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Weighing our options

The four Alberta byelections on Monday were a major win for now-elected Premier Jim Prentice. Prentice now also has both an elected education minister and health minister — and a mandate to continue the Progressive Conservative Party dynasty in this province.

The byelection results were a loss for the Opposition Wildrose Party. Not as disastrous a loss as may seem (though repeating this result in a general election would be a disaster for the party). But enough for leader Danielle Smith to see the need to convene a leadership review. READ

Terrorist or murderer? Distinction important

On the day the nation mourned Nathan Cirillo in Hamilton — my hometown, a rock of dignity and duty, where the collar is proudly worn blue and no one messes with our national symbols — it’s understandable that we wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to characterize his killer. READ

Time for adult discourse

One of the main things to know about the so-called Protection of Canada from Terrorists bill that was brought forward in the House of Commons on Monday is that it cannot possibly live up to its title. READ

Fusion power: goodbye fossil fuels?

“We would like to get to a prototype (of a nuclear fusion reactor) in five generations,” said Thomas McGuire, the director of the Revolutionary Technology division at Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works. “If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab.” READ

A call for prudence

We are about to find out what happens when those entrusted with strengthening our anti-terror laws are the same people who were traumatized by a gun battle in their workplace. READ

Clean-tech will lead way

What’s the fastest-growing sector in Canada’s economy? Given what you hear from politicians and the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the resource industry, especially extraction and export of fossil fuels like oilsands bitumen and liquefied natural gas. But we’re no longer just “hewers of wood and drawers of water” — or drillers of oil, frackers of gas and miners of coal. READ

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.” 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

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

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

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

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