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2011.04.13

Le coût de l'eau à Québec

Je viens d'avoir cette info de la ville sur les coûts de l'eau:

Traitement des eaux usées: 60¢ / m³
Traitement de l'eau potable: 52¢ / m³
Somme: 0,112¢ / L

Quelques indices réels à partir d'info disponible sur Environnement Canada:

Le coût à Québec est inférieur à la moyenne canadienne, estimée à 1,62$ en 2004

1 flush (±17L) = 2¢
1 douche de 10min (20L/min) = ±25¢
1 lavage (±225L) = ±25¢

Il est estimé que la consommation moyenne à fins domestique est de 329 L/jour (même source), si on applique cette moyenne aux habitants de Québec, l'utilisation de l'eau coûte donc 37¢ par personne par jour.


J'imagine que ça varie de la moitié au double selon le type d'utilisateur qu'on est...

2011.04.07

Albertosaurus

Les dinosaures tyranniques et ambitieux pullulent dans la contrée riche en fossiles de l'Alberta. Ce spécimen de Conservatosaurus Rex est particulièrement friand de combustibles fossiles.

01:39 Publié dans Politique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : pcc, stephen harper | |  Facebook

2011.04.05

déjà vu

Yehuda Moon
and the Kickstand Cyclery

2011.04.02

Avec Harper, on a rendez-vous avec la Préhistoire

Science in retreat | Nature

Canada has been scientifically healthy. Not so its government.

Comparisons of nations' scientific outputs over the years have shown that Canada's researchers have plenty to be proud of, consistently maintaining their country's position among the world's top ten (see, for example, Nature 430, 311–316; 2004). Alas, their government's track record is dismal by comparison.

When the Canadian government announced earlier this year that it was closing the office of the national science adviser, few in the country's science community were surprised. Science has long faced an uphill battle for recognition in Canada, but the slope became steeper when the Conservative government was elected in 2006.

The decision in 2004 by the then prime minister Paul Martin to appoint a scientist for independent, non-partisan advice on science and technology was a good one — in principle. Arthur Carty, the chemist who secured the position, duly relinquished his post as president of the National Research Council Canada, which he had revitalized.

But his new office was destined to fail. The budget was abysmal and the mandate was vague at best. After winning power from the Liberals, the Conservatives moved Carty's office away from the prime minister's offices to Industry Canada. In 2007, the government formed the 18-member Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC). Told that the government would no longer need a science adviser, Carty offered his resignation. From March, the STIC will provide policy advice and report on Canada's science and technology performance. It can be expected to be markedly less independent: although it is stocked with first-class scientists and entrepreneurs, several government administrators also hold seats.

Concerns can only be enhanced by the government's manifest disregard for science. Since prime minister Stephen Harper came to power, his government has been sceptical of the science on climate change and has backed away from Canada's Kyoto commitment. In January, it muzzled Environment Canada's scientists, ordering them to route all media enquires through Ottawa to control the agency's media message. Last week, the prime minister and members of the cabinet failed to attend a ceremony to honour the Canadian scientists who contributed to the international climate-change report that won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Harper sees himself as the leader of a 'global energy powerhouse' and is committing Canada to a fossil-fuel economy. More than 40 companies have a stake in mining and upgrading the bitumen from the oil sands in Alberta and churning out 1.2 million barrels a day. This activity generates three times as much greenhouse gas as conventional oil drilling. Emissions from Canada's oil and gas industry have risen by 42% since 1990.

There are deeper and more chronic problems for Canadian science. On the surface, funding for university-based research seems strong. The annual budgets for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council tripled and doubled, respectively, between 2000 and 2005. The government has also supported new science projects through government-created corporations such as Genome Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and has recruited and retained promising young scientists through the Canada Research Chairs programme.

But Genome Canada funds only half of the cost of a research project — scientists must seek the remaining cash from elsewhere. Last year, the CIHR was able to fund only 16% of the applications it received, and cut the budgets of successful applicants by a quarter, on average. And earlier this month, the country's top scientists and university officials warned that they were short of funds to operate multimillion-dollar big-science projects such as the Canadian Light Source synchrotron.

