By macleans.ca - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced this week that his government had only $217…
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced this week that his government had only $217 in the bank. That’s all that was left in government coffers after civil servants were paid. Biti warned that the government doesn’t have enough to fund this year’s presidential election. That leaves the government with no choice: “We will be approaching the international community,” he said. Whether donor countries pay up is an open question. President Robert Mugabe, 88, who’s led–and ruined–Zimbabwe since 1980, has announced he is running again.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:30 AM - 0 Comments
Sonia Sotomayor hits Sesame Street, Robert Mugabe is the new Cecil Rhodes, plus a king-in-not-waiting
The full-bore FAQ
The royal family still feeds Prince Charles now that he’s 64—just not seven eggs at breakfast, as per popular myth. That and other long-held beliefs about the Prince of Wales were laid to rest this week in an FAQ released by Clarence House on the occasion of Charles’s birthday, as part of the royals’ ongoing effort to put a more normal face on their sometimes remote heir. He doesn’t duck taxes, advocate use of dangerous alternative therapies or loathe modern architecture, according to officials. And he doesn’t spend any—repeat, any—time thinking about being king. All of which is too bad: those were things that made him interesting.
Now, put that wand away
No sooner is Barack Obama re-elected than his first Supreme Court appointee is out spreading his radical anti-princess agenda. Sonia Sotomayor appeared on Sesame Street to confront a pink muppet named Abby who was dressed as a Disney-style princess, telling her that pretending to be a princess “is definitely not a career,” and encouraging girls to be “a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer and even a scientist” instead. But her profession hasn’t been very helpful to Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who plays Elmo on the iconic kids’ show. He took a leave of absence after being accused of sexual misconduct, an accusation that was then recanted in a statement by the accuser’s law firm. Maybe he’d be happier if more people became princesses, not lawyers. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM - 0 Comments
Late last week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird seemed to announce that Canada was withdrawing from the UN World Tourism Organization because Robert Mugabe had been appointed to the position of international tourism ambassador by the organization. The UN responded that no such appointment had been made. And today Embassy reports that Canada signalled it would be leaving the organization a year ago and left it two weeks ago.
On May 12, 2011, Canada formally communicated to the UNWTO, in a letter not made public, that it wanted to withdraw its full membership in the agency, according to Sandra Carvao, the UNWTO’s communications chief. It didn’t say why. ”According to UNWTO Statutes, withdrawal is effective one year after the formal notice (12 May 2012),” wrote Ms. Carvao in an email to Embassy May 31.
Under that timeline, the agency would have dropped Canada from its membership 18 days before Mr. Baird highlighted Mr. Mugabe’s recognition and said Canada had signalled it wanted to leave the UNWTO, “a decision that will take place later this month.”
Meanwhile, in response to recent criticism of this country, Conservative MP Larry Miller is seeking a review of Canada’s membership in the United Nations.
By Colby Cosh, Richard Warnica, and Alex Ballingall - Monday, September 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM - 0 Comments
Gail Asper steps up, Steve Jobs steps down, and Beyoncé is with child
Just call her ‘G’
Winnipeg philanthropist Gail Asper, 51, is inspiring admiration and horror in her hometown with a surprise contribution to the genre of “older white folks rapping.” Asper is among prominent locals asked to contribute short videos to the University of Manitoba’s VoteAnyWay youth-voter drive; Asper’s supposedly self-penned number, delivered on the steps of the legislature building, reminds viewers: “Even if you’ve got smallpox / you can still go tick that box,” as the media heiress improvises gang signs and grabs her derrière. Local rapper Patrick “Pip Skid” Skene told the Winnipeg Sun her intentions were “honourable” but admitted “the rap is pretty wack.”
Brother of the year?
Gaelan Edwards said he learned his craft from “medical books” and TV. But as an amateur doctor, his record is pretty solid nonetheless. The 12-year-old delivered his own baby brother after his mom went into labour at their home in Campbell River, B.C. Gaelan, the eldest of five, pulled his brother out by his shoulders, helped his mother push out the placenta, then clamped and cut the umbilical cord. Baby Caynan was born a healthy 7 lb., 9 oz. Lucky for mom, Gaelan was up late watching a movie about showgirls when her sudden labour kicked in. He is now said to be considering a more formal medical career.
