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Found 4 results

  1. http://www.montrealgazette.com/Canada+driversdeserve+Roads+Czar/4434450/story.html I am not thinking highly of a federal office to solve problems. That said, the monies recieved from at least the federal gasoline and diesel excise tax & GST on gasoline should be invested in roads and highways and not the BS black hole it goes into currently (notwithstanding various federal-aid highway projects which seem to be common, like A-30, A-85, Montreal bridges, Calgary & Edmonton ring roads, NB Route 2 etc, the total investment is still much less than the excise revenues).
  2. Corn-based ethanol: The negatives outweigh the positives JEFFREY SIMPSON From Wednesday's Globe and Mail July 30, 2008 at 7:58 AM EDT Canada's governments have done something really stupid in subsidizing corn-based ethanol, and requiring its increased use, but apparently cannot correct their mistake. As a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, corn-based ethanol is a poor option; as a farm subsidy program, it's also a poor bet. Making matters worse, corn-based ethanol takes corn-for-food out of production, and moves land from other kinds of production into corn, thereby adding to what are already rising food prices. Governments, here and in the U.S., thought they were doing great things for the environment and helping farmers, too. Ethanol policy was, to quote the Harper government, a "win-win." Actually, it was a lose-lose policy for all but corn producers, who, naturally enough, have rallied furiously to protect their good fortune. Many researchers have exposed the follies of subsidizing corn-based ethanol production, the latest being Douglas Auld, in an extremely well-documented paper for the C.D. Howe Institute. Mr. Auld has surveyed the research literature about the putatively beneficial effects of corn-based ethanol on replacing gasoline. The theory is that such ethanol produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline from a vehicle engine. Indeed, it does, but that simple statement ignores what energy is required to produce a litre of ethanol. When the so-called "lifecycle" of ethanol production is counted, Mr. Auld concludes (as have many others) that ethanol doesn't lower GHG outputs. Remember, too, that ethanol delivers less energy per litre than gasoline, so more litres of production are required to move a vehicle a certain distance. Mr. Auld, therefore, correctly concludes, "It is clear from the evidence to date that there is no consensus regarding the efficacy of corn-based ethanol either to reduce GHGs or reduce overall energy demands." But we aren't dealing with "evidence," rather with political optics from governments wanting to look "green" and from a desire to help farmers. And so, the Harper government replaced the previous special tax exemption for ethanol to a producer credit that will cost the country about $1.5-billion. To this sum were added loans, biofuel research grants plus mandatory ethanol content requirements. In other words, the government pushed up the supply of corn-based ethanol through subsidies, then pushed up the demand through regulation. Provinces got in on the act, offering producer credits and mandatory ethanol content requirements. Putting the provincial and federal policies together produced whopping advantages for ethanol of about $400-million a year. For such money, Canadians might expect at least some decline in greenhouse gas emissions. They will be disappointed. There will be few reductions, and Mr. Auld estimates that these might cost $368 a tonne - way, way higher than other per-tonne costs for eliminating carbon dioxide, the main climate-warming gas. By contrast, one part of the Harper government's proposed climate-change policy would see big companies that do not meet their intensity-based reduction targets paying $15 a tonne into a technology fund. World prices for carbon offsetting these days are about $30 a tonne. However, even if this form of ethanol is a climate-change bust, at least it's great for farmers. Not so fast. It's a boon to the corn producers, but to supply all the additional demand for ethanol, up to half the current farmland for corn will be used. As more land is diverted to corn for ethanol, there will be less corn for human and animal consumption. So whereas corn producers will gain, livestock producers will suffer. As their costs rise, so will the price of their products to consumers. It's wrong to blame the rush to ethanol for rising food prices here and abroad. Let's just say the rush contributes to the problem. Mr. Auld estimates that if you take the direct subsidies for ethanol production of $400-million a year, and add the costs of higher food to consumers, the wealth transfer to corn-based farmers could soon be about $800-million. It's the classic case of subsidies distorting markets: One group gains and mobilizes all of its resources to protect its gains, insisting these gains reflect the public good; whereas in reality almost everyone else loses but doesn't complain. So we have a silly policy with hundreds of millions of dollars going down the policy drain, achieving none of the objectives the politicians claimed.
