Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Opinion: It’s time to end oilsands shaming – by Joseph Maloney (Edmonton Journal – September 13, 2018)

Joseph Maloney is international vice-president for Canada of the Boilermakers Union.

Enough with the guilt trip. I’m proud to represent people who work in the oilsands. They’re proud of the jobs they do. And they should be.

As a union leader, I represent thousands of oilsands workers. These people are extremely skilled at keeping our oil plants and refineries operating. And guess what? They care just as much about the environment and global warming as the people who want to shut the industry down.

It might not be popular to say so, but the people who work in our oilsands are crucial to our way of life. Nearly 200,000 Canadians depend directly on the oil and gas industry for their jobs, almost three-quarters of them in Alberta. Hundreds of thousands more in just about every industry in Canada couldn’t work without refined oil products. Continue Reading →

We are First Nations that support pipelines, when pipelines support First Nations – by Stephen Buffalo (Financial Post – September 12, 2018)

Stephen Buffalo is president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council.

The reaction to the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline has been near hysterical — and for good reason. The stoppage of the pipeline project, the best-studied project in Canadian history and one with substantial Indigenous support, has people speaking with despair about the future of the oil and gas industry in the country, the now-diminished prospects for future development, and even the fragility of Canadian federalism.

First Nations peoples who support the pipeline — and there are many — agree that the situation is dire, but we see more than a few reasons for optimism in the midst of the anxiety.

The debate over the pipeline expansion has forced First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada to think very hard about where oil and gas development and infrastructure projects fit into their economic and environmental futures. Continue Reading →

Only Parliament can fix Canada’s pipeline impasse – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – September 11, 2018)

Tom Flanagan is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute.

Politicians are scrambling for ways to restart the Trans Mountain pipeline after the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision. Let me offer an explanation of how we arrived at this impasse.

What has happened to Trans Mountain is not surprising. This is the third time in 12 years that the Federal Court has blocked a major pipeline proposal on grounds of insufficient consultation, following the Mackenzie Valley natural-gas pipeline in 2006 and the Northern Gateway oil pipeline in 2016.

In each case, the proposal was backed by many First Nations and Métis organizations, but a small number of First Nations (six, in the case of Trans Mountain) was able to get a court to rule that some phase of consultation had been inadequate. Continue Reading →

‘A devaluation of oilsands assets’: New rules on sulphur will make a fifth of output uneconomic within two years – by Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – September 8, 2018)

From the lack of available pipeline capacity to the potential adoption of electric cars, there is no shortage of threats facing the Canadian oilsands. But the latest menace lies in a seemingly innocuous and highly common element: sulphur.

Long a byproduct of the heavy oil industry, sulphur is so common that it’s become a part of the general landscape at mining sites such as Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Mildred Lake facility (now majority owned by Suncor Energy Inc.), where massive blocks of sulphur byproduct are stacked several storeys high, kind of like a yellow-stained low-rise apartment complex.

Global regulators are trying to stem sulphur-dioxide emissions, which will potentially shrink the market for heavy crude, but new marine regulations targeting the sulphur content used in shipping fuel could soon force Canadian oilsands companies to stomach an even steeper discount. Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain decision proves Canada a G7 country at war with itself – by Bill Gallagher (The Lawyer’s Daily – September 6, 2018)

This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily (, part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.

An authority on the rise of Indigenous empowerment in Canada’s resources sector, Bill Gallagher has been a corporate lawyer in Calgary, an energy regulator in Ottawa, and a treaty negotiator on the prairies. His latest book Resource Reckoning was published in early September. Contact him at [email protected]

It would appear that lightning does strike twice! Having already killed one approved pipeline (Northern Gateway) backed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, now Indigenous groups have done it again to a pipeline backed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Northern Gateway was Indigenous legal win No. 231, and this one is Indigenous legal win No. 264. I called the former win the “high water mark” of Indigenous empowerment, since Northern Gateway was a fully
approved project championed by Harper’s entire front bench. It went down in flames in mid-2016. Now, just two years later, Indigenous groups make killing a pipeline look routine.

It looks bad on Trudeau, because he had campaigned on deriding Harper’s handling of the duty to consult — now he gets to eat crow. His order-in-council has just been quashed (like Harper’s). Continue Reading →

Trans Mountain court decision a key recognition of treaty rights – by Douglas Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 1, 2018)

It’s been described as a win for the environment, or as a blow to the economy. In the end, the B.C. Federal Court of Appeal couldn’t ignore section 35 of the Canadian constitution.

Section 35 is the clause that recognizes and affirms treaty and Aboriginal rights. This section is becoming increasingly important when it comes to resource development. It may well be the way out of our impoverished position within Canada and place us on an even playing field with the provinces.

Several First Nations launched a case calling for a judicial review of the federal process to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports Alberta crude oil to the west coast. They were later joined by the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver as well as the government of British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Court ruling was a win for rule of law and therefore a win for Trans Mountain – by Andrew Coyne (National Post – September 6, 2018)

Since last week’s Federal Court of Appeal decision halting construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, the federal government has been inundated with unsolicited advice on what to do next.

The proposed responses have ranged from the uninformed (invoke the notwithstanding clause, which simply does not apply) to the unhelpful (appeal the decision, which would delay the project by months or years, with no assurance of a different outcome) to the undefined (pass a law limiting its implications in some way, which might or might not be helpful but would itself be subject to judicial review).