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 9:25 AM - 0 Comments
How about a cameo as a lounge singer in Hangover 3?
News item: Between 2006 and 2009, Sir David Frost and others were paid a large consulting fee to try to improve the international image of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Memo: To All the World’s Dictators
From: Feschuk Worldwide Consulting & Backrubs
It’s a tough time to be a ruthless despot. Several of your kind have been hounded into exile or targeted by air strikes. Those who remain face a growing sense of anxiety and, even worse, increased odds of getting stuck beside Kim Jong Il at the next dictators’ brunch.
To ensure you’re not the next to be toppled, you could turn for help to a renowned public figure like David Frost. According to news reports, the famed broadcaster was paid £57,000 to help the Libyan leader become perceived as a “thinker and intellectual.” Alas, it’s tough to argue this was money well spent. Gadhafi is today viewed as a thinker in much the same way that Kim Kardashian is viewed as a petite.
By Patricia Treble - Monday, March 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM - 0 Comments
The government, dominated by his ZANU-PF party, has arrested several leading politicians of the Movement for Democratic Change
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is again tightening his grip on power, ahead of elections expected later this year. In recent weeks, the government, dominated by his ZANU-PF party, has arrested several leading politicians of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was forced into an uneasy coalition with the ZANU-PF by neighbouring countries after its supporters were brutalized and murdered during the 2008 election. Six activists, including MDC’s Munyaradzi Gwisai, were released on bail last week, charged with treason for attending a lecture on the pro-democracy protests in Egypt.
No wonder Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC’s leader and current PM, warned last Friday that “dark and sinister forces have engaged in a hostile takeover of running the affairs of the country.” But Mugabe, 84, whose party coffers are enriched by diamonds smuggled out of his impoverished nation, clearly has no intention of ceding control. He’s pressing ahead with plans that require mining companies be majority owned by locals, and on Monday the president signed agreements with China’s vice-premier, Wang Qishan, that will pump nearly $600 million into the government.
By Michael Barclay - Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 3 Comments
Robert Mugabe’s fascination with the Hermit Kingdom goes back many decades
It was a friendly invitation from one paranoid dictatorship to another. In the lead-up to the World Cup in South Africa this month, Robert Mugabe’s government invited the North Korean soccer team to come to Zimbabwe to acclimatize and train before their big games. The North Koreans accepted the gracious offer in April, until they found out where exactly they would be training.
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 4:55 PM - 9 Comments
Longtime visitors to this space have read me raging, like an increasingly maniacal King Lear on the heath, about the Canadian International Development Agency not answering an access-to-information request that I filed in 2007. Last week, almost three years later, they did.
I had asked CIDA about a multi-million dollar democracy promotion program in Zimbabwe. At the time, back in 2007, I had recently returned to Canada from Europe, where I had reported from countries such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus, where pro-democracy movements had tried to overthrow autocratic governments. In Georgia and Ukraine, these movements were successful; not so in Belarus. A factor in all three cases – and also earlier in Serbia – was the involvement of Western governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the Soros Foundation and the National Democratic Institute, that promote political parties, civil society, and democratic governance.
This got me thinking about CIDA’s work in illiberal societies. CIDA’s self-described mandate says nothing about promoting democracy and good governance abroad, instead referencing the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which in turn focus on things like child mortality, disease, and education. But CIDA spent millions in Zimbabwe on a “Rights, Democracy and Governance Fund” with explicitly political goals: “This project supported civil society organizations in demanding and promoting democratic governance and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe.” Continue…
By Nancy Macdonald - Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 4:29 PM - 2 Comments
South Africa’s new president is proving his critics wrong
By now, Jacob Zuma’s South Africa should be careening toward the ranks of failed African states. Eight months ago, after an election anointed him president of the continent’s proudest democracy, editorialists everywhere drew thinly veiled comparisons to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who turned Africa’s shining light into a country that rivals only Somalia for sheer dysfunction. Even the most generous assessments had Zuma—once described as an “embarrassment” by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu—shackled by “suspicion” and “doubt” about his shambolic past, and ﬁtness to lead Africa’s biggest economy. Yet under Zuma, South Africa has made pragmatic, positive strides in many areas, including health and the economy.
