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Found 9 results

  1. I have an idea...lets keep the status quo. By Nicolas Van Praet Montreal • Forget Newfoundland, derided for decades as the fish-dependent fiscal laughingstock of Canada. Another province is swiftly climbing the ranks of the penniless: Quebec. Quebecers will displace their fellow countrymen as the poorest Canadians if current income and purchasing power trends continue, according to a new study released Tuesday by Montreal’s HEC business school. The stark outlook underscores the urgency for Canada’s second-largest province to fix its structural problems and lends weight to arguments that its untapped natural resources should be developed. Related “Compared to the rest of the country, Quebec has a real revenue problem,” says Martin Coiteux, an economist who wrote the study for the HEC’s Centre for Productivity and Prosperity. Unless the province begins an honest, nothing-off-limits self-examination, “it runs the risk of finding itself last among Canadian provinces with respect to income and standard of living.” It’s the trend lines that should be worrying Quebecers, Mr. Coiteux said. The income gap is widening between Quebec and Canada’s richest provinces while it is shrinking with the poorest. Over a 31-year period from 1978 to 2009, every region of Canada gained on income against Quebec, according to the study. Buoyed by revenues from offshore oil, Newfoundland has bridged the income gap with Quebec to within $3,127 per adult as of 2009. Ontario’s income was $9,853 higher per adult that year while Alberta’s was $17,947 higher. That in itself is problematic for Quebec. But the HEC research also shows that one of the key things that made living in Quebec so attractive, namely the lower cost of living compared with other big provinces, is also rapidly changing. While it remains cheaper to buy consumer goods like food, gasoline and haircuts in Quebec than most other provinces (9% cheaper in Quebec than Alberta in 2009 for Statistics Canada’s standard Consumer Price Index basket of goods, for example), the difference is narrowing. And that makes the purchase power equation even worse for the French-speaking province. What explains this income nightmare? Mr. Coiteux summed it up thus: “Proportionately, fewer Quebecers work [than other Canadians]. They work fewer hours on average. And they earn an hourly pay that’s lower than that of most other Canadians.” The relative poverty of Quebec means that its residents pay less in federal income tax and receive more transfers than those living in richer provinces, which reduces the income gap with Ontario, Alberta and B.C. But that situation also represents “a form of dependency,” Mr. Coiteux noted. Provincial wealth in Canada is increasingly split along the lines of those who have natural resource wealth and those who do not. In addition to a bounty of hydroelectric power and aluminum production, Quebec also has known shale natural gas and oil deposits on its territory. The Liberal government of Jean Charest has signalled it is eager to tap its forestry and mining wealth, most notably with its plan to develop a vast portion of its northern territory twice the size of Texas. It has put oil and gas commercialization on the back burner in the face of public opposition and a continuing ocean boundary spat with Newfoundland. But even the northern development plan isn’t generating unanimity. Quebecers have proven to be tremendously shy in using their resources to generate wealth, says Youri Chassin, economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, a conservative think-tank. “We are kind of afraid of the consequences. And it might be good to have public debate about this. But [in that debate], we have to take into account that we are getting poorer.”
