Archive for China
Another interesting read from Liberal Senator Colin Kenny in Monday’s National Post.
Canada is down to two antique destroyers, 12 middle-aged frigates and one active submarine, with two more promised sometime soon. That’s what is available to defend a nation of slightly less than 10 million square kilometres, largely surrounded by water.
Official navy documents have predicted that even this small fleet will be significantly diminished over the next eight to 10 years — many of the frigates will be unavailable due to refit, and the destroyers will have to be docked as maintenance costs spiral out of control.
Itemizing Canada’s military weaknesses across the board would fill the pages of this newspaper, so allow me to focus on this one issue with regard to the navy: Why spend scarce dollars on ships that won’t even cut through heavy ice when you have a dearth of real icebreakers? Why spend that money on ships that will be slower than fishing boats when what we need are fast ships that can intercept vessels in our southern waters? The government will argue that the Arctic patrol ships can be transferred to our East and West coasts in the winter.
But if they are not designed as minesweepers or even as combat vessels, what would be the point? Why not spend the money on real warships, and give the coast guard real icebreakers?
I am inclined to agree with many of Senator Kenny’s view. I would like to see at least four new powerful and armed icebreakers for the Coast Guard based in Canada’s arctic.
And as for the Navy, my minimum would be – 9 destroyers (some Aegis equipped), 24 frigates, 12 nuclear powered submarines (Astute Class), 4 diesel electric submarines (Likely Type 212/214), 5 modern supply ships, and three or four ships in the style of HMAS Canberra.
and yes, dear reader, wealthy Canada can afford this. We’ve spent too many years riding the coattails of other countries.
And as a bonus, we would have an advanced and thriving shipbuilding industry.
Senator Kenny wrote about new icebreakers, armed and manned by the Coast Guard in April 2011.
If Canada is serious about Arctic sovereignty, we need genuine icebreakers. Our existing fleet is aging and none of the vessels match up to the six icebreakers the Russians employ to enforce sovereignty. The current government plan is to purchase just one new icebreaker. If we’re serious about patrolling, we need three.
The government should forget about the patrol vessels, purchase three robust icebreakers, and man them with the people who have experience plying our coastal waters — the Canadian Coast Guard.
It is time that we armed Canada’s coast guard. Using a vital chunk of the navy’s budget for patrolling the Arctic in ineffective ships is not money well spent — particularly when the navy desperately needs money to replace its outdated destroyers with modern vessels capable of defending themselves (and other Canadian ships) from air attack.
And as Senator Kenny wrote in August of 2008.
The Canadian Navy should be expanded. The Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has recommended that the number of ships it floats should be doubled to keep pace with the responsibilities the Navy will face in a changing world.
But even if it were to tread water at its current size, the Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard are going to require at least 133 new vessels of a significant size over the next 25 years, as well as refits.
Just to stand still the Navy needs to modernize 12 frigates soon and eventually replace them. It needs four new destroyers, eight arctic/offshore patrol vessels and refits for four submarines.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require at least 83 ships. These include 9 icebreakers, 15 medium endurance and offshore patrol vessels and 42 Search and Rescue lifeboats.
Like many people, I would like to see the European Union break up.
The EU seems dedicated to stifling democracy and drowning people in red tape.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency, which acts as the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, said: “This is a trade barrier in the name of environmental protection and will strike a blow to passenger benefits and the international airline industry.
It will be difficult to avoid a trade war focused on an aviation ‘carbon tax’.” The European Commission has calculated that costs per passenger could rise by about £21 on a return transatlantic flight as a result of the emissions charge.
For instance, a flight between San Francisco and Paris is deemed to be an “European flight” for the entire flight. Madness!
Personally, I would like countries such as Canada, the United States, China, India and Japan to ban all European airline access until the EU caves on this cash grab 100%.
I first read an article proposing this back in May by Lawrence Solomon.
Instead, the West should recognize that the muddle it faces stems from Pakistan’s internal contradictions.
This is not one cohesive country but four entirely distinct nations, having little in common save their animosity toward one another, a predominantly Muslim faith and Britain’s decision to confine them within the same borders in partitioning the Indian subcontinent more than a half century ago.
The West’s only sensible course of action today is to unstitch the British patchwork, let the major nations within Pakistan choose their future, and negotiate coherently with new national administrations that don’t have impossibly conflicted mandates.
Wednesday’s Globe and Mail has another article about redrawing the map of Pakistan.
The permanent solution to the Pakistan problem is not more of this chest-beating appeasement. The answer lies in 20th-century history.
In 1947, when India gained independence, a British Empire in full retreat left behind an unworkable mess on both sides of India – called Pakistan – whose elements had nothing in common except the religion of Islam. In 1971, this postcolonial Frankenstein came a step closer to rectification when Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, became an independent state.
The answer to the current Pakistani train wreck is to continue this natural process by recognizing Baluchistan’s legitimate claim to independence.
Baluchistan was an independent nation for more than 1,000 years when Great Britain notionally annexed it in the mid-19th century.
