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Alberta

Ottawa’s next phase of ‘plastics’ war will increase cost of fruits and vegetables

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4 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

For decades, nutrition advocates have exhorted Canadians to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Canada’s Food Guide suggests that half of our meals should be fruits and veggies. Why then does the Trudeau government plan to increase fruit and vegetable waste—and increase their costs?

It’s all about the government’s war on plastics, specifically its agenda to eliminate plastic waste by 2030. Having already banned single-use plastic items such as drinking straws, stir sticks and plastic cutlery, the government plans to target plastic food packaging. And that’s going to hit consumers in the pocket.

According to a new study from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), under the new reduced-plastic packaging regime, food loss and waste will potentially increase 495,000 tonnes above current levels, incurring financial losses valued at $3.4 billion. These losses, at least in significant part, will ultimately be passed onto consumers. In a report by CTV, reporter Kevin Gallagher suggests that increased costs to consumers might reach 30 per cent.

The study authors suggest this estimate should be considered conservative, because it does not include the potential for single-use plastic bans causing a “complete disruption to some sectors of the fresh produce industry, and the anticipated 17.5 per cent increase in operating costs voiced by respondents that industry would incur.” And 17.5 per cent is the median—cost increases ranged from 11 per cent to 25 per cent. Assuming these increased costs are passed onto consumers, Canadians will see the price of fruits and veggies take yet another jump.

And for what reason? The Trudeau government has foolishly committed Canada to a “Zero Plastic Waste by 2030” crusade. But as I showed in a 2022 study published by the Fraser Institute, Canada does not have a significant plastic waste problem. Less than 1 per cent of plastics used in Canada end up as waste in the environment, and 99 per cent is safely buried in landfills, recycled or incinerated. Canada does not contribute a measurable part of the world’s plastic pollution.

And the government’s own analysis suggests that pursuing this war on plastics will ultimately lead to greater waste of alternative materials, which is already raising concerns among the environmentally-minded. In a separate CTV report Melanie Nagy quotes Nicole Rycroft, founder of Canopy, a forest conservation NGO, who said we should “shift away from using plastics as much as we do, but trading in plastic pollution for deforestation and forest degradation is not the answer” and we must “make sure we do not create another environmental disaster.” Rycroft added that “more than three billion trees—many of which are old-growth and endangered—are logged every year to make paper-based products like bags, straws and food containers.”

The Trudeau government’s zero plastic waste crusade was unsound policy from inception, and its own analysis showed the plan’s costs would outstrip its benefits and that it would create more waste, not less. And that most of that increased waste would come from increased consumption of wood and paper products.

Now, the government plans to ratchet up this harmful program, raising already painfully expensive produce in Canada to more painful levels. Ottawa must halt its “Zero Plastic Waste” agenda and take the entire concept back to the drawing board. It’s simply bad policy—bad for Canadian families, bad for our food sector, and as the Canopy tree people observe, bad for the environment.

Alberta

Premier Smith announces plan to boost Alberta’s Heritage Fund to at least 250 Billion by 2050

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From CPAC on YouTube

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivers state-of-the-province address

In a televised address from Edmonton, Danielle Smith, the premier of Alberta, delivers an update on her government’s vision and legislative priorities.

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Alberta

Alberta looking to ban electronic vote tabulators ahead of next provincial election

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.

The conservative Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has confirmed she is looking to ban the use of electronic vote tabulators in future provincial elections after issues with them in the 2023 election saw massive delays in the tallying of votes.  

Smith, according to a report from True North, while speaking to a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser on January 26 in the community of Bonnyville was asked if she would “end the use of voting tabulators across the province?” 

Smith replied with a firm “yes.” 

The 2023 Alberta provincial elections held in May saw Smith and her UCP win a majority, although a slim one, over the left-wing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP).

Elections Alberta used what is called a Vote Anywhere Service, which allowed anyone to vote at any voting place regardless of which riding (jurisdiction) they were actually voting in. While paper ballots were used for the election, electronic tabulators were used to count the votes from all hand ballots. A form was then printed out with the result of each riding from the tabulators count of the hand ballots.  

However, the electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.  

Elections Alberta noted in June 2023, per True North, that “[w]e did not use any electronic data transfer from the tabulators, as the tabulators used for advance voting were never connected to a network at any time.” 

“As a result, it was a manual process to verify and enter these results.”  

As for Smith, before the 2023 election, she noted that she was confident in Elections Alberta’s plan to use electronic tabulators, as “we have the ability to do a hand count as a follow up in the event there are close results, I believe that’s going to be sufficient.” 

“That’s, I think, something that people expect in democracy – that you should be able to verify a vote if results end up very close,” she added.  

Elections Alberta, however, has pushed back on returning to hand counting ballots, saying it would increase the manual workload of employees.

There were many close results on election night, with the NDP losing a few seats by only a handful of votes in some Calgary ridings.  

Smith gave no timeline as to how or when she would make the change.

Many large municipalities in Alberta, including the province’s two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, use electronic tabulators for ballot counting.

Issues surrounding electronic voting machines as well as tabulators came to a head in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which saw Joe Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump. 

A report published by LifeSiteNews last year documented how a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, who had previously testified to Congress on the integrity of voting machines, warned lawmakers in Arizona to never trust them.  

“Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election,” said Curtis. 

“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them. You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe.”  

Of note is that Curtis is a Democrat who had worked as a programmer for NASA, as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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