Friday, August 29, 2014

The Fraser Institute...Right To Work Laws Equals 'Choice'?


From Business In Vancouver's Emma Hempel's fine bit of stenography:

All Canadian provinces lag behind American states in terms of labour relations laws, and British Columbia is particularly bad, according to a Fraser Institute study released August 28.

The laws in Canada restrict worker choices, leading to suppression of job growth and investment, argues the study, while laws in every U.S. state are less biased and more conducive to growth...


What are the fine folks at the Muddy Up Everything thinky place up to this time as another Labour Day approaches?

Well, according to the Broadbent Institute, what they're really doing is conflating worker 'choice' with a race to the bottom of a new gilded cage where all the poop and 'right-to-work' laws lurk:

...In a world where up is down and down is up, the Fraser Institute's "study" classifies "right-to-work" jurisdictions as balanced and unbiased (Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, Alabama, and Texas, to name a few). These U.S. states offer "flexibility" while other jurisdictions with labour laws to protect workers (Canadian provinces) are "biased." ...

And the conflation even extends to Dora The Explora-type maps:

Golly, gee.

I sure do wish we could be more like Mississippi, what with their significantly lower annual wages, significantly lower median household incomes and their significantly higher workplace injuries and deaths.

Cause that's a bunch of 'choices' I, for one, sure do want.


And why is the Big Muddy's press not being splashed across the the OpEd pages of the VSun this year?....Well...It might have something to do with the fact that their former man on the inside has moved on to the house of the Snooklandians...
Speaking of the Snooklandians...Do not for a moment forget that they aren't doing their best to get us there regardless the (real) costs...


This Day In Snookland...The Art Of The Deflector Spin Deal.


Big news out of the Premiers' conference this morning.

The following is the headline on top of the Globe and Mail's piece, written by their political gossip columnist-in-chief Jane Taber, from Charlottetown:

Dill pickle vodka for all: B.C. and Saskatchewan open liquor borders

You read that right.

While our rivers and lakes are burning (with toxic sludge) we're supposed to be happy with dill pickle vodka.

I'm just surprised there wasn't an exclamation point on top of that G&M header.

Look, I'm not upset with such a deal...Hopefully it will open up new markets for craft-type businesses without destroying local scenes...It's just that the way major media outlets, including national ones (and I'm looking at you too MoCo producers), jumped on this as being 'significant' was very telling re: their ability to be bamboozled by the tiny and the shiny, especially if they are spinning.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Keef Report....Thursday Edition.


From the Twittmachine feed of the good Mr. Baldrey:


Does this mean we can look forward to Mr. Baldrey taking one of the big three outlets 'round here to task, with crazy-legged grammar and everything, when they publish stuff he doesn't like?



I forgot.

There is a Club.

(and, of course, you and I and the other 'idiots' are not in it so we should just keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves, or some such thing)

Thanks to reader 'spartikus' for the tip.
Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.


This Day In Snookland...The Fassbender Translations.


Crawford Kilian, in response to Mr. Fassbender's press release released in the (fake) wake of the sitdown with Jim Iker yesterday, has 'em.

Here's just one particularly good translation of many:

Fassbenderspangelese: "I'm not asking the BCTF to do anything prejudicial to their court case, but setting this issue aside as the appeals process takes place gives mediation a chance to succeed."

Translation: The Court of Appeal will nail us again, but sometime next year. And a year is a long time in politics. Even if we can't get proposal E.81 into the next contract, so we can blow the deal up if the court rules against us, we can always resign and leave the problem for whoever inherits it.

The gist of it....

Mr. Fassbender is, essentially, asking the teachers to just pretend everything he and his have done for the last 12 years never happened and, what's more, to trust that he and his won't start doing it again as soon as the wind changes.

Go read all of Mr. Killian's piece. It's a good one.


Can Kinder Morgan Do Whatever It Wants In Burnaby?


Well, in the wake of a recent ruling by the federal NEB, it would appear the answer is yes.

At least according to the fine folks from the company.

Cornelia Naylor of Burnaby Now has the story:

...The city (of Burnaby) opposes the pipeline project and has denied the company an encroachment permit for the work (in Eastlake Park), but the National Energy Board ruled last week that federal legislation gives pipeline companies the power to enter and conduct surveys and tests on any Crown or private land that lies on intended pipeline routes.

According to (Trans Mountain project lead Carey) Johannesson, that means his company has a green light to conduct all the studies it needs to seek NEB approval for its proposed expansion, which would see a section of the pipeline run through the western corner of Burnaby Mountain...

Sounds bad enough, right?


How about the kicker?

...Johannesson said Kinder Morgan would stop its geotechnical studies if the city issued a stop-work order, but the company wouldn’t be headed back to the NEB.

“The board’s already been very clear in their ruling that we have the ability to be able to go on any land, including Burnaby’s land, to be able to do the surveys we need to do to be able to get the information the board requires. I mean, that’s pretty clear,” he said...


Kind of makes the out-of-use railway situation in Creme-Ville pale by comparison, eh?

Hey...Did you catch the story about how CP has agreed to stop tearing down gardens and spraying toxic stuff up and down the Arbutus corridor for awhile so that they can 'talk' with the CoV?...FABula has it.


The Summertime Jukebox So Far.

...Bigger E, doing her thing at the corner of Haight and Ashbury in Baghdad By The Bay.

Song for Mount Polley...

Train We Will Forever Ride, No Matter How Many Coaches Long...

Can purgatory be found lurking in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel?...

