Thursday, 15 February 2018

Letter to BC Premier John Horgan

Honourable John Horgan
Premier of British Columbia
PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 9E1

February 13, 2018

Dear Premier:

I am writing about the Government of British Columbia's announcement proposing to set up a scientific advisory panel to develop recommendations regarding potential restrictions on current and increased diluted bitumen ("dilbit") transport. CEPA sees this proposal as unnecessary and duplicative of previous work conducted on this issue.

There is a significant body of research that proves the transportation of dilbit does not pose an increased risk to pipeline infrastructure or the environment. Accredited studies in this respect include but are not limited to the following:
  • Properties, Composition and Marine Spill Behaviour, Fate and Transport of Two Diluted Bitumen Products from the Canadian Oil Sands, Government of Canada, 2013;
  • Effects of Diluted Bitumen of a Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines, National Academy of Sciences, 2013;
  • Comparison of the Corrosivity of Dilbit and Conventional Crude, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures 2011;
  • The Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments, Royal Society of Canada, 2015; and
  • Dilbit Corrosivity, Penspen, 2013.
In addition to the above research, CEPA is sponsoring a study conducted by SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd. to further assess the behavior and response options for spills of conventional and unconventional oil. CEPA is also supporting another study through the International Institute for Sustainable Development - Experimental Lakes Area (a non-government organization) to examine the efficacy of oil spill treatment strategies on several types of shorelines. The results of these studies will be critical importance to continually improving our members' world class spill preparedness and response capabilities. 

We have been an active partner and collaborator with the B.C. government and other stakeholders on B.C.'s land-based spill preparedness and response enhancement initiative since 2012. Much of your government's announcement included regulatory intentions consistent with what had previously been discussed with stakeholders. However, the introduction of an additional scientific panel on dilbit and potential restrictions on additional dilbit movement were never part of the five-year consultation process and came as a surprise to those involved. 

CEPA is unclear about what your government seeks to accomplish, given that extensive research has been conducted into the behaviour of dilbit and the nature of the product is well-understood. As an association representing an industry which is committed to continuous improvement and the highest standards of environmental performance we are eager to engage with the province on research that will continue to move the industry forward but governments must respect approvals that are in place and decisions that have already been made must be respected. 

Regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), our opinion is that further study by the proposed advisory panel would not alter the decisions reached by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the National Energy Board (NEB). The provincial certification and federal approval for the TMEP was achieved because of years of extensive regulatory reviews and consultations which included on the record research and evidence based evaluations about the fate and behavior of dilbit. The conclusions drawn by the NEB were that existing studies enabled sufficient modelling of the fate and behavior of dilbit for the purposes of spill response planning. 

As you are aware, the federal approval for the TMEP contained 157 conditions which requires Kinder Morgan to regularly demonstrate compliance by filing updates with the federal regulator throughout the project lifecycle. Among other things, these conditions require that Kinder Morgan has established emergency preparedness and response exercise and training programs for the pipeline and terminals, and conducts full-scale emergency response exercises for scenarios which includes dilbit releases into Burrard Inlet. For these reasons, the federal government has publicly stated that the Trans Mountain Pipeline project "fits within Canada's climate strategy and meets the strictest environmental standards." The facts and evidence bolstering this statement have not changed. 

Emergency response and management is a responsibility that industry takes very seriously. CEPA's members have committed to ongoing research and continuous improvements to meet the highest safety and environmental standards, now and into the future, to ensure the development of world-leading spill preparedness and response practices. I would welcome the opportunity to meet in person and discuss the previously mentioned research as well as industry led emergency management initiatives. 

     Yours sincerely, 
                    Hon. Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
                    Hon. Jim Carr, Minister Natural Resources Canada
                    Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister Environment and Climate Change Canada
                    Hon. Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, BC
                    Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, BC

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Global Warming Convert Sees Natural Gas Bonanza As Climate Cure

Published: DOB
By: Maurice Smith

Physicist and self-described converted skeptic on climate change Richard Muller says the shale gas revolution has arrived just in time to offer a solution to the climate crisis.

