Oil Gloom: What Brave Hero Will Defend Fossil Fuels?

There were feelings after the recent Council of the Federation meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Sad feelings. Angry feelings. Many feelings.

The Council of the Federation is the name Canada’s premiers go by when they put on their gang colours and have conferences. Every so often, the group gets together to talk about issues like health care, Treaty rights and, since he never shows up at these things, what a dick Stephen Harper is.

At the July 14-18 meeting, a spat erupted after Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (who didn’t attend the last meeting in January) got miffed over draft energy strategy discussions. Wall accused other premiers of being “embarrassed” by oil, the gooey subterranean resource that’s helped fuel Saskatchewan’s economic resurgence while being a leading contributor to global warming which threatens all of humanity as well as the economy.

New Alberta Premier Rachel Notley countered, suggesting she’d let other premiers engage in “showboating” but Albertans preferred to take a “collaborative, mature, long-term view” of their relationships with other provinces.

“Negotiations are not all about standing in a corner and having a tantrum,” Notley told reporters. “Negotiations are about what you get at the other end. That’s what I’m focused on now.”

The dust-up garnered mixed reviews. Some commentators praised Notley and called Wall’s antics childish. Others, like climate change denier Rex Murphy and the anonymous author of a garbage opinion column in the pro-Tory Edmonton Sun, praised Saskatchewan’s premier for standing up for jobs and the oil industry.

In other news, renowned climate scientist James Hansen published a paper this month warning that our planet’s oceans were warming much faster than climate models have suggested, and catastrophic sea level rise could occur within 50 years, when many readers of this article will still be alive. /Stephen Whitworth

Leaving The Room: The Davies Years Are Drawing To A Close

An end of an era in city politics is fast approaching. A July 20 press release from city hall reports that city manager Glen Davies will retire from the City of Regina as of Nov. 2, 2015.

While Davies is generally a quiet presence at city council meetings, he is the main force behind city administration. During his tenure, he’s led the city through the Design Regina revamp of our Official Community Plan; the project to replace the aging Mosaic Stadium with a new, state-of-the-art facility; and the Public-Private Partnership procurement for the wastewater treatment plant rejuvenation (along with the divisive referendum over that issue). Davies was also heavily involved in reaching an announced resolution to the city’s $225 million pension deficit crisis.

Meanwhile, under Davies’ leadership, city borrowing for capital improvements has reached unprecedented levels, the city administration has undergone several dramatic reorganizations, several high-profile senior administrators have left or been fired, and the city has also seen a significant increase in the use of outside consultants and contracted labour.

According the city’s public accounts, Davies’ 2014 salary was $294,754. The city will undertake a national search to find his replacement. /Paul Dechene