FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sightlines Institute:In his continuing bid to earn his country the title of most corrupt petro-state, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau just committed his government—or, rather, all of the country’s citizens—to a Can$4.5 billion bailout for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.Trudeau’s government has agreed to buy the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline, along with associated assets, from the current owner, a subsidiary of Houston-based Kinder Morgan, Inc. And despite fierce opposition from the provincial government of British Columbia, First Nations groups, local municipalities, environmental activists, government watchdogs, and any sensible person concerned about the integrity of the Salish Sea, Trudeau plans to move forward with building a second pipeline that would nearly triple flows of heavy tar sands oil to the BC coast.The big winner in all this is Houston’s richest billionaire, Richard Kinder—the executive chairman of Kinder Morgan, a multinational pipeline giant that rose from the ashes of Enron and succeeded in playing the Canadian government like a fiddle throughout the years-long Trans Mountain saga.Canadian government bails out Houston billionaire On the blogs: billionaire Houston oilman is the winner in Canada’s rescue of Trans Mountain pipeline project
Editor’s Note: A paragraph incorrectly describing Ms. Strickland’s attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act was removed. The Daily Trojan regrets this error. The USC Political Student Assembly and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics launched the first California Politics Roundtable discussion of the academic year. Topics ranged from healthcare to issues of campaign finance.Talking for change · Former State Assembly members Anthony Portantino and Audra Strickland offered their views on a variety of topics. – Zhiliang Zhao | Daily TrojanThe panel included former California Assembly members Anthony Portantino (D) and Audra Strickland (R). Portantino also serves as a mentor for the Unruh Institute’s Visiting Fellows Program.The opening remarks given by the former assembly members included their background, what attracted them to the world of politics and their primary interests. Many of the students present voiced their interest in a future in state and federal politics.“Don’t run for office because you think you can win,” Portantino advised. “You have to have a passion to change things. If you don’t have a passion, don’t run — we’re counting on all of you to change it for the better.”Strickland spoke about her motivations for being involved in politics.“I love knowing that I can make a difference and that my involvement makes a difference in the political landscape,” she said.The first topic on the table, health care, was introduced by Strickland as one of her personal passions.“Health care was one of my biggest concerns when I was in the legislature,” she said.Portantino followed up with remarks expressing discontent with the federal legislature in failing to act quickly on a common-sense approach to fix the healthcare system.“It was the author [of the bill] that determined if it was supported or opposed — not the content. Had they spent more time trying to figure out how to make it work, and less time focused on who the author was, maybe they could have come up with a better proposal,” Portantino said.Another important topic discussed in the roundtable was campaign finance reform.“I am of the opinion that people should be allowed to give whatever they want to give and have it be disclosed,” Strickland said. She explained that Americans should have the liberty to donate however much they want as a basis for freedom of speech in a democracy.Portantino had a differing viewpoint.“What I think we need to strengthen is campaign finance,” he said.Portantino explained that the current system is broken. He understands, however, that most politicians in the legislature benefit from the status quo, so there is no incentive to change it. “We need to lower the thresholds, have more regulation of the Super PACs and independent expenditures,” Portantino said.The panel explained that there are many different loopholes in state laws regarding campaign contributions that certain politicians have taken advantage of. Portantino said some elected officials communicate with potential contributors near the time when a relevant bill is held to a vote.“There are people who push the limit of that type of behavior,” Portantino said.The discussion took a turn when Unruh director Dan Schnur asked the students in the roundtable what upset them about the current American political system when they watched the news or picked up a newspaper. In response to Schnur’s query, Ben Hannani, a sophomore majoring in political science, voiced his concern on how the federal government has reacted to high-profile shootings in the past few years.“There should have been an immediate reaction from our elected officials after the tragedies at Aurora and Sandy Hook — there should be a system in place that can prevent or even attempt to prevent tragedies like that,” Hannani said.The gun control discussion heated up as additional students voiced their opinions on the topic.“After listening to [Strickland] express her political ideologies, I felt like I had someone in a position of power that could voice my political thought,” said Shakay Amirkhanyan, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, at the conclusion of the debate.Amirkhanyan mentioned that she was eager to contribute in the first roundtable discussion of the year after enjoying one last spring semester.“Last semester, I participated in my first roundtable discussion and I found it to be so intellectually enriching that I couldn’t wait for the first round table discussion of the Fall 2014 semester,” she said.