Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Grand Conspiracy

The last few days, we have heard the "separatist" angry, as the usual suspects focus on the easy whipping boy, those dirty Liberals who want to ruin the "west". Yawn me a river. Liberals conspiring to hurt Alberta, NEP II, as though tackling GHG emissions is supposed to ignore the elephant in the room, recognizing the OBVIOUS, tantamount to blasphemy.

Now it seems, a growing convergence stateside wants nothing to do with "dirty" oil. Have the Liberals infiltrated the American political system? First, the likely next President:
"If it turns out that those technologies don't advance . . . and the only way to produce those resources would be at a significant penalty to climate change, then we don't believe that those resources are going to be part of the long-term, are going to play a growing role in the long-term future," said Jason Grumet, Mr. Obama's senior energy adviser.

The remarks amount to a shot across the bow of Alberta's oilsands industry, which is planning to boost production from 1.3 million barrels a day to 3.5 million barrels over the next decade.

"The amount of energy that you have to use to get that oil out of the ground is such that it actually creates a much greater impact on climate change, as well as using much more energy than even traditional petroleum," he said.

"And I think it's an open question as to whether or not the Canadian resources are going to meet those tests."

This comes on the same day, American mayors join to focus their sights on the tar sands:
Mayors from the U.S.'s largest cities singled out Western Canada's oil sands on Monday as they called for a crackdown on fuels that could cause catastrophic global warming.

"The production of tarsands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada's Boreal forest ecosystem - the world's largest carbon storehouse," said the resolution.

This resolution sends a clear signal to Alberta and to oil producers that they need to get a grip on their greenhouse gas emissions," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group.

In response:
Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier also blasted his U.S. counterparts, saying they need to visit Alberta in person to "get the facts on oilsands production."

"This resolution suggests a lack of understanding," he said

I recommend inviting the mayors for a tour, so they can get the "facts". Don't forget to see the tailing ponds!


ottlib said...

Maybe a movement to separate Alberta from North America will now sprout up the province.

California has been talking about putting a premium on "dirty oil" for some time and with the imminent departure of the "Big Oil President" that movement could very well pick up some momentum.

Of course, that is still going to run into the counter-argument of Canadian oil being a secure supply.

It will be interesting in the coming months how the dynamic of rising energy prices and the increased awareness and concern for global warming in the US will play out.

Anonymous said...

The Liberal Party long ago made the strategic calculus to focus on getting votes in Ontario and Quebec.

They will be extinct in Western Canada come next election except maybe a Vancouver seat and Goodale's seat. They will lose all three of their Manitoba seats.

ottlib said...

Their Green Plan will put them in good stead with Vancouver, the Island and the Lower Mainland. There may be some close races where that plan will be the difference.

We do not know how the Harper decision on equalization will play out in Saskatchewan just yet, but it has put otherwise safe Conservative seats in play.

The Conservative mishandling of the Wheat Board will come back to haunt them. Certainly, many farmers have issues with the Board but they are generally an independent lot who do not want government interfering with them or their decisions.

That issue alone could tilt several seats in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan back into the Liberal column.

The seats in the North are solidly Liberal or NDP.

However anonymous, I happen to agree with you that Liberals will be extinct in Alberta. The Conservatives stand to pick up seats in Alberta and sweep it. Oh wait, they already did that, oh well.

Steve V said...

"The Liberal Party long ago made the strategic calculus to focus on getting votes in Ontario and Quebec"

Isn't Harper the guy running around Quebec tonight, touting his part as the "true nationalists"?

Gayle said...

It is funny when hear all this talk about Alberta separating. I am right here and have not heard a word.

Most Albertans recognize the separtists as crackpots. Sure they all vote conservative, but they are not completely crazy.

Dame said...

Of Course the politic of Tar Sands will be the one big test for the parties how to deal with the Incredible abusive destructive and inefficient use of it.
It must be drastically changed and scaled back .. and of course the " drunken sailors "of the current crew will resist dramatically.
However changes must be there if the Country wants To live .
i am not surprized even outside forces will force it..


Anonymous said...

the three spots in Manitoba aren't going anywhere

Anonymous said...

