Teck Mining and their Northern Alberta Pullout.

Much to my relief I heard that The CEO of Teck Mining had come to his senses and decided not to invest any more money in a huge proposed mine in Northern Alberta.

Never mind the environmental impact of such a mine two questions I have to ask of Jason Kenney if he would listen, but he will not as he is too angry with the Federal Government to be coherent.

  1. How long would it take for this mine to make a profit when the current price for bitumen is less than $20 per barrel and that does not take into consideration the cost of shipping to the USA.

“Condensate, a type of light oil often used to dilute bitumen, was selling for about US$63 per barrel in Edmonton on Thursday, which means the bitumen part of a WCS barrel composed of 30 to 40 per cent diluent was actually fetching between negative 11 cents US and negative 28 cents US per barrel”  .Jason Franson/The Canadian Press2

2 How will Teck get that DILBIT to market if the current and future pipelines will be plugged with the existing production? 

The upshot to me is that bitumen is already overpriced because of the cost of transportation and refining into a product that could loosely be called oil, and thus any company investing in such production really must be desparate to find tax write-offs or for federal and provincial handouts in order to profit.

In today’s climate of concern about the environment one has to wonder what goes on in the mind of anyone seriously considering such a venture and more importantly the mind of a political leader who banks on that craziness for his own success. Kenney has clearly shown that the laws do not apply to him as open blackmail of BC is in his pocket ready to be used, and it is everyone else’s fault that Alberta finds itself in the current financial predicament. It was not the NDP as much as the conservative governments since Peter Lougheed that have failed the people of Alberta, and blustering as Kenney does will not solve the problem.  Look at the people of Alberta; a resilient bunch of people who have been conned into thinking that oil and bitumen is all they have. 

 Really?

Not the Alberta I lived and worked in in the 70s And 80s.

Scheer’s statements in the House of Commons on the radical activists shutting down investment in Canada is of course typical Conservative smoke screen to hide the fact that Harper hamstrung Alberta and probably Saskatchewan as well with his “all eggs in one basket” approach to the economy for Canada. The fall in real oil prices did not help bitumen either and now there is so much interchange in our media calling bitumen oil (such a fictitious an untrue thing to do)

Jeremy

A new bigger cabinet for Canada or is it?

 

 

I watched the swearing of the 2019 Liberal Cabinet with some interest and some great disappointment.

First and most important the same old oaths of allegiance were made to the Queen of the Commonwealth rather than to the people of Canada. Two things on this. First, she doesn’t pay one single solitary penny (or now obsolete cent) towards those who are swearing allegiance to her or to her representative here in Canada who is also paid and a home is provided for by the people of Canada to whom she owes absolutely no allegiance. She is simply a figurehead.   Second, if these MPs are elected and paid for by the people of Canada why do they not consider us allegiance worthy?

As to the cabinet itself it was a huge relief to se that Freeland was removed from the Foreign Office which might indicate that Canada will once again have relationships with all countries, Clearly, Freeland has some very strong views about which countries were and are acceptable to Canadians and I would venture to say that she was wrong in asserting her own prejudices upon us all.  It was and is and should be very important to have some relationship with all countries, especially those with whom we have disagreements.  How will differences be solved if we have to use countries such as Italy for example to communicate our views?   Perhaps if Ms. Freeland had spent more time on diplomatic relationships with those countries instead of taking over trade agreements (really disguised investment agreements) when we had a Trade Minister perfectly capable of doing that job then we would have more friends and fewer enemy states. Our relationships to Russia, Iran, China and Venezuela to mention just a few depended entirely on her whims and prejudices and not necessarily the desires of the Canadian people.  Since we are trying for a seat on the Security Council again then we should have been making friends not exacerbating her enemies.  Her position as deputy PM fills me with concern.

Searching for ministers who had any ties to the west – Alberta and Saskatchewan really – is I suppose a political future reality, but in my view, those two provinces clearly banked on Scheer being elected and lost.  Too bad.  They will be looked after as they are still part of Canada but to pander to their needs when they are so clearly out of step with reality is nonsense.   Oil is different from bitumen, and bitumen is what is extracted from the tar sands not oil. CBC pundits such as Alison Redford and the ultra-conservative Christy Clark seemed to think that oil and gas is still the number one priority for Canada rather than developing clean alternatives asap.  I still have no word from any bitumen export promoters as to where these “new” markets are located.

