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Tim Hortons deal plays into Tory playbook

Five years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a speech at a Tim Hortons instead of the United Nations General Assembly that pretty well sums up the ranking of both institutions in the prime minister’s hierarchy.

He’s rolled up the rim at a hockey game in Saskatoon and hoisted a Timmy’s at a British Columbia rink. READ

Celebrity oilsands bullies

Alberta must be getting a sense of what it’s like to be the victim of the school yard bullies. Once one starts picking on you, all the others figure you’re fair game. The latest big hitter to take a swipe at Alberta’s biggest industry is Leonardo DiCaprio. His tour to the Northern Alberta “tar sands” comes on the heels of visits by such high-profile heavy hitters as Neil Young, James Cameron and even spiritual leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu. READ

Italy pushes EU to help with asylum seekers

The last time “Mare Nostrum” (Latin for “Our Sea”) was used as a political slogan in Italy, Mussolini’s fascists were claiming dominance over the entire Mediterranean. This time it’s different. It’s the name of the operation the Italian navy is running to save asylum seekers from drowning on the dangerous voyage in open boats from North Africa to Italy. READ

Why no native inquiry?

In Stephen Harper’s world, one does not publicly ask why. To seek root causes is a sign of weakness. READ

Engineering real change

When was the last time you heard a politician say something interesting during an internal party leadership campaign? If you’re not a keen follower of politics and policy, the most likely answer is: not ever. READ

Economy before people

When we elect people to office, we give them power to make and enact decisions on our behalf. They should have a vision that extends beyond the next election and the latest Dow Jones average — to our children and grandchildren. READ

Undecided on Michener

Of the candidates campaigning to become leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party and our next premier, Jim Prentice happens to be the only one who makes sense on the issue of what’s to become of Michener Centre. He says he’s undecided. READ

A futile and endless war

“They began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over,” as Lewis Carrol put it in Alice in Wonderland. He was describing the Caucus Race, but it sounds quite a lot like the Gaza War, doesn’t it? READ

An economic case for gimme gimme

I don’t generally like debates in print between individuals. I say readers ought to have the last word. Exceptions can be made, though, when the public record needs correcting. READ

Middle East’s new realities

After half a century of stasis, there are big new strategic realities in the Middle East, but people are having trouble getting their heads around them. READ

Mulcair must stem growing unease

Canada’s New Democrats have a history of patiently playing the long game, a virtue — some would argue — that has at least partly been borne out of electoral necessity. READ

Our mountains of trash

If your European vacation involves much walking or cycling off the major tourist routes, you will find community trash recycling sites at pretty regular intervals. READ

The desperate denials

The Heartland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas illustrates climate change deniers’ desperate confusion. READ

The economics of infection

Ebola is a truly frightening disease, with a fatality rate as high as 95 per cent (although the death rate in the current outbreak in West Africa is only 55 to 60 per cent). At the moment, it is largely confined to a heavily forested inland area where the borders of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea meet, although cases have already appeared in the capital cities of all three countries. READ

The war that ended war

“It was not worth even one life,” said Harry Patch shortly before he died in 2009 at the age of 111. He was the last survivor of the 65 million soldiers who fought in the First World War, and by the time he died it was a normal, quite unremarkable thing to say. But he would never have said it in 1914. READ

Lament for lost bike lane

Early this summer, city road crews brought out their grinder and erased the lines and road symbols on the bike lane on 39th Street. Just one more overpayment on the so-called $800,000 pilot project looking to examine solutions for safe, accessible bike commuter transit in the city. The money was spent, expensive lines were painted — and more expensively erased — but the pilot project itself never really existed. Other than the torrent of online rants to the city’s website and calls of outrage to city staff and councillors about the project, no data was collected. READ

A blue view from above

A now-famous 1972 photo of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts from 45,000 km away became known as “the blue marble.” The late scientist Carl Sagan described a 1990 picture taken from six billion km away by the unmanned Voyager 1 as a “pale blue dot.” READ

Is manufacturing poised for growth?

Manufacturing is not dead, yet it is far from healthy. KPMG, the multinational consulting firm, believes, however, that the tide is turning and that Canadian manufacturers are poised for an upsurge in growth. READ

Gaza dispute will linger

You can see why Hamas doesn’t want a ceasefire in Gaza yet. It is continuing the fight in the hope that international outrage at the huge loss of people being killed by Israel’s massive firepower will somehow, eventually, force Israel to give it what it wants. READ

Politics or public service

A couple of years ago, journalists connected to WikiLeaks revealed a trove of information on hundreds of wealthy Canadians who may (or may not) be hiding piles of cash in offshore bank accounts in order to evade paying their taxes. READ

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