Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

Lies, hyperbole and alt truths.

Monday, February 4th, 2019

What has happened to politics? And what has happened to the decency that it used to have? We all know that U.S. president Donald Trump creates his own truths but we also know that he is not really a politician. He does not know any better.

Justin Trudeau knows better. He was raised in politics. His father was quite good about telling the truth—and, sometimes, regretted it.

But that did not stop Justin Trudeau from using some hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis) last week in the House of Commons. He claimed that his government has “helped more than a million Canadians find affordable housing.”

Defending the prime minister’s exaggeration, Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of social development, explained that while the actual results created housing for less than a million Canadians, some double counting was involved. He stated that this was necessary to provide “rhetorical advantage.”

What it sounds like, is Vaughan is saying that Justin Trudeau, who used to be a school teacher, could stand up in front of a class and tell the children that it is alright to lie, to make your point. This is a frequently used rationale for telling lies.

But reality is that there is no need to lie. There is a long journey from truth to the way station of hyperbole and on to the alt truth. We see the alt (alternative) truth everyday in television commercials such as the current heavy saturation of ads for what Alberta calls an “oil” pipeline. What they do not want you to know is that it is to carry the highly-polluting bitumen from the tar sands. They want the public to think of it as just crude oil.

In this election year, we are going to hear many more alt truths. My favourite Alt truth last year was Ontario conservative Doug Ford’s slogan, ‘For the People.’ We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what people Ford meant. I am waiting for this year’s campaign when Andrew Scheer’s conservatives try to convince us that we should not be concerned about the environment. I bet the Tories will have a slogan for that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

An Olive Branch to Alberta?

Monday, January 21st, 2019

It was last April when Babel-on-the-Bay commented on the Toronto Star’s Quisling-like coverage of the Alberta tar sands quandary by Star business writer David Olive. We were pleased to note the other day that Olive has seen the light. In a recent opinion piece, he suggests that Albertans should get serious about the province’s future.

Olive picks up on the Alberta tendency to ride the rollercoaster of oil-industry feasts and famines. He even points out that most of the oil money profits (when they happen) go to out-of-province investors rather than to the citizens of the province. What he considers as inexplicable is the province’s lack of forward planning.

Olive is old enough to remember the heyday of Burns Foods and Gainers when Alberta was processing world-class beef products for Eastern Canada and world markets. The province also seems to have turned its collective backs on the high-tech potential out of the University of Alberta and a strong dairy sector.

While Olive still panders to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) desire to call bitumen ‘heavy crude,’ he admits that he is astonished that Calgarians, particularly, seem to have no concept of how long it takes to get a pipeline approved and built in Canada. (And if Jason Kenney thinks it is because we believe in democracy; tough beans.)

Olive says he is surprised by Albertans who seem to think everyone other than themselves is to blame when the price of crude oil drops. He is surprised that Albertans still do not understand why Peter Lougheed urged economic diversification. They would much rather damn a Trudeau for their pipedreams.

What surprises me about Olive’s article was his thinking that all bitumen mining in Alberta is open pit. That is the impression that CAPP seems to encourage by using the old news clips and pictures from Suncor. People in the east seem unaware that most bitumen is now flushed up from deep underground by forcing hot water down to the bitumen seams. Those wildlife-killing settling ponds that are taking over the northern Alberta landscape are the residue from bitumen extraction.

And Olive does not think premier Rachel Notley helped inter-provincial relations by saying in a Toronto speech recently that Canadians who are not lucky enough to live in her province were holding Alberta up for ransom. No doubt she could also improve relations by stopping those false-news commercials that say doubling the Trans Mountain pipeline is good for all Canadians.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

What to do when money wins?

Friday, January 18th, 2019

The cynic tells us that everyone has a price. And when you are dealing in billions, what is a million here or there? I have often wondered when the companies exploiting the tar sands and the pipeline people were going to give the aboriginal peoples who have stood in their way a serious piece of the action. Now we find that they are not only offering participation, they want to sell the tribes everything.

A recent deal between Teck Resources and the aboriginal groups around Fort Chipewyan shows that the aboriginal nations are more inclined to be joining instead of fighting. It is as though, they have given up on the government protecting them.

Of special interest is a potential deal reported by the CBC that a group of aboriginal nations who have been involved in resource exploitation are interested in buying the Trans Mountain pipeline from the government. It was also clear from the quick denial by finance minister Bill Morneau that this is not a joke. It is for good reason that the government is not comfortable with Justin Trudeau’s rash decision to buy the Kinder Morgan package. The aboriginals can probably get it for a fire-sale price when the timing is right. And while these first nations do not always play well together, they understand each other and the negotiations would be fair and expeditious.

