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Malcolm

Important Enough for It's Own Thread.... Energy

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trudeau and friends are only doing the business of George Soros et al.

Does anyone really believes the girly-man really gives a hoot about the negative reviews he gets from the people he's screwing over?

I think trudeau's 'plan' counts on our being apathetic. 

 

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If other Canadians don’t think Alberta should go suck a lemon, they probably soon will

Hey Alberta! Go suck a lemon!

I don’t endorse that sentiment, of course. I’m an Albertan, after all.

CFord-218x300.jpg

Retired Calgary journalist Catherine Ford in 2017 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The person who did say something like that, as it happens, didn’t say it about Alberta.

It was a long, long time ago, 1976 as a matter of fact, when Catherine Ford said that about Quebec.

All this bilingualism stuff, see, was driving the young reporter for a small Ontario newspaper nuts, so she sat down at her typewriter and got it out of her system.

“Hey Quebec! Go suck a lemon! Better still, give me a divorce. A no fault, no-contest, you keep your property and I’ll keep mine, split,” Ms. Ford wrote, continuing in that vein probably longer than was strictly necessary.

Alberta newspapers – in the midst of an oil boom and feeling alienated with Prime Minister Trudeau; Pierre, that is – loved it. They reprinted it like crazy. Before you knew it, Ms. Ford was a leading light at the Calgary Herald, where she enjoyed a stellar career before retiring in 2004.

Fast-forward to 2018. Alberta has been the master of all it surveyed as long as anyone can remember, perpetually the richest province in Canada. This was thanks to our petroleum reserves, as it turns out, not our good management. Still, that never stopped us from lecturing other provinces, especially Quebec, about how to run their affairs.

It’s been so long since Ms. Ford showed up in Calgary we’ve had two booms go bust! So, as the famous and probably apocryphal Alberta bumper sticker inferred, we’ve **bleep** it all away a second time.

For a recent decade of that epoch, Canada was run by a prime minister from Calgary. His chief lieutenant was another Calgary MP. His Parliamentary Caucus was packed with Albertans.

JTrudeau-243x300.jpg

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

And yet here we are in the midst in another one of our periodic Alberta tantrums.

There’s a Bitumen Bubble, don’t you know? Or, as we call it this year, a price differential between what tarry Alberta bitumen fetches and better-quality crude from West Texas. If we only had a pipeline, we have persuaded ourselves, we’d have access to more markets and the price would go up. (Never mind that supply-and-demand stuff. That’s so 20th Century!)

Why, it’s costing us more than $80 million a day not to have that pipeline! So we want one, and we want it now!

We’re not only furious that we don’t have a new pipeline to tidewater, as we call the ocean when we’re here on the Prairies, we’re furious again at Prime Minister Trudeau; Justin, that is.

We had a big demonstration in Calgary Thursday outside a meeting where Mr. Trudeau was speaking. People who got paid time off from work carried nicely printed signs. That was a good thing, though, because the badly printed signs were either in the hands of **bleep**-off postal union members who were yelling at the PM about something else, and weren’t getting paid for it, or of people who thought it was cool to attack the prime minister’s 70-year-old mother.

Never mind that during those 10 years Alberta Conservatives were running the country, not a mile – pardon moi, not a single kilometre – of pipeline to tidewater got built.

Never mind that that Calgary prime minister’s chief lieutenant, also from Calgary, was Jason Kenney, who now heads Alberta’s Opposition United Conservative Party and seems to be the angriest of all the angry Albertans who are angry at Mr. Trudeau.

Never mind that Alberta’s NDP premier, Rachel Notley, whom Mr. Kenney accuses of being a close ally of Mr. Trudeau, is just as angry at Mr. Trudeau as Mr. Kenney is.

PTrudeau-216x300.jpg

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1975 (Photo: Rob Mieremet, Wikimedia Commons).

Never mind that Mr. Trudeau has actually had the federal government purchase a pipeline so the government of Canada can expand it, and appears to be doing his damnedest to make that happen – in spite of being accused daily by Albertans of doing the opposite.

Never mind that the more than $80-million dollars we’re supposed to be losing every day is a highly suspect figure based on a fundamentally flawed Scotiabank report and nobody knows how Alberta government finance boffins actually came up with their estimate from that.

Never mind that not all barrels of Alberta crude are subject to the discount, even though the Scotiabank calculation, and therefore the Alberta conclusion, assumed they were. (A truer estimate may be more like 400,000 of the three million or so barrels we export daily are subject to the discount. And we’re not losing it, we’re forgoing it, which is an important distinction.)

Never mind that the problem isn’t just pipelines, it’s our own neglectful management through all the years the dough was rolling in.

Never mind that at least three of the Big Five oilsands producers – Husky Oil Inc., Imperial Oil Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. – are making out like bandits from the bitumen price differential. Naturally, they will do whatever they can to ensure the situation remains exactly as it is.

And never mind that our previous Conservative provincial government back in 2007 completely ignored the sound advice of its own experts about the high risk of pursuing gold-rush-style development of the oilsands without investing in value-added production like upgrading bitumen here in Alberta.

Oh, and never mind that while we keep churning the stuff out as fast as we can, it turns out that law of supply and demand still applies in the 21st Century. Who knew?

So here we are. Blaming everybody but ourselves about the very real predicament in which we find ourselves.

Which is a long way of saying, I suppose, that I wouldn’t be very surprised if some young reporter somewhere else in Canada was writing a column right now that begins, “Hey Alberta! Go suck a lemon!”

Or, perhaps, if she happens to live in Quebec, “Alberta! Allez sucer un citron!”

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I am getting more than a little tired of the line “after 10 years of the Harper government, they never got one pipeline built”. This article from Calgary would indicate otherwise. They reference a Trudeau speech.

Trudeau actually used the phrase, “Let’s be honest about these things, Rick.”

Quote

I’m speaking to the rest of Albertans who have watched for 10 years under the Conservative government where there was a tremendous amount of boosterism for Alberta, there was an oil-sector-first mentality that actually didn’t deliver a single kilometre of new pipeline to market. They weren’t able to get it done for 10 years regardless of all the words they had.”

That statement is factually incorrect by more than 8,000 kilometres!

Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada from February 2006 until November 2015.

Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper (Line 67) pipeline expansion from Hardisty, Alberta, to Wisconsin was approved in 2006 and construction was completed on April 1, 2010. That pipeline covers 1,081 km and exports an additional 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to Canada’s largest customer.

Also completed in 2010 is Enbridge’s Southern Lights Pipeline from Manhattan, Illinois, up to Edmonton. That pipeline — covering a length of 2,556 km — transports diluent to Edmonton to aid in shipping bitumen through pipelines.

Then there’s the Mount Robson & Jasper Park Expansion, also known as the Anchor Loop Project. Construction on that Kinder Morgan project began in August 2007, adding a 158-km section of pipeline to the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Hinton and Hargreaves, B.C., near Mount Robson Provincial Park. It included twinning a part of the pipeline system across Jasper National Park, which won Kinder Morgan an award. 

https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/corbella-trudeau-plain-wrong-about-harpers-pipeline-legacy

In the suck a lemon article, the author makes the claim of pipelines not being built, but puts in the caveat “to tidewater”. Perhaps during the Harper years, there wasn’t an economic case to have pipelines built to tidewater, but at least there was approvals. Something that has been taken away by he current government.

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Quote

NOTLEY POISED TO CUT OIL

Premier expected to announce historic decision Sunday: Braid

  • Calgary Herald
  • 1 Dec 2018
  • DON BRAID Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald. dbraid@postmedia.com Twitter: @DonBraid Facebook: Don Braid Politics
img?regionKey=7jBg3xLwlNj%2bZJ40OrMgwg%3d%3dSHAUGHN BUTTS/FILES Finance Minister Joe Ceci is hammering the federal government for balking at helping with the purchase of tanker cars.

Premier Rachel Notley will likely unveil plans for mandatory oil production cuts when she makes a key announcement Sunday.

Notley and her ministers discussed measures to force up oil prices at a Friday cabinet meeting that hadn’t been previously scheduled.

In an op-ed piece published by Postmedia papers, Notley says the announcement coming Sunday “is one of the toughest decisions we will make as a province.”

She said that political parties, including the UCP and Alberta Party, seem to agree on the need for mandatory cuts.

