Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

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

Alberta should say no to own police.

Friday, November 15th, 2019

We are hearing a lot of bad ideas from Alberta of late. When premier Kenney gets into a hissy-fit, he rails and rants a lot and he comes up with some really dumb suggestions. The dumbest of them is the one where Alberta would create its own pension plan and put all the money into the tar sands. Another is the idea of firing the RCMP as the provincial police in Alberta and creating their own provincial police.

The policing idea has merit but I would suggest that the start-up costs for an Alberta force would be sizeable and there could be unnecessary levels of chaos in the transition. What Kenney and his friends should do is hire the Ontario Provincial Police to do the job. The OPP has the training facilities, the people and the skills to provide a seamless transition. And the good news is that Doug Ford was never allowed to put his people in charge of the OPP. They are untouched by politicians.

It makes them one of the best police forces in North America. Compared to the nearby New York State Police, headquartered in Albany, the OPP are paragons of virtue. They always stood a head taller than the Quebec Provincial Police but I am told by Quebecers that the QPP are no longer the bunch of thugs, they used to be.

While my experience with RCMP headquarters in Ottawa was always friendly and interesting, I could not say that for the kids fresh out of training in Regina who travelled the roads of Alberta looking for someone to harass.

But just why the dismissal of the RCMP as provincial guardians of law and order in Alberta would be a blow for freedom by Kenney is beyond me. It is easy enough to imagine that pulling four million people out of the Canada Pension Plan would be a small set back for the larger plan but the entire idea is that the larger the plan’s base the easier it is to ensure growth in its asset base. Small plans are more vulnerable.

Especially if you put the Alberta portion into as polluting an industry as Alberta tar sands.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

It seems that we are dealing totally in the small stuff these days. Imagine getting outraged by that blowhard on Coach’s Corner between the first and second period of Hockey Night in Canada. That is the viewer’s opportunity to get a fresh beer or to go to the washroom. I am now sick of that constant repeating on television of what Cherry said in that stupid rant. That was more than I ever wanted to hear from him.

But if the Rogers people need a replacement for Cherry, I think they should talk to Jason Kenney. Kenney might seem to have an interesting perch out there in Alberta, but I think his real love is the federal scene. He might want to come back to the East to get ready for when Scheer gets turfed by the Tories.

And Scott Moe of Saskatchewan would make a good back up for Kenney. He is more of a whiner that Kenney and he might not know much about hockey but get him a couple good writers, teach him how to read a teleprompter and you have the perfect solution.

And I never have figured out the role of Don Maclean on that schtick. He always stands there like a dummy. And I could have sworn he nodded just once during that rant but he was hardly keeping Cherry under control. His apology was too late. Should Rogers not fire him?

Another small problem is the lack of cabinet representation for Alberta and Saskatchewan. I think it is a shame that the five million plus, Canadians in these two provinces are not represented in the federal cabinet. I realize that it is hard to plan these things in advance but just whom do you think is responsible for this state of affairs? If the dislike for liberalism is that overarching in those two provinces, why give them someone else to hate by appointing some western liberals to the senate and then to the cabinet?

Back in the heyday of the Reform Party of Preston Manning, he used the slogan ‘The West wants in.’ Now we are told, ‘The West wants out.’ Alberta belongs to all of us. Where do they think they can take it?

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Goddamn the CPR.’

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Can you imagine two more Canadian icons than journalist Allan Fotheringham and the Canadian Pacific Railway? It came as a pleasant surprise recently to see a television interview with ‘Doc Foth.’ He was as sardonic as ever. I have always admired Fotheringham for his writing skills and his humour. In fact, I have not read a copy of Maclean’s magazine since they unceremoniously retired him in 2002.

But all I was trying to do was check my memory of something I think Allan wrote 20 or 30 years ago. It was the probably apocryphal story of the Saskatchewan farmer whose wife ran off with a drummer, whose daughter did not know who got her pregnant and the locusts destroyed his wheat. The farmer looks to the heavens, shakes his fist and roars: ‘Goddamn the CPR.’

A friend reminded me of the story when he asked me about a Toronto Star editorial cartoon by Michael de Adder that he did not understand. It was a drawing of Alberta premier Jason Kenney at his desk and he had spilled his little bucket of paper clips. The comment coming from his mouth is: ‘@#Z$ Trudeau.’

