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BigCityLib Strikes Back: Arctic Gateway Route Relies On Global Warming To Thin The Ice

Stymied by opposition on the West Coast, the Alberta government has prepared a technical report outlining the possibility of an “arctic gateway” as an alternative means of getting their bitumen to market.

The entire report can be found here.  And below is a graphic showing some of the proposed routes out. (Note: click on the images for larger versions)

Contrary to news reports about it, the report authors seem to realize that their plan is a bit of a “hail Mary”.  For example, it is “conceivable” that the plan could attract support among the local population “…if it can (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: A Gift from Chief Justice McLachlin: The Tsilhqot’in Decision on Aboriginal Rights*

On June 26, 2014, in a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin gave the First Nations (and the rest of Canada) a treasure map.

Chief Justice McLachlin

It wasn’t a crumpled piece of paper covered with a cryptic scrawl, but a comprehensive legal analysis that defines the elements of Aboriginal title to land and sets out how the federal and provincial governments must act if they intend to intrude on Aboriginal lands.

And here’s the best part. By forcing the government and industry to respect Aboriginal title to ancestral lands the Supreme Court of (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: It’s the Climate, Stupid!

Not two weeks since the federal government’s long-anticipated approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the magnitude of the obstacles faced by the project are becoming clearer by the day.

There is widespread public hostility — both in Kitimat, envisioned as the pipeline’s end location, as well as across British Columbia more generally. First Nations and environmental groups have launched several court challenges, with more expected to come. Massive protests and civil disobedience are inevitable. Efforts will soon be underway to initiate a province-wide referendum. The government of BC, which must provide about 60 permits, is ambivalent about the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: On talking about priorities: Oil spills and teachers strikes

On the same day one week ago, teachers in British Columbia began a full strike and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline was approved by the Canadian government. With such telling coincidences, it is hard not to juxtapose the two broad social conflicts in which BC has become a flashpoint: that over the quality of public education and that over the expansion of fossil fuel development.

This juxtaposition is made across the board. Writing in support of additional education spending financed by higher taxes, SFU economist Krishna Pendakur closes with this point:

B.C. must be one of very few places (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Could Northern Gateway be Stephen Harper’s Final Act?

No sooner had I finished my last post, about Stephen Harper's decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline, when I was struck by a sudden happy thought.Could that be his final act? Could that be his final gift to Alberta? And could he be planning to resign, before construction begins, and the shit hits the fan?So he can get the credit for the idea, and not be blamed for the bloodbath.But sadly that moment of euphoria didn't last long eh? Because along came the guy who wrote Harperland to puncture that happy thought. Read more »

reeves report: Ottawa approves $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has approved the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project from Enbridge, to carry 525,000 barrels of crude oil each day from Bruderheim in northern Alberta to the port town of Kitimat along British Columbia’s rugged Pacific Coast.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper signalled his approval for the project late Thursday after the controversial pipeline received regulatory approval from the National Energy Board in December 2013.

Ottawa has hinged its blessing for the project on Enbridge consulting further with BC’s First Nations and their ability to meet the 209 requirements placed on it by the Joint Review Panel in December. The JRP called (Read more…)

Left Over: Chretien’s Lesson for the Harper at the Gate(way)

Northern Gateway decision holds no easy political options for Harper On the controversial B.C. pipeline, PM can say yes, no or not yet, but all answers come with a cost

By Max Paris, CBC News Posted: Jun 16, 2014 6:02 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 11:13 PM ET

All this bleating about Harper having such a tough decision is nonsense..and, to cap it off, he will have, in one action, guaranteed himself a chance for re-election by not approving it..just like Christy Clark did by denying support without meeting some tough conditions… Let’s get real (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Day of Decision

Well the day of decision is finally here. The day Stephen Harper must decide whether to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline.And no doubt he is psyching himself up in his bunker, by among other things reminding himself that David Suzuki was on that list of Canadian heroes I wrote about yesterday.And he isn't.But of course it won't be an easy decision, because there are no easy political options. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Final Battle For Canada

