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SLOBODIAN: Wolf of Wall Street makes misinformed, titanic gaffe

The facts be damned for paid mouthpieces like DiCaprio and creepy little Greta who both weighed in with retweets of the RCMP raid near the Gidimt’en checkpoint. 

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Hear ye! Hear ye! The great Leonardo DiCaprio has spoken.

And so — in his mind only — a reverent hush shall fall over the land. 

The jet-setting, skirt-chasing, Al Gore protege weighed in on the RCMP raid on Wet’suwent’en clan blockades set up to oppose construction of a multi-billion-dollar Coastal GasLink (CGL) natural gas pipeline in a remote area of northern B.C., located 1,000 kms northeast of Vancouver.

Well, of course Mr. Titanic and climate activist poked his nose into Canadian affairs. Disputes like this are worth their weight in gold, cash magnets for mega-donations to the likes of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, billed as being dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants. 

Wow, eh? All Earth’s inhabitants. That’s a big job for a guy getting on in years who has been known to prance around wearing a man bun.

The facts be damned for paid mouthpieces like DiCaprio and creepy little Greta who both weighed in with retweets of the RCMP raid near the Gidimt’en checkpoint. 

What’s important is these self-righteous, hypocritical, condescending buffoons jump in to help those needy, helpless indigenous people, who neither want or need their help.

“After setting up a blockade to protect their land, community, and sacred headwaters Wedzin Kwa from Coastal GasLink’s planned fracked gas pipeline, the Wet’suwet’en Nation has faced militarized raids from the RCMP,” wrote DiCaprio.

“We must protect the rights of land defenders.” 

Well, that’s rather open-ended, Leo. What does it mean? Is it a call to more agitators and protesters to gravitate to the area to stir things up even more?

If so, that doesn’t bode well for indigenous people who support pipelines. One chief told me indigenous leaders exercise caution when speaking their minds about their own affairs because they fear intimidating, venomous thugs parading as noble environmentalists will make good on threats and come after them and their families.  

Who does DiCaprio think needs to be protected? The Wet’suwent’en band council and almost two dozen First Nations band councils along the pipeline route — all elected — support the project that will better their lives and signed a deal with GCL.

Yet anti-energy fools pander to the minority who oppose it. What’s in it for these fringe hereditary chiefs?  Have wealthy eco-groups promised them something?

The 670-km, $6.6-billion pipeline, owned by TC Energy, would feed natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a terminal in Kitimat, BC, for export to Asian markets.

And about those “militarized” raids by the RCMP Emergency Response Team, the third in as many years.

Barricades — including a crushed van and another vehicle set on fire — were erected by Wet’suwet’en and Haudenosaunee protesters. These supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claim CGL doesn’t have consent to cross their territory and oppose CGL’s plans to drill under the Wedzin Kwa river that provides drinking water and is a salmon spawning ground.

More than 500 pipeline workers in two work camps were stranded behind these barricades set up on a forest service road, the only access to the camps. Supplies of food and water were running out and supply trucks weren’t allowed to pass. If a medical emergency arose, they were trapped.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth condemned the blockades that “put at risk emergency access and the delivery of critical services” to CGL workers.

“Unlawful actions … have put our people in danger,” CGL said in a statement.

The protesters vowed to evict the pipeline workers. That sounds ominous and is a threat Mounties would be negligent to ignore. Good on them for acting!

Multiple people were arrested for breaching an injunction put in place in 2019 preventing illegal blockades being erected.

And let the theatrics that led to 15 arrests begin…

One 118-second video that went viral showed a protester on the ground held down by RCMP yelling “I can’t breathe.” Now where have we heard that before?

Some charming potty-mouthed lady was screeching in the background “get off him” before she, too was subdued on the ground.

Of course, the video conveniently doesn’t show what transpired before buddy had to be tackled to the ground. That might portray him in a bad light.

Naturally, the Mounties were chastised for not conducting peaceful arrests. One Western Standard reader logically asked: “How do you peacefully arrest people who resist?” 

The RCMP called it a rescue effort.

“It was no longer possible to delay our efforts to rescue the workers,” Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs said in the statement.

Gidimit’en Clan member Molly Wickham lamented to CBC that the RCMP brought a canine team to the raid. No doubt bomb-sniffing dogs were on that team as a precaution. Pipeline protesters have been known to have a penchant for playing with explosives.

Not everyone appreciates mouths for hire, like DiCaprio, chiming in to opine on something that is none of their business.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” tweeted B.C. Liberal MLA Ellis Ross to DiCaprio.

“Give me a call. I’ll tell you the other side of the story as an aboriginal leader who was on the front of this project from day one,” said Ross, who served as the official opposition critic for Environment and Climate Strategy and minister of Natural Gas Development.

Don’t hold your breath Mr. Ross. Celebrity mouthpieces don’t like another side to a story interfering with the narratives they spew that make them feel good, gets them coveted attention, and puts cash in their personal and foundation accounts.

Who cares about the indigenous people who support the project? Such utter disrespect. Such clueless, condescending disregard for these people they claim to want to help. 

And so now we await celebrity anti-energy activist Jane Fonda, who also sticks her nose into Canadian energy affairs, to hobble out of her armchair to get herself some attention.

Anyone that supports these protests supports poverty of First Nations people.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. David

    November 26, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Leo is still alive? Shouldn’t he be at the bottom of the Atlantic with his Titanic ego?

  2. Elizabeth McIntosh

    November 25, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    It has always amazed me how those American environmentalists like to target us Canadians….as if we don’t know how to take care of our own business….they don’t seem to get anywhere in their own country so we are fair game and stupid star struck climate activists up here encourage them….Hanoi Jane is just about ready for the retirement home isn’t she, and Leo ran out of charm a long time ago…..GO HOME AND STAY THERE…..

  3. John Lankers

    November 25, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Patricia, you are correct.
    We are in big trouble when actors and former CBC journalists like Suzuki suddenly become climate experts but lack the basic credentials or when politicians and government bureaucrats become medical experts over night and dictate to doctors how they can and can not treat patients. I could spin this further by including a former substitute drama teacher and snowboarding instructor who became our PM and a failed NYT journalist that was fired from her job because of incompetence who is our minister of finance.

  4. Patricia Seddon

    November 24, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    It is a common problem these days, self proclaimed experts chiming in on issues that they really do not know as much about as they would have you believe.

  5. Left Coast

    November 24, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    DiCaprio . . . low intellect Script Reading Klimate monkey . . . you would think these Holleyweird radical Leftists would just keep quiet so everyone would not know how dopy they really are!

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Opinion

BRADLEY: No Central Bank Digital Currency can stack up to Bitcoin

Why Bitcoin will always be the superior digital currency.

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These days, many countries are considering introducing their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The Bank of England recently released a research paper discussing the possibility of creating its own digital currency, saying it has “not yet made a decision on whether to introduce CBDC”.

In July 2021, the Bank of Canada issued a discussion paper called “The Positive Case for a CBDC”, citing it “could be an effective competition policy tool for payments” and “could also support the vibrancy of the digital economy.”

But no country is moving faster on this front than China.

The Central Bank of China has already introduced a digital yuan, which is expected to eliminate physical cash and provide a centralized payment-processing network.

As China continues to expand its CBDC implementation beyond its trial run in some cities, more of its citizens will be forced into using the government’s app to identify themselves, store their wealth and make everyday purchases. That means the Chinese government will be able to track purchases and even freeze or close personal accounts, for whatever reason they see fit.

That is a terrifying prospect – and it highlights one of the many reasons bitcoin will always be superior to any currency issued and controlled by any government.

The Bitcoin network uses blockchain technology to track the status of the network, including user balances and transactions. This allows transparency and decentralization by nature. Perhaps most importantly, this means that the system cannot be controlled or influenced by any one person, company or government.

China’s digital yuan – and any CBDC under consideration – have the complete opposite fundamentals. With a CBDC, one central bank has ultimate control and power over the currency, not to mention the ability to track and even reverse everyday purchases.

It’s a particularly worrisome situation in China, where its government has been pushing a social credit system that, at its core, rewards or punishes people for their economic and personal behaviours. As the country implements its digital yuan more broadly, there are fears China could use its CBDC to extend control over even more of its citizens’ rights and freedoms.

We don’t face that threat in western countries yet, but that’s not to say we are immune from the possibility. If Meta’s recent announcement that it’s shutting down the face recognition system on Facebook is any indication, our society is definitely not keen on being monitored, controlled, or surveilled in any way.

