Archive | Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image

Canada puts Arctic ‘in a snow globe’ as it freezes oil and gas development — just as Norway, Russia accelerate – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – December 20, 2018)

The following is part two of Northern Exposure, a three-part series that examines how a warming Arctic opens up the Northwest Passage and economic opportunities, but also creates headaches.

The 49-hour drive from FortisBC’s liquefied natural gas facility in Delta, British Columbia to Inuvik, Northwest Territories is not for the faint of heart as it winds through mountain passes and frequent avalanche zones.

Despite the 3,615-kilometre of distance and risks, trucks carrying liquefied natural gas from southern B.C. routinely make the arduous trip to supply the 3,000-person Inuvik, an Arctic outpost close to the Beaufort Sea, with fuel for power generation. An increasing number of remote communities in Canada’s northern region are using LNG as a power source as it’s cheaper and less emissions’ intensive than diesel, which is still widely used.

In the eyes of the Northwest Territories government and the energy industry, it’s painfully ironic that the Beaufort Sea contains an estimated 56 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 8 billion barrels of oil while remote communities such as Inuvik, Iqaluit and many more rely on LNG or diesel shipped in from southern Canada for power. Continue Reading →

Warming Arctic waters increase shipping challenges already ‘the bane of everyone in the North’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 2, 2019)

The following is part three of Northern Exposure, a three-part series that examines how a warming Arctic opens up the Northwest Passage and economic opportunities, but also creates headaches.

It’s December in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, about 20 degrees below freezing on what is considered a warm day, and for the first winter ever Nicole Maksagak thought she would be driving in the comfort of a Ford F-150 pick-up truck. Instead, she’s making at least eight runs per day on her Ski-Doo to take her four children, aged six to 13, to school, commute to work and run errands.

Maksagak said she might feel better on her snowmobile if she didn’t owe so much money on the 2018 Ford. Her truck, however, is stranded more than 1,000 kilometres away in Inuvik — along with critical supplies ordered by businesses and the town of Cambridge Bay — after shipping traffic in the western Arctic unexpectedly stopped early this fall due to poor ice conditions.

“I’ve never seen my vehicle in person, I never even test drove it,” she said. “But I’m paying for it, and I paid for the insurance, plus the registration.” Her situation shows why shipping is such a flashpoint for tension in Arctic communities since a failed arrival of just about anything has cascading consequences. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Quebecers and Albertans should set aside provincialism – by Katie Ragan (Montreal Gazette – December 18, 2018)

Equalization and pipelines should be projects that unite Canadians across the country.

Last week, the already rocky relationship between Alberta and Quebec got a little bit rockier. Premier François Legault haughtily announced that he would not support any revival of the Energy East pipeline, which if completed would transport landlocked Albertan oil across Quebec to be refined and exported from New Brunswick. Legault dismissed the idea that Quebecers should be expected to support the West’s “dirty energy.”

Days later, the federal government announced next year’s equalization numbers. As has become predictable, Quebec will receive by far the largest share of the pot, while Alberta and the other oil-producing provinces will receive nothing.

Alberta is even more enraged than usual over the apparent inequity of the equalization formula. That Albertans’ federal tax dollars are landing disproportionately in Quebec while their oil-based economy is in shambles and the provincial budget is in deficit is too much to bear. Continue Reading →

PAC-style Buffalo Project a bid to get national attention for Western issues – by John Ivison (National Post – December 19, 2018)

As Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid noted, talk of Alberta separatism is
out in the open again, after a lull of 40 years. Trudeau appears to have
provoked an almost identical response in the West as the rage that greeted
his father’s National Energy Program in the 1980s.

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he is involved because he is as incensed as many other westerners about the impact of federal legislation on the energy and agricultural sectors

Brad Wall claims he is “done with politics.” “I’m interested in politics but I’m just not going to run for anything,” the former Saskatchewan premier said, as he focuses on his new job as special adviser for law firm Oslers in Calgary. But there is a Hotel California effect to the political game — you can check out but you never really leave.

Hence Wall’s involvement with something called the “Buffalo Project,” a nascent initiative that includes what one source called “serious financial backers,” aimed at offering an unapologetic voice for Western Canadian interests.

The name itself is provocative. Buffalo was the name of the prairie “super-province” combining modern-day Alberta and Saskatchewan that Frederick Haultain, the first premier of the Northwest Territories, hoped to create in 1905. The Liberal prime minister at the time, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, decided against creating what would have been a large, conservative Western counterweight to central Canada, and instead designated them two separate provinces. Continue Reading →

Talk of Alberta exit is out in the open again – by Don Braid (Calgary Herald – December 13, 2018)

After lying dormant for nearly 40 years, talk of Alberta separatism is again boiling to the surface. On Tuesday, Premier Rachel Notley said she’s well aware of the increasing chatter about giving up on Canada.

And she dealt with the question exactly as the first PC premier, Peter Lougheed, did back in the 1980s. “I say to all those folks that we’re right there with them,” Notley said. “We, too, are very, very frustrated.

