Harper and FIPA: Sell-out on a Friday afternoon

Harper with Chinese official

Cartoon of HarperBy Montreal Simon

He waited until late Friday afternoon to announce that the Cons had ratified their controversial trade deal with China.

Hoping that most people wouldn’t notice.

Ottawa confirms it has ratified a foreign investment treaty with China, more than two years after the controversial agreement was signed, as CBC News first reported Friday. The controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) will come into force on Oct. 1, said International Trade Minister Ed Fast in a news release Friday afternoon.

He couldn’t even wait to see if the courts would rule it unconstitutional.

And with good reason. For it is one of the greatest sellouts this country has ever seen.

A betrayal of the people of British Columbia.

As FIPA comes into force, it would have a major impact on projects such as Enbridge Northern Gateway and potentially some LNG proposals. The deal would allow Chinese investors to sue British Columbia if it changed course on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

An assault on the rights of First Nations and the authority of our courts.

“Even if found unconstitutional by a court down the road…once the treaty has been ratified, none of the obligations assumed by Canada can be modified unless China agrees,” he said.

One that makes absolutely no economic sense…

Although proponents argue that the deal would protect Canadian businesses and create jobs, critics say FIPA would be inevitably skewed in China’s favour because Chinese investment in Canada is much larger than Canadian ownership in China.

Chinese companies have invested over $30 billion in Canada’s energy industry alone. Canadian direct investment in China in all sectors totalled $4.2 billion in 2012.

And one that as Elizabeth May points out will make us prisoners of the Chinese for at least 31 years.

Once ratified, the Canada-China Investment Agreement will bind Canada, including future governments, for a minimum of 31 years. Unlike NAFTA, with an exit clause of 6 months’ notice, this agreement, also called a FIPA (Foreign Investor Protection Agreement) cannot be exited for the first 15 years. After 15 years, either country can exit on one year’s notice, but any existing investments are further protected for another 15 years. Despite some claims by other politicians that the treaty could be voided by a future government, that is not the case.”

“The only way to exit the treaty would be through negotiations with China in which the government in Beijing agrees. Unilateral withdrawal would trigger a multi-billion dollar claim by the Peoples Republic of China against Canada, with damages open to collection in one hundred countries around the world.”

Can you believe it? Those scummy bastards have locked us into bondage, and sold this country down the drain…

And why is Harper rushing this deal through now? Answer: so he can visit China in November and continue his relentless pursuit of the ethnic vote.

Sound familiar?

For THAT he would sell our country.

Oh boy. Look we may not be able to do anything about that foul deal, but we can do something about those sellout Cons.

While we work with partners to review the legal options, we want to make sure key voters know the Harper Conservatives ratified FIPA behind our backs, and set the stage to make them pay at the ballot box in the next election. Canadians deserve to know, and if Harper won’t tell them, we will.

Sign that petition or this one. Organize, protest, let everyone know what they have done.

And above all prepare to defeat them in the next election.

Call them sellouts, call them TRAITORS.

Tell them enough is ENOUGH.

And they are good to GO . . .

Kenney’s new “Labour Minister Missing in Action” program

Cartoon about LMIA program

By Alison@Creekside

cartoon re LMIA programThis week Employment Minister Jason Kenney replaced the old LMOA, Labour Market Opinion Assessment, with the brand new LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment — henceforth to be known as the LabourMinister Missing in Action program for its accelerated 10-working-day approval process to put TFWs in skilled trades.

Remember those 270 unionized welders and pipefitters laid off from a Husky Sunrise tarsands project last October and replaced by temporary foreign workers?

As one of the former workers explained:

We had to conduct a handover to Saipem, detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us . . .”

And that happened because, under the old LMOA, the federal government had an agreement with Alberta to exempt welders, heavy-duty mechanics and iron workers from the rules about having to ensure Canadian applicants got first crack at those jobs.

So how is Jason Kenney’s new LabourMin Missing in Action program going to work?

Okay, bear with me here.

In April this year, the Canadian Welding Bureau or CWB, the Canadian welding certification and registration org, put out an unusual presser/disclaimer:

CWB defines position on temporary foreign workers

There have recently been publicized reports that the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) is recruiting Filipino welders to fill welding jobs here in Canada, and in particular, to fill vacancies in the BC shipbuilding industry. These statements are incorrect. For the record, the CWB is not in the business of recruiting welders, either from the Philippines or elsewhere, or involved in any job placement schemes, contracts or agreements to enter Canada.”