Early indicators were not good. Zuma, a former goatherd with no formal schooling and a stable of wives, has also twice stood trial. In April, the fraud, corruption and racketeering charges he’d been ﬁghting for almost a decade were dropped, and in 2006, he was acquitted of rape (despite the acquittal, the case revealed “shocking” judgment, according to noted South African journalist Mark Gevisser: “He had unprotected sex with an unstable HIV-positive woman who regarded him as a ‘father.’ ”) To the chattering classes, Zuma seemed to embody the “rottenness” that famed novelist André Brink described as having befallen the country in A Fork in the Road, a memoir published in the weeks running up to the election.
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 9:38 AM - 0 Comments
I spoke to Zimbabwean lawyer and human rights defender Beatrice Mtetwa while she was in Ottawa this week to deliver a convocation address at Carleton University. Mtetwa has bravely defended Zimbabwean and international journalists in her country who are often subject to arrest, abuse, and murder by forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe. Here is that interview.
By Michael Petrou - Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 3:38 PM - 1 Comment
Beatrice Mtetwa talks about Robert Mugabe, the fight for truth in Zimbabwe and the possibility for change
Beatrice Mtetwa is a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe who specializes in defending journalists who have been harassed, jailed and abused by the government of President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe Africa National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party. Mugabe recently agreed to a power-sharing deal with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now Zimbabwe’s prime minister. Mtetwa spoke to Michael Petrou in Ottawa, where she delivered the convocation address at Carleton University.
Q: What challenges do journalists in Zimbabwe face?
A: Zimbabwe has some of the most repressive laws in the world. And if you want to practice as a journalist, that depends entirely on the government. The government has to approve that you can be accredited as a journalist. The publication that you work for has to be approved by the government. And when you are lawfully accredited, you are still subject to various other restrictions. Lots of journalists get arrested for writing stories that do not go down well with the ZANU-PF leadership. Even if you’re legally doing your job, what you write about may result in you being imprisoned.
Q: It is virtually impossible for foreign journalists to report from inside Zimbabwe. Why does the Zimbabwean government see foreign media as such a threat?
A: The ZANU-PF does not want the outside world to know exactly what is happening inside Zimbabwe. Because foreign journalists know that they will be leaving at the end of their story, they will be able to dig deeper than local journalists. Once they’re out, there will be no consequences for them if they tell the truth.
Q: What happens to local journalists who dig where the government doesn’t want them?
A: A lot of Zimbabwean journalists have had to leave the country because of various threats. They get arrested. They get locked up. We’ve had printing presses bombed. We’ve had journalists killed. It’s not just a matter of losing your livelihood. There’s a real threat of physical harm.
Q: Who are responsible for the beatings, the bombings and the threats?
A: They are state players. There can be no question. But who exactly they are, these are clandestine activities, so one cannot point fingers. But from recent abductions where we have had the government file affidavits admitting that the abductions were carried out by state security agents, there can be no doubt that all other similar activities before would have been done by the same agents.
Q: How is Robert Mugabe able to command the loyalty of his supporters?
A: He has control over virtually all the important security services and ministries. He appoints all the service chiefs in the army. He appoints the commissioner of police. He appoints the chief justice. He appoints all the judges. If you’ve got control of these major institutions, you will have control over everything else. If the police are under his thumb, the army, the judiciary, who is there to stop him doing what he wants to do?
Q: But there are still Zimbabwean journalists who stand up to this intimidation. What motivates them?
A: The truth. It’s their job to ask the truth. It’s the duty of journalists to express what they see on the ground. It can only be bravery, because they dangers are many.
Q: You defend them, at some personal risk. Why?
A: I’m a great believer in free media and freedom of expression. I believe very strongly that you cannot talk of democracy, the rule of law, without a free media. Those who talk of governance, rule of law, democracy—they can only achieve true democracy if there is a free media.
Q: What have you suffered as a result of your work?
A: What other civil society workers face. Harassment, here and there. You get followed from time to time. You get beaten sometimes. It’s part of the territory. You do have your income affected. Lots of clients don’t want to deal with you because you are seen as anti-government, and they fear the consequences of dealing with you.
Q: What has changed since the power sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai?
