U.S. tries to force a drop in world oil prices

U.S. "commitment" to tackle climate change crumbles in the face of climate poverty

U.S. tries to force a drop in world oil pricesWith the possibility of co-ordinated moves by major crude-oil consuming nations, the markets took a hit last week. On Friday, oil prices were down four to six per cent. Strong demand growth and a tight leash on global supplies have driven the oil markets in recent months. New COVID-19 lockdowns in parts of the world…

Can Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos solve global food security issues?

Involving billionaires in the food aid business may lead to a paradigm shift in helping the less fortunate

Can Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos solve global food security issues?A recent Twitter conversation between United Nations World Food Program (WFP) executive director David Beasley and one of the world’s richest people, Elon Musk, turned a lot of heads. Beasley invited Musk to give two per cent of his wealth to help WFP save 42 million people from almost certain starvation and death in the…

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptation

Balancing physical and social needs key to ensuring equity in affected communities

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptationAs our world adapts to climate change, a renewed focus on social vulnerability is critical to supporting affected communities, according to a study by University of Alberta urban planning experts. “Our research shows we must expand our thinking beyond solely the physical aspects of climate change, and to instead design for the social effects of…

Abandoning fossil fuels plunging many Europeans into darkness

Natural gas in Europe rising to five times what it was in early 2021

Abandoning fossil fuels plunging many Europeans into darknessBy Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam Canadian Energy Centre With the recent rise in the price of natural gas in Europe to five times where it was in early 2021, expect to see many more Europeans and those in the United Kingdom plunged into what’s known as energy poverty. From Greece to Great Britain, the…

More Canadians than ever are suffering from food insecurity

Number of food bank visits up by more than 20 per cent in the last two years

More Canadians than ever are suffering from food insecurityHunger is cruelly invisible in our society. Even though it may surround us, we hardly see it. But it’s always there. With the latest Hunger Count published by Food Banks Canada, we have a better idea of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Canada’s food insecurity landscape. The news isn’t great. According to an internal…

Why a universal basic income falls short

And what we can do instead

Why a universal basic income falls shortIn a country as rich as Canada, no one should have to go cold or hungry. But is universal basic income the answer? Income assistance and other programs provide for almost all of the poorest among us, although some always slip between the cracks. No one would describe the level of support as generous, nor…

Systemic racism is embedded in our economy

We pass laws for unjust taxes, reward unscrupulous businesses and hold money back from our children

Systemic racism is embedded in our economyIn a 2016 interview, CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge confronted children’s advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock with this statement regarding public funding for Indigenous programs: “Billions of dollars have been spent in trying to come to grips with the situation that so many Indigenous Canadians face. And of those billions, it’s on the record that some of…

Protecting the most vulnerable from the coming energy crisis

We're deluded if we believe that the consequences will only be borne by workers in the oil and gas sector

Protecting the most vulnerable from the coming energy crisisShortly before the election was called, the federal government launched an engagement process to determine how Canadians want to implement a 'Just Transition' to a net-zero carbon economy. To the government, this means developing supports for the oil and gas workers whose livelihoods are being impacted by domestic climate policies. A 'Just Transition Advisory Body'…

Solving poverty needs all hands on deck, advocates say

Creating a more inclusive economy

Solving poverty needs all hands on deck, advocates saySolving poverty in our communities goes far beyond charities and social agencies. Graduates with business, civic planning, arts and other backgrounds have just as much to contribute as social workers, according to University of Alberta poverty researcher Maria Mayan. “We have great young thinkers within our university who want to make a difference in the world…

Breakup of Toronto homeless encampment has national implications

Allowing homeless people to live in city parks is unsafe, unwise and unnecessary

Breakup of Toronto homeless encampment has national implicationsFor the second time in slightly more than a year, Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park is in the news. Roughly 10,000 people rushed into the park in May 2020 to enjoy a few hours of sunshine and socialization. Most of them were in their 20s and 30s and had expressed frustration at having been cooped up…

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the past

The dead should be appropriately honoured. But some opportunists will exploit these dead children for financial and political gain

