Tag Archives: northern gateway pipeline

Enbridge, Canada, and “good-faith” negotiations… stop me if you’ve heard this story before…

Well, Joe O. we might have a problem in BC… says Steve-o…

In early December, Doug Eyford, the federally appointed “Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure” released his report: Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians and Energy Development.

In the 7-8 months that it took for Eyford to pull the report together, he suggests he: “travelled across Alberta and British Columbia to meet representatives of Aboriginal communities and organizations, industry, and provincial and local governments.” And the he “met with over 80 groups.”

Three main themes are highlighted in his report: Building Trust, Fostering Inclusion, and Advancing Reconciliation. His final theme is “Taking Action”.

Oddly enough, this quote stands out near the beginning…

Eyford Report – Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships: Aboriginal Canadians & Energy Development

Several years ago, a good fifteen or more, Chief Justice Lamer said the words above. At that time, the vast majority of Treaties in British Columbia remained unsettled, which means that the Traditional Territories of Aboriginal people and communities in BC also remained unceded.

Since then, court challenge after court challenge mounted by Aboriginal groups and communities have worked their way through the Canadian court systems – several of them resulting in favorable decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada. Many of them stating a similar message… ‘get back to the negotiating table and figure this out’ and do it in ‘good faith’…

And, yet… one more lawyerly report to the Federal Government comes out stating the same thing again. “Build Trust” ‘build inclusion’ ‘reconcile’… ‘build trust’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘reconcile’… the ongoing legal mantra… not so much the ‘legislative’…

The response from former investment banker, and now Federal Minister of Natural Resources:

“The themes of the Eyford report — trust, inclusion, reconciliation and action — can guide all parties in building further the relationships that will underpin responsible resource development and the participation of Aboriginal Peoples,” said Minister Oliver. “We will now engage on the report with Aboriginal Peoples, as well as provinces and industry, and identify the most promising avenues for meaningful follow up.”

Sounds ‘promising’…

I can take a wild stab at this… after some 150 years of history… the most ‘promising avenues’ in the relationship between the Federal government and Aboriginal communities, will not include “trust, inclusion, reconciliation, and action”…

They were not very ‘promising’ ten years ago, twenty years ago, and so on… why would they be now?

Plus, now there’s a problem… Eyford’s report suggests, in one of his first recommendations, in the “Building Trust” section:

The sub-title for this section is: “Constructive Dialogue on Energy”

Shouldn’t that have maybe happened before Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway pipeline? And maybe before anywhere between four to six natural gas pipelines were put on the book in BC, and then Kinder Morgan proposed to twin their oil pipeline to Vancouver…?

Well, this is actually one Eyford’s recommendations a little later on in the “Advancing Reconciliation” section…

page 37

I am wondering though… who’s going to pay for these “conferences, workshops, and community forums”? Are the feds going to pay for isolated communities to get community members to these? What about communication barriers, English literacy challenges…? What sort of timelines?

Whoa… I guess these might be too logical to be asking…? (too complex, too difficult…)

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Eyford’s report also enters the sticky, complex realm of “Cumulative Impacts”:

page 14

Eyford highlights a quote from a recent court case in B.C.:

He fronts another recommendation:

page 15

This after suggesting:

page 14

So where do we start assessing the ‘accumulation’ of ‘cumulative’… 2005, 1990, 1950, 1900, 1867…1763 (the year of the Royal Proclamation)?

And how is ‘Canada’ (e.g. the Feds) going to undertake this in light that BC is responsible for ‘negotiating’ the Treaties, or other government-to-government agreements? (Bit of a sticky one here…)

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The final recommendation out of Eyford’s report is a ‘capper’…

page 44

I’m going to keep posted for when that starts for Conservative/Reform MPs, including Joe Oliver.

The combination of the two reports – Eyford’s on ‘Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships’ and the Joint Review Panel’s report on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline – create some interesting and curious issues to be watched closely as this all moves along. However, the cynic in me tends to jump on this suggesting I know where these recommendations from Eyford will go… good old responsible, sustainable recycle bin in the PMO. [Prime Minister's Office].

How’s the old jingle go…?

‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’

Stay posted… however, I smell timelines similar to the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline… what were those? Well, proposed sometime in the 1970s, still not built, and now basically obsolete…

Remember this…? Enbridge doesn’t want you to.

Remember this from early 2012?

The Costa Concordia cruise ship hits a reef and sinks – 32 people die.

I had a post about it back then (Proposed Northern Exit-gateway Pipeline: Accidents happen because of human error… and are not averted due to elaborate statistical analyses…) because ironically enough the Enbridge ‘northern gateway’ pipeline hearings were on in northwestern BC and one Enbridge official (or consultant) was carrying on about the detailed statistical equations they had undertaken, which suggested that the chances of this happening to a massive oil tanker on BC’s coast were: 1 in 15,000 years.

hmmmm…

Here’s the Costa Concordia today – over one and a half years later.

The partially submerged Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy. Local Waterloo company 2G Robotics is scanning the ship to help in the uprighting process.

This from a CBC article running today:

Waterloo robotics firm helps upright Costa Concordia

Gotta love that media… the ship is still sitting exactly as it is in this picture – e.g., sunk. Yet, the media headline suggests that some Canadian firm actually “helps upright” the ship. Hmmm, maybe the honest headline would be ‘trying to upright’…

So the top picture paints a lovely image. That village has had to put up with a half sunken ship where 32 people died, literally in their front yard for over a year and a half. Probably no oils or fuels leaking… or sewage, or otherwise…

Awesome.

Sure would like to see the ‘statistical analysis’ that predicted the odds of this happening… Probably wasn’t all that different than Enbridge and the Harper gang’s numbers on oil tankers on the BC coast…

Maybe not all that different then the odds that predicted this in Harper’s hometown:

Calgary Saddledome flooded in spring/summer of 2013

Shit happens – no matter what the statisticians suggest.

“Canada’s” Priorities… Rape the oil patch, or teach 15 million Canadians to read – what’s your priority?

from Report of Financial Literacy Task Force 2011

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Fascinating sometimes how synchronicity works…

Earlier today I was visiting various news sites as the announcement came out of Toronto from former investment banker and broker (30+ years) and executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission, now Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver:

Proposed changes aim to quicken [Environmental] reviews, reduce uncertainty

The federal government is asserting its control over pipelines – including the proposed Northern Gateway oil-sands project – taking from regulators the final word on approvals and limiting the ability of opponents to intervene in environmental assessments.

In proposed legislation unveiled by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver on Tuesday, the Harper government will clear away regulatory hurdles to the rapid development of Canada’s natural resource bounty…

Apparently in Oliver, Harper and the rest of the Reform Gang’s brilliance:

At a Toronto press conference, Mr. Oliver said the proposed changes are aimed at providing quicker reviews in order to reduce regulatory uncertainty and thereby create more jobs and investment in Canada’s booming resource sector.

“We are at a critical juncture because the global economy is now presenting Canada with an historic opportunity to take full advantage of our immense resources,” he said. “But we must seize the moment. These opportunities won’t last forever.”

Hmmmm. They won’t last forever?

Why?

Where are the resources going?

Is this like one of those childhood mythologies… remember “digging to China”? Maybe the Chinese are digging to Canada… stick a siphon in, suck it out…

Oh wait… they don’t have to… just give PetroChina (Chinese government owned company) and let them dig IN Canada…

… and make the siphon out of pipelines and supertankers… (and leave the risk with BC’ers and the BC coast)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Is this one of those classic, rape it all now and leave little for the future…scenarios?

