Oh, Those ‘Radicals’!

Today the HarperCons stepped into the cesspool polluted waters tarsands issue to announce a water monitoring project which will take 3 years and $50 million to fully implement.  the regina mom agrees with Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie; this is a PR stunt.  And, trm shares Edmonton MP Linda Duncan’s concerns that First Nations’ communities were not adequately consulted and that many more tarsands projects could be approved before this monitoring begins. trm considers this announcement to be a reflection of the great work the ecojustice community “radical groups” are doing to educate citizens on the issues.  Well done, radicals!

One radical, Andrew Nikiforuk, declared a political emergency regarding the tarsands years ago.  His latest piece at The Tyee cites a “detailed analysis” submitted to the National Energy Board by Robyn Allan who is the former president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.  Ms Allan’s report “concludes that “Northern Gateway is neither needed nor is in the public interest.

“I assumed that it would be a wealth generating project,” the 56-year-old retired investment and financial affairs economist told the Tyee. “But when I started digging none of those assumptions held. The project is an inflationary price shock to the economy.”

Allan, once rated by the National Post as one of Canada’s top 200 CEOs, says she started to study the economic case for the project after a query by her son. That was when she discovered that Enbridge’s economic benefit models were based on “misleading information, faulty methodology, numerous errors and presentation bias.”

trm‘s readers can download Allan’s full report, “An Economic Assessment of Northern Gateway” at the Alberta Federation of Labour’s website. Note that, according to Nikiforuk, “Allan’s report supports the findings of Dave Hughes, a retired senior analyst with Natural Resources Canada. He described the pipeline as a risk to Canada’s economic and energy security” a report to which trm has previously linked.

Further commentary comes from the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada which also says that the Gateway pipeline is unsustainable, based on a report they commissioned from Informetrica Inc.

The brief points out that two major refinery closures in Ontario and Quebec have created even more of a dependency on foreign suppliers for refined petroleum products: gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil.

“Canadians should also be alarmed that, while Canada exports most of its bitumen to foreign sources, Atlantic Canada and Quebec import 90% of their oil, and Ontario imports 30%,” says Coles.

“Without access to the increased supply of Western Canadian crude, Eastern Canada has suffered a loss of refining capacity, a loss of jobs and gasoline supply problems. Meanwhile, hundreds of workers where thrown out of high-skill, well paying jobs and many additional direct and indirect jobs have been lost.

The primary CEP document is here.

Andrew Frank, the former ForestEthics employee fired for his whistleblowing and about whom trm has previously reported, now suggests a “middle way” to avoid the polarization the Gateway debate has created. Though his suggestions are valid, trm has concerns that they are premised on the continued operation of the tarsands.  trm does not necessarily agree that they must continue.  Still, she also wants to encourage dialogue among Canadians and so, presents his points in abbreviated form:

  1. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline should not be built.
  2. Regulation needs to catch up with production.
  3. Oil sands production should match a rate that climate change scientists say is safe.
  4. Slowdown production to extract the maximum value and develop a royalties system that will look after Canadians long after the oil sands are gone.

Related to the Frank matter was the Notice of Motion filed by Ecojustice on behalf of four so-called radical groups. If you recall, dear Reader, it was the prelude to the HarperCons’ knickers-in-a-knot InfoAlert last Friday. Earlier this week, Ecojustice reported that their motion was denied, but welcomed the “declaration of independence” from the Joint Review Panel. They go on to say that,

Given the impact the proposed pipeline would have on our country, Ecojustice and our clients believe it’s absolutely critical that this review process remain objective, representative of all interests and conducted with integrity and fairness. This isn’t just an ethical issue — it’s about the legal principles of due process.

In its response, the Panel is making a promise to all Canadians to evaluate the Northern Gateway project based on evidence provided by all sides of the issue. This includes evidence that the pipeline and the risk of an oil spill it brings could irreversibly damage our forests and coasts — and all the species that depend on them.