What the cartoonist was showing was the well-known penchant of our dear friends out on the Prairies for blaming someone else for their spills and other problems. From the time when then prime minister Pierre Trudeau had asked some Prairie farmers a rhetorical question about selling their wheat, it has been popular across the Prairies to replace the CPR with a ‘Trudeau’ when complaining to their deity.

For all that our current prime minister Trudeau has tried to do for the Prairies, he is still vilified by Prairie politicians. My respectful advice to these politicians is that they should own the problems they create. Nobody in Ottawa is responsible for the volatility of crude oil pricing on world markets. Nor are they responsible for the environmental problems when shipping diluted bitumen. And they can tell Jason Kenney to pick up his own ‘@#Z$ paper clips.’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Banking on the Bigotry of the Bloc?

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

When does la laïcité (the separation of church and state) become the political war cry in Quebec during a federal election? And why does it front as a cover-up for the institutionalized bigotry that exists in la belle province?

Since the time of the ‘Padlock Law’ of the Maurice Duplessis government of the 1930s and the growing disenchantment with the once-powerful Catholic Church, Quebec politicians have declared an open season on political thought, religious garb and artifacts, and the use of any language other than French.

This attempt at creating a regressive island, speaking a quaint form of French, in a more liberal North America has caused some strange anomalies in the politics of Canada. If not appreciated in Quebec, English-speaking Canadians have, at least, been quiet over the past 20 or so years about Canada’s arcane and out-of-date constitution. If you want to strike fear in a Québécois heart just mention the possibility of updating the Canadian constitution.

I had a series of good laughs the other day reading an opinion about constitutional renewal from the doyen of the Toronto Star’s opinion writers, Susan Delecourt.

The best laugh was when I thought her initial reference to what she calls a constitutional creep was just a nasty way to talk about the premier of Alberta.

What she was really getting at was the possibility of the constitution again coming to the fore in the catastrophic possibility of a Bloc resurgence next week, giving Andrew Scheer the prime minister’s office.

The constitution is certainly not on Justin Trudeau’s agenda. The last time I talked to him, I tried to point out the need for a constitutional review. His elitist solution to the problems of the senate and his failed attempt to change how we vote are his answer to any real change. He seems to have some pathological fear of constitutional change. How his father left him with that attitude, I have no idea.

But Susan Delacourt is quite right when she says that conditions might be ripe for a prime minister Scheer and Canada’s current collection of conservative premiers to really screw up the constitution. If they just promised Quebec’s Legault anything his heart desires, they would have the 50 per cent of the population and the seven provinces needed to really put the conservative screws to our country. And probably start a civil war in the process.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Taking the road to totalitarianism.

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

It is in Fortress Alberta that Jason Kenney did declare that his propaganda machine will be removed from all controls. What started as a so-called war room will now be known as the Alberta Energy Communications Centre and based in Calgary.

Nobody has said whether this new entity will replace the propaganda arm of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). This organization has been relentless over the years in trying to get the news media to refer to the Alberta tar sands as oil sands and tar-sands bitumen as ‘heavy oil.’

These are the people who tried to take advantage of deaths in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec from highly volatile fracked crude oil, to try to sell the idea that pipelines were safer than rail.

But Jason Kenney has more extensive ambitions. As Alberta, leader for life—or at least until he gets bored and returns to Ottawa. His propagandists are there to deny global warming. They will fight to finish the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Energy East pipeline. They will make bitumen the saviour of the Canadian economy.

But the biggest challenge to this communications centre will be to promote Jason Kenney as the hero of Canadian unity. After all his threats of taking Alberta out of the Canadian federation have caused nothing but laughter from his friends down east.

But the most serious concern is that we are not all that sure how much public money has been spent on this form of totalitarianism—and how much more will be channeled into it.

The best indicator of the intent is that the centre has been privatized and removed from any responsibilities under Alberta’s freedom of information act. Premier Kenney does not want any sneaky media people finding out what these people are doing, And Heaven-forbid that the good people of Alberta be told anything about what their premier-for-life is doing.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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