When CN and CP were sold to private interests any clout with them disappears into corporate profit which is separate from the needs of the Canadian people.   Has everyone forgotten what happened after the Wheat Board was closed (against the grain farmers wishes) and then sold to the Saudis and so no-one ordered rail cars for the grain?  Now there is a strike based on personnel safety – which could end up with another Lac Megantic disaster if not taken care of – and those provinces are screaming for back to work legislation. Oh boy.

Another disappointment is that there will be no return to the use of our own public  bank – the Bank of Canada – to finance what we need as both the Minister of Finance and the PM are both puppets to the big banks, both domestic and international and their profits must be assured no matter how much it costs the people of Canada.

Then there is O’Regan who mishandled how many portfolios (3) s in the last parliament being given even more powers as Minister of Natural Resources of all things.  Must be nice to be a buddy to the PM what?   How he will deal with the likes of Kenny whose redneck, bigoted,white supremacist roots are plain to see will be interesting to watch. I expect him to retreat in tears very quickly.

Overall not a particularly impressing cabinet but I will wait to see what happens.

 

Jeremy

Kinder Morgan TransMountain Pipe LIne

An Open Letter to Canadian Minister of Natural Resources,

The Honourable Jim Carr,

“ That, given the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is in the national interest, will create jobs and provide provinces with access to global markets, the House call on the Prime Minister to prioritize the construction of the federally-approved Trans Mountain Expansion Project by taking immediate action, using all tools available; to establish certainty for the project, and to mitigate damage from the current interprovincial trade dispute, tabling his plan in the House no later than noon on Thursday, February 15, 2018.”

During a speech you made in the House of Commons on Monday 12th February 2018 concerning the above Conservative motion on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipe Line you said this and I quote from Hansard and make some comments in italics after the statement:

“…….The project represents a $7.4 billion investment and thousands of good, middle-class jobs, a project that stands to benefit Canadians across the country, just as the existing pipeline has done since 1953, creating new access for Canadian oil to global markets and world prices.”

 

It pains me to have to remind MPs, especially Ministers who should know better, that the goop to travel through this pipeline IS NOT OIL.  It is something called Dilbit – diluted bitumen or diluted tar – from the Alberta Tar Sands.   Once again, I remind you of Article 605 of NAFTA which does not allow us to decrease the percentage of our bitumen production to be exported to the USA or Mexico, and as Rachel Notley stated in November to the Economic Club of Canada, the USA is a monopoly purchaser – which means that they take 100% of our bitumen.  How then are you going to export even I barrel of dilbit anywhere else, even to Mexico, without causing the USA to take us to a NAFTA tribunal for breaking Article 605?    Are you in essence saying that the benefits that Alberta might accrue by this ‘illegal’ exporting will outweigh the price the whole of Canada will have to pay for that inevitable tribunal fine?  How can you with a straight face say that this fine will be good for Canada?  By the way it is also estimated that after the line is built there will be 40 full-time jobs in BC, so where will the rest of the “thousands of good jobs” be?   Unwelcome memories of Joe Oliver and his promise of ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs’ from Northern Gateway come flooding back.

 

*

“We understand that one of the biggest concerns on everyone’s mind is the potential oil spill. We share that concern, which is why we have developed a plan that puts in place every safeguard against a spill happening in the first place.

Through the oceans protection plan, the Canadian Coast Guard now has more people, more authority, and more equipment to do its vital and necessary work. For the first time, two large tow vessels will be on call on the B.C. coast. Several Coast Guard vessels will be equipped with specialized toe kits to improve capacity to respond quickly. Primary environmental response teams, composed of specially trained personnel, will further strengthen the Coast Guard’s existing on-scene operations.”

This may be the case for an oil spill, but again this is not oil so do you really believe this for bitumen?  You claim that the Coast Guard will have a greater capacity to tow damaged vessels should a collision happen, but make absolutely no mention of how the bitumen will be cleaned from the floors of the Georgia Strait or the Strait of Juan da Fuca   You do not even mention that as it is not oil but heavier than water tar it will sink to the bottom, and that the dilutant consists of toxic gasses which will be released into the atmosphere.  Depending on the winds at the time, and there are always winds in both of those Straits, and the location of any crash those toxic fumes could have a very damaging affect upon the people of Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, Victoria and the Lower Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands, or even Bellingham, Seattle, Port Angeles, Sequim or the US Military base at Whidbey Island in Washington State.

