oilsands

Yep, that happened.

Here’s a round-up of Post columnists on the stunning NDP win in Alberta Tuesday night:

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette 

Rally against pipelines hits Fort Langley, BC on April 11

“This is Our Home”, a peaceful march and rally to protect the natural environment against pipeline development, will be coming to the community of Fort Langley on April 11. The rally coincides with the Provincial Premier’s meeting in Quebec to discuss climate change.

Susan Davidson, one of the organizers from the PIPE UP Network said: “We are joining with the many people who are  marching in Quebec on that same day who are also concerned that the National Energy Board will not even let us talk about climate change when we discuss pipeline projects.”

The organizers, including artist and activist Brandon Gabriel, expect hundreds of participants in this family friendly rally beginning with a march from at the Kwantlen Sports Field to the Fort Langley Community Hall at 12:30. 

[…]

A paint-in to decorate and paint banners, flags and signs to be carried in the rally is happening this Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Fort Langley Community Hall.  For more details, please see the event page on Facebook.

Daryl Hannah arrested for protesting proposed Canadian oilsands pipeline
Actress Daryl Hannah, famous for her movie roles in Splash and Wall Street, was among dozens of anti-oilsands activists arrested Tuesday at the White House in ongoing “sit in” protests against TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

“Stop the Keystone pipeline,” Hannah shouted as she was being handcuffed by SWAT team officers. “No to the Keystone pipeline.” (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Is Canada’s oil sector harming the rest of the economy? According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the evidence points to yes. In a new report, the bank has come out squarely in favour of the “Dutch Disease” theory — the not…

This article is spot on.  While the oil and gas boom has had positive economic impact for Canada, it has caused pain for other sectors.

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Linda Duncan shows that the government’s fast-tracking of oilsands developments fails to respect aboriginal treaty rights and obligations to protect habitat of endangered species.

Most Canadians care more about the environment than pipelines and oilsands: poll

With efforts underway this morning to clean up an oil spill in English Bay, a new survey shines a light on exactly where Canadians stand when it comes to development of the oil and gas industry.

The poll from the Climate Action Network finds most of us see the environment as being a whole lot more important than pipeline projects and the oilsands — more than 60 per cent of us take that position, according to the Network.

Steven Guilbeault with Equiterre, which is a member of the Climate Action Network, adds 70 per cent believe Canadians should be global leaders in protecting our climate by reducing the amount of energy we consume.

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            The unholy trinity of the Alberta tarsands industry, the Conservative Party and the right-wing media has gone all-out in its attacks on Neil Young for his stance against their destructive policies and actions. One thing that these corporate wolves and subservient sheep overlook is that, of course, Neil Young is right.

The main arguments by the Conservative tarsands mob are that:

1)         Young hasn’t lived in Canada for a long time, so he has no right to talk about anything that happens in Canada.

2)         He’s a rich rock star, so he has no right to talk about anything, period.

3)         Young uses oil and oil-based products, so he has no right to say anything bad about the oil industry or the governments that subsidize and promote that industry.

4)         The Alberta tarsands industry is the only economic sector keeping Canada’s finances afloat, funding our social programs and preventing our have-not provinces from going bankrupt.

5)         The Alberta tarsands industry is the only economic sector offering good-paying job opportunities for Canadians, even for workers without much education, training or experience.

6)         The Alberta tarsands industry is actually ethical, environmentally friendly, doesn’t cause health problems, is good for Natives and doesn’t smell.

These talking points are bullshit, and here’s why:

1)         The environment is worldwide, the economy is worldwide, and politics are worldwide. We all have the right to talk about any issue we want to talk about (although the elites are increasingly cracking down on that right). We don’t all have to agree with each other, but we all have the right to express our views.

2)         Rich corporate parasites bombard us with capitalist propaganda 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and nobody questions their right to say what they want. Anything that counteracts the powerful, well-oiled propaganda machine is welcome and desperately needed – even if that challenge comes from a wealthy musician who lives in California most of the year.