The Baluchis were never consulted about becoming a part of Pakistan, and since then, they have been the victims of alternating persecution and neglect by the Pakistani state, abuse which escalated to genocide when it was discovered in the 1970s that most of the region’s natural resources lie underneath their soil. Since then, tens of thousands of Baluchis have been slaughtered by the Pakistani army, which has used napalm and tanks indiscriminately against an unarmed population.
I have to agree, at a minimum, the western democracies should recognize Baluchistan’s independence.
An independent Baluchistan would, in fact, solve many of the region’s most intractable problems overnight.
It would create a territorial buffer between rogue states Iran and Pakistan.
It would provide a transportation and pipeline corridor for Afghanistan and Central Asia to the impressive but underutilized new port at Gwadar.
It would solve all of NATO’s logistical problems in Afghanistan, allow us to root the Taliban out of the former province and provide greater access to Waziristan, to subdue our enemies there.
And it would contain the rogue nuclear state of Pakistan and its A.Q. Khan network of nuclear proliferation-for-profit on three landward sides.
It’s a great day to be a Canadian!
I’m very proud to announce that Canada is going to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.
Lets be clear dear reader, the Kyoto Protocol is an utterly stupid treaty.
It’s the economic equivalent of taking a loaded gun, placing it at Canada’s head and pulling the trigger.
If we wiped out every train, plane and automobile in Canada, we would not meet the targets under Kyoto.
Are you dear reader, that eager to go back to horse and buggies?
Kyoto is stupid and then Prime Minister Jean Chretien was an idiot for signing it. If we had some real justice regarding this boondoggle, Jean Chretien would be rotting in a prison cell.
In Ottawa, Kent called the former government “incompetent” by signing the accord and failing to meet its targets.
As a result, he said, the current Conservative government now faces “radical and irresponsible” choices if it is to avoid the $14 billion in international penalties he said it must pay for failing to meet those targets as a signatory to the accord.
Kent said to comply with Kyoto, dramatic action would need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“To meet the target under 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads, or closing down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada.”
On the flip side as usual, we have the idiots who actually think Canada should be ashamed, even when some of them see the stupidity of the Chretien government.
The first, worst mistake occurred at Kyoto itself in 1997, when then prime minister Jean Chrétien told Canadian negotiators to meet or beat the American commitment, whatever it took. The problem was that while the American commitment was ambitious, Bill Clinton never expected the Senate to ratify that commitment, and he was right.
The Liberals found themselves stuck with Draconian targets that, if met, would hobble oil sands production, hammer big industry in Ontario, and send home-heating bills through the roof. Their solution was to study the issue. And study.
And of course dear reader, we have to remember that Kyoto was supposed to help solve the non-existent problem of man-made global warming.
If you were putting together a Top 10 list of the most uninformed Canadians, Elizabeth May would be on that list.
The Green Party leader and Member of Parliament wants people to pay attention to her.
How does she get that attention?
She travels to the Climate Scam conference in Durban and bashes Canada.
After a fair bit of babble, the key quote comes neat the end.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more rational thoughts on Canada and Durban….
We can start with Rex Murphy from last week.
We can move to a couple of columns by Lorrie Goldestein.
The first one…
Canada’s refusal to renew its commitment to the Kyoto accord is exactly the right move and should be applauded by all Canadians.
In making this clear Monday at the annual United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, the Canadian government, through Environment Minister Peter Kent, is finally talking to the world about Kyoto like a grown up.
The people Canada’s position is upsetting — many representing countries whose environmental records are train wrecks, along with environmentalists who unfairly crap on Canada every chance they get — are exactly the people we should be offending.
Bolstered by his new majority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided Canadians, who do care about the environment, can handle the truth.
The truth that the Kyoto accord is a farce that we should never have signed.
The truth that while it places absurdly unfair burdens on Canada, it excludes more than 150 countries from having to lift a finger to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by a single tonne.
Today, let’s address some of the absurd attacks launched against Canada by opposition politicians, environmentalists and foreign diplomats during the ongoing United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.
(3) Canada is “isolated” in Durban in its argument the developing world must accept hard emission reduction targets in any post-Kyoto treaty.
In reality, the United States (which has never ratified Kyoto going back to the Bill Clinton/Al Gore era), Japan and Russia share Canada’s position.
Even the European Union, the main driver of the Kyoto Protocol, concedes for it to be effective going forward, China and the developing world must accept future emission reduction targets.
Near the end of November I was going to post an item about Iceland rejecting a Chinese “investor’s” offer to buy a chunk of Iceland.
Iceland has blocked a Chinese billionaire’s bid to buy 300 square kilometres of wild heathland following concerns that the vast land sale would give Beijing a strategic foothold in the North Atlantic.
Rejecting the sale was the right decision. One day you can be dealing with an individual “investor”. A few days later it might be the government of China claiming ownership of the land.
An item in the Globe and Mail follows up on this story.
Over at National Defence Headquarters, there’s considerable interest in some real estate that a Chinese tycoon tried to buy in Iceland. Senior figures in Canada’s military believe this is why Canada needs more ice breakers, ships and submarines.