But she adds that “no such consensus exists within industry. At this point, no industry consensus is expected.

“So, Alberta, it comes down to what is best for us, all 4.3 million of us, the owners of our oil resources.

“As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value possible.”

Noting that the government is also buying rail cars and locomotives, she said that measure won’t bring about price relief in the short term.

“We need to do more and do it now,” she wrote.

The implication seems clear. On Friday, the government wouldn’t officially confirm the decision to cut production, but it wasn’t denied, either.

Whether the cuts would apply to all producers or only the largest-volume companies remains unclear.

It’s also not certain whether the government will have to go to the legislature for a new law or amendment to enable the cuts. Some methods being considered apparently don’t require legislative action.

Many people in the industry agree that production has to shrink to close the price gap between Alberta oil and West Texas crude, which has reached more than $40 a barrel.

In her op-ed, Notley said the differential “is absurd, economically dangerous, and cannot be allowed to continue.”

The cabinet meeting lasted about 90 minutes — a very short time if there’s major disagreement to overcome.

As the moment approaches, the NDP is also amping up its attacks on Ottawa, which has so far refused to help with the rail purchases announced this week or adopt any other measures.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci hammered in the regional wedges Friday when he released the province’s latest fiscal update.

“If we were in a different region of the country, if we were Bombardier or the auto industry, the federal government would have no trouble stepping in and helping,” he said.

Ceci was obviously referring to the recent federal panic over the announced closing of the General Motors auto assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.

One victim of the oil price crash is any lingering alliance between Notley’s NDP and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. The rupture may be a hometown winner politically, but it leaves Notley without any reliable national allies among the feds, the provinces or any national political party, including her own.

The fiscal update is almost poignant in its picture of rising hopes that could soon be dashed.

The treasury was set to reap higher oil royalties with rising prices this fiscal year: $1.4 billion more than projected in spring.

The government says that number could still be realized, but it’s hard to see how that’s possible if both low prices and the mammoth differential persist.

The general picture shows a deepening slide into more debt and lower revenues to deal with it.

Total debt of all kinds is projected to hit $98.5 billion, $8.2 billion higher than last year.

Combined debt for the capital and fiscal plans (essentially, the tab for building and running the government) will be almost $52 billion. The annual charge for servicing all this debt will hit $1.8 billion, up nearly half a billion from last year.

The overall economy still has reserve strength. Alberta is a resilient place.

But we could very well tip into recession if conditions deteriorate further.

At this crucial moment, the treasury is ill-equipped to take on big costs like the rail and locomotive purchases, as well as any indirect losses from oil production cuts.

But Notley and her crew are stuck. They have to protect the energy industry and give some confidence to investors.

In all this, the province and the government are on their own.

A cabinet room can feel very lonely sometimes, even when it’s full of politicians.

My fellow Albertans, your energy resources — the natural inheritance of every person in this province — are being sold for next to nothing.

A decision needs to be made, one with real repercussions for working people and our entire economy. I want to take this opportunity to lay out the problem Alberta faces and the choice in front of us.

First, let’s look at the problem we are facing. We are in a position where we can’t move our oil because government after government in Ottawa has failed to build pipelines. Existing pipelines are full.

Record amounts of oil are being shipped by rail, but nowhere near enough to reduce the backlog. As a result, more of our oil sits in storage than ever before: 35 million barrels worth.

With so much oil just sitting there, unable to be moved, it is being sold at fire-sale prices, around $10 a barrel. Other oil products around the world are selling for five, six times more. It’s absurd, economically dangerous, and cannot be allowed to continue.

The long-term answer is building new pipelines, which we will keep fighting for. We are also increasing upgrading and refining capacity here in Alberta, and we have taken bold action to get thousands of rail cars to dramatically increase the amount of oil we ship by rail, but none of these solutions will bring about relief in the short term.

We need to do more and do it now. There are two competing views for how we fix this problem. Neither choice is without downsides.

The first is to let the free market sort itself out. The thinking is that companies will have to make decisions about what they can produce based on what they can sell.

Some of the bigger companies, companies that are both producers and refiners, are still

There are two competing views for how we fix this problem. Neither choice is without downsides.

able to operate at a profit, even at these low prices. Many companies, though, are not and would be forced to sell at a loss for as long as they can manage. Some have already had to lay people off and no doubt there would be more. Some would likely shut their doors.

The second view for how we fix this is for us to intervene and temporarily restrict oil production, with a cut in production, industrywide.

That restriction would remain in place until stockpiles draw down, the price gap closes and the bleeding stops.

My political counterparts in both the Alberta Party and the UCP have made their positions on this issue known, and I want to thank them for their contributions to this discussion. Both Mr. Mandel of the Alberta Party and Mr. Kenney of the UCP have called for a production cut.

While a consensus appears to be forming among some political leaders, no such consensus exists within industry. At this point, no industry consensus is expected.

So, Alberta, it comes down to what is best for us, all 4.3 million of us, the owners of our oil resources. As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value possible.

This is a major decision with major implications.

We need to be smart. That’s why, for weeks now, we have been in extensive discussions with everyone involved, and have sought expert advice from many quarters. That work is drawing to a close.

There are good jobs and made-in-Alberta businesses at stake. This is about more than numbers on a screen or economists talking. It’s about working people, people with great skills, who have made Alberta the best place in Canada to live.

Our decision will be announced Sunday. It is one of the toughest decisions we will make as a province, but I promise you this: your jobs, your kids and your futures will remain our absolute focus.

No matter what, I won’t stop fighting for you.

 

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22 hours ago, st27 said:

I am getting more than a little tired of the line “after 10 years of the Harper government, they never got one pipeline built”. This article from Calgary would indicate otherwise. They reference a Trudeau speech.

Trudeau actually used the phrase, “Let’s be honest about these things, Rick.”

https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/corbella-trudeau-plain-wrong-about-harpers-pipeline-legacy

In the suck a lemon article, the author makes the claim of pipelines not being built, but puts in the caveat “to tidewater”. Perhaps during the Harper years, there wasn’t an economic case to have pipelines built to tidewater, but at least there was approvals. Something that has been taken away by he current government.

When I read that article, it raised a few questions.

While those pipelines were physically constructed during Harper's term, when were they approved?

Governments don't 'build' pipelines, they 'approve' them which is how I see that a government gets things done.

So can you say that Harper approved those pipelines?

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From the article:

Quote

So, by my calculations — and I’m not certain I’ve included all of the pipelines that were approved and completed during Harper’s tenure — Trudeau is wrong by 8,119 km

And yes we are getting to semantics, but the often used line by the Libs is that “Harper didn’t get any pipelines built” .... not approved. Also, if you want to split hairs is the lib job creation boast (up until now) just a product of the financial conditions put in place by the conservatives, and the liberals are there to take the credit?? There is always a lag factor, so when the Cons win the next election, they will have to introduce austerity measures to clean up the mess the Libs created....you know, the product of having a government that thinks the budget will balance itself 🙂.

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No government introduces austerity measures.  Just look at Ontario.  Dougie talked a good game, but he's spending money just as good as Kathy.  Only he's being vindictive on who he's taking it from.

As for job creation, yes there is a spillover.  However just like we see in the U.S. it only lasts for 18 months or so.  Then it is the effects of the new government.

So I must say thank you for agreeing that no pipelines were approved during the conservative from Alberta's reign.

 

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1 hour ago, deicer said:

No government introduces austerity measures.  Just look at Ontario.  Dougie talked a good game, but he's spending money just as good as Kathy.  Only he's being vindictive on who he's taking it from.

As for job creation, yes there is a spillover.  However just like we see in the U.S. it only lasts for 18 months or so.  Then it is the effects of the new government.

So I must say thank you for agreeing that no pipelines were approved during the conservative from Alberta's reign.

 

deicer: you say no government introduces austerity measures, I guess you forgot about "Alberta"??  Don't you remember Ralph Klein and how he and his austerity measures dragged Alberta our of a major financial problem?

Quote

Folksy, colourful, outspoken, Mr. Klein's reputation stretched beyond provincial and even national boundaries. When he became premier in 1992, Alberta had the highest deficit per capita in the country. During his tenure, he led four successive majority governments and wiped out both the deficit and the provincial debt – without raising taxes. He accomplished that feat by persuading voters to accept massive cuts – more than 20 per cent – in public spending. Call it the Klein Revolution, Ralphonomics, or the Alberta Advantage, as Mr. Klein dubbed his austerity campaign, the man known as King Ralph proved he could cut.