3)         Blowhards who say that humans who use oil or oil-based products should never say a bad word about the oil industry are chock-full of shit. Using that logic, anyone who lives in society should never criticize anything at all, since we all benefit from society in some way. It’s the good ol’ “love it or leave it” attitude that’s popular amongst right-wing assholes when their team is in power, but mysteriously absent when their opponents have the upper hand.

             Besides, most of the tarsands oil is not meant for Canadian consumption, so it is irrelevant whether Canadians use oil and oil-based products. Alberta tarsands bitumen is to be shipped to China and the United States, where it will be refined and consumed, or sold back to Canadians as value-added finished products. If the tarsands oil was refined and consumed in Canada, then perhaps the pro-tarsands crowd would have a point, but until that day arrives (which will likely be never), they have no leg to stand on.

4)         The Alberta tarsands sector represents a tiny percentage of Canada’s GDP. Most of the Alberta tarsands projects are owned by foreign companies (mostly Chinese and American), and most of the profits go out of the country. Compared to the profits they funnel out of Canada, they pay very little in taxes and royalties in this country.

            As for the myth that Alberta supports the have-not provinces, that misconception comes from people not understanding how Canada’s equalization program works. The money for the transfer program comes from individual and business taxpayers across the country – not from provincial governments.

            Alberta, in fact, used to be a have-not province, supported financially by taxpayers in other Canadian provinces. Now, considering Alberta is sitting on lots of oil and natural gas, their provincial government should be running surpluses while maintaining the best infrastructure and public services in North America. Instead, Alberta’s back-to-back Progressive Conservative governments have been running deficits, growing their debt and allowing their infrastructure and public services to crumble. This is mostly due to keeping their taxes and royalty rates artificially and irresponsibly low.

            For the longest time, Ontario was a have province, but has recently become a have-not province, almost entirely due to federal Conservative and Liberal free trade/globalization policies that have decimated Ontario’s manufacturing sector (and other sectors in which jobs can be offshored). Even though Ontario is currently a have-not province in terms of government finances, much of the tax money that goes into the equalization program comes from Ontario workers and businesses in the first place! Ontarians are merely getting some of their own money back!

5)         Yes, the Alberta tarsands industry offers many high-paying job opportunities, but at what cost, and for how long? The Canadian and Alberta governments have spent billions of tax dollars directly and indirectly subsidizing the tarsands industry, with relatively low returns. If they had invested that money in green energy (or even in building a no-so-green oil refinery), the economic return would be much higher, and the environmental cost would be much lower.

            The high-paying Alberta jobs might not continue to be so high paying, for three reasons. First, more Canadians from across the country – and immigrants from across the planet – have been moving to Alberta to get those jobs, thus putting downward pressure on wages, benefits and working conditions.

             Second, the weakly enforced Conservative temporary foreign workers program is making this worse, by allowing employers to fire Canadian workers and replace them with poor, desperate, lower-paid temporary workers who are willing to accept substandard conditions. This brings down the wage rates and standard of living for everyone else.

             Third, the federal Conservatives and the Alberta Progressive Conservatives have been weakening unions and reducing all workers’ rights. They have been doing this for one reason and one reason only: to lower labour costs and increase profits for big corporations.

6)         Anyone who believes the talking points from profit-motivated tarsands corporations over  verified facts presented by scientists and people on the ground is either delusional or in on the scam. Don’t forget, “tarsands” is a word that the industry itself used for a long time, before their marketing and public relations experts told them to replace the word with “oil sands” and the even more innocuous “energy”.

            As for being environmentally friendly, the oil companies only do what governments force them to do. They follow the letter – not the spirit – of the law (unless they think they can get away with breaking the law).  Whenever corporations are forced to pay small fines, they just consider it the cost of doing business, since the profits from their violations far outweigh the penalties. Environmental laws have been gutted in Canada anyway; natural resources companies almost literally re-wrote Canada’s new environmental legislation for the Harper Conservatives.

