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Russ Francis

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Focus Magazine Nov/Dec 2016

Sept/Oct 2016.2

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Everything posted by Russ Francis

  1. Photo: The neighbourhood around 902 Foul Bay Road has sprouted many "Save the Trees" signs. A proposed high-density development on the Victoria-Oak Bay border will either destroy the neighbourhood’s ambience—or help save the planet. Go to story
  2. A proposed high-density development on the Victoria-Oak Bay border will either destroy the neighbourhood’s ambience—or help save the planet. WHO COULD OBJECT TO A MULTI-DWELLING PROJECT that—according to the developer—encourages walking, helps solve the climate crisis and eases housing pressures? “The project enables a high quality, densified, compact, walkable lifestyle which is critical to solving our climate and housing crisis [sic] all while creating more livable and healthier communities,” said Aryze Developments in a January 20, 2021 letter to the City of Victoria.
  3. I agree that residential wood burning is a serious problem. The BC Government reports that residential wood burning causes approximately 27 percent of BC's emissions of fine particulate matter (particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter, called PM 2.5), though in some areas the levels are much higher. The World Health Organization reports that there is no safe level for PM 2.5, which causes cancers, as well as serious heart and lung disease. As well, wood burning produces volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. And while BC's GHG invento
  4. Globe and Mail columnist Scott Barlow says there is a quickly growing bubble in hydrogen stocks. Writing in the newspaper's February 15 issue, he says that "investors are currently pouring money into companies that won’t be profitable, or even have revenue in many cases, for many years." Adds Barlow: "Currently, 99 per cent of hydrogen is produced using fossil fuel-generated electricity."
  5. Image: An valley in BC's Interior fills with smoke from a forest fire. Three years after the New Democrats assumed power, BC is further behind in meeting emissions reductions targets. Go to story
  6. Three years after the New Democrats assumed power, BC is further behind in meeting emissions reductions targets. ON THE DAY FOLLOWING the BC government’s release of its 2020 Climate Change Accountability report, the December 17, 2020 Times Colonist front page was brimming with stories: COVID-19 rules, a column on government process, as well as a non-announcement of a possible future film studio, a story promising that unnamed investors for the studio were “hiding in the woodwork.” Notable for its absence—from the entire December 17 issue—was the one story that is arguably far
  7. Posted December 30 2020 Late, over budget and made worse by the coronavirus, will “Canada’s largest infrastructure project” ever produce one gram of liquefied natural gas? Go to story
  8. On January 6, 2021, the BC Government extended increased rebates for replacing fossil fuel-fired space and water heaters with heat pumps. Registration is required by March 31, 2021.
  9. Late, over budget and made worse by the coronavirus, will “Canada’s largest infrastructure project” ever produce one gram of liquefied natural gas? LNG Canada’s project in Kitimat is now under construction (Photo by LNG Canada) TO SOME, it might be tempting to feel sorry for the LNG Canada construction project, now under slowing construction near Kitimat. A variety of reasons might invoke sympathy. For one thing, the world is quickly moving away from fossil fuels. To pick just one example, on the afternoon of December 18, 2020 Great Britain’s wind farms gene
  10. Posted December 4, 2020 Image: A recent photograph of construction at BC Hydro's Site C project. When it comes to encouraging citizens to reduce electricity consumption, is BC Hydro like the fox being in charge of the chicken farm? Go to story
  11. When it comes to encouraging citizens to reduce electricity consumption, is BC Hydro like the fox being in charge of the chicken farm? THERE CAN BE LITTLE DOUBT that we will pay a lot more for electricity before long, thanks to the Site C mess and declining revenues at BC Hydro. This is in spite of December 1st news releases from both BC Hydro and BC Minister of Energy Bruce Ralston trumpeting a supposed rate decrease in Hydro rates, retroactive to April 1, 2020. As a result, residential ratepayers will get a credit in early 2021 of $4. Don’t spend it all at once, becaus
  12. Posted October 19, 2020 Image: Gazprom's LNG production facility on Sakhalin Island Despite some fossil fuel divestment, BC Investment Management Corporation tripled its investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline builder and doubled its investment in Russia's Gazprom. Go to story
  13. Despite some fossil fuel divestment, BC Investment Management Corporation tripled its investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline builder and doubled its investment in Gazprom. BCI recently doubled its investment in Russian fossil giant Gazprom, which owns this LNG production facility on Sakhalin Island STOCK MARKET HOLDINGS IN PENSION FUNDS for more than 600,000 BC teachers, public servants, college instructors, municipal staff, BC Hydro workers and others have taken a big hit in the year ending March 31, 2020. The funds are managed by BC Investment Management Co