  2. The 200 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses acquired in 2003 by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) have worked out so well that LA Metro is hiring 96 more. The Cummins Westport vehicles, which run 20 feet longer than traditional city buses and bring 30-percent more power to the table (while claiming bragging rights to low emissions) use a 6-cylinder, 8.9L CWI L Gas Plus CNG mill with 320 hp. Perfect for the city, the buses help LA Metro cash in with lower operating costs, better performance and reduced emissions. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/30/la-metro-picks-up-more-natural-gas-buses/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog)
  3. Time to protect the 'green lace doily' of Montreal, environmentalists say Coalition is pressing Quebec to create a provincial park joining endangered lands MICHELLE LALONDE, The Gazette Published: 10 hours ago Environmental groups across southwestern Quebec are ratcheting up the pressure on the Quebec government to create a new kind of provincial park to stop the rapid destruction of forests, wetlands, islands and other natural spaces around Montreal. Fifty-five groups have united behind the innovative project to create the Montreal Archipelago Ecological Park, Montreal's answer to the "green belts" other Canadian cities have established to stop urban sprawl, combat climate change and preserve nearby natural green space. "We don't call it a green belt, though, it's more like a green lace doily," said David Fletcher, a spokesperson for the new coalition calling itself Partners for the Montreal Archipelago Ecological Park. The ship has sailed long ago on creating a true green belt around Montreal, since the island is surrounded by rapidly growing suburbs. But environmental groups say it would be possible for the province to legislate as protected the remaining forests, shorelines, wetlands and other natural spaces on Montreal Island and Laval's Île Jésus, as well as a number of undeveloped islands in the region. The groups want to see this "green doily" of remaining natural lands protected with the same status as a provincial park, or what the Quebec government refers to as a national park. The government has made repeated international commitments to protect at least eight per cent of its territory, ensuring that the protected areas reflect the biological diversity of the province. While the government has recently created some new conservation areas in northern Quebec, Fletcher says nothing is being done to protect southwestern Quebec, an ecologically rich domain that biodiversity experts refer to as the sugar maple bitternut hickory bioclimatic domain. Less than four per cent of this domain, which stretches from the lower Laurentians to the U.S. border, is protected from development. "The tough job that needs to be done is down here, where half the people of Quebec live, and this is is simply being ignored." Although former Liberal environment minister Thomas Mulcair had expressed enthusiasm for the park project, current minister Line Beauchamp has been at best lukewarm. In a recent letter to the project's proponents, responding to their request for support, an Environment Department official suggested the protection of these lands is a municipal and regional responsibility. "I share your concerns about the protection of biodiversity in southern Quebec, where we find a great richness of species and ecosystems, both land-based and aquatic," wrote Patrick Beauchesne, director of ecological heritage and parks in the Environment Department. But Beauchesne went on to suggest that municipalities are responsible for zoning of privately owned urban land, and did not offer support. Fletcher said his group is determined to take the debate to the National Assembly. Members of his group met last week with Mulcair, now an NDP member of Parliament, and with Parti Québécois environment critic Camil Bouchard. "The political establishment has to get behind this project," Fletcher said. "Quebec has (biodiversity) commitments that are international. ... Now it's time to move from statements of principle to action." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com
  4. Lamest Excuse of the Week: Potholes as a "natural traffic calming measure" by Sam Abuelsamid on Apr 17th 2009 at 7:31PM Here in Michigan, we're used to hearing plenty of worthless excuses about the crap condition of our roads. However, this one takes the cake. A local council in Essex, England has deemed broken roads a "natural traffic calming measure." If you didn't catch that, "traffic calming" is a euphemism used by politicians when discussing measures to slow the traffic flow through an area. Generally, the "calming" involves taking active measures, such as installing speed bumps, round-abouts or narrowing the road. To our knowledge it's never been (openly) done by neglecting what most people would consider one of the duties of a government -- maintaining basic infrastructure. According to a councillor in Navestock, repairing roads just encourages people to drive faster. Of course, the counter argument involves safety. Leaving a road marked with craters causes drivers to swerve, as well as damaging suspension components and wheels. It also poses a hazard to motorcyclists and bike riders. Fortunately, the county council appears to be less short-sighted and plans to over-ride the local council and fix the roads. http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.ASpx?AR=239565
