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Streets paved with gold

The document tabled by the Conservative government on Tuesday was never going to be a budget for the coming year, in the purest sense of the exercise.

But, as a foundation for re-election, it is a skilful manifesto. READ

Seeing through China’s smoke

Beijing’s 21-million residents live in a toxic fog of particulate matter, ozone, sulphur dioxide, mercury, cadmium, lead and other contaminants, mainly caused by factories and coal burning. Schools and workplaces regularly shut down when pollution exceeds hazardous levels. People have exchanged paper and cotton masks for more elaborate, filtered respirators. Cancer has become the leading cause of death in the city and throughout the country. READ

Changing the focus

Pay no attention to that little man in the courtroom. The Conservative government may be stealing furtive glances over its shoulder at the downtown Ottawa courthouse, but it is mainly going about its business, flexing the muscle of incumbency. It is shoring up its vulnerabilities in an election year while much of the political class — and a good chunk of the population — is talking about Mike Duffy. READ

A ‘world class’ oil mess

This country just received a bracing environmental wakeup call. It has led to understandable anger on our West Coast, some very blunt political finger pointing and has shone a light on federal cutbacks, which critics believe endanger some of the most pristine waters and parkland in Canada. READ

Just a political farce

Mike Duffy’s fraud and breach of trust trial, which passes for entertainment in Ottawa, cannot possibly be further from the point that upsets Canadians about the workings of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Senate. READ

The weight of evidence

Two floors below, the charges include assault, assault with a weapon and uttering threats. READ

From terror and war, to entitlement and economy

The next chapter in this country’s political debate opened with elusive Finance Minister Joe Oliver standing in Toronto’s Canada Goose factory in front of a gaggle of employees who could have been charitably described as bemused. READ

To the polls Albertans go?

Let’s see ... Alberta is expected to enter a recession this year, unemployment is rising, home values are stagnant or dropping, and the provincial government raised 59 taxes and fees in its budget, while projecting a $5-billion deficit. Good time to call an election. READ

Water is life; we can’t afford to waste it

How long can you go without water? You could probably survive a few weeks without water for cooking. If you stopped washing, the threat to your life might only come from people who can’t stand the smell. READ

Mulcair has momentum

Matters of terror and war do not lend themselves to nuance or half-measures. On these two issues, at least, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is finding it difficult to claim a middle ground that has long been his party’s traditional turf. READ

Ready for the inevitable

Of course, I have no insider’s access and I do not know what is said in cabinet meetings, but I suspect the Harper government already has a team of civil servants drafting a law to allow suffering and dying patients to request the help of a doctor to ease and aid their death. READ

Punishment fits crime

The case of self-admitted “arrogant pissant” Justin Bourque signals a new era for Canada’s criminal justice system, which now has the power to lock up killers and throw away the keys. READ

Tories defy democracy

There was little doubt the federal government would approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, regardless of public opposition or evidence presented against it. READ

A transit system travesty

The Advocate article on Tuesday said Red Deer is the largest city in Alberta that has no program for a lower-cost transit pass for low-income and disabled people. While that is true as far as it goes, the reality behind this is actually worse. READ

The time to act on climate change is now

Because we enjoy relatively pure air, clean water and healthy food systems, Canadians sometimes take the environment for granted. Many scarcely blink if oil from a pipeline spills into a river, a forest is cleared for tar sands operations or agricultural land is fracked for gas. If Arctic ice melts and part of the Antarctic ice sheet collapses, well… they’re far away. READ

Waiting on another coup in Thailand

If you are trying to get rid of the legitimately elected government of your country, it helps to have the Constitutional Court, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Election Commission on your side. And Thailand’s Constitutional Court has come through for the opposition once again: it has just ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her cabinet ministers for improperly removing a civil servant from office. READ

Who will take charge of climate change?

It’s fitting that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was released during Earth Month. After all, the third chapter of its Fifth Assessment focuses on ways to keep our planet healthy and livable by warding off extreme climatic shifts and weather events caused by escalating atmospheric carbon. READ

Profitable pot revolution

When actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper hit the road on their choppers in the counterculture film Easy Rider, they cruised onto the big screen at the heart of the rise of recreational drug use, with marijuana at its epicentre. READ

Retirement concerns are exaggerated in Canada

With talks to expand the Canada Pension Plan having stalled, the Ontario government has pledged to roll out its own provincial version. READ

Canadian workers first

Almost 30 years at her job apparently wasn’t enough to prevent Sandy Nelson from being replaced by the Harper government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. READ

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