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Opinion

Oil prices blindsided by technology

“The price of oil will hit its floor and it will rise again,” President Nicolas Maduro assured Venezuelans, whose shaky economy depends critically on a high oil price. “Venezuela will continue with its social plans. Venezuela will move forward.”

No it won’t, and neither will Russia, Iran, or Nigeria. The only major oil exporters that are not in deep trouble are the Arab countries, whose governments have some room for manoeuvre because of low production costs, relatively small populations, and big foreign currency reserves. READ

Year of political change

If our fixed election date holds, we’re a year from a trip to the federal polls. It’s a good time to remember what changes a single year can bring. Here are five storylines that can upend any federal prognostications over the next 12 months. READ

Taking on Internet trolls

The reason we cherish the concept of free speech is the same reason we also have libel laws: people disagree. On everything. Isaac Newton’s law says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It applies as much to opinions as to physics. Where opinions clash, sometimes truth emerges. But often there is only wreckage. READ

We’re being shortchanged

Canadians expect to have our environment protected, and to know how it’s being protected. A report from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development shows we’re being short-changed. READ

On matters of conscience

For most Canadians, infrequent glimpses into the workings of their Parliament reveal what appear to be elected bobble heads and applauding armies cheerleading for their party leaders. READ

Fairy gold in Bolivia’s economy

To nobody’s great surprise, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has won a third five-year term by a landslide majority. It’s no surprise because Bolivia’s gross domestic product (GDP) has tripled since he took office in 2006. The number of people living in poverty has fallen by a quarter, even the poorest now have the right to a pension and illiteracy has fallen to zero. READ

Global economy affects everything

What is the biggest problem facing the global economy in the coming years? The answer is important for us Canadians because we are a part of an increasingly globalized economy. We are affected very much by what happens elsewhere. READ

A state worse than death

Is there a state of life that’s worse than death? A lot of people — a large majority of Canadians, in fact — think so. That’s why about 84 per cent of poll respondents recently agreed that a doctor should be able to help terminally ill patients end their own lives, under certain well-defined conditions. READ

We are too impatient

The Amazon rainforest is magnificent. Watching programs about it, we’re amazed by brilliant parrots and toucans, tapirs, anacondas and jaguars. READ

Patriotism, fear sell war plan

The vote in support of Stephen Harper’s decision to join allied airstrikes in northern Iraq — and possibly Syria — was never in doubt. But Conservatives imported two distinctly American arguments in selling their plan to a divided House of Commons. READ

Playing politics with war

For the first time in his three-mandate tenure, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has failed to secure opposition support for sending Canada to war. The Liberals — among others — claim the prime minister always meant to go it alone; that he wanted to be isolated in Parliament for electoral purposes. READ

The revolution will eat its children

There was a time, as recently as 25 years ago, when military staff colleges around the world taught a reasonably effective doctrine for dealing with terrorism. Then it was forgotten, but we need it back. It would be especially useful in dealing with the terrorist state that has recently emerged in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. READ

Our role in a new war

It’s pretty well a done deal: Canada will go to war — in a limited way, at first anyway — in the Middle East. The majority of government MPs in Ottawa will see to that rather quickly. The promise to consult and debate the proposal regarding our active combat role in the fight against the terrorists in ISIL was concluded in one day, Friday. READ

Treaty strength tested

B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. READ

Energy agenda loses steam

Just when Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to join other world leaders on the podium of the United Nations climate change summit, the climate for his ambitious energy agenda continued to deteriorate across Canada. READ

Hong Kong protests test China’s resolve

The crowds of protesters in the streets of Hong Kong continue to grow, and they have spread beyond Central (the business district) to Kowloon and Causeway Bay. The police are already using tear gas and pepper spray, and rubber bullets will be next. READ

We are living in the dark

What should we make of the tear-stained apology given by the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary for his bizarre behaviour last week in the House during question period? Was Paul Calandra’s apology sincere or an attempt to downgrade his circus performance into mere soap opera? READ

Blue Dot Movement rolls across Canada

As an elder, I’ve watched Canada and the world change in many ways, for better and worse. Thanks in part to cheap energy and technological growth, the human population has more than tripled, from 2.2 billion in 1936 when I was born to about seven billion today. READ

Social media busts crime

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nooooo, it’s Super Social Media! — the crime-fighting hero cracking down on stolen vehicles in Red Deer. And fighting crime around the world. A new Facebook page, Red Deer Stolen Vehicles, has joined the Internet detective forces springing up across North America to catch the bad guys. And it’s getting results, according to a recent account in the Advocate. READ

Who will show leadership on climate change?

The news on climate change keeps getting worse, yet Canada continues to keep its head buried in the (oil) sand. There is now no hope of meeting our international commitment to lower annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 17 per cent below the 2005 level. In fact, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has never even tried to keep its promise. READ

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