The renewed emphasis on climate change is the most encouraging trend in American politics. More Americans across the political landscape are realizing that the costs of inaction are too high. Awareness of a problem, of course, is good for little if it doesn’t lead to action. One obstacle between awareness and meaningful reform is the common assumption that policies addressing climate change, economic growth, and social justice are at cross purposes.
Not so fast, claims the United Nations. In fact, the UN Development Programme is placing its money on strategies that respond to all three issues. In the preamble to a 2015 resolution adopted by the General Assembly titled Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN declared that “We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet”. There are seventeen goals in total.
The United States and all other member nations chose every target carefully, convinced that achieving progress towards each goal was interdependent with the rest. There is, for example, an obvious connection between “affordable and clean energy” and “climate action”, since transitioning to low-carbon energy sources is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming. The relationship between “Decent work and economic growth” and “gender equality” also appears straightforward; communities that respect the right of women to pursue a career automatically have a greater labor force than communities that do not. But how do these goals interact with each other in less conspicuous ways? Is there, for example, a connection between energy policy and gender equality?
Available data suggest that there is. Economists at the World Bank recently discovered that access to electricity in rural India boosted the socioeconomic status of women after sifting through survey data from over 41,000 households across the country. Because India is large and culturally diverse, it’s an ideal setting for observers who want to rule out alternative explanations for social trends. The authors of the study developed a quantifiable score that combined five indexes of women’s empowerment: decision-making ability, mobility, reproductive freedom, financial independence, and social participation. Overall, the authors found that electrification had enhanced women’s socioeconomic well-being by 10.7 points between 2004 and 2012. Girls from electrified homes, for example, earned better grades than their peers living off the grid. Rural women with access to electricity were also less likely to develop respiratory disease by avoiding indoor air pollution from candles and kerosene.
What makes energy access so important for gender equality? For starters, reliable electricity facilitates the use of labor-saving technology, which frees up time for education, civic engagement and paid work. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where many communities still use biofuels to heat their homes and both sexes are assigned rigid gender roles, women spend hours gathering firewood and other resources. Once a home is connected to a grid, however, keeping the lights on after dark becomes as simple as flipping a switch.
There’s precedent for this effect in the Global North during the Industrial Revolution. In 2013, French economists Claude Diebolt and Faustine Perrin observed that technological development boosted the earnings of men, leading to economic conditions that encouraged parents to spend more income on educating their daughters. Since education increases the opportunity cost of having children for women, families had fewer of them, which in turn established a virtuous circle that strengthened women’s bargaining power with their spouses.
To be clear, technological progress alone is not a magic bullet. Sociologists documenting the electrification of Mpanta, a rural fishing village in Zambia, noticed that after three years of access to a miniature grid, the local women they interviewed still performed traditional tasks such as subsistence farming and cooking food with solid fuels. In contrast, the men spent most of their time either away at work or resting in the living room. They also managed nearly all the businesses in village. Cultural expectations clearly influenced at least some of the outcomes; in conservative societies, men often decide for the entire household what appliances to purchase and may overlook the needs of their partners. However, the miniature grid system in Mpanta was also connected to a solar farm that produced very little electricity—around 60 kW—and simply could not power energy-intensive appliances such as kitchen stoves or refrigerators. Energy poverty means that households have to make painful choices regarding what devices they can use.
While the authors of the analysis rightfully cautioned that their sample size only amounted to 21 participants and therefore had limited generalizability, Dharnai, a rural village in India, faced a similar problem in 2014. Hoping to bypass traditional grid systems and their environmental impacts, villagers invited engineers from GreenPeace to install solar panels on their rooftops. Most residents were too poor to afford energy efficient appliances and caused blackouts when they purchased refrigerators and air conditioning. After public outcry, the regional governor connected Dharnai to a grid that burned coal.
The key takeaway from these cautionary tales is that the form of electricity generation a community chooses matters. Renewable sources of energy, like sunlight and wind, are dilute fuels that generate electricity only part of the day. Fossil fuels do not share this disadvantage, but they pollute the air with particulate matter and greenhouse gases. India, for example, obtains 75% of its electricity from coal, which is a cheap, abundant resource around the the developing world. Unfortunately, coal isn’t just the fastest growing fuel worldwide—it’s also the most dangerous. Pregnant women in poor countries are especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of air pollution. Electrification policies with little regard for environmental impact will ultimately impede progress towards gender equality, as well as threaten the planet.
