Habitat for Humanity: Building Equity, Well-being and Interest-free Mortgage Living

Jimmy Carter and RosalynJuly 9, 2017 (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

I’m a big fan of Habitat for Humanity.

In my view, they are the only genuine affordable housing program which provides the benefit of zero-interest mortgage, mortgage payments that never exceed 25% of a low-income household’s income and builds hope and improves well-being of those families most in need. The Habitat model is remarkable as it combines the benefits of 500 hours of sweat-equity of the low-income families, volunteer labor, building materials, financial donations donations, and government affordable housing grant money into a interest-free home equity mortgage for the households most in need because of their low-income conditions (i.e. poverty). No interest is charged on the mortgage saving a low-income household thousands of dollars over time and making more disposable income available to them. The economic benefit to these families is that effectively enjoy the equivalent of a living wage thus solving one the key poverty issues: the lack of sufficient disposable income to live a good life. Habitat has figured out a way to architect a mortgage, cover its operating costs and forgo a profit providing not only low-income households but all of society with a measurable economic well-being benefit.

This week (July 9-14, 2017) former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter are here in Edmonton to help build 75 new homes in Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray for low-income families in the space of one-short week. This is part of the Carter Build project that will see 150 new affordable homes built in Alberta and Winnipeg in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Continue reading

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What happened to our investment in the Great Canadian Oilsands? Now Suncor?

Great Canadian Oil SandsThere is talk today about the future of Suncor and who should own Suncor shares, as shares are trading at $42.28 today (February 9, 2017), exceeding the $40/share highs of November 4, 2015, with dividend yields of 3.04%. As oil companies grapple with the downturn in oil prices (languishing just above $50/bbl), slashing spending, cutting thousands of jobs and delaying around $200 billion in mega-projects around the world, I believe NOW is the time to pause and remember the historical development of Alberta’s own Suncor going back to 1962 when Ernst Manning was premier of Alberta. Continue reading

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Alberta is on its way to create a resilient economy


Saturday, January 8, 2017

Good news for oil and gas rich Alberta. Having abundant, inexpensive and environmentally friendly energy will make any economy, future-proof, resilient and will be the foundation for well being of society for a long time.

While it is expensive at first, renewable energy generates electricity that has no cost of fuel, and with time will become the least expensive energy available. Even today, in jurisdictions with significant renewable energy, electricity cost dips close to zero at various times of the day when the sun is shining and/or wind is blowing, just look at Texas. The reality is that power over-generation is a curse when you have to pay for fuel and create emissions and air pollution. On the other hand, over-generation from renewables is a blessing to the economy as the cost of energy goes to zero. While dropping energy cost is bad news for traditional energy providers and distributors, make no mistake, it is very good news for the whole economy.

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Why is Alberta’s Carbon Levy (‘tax’) a Blessing in Disguise


tesla-roof-windmills-and-sunflowers-001Why is Alberta’s Carbon Levy (‘tax’) a Blessing in Disguise?

Prepared by: Mark Anielski and Krzysztof Palka

December 8, 2016

A Note to the Reader

The following research paper was prepared by two independent Alberta economic and energy consultants, Mark Anielski (an ecological economist) and Krzysztof Palka (a mechanical engineer and renewable energy expert) to help inform the debate about Alberta’s energy future and the new carbon price that will impact all Albertans come January 1, 2017.

The purpose of our research is to help Albertans become better informed about what for many is a complex and even emotional subject; the imposition of a carbon levy. Our hope is that this research and our observations will provide decision makers and all Albertans with a common-sense perspective on this issue. Our goal is simple: do we believe the new carbon levy or tax on carbon emissions provides a positive, neutral or negative impact on the overall well-being and future of Albertans?

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ATB Financial: Opportunities for Building a New Flourishing Economy of Well-being for Alberta

Today (October 27, 2016) Robert McGarvey and I were the guests of Ted Ritzer of the Government of Alberta on a province-wide Greening Government Speakers Series. We explored the potential for building a sustainable economy of well-being for Alberta by leveraging the hidden assets yet to be fully leveraged by ATB Financial, the most important public bank in North America.

ATB Financial: Opportunities for Building a New Flourishing Economy of Well-being for Alberta

Mark Anielski

November 15, 2016

ATB Financial is Alberta’s most important financial asset. Founded in 1938 under a Social Credit government during the Great Economic Depression ATB is North America’s most important public bank with over $47.673 billion in assets, 6 times larger than then the only other public bank in North America, the Bank of North Dakota and 3.6 times larger than Servus Credit Union in Alberta (with $14.2 billion in assets). What does it mean to have our own public bank?

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