And an associated pollution calamity unfolding in China could be the catalyst to spread the shale gale there and elsewhere to buy time to deal with the larger crisis, he told a Calgary audience.
“The number of people who die every year in China from air pollution is 1.6 million. That’s 17 per cent of their mortality. They know this — the world is ignoring it. This is the greatest environmental catastrophe in the world today and we more or less ignore it,” Muller said.
“If you are an environmentalist, this is the greatest environmental catastrophe in the world today. Global warming may be the world’s greatest environmental catastrophe of all time, but this is the catastrophe today. And the good news is, if we solve this, we solve global warming.”
Muller was speaking as part of the Pat Carlson Lecture Series, which included talks in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat last week. Pat Carlson retired as Seven Generations Energy Ltd.’s founding CEO and director in 2017. Of the lecture series, which is mainly focused on smaller cities in Alberta and B.C., Carlson said: “the idea is that when people understand climate change they we will [be] able to better participate in the public dialogue that is required in order to inform public policy, so that we set up our country to win in the evolving business environment.”
Muller is the author of a number of books, including Physics for Future Presidents and Energy for Future Presidents.The University of California, Berkeley professor penned an op-ed in The New York Times in 2012 headlined The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic.
Initially unconvinced of the evidence, Muller launched a research project, Berkeley Earth, to determine for himself if human-caused climate change was occurring. After years of data gathering and analysis, the dozen or so researchers involved concluded that global warming was real, that prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct and that “humans are almost entirely the cause” — and setting Muller off on a mission to prevent it.
Claims of an unexpected “pause” in global warming have proven to be false, he noted, pointing out that natural variations caused by occurrences like El NiƱo account for small deviations in the unceasingly upward climb in temperatures. “If there was a pause, it wasn’t really a pause, it was just a stair step. The last two years were the warmest years ever [recorded].”
The exercise allowed Muller to “address all the issues that the skeptics were confused about, what they didn’t understand, what no one would explain to them. So I’m the best person to convince any skeptic, I really am,” he said. “I respect them, I know where they are coming from, I know their arguments, I can address them. It is real, and it’s caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide.”
The challenge in Muller’s mind is that the solution to the problem no longer lies with the West but rather with developing countries where most of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions is occurring.
China, for example, has seen annual growth averaging 10 per cent per year until recently, combined with a near commensurate rise in GHGs, and indications are its growth rate is about to pick up again, though it has pledged to decouple economic growth from the rise in emissions.
“The U.S. and the developed world is no longer in control of global warming,” Muller said. “Global warming comes about because of emissions in the developing world. I’m not blaming them, I’m just pointing out that if the emissions in India and China continue to grow as expected then nothing we do in the U.S. [will matter]. We could drop [emissions] to zero and within four years, emissions will be back where they were.”
In fact “feel good” actions in developed countries, like pledging to dramatically reduce or eliminate emissions in the coming decades, is actually counterproductive, he said.
“I was in British Columbia a couple of years ago, and they wanted to be zero emissions. What are zero emissions? Zero emissions are bragging rights. But in going zero emissions they were going to do that by cutting back on natural gas exports to China where it would have replaced coal, and so they were hurting global warming [reduction efforts] by taking a step that made them think they were helping global warming.
“Anything we do has to set an example that China and India can afford to follow, and that means it has to be affordable. If it isn’t profitable, it is not sustainable. Most of the things being proposed by most groups don’t address this issue at all,” he added.
While years of wind and solar expansion — of which China is a global leader — have granted the country many favourable headlines, renewables still provide only a small fraction of the country’s energy needs and it remains massively dependent on coal, he said.
“I hear all the time that China is leading the world in the development of renewables. If this isn’t fake news, nothing else is,” he said. “What you will hear in the papers is solar power in China is growing rapidly — well when you are 0.06 per cent [solar power] you can grow rapidly and not grow very much.”

