Monthly Archives: November 2012

National Post | Sports

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Happy anniversary to Brian Burke, who was hired as the president and general manager Toronto Maple Leafs four years ago today.

In the past, this date would be an excuse to look back upon all the mistakes that Burke has made in his tenure. But the NHL lockout has postponed the pitchforks and torches.

Had the season not been disrupted by a labour dispute, chances are the picture would not be rosy.

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After arriving at another dead end in negotiations on Thursday, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association emerged from two days of mediation with a new direction to consider.

Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed that the leadership from both sides step aside for the next bargaining session, leaving a group of owners and players to try and break the stalemate…

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National Post | Full Comment

Rob Ford, meet Alison Redford. At the same time Toronto’s city council has been engulfed in chaos over a judge’s ousting of the city’s mayor, Alberta’s provincial legislature is up in arms over the premier’s handling of a billion-dollar tobacco case, and opposition parties are demanding she stand down.

There’s a bit of a difference in the two situations. Toronto’s municipal government is accustomed to high drama and low farce, to the point that it’s almost expected. But Alberta’s provincial legislature is usually a somnolent place, where the overwhelming mass of Conservatives has easily ignored the weak cries of scattered opponents.

Not any more. The arrival of a feisty crew of Wildrose MLAs on opposition benches has given a life to the legislature that has rarely been seen. Calgary columnist Don Braid called Thursday’s session a “riveting day with little precedent” in the province’s political theatre. Wildrose House Leader Rob…

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National Post | News

Now that Mayor Rob Ford has been cleared to run in a byelection or be reappointed — if he is ultimately removed from office — the pace is quickening for those who want to take him on, with a Miller-era budget chief coming forward to say she could do a better job.

Councillor Shelley Carroll is done being “coy” about her leadership ambitions — what with a Thursday council meeting that devolved into insults and threats — and says she should be the candidate to oppose Mr. Ford in an election.

“I think I could run this city a damn sight better than the current mayor and abide by the law while doing it,” said Ms. Carroll, who clearly favours one candidate challenging the mayor.

The buzz at city hall has centred around a potential byelection, but it may not come to that if the mayor is allowed to remain…

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National Post | News

Defeated in court, Rob Ford took on his political foe on city council Thursday, calling Councillor Adam Vaughan a liar and accusing him of trying to “shake down” a developer.

The battle began with a Queen Street condo development in Mr. Vaughan’s downtown ward that staff had rejected. Mr. Vaughan asked council to approve the project and a settlement he helped negotiate that would secure $1-million in fees from the developer, which would go to improving the sidewalks in the area.

A fired-up mayor didn’t like the plan and accused the councillor of having acted improperly.

“All I’m saying is that looks like a shakedown,” said Mr. Ford. “Call it what you want. You cannot go up to developers and say I want a million dollars when staff say they don’t want it. That is problematic… It’s absolutely wrong.”

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The mayor later retracted his “shakedown” comment but maintained…

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National Post | News

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will meet as soon as early next week with the Canadian diplomats the federal government is recalling from Israel, the West Bank and the UN.

In an interview with the National Post, Mr. Baird said he will meet with those representatives in Ottawa for a frank discussion on Canada’s next move after Thursday’s UN vote that implicitly recognized a Palestinian state.

Despite widespread speculation, Mr. Baird said Canada is not considering breaking off relations with the Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and deferred questions about Canadian aid to International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino.

“We want to get the advice and counsel of the representatives closest to the file,” Mr. Baird said in a telephone interview from New York, where he joined the United States and Israel in vehemently opposing the Palestinian bid Thursday. “We’re not looking at breaking off relations with the Palestinian Authority, but…

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National Post | News

Faster than light (FTL) travel has always been a hallmark of science fiction, but buzz kill scientists have always said the concept was impossible because it violates the cardinal rule of Einstein’s relativity, namely that the very building blocks of the universe mean that nothing can go faster than light.

Now NASA may have found a loophole, enabling them to travel to distant stars that are several light years away, all without violating relativity. The only problem? It might blow up whatever is waiting at its destination.

Back in 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre came up with a novel way to get around the relativity problem: warping space-time. He proposed a mechanism where a vehicle would move forward by contracting space-time in front and expanding space-time behind. This would be accomplished through placing a spheroid object within specifically shaped concentric rings creating a space-time warp bubble. This warp bubble would push…

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National Post | News

Home to sea birds, seals, a lighthouse, two Canadian lighthouse keepers, a couple of out buildings and a collection of summer researchers with a particular interest in puffins, Machias Seal Island is, on most days, a tranquil spot.

But every July 4th, Barna Norton, a crusty old sea captain out of Jonesport, Me., used to crank up his vessel, The Chief, and chug towards the island, a 20-acre lump of rock where the Bay of Fundy meets the Gulf of Maine. He would barge ashore with a large golf umbrella emblazoned with an American flag and plant it in front of a Parks Canada sign identifying the island as a Canadian Coast Guard facility.

“Once again, in front of this sign,’’ he would say, ‘‘I declare that this island belongs to the United States.”

Mr. Norton died eight years ago. But his cause remains. It, and North Rock, another nearby…

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National Post | News

WASHINGTON — Susan Rice’s would-be path to the U.S. State Department hit another snag on Wednesday following revelations that she owns significant stock in Calgary-based TransCanada, the energy giant hoping to win approval from the Obama administration to build its Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Department is in charge of making a final decision on the US$7-billion pipeline since it crosses an international border.

If Rice, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is tapped to be Hillary Clinton’s replacement as secretary of state — and subsequently survives the nomination process in the U.S. Senate — she’d be in a potential conflict-of-interest situation.

As first reported by On Earth, an environmental news website affiliated with the Natural Resources Defence Council, Rice holds substantial investments in several Canadian oil companies and financial institutions.

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Many of them stand to gain from both the pipeline and the expansion of Alberta’s…

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Financial Post | Business

TORONTO — A new report says Ontario businesses need to start spending the “dead cash” languishing in coffers if the province wants to prevent “slow or stagnant” economic growth.

The Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress says Ontario’s economy can no longer afford for companies to hold onto “larger cash balances” instead of investing the money to trigger more productivity.

“Companies need to step up their efforts to grow the economy, and counterbalance risk by producing higher returns,” urged the 74-page report released on Thursday, titled A Push for Growth: The Time is Now.

“Given the higher level of cash balances, this is the time to turn this situation around and for companies to innovate and invest in productivity-enhancing projects.”

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The task force was created in 2001 by the Ontario government to monitor economic progress compared to the other provinces and the United States.

In…

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Financial Post | Opinion

Policy actions that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to influence future climate. Policies need to focus on preparation for, and adaptation to, all dangerous climatic events, however caused


Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
 
 
 
 
 
 
H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
First Avenue and East 44th Street, New York, New York, U.S.A.
November 29, 2012

Mr. Secretary-General:

On November 9 this year you told the General Assembly: “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal … Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to … even larger climate shocks … and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 … This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.”

On November 13 you said at Yale: “The science is clear; we should waste no more…

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