Bio’s second coming

Mike Fleury is acting fishy.

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Remember 2004? What a year. Paul Martin was our prime minister, Pluto was still a planet…such an innocent time. Here at home, Metro Transit announced that they were planning to convert their entire bus fleet over to biodisel fuel. Back then, those crazy 04’ers with the city’s Real Property and Asset Management released a statement about their new wunder-gas, saying that “the biodiesel product, a blend of a 20% bio-fuel and 80% regular diesel, has been tested in a sample of Metro Transit buses since last winter. The bio-fuel is a by-product of the production of Omega-3 Oil, which is refined from fish oil.” Oh, yes: fish oil. Very progressive. Very outside-of-the-box. Very 2004.

Very…problematic. The fuel caused mechanical problems in some buses (a “sticky build-up,” according to some Metro Transit officials)—they stalled, they wouldn’t start...in short, by the end of the year, the faulty fuel had deflated most of 2004’s biofueled enthusiasm.

But, like a salmon swimming upstream, the fish fuel isn’t giving up! This past week, Metro Transit announced that they were going to give a revamped version of the biodiesel another shot—providing it meets North American biodisel quality standards. Wilson Fuel Co., the independent company that produces the fuel, says that there has been research done since 2004 to ensure that the fuel will no longer cause any problems, and ultimately, will meet those quality standards. Biodisel could potentially be running in Halifax buses by the end of the month. Fish power!

How the west was... non-threatening

Premier Rodney MacDonald said on Wednesday that he isn’t concerned about “Move West,” a new supplement being distributed in (appropriately enough) Canwest newspapers. The 52-page publication is jam-packed with reasons to pack up your covered wagon, gather all of your extended family, and set out on an old-timey, frontier-forging Beverly Hillbillies-esque journey to, oh, I don’t know…Alberta. Or Saskatchewan. Or BC—frankly, it doesn’t really matter exactly where you end up, just so long as you aim yourself towards the sunset and start uprooting.

Premier MacDonald said that he isn’t concerned because of the ever-growing number of opportunities right here in Nova Scotia, particularly in the information technology field. However, he did admit that the provincial government should be doing more to publicize those opportunities. No kidding, and they’d better do it soon—I hear the Fort McMurray Tim Hortons is up to $16.00 an hour, starting salary.

And while we’re on the subject…

Welcome back students! You may now resume your march towards soul-crushing debt. It’s old news at this point, given how often Nova Scotia has managed to top various versions of this infamous list, but new figures from Statistics Canada have again confirmed that Nova Scotia students pay the highest tuition fees in the country.

The average cost of an undergraduate degree in Nova Scotia is $6,571. That’s more that $2,000 above the national average, and more than $4,500 above the lowest provincial undergrad fees (found in Quebec, which are a measly $1,916). Have a great year, kids. And maybe you should think about saving those empties....

Empty your pockets. email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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