From 2013 to 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ran Operation Choke Point to monitor and crack down on payments for what the government deemed “high-risk activities”, ranging from online gambling and payday loans to pornography and surveillance equipment sales. These activities were not illegal but they offended the government’s moral compass – a slippery and scary slope.

Most recently, in October 2021 U.S. President Joe Biden and his government backed down from requiring the IRS to collect data on every bank account with more than $600 in annual transactions. 

Infringements like these on our privacy are unacceptable. But the likelihood of them happening will grow exponentially if, and when, western governments introduce their own CBDCs.

Aside from a potential loss of personal freedom and privacy, CBDCs would introduce another undesirable outcome: even greater inflation than we’re experiencing today. Governments, including our own here in Canada, are printing money faster than ever, which simultaneously drives inflation and devalues personal wealth.

As Saifedean Ammous writes in his fantastic book, The Fiat Standard: The Debt Slavery Alternative to Human Civilization, “CBDCs would allow for the implementation of…inflationist schemes with high efficiency, allowing for increased central planning of market activity. Government spending would proceed unabated by whatever little discipline credit markets currently exert. Real-world prices are likely to rise, which would lead to more control over economic production to mandate prices.”

To sum this up, CBDCs could lead to higher inflation, less personal autonomy, and more government meddling. For those reasons, whenever I’m asked if the introduction of CBDCs will kill bitcoin and its relevance, my answer is a resounding, “No.”

Central bank digital currencies are not the same thing as bitcoin. They aren’t even competitors with bitcoin, nor will they ever replace bitcoin. They are a distraction. In my opinion, CBDCs will only create greater demand for bitcoin and its many advantages.

Bitcoin offers individuals the profound ability to own sound money, protect their wealth from inflation and keep governments from micro-managing their finances. That is certainly not what CBDCs will do, and it’s why we should all be very apprehensive about giving central banks the ability to issue, oversee and control digital currencies.

No CBDC can, or ever will, stack up to bitcoin.

Guest Column from Dave Bradley, Chief Revenue Officer at Bitcoin Well
@bitcoinbrains on Twitter

Sponsored by Bitcoin Well

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Opinion

ROYER: Canada ignores Alberta. Because it can

The only conclusion is that Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces.

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Crickets. That is the sound of Canada’s response to Alberta’s request to consider revisions to the equalization program over a month ago. What does the deafening silence say about Canada?

Trudeau brushed off the referendum saying that he couldn’t unilaterally address the issue, although he clearly can. His government has several bilateral agreements with provinces other than Alberta.  He can agree to change the equalization formula to drain less wealth from Alberta and Saskatchewan in the first place.

The federal Conservative Party’s silence is due to their leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to pander to Ontario and Quebec, taking the West for granted.

The silence has made one thing absolutely clear: Alberta has no voice in Canada. Voting against the Liberals hasn’t worked. Voting in a couple of Liberal MPs hasn’t helped. Relying on protection provincial sovereignty under the constitution has proven to be useless; Trudeau’s government intercedes into those defined powers with impunity.

All that remains is to look at the big picture. Alberta had no democratic input into decisions that dramatically diminished its economy. Wealth continues to be drained from the province and it has no means to stop it. A referendum — the ultimate expression of democratic rights — is ignored. What does this make Canada?

First, it clearly is not a modern democratic nation. Modern democracies give voice to minorities and seek compromise.

We do not have a federal government. There is no structural input from the far reaches of the country in the nation’s decision-making process. It is a central government, serving only the centre.

We are not really a federation either. Rights of the lesser provinces are extinguished at the whim of the central government. Those intrusions are dutifully upheld by the Supreme Court, an institution with a majority of judges from central Canada. The Senate is completely ineffective in protecting the federation. It over-represents Quebec and Atlantic Canada, is appointed at the sole discretion of the prime minister and has very limited powers to disagree with him. Alberta’s attempt to introduce democracy into the selection of Senators has been ignored by the prime minister.

