How Ottawa runs on oil

Suddenly Western money and influence are driving everything that happens in the nation’s capital

How Ottawa runs on oil

Chris Wattie/Reuters

In July 2006 Stephen Harper had been Prime Minister for half a year and it was time to deliver his first speech to a foreign business audience. He picked a friendly crowd, the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce in London. He told them British investors were taking notice of “Canada’s emergence as a global energy powerhouse—the emerging ‘energy superpower’ our government intends to build.”

Canada, he said, was the world’s fifth-largest energy producer, ranking third in gas production and seventh in oil production. Canada was the world’s largest supplier of hydroelectric power and uranium. “But that’s just the beginning.”

There was “an ocean of oil-soaked sand” in northern Alberta, more than in any country except Saudi Arabia. Getting it out would be “an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger.”

Fast forward to late last year. The future Harper described in London had become a reality. The oil sands were producing so much oil that the biggest challenge was simply to get the stuff to market. Then on Nov. 10, U.S. President Barack Obama said he would delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for at least a year.

Harper allowed that he was “disappointed” with Obama’s decision. In fact he was furious. He flew to Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit and chatted with Obama at an outdoor picnic table under a beach umbrella. Reporters watching the exchange wrote that the two men looked relaxed and laughed more than once. “The leaders discussed the recent announcement regarding the presidential permit process for the Keystone XL pipeline application,” a White House press release said later.

You bet they did. What Harper was doing, behind the forced bonhomie, was writing the U.S. off as Canada’s only important energy export market. A senior Conservative source says that two days after the chat with Obama, at a meeting of cabinet’s priorities and planning committee in Ottawa, Harper handed out orders to a half-dozen ministers.

Energy exports were the government’s new top strategic priority. Asia, led by China, was the export market to target. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to the seaport at Kitimat, B.C., must get built. Environmental assessment for that project and dozens of others must be streamlined. Reconciliation with Aboriginal groups that could block those pipelines must be fast-tracked.

Much of what the Harper government has done this year flows from that tense cabinet meeting five months ago. The accelerated opening to China. The spotlight on rookie Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. The apocalyptic warnings about foreign money interfering with Canadian environmental decisions. The moves to weaken environmental protection for fish habitats. But Harper is not driving events so much as reacting to them, adjusting his game, seeking to draw advantage from a historic shift in the distribution of money, populations and political power in Canada.

That shift is changing everything. The extended boom in commodity prices, especially energy, has created a new cast of winners and losers in Canadian commerce. Populations have moved westward toward new opportunities. Regions with a weaker resource hand to play are paying for the shortcoming. Quebec is losing population to out-migration, yet even so, unemployment there is above the national average and climbing. And the upheaval affects politics too, strengthening both the western provinces within Confederation and the party with the strongest western base, the Conservatives, within Parliament. The Conservatives’ advantage is likely to increase.

“It really used to be that the Liberal party ruled Canada from Ottawa,” says historian Michael Bliss. “Its strength was in the belt between Montreal and Toronto and its idea factory was Queen’s University. Well, that’s pretty much gone now. The new map of Canadian politics has the Conservatives where they are and it has the new linkages stretching from Ottawa out to Calgary and Edmonton and Regina. The country has changed.”

Preston Manning helped found the Reform party in 1987 as a response to western frustration about economic clout that could find no national political expression to match it. “The shift in population, the shift in the percentage of GDP that is generated here, the percentage of exports that are coming from this western part of the country and the wealth that is generated is a big long-term phenomenon,” Manning said last week from Calgary. “The Laurentian region of Quebec and Ontario dominated the political scene for 140 years, but this shift is of the same magnitude as the old alliance. So if it’s done right and the markets continue and [the West] conducts itself responsibly on behalf of the whole country, not just on behalf of the region, I think it’s good for 100, 150 years.”

Carlos Osorio/AP images; Adrian Wyld/CP images

Of course it’s been true forever that Canada is rich in natural resources. Some estimates have put the total value of Canada’s natural resource reserves at $1.16 trillion, or $34,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. The value of the bitumen in the oil sands alone stood at $460 billion in 2010.

But now resources are even more important to Canada’s economy than they already were. First, because development of the oil sands has increased dramatically over the last decade. Second, because the rampant urbanization of China’s huge population has created unprecedented demand for exports of raw materials of every kind. Finally, because the rise of low-cost manufacturing in China and elsewhere has dealt a sucker punch to Canadian manufacturing.

Last year, stuff we dug out of the ground, chopped down or farmed made up 26 per cent of everything we sold to the world, up from just nine per cent in 1998. Over that same period, stuff we actually made and manufactured fell to around one-third of exports, down from more than half. Exports of natural resources, worth $119 billion last year, now account for a greater share of our outgoing trade than at any time in the last 40 years. While Canada enjoys a trade surplus of $73 billion in natural resources, the country is running a $100-billion trade deficit in manufacturing—a shortfall that spells serious trouble for central Canada.

Because many resources are concentrated west of Ontario, money and populations have been moving to match the new reality. Between 2002 and 2011, exports from Alberta and Saskatchewan more than doubled, while exports from Ontario and Quebec fell by one-tenth. Saskatchewan, whose economy has been particularly helped by the commodities boom, now collects more in taxes and fees from natural resource production than it does in personal income taxes. While the West still has a smaller total population than Ontario, the four western provinces together collect more in government revenue than Canada’s largest province.

The shift has reshaped our stock markets. Energy and mining companies accounted for eight of the country’s 20 most profitable public companies in 2010. That year, oil giant Suncor Energy earned $36 billion in revenues, more than either the Bank of Montreal or CIBC. And Calgary, home to one in seven major corporate headquarters, now has more head offices than Montreal.

Even more important than how corporate Canada has been remade, the very demographic makeup of our cities is changing. The combined GDP of the western provinces now surpasses Ontario’s and, like moths to a light, people have been drawn to that kind of prosperity, including new immigrants. Just four years ago, four out of every five newcomers to Canada headed to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. That’s fallen to three out of five as newcomers increasingly head to places such as Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.

Last month, TD Economics predicted these trends will continue. Alberta and Saskatchewan will lead economic growth in Canada until at least 2021 with annual GDP growth averaging 2.4 per cent. Saskatchewan’s population didn’t grow for 17 years, but in the next decade it will grow faster than Ontario’s. “Quebec and the Maritime provinces will not only fail to make up ground over the next decade, but could actually see further slippage,” wrote TD’s deputy chief economist Derek Burleton and economist Sonya Gulateri. “The West will continue to reign supreme.”

