Tag Archives: green

The omnibus bill – Canadians keeping their head in the sand literally for summer vacation


Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill

Colina do Parlamento / Parliament Hill (Photo credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura)

A voting marathon that could keep members of Parliament chained to their desks around the clock is set to unfold in the Commons as opposition parties try to thwart passage of the Conservatives’ massive budget bill.

Opposition MPs are challenging the Harper government’s parliamentary majority this week with hundreds of proposed amendments to Bill C-38, the 425-page budget implementation legislation that revises approximately 70 federal laws.

The far-reaching omnibus bill will touch on nearly every aspect of Canada’s public affairs, and the Liberals, NDP and Green Party say its size makes a mockery of MPs’ duties to vet legislation and hold the government accountable.

Read more from the Toronto Star

Election Day in Canada – May 2, 2011


Stephen Harper, Canadian politician

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?

The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.

However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton.  It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.

Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!

By Mannee Jay

Government of Canada cancels the ecoEnergy Retrofit program


EcoEnergy RetrofitThe federal government is suspending a program which offered people financial incentives to have their homes evaluated for energy efficiency and then perform upgrades to improve the rating.

Under the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, homeowners could receive a grant of up to $5,000 to carry out energy saving improvements.

The program technically runs until March 31, 2011, but the government will not accept bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations after midnight Wednesday. Homeowners who have already booked an appointment, have completed an evaluation, or applied for re-entry into the program have until next year to apply for the retrofit grant.

On the program’s official website, the federal government said it was “committed to reviewing its energy efficiency and emissions reductions programs to ensure they continue to be an effective and efficient use of Canadian tax dollars.”

The Conservatives launched the ecoEnergy Retrofit program in April 2007. By 2009, the government had paid out $91 million to homeowners for more than 85,000 home retrofits.

Liberal MPP David McGuinty told the Globe and Mail newspaper the program had become too popular and, therefore, too costly.

“Here is what has really happened — demand tripled since 2007,” the Globe quoted McGuinty as saying.

The federal budget unveiled on March 4 included an additional $80 million for the retrofit program.

Many provinces, such as Ontario, match the federal rebates. Those programs are expected to continue.

For details from the federal government, see the link below.

John McCallum: Tory emissions plan is all pain, no gain


With all the apocalyptic warnings coming from Conservative MPs about the Liberal Green Shift plan, it is eerie how silent they have been about their own plan — especially the part of their plan that will raise energy prices for Canadians.

The Conservative government’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is included in their document, Turning the Corner. When it comes to energy prices here’s what Turning the Corner has to say: “Our modelling suggests that Canadians can expect to bear real costs under the Regulatory Framework. For the majority of individual Canadians … these costs will be most evident in the form of higher energy prices, particularly with respect to electricity and natural gas.”

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The mistakes Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois made. However there is no mistake when you vote!


Make sure you vote!

Make sure you vote!

In my estimation, these are the errors each leader made during this campaign. They are in no particular order, however I welcome your comments.

Harper and the Conservatives

1. Called the election in the first place, knowing that Canadians wanted the minority government to remain, as is. We wanted everyone to work “together”.

2. The perceived indifference to voters and the electorate during these tough economic times.

3. Hoping to get the election done, before the market meltdown, the Conservatives hoped to get a majority government.

4. Telling Canadians that there were “good deals to be made on the stock market now”.

5. Trying to give leeway, albeit the judges, and more options in allowing 14 year old criminals to be placed as adults in court or placing them in jail for longer periods of time.

6. Cutting off Arts funding and then flip-flopping on that plan. He totally misread the importance of this issue, and the crime bill, in Quebec.

7. The “optics”, no matter how true it may be, of telling Canadians that the “fundementals are sound“. A leader must be able to tell Canadians that he/she will do something, even if nothing is to be done. Canadians need that assurance, however you may feel about that situtation.

8. Offering no ease to the manufacturing section or some kind of plan. People are hurting and loosing jobs in Ontario and Quebec. The perception is that he is uncaring. I know that this is not true, but the the optics are bad.

Dion and the Liberals

1. The Green Shift. You may agree with it, however it needed to be implemented in a different fashion. The economic meltdown has destroyed this plan (albeit unfairly). You need to explain it in layman terms. Just give us the basics. They allowed the Conservatives to control the message. Carbon taxes are not a bad thing and even conservative economists believe it is the best way to deal with taxes. This reminds me of the religious school funding issue in Ontario and how it played out.

