What are we reading? October 24, 2019


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

This op-ed in the Star makes the case that with the federal election results, “the threat of separation will become a common, angry, theme in Alberta’s political life.”

Maybe, though as pollster Mario Canseco has pointed out, the spectre of a breakaway in Alberta has for decades made for good copy but has never had anything close to the kind of public support that gets separation referendum ballots printed. Still, I don’t recall any Alberta politician losing a lot of votes by wallowing in infantile regional grievance. - The Star



Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made a fatal mistake by following a Trump-like strategy of stoking his right-wing base and tuning out all other wavelengths of the political spectrum, says CBC News columnist Robyn Urback.

“That would have been a decent strategy for a Conservative Leader Lisa Raitt or a Rona Ambrose — someone who wasn't so susceptible to Liberal war room attacks about a hidden social conservative agenda. But for Andrew Scheer, it meant parking himself at the end of the cliff, and hoping no one gave him a nudge.” - CBC



Glen Korstrom, reporter:

With Albertans angrier than ever at the federal government, and many angling to separate from Canada, it is worth looking into the Canadian phenomenon of equalization payments to so-called “have-not” provinces. The  formula is more complex than I thought. Here’s a good piece on how the payments are calculated and what they were set to be in the 2018-19 fiscal year. – University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy



Amsterdam is often cited as a model for a low-carbon emission city, and as a cycling Mecca. This piece looks at how different Victoria (and Vancouver) are compared with Amsterdam. Are factors such as culture, density and geography significant enough to keep B.C.’s largest cities from becoming like Amsterdam? – The Capital



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

Are China’s “tantrums” a sign of strength or a sign of weakness? The Atlantic questions China’s response to references about Hong Kong and why American companies have been quick to cow to the country’s requests. – The Atlantic



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Turning over a new energy leaf? This one could provide an alternative to fossil fuels. – Independent



Guess which country is the main source of plastic bottles in Earth's oceans. – Safety4Sea



The U.S. Federal Trade Commission outs more bogus online influencers, celebrities and fake reviews in another episode of the Great American Fake-Off. – Federal Trade Commission 



Nelson Bennett, reporter:

Apple’s iPhone has long had a reputation of being more secure and less vulnerable to hackers than other operating systems, but even the iPhone can be vulnerable to malicious malware. The latest is a Trojan horse that creeps into your iPhone via certain apps. Seventeen apps have been identified as introducing the trojan malware, according to this piece by Forbes, and if you have any of them, you should delete them. – Forbes



Oil and gas companies have been jumping on the renewable energy bandwagon and investing in wind and solar power. But the rationale for fossil fuel companies investing in renewables may not be as virtuous as some think, according to this Eurasia Review piece. Because wind and solar are intermittent, they need firm sources of backup power. In other words, building renewables can lock in the need for natural gas thermal power plants in regions that don’t have nuclear or hydro power. – Eurasia Review



Tyler Orton, reporter:

Maybe Monday night’s election results didn’t leave your jaws agape. But if you caught the opening sequences of HBO’s new series, Watchmen, you would no doubt have been locked into the depiction of the very real Tulsa race riot in the 1920s. I attended junior high and high school in the U.S. and this was never part of the curriculum. Here’s everything you need to read about it. – New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/arts/television/watchmen-tulsa-race-riot.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes