch.  How convenient!  Bah. Ptooey!  Left a bad taste in my mouth, but they did come close to wooing me back with talk of electoral reform.  As usual with the provincial NDP, it is too little too late.  The twits.

Anyway, my vote is not going orange.  So, with the  three mainstream parties off the ballot, so to speak, I’m making my vote a protest vote.  I’m going Green.  I won’t be doing that federally, however.  E. E. May scares me, too.

Connection: gas tanks and dinner table

Sandra Finley is the Leader of the Green Party of SK, an entity much different from the Green Party of Canada.  This is her take on some recent announcements and propaganda as well as a letter to a Con MP by Marc Loiselle and an excellent piece by Darrin Qualman, the Director of Research for the NFU.

Subject: Connection: gas tanks and dinner table socjust
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 13:49:14 -0600
From: Sandra Finley <xxxx@xxxxxxxx>
To: xxxx@xxxxxxx

In "health" we have fought the increase in pesticide use brought about by
the introduction of gmo crops.  Now, the Government is providing hundreds of
millions of dollars to help develop the production of crops for "biofuels".
The economics, etc. don't support it.  But another concern of mine is that
as cropland is turned over to fuel production, we will have more and more
gmo crops.  Because people won't follow what's happening if the crops are
destined for our gas tanks and not dinner tables. ... /S
-------------------

Many thanks to Marc Loiselle for his letter to Member-of-Parliament, Brad
Trost.
Brad is also my MP. I received the same letter that prompted Marc to "set
the record straight".

Marc used the excellent analysis provided by Darrin Qualman (below -
BIODIESEL AND ETHANOL CAN'T FUEL THIS CIVILIZATION) to contest this MP's
claim  "Biofuels:  A Win-Win Situation".  (Unfortunately the MP's article
isn't yet posted on his web-site.  www.bradtrost.ca.  And I don't have time
to type it from hard copy for you.)

I left a message for Conservative MP Carol Skelton and talked with the
office of Conservative MP, Lynn Yelich.  I don't know if the letters to
their constituents contain the same article used by Brad Trost.  I hope not
and have forwarded this email to both Carol and Lynn.  We have bad decisions
when people, MP's and others, are poorly informed and thereby voiceless.

*** IMPORTANT:  in smaller print at bottom of his mail-out, Brad Trost, MP
cites his source
  "Statistics from:  Canola Council of Canada  www.canola-council.org ".

NEED TO UNDERSTAND the MP's INFORMATION SOURCE:

Our work on the opposition to Monsanto's gene-altered
"spray-chemicals-on-it-and-it-won't-die" wheat led us to the Monsanto vrs
Percy Schmeiser Supreme Court case.   One of the questions addressed was:
why would a "farmer organization" (the Canola Council) be an intervener in
the Supreme Court on the side of Monsanto?  why wouldn't they be on the side
of Schmeiser?

What we found is that the Canola Council is a "bought" organization.  The
buyer is Monsanto.  Some memories will be twigged by the example of Ed
Sirski from Manitoba, one of the farmer Directors of the Canola Council.  He
and his wife were wined and dined on a free trip to Spain.  At the time we
provided other examples of other "boughts".

The Canola Council IS Monsanto. The glossy Canola magazines are industry
propaganda.  Paule Hjertaas submitted an analysis of an article in the
Canola Digest.  The article manipulated the research to proclaim to farm
families that they are not at risk from exposure to chemicals.  Paule showed
how the reporting of the research was manipulated.  In spite of letters to
the Board of Directors they wouldn't, of course, print her analysis for
their farm readers.

It is Monsanto's herbicide-tolerant canola that heavily impacted overseas
markets for Canadian canola.  But hey!  we can use it for mass production of
bio-diesel. ... It can happen ONLY IF we citizens do not have INFORMED
DEBATE and SOLID INFORMATION on the actual economics of the biofuels.  They
can proceed IF all we receive is the industry propaganda.  How convenient
for the industry to have the Government doing that job for them.  (How
fortunate for us that we have the analysis by Darrin Qualman below, and the
internet to access more information!)