2. The unfair perception of Leadership in this campaign. Somehow the Liberals needed to fix that.

3. Not offering clear and precise answers to Canadian voters.

4. Again restoring to “don’t split the vote and vote for the Greens or NDP“. The scaremongering was low! Yes, they just came to my door and told me that and it really pissed me off! This is a democracy, I will vote based on the issues and who “I” feel is the best option for Canada. I do not vote based on fear.

5. The anybody but Harper campaign. I am starting to wonder, can you not offer anything better than that? Old tactics, which makes me believe that they are worried about Jack Layton.

Layton and the NDP

1. Should have “never” tried to stop Elizabeth May and the Greens from appearing in the debate.

2. They should have got their message out even more in the media. Tell people what you are going to do.

May and the Greens

1. Going after a blogger for trying to post a video/audio of her telling Canadians that they were “too stupid”. If you listened to the entire phrase you would understand that she was actually making sense. However, this is a free Country and threatening a mere blogger is a pretty junior mistake. let people decide for themselves.

Bloc Quebecois

1. There biggest mistake is ignoring the NDP in Quebec. They may be in for a surprise come election day.

2. Not running candidates outside of Quebec.

3. Instead of looking for a way to break up the Country, find a cause of unify the country with Quebec culture. I will never understand, if we are a bilingual country, why we were not ingrained in learning French while growing up. Look at some of the European countries and how successful those strategies are.

Conclusion

In the end I cannot tell you who will win and loose. It is too close to call. I know what would happen if people voted how they wanted to. I can only say that Elizabeth May and Jack Layton seemed to perform the best. They had the least amount of gaffs and missteps. The Dion and Harper have not looked good through this election. I sense that the electorate would love to punish both of them and send the NDP and Greens to Parliament in force. However I sense the fear. Even though they want to vote Green or NDP they fear giving the Liberals or Conservatives a majority. The Liberals have done a good job and swaying voters in that manner. That is not a democratic ideal. Our soilders fought in wars for YOUR FREEDOM TO VOTE, so use it! Vote you conscience! Canada will go on no matter which major party is in power. Although I do not agree with his policies, Harper is NOT the devil.

You should not fear making any mistakes when voting. There are no mistakes when you vote based on your conviction and what you believe makes Canada better. If you want to vote Green than do so. If you want to vote for Jack Layton and the NDP, than do so. For the day we start voting based on fear, it is no longer a democracy! it is not longer Canada.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a The G.T.A Patriot

Election race tightening, poll suggests


OTTAWA – A new poll suggests the federal election race is tightening as party leaders head into the home stretch.

With just over a week until voting day, a new survey suggests Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have dipped to 34 per cent in support – still 10 points ahead of the Liberals but short of levels needed to win a majority.

With just over a week until voting day, a new survey suggests Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have dipped to 34 per cent in support – still 10 points ahead of the Liberals but short of levels needed to win a majority.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey put NDP support at 20 per cent and the Greens at 13 per cent, while the Bloc Quebecois had eight per cent nationally and was leading in Quebec with 33 per cent.

Harris-Decima president Bruce Anderson says the latest results suggest Tory hopes for a majority are dimmer than at any time since the campaign began a month ago.

The rolling survey interviewed 1,236 people Wednesday through Saturday and is considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 – though the margin is higher for regional samples.

More information on the poll is available at www.harrisdecima.ca

The dangerous politics of intimidation and threats in Canada – Car and home vandals aim at Toronto Liberal supporters


Brake lines cut, cars damaged at homes. Toronto police patrolled a midtown area overnight, after vandals cut brake lines on at least 10 cars parked at homes with Liberal election signs on their lawns.

“We’re investigating. Officers are paying special attention to the designated area and we take this very seriously,” Staff-Sgt. Shawn Meloche, from 53 Division, said last night. “This is a danger to life as well as to property. Regardless of the motivation – and there appears to be a connection (to the signs) – this is a public safety issue.”

Affected residents live in the riding of St. Paul’s, in a swath of the city around Eglinton Ave. between Bathurst St. and Mount Pleasant Rd., and had Carolyn Bennett signs on their property. Although Meloche confirmed 10 cases of vandalism last night, Liberal riding headquarters said the number was going up, reporting 14 by 9 p.m.

