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The Common Sense Canadian: Residents of Peace River, AB wrestle with authorities over bitumen fumes

Fumes from these bitumen storage tanks are allegedly driving Alberta families from their homes.

Read this Feb. 20th VICE article that provides a local look inside our Jan. 28th Reported Elsewhere story about the state of northern Alberta families vacating their homes from bitumen fumes emitted by Baytex Energy storage tanks.

The Labrecques, a local Peace River family, share their struggle with industry, government and health officials when they spoke out about the toxic side effects they experienced living half a kilometre from a Baytex oil well:

The pages of Karla and Alain Labrecques photo albums reek of bitumen. They’re so (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Tar Sands Explained in 3 Minutes

Bill Longstaff: Supporting Keystone is supporting the Kochs

Criticism of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline focuses, understandably, on the threat it poses to the environment, both in its construction and in its enabling more production from the tar sands. Too often overlooked is the political mischief that approval will contribute to.

According to an article in the CCPA Monitor, “Petroleum Coke from Oil Refineries Polluting the Atmosphere,” the pipeline Ten phrases that need to die in 2014.

All lists start with a bottle of scotch, a dash of politics, and a bit of pent up frustration. This is one of those lists. 1). “____ should resign.” Be it Ford, Harper, Dave Hancock, or others, we’ve had calls for politicians to resign from across the country (at a glance, most of them being Conservatives). […]

Bill Longstaff: Producing the wrong oil?

The Joint Review Panel has ruled on the viability of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the result is as expected. The panel, established by the National Energy Board and the federal environment minister, has determined that the pipeline, which would carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to the B.C. coast for tanker export, would be in Canada’s best interests and has recommended it

Alberta Diary: ‘Ethical Cannabis’: Is it time to make … ‘The Case for B.C. Bud’?

Who would’ve thought we’d find a suitable reference to Riders Nation and Ethical Cannabis in one photograph? But courtesy the Calgary Sun, there it is! Note the hat, bottom right. Just saying. Below: Some guy standing in front of Rob Ford’s office.

Those of us who don’t regularly wear melons on our heads or particularly care about Canadian football are waiting impatiently for the results of today’s federal byelections so that we can spin them in ways that reinforce our personal political preferences.

For example, if you’re a conservative of any stripe, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: A tale from the political crypt: a tip o’ Broadway Bob’s Top Hat to Hizzoner Rob Ford

Bob McClelland spotted walking down a staircase in Victoria, circa November 1985. (Ancient Vancouver Sun photo.) Mr. McClelland didn’t know it yet, but forgiveness for his sins was at hand. Below: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. He’ll be forgiven soon too.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a province far, far away, there dwelled a minister of the Crown who was very, very naughty.

Robert “Bob” McClelland, then 52 and the MLA for Langley, was discovered in 1985 to have availed himself of the services of what was quaintly known, in those days, as an escort service.

(Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Where will all the scientists go?

In a new book about the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, The Oil Man and the Sea, author Arno Kopecky relates his attempt to interview Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientist Kenneth Lee. Dr. Lee was the executive director of the DFO-sponsored Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research, and possibly the country’s top expert on how bitumen behaves in salt water.


The Disaffected Lib: "Unequivocal"

Leaving no doubt; clear; unambiguous.   The latest IPCC report concludes that mankind’s influence in driving climate change is beyond doubt, clear and unambiguous.   Anthropogenic global warming is here, it’s here to stay and, unless we want a better future enough to change our ways, it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse in our grandkids’ future, our kids’ future and even in our own.

For, you see, it’s already having major impacts.   Those floods in Calgary, the floods in Toronto, the floods in Colorado, the floods in Europe and across Asia?   Welcome to the (Read more…)

Left Over: The Emperor Prorogues, Then comes to BC with his Rogues….

Harper cabinet readies major B.C. pipelines push B.C. First Nations leaders to meet with key federal officials Sept. 23 in Vancouver By Chris Hall, national affairs editor, CBC News Posted: Sep 12, 2013 6:03 PM PT Last Updated: Sep 13, 2013 7:21 AM PT


We are ready for whatever BS ol’ Emperor Steve and the Klown Circus is ready to throw at us..what an ego! He prorogues for the nth time and then expects to sail into BC and ‘charm’ us into acceptance? That is a pathetic joke, and he will NOT succeed..we are prepared (Read more…)

Left Over: I’ll See Your Bombs, and Raise You Climate Change….