Obviously, you haven’t thought of that nor have the other members of the so-called environmental protection ministries, or do you simply not care and are the people of Washington State aware of that same lack of concern for them as you have for the people of coastal BC?

Naturally, our air-breathing friends from the ocean, whales, seals, sea lions, otters and coastal birds along with the fish which will be unable to swallow the bitumen clumps do not factor into your reasoning either.   It’s all to do with corporate money and profit isn’t it Mr. Carr?

*

After your speech there were, as usual, some questions two of which stand out:

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

Madam Speaker, I listened attentively to the minister’s intervention and, again, it was all flowery rhetoric. The Liberals govern by saying yes, but in truth they actually govern with a no. Every act they take leads to less investment in our communities. It has been estimated that just in one week, because of the price differential Albertans, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia are experiencing, one school and one hospital are being built in America and are not being built in Canada, all because the Liberals will not do anything about it. The minister talked about borrowing the land and environment from future generations. Absolutely the Liberals are borrowing huge, vast sums of money to finance their deficit spending and then not replacing it with investments.

On the TMX, the Trans Mountain expansion application was put in on December 16, 2013. We are five years and the line is still not built. I blame the government for doing this. I blame the government’s delays, talking a good game, but not doing anything. Another generation, the greatest generation, was able to almost fight World War II and win it and we are still waiting for a pipeline to be built, all because of the current government.

What does the minister have to say to my constituents about the government’s absolute failure to get energy infrastructure in the national interest built in Canada?

[Expand]

Hon. Jim Carr

Madam Speaker, I would say to the hon. member’s constituents that the Government of Canada believes we strike a balance between energy infrastructure development to job creation and environmental stewardship. We believe we have struck that balance through the approval of very important pipelines. The point should not be lost that it is very important to Canada to expand its export markets, that 99% of our exports in oil and gas go to one country, the United States. That is not good for our country, which is why, for a variety of other reasons, we think TMX is in Canada’s interest.

It is true in other sectors of the economy. We know that 99% of our exports of softwood lumber from Quebec go to one country, the United States. Therefore, I think the hon. member’s constituents would feel that the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of expanding in those markets, creating good jobs, and also of doing it in a way that is sustainable in the long term.

Quite apart from the sheer partisan nonsense posed by this eventual question –(“ Another generation, the greatest generation, was able to almost fight World War II and win it”… does that mean we were almost able to fight it or almost able to win it?) – and yet your answer was equally ambiguous referring to 99% of natural resources going to the USA with no reference to Article 605 of NAFTA and the problems that causes, and Minister Freeland has not even bothered to tell me if that is up for the re-negotiation of a Trade agreement which should be scrapped.   How can we export anywhere if we have already committed 99% of our production to the USA?  The Canadian Action Party has believed that NAFTA is good for the USA but not for Canada and Mexico, and we would signal our intent to scrap it immediately, and trade as we can with who we can at a mutually beneficial pace.

 Then a question with implications of grave concern:

Mr. Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South, NDP)

Madam Speaker, the minister said, irresponsibly, to a group of business leaders that he would use military defence and police forces to push this pipeline through. Will he stand in the House today and say that he will never do this, that it would never be considered, that he would not use the army and the police forces against British Columbians in their own communities, on the reserves, and in their municipalities? I would like him to stand today and say that is not an option on the table.

(1255)

[Expand]

Hon. Jim Carr

Madam Speaker, I am glad to respond to that. I am both confused and disappointed as to why the hon. member continues to bring that up since I have apologized and said I had misspoken. Within a few days of having said it, I realized it would invoke images that were not healthy to the debate, and I apologized to indigenous leaders. I will say again, as I have said many times over many months, that I apologized and misspoke.

A question which asked for a yes or no answer and neither was given.  An apology for having “misspoken” – a phrase coined by Peter Van Loan in defense of Brad Butt’s outright lies to the House in the last parliament – though perhaps required at another place was not an answer to this question  very  much on the minds of all BC as we possible are facing a recurrence of what happened at Standing Rock right here at home from our own army and the rent-a-cop RCMP.   The assumption here is that you cannot answer with either a yes or no and that the people of BC should be prepared for any eventuality.

War Measures Act over a pipeline anyone?

I am sure that the good people of Winnipeg must be wondering how safe Lake Winnipeg might be under this government’s carefree blindness to the realities of their health and indeed even their lives.

 

Jeremy Arney

ps  a copy of this was sent to Jay Inslee, Governor of the Washington State and was replied to immediately