Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

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

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