 

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Yes and no.

Would he have been able to do it without the massive influx of oil money?  Which was subsequently squandered?

Alberta's addiction to oil royalties leading to record deficit

A few years of discipline

You can see from the chart that Alberta had a pretty solid run through the 2000s, posting surpluses as high as $8.5 billion. That had a lot to do with natural gas prices, which were often above $6 per gigajoule, a level only dreamed of today.

That was the era of Ralph bucks, the $400 given to each Albertan in 2006 under the government of premier Ralph Klein. That was also a time when the provincial government tried to impose some discipline on itself, according to Kneebone.

"For a few years in the early 2000s, they had a rule that said that they would only allow themselves to spend $3.5 billion worth of natural resources royalties, and they would have to save the rest." said Kneebone.

"The problem was that politicians were allowed to control that number, and the very next year, they pushed it up to $4 billion that they were allowed to spend and they after that it went up to $4.75 billion, the year after that $5 billion, and the year after about $6 billion, and the year after that they said, 'to hell with it, we'll just spend it all.'"

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12 minutes ago, deicer said:

Yes and no.

Would he have been able to do it without the massive influx of oil money?  Which was subsequently squandered?

Alberta's addiction to oil royalties leading to record deficit

A few years of discipline

You can see from the chart that Alberta had a pretty solid run through the 2000s, posting surpluses as high as $8.5 billion. That had a lot to do with natural gas prices, which were often above $6 per gigajoule, a level only dreamed of today.

That was the era of Ralph bucks, the $400 given to each Albertan in 2006 under the government of premier Ralph Klein. That was also a time when the provincial government tried to impose some discipline on itself, according to Kneebone.

"For a few years in the early 2000s, they had a rule that said that they would only allow themselves to spend $3.5 billion worth of natural resources royalties, and they would have to save the rest." said Kneebone.

"The problem was that politicians were allowed to control that number, and the very next year, they pushed it up to $4 billion that they were allowed to spend and they after that it went up to $4.75 billion, the year after that $5 billion, and the year after about $6 billion, and the year after that they said, 'to hell with it, we'll just spend it all.'"

No matter where the money came from, it was his austerity measures that allowed the debt to be eliminated.  If he had continued following the path chosen by the previous governments, the debt would never have been repaid.  What happened after he left power has nothing to do with what he accomplished though austerity. 

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33 minutes ago, deicer said:

I could balance my books too if somebody gave me a million bucks......

Silly you...Budgets balance themselves.....didntcha know ?....Right out of the Trudeau handbook..Liberals......always looking for some one else’s money to bail them out of problems of their own making. Simply borrow the million...that way your kids can pay for you.

Edited by Jaydee

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23 minutes ago, deicer said:

I could balance my books too if somebody gave me a million bucks......

deicer: he did it by cutting back on a large number of so called Provincial services.  That is a fact.  As to whether or not you could balance your books, since you are a liberal (or so I suspect) you likely would just spend the new money an "neat things" while continuing to pile up more debt,   the same  as our current PM is doing. 🙃

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Not agreeing at all Deicer, just stating that the Libs refer to pipelines built under Harper. But since you doubted that Harper had any approved:

Quote

Under the Harper Conservative government, two entirely new oil pipelines were approved and actually built: The non-XL version of Keystone, from Alberta to Nebraska, approved in 2006, completed in 2010; and The Alberta Clipper, to Wisconsin, approved in 2008 and active in 2010. The changeover in Line 9 taking oil west to east was also approved and activated under the Harper Tories. In total, Alberta got an added 1.25-million barrels a day worth of pipeline capacity under the last government.

Quote

The Liberals will add just half that much — 600,000 barrels — with the approval of Trans Mountain’s expansion. That’s if it actually gets built in the face of so much protest. You see, under the Tories, Northern Gateway, worth 500,000 barrels a day, was also approved, but the Liberals caved to protests and cancelled it — actually proving the point that a pipeline approval is a far cry from “getting it done.”

https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/kevin-libin-beware-of-fake-news-reporting-that-liberals-are-better-than-tories-on-pipelines

From the heady days of 2016.

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Qatar is quitting OPEC as politics finally rupture 58-year-old oil cartel

Qatar said it will leave OPEC next month, a rare example of the toxic politics of the Middle East rupturing a group that had held together for decades through war and sanctions.

Qatar, a member since 1961, is leaving to focus on its liquefied natural gas production, Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi told a news conference in Doha on Monday. He didn’t mention the political backdrop to the decision: dire relations with Saudi Arabia, which has led a blockade against his country since 2017; and a rhetorical onslaught from U.S. President Donald Trump against the cartel.

“The symbolism is profound,” said Helima Croft, commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets LLC and a former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. “Given that the concentrating on LNG should not be incompatible with OPEC membership, the move will invariably lead many to conclude that the geopolitical divisions had become too intractable.”

A spokesman for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to comment.

Qatar is OPEC’s 11th-biggest oil producer, accounting for less than 2 per cent of total output, so its departure may not have a significant impact on discussions this week to cut production in conjunction with allies including Russia. Yet it sets a troubling precedent for a group that prides itself on putting shared economic interests above external politics — even extreme events like the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s or Saddam Hussein’s 1991 invasion of Kuwait.

 

“Quitting OPEC is largely symbolic for Qatar,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. “Its oil production has been steady with limited prospects for increases.”

https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/qatar-to-leave-opec-as-politics-finally-rupture-oil-cartel

 

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Quote from the Premier of Quebec,

Quote

'There is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec,' François Legault says

he forgot to add "Unless the oil comes from the Middle East". So I guess he will next announce that he will no longer accept dirty money from Alberta's oil?   🙃

 

Don't count on Quebec backing Energy East pipeline revival, province's premier warns

Quebec is again asserting its opposition to the Energy East pipeline after the premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick raised the prospect of reviving the project as a solution to slumping oil prices.

'There is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec,' François Legault says

 
jonathan-montpetit.jpg
Jonathan Montpetit · CBC News · Posted: Dec 06, 2018 5:32 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
quebec-questions-20181204.jpg
'There is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec,' Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
 

Quebec is again asserting its opposition to the Energy East pipeline after the premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick raised the prospect of reviving the project as a solution to slumping oil prices.

The pipeline, first proposed by oil giant TransCanada, would have carried Alberta crude across the country to refineries and export terminals in New Brunswick.

TransCanada abandoned the $16-billion project last year following protests in Quebec and changes to the national environmental assessment process. 

But New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told The Canadian Press last week that he would discuss trying to resurrect the project with Quebec Premier François Legault at Friday's first ministers meeting in Montreal.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has also indicated her support for Energy East as her province looks for more ways to get its oil to market. A current backlog has sent Canadian oil prices tumbling.

On Thursday, however, Legault warned his provincial counterparts that the pipeline remains unpopular in Quebec and was not a priority for his government. 

"There is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec," Legault said in Quebec City. "We have hydro electricity surpluses. So I'll try to sell them."

Since taking power this fall, Legault has spoken repeatedly about increasing the province's electricity exports to Ontario. He raised the prospect in a meeting last month with Ontario's premier, Doug Ford.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he intends to discuss reviving Energy East with Legault at Friday's first ministers meeting in Montreal. (James West/Canadian Press) 

Quebec's swing vote

Legault's resistance to Energy East has the potential to further complicate what is shaping up to be an acrimonious meeting Friday of premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Several premiers are reportedly upset the current agenda does not set aside enough time to discuss issues they consider priorities, including the crisis in oil prices and impending federal regulations they fear will thwart further development in the oil sector.

Ottawa, for its part, wants to discuss climate change, and invited Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to address the meeting. 

The federal government's carbon-pricing plans are opposed by bloc of conservative premiers — Higgs, Ford,  Brian Pallister in Manitoba and Scott Moe in Saskatchewan. McKenna said this week she expects tense exchanges in Montreal. 

Quebec occupies a strategic position in this tug of war.

Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, right, spoke Thursday to Montreal's Chamber of Commerce about the importance of lowering barriers to interprovincial trade. (Jonathan Montpetit/CBC)

In recent days, federal ministers have been singing the province's praises for its participation in a cap-and-trade system with California.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Domic LeBlanc departed from prepared remarks at a luncheon speech in Montreal Thursday to say he hopes other premiers would be "inspired" by Quebec's approach. 

It is unclear who Legault will side with, if anyone, on the environment and oil development issues likely to be raised at Friday's meeting.

His Coalition Avenir Québec party is considered right-of-centre, but has no formal ties with the federal Conservative Party.

The environment was not among his campaign priorities, yet since his election he has acknowledged the importance of meeting Quebec's emissions target specified in the Paris climate accord.

"I hope Premier Legault will speak about Quebec's experience, and how you can have the fastest growing economy in the country all while reducing emissions," McKenna told Radio-Canada recently.

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OMG Justin being called "Sexist". 

Quote

First Nations chiefs call for apology after Trudeau’s ‘patronizing’ and ‘sexist’ comments on Trans Mountain

 
‎Today, ‎December ‎6, ‎2018, ‏‎2 hours ago | Jesse Snyder

OTTAWA — A group of First Nations chiefs is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologize for making “patronizing” and “sexist” comments, further heightening tensions over Ottawa’s position on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The demand for an apology came after Trudeau responded to questions from Judy Wilson, chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band in B.C., during a meeting with the Assembly of First Nations Wednesday. Wilson said Ottawa’s support for the pipeline expansion does not align with the prime minister’s speech to the United Nations last year, in which he categorized Canada’s past relationship with Indigenous people as one of “humiliation, neglect and abuse,” and promised to introduce policies that will help First Nations toward self-determination.

“When you’re talking about the United Nations and you’re going to go with the self-determination and the consent, why wasn’t that applied with the Trans Mountain pipeline that’s going through 513 kilometres of our territory?” Wilson asked.

In response, Trudeau said there are “lots of reasons” for people to support the Trans Mountain project, and that Canadians should “respect people’s choices to support or to not support” such developments. “And I don’t think we should be criticizing them just because they disagree with you, Judy,” he added.

trudeau_afn_20181204-1.jpg?w=640&h=480

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question after addressing the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs demanded an apology to those comments in a statement Wednesday evening, saying Trudeau had been “patronizing and offensive, as well as threatening.”

“You responded by using her first name, which was completely disrespectful and ignored protocol,” the letter said.

The UBCIC also said that Trudeau had used an “overtly sexist approach” in the discussions, because he dismissed Wilson’s comments while taking a more sympathetic tone in response to a male chief’s questions about the ostensibly flawed consultation process for the Trans Mountain pipeline.

In his response to Lee Spahan, chief of the Coldwater Indian Band, Trudeau conceded Ottawa “didn’t do a good enough job” in its prior consultations on the project, the UBCIC statement said.

“No relationship is more important to our government than the one with Indigenous peoples,” said Matt Pascuzzo, press secretary in the prime minister’s office, in an emailed statement to the National Post. Pascuzzo said Ottawa is “engaging with 117 Indigenous groups” on Trans Mountain, and said it “will take the time needed to move forward in the right way.” He did not respond directly to a question as to whether Trudeau would apologize as requested.

The tensions point to a growing divide between Ottawa and opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which worsened after Trudeau decided to purchase the pipeline for $4.5 billion in August. Construction on the Trans Mountain expansion was then delayed after a Federal Court of Appeal ruling compelled Ottawa to repeat a portion of its consultations with First Nations groups before the project could move ahead.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have remained vocal in their support for the pipeline expansion, claiming they can both support it and be a global leader on climate change. Meanwhile, the energy industry has become increasingly critical of the Liberal government amid record-low oil discounts for Canadian producers.

On Thursday morning, the UBCIC also demanded Ottawa revisit its decision to support the Trans Mountain project. Environmental activists and some First Nations communities have suggested that Ottawa’s decision to set timelines for its second round of consultations suggests its position on the pipeline is predetermined.

“Real consent is not manipulated and it is not hurried for the sake of a quick government deadline or biased interests,” Wilson said in a written statement Thursday morning. “Canada is in clear conflict as purchasers of the pipeline and needing to fulfil their fiduciary duty to First Nations as the Crown.”

Oral hearings for First Nations groups as part of the re-do of the National Energy Board’s Indigenous consultation process on Trans Mountain began November 20 in Calgary, and conclude this week in Nanaimo, B.C.

 

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No dirty oil but:

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British Columbia

Federal whale-saving efforts threaten Vancouver Island livelihoods, say groups

Federal whale-saving efforts threaten Vancouver Island livelihoods, say groups

Federal government efforts to save threatened southern resident killer whales could endanger the survival of communities on Vancouver Island whose economies depend on sport fishing and tourism revenues, a coalition of tourism, business and recreational fishing groups said Thursday.

2 dozen leaders gathered at a popular sport fishing marina near Victoria to voice opposition

Dirk Meissner · The Canadian Press · Posted: Dec 06, 2018 7:19 PM PT | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
orcas-vessel-slowdown.jpg
An orca whale breaches with Mount Baker in the background. (Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press)
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Federal government efforts to save threatened southern resident killer whales could endanger the survival of communities on Vancouver Island whose economies depend on sport fishing and tourism revenues, a coalition of tourism, business and recreational fishing groups said Thursday.

About two dozen leaders gathered at a popular sport fishing marina near Victoria to warn the federal government almost 10,000 jobs are at stake as well as the futures of several cities, towns and villages on the Island that base their incomes on fishing and tourism.

The coalition calls itself Thriving Orcas, Thriving Communities and said the federal government has extended a 5,000 square kilometre critical habitat zone off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island that could result in fishing closures to protect the whales, whose population stands at 74.

Sport fishing an anchor industry: advocate

Val Litwin, president of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, said 18 communities have come together to form the coalition.

Karl Ablack of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce said recreational fishing generates almost $1 billion for the B.C. economy and employs more than 8,400 people.

He said Port Renfrew, located about 100 kilometres northwest of Victoria, has transformed itself from a struggling forest-dependent community to a vibrant sport fishing destination.

"The strength of our local economy is now based and primarily dependent upon our anchor industry, which is the sport and recreational fishing industry," said Ablack.

"It will, without question, economically devastate our community as well as other coastal communities on Vancouver Island."

Bookings down: lodge operator

Ryan Chamberland, a fishing lodge operator in the Sooke area, said sport fishing closures last year in his region near Victoria hurt businesses and fishing operators. He said charter bookings for the coming season are already down up to 80 per cent.

"The people who operate regularly in these areas know that there's room for both of us in our coastal waters," he added.

whale-protection-economy-20181206.jpgBritish Columbia Chamber of Commerce president Val Litwin addresses a news conferemce in Esquimalt, B.C., Thursday, Dec.6, 2018. Sportfishing, tourism and business leaders from across Vancouver Island said the possibility of extended federal fishing closures to protect threatened southern resident killer whales endangers their livelihoods. (Dirk Meissner/Canadian Press )

A Fisheries and Oceans Canada report this year said the killer whale recovery strategy aims to "ensure the long-term viability of resident killer whale populations by achieving and maintaining demographic conditions that preserve their reproductive potential, genetic variation and cultural continuity."

The report cites four principal objectives: ensure adequate food supply, limit pollution, reduce noise disturbance and protect and identify areas for protection and critical habitat.

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Here we are hosting an "coal free day" in Poland while at the same time supporting Roberts Bank Coal Port and of course the extensive mining of Coal in BC for export.  Safe, responsible and highly efficient, Westshore is Canada's busiest coal export terminal, handling more than 33 million tonnes of coal annually and providing 

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Canada seeking new members of anti-coal alliance at climate meeting

Catherine McKenna

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna answers questions after meetings in Toronto on Thursday, December 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

     
 
     
     
     
     
 
     
     

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, December 8, 2018 10:12AM EST

OTTAWA -- Canada and the United Kingdom are hosting a "coal-free day" at the United Nations climate talks in Katowice, Poland, a city built on coal mining.

Poland relies on coal for almost 80 per cent of its electricity, more than double the global average, and Katowice is the heart of its industry. The city of about 300,000 people grew up around workshops and mills fuelled by the coal deposits abundant in the ground.

