Actor and environmentalist Robert Redford recently added his name to the list of prominent individuals who are calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Robert Redford: Tar Sands Oil Is Killing Our Planet – NRDC
Mark Ruffalo Supports The Tar Sands Action
Mark Ruffalo said : “I’ve seen the kind of damage that out-of-control energy development can do to water and to communities near my own home, where fracking for natural gas is causing widespread pollution … All these problems are connected — we need to get off fossil fuels.”
“The world is already leaving us behind. We’re being left behind. America. Because the gas and oil industry has a strangle hold on us. And our politicians.”
Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben has expressed strong disapproval for the planned Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, he was one of the first of over 1,200 who were arrested at the Tar Sands Action sit-in at the White House in August.
Bill McKibben: On Sept. 21st, Draw the Line on Keystone XL
Bill McKibben on Fight Against Keystone XL, Fossil Fuel Divestment and Obama’s Failures on Climate
Bill McKibben : “The people who’ve carried this fight for three years are indigenous people on both sides of the border who have a huge stake in it because it’s on their land, and farmers and ranchers from places like Nebraska … It wasn’t until I sat down and read Jim Hansen’s analysis of how much carbon was in those things that I understood that this was not just a national issue, it’s a global issue of the first order.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: See You at the White House!
Dreyfus recalls when Obama said “Let us be the generation that ends the tyranny of oil.” But she says, “Big Oil is still pretty much running the show.” She claims that by rejecting the pipeline, Obama has a chance to “make good on [his] word.”
Louis-Dreyfus asks Obama, “Denying the permit for a brutally stupid, money-grab like the Keystone XL pipeline is a no-brainer, right Mr President?”
Actress Daryl Hannah has also lent her voice to the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline.
In August, Hannah was one of the over 1,200 people to be arrested as an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House. Shouting “no to the Keystone pipeline” as she was handcuffed, Hannah made it clear she opposed the proposed Canada to Texas pipeline
Daryl Hannah: Why I Joined the Tar Sands Action
Maude Barlow, The Council of Canadians
Maude Barlow, a Canadian author and activist and chairperson of The Council of Canadians, was arrested in September at a Keystone pipeline and oil sands protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
She was one of over 100 protesters of the demonstration’s estimated 400 to be arrested.
Barlow blogged, “I did it because I fear we are killing the planet and I can no longer be content to only write and speak about it. Today my feet spoke for me as I crossed that barricade and took away one more fear in my life.”
She also said, “By investing trillions of dollars into these pipelines, governments and the energy industry are ensuring the continued rapid acceleration of tar sands development, instead of supporting a process to move to an alternative and sustainable energy system.”
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
Kyra Sedgwick said: “Just like the BP oil spill, one glitch in the tar sands pipeline could destroy our clean water sources, possibly forever.”
Kyra Sedgwick Urges the President to Reject the Tar Sands Pipeline
David Strathairn: Join the Fight Against Keystone XL
David Strathairn said: “Obama ran for office speaking of the dangers of our fossil fuel addiction, promising to fight climate change and fully embrace a clean energy future. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a dangerous step away from that commitment.”
What Is Inflation?
Inflation refers to the increasing price of goods and services that ultimately decreases a nation’s purchasing power. As the cost of living increases, each unit of currency buys less. The result is a decrease in the value of a nation’s currency.
Inflation is measured by Statistics Canada using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The cost of a fixed “basket” of goods and services purchased by typical consumers is tracked over time. About 650,000 prices are checked each year across Canada.
The number that determines the rate of change of prices (usually calculated monthly or annually) is the rate of inflation. The core rate of inflation excludes the most volatile items in the CPI basket, such as gasoline, vegetables, and tobacco.
International Lending And Exchange Rates
As nations borrow money from each other, prices can rise as a response to interest and national debt. Inflation can also occur when a currency’s exchange rate plunges, causing imports to spike in price.
The Money Supply
Widely considered a long-term cause for inflation is the amount of money in circulation. However, there is disagreement among economists as to how the money supply affects inflation. Many say that as governments print excesses of money to cope with crises (for example, to revive an economic recession), prices increase dramatically. But others argue the recent economic crisis, which resulted in the printing of money but little inflation, disproves that theory.
Production And Labour Costs
Production and labour costs are factors contributing to inflation. If the raw materials for a product increase in price, so does the price of the final product. Similarly, a rising cost of living causes workers to demand increased wages–costs that are passed on to the consumer.
When prices fall, what occurs is the opposite of inflation: deflation. This is typically considered dangerous because lower prices can correspond with lower demand, leading to a deflationary spiral. Depressions are linked to deflation, but deflation itself doesn’t always symbolize a bad economy. For example, more efficient production can result in price deflation, but that doesn’t indicate a shrinking economy.
Fast economic growth is not always beneficial because it can lead to hyperinflation–a cycle of rapidly rising prices. When there is a drastic increase in the money supply without a corresponding increase in demand, the value of each unit of currency diminishes. In the picture above, a woman protests hyperinflation by carrying around worthless notes in Serbia during its hyperinflation crisis in 1992.
