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Welcome to 2020!

It appears from the mandate that Justin Trudeau has given his new “Heritage Minister”, Canadian media will be regressing to the time of 1920’s Europe – before Hitler commandeered Germany’s news presses and ordered them to publish his propaganda.

The Liberals are going to be giving the CBC more of our hard earned money so they can open up new offices, hire more staff, swallow up local TV networks and news publications – or partner with them so the outlets will be forced to parrot Liberal narratives.

Even though some independent news outlets have already stated they want nothing to do with the CBC, let alone having their content controlled by the arm of the Liberal propaganda machine, the Heritage Minister states that this is a “contradictory stance”, assuming that either these independents already receive taxpayer dollars, allotted to them by the Liberals; the government is planning on paying them off too, or the CBC will be buying them – with taxpayer money.

“Strengthen the regional mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada to broadcast more local news and require CBC/Radio-Canada to open up its digital platform.” 

Interestingly, is our new Minister of Thought Control is cognitive of the harm that dictatorial governments can unleash upon their citizens, by owning state controlled media, but assures us that “this is not what we are trying to do here.”

One thing this Liberal government has taught Canadians over the past four years is, they do the opposite of what they ‘promise’, or say.

If that isn’t worrisome enough, the Minister is also mandated with “removing illegal content from social media platforms”. 

The mandate letter said illegal content should include “online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda.”

The wording of “should include” is Orwellian in every sense, considering the Liberals have yet to define the definition of ‘illegal content’. 

The Minister said he would have conversations with relevant stakeholders on whether to include regulations on fake news.

It isn’t surprising that the Liberals would be thinking to include ‘fake news’ as ‘illegal content’ in their mandate to control what Canadians read and watch. 

They don’t like reading the truth about themselves when their sneaky backroom policies and unethical behaviours get leaked to the press.






Edited by Jaydee
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Shariah law makes a comeback in Ontario

“ Two Muslim men — an activist turned Shariah mortgage seller and an Islamic cleric who sold his Islamic seal of approval on such mortgages — were acquitted on Friday of a dozen criminal charges by an Ontario Superior Court judge who validated aspects of Sharia law in reaching her decision. Justice Jane Ferguson described the trial as a “huge learning curve in Islamic finance.”


“ The Ontario Superior Court judge relied on testimony by an overseas expert named Abdel Qader Thomas who appeared via video to educate the court about Islamic financial products, and who Justice Ferguson credited for educating her about Islamic banking terminology.

In her judgement, Justice Ferguson writes: “I initially believed that an unwillingness to pay conventional interest on a loan appears “bizarre” until I learned that the payment of interest is considered a serious sin in the Islamic faith and violates a central pillar of Shariah law. This understanding was essential in my understanding of Kalair’s operating mind. Thomas’ evidence was also educative regarding industry standards against which Kalair’s conduct must be assessed.”

Justice Ferguson shared facets of Islamic culture that she picked up in what she referred to as her “steep learning curve.”

Commenting on the 15 gold bars paid to Islamic scholars instead of a cheque to the amount of $2 million, she wrote: “There is a cultural attraction to gold in Islamic communities. Gold has an ancient religious connection to Islam as one of the six staple goods mentioned in the Quran.”

However, as Australian Imam Muhammad Tawhidi, currently in Toronto, told me: “Muslim men are prohibited from wearing gold and silk.” He added, “this was a directive from Prophet Muhammad himself, not some latter-day scholar in the Arab Gulf.”

After the judgement, Omar Kalair boasted in a statement: “This [decision by Justice Ferguson] in my view, is a victory not only for myself but for the Islamic finance industry, that actions we take due to our religion [Islam] are accepted in certain courts .”

So, what exactly is a Shariah mortgage? Read all about it in this space tomorrow.”




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New laws and rules coming into effect in 2020

Sonja PuzicCTVNews.ca Producer

@SonjaPuzic Contact

Published Wednesday, January 1, 2020 7:15AM EST

In this Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a woman is seen using an electronic cigarette. (AP / Tony Dejak, File)



TORONTO -- As we usher in another decade, a number of new laws and rules will come into effect in 2020 that may have an impact on your way of life. That includes changes to federal divorce laws, as well as cannabis and vaping regulations in some provinces.

