Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

Buffalo Declarations and other Bull.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

There is an odour emanating from the politics of self justification in Alberta. And it is not that of the wild prairie rose. It is the greed and the false tears and it is the manure that helps it grow.

I remember as a young man, standing at the government dock on the shores of Cold Lake. I was looking across the water as I waited for the Beaver (the kind that fly) to come in on its floats to take me further north. I remember thinking this is awesome country.

But it does not need these avaricious politicians who pander to millionaires and foreign resource robbers who tear into the ground to attack our heritage and despoil our future. It does not need these mindless politicians who pander to their voters by blaming eastern politicians for their shortcomings.

Did all Alberta politicians fail Economics 101? Do they not realize that Teck Resources quit the idea of the largest, most polluting open-pit mine in the tar sands because the company realized that it could not make money? Any smart investment analyst will tell you there is no future in bitumen. There is no booming market in oil futures.

But then we have to contend with the ignorance of the Buffalo Declaration that underlines Alberta MP’s political efforts to undermine our Canada. Please, please tell me in what way is Alberta not an equal partner in this Canada?

And, for God’s sake, in what way is Alberta culturally different from the rest of the country (other than Quebec)? I have always found that I get excellent and friendly service in Calgary despite whatever accent people from Ontario might have.

The four Alberta politicians who wrote that silly Buffalo Declaration are not speaking for all their constituents nor is their whining very helpful. It is an interesting counterpoint to the LEAP Manifesto of the NDP. It is also going nowhere.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Have they ever lied to you before?

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Teck Resources, the Vancouver-based company that wants to dig the largest open pit tar sands mine in Canada, tells us that the enterprise wants to be “carbon neutral” by 2050. I am sorry, but if you cannot meet emissions targets by next year, I am not interested. And who said companies do not lie, anyway?

Hands up everybody who expects to be here and keep them honest when they miss being carbon neutral in 30 years? There might be a little less of this planet left to live on by then.

When you consider that Teck Resources has said that the mine will cause four million tonnes of carbon pollution per year, making it carbon neutral would take a complete shutdown of operations.

And yet Teck says that by using cleaner power sources and electric vehicles, it can make a start toward a more carbon-free extraction of this seriously polluting material with which to make ersatz crude oil.

It reminds me of the promises conservative politicians make about balancing their budgets. They always explain that their efficiencies in office will enable them to give voters all kinds of tax cuts. And then, once in office, they create even larger deficits than before because some other party beat them to the efficiencies. You know these people are lying, but people can be gullible.

Teck Resources CEO Don Lindsay is quoted in a news release provided to Canadian Press: “Climate change is a global challenge that our company and our industry need to contribute to solving.” It makes you wonder just when they are going to do that.

But what was really priceless in the news release was the statement that if the federal cabinet gives the company the go-ahead later this month, it does not mean the company will go ahead with the project. It still needs guaranteed access to expanded pipelines, promises of better bitumen pricing and some other company to share the $20 billion price tag for the project.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Is it ‘The Peoples’ Pipeline?

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

After checking further, it is confirmed that Global Television news anchor Dawna Friesen actually called the Trans Mountain pipeline, ‘the peoples’ pipeline.’ I suppose it seemed appropriate when the following story was that the federal government estimates for twinning the line were now running at 12.6 billion dollars. Remember that it is more than just twinning the line when the plan is to warm the diluted bitumen and force it through the pipes at much higher pressure. Premier Jason Kenney’s Calgary-based propaganda machine seems to be working over-time these days.

When you consider that the Trudeau government has already spent $4.7 billion buying the 66-year old pipeline, an additional 12.6 billion might not be a gamble that smart business managers would take.

It does seem a little deceptive though when local conservative politicians are told to claim that pipelines are a safer way to transport it every time there is another train derailment carrying flammable goods in tank cars. There have been two serious derailments on the main CPR line that runs through Guernsey, Saskatchewan in the last two months. (There is also lots more tank car traffic.)

One question that has never been answered is who is really making money from this bitumen business? The province wants the royalties and taxes yet most of the climate change conscious resource companies have already backed out of the bitumen business. When the giants such as ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell pulled out a few years ago, the attitude has been that there was no profit to be had from the tar sands.  The tar sands account for less than a third of Alberta’s gross domestic product. That should continue to decrease as the world shifts gradually to non-polluting energy sources.

While Jason Kenney and his conservative colleagues continue to threaten and cajole the Trudeau government, it is becoming more and more obvious that the tar sands are not the answer to their greed.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The greed that consumes Alberta.

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

It was at the end of December that Babel-on-the-Bay discussed the hopes of Alberta premier Jason Kenney for the Teck Frontier mine in North-East Alberta. The proposed open-pit tar sands mine, north of Fort McMurray, would be Canada’s largest and is planned to produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen per day for processing into synthetic oil.  It has also been mentioned that the operations would also produce more than four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year for the next forty years.

It is quite obvious that the political leaders of Alberta have their own climate agenda—do nothing—get the money.