For My Friend Ian....

Will The Golden Era Never End....

Our Neil, Pocahontas and Thee...

Springsteen, Mashed Potatoes and Me...

When In Doubt Ask Yourself...What Would Danko Do?

What Canada Day Means to Me and Mine...

At The End of The (Busking) Day It's What Everybody Wants...

Vincent/Starry, Starry Night It's Not...

When Busking and French Immersion Collide...

Gram Goes To Goteborg...

The Still-Beating Heart Of Alt. Country...


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Keef Report.


It would appear that the good Mr. Baldrey is back to bashing teachers once more, especially those of them that have the audacity to have opinions:

Previous editions of the Keef Report can be found....Here.


This Day In Snookland...Self-Regulation By Abdication.


From the CP by way of the MoCo:

...Imperial Metals says it has signed an agreement with the Tahltan Central Council that will see the company pay for an outside engineering firm, chosen by the band, to review the Red Chris tailings facility.

The company says it has agreed to respond to any issues identified by the review.

A group of Tahltan members known as the Klabona Keepers had started a blockade of the Red Chris site in response to the Mount Polley spill, but a spokeswoman for the group says the blockade has ended with the new agreement...

Good on the First Nations.

But has it really come to this?

I mean, have we now reached a place where no one has any trust whatsoever that provincial government regulators will actually do their job (and/or be allowed to do their job) properly?

And just where is our fine Premier these days anyway?


Monday, August 25, 2014

This Mountain.


There's a scene early on in the David Simon/Eric Overmyer post-Katrina New Orleans TV series called 'Treme' in which Steve Earle's street musician character chides a young fiddle player for ripping-off Dylan while she tries to write an original song.

Which seemed right and true enough when I first watched it.

But afterwards, when I thought about it a little, I couldn't agree.

After all, when Mr. Zimmerman came back from the crossroads (and/or Coney Island) breathing fire through his harmonica he did nothing but pretty much directly channel Woody for awhile, plopping his own words down directly on top of Guthrie's melodies and the phrasings.

No more so, than, say....This.


A little later in the TeeVee series, which is a good one, both for the way Simon and Overmyer et al. develop plot, place and character as well as for the way they showcase myriad forms and genres of New Orleans music, Earle's character gives the kid a song to run with.

The song is called 'This City' and it's all about what happened after the dams and levees broke.

Of course, Mr. Earle does the tune himself sometimes, straight-up.

All of which is just a long way of telling you that I've kinda/sorta made like a two-bit, tin-plated, pale imitation Dylan and slathered on a little Phil Ochs while re-working the tune into 'This Mountain' which is all about what happened before and after the dam broke on top of a scoured-out Mt. Polley.

Sure hope Mr. Earle doesn't mind, at least not too much:

The subheader?....Well...It refers to the time that an apparently snarling Dylan kicked Ochs out of his limo for being nothing better than a 'journalist'.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mount Polley Disaster...Why Won't Imperial Fight Gravity?


The fine folks from the provincial government and Imperial Metals agree that they can't even begin to start cleaning up the toxic mess in Hazeltine creek until they decrease the level of Polley Lake by gradually draining their effluent water downhill into Quesnel Lake.

And that's a big problem because things are going very, very slowly.

Gordon Hoekstra in the VSun explains:

...The length of time it will take to lower the lake’s water level has raised concern because it will delay the cleanup of the potentially toxic material dumped into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.

Both the company and the province have said the lake must be lowered before any work can be done in Hazeltine Creek or at its widened delta at Quesnel Lake. There is a risk that rains could send another rush of water down the scoured creek bed to the lake, a safety concern to anyone working below, the province and company have said.

“At the rate we are going, we won’t get any work done on Hazeltine Creek this year, and that’s unacceptable,” Likely resident Richard Holmes said. He said the company should be making a bigger effort to pump water into empty pits at the mine site.

“The efforts are just not good enough,” said Holmes, a consultant biologist who does work for the Soda Creek Indian Band...

But here's the thing.

There is a way that Imperial might be able to speed up the process.

Specifically, they could get to it and start pumping their effluent water back UPHILL into their own massive mine pits.

But they won't, as Mr. Hoekstra also explains in his VSun piece:

...In community meetings, Imperial Metals has said it is not practical to pump water up hill to the empty pits. Company officials were not available for an interview Thursday...

Interesting that, eh?

Which leaves one wondering if a hardcore pumping effort, which could help prevent further devastation before the autumn rains and the coho come, is 'not practical' because it would cost real money.

And, perhaps even more interestingly, it turns out that at least some of the smart boys on Bay Street are betting that such spending of 'real money' on the clean-up won't happen.

The following is a report from a report by Peter Kennedy in a very fine publication called 'Stockhouse News':

Investors in Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX: T.III, Stock Forum) will be keeping a close eye on Canadian oil patch billionaire Murray Edwards, as the beleaguered company moves to clean up a high profile tailings spill in British Columbia and keep a second B.C. mine on the development track...


...There has been speculation that the clean-up costs at Mount Polley – where millions of cubic metres of waste water and silt spilled into nearby river systems on August 4, 2012 – could be as high as $200 million.

But Edwards’ commitment to the company is an indication of his belief that the clean-up costs will be a small fraction of that amount, a financial analyst said...


And where are provincial ministers responsible, Mr. 'Avalanches Are Tailings Spills Too' and Ms. 'Don't Eat The Fish Livers', on the actual clean-up plan (or total lack thereof)?...