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FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France, June 16, 2023.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

Atwood and Musk agree on Online Harms Act

Space capitalist Elon Musk and Canadian literary legend Margaret Atwood are in agreement …. on warning that Canadian legislation to bring order to cyberspace threatens freedom of speech, which suggests that Justin Trudeau may have to go back to the drawing board.

The Liberals unveiled the Online Harms Act last month, proposing a digital safety commission to target hate speech, child porn, and other dangerous content. Advocates like Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen have called for governments to pass similar laws, and both the EU and the UK are doing so.

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A "Help Wanted" sign hangs in a restaurant window.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Jobs are up, but Biden and Trudeau still risk losing theirs

January was an encouraging month for job growth in the US and Canada. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 353,000 new jobs stateside with unemployment holding steady at 3.7%. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada says jobs were up by 37,000 during the same period and unemployment was down to 5.7% – a modest drop of 0.1%. Both countries exceeded expectations.

You might think better-than-expected economic news would herald brighter fortunes for President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but you would almost certainly be wrong. Both men’s polling numbers are nowhere near where they’d like them to be.

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A pipe yard servicing government-owned oil pipeline operator Trans Mountain in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Will Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion pay off?

Ian Anderson started work on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion nearly 15 years ago. The now-retired former CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation saw the project to triple the flow of crude by twinning an existing 1,150 km pipeline between Alberta and Canada’s Pacific coast through political opposition, Indigenous protests, unfavorable court rulings, and the sale by its owner, Kinder Morgan.
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Jess Frampton

Dem bias in Ottawa has Trudeau targeting Trump

The most intense debate in the Canadian House of Commons of late has been about a humdrum trade deal update between Canada and Ukraine. It is being disputed by the opposition Conservatives because it contains reference to a carbon tax.

Since Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has made “axing the tax” in Canada his number one priority, he has removed his party’s support from the deal, even though Ukraine has had a carbon tax since 2011.

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Puzzle map of Canada

Luisa Vieira

Is Canada coming apart at the seams?

If Canada’s provinces weren’t squabbling with the federal government, it wouldn’t be Canada. But lately, these tensions seem to be cropping up more forcefully at every turn, and they couldn’t come at a worse time.

The Alberta factor

In recent weeks, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has launched an effort to take half the money in the Canada Pension Plan and set up a separate, Alberta-only pension scheme. The feds, unsurprisingly, say “no way” and have warned of significant economic pain if the province splits from the national plan.

At the same time, energy-rich Alberta is threatening to use a legal loophole to ignore proposed nationwide clean electricity regulations that are part of Canada’s pledge to have a carbon-neutral grid by 2035.

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Danielle Smith of the United Conservative Party (UCP) gestures during her party's provincial election night party.


Populism in Alberta

The big political news of the week in Canada was the down-to-the-wire Alberta election, which pitted the ruling United Conservative Party against the left-leaning New Democratic Party. The UCP, led by controversial populist Danielle Smith, managed to defeat the NDP, whose leader, former premier Rachel Notley, managed to win most of the urban seats.

The results reveal a province more polarized than is typical for Canadian politics, where most legislatures have three parties. Alberta, which is politically influenced by Western states, now resembles them politically in a heavily polarized two-party alignment.

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