That supremacy is increasingly reflected in the distribution of power in Ottawa. MPs from the four western provinces made up 24 per cent of government MPs when Brian Mulroney was prime minister and just seven per cent under Jean Chrétien. Now 42 per cent of Stephen Harper’s MPs are from the West. Western MPs chair half of parliamentary committees. An analysis of cabinets going back nearly 50 years conducted by Grey House Publishing, which produces the 150-year-old annual Canadian Parliamentary Guide, suggests Quebec in particular saw its influence wane. In the early 1960s, MPs from Quebec made up 19 per cent of cabinet, while B.C. and Alberta together accounted for less than 15 per cent. Today those two provinces have seen their representation jump to nearly 26 per cent, while barely one cabinet minister in 10 hails from Quebec.

In a government where the Prime Minister is a Calgarian, finding westerners in positions of clout is almost too easy, but let’s start with the three most influential unelected figures in Ottawa. Wayne Wouters, from Saskatchewan, is only the third clerk of the Privy Council in the last half-century who was born west of Ontario. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, is from Fort Smith, N.W.T., and was raised in Edmonton. Beverley McLachlin, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, is from Pincher Creek, Alta.

Of course you find the odd Quebecer or Atlantic Canadian in a key post. Lately they’re pretty odd. The uproar in Quebec when Harper appointed the bilingual Italian-English Torontonian Angelo Persichilli as his communications director was a response to a keenly felt loss of clout for francophones at the centre. But if you throw a brick down Sparks Street these days you’re likely to hit a westerner. Harper’s own office has, at various times, featured Albertans Darrel Reid and Mark Cameron in key policy roles, Saskatchewanian Kory Teneycke running the communications shop, and a steady stream of former University of Calgary profs and students, including Tom Flanagan, Ian Brodie and Ray Novak.

Jean Chrétien used to have a western desk manned by some hearty Albertan in an office mostly full of Montreal lawyers. Harper had to go out and beat the bushes, months after the 2011 election, to find former MP André Bachand as his Quebec adviser in a Langevin Block that otherwise serves as central Canadian regional headquarters for the University of Calgary Alumni Association.

Across the street in the House of Commons, a son of the prairie keeps the peace, such as it is. Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and MP from the Regina riding of Qu’Appelle, is the first Speaker from the Prairies in 48 years.

And in a town that runs on access and connections, western universities are among the most ardent lobbyists of the federal government. According to the federal lobbyist registry, the University of Saskatchewan has lobbied the federal government 232 times since 2008, the University of Victoria 108, the University of Alberta 105. In comparison, York University lobbied the federal government 86 times, McGill— mighty McGill!— just 28.

Increasingly in Ottawa, power isn’t just exercised by westerners, it is exercised in a way that reflects the increased clout of the resource-producing regions. In the United States, the pre-eminent school of political administration, at Harvard, is named after John Kennedy. In Ottawa, a new school that aims to play a similar role in public life is named after Clay Riddell, a Calgary oil baron who stands at 11th place in the latest Canadian Business Rich 100, with over $3 billion to his name. In 2010, at Preston Manning’s urging, Riddell peeled a few bills off his roll and tossed Carleton University its largest-ever gift, $15 million, to launch the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management.

Now, the school’s aims are genuinely non-partisan. It frequently welcomes guest lecturers from the Liberals and NDP. But its core faculty includes Paul Wilson, Harper’s former director of policy, and André Turcotte, a former Reform party pollster. “Non-partisan” in Ottawa used to mean “Liberal in denial.” These days it means, “We’re hoping Laureen Harper will show up at the reception.”

Case in point. The windfall from the resource boom is greasing some surprising wheels in the capital. Every spring le tout Ottawa descends on the National Arts Centre for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, where artists as diverse as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Rush, William Shatner and k.d. lang have been feted over the years for their contribution to the nation’s cultural life. These days the awards’ presenting sponsor is Enbridge, which replaced Bell Canada in 2010. This year’s laureates of the GG Awards were announced in Calgary because the NAC does so much fundraising there.

But while it’s fun to track western influence in Ottawa, it misses some of the story because the resource boom is hardly restricted in its effects to the western provinces. That’s a point Jim Prentice, the former Harper cabinet minister who’s now a vice-chairman at CIBC, tried to make when he spoke to the Toronto Board of Trade on March 1.

“You will find no other G8 country—in fact no other country in the world—that is bringing on infrastructure projects at the pace and relative scale of Canada,” Prentice told the Hogtown swells. “The investment is significant, close to $290 billion—yes that is billion—of investments over the next 20 years.” Prentice listed projects in seven provinces, including the Lower Churchill in Labrador, Manitoba’s Conawapa hydro project, and liquid natural gas terminals on the West Coast. “Any other liberal democracy would give their eye teeth for any one of these projects,” Prentice said.

But the news isn’t all good. Prentice’s list included no fun infrastructure projects for Ontario. Employment in Canadian manufacturing has fallen by one-fifth since 2004. Most of those losses have been concentrated in the country’s largest province, which is why Premier Dalton McGuinty complained in February that the high “petro-dollar” was hurting the province’s economy.

Prentice’s message to McGuinty: “Our dollar is not going to be in measurable decline any time soon. Those old manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back.”

By then, of course, McGuinty had received the same message, heatedly and in private, from many of his own supporters, which is why two days after he complained about petro dollars, he sought to stumble away from the remark. “It can be difficult in this kind of context to convey exactly what you want to say,” he said. “I work in real time, so sometimes I may not self-edit before I go to press.”

One person who could have reminded McGuinty that the resource economy has powerful stakeholders in Ontario is Sandra Pupatello. Until last year she was a minister in the McGuinty government. For years she represented a riding in Windsor, ground zero of the Ontario manufacturing collapse, in the Ontario legislature. Today she connects international investors to Canadian companies for PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2006, weeks after McGuinty made her his minister of economic development and trade, she led a business delegation on the first of many provincial trade missions. That first trip was to Alberta. So was the next one. She got around to visiting India and Japan later.

“There is a big focus on energy and mining in Toronto,” Pupatello says now. “There is a whole industry of financial people just for energy and mining in Toronto and they are the world’s best. There are a lot of jobs tied up here related to the success of natural resources.”

In an interview with Maclean’s last July, Barrick Gold chairman Peter Munk said Toronto in the 21st century could play a role as important as London at the height of the British empire, as the banking centre for the world’s big infrastructure projects which, Munk is sure, will be mining projects.

Urbanization in China and India has just begun, Munk said. “You’re talking about a billion to a billion and a half people over the next 25 years who will be given a job. The raw material required to do that is staggering.” Even though the mines will be in the developing world, the banking expertise won’t be. “Say we have a huge find in Pakistan. You going to go to Pakistan to raise money? Who’s going to trust the legal system? Nobody comes near us in terms of credibility, in terms of financial infrastructure, in terms of expertise, incorruptibility.”