We have gone through the long list of examples from the public record of
just how corrupt Monsanto is.

Now here we have this Member-of-Parliament pumping out the virtues of
biodiesel.  Biodiesel is made from "oilseeds such as canola".  Monsanto's
gmo canola.

There are many UNBIASED sources of information - Darrin Qualman has nothing
to gain financially from his consideration and analysis of the economics and
trade-offs related to biofuels.  I EXPECT BETTER than that the "information"
distributed by my MP is based on "Statistics" from the Canola Council
(Monsanto).

God help us if the decisions of Government, all the money they are now
pouring into the development of biofuels, is based on  "Statistics from:
Canola Council of Canada  www.canola-council.org " .  From Brad Trost's
newsletter:  "The Conservative government has allocated $345 million to help
farmers & rural communities take advantage of new opportunities to produce
biofuels, biofibres and biopharmaceuticals."

I urge you all to follow the lead of Marc Loiselle.  Talk to your elected
representatives.  They are taking us onto a band-wagon headed for oblivion.
We are BADLY in need of informed decision-making by Governments, decisions
that are not based on industry propaganda and corporate interest.

Best wishes,
Sandra
=====================

MARC'S LETTER

SENT TO:  Stephen Harper;Clements, Tony. Min.Health; G.Breitkreuz, MP; NDP
Caucus; Nilson,J. Min.Env.; Parti Vert/Green Party-info.; Peter Prebble,
MLA; Saskatchewan Environmental Society; Serby,Clay, Min. Rural Dev; SK
Party Caucus; Skelton, C. Min. WD; Taylor, L. Min. Health; NFU; Mark Wartman
Min.Ag; Sandra Finley, SK Green Party

Mr. Trost,

I read with disgust your cover page on Biofuels in you latest newsletter
sent to constituents. You and your government have been swindled into
believing that biofuels are a panacea for the agricultural sector and for
the environment. The truth is just the opposite and the money you have
allocated, $345million will only be money in the pocket of the biofuels
developers, not to farmers!

The perceived benefits of biofuels are offset by the actual energy necessary
to produce them. We need to look at the whole picture, which includes what
it takes to get a final product; not just at the so-called benefits.

This investment would have been much better spent on sustainable organic
agriculture across Canada and adding back to provide more publically funded
agricultural research instead of handing it to large corporate and
multinational interests who don't have the best interests of Canadian
citizens in mind, only those of their shareholders.

I invite you to please read the following document authored by Darrin
Qualman, a leading researcher in Saskatoon. (document is also attached file)
He explains in layperson terms, what the actual situation is with biofuels;
something sorely lacking or purposefully avoided by proponents and
mainstream media.
Taking an excerpt from Mr. Qualman: "Ethanol is bad physics, bad biology,
and bad policy..."

Expecting better from government!

Regards.

Marc Loiselle
==========================

BIODIESEL AND ETHANOL CAN'T FUEL THIS CIVILIZATION  (Darrin Qualman)

The following represents the opinions of NFU Director of Research Darrin
Qualman and is presented for information only.  It does not necessarily
represent the policy of the National Farmers Union.  Your comments are
welcome.

            It is hard to convey just how powerful, convenient, unique, and
irreplaceable petroleum is.  Oil is hyper-concentrated energy available, in
many places, for the pumping.  It is relatively stable and transportable—you
can carry it in a bucket. With a bit of refining, it can be poured into weed
wackers and luxury jets; it can run factories and cargo ships.  It is the
energy windfall equivalent of a thousand lottery wins.  It has created the
largest and most luxurious civilization the world has ever known.  There is
nothing else like it on Earth, and there never will be again.

                Biofuels—ethanol and biodiesel—offer only a fraction of the
energy that petroleum does.  More precisely, they offer only a fraction of
the energy surplus—energy not required to be put back into the system to get
more energy, energy you can use to support other aspects of our
civilization.  Any move from an oil-fueled economy/civilization to one run
on bio-fuels would require a radical downsizing and restructuring, because
bio-fuels are dramatically less “powerful” than oil.