Harper offers Obama climate plan to win Keystone approval Sources say PM willing to accept emissions reduction targets proposed by the U.S. By Chris Hall, National Editor, CBC News Posted: Sep 6, 2013 2:15 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 6, 2013 10:08 PM ET


First he pontificates (through his rough stuff, Baird, Harper’s own personal beard) about how ‘necessary’ it is to bomb Syria, and now this forelock-tugging re environmental levels being magically changed to favour the US ’vision’…whereas until five minutes ago, climate change was still being questioned by the Cons..then, miracle of miracles, Harper (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: That Cold Lake Bitumen Spill – It Just Keeps Rollin’ Along

The 10-week old Cold Lake bitumen spill is expected to stop – basically whenever it stops itself.   The company, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., says there’s nothing it can do to staunch the leak other than collect whatever bitumen it can from the surface and haul out the dead animals.

On Wednesday morning, the company said in a conference call that it had identified a few older, inactive wells—one of which dates back to 1997—as probable culprits. At least one of the suspect wells were drilled by a prior operator, the company said. When a well casing failed, according to (Read more…)

Left Over: Here, KIti, Kiti, Kiti……..

China’s largest bank in deal to finance Kitimat refinery ICBC will also provide engineering and construction help to build refinery CBC News Posted: Apr 18, 2013 6:08 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 18, 2013 9:38 PM PT

Fascinating, isn’t it, how the BC Liberals keep on sneaking around the public all the while acting as if they are ‘horrified’ at the thought of a pipeline, yet they so obviously are up to their guilty necks in this refinery business…

David Black, a truly worthy successor to the Black name in Canada, although supposedly not related to Conrad, late of the (Read more…) prison system..David Black is Canada’s small-time answer to Rupert Murdoch, took over every community BC paper he could find and dumbed them down to the point of torpidity… I wondered about his agenda at the time…now we all know.

And involving China? Well that’s just a natural, after . . . → Read More: Left Over: Here, KIti, Kiti, Kiti……..

Song of the Watermelon: Of Petrostates and Patriotism

If Alison Redford gets to define Canadian patriotism, then I don’t want to be patriotic.

The Alberta premier yesterday accused federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair of “a fundamental betrayal of Canada’s long-term economic interests” after the latter took a trip to DC in what is being widely interpreted as an effort to convince the Americans not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta.

Other Conservatives at the federal level have adopted the same rhetoric. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — of “foreign-funded radicals” fame — implied that the Opposition leader was unfit to govern, stating, “Governing means standing (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Are Alberta’s cannily incompetent Conservatives quietly awaiting a ‘Bitumen Gusher’?

Everybody should be as happy about Alberta’s “Bitumen Gusher” as these two guys, your blogger and former Finance Minister Ron Liepert. Below: AUPE’s chart of the price differential between Alberta bitumen and West Texas Intermediate crude. Below that: The Alberta government’s chart showing its natural resource revenue projections to 2022, prepared for last month’s Economic Summit. Obviously there’s no cause for panic.

Have things really changed all that much for Alberta since then-energy minister Ron Liepert predicted in early 2012 that the province was on the verge of a “Bitumen Gusher” of unprecedented magnitude?

One just hates to endorse the

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Are Alberta’s cannily incompetent Conservatives quietly awaiting a ‘Bitumen Gusher’?

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Barack Obama and John Kerry

Dear President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry:

As a concerned Canadian, I am writing to urge you to reject TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline for purposes of transporting dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in the United States.

I assure you that not all Canadians are quite as eager to export climate-busting bitumen as our federal government seems to be. Many of us recognize that the high energy demands required to exploit this unconventional resource give it a dangerously large carbon footprint. For this reason, we consistently oppose similar projects, such as (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Hard Truth About Unconventional Fossil Fuel

When it comes to unconventional fossil fuels, the majority of Canadian politicians, federal and provincial, fall into two categories – idiots or featherbedders.

The Tyee has this eye-opener from geologist David Hughes, a gas and oil specialist for Natural Resources Canada for 32-years.