A: The supermarket shelves are now heavily laden with goods imported from South Africa. But those goods must be paid for with foreign currency, and the majority of Zimbabweans don’t have that. The courts still operate exactly as they did before. The police have not changed in any way. They still arrest first and ask questions later. We still have activists who are facing trial, journalists who are facing trial. And these arrests happened after the signing of the political agreement. The attorney general continues to practice selective prosecutions. Members of the independent media, members of political parties outside the ZANU-PF, are subject to being arrested on a daily basis. Nothing has changed in that sector.
Q: Is that because Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change have so little power?
A: The Movement for Democratic Change has little room to maneuver. Whatever they may want to do, they don’t have the capacity to do it without Mugabe agreeing.
Q: Should they have not entered into the power-sharing deal?
A: I think they should have gone in with a more defined document. There obviously was the belief that there was good faith on both sides. And it’s unfortunate that they thought like that; because good faith is something that Mugabe doesn’t understand. So I think the decision to go in probably was the right one, but it was based on a document that was flawed because it didn’t have enough checks and balances.
Q: Should Canada and other countries give aid to Zimbabwe?
A: I feel very strongly that assistance that will cascade down to the ordinary Zimbabwean should be given. I don’t believe that assistance should mean government-to-government engagement. There must be ways of ensuring that assistance is given that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe without putting that through the government.
Q: The counter-argument is that aid that bypasses the government will still do the government’s work for it and alleviate social pressure and discontent that might otherwise be directed against an oppressive regime.
A: It depends what you want to do. Do you want to make the Zimbabwean government look bad, or do you want to help the people of Zimbabwe? For me, I’m looking at it from a humanitarian perspective. We should not look at how the government will look. We should look at how the ordinary people of Zimbabwe will benefit.
Q: How might Robert Mugabe’s government be removed?
A: He signed an agreement that says there will be elections. The problem is—are we going to have those elections? If so, when, and under what constitution? And who will be in control of what at the time? If President Mugabe still controls the security services, he will have the power to subvert the election anyways.
Q: He’s quite elderly, though. One way or the other, it’s unlikely that he’ll be around for much longer. What will happen when he’s gone?
A: He’s left this legacy that will be very difficult to shake off. He’s shaped the way Zimbabwean politics goes. And he doesn’t do these things on his own. The people in his party are absolutely certain that they are entitled to rule forever. So there will be somebody to step into his shoes who has been schooled in his way of doing things. What would probably change is that a new person would not cause the same sort of fear that Mugabe does. But the culture of doing things in this way is a culture of the party, and it will probably continue, albeit in a more diluted manner.
Q: You don’t sound very hopeful for your country.
A: I would love to be hopeful and believe that things will change quickly. But on the ground I haven’t seen anything to make me think that this will come on a platter. There are many hurdles. Some changes will come, but not as easily as most people think.
Q: Some people talk of a violent revolution or even a regime change from outside. What do you think about that?
A: I don’t think a revolution would help the people of Zimbabwe. It would decimate a population that is already very severely decimated. And also on the ground, I can’t imagine who would want to be involved in that. A revolution requires leaders who would advocate that. I can’t imagine anyone doing so successfully. And I don’t think Zimbabweans would buy that anyway, because of the entrenched fear that is already there.
Q: And regime change from outside?
A: It probably wouldn’t work. And I don’t think it would really be the solution for Zimbabwe.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 12:40 PM - 932 Comments
Around the world, authoritarianism is on the rise, and the West seems powerless to oppose it
Earlier this month a Russian court acquitted three men accused of involvement in the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Politkovskaya’s writing had exposed Russian human rights abuses in Chechnya, and she had been detained on occasion by the Russian military as a result. The end of that court case followed the murder of Stanislav Markelov, another critic of the Russian government who had represented many victims of Russia’s security services. He was gunned down on the streets of Moscow in January. Anastasia Baburova, a 25-year-old student and journalist with Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper that is often critical of the Kremlin, and for which Politkovskaya also wrote, was shot dead when she tried to help. She was the fourth Novaya Gazeta journalist murdered since 2000.
