Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

That Tool, O’Toole.

Friday, August 28th, 2020

Hypocrite, thy name is conservative. If you did not know where all that bullshit about equal rights at the new conservative leader’s first news conference came from, you have not been paying attention. Erin O’Toole had all the tricks lined up for him to make him conservative leader and leader of the opposition in parliament.

The Durham, Ontario MP had no sooner declared his intent to run for the federal conservative leadership, than he headed west to check with his mentor, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta. Kenney promised him solid support from the vote-rich conservative party membership across western Canada.

The party organization did its usual careless job on the voting system. They not only found themselves in a six-hour time delay—that brought out the new leader after midnight—but it was a system guaranteed to select the least controversial leader. It was the same weighted-constituency (each riding allocated 100 points). It was the same foolish preferential voting system that gave them Andrew Scheer as leader last time. You would hope that people who think they know everything would learn from their mistakes.

It was concerning, at first, that there were only four people in the race. Former playboy cabinet member, Peter MacKay was the obvious front-runner—if only for bring the best known of the candidates. As long as the two social conservatives stayed in the race, O’Toole had the chance to come through as the compromise. And they did the job required.

If you do not agree with me as to how this leadership was won, you will have to reread what O’Toole told prime minister Trudeau when they talked as leader to leader. O’Toole stressed his concern about western alienation and Jason Kenney’s need for pipelines to get his tar sands gunk to market.

Sorry, I am not impressed with the conservative choice of leader. Maybe he reminds me too much of the Porky Pig character who ended the Looney Tunes cartoons with “That’s all folks!”

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Never confuse Kenney with Trump.

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

One of my favourite writers wrote in a Toronto Star op-ed the other day that she thought Alberta premier Jason Kenney is the closest thing Canadians have to Donald Trump. As much as I hate to argue the case, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford holds those honours. Neither Ford nor Trump had the background or experience for their job. Neither is competent.

And neither Ford nor Trump can hold a candle to Kenney in terms of political experience and sleaze. Kenney knows what he is doing. From the first day, after leaving Ottawa for Alberta politics, he hit the ground running. He is a textbook demagogue.

Kenney knows how and when to stab his allies in the back. He knows how to build the coalitions of power. Sure, he panders to the one per cent. He is their lap dog. With the rest of us, he bares his teeth and dares us to challenge him.

My greatest disappointment with Linda McQuaig’s op-ed the other day was that what she was saying was old news. Haven’t Albertans known for years that any profit from the tar sands goes to out-of-province investors? Albertans get the few jobs and the crumbs from the table.

The current provincial government and previous ones have made a myth of the supposed oil treasure locked in the tar sands. To continue this false news through the $30 million being spent on Jason Kenney’s Canadian Oil Centre war room is an insult to the intelligence of Albertans and all Canadians. Albertans should be hitting the streets though, objecting to the billions of their money, Kenney and Trudeau are wasting on pipelines to nowhere!

But Kenney is busy. He would rather fight with the province’s doctors than help them fight Covid-19.

He thinks he can get the post-Trump government in Washington to approve the completion of the TC Energy pipeline connection to the Texas Gulf ports. These are but the delusions of a demagogue.

People across Canada share the concern for how repeated Alberta governments have denied the province a balanced, stable economy. The tar sands never were the answer.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney is ‘All In’ on Keystone XL.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Alberta premier Jason Kenney just went ‘all in’ against a stacked deck. Most of us thought Jason Kenney was smarter than that. He seems to be betting that Donald Trump will win a second term as president of the U.S. in November. It would be the only way that the Keystone XL pipeline will ever be completed.

But Kenney gets to gamble with Albertan’s money. So, what is another billion? He is paying down $1.5 billion of treasury money and offering a $6 billion loan guarantee to connect the pieces of the pipeline running from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, it can connect to existing networks and reach Texas Gulf shipping points.

He watched the kick-off of building the Alberta leg of the pipeline, from Oyen, Alberta, to the U.S. border last week. He was like a proud papa peering into the nursery. This is his baby.

But he lies.

He told the media that his people were already hectoring the American democratic party leaders to make sure the pipeline gets built, no matter who wins the November election.

Jason Kenney conveniently forgets that the presumptive democratic candidate in November is former Obama vice-president Joe Biden. Biden has already made it very clear that he will cancel the Canadian pipeline. It was denied repeatedly by president Obama and Biden will finish the job.

The Keystone XL project has been under repeatedly-delayed, piece-by-piece construction, for the past decade. It has been fought by environmental groups and by American Indian tribes. President Obama cancelled it a couple times. The courts have delayed it. Donald Trump gave it the go-ahead.

And the simple truth is that the Americans neither need nor want the pipeline. It is needed by Alberta to help get diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Texas Gulf ports for shipping to world markets. Americans have more than enough fracked oil and bitumen of their own. They do not need the Alberta product.

Jason Kenney has gone all in and Alberta is the loser.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The embarrassment of Justin Trudeau.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

You do know, do you not, that in a time of pandemic, prime minister Justin Trudeau is quietly building an abomination of a pipeline across our magnificent Rocky Mountains. There is no excuse for this. It can hardly be to please those climate change-deniers in Alberta. They will hate the name Trudeau, no matter what he does for them.

Justin Trudeau has to quit talking out of both sides of his mouth. You cannot be an environmentalist and do what he is doing with the Trans-Mountain pipeline. The twinning of the old pipeline and the addition of heaters and high-pressure pumps is the abomination. It will triple the capacity of the old line to enable it to ship tar-sands bitumen to foreign ports. It is no gift to British Columbia home owners to have that crap piped through their backyards.