For more than eight years he has waged war on Canada and its values.The Canada he once called a "second tier socialist country." The country whose values he hates so much.He has assaulted our democracy, smeared and bullied his opponents, muzzled scientists, gutted the census, burned books, and turned his hideous Harperland into a surveillance state, where fear is a weapon, and the Big Lie RULES. But now he is crazy desperate, his Big Oil dreams are collapsing, and the final Battle for Canada is about to begin. Read more »

Eclectic Lip: Pondering a palatable pipeline…

I guest-hosted TWiE podcast episode 137 a few days ago, an episode devoted to the Alberta oil sands / tar sands. If you ask me (and I realize none of you have ) it’s well worth a listen!

The week’s guest was US energy analyst Robert Rapier, who had visited Fort McMurray on a Canadian government junket for journalists. He came back with a five-part essay on his experience, and some valuable, contextualizing factoids.

Shockingly, he showed data suggesting that the Alberta tar sands are now only slightly more greenhouse gas-intensive than “average” petroleum. (In other words, the emissions (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Obama Punts Keystone XL (Again) — Harper Learns a Lesson in Humility (Maybe)

“If you were a betting man (or woman) what odds would you place on President Obama approving the Keystone XL pipeline before the end of his term and why?”

Ms Soapbox posed the question to a panel* discussing the future of Alberta’s energy industry. The panelists, bless their hearts, didn’t leave the stage en masse…partly because Ms Soapbox was the moderator and had control of the agenda.

Instead this group of economists, politicians, academics and businessmen pegged the odds between 25% to 80%; with a higher chance of approval based on Mr Obama holding off on a decision until (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: How Ezra Levant Wrecked The Harper Government’s Energy Strategy

From Bloomberg:

Still, the prime minister was unhappy that depictions of Canada as a “dirty oil” nation were not being adequately confronted by the industry or his ministers. He had become enamored with an argument put forth by conservative commentator Ezra Levant in a book called “Ethical Oil.” It posited that many petro-nations used their oil riches to finance nefarious activities and subjugate their own citizens.[...]Canada, in the view of Levant, stood practically alone as an ethical producer. In a “mandate letter” setting forth his priorities, Harper instructed Oliver, his new Natural Resources Minister, to become (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: What’s the risk? Climate activism aiming at supply and demand

One way to think about climate activism is to see if it focuses on the supply of or demand for fossil fuels – pipelines or cars, hydrocarbons or carbon emissions. This distinction is not a new one, is doubtless very simplistic and has often been used to chastise activists. Here, I hope it will draw out some potentially useful thoughts that centre on the aims of activism and the idea of risk.

In an article published yesterday in The Nation, Chris Hayes makes an interesting analogy between the struggle for climate justice and abolitionism: despite numerous differences, both assume (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Kitimat Rebellion

When historians assess the legacy of Stephen Harper fifty years from now, the many scandals of his corrupt regime will probably merit only a few paragraphs.But what they will say of him without a doubt, is that at a critical point in human history he failed his country and his planet.For at a time when scientists were warning that time was running out for climate change action. The disconnect couldn't be greater. Read more »

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Kitimat Says No To Northern Gateway

Polls are for dogs, but an honest to gawd plebiscite, where Big Oil outspent the local opposition a gazillion to one and still lost badly…now that’s scientific.  I suspect support levels are the same province-wide (60/40 against).  And I suspect somewhere in Ottawa, Harper and Co. are wondering whether they want Northern Gateway to be the key  issue in B.C. come the 2015 federal election.  

the reeves report: Reports question NEB’s approval process for Northern Gateway and Line 9 pipelines

Enbridge under fire as opponents of controversial pipeline projects worry the Canadian energy giant will be ill-prepared to handle potential ruptures throughout Southern Ontario and on B.C.’s rugged coast.

Opponents of Enbridge’s Line 9B pipeline in Southern Ontario are scrambling in the wake of its tentative approval earlier this month by the National Energy Board to highlight just how dangerous overhauling the 38-year-old, 639-kilometre pipeline could be for flora and fauna alike.