And can you imagine the relief for government and taxpayers when more of our first nations start to become financially self sufficient and paying taxes.

The only people who would be left with egg on our faces will the environmentalists who have been backing them. It would sure feel funny fighting the aboriginal-owned pipeline and those huge ocean tankers on behalf of the marine life in the Strait of Georgia.

I can already hear premier Rachel Notley and that damn Jason Kenney snickering over their brandies at the Petroleum Club.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

Jason Kenney would rather fight.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

The last thing Canada needs is another provincial leader spoiling for a fight. Alberta opposition leader Jason Kenney was on Global Television’s West Block last Sunday laying out his battle plan and various lies for his anti-Trudeau, Anti-Quebec and anti-British Columbia campaign. This is, of course, provided his reconstructed conservatives win the Alberta election, expected in May.

Kenny wants to join Doug Ford of Ontario, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and Andrew Scheer leader of the federal conservatives in tearing into the Trudeau liberals in the federal election expected in October. If Mr. Moe, Mr. Ford and Mr. Kenney were honest about it, you would expect the gentlemen to be resigning their provincial jobs and finding an electoral district that might have them as the conservative candidate. There is no doubt but that Mr. Scheer will need all the help he can get.

But for the three provincial gentlemen to interfere in the federal game with slander, false news and hyperbole from the sidelines is bad politics and a betrayal of the people they purport to represent.

First of all, the liberal government has made it clear that the carbon pricing to be charged on major polluters selling fossil fuels in their many forms, will be refunded to Canadian taxpayers in their taxes. The objective is to show people the real price of these fuels and the need to fight global warming. Mr. Scheer and his chorus can keep denying global warming and the increasing danger to our planet and they might eventually join the fight, but by then, hell will likely be frozen over.

But that nasty bastard Kenney has been lying to people since he was in college in San Francisco telling Catholic co-eds that they could not learn about abortion. He certainly does not admit to the highly polluting problems with the products of the Alberta tar sands. He resents that the prime minister bought the Trans-Mountain pipeline to help solve the problems for Alberta and says that the PM is now blocking the pipeline.

The problems with the Trans-Mountain pipeline are far more serious than the whims of the prime minister. The problems have far more to do with the sloppy job the Calgary-based National Energy Board (NEB) used to do on pipelines for Alberta. The NEB is no longer a lap dog for the oil industry.

And what is particularly outrageous is Kenney blaming Quebec for blocking the Energy East pipeline through that province. The proposal was nothing but a tissue of lies for the tar sands people and it was legitimately stopped. Kenney wants Albertans to hate Quebec.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The entitlement of being Alberta.

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Have you ever felt the cold of Calgary in the loneliness of two AM walking about six city blocks from the Calgary Herald offices to your hotel? They said it was minus 35 Fahrenheit. I was wearing a Toronto top coat and low-cut shoes and was determined to step in front of the first taxi I saw. There were none.

Why I was walking that night is irrelevant to the fact that the experience did little to undermine my love for Alberta. I had been stationed at Cold Lake in the Air Force, I have friends in Calgary and Edmonton and have been there on business and to visit hundreds of times. Alberta is a vital part of our Canada.

And I really get annoyed with those jerks who whine about taking Alberta out of Confederation. You will get as much sympathy for that dumb idea as I give the péquiste in Quebec, none. All you prove is that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are a lot smarter than you.

There is a lot wrong today with our constitution that was conceived over 150 years ago. It is a difficult plan to change but not impossible.

The important thing to remember is that Canada owes you nothing. You owe Canada. This is a land of opportunity. It is a land of great beauty. It is a peaceful land where you can raise and educate your children. Where the kids can play street hockey and have the best of medical care.

Nothing is more churlish than complaining because the federal government does not jump to meet unreasonable demands. And why bitch at the rest of Canada because the bottom has fallen out of the price of bitumen. If you want all the benefits of the country’s natural resources, you have to accept the risks.

You have known all along that bitumen is a desperation solution for when the world runs out of crude oil. Fracking scares me but I lack the geological training to understand its impacts. It has made the U.S. self sufficient in oil but it will probably run dry at some stage and maybe there will still be a role for some bitumen.