                The preceding is true if you accept the well-founded but
necessarily pessimistic energy balance calculations of David Pimental or Tad
Patzek, but equally true if you accept the optimistic energy balance
calculations put forward by biofuel proponents.  This point bears repeating:
The problem with biofuels is not just that their energy balance is less than
one (that it takes more energy to create them than they eventually yield),
the problem is that even if you accept industry claims of energy balances
greater than one, biofuels yield only a fraction of the surplus energy that
petroleum does.  Planting the entire planet to biofuels would yield only a
tiny fraction of the energy we use today.  Biofuels cannot replace
petroleum; they are not a sufficiently powerful energy source to fuel our
current version of civilization*—not even remotely close.

                There are many claims that the energy balances for biodiesel
and ethanol are “positive”—more accurately, claims that the energy balances
are greater than one.  Just for the sake of this article, let’s accept for a
moment that the energy balance for ethanol is 1.5 units of energy out for
every unit in ( www.greenfuels.org ) and the energy balance for biodiesel is
2 units of energy out for every unit in (  www.biodiesel.org  )  (Both these
figures ignore “externalities” such as resource and water and topsoil
depletion, but externalities also exist for petroleum production.)

            If biofuels’ energy balance is 1.5 or 2 units of energy out for
every unit in, then if you put the equivalent of ten barrels worth of
biofuels energy into the biofuels production system, you end up with 15 to
20—a net gain of 1.5  to 2 times the original investment.  That’s what the
energy balance number means: a balance of 1.5:1 or 2:1 means you get out 1½
or 2 times more energy out than you put in.

            But if you have ten barrels of oil and you put them into oil
production, you can produce anywhere from 50 to 100 barrels of oil,
depending on where production takes place and under what conditions
(tarsands production exempted from the preceding statement).
                With oil, it’s approximately one or two barrels in: ten
barrels out.  With biofuels, it’s approximately five to eight barrels in:
ten barrels out.

                These ratios mean that if you have ten barrels of oil, you
only need to set one or two aside to get ten more barrels; the other eight
or nine surplus barrels can be used to fly aircraft, build cities, fuel
automobiles, wage wars, etc.  But if you have ten barrels of biofuel, you
need to set aside five to eight to get ten more barrels.  You only have two
to five “surplus” barrels to fuel the other projects of civilization.  In a
biofuel system, the majority of your energy supply is required for energy
production.

                Any proposed transition of our economy/civilization from oil
to biofuels would mean a transition from an energy source that yields a 500%
to 1000% gain on energy invested to one that yields a 50% to 100% gain (at
best, and probably less than 0% if the many scientists who calculate
biofuels’ energy balances at less than one are correct).  The impoverishing
effects on our energy-dependant, growth-based economy and civilization are
easily predictable.

                Running a civilization on oil is like running a farm with a
very efficient pony: for every ten bushels of oats you and the pony grow,
the pony eats one or two; you have lots of oats left over to sell and lots
of surplus money to re-invest in expanding other aspects of the farm.  But
running a civilization on biodiesel or ethanol is like farming with a lazy,
hungry pony—it eats most of the oats it helps to grow.  You have little
surplus to re-invest in other areas.  Your farm is not nearly as prosperous
or fast-growing.  In fact, if the surplus oats is not enough to feed you and
your family and to sell to cover the other bills, the farm may have to
shrink.

                Biodiesel and ethanol are not sufficiently rich energy
sources to support the kind of civilization we are now running—the western
car culture of leisure, luxury, and privilege.

            Over and above the problem of whether biofuels could
theoretically yield enough surplus energy to underpin our economy, there is
a second problem: in absolute terms, there will never be enough  biofuel to
support current energy consumption levels.  Global oilseed production
(canola, soybeans, etc.) is about 400 million tonnes annually.  At 60
gallons of biodiesel per tonne of soybeans, turning the entire global supply
of soybeans into biodiesel would yield 24 billion gallons per year.  That’s
about 1/6 of the 150 billion+ gallons of diesel fuel consumed each year in
the world.  Turning the world’s entire corn and wheat crops into ethanol
would similarly supply less than a third of the world’s gasoline needs.