Readers familiar with my previous column know that I’m a vocal proponent of expanding nuclear energy to reduce and sustain economic growth. While nuclear energy is an indispensable component of any serious climate policy, some developing nations should also be able to grow their economies with a mixture of renewable energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.
Nevertheless, since nuclear power is a clean form of electricity generation that avoids energy scarcity, activists who promote women’s empowerment should champion its expansion. Facts such as these inspired Kristen Zaitz, a civil engineer and project manager at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, to help found Mothers For Nuclear, an environmental organization in California that promotes clean air through atomic energy. “As a mother you feel a responsibility to protect your children and the planet they will inherit”, she wrote. “But I reject the idea that mothers reason only with their guts and hearts, and not with their heads.” Let’s follow her example.
If you thought your grocery bill was high, it’s about to get a lot higher. A new report shows that food prices are on the rise and set to increase by about four percent.
What does this mean for those feeding more mouths than one? It’s not good. The average family will spend approximately an additional $480 in 2020.
Trade issues and climate change are the leading culprits behind the price hike. Canada’s Food Price Report was released last Wednesday and stated that over the past decade there has been a slow inflation of about two percent to 2.5 percent a year. That number is expected to almost double to four percent heading into 2020.
All foods are on the increase list. The price of meat and fresh produce are expected to jump the most with meat predicted to be 4 to 6 per cent more expensive than 2019.
“The rise of plant-based alternatives does give optimism for meat prices by creating a new class of substitutes, but global demand for meat outside Canada will increase domestic prices in 2020,” reads the University of Dalhousie’s annual food report.
Tensions between Canada, China and the United States are also among the main contributors to the increase in price. The crackdown around the U.S./Mexico border has also slowed down importation according to Simon Somogyi, a project lead at the University of Guelph, “A truck that took six hours to get through a border three years ago now takes three days,” he told the Globe and Mail yesterday. Such delays have played a role in the change of price around fruits and vegetables.
“At the end of the day, we need to be producing more fresh fruit and vegetables here,” stated the report.
Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhouse said to the Globe and Mail, “Everybody agrees it costs more, but we don’t really know how much.” He explained how there are a variety of factors such as single-use plastic bans and the carbon tax.
More recently, the dramatic change in weather patterns has also made their research more difficult.
“Today, every single month there’s at least one product that goes up 10 or 20 per cent,” he said. “So the price of climate change, really, is unpredictability.”
Canada’s Food Price Report has shown a more than 80 percent accuracy rate across the last ten years of their predictions.
Andrew Scheer is the first leader of a major political party in modern Canadian history to lose personal popularity during an election. He lost popularity against the economically insane, fear mongering, scandal ridden, blackface wearing, deficit increasing, carbon tax imposing, Justin Trudeau. Now he is claiming that Justin Trudeau is scared of him and that any challenge to his leadership helps the Liberals. That is absurd.
The truth is that the only people who are afraid of Andy are his staff and caucus. I don’t know a single Liberal who isn’t giddy at the idea of running another campaign against him. In fact, behind closed doors they all tell me they hope we fail to get rid of him.
Politics has always been a war of words and ideas. Scheer’s team is attempting a series of arguments to convince conservatives that he should be allowed a second chance.
Here are the arguments and why they are wrong:
1: An Andrew Scheer led Conservative Party of Canada brought Justin Trudeau down to a minority government.
The Bloc Quebecois are the reason that Justin Trudeau does not have a majority government. Had they not surged during the campaign, Justin Trudeau would be leading a majority government right now.
2: Andrew Scheer is like Stephen Harper and deserves a second chance.
I can’t believe I have to say this. Andrew Scheer is not Stephen Harper. He’s not even Manchester’s top Stephen Harper tribute band. Stephen Harper stood for things. Stephen Harper united the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Parties and then won the leadership of that new party by 56.2% on the first ballot. Andrew Scheer couldn’t eke out a lead during his leadership race until the 14th ballot.
3. The only reason we lost was the media and the unions.
Are you suggesting that in the next election the media and the unions will stop attacking Conservatives? A leader doesn’t blame external events for his/her failure. They take responsibility and then articulate a path to success. Andrew Scheer has failed to do this.