Here are the highlights you need to know:


Federal tax changes

The basic amount most Canadians can earn tax-free is going up on Jan. 1, to $13,229.  The increase is being phased in over four years until it reaches $15,000 in 2023.

For Canadians in the lower income brackets, the changes could result in tax savings of up to $140 in 2020.  For those earning more than $150,473 annually, those savings will be clawed back or not offered at all.

Also starting on Jan. 1, the employment insurance premiums for individual workers and employees will slightly decrease. The maximum annual EI contribution for a worker will fall by $3.86 to $856.36 and employers' maximum contribution will fall $5.41 to $1,198.90 per employee.

Changes to the Divorce Act

Federal laws related to divorce proceedings and family orders were amended with the passage of Bill C-78, with the majority of changes to the Divorce Act coming into effect on July 1, 2020.

The changes include updated criteria to determine a child’s best interests in custody cases, as well as measures to address family violence when making parenting arrangements.

The changes also aim to make the family justice system “more accessible and affordable” for everyone involved.

The Divorce Act applies to married couples who are divorcing, while provincial and territorial legislation applies to all other spousal separations, including those involving unmarried and common-law couples.

Overhauling the Indigenous child welfare system

Legislation known as the Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families will come into full force on Jan. 1, 2020. It is meant to overhaul Canada’s Indigenous child welfare system, which critics have for years described as inadequate and discriminatory.

The changes to the legislation were developed with input from the Assembly of First Nations and experts across the country, and AFN says the new rules are “consistent” with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Minimum wage increase

As of June 1, 2020, the minimum wage in the province will increase to $14.60 per hour, from the current hourly rate of $13.85. In June 2021, the minimum wage is expected to increase to $15.20 per hour. 

New vaping regulations

The province is planning to roll out much tougher rules when it comes to sale and promotion of vaping products in the wake of increasing concerns about the health effects of vaping.

Among the new rules: the provincial sales tax on vaping products will increase significantly on Jan. 1, from seven to 20 per cent. 

No more health-care premiums

B.C. is eliminating the provincial health-care premiums for its residents as of Jan. 1. The government says the elimination of the Medical Service Plan premiums will save individuals up to $900 and families up to $1,800 per year.


New carbon tax

The federal government will start imposing its carbon tax on Alberta on Jan. 1. Albertans will pay $20 per tonne of CO2 until April 2020, when the price will rise to $30 per tonne.

This means that Albertans will now be eligible for the carbon tax rebate when they file their income taxes. The rebate amounts will be as follows:

Single adult or first adult in a couple: $444

Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent: $222

Each child under 18: $111

Baseline amount for a family of four: $888

Property division changes under family law

On Jan. 1, certain changes to the provincial family law will make it easier for unmarried partners to divide their property if they break up.

The Matrimonial Property Act will be amended to apply to both “adult interdependent partners” and legally married spouses. Other changes to the Act include clarifying property division rules and when couples can enter into property ownership and division agreements. 


Big fines for distracted driving

Starting on Feb. 1, 2020, the province will significantly increase fines for distracted driving.

Fines for first-time offenders will more than double from the current $280to $580. A conviction will also cost the driver four demerit points.

A second distracted driving offence within the same year will cost $1,400, four demerits and an immediate week-long vehicle seizure. A third offence within the same year will cost the driver $2,100.

Changes to federal carbon tax rebates

The federal government has adjusted the carbon tax rebates for residents of provinces that have not adopted their own carbon pricing models. For Saskatchewan, the 2020 rebates, which must be claimed on the 2019 income tax returns, are as follows:

Single adult or first adult in a couple: $405

Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent: $202

Each child under 18: $101

Baseline amount for a family of four: $809


Changes to federal carbon tax rebates

For Manitoba residents, the 2020 federal carbon tax rebates, which must be claimed on 2019 income tax returns, are as follows:

Single adult or first adult in a couple: $243

Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent: $121

Each child under 18: $61

Baseline amount for a family of four: $486


No more out-of-country health insurance coverage

The Ontario government’s move to scrap its out-of-country health insurance takes effect on Jan. 1.  This means that Ontarians who fall ill while travelling can no longer claim the $400-a-day maximum coverage for inpatient emergency care and the $50-a-day maximum allowed for emergency outpatient services (such as an MRI or a CAT scan) that, until now, were provided by OHIP.

