CCPA Monitor

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative (CCPA) Monitor is a monthly research magazine covering national news, foreign policy, the economy, the environment, education, and more.

Articles from Vol. 14, No. 7, December/January

ALBERTA'S DIRTY GOLD RUSH: Tar Sands Development Is a Global Environmental Disaster
How do progressive journalists outside Canada view the booming tar sands development in Alberta? The influential French newspaper Le Monde recently sent one of its top investigative reporters, Herve Kempf, to Fort McMurray for a first-hand look at the...
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AN INTERVIEW WITH AFGHAN MP MALALAI JOYA: Karzai Government Treats Women as Brutally as Did the Taliban
Malalai Joya, 29, is the youngest female member of Afghanistan's parliament and has been elected twice from the western province of Farah. She is a popular women's rights activist and an outspoken critic of the government of Hamid Karzai and the Northern...
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BEAUTY'S FATAL LURE: Search for Physical Perfection Both Futile and Dangerous
"When beauty's the prize, what mortal fears dying?"-from Handel's Acis and Galatea (1718)The recent deaths of two women in the pursuit of perfect beauty made headlines around the world.Ana Carolina Reston, 21, a Brazilian model, died as a result of the...
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BREAD AND CIRCUSES: Does Political "News" Belong on the Entertainment Pages?
[The following opinion-piece was originally written 10 years ago. It is being reprinted for more recent CCPA members and Monitor readers who may not have seen it back in 1997. You can judge for yourself whether the cynicism it reflects about our political...
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CANCER CAN BE BEATEN: New Books Explain Why (and How) Cancer Is a Preventable Disease
Healing The Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases, by Charlotte Gerson and Beata Bishop, Totality Books, 2007, $29.95.Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic, by Liz Armstrong, Guy Dauncey and Anne Wordsworth, New Society, 2007,...
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CHRISTMAS EVE ARMISTICE IN A TROUBLED WORLD: World War I Soldiers Put Down Their Rifles to Sing Carols
In the heat of battle, soldiers put down weapons of war to celebrate life. The question is: did they really sing? We are told there was song, but no sleigh. No Santa. No one streaked across the sky waving and saying "ho ho ho." But in 1985, it made a...
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EDITORIAL: New Year's Resolution
Your research institute, the CCPA, has been increasingly successful so far in this new century in developing and promoting the alternative social, economic, political and environmental policies that its name connotes. We've made breakthroughs in all...
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ELECTRICALLY-POWERED POLITICS: National Electric Power Grid Should Be Political Priority
Suddenly the power dies, in the middle of the CBC News. The television goes dark. You reach for candles and flashlights.Remember that helpless feeling? Fifty million people in Ontario and eight U.S. states went through it in August, 2003.That blackout...
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FLARING AND CARBON TAXES, HIGHER ROYALTIES: B.C. Needs "Greener" Regulation of Oil and Gas Industry
For several years, British Columbia has been hooked on revenues from the fossil fuel industry. Skyrocketing royalty payments to the province from companies pulling oil and natural gas out of B.C.'s energy-rich northeast corner now outstrip income from...
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GOOD NEWS ON THE HEALTH FRONT: Activists Hail Victories for Human Rights-And Human Health
"It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated."-Headmaster Dumbledore to Harry Potter.There is so much bad news every day, especially about health and the environment,...
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INDEX: Unsustainability
* Between 10% and 20% of all species will be driven to extinction before 2050. Based on current trends, an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species-including one in eight of the world's bird species-face extinction. Almost a quarter of the world's...
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IT'S ALL ABOUT OIL: No Iraq "Exit" Strategy Because U.S. Doesn't Want to Leave
Iraq is "unwinnable," a "quagmire," a "fiasco": so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the U.S. may be "stuck" precisely where Bush et al want it to...
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LIQUID GOLD: New Book Exposes the Folly of Energy Privatization in B.C
LIQUID GOLD: New book exposes the folly of energy privatization in B.C. Liquid Gold, Energy Privatization in British Columbia, by John Calvert, Fernwood Publishing, Halifax & Winnipeg, 256 pages, $24.95.Review by Roy LaBergeLiquid Gold tells the...
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Memos from Our Members
The case for boycottsThe Editor:Carping and complaining are sorry excuses for dissent and action. No matter how well-researched and thoughtful, critiques are never going to reach the hearts and minds of people who are unaware of the extent of corporate/political...
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NAOMI REPLIES TO HER CRITICS: The Business Press and Me: A Case of Unrequited Love
Finance journalists have attacked my book, but I remain devoted to their papers. After all, they supplied the facts I used.On a recent visit to Calgary, I was taken aback to see my book on disaster capitalism selling briskly at the airport. Calgary is...
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New Studies Confirm Health Dangers of Monsanto Pesticide
New studies from both sides of the Atlantic reveal that Roundup, the most widely used weed-killer in the world, poses serious human health threats.More than 75% of genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to tolerate the absorption of Roundup....
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NO EXCUSE FOR DENYING DRUG COVERAGE: It's Time to End Canadians' Long Wait for Pharmacare
Canadians have been waiting for Pharmacare since the early 1960s when it was proposed by the Royal Commission on Health Care. However, despite repeated promises in the ensuing decades from the National Forum on Health and even the Liberal party itself...
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ON THE WRONG CONTINENT: Canada Would Be a Better Fit in the E.U. Than the U.S
Driving through Toronto one day last summer, I saw a shiny black 4x4 with an English flag sticking out of one side window and a German flag out the other. Presumably a Canadian family of mixed English and German origin, so rooting for both teams in the...