  5. Montrealers invited to weigh in on Mount Royal INGRID PERITZ From Wednesday's Globe and Mail April 9, 2008 at 4:33 AM EDT MONTREAL — Montreal's Mount Royal rises only 230 metres but looms much larger in the city's collective imagination. The "mountain" has been called the city's heart, soul and identity. So it's little wonder that city hall announced this year it is taking new measures to protect it. Mount Royal is constantly under assault - by bricks and mortar, commuters, mausoleums and grandiose schemes. Now civic officials are seeking ways of limiting the damage and inviting public input on how to go about it. The city's public consultations bureau is tapping Montrealers' views about how to protect the mountain. Since the process began three weeks ago, about 1,500 people have responded. The starting point is a document tabled in January, the Mount Royal Master Protection and Enhancement Plan. Long on lofty goals and limited on specifics, the draft sets out objectives such as protecting 104 city views of the mountain, upgrading public access and shielding 423 hectares of natural lands. But city hall says it's open to other ideas. Should parking on the mountain be limited? Commuter traffic or bicycle races detoured? Helen Fotopulos, who is responsible for Mount Royal on Montreal's executive committee, sees the participation process as a "collective project" about the mountain's future. "Mount Royal is part of our urban landscape and we're all passionate about it. What better way of ensuring the perpetuity of the mountain than getting people involved?" The latest plan - an update on a 1992 protection scheme - is being greeted with a fair dose of skepticism, however. The Montreal Gazette called it "little more than a bland list of pious hopes," and groups that have devoted years to tightening safeguards for Mount Royal are underwhelmed. "There are no priorities, no schedule and no budget," said Peter Howlett of the preservation group Les Amis de la Montagne. The group is concerned the city has provided no mechanism to ensure community oversight for projects touching the mountain in the future. About the only constant in the history of Mount Royal, which slopes into downtown Montreal, is that it's perpetually under pressure. "The No. 1 issue is the protection of the mountain for future generations," Mr. Howlett said. Héritage Montréal also worries that Mayor Gérald Tremblay's administration, heading into an election next year, is more concerned with looking like it's protecting the mountain than actually protecting it. "There's a sense that the current exercise might be futile," said the group's Dinu Bumbaru. Part of the challenge is Mount Royal's sheer size and the wealth of real estate that covers it. The city's protection plan doesn't merely cover Mount Royal Park, the beloved green space used by millions each year. It encompasses a vast swath of the city designated a natural and historic district by the Quebec government in 2005. The area includes landmarks such as St. Joseph's Oratory, as well as federal armouries, universities, hospitals and cemeteries. It's why vigilance is critical, preservation groups say. But Ms. Fotopulos says the city wants to protect the mountain without freezing it in time. "The mountain is not a museum. It's not going to be mummified," she said. The public consultations bureau is to submit its recommendations to the city this summer.
  6. Serious discussion only please state advantages and disadvantages to moving to either of the two cities listed. Please don't mention anything about Qc or French. Be respectful. Thank you. Vancouver: No winter Natural beauty Toronto: Winter is less harsh than here Cosmopolitan Leaning more towards Vancouver because winter is slowly killing me.
  7. St. Lawrence River to become a power plant? Tue Jul 27, 2:03 PM By The Canadian Press MONTREAL - The mighty St. Lawrence River will soon be home to a power-generating pilot project that could one day churn in rivers across Canada. The company that builds the underwater river turbines says the test phase will start off small, producing enough energy to power 750 homes. But RSW Inc. president Georges Dick says the technology has huge potential in Canada's biggest waterways, including the Mackenzie, Peace and Fraser rivers. The federal and provincial governments are funding one-third of the $18 million project. Federal Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis says it's a low-cost, renewable energy source that will create hundreds of jobs. Paradis insists the spinning blades inside the three-metre-high turbines will not have an impact on underwater wildlife. The pilot project will see two turbines plunked into water off the shores of Montreal in the coming weeks. Quebec hopes to eventually use the technology to power its northern communities, which rely heavily on polluting diesel-fuelled generators.
  8. Dell offers the first-ever look at a trend-setting hospital of groundbreaking aspirations. Combined with a desire to celebrate the community and culture of central Texas in the U.S., the design for the hospital began with a distinct vision to significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of the building on the environment and building occupants. The facility is part of a 700-acre new urbanist development on the brownfield site of a former municipal airport in Austin, a city known for promoting green building practices. An on-site natural gas-fired energy plant; courtyards that provide natural light and cooler, cleaner fresh air; views and access to nature; and the use of environmentally-friendly finishes all contribute to providing central Texas with a unique healing environment that is not only appealing to patients and families, but plays a key role in recruiting and retaining employees, critical in an industry experiencing a shortage of skilled staff. UPDATE On 12 January 2009 Karlsberger announced that Dell Children's Medical Center is officially the first hospital in the world to achieve LEED Platinum status. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10894