Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cu do for Iris Evans!

Iris Evans gets a cu do from me on her recent announcements for early prevention and intervention into bad health situations that are weighted towards poverty and diet. Thank you Iris Evans.

She mentioned a year ago she was thinking of such a program along with Gym memberships and what amounts to penalties for those people not living health life styles.

I have no problem with any of this.

If only there was a track record leading up to it! I'm thinking that in a year, possibly two we will hear that another 500 millions have been spent in a public health program and is now being sold for a dollar to Dinning or another such person.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Conservatives a house of intolerance!

The mainstream politic in the Conservative Party is at best terrifying. They have fielded a leadership race of bigotry, Christian fundamentalism and outright chicanery. Not the least of these programs is outlined in the Edmonton Sun today page 22 news. That they are playing to what they perceive is the audience of main stream Albertans means the middle road part of this population have a lot of work to do.

Ed Stelmach in his extreme views is still pushing “Fortress Alberta” He wants to get your Canada Pension into Alberta Coffers because in his view, this fund turned over to private industry to invest would return more to the participants and allow the Provincial Government the ability to borrow what ever amount they want from the fund at what ever rates they decide.

As with most of these Conservative programs the term “all the market will bear” is bandied about. In their case, it is misused, taking on the meaning that “we give the citizen the very least they will accept in order to increase corporate profit” That is their track record!

Mr. Dinning thinks this is a good idea, not a top priority while Mr. Oberg has dodged the bullet by saying it is simply not a priority.

Mazankowski and Great West Life are hungry for this account!

John Clark

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dinning's screw ups coming to roost

Dinnings screw ups are coming to roost. He and Ralph started the Alberta Intermodel Services, a scheme to start the inland port at Calgary and Edmonton.

In this scheme Dinning drew up a plan where Alberta would guarantee the CPR 700.00 a container return for every container they could bring into Alberta. Of course, a number of the conservative buddies jumped aboard like Dow Chemical, who paid only 200 dollars a load back to Vancouver. The Alberta Treasury paid the other 500.00 to the CPR. Not really the way the plan was made; it was however how it turned out.

Over 8 years or so, close to one hundred million dollars was paid out to the CPR for their efforts. In the final deal the property and equipment amassed by AIS was sold to the CPR and celebrated as the deal of the century.

None of the “start up costs” of a hundred million or so was ever recovered.
Because of the artificially low container rates trucking companies are talking of abandoning Alberta all together.

Two more years passed and the CPR figured there was more money to be made elsewhere and cut the low revenue runs out of Alberta, leaving Alberta's high and dry facing much increased costs and next to nothing for service.

Take the money and run; the Dinning way.

Now we are faced with the same BS again. This time the oil companies who have forever taken our resources for nothing on a promise of the buddy system are saying the climate is not adequate in Alberta for refining or up grading the crude mined in the tar sands.

So much for Dinning’s friends and Dinning’s super system.

I hope the Conservatives out there can see the light and turf this guy once and for all.

I would say it is in the interests of the still free Alberta regardless of what your party is, to buy a conservative membership and go the convention for the purpose of voting for a candidate other than Dinning.

Make it the biggest turn out in Conservative history!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Water fix in one segment being looked at

Farmers are said to be the original environmentalists and, I don’t disagree. There was however some false starts as farmers generally built their stock yards next to the water supply. The water supply in the form of creeks and springs are generally open sources to the water table or aquifer. Remember Wakerton Ontario?

The Alberta Government has started a program to evaluate where stock yards are in relation to the water table and what are the chances of the migration of bacteria from the stock yard into the water table.

They will advise the farmers where to move their stock compounds to where necessary and, pay for the re-location.

Rural folks with problems in this area should be contacting the Government!

With closer scrutiny on gravel operations (they actually open the water aquifer) and a hard ball set of rules for oil sumps we may yet get a handle on our water. Perhaps we can get a program going for re-cementing oil wells where the plugs are deteriorating. This, while we still have oil companies to pay for the repair.