                Thus, converting the world’s entire food supply to biofuels
might supply us with 20% or 30% of our fuel needs (again, accepting the very
optimistic energy balance numbers put forward by promoters).  More
realistically, we could, at most, turn 10% of our land over to fuel
production—yielding, at best, 2% or 3% of our liquid fuel needs.  And the
reality may be even worse: If the biofuels production system were actually
fuelled totally by biofuels, we wouldn’t even have this small fraction
available to run trucks and cars: we’d have to put well over half the
biofuels back into the energy production system to produce more.  Thus, that
2% or 3% would really be just 1% or 1.5%.  Biofuels are irrelevant.  These
small percentages make biofuels largely irrelevant.

            Further, we may not even be able to access that 1% or 1.5%.  We
are in a food-supply drawdown; in six of the last seven years, humans
worldwide consumed more grains and oilseeds than we produced.  We are in the
fastest food-supply drawdown recorded in the 45-year data.  The world’s
cropland area has been static or declining for a decade.  And we are adding
the equivalent of a North American population every six years.  Given
declining food supplies and a static landbase, it is hard to believe that we
can solve our current hunger problems and feed an additional 2.5 billion
people and fuel a global proliferation of the SUV culture.  We should
consider the possibility that we may be heading toward food supply
challenges, and that there may be no “surplus” land available to produce
biodiesel and ethanol.

            Finally, there is the question of greenhouse gas emissions.
This issue is complex and potentially confusing, but consider the pony-oats
analogy again.  Imagine a pony that ate all the oats it helped produce.  It
could produce and consume for 20 years and never yield any surplus oats.  In
energy balance terms, this is equivalent to an energy balance of 1—the
energy (oats) in equals the energy (oats) out, and there is no surplus.

                Similarly, if you had an ethanol system with an energy
balance of 1.0, you could run it round and round, year after year, making
and burning ethanol (or burning the ethanol-energy-equivalent in diesel fuel
and natural gas), and creating no surplus energy.  The greenhouse gas
emissions (from fertilizer plants, farm tractors, etc.) would mount, but you
’d never succeed in fueling an automobile even a single mile because you’d
never generate any surplus ethanol to put into that car.  In this scenario,
the greenhouse gas emissions for ethanol would be infinitely greater than
for gasoline.

            Now, consider a situation wherein the ethanol energy balance is
1.5:1.  If you burnt the energy equivalent of one unit of ethanol in the
ethanol production system, you’d get 1.5 units of energy out.  Of those 1.5
units, you’d have 0.5 units surplus, and you’d put the other 1.0 unit back
into the system and burn it, yielding the next 1.5 units—another surplus of
0.5.  Now you’d have accumulated a total surplus of one unit (0.5 units plus
0.5 units); but you have already burned two units getting that one.  And,
when you burn the 1 surplus unit in the car, your total will be three units
burned: 1 in the car and two in the field and refinery.  For comparison—on
basis comparable to the 3 units of ethanol burned and emissions
produced—simply burning gasoline would yield about 1.25 units of
emissions—one unit burned in the car and 0.25 burned in getting the oil and
refining the gasoline.  For an energy balance of 1.5:1, for a given mile
driven by a given car, burning ethanol creates over twice the emissions that
burning gasoline creates.