The Bank of Canada employs interest rates to maintain a target inflation rate. The bank can raise interest rates when inflation is too high, or lower them when it’s too low. With high interest rates, demand typically decreases for certain goods and services as they become harder to finance.
Other Methods Of Control
In an attempt to control inflation, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government introduced the Anti-inflation Board (AIB) in 1975. It was the board’s responsibility to supervise and control wages and prices, and was part of a 1970s trend — followed even by U.S. President Richard Nixon — that saw politicians attempt to legislate away inflation. Canada’s program was phased out in 1978, and most Western countries abandoned price controls after finding them largely ineffective.
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
SHORTEST HOURS: Newfoundland – 264
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 264
Number of hours needed, 1975: 227
Percentage change: 16%
Quebec – 266
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 266
Number of hours needed, 1975: 214
Percentage change: 25%
Manitoba – 366
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 366
Number of hours needed, 1975: 183
Percentage change: 100%
British Columbia – 491
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 491
Number of hours needed, 1975: 175
Percentage change: 180%
Prince Edward Island – 570
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 570
Number of hours needed, 1975: 266
Percentage change: 114%
Alberta – 577
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 577
Number of hours needed, 1975: 174
Percentage change: 231%
Nova Scotia – 606
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 606
Number of hours needed, 1975: 308
Percentage change: 97%
New Brunswick – 613
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 613
Number of hours needed, 1975: 293
Percentage change: 109%
Saskatchewan – 639
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 639
Number of hours needed, 1975: 196
Percentage change: 226%
LONGEST HOURS: Ontario – 708
Number of hours working at minimum wage needed to pay for university tuition, 2013: 708
Number of hours needed, 1975: 260
Percentage change: 173%
WHO PAYS THE HIGHEST TUITION?
LOWEST: Newfoundland – $2,644
Average tuition, 2013: $2,644
Average tuition, 1975: $500
Quebec – $2,653
Average tuition, 2013: $2,653
Average tuition, 1975: $532
Manitoba – $3,779
Average tuition, 2013: $3,779
Average tuition, 1975: $435
British Columbia – $5,029
Average tuition, 2013: $5,029
Average tuition, 1975: $442
Alberta – $5,670
Average tuition, 2013: $5,670
Average tuition, 1975: $415
Prince Edward Island – $5,696
Average tuition, 2013: $5,696
Average tuition, 1975: $692
New Brunswick – $6,133
Average tuition, 2013: $6,133
Average tuition, 1975: $653
Nova Scotia: $6,185
Average tuition, 2013: $6,185
Average tuition, 1975: $689
Saskatchewan – $6,394
Average tuition, 2013: $6,394
Average tuition, 1975: 479
HIGHEST: Ontario – $7,259
Average tuition, 2013: $7,259
Average tuition, 1975: $610
Source: Statistics Canada
Number represents the average among those households that carry debt.
6. Atlantic Canada: $69,300
5. Quebec: $78,900
4. Manitoba & Saskatchewan: $84,900
3. Ontario: $124,700
2. British Columbia: $155,500
1. Alberta: $157,700
Canada hit a record high in the first quarter of 2011, reaching $1.5 trillion in household debt. If spread evenly across Canada, that means every family with two children has $176,461 in debt.
In the U.S., household debt hit $11.5 trillion by the end of March this year. The average household debt in the U.S. for a family of four is $148,000.
Loans owed to Canada Student Loans amount to nearly $14 billion and rising. In the U.S., where tuitions are considerable higher, loans owed exceed $932 billion, including federal and private loans.
With their debt ceiling raised again, the U.S. has more than $14 trillion in government debt in the first quarter of 2011. Canada has more than $563 billion. That figure works out to 84 per cent of Canada’s GDP, compared to 58.9 per cent for the U.S.
In the first quarter of 2011, the average Canadian had more than $3,500 in credit card debt, according to TransUnion Canada. In the U.S., the average American consumer owes more than $4,200 in credit card debt.
As of June 2011, the median cost of a home in Canada was $372,000. Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto are some of the most expensive places in the country to buy a house. Prices in the U.S. vary more than they do in Canada. As of June, the median price of a home in the Northeast was $261,000, while the median price in the Midwest was $147,000. The median in the South was $159,100 and in the West, it was $240,400.
The average price of a home in the UK is £232,628 as reported by their first quarter in 2011, which converts to around CAD $371,000.
In 2010, there were more than 1.5 million non-business bankruptcy filings in the U.S. In the same year, there were only 92,694 personal bankruptcies in Canada. That means there were 48 bankruptcies per 10,000 people in the U.S., and 28 bankruptcies per 10,000 in Canada.
Take a look at the percentage of Canadians who say they’ll never be debt-free, by region.
Source: CIBC Poll: Debt Free? 14 per cent of Canadians with debt say it will never happen