The presser goes on to explain that while the CWB has operations in the Philippines and 35 other countries, its mandate is to ensure the safety of Canadians and yada yada yada.

The CWB was responding to news stories in the Philippine press that the CWB was indeed doing exactly what its disclaimer denies:

More jobs for Pinoy welders in Canada  and Canada wants more Pinoy skilled workers

British Columbia is on the hunt for Filipino welders and pipe-fitters as it anticipates a shortage of such skilled workers to build 10 new non-combat ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. Anticipating a possible shortage of qualified tradesmen, the Canadian Welding Bureau has accredited test centers in the Philippines to screen well-trained welders, reports ABS-CBN news.

“‘The welders that we are training in Canada right now are not sufficient to fill that vacuum that’s why the Canadian government is looking of hiring temporary workers from outside, and right now, the Philippines is a very favorable place to hire the welders,’ said Bob Montes, certification services representative of the Canadian Welding Bureau.

“Montes added that welders will also be in big demand when construction for the pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia begins.”

And Bingo! — TFW welders for the Northern Gateway pipeline — you know, to fill all those jobs Steve keeps promising us the pipeline will provide for Canadians — hence the new 10-working-day accelerated approval process for skilled workers.

Currently, there are only three centers that are accredited by the Canadian Welding Bureau: Brilliant Metal Works, Zoie Training Center and Primary Structures Educational Foundation, all based in Cebu, Phillipines.Those who pass the test here will get a welding card that is valid anywhere in Canada. With these developments, the Philippine Labor Office is confident that Canada will continue to hire more temporary foreign workers despite charges that the program is stealing jobs away from Canadians.”

Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) takes Cebu City by storm — August 2012

A total of 120 students made it to the cut-off for the first batch of the Canadian Welding Bureau welding class . . . with no less than the Canadian Consul to the Philippines Consul Robert Lee gracing the opening ceremony.

“‘I want to make it my legacy sending world class Filipino welders to Canada before my retirement few years from now. We are proud to be part of this program being the first CWB welding school outside of Canada and the first in the whole world. With this CWB partnership with SKILLS, our people here in the Philippines will experience a world class training inside a welding facility designed using Canadian welding standards.’

“The CWB training runs for eight (8) months holding classes five (5) hours daily from Monday to Friday. It is handled by Prof. Stuart Ring, a former teacher and a retired Canadian Pipe Fitter, duly certified by the Canadian Welding Bureau.”

The Consul’s words kinda remind me of the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, planting a tree at the campus of outsourcing giant Infosys in India in February.

And finally, a CWB presser from Dec 2012:

Canadian Welding Bureau Applauds New Federal Skilled Trades Program to Assist With Shortage of Welders

Craig Martin, vice president of the Office of Public Safety for the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB):

“CWB Group has been working diligently for some time in many countries, pre-qualifying welders so they meet Canadian standards and are job-ready before immigrating to Canada,” said Mr. Martin.

“‘We’ve developed relationships with training institutions in the Philippines and Suriname so their programs adhere to Canadian standards for training and certification. We have also certified companies and qualified welders from countries extending beyond our borders for several years. A program like this is a proactive step forward because it will further allow more CWB qualified welders to enter the country, provide exceptional craftsmanship and fill the ongoing shortage.'”

So is there any actual “ongoing shortage” of welders?

Let’s go to Service Canada, bearing in mind the Alberta Federation of Labour says the feds rely on self-reporting industry surveys for their labour shortage stats . . .

Service Canada — Welders and Related Machine Operators — March 2013

The labour pool may vary considerably depending on the requirements for the position. That explains why this occupation has high unemployment but also a labour shortage.

“In the positions that require a lower level of skill, such as unskilled positions as welders or related machine operators, the labour pool consists of experienced metallurgical workers who have received in-house training. This group includes welder/fitter helpers (see 9612, labourers in metal fabrication) and the many experienced unemployed welders and welder helpers.

“Incidentally, this is the labour pool with the highest unemployment.”

Okay then.

You’ve seen the ads — now play the game!

