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Scotland pushes U.K. to the brink

If the Scots vote “yes” to independence on Thursday, as one opinion poll now suggests they will, three things are likely to happen in the following week.

First, David Cameron may cease to be the leader of the Conservative Party and the prime minister of the United Kingdom. He would be removed by his own Conservative members of Parliament, who would hold him responsible for allowing the breakup of a very successful union that has lasted 307 years. READ

Why the big secret?

If you had a wealthy, powerful friend who constantly lied to you, spied on you and selectively applied arbitrary rules of engagement against you in secret, would you marry that person? READ

What is a good job?

When politicians promise to create more jobs, they typically promise ‘good jobs’ or ‘good middle-class jobs.’ But what do they mean by a ‘good job?’ READ

Healthy land, healthy people

What if we could reduce worldwide deaths from disease, starvation and disaster while improving the health of people everywhere? According to the World Health Organization, we can. READ

Consistently inconsistent politics in Brazil

You mustn’t expect politicians in a democratic system to come up with ideologically pure, intellectually consistent policies. Their job is to put together a winning coalition of voters who have different and even conflicting interests, and if that requires compromises and even contradictions, so be it. READ

PM busting with pride

Sometimes political analysis need go no deeper than a simple image on a screen. Tuesday offered two of them. One, of course, was the stunning image of one of the ships from the Franklin expedition lying on the seabed where it had rested, undetected, for almost 170 years. READ

Prentice sees big picture

Jim Prentice, who became Alberta’s premier-designate by virtue of a first-ballot Conservative leadership victory last weekend, has more history with Prime Minister Stephen Harper than any of his past and present provincial colleagues. READ

Prentice by the numbers

Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice will be Alberta’s 15th premier since Confederation. In all the years since 1905, Alberta’s premiers have led just four different parties. At each succession, the losing party became a trivia question. READ

A new threat we must take seriously

Stephen Harper has dispatched as many as 100 military advisers to northern Iraq as part of a U.S.-led “core coalition” to help degrade what we are told is a long-term threat to all NATO countries. We know their mission will be reassessed in 30 days and a greater Canadian military contribution might be coming. We know there have been at least 130 Canadians who have travelled to join radical fighting forces, including the Islamic State. At least 130. That number was released early in the year and other estimates put the number much higher. READ

Dire lessons in the sky

Passenger pigeons were once a remarkable story of nature’s abundance. Despite producing only one chick a year, they were the most numerous bird on Earth, sometimes darkening the sky for hours or even days when they flew overhead. READ

Truth about need for reconciliation

OTTAWA — In many ways, this was a moment of quintessential Canadian déjà vu. There we all were again, sitting in the National Press Theatre. Joe Clark, Paul Martin and former Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi, among others, decrying the misunderstanding, neglect and betrayal that has marked our country’s relationship with our First Nations. READ

Is Canada an energy superpower?

In his first foreign speech as prime minister, Stephen Harper told the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce that Canada was emerging as “a global energy powerhouse — the emerging energy superpower our government intends to build.” READ

Paying the price, twice

Thomas Jefferson is famously believed to have defined the price of freedom as eternal vigilance. The price of freedom from Uncle Sam is a lot steeper. READ

Just give Russia what it wants and move on

The Ukrainian army is in retreat on every front. Since Russian regular army units came to the aid of the hard-pressed pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s two easternmost provinces a week ago, the tide of battle has turned decisively. READ

Sell Alberta’s air fleet

I don’t care a whole lot that Thomas Lukaszuk took his daughter with him on three Alberta Air Transportation Services flights while he was a cabinet minister. That would be to focus on a problem’s detail while ignoring the problem itself. READ

Using violence to end violence in Rwanda

“Whoever betrays the country will pay the price, I assure you,” Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame told a rally soon after the country’s former intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya, was found strangled in a South African hotel room last January. Karegeya had quit the government and become a leading opponent of the regime, which Kagame would certainly see as a betrayal of the country. READ

Premiers running out of excuses for inaction

Every summer, the country’s premiers converge on some picturesque spot in Canada for their annual gathering. Last year it was Niagara-on-the-Lake. This year it’s Prince Edward Island. The backdrop changes as do some of the characters but the script, for the most part, remains the same. READ

Wake-up call for mining

When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an “extremely rare” occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here. READ

Boosting growth is the key challenge

How do we increase economic growth and create more and better jobs? This, says Stanley Fischer, vice-chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is the biggest challenge facing economic policymakers. In fact, he asks, is this is possible or is slow growth the new normal? READ

Playing a game of chicken in Ukraine

It is quite possible for soldiers to cross a frontier “by accident on an unmarked section,” and that is how Moscow explains the capture of a group of Russian paratroopers on Ukrainian territory last weekend. Poor lambs, they just wandered across the border by mistake. When they get home, they’ll have to be sent on a refresher course in cross-country navigation. READ

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