Hmmm. Who benefits from this approach?

Oliver’s long time buddies in the investment industry, maybe…?

How about my kids? yours?

Nope. NOT.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And, yet, on the Globe and Mail website earlier today ran the article above as the top story (circled in red below)… and then coincidentally enough, a few hours later the website looks like this:

Globe and Mail screenshot April 17

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“Household debt is biggest domestic risk” says Bank of Canada.

Canadians’ household debt levels are already at near-record levels. The Bank of Canada thinks they will swell even higher.

“Household spending is expected to remain high relative to GDP as households add to their debt burden, which remains the biggest domestic risk,” the central bank said Tuesday as it boosted its economic growth forecast and indicated higher interest rates are on the way.

Hmmmm. The biggest “domestic” risk in Canada is household debt?

How ’bout the brainwaves running Ottawa these days?

Get that oil out of the ground as fast as possible and send it to resource-hungry growing economies…

what about keeping it in the ground for now and making our next generation, and the generation after that some of the richest going…?

It’s like the brainwave approach occurring right now in sucking out, and sending away Canada’s natural gas resource… at historically low prices.

Natural gas prices have probably never been lower.

yet, suck and send. suck and send. suck and send.

Can’t stop the sucking…

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Household debt?

It is a shocking problem.

This graph, below, comes from the Federally appointed Task Force on Financial Literacy in Canada.

Appointed by current Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the Task Force completed their Final Report in early 2011. (that is where the image at the beginning of the post comes from).

Here’s their graph showing the levels of household debt in relation to income.

Ratio of Household income to debt ratio over since 1990...

Yea, in a little over 20 years we’ve gone from 90% income to debt, to a soaring 150% now… that’s a problem.

You drive through a town like Prince George recently?…

Some will suggest that all of these households can have RV’s, travel trailers, a couple of vehicles, ATVs for summer and snow machines for winter, and trailers to haul them, and trips to Maui… and… and…

…because the cost of housing is so low.

Apparently, that’s the reason say many…

Well, not one to burst too many bubbles… it’s called debt. Massive Debt.

It’s called, ‘gotta job… sure i’ll give you credit’…

‘shitty credit rating? oh no worries we’ll just charge you more interest’

wanna home, shitty credit, no worries, we got a deal for you…

(not our problem anyways… we’ll just bundle the debt into some obscure financial derivative and sell it to American banks, they’ll get bailed out by taxpayers anyways…)

As the old saying goes: “any turkey can make a payment…”

Not meant to be demeaning, simply a common saying.

With credit available from pretty much any store, retailer, car dealer, and so on… it’s not difficult – in the least – to finance an appearance of “wealth”, “prestige” or “happiness”…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

So let’s put these two, possibly disparate ideas together…

The current governing regime is going to rip all of our current ‘resources’ out of the ground… and send them to the hoover-resource vacuum cleaner across the Pacific…

“But we must seize the moment. These opportunities won’t last forever.” says Joe.

Oliver that is.

Investment banker… errr… I mean Natural Resources Minister.

I’m sure in his 30+ years in his previous line of work he had little interaction with oil execs, or huge investment funds buying into oil companies… ‘positive’…

And so apparently the Conservatives are ‘streamlining’ environmental regulations in Canada because we must carpe diem.   [Seize the Oil...]

[...so we don't Cease the Economic boom.]

… And YET… and Yet…

50% of Canadians struggle with simple tasks involving math and numbers.

42% of Canadians struggle with reading.

So really… mr. Oliver…(and Harper) who’s going to benefit from this ‘streamlining’ process, this ‘hurry and get the oil out’ process…?

The investment community, or the 50% of Canadians struggling with simple tasks involving math and numbers… yet, simple access to credit… at super low interest (i’m sure)…?

What an interesting time in Canada’s path… from peacekeepers to oil-mongers.

In other words… from ‘whoops, sorry, excuse me… to “What’s your problem? $15 billion for F-35s, $25 billion…? who cares, who’s counting?” (and really it was just this silly accounting error… stop hassling me…)

Someone stop that SCREECH of the record needle as it slides off the old vinyl…

 

Sadly misplaced focus…? $30 million to ‘eco-terrorists’ opposed to irresponsible oil and gas dev… Yet,$10 Billion of PetroChina ‘investment’ in Canadian sovereignty?

do you know the story of Cerberus the mythical three-headed dog that guarded the gates to Hades?

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Shhhh… nobody tell the “Harper”- Reform government that maybe they are misplacing energy, time and resources barking up the wrong tree..

And… maybe opening a real can of worms that some folks flapping their Right wings may not want opened… (not mentioning any – Fraser Institute – names…)

Or… is this ruse to bark up the enviro-terrorist tree simply an effective ploy to keep us all:

Hush, Hush

…about the huge increase in PetroChina (Chinese government owned corporation) multi-BILLION dollar investments and direct purchases of Canada tar sands projects, and natural gas, and… and… and…

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Coming from the National Post newspaper:

Are new guidelines for charities just upholding current law or a way to silence oil-sands critics?

The Conservative government will keep a closer eye on environment-focused charities accused of breaking rules that cap their political activity, cracking down on groups that allegedly engage in politically charged work beyond the legal limit.

Thursday’s budget arms the Canada Revenue Agency with $8-million over two years to ensure charities devote their resources to charitable work and to improve transparency by asking them to disclose the extent to which their political activities are funded by foreign sources.

“[Some charities] are not acting like they’re a charitable institution; they’re acting like they’re an environmental lobbyist — that’s the big objection,” said [Professor] Frank Atkins, a University of Calgary economist. “They’re hiding behind their charitable status.”

The revenue agency says a charity is allowed to devote up to 10% of its total annual resources to political activities, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this week the government has received “a lot” of complaints from Canadians who worry their donations are going toward political action rather than charity work.

“There is clearly a need, in our view, for more vigilance,” Mr. Flaherty said.

The question of foreign money being used to affect Canadian policy is chief among the government’s concerns, Prof. Atkins [at University of Calgary] said.

“What’s happening out here is that whenever there’s a regulatory approval process, it gets loaded up with all these obscure groups seemingly out of nowhere,” he said, referring to “deep-pocketed foundations in the United States” challenging oil-sands development and the pipeline project. “Even those using Canadian money are still not acting like a charitable institution.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hmmmm… is that the same Professor Frank Atkins that is listed on the Fraser Institute website as:

Frank’s main academic areas of interest are monetary policy and the application of time series analysis to macroeconomic data. Frank had the privilege of supervising the Master of Arts (Economics) thesis of Stephen Harper, who is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Well… geee… National Post reporter that sounds like some credible, un-biased ‘sources’…?

Seems the Fraser Institute got quoted twice in this article… as the article finishes with:

Niels Veldhuis, a Fraser Institute vice-president, said there is no question the federal government believes some environmental groups are not abiding by the rules.

“The government ought to look into that,” he said.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Right… this is the same Niels Veldhuis who thinks that Stats Canada numbers are wrong on many Canadians ability to meet basic needs:

as of 2005, only 4.7 per cent of the Canadian population did not have enough income to meet basic needs

(Stats Can suggests its almost twice that…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Oh wait… is that also the same University of Calgary that has various “Research Chair” positions in its Faculty of Medicine sponsored by the likes of Enbridge, Husky Energy, and no shortage of either pharmaceutical companies or other corporations?