The Harper government’s changing attitude toward resource files has not been a gradual progression. It’s much closer to a sudden change in polarity. After five years playing defence on the environment, Conservatives are playing offence on natural resources.

In his January speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Harper identified a centrepiece of the new strategy. “We will make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States and specifically to Asia,” he said. “In this regard, we will soon take action to ensure that major energy and mining projects are not subject to unnecessary regulatory delays—that is, delay merely for the sake of delay.”

The Prime Minister was echoing a letter released in January by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, which accused “environmental and other radical groups” of seeking to “hijack our regulatory system” to achieve, once again, “their radical ideological agenda.” And indeed, one way of tracking the Harper government’s evolution on energy and resources is to trace the long disappearing act of its environmental policy.

Peter Kent had barely been appointed environment minister in January 2011 when he used the term “ethical oil” to describe the oil sands. In May, Harper named a new post-election cabinet that abolished a ministerial committee on energy and the environment he’d created after the 2008 election.

The Conservatives came to power amid widespread prosperity and confidence. Concern for the environment tends to rise when people have relatively few other pressing concerns. Harper’s top advisers spent hundreds of hours in 2006 and 2007 concocting plans to regulate or put additional costs on development of the oil sands. Those plans would have been implemented reluctantly, but Harper has shown before that he will do anything to protect his flank against opposition attack.

But starting in 2008, a series of big events took the wind out of the environmental movement’s sails. Then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, the movement’s most prominent politician, blew the 2008 election completely. A global recession put voters’ attention squarely and durably back onto their own economic security, safer terrain for the Conservatives. And Barack Obama, the new U.S. President, spent so much political capital on health care reform he had none left over for a sustained strategy to reduce greenhouse gases.

So just how much has the environment taken a back seat to policies aimed at the resource-rich West? Last October, Scott Vaughan, the federal commissioner of the environment, compared the promises the Harper government used to make on greenhouse gas emissions with the promises it makes these days. “The expected emission reductions have dropped from 282 million tonnes in the government’s first plan,” in 2007, he wrote, “to 28 million tonnes in 2010, a drop of approximately 90 per cent.” Eight weeks after Vaughan released his report, Canada formally withdrew from the Kyoto Protocal governing carbon emissions.

The Conservatives will certainly have a fight on their hands. Canadians concerned about the environment still number in many millions, and they are starting to react to the government’s increased assertiveness. A coalition of Quebec artists is calling for tens of thousands of people to protest against the resource economy in Montreal on Earth Day, April 22. Every candidate for the NDP leadership has endorsed some mechanism for adding to the cost of carbon emissions. Tom Mulcair wrote an introduction to a book whose French-language title translates as Oil Sands: Canada’s Shame. In a news release, the party’s interim leader, Nycole Turmel, said that “while our major trading partners move forward, the Conservatives want to keep Canada in the dark ages. It’s terrible for the environment, and it’s bad news for Canadian families who are getting shut out of new energy jobs.”

To state the obvious, the NDP will find a large and enthusiastic audience for such concerns. There’s plenty to worry about in a resource economy, from oil spills to the disturbance of wildlife habitat to the so-called “Dutch disease,” a gradual dulling of a resource-rich society’s ability to muster ingenuity and initiative in any field except digging. Public opinion polls are poor counsel for anyone trying to gauge which side would have the upper hand. When respondents are asked to choose between energy and the environment, slightly different questions make the answers vary so wildly as to be useless.

What is clear for now is that in proclaiming himself on the side of the country’s boom sector, Harper is seeking to put the boom on his side. He has no guarantee of success. His assorted opponents will seek to apply the lessons learned in earlier confrontations. But the battlefield—the economic and demographic context for everything that happens in Canadian politics—has shifted more drastically in the past five years than in any comparable span of time since the oil shock of the 1970s. Whatever happens to these Canadian politicians, Canadian politics will never be the same.

Ten years after Stephen Harper returned to politics, Paul Wells takes readers inside the revolution in this exclusive eBook. Available on your iPad or at Macleans.ca/harperdecade




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How Ottawa runs on oil

  1. When will we start acting like a country again! Our founding forefathers spent their lives bringing this country together by building roads, railways, and communication systems to CONNECT us. They saw the disparity between regions before confederation and brought us together to pool our resources and talents for the better of the whole country. Since World War 2, we have returned to this “Regional Power” mentality where power shifts from region to region depending on who is creating the most wealth at any particular time. Just because we are huge geographically, doesn’t mean we can’t act as 1 nation rather than 10 nations. The sooner we start sharing our wealth amongst all canadians and making policies to benefit us all, the better off we ALL will be.  

    • works for me, except that part where 1 of every ten of my tax bucks goes to quebec, so that there students can pay 1/100 of the tution i had to pay in my wealthy province to go to school.

      • There was a time in history when alberta was poor and at that time money to support it came from the eastern province .Eventually oil will be worthless and the west will ones again be in need wait and see .What goes around come around .Its a cycle.

        • Shh……..they don`t teach those facts here in Alberta, where we used to be a have-not Province until 1947, then again from 1957 to 1965……..

        • “Eventually oil will be worthles”

          Not for the next couple of hundred of years, in the mean time I would recommend that you get a job and quit begging for a handout.

          • Oil will not last for another 200 years, I can guarantee you that. The sustainability of the oil sands gives us 50 years maximum. It’s good, but we need to work out ways to diversify our economy NOW so that it’s more robust in the future.

            For the record, just because you’re opposed to the oil sands, or believe that the federal government should allocate funds for social programs in different provinces according to social need, it doesnt mean youre unemployed.

            Im not opposed to the oil sands, but I support the welfare state. I happen to also have a job, one which I work very hard at. Im not asking anyone for handouts, and I completely reject the notion that most Canadians who receive social aid are simply lazy and asking for handouts.

            In fact, I know many extravagantly wealthy people in Alberta who whole-heartedly support the taxation transfer system.

          • And, before you jump to conclusions and assume Im an easterner, I am a proud Albertan. I just happen to be a proud CANADIAN first, last, and always.

          • “Not for the next couple of hundred of years”. What makes you think that 200 years is a feasible time-frame for human life on earth? I guess you don’t understand what oil combustion is doing to our planet then (economics aside). All the lies, deceit and greed that surrounds oil’s tendrils on society work to bring our own demise via boom and bust by excessive consumption, export to China and India for shipping back to us by gas use etc. Someone else always pays the cost of material riches. But who cares right? As long as you’re fat and happy there will always be another malnourished…why should we have more than what is sustainable or reasonable? Can YOU live with the costs? How far do you see?