Power is extremely concentrated. Trudeau’s emissions cap on hydrocarbon production is just the most recent example. No discussion with Parliament or the provinces was taken; he just made the decision with his personal staff, and announced it

He has this power because hyper-partisanship, strict party discipline and the overly centralized government concentrates power. We’ve abandoned our historic Westminster Parliamentary system of government and taken on an American style constitutional system with judicial supremacy, but with an all-powerful prime minister that lacks the checks-and-balances placed upon an American president.

The only respectful response to Alberta came from Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe. He called for his province to become a nation within a nation, a status effectively granted Quebec. Neither the federal structure nor the national parliament protect the outlying provinces. They now need to gain near national powers in order to protect themselves from the central government.

The only conclusion is Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces: Ontario and Quebec. The concentration of power and the malleability of federal sovereignties has makes the prime minister effectively an elected dictator. The only check on the prime minister’s power is in an occasional national election, the results of which are determined almost entirely in Ontario and Quebec.

So, what is Canada? It is a country in which the central provinces in conjunction with the central government have dominion over the outlying provinces, and those central provinces elect a prime minister who is given near royal prerogative.

Our country is called (at least officially) the Dominion of Canada, a constitutional monarchy. By the word dominion are we saying that the centre has dominion over the rest of the country? And does constitutional democracy say that the constitution concentrates power into the hands of a single person?

We can do better.

Randy Royer is a Western Standard columnist

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Energy

VENKATACHALAM & KAPLAN: Oil and gas production is essential to BC’s economy

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors.

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Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan of the Canadian Energy Centre

British Columbia has been producing oil and natural gas since 1952. In fact, as of 2018, BC produced 32% of Canada’s natural gas production and 2% of Canada’s conventional daily oil production. British Columbia collects royalties from oil and gas development, supporting the economic prosperity in the province.

Want to know how important the oil and natural gas industry is to the BC economy? Using customized Statistic Canada data from 2017 (the latest year available for this comparison), it turns out oil and gas in BC  generated about $18 billion in outputs, consisting primarily of the value of goods and services produced, as well as a GDP of $9.5 billion.

As for what most of us can relate to — jobs — the BC oil and gas industry was responsible for nearly 26,500 direct jobs and more than 36,100 indirect jobs (62,602 jobs in total) in 2017. Also relevant: The oil and gas sector paid out over $3.1 billion in wages and salaries to BC workers that year.

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors. That included $600 million from the finance and insurance sector, $770 million in professional services, and $2.8 billion from the manufacturing sector, to name just three examples.

Spending by the oil and gas sector in BC is not the only way to consider the impact of the industry. Given that a large chunk of the oil and gas sector is next door in Alberta, let’s look at what Alberta’s trade relationship with its westerly neighbour does for BC.

BC’s interprovincial trade in total with all provinces in 2017 amounted to $39.4 billion. Alberta was responsible for the largest amount at $15.4 billion, or about 38%, of that trade.

That share of BC’s trade exports is remarkable, given that Alberta’s share of Canada’s population was just 11.5 percent in 2017. Alberta consumers, businesses and governments buy far more from BC in goods and services than its population as a share of Canada would suggest would be the case. Alberta’s capital-intensive, high-wage-paying oil and gas sector is a major reason why.

If Alberta were a country, the province’s $15.4 billion in trade with BC would come in behind only the United States (about $22.3 billion in purchases of goods and services from BC) in 2017. In fact, Alberta’s importance to B.C. exports was ranked far ahead of China ($6.9 billion), Japan ($4.5 billion), and South Korea ($2.9 billion)—the next biggest destinations for BC’s trade exports.

BC has a natural advantage for market access in some respects when compared to the United States. For instance, BC’s coast is near to many Asian-Pacific markets than are U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The distance between the U.S. Gulf Coast and to the Japanese ports of Himeji and Sodegaura is more than 9,000 nautical miles, compared to less than 4,200 nautical miles between those two Japanese ports and the coast of BC.

The recent demand for natural gas in Asia, especially Japan (the largest importer of LNG) and price increase for natural gas, presents an exciting opportunity for BC oil and gas industry. The IEA predicts that by 2024 , natural gas demand forecast in Asia will be up 7% from 2019’s pre-COVID-19  levels. 

Be it in employment, salaries and wages paid, GDP, or the purchase of goods and services, the impact of oil and natural gas (and Alberta) on BC’s economy and trade flows is significant.

Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre

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