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Alberta Politics

Postmedia columnists and Fraser Institute team up to attack the Alberta’s climate change plan

The full court press against the Alberta government’s Climate Leadership Plan continued today as Postmedia business columnists Gary Lamphier and Claudia Cattaneo dutifully and uncritically weighed in on the latest report from the right-wing Fraser Institute. The report claims the emissions cap included in Alberta government’s climate change plan will cost Canada’s oil sands industry $250 billion and is the latest in a concerted effort by conservative opponents of the NDP to undermine its flagship policy.

Gary Lamphier
Gary Lamphier

Both columnists unquestioningly quoted in length the dire warnings of the Fraser Institute report, with Ms. Cattaneo giving the closing word in her column to Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, who surprised no one by describing the emissions cap as “damaging.” Focused on attacking the government’s policy, neither columnist bothered to provide any actual analysis of the report or delve into what a Wildrose government would do, if anything, to reduce carbon emissions.

Some Wildrose MLAs do not appear to believe the science of climate change, and reportedly neither does the person managing Jason Kenney‘s bid to merge the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties. The old PC government acknowledged the existence of climate change but never actually bothered to take meaningful action.

Neither columnist bothered to mention that the oilsands emission cap enjoyed rare support from both energy industry and environmental leaders when Premier Rachel Notley and Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips unveiled the government’s Climate Leadership Plan in November 2015.

Premier Rachel Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips release Alberta's climate change plan.
Premier Rachel Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips release Alberta’s climate change plan in November 2015.

Offering their support for the Climate Leadership Plan at the November 2015 press conference were industry heavy hitters like Canadian Natural Resources Limited chair Murray Edwards, who said: “The framework announced will allow ongoing innovation and technology investment in the oil and natural gas sector. In this way, we will do our part to address climate change while protecting jobs and industry competitiveness in Alberta. (Ms. Catteneo actually interviewed Mr. Edwards a few days after this announcement)

And Brian Ferguson, President & Chief Executive Officer of Cenovus Energy, who said: “We fully support the Government’s new climate policy direction. It enables Alberta to be a leader, not only in climate policy, but also in technology, innovation, collaborative solutions and energy development.”

And Steve Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor, who said: “Today we reach a milestone in ensuring Alberta’s valuable resource is accompanied by leading carbon policy. It’s time that Alberta is seen as a climate, energy and innovation leader.”

And  Lorraine Mitchelmore, President and Country Chair of Shell Canada and EVP Heavy Oil for Shell, who said: “Today’s announcement sets Canadian oil on the path to becoming the most environmentally and economically competitive in the world.”

And finally, Tim McMillan, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, who said: “…the province’s climate strategy may allow our sector to invest more aggressively in technologies to further reduce per barrel emissions in our sector and do our part to tackle climate change. That’s what the public expects, and that’s’ what we expect of ourselves.”

Not to mention praise the climate change plan has received from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and a little known political figure by the name of Barack Obama.

It is not to say that these energy executives will agree with every policy the Alberta government will implement over the next three years, but these two Postmedia business columnists owe it to their readers not to omit these important facts from their columns.


Note: The results of the Fraser Institute report are disputed by the Pembina Institute‘s Simon Dyer, who told the CBC that the report “is based on unreasonable production levels that don’t consider the world making progress on climate change.” University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach, who chaired the Climate Change Review Panel, told the CBC that “given what I can tell, the study does not assume any progress in oilsands emissions per barrel and no ability to reduce emissions other than shutting in production.”

14 replies on “Postmedia columnists and Fraser Institute team up to attack the Alberta’s climate change plan”

Just doing their jobs. Plus it’s not likely the NP editorial board would countenance any deviation from the script. The NP pretty much functions as the CPC’s propaganda arm anyway.

Spot on, Dave. I cancelled my Edmonton Journal paper subscription the day after Toronto told them to endorse the corrupt P.C.s in the election. As a 22 year subscriber I felt deeply insulted. I am not surprised to see this kind of garbage still being printed.

It is too bad the Edmonton Journal has been reduced to a recycled copy of the National Post. In the past, when it was run by wiser people they knew that their readers did not want that regurgitated bs. I too am a former subscriber now.

The Fraser Institute, the National Post and the CPC are an alliance of all huff and puff right now about the carbon tax. However, it all seems very knee jerk. They haven’t really proposed any viable alternative and it does not seem to be constructive criticism about a specific aspect, but rather seems to be ongoing opposition to the idea of a carbon tax in general.

I suppose they want to continue to live in the last century blissfully unaware that the rest of the world has moved on, except when they have stop to to wonder “why can’t we get any pipelines built?”.

David, Jason Kenney is pushing the mantra ‘Making Alberta great again’. I am sure he is referring to a time in the last century, so really his mantra could be ‘Leading Alberta into the 20th century’

How ironic! I, too, cancelled my subscription after reading the 47th op-ed authored by the Parkland Institute/Pembina Institute in the year following the ND election. Now I’m stuck with getting informed from the nightly news, which is hard to do, given the “Climate Change Leadership” commercials every 8 seconds. Now THERE’S an emission I’d love to see reduced!

We might not agree about climate change, but I appreciate your frustration with government ads. It seems to be only a year ago or so when I was being bombarded endlessly with Economic Action Plan ads from the previous Conservative federal government.

It’s encouraging to see with all of the persecution of the vast majority of scientists who think global warming is a hoax that there are grassroots groups like the Fraser Institute who are standing up to the radical and extreme socialist oppression that is taking over our society.

When it comes to climate change, the Fraser Institute, the CPC, the Wildrose, and the Alberta PCs have their heads stuck in the (oil) sands.

I remember not that many years when Brian Jean was resigning as a MP that he was against the present pace of development and a slowdown was needed to ensure sustainable development of the resource. Amazing the change in tone in 3 short years.

It’s quite easy to agree to a governments climate policy when they are conducting a review of oil and natural gas royalties at the same time. What would you do if a gun was pointed at your head?

Thanks for the comment, Ryan. I’ve frequently heard this conspiracy theory from critics of the government. Do you have any evidence to substantiate it? It could be that these companies want to be proactive in reducing their carbon emissions.

Suncor CEO Steve Williams have been quiet vocal and active, for example: http://www.businessclimatesummit.com/watch-bold-new-climate-policy-in-canadas-oil-sands-how-oil-companies-and-environmental-organizations-are-creating-new-conversations-about-decarbonization-in-a-resource-rich-economy/

It is, at this time, simply astounding that anyone would take the Fraser Institutes comments seriously on anything-especially climate change. Remember, this think tank stated that climate change was a good thing until it was proven otherwise, then they denied the science and then would say it isn’t worth doing anything to stop it. Meanwhile these guys thought that the “War On Terror” was something and we know how effective that turned out to be. We should consider the work of the Fraser Institute to be important for use of toilet training our pets!!!!

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