Enbridge-Douglas Channel comparison

By Drew McLachlan

If you live in British Columbia, odds are you’ve seen the video below about a million times. It’s not a Tourism BC advertisement or the new video for that chillwave band your coworker told you about — it’s one of the many ads produced for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, which are constantly being beamed into the homes, cars, and cell phones of British Columbians both on air and online. All feature footage of BC’s serene landscape (which is an interesting strategy for advertising a project whose strongest opposition has come from a slew of environmental groups), or somebody who just got a job with Enbridge praising the pipeline. (Takeaway: If you’re lucky, you could end up working for Enbridge too!)

The company’s aggressive marketing, however, has failed to penetrate at least a few hearts and/or minds. GatewayFacts.net, for example, has been created by an anonymous “Canadian Citizen” who claims to have no ties to either the project’s opponents or proponents, but who obviously knows something about west coast geography, not to mention flash animation.

For the most part, the website mimics Enbridge’s gatewayfacts.ca, though instead of photos of mystical rainforests it offers a close-up view of an oil spill, and clicking on headers like “benefits” or “environmental responsibility” sends users to online articles from the CBC, The Times Colonist, The Vancouver Sun, and several environmental organizations that are critical of the pipeline.

But the most noteworthy part of the parody is the Great Bear Gamble, a flash game in which players must dodge islands and orcas in order to deliver oil from Kitimat to China. Bumping into land prompts the screen to turn black, and the message “You have utterly ruined the Great Bear Rainforest!” to pop up.

Despite its no-budget look, the game uses a map that’s markedly more accurate than the one Enbridge has been disseminating, in that it actually includes the many islands and channels around which and through which the oil tankers will have to maneuver.

Enbridge Map

Enbridge may have sunk a lot more money into advertising Northern Gateway than Mr. or Ms. Citizen has into the Great Bear Gamble, but when it comes to mapmaking, reality still counts.

Northern Gateway: Time to build a firewall around B.C.

Douglas Channel

Douglas ChannelBy Frank Moher

In 2001, Stephen Harper was famously one of the signatories to an open letter encouraging then-Alberta Premier Ralph Klein “to build firewalls around Alberta.” The idea was that Alberta had to protect itself against the encroachments of the federal government.

This morning it is BC’s turn to defend itself against a predatory federal government — that of Stephen Harper.

With the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, BC will have to begin to build its own firewalls. The first will be political and spiritual — a vociferous refusal to accept the Harper government’s intrusion on the landscape and coastline of northern BC, as it goes about its business on behalf of Calgary’s oil patch. The second will be quite real, and will start on the BC border southwest of Grande Prairie and stretch all the way to the Douglas Channel, the body of water through which Enbridge proposes to run its massive tankers — a wall of civil disobedience, comprised of very real people, First Nations and non-native alike, who will see to it that the Northern Gateway Pipeline does not pass through.

It will be, if not a firewall, an impermeable opposition. This is the course the Harper government has chosen by approving the pipeline — years of social disruption, in a province that knows how to do that sort of thing very well. Or perhaps it will be a firewall — the image of villagers wielding torches and pitchforks as they defend themselves against Calgary and Ottawa’s Frankenstein seems altogether appropriate here, though this time the monster won’t be noble and misunderstood, and the villagers will be in the right.

For now, though, this is the ultimate triumph of the kid who started work in Imperial Oil’s Edmonton offices when he was 19, and who has been carrying boxes for it ever since. Like a lot of young men, Harper discovered fresh territory in the West, just waiting to be conquered. He did so rather handily in Alberta; is it any wonder he now turns his sights to BC?

Things won’t go as smoothly for him here, though. I have lived half my life in Alberta and half in BC, and what I have learned living in the latter, which I never would have suspected living in Alberta, is the depth of British Columbians’ attachment to their landscape. Which only stands to reason — this is among the most powerfully beautiful places on earth. The First Nations here understood their stewardship of it, and — though it took them awhile — the settlers who followed have learned well from them. There are not a lot of things the natives and non-natives of this province do well together, but caring for the land has become one of them.

So, bring it on, Steve. You won’t get far. BC is not Alberta. And the people of BC intend to keep it that way.

***

As a reminder of what happened last time this sort of thing went down, here’s Bob Bossin’s Sulphur Passage, sometimes known as ¡No pasarán! – “They Shall Not Pass.”

