Thursday, January 30, 2014

Please standby

For much  of January, I’ve not been publishing regular articles at Northern Insight but, rest assured, my eyes remained focused on news events in Canada.

I'll soon be back (according to Bill Good and his posse) propagating toxic waste and poison and making crap up.

Alternatively, I'll be adding my unencumbered voice to public dialogue about issues that affect us all.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Neither wealth nor splendor...

I was fascinated by Ian Jessop's interview Friday with Dr. John Helliwell, Professor Emeritus of Economics, UBC. Dr. Helliwell is an editor of the World Happiness Report 2013, released by Columbia University's Earth Institute. The report is detailed, free of ideological bent and worth broad examination by all.

Professor Helliwell told Ian Jessop of the major factors that affect our collective levels of satisfaction:
  • GDP per capita,
  • Healthy life expectancy,
  • Social supports for individuals,
  • Generosity of society,
  • Freedom of individuals to make basic life choices,
  • Trust for the people around us.
I suggest you visit the CFAX website and listen to the entire segment. Here's a sample that caught my particular attention.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Jan 6 with Ian Jessop, CFAX 1070

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War on coastal communities

Christy Clark's Liberals seem dedicated to punishing residents of BC coastal communities, probably because all ferry dependent communities failed to return Liberal candidates in the last election. A few days ago, BC Ferries announced:
"Due to current world fuel market conditions that influence the prices that BC Ferries must pay its diesel fuel suppliers, the company is advising customers that a fuel surcharge will be implemented on the majority of its routes on January 17.

"The fuel surcharge will be 3.5 per cent on average..."
Is this truly a response to "world fuel market conditions" or something else? Projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicate the latter is correct. First, given the glut of North American oil, EIA expects stable prices in 2014:

Crude prices are the prime factor but we should pay attention to EIA predictions of diesel fuel prices:

BC Ferries spends about $120 million a year on diesel fuel so the new fuel surcharge would provide for a 14% increase in those costs. Yet, service cuts are being implemented and the ferry corporation claims it successfully initiated a fuel consumption reduction plan.

Canada's inflation rate for 2013 was 0.91% and the Bank of Canada predicts a core inflation rate of about 1% in 2014. BC Ferries already had approval for rate increases four times the rate of inflation,
"4.1 per cent starting April 1, 2013, followed by another four-per-cent increase in April 2014 and a 3.9-per-cent hike in April 2015."
Despite a stable fuel market, fuel savings plans, service cuts and fare increases well beyond inflation rates, coastal ferry users are suddenly told to absorb an almost $20 million hit in the form of fuel surcharges. There is no rational explanation beyond a desire to punish communities that chose not to elect BC Liberals.

I find it strange that Liberals are prepared to spend billions of dollars to subsidize foreign owned LNG factories but has committed nothing to fuel BC Ferries vessels with natural gas produced in this province.

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