In case Liberals have short memories on their own remarks re: Helena Guergis

Today, former Conservative cabinet minister Helena Guergis revealed that the RCMP has cleared her of any wrongdoing in their investigation of her. The investigation was said to begin after the Prime Minister’s Office referred information that it had obtained to that arms-length agency. After referral the RCMP decided to initiate the investigation, it now seems that they have cleared Ms. Guergis.

For their part, the Conservatives say that the issue of writing a letter on behalf of a constituent with possible business connections to her husband still looms and is under review by the Ethics Commissioner.

Up until her ouster from cabinet by the Prime Minister and investigation by the RCMP, Ms. Guergis had a string of bad news events which raised questions from the Opposition about her competency and ability to represent Canadians in cabinet.

When she was ejected from cabinet and kicked out of caucus, the Opposition took an about-face to demand why she had been removed. Now that she has been cleared by the RCMP, expect this line from the Liberals and NDP to be renewed.

Despite her being cleared by the RCMP, the PMO says that Ms. Guergis is still not welcome back in caucus. If the Liberals take her into their own ranks, will it reek of hypocrisy? The following comments were made before the RCMP investigation was announced. Does Guergis have the confidence of Michael Ignatieff?

The tolerant NDP

Libby Davies voices her opinion on Israel:

This drew strong condemnation from Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

and from Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae,

“The comments of Ms. Davies are more than just a ‘serious mistake,’ as the Leader of the NDP now maintains. To deny the State of Israel’s right to exist and to propose an international campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against a legitimate member of the world community for over sixty years is to reveal a level of hostility and ignorance that is truly breathtaking.

“These are not the off-the-cuff ramblings of any ill-informed or biased person. Ms. Davies is the Deputy Leader of a political party that aspires to reflect and represent the views of Canada on the international stage. In this role, fully cognizant of her responsibilities, she stated that Israel has been occupying territories since 1948, the year of its independence. The logical implication of these comments is that Israel has no right to exist.

“She called this ‘the longest occupation in the world.’ That is simply untrue, and reflects a complete disregard for the facts.

“This is a position that is more than just ‘unacceptable.’ This rhetoric is responsible for more than ‘confusion,’ and an ‘inadvertent error,” as Ms. Davies now suggests.

“The appropriate decision, given her stature and responsibilities with the NDP, is for Mr. Layton to ask for her resignation as Deputy Leader and for Ms. Davies to issue an apology to all Canadians. Nothing short of that will do.”

The referenced “Helen Thomas moment”:

In related NDP tolerance news, NDP MP calls a Catholic denomination “creepy”,

UPDATE: B’nai Brith unsurprisingly calls for Davies to be sacked.

“B’nai Brith Canada is calling on NDP leader Jack Layton to take action against Libby Davies for her outrageous remarks against the Jewish State, and by extension the Jewish people,” said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. “The fact that Davies made her comments at an anti-Israel rally held in front of a Jewish-owned business speaks volumes to the fact that anti-Israel agitators in Canada are blurring the lines between criticism of Israeli policies and antisemitism.

“Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Party foreign affairs critic Bob Rae have justifiably called for the resignation of Ms. Davies. NDP leader Jack Layton has gone on the record today stating that her remarks are not the policy of his party – if that is the case, then Mr. Layton should take the next step and relieve Davies of her leadership positions in the party.”

Big news day

First, SUN NEWS is coming to Canada and is launching January 1st, 2011. Expect the CRTC to approve the channel to maintain its relevance (cabinet would likely overturn the CRTC if it objects). Though at the presser today it was suggested that Category 2 application will proceed if Category 1 fails.

Here’s a video of the press conference courtesy of Dr. Roy:

Detainee Docs
Next, the NDP has withdrawn from negotiations with the four parties on the release of the so-called Afghan detainee documents. The NDP says that the Liberals aren’t negotiating in good faith. The Liberals call the deal (sans NDP) a “surrender” for the government allowing Parliamentary review without government veto over sensitive information.

CBC News has the tape (and uploads to twitvid — fitting for covering politics?)

MP audits
More Parliamentary news has Sheila Fraser conducting a future global audit of MP expenses meaning that she will report on how MPs in general spend but will not delve into individual MP expenses. I heard of a poll suggesting that 98% of Canadians want the AG to look into MP expenses whereas 2% are opposed. Who knew that 1 out of 50 Canadians have contracts with the House of Commons?

Trudeau steps in it
Trudeau the Younger “wows ‘em” at a local community college stop in the Ottawa region and gets himself into a bit of hot water. He told the students,

“A productive member of society is someone who creates … is someone who has things to offer that go beyond the products that we have to sell or buy.”

This was news to, well, those that produce.

Ignatieff not election ready
In more Liberal news, Michael Ignatieff is trying to keep to his goal of making it into the obscurity of summer while dodging rebukes from his own caucus. Take, for instance that three Liberal candidates have resigned in the past month. Never a good omen for a leader of a political party.

