Author: Richard Starr

Obsession with larger vehicles has gone into overdrive

Disconnect between concern about climate change and the vehicles people drive keeps growing. In 2018 I noted a couple of troubling Canadian transportation trends – the number of registered road vehicles is increasing faster than the population and SUVs and their ilk are increasingly taking over the roads. The drift continues. Between 2017 and 2018, Canada’s human population increase of 1.41 per cent was outpaced by a 2.01 per cent increase in registered road vehicles. In Nova Scotia, where population growth has become a fixation, the number of humans grew by only 0.96 per cent, while cars on the...

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Decade look backs miss climate mess

At the risk of being repetitive, it’s hard not to address the dearth of discussion about climate change in the media’s reflections on the ten-year period that ended last week. Even as drought stricken Australia burned amidst heat waves and fierce winds, the media presented a menu more concerned with reflections on populism, pop culture and political positioning than climate change. Then, forcing everyone to move on, Trump changed the channel with his reckless adventurism in Iraq. One notable exception to the trend bemoaned above was a piece in the National Observer, part of a collaboration with HuffPost. It...

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Kenney’s “equalization rebate” grabs the spotlight

It was Alberta time again in Ottawa with the province’s demands for a re-jigging of the previously obscure Fiscal Stabilization Program (FSP) dominating coverage of this week’s annual meeting of Canada’s finance ministers. Other longstanding issues – such as increased health transfers – were shoved into the background as attention was focused on Alberta’s appeal for $2.4 billion from the feds. Also known the “equalization rebate,” the potential payout is being framed as a peace offering to the demons of western alienation, an opportunity for the Trudeau government to connect its money with its post-election soothing words. The FSP,...

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Update to Memory Lane: When cutting sulphur dioxide pollution was all the rage

Note to readers: An earlier version of this piece was based on a misleading exhibit before the Utility and Review Board, indicating that sulphur dioxide emissions would be allowed to rise from about 60,000 to 90,000 tonnes in 2021 and 2022. A Nova Scotia Power spokesperson reports that the 90,000 figure was for two years – an average of 45,000 per year. There was a blast from the past earlier this month when Jennifer Henderson reported for the Halifax Examiner that the McNeil government is intending to allow Nova Scotia Power increase its emissions of sulphur dioxide, aka SO2....

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Lowered political temperature bodes poorly for warming climate

The sweet sounds of reconciliation between the re-elected Trudeau government and the leaders of the oil-producing provinces, which began immediately after the fall election, are continuing apace. After an earlier meeting in Ottawa with Scott Moe during which he delivered a conciliatory message to the truculent Saskatchewan Premier, Justin Trudeau last week sent his ministers on mollifying missions to the lions’ dens of Calgary, Regina and Edmonton. Very little has come out about the Edmonton tête-à-tête between Jason Kenney and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland. The news clips, which looked tame enough, were mostly about the now-settled CN Rail strike...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, appearing in everything from Atlantic Insight to Atlantic Progress. A lifelong student of Maritime history, Starr is married to playwright and former MP Wendy Lill. They live in Dartmouth.

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