For example:

AstraZeneca Chair in Cardiovascular Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Who’s AstraZeneca? Well, they’re a “global biopharmaceutical company…”

Or, the GSK Professorship in Inflammatory Lung Disease — what’s GSK?

Oh that’s just GlaxoSmithKline Inc.:

“GlaxoSmithKline is one of the largest research and development (R&D) investors in the industry, collaborating with academic institutions, governments and other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to help people live healthier lives.”

Or, the Novartis Chair in Schizophrenia Research. Who’s Novartis?

Oh just this little company that:

Over the past decade, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada has introduced 20 new medicines that have had an important impact on patients suffering from a wide variety of major illnesses…

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Not that I’m necessarily saying this is “bad” or “good”…

Just asking the ‘fair question’…

as, when Harper and buddies start barking, they should probably think it through a bit, and maybe ask around their caucus:

S.H.: “hmmm Joe [as in Oliver] is there maybe some worm cans we might open here?”

J.O.: “Oh no, Steve-O we’ll just shit-can those enviro-terrorists out there in BC…”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

It’s also the same University of Calgary Economics dept that lists one of its “Affiliates” as the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

Who has the mission to:

to provide relevant, independent and objective economic research in energy and environmental issues to benefit business, government, academia and the public.

And:

CERI’s economic studies are highly relevant and objective and the analysis and advice contained therein are sought by government and business planners and decision-makers.

Ahhh, yes… I read one of those highly “objective” studies from their website:

Oil Spills and First Nations:  Exploring Environmental and Land Issues Surrounding the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Here’s one of the many fine “objective” comments from the report (and it quickly becomes clear who is “to benefit”…:

A major oil spill in the Kitimat estuary region may cause a high number of sea bird mortalities as well as marine mammal and fish deaths due to the abundance of species living there and the diversity of the habitat. However, there are controls in place to reduce the likelihood of widespread and catastrophic spillage of an oil tanker or within the oil pipeline.

Even if such an event should occur, the habitat range of most species is vast enough that populations should be able to recover in time…

Oh yea… interested to see where that ‘objective’ theory comes from… (e.g. don’t worry about the effect of oil spills on migratory species…)

Or,

Conclusions on the Environment 

…Construction activities will cause a deterioration of habitat, but this deterioration is short-lived and species will be able to recover.

And, apparently, this ‘objective’ organization that wrote this little 50-page report (including relying on several references from the 1970s), is also an expert on issues of aboriginal law & aboriginal rights and title:

Aboriginal law is not cast in stone, with much depending on the nation involved and the context:

ancient Code of Hammurabi (written in stone...)

Huh… fascinating… I’m not sure that I know of any “law cast in stone”.

Oh wait… there is the ancient Code of Hammurabi…

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But don’t worry say the authors:

CERI recognizes the various environmental concerns and does not hold a position for or against the pipeline…

(Funny, but reading the report I caught a strong whiff of bovine deposit surrounding that statement…)

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Where’s the root of some of this enviro-charitable-crimes theory coming from?

Well… Vancouver-based researcher Vivian Krause (@fair questions) seems to be tooting her horn on this one…

She wrote an article in January in the Financial Post suggesting that maybe her research was at the root of Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s and honorable Steve-O, great leader’s, crack-down on these apparent ‘enviro-terrorist’ organizations…

So much so that she was actually asked to come and testify at the federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources in early Feb. 2012.

the National Post newspaper opinion piece:

Vivian Krause: Oil sands money trail

Last week, on the eve of the environmental review for the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would carry Alberta oil to Kitimat for export to Asia, Canada’s Minister for Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, expressed concern that foreign-funded environmentalists would jeopardize the review and block the pipeline.

Oliver didn’t mention my name, but the research that raised concerns about the foreign funding of environmentalism in Canada is apparently mine.

For five years, on my own nickel, I have been following the money and the science behind environmental campaigns and I’ve been doing what the Canada Revenue Agency hasn’t been doing: I’ve gathered information about the origin and the stated purpose of grants from U.S. foundations to green groups in Canada. My research is based on U.S. tax returns because the U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires greater disclosure from non-profits than does the CRA.

Speaking on CBC last night [Jan. 16, 2011], Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “But just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don’t think that’s part of what our review process [for the Northern Gateway] is all about.”

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Krause has been getting some federal government airtime on this one…

A Vancouver Sun article (Feb. 9, 2011) reporting on her testimony to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources:

Vivian Krause’s conspiracy theory — you decide

Vancouver researcher Vivian Krause is one of the most controversial figures in the rather incredible battle shaping up over the Northern Gateway pipeline.  You can google her name and find various profiles, but the bottom line is that this personable Vancouver researcher has portrayed herself as a woman of marginal means who has devoted the past five years or so of her life to unearthing details about U.S. financial influence on the Canadian environmental movement…

… I should add that hers is a rather remarkable story, as she is surely more influential on Canadian natural resource policy right now than the vast majority of parliamentarians we’re paying lavish salaries to in this town [Ottawa].  Her theory about a grand “plan” behind all this money has been given credibility by none other than Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Enbridge Inc. CEO Pat Daniel.

[link to Edmonton journal article also by same journalist: "American anti-pipeline trusts just blowing smoke? Right and left have conspiracy theories about groups’ funding" with quotes from great-leader Harper and CEO Daniels]

Krause appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources today, and there were some lively exchanges…

The article goes on to quote some of her testimony…

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Now, if you’re curious at all, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources was:

Established by the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, the mandate of the the Standing Committee on Natural Resources is to study and report on matters referred to it by the House of Commons, or on topics the Committee itself chooses to examine.

It can study all matters relating to the mandate, management, operation, budget and legislation of the Department of Natural Resources and of organizations pertaining to its portfolio.

The issues being dealt with by the Committee that Krause was called to testify at is the:

Current and Future State of Oil and Gas Pipelines and Refining Capacity in Canada.

She testified on Feb. 9, 2011 and the transcripts are available by clicking on the link.

Here are some curious components:

What hasn’t been known until recently, however, is that some of the opponents of various pipeline projects, and the campaigns against the Canadian energy sector also have some deep-pocketed supporters south of the border. In order for the joint review panel to conduct its work in a manner that is open, fair, and transparent, I believe that funding on all sides should be out in the open.

In my review of the American tax returns of the foundations that are funding the environmental movement both in the U.S. and in Canada, I’ve traced $300 million that has gone from American charitable foundations to environmental campaigns affecting our country. Most of my analysis is based on American tax returns because the IRS requires greater disclosure than the CRA.

The $300 million is from roughly 850 grants that I’ve traced from 10 foundations. In addition to these foundations, there are an additional dozen or more American foundations that have granted substantial funds to Canadian environmental groups.

By my analysis, American funding from the foundations I’ve followed has increased ten-fold over the past decade, from about $4 million in 2000 to $50 million in 2010. Of the $300 million in American funding I’ve traced, at least $30 million is specifically for campaigns targeting the oil and gas industry in Canada

… It’s not small amounts of money from a large number of foreign sources; it’s very large amounts of money from a very small number of billion-dollar foundations.

Actually, my blog and most of my writing has been about the science and the money behind environmental campaigns. Really, it’s the use of the flawed science and some of the exaggerated claims that are my biggest concerns. Some of what the environmental organizations are saying is simply untrue…

When billionaire funders are involved in influencing public opinion and public policy on a major issue of national importance, I think the money should be out in the open, whether the billionaire funders are American or Canadian.