The cars were also damaged in other ways; some were scratched and keyed with L signs. Phone and cable lines of some homes were cut.

“There are two child seats in the back of my car,” said Andrew Lane, chief financial officer for Bennett’s campaign. “To cut the brake line on a car like that is just evil. Awful.”

Added Lane, whose children are 6 months and 22 months: “You have to crawl under someone’s car and cut the brake line, knowing that it could kill someone, or their whole family.”

Lane discovered his brakes didn’t work on his silver Saturn View as he tried to pull up at a stop sign near his home yesterday. He kept slamming the brakes and, in a “moment of terror,” narrowly avoided slamming into a bus.

Later, the garage called to tell him it had been no accident. When Lane expressed disbelief, the mechanic told him: “Look, this is a big, heavy rubber hose and it’s been cut through with a very sharp knife. You should phone the police.”

Police later said Lane was not alone and asked if he had an election sign, telling him, “The Carolyn Bennett sign seems to be the one thing linking events.”

“I’m just sick to my stomach about this,” a shaken Bennett told the Toronto Star last night. She spent the day visiting the vandals’ victims. “It is so upsetting. I’ve spent my life encouraging people to get involved in the democratic process and now it would appear they are targeted for doing so.”

Brent Johnston, former chief fundraiser for the provincial Liberals, was backing his Volkswagen Golf slowly out of his driveway when alarms went off. He then discovered brake fluid in his driveway. When he called Volkswagen, they told him he wasn’t the first to call, and to check his car for damage.

He, too, has two young children and shudders to think what might have happened if he had driven the car with a cut brake line.

“This isn’t about party politics. Putting people’s lives at risk is a whole different thing,” said Johnston. “We’re not taking the sign down. We won’t be intimidated. But I am really disappointed this is happening in Canada. It’s beyond comprehension.”

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Watching the Canadian election debate….


9:42PM: Interesting debate, but I have to say Harper is taking a lot of heat. The environment issue is “killing” him right now. I am not sure if he cares or he is assuming that since the economy is tanking, no one cares. Do Canadians care?

“Canadians care strongly about saving the planet but wrongly believe that many of their fellow citizens don’t”

Do Canadians really care? Or do we simply care about ourselves. What about our future and our children? Maybe we should just watch Wall-E a few more times? Dion just nodded his head really weird, I had to turn the channel to PBS, however “Palin has the weird smile, stop it!”…..Driving me nuts! Jack Layton looks so good in a debate.

“Palin has the weird smile, stop it!”…..

Tips to the leaders: Elizabeth May and Dion are not doing to bad. Jack Layton needs to get into the mix a bit more. Harper seems to be in sleep mode. I am not sure why he is taking this? BTW – Jack Layton is starting to perk up. Must be the coffee!

Winner for The Environment: Dion

9:51PM: They are talking about Healthcare now. Harper just took a cheap shot. “I still use the public Healthcare system to see a Doctor, however some leaders use private clinics”. Nice! Jack definitely did not like that one. I am not sure why? However, Elizabeth May looked some astonished and confused for a second. I think she was surprised! Elizabeth May just moved the discussion to talk about private clinics moving into Canada. Healthcare is not Dion’s strongest point. Too bad! He did really good on the environment. Harper’s monotone voice is killing me! Jack is going after Dion now.

BTW – Why is Gilles Duceppe in this debate?

Winner for Healthcare: Elizabeth May

9:59: Now they are talking about the Arts! Watch for fireworks! But Gilles Duceppe gets first dibs? “How do you recognize Quebec as a nation and make those cuts Harper”? Huh?

“Palin has the weird smile, stop it!”…..

Sorry, I switched channels. Pakin just asked “Are conservatives barbarians?“.

“Palin has the weird smile, stop it!”…. Oh my, Palin is doing an awful job. “McCain knows how to win a war!”. She did not even answer the question! Back to the Canadian debate…

Dion is not doing that bad at all. But they are still all ganging up on Harper. I wonder why Harper cut the arts funding now? Should have waited? Harper said “we are getting a bad rap”. But stop the monotone voice!

BTW – Why isn’t Gilles Duceppe running for Prime Minister? Stop trying to rip apart Canada. Run in all of Canada and force us to speak French.

Jack Layton got the last jab!