        • Sam,
          Since oil will not be available in 50 years I assume you don’t agree with global warming people that using 20% less oil will make a difference to the earth?

      • Ontario also has its grubby little hands in the troth, they have bought onto the “green energy” fraud and the rest of CAnada is paying for it.

        • You lump all green energy stuff into one group and red-herring it. FAIL. Do you sell your fallacies of logic to big oil before spewing it out to the rest of us? Ontario is giving energy back into the grid, therefore decreasing dependency on fossil fuels and being a net producer!! This is great news! Big oil is also fabricating trade agreements to collude prices on solar goods manufactured in China…In hopes of opposing the crucial energy revolution. Keep your dirty gas and I’ll ride my bike thanks. It helps me sleep better. Just keep your exhaust out of my face.

          • I get paid a million dollars a year by “big oil” to post on the internet. What’s your excuse?

      • Yet another misinformed Westerner… Quebec tuition subsidies are at parity with other provinces, about $12.5K per annum. It’s the Universities that bear the brunt of the lower tuition fees, and the increases would go directly to them.

    • Go live in Cuba, report back on your finding in 30 years, if they let you leave.

  2. Triumphalism speaking here, nary a word of dissent.  You know that the profits are exiting the company, that the tar sands are as illegitimate as the stolen harper election.  Royalties are a pittance, water is taken at a rate that is unsustainable, resultant land destruction is a lifetime of cleanup.  If this were a legally operated business, it would have been shut down long ago.  There is no environmental oversight.  Nothing has changed except for the occasional inaccurate defense of some kind of business/government partnership, with censorship of scientific evidence totally blacked out.  And yet another media huzzah for the harper team of ingenuity over adversity.  The tar sands is a project that never should have been started.  Environment and climate change, the health of the earth, food and water security and Canada’s future welfare have all been compromised.  Boy do you miss the boat on this one.

    • Though I can see the angle of pricing the negative externalities and enhancing the protection of environmental standards, I seriously don’t see how any of that makes it any less legitimate than any other extractive industry. No secret cabal of hand shaking, just the current calculus behind exploiting a resource to spectacular gain or choosing to remain undercapitalized. They both have their pros and cons. Both are legitimate.

    • Obama increased thermal coal exports to Asia 71% last year.  That by itself, dwarves oilsands carbon emissions.

      • How did he increase them?

        • The same way Harper increased oilsands production. But not shutting it down. It’s not that complicated.

          • It’s a good thing harper did, otherwise we would all be sitting in the dark complaining about the cold.

          • The demand is up for U.S. coal but do you know that the coal industry is dogging Obama in the upcoming election because of what his EPA is trying to do to them. 

      •  That is such a tired argument. I only stole $20, whereas my neighbour stole $200.  Ergo, stealing is okay, as long as I don’t do it as much as my neighbour. 

        The world isn’t about to stop using oil overnight.  However, the fact is that we have passed peak oil, climate change is a reality and there will be large costs sooner rather than later.  The oil sands should be developed in a considered way and not at any expense.

        Harper can find a win-win benefit for Canada, if he were to focus on value added resource development.  We have the power to not give away raw oil, but to refine and process it.  Asia needs it no matter what, and they will buy it raw if we give it away, or refined if we don’t. 

        Harper should also understand, as Obama does, that one doesn’t rule out the other.  One can develop the oil sands in the most environmental way possible (creating jobs and developing exportable expertise and products) AND he can push the development of greener energy, jobs and technology which will be around long after the tar sands are diminished. These do not need to be politically opposite goals.

        • “We have the power to not give away raw oil, but to refine and process it.”

          We don’t give it away we sell it. Why should we refine it here if it’s cheaper to do elsewhere? Why should this be done only for oilsands processing and not other industries like the garment industry? If you want to rip up all our trade agreements and build a protectionist fortress around Canada why don’t you just have the courage to say so?

          • “Why should we refine it here if it’s cheaper to do elsewhere?”

            Let’s see… jobs; improvement in GDP; diversification of economy…

            I can understand the companies wanting to do it where it’s cheaper, but from the perspective of the best interests of Canada it is irresponsible and short-sighted.

            We have already outsourced too many of our jobs; it’s time we start to look for was to keep jobs here. We are leaning more and more on natural resources, many of which are non-renewable. When they run out and all the other jobs have been exported… what then?

          • “I can understand the companies wanting to do it where it’s cheaper, but from the perspective of the best interests of Canada it is irresponsible and short-sighted.”

            Who owns the companies? Pretty sure a signicant chunk of Canadian pension funds and people’s savings are tied up in oilsands developments. I don’t see why we should punish one group of Canadians by stealing from their pensions so we can prop up an uncompetitive industry and create make-work projects for others. How does that help Canada?

            “When they run out and all the other jobs have been exported… what then?”

            Calm down Chicken Little. Pretty sure we still have other sectors in our economy. Sure oil and minerals are making outsized gains right now but there was a time they were in doldrums and manufacturing surged. Were you freaking out about how natural resources were in dire straits back then? I’m guessing not.

          • We need a balanced, diversified economy. Selling finished or even partially processed goods provides a good measure of that diversification. Asian economies are leading the world because they provide finished goods cheaper than we can produce them… at present. We need to find the niches where we can outdo them and leverage that – otherwise the day will come when we find ourselves in the position they were in for much of the last few decades – trying to catch up. Trust me – as an expat NLer, I am well aware of the dangers of basing an economy on a handful of resource-based industries. Diversification was a good part of Canada’s success and growth during the 20th century; reverting back to an overdependence on (largely non-renewable) natural resources is at best a short-term fix, not a long-term solution. Subject: [macleansca] Re: How Ottawa runs on oil

        • Sorry but WhyshouldIsellyourwheat’s kung fu is better than your kung fu. You loose the argument.

        • We do not have the SKILLED labor available in Alberta to refine oil there.  It would take a decade to build the refineries.  Meanwhile, no one wants to pipe the oil over “their part” of the country to a refinery within Canada so where are we going to refine this oil?
          As for climate change, we environmentalists should be going after coal….it is far more carbon intensive than oil and yet we give it a pass..why?
          Further, if you want respect, call the products by what they are…tar is a man-made substance…you get no credibility calling oil that is thick and resembles tar, something it isn’t.  They are oilsands.

  3. 1. It’s appalling that the Tories had a knee-jerk reaction to prioritize natural resources.  The writing was on the wall for all of these changes, all of them, five years before the Harper-Obama meeting that is depicted as a turning point.  And not in subtle ways – capital was flowing massively in that direction and was being written about in every newspaper’s business section.  Ask Anne Maclellan.  If that anecdote is accurate, what other shifts are well under way right now that the government will only wake up to after they are behind the curve?  It reminds me of the missed chances to find Bin Laden during the Clinton/Bush transition, in that the new guys took a long time to get moving on the obvious.

    2. It’s more appalling that the Tories’ championing of the obvious is news to people.  What does that say about the media?

    3. The dichotomy between natural resource extraction and the environment is a false one that only exists in front page news stories and Sierra Club fundraising efforts, and doesn’t stand up to thoughtful analysis.  Abandoning efforts to price carbon, decluttering environmental assessment regulation, and reducing environmental enforcement budgets are NOT efforts undertaken to facilitate natural resource extraction.  To be sure, “jobs” is great political cover for those efforts and the government is happy to adopt that dichotomy.  But the truth of the matter is that post-financial crisis, government has decided that these measures are too expensive (for the economy, in the case of carbon, and for government services, in the case of enforcement).  And environmental assessment is a mess.  It’s necessary, valuable, decentralized, slow, expensive, and delivers a fraction of its potential value due to too many part-time chefs in the kitchen.  What government wouldn’t take the chance to improve policy outcomes by shrinking services while having great political cover?

    • Sorry but i read #3 as…can’t afford to let the environment slow down growth.

      The knee jerk reaction of the govt to prioiritize NRs has been accompanied by a knee jerk reaction to remove all obstacles. Removing fish from consideration of fish habitat, laying off, gagging or defunding scientists and EC is not exactly conducive to allaying fears.

      • “Knee jerk”?  They’re late, the opposite of knee jerk, foot draggers.  The Northern Gateway application was filed with the NEB ~8 years ago and work began on it several years earlier. 

        In my view defunding scientists is about saving money (it may well be a dumb place to save money – I’m not defending the decision so much as saying that there’s no master plan to turn Alberta into Mordor by firing a sleepy M.Sc. in Ottawa).

        As to fish habitat legislative changes, neither you nor I can have an informed view because the regulations associated with the leaked draft amendment weren’t released at the same time.

        • Clearly i was using knee jerk in the sense you were in describing the tories knee jerk prioritzing of NRs. The same could be said of the rather sudden desire to clear a path through environmental red tape[ as they see it] and necessary precaution as many others see it. Reducing it down to a provincial review[ which is what happens if the fish are not in consideration] is a prime example. Anyone who follows this stuff knows provincial govts of whatever stripe rarely turn down such projects – doubtless what the tories are counting on.
          So, please spare us the…oh we haven’t really made up our minds yet; we’ll wait for the evidence shall we?…this has damn all to do with conceptualizing Mordor, and everything to do with moving the ball forward for business.
          The lines are already clearly drawn; we just have to decide which side of it we are on.

          • Sorry, I misunderstood you re. “knee jerk.”  My bad.

            “Reducing it down” to a provincial review?  DFO is by far the most competent of the federal agencies when it comes to EA, and I’m not about to take shots at them, but are you really putting them up against the BCEAO or AENV or the BAPE and describing those agencies as rubber stamps?

            As to the rest, I disagree.  The lines aren’t clearly drawn.  This isn’t Ottawa’s green and enlightened bureaucrats versus rapacious provincial neanderthals. Easy headline/tagline, but false choice.  I’m suggesting it’s as simple as Ottawa being cheap.

          • You could be right about it being a simple as Ottawa being cheap – but i doubt it; not when you consider the weight of available evidence.
             Do a bit of research you’ll find that both BC and AB just about never say no to economic development of its resources, so i’m not just picking on the tories, i don’t trust the libs in BC either; i’m not even sure if the NDP record is all that stellar for that matter. They all want the tax revenues – naturally.

            Just for fun check out the rep of the DFO on the coast – they’re widely despised.

          • Ask any NLer what they think of the DFO. Their polices have long been driven by federal politics rather than science, regardless of which party is in power.

  4. The gateway proposal has a lot riding on it, which makes it curious as to why Harper and Enbridge have so badly botched this – so far anyway? 
    I can find no reason for instance why they are so insistent on driving through Kitimat. There are a couple of good reasons of course – it has a history as an remote industrial hub and a deep water access to the sea. But in all other respects the choice is nuts [ at least to anyone who knows the coast]. The route for the pipeline has a number of difficult obstacles in its way, from stropy FNs who have never signed treaty to avalanche hazards, not to mention it’s through a pristine wilderness country and over some very important watersheads that give rise to some major fish bearing waterways[ read Salmon, which is a sacred word to BCers]. This before you get to the coast and a tricky and wind battered egress to the sea, through some idylic west coast real estate[ right through the heart of the Harper assisted creation known iconically as the Great Bear Rainforest - like proposing to move [when you don't have to] spent nuclear waste through Algonquin in easteren terms].

    Why here? I haven’t found a good solid argument yet; there being other obvious possibilities. PR is a natural. It’s a port that already ships coal.It has had a gas pipeline for nearly 40 years. It has adequate basic facilities and is way easier a place to manage an accident from, not to mention having much easier access to the open sea, avoiding much of the potential for an inshore disaster further south. It would still have been a tough sell, but given the city has had a rough go of it economically for a decade or two, it was saleable. Now? I don’t know? Peoples backs are up from Victoria to Masset. The Harper goon squad has managed to smear enviromentalists as radicals [ most of whom genuinely care about sustainable development] and FNs as adversaries. The elected councils from smithers to PR now openly oppose the project. With tactics like these i’m at a lost to think how Harper thinks he can win at all? Is he planning on declaring martial law?  

    Mr Harper has badly misread BC. Yes, resource development has an important history. But residents of whatever political stripe deeply love this place. We wont risk it for a deal that grossly favours AB and its investors; in fact i’ll predict that now we might not risk it anywhere at all. And Harper and the resource sector have no one to blame but themselves; did they not learn anything from keystone? 

    http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/mar12/duffy.pdf

    An interesting perspective on how the liberals might yet frame this. One can only think it’ll be the same, only more so from the NDP.

    * Germane to the last point might be the question all this shift doesn’t address, particularly in ON and Quebec is the urban angle. Try as you might i don’t believe they will be opening any mines or drilling for oil under Windsor anytime soon, and they can’t all move to Fort Mac or retool for RS associated work…and folks there worry bout their property values and their kids schools as much as ABs. There’s always the Detroit model of course…just let it rot on the vine.

    • Ontario has a booming mining and gas sector, same with agriculture. Always have.

      Manufacturing has taken a hit, but that can be easily overcome.

      What we now want to sell is tech and other things for the knowledge economy….but somehow in the rush to be only a resources warehouse, it never gets mentioned.