John Clark

Monday, September 25, 2006

119 million liters of water from Red Deer River

Ferus Gas Industries of Calgary received a preliminary water licence for 119 million liters of water per year. This water is to be taken from the Red Deer River for the purpose of building a plant for nitrogen extraction to be used in the oil industry.

This project(go to other stories -Water licence granted to plant ) is moving ahead in a civilized manner. Ferus has avoided the knee jerk reaction of going to the water aquifer for their water. For that they should be commended.

Conversations of not much and moderated use drew my attention.

119 million liters of water is the same as 997,983 bbls of water.
119 million liters of water is 119,000 cubic meters of water.
119 million liters of water will cover a football field 14.5 meters deep.

The flow of the Red River is 25.5 cubic meters per second. It will take 78 minutes for119 million liters of water to flow past any one point on the Red River! How often have you spent an hour watching the river?

The same people say it is not much more water than it takes to grow alfalfa. This is a major understatement. Thanks to the folks at Alberta Connects, Alfalfa needs between 550 and 650 mm of water in the growing season. That would be 2' deep spread over an acre. A football field is close to 2 acres for reference. That would cover the football field to a depth of 48'

Hardly and apples to apples comparison.

It seems to me Ferus Gas could install a condenser in their plant and a build a nice looking recovery pond, possibly reducing their water use by 80% ! Perhaps, plant a tree?

The city of Red Deer is counting on much of the water being pumped off during the flood season. This would be nice if it were true but, this would entail a lake being built the size of a football field with 3 story tall sides surrounding it. To dig such a lake would cut into the water aquifer.

The bottom line is that industry will need water to grow.

I find it distressing that the oil industry claims more fresh water than we do in our homes and, they get it free.

If they did pay for it, we would give them the money back by way of the royalty schedule that is in place.

John Clark

Friday, September 22, 2006

One example of how we are getting robbed.

Norway only got into the oil business about 1986 and has amassed 160 billion dollars in the state fund from oil Royalties. (Article is dated) They charge much more than does Alberta and, the oil companies are still there!

Alberta under the conservatives have turned all the revenue back to the oil companies. And if Dinning is elected as leader of the Conservatives there will be still more going in that direction.

As I reported earlier the oil companies had a holiday from taxes due to a deduction for unknown future losses as well as an outright holiday from the Alberta Government.

The 111 million the Conservatives are going to collect now in taxes is nothing short of window dressing and should not have been given away in the first place. What it really represents is billions of mispent taxdollar.

We should be getting billions more!

Norway has managed to diversify it’s economy. Government is run by the state and, not by the oil companies.

John Clark

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CTV Special on Alberta Tar Sands Start Oct 2

The CTV is starting a coverage of Alberta’s oil sands development and the hardships it is causing in the province. I have no inside information on this show but it promises to be an image feed like none other we have seen.

As far as facts however, it appears to be the oil company’s turn to expound on hardships of their business with the point being made over and over that they may leave because of expense. If not for the tremendous good returns they probably wouldn’t start up.

Keep in mind:
Oil companies pay nothing for their oil sands development. That is paid for by Albertans as a much reduced royalty income.

Even monies paid to fiancé these programs are deductible!

Their expenditures remain largely un audited and, there is no list of not acceptable expenses!

The royalties are the lowest in the world, bar none. These same companies are working in other countries under very harsh and even dangerous conditions and they make no noise about leaving.

If we were to collect 2% rather than our present 1% on developing tar sands and if we were to collect 40% royalties rather than the present 25% we would still be collecting the lowest royalties in the world.

Beyond this the oil companies are the single largest user of fresh water (which they get for nothing) and the largest single user of natural gas which they get for nothing. And, even if they did pay anything it would come directly out of expenses which are paid for by the Alberta Taxpayers.

John Clark

Monday, September 18, 2006

Now the Water!

Soon enough Canadian will again hate the way they voted!
Cellucci was the negotiator who skinned us in Mulrony's Free Trade. Mulrony's negotiator is Harper's representative to the US on Trade. 2 plus 2 still adds up!