Air pollution catalyst

So is there any hope to solve global warming, he asks. “Yes, there is hope. Ironically the hope comes from air pollution.”
Muller’s research team undertook an investigation of the impacts of air pollution in China and elsewhere in the developing world. Particulate matter — specifically PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller — represents “the dirty secret,” he said. Small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs where they are absorbed into the blood, they lead to cardiorespiratory disease and contribute to some three million premature deaths worldwide annually.
“Beijing air pollution is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes every day,” he noted. “This provides high incentive for China to address air pollution, because it is killing so many people — 4,400 people every day.
“Can fracking solve this? The answer is yes, and here is the key fact: air pollution from coal versus air pollution from fracking. The key thing is particulate matter—this is the killer. That was not really widely recognized until the late 1990s. And natural gas reduces that by a factor of 400. If you build natural gas in place of coal, you reduce this worst of all the air pollution.”
Though natural gas — which produces about half the CO2 as coal when combusted — still contributes to climate change, its use will buy time to stave off the worse impacts of rising temperatures.
“I really want to solve global warming. I want to slow it and stop it, and we need natural gas in order to do that. You might call it a bridge fuel, [to use] for the next four or five decades, but we certainly need it because it is so much better than coal, and coal is the alternative. Natural gas slows the warming by a factor of two, in some cases a factor of three. That’s enormous—we need that time.”
Despite his conversion from skeptic to climate change solver, Muller remains a controversial figure among some environmentalists, who suggest he does not give enough credit to the falling costs and feasible widespread use of renewables to reduce emissions, while downplaying the impacts of fracking.
Muller said many of the criticisms are due to misinformation or relate to things that can be addressed with regulation. For example, leakage of methane from fracking and natural gas infrastructure — which has been argued negates the advantage of natural gas over coal because of methane’s vastly greater, though shorter term, impact on a warming atmosphere—is not a major problem, Muller maintains. “It is usually easy to fix — most of the leakage in the U.S. comes about from a few places where there were very sloppy well [completions].”
Methane’s global warming impact has also been exaggerated, he said. For instance, because methane weighs less than CO2, molecule per molecule, claims that it has over 80 times the greenhouse potential as CO2 over a 20-year time frame are overstated.“If you compared kilogram to kilogram, [its impact] goes from a factor of 80 [times the warming potential] down to a factor of something like 20.”

Export fracking expertise

Canada and the U.S. can help by exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia in the short to medium term, but ultimately the countries leading in fracking technology should export the expertise to countries like China so they can produce their own shale gas, he said. China is estimated to possess vast quantities of shale gas but has been slow to develop it.
They can best do this by promoting reforms in China to encourage investment such that foreign companies can operate independently and be allowed to earn a profit on their investment.
“Somehow we need to have some sort of mechanism whereby Canadian experts can go over to China, expect to make a profit, and help the Chinese make a profit. The smaller oil and gas companies are the ones that really know how to exploit, how to explore, how to develop new methods, how to be adaptable, how to be flexible. We need to get the smaller companies involved, not just the big giants, but the smaller companies over to China helping on this,” Muller told the DOB.
“If I were advising your prime minister I would say, go over there and talk to President Xi [Jinping] and devise some method that will honestly allow the Canadian oil and gas producers to go over there with an expectation that they will be treated fairly, that their contracts will be honest, that they can get the information that they need, and let’s develop your resources together.”

Bearish on EVs, bullish on nuclear

Muller said he is “not bullish on electric vehicles,” as a solution to climate change, both because they are not much cleaner than internal combustion vehicles (since the electricity supply is still largely fossil fuel dependent) and they remain too costly for widespread adoption in the developing world. He favours hybrid gas electric vehicles.
(China is also global leader in EV sales with market share hitting 3.3 per cent in December, up from 1.5 per cent through 2016. Several countries have pledged to ban sales of internal combustion engine powered cars by 2040.)
“I basically predict all cars will be hybrids in the future. The pure battery ones have very serious problems. They don’t solve the global warming problem — everybody thinks they do, and they don’t,” Muller maintains.
Which isn’t to say the billions of dollars major auto companies are investing in electric vehicle technology will be for naught, he said. “My guess is that they recognize, long term, they are developing batteries that they will use in their hybrid vehicles. So all the research and work they are doing with development will pay off, but I don’t think the long term will be pure electric, it will be hybrid.”
Muller, who is also chief technology officer of Deep Isolation, a company that offers innovative solutions to secure nuclear waste, is upbeat on nuclear power, particularly the new breed of small modular reactors being developed which can be built more cheaply in a manufacturing facility and transported to site, and remain largely unmanned through their working life.
“The future is in modular reactors. They don’t have any of the accident capabilities that the old generation of reactors had. They are basically immune to meltdown — that’s huge, because meltdown has been at the core of every serious [nuclear] accident that has happened.
“The problem is, China is encouraging their development and right now the United States is opposing it. You cannot get any modular reactor licensed in the U.S. right now. We are stifling the kind of innovation in the United States that would be enormously helpful around the world. There are bills that are pending that would make that happen, so we are working on it, but it has to happen. China is building 32 nuclear reactors as we speak. Nuclear power is coming, the only question is, is it developed solely in China or is it also developed by other countries.”

