Alberta Politics

Notley NDP pass bill to halt oil and gas to BC as Jagmeet Singh finally shows up to the pipeline party

What a day.

Turn off the taps: Bill 12: Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act passed third reading Alberta’s Legislative Assembly and once the bill is given royal assent, proclaimed into law and accompanying regulations are written, New Democratic Party Premier Rachel Notley‘s government would have the power to halt the flow of oil and gas into British Columbia. The move is the nuclear option available to the Alberta government in the event it feels the need to implement major retaliations against BC for its opposition to the Kinder Morgan Inc. Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Kinder Morgan Inc. has given the provincial and federal governments a deadline of May 31, 2018 to sort out the political dispute over the expansion of the already existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. But it appears as though federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau saying the federal government is willing to offer significant financial support to the corporation to compensate for any inconveniences our Canadian system of federalism and democracy may cause the Texas-based corporation.

Jagmeet Singh NDP
Jagmeet Singh

Singh shows up to the party: Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh finally waded into the debate over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline today. Singh tweeted that “Liberals are giving Texas oil company #KinderMorgan a blank cheque while dumping all the risks on Canadians. Rigged process, First Nations & local communities shut out, oil spill threats, science ignored & now billions on the line It’s clear this pipeline should not be built.

Singh’s choice to oppose the pipeline reflects the composition of his federal caucus of 43 Members of Parliement, which includes 1 MP from Alberta and 14 MPs from British Columbia.

In deciding the pick the side of Premier John Horgan‘s BC NDP in this dispute, it appears as though Singh has come to the same conclusion as Jason Kenney about the likely outcome of Alberta’s 2019 election.

There is also speculation that Singh could run in an upcoming by-election in Burnaby-South following MP Kennedy Stewart’s decision to run for mayor of Vancouver.

Giant new provincial park: Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips announced the creation of five new wildland provincial parks covering 1.3 million hectares of new protected areas in northern Alberta. Along with the Wood Buffalo National Park, and the Caribou Mountains Wildland Provincial Park these new wildland provincial parks are the biggest contiguous legislated protection the world’s boreal forest. According to a Government of Alberta press release, the new protected areas were created through a partnership with the provincial and federal governments, the Tallcree First Nation, Syncrude and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“Protecting landscapes from industrial activity is an essential element of responsible oilsands and oil and gas development,” said Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute.

“Other planning processes underway will further protect under-represented ecosystems and habitats for woodland caribou. We look forward to Alberta becoming the first jurisdiction in Canada to achieve the benchmark of 17 per cent of its landscapes as legislatively protected areas as landscape planning is completed in other parts of the province,” Dyer said.

Do as I say, not as I do: It was not long ago that United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney declared that “I believe that we can have a respectful debate on ideas without resorting to the nasty politics of personal destruction.

But this week, Kenney unleashed the nasty politics of personal destruction against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a column written by Postmedia’s Rick Bell. Of Trudeau, Kenney claimed that “He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. This guy is an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl. He can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin, O.K.

Kenney’s harsh words give an indication of how relations between Alberta and Ottawa could sour if he becomes Premier of Alberta in 2019.

5 replies on “Notley NDP pass bill to halt oil and gas to BC as Jagmeet Singh finally shows up to the pipeline party”

re: ‘The new protected areas were created through a partnership with the provincial and federal governments, the Tallcree First Nation, Syncrude and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.’

Only one of the 4 new areas was due to Syncrude/NCC/Tallcree partnership. Links below.

Only one. Syncrude kicked in pocket change of $2.3M to help Nature Conservancy buy out Tallcree’s timber quota that fell within the one site…and Syncrude gets some GHG offset credits, too, ( at least with regard to the offsets, that’s the way I read the news release backgrounder/news coverage.)

These lands are all public lands, a public trust of all Albertans. But it’s par for AB’s politics that AB government’s regardless of stripe, drive news coverage that makes it sound like corporations are doing us all an f’n favor by giving us parks, on the public’s lands! Like Taft wrote recently, the NDP got elected as government, but industry is still in power.

or here:

Just for clarity on my NDP gov’t kisses the ring finger of corporations like Syncrude as deeply as the PCs did, here’s the first paragraph of the news release, and a plain reading is that all 67000 sq km were due to the partnership with everyone.

excerpt: ‘The Government of Alberta partnered with The Government of Canada, the Tallcree First Nation, Syncrude and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) on the conservation of more than 6.7 million hectares (67,000 sq. km) of boreal forest.’

The actual Syncrude contribution was described a lot further down in the news release:

excerpt: Treaty 8’s Tallcree First Nation, in cooperation with the NCC and the Alberta and federal governments and with support from Syncrude, generously relinquished their Birch River area timber licence and quota to enable one of the new parks (Birch River WPP) to proceed.’

And while the 1st paragraph gives credit for Syncrude being in on protecting the entire 67000 sqkm, their $2.3M was for one timber quota on the on site of Birch River 3318 sqkm.

Oil’s Deep State gets its PR at every turn.

And I’d be very curious to know if the PC GoA paid above industry’s costs in, to get these leases back.
excerpt: ‘Between 2012 and 2016, the Government of Alberta spent $45 million to purchase oil sands and metallic mineral leases in the identified conservation areas.’

When these areas were announced, industry and their political supporters in Fort MacMurray screamed that they would need to be compensated for lost profits from future development. Not just any land sale purchase costs and preliminary exploration costs. The WRP caucus at the time pushed for paying the industry for lost future profits. They called it ‘takings’. And that’s an American property rights thing. That a Ted Morton brought here.

FWIW Given this blog post discusses the federal public funding promise to Kinder Morgan to ‘indemnify’ an oilsands project… published just today, here’s a short history piece on public funding provided for the oilsands:

Narwhal has just launched.

excerpt: ‘“The idea there would be public investment in the industry as a whole is nothing new and nothing surprising,” said Chris Turner, journalist and author of The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands, in an interview with The Narwhal. “You’ve got this 100-year history of government investment and partnership to get it to commercial viability. It’s a bit strange in the current market environment but it’s not something wildly new to the industry.”

So in honour of Morneau’s big announcement, here are some of the “greatest hits” of such investments over the years.’

It is interesting in the pipeline debate, Mr. Trudeau talks about national interests, but Mr. Singh seems to have now succumbed to political calculations, which is not very Prime Ministerial. Its not easy to understand or balance the sometimes competing interests of this country and Mr. Trudeau can be criticized, but I think at least he understands them, having lived in several different provinces and traveled across Canada extensively and is trying to balance them. I am not sure Mr. Singh does understand them very well, his Canada does not now seem to include Alberta.

Likewise I wonder if Mr. Kenney’s Canada includes BC or if he views the province as an obstacle to be pushed out of the way, dismissed or ignored. I suppose his civility initiative was doomed from the start and the go high statement was just ridiculous – the moment he jumped the shark. It is not his true character or who he is. It did not even last as long as his “grassroots guarantee”.

I think Albertans are starting to get a better sense of Mr. Kenney’s contractions and the hypocrisy within him, so I wouldn’t be so certain of the conventional wisdom of the political calculations of Mr. Singh. He might later come to regret writing off Alberta so soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *