Archive for category Government
With all due respect to the mayor, this should not be his first concern:
Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison wants to look at reducing speeds on the city’s freeway bridges after a car plunged off the Circle Drive North bridge and into the South Saskatchewan River.
A 23-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle while heading east on the bridge and her car jumped over the guard rail that had a window of snow built up around it. [emphasis mine–ed.] She escaped from her vehicle and was rescued off ice in the river, only suffering minor injuries in the process.
The guard rail didn’t build up the snow. City workers built up the snow along the guard rail, which changed a safety device into a ramp of death.
This unnamed woman should sue the city and any government ministry which implemented and enforced environmental regulations giving rise to this hazard.
She is lucky to be alive, no thanks to short-sighted government bureaucrats.
One day, one paper, three stories.
Hudson is scheduled to present a report on Thursday calling for the city to change its rules around vaccination. While pet owners are required by a city bylaw to license their pets, no rule requires them to get rabies vaccines along with their licenses. That opens people up to unnecessary risk of contracting the deadly and untreatable disease, Hudson said.
While no one in Saskatoon has been infected by rabies in years[emphasis mine, ed.], the city does have a serious issue with domesticated pets biting people, according to a public health nurse who works at the communicable disease control program.
Maggie Simm said 21 people had to have some kind of rabies vaccine treatment this year after they were bitten by animals.
Threats are not risks. They inform risks, they are not to be discounted, but if the probability of the threat is extremely low, then the risk is commensurate. Especially since rabies, pace Dr. Hudson, is treatable. And most especially when, as the article notes, people are usually treated for rabies even if they aren’t bitten by rabid animals.
The second story here is that the city is considering spending money on high-demand facilities:
Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison has some big ideas about adding indoor rinks to the city’s small number of aging facilities.
On Wednesday, Atchison said he would like to see a multi-sheet facility in the city and wants to start the discussion during next week’s budget talks. He acknowledged that securing the money to build one will either involve the private sector or higher levels of government.
ACT Arena, the newest city-owned and operated facility, added its hockey rink in 1981. The newest private facility, Harold Latrace Arena, added its most recent sheet in 1998. Saskatoon has five public arenas and eight private sheets with varying availability for minor and recreational hockey.
Ice sheets in Saskatoon are in such high demand that teams are heading out to neighbouring small towns to rent the ice for the kids. There is a market to be had, a significant one at that. While I appreciate the mayor’s concern over this, there is no reason why a private group couldn’t raise its own money and build a multi-sheet complex, taking both the risk and making their own profits, to the benefit of the users. I would prefer the city zone out some land in the growing suburbs for sports complexes and see who steps up to the table.
Finally, the great Les MacPherson gets it right:
Federal broadcast authorities in distant Ottawa have commanded and decreed that we have more than enough radio stations in the city as it is.
Proponents of a new station were told to forget it and don’t even ask again for two more years. In other words, piss off.
What is not so clear is why we need anyone in Ottawa to tell us how many radio stations Saskatoon can support. Why not let the market decide, as it does with every enterprise? Ottawa doesn’t tell us how many restaurants we need in Saskatoon, for example. That’s why we have restaurants in such profusion and diversity that we can’t keep track of them all.
If restaurants were federally regulated, however, we would have about five of them, all serving turnips.
That’s how it worked in the old Soviet Union. Authorities there tried to decide for everyone what they needed, in all respects.
It worked so well that barbed wire and guard towers were required to keep people from escaping.
Bang on, Les. There is no reason for the CRTC to limit the number of radio stations in this town. The CRTC should limit its function over the enforcement of bandwidth, if that, and allow spectrum to be sold to the highest bidder.
Did you know that disagreeing on government royalty policy constitutes “racism”?
Current and former First Nations chiefs are imploring the Saskatchewan Party to stop running a “racist” television advertisement which claims revenue-sharing with First Nations will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
Bellegarde and elder Ted Quewezance, who also addressed the crowd of approximately 400 delegates and guests at the assembly, both called the ad “racist,” saying it perpetuates negative stereotypes.
Do you know what really perpetuates negative stereotypes? Aboriginal leaders accusing anyone who disagrees with them as being “racist.”