Some Albertans will attempt to tell you that they have been mitigating to minimize the greenhouse gas emissions of this project. Mitigating means reducing the harm that this amount of greenhouse gas emissions can cause. Can they tell you of even one of the millions of tonnes of greenhouse emissions from which our earth will be saved?

And yet the federal government is continuing to debate the wisdom of approving the project. Despite the continuing threats of insurrection and separation from the Alberta premier, there are still members of the federal cabinet who are resisting this additional hypocrisy that will make a lie of any and all efforts to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. There is no magic that will enable Canada to get to net zero greenhouse emissions when we are adding such huge amounts of pollution instead of converting to clean energy.

We need to remember that this 20 billion-dollar project is on top of federal government completing the Trans Mountain pipeline. How else do you think all that additional bitumen would get to world markets.

But despite the protestations of the prime minister, Kenney continues to accuse him of dragging his feet on the Trans Mountain. The only conclusion you can come to is that, in Alberta, Justin Trudeau will never be the poster boy of the year. Greed is the watchword.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

 

When do we get back to the environment?

Friday, January 17th, 2020

Between Mr. Trump’s tantrums, the concerns over Meghan and Harry and the disaster in Iran, the prime minister is not getting much done about the environment. And why would we ever be satisfied with just getting to a net-zero emissions target?

Net-zero emissions is not a target, it is a starting point. Net zero is the point when we are adding no new large-scale carbon emissions to our environment. We should have been there years ago.

But back when we became more aware of the dangers our earth was facing, we had the Harper conservatives in power. The environment is famously number 101 on the list of 100 conservative concerns. Harper was a hypocrite who would savage the environment for another nickel. He was always, famously, ‘working on it.’

But Trudeau might be the same. Where is he headed when he buys the Trans Mountain pipeline to speed its twinning and conversion for sending the output of the tar sands to world markets? Does he think we are not responsible for all that pollution?

The supreme court has just given the Trudeau cabinet the green light on the disastrous Trans Mountain pipeline. I guess it is not their problem.

And the cabinet is currently talking about approving the new Frontier open pit mine north of Fort McMurray that will add four million tonnes of carbon to the environment each year. This addition to the carbon pollution is accompanied by the Frontier plan to destroy boreal forests and wetlands the size of a city that could have helped to absorb some of that pollution.

Before the prime minister and his environment minister fly off to another world conference to make irresponsible promises, they need to weigh their progress at home. They have to get our friends in Alberta to back off the bitumen. That is not a move that will endear you to Albertans. Though they might forgive you if your government can find find another base for their economy.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Kenney warns “Canada oil, gas sector has no future.”

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

The Canadian Press quoted Alberta premier Jason Kenney recently on his pessimism about federal approval of the proposed Frontier mine in Northern Alberta. The proposed open-pit mine, north of Fort McMurray, would be Canada’s largest and could produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen per day for processing into synthetic oil.  It would also produce more than four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year for the next forty years.

The choice for the federal government is considered quite simple. The feds can blow their way past any hope of meeting any “Net Zero by 2050” emissions standards. What makes the decision even tougher is the giving up of $12 billion in federal tax revenues and another $55 billion in Alberta tax and royalty revenues.

Mind you, Jason Kenney doesn’t give a damn about the federal government’s problem. Just pass him the money.

This new Teck Frontier mine will eventually take up 292 square kilometres (112 square miles) of wetlands and boreal forest. It will require 7000 employees to get it up and running and then 2500 employees for the 40-year life projected for the mine.

The only approvals awaited are those of the federal-provincial task force studying the deal and then the federal cabinet.

The only question mark that remains unanswered is when is Kenney going to tell us that he could do a better job for Alberta in the house of commons in Ottawa. The guy seems to spend more time polishing his federal profile than taking his job as premier seriously. With some 18 years of experience in the house of commons, he was not only Stephen Harper’s go-to guy but he built a strong campaign base for himself in that time.

The Trudeau government has until late February to make a decision about the Teck proposal. That also might be the logical time for the cut-off on candidates for the federal conservative party leader. An experienced campaigner such as Kenney could handle that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Does Kenney prefer Ottawa?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Alberta’s Jason Kenney spends an inordinate amount of time in Ottawa. This is hardly the norm for premiers—especially western premiers. It just maybe that the real prize tantalizing Mr. Kenney is Mr. Scheer’s job. Maybe this stretch at the funny farm in the Edmonton legislature has just been a means to an end?

It would be far too early for him to be measuring for new curtains at Stornoway or even Sussex Drive. Those who know Kenney, know he plans ahead. His determined takeover of the united mess of Alberta conservatives and the Wildrose showed how hard nosed and ruthless he can be. He takes no prisoners.

It was particularly interesting last week when Jason left the ranting and roaring on behalf of the west to his dear friend Andrew Scheer. Here was Chuckles standing up in the hallways and the house claiming the liberals were to blame for “fomenting a national unity crisis.”  And all this, he declared, was at a time commodity prices were stagnant and the prime minister’s climate policies were fanning the flames of western alienation. It was a heavy load, of something.