I believe that this applies to foreign investment and philanthropy, as well.

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Well… Ms. Krause… you are EXACTLY RIGHT!

Just like Professor Atkins of the Fraser Institute… errr… University of Calgary… errr… Fraser…

What was it he said again at the beginning of this article…?

“They’re hiding behind their charitable status.”

Seems Fraser Institute (a charitable organization) researchers might be hiding behind the ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’ of an academic institution…?

I find it quite curious actually… I agree with many aspects of Ms. Krause’s research and even Professor Atkins… I’ve asked similar questions since working and serving on a Board for a large enviro organization over a decade ago.

Not in a “conspiracy theory” manner, but more in a: Whose mandate are we fulfilling here?

I called these types of enviro-organizations: US-foundation puppies — and decided to find a little different line of work…

It’s pretty hard to imagine that one is doing good, principled work on environmental issues and otherwise when one’s work is simply being funded by money that was basically made by oil tycoons or computer giants, or otherwise…

As the old saying goes: “there is no such thing as clean money”…

It’s all dirty.

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So What?

And, as Ms. Krause asks in her testimony, some folks suggest: “So What?…” about her findings.

I ask the same: SOOO what?

What difference does $300 million… or… errrr… ‘targeted $30 million’ make…

…when compared to the Billions of dollars that PetroChina has offered to invest in the proposed Enbridge Northern Exit-way pipeline,

Or the $2.5 Billion that PetroChina invested to buy out Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. MacKay River oil sands project.

Or, just a few months ago… (Feb. 2012)

PetroChina takes stake in Shell gas field in B.C.

Canada’s push to access Asian energy markets got a shot in the arm Thursday after China’s largest oil and gas firm agreed to buy a 20-per-cent stake in Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s shale gas properties in British Columbia.

With the planned investment, PetroChina International – a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. – has underscored its commitment to participate in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that Shell is planning for Kitimat, B.C.

Neither side would release the value of the deal Thursday, but reports in Asia pegged it at $1-billion.

Or,

PetroChina to invest $5.4 billion Canada gas

CALGARY—PetroChina has agreed to invest $5.4 billion for half of Encana Corp.’s Cutbank Ridge shale natural gas assets, enabling an enormous chunk of land on the Alberta-British Columbia boundary to be developed more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

“This agreement is the culmination of more than nine months of discussions between PetroChina and Encana and represents both a significant achievement and a major milestone in the developing relationship of our two companies,” Encana CEO Randy Eresman said in a statement Wednesday.

That’s just a cool, $8 – $10 BILLION DOLLARS of PetroChina investment alone in Canada’s resource sector — in the last year or so…

$10,000,000,000

What percentage is this $30 million of conspiracy-theory U.S. foundation money in comparison…

I think we’re far below 0.1%…

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Hmmmm… like Ms. Krause testified…

When billionaire funders are involved in influencing public opinion and public policy on a major issue of national importance, I think the money should be out in the open, whether the billionaire funders are American or Canadian [or Chinese?]. I believe that this applies to foreign investment and philanthropy, as well.

Yes, let’s get those ‘books’ opened.

And while we’re at it, lets’ get those book of The Fraser Institute open as well. And maybe the the Canadian Energy Research Institute, and, heck, while we’re at it how about the Van Horne Institute as well. (Another of those neutral objective ‘think tanks’ affiliated with universities in Alberta — and consisting of a longgg list of executives from oil and gas and pipeline companies).

The Fraser Institute is also listed as a charitable organization in Canada.

Go read its Annual Reports and see if they report any real numbers…

Where is the Fraser Institute getting its money? (some suggest players like Exxon Mobil).

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All in all this fuss over where environmental organizations are getting their funds seems like the difference between peeing from a helicopter on a pine-beetle-ravaged-forest-fire (e.g. potential $30 million in opposition funds to Canada’s oil and gas sector) and the all-out Asian-giant-resource-gobbling population-exploding BEAST

of BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars… and this little issue of a Billion people or so…

And yet, the Conservative/Reform crew just allocated $8 million to the Canada Revenue Agency to ‘crack down’ on this crazed-funding frenzy to enviro-terrorist organizations… that apparently will stop at nothing to protect their backyards…

Come-on… let’s get a grip here folks.

Where’s the potential bogey-man… in OLD oil money flowing north out of the States to pay minimum wage to enviro-researchers and organization?

OR

in NEW oil money flowing in the BILLIONS & BILLIONS & BILLIONS from a government (directly as PetroChina is owned by the Chinese government… they have to do something with all that American debt they’re holding)…

…that has a rather shady and questionable practice of dealing with several things… like basic human rights (ever heard of the Tibetans? or the veto on doing something in Syria…?), the environment (have you checked Beijing’s air quality today…?), dissenters (check recent headlines), and so on…?

Which is not to suggest there is a bogey-man — simply asking where should the inquiring eye, research, and questions really be directed?

Should Canada’s “Standing Committees” be spending time on small potatoes… or the entire quarter section potato farm…?

Should Canada’s “Standing Committees” be spending time inquiring into ‘conspiracy’ theories about how the soon to be bankrupt neighbors to the south want to keep all the oil to themselves…?

Does anyone really think that these BILLIONS of dollars of Chinese investment in Canada’s oil sector are simply going to be used to ship oil and gas to the U.S. through existing transportation networks?

No frigging way!!

BILLIONS of dollars of investment by a government-owned corporation mean that that Government is going to damn well want the resources they paid for… and… well… OWN. (like the former Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. MacKay River and other projects).

Let’s maybe call off the Conservative/Reform-Cerberus (three-headed dog)… and have an honest discussion about handing away Canadian resources to a foreign entity.

Remember when Canadians ‘lost it’ over Mulroney handing away Canada to our southern neighbors through the Free Trade Agreement?

This new brand of “Conservatives” (which even the old Conservatives are uncomfortable with… eh, Joe Clark?… seem to have lost that “progressive” tagline…) seem ‘hell-bent’ on putting the dogs at the gates of selling Canadian sovereignty, selling Canada’s future, and doing a brilliant job of making a fuss about little things, so as to provide the infamous diversionary tactic…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

What does this have to do with wild salmon?

Everything!

and marine resources… and ocean protection… and shoreline preservation… and fish habitat… and water pollution… and… and…

This whole crackdown is like busting the kid that takes spare change left in a phone booth tray, while in the lobby of Enron…

It smells of something much, much more ominous… (and sadly, this is no April Fool’s…)

PetroChina investing in BC’s wild salmon… (NOT)

inspired by good 'ol Far Side

.

If this isn’t worrisome to Canadian sovereignty, aboriginal rights & title, and unsettled BC treaties… well… maybe we might as well shed the maple leaf and the white parts of the flag, and scuttle the BC Treaty Process (maybe a self-fulfilling prophecy), and why bother with any court cases about aboriginal rights and title…?

Some headlines from today and yesterday:

PetroChina bids to help build $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline

CALGARY — Chinese investment in Canada’s energy sector could move to a new level if PetroChina wins a bid to build the controversial Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline.

The largest of China’s three state-controlled oil companies has expressed an interest in building the $5.5-billion project across the northern Canadian Rockies and is considering purchasing an equity stake, said Pat Daniel, president and CEO of proponent Enbridge Inc.