                Let’s forget the preceding for a moment.  Let’s accept what
the proponents of biofuels claim: that the use of biofuels reduces
greenhouse gas emissions.  We could ask: By how much?  Moving, over the next
five years, to a 5% ethanol blend in Canada will result in little or no
reduction in actual gasoline burning because total motor fuel use will
probably continue to increase at about 1% per year as it has.  Thus, five
years from now, even as we add ethanol to the mix, we’ll be burning the same
amount of gasoline we are now; plus we’ll be burning about 5% as much again
in the form of ethanol—a fuel that, according to proponents, generates only
slightly fewer greenhouse gases (and according to many credible sources
produces more).  Even as we move to adopt biofuels, we are increasing our
greenhouse gas emissions from oil-based motorfuels.  The widespread adoption
of biofuels, seemingly Canada’s only significant current  initiative to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will not even begin to tackle the problem.
And by some analyses, such a move makes the problem far worse.

Conclusion
                Investing massively in ethanol and biodiesel production may
turn out to be the greatest public policy mistake in a generation.  As
energy sources, even accepting the rosy calculations of proponents, they
will never be sufficiently powerful or abundant to replace more than a tiny
fraction of petroleum.  And for that fraction they do replace, they may well
increase greenhouse gas emissions and speed global warming.

                The fervour with which policymakers, the media, and the
public have fastened onto ethanol and biodiesel may simply be a reflection
of our fear.  We fear what an oil-limited and a climate-change-constrained
future may hold for our experiment in economic and energy-use hyper-growth.
Our focus on ethanol and biodiesel, like similar attention being paid to
hydrogen, may simply be a way of ignoring biophysical limits and pretending
that we can double and re-double the size of our global economy and the rate
at which we use resources.  The dominant belief still seems to be that each
generation will be better off than the previous one, and that 9 billion
people can eventually come to live like Toronto suburbanites.  As we plow
into problems created by trying to fuel our castle-in-the-sky civilization
on oil, we are now casting around for other solutions, telling ourselves we
can fuel it by burning food.

                One last thing needs to be said, however: This isn’t all bad
news for farmers.  Clearly, incinerating the world’s food supply in
ever-more-numerous SUVs has the potential to create shortages and to drive
up grain prices.  The current grain supply drawdown began eight years ago,
before the advent of significant ethanol or biodiesel production.  But
biofuel production (coming as it does at a time when grain supplies are
touching a thirty-year low and coupled with the reality that we’re adding
the equivalent of two-and-a-half Canada’s each year to global population)
has the capacity to trigger short term grain shortages that could lead to
grain prices doubling, as they did in the mid-’70s and mid-’90s.  Ethanol is
bad physics, bad biology, and bad policy, but the publicly subsidized
vaporization of food stocks can be good for farmers.  Despite valid concerns
about energy balances or greenhouse gas emissions, the biofuels project will
proceed and accelerate.  And with or without ethanol or biodiesel, there are
almost certainly higher grain prices ahead for farmers. nfu

 *          Our current industrial civilization and its growth-based economy
has its detractors.  This article won’t examine whether continued production
and use of “Hummers”, either as assault or commuter vehicles, is in the best
interests of the biosphere or the global population.  What this article will
do is to analyze the question of whether an automobile-based, industrial
economy could be significantly fuelled by biofuels.  Can ethanol and
biodiesel even partially sustain the status quo?
    <!--[endif]-->
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> Food is energy (and vice versa)

Modern, industrial agriculture turns fossil fuels into food.  Nitrogen
fertilizer is synthesized directly from natural gas.  Humans are now
producing so much nitrogen from fossil fuels that we have doubled the amount
of nitrogen cycling in our biosphere.

 The very high energy content of our food prompted one NFU member to quip
that biofuels are a way of “turning energy into food into energy.”  This
observation has some merit.  Biofuels are a project wherein we channel part
of our energy-augmented food supply into creating a food-augmented energy
supply.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Marc & Anita Loiselle
*Loiselle Organic Family Farm*
'Holistic Stewardship for Abundant Life'
Certified Organic since 1985
Championing Red Fife Wheat
*Ferme Biologique Familiale Loiselle*
'Intendance Holistique pour la Vie Abondante'
Certifié Biologique depuis 1985
Champions du blé Red Fife

Celebrating a century of family farming 1906 - 2006
Le centenaire de notre ferme familiale 1906 - 2006

P.O. Box 25
Vonda, Saskatchewan
S0K 4N0
tel: 306-258-2192
fax: 306-258-2169
email: loiselle@baudoux.ca
website: http://loiselle.ma.googlepages.com

Farmer of the Year award – 2007
Organic Crop Improvement Association, Int.

