Alberta

Dear Mr. Cruz/Cher M. Cruz—We’re very sorry to bother you, but it has been brought to our attention that you recently sought to renounce your Canadian citizenship.

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VANCOUVER—The line was 30 deep before 6 a.m. at the Venezuelan consulate in downtown Vancouver, the only location in western Canada for ex-pats to vote in their presidential election Sunday. By noon more than 600 Venezuelans had stood in the short hallway, marked the labyrinthine bingo-card-like ballot and dipped a pinky tip in a well of blue ink on a wooden stool.

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Each morning for the past two weeks, scores of respectable-looking protestors ushered themselves into single file lines, walked determinedly through Washington’s Lafayette Park, sat down on the sidewalk in front of the White House, arranged themselves in rows as if for a class photo, and waited patiently to be arrested (the violation: blocking pedestrian traffic).

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In 1986, the then-editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, famously asked whether anyone could find a headline more boring than “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” which had recently appeared on the Times op-ed page. The jibe was really a backhanded compliment, of course—Canada’s virtue was so automatic it could just be assumed. It was big news in Canada when, in 2008, the country slipped from the top-ten list of the world’s most peaceful countries (all the way to eleventh). By this year, it was back in eighth, 74 places above the U.S. and, when liberals in the U.S.

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The National Hockey League playoffs began last night, with five of the eight first-round series getting underway. Over the next several weeks, thousands of hockey fans will crowd into arenas around the USA and Canada to watch their teams compete for the Stanley Cup. With the playoffs the culmination of their teams' seasons, fans unsurprisingly take it upon themselves to support the players even more loudly than during the regular season.

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For the sake of argument, imagine, if you can, an American foreign policy based on interest alone. To begin with, to use the current Wall Street phrase, it would need to overweight Latin America and underweight the Middle East. For whether the Obama administration believes it or not (in fairness, they are no worse than their predecessors, though they are no better either), crises are brewing in Latin America that pose potentially greater threats to the United States than those posed by Al Qaeda.

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You don't usually hear a whole lot about what individual states are doing to tackle climate change. Surely those efforts, however noble, are just too small to matter—too local, too patchy. The only people who can really make a dent in U.S. energy policy are wandering around Capitol Hill, right? It's Congress or bust? Well, maybe. But that option's not looking too bright these days, given the fog around whether Congress will even pass a climate bill this year (or next year, or…).

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In case you missed it, once-and-maybe-future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee traveled to Calgary, Alberta, Canada the other day and delivered himself of an address (according to his own pre-speech account, reported in the local press) focused on the terrible temptation of conservatives in the United States to tolerate diverse points of view, under the shorthand of a "Big Tent." That would be bad, said Huck, struggling from afar against the vast forces calling for ideological heterodoxy within the Republican Party.  As someone who adores our Neighbors to the North, and has made speeches th

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Blame Canada

When did Canada start acting like Saudi Arabia when it comes to climate change? As George Monbiot notes in the Guardian this week, the normally good-natured country now has the dubious distinction of being the only country to ratify Kyoto and then formally renege on its commitments. Not only that, but Canada's increasingly trying to obstruct the Copenhagen climate talks. So what's behind this shift? Probably the country's vast tar sands reserves, which have attracted increasing interest since around 2006: Refining tar sands requires two to three times as much energy as refining crude oil.

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