Russia isn’t the only country where it is dangerous to oppose the government these days. China has recently arrested dozens of dissidents as part of a crackdown on free speech on the Internet, which it says is necessary to protect its children from “vulgarity.” Censored websites include those of the BBC and Voice of America. Kyrgyzstan has similarly removed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz-language programs from its national, government-owned TV and radio networks. Kyrgyz authorities said the programs were too critical of the government and would not be broadcast unless they are submitted to and approved by government censors in advance. And Syria last fall sentenced 12 pro-democracy dissidents to 2½ years in prison. The activists had called for greater freedom of expression and an end to the ruling Baath party’s monopoly on power.
By selley - Friday, November 28, 2008 at 1:56 PM - 7 Comments
Must-reads: John Ivison, Chantal Hébert, Dan Gardner, …Jeffrey Simpson and Thomas Walkom, on the
Bad timing, at best
If you were as smart as Stephen Harper, then you’d know what he’s up to.
“There are valid reasons for the government to keep its powder dry” on stimulating the economy, Chantal Hébert argues in the Toronto Star—namely, that “in the absence of a definitive course from the new American administration, dealing with the crisis from Ottawa is a hit-and-miss affair.” But there was no valid reason to announce in yesterday’s fiscal update that political parties would be removed from the federal dole, she insists, suggesting such a move might better follow “a debate on electoral reform.” This is nothing more complicated than the Conservatives sacrificing the “goodwill in the House of Commons … on the altar of partisan self-interest,” she insists, which threatens to turn this parliament “even more toxic than its predecessors” at precisely the time it would be most damaging.
The National Post’s John Ivison, too, believes there’s a compelling case to be made to wean parties off the public teat, and insists “the Liberals only have themselves to blame for the fact that it still costs them 50¢ to raise $1 and that their donor base is only one-quarter the size of that of the Conservative Party.” But the timing, he argues, is indefensible. The public has “a reasonable expectation that Parliament should deal with one emergency before embarking on another,” he writes, “especially one of its own making.”
By selley - Monday, July 7, 2008 at 1:51 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: Rosie DiManno on the US Army deserter “refugee”; …Rex Murphy on
Must-reads: Rosie DiManno on the US Army deserter “refugee”; Rex Murphy on the Order of Canada; Conrad Black on the French; Doug Saunders on the G8; Scott Taylor on Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum; Dan Gardner on the chemical peril.
Give Elizabeth May back her carbon tax!
What Stéphane Dion risks with his Green Shift, what he stands to gain, and what the Green Party’s already lost.
Lorne Gunter, writing in the Edmonton Journal, thinks Garth Turner’s remarks about “losers” in Alberta and Quebec were “a typical (if more extreme) Liberal response to complaints that Dion’s Green Shift punishes the West”—and to just about any policy of the day, for that matter. The basic strategy, in Gunter’s view, has long been to “equate Liberal policy with the national interest so that anyone who disagrees can be portrayed as an enemy of national unity and not merely an opponent of Liberal ideas.” Dion deserves credit for taking his Green Shift caravan to the West, Gunter argues, but any unfriendly faces he meets will be the result of his own party’s previous approach to governance.
Besides “exacerbat[ing] the polarization between Western and Central Canada,” the Toronto Star‘s Chantal Hébert sees other risks for Dion: that the carbon tax, combined with record-high oil prices, “will turn many Canadians off the fight on climate change”; that Canadians might instead be united “against a common federal enemy”; and that it “will divide the pro-Kyoto camp between advocates of a carbon tax and supporters of a different approach.” In these and other ways, Hébert argues, Dion’s approach is a replay of his advocacy for the Clarity Act—it’s more likely to win him fans in Toronto than where the policy has the most effect, and it suffers from very bad timing.
By selley - Friday, July 4, 2008 at 6:06 PM - 0 Comments
Mohamed Elmasry…‘s astonishing defence of Robert Mugabe, which appeared in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette,
Mohamed Elmasry‘s astonishing defence of Robert Mugabe, which appeared in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette, somehow escaped our notice until today. It’s difficult to summarize without spoiling its inherent, terrible beauty. But basically, while Elmasry concedes a certain “clumsiness” in the Zimbabwean president’s approach to redressing “100 years of social injustice in his country,” his position is that in reality Mugabe is “no worse than many leaders in the developing world,” and that his people are purely the victims of Western sanctions born of sour, racist grapes.