“But even as we’re angry, we roll up our sleeves and get to work finding the solutions. That’s the Alberta ethos I want to make sure we’re all focused on.” It’s the only sensible strategy for a premier — don’t demean separatist feeling, but don’t endorse it either. Meanwhile, dig in and fight for provincial interests. Continue Reading →

Alberta has better reasons to Albexit than Britain did for Brexit – by Jack Mintz (Financial Post – December 19, 2018)

Whatever negatives Alberta would face are easily swamped by the positives that would come with separation

Last week, I was in England to attend an Oxford conference on the noble but almost hopeless notion of international tax co-ordination. Far more exciting was discussing with colleagues and following the media coverage about the U.K. Conservatives’ confidence vote testing the leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit.

May managed to hang on but, at best, her agreement with the EU for an orderly Brexit is on life support. Of 317 Tory MPs, 117 backbenchers voted to oust May. They were especially dissatisfied with the “Irish backstop.” That proposal, which May negotiated with the EU, would require all of the United Kingdom to remain bound to the EU customs union for years after March 29th’s Brexit deadline.

That would last until the U.K. and EU can agree on a plan to avoid installing a hard customs border between the independent Republic of Ireland, which is staying in the EU, and Northern Ireland which, as part of Britain, is Brexiting. Hard borders have a bad history in that part of the world. Continue Reading →

OPINION: To build pipelines, we must create coalition corridors – by Preston Manning (Globe and Mail – December 17, 2018)

Preston Manning is the founder of the Manning Centre, and the former leader of the Reform Party of Canada.

Here are some truths that urgently require a co-ordinated response from governments, companies and Canadians whose jobs, incomes and living standards are jeopardized by ignoring them:

First, that the natural-resource sectors (agriculture, energy, mining, forestry and fisheries) are foundational to the Canadian economy, directly and indirectly accounting for over 20 per cent of our gross national product, with the energy sector being the biggest contributor.

Secondly, Canada is losing millions of dollars a day in revenues, plus thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment, because opposition to the building of pipelines to seaboard and world markets forces Canada to sell oil and natural gas to the U.S. market at discounted prices. Continue Reading →

Open letter to Canadians opposing Canadian pipelines and oilsands – by Demian Newman ( – December 14, 2018)

Demian Newman is President, Newman Sales and Marketing Inc.

Dear fellow Canadians,

I’m writing this as an open letter to every Canadian who has protested the Canadian oil and gas industry. I’m writing this to ask – what if you win? What if you succeed and completely shut down Canada’s oil and gas industry? What happens next?

Obviously, if you’ve ever marched, protested or argued against Canadian pipelines or Oilsands, you must believe that you are financially insulated from the hundreds of billions this industry puts into the Canadian economy. Or you are OK with the crushing blow to the Canadian economy, because your heartfelt belief is that the Canadian oil and gas industry is so environmentally bad for the planet.

These are the people I desperately want to have a conversation with. I write this letter, not as a Calgarian, Albertan, or even as a Canadian. But I write this as a human being. A human being with two young children, and one who doesn’t go a day without being concerned about how we’re leaving this planet. Continue Reading →

[Resource Reckoning Book Review] Follow-up book documents more Indigenous court victories – by Ellsworth Dickson (Resource World Magazine – December/January 2019)

To order a copy of this informative book:

Lawyer, strategist and author Bill Gallagher has followed up his earlier book entitled Resources Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources with his new effort – Resource Reckoning.

It may seem strange that two books that just document court cases could be fascinating reading but some cases are as spellbinding as any John Grisham legal thriller. Resource Reckoning was written on the heels of an amazing 250 Canadian court victories by various Native bands across Canada. Many of the cases involved litigation against provincial and the federal government regarding both petroleum and mineral commodities.

Indigenous bands have learned that they do better in court than getting involved in lengthy treaty discussions. Some of the passages detail positions taken by governments that defy logic and were obviously destined to fail. Other cases are plain goofy: “Crazy as it may sound, the Lone Ranger and Tonto made it all the way to the highest court in Nova Scotia.”

An unfortunate aspect of many of the court cases is that the federal government could have done better years ago to set up rules and regulations for mining and oil & gas companies to deal with First Nations. Basically, mineral explorers want to explore for minerals and have reasonable consultations with Indigenous groups. Continue Reading →

Alberta’s oil woes have fuelled lamentable rhetoric across Canada and within the province – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – December 15, 2018)

If one didn’t know better, you’d swear Whistler was trolling the good people of Alberta by demanding the oil and gas industry there ship them money to pay for the impacts of climate change.

As publicity stunts go, it certainly received the attention it was designed to create. As word spread that the municipality had sent a letter to Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. requesting that it pay its “fair share” of the town’s costs associated with fighting the impacts of climate change, you could almost see the steam rising from the other side of the Rockies. Albertans were not amused.