Marc Loiselle - board of directors Chairperson,
Prairie Red Fife Organic Growers Cooperative Ltd.

Marc & Anita Loiselle
Worldwide Marriage Encounter provincial registration contact couple
A WWME Weekend is a gift you give each other and a wonderful affirming love
and life enhancing event. We believe every married couple deserves this
experience!

Marc Loiselle
Communications & Research Director,
Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF),
‘To preserve and protect certified organic food and fibre production’
directeur des communications et recherche,
Fonds de Protection de l'Agriculture Biologique (FPAB),
‘Pour protéger et préserver la production d’aliments certifié biologique’
Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD)
http://www.saskorganic.com

“Biotechnology and GM crops are taking us down a dangerous road, creating
the classic conditions for hunger, poverty and even famine. Ownership and
control concentrated in too few hands and a food supply based on too few
varieties planted widely are the worst option for food security.” Christian
Aid

“La planète est le bien commun de l’humanité. En prendre soin donne un sens
à la vie” SOS-Planète

====================
Email from:
Sandra Finley, Saskatoon
306-373-8078; sabest1@sasktel.net
Email network started in year 2000
Joined Green Party in May 2006
Leader, Green Party of Saskatchewan, Oct 2006
--

E. May Back-peddling

Elizabeth May does not *get* it! She’s blown it for the Greens!

I am one who worked towards women’s reproductive freedom in the 80’s. I rejoiced in Justice Bertha Wilson’s words in the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Criminal Code of Canada restrictions on abortion in 1988. I am greatly disheartened that May and the Green Party of Canada have re-opened this issue. Though they spout a (weak) pro-choice policy, they — and May, in particular — appear to have no respect for my right to control my body.
Furthermore, try as she might to do otherwise in in her response to Rebick, May makes a religious argument, not a moral one. And Canada, thank goodness, has managed to keep the Church and the State separate. Shouldn’t we try to keep it that way?

I have to wonder if the socially conservative will ever find peace. Is it not clear that so long as we have a society where children are considered a liability, where women are abused and mistreated simply because they are women, where the wages for parking lot attendants are more than childcare workers, where isms abound, there can be no discussion around abortion?
May’s talk to the Catholic nuns, it seems to me, was nothing more than politicking, vote-grabbing. Now she’s back-peddling. And, by recording her talk and broadcasting it, the Green Party of Canada has opened their doors to social Conservatives looking for a new home. Even more politicking and vote-grabbing. And, as always, it’s on the backs of women, at the expense of hard-won women’s rights.
I am appalled, not only with May, but also with myself, for thinking that she could make a difference for women in Canada, for thinking I could support the Green Party of Canada. Hah! It’s just more of the same-old, same-old.

Well, until you turn to the provincial Greens where the Leader, Sandra Finley, is a pro-choice feminist, no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it.

Rebick withdraws support for May

Judy Rebick, the former publisher of rabble.ca, a former President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the current Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University, in an open letter to Elizabeth May has withdrawn all support for the Green Party of Canada.

I have carefully reviewed your statements on abortion and I have to say that I am sorry but I will no longer be supporting you or the Green Party in any way.

As you know I was very supportive of your running as leader of the Green Party and despite my differences with some of the platform of the Party I have up until now felt that your presence added a great deal to the federal political scene. But now you have questioned the most important victory of the women’s movement of my generation.

I have to admit that I’d not yet taken time to read May’s statements, until just now.  And I am inclined to agree with Rebick.  I was very disheartened by a large part of what May said:

I respect people who say, “I’m against abortion because there is a right to life, and the fetus is sacred.”

I respect that, because I think all life is sacred.

And I think one of the things I would like to bring to Canadian politics is to show enough respect for the other view, that we could actually have a dialogue about it. Because one of the things that is wrong about polarization is the language becomes a barrier to understanding.