Winner for the Arts: Gilles Duceppe

10:11pm: Now they are talking about “Crime”! Should be strong for the conservatives. However, Elizabeth May sounds the best so far. However, Harper? Is that really you? You are concerned about young people and gangs. Do I see emotion? I think he is sitting too close to the Liberals. Gilles Duceppe sounds pretty good so far. Pakin is pretty rough on these guys! Elizabeth May hits it again. She is not doing bad at all. “Investing in Kids when they are young”. However, she had a weak shot at Harper. Oh Oh! Harper is talking about the Young Offenders Act. Jack just nailed him! Said that Harper is playing “Political Games!”. I am going to have a hard time picking a winner. Not too sure what the heck Dion just said or why he went down that road, but now everyone is yelling at one another.

BTW – Gilles Duceppe really looks good. He should have run for Prime Minister.

“Palin STILL STILL STILL has that weird smile, STOP IT!”…What the heck is Palin saying? McCain McCain. What is she talking about? Got to win the WAR? Oh! She said “I do not see a lot of progress with the Republicans” Who’s side is she on?…

10:24pm: Now they are talking about Afghanistan. Harper gets a chance to talk and says that we will be out in 2011. Gilles Duceppe just took a shot at Jack Layton and said “if Jack and the NDP had voted against the extension, the Canadian troops would have been moving out in 2009”. Elizabeth May seems to be the smartest one on this one. She is talking FACTS and HISTORY! We need to know what the HISTORY of Afghanistan is before making rash choices. Gilles Duceppe JUST NAILED HARPER!!! “Are you saying that you made an error!” WOW!!! He just brought SENATOR OBAMA into the mix! What the heck! Harper what does this have to do with OBAMA? Its like a school kid who says “he is did it first….”. I think he got backed up into a corner and did not like it. Dion is a non-show in this one. This has been all Elizabeth May and Gilles Duceppe! I think some will have a reason to vote GREEN this time!

“I think that Palin is making a closing speech. She is still talking War and Fear. War and Fear work well on the American public it seems? She seems to think that this is Mad Max, Terminator Salvation or the Watchmen movie.”…..

Winner for the Afghanistan: Gilles Duceppe and Elizabeth May

BTW – Gilles Duceppe could you stop trying to break up the Country?

Harper: “I WILL NOT RAISE TAXES!“. Hmmm! I think I heard that line before from Dalton McGuinty. Let’s see (1) Regan deficit, (2) Mulroney deficit, (3) Mike Harris deficit, (3) Bush BIG deficit,and finally (4) Harper, remains to be seen. I guess, under conservative policies, once you have cut everything, what is left?

http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/467383

http://www.nupge.ca/news_2004/n08de04a.htm

http://www.ctj.org/html/debt0603.htm

http://www.geocities.com/thereaganyears/economicpolicy.htm

Magnetic Air Car Could Be Ready by 2010


Last week, I took a trip down to San Jose for West Coast Green, an environmentally-focused conference with an emphasis on sustainable building. One booth stood out from the crowd
—Magnetic Air Cars, Inc.. The San Jose-based company claims that it is working on the world’s first fuel-less car.

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Why social democrats should vote Green…


 

The Green Party Canada

The Green Party Canada

Submitted by Arif Jinha

I grew up NDP, and through my adult life shared interest in Greens and NDP. I finally joined the NDP while working in global health, under the inspiration of Stephen Lewis. Stephen Lewis remains a greatest living Canadian for me. I left the NDP when I realized that unlike Lewis, the NDP weren’t very social and weren’t very democratic.

From my experience as a ‘New’ Democratic Party candidate, here are several reasons why I say this, and there are likely more. These are the opinions of an ex-NDP candidate, they do not reflect the views of the NDP. For the NDP’s own good, I hope they receive a message in the next election akin to what happened to the PC party under Mulroney, and are reduced to nothing. Canada needs a party that stands for social justice, ecological wisdom, peace, respect for diversity, sustainability and participatory democracy. And a woman as Prime Minister! (Blogs are opinions and may not reflect the position of the GPC.) Here’s why social democrats shouldn’t vote NDP, but Green instead.

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Statscan Censorship?


An interesting post on The Progressive Economics Forum

—-

Censorship in Canada

Censorship in Canada

Once again, there seems to be a heavier hand in editing Statistics Canada’s releases.  This morning The Daily reported that:

“Spending on research and development in the higher education sector amounted to $9.6 billion (current dollars) in the fiscal year 2006/2007.”

but there was no word on whether this was an increase or decrease from the previous period, which Statscan releases almost always have.