Mugabe was trying to implement a land reform [in the 1980s]; to redistribute the land of about 5,000 white farmers to his country’s poor black people. And that is a great sin. So he was and still is in the West called a dictator, an arrogant, aging autocrat who has run the economy into the ground, fanned racial hatred and abused his power to suppress political foes, the courts and media, etc. etc.
Western media seldom report that Mugabe was and still is popular especially in the rural areas; his land reform has won him support among his own people.
As for that horribly dodgy runoff election, which was so roundly condemned by colonialist oppressor nations like Canada, the United States and Britain… and, er, Tanzania, Botswana, Liberia and Rwanda? Well—and this is definitely our favourite part—at least Mugabe’s on the side of Zimbabweans.
Mugabe decided to hold a run-off election last month. But [Morgan] Tsvangirai pulled out and sought refuge in the Dutch embassy, which to some observers is a proof that he is a stooge of Western powers.
By selley - Friday, July 4, 2008 at 1:06 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: Colby Cosh, …Chantal Hébert and John Robson on Henry Morgentaler; John Ibbitson on
All this over a little snowflake?
More mercifully intelligent discussion over Henry Morgentaler’s Order of Canada, and some of the other kind too.
The Montreal Gazette‘s Janet Bagnall believes Morgentaler deserves the award because “when a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she should have access to safe, legal abortion services,” and he was “instrumental” in making that a reality. (H.W. Fowler himself would struggle to find a superior example of begging the question, but never mind.) And she accuses pro-choicers who oppose Morgentaler’s investiture of hoping that “by not calling attention to [him] or abortion, a troublesome issue would stop causing division, maybe even that it would just go away.” It won’t, she assures us, and indeed, threats to abortion rights are all around. Well, all around the Maritimes, anyway: you can’t get an abortion on Prince Edward Island, apparently, and New Brunswick doesn’t pay for abortions performed in private clinics. Either of these, Bagnall says, citing the National Abortion Federation, “might lead to recriminalizing abortion.”
Canadians unsure if “a life of activism” should itself justify the award should consider Morgentaler’s “contribution to turning [the Charter of Rights] into a living document,” the Toronto Star‘s Chantal Hébert suggests, referring to 1988′s landmark R. v. Morgentaler decision. “It is hard to think of a Charter ruling that is as prominent in the annals of Canadian women’s rights,” she argues—but at the same time, neither that decision nor Morgentaler himself is responsible for Canada’s abortion regime. Indeed, Hébert rather cleverly suggests, if the OOC committee had really “wanted to celebrate our unrestricted abortion regimen,” it would have honoured “the anti-abortion lobby and its all-or-nothing approach to the issue” that shouted down the last attempt to recriminalize abortion, in 1993.
By selley - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 12:46 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: John Ibbitson on education in America; Christie Blatchford on Momin Khawaja.
It’s not …
It’s not easy being green
What carbon taxation means for oil companies and their CEOs, Gordon Campbell, and Stéphane Dion’s reputation, such as it is, in Quebec.
If Alberta’s oil executives really believe that the burden of fighting greenhouse gas emissions should be “shared across the country” and across other industries, The Globe and Mail‘s Jeffrey Simpson says they better think twice before “they shoot off their mouths” about the federal carbon tax, as has been the provincial government’s “knee jerk reaction” so far. The alternative, after all, is “a cap-and-trade system that targets the producers almost exclusively and mostly lays off any direct lifestyle change or contribution to greenhouse reductions by consumers.” Strangely absent from this analysis is anything to suggest the oil companies are, in fact, unhappy with the carbon tax as compared to a cap-and-trade scenario. In fact, Simpson claimed in a recent column that they like the idea. Colour us confused.
And from the other side of the aisle, here’s the Financial Post‘s Terence Corcoran excoriating those same executives, plus those in carbon-consuming industries like the airlines, for failing “to live up to their responsibilities to protect shareholders” and “feeding the [climate change] beast with Boy Scout responses—carbon offsets, green programs and public relations gambits—that actually do nothing more than reinforce the idea that their products and services are part of the climate problem.” What good has it done them? he asks. Not much. This week, he notes, James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said they “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”