You better get onto your MP right away and let him know what you think about putting bulk water on the trade table for softwood lumber treatment. This is the move Klein was counting on! (not sure how long they will allow this blog up!)

Cellucci wants water on table
Ex U.S. ambassador wants resource included in trade talks
Mike De Souza, CanWest News ServicePublished: Monday, September 18, 2006
OTTAWA - A former American ambassador is pushing for a fresh debate on bulk water exports from Canada to quench the growing thirst of the American south and midwest.

Paul Cellucci, who was replaced by David Wilkins after stepping down as U.S. ambassador to Canada in March 2005, is suggesting water be included in the same category as other natural resources exported as Canadian commodities on the market.

"It wasn't an issue when I was ambassador, but it was one I always found puzzling that it was completely off the table," said Cellucci in an interview.
He argued water is a renewable resource, as opposed to such non-renewable Canadian exports as oil, natural gas, uranium and coal, adding that the two countries will be forced to confront the issue.

But a citizens organization that has fought for more protectionist measures for Canada in free trade agreements warns American officials are quietly laying the groundwork for bulk exports that could deprive Canadians of their resources.
"We live next to a super power," said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "The super power is getting mighty thirsty."

At present, Canadian provinces allow water to be exported in bottles, while there is a ban on bulk exports on boundary waters shared with the United States. However, Barlow said Canada would lose control over the resource under the North American Free Trade Agreement, if any province or territory opens the door to bulk sales of water to U.S. regions facing record droughts.
With Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government developing a national water strategy, Barlow stressed she wasn't suggesting Canada close the door to sharing its resources with countries in need.

But Cellucci said it is an important economic issue since the Canadian and U.S. markets are "inextricably connected." He said a severe drought in southern American states would have a significant impact on the Canadian economy.
Some experts say it's unlikely the U.S. would bully Canada into exporting its water, since that could affect the ecosystems and resources of the northern states.

"There are going to be environmental impacts on both sides of the border if we start mega-scale diversions," said Joseph Rasmussen, the Canada research chair in aquatic ecosystems at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. "They don't want those impacts any more than we do."

Gretchen Hamel, a spokesperson for the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said the issue is brought up every few years, but there are no negotiations or proposals on the table.

According to federal government estimates, Canada has the third-largest supply of fresh water on its territory behind Brazil and Russia.

More Evidence Alta Link plan is one of Export not domestic.

Electrical engineeer comes out against the published reasons:

Mr. Rolf,

If ALTALink were to adopt your idea we'd be into worse problems than we have had with deregulation because your idea simply would not work!

Firstly the doubling of alternating current in the same or even doubling the crossectional area of conductors in alternating current circuits would not make the voltage drop significantly less. This is because most of the voltage drop in transmission lines is not due to resistance: at heavy currents: it's largely due to "inductive reactance". That is caused by the fact that there is a "flywheel effect": perhaps you have experienced the shock you receive when you touch an electric fence on a farm? Once a current starts to flow it requires an effort to stop it and reverse its direction and that is what electrical engineers refer to as "inductive reactance". While increasing the crossectional area of the conductors will reduce this "inductive reactance" the amount of decrease is really not as significant as you seem to believe.

Secondly, doubling the crossectional area of the conductor, assuming that the percentage of the crossectional area that is steel remains constant, would increase the mass of the conductor by a factor of two. In order to maintain the same ground clearance the tension in the larger conductor would need to be approximately twice as great. That would mean that terminal supporting structures would need to be replaced...that is "guaranteed" and it is quite likely that many of the structures that are in a straight line (we call them tangent structures) would need to be strengthened as well.

While the various supporting structures are being strengthened and the terminal structures are being replaced, the transmission line would need to be out of service i.e. some people would find that they were without electric power.

While I do not have much experience in rebuilding transmission lines, I do have some but it was all a result of force majeure.