“Maybe” is the operative word. The Alberta government needs to stop running those ridiculous television commercials calling bitumen “oil” and saying that a pipeline for bitumen benefits Canada. They need to talk seriously with the environmentalists about the risks, and who really benefits.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

All we got from Trudeau was a Ho-Ho-Ho.

Friday, December 21st, 2018

How do you like that bunch of ingrates in Alberta? Prime minister Trudeau comes up with a $1.6 billion Christmas present for them and all they do is complain.

Bet you just love the mental picture of premier Rachel Notley sitting on Justin Trudeau’s lap last time she was in Ottawa. She says she was only telling him what she wanted for Christmas.

But now she tells us that Trudeau is deaf and only offered the tar sands exploiters more opportunities to go into debt. He is not getting that girl onto a bicycle built for two. She knows what she wants and if she cannot have her pipeline over the Rockies, she wants more tanker cars to get that damn bitumen to markets that do not care about all the pollution.

There is a lot of speculation that premier Rachel will need a new job next year. It seems obvious now that she will never make it as a lap dancer. Nor will Trudeau make it as a department store Santa.

Maybe we should teach our eastern premiers to whine and carry-on like they do from Alberta. Could you just see Messrs. Ford and Legault carrying on about giving their free enterprise environment destroyers the store? It is bad enough that Dougie wants to sue Justin over some possible carbon tax. It is even worse that our genius premier in Ontario wants to pave over the aquifer that provides drinking water for about five million people in and around the City of Toronto.

What puzzles most easterners is that there are less than five million Albertans. They do not want to pay provincial taxes. They are horrified at the thought of paying more federal taxes. And these are the same people that scream and yell that the rest of Canada has to pay for their damn polluting pipeline. And if they cannot have that pony, they want millions of dollars worth of rail tanker cars.

What puzzles most Canadians is why these huge successful companies who are exploiting the tar sands do not plan ahead? If you are going to have a million barrels of diluted bitumen to export each month, would it not be best to plan ahead and make sure you can deliver it to your customer?

Well, surprise, surprise, reindeer cannot fly either.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The conflicts of Kenney’s UCP.

Monday, December 17th, 2018

How any openly lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) person can have anything to do with the united conservative party of Alberta would come as a surprise. Mind you, I am also surprised that there are women involved with that party run, as it is, by misogynists.

And Alberta is no better for it.

The UCP is a party of conflicts. And in its destructive condition, it is of little use to anyone.

The only reason for the party, as structured, is to be against—in this case, against the new democrats of premier Rachel Notley.

It seems that almost everything the Notley government does, the UCP is opposed. It seems wind farms are a no-no. Coal is good for friends of the UCP. Notley hates coal. The NDP passed a carbon tax. The UCP is against taxes.

It seems that the two parties both want the Trans Mountain pipeline doubled. Notley is not fast enough. Notley costs too much. Notley is friends with that wussy Justin Trudeau. And we all know that many in Alberta dislike the name ‘Trudeau.’

So, they are sitting back in the Petroleum Club in Calgary, firing up their stogies, sipping their single malts and counting on their good friend Jason to do the job.

It shows you that they do not know their good friend Jason.

It is not just in his youth when he wanted to show what a good catholic boy he could be. He was imbued with the teachings of his church and he showed those gays and abortionists that the church had power.

He is all grown now and he is a life-long politician. He was Stephen Harper’s go-to guy to get the job done in Ottawa. He compromised ethnic groups to do his bidding. He did the boss’ bidding.

So, who are his bosses now? It certainly is not the people of Alberta. Why should he care about them? He is out for himself. As a bachelor, he is looking forward to a wealthy retirement, to a lifestyle of freedom and luxury. Jason Kenney only cares about himself.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

Finance ministers can also lie.

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Canada’s provincial finance ministers met last weekend for a play date with their federal counterpart. This was a follow-up to the first ministers meeting on the Friday. When Alberta finance minister Joe Ceci found that Quebec premier François Legault had left him a lump of coal, he got a bit huffy. It seems the new Quebec premier had made the point that Alberta pushing for an Energy East pipeline had no ‘socially acceptability’ in Quebec.

Mr. Ceci brushed it off as he said that the Quebec premier did not know much abut the energy industry in his province. He claimed (as do the Alberta commercials on television) that the companies have reduced the carbon in bitumen. That is easy enough to do if you have the refinery processes available. The only problem is that nobody has yet to know how to handle the problem of all the bitumen slag (carbon) that is left behind.