The provincial government has defended its decision by saying that the OHIP coverage was minimal and “inefficient,” given the high cost of medical care abroad – and especially in the United States -- that usually requires private travel insurance.

E-scooters on roads

As part of a five-year pilot project, the Ontario government will let municipalities decide whether to allow e-scooters on their roads.

Operating e-scooters is currently only allowed on private property in the province.

The pilot project starts on Jan. 1. E-scooter drivers will have to be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet.

Restrictions on advertising vaping products

On Jan. 1, Ontario will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, in response to growing concerns about the health effects of vaping on young people.

The province will still allow vaping to be promoted in specialty stores and cannabis shops, which are only open to those aged 19 and older.

Dogs on restaurant patios

Starting Jan. 1., Ontario will give restaurants and bars the option to allow dogs on their patios, in areas where “low-risk foods” (such as pre-packaged snacks and beer) are served. The move is part of a slew of changes enacted by the passage of Bill 132, also known as the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act. 

Changes to federal carbon tax rebates

For Ontario residents, the 2020 federal carbon tax rebates, which must be claimed on 2019 income tax returns, are as follows:

Single adult or first adult in a couple: $224

Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent: $112

Each child under 18: $56

Baseline amount for a family of four: $448


Legal age for cannabis

As of Jan. 1, the minimum legal age to possess or purchase cannabis in Quebec will be raised to 21. That will make it the highest legal age to purchase cannabis in Canada, compared to a legal age of 19 in the majority of the country. 

‘Values test’ for immigrants

Starting on Jan. 1, economic immigrants who want to settle in Quebec will have to pass the province’s controversial “values test.”  The test will include questions about secularism in Quebec, religious symbols, same-sex marriage and gender rights.

The test will not apply to newcomers who are refugees or arriving in Canada via family reunification programs, since they come under the federal government’s jurisdiction.


No more annual motor vehicle inspections

As of Jan 1., the province will no longer require drivers to get their personal vehicles inspected every year. Instead, the inspections will be required every two years. The cost of inspecting a vehicle will also go up, from $35 to $45.


Changes to income assistance

On Jan. 1, the province will implement changes that will increase the amount of money people on income assistance receive.  The increase will vary from two to five per cent, depending on the recipient’s living situation and family size.

The change is a result of a new “Standard Household Rate” that replaces personal and shelter allowances for people on income assistance.

Plastic bag ban

Nova Scotia will join several other provinces in banning most single-use plastic bags at store checkouts next fall.  Retailers will still be allowed to use the bags for live fish and bulk items, and there will also be exemptions for food banks and charities.

The ban will come into effect on Oct. 30, 2020.

Ban on flavoured e-cigarettes

Nova Scotia has previously announced that it will be the first province to ban sales of flavoured e-cigarettes and vaping juices as part of regulatory changes that take effect April 1, 2020.


Plastic bag ban

The province will join Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in banning retail plastic bags.  While no exact date of enforcement has been set for the ban, the provincial government says that, by mid-2020, shoppers should bring their own reusable bags to grocery stores and other retailers.

New rules to address workplace harassment

The province’s expanded regulations regarding workplace harassment take effect Jan. 1. The changes include new training requirements for employers and employees, as well as “a secure and confidential means” for employees to file harassment complaints. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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This has to be pretty much the simplest explanation of what's wrong with the system to date....


Lowe’s layoffs expose the rot at the heart of our economic system

We don't need an economic system that rewards only the very few at the top at everyone else's expense.

Lowe’s, one of Canada’s largest hardware retailers, announced this week it was closing 34 of its stores across the country.

You might expect that store closures signalled trouble with the company. Far from it. Last year Lowe’s brought in $3.4 billion USD in profit, and its share price has spiked over the past couple days.

Lowe’s is a healthy, growing, profitable business. So why are hundreds — could be thousands — of workers about to lose their job?