So if one group of people say, “A woman has a right to choose,” I get queasy, because I’m against abortion. I don’t think a woman has a frivolous right to choose.

What I don’t want is a desperate woman to die in an illegal abortion. But I also don’t think it’s right to say – Well, you see, you end up having this conflict.

What I’d like to do in politics – and I’ve talked about this in some other settings besides here today, because this is the first time it’s come up in London North Centre – what I’d like to do in politics is to be able to create the space to say, “Abortions are legal because they must be to avoid women dying. But nobody in their right mind is for abortions.”

I’ve talked women out of having abortions. I would never have an abortion myself, not in a million years. I can’t imagine the circumstances that would ever reduce me to it.

For May to suggest that a woman’s right to choose is frivolous demonstrates how little she really knows about the issue.  To suggest  an inability to imagine the circumstances that would make women choose abortion seems to indicate she has no compassion for women and girls who have been sexually assaulted and find themselves pregnant.  And, as Rebick says, it trivializes the decades of work that women have done to have the procedure legalized.

But now you have questioned the most important victory of the women’s movement of my generation.

If you had said that you personally oppose abortion but you support a woman’s right to choose, I would have been fine with that. Instead you said that a woman’s right to choose, something tens of thousands of Canadian women fought for for decades, was trivializing an important issue. It felt like a slap in the face.

Since you have so little respect for me or for the women’s movement which mobilized for so long to win this hard-earned right, I hope you will understand that I ripped up the cheque I had written to the Green Party and you can no longer rely on me for support.

I am very sorry about this Elizabeth, but I cannot attribute your comments to ignorance of the issue since you were around when the issue was being debated.

And now I have to think very carefully about where I will place my energies come the next federal election.  I was one of those tens of thousands of Canadian women Rebick mentions, who fought for decades to legalize abortion.  This casts a whole ‘nother light onto the federal scene.

Thanks, Judy, for making me think again.

And again.

SK NDP & the Big U

That’d be Uranium, not University.  I’ll bet the SK NDP government expects SK taxpayers to be happy with this Globe & Mail report:

A surefire way for mining companies to attract attention and raise cash lately is by being linked to the radioactive metal used to fuel nuclear reactors.

Spot uranium prices have doubled this year, touching $72 (U.S.) a pound this week on speculation of supply shortages when and if new nuclear plants get built as part of what has been dubbed the “nuclear renaissance.”

Investors have responded by throwing cash at anything and everything associated with uranium.

I’ll bet the NDP Old Boys Club (OBC) at the Ledge, will spew on about the increases to the Province’s revenues.  And that’s a good thing, they’ll say.  They’ll say that money will trickle down to the masses through increased spending on health, education, and social programs.  And that’s a good thing, they’ll say.

It doesn’t matter, apparently, that uranium leaves devastation in its wake.  Or that SK uranium continues to kill and maim in the Middle East, that the connection between SK uranium and the military industrial complex exists despite treaties.  Or that there’s no safe place to store the dangerous waste it creates.  Or that there are repeated reports of the ongoing harm it causes plants, animals, water, and people.

The OBC’ll say, Talk to the hand ‘cos the face don’t wanna hear it no more!  Or something like that.

Is it that they’re unclear on the idea that deriving revenue from something that causes such great harm is immoral?  Doesn’t the OBC get that?  Prebble doesn’t count; he’s not a member of the OBC.

The grassroots gets it.  The Party doesn’t.  And Prebble is leaving politics to work with the grassroots he never abandoned.  He seems the only one who knows that it is the grassroots in this province that makes it or breaks it for the NDP.  Watch the provincial Greens make strides in the next provincial election.  A few visits from Elizabeth May will ensure that those who truly care about the environment will vote Green.

Sad to say, but, in its home province, the only hope for the NDP is an upsurge in support for the Liberals at the expense of the Sask Party.  Unless the government introduces proportional representation.  And the chances of either are slim to nil.