By formal education, I am a graduate electrical engineer. By experience, I am an electric conductor engineer which is a specialty in that discipline. I have helped to design transmission lines in many States of the USA, in Quebec, In Iran, in Turkey, and in Saudi Arabia.
You could find my name in the Acknowledgements near the front of "Wind Induced Conductor Motion" which is a textbook published by the Electric Power Research Institute, a corporation established by act of the Congress of the USA to do research for electric utilities. I have seen copies of that textbook in TransAlta and in IREQ, the research arm of Hydro Quebec. Frankly, I don't know why my name appears there. It could have been any one or all of the three authors who suggested that I be acknowledged along with my late friend and co-worker, Ed. Doocy. Yes, I have an American patent and am awaiting a Canadian patent for the same device.

K. Allan Dane, M.Sc.(EE)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Royalties - a balance

The Journalism in Alberta has been really good as of recent times, even excellent. No exception to this in Gordon Jaremko’s even handed article on the profits of the oil companies.

At the heart is what we pretty well all know is; if they get windfall profits, better than any place else on this earth, they will come and, they will stay. A no brainer.

My argument has long been we should be receiving at the very least, a royalty that is not less than 80 percent lower than the lowest royalty in the world!

Time for numbers! If we were to add an additional 1% (increasing to 2% the royality paid on deveoping projects and add 15% royalty onto all levels of the tar sands royalties it would increase by 10 times the amount of money received in this province!

Perhaps then the Conservatives could legislate standards of care for seniors?

Would the oil companies suffer? Not at all! It is not that they have to consider costs; it is all cost plus and, my figures will still leave this province with the lowest royalities in the world, bar none!

Their stocks would still pay more than that of banks or other leading industries. They will still have their windfall profits! Consider the high oil prices are expected to continue for another 15 years we have to ask ourselves why are we content with this sham of a program? Do we have to wait through 10 years of BS to get a proper dividend?

I would love to hear from the oil companies if they feel I am in error!

John Clark

Difference between Liberals and Conservatives?

The Hon. StĂ©phane Dion, one of the leaders in the Federal Liberal campaign was very candid on TV yesterday. He said “We will do what they do in California; we will do what they do in Australia” and, a few more we will do points.

This is about Globalization. Australia has turned its health care over to private industry entirely and no one in Australia that depends on this service is happy with it. The larger US insurance companies have literally taken over the Auzzie health care! Just as they are finding their way into Canadian Health care.

California was first on board with Globalization. Having no social structure at all, they found it comfortable.

Mr. Martin told us Globalization was good for Canada. Mr. Martin was going head long into privatized health care.

Mr. Dion is simply telling us the way it is going to be under the Liberals. Not much different than the PCs as I read it.

Because provincial parties follow the Feds in most cases, it is time to ask your provincial parties where they stand on some of these issues rather than let them ride the wave of discontent to a cheap win.

John Clark

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Power line increases more than red herring

New power line hitting consumers hard is more than a red herring!

The Power line project is being spun as an outdated Calgary Edmonton corridor. In truth Edmonton is shipping all the power it can to Calgary now and, Calgary has enough; the lines are more than adequate.

Alta Link ownership is interesting. This used to be your inexpensive Alberta Advantage that the Conservatives thought was obscene.

US Electric Grid entering the end Game - the market you are paying the lines for.

The Oil Companies are bringing power on line to export to the US and to the Alberta market. Sherrittb Fording is going to build a Genesee sized plant at Brooks Alberta. Fording will build the plant, Sheritt will sell them the coal. This will allow Calgary more power than is presently being generated for both areas and, it dosen't need to be moved between Calgary and Edmonton!

ATCO is looking for EUB approval to build a power line down the east boundary of Alberta to Montana. The line to Calgary, charged to the Alberta rate payer will be used to export electricity to the US on lines being paid for by the Alberta consumers.

The costs of power lines like tar sands are not controlled. They are all cost-plus operations and the EUB allows the highest returns in Canada. The Conservatives say all power lines in the province are paid for by the Alberta taxpayer. Your will recall Ralph and Dinning took control of the power lines saying it was to properly distribute power line revenue to school boards.

No where is there a formula for how to charge the exporters for their use of the lines?

As to the cost; these power lines should have been upgraded 10 years ago. Klein turned off the entire infrastructure funding so, no upgrades. Meanwhile, China bought up all the steel stock and supply world wide. Ship salvages operations, scrap yards and mines.