The answer is simple: our economic system pushes corporations to do whatever it takes to eke out an extra dollar of profit in the short-term. If a CEO of a company can scrape up a few extra bucks for the people who own the company, they do it. Even when it means firing thousands of people, shutting down stores, and undermining the long-term economic health of the business.

This is not how most people understand business to operate. Sell something, make a profit, hire workers, grow — that’s the standard story of a successful business. In this telling, everyone appears to win. But this isn’t how the corporate world actually functions anymore.

What actually happens in our economy often starts with something called private equity. A private equity firm is a business with a big pool of money. They take a chunk of that money and borrow cheap credit against it to do a “leveraged buyout” of another business. Usually they target a large company that is profitable but growing slowly.

Once they own the company, the private equity firm installs a friendly management team who will do what they say. Then they saddle the newly-acquired business with much of the debt they took on to buy it in the first place.

The new managers then go about “cutting costs” — what this means in reality is firing people, closing stores, and delivering a lousier product.
In the short term, this all works great: profits go up. But in the long term, customers get sick of bad customer service and products. They take their business elsewhere. Meanwhile, the business can’t invest in growth or expansion because of their new debt load and it enters into a death spiral. Its losing customers and can’t invest to bring them back.

This process of decay can take years. By now, the private equity firm that ran the business into the ground has likely resold the company at a healthy profit. In a worst case scenario they have taken fees and profits every step of the way and still come out ahead.

If this story sounds familiar, it might be because this is exactly what happened to Sears. Throughout the 90s, Sears was a profitable retail business, though it struggled to compete with emerging competitors. An American hedge fund owned by Eddie Lampert purchased it in 2005, and immediately set about “cutting costs”.

Lampert’s cuts boosted profits in the short-run, but customers began leaving Sears because of bad customer service and dilapidated stores. At the same time, Lampert’s fund loaded Sears up with $2.6 billion in debt and took back $400 million of interest and fees.

The end result of this strategy? Sears lost nearly $6 billion in its last 5 years. Lampert closed 1,000 stores and fired 175,000 people. Then Sears filed for bankruptcy, and welched on its pension obligations. It left thousands of retirees with nothing.

Lampert and his hedge fund made out fine, of course, with any losses from the bankruptcy more than offset by the interest and fees they took from their “loans” to Sears.

The Lowe’s story is somewhat different, but contains important similarities. Across our economy, corporate owners are sacrificing the long term health of the business and the economy to create short term profits for themselves.
“Get rich quick, and screw everyone else” is the mantra of capitalism in 2019. Nobody benefits from this except for the tiny number of people who own the vast majority of corporate shares.

But there is no law of physics that says profitable businesses need to lay off workers and close stores to become a little bit more profitable. There is no commandment written in stone that says the principles of vulture capitalism are the only ones on which an economy can be organized.

The closure of 32 Lowe’s stores is not a natural disaster, impossible to predict or prevent. It’s a perfectly natural consequence of how we have organized our economy. If we want these things to stop happening — if we want our economy to be guided by principles other than “make the rich even richer” — then we need to change the rules of the game.

We have forgotten that the economy is not imposed upon us by some higher power, infallible and unchangeable. We make the rules, and we decide how it works and who it benefits. Right now, we have setup our economy to distribute most of the money to a very small number of people at the top. We could decide otherwise.

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There is also the action of share buybacks.  Since the CEO pay is tied to share price, companies do share buybacks to drive up share prices.  This is a practice that was once illegal in the US but is now rampant and part of what is driving the markets up.

dangerous ground.


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56 minutes ago, Fido said:

Were Lowes Forced to close a number of stores when they bought Reno?

quote from the following article"


Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the U.S. giant seemed to respect an agreement signed with Ottawa after Lowe’s acquired Rona for $3.2 billion in 2016. He told reporters he could not divulge details of the deal, but aimed to call his federal counterpart after the new Trudeau cabinet was announced Wednesday afternoon.

Lowe’s made a half-dozen commitments in 2016 that involved jobs and the establishment of a Canadian head office for Lowe’s in Boucherville, across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal and home of Rona – a now-80-year-old Quebec hardware institution.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet on Wednesday denounced the closures and called on the federal government to disclose details of the 2016 pledges.