At the International Congress Centre in Katowice, where thousands of environment leaders and representatives from almost every country in the world are meeting for at least two weeks, you can see the smoke stacks and plumes of coal exhaust from nearby power plants.

Attendees, whose mission at these talks is to set rules for monitoring countries' progress in meeting their climate-change promises, were greeted by the Polish Coal Miners Band. Displays inside the conference hall include wire baskets filled with coal. Coal jewelry and soap are for sale. The "COP24" conference's main sponsors are all coal companies, including the Polish state-owned coal-mining concern and the state-owned power company.

Coal is the world's dirtiest source of electricity, producing generally twice the greenhouse-gas emissions of natural gas and contributing to air pollution that kills an estimated 800,000 people a year. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this year warned of the grave impacts on the planet if the world doesn't curb emissions significantly over the next decade, and to do that, suggested 60 per cent of existing coal plants must be closed by 2030.

Polish President Andrzej Duda used his opening speech at the COP24 conference on Dec. 3 to declare that coal is not the enemy of climate change action.

"The use of one's own resources -- in Poland's case coal -- and basing energy security on them, is not in conflict with climate protection," he said in Polish.

Poland is not on its own. The United States, with President Donald Trump's promises to make coal king again in his country, is hosting a side meeting on how fossil fuels can be used cleanly. Russia, which has yet to ratify the Paris accord on climate change, remains a huge exporter and supporter of coal. China, which is trying to close coal plants at home, nevertheless is funding them elsewhere.

Since the Paris climate-change agreement was signed in 2015, more than 92,000 megawatts of new coal power has been added to the world's energy supply and more than six times that amount is planned in new or expanded coal plants. Perhaps the single biggest move to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada, the closure of coal plants in Ontario between 2000 and 2014, took about 8,800 megawatts of coal power off the grid.

Canada still gets about 10 per cent of its electricity from coal.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna shrugged off naysayers as she spoke of plans to push the Powering Past Coal Alliance at this year's climate talks. The alliance says all developed nations should phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030, and the rest of the world should do it by 2050. The group includes 28 nations thus far but faces stronger opposition from coal-dominant economies each passing day.

"Some of the countries have taken different tacks, but we know that there's a huge opportunity to reduce emissions and if we're going to meet our Paris targets we all have to phase out coal," said McKenna in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

She said "we are going to be working very hard at COP" to promote the alliance. Canada plans to phase coal out by 2030, although there will likely be allowances for plants that have mechanisms to capture and store their carbon-dioxide emissions. The United Kingdom, where coal has plunged as a source of electricity thanks to government policies including a carbon tax, is to close its last coal plant in 2025.

 

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Yes, anti-pipeline Vancouver really is North America’s largest exporter of coal

A city dead set against expanding petroleum exports is decidedly less irked about another type of fossil fuel

1124_biz_wire_westshore.jpg?quality=80&sShips are loaded with coal at Westshore Terminals in Delta, B.C., on Wednesday February 19, 2014. The terminal is North America's largest single coal export facility.The Canadian Press

Lately, it’s one of the few things that oil boosters and environmental activistscan agree upon: Calling Vancouver a hypocrite for opposing carbon emissions while also being the continent’s largest coal port.

And both camps are correct. According to the data, Canada’s mecca of anti-pipeline sentiment does indeed rank as the largest single exporter of coal in North America.

 

 

 

 

Vancouver’s various coal facilities exported 36.8 million tonnes of coal in 2017, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

This places the B.C. city well above Norfolk, Virginia, the busiest coal port in the United States. Despite a massive spike in U.S. coal exports for 2017, only 31.5 million tonnes of coal moved out of Norfolk last year.

Vancouver’s coal exports also dwarf the total coal production for the entire country of Mexico. According to data gathered by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Mexican mines have produced no more than 16 million tonnes of coal per year since 2006.

coal-3.jpg?quality=60&strip=allMachinery and coal at Neptune terminals, North Vancouver, April 28 2017. Gerry Kahrmann/Postmedia File

Much of Vancouver’s coal is handled by a single facility that ranks as the largest of its kind on the continent.

Westshore Terminals loaded 29 million tonnes of coal in 2017, nearly triple the combined coal exports of the entire U.S. West Coast.

It’s also right next to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, making it a familiar sight to any passenger aboard a ferry arriving from Vancouver Island. Currently, Westshore Terminals is in the midst of a $275 million upgrade to “replace aging equipment and modernize our office and shop complex,” according to the company.

B.C. mines provide much of the coal flowing through Metro Vancouver. Even as coal production enters a prolonged decline around much of the world, it has been positively thriving west of the Rocky Mountains.

“Coal production is a mainstay of the province’s economy, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue and supporting thousands of well-paid jobs,” reads the website for B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

Coal is the province’s number one export commodity, with $3.32 billion of coal mined in 2016. Much of this is metallurgical coal, which is exported to Asia for the making of steel.

In recent years, however, Vancouver’s coal ports have also accommodated a massive increase in exports of thermal coal, which is used for the production of electricity.

coal-1.jpg?quality=60&strip=allCoal is moved at Neptune terminals, North Vancouver, April 28 2017. Gerry Kahrmann / Postmedia File

In 2008, only 4.4 million tonnes of Vancouver’s coal exports could be called non-metallurgical. By 2017, this had more than doubled to 11.3 million tonnes.

Controversially, almost all of this thermal coal is coming from the United States. As lawmakers in Washington and Oregon have begun shutting down their own coal ports due to environmental concerns, thermal coal producers in Wyoming and Montana have simply diverted their product through Canada.

In August, then-premier Christy Clark called for a ban on Vancouver exports of U.S. thermal coal in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. 

“They are no longer good trading partners with Canada. So that means we’re free to ban filthy thermal coal from B.C. ports, and I hope the federal government will support us in doing that,” she said at the time

In the main, however, Metro Vancouver has benefited handsomely from the presence of the coal industry, according to numbers compiled by the B.C.-based Coal Alliance. Between 2012 to 2017, coal-related companies spent $2.29 billion in Metro Vancouver, including $470 million in the City of Vancouver proper.

One the most visible contributions of the coal sector has been as a key sponsor of the Vancouver Aquarium. In 2012 Teck Resources donated $12.5 million to the attraction, the aquarium’s largest-ever single donation.

It’s difficult to precisely calculate the lifecycle carbon footprint of Vancouver’s coal exports, given that the city’s ports handle a variety of coal types, each with their own specific emissions profile.

But according to emissions formulas used by the Sierra Club, Vancouver’s 2017 coal exports will produce 99.8 million tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.

For context, this is significantly higher than B.C.’s entire carbon footprint. In 2014, B.C. estimated that it produced 64.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent

It also means that B.C.’s existing coal exports are roughly as bad for the climate as anything scheduled to come out of the Trans Mountain expansion.

The completed Trans Mountain expansion would move 215 million extra barrels of diluted bitumen per year. Depending on the kind of Alberta bitumen the pipeline will be moving at any one time, this means that total product shipped through the expansion will emit between 129 million and 158 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifecycle. 

 

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Just think....if it wasn’t for Trudeau’s hatred of our oil industry...this could be CANADA

 

AMERICA UNLEASHED: USA Becomes ‘Net Exporter’ of Oil for FIRST TIME in 75 YEARS

The United States energy industry continued to soar to life under President Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate this week; becoming a “net exporter of oil” for the first time in over 75 years.

America turned into a net oil exporter last week, breaking 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil and marking a pivotal — even if likely brief — moment toward what U.S. President Donald Trump has branded as ‘energy independence,’” writes Bloomberg.

The American transformation from a net importer to exporter is a direct result of the expanding US oil industry; with “thousands of new wells” appearing in Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

“The shale revolution has transformed oil wildcatters into billionaires and the U.S. into the world’s largest petroleum producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia,” adds the article.

 

 

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The headline says

Quebec premier accused of not understanding Alberta's energy industry

Alberta's finance minister says Quebec's resistance to a pipeline carrying western Canadian oil across its territory shows a lack of understanding about the energy industry in the Prairie province.

Francois Legault criticized for saying there's no 'social acceptability' for a pipeline in Quebec

Andy Blatchford · The Canadian Press · Posted: Dec 10, 2018 12:52 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago

 

 

What he doesn't seem to understand is where the money that the feds doles out to Quebec comes from

Albertans sent $49 billion worth of taxes to Ottawa in 2016, but only received $27.2 billion back in the form of federal spending.