And it is no gift to Vancouverites or to the Orcas of the Salton Sea. The damn pipeline now spells trouble for all to see. Just one burst seam out of thousands will create an unerasable pollution scar that will be with us for many years. Fresh water courses can be fouled, salmon runs could take decades, if ever, to be restored.

The oil tanker traffic alone through Burrard Inlet is of deep concern. A spill of diluted bitumen from a tanker will float for a while and then sink to become part of an ecosystem less supportive of the local creatures of the sea.

I am sure that what concerns most liberals in this is that they are, to some level, concerned environmentalists. I like to think of liberals as forward-thinking Canadians who are worried about the vagaries of climate as more and more carbon is thrown into our air. We are not so foolish as to want to melt the ices caps of our polar regions?

I like to think that being liberal means you care.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Blame Alberta’s Jason Kenney.

Friday, April 24th, 2020

You would think that one of these days, the people of Alberta are going to catch on to their premier Jason Kenney. Those of us who consider him something of a snake have known about it for years. We watched him in Ottawa. We watched him when he returned to Alberta. He is smart. He knows what he is doing. He looks after one person, himself.

But when the price of beef—if you can find any—goes out of sight in the coming weeks; blame Jason Kenney.

While covid-19 cases run rampant through Alberta long-term care facilities in the coming weeks; blame Jason Kenney. When workers, flown into the province to work at tar sands extraction plants take home covid-19, blame Jason Kenney.

Kenney was former prime minister Stephen Harper’s go-to guy. He was supposed to keep the Harper dynasty in power. He showed conservatives how to use ethnic groups for their own ends. He showed the party how to manipulate them. Patrick Brown of Barrie was one of his acolytes. He gave Brown the Indian Sub-Continent. He gave Brown the key to the Ontario conservative party.

But the Harper conservatives met their Waterloo. Not even Kenney could keep his party in power. He tucked his tail between his legs and went home to Alberta. There he struck a deal with the Devil to unite the right wing in Alberta. He proved himself an user and a chauvinist, a schemer, a manipulator and duplicitous. It was what he needed to get the job done.

And now where is the real Jason Kenney? He is sitting in the premier’s chair in Edmonton. He has driven his chosen province into the triple threat of the coronavirus, the world-wide crashing of the oil industry and conservative mismanagement of the province’s remaining economy. We wish our friends in Alberta well. They did not deserve this combination of ills.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Jason Kenney puts on his black hat.

Friday, April 17th, 2020

Just when you start to think Alberta premier Jason Kenney is not such a bad guy, he drops a political stink bomb. He says his province can ignore our federal health professionals and do whatever they want. And just the other day, I was saying how good the cooperation is between our federal and provincial leaders. Kenney’s old self took over.

If that blowhard Ford in Ontario can get along with the feds these days, what is sticking in Kenney’s craw? We were thinking he was a good Joe the other day when he shared some surplus personal protective gear with other provinces. The Alberta health care people had seen what was coming and had the good sense to stock up. They have also done a better job on testing for the coronavirus. Albertans are in nowhere near the mess we are in here in Ontario and Quebec.

So why does Kenney have to go back to being a noisy schmuck? The last thing our health care experts, for the feds or provinces, need is someone on the sidelines dissing their efforts. These people are being stretched to the limit these days and they really need our encouragement and cooperation.

Who does Kenney think he is? Donald Trump!

What Kenney does not realize is that many millions are being spend around the world today on possible solutions to the virus. Other health conditions are being set aside as the pandemic takes precedence. You can be very sure if there is a breakthrough on any aspect of covid-19, the federal health people will be informed and they will pass it on to all the provincial ministries. And just as soon as it is available, your health people will have what they need.

All Jason Kenney is doing by what he is saying is setting up Alberta’s health agency to be inundated with every crackpot idea and unfunded research proposal. They really have more important things to do.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Kenney dives into pipeline financing.

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

In a time when the rest of the world is expending all energy and funds into the war against the novel coronavirus, Alberta premier Jason Kenney is following his own drummer. In a time when you cannot get $5 a barrel for the bitumen from the tar sands, Kenney is investing over a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money into a bitumen pipeline that is never likely to be completed.

We are talking here about the long-running drama known as the Keystone XL pipeline. It has been stalled, stopped, rerouted and fought through the courts in the U.S., since the beginning of the Obama administration. It was one of his final acts as president that Barack Obama turned thumbs down on the completion of the pipeline to get Alberta bitumen to America’s Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.

But it took the environmentally ignorant Donald Trump little time as president to tell the coal people to dig more coal, the pipeline people to carry on regardless and the auto manufacturers to forget emission standards. With this latest stimulus, the outraged environmentalists in the United States will soon have Keystone’s more contentious pipeline segments, that are still to be built, back in court.

But what is going to happen in November of 2020? Would you be so stupid as to bet more than a billion dollars on the outcome of that election? Even if you were as environmentally challenged as Jason Kenney, would you really risk that much?

Just who he is trying to impress with the gamble? It can hardly be Albertans. They have suffered enough. Not only is he betting with Albertans’ money, but this is at the same time as Kenney’s conservatives have laid off 25,000 teachers. These were the people who were going to help Alberta children, on the phone, with their computerized programs, while schools were closed during the pandemic.

Jason Kenney has strange priorities.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

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