“They have made the point to us that they are very qualified in building pipelines, and we will take that into consideration when we are looking for contractors,” Mr. Daniel said in an interview. “It’s an open bid process. They are a very big organization, they build a lot of pipelines, and they would love to be involved from what they have told me.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

PetroChina produced more oil than industry giant Exxon Mobil in 2011

NEW YORK — A big shift is happening in Big Oil: an American giant now ranks behind a Chinese upstart.

Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s biggest publicly traded producer of oil. For the first time, that distinction belongs to a 13-year-old Chinese company called PetroChina. The Beijing company was created by the Chinese government to secure more oil for that nation’s booming economy.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Canada’s ‘Cushing moment’: A northern pipeline crisis looms

CALGARY – Oil traders still grappling with an unprecedented pipeline bottleneck in the U.S. Midwest that roiled global energy markets last year should beware: Canada may be next.

The pipelines that carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands and the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to U.S. refiners may run out of capacity as soon as 2015, some analysts now warn.

Fears that the export of Canadian crude will be constrained have risen recently as a result of pipeline project delays and the unyielding growth of North Dakota output. Any resulting glut could weaken Canadian oil prices, depress profits for producers like Suncor Energy Inc and Cenovus Energy Inc and choke growth in the largest source of U.S. imports.

A crisis could be avoided, though. Major pipeline operators like Enbridge Inc say they’re confident that an estimated 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of idle capacity on existing Canada-to-U.S. lines is more than enough for up to five years, sufficient time to complete new lines or add pumps.

That view is by no means unanimous.

The government is also taking action. Canada is set to push forward new measures to cut approval times for major pipeline projects in order to speed the completion of proposed routes to the Pacific Ocean and refiners in Asia.

“At a certain point there will be an issue (with capacity),” Joe Oliver, Canada’s natural resources minister, said in an interview this week. “We remain optimistic that pipelines can be built in time to avoid … the kind of problem they have in Cushing.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ottawa to eases pipeline rules in bid to boost oil exports to Asia

The federal government gave a boost to oil sands exports to Asia by streamlining the environmental review process and making it more difficult for environmental groups to mount an opposition.

[ummm... yeah... it doesn't seem to just be "environmental groups mounting opposition... there's this finnicky thing called: 'average Canadians'... that are in opposition]

In its budget brought down Thursday, Ottawa said it will propose legislation aimed at having “one project, one review” that establishes clear timelines for approval of big resource and industrial projects, reduces duplication and regulatory burdens, and focuses resources on the largest projects with the biggest environmental impacts.

Most of Canada’s oil is now exported to the United States, where it is heavily discounted because of pipeline bottlenecks.

Canadian governments and industry have been pushing for market diversification in Asia by way of new pipelines to the West Coast, but have run into opposition from the environmental movement and First Nations that are targeting regulatory reviews to delay the projects…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If Enbridge gets turned down in the current process surrounding the Northern Exit-way pipeline then folks in B.C. better be ready for an onslaught of pipeline proposals, that will be guided by the new Harper “one project, one review” process.

And PetroChina, now bigger than Exxon (which carried the title of world’s biggest money-maker until Apple recently unseeded it) will not take “NO” for an answer.

Especially when the tar sands oil in Alberta essentially becomes theirs… through straight up buying up whatever they want. There’s already some $20 billion or so (on the low end) invested by PetroChina and other Chinese firms in Alberta’s tar sands operations.

When the world’s biggest oil company, which is trying to feed an insatiable beast…

well, Houston… and B.C. … we have a problem.

When scientists should stick a lid on it… somebody find a ‘muzzle’…?

from Kamil Frankowicz -- titled: "Illiteracy keyboard."

.

The image above seems very fitting for the following Globe and Mail article — an article on an ‘issue’ that was also picked up by news media all over the globe yesterday:

Coal, not oil sands, the true climate change bad guy, analysis shows

One of the world’s top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta’s oil sands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal.

“I was surprised by the results of our analysis,” said Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate modeller, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “I thought it was larger than it was.”

In a commentary published Sunday in the prestigious journal Nature, Weaver and colleague Neil Swart analyze how burning all global stocks of coal, oil and natural gas would affect temperatures. Their analysis breaks out unconventional gas, such as undersea methane hydrates and shale gas produced by fracking, as well as unconventional oil sources including the oil sands.

They found that if all the hydrocarbons in the oil sands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about 0.36 degrees C. That’s about half the total amount of warming over the last century.

When only commercially viable oil sands deposits are considered, the temperature increase is only .03 degrees C.

Ummm, doctor lads, thanks for the “modeling”… and number crunching… but what about the cumulative impact of burning all that shit at the same time…?

What are the impacts of having coal emission, gas emissions, and oil emissions all happening at the same time?

And, ummmm, what about the fact that certain models suggest that even if we stopped burning every fossil fuel right now — that the climate would continue to warm for decades, if not the next century?

(apparently Dr. Weaver doesn’t buy that argument either… cuz numbers don’t lie…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Canada’s oil sands: Not so dirty after all

…research showing that on a global scale, oil-sands emissions are not the dark-shirted villain some have made them out to be. That research, published in the journal Nature and co-authored by one of Canada’s most respected climate scientists, throws a wrench into the debate over an energy source whose reputed “dirtiness” has sparked fiery debate around the world.

The research, by University of Victoria scientists Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart, calculates the climate impact of producing the oil sands. Dr. Weaver is an internationally respected scientist who has contributed to United Nations climate-change documents. He and Dr. Swart completed several analyses.

The most important examined the impact of producing the roughly 170 billion barrels of oil-sands crude that the industry currently considers economic to produce. If it’s all hauled out of the ground – a process that will take more than a century, even at the forecast 2020 rate of three million barrels a day – the cumulative global-warming impact is 0.02 to 0.05 degrees Celsius, according to the research.

By comparison, burning all of the world’s enormous coal resources would raise temperatures 15 degrees, while consuming the new global bounty of shale gas would produce a lift of just under 3 degrees. (Using up economically accessible reserves of natural gas and coal will raise temperatures 0.16 and 0.9 degrees, respectively.)

[ummm, Dr. Weaver, doesn't the process of extracting the oil bitumen from the tar sands take enormous amounts of natural gas? Oh right, forgot about that part...]

Thankfully the CBC running of an article on this issue captures that point:

Climate expert says coal not oilsands real threat

Weaver’s analysis only accounts for emissions from burning the fuel. It doesn’t count greenhouse gases released by producing the resource because that would double-count those emissions.

He said his paper is an attempt to bring some perspective to the often-fraught debate over oilsands development, which continues to cause major concerns about the impact on land, air and water. And emissions from producing oilsands crude are making it very tough for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“We’ve heard a lot about how if we burn all the oil in the tarsands it’s going to lead to this, that and the other. We thought, ‘Well, let’s take a look at this. What is the warming potential of this area?’ and the numbers are what they are.”

Hmmm, I wonder how many old-time scientists are rolling in their graves?

The numbers “are what they are” Dr. Weaver?

Come on… it’s not like “numbers” are some naturally produced phenomenon, of which we humans have absolutely no control  (like climate, for example).

No, Dr. Weaver, numbers are something that are produced by humans [now through computer programming] for human interpretation and consumption — something of which is often misinterpreted, or skewed, or not considered, or (add in other problem here).