The closures add to the shuttering of 31 Canadian Lowe’s and Rona locations, including 27 stores and four other facilities, announced in November last year. At the time the company also announced the closure of 20 stores in the U.S.

The Canadian division of Lowe’s has more than 600 corporate and independent affiliate stores under the Lowe’s, Rona, Reno-Depot, Ace and Dick’s Lumber brands.

A “very complex business model” inhibited the retailer’s ability to provide smooth service to customers up north, the CEO said.

“We’re operating five banners, all with legacy systems, all with different back-end systems,” Ellison said on a conference call Wednesday with analysts. “It made it very difficult to create synergies from a marketing, merchandising, sourcing perspective and even in IT systems infrastructure.”

The company plans to move its Canadian information technology platform to the U.S. “to eliminate inefficiencies and unnecessary technology duplication,” he said.


Lowe's to close 34 'underperforming' stores across 6 provinces


POSTED NOV 20, 2019 7:09 AM EST



Signage outside a Lowe's store near Balzac, Alta., on Dec. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Lowe’s Companies Inc. says it will close 34 “underperforming” stores across six provinces as part of a restructuring of its Canadian business.

The stores include 26 Ronas, six Lowe’s and two Reno-Depots spread across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

“We think these restructuring actions that we announced today are going to really put us in a position for long-term growth,” said chief executive Marvin Ellison.

The home improvement retailer did not say how many retail staff would be affected by the latest round of closures, which will see stores windup in January and February. The company says eligible employees will be offered jobs at nearby stores, according to the need for workers throughout its network.

More than one-third of the closures will be in Quebec, with Rona stores comprising 11 of the 12 shutdowns there.

Premier Francois Legault suggested the province will not be able to intervene in the hope of saving jobs.

“It’s a private enterprise. What we can do is limited,” Legault told reporters.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the U.S. giant seemed to respect an agreement signed with Ottawa after Lowe’s acquired Rona for $3.2 billion in 2016. He told reporters he could not divulge details of the deal, but aimed to call his federal counterpart after the new Trudeau cabinet was announced Wednesday afternoon.

Lowe’s made a half-dozen commitments in 2016 that involved jobs and the establishment of a Canadian head office for Lowe’s in Boucherville, across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal and home of Rona – a now-80-year-old Quebec hardware institution.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet on Wednesday denounced the closures and called on the federal government to disclose details of the 2016 pledges.

The closures add to the shuttering of 31 Canadian Lowe’s and Rona locations, including 27 stores and four other facilities, announced in November last year. At the time the company also announced the closure of 20 stores in the U.S.

The Canadian division of Lowe’s has more than 600 corporate and independent affiliate stores under the Lowe’s, Rona, Reno-Depot, Ace and Dick’s Lumber brands.

A “very complex business model” inhibited the retailer’s ability to provide smooth service to customers up north, the CEO said.

“We’re operating five banners, all with legacy systems, all with different back-end systems,” Ellison said on a conference call Wednesday with analysts. “It made it very difficult to create synergies from a marketing, merchandising, sourcing perspective and even in IT systems infrastructure.”

The company plans to move its Canadian information technology platform to the U.S. “to eliminate inefficiencies and unnecessary technology duplication,” he said.

Lowe’s, whose push northward made it the country’s dominant home improvement outlet, aimed for efficiencies through scale but has had trouble standing out from chief rival Home Depot.

“The strategy does not work, because if you’re always playing on cost and you’re not playing on quality, availability or service, you’ll lose the client,” said Gilles LeVasseur, professor of business and law at the University of Ottawa.

He drew parallels to Target’s trumpeted arrival in Canada in 2013, which was followed by meagre sales and the closure of all 133 stores less than two years later.

“Target came with that image of saying, ‘We will offer you fantastic deals,’ and people didn’t see it. Lowe’s comes up and says, ‘We’ll bring you a new relationship with our client,’ and people are saying, ‘Well, what’s so good that we didn’t have before?”‘

Other obstacles are industry-wide as Canadians put off big purchases amid historically high debt-to-income ratios and whispers of a recession.

