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2012-03-07  |  John Bennett

If the twentieth century taught us anything, it taught us that concentrating too much power in the hands of a few is a very dangerous thing. In fact, the recognition of the necessity of keeping competing interests apart goes back a lot further.

Democratic countries have long upheld the importance of the separation of church and state. There are too many examples of excesses that can result from state enforcement of religious belief. Look no further than Iran for a real-time reason why.

We don’t, however, question the marriage of state and ideology - more specifically, government and big business - despite the havoc this union has caused over the past century. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, no? Even in the face of the (most recent) global economic meltdown – clearly caused by the excesses of laissez-faire capitalism - government and industry continue to grow closer.


Towards the end of the...

2012-02-28  |  John Bennett

Do we have a principal to set things right?

It struck me the other day: Canada is stuck in a “Mean Girls” high school movie plot. Then the Robo-Call scandal broke and confirmed it.

Twenty years ago a new kid showed up in the parliamentary cafeteria. He was a big deal in Alberta. The son of Premier, but in Ottawa he was just an upstart from the country who needed to be put in his place. The in-crowd had nothing but scorn. They made fun of the way he talked, the clothes he wore, his nerdy glasses, even how he combed his hair. It wasn’t long before his dream of improving democracy was dashed and he was headed home. But he brought a few young buddies to Ottawa who stayed, vowing to teach those eastern kids a thing or two. They chose a new leader who, like Lindsay Lohan, was very talented - but with a flawed personality.

Along with their new leader they met up with some kids they knew from down south who showed them how to get even...

2012-02-22  |  Michael Matthys

Here are a couple of links to articles on Nestle from our ally the Polaris institute. Although they were published last year they are still a useful resource for water advocates and concerned citizens.

First is, 

Turning water into money 

Talk of trading access to water on an open market stirs controversy, but it's already a reality in Alberta


Last month, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestlé SA, the world’s largest food company, made a splash in Alberta for announcing, via an interview with Reuters in Geneva, that Nestlé was in talks with the Alberta government to establish a so-called water exchange—a market in which water, life’s sine qua non, could be bought and sold just like wheat, pork bellies or any other commodity. “We are actively dealing with the government of Alberta to think about a water...

2012-02-15  |  Michael Matthys

In solidarity with those protesting the logging of Castle Special Place, concerned citizens in Edmonton and Calgary turned out on February 14 to show their support for Castle wilderness area. The photo above shows Interim Director for SC Prairie, Chelsea Flook, addressing the crowd.

Castle is an ecologically sensitive area that provides a vital refuge to Alberta's grizzly bears, an already endangered species. The larger Castle region is also an important natural area for local residents and outdoor enthusiasts. 

The Forest Managment Agreement which permits Spray Lake Sawmills to clear-cut over 3700 truckloads of trees will, by some estimates, generate a mere $100, 000 in stumpage fees for the Alberta government. Furthermore, only 60% of the timber removed can be turned into dimensional lumber leading some to contest that nearly half of these trees will be turned into fence posts. More on this issue from Andrew Nikiforuk's blog is...

2012-02-09  |  John Bennett

Just got a news release from the Prime Minister's office (me and thousands of others). Now all that trash talk about "radical" environmentalists and "socialist foreign interests" is starting to make sense.

The release outlines all the trade deals the Prime Minister signed in China. Topping the list is an agreement to accelerate the selling-out of Canada's natural resources to China, especially oil.

Unlike NAFTA, there will be no debate in Parliament. Unlike Kyoto, there will be no vote in Parliament. It's a done deal. The horse has left the barn (or should I say the oil has left the pipeline?). But I digress.

Soon the prime minister will have to come home and deliver on his new commitments. The question that remains to be seen is, of course, just what did he commit Canada to? I guess we...

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