The steel tire rim you bought for 2 bucks 5 years ago will cost you 40 dollars now! And, so went the price of the steel towers.

The oil companies are spending our money (cost plus) on the highest wages in Canada and we pay twice or three times because we have to pay the higher front end away from the tar sands.

The long and the short of it is that the program is going exactly as the Conservatives planned it and we, the taxpayer pay through the nose!

It will take a strong leader to reclaim even a portion of what we have lost.

On another venue;

The Conservative Government has a dog and pony show moving quietly around the country on meetings to find out if we are happy with our 1% royalty take and if we are happy with the environmental impact. They are reported to be using these forums as a platform for scare tactics. If we want a fair share, the oil companies will quit. Don't you believe it!

John Clark

Dinning needs to answer some questions.

Mr. Jim Dinning has held executive positions with both Trans-Alta Utilities (who dropped out of the Calgary-Edmonton power line bid) and for ATCO Industries who is waiting to pick that item up.

In both of these companies he would have received stock options and stock as part of his package; this is simply the way these things are done. Mr. Dinning is also the owner of a Old Age Home in Calgary as well as some medical companies.

How will Mr. Dinning separate himself from these companies should on the long shot, he become premier?

There will be much conversation about “Blind Trusts” but, I ask, what good will a blind trust do the taxpayer and, what is a blind trust when the person knows exactly what he has involved?

Further, how can an executive of a Government exempt himself from decisions on major programs of privatization such as Mr. Dinning has planned?

There are questions the conservatives should be asking Mr. Dinning that are not being asked.

John Clark

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Keep Foreign Nationals out of our Parliament!

John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
September 13, 2006

The Honorable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

Dear Prime Minister:

I agree senate reform is over due and a good job of reforming should be undertaken at the onset.

In the interest of keeping foreign nationals from meddling in our political body I would very much like to see rules for running for parliamentary office to include the condition that foreign nationals, those people who enjoy dual citizenships between Canada and any other country should not be allowed to run for either parliament or senate.

I would like your assurance this proposal will receive your very serious consideration.

Yours truly,

John Clark.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The shape of America by Allan Dane-Worthwile read

As a electrical engineer who has been employed as both an employee of a large consultine engineering corporation and as an independent consultant to electric utilities I have a few insights to share with you.

Firstly, as you surely know, investor-owned utilities are struggling to obtain capital to construct new generating stations. This is not just in California: it is prevalent throughout North America.

Secondly, the large deficits of the USA from 1970 to 1992 required the individual States and the Federal Government to borrow huge amounts of money, largely from Japan, and interest rates soared, as a consequence, to 20% per annum or higher. No utility can afford such interest rates if it is regulated to 10% profit. As a consequence much-needed new generation was not constructed in the period 1972 to 1992. It is this much-needed new generation that is forcing some California utilities to request "others" to submit tenders to supply them with bulk power which they can retail to their customers.

Thirdly, the present Federal Government of the USA is borrowing about $2 billion each day. The utilities are being "pinched" again. Very little new generation has been constructed since 1992 yet the need for more power continues to grow as a result of increasing population and bigger industries.

Fourthly, you surely know that the automotive industry is virtually bankrupt. The USA soon will be faced with healthcare costs which will be impossible to meet.

Fifthly, the recent blackout in New York City seems to indicate that underground cables had failed. It is much easier to inspect overhead circuits because most of them are clearly visible whereas unerground circuits often require deliberate de-energizing of the circuit to determine if the insulation is in satisfactory condition. In other words, it is more expensive to install circuits underground and it is more expensive to inspect them, on a regular basis, than it is to inspect overhead circuits.

It is insanity to believe that significant percentages of the new service areas of American cities can be served by underground circuits: the capital costs will be too high and maintenance costs will be too high.