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The most irrational, damaging or downright dumb beliefs of 2017

By: Gwyn Morgan - Columnist, Troy Media

          A look back at 2017 shows far too many instances in Canada where we got it all wrong

      For my first column of the New Year, I've dipped into my collection of irrational, damaging or downright dumb happenings in 2017. 
      The year saw major breakthroughs in the use of genetically-modified human cells to treat diseases, including retinal dystrophy and blood cancer. Human genetic re-engineering is an emerging science but there has been little public concern. 
      By contrast, baseless fear-mongering by activists opposed to genetically-modified organisms has turned GMO food into a public pariah. 
      In reality, genetically-modified foods, such as Canadian canola oil, have been consumed by humans for more than two decades without a single substantiated case of harm. 
      How can it be that people are OK with GMO being injected directly into our bodies, while eating plants derived from the same technology is feared? 
      Environmentalists escalated their campaigns to end British Columbia's important salmon farming industry. Yet virtually all credible scientists, including those with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, have found no evidence that fish farms harm wild salmon. 
      Even though 70 per cent of salmon consumption comes from farms, the wild population remains under pressure from over-fishing. Removing farmed salmon supplies would increase that pressure dramatically. 
      Environmentalists, Indigenous tribes and Quebec politicians united to kill TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline project, which would have moved Canadian oil to eastern refineries and international markets. 
      Instead, foreign-flagged tankers continue to make their way up the St. Lawrence Seaway and billions of Canadian dollars continue to flow to countries with appalling environmental and human rights records. 
      Meanwhile, economically-beleaguered Alberta continues to help fund Quebec's annual $10-billion equalization grant. 
     After Prime Minster Justin Trudeau tells Albertans that the fossil fuel industry must be phased out, a 2017 International Energy Agency report predicts daily global oil demand will increase by 10 million barrels to 104 million barrels by 2040.
    Meanwhile, Canada pursues unilateral decarbonisation, an ideologically driven form of economic hara-kiri that hands the market for our most economically important industry to others.
    Ironically, the biggest 'other' is the United States, which is expected to supply a substantial portion of the growing global demand despite possessing smaller oil reserves than Canada.
    A Fraser Institute report finds that federal, provincial and municipal government employees earn an average of 11 per cent more than comparable private sector workers whose taxes pay the cost. On top of that, public sector workers enjoy much more generous pension and retirement benefits.
    Another Fraser Institute study finds the average Canadian family will pay more than $35,000 in taxes in 2017, more than they spend on housing , food and clothing combined.
    Despite Canada's escalating taxes, Trudeau is on track to increase the country's national debt by more than any other prime minister who didn't face a world war or major economic recession.
    Personal income tax rate increases lifted top combined federal/provincial rates to more than 50 per cent in seven of 10 provinces, higher than other developed countries.
    While in Canadian politicians tout advanced technological innovation as key to our country's economic future, these tax escalations made Canada uncompetitive in attracting and retaining the best and brightest workers needed to accomplish that.  
     Then, in the closing days of 2017, U.S. legislators passed a tax bill that further widened the rate gap for highly mobile skilled workers. 
     In response to challenges Canadian entrepreneurs have long faced in attracting venture capital investment, the federal government announced a new $400-million fund. 
     Then came an announcement that seemed too farcical to be true. The struggling entrepreneurs who the plan is supposed to help will now have to demonstrate how their strategies will "advance the objective of achieving gender balance" in the Canadian startup scene. 
     Hence, fund allocations were transformed from supporting the highest potential ideas to a $400-million political correctness fund. 
     The final weeks of 2017 saw dangerously cold weather in much of Canada and the United States. I can't help but wonder what all those who advocate replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar are thinking as tens of millions suffer through the deep freeze with only fossil fuels keeping them safe and warm. 
     It's time for those green power disciples to prove faith in their rhetoric. I propose that utilities offer customers the option of no fossil fuels green power service. It would be interesting to see how many of the loudest phase-out-fossil-fuel set would subscribe. 