[of course not captured in all of this hoopla is that 'small' little issue of cancerous-tumour filled fish that live downstream of tar sands operations, significantly increased levels of cancer in the human communities, the legacy of these tar sands operations living on for a long, long, long time -- long past the time that all the economic benefits have been forgotten in some bail-out package]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Globe article:

Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said it is “important” that analyses like Dr. Weaver’s are being done, since it might help calm “the inflamed rhetoric from the other side.”

Uh, yeah, duh…

That’s what happens when folks start spewing out ‘research’ and ‘numbers’ in “prestigious academic journals” suggesting that: “look the numbers don’t lie”

Hmmm. Wasn’t that the same argument fronted by the Enron cronies…?

No, folks, numbers can dance to any music we put to them.

And those apparently uncontrollable “numbers” become all the more ‘fraught’ when we accompany them with typed up commentary… and hence the illustration above.

Some folks should maybe simply be sent a keyboard that looks similar to the one above…

The discussion of climate change, tar sands development, coal mining, and the like — should be “often-fraught”… that is “fraught” which means:

1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged.

2. Marked by or causing distress; emotional.

Curiously enough… the roots of the word ‘fraught’ suggest it is very close to “freight”, and comes from a similar place fraght “cargo, lading of a ship” (early 13c.)

And, ghad knows, the tar sands industry (and the current fed gov. that supports it) will be loading their ships with this cargo of: “oh look, the tar sands are benign… look at Dr. Weaver’s numbers… they don’t lie.”

.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I love this line the most… it’s used in several of the articles:

Governments around the world have agreed to try to keep warming to two degrees.

WELL… THANK GOODNESS for that!!

The Governments have agreed” to keep warming to two degrees.

Well, hallelujah, kumbaya… i was actually starting to worry here… but the governments have agreed, so there is nothing to worry about… (just keep those silly emotions out of things people… they just cause “fraught” and emotion…)

Just wondering when “the governments” got that 1-800 direct line to the GREAT GUIDING FORCE, aka ghad for some, to make sure she/he keeps the warming below two degrees?

What a farce. This is scientific bumpf at its finest.

Just like the ‘scientists’ that continue to insist that we can “manage” wild salmon. Or the ‘scientist’- economists that figure we can manipulate the growing bubble of debt around the globe to make sure the “have’s” of the world stay in their little bubble…

Maybe someone could go ask folks living in the Arctic nations of the world how they feel about: “the governments agreeing to keep warming to only two degrees”?

Or the 80%, or so, of the planet’s population that lives in that tiny ribbon of land bordering the world’s oceans called: THE COAST. “Just two degrees” will probably only have a ‘minor’ impact…

[the world's  insurance industry sure as hell doesn't think so.. they're in an epic panic "fraught" with emotion]

 

Really, Mr. Oliver, Natural Resources Minister: Who’s ‘Driven by an ideological imperative’?

does this make sense?

Here we go…

In early January, rookie minister Joe Oliver — federal Minister of Natural Resources penned an open letter to Canadians, suggesting that radical environmentalists and the like were hijacking processes such as the National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way Pipeline.

Here’s the CBC story from Jan.:

‘Driven by an ideological imperative’

In an interview on CBC News Network, Oliver said radicals are “a group of people who don’t take into account the facts but are driven by an ideological imperative.”

Review process should be shortened, minister says

Oliver says he thinks the environmental review process can be shorter and still protect Canada.

“Of course it’s a matter of judgment. We want to have enough time, but we don’t want to permit people to hijack the process, and that’s what’s been happening,” he said.

Last month, Oliver criticized the environmental review process as he approved French oil giant Total’s Joslyn North oilsands mine project 65 kilometres northwest of Fort McMurray, Alta. He said he wants to see the process streamlined and shortened to two years.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Well, let’s stop and take a look at this for a second, Mr. Oliver (errr… honorable)

Definition of “ideological“?

1. Of or relating to ideology.

2. Of or concerned with ideas.

Hmmm. And definition of “ideology“:

the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

And curious enough, the roots of the word actually mean: originally “philosophy of the mind which derives knowledge from the senses.”

Well, OK… and definition of “imperative“?

1. absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable: ‘It is imperative that we leave.’

_ _ _ _ _ _ _
And so of all the National Energy Board hearings thus far into Enbridge’s proposed Northern Exit-way pipeline… there has been nary a peep of support, barely a twitter, rarely a squeak of ‘build it, yes’…

Now, let’s quickly look at “radical”, of which there are several definitions…

1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.
2. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company [or country].
3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.
4. forming a basis or foundation.
5. existing inherently in a thing or person: radical defects of character.

So, I suppose Mr. Oliver, you are referring to #3 — those crazy radicals favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms…

Let’s think about that for a second………………

Build a new oil pipeline through north-central BC where one does not currently exist..

Plow over 200+ oil supertankers along the north-central coast of BC and through Hecate Strait where nary few run now…

Does that not imply, then, that building an oil pipeline is in fact the “radical reform” socially, economically, and politically?

And so who, really, are the “radicals” here?

(Not to mention that last time I checked the current “Harper” government is rather full of the old Reform Party brethren — many of those that do not believe in Darwin’s theories or other rather ‘radical’ scientific theories that refute the good holy word…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Let’s step forward a little to today’s headlines:

Chinese ‘frustrated’ by Northern Gateway regulatory delays

Chinese oil executives are growing frustrated with regulatory delays in plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline, even as interest in Canadian oil and gas surges in the energy-hungry country, the head of Enbridge Inc. says.

Enbridge chief executive officer Pat Daniel said despite keen interest here in Canadian oil and gas reserves, this seemingly made-in-heaven match is threatened by delays in the company’s efforts to establish a $5.5-billion, 1,177-kilometre pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to a deep sea port at Kitimat, B.C., for shipping to Asian markets.

Curious… I certainly don’t remember Mr. Harper celebrating China as a “made in heaven” match just a few short years ago as he celebrated the work of the Dalai Lama…

“They’re frustrated, as we are, in the length of time it takes,” Mr. Daniel said in an interview on the sidelines of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mission to China. “They’re very anxious to diversify their supply, they’re very dependent on the Middle East for crude.

“[Canada] seems like the perfect match that should last a long time, but if you don’t move it along, people do lose interest. We don’t have forever,” he continued. “The fundamentals in the business can change and you must take advantage of opportunities if and when they present themselves.”

Well… actually, in fact Mr. Daniel, we do have forever… what’s the rush…?

Last I checked China has been around quite some time… some thousands and thousands of years [without Canadian bitumen].

So has the oil in the ground in Canada’s tar sands — also thousands and thousands of years… millions actually.

And, well, the longer the oil stays in the ground, the more valuable it will become… (or obsolete).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mr. Daniel said they hope to have approvals completed within two years and construction in three, so that oil can begin flowing by late 2016 or early 2017, despite heavy opposition from environmental groups and first nations who fear the impact of an oil spill on some of Canada’s most untouched wilderness and coastline.

Huh… seems there’s this sticky couple hundred year old issue of unsettled treaties in B.C. with First Nations, Mr. Daniel… and… well… your Enbridge team has significantly botched its community relations work in BC.

It’s not just opposition from “environmental” groups. There have been farmers, fisherfolks, unions, teachers, municipalities, mayors, and just average plumbers and carpenters and truck drivers saying: “no thanks Enbridge, no thanks China, no thanks Harper and Oliver.”