Prince Edward Hastings
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
Kootenay-Columbia

The candidate for Kootenay-Columbia dropped citing his displeasure in Ignatieff for whipping the gun-registry vote. If the gun registry survives, Ignatieff plans on registering the nation’s daggers (or at least those within his own party)

How many birds must die while you pour refrigerated soy milk on your granola?

According to The Province:

More than 300 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannets, have been found dead along the U.S. Gulf Coast during the first five weeks of BP’s huge oil spill off Louisiana, wildlife officials reported Monday.

Tragic. Poor birds.

According to another report:

While generating megawatts of electricity, windmills on the Tug Hill Plateau in northern New York are also killing hundreds of bats and birds, according to a recent study.

The consultants’ report for PPM Energy and Horizon Energy identified 123 birds, mostly night migrants, and 326 bats found dead over the course of five months last year beneath 50 wind turbines on the plateau between Lake Ontario and the western Adirondacks.

Those poor birds and bats, done in by some windmills. The article describes 123 birds and 326 bats killed by 50 windmills over 5 months. While the other article explains that about 300 birds killed. This by about 37 million gallons of oil over 5 weeks.

The wind-watch article also mentions that those 50 turbines produce 900,000 megawatt hours per year.

Let’s only consider the number of birds killed.

Oil:
1.7 MWh per barrel of oil x 37,000,000 barrels = 62,900,000 MWh of energy in the oil spill to date
62,900,000 MWh / 300 birds = 209667 MWh per bird killed

Wind:
50 turbines produce 900,000 MWh per year
4.35 weeks/month * 5 months = 21.75 weeks
21.75 weeks / 52 weeks/year = 0.42 years
0.42 years * 900,000 MWh/year = 376442 MWh produced by windmills over 5 month period
376442 MWh / 123 birds = 3061 MWh per bird killed

Oil vs. Wind
209667 MWh per bird killed (oil) / 3061 MWh per bird killed (wind) ~= 68

What does this mean?

In terms of environmental impact measured by one factor (birds killed), windmills are about 68x more efficient at killing birds per unit energy derived. To garner the same amount of energy needed from wind than from oil, we’d have to operate the windmills 68x longer or increase the number of windmills by 68x in order to get the same amount of energy. This means that about 68x more birds will die if we wanted to match the energy we’d get from oil. This would result in 68 * 123 birds = 8425 birds dead compared to the 300 dead from the oil spill for the same amount of energy derived.

There is, of course, one major flaw in the calculation above (besides my wanton disregard for sig figs). We’ve only considered oil spilled in the gulf. Alas, the vast majority (ie. 99.9999%) of oil isn’t spilled. When oil isn’t spilled, its efficiency in killing birds goes way down. Further, the wind energy we consider above is the norm not the exception; this is the rate of bird death during normal operation of wind turbines.

Clearly, when considering the environmental impact of oil by showing dead oil slicked birds on cable news, oil actually isn’t comparatively bad. In fact, it is a less efficient killer of birds per unit energy derived.

The champ?

And in Canadian politics, the NDP crows about windmills:

and chirps off-shore drilling:

Derek Lee should read stephentaylor.ca more often

He could have had a two week head-start to prepare for John Baird’s attack in the House of Commons on Thursday.

I’m told Baird’s surprise response to questions about Glemaud/Jaffer set the Liberals scrambling on their lobbyist line of attack against the government. The government suggests that opposition MPs should register their meetings with lobbyists while the Liberals seem to disagree. Introducing Lee’s Sun & Partners bio into the debate clouds the Liberal efforts on establishing a narrative against the government on inappropriate lobbying.

Now, Baird is questioning Lee’s presence on a committee that oversees government regulations.

The Liberals are trying to show that the Conservatives are no saints on transparency and accountability, while the Conservatives are trying to show Canadians that the Liberals still cannot advocate from a position of moral clarity on the same issues.

Meanwhile, aside from the sideshow that is Parliament — over there, look! It’s something that Canadians actually care about:

Canada adds a record 108,700 jobs in April

Cocaine, busty hookers and lobbying might make an interesting show for trash TV, but the Parliament Show keeps getting poor ratings. Anyway, didn’t CSI or Law and Order already do that show? (they’ve done every other show…) Besides, their casting is much better. I still can’t believe Michael Ignatieff has returned for another season to reprise his role as the aloof professor that just doesn’t care.

Jim Prentice interview

I bumped into Jim Prentice a few weeks ago at the Manning Centre Networking Conference. I dusted off the part of my brain that stores info on current environmental issues and pulled out my trusty cam for an on-the-spot interview.

The questions in the interview are relevant to recent news about the American Senatorial stalling on instituting a cap-and-trade system in the US. Canadian critics argue that Canada should “set an example” moving forward on an international trading market while some economic realists disagree.

In the interim, the Minister of the Environment plans on moving to regulate and harmonize emissions standards.