Eastend Convenience store robbery

Hamilton Police are investigating an early morning robbery at an east-end convenience store.Just after 9 AM, police responded to a call at the Avondale convenience store on Paramount Drive just north of Mud Street.They say a man was armed with a knife when he went into the store.Two clerks were in the shop at the time, but were not hurt.Police say the robber took off with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes.They are looking for a black man in his early 20’s.If you have any information, call police. read more

BC premier wont sign national energy strategy until pipeline dispute resolved

by Alison Auld, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 27, 2012 2:24 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email HALIFAX – British Columbia Premier Christy Clark refused Friday to join her provincial counterparts in crafting a national energy strategy, insisting that a public feud over the Northern Gateway pipeline has to be resolved before she can proceed.Clark stepped out of meetings at the Council of the Federation in Halifax to make the announcement as premiers tried to cobble together a pan-Canadian strategy on energy and before they broke for their final news conference.She said she wouldn’t endorse a deal before discussions take place with Ottawa and Alberta over how B.C. would be compensated for allowing the $6-billion pipeline to carry heavy oil to the B.C. coast to be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia.“British Columbia will not be participating in any of those discussions until after we’ve seen some progress that our requirements for the shipment of heavy oil will be met,” she told a hastily called news conference.“It’s not a national energy strategy if British Columbia hasn’t signed on.”Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford have been locked in an intractable dispute over economic benefits associated with the megaproject proposed by Enbridge (TSX:ENB), with Clark saying the sides must talk before there can be any movement.She said the two had a “very frank discussion” about it Friday morning, but didn’t reveal details or if they planned on holding further talks on the matter.Redford has said she sees no point in talking since the pipeline project is a private venture and British Columbia has to decide on its own how to proceed with trying to secure more revenue from it.At the closing news conference, Redford said the lack of unanimity on a national energy plan wasn’t something that concerned her.“I don’t think we should lament the fact that we’re not all the way there yet,” Redford said.“I think we should actually celebrate a tremendous amount of success in that we had almost every premier in the country talking about the fact that we need to come together and talk about how to grow Canada’s energy economy.”But after much talk going into the meeting of co-operation and the evolution of a pan-Canadian energy strategy, the premiers appeared to leave with little more than the creation of a working group of premiers that will build on a 2007 plan.Still, the host of the annual meeting, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, said he wasn’t disappointed in the results of the gathering, which addressed health care, transfer payments, changes to employment insurance and aboriginal issues. He said the work of the council can continue despite the tussle between Alberta and B.C.“I would like to see that work that we’re doing as a bridge over any kind of division,” he said.Clark has said she decided to ask for an unspecified share of benefits from the Northern Gateway after doing analysis on the development, which will move bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast for shipment to Asia.Her government has released five conditions she says need to be met before she can move forward with the pipeline. In addition to the demand for a greater portion of the economic benefits, they include the completion of an environmental review now underway, assurances that the “best” responses will be available for potential spills on land and at sea, and that aboriginal rights will be recognized.Clark repeated her position that the province bears too much risk from oil spills at sea or on land, while receiving only eight per cent in tax benefits.She added another wrinkle to the feud when she called on Ottawa on Wednesday to sit down with her and Redford to hash out the issue. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird responded bluntly by questioning Clark’s stance and reiterating the federal government’s support for the project.Redford has flatly dismissed Clark’s position as one that would “fundamentally change Confederation” because it would mean new negotiations for projects throughout the country.According to research in an application filed by Enbridge, 8.2 per cent of the Northern Gateway’s projected $81 billion tax revenue would flow to B.C. over a 30-year period. That equates to $6.7 billion for B.C., while Ottawa is expected to receive $36 billion and Alberta would earn $32 billion.Saskatchewan is expected to top the remainder of the provinces in terms of tax benefit, receiving about $4 billion.Enbridge’s proposed 1,177-kilometre twin line would carry heavy oil from Alberta across a vast swath of pristine B.C. wilderness and First Nations territory to a port at Kitimat, B.C., for shipment to Asia.Last week, the company announced it will shore up $500 million in safety improvements.Next year’s Council of the Federation meeting will be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. B.C. premier won’t sign national energy strategy until pipeline dispute resolved read more

