Why won’t Canada set oil and gas regulations?

The government misses every self-imposed deadline it announces


Etienne de Malglaive/REA/Redux

Stephen Harper and Barack Obama may eventually disagree about the merits of building a pipeline, Keystone XL, that would deliver millions of barrels of bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to thirsty American consumers. Harper lobbied Obama directly at a G8 summit earlier this summer, and Obama recently responded by scoffing at the job-creation potential of the pipeline. Whether or not the pipeline receives the president’s approval is a mystery. Everything any American official says is parsed by proponents and opponents as helpful to their respective causes, and harmful to the other side.

Obama has hinted that Canada “could be doing more to mitigate carbon release.” Like what? Setting emissions regulations for oil and gas producers, for one. Despite continual promises to do so, Environment Canada keeps missing its own self-imposed deadlines to regulate the industry, as the Toronto Star reminds us this morning.

That lack of movement on such an important file is baffling. Harper has staked so much political capital on the success of the pipeline that he’d certainly be embarrassed if it failed. His government has promised regulations that are widely seen as essential to the pipeline’s approval. Yet, nothing doing. Canada’s new environment minister, Leona Aglukkaq, wasn’t available for an interview with the Star. The file continues to earn the government negative press, and the government responds that it “is continuing to work on” the much-vaunted regulations—leaving environmental groups and opposition MPs to fill the void, and bark about the feds’ inability to seal the deal. Each day brings a new communications defeat.

What’s happening at Environment Canada?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with criticism of the American decision to close 19 embassies around the world based on terrorist threats centring on Yemen. The National Post fronts the mourning and confusion in Campbellton, N.B., after a python allegedly strangled two boys to death. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a report that says Ontario’s largest youth superjail must move away from a corrections focus or risk having its effectiveness deteriorate. The Ottawa Citizen leads with an overloaded military rehab unit that had trouble tracking Howard Richmond, an Afghanistan veteran charged in the stabbing death of his wife. iPolitics fronts Conservative MP James Rajotte’s views about party discipline and the freedom of backbenchers to speak their minds. CBC.ca leads with a vigil for the New Brunswick boys apparently killed by the python. CTV News leads with the New Brunswick vigil. National Newswatch showcases a CBC News story about the completion of an audit that examines Senator Pamela Wallin’s expenses.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Leadership. Former Liberal leadership candidate Ken Dryden, who never paid back $225,000 of a self-loan made during the 2006 race, has no plans to raise that money—and no can can force him. 2. Roma. New rules have seen refugee claimants from Hungary plummet in the last year, dropping from 724 between January and March 2012 to just 33 during the same period this year.
3. Egypt. Egypt’s ambassador to Canada, Wael Aboulmagd, publicly praised Canada’s response to the Egyptian crisis earlier this summer, calling it forward thinking and positive. 4. Railway. The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway at the heart of the Lac-Megantic disaster is continuing to operate its lines on either side of the devastated town, hoping to salvage business.
5. Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe’s invigorated government plans to force all foreign-owned mining companies to cede 51 per cent of their assets to government or black investors. 6. France. The High Council for Integration is recommending the banning of Muslim headscarves at French universities—a ban similar to those already in place in schools and the public service.


Why won’t Canada set oil and gas regulations?

  1. The most underreported story today is that the Gates of Hell are now open for a month and our lives are at risk. Those other stories are important, of course, but how can msm not cover the opening of Hell?

    Ghost Month:

    The seventh lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar is called Ghost Month. On the first day of the month, the Gates of Hell are sprung open to allow ghosts and spirits access to the world of the living. The spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and and looking for victims.

    This makes ghost month a bad time to do activities such as evening strolls, traveling, moving house, or starting a new business. Many people avoid swimming during ghost month, since there are many spirits in the water which can try to drown you.


  2. We have among the worlds strictest oil and gas regulations!
    We don’t need to be part of the “GREEN SCAM”…follow the money, not the
    political talking points!

    • So why is it so Hard for the Failed Harper government to come up with rules and regulations for the oil and gas industry. WHEN Obama kills the deal, Harper will only have his lazy assed incompetent ministers and cabinet to blame.

    • We also have the highest level of “transparency and accountability” of any government….. at any time….. in any galaxy…. ever

  3. The Harper government be inactive on environmental issues? (heck, any Canadian government so far being inactive on environmental issues) Say it is not so!

  4. Before you all start churning out the standard jingoistic jingles on how great Canada is on the environmental side of things, try doing a search on the number of toxic waste cleanups from abandoned mines, chemical factories, illegal sewage discharges, train derailments, gas stations, oil spills, polluted lakes, rivers, and streams, and you have a country that has been literally screwed over for the last 50 years or so. It’s the same old “I can’t see it so it must not be real” approach here in Canukistan. It’s a good thing that we didn’t tap into our coal reserves the way that the US had or we’d have done some real damage on that front as well.

  5. So Canada’s Awesome Harper Government won’t set oil and gas regulations and won’t act on greenhouse gases.

    But they did make sure that this very webpage included a pop-up ad for Canada’s Economic Action! Plan, funded by the tax payer. And if you click. you’re taken to a taxpayer-funded website that brags about:

    – Responsible resource development
    – Environmental protection
    – Safety
    – And jobs, jobs, jobs

    Classic Harper – take care of the important stuff (political advertising, shilling for private oilsand interests) and ignore things you don’t care about (oil and gas regulations, greenhouse gas policy).

  6. Barack Obama won’t set export limits on US thermal coal exports, which keep on rising to record levels, year and year, during his years in office.

    The United States is also now exporting record amounts of diesel and refined products.

    Basically, the entire US economy recovery from the Great Recession is predicated on exporting carbon.

    • In fact, the entire so-called manufacturing renaissance in the United States is based on cheap natural gas, refined petroleum products, and industrial chemicals production shifting back to the US because of cheap natural gas.

      Obama has done nothing to control the out-of-control natural gas flaring in US Bakken oil production in the Dakotas. The Dakotas are brighter than Manhattan at night from space. The emissions from this flaring is not including the the carbon content of Bakken oils for comparison with oil sands oil.

  7. If the Gummint and its’ corporate friends wanted regulations,
    we would have them. Ignore what they say. Watch what they do.
    Vive Bruce Carson !

  8. Nick – Keystone XL has NOTHING to do with delivering bitumen to “thirsty American consumers”. Rather, Keystone XL will transport bitumen to refineries in Texas for export to markets where the end product will be worth the most.

  9. Why wont Canada regulate the oil and gas industry?

    Ask Emerson over at EPIC.

  10. Regulating the oil and gas industry is a provincial responsibility. To be fair to Mr, Taylor-Vaisey, most journalists and academics either miss or ignore that point in discussing this issue.

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