Finally, the NERC issued a report in 2004 in which they estimated that North America would need 70 gigawatts of new generation by 2013 and probably would have 68.2 gigawatts at that time. Judging from reported data in 1985, for every dollar spent on new generation there will be need to spend an equal dollar on transmission and distribution. Combustion turbine generation at that time cost about $500 per kilowatt and steam turbine generation cost about $1,000 per kilowatt. With the rapidly increasing cost of fossil fuels there will be a strong tendency to use steam turbines which have much better thermodynamic efficiencies and, of course, there has been inflation...

If North America is to have 68.2 gigawatts of new generation by 2013 investments of approximately $210 billions will need to be made in the next 5 years. The investor owned utilities will have great difficulties assembling that amount of capital in the next two years, make their plans, and execute those plans.... Frankly, I don't think they can do it and, at the same time, repair the damages that are happening....

Allan Dane, M.Sc.(EE)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time to contact the PM friends. If we are going to change the senate and, I’m sure we all agree it needs changing; we should incorporate the rule that people holding dual citizenship (such as Alberta’s Senator elect who holds dual Canadian and US citizenship) should not be allowed into office.

We speak of too much US interference in Canadian matters, let’s make an effort to cut it off at the knees!

Prime Minister Harper urges action on Senate reform

September 7, 2006Ottawa, Ontario In an unprecedented appearance today before a Senate Committee today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged Senators to join Canada's New Government in bringing long overdue reform to their institution."The Government is not looking for another report. We are seeking action. Action that responds to the commitments we made to Canadians during the recent federal election." said the Prime Minister. "The Senate is changing, and we will be the ones to make it happen.”The Government introduced Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate Tenure) in the Senate on May 30, 2006. It proposes to limit senate terms to eight years for new Senators. Prime Minister Harper urged Senators to pass S-4.The Prime Minister also informed Senators that the Government will introduce a bill this autumn to create a process to choose elected Senators. “This bill will further demonstrate how seriously the Government takes the issue of Senate reform,” said the Prime Minister. “And to Canadians, it will further signal that the Senate is changing.” The Prime Minister’s Office - Communications[Note: You are receiving this e-mail for information only, and because you have subscribed to our distribution list.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Re-Live Ralph's fireside.

John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
February 21, 2006

Honorable Ralph Klein,
Room 307
Legislative Building,
Edmonton, AB T4K 2C6

Dear Premier:
In anticipation of your TV fireside tonight I offer up the following.

Alberta Research Council – Coal Research centre “There is no such thing as clean burning coal.”

Electrical debacle: EUB has approved cost plus operations. That is full cost of construction, research, transportation and entertainment plus a profit running 9% and 12%. There is no audit of expenses to speak of. This means the higher the private company forces up the expenses the more money is returned in profits!

This same plan is in effect in the Oil Sands contracts with various oil companies. Albertans are giving their resource away at fire sale prices and about to get raped on their water as they did on their electricity.

Your people claim they are going to privatize all the water in Alberta. This is thought to be less expensive than maintaining individual treatment plants. I ask you less expensive for whom? The oil companies while retail consumers die?

Your determination is to put all the potable water under the control private industry one way or another. Your first project will be that of centralized water system including pipelines built and maintained by ATCO or BECHTAL.

In bringing this to bear you have systematically cut off support for infrastructure programs including maintenance and improvements over the past dozen years. In addition Alberta Environment has coerced communities into going along by threatening them with no support for their water treatment facilities unless they join the pipe lines.

How long before pictures of Alberta show up on the world media with our water credit card waiting in line with a bucket? Pictures right out of Bechtel drinking water operations in Africa!

The cost of such utility will show directly on consumer’s utility bills which will probably double. Cost plus profit added to the price of water.

Mr. Lougheed of ATCO recently said he would not build power lines as the EUB was not allowing enough profit. They were at 9% profit allowed at the time. Instead he said he would go into the pipeline business where he could see 11% profits comfortably. Profits compounded onto profits. Wow!

Are you going to bring in legislation to tell the cities they have to divest themselves of water delivery systems as you did with Electricity?

I think it is time for Edmontonians, Calgarians and all other community interested people to contact their elected official and ask them where they stand in this scheme! If they are for it, make sure they are not elected again!

John Clark
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