Oil sands doc is on key

Karaoke singer against oil sands backdrop

Karaoke singer against oil sands backdropBy Rod Mickleburgh

A guy walks into a bar . . .

That’s pretty much how film-maker Charles Wilkinson came to make his seductive documentary, Oil Sands Karaoke, about, of all things, a karaoke contest in the heart of you-know-what country, Fort McMurray. After being distinctly underwhelmed by two earlier forays during the Vancouver International Film Festival’s final week (Gloria and When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism), it was refreshing to see a film that captured and held my attention.

The documentary focuses on five diverse individuals who work in or around the oil sands. Rather than letting their jobs define them, however, they shine in a totally different light on the nights they repair to Bailey’s Pub to indulge their love of karaoke.

There, they dare to dream as divas, dare to stand alone on stage, belting out their chosen songs with as much feeling and passion as any of the original artists – for a mostly-soused audience that varies between wild exuberance for the performers and indifference. Yet Wilkinson ensures that his film’s audience is anything but indifferent. We find ourselves caught up in what we learn of their lives and aspirations. Instead of anonymous workers toiling away among those monstrous, scarred landscapes of bitumen extraction, we get to know them as people. We root for these “Bitumen Balladeers,” as one alliterative headline writer styled them.

During a Q and A after the film, Wilkinson, a likeable guy in blue jeans and open-tailed shirt, said he and his crew had been filming around Fort McMurray for other reasons, and hit the bar to relax. To their surprise, they found karaoke going on, and in particular, a charismatic, cross-dressing, gay businessman named Iceis, with a captivating voice and powerful stage presence. (“I think I was the first person to come out in Fort McMurray,” Iceis later confides to the camera.) Well, that’s pretty interesting, thought Wilkinson, and gradually, the documentary took shape. “It was absolutely random luck we went into Bailey’s that night,” he told us.

Reviewers have justly celebrated the human face Oil Sands Karaoke puts on Fort McMurray and its workforce. At the same time, it’s a pretty unconventional approach to what is the most significant producer of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and number one on the hit list of environmentalists across North America. Much as I enjoyed the movie, I couldn’t help wrestling with the thought: What is the point of making a documentary that paints the oil sands workers in such a rosy hue? Back in Fort McMurray, the documentary received a standing ovation. Wilkinson, clearly someone who cares about conservation, is toast of the town.

Oil Sands KaraokeI asked the director whether that was a good thing, given the undoubted damage the oil sands do to the atmosphere and surrounding wilderness. (I didn’t mean one should demonize the workers. They are hardly villains. I meant that, if you’re making a film about the oil sands, why make this one?)

A good question, Wilkinson responded. His goal was to engage, he said. “If you’re just yelling and screaming, and saying ‘there are good guys and bad guys’,  you don’t get anywhere. Personally, I am not crazy about movies that preach to the choir. Those workers up there are so used to people slamming them. This [kind of movie] makes them open to discussion. Otherwise, they’re turned off.”

According to the director, whose previous film was Peace Out, a non-polemical but heartfelt look at the impact of big energy, his oil sands workers have started to at least think about the environment. “Some are even thinking of buying a Prius,” he said, with a smile, although admitting they remain  worried how that might go over in Fort McMurray.

The issue is complex, Wilkinson insisted. “How do you shut down the oil sands? Ninety thousand people and their families up there depend on it. Those people on the ground are just like you and me.” There’s also the matter of our own lifestyle.  How much of it are we prepared to sacrifice to reduce the role of fossil fuels,  Wilkinson wondered.

I wasn’t convinced. I remain conflicted, and by that I mean, in typical Mickle fashion, I go back and forth on the question. In the midst of something with such vast implications for the environment, does the duty of the film-maker go beyond telling a good story? Good fodder for chin-wagging around ye olde scuttle bucket, methinks.

See the movie. It’s well crafted. The characters are hard not to embrace, and they serve as a useful reminder, perhaps, that the oil sands are more than just a protest sign.

(Incidentally, making the movie did change Charles Wilkinson’s mind about one thing – karaoke. “I loathed it all my life . . . the idea of drunk people singing off key,” he confessed. “But now, I totally get it. It gives people a chance to stand up and do something. I love that.”)