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OUR DOLLAR SOARS TOO HIGH: Interest Rates Need to Be Cut to Protect Canada's Economy
The unprecedented surge in the Canadian dollar from 85 cents U.S. in early 2007 to as high as $1.10 in early November is deeply disturbing in terms of its implications for the health of the economy and the job market. Very rapid exchange rate appreciation...
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RAPTURE RESCUE 911 FOR THE RICH: Best Disaster Relief Now Goes to Those Who Can Pay for It
I used to worry that the United States was in the grip of extremists who sincerely believed that the Apocalypse was coming and that they and their friends would be airlifted to heavenly safety. I have since reconsidered. That country is indeed in the...
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Ravaging of Africa CD Launched
A four-part radio documentary series about the destructive impact of U.S. neo-colonialism on Africa, written by CCPA international affairs correspondent Asad Ismi and produced by Kristin Schwartz, was launched in November at the University of Toronto.The...
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STUPID TO THE LAST DROP: Alberta's Tar Sands Project Threatens Ecological Armageddon
STUPID TO THE LAST DROP: Alberta's tar sands project threatens ecological Armageddon Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta is bringing environmental Armageddon to Canada (and doesn't seem to care), by William Marsden, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 148 pages,...
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TAKING BACK THE PLANET-AND OUR HEALTH: Key to Good Health Is Detoxifying Our Food and Environment
"Some of us were miraculously presented Each with a goose that laid a golden egg. Myself, I killed the cackling thing and ate it. Alas, man and many of the other recipients Died of gold-dust poisoning."-Muriel Spark.Almost everything that is known to...
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THE ENVIRONMENTAL KEYNESIAN ALTERNATIVE: Environmental Crisis Calls for World-War-II-Type Collaboration
As people become ever-more aware of climate change and ecological crisis, they are worried, anxious, and looking for solutions. Forgive me if I'm a heretic, but I think the time has passed for telling them to change their behaviour and their lightbulbs,...
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THE GROWING HEALTH GAP: Greatest Threat to Our Health Is Economic Inequality
What is the No. 1 public health threat facing the people of Canada? Most Canadians would probably cite smoking, poor diet, pollution, AIDS, or government underfunding. But none of these factors, though serious, is the greatest threat to our health. The...
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The Jinn in the Nightmare's Eye
(with apologies to A.S. Byatt)When we stepped into morning lightafter 24 hours under a sky blazing with bulletsand rocket fire, it was hard to knowwhether to scream or weep/or joy.Shrapnel had eaten a bleeding holein Captain Barclay's side, and we spenta...
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The Minister Goes "Walkabout"
Senior bureaucrats don't like their Ministers talking to officials at lower levels of the civil service. They might find information they weren't supposed to see. Sir Humphrey Appleby, Permanent Secretary [Deputy Minister] of the Ministry of Administrative...
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THE PERILS OF SHIFT WORK: Working Other Than Regular Daytime Schedule Can Be Harmful
THE PERILS OF SHIFT WORK: Working other than regular daytime schedule can be harmful Shifting Times, The Perils of Shift Work, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Saskatchewan Office, 213 pages, $19.95.Review by Roy LaBergeIn Shifting Times, the...
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THE POETICS OF DISSENT: Poets Who Don't Speak out Guilty of "Silence That Says Nothing"
"The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude."-George Orwell, Why I Write, 1946 essay."We were so easy to deceive /We were so easy to control /We didn't even know there isa war."-Leonard Cohen, There Is...
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THE RISE OF MEDIA LITERACY: Creating an Un-Brainwashed Generation Is a Noble Calling
During the B.C. teachers' strike a few years ago-a strike over violations of their bargaining rights that later produced a Supreme Court ruling in their favour-the province's media predictably denounced the teachers and flagrantly distorted their actions...
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THE ROAD WELL TRAVELLED: Are We Already in Denial about the Climate Change Threat?
Recently I read what I believe is the most important environmental book ever written. It is not Silent Spring, Small is Beautiful, or even Walden. It contains no graphs, no tables, no facts, figures, warnings, predictions, or even arguments. Nor does...
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The Wisdom of Dune
These are the illusions which a successful religion must promote: Evil people never prosper; only the brave deserve the fair; honesty is the best policy; actions speak louder than words; virtue always triumphs; a good deed is its own reward; any bad...
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THE WORST WAY TO SPEND A SURPLUS: Forgoing Billions in Needless Tax Cuts Weakens Canada
So here we go again, another round of huge tax cuts as the country continues down the road to a neocon dystopia. Over the next five years, the revenue that pays for the things Canadians say they want will drop by $60 billion. There are cuts to the GST,...
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TRADE TREATY THREATS TO HEALTH CARE: NAFTA Loopholes Expose Medicare to Foreign Encroachment
As we reflect on the future of Canada's health care system, we should remember our history lessons. It was only through the determined and tireless efforts of Tommy Douglas and thousands of other dedicated women and men that Medicare took root and our...
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TREASON AND TEARS IN THE U.S.: Americans on Bush "Watch List" Risk Losing Jobs, Homes, Careers
I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.I am traveling across the United States, speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the steps now under way in America to create...
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Worth Quoting
Stupid to the last drop"In the region of the tar sands [in Northern Alberta], oil companies have destroyed thousands of acres of boreal forest wetlands, including rare fens. The boreal forest represents three to four thousand years' accumulation of peat,...
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