 

This equates to a “gap” of $21.8 billion. On average, it means that, in 2016, every Albertan paid $5,265 more into Confederation than they get back.

It’s the largest single “gap” of any province. Ontario ranks in second place as a net contributor to Canada, but its “gap” is only $9 billion. Alberta’s chief enemy right now, B.C., also has a net loss in federal spending, although it was just $4.2 billion in 2016. 

Just ahead of that dinner, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released publicly the amount of money Ottawa will transfer to the provinces and territories in 2019-20, including nearly $20 billion in equalization.

It’s up almost $880 million from the current year, but that amount will be split among just five provinces — Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. For the first time since the 2008 recession put Ontario on the have-not province list, Ontario is not among them.

Quebec on the other hand is getting more than $13 billion from the program, an increase of nearly $1.4 billion

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Could Alberta pull off a full-blown boycott of Quebec?

 
‎Today, ‎December ‎11, ‎2018, ‏‎2 hours ago | Tristin Hopper

Over the weekend, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean called for fellow Albertans to join him in an all-out boycott of Quebec products.

The occasion was prompted by a comment from François Legault, the new right-leaning premier of Quebec. At a Montreal premiers’ meeting, Legault shot down any hope for a revival of the Energy East pipeline saying “there’s no social acceptability (for oil) in Quebec.”

Albertans are correct that Quebec has penchant to disparage Athabasca oil while simultaneously fuelling their cars with petroleum from some of the worst regimes on earth. They are also correct that Quebec disproportionately benefits from federal treasuries flush with Alberta oil money. These frustrations aside, a boycott may not be the wisest way to show Quebec the error of its ways.

Below, a quick primer on how an all-out boycott between Canada’s most temperamental provinces could expect to play out.

Quebec buys an awful lot of stuff from Alberta
According to 2015 figures, Albertans spent $8.9 billion on goods and services produced by Quebec. Quebec, in turn, spent $6.2 billion on goods and services from Alberta. This works out to a trade deficit of $2.7 billion, but it still means that up to two per cent of Alberta’s GDP exists thanks to Quebec money. Quebec’s largest single purchase of Alberta goods in 2015 (the last year for which data is available) was the $840.7 million they spent on natural gas products. Quebecers fly WestJet a lot, which accounts in large part for the $142 million they spent on Albertan air transportation (Albertans, by contrast, spent $193.5 million flying Quebec-based airlines such as Air Canada). Quebec also seems to enjoy Alberta’s plastics and industrial gases, buying more than $100 million of them per year. The point is, if Alberta wants to throw down with La Belle Province, Quebec can do a lot more damage than simply stonewalling a pipeline.

Insurance and banking services are, by far, the number one Quebec product purchased by Albertans
After the Fort McMurray wildfires, one of the first people allowed into the stricken city were teams of Quebec insurance claims processors dispatched to calculate how many cars and houses they would need to replace. In 2015, Alberta spent $266 million on Quebec-owned auto insurance companies. They spent $110 million on Quebec-owned life insurance, and another $320 million on property and liability insurance. Quebec holding company services, meanwhile, collected $519 million from Alberta. If Alberta premier Rachel Notley wanted to hurt Quebec economically as quickly as possible, her best course of action would be to throw up a bunch of arbitrary regulations that would effectively seal off her province from Quebec insurers. The move would spark a torrent of litigation, but it would maximize economic pain and definitely get the attention of the Quebec National Assembly (who, let’s be honest, would probably respond by doubling down on their hatred of Alberta). As U.S. president Donald Trump is currently discovering, however, trade wars come with blowback. The thousands of Albertans who chose to bank with a Quebec-owned financial institution presumably did it because it was the best fit for their needs and budget. Quebec has some of Canada’s lowest wages and rents, meaning they can generally crank out cheaper financial services than anyone else. If Alberta did suddenly stop sending insurance premiums and banking fees to Quebec, it’s not like those dollars are destined to stay in Alberta. More likely, they’d simply go to financial companies in Toronto or Vancouver, two places not tremendously renowned for their love of Alberta’s resource industry.

The grocery aisle is where this could get ugliest
If the patriotic Alberta consumer needs an easy way to deny cash to Quebec, they should stop drinking milk and eating cheese. Quebec supplied $445 million of milk, cheese, butter and ice cream to Alberta in 2015. Alberta dairy farmers also make those products, but they’re still selling only about $275 million in their home province. This disparity is partly by design. Canada’s system of dairy supply management disproportionately favours entrenched dairy interests in Quebec, while preventing Albertans from importing American cheese or starting their own dairy farms without having to fork over millions in quota payments. However, with Quebec also dominating other food sectors such as pork, flavouring syrups and poultry, an Albertan would need to deny themselves an awful lot of tasty food in order to ensure that their diet was free of Quebec. This would include one of Canada’s most revered staples: Kraft Dinner is made in Quebec of primarily Quebec ingredients. And here again, in any boycott scenario Quebec could hurt Alberta almost as bad as they were getting it. Quebecers purchased $803 million of Alberta beef in 2015 — roughly $100 per Quebecer. They also purchased $96 million of Alberta bottled water and soft drinks and $113 million of Alberta-made “snack food products.” All told, if Quebec and Alberta want to work out their differences in the grocery aisle, it can end only with a lot of passive aggressive salad-eating.

Both provinces fill some pretty critical niches for each other
Products like oil and lumber are relatively interchangeable: If one sources dries up, it’s pretty easy to buy a nearly identical product from someone else. But there are a handful of small, hard-to-replace specialty industries in which Alberta and Quebec desperately need one another. Quebecers spend $24 million each year on Alberta-made “navigational and guidance instruments.” Albertans buy $55 million each year on made-in-Quebec pharmaceuticals. Quebec buys $34 million in “fabricated steel plates” from Alberta. Albertans rely heavily on Quebec-made replacement parts for cars, trucks, combines and oilfield equipment, with the category approaching $400 million in sales for 2015. Quebec and Alberta are very different economies with plenty of complementary products to sell one another. If trade was to be sealed off between the two, they’d both be left hanging for a whole constellation of specialty items that don’t have easy (or cheap) replacements.

The Premier of Quebec said that "there is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec.” Yet he has no problem taking the transfer payments funded by Alberta oil. Quebec gets around 60% of all equalization. It's time to start boycotting Quebec products here in Alberta. #ableg pic.twitter.com/8FjphSEqsT

— Brian Jean (@BrianJeanAB) December 9, 2018

 

Really want to stick it to Quebec? Quit smoking.
In 2015, Albertans spent an incredible $182.8 million on “cigarettes, cigars, chewing and smoking tobacco” from Quebec. Imperial Tobacco Canada is headquartered in Montreal and owns the brands Du Maurier, Pall Mall and Marlboro, among others. With an estimated 560,000 smokers in Alberta, this means that every Alberta smoker is personally sending $327 every year that ends up in a Quebecer’s pocket. “No problem, I’ll just get my smokes from the black market,” you say. Too bad all those cigarettes also come from Quebec — sometimes from the very same First Nation reserves that helped spearhead opposition to the Energy East pipeline. Whichever way you slice it, from the perspective of the Quebec economy an Albertan with a smoking habit is essentially the same as an Albertan with a severe Cirque de Soleil addiction.

 

 

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Pro-pipeline First Nations spar with environmental activists over 'devastating' tanker ban bill

First Nations chiefs and leaders who say they represent over 200 Indigenous communities in B.C. and Alberta are fighting back against the federal government's plan to ban all oil tanker traffic off the coast of northern B.C. — calling it an "attack" on the energy industry that will leave remote First Nations destitute.

Pipeline backer claims competing First Nations group is funded by U.S.-based green lobby

 
john-paul-tasker.JPG
John Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted: Dec 11, 2018 3:21 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
bc-oil-pipeline-20181211.jpg
Eagle Spirit Pipeline President Calvin Helin is seen during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday December 11, 2018. Helin wants the Senate to kill Bill C-48, which would ban oil tankers from the northern B.C. coast. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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First Nations chiefs and leaders who say they represent over 200 Indigenous communities in B.C. and Alberta are fighting back against the federal government's plan to ban all oil tanker traffic off the coast of northern B.C., calling it an "attack" on the energy industry that will impoverish remote First Nations.