                                                                 Happy New Year!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Stand up for Canada

By: Rod Garland

As Albertans, we know that we live in one of the most beautiful provinces in one of the best countries in the world. From the spectacular Rocky Mountains, through the foothills, the boreal forests and into the grasslands of the prairies, we have it all, except a coast line of course.

We are blessed with impressive natural resources that are the envy of many, that provide, through development and export, a great bounty for all Canadians. It should be no surprise that the 3 provinces that contribute substantially through equalization payments to the rest of the other provinces and territories of Canada are Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan, all with a high natural resource economic profile.

There are challenges however living, working and playing in northern latitudes due to the extremes in weather conditions and difficulty to access those resources for portions of the year, but with a population that is small, relative to the vast expanse that is Canada, we have become leaders in inventing and developing technologies, techniques and equipment to deliver these resources to consumers to improve their way and value of life.

Increasingly over time, public support for natural resource development in Canada has diminished, not in a small part due to the influence from activists, protestors and obstructionists, many funded by foreign interests, who stand to benefit financially from our inability to fully develop and deliver our own resource projects to completion.  These activists have many stripes, are well organized and will use any and all means to swing the public approval meter to their side and as an industry, we have so far, largely been reactive rather than proactive in recognizing and responding to the threat.

It’s time for resource companies to change their approach and start genuine communication with real people in the communities, by winning the war of trust and respect and by appealing to their emotions, beliefs and values.

People generally form their own opinions on facts, right or wrong, from early experiences, education and direction from parents, teachers, mentors and media and yes; there are alternate facts, fake news, and biases. We have to acknowledge this and find ways to prove that future projects are in the highest standards of public interest and in-line with the values shared by the middle majority. There will always be radical believers at either end of the environmental argument so a genuine approach showing how these concerns will be addressed is paramount. It should never be the economy versus the environment, both should have equally high standing.

A bond of trust has to be established directly with the public, they don’t particularly care what you know, they do however want to know that you care, and at present this trust has yet to be won by our industry leaders.

In our current system political approval is necessary to bring projects to completion and our politicians tend to reflect wherever public sentiment is residing, as that is where they gain and secure power every 4 or 5 years or so, regardless of the project viability. We can’t rely on, or expect meaningful political support for natural resource development until and unless the public is first supportive and aware of the specific benefit to them.

My hope for 2018 and beyond is that Canada, now 150 years in the making, comes to realize that it is more than just a collection of competing Provinces and Territories, more than a collection of competing Urban and Rural interests and more than any existing divides between the ethnic variety and aboriginal peoples that are Canada.

From Wikipedia

The name of Canada has been in use since the founding of the French colony of Canada in the 16th century. The name originates from a Saint-Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata (or canada) for "settlement", "village", or "land"

It is time for us to put Canada first and demonstrate the pride we feel about working in the many natural resource industries that provide and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. The real environmental champions are those that live, work and play in the environment and we must continue to strive to respect the environment and use all means possible to improve and pass these treasures on to future generations.

Canada and Canadians need to stand up and be counted in support of all of our industries that are shadowed by our biggest trading partner to the south, which is also our biggest competitor.

At the moment political turmoil and intrigue in the US resembles a plot from a James Bond movie, “From Russia with Love”, or “GoldenHair”, with Bond girls, action, fighting, back stabbing and more as they struggle for power, taking on all comers in an attempt to achieve world domination.

There is an immediate imperative to get our act together and get necessary resource projects built and delivered, particularly pipelines from our resource rich areas to tidewater so that we can effectively compete.

