Guest essay by Pat Reilly
Canada is a vast and rich country that has among its bounties the third largest known oil reserves in the world. The exploitation of these resources should be paying for our socialist leaning Liberal and Nation Democratic Party agendas with money left over much like Norway. Instead our governments are running massive deficits and spending money we do not have to try and maintain the façade that we can give away free social programs without worry. At the same time these governments are virtual signaling that Canadians are to blame for the Climate changing and we must have a price for carbon to pay for our sins.
The history of failed energy projects in the last 10 years is becoming a text book case of what is in store for any country that is trying to appease the IPPC and the Green environmental movement. Canada is pushing the climate change narrative through the use of government policies that include carbon pricing through a tax and restrictions on development through emissions reduction.
Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline was one of the first to fail. Northern Gateway was first proposed in 2006 but the final project application was submitted to the Nation Energy Board for review in May of 2010. This 8.0 billion pipeline project would have carried oil from Edmonton Alberta to Kitimat BC to be loaded onto tankers for the sale to the Pacific Rim and beyond. Many foreign environmental groups pumped millions of dollars into the fight against this project through Canadian nonprofit environmental organizations. Vivian Krause exposed the worst offenders in a number of articles she did for the Vancouver Sun. Vivian had to use the US tax records to track these donations from the US based environmental groups. Canadian Non-profit charities do not have to make the same type of disclosures as they do in the US so the funding sources are not reported to the Canadian government. In spite of all the protests the final permit from the Federal Government came in June of 2014 with over 209 conditions to be met before construction would begin. Some of these conditions were the agreement from First Nations in the area of the pipeline and the tanker route from Kitimat BC. Some of the First Nations groups were receiving this foreign influence money and advice from a number of self serving environmental groups to fight the pipeline. The final nail in the coffin for Gateway was the election of Justin Trudeau. Not one month into Trudeau’s term as prime minister he issued a moratorium on any new oil tanker traffic on the BC coast from North of Port Hardy to the Alaskan panhandle. The approval process for this pipeline was over three and half years of hearings and addressing requests for information and clarification of design and operation aspects. In the end Enbridge could not get the approval of all the parties involved so they closed the project down after Justin Trudeau’s tanker ban.
Keystone XL Pipeline was the next to hit a bump in the road. The pipeline was first proposed in 2008. It was to carry oil from Hardisty Alberta to the Texas Gulf coast refineries. After 2 years of hearings and design changes in Canada the Pipeline was approved by the Canadian government. The project then handed over to the US law makers for the southern leg connection to Texas from the Canadian border . Under the Obama administration this project had to pass the EPA’s assessment and the State Department’s approval. After that it had to be passed in the Congress and the Senate which it did after much political fallout. All of these hurdles were passed after 6 years deliberations. It was vetoed by President Obama who stated “Frankly approving this project would have undercut the United States global leadership on climate change”. One of the first things that Donald Trump did was to write an executive order to approve this pipeline but due to the length of the process and the ongoing rising costs involved TransCanada pipelines is still evaluating whether they will proceed with the total project or not. Some of the southern sections of the pipeline have been built but the main connection to the Canadian market is still in limbo. Now with the Liberal government’s new environmental legislation that were passed this spring things are looking grim for this project to be completed. The new legislation states that a carbon levee will be applied to the pipeline operator that takes into account the carbon total for the product shipped and also when it is consumed by the end users.
TransCanada Energy East was a 12 Billion dollar proposal for a conversion of 3000 KM of existing Natural gas pipeline and the installation of 1600 KM of new line to supply oil from Edmonton to eastern Canada with the final destination of St. John New Brunswick. The refineries in eastern Canada would have used this ethical oil to reduce the amount of the imports from oil producers who can be considered unethical. It was also stated that the replacement of this foreign oil would be more environmentally friendly as some of the foreign countries have no formal climate change policies in place. The first set of environmental hearings for approval was interrupted by a small number of environmental protesters in Montreal. The review panel members were shocked by this behavior because the protesters would not leave the venue and the local Montreal Police would not arrest them for the disruption. The mayors in the Montreal district were outspoken against this project and the police were told to stand down for their protection of these hearings. The review board quit in mass because they did not feel safe in this type of hostile environment. Unfortunately there was a Canadian Federal election before a new board could be ratified and the Liberal Government under Justin Trudeau pushed off the hearings till a “New” environmental approval process could be mapped out. The new approval process was taken away from the National Energy Board and given to a new review group the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) reporting to the Environmental Department under Minister Catherine McKenna. McKenna has been quoted a number of times that fossil fuel usage is a direct cause of climate change. The new environmental rules launched by McKenna and Justin Trudeau’s close adviser Gerald Butts (former head of the Canadian branch of the World Wildlife Fund) state that there will be carbon pricing to any new energy projects built in Canada. Not only will this pipeline be charged for the carbon pricing on the oil moved in the line but there is also a clause that states that the end use carbon will also be charged to the pipeline moving the oil. TransCanada cancelled Energy East in October 2017.
Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline upgrade is a 7.4 Billion dollar expansion of the existing pipeline that was installed in 1953. It goes from Edmonton to Burnaby BC to supply oil to the Vancouver district and allow for oil sales to the Pacific Rim and beyond. After another lengthy review process that was a total of 29 months the project was approved by the federal National Energy Board with 157 conditions attached. The project was one of the first to come under scrutiny by the new liberal government under Justin Trudeau but because the review process was followed and the 157 conditions were been met by Trans-Mountain Justin begrudgingly gave his approval for this project. The problem was that the provincial BC government changed to a New Democrats from Liberal last year. Along with the new election the NDP ended up with a minority government so they formed an alliance with the three Green Party members to stay in power. The new premier John Horgan has been putting up road blocks against this project by issuing court challenges to the federal government’s right to approve this project when there is a strong local resistance to upgrading this line. As it stands today Kinder Morgan issued a statement that if they cannot proceed with construction this year they will cancel the project. Kinder Morgan gave the ultimatum of May 31 2018 for a decision. Justin Trudeau is cutting a visit to the America’s conference for a meeting with the parties involved to try and come to a resolution for Kinder Morgan to proceed with construction. Why Justin Trudeau even went to this conference is a mystery in its self because the total trade with the America’s outside of the US is just 3.0 billion dollars. This trade number is only half of the total cost of this pipeline upgrade. The ongoing revenue from the extra oil production is slated to be the same as the America’s trade for every year of operation. The meeting held in Ottawa on Sunday 15 2018 did not change BC’s John Horgan’s position and as of today the clock is ticking. Some have said that Canada’s confederation is in jeopardy if this project fails.
Justin Trudeau has been virtue signaling since the day he attained the prime minister’s office on climate change and how we as Canadian’s need to do more. Justin has spoken out against oil and gas production with a special distaste for Oil sands projects and when Justin is talking about any pipeline it is mostly in the negative. Not long after Justin became Prime Minister he passed another moratorium on all oil and gas development and drilling in the Canadian Arctic. This moratorium was news to the people of this region and there was a large outcry from them about this policy. The Canadian Arctic has proven reserves of oil and gas as large as the original findings of the Alaskan North Slope. Justin’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the government of Canada put the first restrictions on the development of these oil and gas resources in the 1970’s. Renewed interest in this area was stopped because of Justin’s new moratorium.
Gerald Butts has said in a number of interviews that he supports the total reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Gerald had been an environmental adviser to the Ontario Liberal government before he became the head of the World Wildlife Fund in Canada. The Ontario renewable energy policies and carbon pricing have reduced that provinces economy to the point where normal citizens are losing their jobs due to high electricity prices and factories are closing due to high energy costs. Gerald’s views on energy projects are greatly affecting the total economy of Canada now that he is a close adviser to Justin Trudeau.
Catherine McKenna shares the same climate change views as Gerald Butts and has been quoted a number of times that Canadians need to pay a carbon tax to reduce the amount of consumption of fossil fuels. For each of last three COPE environmental conferences throughout the world McKenna has led the Canadian contingent which has been in excess of 200 delegates in attendance. Under Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister this climate conference contingent was less than 40 delegates sent. Some have pointed out that Canada is only .1% of the total carbon emissions for the world but we now have had the third largest delegation at these three conferences. The carbon foot print of McKenna and her traveling entourage is so large it matches some of the smaller industries that are going out of business in Ontario due to high electricity prices and the new carbon pricing.
The Royal Bank of Canada released a statement last month that investment in Canada had dried up and was fleeing from Canada. They stated that due to the unfair costs been forced onto the Canadian businesses by the Liberal Government’s climate policies Canadian companies were becoming uncompetitive on the world markets. The CEO of Suncor Energy the largest combined oil company in Canada stated that Suncor would not be making any new investments in Canada in the near future and they were going to spend 35 Billion dollars of development and exploration money somewhere other than Canada. The amount of major oil and gas projects stalled or shelved since the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau came into power has been estimated to be in the range of the 150 to 180 Billion dollar mark. The oil sands development has been hardest hit through the lack of pipeline capacity. The job losses in the engineering, design and manufacturing sectors that supported the oil and gas market are devastating. The job losses in the operation of these new projects have had a long term effect on the economy and the financial well been of the Canadian Economy. The newer oil sands plants that had been built before the new pipelines were cancelled have been making do with reduced production and shipping their products in rail tank cars.
The oil shipments by rail are now causing the disruption of the yearly grain shipments due to a lack of locomotives and staff to run them. This type of work around for the lack of pipelines is causing more emissions to be produced for transportation of this oil and the safety of the public is more at risk from rail accidents.
Justin Trudeau’s Tanker Ban: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/crude-oil-tanker-traffic-moratorium-bc-north-coast-1.3318086
Montreal mayors oppose Energy East Pipeline: http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/greater-montreal-mayors-come-out-against-transcanadas-energy-east-pipeline