And all the time Chuckles was carrying on in this way, Kenney and the prime minister were quietly making a deal to split the climate change financial action. Kenney got the big players out in the tar sands and Trudeau got the users who would actually get their money back. I have not heard what Kenney is going to do with his province’s share.

I have this funny scene going through my mind of Jason Kenney visiting his friend, former foreign affairs minister, John Baird, while in Ottawa, sitting on John’s lap and telling him what he wants for Christmas. Would you not like to tap into those secrets?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Kenney’s apocalypse or fiscal restraint?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

It must depend on where you are in the food chain. Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta looks like he has never missed a dinner. To him, a little fiscal restraint is no big deal.

When hundreds of protesters showed up at the united conservative party’s ‘love-in’ with Andrew Scheer last weekend, you could see that there was a difference in opinion. The impression was that these people could brave the cold of an Alberta winter and they intended to fry a fish named Kenney. They gathered in front of the Westin Calgary Airport Inn and kept warm waving their signs and calling for Kenney and his friends to come out and play.

Regrettably, Kenney and his friends in suits stayed inside where it was warm. He bemoaned the fact that the protestors were ranting and roaring about the loss of 6000 jobs so that Kenney and company of the UCP could balance the province’s books.

Kenney referred to the cuts in the provincial budget as a modest period of fiscal restraint. He objected to the protestors “making it out as the arrival of the apocalypse.”

I guess it all depends on for whom it is apocalyptic.

And if you ever thought that Jason Kenney and company might be a little out of touch with reality, you had to see what was going on inside the hotel. It was a love-in between the federal conservative leader and the Alberta version of a provincial united conservative party. The keynote speaker at this annual meeting was Federal leader Andrew Scheer. These people jumped up to give Scheer a standing ovation. After Mr. Scheer had received a less than enthusiastic reception in Montreal and Ottawa conservative meetings last week, this meeting showed the lack of clear consensus among conservatives.

We live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The Day of the Blacksmith.

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

We might be just one of many commentators trying to fathom the actions of Alberta’s premier. The other day, the province’s main apologist, Gillian Steward, reported in the Toronto Star that premier Jason Kenney’s threats to take Alberta and run away from home were getting louder every day.

What amuses me about this protest from the West is that Steward refers to Kenney as the alpha male of the conservative party. To suggest that a 51-year old bachelor who is a practicing misogynist is the alpha male, does not say much for men in the conservative party.

Maybe we are just going to have to accept the fact that Andrew Scheer is the best they have to offer. Nobody seems to want Ontario’s Doug Ford sticking his nose into the federal foxhole.

But to explain the blacksmith reference in the headline; It is just that we have heard all this B.S. from Jason Kenney before. I remember the nineteen-sixties in Ottawa when everyone was asking what does Quebec want? Whatever it was hardly mattered because they were never going to get whatever it was.

It was the blacksmith blaming the farrier for the lack of horses to shoe in the time of the automobile.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau committed the ultimate environmental faux pas when he bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in an attempt to placate Alberta’s greed. If it was just a gesture of conciliation and had been stipulated as only for processed oil products, he might have been able to get a short term laissez passé from the environmentalists. The aboriginals would know that oil clean-ups would bring money but diluted bitumen would bring disaster. And the environmentalists also know that diluted bitumen could spell the death of the world’s remaining Orcas coming to the Strait of Georgia.

It was likely just blacksmiths who turned their talents to tool and die making who survived in the age of the automobile.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

In the job nobody wanted.

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Watching the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson trying to interview Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, on Sunday caused mixed emotions. Here is the guy who took on the job for the Bloc that nobody else wanted and he is running rings around the Global Television interviewer. And he is just as difficult to pin down in English as he is in French.

The other day, in a speech in Calgary, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said that Blanchet needs to choose a lane. The inference was that Blanchet was trying to drive in two of the freeway lanes at the same time. He wanted to have things both ways.

Blanchet, in turn, ridiculed Kenney for claiming that the Bloc wanted the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil and gas production but was barring the passage of pipelines through Quebec. He pointed out that Line 9 of Enbridge is already approved to be reversed and deliver diluted bitumen to Quebec. His complaint was that the Energy East pipeline, which the péquiste opposed, was designed to run through Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. There, the diluted bitumen was to be shipped by the Irving interests to European destinations. Blanchet saw no value to Quebec in that.

Jason Kenney is equally vociferous when it comes to getting advice from Quebec. He accuses Quebec of taking equalization payments from Alberta’s oil and gas resources and not giving any support in return. Blanchet, in turn, explains that Quebec has never got any equalization payments from Alberta.

But sitting in the middle of an argument such as this was not a spot Mercedes Stephenson considered comfortable. She seemed to be decidedly uncomfortable throughout the interview.

After all, what could she say, when Blanchet stated that there would never have been an original Alberta oil boom without the early financial support from Quebec? That was not going to be proved one way or the other in a half-hour television news program.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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