Archive

Tag Archives: Chris Burke

By: Chris Burke

Time for the politicians, people, and business leaders of Alberta to start accepting the obvious fact: The floods experienced in Calgary are going to turn into a more frequent occurrence unless serious action is taken on climate change.  Serious action means decreasing, and eventually ending, production of the tar sands which are a serious contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

floodTO

In a more ideal world it wouldn’t take a disaster to get people to realize they need to do something to prevent more disasters from happening in the future, sadly that’s the way the wind blows.  The destruction brought upon New York by Hurricane Sandy was necessary for officials there to start paying attention to the reality that New York is vulnerable to extreme weather events.  Whether this will turn into a commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change is another matter.

Read More

By: Chris Burke

Anger is brewing over a recent decision by the administration at the University of Waterloo to raise tuition fees in the middle of the Summer term.  Students have expressed frustration over the decision to raise the fees as there was little consultation with the students prior to the decision.  Further, the increase comes at a time when the Ontario government is moving to put a cap on tuition increases at 3%, down from the original 5%.  The timing of the increase comes off as a cash grab.  An effort to increase tuition before the 3% cap comes into effect.

student protest

The administration has responded pointing out that an e-mail back at the start of the term indicating this increase would occur was sent.  Reactions to this have been mixed as some students I’ve talked to say they recall the e-mails while others have no recollection.  I can’t say I remember the e-mail though I don’t always read everything UW sends me.  Students will gloss over those e-mails before deleting them, a fact the administration should’ve considered.  Increasing the fees the way they did, the administration has argued, was necessary due to the way the budgeting process works and the uncertainty that surrounded the Ontario 2013 budget.

Read More

By: Chris Burke

Words alone cannot describe the anger I hold towards Bill-C54 and its supporters.   The 1837 Society is intended to be a place of civilized discussion.  Well today civility is dead: This bill is damn awful.  Those who support it are awful.

o-BILL-C54-facebook

Bill C-54, the latest travesty of a crime bill put forward by the lets-ignore-all-evidence-about-how-to-handle-those-who-commit-crimes Conservative Party would change the process of how an individual is deemed “Not Criminally Responsible” in a manner that would likely see them thrown in prison rather than receiving much needed medical help.  This vile piece of legislation ensures that the stigma towards mental illness will remain in Canadian society for a long time.

Read More

By: Chris Burke

 

Life for disabled people and their families is going to get more difficult thanks to the provincial budget of Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberal Party.  While funding for the disabled got a boost, the situation is still grim as the budget was met with “disappointment and bewilderment”

 

While on the surface it seems that the $42 million announced in the 2013 budget is a positive, it will do little to address the growing waitlists for services and the crisis families face in caring for their loved ones without adequate government support, says Fred Hahn, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario (Source).

 

In a time when governments are looking to cut back on spending to control a debt, following the principles of austerity (which don’t work by the way), those who need the most assistance are helped the least.

 

With the current level of funding group homes will struggle, “to keep the lights on”.  Services are being cut and many people are being hurt because of this budget.

 

Province-wide nearly two thirds of community living agencies are cutting residential and day programs and laying off staff after years of provincial underfunding.

 

I’m disappointed in the Liberal government though hardly surprised.

 

By: Chris Burke

The Earth has reached a milestone, and not one worth celebrating.  Rather than a moment in history where humanity can raise a glass in celebration of its’ achievements, we find ourselves sitting here wondering where things went wrong: Carbon in the atmosphere has hit 400 parts per million (ppm).

carbon emissions

Why is this fact cause for the bleak opening of this post?  For starters, many scientists argue that we need to maintain a level of 350ppm of carbon in the atmosphere to avoid runaway climate change.  The UN provides a higher threshold, somewhere around 420ppm, but with the current path we are on that threshold is likely to be broken.  Second, as the National Geographic puts it:

“The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were at least 30 feet higher—at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world.

“The planet was about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer. But the Earth then was in the final stage of a prolonged greenhouse epoch, and CO2 concentrations were on their way down. This time, 400 ppm is a milepost on a far more rapid uphill climb toward an uncertain climate future” (Source)

Read More

By: Chris Burke

A possible coup-attempt has been brewing in Venezuela since the election of Bolivarian candidate Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late President Chavez.

With 99.12% of the votes counted, there was a 78.71% turn out, with Maduro receiving 7,505,378 votes (50.66%), and Capriles 7,270,403 votes (49.07%). Opposition candidate Capriles declared that he does not recognise the result and demanded an audit of 100% of the vote (Source).

Nicolás Maduro at closing campaign rally in Caracas

Although the election has been deemed by fair by numerous independent observers, opposition candidate Capriles, with the backing of the United States, is demanding a recount.  That the U.S. is demanding a recount, given its history with coups in Latin America, and own experience with close elections, “demonstrates that the U.S.’s position in regard to Venezuela has nothing to do with the U.S.’s alleged concerns for democracy, but rather its complete disdain for it”, writes Dan Kovalik.

Read More

By: Chris Burke

In response to Alex Ripley’s post The Iron Lady Deserves Our Respect, my original plan was to write a lengthy article of my own breaking down the reasons why I disagree with Ripley and believe that we need to seriously reconsider the idea that Thatcher did any good for the world.

Miners_strike_rally_London_1984

Given that my disagreement is in almost every point made, that would be a long article.  So instead I’m going to take a different approach.  What follows is a list of the points I disagree with Ripley on, and brief reasons for why.  If he wants to expand on any of them in turn those into full posts, then that’s up to him.

Read More