Frankly, Mr. Ceci has not got a leg to stand on. Until somebody at one of the universities finds a way to transmogrify carbon into something such as H²O, bitumen remains a very serious pollution problem. It is the polluter that just keeps on polluting.

It starts with the hot water that is pumped down to layers of bitumen to liquify it and bring it to the surface. The greasy water from this process is pumped into settling ponds that can attract and kill wildlife.

Then bitumen needs to be diluted to enable it to be shipped by truck, rail or pipeline. Whichever way it is shipped, it constitutes a hazard as it is flammable and can be extremely difficult to keep from doing long-term damage to the environment and wildlife.

No matter where it is refined, it presents a bitumen slag that just continues to pollute.

And it is only after the refining processes are complete that the synthetic oil products can be used and continue their cycle of pollution. We ignore all this pollution at our peril.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Premier Notley comes to Ottawa.

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

She rode out of the west to plead her case in Ottawa this past week. Strangely, it is the same case as her arch rival, Jason Kenney, would have made. He would have been more strident and threatening. Let us say that Alberta has many hopes for Ottawa—mainly money.

The practical lady that she is, Ms. Notley asked first for some money to buy tanker cars to send Alberta’s tar sands products by rail. What she really wants is pipelines. She knows they take longer. And she wants them all sooner than later.

But she also wants serious cutbacks in Bill C-69 that will soon be sent to the senate. C-69 is an environmental bill that causes Albertans to be worried. It seems to hold the producers of the raw materials responsible for the downstream green-house gas emissions of the ultimate products. It sounds like the tar sands producers would be responsible for the emissions caused by heating the water and pumping it down to bring the layers of bitumen to the surface. They would then be responsible for the thousands of hectares of Alberta land destroyed to create settling ponds for all that dirty, greasy water that can kill wildlife.

Whether shipped by train or pipeline or ocean tanker, the tar sands exploiters would also be responsible for any spills that mar our environment. And it also needs to be noted that when the tar sands bitumen is processed into synthetic crude oil, it will create three times the pollution of normal processing of crude oil. Much of this pollution is in the form of bitumen slag that is almost pure carbon. And only then does it join the crude oil processes that put the oil products to use.

But Premier Rachel Notley was spreading false news last week. Never once did she mention tar sands, or bitumen. She calls bitumen “Western Canada Select.” It is nothing more than a highly polluting bitumen, fit for nothing more than paving roads.

There is a growing demand in Alberta for the bitumen to be processed there and it would no longer be discounted to prices under $20 per barrel. If the people in Alberta allowed that, they would destroy the environment of their province for many generations to come.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Perchance, a prophet’s pipeline pays profits?

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

If there is bad news among the brochures delivered in the post this day, is the bad news to be blamed on Canada Post? And should a government encourage the building of a pipeline for the transmission of natural gas to replace more seriously polluting coal-fired plants to produce electricity? Do the politicians get plaudits? Or are we, as a caring society, conflicted by these moves?

Listening to Ontario environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe the other day, did not help. It was, without direct accusation, a serious indictment of Ontario’s current conservative government.

But was it, at the same time, an indictment of the Trudeau government in Ottawa? Was it an indirect challenge to the climate change potential of the government’s recently purchased Kinder Morgan pipeline across the Canadian Rockies? Could it be that the expanded pipeline is to be just a blameless delivery mechanism such as Canada Post? Or is it political one-upmanship?

The conservatives and liberals in Ottawa these days are arguing about who is the biggest friend of the pipeline business. Conservative leader Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer and liberal leader Justin Trudeau are arguing about who has created the most pipelines to take the pollution of Canada’s tar sands to tidewater. These are not just pipelines for crude oil but pipelines for diluted bitumen—that creates more than three times the carbon pollution in being processed to synthetic crude oil products.

And besides, Trudeau must be a prophet—as he can so easily brush aside all the concerns about a high-pressure, dual pipeline spilling bitumen into the ecosystem of the Rockies and the fragile fisheries of the west coast.

Does the liberal government in Ottawa have the right to say “We won” because of the use of taxpayer billions to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Does it make Justin Trudeau the prophet, loved of Alberta admirers? Or does it make him the dupe of Albertan greed? And is Alberta premier Rachel Notely but a stalking horse for the greed and ambitions of united conservative party leader Jason Kenney?

And can the prophetic Justin Trudeau profit not from his perfidy? Is there not a federal election in 2019?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me