      Good thing Ontario has a trade office in Beijing and other places, and a premier who regularly promotes in those countries.

      • “Manufacturing has taken a hit, but that can be easily overcome.”

        Please enlighten us Emily – how do we “easily” overcome this? It’s not easy to stay on top in tech – ask RIM – and Canadian businesses are notoriously resistant to spending on R&D.

        Don’t get me wrong; I agree that increasing our dependence on natural resources and the export of raw materials is a 19th-century solution to a 21st century problem and Harper needs to dramatically diversify his approach to the economy – but “easy”???

        • Germany is booming because it does high-end manufacturing….precision engineering and specific items. Workers make about $50 an hour, and sit on company boards.

          Tech is another level,but it can be combined with made-to-order manufacturing.

      • He is trying to sell wind mills and solar panals to the Chinese, I wonder his trade offices are trying to sell them chinese lessons as well?

        • LOL no he’s not.

      • Doh!

    • It is going to go by pipeline to Kitimat or Prince Rupert or by railcar.  The pipeline is an order of magnitude less environmental intrusive and safer.

      Oil train “pipelines” are already nearly from North Dakota to points South because of Obama’s stupid Keystone delay.  US environmentalists don’t block the coal trains which are shipping ever increasing amounts of US thermal coal to China.  (The majority of that coal comes from blue states…hypocrisy much?)

      How much are the US environmental groups giving to the aboriginals in the NWT now that the MacKenzie Valley Gas Pipeline is probably kaput for a century?

      With Keystone, oil trains, the Enbridge reversal of a pipeline from Sarnia to Montreal, and perhaps the eventually conversion of part of the TransCanada mainline to eastern Canada from natural gas to oil, BC aboriginal groups could seen billions of dollars worth of benefits from an ownership stake in Gateway go poof, just like in the NWT.

      With US environmental groups keep funding BC aboriginal groups then?  Once Gateway is off the table?

      • “How much are the US environmental groups giving to the aboriginals in the NWT now that the MacKenzie Valley Gas Pipeline is probably kaput for a century?”

        That’s just idiotic. I’m sitting in the NWT right now and i can tell you it is approved and FNs are onside. The hold up is the price of gas and the reluctance of the companies involved to move forward without govt aid[ big time risk takers these guys].
        And no, FNs do not get any US funding up here. You’re obviously clueless bud!Stop getting all your news from Sun tv.

        There’s risk whatever way they choose to move the oil on the west coast – there is no order of magnitude safer in an environment fraught with the possibility of seismic activity, avalanches and winter gales that blow in two to three times a week[ wintertime] on the north and central coast, often registering wind speeds of upwards of 100 kmph and even reaching 200 + on occasion. I’ve been on board the ferry in a gale in excess of 50knots and i can tell you it’s awesome and scary – big time.

        Try and do a bit of research before you make invidious comparisans.

    • The Enbridge VP fronting the Gateway hearings says that Kitimat was chosen over PR because of “grade” issues.  She didn’t, however, dismiss the possibility of changing the route.  Methinks the route will eventually go through PR for all the reasons you list, but Enbridge and the other proponents are keeping that card to their chest for now.

      • I’ve heard that too. You might want to point out she[?] only just recently fudged on that one. There’s no indication it was always in the back of the hand. And as i said there is now significant resistance even in PR.

        This has been a PR fiasco for Enbridge and SH’s assault on local autonomy has only made it worse. If it does go through PR it will now be with a much bigger fight then previously was on the cards, and no credit for it will accrue to Enbridge or SH.

        I’ve made the claim before but in my not so humble opinion SH couldn’t sell fish to a sushi shop or wood to a carpenter, without first offending one or the other.

        * Not to mention if it does switch to PR another review will be needed. Sheer incompetence.

        *Why are Enridge front and centre doing the selling job on the supertankers? It’s not remotely their area of expertise and it shows.

        * the grade issue i believe was only raised with respect to Vancouver. Even then i’m not sure they’re correct, as tankers bunker up on oil at the head of Howe sound or Indian arm.[ haven't been there so not so sure]

  5. Hasn’t the federal government committed a few billion dollars to a new bridge, and financing Michigan’s share of a new cross border bridge between Windsor and Detroit?

    Hasn’t the federal government committed to billions of dollars for a new Champlain Bridge in Montreal, which is a critical trade transport bridge?

    • Your point being…?

      • Paul Wells in article: //But the news isn’t all good. Prentice’s list included no fun infrastructure projects for Ontario.//
        My point: Ontario may not be getting private infrastructure investment, but it is getting massive federal government investment from the Harper government to sustain what it has.

        1) The new Windsor-Detroit Bridge.
        2) The fighter jet program for the aerospace sector.
        3) Several billion to save the auto industry just a couple of years ago.

        Edmonton and Calgary don’t have the federal government pouring money into their downtown’s like Toronto (and Montreal) do.  Waterfront Toronto.  Massive dollars for Union Station.

        • 1) the bridges are federal infrastructure projects that are long overdue – and which are nonetheless dwarfed by the “$290 billion” being spent elsewhere.

          2) What fighter jet program? The Feds seem to be doing some serious backpedalling where the F35s are concerned (and about time, too)

          3) The auto industry was given bailout loans that are being repaid. Loans made by a minority government looking for a breakthrough with Ontario voters to get their majority. And lots of westerners whined (& apparently still whine) about it.

          I’m honestly not that familiar with how much money the feds are giving to which downtowns. Not sure the money spent on Union Station is in the same league in terms of development as pipeline projects.

          • The Canadian government and the Ontario government bought an equity stake in GM as part of the bailout, not just loans.

            Chrysler/Fiat got loans.

          • …which they may end up being able to sell for a tidy profit. Unlike all the subsidies they give to oil companies. Again, your point?

  6. Didn’t the federal government commit several billion dollars to saving the Ontario’s auto sector just a couple of years ago in the midst of the global economic crisis?

  7. Don’t most of the Canadian industrial benefits from the next generation fighter, F-35 or whatever alternative that gets chosen if that doesn’t proceed, does’t that mostly flow to the aerospace sector in Ontario and Quebec?

    • Interesting….but transportation is a federal responsibility, Obama saved the auto sector, and no, Ont and Que won’t get any bennies from the F-35

      • Canada spent several billion dollars in partnership with the Americans, proportionate to our share of the auto industry in the bailout.

        • Yup, cuz Obama did the American side, and he was insistent we did our share.

          They’re branch plants you know….so it’s all or nothing.

          • But Harper agreeing to bail them out doesn’t really fit with the narrative that he’s all about western resources and nothing else, does it?

          • Well when Obama says ‘do or die’….I really don’t think Harp had a choice.