And, well, on the coast of BC they’ve been saying that for a long, long time. ’bout as far back as when little Mr. Harper was still wetting his bed.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Well, to spread the headlines around – the National Post is reporting:

China and Canada set for free trade talks as Harper pens multibillion-dollar deals

…The prime minister also announced during his speech to the business forum [in China] that more than 20 commercial agreements — valued at close to $3 billion and involving nearly 50 Canadian and Chinese companies — have been signed during the trade mission to the Middle Kingdom.

“Canada has the resources, technological sophistication, and geo-strategic positioning to complement China’s economic growth strategy. And China’s growth, in turn, complements our determination to diversify our export markets,” Harper told corporate leaders.

“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place.”

Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.

[funny, i think i read that correctly... "proposed"]

Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel said the commitment by the Chinese and Canadian governments for a strategic energy partnership will allow Canada to diversify its oil-and-gas export markets beyond the United States and enable China to broaden its supply base.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hmmm. Why is Enbridge’s CEO in China with PM Harper on a deal-signing trip?

And… does the changing climate really care about complementing China’s growth strategy, or diversifying Canada’s oil markets?

And what about a National Energy Plan for Canada first — let alone looking to satisfy China’s?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Certainly, China is looking for more oil and gas from Canada, with Chinese vice-premier Li saying Thursday his country wants to increase imports of energy and natural resources from Canada.

State-owned Chinese oil and gas firms have invested more than $10 billion into Alberta’s oilsands and B.C. shale gas plays over the past couple of years alone, and the two partners expect the trend will continue.

“Canada is one of the countries with a deep energy and resource reserve. China, meanwhile, is a large and stable market,” Li, through a translator, told the business forum. He called for “more large-scale cooperation” on petroleum and minerals.

Never before has Canada-China business cooperation been so deep-based and wide ranging,” Li added.

The Chinese leadership is also pushing for the early signing and ratification of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), with Premier Wen Jiabao encouraging the two sides to further explore the feasibility of a full free-trade agreement.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

From human-rights abusers and Harper’s doghouse — to best buds and potential ‘free-trade partners’… in less than six years.

Really, Mr. Oliver, who are the radical ideologues?

Who’s ‘Driven by an ideological imperative’?

(that being definition #2 “thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms”)

_ _ _ _ _ _

Lastly, if you’re curious about where rookie 70-year old MP Oliver came from:

Joe Oliver: From Bay Street to Natural Resources

Mr. Oliver spent more than 30 years in the investment world, working at several brokerage firms before becoming executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission and then head of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.

Do you think he, or past clients might own some Enbridge stocks?

Really, Mr. Oliver, who’s driven by the ideology — those looking to just make another buck, or those looking out for the good of the BC landscape, seascape, and greater global challenge of this little thing called “warming”…?

Propaganda: still doubting that marketing is everything and everything is marketing?

Harper Government branding exercise

I drew this cartoon in September 2011 as the “Harper Government” brand was ramping into overdrive.

It (Harper government) is now inserting itself (Harper Government) everywhere from the NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Finals, to the Grey Cup and the show of Canada’s military…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Propaganda:

1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

The etymology of the word suggests: “Neo-Latin, short for congregātiō dē propāgandā fidē  congregation for propagating the faith.”

Hmmmm… hearkens to the roots of the current “Conservatives”… good ‘ol “Reform”

Doubt #3 in the definition above — see article below suggesting there are now over 1500 people hired by the Government in “communications”… (not to mention the free flow, back-and-forth of Harper staffers between major Canadian corporations and the Harper Government)

_ _ _ _ _ _

There’s a decent little blurb on Wikipedia:

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding a “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach.

Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell have provided a concise, workable definition of the term: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

More comprehensive is the description by Richard Alan Nelson: “Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism—the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Interesting read at Globe & Mail:

Under this PM, the state is everywhere

What does the Grey Cup football game have to do with the Canadian military? Not much, you say. True enough. But chalk up another public-relations triumph for the governing Conservatives. They turned the opening ceremonies of our annual sports classic into a military glorification exercise.

For our part in the NATO Libya campaign, the Defence Minister took bows on the field. A Canadian flag was spread over 40 yards. Cannons boomed.

The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive.

The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll.

On the propaganda ledger, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put on a show in committee last week. In what may have been a first, his spinners set up a billboard behind him replete with bright Conservative blue colours and flags. Everything except a marching band.

In the message-massaging department, news has arrived that the government is imposing new communications controls on the RCMP. The same is being done with the Defence Department. Secrecy surrounds the government’s plans to spend a whopping $477-million on a U.S. military satellite.

State surveillance, the rationale being security, is being taken to new levels. The Conservatives are bringing in legislation that will compel Internet service-providers to disclose customer information. A Canada-U.S. agreement is on the way that will contain an entry-exit system that will track everyone.

Research that contradicts the government line is discarded. Civil liberties fade, new jails proliferate. Those who speak out better watch out. When the NDP’s Megan Leslie stated an opposing view on the Keystone XL Pipeline, she was accused by the government of treachery.

[and yes, add in all those B.C. treasoners and adversaries and renegades speaking out against the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way pipeline]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Want some more interesting read, then how about Terry Glavin’s comment at the National Post:

Terry Glavin: Ottawa to Beijing — take our oil, please

In Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen, Brian enters a conversation I’ve been lately encouraging sensible Canadians to have about the implications of Prime Minister Harper’s unexplained and sudden embrace of a corporate entity run by the Chinese Communist Party that serves as the guarantor of Omar al-Bashir’s regime in Khartoum, the bottomless overdraft in Bashar al-Assad’s bank account in Damascus, and the specific means by which Tehran’s Khomeinists are evading the West’s sanctions and double-daring us into a war.

The prime minister would like that entity, Sinopec, to add to its global services the means by which Canada might emancipate itself from its over-reliance on American oil markets, and the stratagem that will allow Mr. Harper himself to look rather more manly in those obligatory White House photo opportunities that put him next to the handsome and swaggering American president with the smirk on his face.

Meanwhile, none of the formerly freedom-loving rednecks who now rally to the prime minister’s side in this affair have exhibited so much as a blush as they do so, when everybody knows full well what they’d have done had the New Democrats even hinted favourably in the direction of an arrangement anything like the one the prime minister has embraced. They’d be denouncing the NDP as al Qaida’s fifth column in Canada and they’d be busy filling the op-ed pages of the dailies with stout demands that Harper invite a team of US Navy Seals to round up the NDP caucus en masse so they could be executed for high treason in front of city hall in Fort McMurray.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Hmmm, remember the “Taliban Jack” comments directed towards former NDP leader Jack Layton by the “Harper Gov” when Layton suggested negotiations in Afghanistan might be the way to go.

I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time until that suggestions plays itself out as maybe not so far off the mark — Americans are now out of Iraq and how ‘peaceful’ is it there? All the foreigners will be pulled out of Afghanistan soon enough, and what will be the result?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

What does all this have to do with wild salmon?

Everything.

The changes required… require political will.

When a governing regime is too busy muzzling scientists, silencing critics, uttering threats to non-profits and charities, and running a propaganda machine yet espousing austerity measures, which will hurt the mid and lower wage earners and poverty-mired first… then there’s a problem.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And, when it doubt just make it up:

Kenney’s office apologizes for ‘new Canadians’ stunt

Six federal bureaucrats were drafted to pose as new Canadians for a citizenship reaffirmation ceremony broadcast on the Sun News network, an event requested by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office.