With thanks to Jeremy at While the Earth Burns for the lead.

The Greens are learning…

Saying these kinds of things will get votes for the Greens next time we head to the polls.  It seems that the Greens are learning to play politics.

Harper Can’t Dictate Democracy, Green Party Says

Senate reform must be decided by people, not politicians

Ottawa, Dec. 14 – The Conservative government is overstepping its bounds by attempting to unilaterally change this country’s democratic systems, Green Party of Canada democratic reform advocate Chris Tindal said today.

“Democracy isn’t just another political issue,” said Tindal. “Our democratic systems need, by definition, to be determined by citizens, not just politicians. They especially shouldn’t be dictated by a Prime Minister whose party received just a little more than a third of the vote in the last general election.”

The Canadian Senate, while in need of reform, has traditionally played an important role in Canadian politics as a place of sober second thought and long-term planning. Any good ideas that the government’s proposal may include, such as a move towards proportional representation, lack legitimacy unless they come directly from citizens.

“The Senate is just one piece of the very complicated web that makes up our democracy,” added Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “To tinker with it in isolation from other democratic systems, and without an appreciation for the many functions and long history of the Senate, is dangerous to say the least.”

The Green Party of Canada recognizes the need for democratic reform, including Senate reform. Greens support the creation of a Citizens’ Assembly to determine what Senate reform is necessary, similar to the Citizens’ Assembly dealing with proportional representation that is currently under way in Ontario.

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Contact:
Camille Labchuk
613-882-4761

“Feel the Heat”

Well, well, well, it’s interesting times for environmentalists in Saskatchewan.  It seems our NDP government, the same one that opposed the Kyoto Protocol in its early stages, and the same one that is promoting increased uranium activities in the province is the same one that may actually have to look at the economic effects of climate change.

The Saskatchewan NDP will hold their 70th annual sacred convention in Saskatoon in a couple of weeks. The theme is Saskatchewan: Feel the Energy which, according to organizer Cathy Duncan, “refers to some of the positive developments in the areas of health, youth and economic development.”  The event could probably be renamed Feel the Heat, to more aptly reflect what the SK NDP are up against.
Environmentalists are fed up with the NDP government, calling it anti-green.  SK has had an 62% increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, the worst of any province in Canada.  The crown corporation, SaskPower, is the 3rd largest emitter of CO2 in the country.  Few people believe the government’s line, “We have a plan.”  Given his recent cuddling-up to the business lobby, most green-thinkers here expect similarities to Harper’s Clean Air Act.

Another big piece of the problem for the NDP is its active promotion of the uranium agenda in the province.  They conveniently ignore the fact that SK’s uranium is killing people in the Middle East and will continue to do so for generations to come.  They’ve participated in creating a demand for jobs, as well as a public call and a national sales pitch for uranium as part of their neoconservative agenda.  Minister of Industry and Resources, Eric Cline, displays amazingly flawed logic and provides a racist argument when he says,

“We know that the world is going to continue to use nuclear power and therefore uranium is going to be used. Even if all the uranium mines in Saskatchewan were shut down, this would continue to happen. Saskatchewan has the best occupational, health and safety standards in terms of uranium mining in the world, the best system of decommissioning mines in the world, and the mining sector pays amongst the highest wages in Saskatchewan and has significant Aboriginal involvement. So, if uranium is to be mined, where should it be refined? Right here in Saskatchewan where we know it will be done right.”

Pretty much everyone in SK knows that the likelihood of the NDP soaring to victory in the next provincial election runs anywhere from slim to nil. The election will be the right wing Sask Party’s to lose. The only hope for Saskatchewan progressives are

a) Brad Wall and the Sask Party pull a major blunder; or

b) Lorne Calvert resigns and the NDP returns to its roots with a leader like Nettie Wiebe; or
c) the Green Party of Saskatchewan makes a major breakthrough and grabs votes away from the Saskatchewan Party; or

d) the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan is born again.

The first or second would be preferable, the third is plausible and the fourth is highly unlikely.