Approximately 100 protesters, First Nations members, students and concerned citizens gathered on the front lawn of Queen’s Park in Toronto the day after the NEB’s ruling (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: First Nations Man the Front Trench in Our Fight For Canada

We should all be immensely proud and grateful for the intervention of Canada’s First Nations in the fight to defend our country from environmental degradation, even catastrophe.  They’re leading our fight, make no mistake about that.  The rest of us are the supporting actors in this one but that doesn’t diminish the role we still have to play.

Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs seems to have been transformed into something of an intelligence agency supporting government efforts opposed by First Nations.  This sort of perversion of government agencies is Harper’s stock in trade.  From The Guardian (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Cognitive Dissonance is a Lousy Political Platform, Even for the Liberals.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when an entity embraces two or more contradictory beliefs or values at the same time.  As social psychologist Leon Festinger showed, cognitive dissonance in an individual leads to psychological distress.  To cope, that individual or entity may simply block out information that contributes to the stress of dissonance.

Case in point.  Justin Trudeau is an avowed supporter of bitumen trafficking.  It would seem he draws the line of environmental consciousness somewhere between bitumen and asbestos even though high-carbon fossil fuels, not asbestos, could well destroy our civilization and ruin Canada for future generations.

(Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Proselytizing on Pipeline Politics

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has received a big bolster of support by a US State Department report finding that the pipeline won’t create a significant increase in greenhouse gases, effectively ensuring that Barack Obama will OK the proposal. A huge amount of momentum in the environmental movement was tied up in this project and it should rightly be thought of as a significant loss in the fight. However, for a variety of reasons, pipelines are simply not the best elements of our society for the environmental movement to target and it is a mistake, I think, to have (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian:             The unholy trinity of the Alberta tarsands industry,…

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 (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Northern Gateway Pipeline: Something I Didn’t Know

There is also an interesting wrinkle in the JRP’s [Joint Review Panel's] decision, specifically its inclusion of a “sunset clause.”And that states “the certificate [to proceed] will expire on 31 December 2016, unless construction of the pipeline or the Kitimat Terminal has commenced by that date.” For reasons mentioned above, that is very unlikely.

So would this mean back to square one for Enbridge if shovels aren’t in the ground by 2017?  Another…two…three…five years?

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Rude Welcome to British Columbia

Well after two weeks in virtual seclusion plotting his comeback, and hiding from the media, Stephen Harper finally stumbled out of his crypt. Jetted off to British Columbia.And got a warm B.C. welcome. Two climate change activists managed to sneak up behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday just as he was getting ready to start a question and answer session at the Vancouver Board of Trade.One of the activists, a male, stood behind Harper holding a sign that read "Climate justice now." The second activist, a female, held up a sign saying "The Conservatives (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Spy Watchdog and the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Well it seems that Stephen Harper is pulling out all the stops to try to crush all opposition to his Northern Gateway pipeline.By not only getting the National Energy Board to rubber-stamp his insane project.But also by getting Canada's top spy watchdog to lobby for the pipeline maniacs from Enbridge. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Northern Gateway Scam

Well I see Stephen Harper got an early Christmas present, courtesy of the Big Oil gang at the National Energy Board. A polarizing debate over the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline heated up Thursday after an independent panel from the National Energy Board recommended the federal government approve the pipeline with conditions.Because he needed something to cheer him up eh? And now the scam is on, and the fix is in.Read more »

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Northern Gateway Set To Heat Up

The National Energy Board (NEB) report on the project is set to be released by month’s end.  All the media hoopla around the release will occur…wait for it…in Alberta, with B.C., the province through which most of the pipe-line will run, made a mere spectator.  Assuming the NEB gives its approval, and Harper’s cabinet signs off on the project, this issue will dominate B.C. politics up until the next federal election.  Former government chief of staff Norman Spector gives a hint of the gathering mood:

“There are a lot of people in Alberta who (Read more…)