An oil spill wouldn’t just devastate the environment. Our coastal economies like fishing and ecotourism are at risk, too. Is that a fair trade-off for short-term jobs?

Furthermore, the devastation of that environment would also devastate First Nations who have lived on the coast for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Still, Enbridge says it has agreements with 20 First Nations communities.  But Enbridge has not produced names or evidence to that effect.  First Nations spokespeople suggest Enbridge is stretching the truth, or worse, lying.  They accuse Enbridge of a lack of due diligence.

The theme of lack of due diligence and/or misrepresentation by Enbridge recurs among members of northern First Nations when speaking about Enbridge. Members the Haisla, the Gitxsan, the Wet’suwet’en and the Haida gave no credence to Stanway’s claim that “more than 20 groups who in recent weeks have fully executed and endorsed equity participation agreements deals with Enbridge.”

As trm suggested earlier this week, Enbridge doesn’t necessarily tell the truth, but she’ll let you, dear Reader, be the judge.

Finally, an item for which trm is sure to be lambasted by a certain regular reader.  Amnesty International has released an Open Letter to the Prime Minister, calling on him “to take a strong stand for human rights in China” during his visit there.  As trm has stated numerous times over the years, Canada should not be trading with any nation whose human rights record is so very sketchy.  And, Canada should also be cleaning up in her own back yard!

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3 Comments

  1. Toe

     /  February 3, 2012

    One thing we sometimes forget, under this gov’t the Environment as a Ministry stands alone, and whoever has the portfolio knows it lacks any credibility and no integration with the works of other ministries. Jim Prentice found that out and resigned. Remember the wikileaks disclosure?
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2010/12/22/prentice-oil-sands-wikileaks.html?ref=rss&loomia_si=t0:a16:g2:r3:c0.0705232:b40508124
    So yeah, it is up to the radicals, because this gov’t wants that oil out of the ground and sold to the highest bidder.

    Regarding human rights in China. At one time Jason Kenney was a supporter of human rights in China. He visited Zhao Zyang (2005), on a trade mission he attended with Paul Martin . Martin was not happy about that visit. He was also instrumental in giving the Dalai Lama honourary Can. citizenship. You have to wonder how these people can throw their very own ‘values’ under the bus, but when it comes to post-2008, Canada is clawing and scratching for money. Even the Dalai Lama just smiles as he is aware of the economic politics as well as anyone. Thank goodness Amnesty reminds them human rights is still a top agenda for the future along with climate change and social justice.

    Reply
  2. In June 2010 after 18 months of deliberation and listening to expert testimony, the Standing Committee on Environment scuttled its own investigation of water pollution from the tar sands :

    “It was agreed, — That the Committee cease its study of the oil sands and Canada’s water resources.

    It was agreed, — That all circulated copies of the confidential draft report be returned to the Clerk of the Committee and destroyed (paper and electronic version).

    It was agreed, — That any member of the Environment Committee be authorized to consult the one original copy of the draft report kept in the Committee Clerk’s office.”

    They then went in camera for the next 7 sessions and that was the end of that.

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4642266&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3

    Dr David Schindler gave the last testimony before the proceedings were closed to the public. He said he believed industry reports on water contamination had been regularly sent to Environment Canada but that EC did not release those findings to the public and industry is not required to do so on its own.

    Reply
  3. Ah, dear Andrew Frank, if you believe that “oil sands production should match a rate that climate change scientists say is safe,” then we’re going to have to shut them down completely, aren’t we?

    The climate change emergency is already killing hundreds of thousands of people every year (not to mention other animals). People in the world’s most vulnerable regions are already losing their loved ones and livelihoods, their food security and water sources, their homes and their entire homelands.

    If we do a little systems thinking (something we didn’t learn in school here in Canada), we’ll realize that there are too many interconnections, and therefore too many in situ, downstream and future risks.

    So no, Andrew Frank, there is no safe rate of production for the tar sands. And thanks, trm, for the opportunity to say that!

    Reply

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