Chief Roy Jones Jr. of the National Coalition of Chiefs, a group that supports energy projects as a solution to rampant poverty on First Nations reserves, said the federal Liberal government is "arbitrarily denying Indigenous communities ... investments" by curtailing development through the northern reaches of the province.

"We're trying to lessen our dependency on federal [welfare] dollars. Bill C-48 will just set us back," Jones said.

Calvin Helin, a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation near Prince Rupert, B.C. and an executive with the Eagle Spirit pipeline project, said "elites" from Central Canada are ignoring the pleas of pro-pipeline Indigenous communities who see this sort of development as a solution to unemployment rates as high as 80 per cent, and living standards on a par with sub-Saharan Africa.

"There's no question the energy industry will be completely savaged," Helin said. "Canada has become the laughing stock of the energy world."

Helin said Ottawa brought about this proposed oil tanker ban in part because it is kowtowing to self-described anti-pipeline "leaders" who are "on the payroll of environmental groups."

"Unfortunately, because there's literally no employment in our community, that's how some people remain employed," Helin said, referring to individuals he claims are falsely presenting themselves as First Nations leaders to politicians and the media to advocate against natural resources development.

Helin said the Nine Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Gary Reece, a former community leader who claims to be a hereditary chief, to stop presenting himself as the voice of the Lax Kw'alaams on energy issues.

Helin accused Reece and others like him of being "absolutely" influenced by U.S.-based environmentalist organizations that are bankrolling anti-oil campaigns, calling them "puppets and props" for the green lobby.

"The chiefs feel that there is foreign interference in their traditional territories, territories they know better than anybody else," Helin said.

The House of Commons has passed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promised bill banning oil tanker traffic along a stretch of the northern B.C. coast. It is now before the Senate. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

CBC News has asked for comment on Helin's assertions and will update this story accordingly.

Reece met with senators last week urging them to pass Bill C-48, the legislation that will prohibit tankers carrying crude oil from loading or unloading at ports in northern B.C.

Eagle Spirit claims '100 per cent' support from local chiefs

The bill would block Helin's quest to build Eagle Spirit, a $16-billion pipeline project to carry medium and heavy crude from Fort McMurray to the Grassy Point port near Prince Rupert, B.C.

Helin has pitched the project as an alternative to the now-defunct Northern Gateway project — which was cancelled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet — and the long-delayed Trans Mountain expansion project. Helin has the support of 35 First Nations in the area, including every chief along the proposed pipeline's route.

Tanker ban supporters — including Marilyn Slett, the chief of the Heiltsuk Nation — say they worry that a spill of a crude oil product in coastal waters could threaten the viability of a diverse fishing industry that sustains well over 1,000 jobs in the area, from the fishermen themselves to processing plants along the region's shores.

eagle-spirit-energy-pipeline.jpgThe proposed route for the Eagle Spirit Energy Pipeline would run about 1,562 kilometres from Fort McMurray to a terminal at either Grassy Point, B.C. or Hyder, Alaska. (Eagle Spirit Energy)

However, the elected mayor of the Lax Kw'alaams Band — John Helin, the brother of Calvin — has filed a legal challenge against Canada and B.C., hoping to get a court to rule that the tanker moratorium infringes on Indigenous and treaty rights by blocking a plan to build an export port on their territory.

The band asserts it was not adequately consulted or accommodated by the federal government ahead of the introduction of Bill C-48 in Parliament.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who introduced the legislation in the Commons, has said he met with representatives from the Lax Kw'alaams Band.

 

The pro-pipeline group of chiefs said Tuesday they are prepared to file a formal complaint against Canada before the United Nations over an alleged breach of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which asserts Indigenous groups have "the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired."

A competing group — the Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams, which counts hereditary leaders among its members — also claims to represent the "true owners" of the land in question and said Helin and his allies have hijacked the original intent of UNDRIP.

"The federal oil tanker ban is in line with their stewardship obligations to protect the land and waters for future generations from oil spills," the group said.

Bill C-48 would ban tankers capable of carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of oil from an area that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. The legislation formalizes a similar, voluntary ban that has been in place in the region for the last 20 years.

Supporters of Alberta's oilsands fear the ban, when combined with scarce pipeline capacity and cratering oil prices, could spell the end of one of the country's largest export industries. During her swing through Ottawa last week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the bill should be tossed "into the dustbin."

Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom of the Woodland Cree First Nation in Alberta, which has considerable interests in the oilsands, said Tuesday the tanker ban would be "devastating."

"Without economic resources, we are all in jeopardy. So many jobs are being lost," he said.

Bill C-48 was passed by the House of Commons last spring. The bill hasn't moved beyond the second reading legislative stage in the Senate because a number of senators fear the bill would kill off an international shipping route for Canada's energy products at a time of constrained pipeline capacity for Alberta oil.

"Without the Trans Mountain pipeline and with the tanker moratorium, there is absolutely no possibility for Alberta to get its product to tidewater. We will have closed the gate and made any alternative solution, if Trans Mountain fails, impossible," Conservative Alberta Sen. Scott Tannas said in a recent speech in the chamber.

 

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Hard to decide if this should go in the energy thread, or in the trusted news one, or the climate change one.  It covers off all three and shows how big money will fight in an unfair fashion to the detriment of the environment and peoples best interest to protect profits.

The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules

When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them.

But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.

In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.

The campaign’s main argument for significantly easing fuel efficiency standards — that the United States is so awash in oil it no longer needs to worry about energy conservation — clashed with decades of federal energy and environmental policy.

“With oil scarcity no longer a concern,” Americans should be given a “choice in vehicles that best fit their needs,” read a draft of a letter that Marathon helped to circulate to members of Congress over the summer. Official correspondence later sent to regulators by more than a dozen lawmakers included phrases or sentences from the industry talking points, and the Trump administration’s proposed rules incorporate similar logic.

The industry had reason to urge the rollback of higher fuel efficiency standards proposed by former President Barack Obama. A quarter of the world’s oil is used to power cars, and less-thirsty vehicles mean lower gasoline sales.

In recent months, Marathon Petroleum also teamed up with a secretive policy group within the Koch network, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to draft legislation for states supporting the industry’s position. Its proposed resolution, dated Sept. 18, describes current fuel-efficiency rules as “a relic of a disproven narrative of resource scarcity” and says “unelected bureaucrats” shouldn’t dictate the cars Americans drive.

A separate industry campaign on Facebook, covertly run by an oil-industry lobby representing Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Phillips 66 and other oil giants, urged people to write to regulators to support the rollback.

The Facebook ads linked to a website with a picture of a grinning Mr. Obama. It asked, “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?” The site appears to have been so effective that a quarter of the 12,000 public comments received by the Department of Transportation can be traced to the petition, according to a Times analysis.

Gary R. Heminger, Marathon’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the company supported “sound fuel economy standards” and wanted to “help ensure they are achievable and based on existing technology.”

He added, “We appreciate the administration’s willingness to conduct a thorough review in order to ensure future standards are achievable and will actually benefit American consumers.”

A spokesman for Koch Industries, the energy conglomerate led by Mr. Koch, said the company had “a long, consistent track record of opposing all forms of corporate welfare, including all subsidies, mandates and other handouts that rig the system.”

The oil industry’s campaign, the details of which have not been previously reported, illuminates why the rollbacks have gone further than the more modest changes automakers originally lobbied for.

The standards that the Trump administration seeks to weaken required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2025. Instead, the Trump plan would freeze the standards at 2020 levels. Carmakers, for their part, had sought more flexibility in meeting the original 2025 standards, not a categorical rollback.

The Trump plan, if finalized, would increase greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by more than the amount many midsize countries put out in a year and reverse a major effort by the Obama administration to fight climate change.

The energy industry’s efforts also help explain the Trump administration’s confrontational stance toward California, which, under federal law, has a unique authority to write its own clean-air rules and to mandate more zero-emissions vehicles.

California has pledged to stick to the stricter standards, together with 13 other states that follow its lead. But President Trump’s plan challenges California’s rule-writing power, setting up a legal battle that threatens to split the American auto market in two.

That is a prospect automakers desperately want to avoid.