We wouldn’t give the ploy much attention normally, considering the sheer ridiculousness and hypocrisy that surrounds it. Whistler survives on tourism. And those tourists use oil-related products not only to get to the resort community, but to enjoy themselves while there. Also, it’s not like one energy company in Calgary is responsible for all that ails the planet. Continue Reading →

Quebec gets $1.4B more of our money. In return, Alberta gets kicked – by Licia Corbella (Calgary Herald – December 11, 2018)

The federal Equalization program has always been a misnomer in Canada. To be accurate, it should be called the Some Are More Equal than Others (SAMEO) program, at least for Quebec and the Maritimes.

That truth was bolstered Monday when it was revealed that the province of Quebec — which ran a $3 billion budget surplus last fiscal year — will be getting an extra $1.4 billion from the federal government next year for a total of $13.1 billion!

Meanwhile, Alberta, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country and is running an $8-billion deficit, just keeps getting kicked when it’s down. And those kicks hurt even more since they are consistently delivered right after Alberta picked up the others’ tabs for champagne and filet mignon, while it sipped on a Diet Coke and nibbled on the free bread. Continue Reading →

Trudeau’s tanker ban is making many Indigenous communities angry. Here’s why – by Richard Neufeld (Financial Post – December 11, 2018)

Opinion: Bill C-48 is currently before the Senate. If it passes, Eagle Spirit could be dead

On December 11th, the Senate of Canada will be honoured to welcome a delegation of 15 First Nations Chiefs from the National Chiefs Coalition, the Indian Resource Council, and the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council who, together, represent some 200 First Nations communities.

They will be in Ottawa to speak about the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor Project and how it can help achieve reconciliation through economic empowerment. My wish is that all Canadians become familiar with Eagle Spirit.

In brief, Eagle Spirit is a First Nations business consortium that proposes to build what has been called the greenest pipeline energy corridor on the planet, running from Bruderheim, Alta. to Grassy Point, B.C. Once completed, the project could ship four-million barrels of crude oil and ten billion cubic feet of natural gas to tidewater every day. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Why Canada should be the home of ecologically-responsible natural resources – by Lorraine Mitchelmore (Globe and Mail – December 11, 2018)

Lorraine Mitchelmore is chair of the Resources of the Future Economic Strategy Table and former president of Shell Canada.

The expression “can’t see the forest for the trees” could have been coined by a typically modest Canadian. It summarizes perfectly much of our current attitude to the embarrassment of riches that constitute our natural resources: our vast forests, our wealth of metals and minerals and our diverse reserves of energy that make us a top producer in many categories.

We have commodities that would be the envy of any other country in the world. And yet, for a variety of reasons, we seem determined not to take full advantage of them. We are not building as many projects as we should, we are not attracting our share of global capital, we are not fully reaching global markets and, in certain cases, we are selling our products at significant discounts to the benefit of other countries.

As a result, the resource sector is not generating the level of wealth for Canada in the form of taxes, royalties, community investments, jobs and business opportunities of which it is capable. Continue Reading →

Alberta First Nations ‘unanimously’ support Bill C-69? Hardly – by Roy Fox (Globe and Mail – December 10, 2018)

Roy Fox (Maikiinima) is Chief of the Kainaiwa (Blood Tribe). He is a pioneer in First Nations self-management of their resources, and a former CEO of the Indian Resource Council.

I have spent more than 45 years advocating for my people, working to battle on-reserve poverty and focusing on generating resource revenues to provide the employment and education that my community has every right to obtain.

I have been deeply involved in the process that allowed communities like mine to begin to take over the management and control of our oil and gas resources from Ottawa. I care greatly about the future of my people and their ability to access natural-resource revenues. I believe that the Canadian energy discussion could use some hard messages right about now.

So a false impression exists – that Alberta First Nations unanimously support Bill C-69, which the federal government says will change how pipeline projects are assessed, regulated and consulted upon. While I can’t explain where the communication broke down, I and the majority of Treaty 7 chiefs strongly oppose the bill for its likely devastating impact on our ability to support our community members, as it would make it virtually impossible for my nation to fully benefit from the development of our energy resources. Continue Reading →

If Alberta turns separatist, the Rest of Canada is in big trouble – by Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post – December 7, 2018)

Holding all the power now, Albertans would get richer while the balance of the country would get poorer

Canadians don’t value our fossil fuel economy, which explains why so many are OK to trash pipelines and see Alberta tank. Only 19 per cent think it more important to pursue oil and gas development than to go green and regulate oil, according to EKOS polling.

That 19 per cent figure shrinks to eight per cent for Canadians who consider themselves Liberals, six per cent for NDPers and two per cent for those who vote Green, meaning that politicians of most stripes have no interest in alienating their supporters to help Alberta’s energy economy recover.

Those figures also explain why Alberta’s sense of alienation is on the rise. According to Ipsos, fully 62 per cent believe Alberta “does not get its fair share from Confederation” (up from 45 per cent two decades ago), 46 per cent feel more attached to their province than to their country (up from 39 per cent) and 34 per cent “feel less committed to Canada than I did a few years ago” (up from 22 per cent). Just 18 per cent of Albertans believe “the views of western Canadians are adequately represented in Ottawa.” Continue Reading →