U.S. mayors are against people running their cars on the oil from the dirty tar sands of Alberta !
They want to put a stop to it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:01,

The NDP will retake Churchill, their vote was split last election when the incumbent MP became persona non grata for voting her conscience on gay marriage. She ran as an independent and split the vote allowing the Liberals to come up the middle. It'll revert back to type.

Simard in St. Boniface is behind in the polls to an upstart Conservative candidate who's been working that riding hard.

Finally, Winnipeg-South Centre should normally be a relatively safe Liberal seat but the Conservatives have a popular sports figure running there so that one is likely to fall as well.

JimmE said...

Oh NEP will you never die? Marc LaLonde you may have helped to get the TAR SANDS started & if not for the work done by Jean Chrétien we would not have the dirty, dirty TAR SANDS today, BOO! Boo I say! Boo bad Liberals!
Oh evil federal government! why did you fund the growth of the TAR SANDS? You could have killed it in the 90's when oil was under $20 & the TAR SANDS needed $25 to break even! Damn your Jean Chrétien! Damn you!
But wait! What was that lil' Ditto Heads? "Gramps fell down a well?" no? ohhh, "let the free market decide" I never heard that before!! Guess we should have kept our hands off the dirty, dirty TAR SANDS & left the oil there the first place. Thanks Ditto Heads!
I know it's way to sunny to use solar heaters in Sunny Alberta to heat heat up Tar Sands - so use up all the water and burn lots of natural gas! Come on now, don't make me come over there! Burn & Drink it all up!
Thanks Ditto Heads! Thanks for looking after the environmental regs for decades now! Thanks Alberta Tories! Thanks for being there!

Tomm said...


Stay away from the liquor cabinet this early in the week.

You said:

"Their Green Plan will put them in good stead with Vancouver, the Island and the Lower Mainland. There may be some close races where that plan will be the difference."

My understanding is that people in the lower mainland have taken an abrupt turn over the whole carbon tax thing. The Provincial Liberal's have lost considerable support because of their announced greening of their government.

You said: "We do not know how the Harper decision on equalization will play out in Saskatchewan just yet, but it has put otherwise safe Conservative seats in play."

Yah, we do actually. Goodale will lose his seat. Dion's message is going over like Lorne Calvert's last campaign with Sask voters. The LPC is dying in Saskatchewan right now.

You said: "The Conservative mishandling of the Wheat Board will come back to haunt them. Certainly, many farmers have issues with the Board but they are generally an independent lot who do not want government interfering with them or their decisions."

Sorry to burst your bubble but all the rural seats in Western Canada are CPC already, and these same folks knew the CPC view of the Wheat Board before the last two elections. Farmers are overwhelmingly in favour of the CPC position on the Wheat Board, ergo, no LPC seats. Why do LPC supporters think western farmers want to send all their grain through a price fixing monopoly? If eastern farmers were told they did not have choice in who they sell their crops to, they would scream bloody murder.

You said: "The seats in the North are solidly Liberal or NDP."

In the NWT, not so much. The Western Arctic NDP MP, Dennis Bevington is a nice guy, people like him, but he won the last election because of a tired and arrogant incumbent Liberal MP. This election the LPC hasn't yet selected their candidate and the CPC candidate may well get all the business vote. The CPC candidate, who has been a former Cabinet Minister and well respected, has been meeting and listening to people for months already.

This Green Shift is death to the LPC in the west. They will get a couple of seats in Winnipeg because of the Wheat Board and some serious local left wing politics.

I can't imagine the Green Shift will be popular on the Rock either.

Tomm said...


Its great that you are quoting US City Mayors. I'm sure they feel strongly about their cities and are listening to local political winds.

However, the carriers of the oil sand message are groups like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF, Suzuki Foundation, Polaris Insitute, and the uqiquitious "Friends of...", and every wingnut mother earth enviro club trying to rally against captialism, world trade, big oil, George Bush, and hypocritically, filling their jeans with the same filthy lucre.

I'm not saying that oil sand oil doesn't cost more energy to process than Saudi oil, what I'm saying is that the US Mayors, and others aren't listening to truth, they are listening to left wing political propoganda.

It's not about the environment, and it never was.