             History shows that whenever there is a man-made environmental disaster, either those responsible pay a tiny portion of the cleanup costs or they declare bankruptcy and start up business again under a different name. Taxpayers are stuck with the tab.

             And yes, according to people who are willing to tell the truth, the polluted air in Fort McMurray does stink.

In summary, Neil Young is right, the tarsands Conservatives are full of crap, and we need to get off our butts and do something about it.

In the Cree language, the word “athabasca” means “a place where grass is everywhere.” Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca.

But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines, where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses.

Author’s note: Until this past February, I worked as a contracted television producer for Global TV and its current affairs program, 16x9. Last fall, I was commissioned to do a story for the program about the Koch brothers, their holdings in Alberta’s oil sands and their interest in getting the Keystone XL pipeline built. In January, two days before the 22-minute documentary was about to air on 16x9, Global’s senior management pulled the story. After Jesse Brown’s Canadaland published a story about its sudden disappearance, Global fired me, although I was not quoted in that story or had any involvement with it. What you’re about to read includes some of the material that has not yet been permitted to be shown on Global.

The attacks were nasty.

In the winter of 2011, Karen Kleiss, a reporter with the Edmonton Journal, wrote a story about how Koch Industries Inc. had hired a lobbyist in Alberta. The story provided background on the Wichita, Kansas-based energy conglomerate, its presence in Alberta, and its American billionaire owners, Charles and David Koch.

Kleiss reported at the time that no one from Koch Industries addressed her questions. Nevertheless, after her story appeared, Koch Industries went on the offensive. On their website, kochfacts.com – and in vivid red type – they lashed out at Kleiss’s article, claiming it was “slanted,” that it “parroted partisan political rhetoric and other distortions” and that its coverage of the Koch brothers registering a lobbyist in Alberta was a “purported story.” The Koch Industries representative summed up by saying:

“There is a place for opinion on the op-ed pages, on blogs, and on Twitter. It does not belong on the news pages of an objective journal.”

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Secwepemc Women Warrior Society say no to Kinder Morgan pipeline

Their opposition is to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline proposing to cut through the heart of their Secwepemc Nation, crossing countless clean rivers, creeks and streams, carrying 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day, coming from the controversial Alberta Tar Sands. No Pipelines! No Surrender! No Compromise! This unceded Secwepemc and we speak for our Sacred Water! Our land is not for sale!

‪#‎tarsands‬ ‪#‎oilsands‬ ‪#‎cndpoli‬ ‪#‎IdleNoMore‬ ‪#‎Landdefenders‬

Secwepemc Women Warrior Society disrupt meeting, No to Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Posted on January 15, 2014 by giibwanisi

Originally posted on the No One Is Illegal (Vancouver) website.

Posted by admin on Jan 14th, 2014
Secwepemc Women Warrior Society disrupt meeting, No to Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Tk’emlups, unceded, unsurrendered Secwepemc Nation, (Kamloops, Bc, Canada)

Secwepemc Women Warrior Society said a resounding No! to the Kinder Morgan pipeline today at an illegal engagement session between government and elected chief and council in Kamloops. The session was to push forward the federal government’s recent Eyford report on West Coast energy infrastructure and supposed “tanker safety”.

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The women’s opposition is to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline proposing to cut through the heart of Secwepemc Nation, crossing countless clean rivers, creeks and streams, carrying 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day, coming from the controversial Alberta Tar Sands.

According to Secwepemc Women Warrior Society, Defenders of Mother Earth: “We take this uncompromising stance of No Pipelines! No Infrastructure! that is threatening our Sacred Water. We need clean water for our future. Without clean water there is no life.”

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Environmental and other “radical groups” are trying to block trade and undermine Canada’s economy, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Monday.

Oliver’s comments come one day before federal regulatory hearings begin on whether to approve Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, which would deliver crude from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, B.C., for shipment to Asia.

More than 4,300 people have signed up to address the proposed pipeline over the next 18 months.

“Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade,” Oliver said in an open letter.

“Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.”