First published on Mickleblog

This is exactly the time to talk about climate change

Flooded downtown Calgary streets

Flooded downtown Calgary streetsBy John Klein (aka Saskboy)

The Prime Minister infamously implored people to not “commit sociology” when Chechen-American thugs blew people up in Boston. The PM’s point was that he didn’t want people analysing the root causes of terrorism, out of supposed respect for the distant victims.

With another deadly tragedy playing out in Alberta, there is a chorus of complaints from people both local and quite distant from the disaster, asking others to not talk about why Calgary was subjected to a massively uncommon flood.

A really tiresome meme amongst climate change deniers is the one where they insist that someone can’t seriously understand climate science and be concerned about it if they participate in using modern technology (which happens to be harmful when mass-produced and mass-used).

Is it hypocritical? Possibly. Is it understandable, and necessary in order for environmentalists to spread their ideas on a level playing field to Deniers who use cars and the Internet and get on TV? It’s essential.

The Canadian political movement that made climate change denial a centrepiece of their economic ideology was born out of Alberta. You’ll have to forgive some Canadians who conflate all prairie dwellers with climate change- denying rednecks who all work for oil companies, vote Conservative, and don’t give a damn about the consequences. Westerners tend to make similarly unflattering assumptions about people from southern Ontario all voting for crackhead mayors, and that’s not fair either.

There’s also a host of extremely sensitive people on Twitter right now insisting that talking about climate change in the context of the disaster in Alberta, is tantamount to “victim blaming.” What utter nonsense that is. Not all Calgarians are innocent victims. All deserve emergency support, of course, no matter their political views, obviously.  But people living thousands of kilometers from a tragedy should not be told they cannot talk about the root causes destroying cities by natural disasters.


Climate Change Denial

People who’ve built a city around an oil industry that actively denies climate change are not entirely innocent victims. Building in a flood plain, you take your chances, an idea supported by Canadian home insurance companies which refuse to provide insurance. If there were areas heavily logged upstream, that could have been a mitigating factor. Damming waterways? The list of possible factors is long, and will have to be considered very soon, before efforts to rebuild take place after the clean-up.

Does someone want to jump all over a Calgarian too?

Mr. Young:

Calgary’s water restrictions should be a great opportunity for people to change their overall water habits. Take short showers (about one song long . . . no Meatloaf tunes) and every other day if you are not a sweaty mess. Run the dishwasher full. Water your lawn only when it needs it (it doesn’t need it after a month of rain). There are so many other ways to save water now. People’s challenge is to change their mind set to keep these new habits long into the future.

Poor, Unethical Ezra gave this activist, Dr. Berman, a bit of heat on Twitter too:

What’s her statement (about the tarsands) when people tell her “It’s a tragedy”?

“No. A tragedy is a problem without a solution. A problem with a solution that is not being acted upon is not a tragedy, it’s a scandal.”

Deniers & Ethical Oil hacks have used lack of major apparent climate crisis in Canada, as fuel for fossil industry growth. The truth can’t take a vacation during a flood.

Nexen: China nationalizes Canada’s oil sands

Composite Canadian Chinese flag

Composite Canadian Chinese flagBy David@Sixthestate.net

Well, try that on for size. Let me be clear, says Stephen Harper: “Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead. It is not an outcome any responsible government of Canada could ever allow to happen.”

That’s not a statement Harper made months ago that I’m dredging up to demonstrate Harper’s hypocrisy. That’s apparently a statement he made Friday, the very same day he approved not only a foreign communist dictatorship’s takeover of Nexen, but also, slightly less worrying but equally hypocritically, a foreign fragile democracy’s takeover of Progress Energy. I guess I don’t need to put the case any more plainly than Stephen the First himself did. The Harper government is, by its own admission, not a responsible government.

Then, there’s the ridiculous hypocrisy of implying that we’ll approve this major sale in the oilsands, but we wouldn’t approve another one. How could we approve another one? There aren’t many large Canadian players left in the oil sands. It’s too late to worry about letting the sector get taken over by foreign interests. Unless they want to go after Syncrude or Suncor next, the Chinese will have a hard time finding a major Canadian oil producer left to buy. If you doubt me, cast an eye down the “Canadian” Association of Petroleum Producers’ list of members. There’s a half-dozen governments on that list now. Our government isn’t one of them. We’re literally seeing the nationalization of Canada’s oil sands . . . except not by Canada.

