Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to the stage today at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to discuss Canada’s economy, environmental regulations and support of the Keystone XL pipeline among other things. The Prime Minister’s appearance marks a break in a steady stream of tar sands advertising shouldered primarily by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
Harper’s overarching message when it came down to pipeline politics was this: Canada is working on its emissions problem, so Americans concerned about the environmental fallout of the Keystone pipeline needn’t worry. Besides, there are far more important economic benefits associated with the energy project that the U.S. “can’t afford to turn down.”
That is to say, the Prime Minister’s address, a rarity these days, brought little else than more of the same.
According to a new study to be released today the risks associated with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline are significantly higher than presented by the company in its project reporting. The study, conducted by Simon Fraser University's School of Resource and Environmental Management, found that in three categories - tanker transport, marine terminal facilities, and pipelines - oil spill predictions based on an international oil spill model (the US Oil Spill Risk Analysis, OSRA) are vastly greater than those based on Enbridge estimates.
In the category of tanker transport, the analysis predicted British Columbians can expect to see one oil spill every 10 years. Enbridge estimated such spills would only occur once every 250 years.
According to Enbridge, pipeline spills are only expected to occur 25 times over a 50-year span. The new analysis predicts 776 pipeline spills over the same period - 31 times more frequently.
There are few Canadians who can claim to have their finger on the pulse of the country's politics like public opinion researcher Allan Gregg. Founder of Decima Research and The Strategic Council, Gregg is keenly aware of how Canadians feel about contemporary political life and how our political reality in a very real way shapes our social existence.
And what Gregg is concerned about expressing these days is his unshakeable belief that something has gone terribly awry in Canada, and that Canadians don't seem to care.
Gregg says he's spent his life as a researcher, "dedicated to understanding the relationship between cause and effect." From that, he says, "I've come to a fairly singular belief: namely, that more than anything else, societal progress is advanced when enlightened public policy marshals our collective public resources towards a larger public good."
"Evidence, facts and reasons…form the sine qua non of not just good public policy but good government," he says. "And lately I have to tell you there have been some troubling trends that threaten that fundamental belief. It seems as though our government's use of evidence and facts as the basis of policy has been declining and in their place dogma, whim, and political expediency are on the rise."
It's not every day you get a self-described "outlaw hip-hop harmonica player" and "beatbox poet" waging a war of words against the masterminds behind the tar sands, oil pipelines and super tankers. But then CR Avery doesn't just live in the every day.
If anything CR Avery is living in the all-too present day of climate disruption, where citizens, students, grannies and punks are uniting against the companies with a vested interest in maintaining the fossil fuel status quo. Enbridge and Kinder Morgan - two companies planning on building new pipelines in B.C. to transport tar sands crude to the Canadian coast - are two of this poet's chosen targets. The risks they pose to neighbourhoods, natural systems and the climate add fuel to the spoken-word fire.
Beautifully crafted and masterfully-filmed by Ethan Miller, this 5 minute short will bring a little passion and clarity back to the cause.
Or as CR says, "With big oil manipulating government's decisions lays firm cause to pause for further inspection…"
In an interview with the editorial board of Montreal's newspaper, La Presse, Minister Joe Oliver seems to have 'out' himself as a climate change denier.
As La Presse reports, Minister Oliver suggested Canada should push for more aggressive development in the tar sands. The global demand for oil is on the rise while concerns about the climate are beginning to fade.
"I think that people aren't as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees," he said.
"Scientists have recently told us that our fears (on climate change) are exaggerated," he added, although could not point to which scientist are behind that claim.
Minister Oliver did point to a report by the highly-respected International Energy Agency (IEA), which suggested oil demand will grow by 36 percent. "We have the opportunity to participate in this growth, but we must hurry," he said.
Postmedia's Mike De Souza reported today on a newly released internal document from Environment Canada that shows the federal government was concerned with the preference of Canada's largest oil and gas lobby body, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), when crafting last year's 2012 Omnibus budget bill that overhauled or eliminated some of the nation's most significant environmental laws.
A briefing document drafted for Environment Canada's associate deputy minister, Andrea Lyon, in preparation for a CAPP gala event in Alberta noted the lobby group's preference for a legislative overhaul, rather than a formal piecemeal examination of environmental laws in Parliament.
As De Souza explains, "the briefing scenario…suggested that oil and gas companies didn't want a series of separate legislative changes, but rather an 'omnibus' approach."
In email correspondence obtained by DeSmog, De Souza asked CAPP to declare the organization's position on the legislative changes.