4. If not Andrew Scheer, then who?
This is probably, on its face, the strongest argument for keeping Andrew Scheer. We are conservatives after all. We don’t like change and we are afraid of things getting worse. Well, they can’t get worse. During the election, the more Canadians got to know Andrew the less they liked him. We owe our party donors, volunteers, and candidates at least a chance at victory. Andrew Scheer will never beat Justin Trudeau. The left doesn’t just hate him, Canadians in general don’t like him.
5. Andrew Scheer won the popular vote. He got more votes than any Conservative Leader in Canadian history!
Come on. Does anyone actually know someone who voted for Andrew Scheer himself? Someone who otherwise would not have voted conservative but was so compelled by their love for Andrew Scheer to mark an X on their ballot? No. The only reason the CPC won the popular vote is because Westerners hate Justin Trudeau with such a fiery passion that they would have voted for anyone.
6. You are dividing the party! We must stay united under the strong leadership of Andrew Scheer or the Liberals could win a majority.
The party is not divided. In fact, I am finding it very difficult to find anyone outside of staff and caucus and close personal friends who will even admit to supporting the guy. Andrew Scheer is a unifier; he is unifying people across the conservative political spectrum against his leadership. The only current division in our party is between those who stand to benefit from his continued leadership with jobs and titles, and the rest of us who want to win government.
7. Andrew Scheer is the best that social conservatives will get. If he loses, the Red Tories will take over the party.
The most important question that social conservatives need to ask is whether or not Andrew Scheer can win the next election. If he can, then their support for him makes sense. If he can’t, then imagine the backlash they will receive if they supported him again and he failed to deliver victory. I think you all know in your heart of hearts that Andrew Scheer will not win and that it is time to find a new candidate you can support instead of further escalating the resentment towards social conservatives in the party.
We can do better. Let us not allow the fear mongers to tell us we can’t. If you doubt me, the next time Andrew Scheer is giving a speech on TV, or your mobile phone, or computer screen. Turn off the sound. Simply watch his delivery. You’ll quickly come to realize why Canadians will never connect with him. He just doesn’t have what it takes.
The RCMP owe Aga Khan’s island more than $56,000 for meals, housing, and jet ski rentals for Justin Trudeau’s ethics-violating vacation, according to the CBC.
Speaking to the CBC, the RCMP’s spokeswoman said that “despite efforts made to do so,” the RCMP has still not fully reimbursed the Aga Khan’s managers. Finally, after the relevant documents were obtained under the Access to Information Act, the RCMP disclosed that the RCMP spent $56,000 in 2017 for “accommodations/meals/jet ski rentals.”
The RCMP, however, has said that the expenses were directly linked to their protection of Justin Trudeau. As well as this, they have refused to provide a detailed account of the expenses as it may compromise the prime minister’s security.
There were attempts made to prevent these expenses from being revealed. The RCMP asked for the $56,000 bill to be exempted from proactive disclosure and to remove references that these costs came about as a result of Trudeau’s Christmas holiday.
As a result of Trudeau’s trip to the Aga Khan’s island, the prime minister was found by the Ethics Commissioner to have violated four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act. As a result of this, Trudeau came under intense scrutiny.
The trip cost the Canadian taxpayer $215,000, of which the RCMP accounted for $153,504 of the total fee.
Although the exact details of the costs remain unclear, a charge for $18,000 seems to correlate with meal costs. It has been suggested that another charge of $22,000 was for the RCMP’s accommodation, and the final three charges of $8,400, $4,500 and $3,500 were allegedly for the jet ski rentals.
Hamilton police received reports around 3:30 a.m. that of an injured child below the age of two years old at a home close to Bishop Ryan Secondary School in the area of Rymal Road East and Dakota Boulevard.
Police say a 16-year-old boy at the property had barricaded himself inside the home with the baby. The boy suffered “traumatic injuries,” police later mentioning in a tweet that they had him “safely secured.”
The Hamilton paramedics brought the child to the hospital with “non-life threatening injuries.” The police said the child was being examined at the hospital.
The police, hoping for a peaceful outcome, reportedly negotiated with the boy inside. The negotiation went on for hours and police confirmed in a tweet, just after 11:30 a.m., that the 16-year-old male was secured.
The police also confirmed that the teen and the infant are “known to each other” and did not disclose what injuries were sustained by the child.
Const. Jerome Stewart said, “We are very happy we reached a successful outcome,” he went on to tell reporters, “We need some time to continue onwards with this investigation.”
According to police, Bishop Ryan Secondary school is open and there is no threat to public safety.