Friday, October 30, 2009

Opinion Polling Chart Changed

As requested, the polling chart on the right has been changed to give each month equal space. This changes the way it appears greatly, as now the gap that has formed between the Liberals and the Conservatives looks as recent as it actually is.

I haven't done this yet for the regional polling, as it is time-consuming. I will take care of it sometime in the future.

14 comments:

  1. Eric,

    This is off topic but what's with Hydro-Quebec moving to acquire NB Power's assets?

    We have various crown corporations in BC. However, I can't think of another example where a gov't owned company from one province is so active in another province.

    If there are please tell me. Because this seems like it could be quite revolutionary in its impact.

    I don't know if I like the idea of relatively stronger provinces buying up assets in weaker provinces. It seems coercive.

    Not to mention inappropriate for Quebec when it still has lots of debt on the books and is recieving equalization.

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  2. Jesse,

    --- "This is off topic but what's with Hydro-Quebec moving to acquire NB Power's assets?"

    I may have misunderstood the media reports, but NB Power approached Hydro-Quebec.

    NB Power has a huge debt of $5 billion, representing 40% of New Brunswick's debt. Power rates are rising, and the province in part relies on coal and diesel burning power.

    Hydro-Quebec is going to wipe out the debt (which is huge in terms of the province's finances) and will be giving the province savings worth $5 billion. They'll be doing this by freezing the rates New Brunswickers pay for the next five years, and giving NB businesses the same beneficial rates that HQ gives to industries in Quebec.

    So, really, this is a great deal for NB. One of the coal power-plants will be closed, and the other polluting power-plants will eventually be closed as well. HQ has enough power to supply NB with clean energy.

    --- "However, I can't think of another example where a gov't owned company from one province is so active in another province."

    NB Power will still operate, but almost as a wing of HQ. Of course, we can't imagine something like this happening in Ontario, but NB only represents a 10% increase in HQ's customer base.

    --- "Not to mention inappropriate for Quebec when it still has lots of debt on the books and is recieving equalization."

    This deal will help Quebec get out of debt and reduce transfer payments. This greatly aids Quebec in being able to sell its power to the United States, which is Quebec's real future. Quebec's energy is clean energy (or at least as clean as you can get) and there's a lot of it. Quebec makes billions selling power to the northeastern United States, and will continue to make billions for years to come. This isn't a finite resource like oil.

    I think it is a great deal for Quebec and New Brunswick. It is bad for Newfoundland & Labrador, but that isn't really Quebec's concern.

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  3. Saskatchewan's crown corporations have been known to operate for-profit businesses outside Saskatchewan (even in the US), but the only thing similar to this scenario I can recall is when BC privatised their phone company (BC Tel) it was promptly acquired by the former Alberta government phone company (Telus).

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  4. "Quebec's energy is clean energy (or at least as clean as you can get)"


    Ummmm. I call BS.

    If you want to talk about air pollution then yes it is. Or even mythical GHG pollution. Then sort of.

    But QH has been one of the biggest ecological disasters to hit this country. Their James Bay project at the forefront of that. 11000 square kilometers flooded (for your GHG believers that is 11000 square kilometers of forest which pulls carbon out of the atmosphere). The loss of habitat for wildlife is staggering not to mention the accumulation of ethyl mercury in local lakes and rivers from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter.

    Clean? Environmentally friendly? some projects are.... but QH?

    BS

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  5. Virtually no air pollution or green-house gases = clean energy (or at least as clean as you can get)

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  6. And some others like the Three Gorges Dam in China are even worse for things like methane production, and the silt that runs though the water making it difficult for sea life.

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  7. You sound like McGuinty on this one Eric. Won't install particulate scrubbers in the coal plants to reduce real pollution because they don't do anything for GHG.

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  8. Thanks for the change Eric, I don't know about you, but I like it better. To Barcs, I think Eric's point was that it is as clean as you can get. I can't think of a source of electricity that doesn't have an environmental downside. Hydro seems like a pretty good choice to me when compared with the other options.

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  9. And, quite likely, it will only get cleaner. You can't make "burning things" environmentally friendly.

    In any case, HQ also has an extensive wind turbine network, representing about 5% of their power production, if I'm not mistaken.

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  10. yes more wind turbines, because they are better.

    I seem to remember suncore being sued in the paper for 500 bird deaths.... 1/2 what a good sized wind farm kills in a year.

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/012540.html#comments

    pretty picture :)


    I didn't say it wasn't good power.. I am just tired of people focusing on one side of "green" and therefore it is good. Everything has drawbacks. And given the very real environmental problems of things like Hydro/wind/ethanol..... I don't see why people tout them as the be all and end all to correct the entire worlds problems for everything.

    While solving some challenges they simply create different challenges than the other methods. Challenges which many in the "green community" are willing to overlook because those methods of generation aren't part of their currently held bias.

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  11. Did you know we could meet the entire power generation requirements of the US (as long as we didn't get a cloudy week) with solar?

    Of course that would still take almost 1.2 billion tonnes of lead acid batteries. (that is green right? solar not being oil and all??) and replaceable every 5 years as they wear out no less.

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  12. Eric,

    Oh i'm not disputing that it would be great for NB. That's kind of the point though. They're not in a position to say no.

    But if its such a sound long term investment, one wonders why they'd sell it. A one time boost to get the provinces books in order and make the provincial gov't look good?

    As for reducing equilization its really just trading debt/interest/risk between balance sheets of two have nots so i'm not sure what the net effect is. Its not really relevent though, provinces can do what they like.

    The only way such a merger could be seen as good is if there is duplication involved (this means job loses) or if greater coordination will mean greater efficiency (this could also be done with some sort of energy pact, although both methods are anti-competitive).

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  13. "(this could also be done with some sort of energy pact, although both methods are anti-competitive)"

    A crown corporation where no competition is allowed to enter the market is not??

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  14. Barcs,

    Individual provinces are well within their rights to grant monopolies to various companies doing bussiness within their borders.

    The point i'm making is that this is a most unusual case where a crown corp is being granted a monopoly in another province.

    If plans go ahead to acquire rights to Nova Scotia and PEI you'd have one province achieving regional domination.

    This strikes me as highly unusual and extremely inappropriate, as well as contrary to Canadian Federalism.

    So I take your point that crown corps are anti-competetive to begin with. I'm just concerned that this is taking it to a whole new level.

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