  3. Canada's inflation rate jumps to 3.1 per cent Canwest News Service Published: 1 hour ago OTTAWA - The annual rate of inflation in Canada jumped to 3.1 per cent in June, the biggest rise in almost three year years, fuelled by soaring gasoline prices, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. Most economists had expected an overall inflation rate last month of 2.9 per cent from a year early, compared with a year-on-year increase of 2.2 per cent in May. "Gasoline prices increased 26.9 per cent between June 2007 and June 2008, significantly higher than the 15 per cent advance posted in May," the federal agency said. "June's increase was the largest since the 34.7 per cent gain reported for September 2005, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted the oil market," it said. "June's increase reflected both recent increases in pump prices, as well as the fact that gasoline prices had been on the decline in June 2007." On a monthly basis, inflation rose 0.7 per cent in June from May. "In addition to gasoline prices, mortgage interest cost, bakery products and air transportation also exerted strong upward pressure on the consumer price index in June," Statistics Canada said. Prince Edward Island and Alberta posted the biggest gains in consumer prices, rises 4.7 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, the core rate - which strips out volatile items, such as energy and food, and is used by the Bank of Canada to gauge inflation - rose by 1.5 per cent in June, the same rate as the previous month. On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that retail sales rose by a less than expected 0.4 per cent in May, with virtually all of the increase due to higher prices, especially for gasoline. However, Canadian consumers - thanks to the strong Canadian dollar - have not been as hard hit by rising prices for food and fuel. As well, pump prices have fluctuated over the past few months from the $1.20 range upwards to nearly $1.50 a litre, driving down consumption. The Bank of Canada's target for inflation is between one and three per cent, although it expects the rate to peak at 4.3 per cent early in 2009. The central bank has held its key lending rate steady at three per cent for the past two months after a series of reductions in an effort to spur spending amid an economic slowdown. However, the bank has signalled it is now balancing the need to encourage growth without fuelling inflation. "The sting of the steep pick-up in headline inflation is lessened by the fact that the Bank of Canada was already so public in calling for an eventual peak of more than four per cent by the turn of the year," said BMO Capital Markets economist Douglas Porter. "A further correction in energy prices (on top of the $20 drop in crude oil in the past two weeks) would go a long way to further dampening concerns about lofty headline inflation readings," he said. "With core holding steady at 1.5 per cent in June, right around where the bank looks for it to average in Q3, there's really not much to chew on here from a monetary policy stance." The Canadian dollar trading around 99 cents US following the inflation report, little changed from its Tuesday close of 99.16 cents US. Percentage change (May to June / June 2007 to June 2008): All-items +0.7 / +3.1 Food +1 / +2.8 Shelter +0.6 /+4.7 Household operations and furnishings 0.0 / +1.3 Clothing and footwear -0.5 / -0.6 Transportation +1.8 / +5.5 Health and personal care +0.1 / +0.7 Recreation, education and reading 0.0 / +0.4 Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products +0.2 / +1.6 Goods +1.1 / +2.5 Services +0.3 / +3.7 All-items excluding food and energy 0.0 / +1.2 Energy +4.4 / +18 Source: Statistics Canada Percentage change (May to June / June 2007 to June 2008): Newfoundland and Labrador +0.8 / +3.1 Prince Edward Island +0.5 / +4.7 Nova Scotia +0.6 / +4.2 New Brunswick +0.5 / +2.1 Quebec +0.4 / +3.1 Ontario +0.5 / +2.8 Manitoba +0.8 / +2.4 Saskatchewan +0.7 / +3.4 Alberta +1.5 / +4.4 British Columbia +0.7 / +3 Whitehorse +0.9 / +4.5 Yellowknife +0.8 / +4.5 Iqaluit +0.6 / +2.3 Source: Statistics Canada http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=8187d0e4-0761-4d7e-a550-ad9f55369ca1
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