  14. Is a BC election getting closer? Premier Horgan has been asking his caucus members whether they plan to run again. When an election looms, any cabinet minister not running can expect to be promptly demoted. That way, backbench New Democrats who are sticking around can be promoted to minister status. Why? The main reason is that they then instantly gain free, taxpayer-funded publicity for opening new schools, enhancing electric car subsidies and saving old growth forests. Wait a minute. Doesn't the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the NDP and Greens prohibit early electi
  15. Posted August 17, 2020 Image: BC Premier John Horgan Green MLAs have thwarted NDP government plans a few times this summer, renewing speculation that John Horgan might not wait until October 2021 to call an election. Go to story
  16. Green MLAs have thwarted NDP government plans a few times this summer, renewing speculation that John Horgan might not wait until October 2021 to call an election. DESPITE ALL THE TOUCHY-FEELY TALK in their 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Greens, there is little question that the New Democrats would love to avoid having to deal with those annoying climate crisis affirmers. The tension was heightened in recent weeks when the Greens, with the help of the Liberals, forced the government to put two bills on hold, and to cancel a proposed extension of the governmen
  17. BC currently has no provincial health officer order restricting door-to-door canvassing, according to a July 14 health ministry statement sent in response to an emailed Focus query. However, said the statement, "Dr [Bonnie] Henry emphasizes the importance of physical distancing and other public health measures such as wearing masks, clean hand hygiene and staying home when you are sick."
  18. BC currently has no provincial health officer order restricting door-to-door canvassing, according to a July 14 health ministry statement sent in response to an emailed Focus query. However, said the statement, "Dr [Bonnie] Henry emphasizes the importance of physical distancing and other public health measures such as wearing masks, clean hand hygiene and staying home when you are sick."
  19. Posted July 11, 2020 Image: Americans in a primary election waited in hours-long-lines wearing masks; Next BC general election is a “high public heath risk” event. Go to story
  20. Next BC general election is a “high public heath risk” event SO FAR THIS YEAR, by-elections in Victoria, Lytton and Rossland, as well as a Kamloops referendum on a new arts centre have all been cancelled because of public health concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. New Brunswick postponed its municipal elections—scheduled for last May 11—till 2021. And Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was expected to announce a general election last spring, but has since said it will be held in October, 2020 because of COVID-19. Few medical experts presently forecast the end of the pandemic by
  21. While COVID-19 has slashed our GDP, at the micro level there's another way of pointing out how ridiculous is the drive for ever-increasing GDP. Now that we are in the present situation, anyone becoming infected with the virus thereby boosts the GDP--such as with purchases of extra acetaminophen, etc. If they are hospitalized, that boosts it even higher. Going into intensive care increases GDP yet again. Funerals also mean additional spending. I once remarked to a BC government executive director that every car crash raises the GDP. She replied: "That's why it's called the Gross Domestic P
  22. While COVID-19 has slashed our GDP, at the micro level there's another way of pointing out how ridiculous is the drive for ever-increasing GDP. Now that we are in the present situation, anyone becoming infected with the virus thereby boosts the GDP--such as with purchases of extra acetaminophen, etc. If they are hospitalized, that boosts it even higher. Going into intensive care increases GDP yet again. Funerals also mean additional spending. I once remarked to a BC government executive director that every car crash raises the GDP. She replied: "That's why it's called the Gross Domestic P
  23. Posted June 20, 2020 The movement to reduce the work week from 5 to 4 days has supporters and detractors in BC. Go to story
  24. Thousands of BC Government employees are already halfway to a 4-day work week. NOT EVERYONE IS WILDLY ENTHUSIASTIC about chopping the normal work week to four days from five, as recently promoted by New Zealand Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Adern. While not rejecting it outright, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was decidedly non-committal when asked about the idea on May 27. Other priorities, etc. Former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, now an independent MLA, pulled fewer punches than Trudeau, calling it on Twitter “an absolutely kooky idea.” His exclamation was in re
  25. ON APRIL 21, the BC government organized a “virtual townhall” on the COVID-19 virus for the Island Health region. Given the extreme financial challenges that the virus poses for the government, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the vast sums in public funds being doled out to LNG Canada—through royalty tax credits, reduced hydro rates, a provincial sales tax holiday, a carbon tax ceiling, and cancelled LNG income tax—might be in jeopardy. Or might the handouts even be switched to support renewable energy? Sadly, the esteemed panel was unable to get to my question: “Given the likelih
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