In a tragically ironic sense, this actually gives Canada the opportunity to start thinking about LAO — Life After the Oilsands. We have no choice. Except for the few residents of Alberta who will still be allowed to work in the region once Chinese temporary workers take over the joint over the next 10-20 years, there won’t be much more money left to be made in oil. It’s not the first huge resource that this country’s government has catastrophically mismanaged, but we’ve blundered along so far because we’re big and there was always another mega-resource left to mismanage. Sooner or later we’re going to run out of new opportunities, though. If we haven’t already.

More to the point, though, I think people are getting the wrong idea about these new guidelines. The media is implying that the guidelines somehow mean there won’t be any more CNOOC/Nexen-style takeovers. In fact, Harper even said so himself: “Foreign state control of oilsands development has reached a point at which further state control would not be of net benefit to Canada.” But I defy anyone to find anything in the new guidelines, helpfully made available by the National Post, that actually bars more takeovers by foreign dictatorships. It just isn’t in there. So we’re left to hope that prime ministerial whim will reflect the will of the Canadian majority, which, in the fire sale of Nexen, it clearly does not.

One statement in particular struck my eye as being especially silly in the new “policy.” The following lists several ways in which the Canadian government is reserving the right to require foreign governments to meet certain performance requirements before the next Nexen-style takeover will be approved:

The appointment of Canadians as independent directors on the board of directors, the employment of Canadians in senior management positions, the incorporation of the business in Canada, and the listing of shares of the acquiring company or the Canadian business being acquired on a Canadian stock exchange.

Oh. That’s important to you, is it? Reserving senior management spaces for Canadians? The pro-China fifth columnists in the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t seem to think that was very important earlier this year, when they traded away exactly that power in the Canada-China foreign investment agreement:

7.1. A Contracting Party may not require that an enterprise of that Party… appoint individuals of any particular nationality to senior management positions.

Oops.

I believe that we may be at the beginning of a major transition in which Canada passes from the American sphere of orbit and enters the Chinese one. I realize it sounds ridiculous, given our shared border and all, but Canada has changed its allegiance before — from France to Britain to America — and the Americans don’t seem terribly bothered yet by the Chinese acquisition of Canada. We’d better hope it’s a smooth transfer of power. The alternative is to end up like Poland, circa 1939.

Why Mulcair is winning

Image

By Montreal Simon

OK. So I was wrong.

When Christy Clark became the latest Con stooge to denounce Thomas Mulcair,  for simply pointing out that the Dutch Disease is killing our manufacturing sector, I said it could only mean one thing.

Big Oil and its Con puppets were scraping the bottom of the barrel.

But I forgot I was living in the sinister petro state of Harperland.

Where the bottom of the dirty oil barrel goes all the way to China.

And I forgot about the Con Senate, and particularly Pamela Wailin’ . . .

“This is a cheap political ploy to pit eastern citizens against those in the West. Will Mulcair next attack the lentil business, the wheat and grain producers who have long fed the world — or perhaps the potash industry that allows the poor to bolster their depleted farmland in overpopulated areas?

“It’s time for Mulcair to act like a Canadian.”

And that like the Con turkey Mike Duffy, Wallin is capable of saying ANYTHING.

I mean can you believe that? As if Big Lentil is as dangerous as Big Oil. As if Mulcair wasn’t right. As if telling the truth was a crime.

These diatribes against anyone who even acknowledges potential downsides or side effects of the bitumen boom seem to herald a new, dangerous tendency in Canada’s political culture. Opposing a bitumen-exporting pipeline in Canada these days makes you a foreign-financed subversive. And it seems that questioning the economic effects of the bitumen export strategy makes you equally seditious. I call this “energy McCarthyism,” and it should be rejected forcefully not just by those concerned with Canada’s de-industrialization and staples dependency, but by those worried about the quality of our democracy.

As if those Cons weren’t selling us out to foreign interests. As if Albertans haven’t been screaming at those damn Easterners for 40 years over the National Energy Program. Which did to Alberta what Harper’s oil pimp policies are doing to the rest of Canada.