Unconventional fossil fuels all share a host of cruel and limiting traits says Hughes. They offer dramatically fewer energy returns; they consume extreme and endless flows of capital; they provide difficult or volatile rates of supply overtime and have “large environmental impacts in their extraction.”

Most important, bitumen, shale oil and shale gas, by definition, are

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Hard Truth About Unconventional Fossil Fuel

The Disaffected Lib: Riding the Petro-Tiger

I don’t think even Sideshow Steve Harper believes the fable of Canada’s energy superpowerdom any more.   My guess is that he knows full well that the federal government is riding a tiger and Steve doesn’t want to be the prime minister who has to step off.   I suspect bitumen is a problem Steve would much rather kick down the road.

One thing that’s finally sinking in is that bitumen, like other high-carbon fossil fuels, is living on borrowed time.   The business of business is making money and business is finally coming to realize there are a lot

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Riding the Petro-Tiger

The Canadian Progressive: Alberta Tar Sands Dependence Could Hurt Canadian Economy: Report

By Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Press Release) | Feb. 21, 2013: OTTAWA — A failure to carefully regulate the Canadian bitumen industry is putting Canada on a dangerous economic and environmental trajectory, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Polaris Institute. The study’s original, integrated analysis READ MORE

Cowichan Conversations: Families Abandon Homes near Alberta Bitumen Facility

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger


The more the politicians of all stripes and flavours proclaim the harmless benefits of fracking, producing and shipping bitumen to wherever there is a market the more that you know they are full of it. Bullshit slides smoother than bitumen!

Check this out!

CBC coverage (video) and an audio follow up by reporter Briar Stewart.



Cowichan Conversations: Tens of Thousands Rally to Urge Obama to Move “Forward on Climate”

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Lately it seems that the politics of ‘Climate Change’ is like the classic children’s story ‘Alice in Wonderland. The roles have changed as if we are guests at the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.’

Instead of the Americans dragging their feet it is in fact right here in Canada where our governments have rolled over for the Oil and Gas Industry Lobbyists!

In BC and Alberta we have divorced any notion of reducing our ecological footprint and shouldering our share of the responsibilities to the planet and future generations.

Our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is happily gutting

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Tens of Thousands Rally to Urge Obama to Move “Forward on Climate”

drive-by planet: DC rally on climate-change Feb 17: threats posed by tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline

This Sunday, February 17, one of the largest rallies ever held in the US on climate-change will take place in front of the White House. The Sierra Club,, together with over a hundred partners have helped organize the DC event. Key goals include decisive action on carbon pollution, increased commitment to the phasing out of fossil fuels in preference for clean renewable energy and the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The timing of the DC rally is critical. The call to reject the Keystone XL pipeline will be front and center and Sunday’s rally will deliver

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: DC rally on climate-change Feb 17: threats posed by tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline

Alberta Diary: Postponing the Day of Reckoning, Alberta-style

Alberta Premier Alison Redford beseeches the Almighty for higher petroleum prices as Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson looks on. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Social democratic men of God J.S. Woodsworth (Methodist), Tommy Douglas (Baptist) and Stanley Knowles (United).

So what’s with the Redford Government’s receding horizon on tough decisions, d’ya think?

You bet they’re going to make some tough decisions. That’s for sure! The premier said so in her pretentiously titled State of the Province Address Thursday night. Again and again. So just you wait.

Heck, the finance minister was saying it for

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Postponing the Day of Reckoning, Alberta-style

Cowichan Conversations: Chairman Harper’s Economic Desperation Deal With China

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Selling bitumen fast, while it’s still hot, is the prime minister’s myopic motivation, says Andrew Nikoforuk in his report featured in the Tyee.

We have been sold down the river by a combination of neo con corporate greed and the unrelenting far right evangelical so called Christianity.

How these greedy bastards can claim to embrace Jesus and Christianity or any other religion is beyond me. They disdain everything that approaches religious behaviour or values.

“I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values — our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don’t want

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Chairman Harper’s Economic Desperation Deal With China

Eclectic Lip: Green byelection blues

Alas, the Green Party didn’t pick any seats up in the Nov 26 Canadian federal by-elections. While their strong showings probably count as a real moral victory, I imagine at this stage they’d prefer amoral, real victories. ;) As it turns out, Parliament’s composition is unchanged, “while my green heart gently weeps”. Despite donating to [...] . . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Green byelection blues