The CAGC strongly supports The Canadian Association of Drilling Contractors (CAODC) which has championed the Oil Respect Campaign that reaches out to all stakeholders across Canada with information, stories, facts, videos and organizes events. Their website is a great resource for promoting Oil & Gas projects.

Oil Respect is a campaign to stand-up for Canada’s oil and gas industry, one of the most regulated and technologically advanced industries in the world. Each year our industry safely produces, refines, transports, and distributes products from jet fuel to fertilizer while providing well-paying jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenues for all Canadians. Yet, despite these facts, government policy and popular sentiment seem increasingly intent on marginalizing the sector and divesting from resource development.

ResourceEd is a fantastic educational toolbox of information, techniques and advice to enable industry leaders to take on the challenge to meaningfully connect with, and improve relationships with the public.  With more than 30 years of natural resource operations and management leadership under his belt, Steve Simons founded Beyond.Action Strategy Consulting, and created ResourcEd, an online and classroom training program, for natural resource people and their organizations.

Introducing game changing perspectives and insights on gaining and sustaining public confidence for natural resource industries. Let's face it, natural resource industries in Canada (and elsewhere) are facing challenges unlike any other industry on the planet! Public confidence has been rocked, and it shows up as polarized, politicized and positional, economy versus environment, standoffs. Protest after protest are dividing communities, causing strife and damaging relationships. Projects killed. jobs lost. It's not normal. ResourcEd is dedicated to teaching natural resource organizations, industries and communities what they need to know to stand up and be heard”.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Our review of energy cost inputs - Trudeau & Trump's diverging energy policies

By: Canadians for Affordable Energy

Canada-United States energy policies are rapidly diverging. Donald Trump was supposed to be a White House train wreck. But as 2017 ends, the U.S. president is scoring wins that will boost the U.S. economy, create good-paying jobs, and advance his administration’s ambition of American energy dominance.

Former presidents focused on “energy independence,” which was neither sensible nor necessary government policy when friendly neighbours – like Canada and Mexico – can help meet rising U.S. energy demand. In contrast, President Trump wants his country to export energy, use its natural resources to fuel domestic economic growth, and advance U.S. foreign policy by providing energy security to its allies, thereby weakening Russia and hostile countries in the Middle East.

To increase U.S. output of oil, natural gas and coal, Trump signed an executive order approving Alberta’s Keystone XL pipeline soon after entering the White House, lifted a moratorium on new coal leasing on federal land, abandoned the Paris climate agreement, promised to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (now done), and cut job-killing and investment-killing red tape. As the Weekly Standard reported, “The government has added an average of 13,000 new restrictions annually for the past 20 years. Under Trump, the number of new regulations is near zero.” Near Zero! That’s an impressive accomplishment by any measure.

And that was just the warm up act. This week, before leaving for its Christmas recess, Congress passed the biggest tax overhaul in 30 years. This sweeping tax bill will dramatically lower the U.S. business tax rate from 35% to 21%. Canada just lost its tax advantage – the average Canadian federal-provincial combined tax is now one point higher than the combined U.S. federal-state rate.

U.S. tax relief isn’t being slowly phased in over a decade, it will happen overnight – effective January 1, 2018. Tax expert Jack Mintz writes in the Financial Post, “Canada’s competitive position is about to get rocked, making it harder for Canadian governments to push costs onto businesses through higher levies and regulations. Federal and provincial authorities will need to change course. If politicians sit on their hands, the private sector won’t: Canadians will see investment, jobs and profits flowing to the States.”

There is more: U.S. energy companies, which traditionally have a higher marginal tax burden than other large companies, are the “tax overhaul’s biggest winner,” according to Forbes magazine. Energy is a capital-intensive business. “Under current tax law, [capital] expenditures can't be deducted in the year they are incurred. But the new law allows capital expenditures to be deducted in the year of their occurrence. This change will further lower the tax burden for the energy sector while encouraging more capital spending.”
And what’s happening in Canada?
Justin Trudeau is also motoring ahead on his own energy policy. Only our Prime Minister is less forthcoming than President Trump about the Liberal government’s objective, which is to shackle Canada’s hydrocarbon energy industry.

