It’s no wonder the Chinese aren’t interested…

Cooperation in the oil sands is grinding to a halt, and it is going to have a big effect on the ability of government to get work done in the region.   In the past few days, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) has lost the cooperation of environmental groups.  This means that there is only industry and government left on the ship, and everyone knows they would just as soon just get on with digging up the oil.

The First Nations have also pulled out of CEMA, in fact stating that they may go to court over any new approvals that may come to pass.

“Our message is plain and clear…We have to slow down industry to let us catch up . . . if we continue to let industry and government behave the way they’ve been behaving the last 40 years, there will be no turn back because it will be the total destruction of the land.”

Adam said if the Chipewyan, Cree and Metis people of Fort Chipewyan don’t act now, the entire community will have to be moved in 50 years because there won’t be anything left to sustain them.

“We’ll be refugees in our own land,” he said.

These shocking and lucid words are a clear threat to anybody interested in investing in the Albertan tar sands.  I hope that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates also heard this message loud and clear on their recent trip.

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Steve, maybe you SHOULD have gone to Beijing’s party

Well, the Olympics are shaping up to be A-OK for Canadian athletes, but something tells me they aren’t quite shaping up quite as well for Canada in China.  This afternoon, the Globe and Mail reported here that former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, chastised current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for not attending the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Mr. Chrétien, speaking at a news conference after addressing the Canadian Bar Association in Quebec City, said he would definitely have gone to Beijing had he still been prime minister.

He said Mr. Harper should have been at the celebration given China’s economic and demographic clout and the mentality of its leaders.

Now Prime Minister Harper might believe he has some legitimate bones to pick with the Chinese government, but at the same time, this attitude is starting to have some real effects on Canada’s ability to adapt to a multipolar future – regardless of some of the moral and ethical questions that many Canadians hold strong opinions on.

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Olympics: For Peace, or for Safety?

Since I live really close to Yong He Gong (the Lama temple in Beijing), I went to go watch the men’s cycling road race on Saturday, and it was kinda frustrating to be cheering by the side of the road.

There was a fence along the entire part of the route that was publicly accessible, and between the fence and the audience had to be about a meter of space that was filled, literally shoulder-to-shoulder, with police, PLA members, and Olympic security volunteers.

The bigger problem was, that like everybody who is given a little bit of power, each new security-related person who arrived between me and the fence, wanted a wider and wider space (so as to express their power position?). So even though originally the space between the audience and the fence was perhaps 25 cm, it widened to 40 cm, 60 cm and finally nearly a meter as different levels of security arrived.

Secure Olympics - are those spectators amongst your security staff?

Secure Olympics - are those spectators amongst your security staff?

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Beijing Olympic air quality – hoping for the best!

Well, this morning was not exactly the poster child for beautiful weather in Beijing.  Hot, humid, and according to the Ministry of Environment – kinda polluted.  Enviro-blogger Vance has been running a blog on Beijing air quality running up to the Olympics, and he noted that today barely made the “Blue Sky” standard that Beijing has set for itself.  I encourage you to read his lively blog to learn all about it.

I, in the meantime, was clumsy enough to have taken a picture out my office window this morning.  Yipes.  Blue Skies?

Beijing's "Blue Sky" (API=95) day - T minus 1 day to Olympics

Beijing's "Blue Sky" (API=95) day - T minus 1 day to Olympics

*I do note that my camera is not very good.  But still, it’s kinda like this.  Just imagine an API = 200 day…cough

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Torch relay got the Olympic feelings going!

Well, i was on my way to work yesterday morning, when I came up to a big mob of people and police on the road.  My way was blocked, so I didn’t have much to do other than find out what was going on.  And there it was, these teeming tens of thousands of people including police and journalists and young not-yet-working Chinese folks were out to see the Olympic torch pass just near my apartment.  So, what’s a guy to do but watch?   Here’s my take on it:

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