If it was about the environment, these guys would be calling out China. They aren't, because its about being against big oil, and crippling profit of these multi-national oil juggernauts.

They have found their villain, and it turns out to be the thing driving the Canadian economy.

Read Andrew Coyne's latest.

You know I care about the environment, but I'm not going to jump on the bus being driven by these guys. They've got a political agenda that starts and ends with knee capping multi-national energy companies, regardless who it hurts.

justin said...

lmao @ anon 11:51. As someone from winnipeg I can say this; Conservatives hold 3 seats in winnipeg all 3 seats are going to be up for grabs. They barely won Winnipeg south despite an around 10% drop for Liberals throughout the province and in the riding and NDP overperforming by riding the coattails of the provincial NDP. Similarly St Boniface and Winnipeg south centre are as safe Liberal ridings as you can find. In a normal election year (a year when Liberals are not running with the albatross of a major scandal) conservatives may be entirely shut out of winnipeg. Doer government is starting to lose popularity which will no longer give the federal NDP an advantage that has allowed them to overperform way over their national average in Winnipeg, McFadyen has made some significant inroads. Liberals will hold Churchill because last election despite a 4 way race the liberal share of vote went up (at the same time when their share fell by 7-10% throughout the rest of the province). In the worst cast scenario the tories may even lose a couple of rural seats due to the wheat board.

Tomm said...


You are filling "ottlib"s cup with hope.

I think he owes you a beer.

Anonymous said...

Ottlib: with respect to the Liberal's chances on the prairies all I can say is you don't know what you speak about. If you want to retain any credibility, you should refrain from doing that.

Justin: the Liberals won what has hisorically been their safest seat in Western Canada, Saint Boniface, by a mere 1,500 votes last election. That was against a unilingual Conservative candidate who was badly outspent. This go round they have an attractive bilingual female police officer who used to be the media spokesman for the City of Winnipeg police. She's already more well known than he incumbent Liberal MP Simard.

As for the urban seats held by the Conservatives, what people should know is that the Liberals had excellent candidates in all three but they all came up short. Remember Reg Alcock, he was beaten by a 30 year old Métis kid. The Liberals are putting up the guy that was roundly beaten by Fletcher and has lost the last 5 elections he's run in, a spent force if there ever was one.

Mark Dowling said...

Roadblocks I can think of:

1. gasoline is fungible. How do you tell oil that has come from the tarsands once it has been refined?

2. NAFTA dictates that we send a steady share of our energy production to the US (Article 605). It also forbids export taxes without imposing the same tax on domestic consumption (Article 604). If the US won't take it, all it means is that Canada doesn't have to import (and it does) and China will take the surplus. We could also send some to Cuba just for fun (Cuba produces 40% of what it needs).

3. It would also mean we'd be doing our refining at home rather than piping bitumen to the US - bye bye to well paying jobs in northern US states.

4. If there was enough water in the western US, they would be mining the shale like there's no tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong - there has to be some way to do better than we're doing in the oilsands - a lot better. I support the establishment of northern Alberta nuclear plants to power the sands and far far better containment of residues - in my view they should be treated like nuclear waste not left in the open to off-gas in the atmosphere.

The problem is the constitutional ownership of resources by provinces coupled to the environmental commitment made by the country. As Dave Bronconnier's comment shows, money still trumps environment when you need to get re-elected.

JimBobby said...

in my view they should be treated like nuclear waste

Because we have such wonderfully effective ways of treating nuclear waste, right?

David Wozney said...

Re: “... emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution ...

Carbon dioxide emissions are not pollution. Carbon dioxide released by man near ground level is heavier than air and sinks in air relatively quickly rather than rising up to the upper atmosphere to become a so-called greenhouse gas in the upper atmosphere. While sinking, it stratifies from air; after sinking and stratifying, it tends to remain close to the ground. The carbon dioxide can then dissolve in soil water or alternatively it may find its way down to low-lying water bodies or down to ocean level where it can readily mix and dissolve in water or react with water to form weak carbonic acid. Carbon dioxide is also removed immediately from the lower atmosphere by rainfall.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries A.D., many measurements of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide were higher than present-day carbon dioxide measurements and there was no runaway greenhouse-gas global warming effect.