But for gasoline producers like Marathon, a shift toward more efficient vehicles poses a grave threat to the bottom line. In October, the company acquired a rival, Andeavor, making it the biggest refiner in the United States, with sales of 16 billion gallons of fuel a year.

Even while doubling down on gasoline, Marathon has projected an environmentally friendly public image. “We have invested billions of dollars to make our operations more energy efficient,” Marathon said in a recent report. The company’s Twitter account recently highlighted a gardening project and the creation of a duck pond at one of its refineries.

On a conference call with investors last week, Mr. Heminger, the Marathon chief executive, was already counting the extra barrels of fuel a Trump rollback would mean for the industry: 350,000 to 400,000 barrels of gasoline per day, he said.

“However, you have another side who doesn’t want to pivot away” from the stricter rules, Mr. Heminger said. “So we have a lot of work to do to keep this momentum going.”

Marathon began its outreach to the Trump administration early, asking to meet with Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency soon after he became its administrator in early 2017. Marathon had been a top donor to Mr. Pruitt in Oklahoma, a state where oil is so prominent that a well stands on the grounds of the capitol building.

“Our CEO, Gary Heminger, would be very glad for an opportunity to visit with the Administrator,” a Marathon lobbyist wrote in an email to Mr. Trump’s transition team on May 8, 2017. “I believe this would be a constructive dialogue.” The E.P.A. helps oversee fuel economy rules along with the Transportation Department.

Mr. Pruitt was scheduled to meet with the Marathon chief at least twice — once in June 2017 as part of a meeting with the board of a powerful fuel-industry group, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and again in September for a more private talk, according to emails and schedules released in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club.

A Marathon spokesman, Chuck Rice, said Mr. Heminger did not discuss auto-efficiency rollbacks with Mr. Pruitt. An E.P.A. official did not respond to a question about whether the auto rules were discussed.

Marathon then turned its focus to Congress, hiring the firm Ogilvy Government Relations to lobby legislators in Washington on fuel-economy standards, according to Ogilvy’s disclosure forms. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Over the summer, Marathon representatives also approached legislators about an industry talking-points letter, according to six people familiar with that effort. The file properties of a Microsoft Word version of one letter, provided by a Congressional delegation, show that it was last edited by a Marathon lobbyist, Michael J. Birsic, on June 11, 2018.

Mr. Rice of Marathon said the company did not write the letter, and the company declined to say who did. It did not offer an explanation for Mr. Birsic’s digital fingerprint on the document file.

Nineteen lawmakers from the delegations of Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania sent letters to the Transportation Department that included exact phrases and reasoning from the industry letter. The lawmakers’ letters, sent in June and July, all make the point that oil scarcity is no longer a concern.

The Trump administration’s proposed rollback echoes the post-conservation theme. While energy conservation is significant, the proposal says, the downside of additional petroleum consumption would be dwarfed by the rollback’s benefits.

Representatives from the three state delegations either declined to comment or did not respond to requests.

Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, criticized the industry’s campaign. “It appears as though oil interests are cynically trying to gin up support in Congress for the weakest possible standards to ensure that cars and SUVs have to rely on even more oil,” he said.

“If this attempt is successful, the outcome will be a blow to the auto industry, consumers, and our environment.”

The Facebook Campaign

The Facebook ads, featuring Mr. Trump waving alongside the message, “SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT’S CAR FREEDOM AGENDA!,” appeared the week after the administration made public its fuel economy plan in August. At least 10 times during the two-month public comment period on the plan, the ads, which did not state their oil industry origins, asked people to write to the government to back weaker emissions standards.

Public comments matter in federal rule-making. The law requires that citizens’ views be taken into account before a rule is finalized.

“File an official comment to SUPPORT our President’s plan for safer, cheaper cars that WE get to choose,” read one ad, which ran for seven days in early October. The ad leads to a page that provides basic language to submit.

More than 3,300 of the 12,000 public comments that D.O.T. has made public contain language identical to that petition, an analysis of the files showed.

The campaign was a product of the fuel and petrochemical manufacturers trade group, widely known as AFPM. However, neither the Facebook ads nor the site identified the industry group. Instead they name a group called Energy4US, which describes itself as “a coalition of consumers, businesses and workers” promoting affordable energy.

Energy4US has close ties to the industry group. According to internet domain records, Victor Adams, listed as an AFPM web manager, registered Energy4Us.org in 2015 using his work email address. Energy4US lists the group as a coalition member, along with about 50 other groups including energy interests, labor groups, a sheriff’s association and even a recreational fishing alliance.

The AFPM board includes representatives from Exxon, Chevron, Phillips 66, Marathon and Koch Industries. The companies all referred queries to the group.

Derrick Morgan, a senior vice president at AFPM, said the group “regularly works with policymakers, coalition groups and individuals to promote shared goals,” and also will “lead and join groups like Energy4US.”

The Department of Transportation said it was “generally aware” that there were groups urging the public to make comments through online campaigns, but said it does not regulate them.

Taking the Fight On the Road

House bill 1593 is just eight words long: “To repeal the corporate average fuel economy standards.” Koch Industries, a petroleum empire with interests as diverse as gasoline, pipelines, fertilizer and Stainmaster carpets, is the bill’s sole corporate backer.

The measure, which would eliminate fuel standards altogether, is not expected to go far. But it underscores the company’s stance on the matter. And Koch interests are fighting that battle not only in Washington but increasingly in statehouses and even local policy meetings nationwide.

In Dearborn, Mich., at a September meeting on the Trump fuel-efficiency rollbacks, Annie Patnaude of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded group, spoke in favor. “This is a step in the right direction to protect consumers and workers against government mandates that would limit choice,” she said.

In Iowa, Americans for Prosperity joined the fight over whether to make it easier for gas stations to install chargers for electric vehicles. In Illinois, it discouraged state officials from considering subsidies for electric vehicles.

And last month an Americans for Prosperity representative trekked to a public hearing in Colorado, where regulators were thinking about becoming the 13th state to follow California’s stricter standards. The representative, Shari Shiffer-Krieger, a field director for the group, argued that people in the rugged state wanted SUVs, not tighter emissions rules. “Coloradans deserve much better,” she said.

The oil industry lost that fight. Colorado allied itself with California.

But Americans for Prosperity said fights like these get to the heart of its free-market philosophy. “We believe in a level playing field so all Americans have the equal opportunity to succeed,” said Bill Riggs, a spokesman for the group, in a statement. The organization will keep fighting “mandates that unfairly pick winners and losers in any industry,” he said.

Drafting Pro-Oil State Legislation

On August 6, a Marathon lobbyist, Stephen D. Higley, emailed a Wisconsin state representative an explainer of American fuel economy law. The memo didn’t mince words.

“It’s a relic,” the memo said, particularly at a time when the United States was “poised to become the largest oil producer in the world.”

The Wisconsin representative, Mike Kuglitsch, participates in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch-funded group that helps companies write model legislation for state lawmakers to use as a basis for their own laws.

Emails obtained by the Times show that Marathon has been working with members of the legislative exchange council to build support for the Trump fuel-efficiency rollback in state legislatures and to denounce California’s power to write its own rules for cars. The emails were made public under Wisconsin’s open records law to Documented, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in public policy.

California’s special authority could effectively split the American auto market in two, since 13 other states — representing roughly 35 percent of nationwide car sales — have agreed to follow California’s stricter rules. That means automakers might find themselves making cars to two competing standards.

“Who should decide what cars and trucks consumers should buy, consumers themselves or unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento, California or Washington, D.C.?” the memo sent by Marathon said.

In a statement, Bill Meierling of the legislative exchange council said that mandating fuel economy was a rule that “many state legislators believe doesn’t make sense for working Americans.”

Just days after the emails between Marathon and the Wisconsin lawmaker, some 1,500 state legislators and other officials from across the country gathered in New Orleans to cheer on Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation, at the legislative exchange council’s annual convention. Marathon sponsored the event.

The Transportation Department was determined to cut government regulations, said Ms. Chao, a former fellow at the Heritage Foundation, which has received Koch funding and has long opposed the fuel economy rules.

Mr. Trump’s proposed rollback, she said, “ranks as one of the most significant regulatory reforms that this administration is undertaking.” The room erupted in applause.

 

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