The bureaucrats smiled and held Canadian flags as the TV hosts referred to a group of 10 people as “new Canadians” that had “finally” received their citizenship.

 

Still doubting that: ‘marketing is everything and everything is marketing’…?

Globe and Mail cartoon

This is about as fitting as it comes. If you weren’t scared about what the former “Reform Party” of Canada is capable of… well… just sit back and watch the show.

On Thursday or so, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland our fine PM lectured the rest of the world on how great Canada is and what everyone else should be doing.

Essentially… shame, shame double shame on all you other countries for taking on such big debt loads. Look at us in Canada… look how great we are…

Exactly as the cartoon depicts, there was a time when Canada was known as a humble, peace-keeping, so-sorry-I-ran-into-you kind of country — not a dirty, oil producing, mining-heavy, fighter jet purchasing nation making side deals with shady countries with shady human rights records then taunting the rest of the world with a holier-than-thou attitude.

Sure, some of that went on (e.g. shady side deals), however, now it seems we’re [through our current fine ruling party] just rubbing the world’s face in it. It’s now the Conservative “brand” of the “Harper Government”… in nice shades of blue, with red highlights…

One of the things about running around rubbing people’s faces in economic pie touting a holier-than-thou-attitude-filling and frosting — as our fine PM seems to be doing in Europe — is it very well may, or will, come back and bite you in the ass, in a real nasty way.

Say for example, when Canada needs a bail out package to pay for the most recent proposed Harper Tough-on-Crime bill — in a country where crime rates are steadily declining… (gee that makes sense). (CBC: Crime rate falls to lowest level since 1973 ;

Canada’s crime rate is the lowest in nearly 40 years, according to Statistics Canada, as the volume of crime dropped five per cent in 2010 from the year before.

“The national crime rate has been falling steadily for the past 20 years and is now at its lowest level since 1973,” Statistics Canada reported.

[Globe and Mail just the other day:Canadians finally getting it: crime is on the decline ]

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Unfortunately, for Canadians that bite in the ass may not be possible until the next election, and yet within our sad system we have the Official (her Majesty’s) Opposition dragging its feet along in electing a new leader and dropping like the world’s stock markets in the polls, as well as another major party flailing around with interim leaders and so on.

[not that the "party" system is doing us much...]

And if you doubt that ‘marketing is everything and everything is marketing’ then just keep an eye on the ongoing show of PR gaffs coming out of Ottawa.

[The only reason they're gaffs, is because that 'pesky' Freedom of Information thingy keeps catching them]

The latest (which is right in line with the position recently taken by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (See Joe at CFIA suggests: “It is clear that we are turning the PR tide to our favour… and we will win the war, also.” in issues surrounding farmed salmon) — is labeling First Nations in Canada, as well as people concerned about their natural environment (who isn’t?) as: ADVERSARIES.

This in relation to the tar sands development and pipelines — like the proposed  Enbridge Northern ‘Exit-way’ Pipeline through north-central BC:

Feds list First Nations, green groups as oilsands ‘adversaries’

OTTAWA — The federal government is distancing itself from its own lobbying and public relations campaign to polish the image of Alberta’s oilsands, following revelations that an internal strategy document labelled First Nations and environmentalists as “adversaries,” while describing the National Energy Board, an independent industry regulator, as an “ally.”

The descriptions were highlighted in a March 2011 document from the government’s “pan-European oilsands advocacy strategy,” released through access to information legislation.

The document outlined the government’s goals to “target” European politicians — “especially from the ruling and influential parties” — to lobby against climate-change policies that would require oilsands producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The strategy also listed key goals for the government’s diplomats in promoting the oilsands industry — considered by Environment Canada to be the fastest-growing source of global-warming-causing emissions in the country — and in lobbying against foreign climate-change policies…

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AND from the Globe and Mail:

Federal documents spark outcry by oil sands critics

Critics are attacking Ottawa’s energy strategy after internal documents shed new light on the extent of federal efforts to advocate for the oil sands industry.

The documents, obtained through an access to information request and released by Greenpeace Canada, are a draft diplomatic strategy outlining ways to shape European perceptions of Canada’s oil sands. They show that the government’s messages are intended to shift attitudes in media and among top decision makers regarding the oil sands industry, which faces a possible effective import ban in Europe as the continent pursues a low-carbon fuel strategy.

In the document, environmental organizations and aboriginal groups are shown as “adversaries.” Industry associations, energy companies and the National Energy Board – which is supposed to serve as an independent body evaluating new projects – are listed as “allies.”

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The definition and etymology of “adversary” is clear…

1. An opponent; an enemy.
2. The Devil; Satan. Often used with the.
[Middle English adversarie, from Latin adversarius, enemy...]

Hmmmm… that second definition of “adversary” seems to run pretty close to the roots of the good old “Reform Party of Canada” — the birthplace of Mr. Harper as a politician.

(Remember: Reeee…fooorrmmm! in Mr. Manning’s neighborhood….)

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Another cartoon from the Globe seems to capture the current sentiment alive and well in the highest offices of the country…

From Globe and Mail

Marketing is everything and everything is marketing.

This is most certainly a strategy adopted by the current governing regime in Canada. They may not win the support and hearts of the voter, but they sure as hell are winning the PR battles and marketing campaigns and branding campaigns.

[e.g. 'the war' against all these 'adversaries' and 'radicals' that are simply standing up and saying "N....O" to being force fed a job exporting, pollutant exporting, risk-taking, only-a-matter-of-time-till-a-spill... ing... proposal]

And sadly, now the politics in Canada are going the route of the circus politics to the south of us. Polarized and nasty and silly and childish and… and… [Gee, Mr. Harper where's your: colony on the moon proposal, like Mr. Astro-Gingrich president-hopeful to the south]

A fitting quote from the early 1800s, found it at the online etymology dictionary under ‘politics’:

Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men’s view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed.

Fisher Ames (1758–1808) – involved in ratifying US Constitution in 1788

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Proposed Northern Exit-gateway Pipeline: Accidents happen because of human error… and are not averted due to elaborate statistical analyses…

 

Enbridge Northern Exit-way II

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How does this make any sense #2?

National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Enbridge Northern Gate/Exit-way Pipeline continue today in Smithers, BC.

One has to wonder if President of this proposed Enbridge project — John Carruthers — is carrying on today in Smithers, like he did in Kitimat about the incredibly elaborate statistical calculations done by Enbridge around tanker accidents. He was touting a number on the radio the other day of odds of: 1 in 15,000 years.

Wonder what the odds were of this?:

Concordia cruise ship accident– Globe and Mail

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Globe and Mail photo…. I don’t think that rock is supposed to be there…

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how would this look in Douglas Channel? if that was one of the 220 oil super-tankers per year proposed for transporting raw oil bitumen (and jobs) to China

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Or the good ‘ol Queen of the North sinking not far from where oil super tankers would run…

BC Ministry of Environment survey fuel spill from sunken Queen of the North on Gil Island, BC coast

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No matter how elaborate the “guarantees” get from Enbridge and proponents; there is no way to calculate human error accurately.

Is it really worth it? Exporting all those jobs to Asia, exporting energy resources that we may very well need ourselves? (as we already import 55% of what we use in Canada)

It makes no sense, and hence why the opposition grows — including major trade unions, municipalities, and so on… (all those “radicals” as Mr. Harper and his buddies like to call them)…

Human errors is a heck-uv-a-thing…