Column Debt ceiling government shutdown what is the future of American democracy

first_imgAFTER COMING PERILOUSLY close to causing “a massive disruption the world over” – in the words of International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde – US congressional leaders struck a deal at the 11th hour this past week to end the 16-day long partial government shutdown and to raise the debt ceiling (i.e., how much money the US can borrow).  Lagarde’s view was widely shared by business and political leaders around the world.  Like all of us ordinary citizens, none of them could imagine the consequences of the world’s largest economy suddenly having no/limited access to money.While the world may now breathe a collective sigh of relief, the truth is that the deal only fully funds the government until January 15th and lifts the debt limit until February 7th of next year.  The “kicking the can down the road” metaphor has been overused at this stage, but it is apt.Congressional Republicans are the big losersPolitically, the most recent data shows that congressional Republicans are the big losers, with nearly 80% of the American people holding them responsible for what has transpired.  Those “Tea Partiers” who would not fully fund government operations and who have questioned whether the debt ceiling really matters seem possessed by their hatred for President Obama and by their vehement opposition to the health care reform package he got through Congress and successfully stood for re-election on. 162 of them – 144 in the US House of Representatives and 18 in the US Senate – actually voted against the deal to avert an unprecedented calamity for their country.  That is a disgrace.On the flip side, however, there is the sad fact that the US debt now exceeds $17 trillion.  This astonishing and ever-ballooning figure can be attributed, in significant part, to increasingly unsustainable spending on entitlement programmes, such as Social Security and Medicare, that leftist Democrats stubbornly refuse to reckon with.So unless congressional leaders in both parties respond to President Obama’s plea and adopt a “new approach” to dealing with the national debt in the next few months, a similar ugly drama might again unfold early next year.And unfortunately, it is ugly dramas that the rest of the world has grown accustomed to when following events in Washington, DC.  Gridlock, corruption and money are three words that so many people outside the US say come to their minds when they think about American politics.  This leads some to make harsh assumptions about the country’s electorate and to conclude that American democracy is broken beyond repair.  In my view, they are wrong on both fronts; yet there is no question that there are very serious problems on Capitol Hill in 2013.Paucity of moderate voicesPerhaps the most vexing of these is a paucity of moderate voices in the two parties.  In the past, there were sizable factions of liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats – otherwise known as moderates.  Now, it doesn’t take much more than the fingers on two hands to count their number in the House of Representatives and Senate.  Instead, both sides of the aisle, especially the Republican side, are dominated by individuals who are convinced that they are always right and that those who take a different view are always wrong.It is exceedingly difficult to work constructively when this is the case.  In the past, those in the middle were sufficiently numerous that they could blunt the absolutists on their right and left and forge compromise.  Even today, the small band of remaining moderates like Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor are being widely credited with getting the deal done on the government shutdown and debt ceiling.How is it that American politics has come to be dominated by those on the ideological poles?  One factor is certainly the very powerful interest groups on the left and right who play a larger than ever, grossly disproportionate role in the primary contests each party holds to select its general election candidates.  The nationwide networks and extraordinary financial resources these groups have cultivated and can bring to bear mean that the candidates who most stridently toe the line on “their” issues have a pronounced advantage in primaries.A second, related factor is congressional redistricting.  In 34 out of 50 states, state legislatures have the power to reconfigure more than 2/3 of the 435 districts that comprise the House of Representatives and typically do so in a partisan fashion.  The result has been that there are relatively few competitive districts.  Most are either reliably Republican or Democrat.  As such, to win elections, a large majority of congressional candidates must run to the hard right or to the hard left, depending on the district.  In particular, in the safe Republican districts, candidates, once elected, cannot be seen to cooperate with the other side, on anything, or they may face an intra-party challenger in the next primary who will likely have received substantial funding from outside interest groups.The future of American democracy?This is not to say that American politics used to be a bastion of civility or equity.  Government shutdowns have happened before.  The place of money has always been too prominent.  But this past week, 162 members of the current Congress brazenly voted to put the future of America and Americans in real jeopardy.  That is very different.Not even big business interests could persuade these Republicans to ensure temporary stability.  They are a new breed of Republicans whose constituents are disproportionately poor and struggling, but who vote for them because of their similar views on cultural issues and because they are desperately worried about the future of their country for a myriad of good reasons.  These Americans care little about the global economy because it has already left them behind.  This emerging base of support for the Tea Party engenders a complicated and incongruous new political dynamic that is very worrying and is a further impediment to getting more moderates elected to Congress.All this said, I can see why outside observers are so down on American democracy.  I am too at the moment.  I can’t give up though, especially when I read the words one long time Capitol Hill observer wrote after this past week’s vote: “after all the fighting, all the battling of left and right in this country, we’re in this thing together.  In the end what matters is the system of self-government itself.  It’s what gives us the chance to make things better.”  Here’s hoping the US Congress eventually hears and heeds these eternally prescient words.Larry Donnelly is a Boston attorney, a Law Lecturer at NUI Galway and a political columnist with IrishCentral.com.last_img read more