Ottawa invokes 1977 pipeline treaty in separate Line 5 dispute, this one in Wisconsin
WASHINGTON — For the second time in a year, the federal government is invoking a little-known 1977 energy treaty between Canada and the United States to defend the Line 5 pipeline.
This time, it’s in Wisconsin, where Line 5 skirts the southwestern shores of Lake Superior before crossing into Michigan.
In both states, federal judges are hearing court cases aimed at getting the controversial cross-border pipeline shut down.
An Indigenous band in Wisconsin is arguing that the pipeline’s owner, Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., no longer has the right to operate on its territory.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is seeking treaty talks with the U.S. because of the importance of Line 5 to North America’s energy security.
The treaty, which was invoked last October in the Michigan case, is expressly designed to ensure the uninterrupted operation of hydrocarbons through the U.S.
“The economic and energy disruption and damage to Canada and the U.S. from a Line 5 shutdown would be widespread and significant,” Joly said in a statement.
“This would impact energy prices, such as propane for heating homes and the price of gas at the pump. At a time when global inflation is making it hard on families to make ends meet, these are unacceptable outcomes.”
The statement says Canada “strongly” supports a proposal by Enbridge to reroute the pipeline around the Bad River Band reservation in northern Wisconsin.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2022.
The Canadian Press
World Bank offers dim outlook for the global economy in face of higher interest rates
That’s the latest outlook of the World Bank, a 189-country anti-poverty agency, which estimates that the international economy will expand just 2.1% in 2023 after growing 3.1% in 2022. Still, the bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report, which it issued Tuesday, marks an upgrade from its previous forecast in January. That estimate had envisioned worldwide growth of just 1.7% this year.
The Federal Reserve and other major central banks have been aggressively raising interest rates to combat a resurgence of inflation, set off by a stronger-than-expected rebound from the pandemic recession, persistent supply shortages and energy and food price shocks caused by the Ukraine war.
But the global economy has proved surprisingly resilient in the face of higher borrowing costs, and the World Bank predicts that growth will accelerate to 2.4% in 2024.
The United States has continued to generate unexpectedly robust job gains — employers added 339,000 workers in May, far more than economists had forecast — even though the Fed has raised its benchmark rate 10 times in the past 15 months. In its report Tuesday, the World Bank upgraded its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year to 1.1%. Though weak, that is more than double the growth the World Bank had envisioned in January.
The eurozone, which represents the 20 countries that share the euro currency, is expected to post collective growth of 0.4% this year. That, too, marks a slight upgrade: In January, the World Bank had expected no growth at all for the eurozone this year. Europe, struggling with higher energy prices caused by the Ukraine war, enjoyed relief from a surprisingly warm winter, which reduced demand for heat.
The World Bank upgraded its 2023 outlook for China after Beijing late last year relaxed its draconian zero-COVID policies, which had restricted travel and hammered its economy. The world’s second-biggest economy is now expected to grow 5.6% in 2023, up from 3% last year. The World Bank envisions Japan’s growth decelerating to 0.8% this year from 1% in 2022. It foresees India’s growth slowing to a still-strong 6.3% from 7.2% last year.
The bank predicts that global trade will slow markedly this year. It foresees a sharp drop in the price of energy and other commodities this year and next.
The Plan: Lock You Down for 130 Days
From the Brownstone Institute
What if the coronavirus pandemic was not a once-in-a-century event but the beginning of a new era of regular deadly respiratory viral pandemics? The Biden administration is already planning for this future. Last year, it unveiled a national strategy to develop pharmaceutical firms’ capacity to create vaccines within 130 days of a pandemic emergency declaration.
The Biden plan enshrines former president Donald Trump‘s Operation Warp Speed as the model response for the next century of pandemics. Left unsaid is that, for the new pandemic plan to work as envisioned, it will require us to conduct dangerous gain-of-function research. It will also require cutting corners in the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of novel vaccines. And while the studies are underway, politicians will face tremendous pressure to impose draconian lockdowns to keep the population “safe.”
In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, it took about a year for governments to deploy the jab at scale after scientists sequenced the virus. Scientists identified a vaccine target—fragments of the spike protein that the virus uses to access cells—by early January 2020, even before the WHO declared a worldwide pandemic.