The North Carolina-based company has been undergoing a wider restructuring since Ellison stepped into the CEO role in July of last year. It remains in the midst of a catch-up period against Home Depot “after underperforming for several years,” said Elizabeth Suzuki, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

In Canada, Lowe’s has more than 28,000 employees, while its independent affiliate dealers operating under the Rona and Ace name have another 5,000 employees. The store closures will take place in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

In Quebec about 500 workers will be affected, according to estimates from the United Food and Commercial Workers’ provincial chapter, which noted the company would not disclose layoffs.

About 100 employees at the Boucherville head office and a second Montreal-area office will also face layoffs, on top of about 30 employees in administrative positions across the rest of Canada, Lowe’s Canada said in an email.

Ad Standards, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, said earlier this month that the company should stop using the phrases “truly Canadian” and “proudly Canadian” on its store signs as they were misleading. The company said it “strongly disagrees” with the conclusion.

Lowe’s third-quarter earnings of US$1.05 billion, or US$1.36 per share, beat the US$1.35 per share that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

The company also boosted its full-year adjusted earnings outlook, in contrast to the larger Home Depot that missed analyst expectations and cut its full-year sales forecast Tuesday.

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United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education


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A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) study shows that USD$5.2 trillion was spent globally on fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. The equivalent of over 6.5% of global GDP of that year, it also represented a half-trillion dollar increase since 2015 when China ($1.4 trillion), the United States ($649 billion) and Russia ($551 billion) were the largest subsidizers.


Despite nations worldwide committing to a reduction in carbon emissions and implementing renewable energy through the Paris Agreement, the IMF’s findings expose how fossil fuels continue to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funding. The report explains that fossil fuels account for 85% of all global subsidies and that they remain largely attached to domestic policy. Had nations reduced subsidies in a way to create efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015, the International Monetary Fund believes that it “would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.”

The study includes the negative externalities caused by fossil fuels that society has to pay for, not reflected in their actual costs. In addition to direct transfers of government money to fossil fuel companies, this includes the indirect costs of pollution, such as healthcare costs and climate change adaptation. By including these numbers, the true cost of fossil fuel use to society is reflected.

Nations worldwide have continued to support the natural gas and petroleum industries. This is evident by the energy policies of the United States and Australia, who have continued to rely heavily on fossil fuels. Meanwhile the world’s largest subsidizer of fossil fuels, China has actively looked to follow efficient fossil fuel guidelines and continues to spend record-amounts on fossil fuels.

As the prices associated with fossil-fuel power generation continue to increase and become harder for utility companies to justify, the price of renewable energy has also plummeted. Along with the IMF report, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its own study looking into how the renewable energy industry has grown over a similar time period. The cost of onshore wind power generation has dropped 23% since 2010, while solar electricity saw a decrease of 73%.

See also: Are Electric Vehicles Really Better For The Environment?

With renewable energy production becoming cheaper and fossil fuels following the opposite trend, it has left many industry experts asking why subsidies for the latter have increased. The IMF’s study identifies more than just direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industries but also the costs on society, public health and climate change that are caused by the coal, petroleum and natural gas sectors.

The combination of the fossil fuel industry’s investment within its sector and the high profit margins have led many companies to protect their subsidies. The fossil fuel lobby has actively worked in many countries to protect their subsidies and avoid the imposition of carbon taxes. Doing so protects their profits.

Fossil Fuel Inefficiency

Whilst cheaper renewable energy creates more competition in the energy markets, it also decreases the cost-effectiveness of fossil fuel subsidies. Simon Buckle, the head of climate change, biodiversity and water division at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development explains: “Subsidies tend to stay in the system and they can become very costly as the cost of new technologies falls. Cost reductions like this were not envisageable even 10 years ago. They have transformed the situation and many renewables are now cost competitive in different locations with coal.”

See also: Electric Vehicles Are Driving Demand For Lithium - With Environmental Consequences

Buckle’s analysis of the inefficiency of fossil fuel subsidies is illustrated best by the United States’ own expenditure: the $649 billion the US spent on these subsidies in 2015 is more than the country’s defense budget and 10 times the federal spending for education . When read in conjunction with a recent study showing that up to 80% of the United States could in principle be powered by renewables, the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies seems even more indefensible.