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the pastThe discovery of human remains at a former residential school site has set off a firestorm that has already resulted in demands for another national inquiry and massively expensive forensic and excavation projects. But maybe we should pause and ask some questions. The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated as a residential school from 1890 to…

Why basic income is not the best way to tackle poverty

What we need are carefully targeted programs specifically aimed at dealing with the issues that keeps people in poverty

Why basic income is not the best way to tackle povertyIn a country as rich as Canada, no one should have to be hungry or homeless. We do have people who can’t provide for themselves and we rely on the government to provide a floor below which Canadians can’t fall. We have to remember that this support comes from us, the taxpayers, so we need…

Surprise! Food prices are on their way up

Prices will go up by as much as five per cent this year, or almost $700 more for groceries for the year for an average Canadian family

Surprise! Food prices are on their way upWhat was purely an academic supposition a few months ago is now actually happening. Along with higher interest rates, inflation is likely to become one of this year’s biggest business stories. And food prices won’t be immune. Many agricultural commodity prices have skyrocketed over last year. Corn is up 84 per cent, soybeans are up…

A path to prosperity for Indigenous communities

Building viable businesses and services on First Nations is the best way to build self-respect, self-determination and self-reliance

A path to prosperity for Indigenous communitiesThere’s little doubt that the condition of Indigenous people is desperate in Canada, especially for those living in the 600 or so small, isolated First Nations communities. Most Canadians know some facts about the quality of lives of the people in these communities but let’s refresh our minds with a few statistics. First Nations have…

Why we need to make room for alternative lenders

Crackdowns fail to recognize that alternative lenders are the last hope for Canadians shut out of the traditional lending market

Why we need to make room for alternative lendersThe media often portray alternative lenders as slippery, unethical loan sharks who exploit the poor. When targeting the sector and not just a few bad apples, such stories are easy, cheap hit jobs. New Brunswick Sen. Pierrette Ringuette, for example, recently described alternative loans to CBC Marketplace as “an abusive financial process that needs to…

Carbon tax will cost British Columbians more

Think you can avoid the carbon tax by riding your bike? Think again

Carbon tax will cost British Columbians moreBritish Columbians are now paying even more to heat, eat and drive to work. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's most recent carbon tax hike has found a willing follower in British Columbia Premier John Horgan. When Team Trudeau was fighting against several provinces at the Supreme Court of Canada, saying he should be able to impose…

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed is

How can a Christian support politics and economics that result in a world where over 700 million people live on less than $2 a day?

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Greed isLarry Richards is a friend of mine from high school who has become a very popular speaker among conservative Catholics in North America. I watched one of his social media posts recently and he made a point that few would disagree with, but it’s a message many may not like. Larry pointed out that according…

Poverty often at the root of racism, hate

Teaching critical thinking skills is vital in promoting honest and respectful dialogue. Yet schools are underfunded

Poverty often at the root of racism, hateEarly-20th-century electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.” Steinmetz is right. Asking questions is vital in seeking truth and finding wisdom. Many things are happening in the world where the narrative perpetrated simply doesn’t make sense. We’re told, for example,…

How to support Indigenous entrepreneurs on the road to success

Business leaders should help build up capacity through mentorship and coaching, then start looking to spend at Indigenous suppliers

How to support Indigenous entrepreneurs on the road to successJeff and William approached me in the fall of 2019 about helping with their ecotourism business. They started the business in 2014 and wanted help growing it and getting more clients. They felt if they could share their traditions and culture with the world, they could provide meaningful jobs for the youth of their community.…

COVID-19 puts girls in low- and middle-income countries in peril

COVID-19 puts girls in low- and middle-income countries in perilAn increase in child marriages, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexual violence is likely to be seen for years in low-and middle-income countries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a University of Alberta nursing researcher who is leading an international study to address the problem. “In many countries all the health services…

Time for Canada to lift economic sanctions on Syria, Lebanon

Canada urged to rethink Middle East sanctions that make daily life a struggle just to get daily bread

Time for Canada to lift economic sanctions on Syria, Lebanon“Economic sanctions that afflict the poor must be lifted. I stress the word ‘poor,’” Archimandrite (head of a monastery) Georges Masri said in an e-mail from his home base in Syria. He was responding to my request for his views on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in his country, and whether sanctions have exacerbated it. “The…

Indigenous leaders step up but no applause from environmentalists

First Nations are fighting to determine their own futures. Why are environmental groups standing in the way?

