Talk for Article "Canada torn between First Nations and oil companies as pipeline dispute escalates"

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  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Hi @Jack and all,

    The reference related to the contribution of Oil and Petroleum to Canada’s GDP … rather than an industry source, could you use the official stats from National Resources Canada? https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/facts/energy-economy/20062

    The difference … the Energy Sector as a whole, inclusive of sources like hydro and renewables, is almost 7% GDP (2016) with 270,000 direct jobs and 600,000 indirect

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      That’s a good point Hubert, thanks for looking into that, I’ve switched the stats.

  2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    The ban on BC wine exports to Alberta has since ended. However, Alberta’s premier has since threatened to cut off oil to BC.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks, that’s now included in the new version.

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    It would be great to here the indigenous side of the conflict here as well.
    There seems to be a habit of stories either covering the Canadain politics side and ignoring the indigenous contributions or covering the indigenous side and complaining or undermining the Federal or Provincial politics of the matter.

    It has been stated that there are around 40 indigenous communities that have agreed to work with the pipeline, but there are more who are not getting an equal voice in the matter.

    Here is a decent article of those who are in agreement.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/bc-first-nations-kinder-morgan-pipeline-1.4626497

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      You’re right, the First Nations dispute is an important angle, and I’ve included in the update. Their lawyer shared some of the court docs with me (all public record anyway) so those are linked in the article with more interesting detail.

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        Its worthwhile noting that Canada’s First Nations are not a monolithic group when it comes to oil and gas developments. Much like the rest of Canadian society at the moment, there are different perspectives amount the First Nations. Some First Nations vigorously oppose pipeline developments and feel they have not been properly consulted, other First Nations groups say the pipelines are necessary parts of their local economies and feel their communities would be devastated without them.[1] One example is the First Nations led proposal for the Eagle Spirit pipeline, a $16 billion project to take oil from Alberta to BC’s coast[2].

        [1] http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/what-do-first-nations-really-think-about-trans-mountain
        [2] http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/this-16b-alberta-b-c-oil-pipeline-has-first-nations-backing-heres-why-it-may-still-never-get-built

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          Hi J L, the story does talk specifically about the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and mentions that many others have agreements with Kinder Morgan, but the diverging opinions may need to be made clearer higher up the story

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    This is portrayed as a battle between provincial interests, and between economic good and environmental good. In my view (resident of Fort Macmurray during the first oil sands boom; Alberta resident during the bust, when bumper stickers read, “God, please give us another oil boom and we promise we won’t piss it away this time.”; coast-living business and health features writer) it’s a battle between dying-industry corporation PR and lobbyists and the interests of the residents of both Alberta and BC. On almost every aspect of the benefits (better prices for bitumen, more jobs, economic growth) we’re being spun. But by fueling this idea of a provincial interest dichotomy, the corporate interests have shut down any real discussion of the facts. The most thoroughly researched and reasoned writing on all aspects of PR/lobbying messaging versus the short and long term interests of Canadians is by Calgarian Andrew Nikiforuk, whose work can be found in The Tyee these days. Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist whose brilliant career was sidelined when he began writing too effectively against the interests of major advertisers in Canada’s small and underfunded media market.

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      Thanks Lori I’ll look into Nikiforuk’s work. It sounds like we need to look more closely about what interests each side of this dispute has – i.e. the actual people campaigning and making the noise.

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    Timing is everything and great plains tar sands days are numbered as renewables, conservation and advance energy tech begin to add up market share. Besides agri-business, these middle Canadian provinces look to these Carbon infrastructure projects as aiding their tepid economies. I believe much of the push for legacy carbon energy infrastructure, e.g. pipelines, in Canada or south to the USA current king carbon seeing future shrinkage for that energy business model, in a few more years the logic for Carbon-based energy solutions could become an obviously bad investment, for so many reasons.

    Regarding the politics of economics, Canada has a similar look to the USA, meaning the carbon production geography resides near an underpopulated small consumer base in the high plains with most energy consumption elsewhere, as in the east and west coasts. Hmmm, Alberta, the Wyoming of the north?
    I say, in 10 years building carbon pipeline projects will look economically ridiculous, in the meantime, south of the Canadian board we might soon have an excess of renewable energy we can sell for a discount? Your welcome.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      That’s an interesting angle – are any of the objectors to the pipeline making that argument?

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    This is essentially an issue of jurisdiction. The Canadian government, constitutionally, has the right to approve or not approve the pipeline. They have approved it. The British Columbia government argues that it has the responsibility to protect its land and coastline from a potentially destructive accident related to the bitumen in the pipeline. British Columbia will likely lose, and probably knows it. But in a minority government, with a partner that is “green,” not to assert jurisdiction would be politically unwise. Fight the battle, and lose the battle, and the populace will say, “Well, at least you did your best.”

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      That’s very interesting, thanks William. Is there an issue of federal versus provincial authority here, or is it just a regional political story? Who would be the best type of people to ask about this issue? Jack

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        In any country with both federal and regional authority, there are going to be conflicts over local issues. I think this is a national story in that one province is challenging federal authority to perform an action that is seen to threaten the local environment. There are not a lot of such regional-national tensions in Canada, but pipelines have, in recent years, been a trigger for conflict.

        I would really like to see commentary from a constitutional law expert. There is a useful list of them at https://www.hg.org/law-firms/constitutional-law/canada.html

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    The main flashpoint of the controversy is not so much environmental concerns of one province vs. the economic concerns of another. Its actually a constitutional issue, which is why the issue has involved the Canadian federal government. While provincial governments in Canada have a measure of control over environmental legislation the federal government has jurisdiction over pipelines.

    The City of Burnaby in B.C., for example, was recently found in court to be acting unconstitutionally by delaying the necessary permits for the Trans Mountain to proceed.

    The following details add controversy to the issue:
    – Alberta’s NDP government has implemented the heaviest carbon tax regime in the country in order to win social license. The province is going through the worst recession since the 1980’s largely due to depressed oil prices. The 2 conservative parties of the province united in the past year and are campaigning on removing the carbon tax arguing it failed to gain social license.
    – BC’s NDP government gained a minority government of 44-42 by forming a coalition with the 3 MP’s from the Green Party, who campaigned on shutting down Alberta’s oilsands.
    – The Federal Liberal government campaigned as the centrist party and focused on balancing economic vs. environmental concerns. The actions of the federal government, in either direction, has potential to hurt their standing with their base.

    At the heart of the issue, then, is actually a constitutional battle made more intriguing by the political context. All these issues are easily searchable in the major Canadian news outlets like the Globe and Mail and the National Post.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Thanks Jordan, that’s interesting. So effectively an environmental and economic dispute between provinces is a microcosm of a debate about federal power in Canada? Is there a long-running debate about federal authority that this fits into or is it relatively new? Who would be the best person to ask about these issues? Thanks, Jack

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        There are some antecedents to provincial and federal power, but this is a new development. Some previous incidents:
        – A major clash in the 1980’s over the National Energy Program and the Province of Alberta over control oil and gas between then Premier of Alberta Peter Lougheed and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau .
        – While unrelated directly to Alberta and BC, Quebec seceding the country is a perennial issue that is almost certainly in the back of the minds of the federal government.

        As far as constitutional issues, the University of Alberta has a constitutional law centre that would be a good place to check. https://ualawccsprod.srv.ualberta.ca/

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