Like Trump, Prime Minister Trudeau wasted no time pursuing his agenda when he assumed office by cancelling the Northern Gateway pipeline project from Alberta to British Columbia. The Energy East pipeline to New Brunswick was killed this year after Ottawa signalled it wanted the National Energy Board to add layers of regulations on “upstream and downstream” CO2 emissions. It didn’t matter that the rules were being changed after Energy East had started the review process. Tellingly, the same “upstream and downstream” public review of Bombardier and Ford operations wasn’t done before these companies received massive government subsidies.

The effects of these deliberate policy changes combined with rising taxes on carbon dioxide emissions mean less investment in Canada’s oil sector, lost employment opportunity, and higher energy prices at home. The next hit on business and consumers will be the federal government’s soon-to-be unveiled Clean Fuels Standard regulations. It will add layers of red tape while steadily increasing the price of all forms of hydrocarbon fuels in Canada – including gasoline or diesel to fill your car, and natural gas, home heating oil or wood to heat your home.

In January 2017, the Prime Minister said at a town hall, “We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels but it’s going to take time and in the meantime we have to manage that transition.” Trudeau quickly backpedalled, said he “misspoke” and told Canadians, “I said something the way I shouldn’t have said it.” But it was a revealing political gaffe. As the political commentator, journalist and Vanity Fair columnist Michael Kinsley has said, a gaffe reveals some truth that a politician did not intend to admit.

Today, RBC Dominion Securities warns “Canadian oilsands producers face rising price discounts as growing production ‘materially exceeds’ export pipeline capacity to the United States in the first quarter of 2018.” Translation: Canada cannot get its oil to international sellers and is forced to sell its product at a lower price to the few buyers it can reach. Because our oil is unable to reach either the Pacific or Atlantic oceans, we are left with one foreign buyer – the United States – which sets the discount price.

Reuters warns: Canada oil producers exhaust options as pipelines, railroads fill. Oil companies have left Canada to invest instead in the U.S. – a more agreeable and profitable location – and in 2017 sold over US$23-billion in Canadian assets. Reuters also reports that output from Canada’s oilsands will grow, “but only as projects under construction are completed and smaller expansions come online.” Energy companies aren’t building new large projects. Why? Prices aren’t high enough and higher returns are realized elsewhere in North America.

Take a bow Mr. Kinsley: Prime Minister Trudeau's vow to “phase out” the oilsands was prophetic. Only it’s happening far faster than anyone expected.
When Canada and the U.S. has had broadly aligned energy policy, which is the historical norm, the outcome has led to aligned prices for consumers. Divergent policies will lead to dramatically different prices – at a cost to Canadians at home and at work.

Canadians for Affordable Energy
Canadians for Affordable Energy · Canada

Friday, 8 December 2017

First jobs tough to get in Alberta last year

Published: The Owl
By: ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team

It may have been selling corn dogs at the summer fair or clearing tables at a local restaurant--all of us will vividly remember our first real jobs. Entry-level employment is rarely glamorous or high paying, but those first jobs are critical for gaining valuable work experience.
Statistics Canada, in a report titled “Getting your foot in the door: A look at entry-level job vacancies in Canada” profiles the kinds of jobs offered to new workers. It explores topics such as: How many entry-level job vacancies are available? What are their characteristics? Which occupations offer entry-level positions?

It also profiles the unemployment rates among entry-level workers by province. The chart below shows the 2016 jobless rate for entry-level jobs compared to the overall job market. For most provinces, the unemployment rate for entry-level jobs (the blue bar) was lower than was the overall rate (the yellow bar), suggesting that it was easier for people just entering the job market to find work than those who were established in their careers.

However, in Alberta the unemployment rate for entry-level work was actually higher than the overall unemployment rate--it was nine per cent, almost 8/10th of a percentage point greater than the overall rate. (This was also the case in Manitoba and Ontario, although the differences here were smaller.)
So while 2016 was tough for established workers in Alberta, it was even more difficult for young workers or new Canadians looking for their first work experiences. Those corn dog sellers and table clearers may have been quite happy to find the jobs they did.