Cheers: to oil. And lots of it. Yes, there are environmental concerns, and safety concerns. The days of fossil fuels may be numbered. And there are negative sides to rapid growth in urban areas. But when it all comes down to it, Statoil’s announcement last week of up to 600 million barrels of recoverable oil in the Flemish Pass is cause to uncork the champagne. And they’ve got two other wells they haven’t fully assessed yet. In the ’70s and ’80s, when politicians were wrangling to set the table for offshore oil development, this is the sort of prosperity they foresaw. The fisheries and forestry may have stumbled, but oil and mining have kept the coffers fed. Worth a toast, no?
Jeers: to just not getting it. Keith Hutchings, provincial minister responsible for posting as many government documents online as possible, issued another press release Friday saying how Bill 29 has somehow precipitated a deluge of information getting out to the public. More information than ever before, he and his government colleagues trumpet. Except they’re wrong. The bill, which amended the government’s access laws last year, has nothing to do with it. Only the government’s determination to distract from the restrictiveness of the bill could explain this year-long campaign to empty file cabinets out on the legislature lawn. Yes, three cheers for finally posting information they should have posted long ago. Please keep it coming. But don’t try to say it has anything to do with Bill 29, which only serves to give ministers virtually unlimited power to keep politically sensitive stuff hidden from view.
Jeers: to the Kleptocracy of Canada. At least, that’s what Ottawa seems like these days with all the shady money floating around. The latest shocker — if anyone has the capacity to be shocked anymore — is the fall from grace of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary and main point man on the robocalls controversy. Dean Del Mastro resigned from his post and from caucus last week after Elections Canada charged him with allegedly hiding $21,000 in overspending during the last election campaign. And it’s not the first time the Conservatives have been hit with charges of election irregularities. Remember the old “in and out” scheme? It seems no party is immune from temptation, either. Senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin all helped themselves to more public money than they were entitled to. And NDP MP Pat Martin has come under the gun for taking union donations to help pay down a loan he incurred to cover a defamation settlement. (He sent two of the larger cheques back.) Harper came to power vowing to clean things up after the former Liberal regime was caught pilfering from the public purse. The question is, when?