What's to be done? Canada has made good investments in its science infrastructure and its future research leaders. The present government might be dissolved after a vote of confidence next month, which could in itself lead to a change for the better. But in any circumstances, Canada's leading scientists can be public advocates, pointing to the examples of other countries in urging the government of the day to boost their country into a position of leadership rather than reluctant follower.

Canada watches its democracy erode

Ramesh Thakur | The Australian

ON Friday, the minority Stephen Harper government fell on a confidence motion by a 156-145 vote. Speaking to the motion, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff attacked the government for disrespecting Canadian democracy and treating parliament with contempt.

The myth of Canada being dull is captured in the apocryphal story that in an international competition for the most boring news headline of the year, the winning entry was "Yet another worthy Canadian initiative".

Edmund Burke noted that all that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Canadians are certainly good and worthy folks, but they suffer an excess of civil obedience, politeness and lack of civic rage that could be harnessed to combat political atrophy. At a time when Arabs risk life and limb for political freedoms, Canadians seem largely apathetic about the erosion of their democracy.

The centralisation of power in the hands of the prime minister and political staffers - with the resulting diminution of the role and status of cabinet, parliaments and parliamentarians - is common to Anglo-Saxon democracies in Australia, Britain, Canada and the US, but the extent to which constitutional conventions, parliamentary etiquette and civil institutions of good governance have been worn away in Canada is cause for concern.

A minister told parliament she did not know who had altered a document that cut funding to a foreign aid group. Later, she admitted to ordering the changes, but did not know who had carried out the order. Lying to parliament, a cardinal sin of Westminster-style democracy, has become a political tactic.

Following rulings by Speaker Peter Milliken, for the first time in Canadian history, the government and a minister have been found to be in contempt of parliament for withholding information and misleading the house.

The Integrity Commissioner was so inept that she failed to uphold a single one of more than 200 whistle-blowing complaints.

Forced out of office by the ensuing public outcry, she was awarded a $C500,000 severance package on condition that neither she nor the government talk about it.

That is, a public servant paid by the taxpayer was financially gagged by yet more taxpayer money to stop taxpayers finding out what was going on.

When a foreign service officer blew the whistle on the Canadian military handing over detainees to Afghan security forces, in likely violation of international humanitarian law, the government tried to destroy him and refused to give documents to a parliamentary inquiry. The Speaker reminded the government parliament controlled cabinet, not the other way round.

After the last elections, when the opposition parties were close to agreement on a coalition majority government, rather than face the house in a vote of confidence, Harper talked the governor-general into shuttering parliament for a month until he shored up his own support.

When the time came to choose a new governor-general, Harper opted for someone who had carefully drawn up terms of an inquiry commission to exclude the potentially most damaging aspects of a scandal involving a former conservative prime minister.

Four conservatives have been charged with exceeding campaign spending limits in the 2006 election that put Harper into power. A minister used public office and material to pursue party-political goals of courting ethnic vote banks for the conservatives.

Having come into office on campaign promises of greater transparency and accountability, Harper has silenced civil servants and diplomats, cynically published guidelines on how to disrupt hostile parliamentary committees, and suppressed research that contradicts ideologically-driven policy, for example data that show crime rates to be falling.

Judges who rule against the pet causes of the government's ideological base are not immune to attacks from cabinet ministers.

Civil society groups that criticise any government policy or ideology risk loss of funding and hostile takeovers by boards stacked with pro-government ciphers.

Little wonder Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin describes the government's "arc of duplicity" as "remarkable to behold". What remains unclear is whether this adds up to an indictment of Canadians' indifference to democratic rights being curtailed or of the opposition parties, which have failed to harness the silent majority's outrage.

As Canadians head for the polls in early May, it remains to be seen whether Liberal Party charges of the Harper government being obsessed with secrecy, control, spin and attack ads will resonate with voters. Until then, Oh Canada, we cry our hearts for thee.

Ramesh Thakur is professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and adjunct professor, Institute of Governance, Ethics and Law, Griffith University

22:32 Publié dans Politique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) | Tags : pcc, stephen harper | |  Facebook

2011.04.01

Découverte - la voiture électrique d'Hydro-Québec