This rapid response was only possible because some scientists already knew much about the novel virus. Despite heavy regulations limiting the work, the US National Institutes of Health had funded collaborations between the EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They collected bat viruses from the wild, enhanced their function to study their potential, and designed vaccines before the viruses infected humans.
While there is controversy over whether this gain-of-function work is responsible for the COVID pandemic, there is no question this research is potentially dangerous. Even cautious scientists sometimes accidentally leak hazardous, highly infectious viruses into the surrounding community. In December 2021, for instance, the virus that causes COVID-19 accidentally leaked out of a laboratory in Taiwan, where scientists were researching the virus.
A promising vaccine target would be needed immediately after a disease outbreak for the Biden pandemic plan to work. For that to be possible, there will need to be permanent support for research enhancing the capacity of viruses to infect and kill humans. The possibility of a deadly laboratory leak will hang over humanity into perpetuity.
Furthermore, before any mass vaccination campaign, pharmaceutical firms must test the vaccines for safety. High-quality randomized, controlled studies are needed to make sure the vaccine works.
In 1954, Jonas Salk’s group tested the vaccine in a million children before the polio mass vaccination campaign that effectively defanged the threat of polio to American children. Physicians need the results of these studies to provide accurate information to patients.
Operation Warp Speed cut red tape so that vaccine manufacturers could conduct these studies rapidly. The randomized trials cut some corners. For instance, the Pfizer and Moderna trials did not enroll enough people to determine whether the COVID vaccines reduce all-cause mortality.
Nor did they determine whether the vaccines stop disease transmission; a few months after the government deployed the vaccines, researchers found protection against infection was partial and short-lived. Each of these cut corners has since created policy controversies and uncertainty that better trials would have avoided. Because of the pressure to produce a vaccine within 130 days, President Biden’s pandemic plan will likely force randomized trials on future vaccines to cut the same corners.
This policy effectively guarantees that lockdowns will return to the US in the event of a new pandemic. Though the lockdowns did not work to protect populations from getting or spreading COVID—after 2.5 years, nearly everyone in the US has had COVID—public health bureaucracies like the CDC have not repudiated the strategy.
Imagine the early days of the next pandemic, with public health and the media fomenting fear of a new pathogen. The impetus to close schools, businesses, churches, beaches, and parks will be irresistible, though the pitch will be “130 days until the vax” rather than “two weeks to flatten the curve.”
When the vaccine finally arrives, the push to mass vaccinate for herd immunity will be enormous, even without evidence from the rushed trials that the vaccine provides long-lasting protection against disease transmission. This happened in 2021 with the COVID vaccine and would happen again amidst the pandemic panic. The government would push the vaccine even on populations at low risk from the novel pathogen. Mandates and discrimination against the unvaccinated would return, along with a fierce movement to resist them. The public’s remaining trust in public health would shatter.
Rather than pursue this foolish policy, the Biden administration should adopt the traditional strategy for managing new respiratory-virus pandemics. This strategy involves quickly identifying high-risk groups and adopting creative strategies to protect them while not throwing the rest of society into panic.
The development of vaccines and treatments should be encouraged, but without imposing an artificial timeline that guarantees corners will be cut in evaluation. And most of all, lockdowns—a disaster for children, the poor, and the working class—should be excised from the public health toolkit forever.
A version of this piece appeared in Newsweek
My Official Apology to the New York Post
Canadian Press NewsAlert: Suncor cutting 1,500 jobs
Notre Dame’s fire-ravaged roof rebuilt using medieval techniques
Meta will test blocking news on Instagram, Facebook for some Canadians
International1 day ago
Mexico president’s ruling party ousts once-dominant party in most populous state
Alberta1 day ago
Experts say Ottawa’s ‘right to repair’ consultation should prioritize consumer rights
Alberta23 hours ago
City official says Calgary Flames arena deal to include a 35-year commitment to stay
National1 day ago
Watchdog’s relations with spy community ‘particularly strained’ over last year
Business1 day ago
UPS strike looms in a world grown reliant on everything delivered everywhere all the time
conflict4 hours ago
Collapse of major dam in southern Ukraine triggers emergency as Moscow and Kyiv blame each other
Addictions5 hours ago
B.C. officials push back against safe supply critics and their ‘polarizing rhetoric’
Business4 hours ago
Saudi Arabia is slashing oil supply. It could mean higher gas prices for US drivers