Oliver says the groups “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda,” stack the hearings with people to delay or kill “good projects,” attract “jet-setting” celebrities and use funding from “foreign special interest groups.”

[…]

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says running a pipeline through British Columbia’s northern wilderness is a bad idea that can’t be fast-tracked.

“Unfortunately, I think your role as minister of natural resources has been hijacked by the [Prime Minister’s Office] spin machine. The PMO is, in turn, hijacked by the foreign oil lobby,” she wrote in an open letter in response to Oliver.

May says there are other ways to diversify Canada’s energy markets, other routes and other forms of energy.

“By characterizing this issue as environmental radicals versus Canada’s future prosperity you have done a grave disservice to the development of sensible public policy,” she said.

That we are now characterizing environmental groups as “radical” is almost as disturbing to me as the fact that our government seems to view “socialism” as a bad word.

Opinion: Canada’s position on climate change is an embarrassment

As Canadians, we pride ourselves on transparency, accountability and compassion — values that Stephen Harper campaigned on when running for prime minister in 2006. And yet, the actions of the Canadian government this week at the United Nations Climate Change negotiations in Peru represent the most shocking shift in Canada’s values since this government took office.

Our government is backing out of commitments, blocking binding agreements and promoting tarsands expansion as if its extraction and burning didn’t have potentially horrific human-rights implications, in addition to environmental ones. Despite research demonstrating that more than 200 million people worldwide will become refugees as a result of climate change by 2050 if business continues as usual, Canada has been disrupting any potential progress.

When we once were leaders in multilateral diplomacy, Canada is currently referred to as a rogue country at the climate change negotiations, likened to a poor team player who refuses to play by the rules. As chair of the Arctic Council, Canada does not even seem to have any plans to highlight the immense changes facing northern communities as a result of climate change. For the first time, the United States is seen as a better leader in climate change than we are — in fact, we are only surpassed by Australia at this point for the worst climate record worldwide. Only this week, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon called upon Canada to do better.

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The federal Aboriginal Affairs department is seen as an ally, while Aboriginal groups are seen as “adversaries” in the public relations battle over the tar sands, an internal government document revealed.

The document also identified the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs as an ally in the Harper government’s quest to improve the image of Alberta’s controversial tar sands development.

[…]

The strategy document also identified First Nations as “influencers” in the battle over the tar sands, along with provincial and federal governments, energy companies and associations. The strategy also aimed to increase understanding among European “stakeholders” of Canada’s and Alberta’s consultation with First Nations and that both governments were working to “address” health concerns linked to the tar sands, the document states.

The decision to put Aboriginal groups under a list of “adversaries,” while the federal Aboriginal Affairs department was placed under a list of “allies,” however, reveals the true colours of the Conservative government, said Clayton Thomas-Muller, with the Indigenous Environment Network.

“It’s just another example of how the federal government went into (the Crown-First Nations Gathering) in bad faith,” said Thomas-Muller. “This government continues to try and erode the collective bargaining rights First Nations have as first peoples of this land and continues to label us as stakeholders when, in fact, we are priority rights holders.”

Thomas-Muller said the document also shows the government is concerned about the growing “Indigenous rights movement,” which he said has increasing clout.

“We have a generation of young people that are coming up that are more educated than any generation since colonization,” he said. “We have (AFN National Chief) Shawn Atleo sitting there at the meeting and negotiating how we as First Nations can participate in an economy that will result in the destruction and desecration of our homeland. We need to come up with a new path.”

Thanksgiving? Not so much

Canada's Tar Sands Regulations: Uncovered Documents Cast Doubt on Effectiveness, Enforcement

Canada’s Tar Sands Regulations: Uncovered Documents Cast Doubt on Effectiveness, Enforcement

The strength of Canada’s tar sands environmental regulatory regime is facing more scrutiny as a result of documents Greenpeace Canada obtained from the Alberta government’s energy regulator. The documents cast light on the Alberta government’s response to the death of birdsthat landed on tar sands waste lakes, known as “tailings ponds,” in November 2014. In short, they reveal that the Alberta…

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