After two years of stimulus spending and years of tax cuts, Canada's debt has ballooned to $56 billion. Now the Harper government is sharpening the axe. Who will feel the cut? Given the Conservative's position on social spending, they will likely focus on provincial transfers that support healthcare and social welfare.
Meanwhile, the federal government subsidizes oil companies to the tune of $1.4 billion every year, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It's more if you factor in other fossil fuels such as coal. If the government is looking for ways to pay down the debt, ending fossil fuel subsidies in the 2011-12 budget is a good place to start.
The trip out to the tar sands tailings pond reminded me of other recent trips to places where indigenous people were trying to survive.
It recalled for me a trip out to the Russian Arctic earlier this year to visit a group of Saami (Indigenous) reindeer herders struggling to maintain their way of life, and also the work I did last year with a group of Amazonian peoples who were trying to stop oil companies and oil spills in the Peruvian jungles.
But in the end this was far worse, even compared with those two dire situations, and it was being promoted by the Canadian and Alberta governments.
(Ottawa) On the eve of the G20 meeting in South Korea 18 leading organizations from across the country are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister Jim Flaherty to follow through on their G20 promise to end tax breaks to oil and gas companies.
"Prime Minister Harper has left a trail of broken promises on this issue, the G20 meeting is an opportunity for him to finally follow through on his commitment to end tax breaks to rich oil and gas companies," says Graham Saul of Climate Action Network Canada. "In an era of fiscal responsibility and a growing climate crisis, giving a free ride to these companies is irresponsible."
Related rabble.ca story:
Oil addiction threatens our environment, water and health. Clayton Thomas-Muller, aboriginal activist and tar sands campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network, speaks about Alberta's tar sands and its assaults on indigenous rights in the context of climate justice. So what is the cure for oil addiction? Daphne Wysham, a fellow and board member of the Institute for Policy Studies, founder and co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Washington, DC, argues that one of the proposed solutions - carbon offsets - is not a solution at all. Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network, Devon, U.K.