          • Sure he did. He could have said no and killed the Canadian auto industry. After all, Harper doesn’t care about anything that’s not dug out of the ground right?

          • There’s a difference between responding to an urgent crisis and actively working on a strategy to improve a nation’s economy long-term.

          • The difference to me seems to be that you don’t want to give credit to Harper because you’d rather be a hyper-partisan clown. BTW, wasn’t Harper also somewhat instrumental in bringing HST to Ontario. A tax reform that is actually quite beneficial to the manufacturing base and long-term economic growth.

      • And where exactly is the main locus of the aerospace industry in Canada if not Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto?

        • The military.

        • All maintenance for these jets will be done in the state by americain you can bet on that

  8. I wonder if the Liberal party regrets all the years they spent ignoring and demonizing the West for political gain in Eastern Canada?
     
    The Liberal brand is worthless west of Ontario, usually polling third and on occasion fourth in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
     
    Even their provincial affiliates are considering changing their party names in order to distance themselves from the anathema of the Liberal brand.

    • Well, since they didn’t….no there aren’t ‘regrets’.  That’s absurd.

      • Well, since they did…I expect them to continue on as a rump party for a long time to come.

        Time to face reality.

        • Well, there’s reality, and then there’s your alternate reality.

  9. It’s a good thing that absolutely everything else doesn’t run on oil – our factories that makes our stuff, the trucks that deliver our stuff, and….well our stuff too.  I mean, if that were the case then all those lefties that cry out agianst oil would just be whiney, mean-nothing, hypocrites of the lowest order.

    Unless of course lefties don’t like stuff.  Don’t think that’s the case though, last time I checked out my local coffee shop, all those anti-oil types seemed to be wearing pretty nice clothes, owning pretty nice I phones, driving pretty nice cars.

    Maybe all thier stuff was resourced, made and delivered by unicorns.

    • Are you surveying strangers in coffee shops re their position on oil,  or what?

      • Do you own clothes Jan?  Do you eat food?  Do you live somewhere?  Do you go places?

        How utterly dishonest a suggestion that somehow, anti oil lefties such as yourself live like a cave men with none of the modern trappings that are dependent on oil.

        You live in luxury – that is, you live in a state far better than mankind has ever lived, and in a part of the current mankind that is far better off than the rest.

        It is good because you have cheap energy to make it so.  No one needs to do a “survey”.  You and your friends would be the first ones demanding some form of government support to compensate for the catastrophic drop in living standards should oil be penalized based on your demands.

        • With that attitude,  I am assuming the answer to my question is no.

      • Or, Jan do yo think that your jeans were made with unicorn power.  Your I phone was delivered by pixie dust.  Your gourmet bread was made with grain harvested by happy socialist elve power, rather than petrol?

        Yes, we must do a survey to see who’s car has steel forded by fairies.

  10. OMG, how did we get here?  Uranium and filthy oil — the two most dangerous forms of energy on the planet.  We started out as an OK country — not great, but better than most — now we’re on Mother Nature’s list of most wanted criminals.  Well, I guess that’s our fault; we shouldn’t be so smug and complacent.  No one can save us now.

    • Too true. Can’t we go back to the good old days when we just fired up the old coal generators and slaughtered whales for blubber? Oh well, at least we still have asbestos exports to remind us the days when we were purer than snow.

      •  Guess you don’t know much about “progress.”

        • I just think you whitewash a past where Mother Nature considered what we did then equally if not more abhorrent then what we do now.

          •  This is not about the past.  Petro is not the future, boyo.  Petro is the end of the future.  You know it, I know it. 

    •  We are not on “Mother Nature’s list of most wanted criminals”, we are merely annoying the EU who thinks it speaks for Mother Nature.  The EU is pushing the alternative energy bandwagon because its economic engine, Germany, has no natural energy but a heavy industry economy.  Germany is one of the biggest carbon polluters on the planet but you never hear that, do you?  What better way for the EU to chew up the economies of other nations than to insist that all other nations have to stop using oil and start using renewables – produced by them.  This is nothing more than a trade war.

      • Did you know the EU and US are actually threatening trade agreements with China to increase China’s tariffs on exporting solar panels? Big oil knows that if solar is economically prohibitive it can delay a responsible energy plan. Thank big oil again for it’s greed and irrelevance to the planet and our health.

    • No coal is.  Production and export of thermal coal from the US has skyrocketed under Obama.  After all, most of that thermal coal comes from blue states.

      Big new port facilities are being built in Oregon and Washington to ship even more thermal coal to Asia.

      US environmental groups and Obama are doing nothing to stop that.

  11. While I am usually very critical of the eastern media and their “it’s all about Ontario” attitude, I commend Mr. Wells and his associates for their “big picture” understanding of how the economics of Canada is changing and the ramifications going forward. Canada, and Mr Harper are in the envious position of truly becoming a resource based superpower. I commend them. If the Canadian population can unify behind these developments and not allow the special interest people to derail them, Canada stands to be an economic superpower for decades to become.

    Mr. Wells correctly points out what the eastern half of the country has to do in order to be a team player and ensure that this opportunity is not squandered or lost. Toronto and to a lesser extent, Montreal can indeed become financial capitals of the world, rivaling New York, London, Singapore and Zurich. Manufacturing in Ontario can and will succeed and expand into the world market however it must be competitive. Quebec and eastern Canada already has vast hydro electric and mineral potential that can be expanded for sale into the very needy northeast US.

    Congratulations, Canada. It is encouraging to see leaders with a ”can do” attitude and a vision for their country. We are looking forward to joining your country on the pathway  to prosperity after the November elections.

    • I don’t see how you become a ‘superpower’ by simply allowing foreign companies and in the instance of China foreign governments to grab resources out of the ground. This dooms us again to the role of hewers of wood and drawers of water. Simply exporting raw resources that you must buy back as usable product is what third-world countries do.

      • I don’t think China is grabbing the resources out of the ground. I think the Canadian government offered to build a pipeline in order to sell the resources to China. In the case of the oil extraction in northern Alberta, I think the major players are consortiums of Canadian and American producers.
        There is nothing stopping Canadians from building or investing in their own refineries, manufacturing plants etc. and selling the finished product. The caveat to this is that it needs to be done with money from the private sector and not sitting back and waiting for the government to do everything for you. The government can offer loan guarantees, tax incentitives etc. to promote and encourage private investment.
        Your “poor me – hewers of wood and drawers of water” excuse simply does not cut it. There is no reward without risk.
        Your logic is akin to us bemoaning the Keystone pipeline, when it finally gets approved, of complaining that the Canadians (TranCanada Pipeline) are taking over our land.
        Every normal thinking American is in favor of the pipeline being built and we really don’t have a problem with the fact that it is a Canadian company that is spearheading the project. The economic spinoff is good for both of our countries.

