By Ryan Mallough - Friday, January 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
The UAE is trying to change its image from that of a global polluter
The United Arab Emirates is announcing plans to develop a national strategy for green economic growth, an attempt by the major global polluter to burnish its image.
The UAE is the seventh-largest oil producer in the world and one of the world’s largest natural gas producers, but that energy production has come at a high environmental cost: the UAE has one of the largest ecological footprints of any country in the world. Cars, the main method of transportation in Dubai, a city with few sidewalks or cycling routes, are another major contributor.
A University of North Carolina study estimated that air pollution caused the deaths of 609 people—seven per cent of all UAE fatalities—in 2007, mostly due to infectious particulate matter carried through the air. The problem is even present inside, where indoor pollution—mould, second-hand smoke and other emissions that get trapped indoors—has also become a hazard for the sweltering-hot country. Former Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, head of the Global Green Growth Institute, praised the initiative, adding he hopes it will “demonstrate a compelling case for action from other hydrocarbon-based economies in the Middle East.”
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM - 98 Comments
Isn’t it time Harper appointed Rae as foreign minister?
Bob Rae’s recent intervention in the continuing dispute between Canada and the United Arab Emirates over airline landing rights has earned him a rebuke from the National Post. Under the headline “Liberals forget they’re Canadians first,” the paper editorialized on how unseemly it was of the Liberal foreign affairs critic to have, er, criticized the Harper government, after meeting with U.A.E. officials in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for its “ham-fisted” handling of the dispute.
While it conceded that “a case could indeed be made that Ottawa has been ‘ham-fisted’ in its approach to the U.A.E.”—could, and has: by Peter MacKay, among others—the paper nonetheless observed that “patriotic politicians don’t bash their own government on other people’s shores.” For his part, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, accused “the Ignatieff Liberals” of taking the U.A.E.’s side in the dispute, “rather than defend the interests of Canadian workers and the Canadian economy.”
Well, that’s one interpretation: Rae is sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, and advancing a position that is contrary to Canadian foreign policy. The other is that he is auditioning for the role of Canadian foreign minister. Indeed, “a case could be made” he looks rather more convincing in the part than the incumbent.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 4:54 PM - 225 Comments
Editorial slams federal government as protectionist
An editorial in the Dubai-based Gulf News claims “Canada has lost its way under Harper.” Purporting to explain why the UAE had imposed visas on visiting Canadians, the newspaper argues Canada just hasn’t been the same since the Conservatives took power. “Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his right-wing Conservative government came to power, the veneer of civility has slipped,” it reads. “Politics in Ottawa has become polarised — it is Harper’s way or the highway.” According to the paper’s editors, this shift is most noticeable in its staunchly pro-Israel stance on matters involving the Middle East, its eager participation in the war on terror, and, perhaps most important to UAE readers, its protectionist approach to trade. “Where companies were independent, they are now subsidised and granted preferential treatment, as is the case with Air Canada.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM - 12 Comments
Randall Wakelam wonders about what we’re doing and where we’re going.
Conventional wisdom was that voters have, at most, a six-month memory for inexplicable government decisions. Do politicians today employ that same wisdom? If they do, it would certainly explain how and why we buy fighter aircraft without a clear explanation of need; why we allowed ourselves to lose Camp Mirage in the UAE because of civilian landing rights in Calgary and Vancouver that have nothing to do with security and defence matters; and why we are now staying on in Afghanistan for three years in a yet to be defined mission.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 9:17 AM - 26 Comments
The Defence Minister attempts to demonstrate his government isn’t nearly as secretive as its detractors allege.
According to Mr. Proussalidis, Mr. MacKay walked up to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Senator Meighen Wednesday morning after the journalist had started chatting with the pair. “It was all small talk until Defence Minister Peter MacKay walked up and joined the conversation, wearing a red ‘Fly Emirates’ baseball cap on his head and a grin on his face,” Mr. Proussalidis wrote.
“As I stood with the group, Senator Meighen asked about the cap, and that’s when the conversation became interesting. MacKay joked that he wore the cap for [minister John] Baird,” he wrote … “MacKay went on to tell Meighen that Canada could have continued to use a military base in the UAE for free … if only it had granted those slots. Then the defence minister suggested it would take 10 years to repair the relationship with the UAE.”