The year 2006/7 was the first year that the Harper government was in office.  Investment in research and development is essential to increase our economy’s productivity, which hasn’t increased since the start of 2006 (and has grown at a dismal rate since 2000).

Canada has some of the most generous tax incentives for private R&D in the world, yet Canada has one of the lowest rates of investment in R&D among OECD countries thanks to both low rates of government and business investment in R&D, accoridng to Industry Canada’s Science and Technology Data tables.  Canada’s investment in higher education R&D had recently been relatively good, but it looks like the current federal government may soon rectify that.

The Harper government is laying off federal scientists and forcing departments to slash their R&D budgets .  It is deregulating food safety inspection and transferring or selling off federal labs to the private sector, intent on further commercialization and privatization. They eliminated the national science advisor and have instead appointed Preston Manning among others to help advise on science issues.  This approach to science recently earned the Harper government scathing criticism in an editorial in Nature, one of the most respected science publications in the world.

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Will Canada’s oil boom be an environmental bust? The new global wasteland?


Alberta the new oil wasteland

Alberta the new oil wasteland

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) — The largest dump truck in the world is parked under a massive mechanical shovel waiting to transport 400 tons of oily sand at an open pit mine in the northern reaches of Alberta. Each Caterpillar 797B heavy hauler — three-stories high, with tires twice as tall as the average man — carries the equivalent of 200 barrels.

Shell, which has 35 of the massive loaders working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has ordered 16 more — at $5 million each — as it expands its open pit mines. And it is not alone among major oil companies rushing to exploit Alberta’s oil sands, which make Canada one of the few countries that can significantly ramp up oil production amid the decline in conventional reserves.

Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Canada’s Imperial and other companies plan to strip an area here the size of New York state that could yield as much as 175 billion barrels of oil. Daily production of 1.2 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.5 million barrels in 2020. Overall, Alberta has more oil than Venezuela, Russia or Iran. Only Saudi Arabia has more.

High prices — a barrel reached almost $150 last month and is around $115 now — are fueling the province’s oil boom. Since it’s costly to extract oil from the sands, using the process on a widespread basis began to make sense only when crude prices started skyrocketing earlier this century.

But the enormous amount of energy and water needed in the extraction process has raised fears among scientists, environmentalists and officials in an aboriginal town 170 miles downstream from Fort McMurray. The critics say the growing operations by major oil companies will increase greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Alberta’s rivers and forests.

“Their projected rates of expansion are so fast that we don’t have a hope in hell of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. David Schindler, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta.

Oil sands operations, including extraction and processing, are responsible for 4 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s expected to triple to 12 percent by 2020. Oil sand mining is Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and is one reason it reneged on its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Experts say producing a barrel of oil from sands results in emissions three times greater than a conventional barrel of oil.

Worries about environmental damage have gotten enough attention that even the oil industry realizes it must tread softly on the issue. “Industry has to improve its environmental performance,” Brian Maynard, a vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said recently.

Questions about developing Alberta’s oil sands have seeped into the U.S. presidential campaign and the debate in Canada and the U.S. over keeping down the price of gasoline while still protecting the environment.

The Bush administration sees Alberta as a reliable source of energy that will help reduce reliance on Middle East oil. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins said the oil sands will define the relationship between the two countries for the next 10 years.

“We are blessed by the fact that our friend and neighbor is also our number one supplier of foreign oil,” Wilkins told The Associated Press.

However, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s top energy adviser said oil sands emissions are “unacceptably high” and may run counter to Obama’s plan to shift the U.S. away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

“The amount of energy that you have to use to get that oil out of the ground is such that it actually creates a much greater impact on climate change, as well as using much more energy than even traditional petroleum,” Obama adviser Jason Grumet said.

Mining oil sands also was criticized by American mayors in a resolution adopted at their annual conference in June urging a ban on using oil sands-derived gasoline in municipal vehicles. They alleged the oil sands mines damage Canada’s boreal forest — boreal refers to the earth’s northern zone — and slows the transition to cleaner energy sources in the U.S.

John Baird, Canada’s environment minister, warned that Washington would lose energy security if it doesn’t take Alberta’s oil.

“If American mayors want to send their money to unstable, undemocratic countries in the Middle East instead of to Canada, that will be their call. If they want to pay a premium for Iranian, Saudi, Iraqi oil that will be their call,” Baird told the AP.

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