The prime minister at first derided such “legislative tricks” Wednesday but later suggested he was keeping all options open. And yet the most promising response remains the one he first appeared to favour: follow the course the court prescribed. Continue Reading →

The Trans Mountain ruling was a fiasco – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – September 5, 2018)

Just two days before the devastating Federal Court of Appeal’s decision last week that cast the Trans Mountain pipeline project into limbo, the federal minister of natural resources was sure that all was well.

“We are very confident that we have done extensive consultation,” Amarjeet Sohi told the Calgary Herald’s Chris Varcoe. “We went beyond what the NEB [National Energy Board] has done. We took six months extra to consult with Indigenous communities and affected communities on the route.”

So much for that. The judges weren’t impressed. In a 263-page decision , the court found the federal government had not adequately consulted each of six First Nations that had challenged the project. Nor had it considered the role of tanker traffic on the killer whale population. Continue Reading →

Think it’s hard to build big projects in Canada now? Wait till you see the Liberals’ new bill – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – September 3, 2018)

CALGARY — A fight over the federal government’s bill to overhaul the National Energy Board has been playing out away from the public eye but is expected to take centre stage in the Senate in September.

Behind the scenes, lower levels of government, companies and think tanks have been suggesting changes to Bill C-69 — which would turn the NEB into the Canadian Energy Regulator and establish an Impact Assessment Agency for new resource projects with a new scope and timelines.

At a recent meeting of energy ministers in Iqaluit, Saskatchewan’s Bronwyn Eyre said she and her counterparts in Alberta and Ontario raised concerns with the bill, which she called “an existential threat to our competitiveness.” Continue Reading →

Globe editorial: The problem isn’t the pipeline, it’s the way it was approved (Globe and Mail – August 31, 2018)

The Federal Court of Appeal decision quashing cabinet’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a huge political setback for the Trudeau government. That it comes on the heels of the government’s reckless decision to buy the existing pipeline for $4.5-billion only complicates matters.

But it would be a mistake to conclude that Ottawa cannot salvage this snake-bitten project. With the proper response, Canada could end up with both a much-needed pipeline expansion and a clearer set of rules for approving projects of this kind.

At the moment, that probably looks like a long shot. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent a lot of political capital on Trans Mountain and has little to show for it. Continue Reading →

Trudeau said he’d solve pipeline stalemate problem. It’s become a political disaster – by John Ivison (National Post – August 31, 2018)

The decision slaps a large sign on Canada’s resource industry that reads: Closed for Business

The Federal Court of Appeal has spoken clearly for the southern resident killer whales of the Salish Sea, for the First Nations that live along the Pacific Coast and for the environmental activists who run the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby.

The court’s decision to quash the federal cabinet’s construction permits for the Trans Mountain pipeline will be hailed by professional objectors everywhere.

Justice Eleanor Dawson, who wrote the decision, and her colleagues, justices Yves de Montigny and Judith Woods, can take comfort from the fact that their jurisdiction did not extend to considering the thousands of jobs across the country that have been imperilled by the decision — not to mention the deleterious impact it will have on national unity. Continue Reading →

The pessimists have it right, assassins are gunning for Trans Mountain – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – August 31, 2018)

With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening

After narrowly missing an assassination of Margaret Thatcher by bombing her hotel room in Brighton in 1984, the IRA reminded everyone the odds were still on its side. “Remember we only have to be lucky once,” the terrorists warned the then British prime minister. “You will have to be lucky always.”

That in a nutshell has long been the strategy of those fighting against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. With every court challenge, political stunt, blockade and act of sabotage, the odds have been stacked ever higher against the pipeline happening. Its builders and their political backers might win a few rounds.

But eventually something would stop them. Maybe Thursday’s federal appeals court decision overturning the National Energy Board’s approval of Trans Mountain is that something. Maybe not. But the project will face many more assassination attempts. And it will have to be lucky enough to survive every one. Continue Reading →

Federal Court of Appeal quashes construction approvals for Trans Mountain, leaving project in limbo – John Paul Tasker (CBC News Politics – August 30, 2018)

Indigenous groups had opposed $7.4B project

In a stunning blow, the Federal Court of Appeal has quashed the government’s approvals to build the Trans Mountain expansion project — a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4-billion project.

In the decision released Thursday, and written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found the National Energy Board’s assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016.

The certificate approving construction and operation of the project has been nullified, leaving the project in legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court’s demands. Continue Reading →

Jagmeet Singh might as well send Rachel Notley a cake shaped like a middle finger – by Kelly McParland (National Post – August 14, 2018)

Jagmeet Singh’s days as federal NDP leader have been so ill-starred you almost feel sorry for the guy.

That’s not a good thing. Politicians want to look bold, decisive and successful, not confused, unlucky and accident-prone. Singh can’t get a break. The last good thing that happened to him was winning the New Democratic Party leadership race 10 months ago, and so much has gone wrong since then you have to wonder whether he wishes he’d never entered.

He’s young, articulate, and has a pleasant personality. Yet so hapless has his tenure become that the embarrassments are coming in pairs. Friday was meant to be a good day, in which he revealed he’d finally settled on a site to seek election to the House of Commons — Burnaby, B.C., where the local MP is quitting. Yet the announcement only sparked new questions. Lots of questions. Continue Reading →

Rachel Notley fed up with federal NDP leader Singh’s anti-pipeline, ‘elitist’ views – by Graham Thomson (Edmonton Journal – August 10, 2018)

Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley has all but declared war with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. In a remarkable interview Friday, Notley criticized her fellow New Democrat as thoughtless, elitist and pretty much an enemy of the working people.

She was so critical of Singh that at times I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t interviewing United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.

She ridiculed Singh’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project and literally laughed at his suggestion on how Canada can best wean itself off Saudi Arabian oil. Continue Reading →