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Oct 17, 2002

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Beetle bailout given thumbs down
National Post, Oct. 10

Foresters in north-central B.C. are turning their noses up at a proposed federal aid package aimed at bailing them out of the financial ruin caused by a pine beetle infestation. The president of the Northern Forest Products Association Greg Jadrzyk says B.C. should refuse the $40 million aid package offered by Herb Dhaliwal, the federal government's natural resources minister. Jadrzyk says the industry should wait to see if it can secure a better offer of help when Canada has a new prime minister. The proposed package includes $20 million for rehabilitating sensitive forest areas. John Borden, a forest insect expert at SFU, says, “The best method of management is cancer surgery. In other words, cut out the infested timber, take it to the mill and kill beetles in the de-barker.”

Warmer weather bodes bad news
CBC-TV, The National, Oct. 9

Thanks to changing weather patterns an unwelcome visitor is back to potentially wreak more havoc on B.C.'s dwindling fish stocks and the Prairie's drought-stricken farms. Environment Canada says, due to changing weather conditions and shifting trade winds over the Pacific Ocean, El Nino is back. The climatic condition causes significantly warmer water and weather. Environment Canada expects warmer temperatures and less precipitation everywhere this winter, except in the North. On the West Coast, Pacific salmon will be forced to compete with southern species chasing warm water into their territory. SFU biologist Anthony Farrell says, “This would mean that fishing opportunities become more uncertain as the stocks move and become more uncertain.”

Offshore drilling a hot topic
Vancouver Sun, Oct. 7

The maturation of traditional offshore oil basins is bringing new attention to the B.C. coast as oil producers look farther and deeper for the next generation of reserves. But B.C. offshore oil is just one of a vast array of choices to feed future energy demand. SFU energy expert Mark Jaccard, chair of an international energy conference being held in Vancouver, says fossil fuels are frequently assumed to be excluded from a future dominated by sustainable energy sources such as solar and nuclear energy. “Recent technological developments are leading some thinkers to reassess this vision,” he says. “While the Earth's supplies of natural gas and oil are projected to last not more than 100 years or so, we do have 1,000 years of coal.” He says the question remains of how to develop such resources and use them in ways that have minimal risks to humans and the environment.

A good marriage: loonie, greenback
National Post, Oct. 3

Why, with the biggest trade deficit in its history, does the U.S. dollar keep soaring? And why, with the biggest trade surplus in its history, does the Canadian dollar keep sinking? Both currencies are not trading the way they should because something is amiss in world currency markets. Now is the time for Canadians to initiate discussions about fixed rates or a currency union of some kind, says SFU economist Richard Harris. Unfortunately, he says, we are letting the dollar drift into oblivion, sparking huge protectionist issues against us south of the border and reducing Canadian living standards dramatically. “ Technology and globalization are driving small currencies out of use,” says Harris, an avowed fan of a gradual move toward a monetary union. “We will have a severe crisis when the Canadian dollar hits 50 cents U.S.”

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