  12. Southern Ontario and Quebec could become an ungrading and refining centre for oilsands oil to be sold into the massive US northeast gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil market.

    All McGuinty and Charest have to do is stand up and start bellowing for TransCanada to convert and upgrade part of its natural gas mainline to transport oilsands oil to be upgraded and refined in central Canada to be sold into the US Northeast.

    The oil wouldn’t have to go to China, if McGuinty and Charest demanded and it come east, with massive private investment and high paid jobs to do the upgrading and refining. 

    • I’ve suggested the same thing on past threads. Westerners seemed dead set against it and I got oddly little support from anyone else. I still think it’s a good idea, and it opens up options for other spinoff petrochemical industries. It’s what I mean about keeping the jobs here rather than exporting them.

  13. Do Economic Socialists actually exist?

  14. Paul’s article could probably be summarized with three points as follows:

    First:  Since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister, power and influence in Canada has been removed from the hands of democratically elected representatives of the electorate and placed in the hands of unelected lobbyists who repesent money, particularly the foreign variety. 

    Second:  The current governing party seems to think that future elections will be determined by how many ten thousand dollar bills end up in ballot boxes instead of marked ballots, thus providing resource regions with “super ballots”. 

    Third:  Policy and statesmanship benefiting ALL Canadians has been replaced by the ability to manage the message in the interests of the monied few. 

    Stephen Harper and many pundits, made much of the idea that the last Parliamentary majority consisted of an coalition of the West and Ontario.  That coalition will fall apart under the scenario Paul has described.

  15. Thank God for Stephan, if the socialist coalition were in charge our suffering would know no bounds.

  16. Easterners use the protection of the environment to protest the shift of power and money to the west.

  17. Great article. How sad that Canadian politics is becoming so polarized. The Harper strategy of dividing Canadians continues. We all know we need to support the resource industry to drive our economy but it needs to be balanced with other industries that don’t rely on exploiting our natural resources. What about high tech? What about bio tech or even financial services? Do we really all want to be mining engineers? As a Canadian working in high tech in Silicon valley due to the lack of IT industry in Canada the Harper strategy is schocking. Reform – aka Conservative – only seeks to divide us as Canadians and move our Country away from a united Confederation that even Sir John A. MacDonald envisioned and supported. To be honest, I’m thinking it’s time to run for parliament. No joke!

  18. While the Harper government moves to weaken environmental protection for fish habitats. DFO wants to restrict sport fishers from retaining chinook salmon in southern BC for conservation of endangered stocks in the upper fraser. Sounds to me like this is as hypocritcal as it gets. The Harper govenment does not care what happens in the west as long as he gets what he wants. Mo money, mo money, it is always about the money. The fish do not stand a chance. Between the fish farms, the envimental issues, the pollution, the dams, the user groups (commercial, sportfishing, fist nations) and the federal govenment using them for barganing chip the salmon do not stand a chance. I am canadian but am ashamed of how we destroy this resource bit by bit. I have been involved in all the commercial west coast fisheries over 35 years and have seen the crtical mistakes made by DFO over the years in all the fisheries. There needs to be a change in how the fisheries are managed on the westcoast or there will be no fisheries left to manage. The Americans are removing two dams on the Olympic Pennisula south of Vancouver Island on the Westcoast for Chinook salmon enhancement so the Killer whales will have more salmon and the residential pods can rebuild. Here in BC we are installing another dam so we can have more money. Macleans should pick up this story and run with it because if you dig a little I garrentee you will find a real mess and all the evidence to support.

  19. I look forward to seeing how other parties will attempt to exert some influence in the west, now that the power has swayed our way. I’d be open to hearing what kind of ideas the LIberals can come up with that would support the West as well as the rest of Canada. I dont think the NDP will be doing anything but bashing the evils of the “tar-sands”, but the LIberals…well they can make some economic sense from time to time.

    It’s been 32 since the NEP, and I think Albertans are smart enough to realise that its not happening again. Its time that parties actually started COMPETING for our votes in the west by showing us some different ideas and ways in which they can serve the West, and Canada as a whole.

    Problem is, every policy they come up with right now is always going to look like “some Montrealer, Ottawan or Torontonian” trying to tell the west how it should work. I think that can change though. The children of the Maritimers and Ontarians (silent Liberals) who moved to Alberta 15 years ago are now coming of age, and they were raised Liberal. There are going to be alot of born-and-bred Albertan Liberals emerging in the next ten years, who understand the West and can actually seem presentable, maybe even electable.

    Im looking forward to the next 20 years, I really am. I think that when all the parties are forced to compete for the Western vote, it’s better for the West as a whole. When parties start presenting a broad range of ideas for how to move forward, we benefit.

  20. No mention of Hibernia, White Rose or Terra Nova fields off Newfoundland?

  21. All you people bashing green energy as a fraud are idiots….. we are gona have to change…

  22. The cry babies defending the TAR sands are pathetic… And yeah I said tar sands, “Oil sand” is just an other PR ploy from the PMO and oil industry.   Look Canadian oil is terrible for the environment and there is not way of denying that.  I mean if you are going to defend what is happening up there,  attest have the balls to admit that you care more about money then the environment. You can not have it both ways.            

    I am not sur were this quote comes from but I think it apply’s to allot of my fellow Canadians….

    “It is very hard to get a man to understand something, wen his paycheck depends on him not understanding it”

  23. The primary source of GHG is fossil fuel burning electrical generating facilities. http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/GHG-emitters-2010.jpg 
    7 Billion humans generate vast quantities of excrement. I believe this excrement is capable of providing all human electrical demands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiolysis 
    Right now hydrogen is perceived as a negative by product, of Nuclear Energy, when it should be the product, as the Pentagon has considered. reference info Request for Information (RFI) on Deployable Reactor Technologies … DARPA-SN-10-37@darpa.mil
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=d0792af88a6a4484b3aa9d0dfeaaf553&…
    Large scale conversions sites are intended to replace fossil fuel powered electrical facilities the Primary Source of Carbon Emissions.
    http://www.populist.com/99.12.krebs.blob.html
    In what officials now say was a mistaken strategy to reduce the waste’s volume, organic chemicals were added years ago which were being bombarded by radiation fields, resulting in unwanted hydrogen. The hydrogen was then emitted in huge releases that official studies call burps, causing “waste-bergs,” chunks of waste floating on the surface, to roll over.

    Dennis Baker
    106-998 Creston Avenue
    Penticton BC  V2A1P9
    cell phone              250-462-3796       
    Phone / Fax              778-476-2633         

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