IMF leader Christine Lagarde has noted that the investments made into fossil fuels could be better spent elsewhere, and could have far reaching positive impacts: “There would be more public spending available to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools and to support education and health for the people. We believe that removing fossil fuel subsidies is the right way to go.”

Although some nations are taking steps to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and cutting back on investment within those industries, others are not. Domestic policies are largely responsible for the continued support for the fossil fuel industries. Yet, with the continued drop in the costs of renewable energy, private entities are taking over and ensuring that the clean energy transition continues despite the unwavering support the fossil fuel industry receives from both governments and businesses.

Renewable energy is set to overtake fossil fuels as the energy source of the future, with or without the subsidies paid out for coal, petroleum and natural gas. Fossil fuel advocates have long made the case that removing direct and indirect subsidies would be damaging to the global economy - but the IMF clearly disagrees.

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2 hours ago, boestar said:

amazing not even 8 hours and already a meme with an incorrect quote.  Propaganda thrives.  The quote ended at F-Off.

If you look at the greater context of what he said  the meme is spot on imo. The only mistake I see is the 2nd quotation mark is in the wrong place.  Gervais should be given a Golden Globe for the best speech ever 

Some actual quotes...

On the hypocrisy of acceptance speeches

“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”

On Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating habits 

“Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end, his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like, “Come on, Leo, mate. You’re nearly 50-something.””

On all the actors in the MCU

“Their job isn’t acting anymore. It’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids, really. Have we got an award for most ripped junky? No point, we’d know who’d win that.”

On Cats

“The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy.”

““This is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs.” But Dame Judi Dench defended the film saying it was the film she was born to play because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg and licking her ass. (Coughs) Hairball. She’s old-school.”

On Jeffrey Epstein

“You could binge-watch the entire first season of Afterlife instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself cause his wife dies of cancer and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.”

On the legends

“Lots of big celebrities here tonight. Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, that’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you man. Don’t have me whacked.”

On diversity

“Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that. Hollywood Foreign press are all very racist.”

On the college admission scandal

“I came here in a limo tonight and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman. No, shush. It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. OK? That must be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her. And her dad was in Wild Hogs.”

Edited by Jaydee
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I absolutely love the fact that RG said these things, which are perfectly obvious to most people, but rarely verbalized. Very, very few people could get away with delivering that monologue - apparently Gervais is a bulletproof superhero. 

Edited by seeker
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Not a good start in the year for Bombardier.

New York City pulls 300 Bombardier subway cars, citing safety concerns

The Canadian PressPublished Wednesday, January 8, 2020 2:12PM ESTLast Updated Wednesday, January 8, 2020 2:53PM EST


NEW YORK -- New York City's transit authority has pulled nearly 300 newly delivered subway cars made by Bombardier Inc. due to safety concerns.

Two recent incidents "raised questions about the reliable operation" of the car doors, prompting the authority to remove all 298 of them from service Tuesday night, president Andy Byford said in a statement.

"As documented, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) has identified repeated issues with Bombardier's performance and finds this latest development unacceptable. We intend to hold the company fully accountable," Byford said Wednesday.


The incidents caused no injuries and New York City Transit redeployed spare cars to service the morning rush hour, he said.

Byford, who also dealt with delays to Bombardier streetcar deliveries during his time at the helm of the Toronto Transit Commission, briefly suspended deliveries of the new cars last January, citing software issues and previous problems with springs between the cars and doors that were "weeping oil."

Bombardier said two doors on cars in the New York City fleet "failed to function as intended" because they were not properly calibrated by the supplier.

"We are now inspecting all of the R179 cars and, where necessary, making adjustments to ensure the safe and reliable performance of the doors for the entire fleet," spokeswoman Maryanne Roberts said.

She said the Montreal-based company is bringing in additional technicians to work "around the clock."

New York City comptroller Scott Stringer slammed the MTA, which oversees transit in the state, for beleaguered deliveries that he called "unacceptable."

"The New York City subway riders who foot the bill for the MTA's $600-million contract with Bombardier were promised new, state-of-the-art train cars to help modernize our ailing transit system. Now, all the cars that were delivered so far have been pulled from service due to critical defects," Stringer said in a statement.

