The leaves are starting to turn, the kids are back at school and the sound of caterwauling can be heard coming from Canada's Parliament so it must be autumn in the Great White North. This session of Parliament seems to be weighted with importance as there is a growing sense that within a year an election will be called either by the opposition or the minority government depending on who gets the upper hand in the polls the quickest.
There have been suggestions from some quarters that the Tories are looking for an excuse to call a snap election -- they behave and sound like a party getting ready to go into campaign mode invoking the choices soon to be made between a majority for themselves or (eeeek!) a coalition of Liberals and Socialists and Separatists... oh my!
Michael Ignatieff is off the bus and on center stage in Parliament now where he can continue his job of selling both himself and the Liberal Party to Canadians. He has begun earnestly and well if somewhat uninspiringly. Those in a nutshell reflect his strengths and weaknesses and he'll have to find a way to overcome that last bit. If I were amongst his handlers and preparing him for questions about the criticism that he's uninspiring or without a lot of passion, I'd be telling him to fire back, "Compared to who?"" Because our current PM is no more passionate or inspiring than Iggy and so as long as he can keep the conversation focused on Harper he should be fine. You can watch the first part of this interview with Peter Mansbridge and see him starting to fire on all cylinders as far as issues go. The PM has given him a nice big target and it's good to see he has the ability to hit it.
Mr. Layton's troubles on the other hand are harder to understand. He has the advantage of being the country's most trusted and likable leader but has as of yet been able to get the NDP Party's numbers above the 20% mark in the polls. I feel he doesn't give impression of someone who expects to win or govern -- that he's satisfied with being in opposition and so he's viewed just that way by the electorate and not as a viable alternative to the other two major parties. Of course opinions are like noses and all that -- I'd be happy to be proved wrong.
The National Energy Board (NEB) is moving ahead with its review of Arctic offshore drilling rules and has drawn responses from people concerned about the risk of a big oil spill similar to the one in the Gulf of Mexico occurring in northern Canadian waters. The deadline for public comment on the federal board's review is this Friday, and they will look at safety, environmental regulations and safeguards for Arctic offshore drilling.
There is no way to stress enough that should a spill occur in Arctic waters the difficulties that would ensue for cleanup would be far greater than they were in the Gulf and the possible affects on the environment are incalculable. As far as that goes, in spite of what's being said and not being covered in the MSM the books are not yet closed on the consequences of the Gulf spill.
A story that comes without explanation or any speculation -- renewable water resources have declined in Southern Canada over the past three decades . The annual loss is equivalent to 1.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools, and almost as much water as was supplied to Canada's entire residential population in 2005. This represents an overall loss of 8.5 per cent of the water yield in Southern Canada over 34 years. A story about a climate change study published in the journal Eos, that indicates that the water levels in the Great Lake system is highly sensitive to climate changes.
And something for the Climate Change deniers, "Global warming's unstoppable 1500 year cycle."