Indigenous leaders step up but no applause from environmentalistsNot enough has been said about the recent memorandum of understanding between the First Nations Climate Initiative table and the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, which represents 70 First Nations from across Canada. In December 2020, the two parties signed an agreement to advance an Indigenous-led, net-zero carbon-emissions policy framework, including nature-based solutions for carbon…

Let charities care for the needy in society

Governments inevitably make a mess of social welfare programs, wasting money, discouraging work and encouraging dependence

Let charities care for the needy in societyLong before the COVID-19 recession, the generosity of Canadians, measured by charitable donations, was already steadily falling. From 2008 to 2018, the percentage of tax-filers donating to charity fell from 24.1 per cent to 19.4 per cent. And the percentage of aggregate income donated to charity fell from 0.62 per cent to 0.54 per cent.…

What Canadians can expect in the coming year

The good news? Pandemic under control. The bad news? Very slow growth, high debt, higher taxes, high unemployment

What Canadians can expect in the coming yearThe future is imaginary, said philosopher Baruch Spinoza. We don’t and can’t know what will happen in the future and last year certainly demonstrated that. Nevertheless, the desire to see what the new year will bring always overcomes the future’s inherent mystery. We peer into our crystal balls and bravely prognosticate, knowing full well that…

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonuses

COVID-19 has made us realize that many people whose jobs are too important to be interrupted are the ones earning the least money

The slippery ethics of paying grocery executives bonusesAlmost everyone agrees that grocery store workers should earn better wages, especially during a pandemic. In Canada, their hourly rate hovers around $15 an hour. New hires get about $13 an hour, while the highest paid earn almost $50,000 annually, or about $25 an hour. In a high-volume, low-margin world, salaries are what they are.…

Many questions will linger post-pandemic

Many questions will linger post-pandemicPandemics have a way of changing the world. The Plague of Justinian hit the Mediterranean area in the 500s, not only killing millions but crucially weakening the Byzantine Empire and helping ruin its plans to reconquer western Europe from the barbarians. The Black Death of the 1300s wiped out over 100 million people in Europe…

How will Canadian households cope as food prices rise?

The pace of food inflation is unmanageable for many

How will Canadian households cope as food prices rise?Canada’s Food Price Report 2021 brought some disconcerting news to Canadians. We could see food prices rise by as much as five per cent in 2021, according to the recently-released report. That’s the highest increase ever predicted by the report’s authors, a group of 24 scholars from four universities. For a family of four, the…

Focus on getting aid to families in need

Focus on getting aid to families in needBy Jason Clemens, and Milagros Palacios The Fraser Institute Since its election, the current federal Liberal government has consistently demonstrated its disinterest in targeting spending to those in need and limiting debt accumulation. Despite expected deficits of $381.6 billion this year and $121.2 billion next year, and that the national debt (adjusted for financial assets)…

Economic growth for its own sake is misdirected

Economic growth for its own sake is misdirectedTwo centuries ago, clergyman Thomas Malthus expounded the proposition that population always outruns food supply. He said population increases geometrically while food supply increases, at best, only arithmetically. Half a century ago the Green Revolution, enabling massive increases in agricultural production, allayed such fears. Arguably, however, it will be impossible to repeat that revolution. Even…

Trudeau’s second carbon tax coming at worst possible time

Trudeau needs to go back to drawing board and come up with an environmental plan that doesn’t hammer taxpayers

Trudeau’s second carbon tax coming at worst possible timeBy Aaron Wudrick and Franco Terrazzano Canadian Taxpayers Federation Whenever Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to solve a problem, his solution can’t be to hit families and businesses struggling to get by with even more costs. Yet, that’s exactly the approach Trudeau is taking with his second carbon tax. As Postmedia columnist John Ivison reported,…
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