That country (China) is ravenous for oil and gas, and the Far North has plenty. Its economy depends on importing natural resources and exporting finished goods. Navigable Arctic sea lanes would make both much cheaper.
The country is investing heavily in a polar research institute. It has one icebreaker and is building another. It maintains a permanent Arctic research station. China has asked for (but not been granted) observer status on the Arctic Council.
And it proclaims that the Arctic, its oil and gas resources and any future navigable sea lanes, should be considered a “shared heritage of humankind.” (Which is not quite how it views the South China Sea.)
Acquiring Icelandic real estate, military officials suspect, is part of a Chinese plan to position strategic assets that could be converted to ports and staging facilities in pursuit of oil and gas exploration, and to ease the passage of vessels through a future trans-polar shipping route.
On Friday, a reporter with the official Chinese news service who is accompanying the Prime Minister on his annual summer tour, asked him to clarify his position.
“It seems like there are some local media reports that the Arctic region belongs to the Arctic countries and it’s not the business of the rest of the world,” the Chinese reporter said. “What is your comment on this opinion and what role do you think the rest of the world can play in the Arctic region affairs?”
Mr. Harper responded by saying that vast areas of land and significant territorial waters within the Arctic are under the sovereignty of various countries, including Canada.
In less than four minutes, Rex lays a masterful smackdown of leftwing climate stupidity. Bravo! Rex.
Right at the end Tuesday evening I came across an interesting article by Frank McKenna.
It deals with how Canada needs to respond to the delay in the Keystone XL pipeline.
I can agree with pretty much all that he is putting forward here.
I would like to see more bitumen in kind since this could allow government to leverage construction of more refineries here in Alberta and Canada.
What is bitumen royalty in-kind (BRIK)?
In Alberta, royalties are a share of production from resources the government owns on behalf of Albertans. Under the Mines and Minerals Act, the government has the option to take its royalty share either in cash or in kind. Currently, the government takes its share of conventional crude oil production in kind and collects its royalty share for other resources in cash.
The decision to exercise the in-kind option for bitumen was identified in October 2007 as a way for the Crown to use its share of bitumen strategically to supply potential upgraders and refineries in Alberta, and to optimize its royalty share by marketing those volumes.
But real diversity demands even more options. We must also open up access to the East Coast. Existing pipelines to the East can be reversed with minimum time required. Larger pipes could also be laid in the same right of way. Refineries in Sarnia, Montreal, Quebec City, Newfoundland and Saint John, N.B., should be accessed.
A new line could be built from Montreal to Saint John. One East Coast refinery, the Irving Refinery of Saint John, is the largest refinery in Canada and the largest refinery on the East Coast. It is capable of using heavy oil at the present time and with the addition of a coker could process raw bitumen into synthetic crude oil.
Diversification also demands that we look at railways as a possible competitor to conventional pipelines. The railway industry is currently carrying petroleum products to Texas, Saint John and the West Coast, and is capable of carrying much more.
And diversification demands we continue to look at arguments made by former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed and others who call on the industry to process more of our raw products in Canada.
Synthetic crude oil has greater distribution options than raw bitumen. It also provides greater returns to the Canadian economy.
Governments have a critical role to play. They must examine their role to determine whether they have instruments available to them to create better economic returns from value-added projects, such as royalty reform, changes in depreciation allowances, access to bitumen in kind, and fast-tracked assessment procedures, low interest loans or loan guarantees, etc. This again would maximize the economic rent to Canada and provide greater flexibility in the distribution system. Governments and industry should be looking at these options with urgency in view of the value destruction that we are currently experiencing.
Let’s be clear: Diversification comes with some significant investments, including public monies. But we pay a higher price by relying on a single market.
No business would ever be comfortable serving just one customer — regardless of how lucrative the relationship. Canada can do better by broadening its customer base. It only makes sense for a trading nation in a global economy.
I’ve come across a few mentions of a fine column by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal.
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.
As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences.
As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term “climate change” when thermometers don’t oblige the expected trend lines.
As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other “deniers.”
And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.
That’s where the Climategate emails come in.
First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the “hide the decline” emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.
Both the first and last men to walk on the Moon spoke in Washington on Thursday.
Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11…
“We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future,” Armstrong told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
“For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable.”
And Gene Cernan of Apollo 17…
“Today, we are on a path of decay. We are seeing the book close on five decades of accomplishment as the leader in human space exploration,” Cernan said.
Cernan said Constellation has been replaced by a “mission to nowhere” and called on NASA to make plans to return to the Moon.
“As unimaginable as it seems, we have now come full circle and ceded our leadership role in space back to the same country — albeit by a different name — that spurred our challenge five decades ago.”
The United States has made a serious error in retiring the Shuttles before having some sort of ready replacement ability to independently launch humans into space.
Cernan suggests “Get the shuttle out of the garage”, but it may already be too late to reactivate the support system for the Space Shuttles.
One alternative would have been extending the Shuttle program while pushing the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle forward.
The first Orion vehicle is now under construction.
This first “flight worthy” Orion is set to launch on top of a Delta IV Heavy in the summer of 2013.
The Orion and Delta IV Heavy would have been a suitable starting point for a post Shuttle era.