Thankfully, the Sask Party isn’t taking the bait:
Patrick Bundrock, executive director of the Saskatchewan Party, said in an email Wednesday that the “ad accurately reflect(s) the NDP position and statements by NDP leader Cam Broten on First Nations revenue sharing and we stand by the ad.”
Truth is no defense to perpetual grievance-mongers.
Another “balanced” editorial from The StarPhoenix, August 28 (which I re-published in full, in contravention of copyright, just because these editorials tend to disappear into the ether):
Whether a direct connection can ever be made among the flooding in southern Alberta, the burning of California and a hypothetical oil-tanker train stretching between Winnipeg and Houston, one thing that is clear is that both sides who characterized the energy-or-environment debate as a zerosum war have lost.
Scientists have warned for years that unusually devastating environmental events, such as the catastrophic storm that inundated Alberta’s south, including its largest city, and forest fires such as the one consuming one of America’s most beautiful and treasured national parks would become more frequent as the climate warms due to human activities.
According to leaks of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expected next month, scientists are now 95 per cent certain that the increase in greenhouse gases emitted by humans have been the principal reason the planet is warming. As the Washington Post pointed out in an editorial Monday, this level of confidence is generally considered high enough to justify drawing conclusions and amending public policy.
It’s not only scientists who are convinced. According to a study released this week by Canadian pollster Nik Nanos, 78 per cent of Americans consider the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to be important.
But even more of them have even greater concerns about energy security. That has meant that, while programs to push alternative energy sources have met with some success, the demand for North American oil – including from Alberta’s oilsands – has grown so fast that, without the Keystone pipeline to pump it south, rail companies have had to add enough capacity that, counting only the addition since 2011, if all the extra tanker cars were strung together it “would create a train of petroleum products stretching from Winnipeg in the north to Houston in the south.” Nanos says in his report.
This means every day there are 1,284 more rail cars on the tracks compared to just two years ago. It is partly to meet this demand that TORQ Transloading is building a $100-million hub near Kerrobert.
This additional rail capacity is neither a victory for the environmentalists who hoped to shut down the oilsands by opposing pipelines, nor the oil companies and their government backers.
When it comes to energy and the environment, no side in the debate has been willing to compromise. The Canadian government has characterized environmental groups and opposition politicians as traitors, environmentalists have pulled out all stops to prevent pipeline development, antinukes have opposed new plants, windmills have been considered health hazards and local and regional governments have pitted their own self-interests against their neighbours.
As Mr. Nanos points out, the partisan nature of the discussion has all but stalled any real action. Meanwhile, the market has driven up demand.
What is needed, Mr. Nanos writes, is a co-ordinated North American effort to draft a cohesive energy-carbon strategy that takes into account emissions and reduces them over time.
This is the position Canada should be selling in Washington, rather than Keystone or bust.
My response to the editorial:
When calling for a “cohesive” emissions-reduction strategy, the editorial “Co-operation better strategy” (Aug. 28) makes a few assumptions about the climate debate which do not bear under scrutiny.
It is to be expected that the self-selected, self-interested scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will claim a 95% confidence on the impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the climate. However, their claim would carry more weight if average global temperatures weren’t currently below the 5% confidence level of climate models cited by previous IPCC reports.
Global temperatures simply have not been increasing since they peaked in 1998, even though the IPCC confidently predicted otherwise. This ought to convince policy makers to at least hold off on making key decisions based on IPCC recommendations for the time being.
Further, even though the editorial admits that one cannot connect specific events with climate change, spurious connections are nonetheless provided with the recent flooding in Alberta and the Yosemite wildfires.
Yet, in June, the StarPhoenix published a list of no less than 22 major floods in southern Alberta in the past 115 years, many of which occurred prior to recent global warming trends. Similarly, the Yosemite wildfires have raged on despite the fact that the continental United States has just experienced its mildest summer in more than a century. Climate change has far less to do with the impact of these events than, respectively, the urbanization of flood plains and increased fire loads due to fire-fighting practices in national parks.
While I appreciate the call for a more reasonable approach to policy development, it would be wise to stop cherry-picking anecdotes and making uninformed assumptions about climate science to suit one’s own agenda.
My letter was published in the Labour Day weekend paper, August 31, more or less as delivered.