Last month, the comptroller released an audit laying out how the contract became three years behind schedule, costing taxpayers millions more dollars.

Stringer noted Wednesday that the probe found "repeated failures to meet contract deadlines and requirements, poor project management and technical breakdowns, structural defects that delayed cars being put into service and several earlier structural problems that caused some of these trains to be pulled from service."

"Bombardier sold us lemons. Strap-hangers need the MTA to manage these contracts from the beginning -- before the trains go off the rails," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2020.

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Do you know where your food comes from?

Toban Dyck challenges consumers to learn farming’s realities, renew their attitudes.

  • Calgary Herald
  • 13 Jan 2020
img?regionKey=aYS5JMKXoNAY9Of%2bdfz7Cw%3d%3dROMEO GACAD/AFP/ GETTY IMAGES FILES The food industry in Canada has a lot of unrealized potential, writes Toban Dyck.

Canada’s in-progress ideo-political rift with China fixed the nation’s gaze on agriculture for much of 2019. China’s embargo of our soybeans and canola made the news. Poor harvest conditions and falling commodity prices did, as well. Canadians became more aware of the challenges, needs and mechanics of the agricultural sector.

The attention represented the opportunity inherent in what may be a renewed desire to learn about where our food comes from, but the agriculture sector is facing an uphill battle. It, like nearly every other sector, has an epistemic dilemma to deal with. People don’t have the capacity to know everything. Omniscience is an unrealistic expectation.

As a farmer, and as one who has worked in a newsroom, it has been a mission of mine, albeit a lofty one, since moving back to the farm to rid the world of stale attitudes toward farming and the agricultural industry.

When I talk about how much fuel my farm uses, more often than not I get one of two responses: either I am praised as a champion of Canada’s oil and gas sector or rebuked as someone who is destroying the Earth.

In the process of crafting defences to both misalignments, I was struck by how unfair it is for me to assume that everyone else has my perspective or even has the ability to see things the way I do. The average person making their living off something unrelated to agriculture may have only been exposed to a very limited body of knowledge regarding how food is produced. It would be nearly impossible for someone to extricate his or herself from that context.

If you grew up going to coffee shops in small rural, Canadian towns, you’d likely have a very different attitude toward farming than if you grew up writing ad copy on your laptop at Starbucks.

People feign objectivity because it’s safe and easy, but none of us has it. It should concern all of us when watchdogs claiming to be objective brazenly expose their bias on issues they haven’t bothered to intelligently unpack. Agriculture has suffered setbacks due to poor, unbalanced media coverage. Few of us know enough to say the things we do or dismiss ideas, trends or people with such indignation.

If we can accept this — if we can accept that there are gaps in what we think we know about agriculture and that maybe, just maybe, there’s a bigger and better perspective around the corner, I think Canada’s agrifood industry could become quite honourable.

The agricultural sector needs leaders with this perspective. It needs people in Ottawa who understand the realities of farming and have the fortitude to make systemic changes that will ensure Canada’s place on the global food stage.

I am unable to explain without eliciting judgment all the considerations of a modern farm, but you could look inward, identify your knowledge gaps and learn for yourself. Visit a farm. Reference a diversity of research papers. Talk to someone outside your echo chamber.

In 2020, let’s buck the protectionism we see happening across the globe and let reason prevail.

Agriculture in Canada has a lot of unrealized potential. We grow and make a lot of food that the world wants, and by and large we’ve got a good head on our shoulders.

I still have 90 acres of soybeans sitting in the snow, where they will remain until spring, but I am optimistic about 2020. Canadian winters have an uncanny way of renewing attitudes.

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While Canada is part of the Commonwealth that recognizes the Queen as head of state, that doesn’t mean that her grandson, Prince Harry, has citizenship in the country.

CTV’s royal commentator Richard Berthelsen explained that Prince Harry only has British citizenship and his wife Meghan has reportedly retained her American citizenship. It’s unclear if she has been granted British citizenship or if she is in the process of attaining it. Berthelsen said it’s also not known if she became a landed immigrant or obtained a work permit during her time in Toronto.

If the couple plans to become legal residents in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon said they would have to apply through the normal immigration process like everyone else.


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