Which explains why the Cons and the other Big Oil stooges are attacking Mulcair like piranhas. They know a killer issue when they see one. But why is Stephane Dion joining in the feeding frenzy?

Stéphane Dion, the former Liberal leader, says he turned down a proposal from advisors to accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper of favouring Alberta and the oil sands industry during the 2008 election campaign because he feared it would harm national unity.

He said Mr. Mulcair is effectively “giving up” on much of Western Canada and, if he forms a government in 2015, risks having little or no representation from provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan in his Cabinet.

Oh boy. When will he ever learn…

Image

What Thomas Mulcair understands so well. He doesn’t have to win any seats in Alberta or Saskatchewan. All he has to do is win most of the seats in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and he will BURY the Cons in the Tar Sands.

Which is one of the reasons he’s looking like a winner, and thanks to people like Stephane Dion, the Liberals are going nowhere.

Liberal support in Canada is steadily slipping as the New Democrats and Tories continue to battle for the top spot, the results of an exclusive poll for Global News indicate.

While the Grits may say that their troubles lie in finding the right candidate to lead the party, Ipsos Reid’s Darrell Bricker suggests the party may be losing a distinct voice in the political arena.

“The problem they’ve got is that they’re having a hard time finding their place in a debate about economic issues,” Bricker told Global News.

Yup. Mulcair is ruthless, the kind of leader these times demand. 

He has found a mighty issue, the truth is on his side. That’s why the Cons are running scared.

For 40 years Alberta used regional alienation like a blunt weapon.

Now it’s our turn . . .

Minister Oliver goes oil drumming

keystone-pipeline

keystone-pipelineBy Alison@Creekside

While in Washington oildrumming up K-XL support with US senators on tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver plumped for the Keystone XL pipeline in his keynote address to the 4th Annual United States Energy Association (USEA) Energy Supply Forum.

Here is the quote chosen by Natural Resources Canada “for broadcast use”:

“The future of North America’s economy and our national security is inextricably tied to energy,” said Minister Oliver. “Clearly, it is in both of our interests to ensure that our future oil supply remains stable, secure and developed in an environmentally responsible way.”

Our future oil supply? Really, Joe?

We’re still going with the tarsands = North American security model?

For starters, Canada imports half of its oil for domestic use — over a million barrels per day — from various “conflict oil” states, while exporting 65% of its “ethical oil” tarsands crude to the US.

Dear Joe: How does the K-XL proposal to export tarsands — owned in part by the Chinese state — to Texas to be refined by Saudi’s Aramco refinery in a Foreign Trade Zone [read: no import/export duties or taxes] so that it can then be shipped off to Europe and Latin America have anything to do with “our national security”?

Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed

Interesting report. It contends that there is currently a glut of domestic oil in the US due to increasing vehicle efficiency and slow economic growth, so the real purpose of the K-XL is to make tarsands crude available to the FTZ refineries in Texas which are specifically set up to turn it into diesel for export.

Nothing to do with national security, nothing to do with energy independence, nothing to do with gasoline prices at the pump.

So who is it all you guys are working for again?

The Guardian: Koch company declared ‘substantial interest’ in Keystone XL pipeline

“In recent months Koch Industries Inc., the business conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has repeatedly told a U.S. Congressional committee and the news media that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has ‘nothing to do with any of our businesses.’

But the company has told Canadian energy regulators a different story.

In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for — and won — ‘intervenor status’ in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada’s 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline.

In the form it submitted to the Energy Board, Flint Hills wrote that it ‘is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application’ for the pipeline under consideration.

The Koch brothers own nearly all of Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the United States. The energy and manufacturing conglomerate earns an estimated $100 billion in annual revenue from its network of subsidiaries — a mix of oil, gas, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer and paper and pulp companies. In addition to its Canadian operation, Koch’s Flint Hills subsidiary operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas and Minnesota as well as a dozen fuel terminals in the Midwest and Texas.

The Koch brothers have donated millions to Republican candidates and conservative movements, bankrolling groups involved in Tea Party causes and in campaigns to deny climate change science and the need for cleaner energy.”

Alykhan and Ezra’s ethical snake oil

Economic Action Plan

Ethical-Oil_Snake-Oil90
By Alison@Creekside

Alykhan Velshi’s wee blog Ethical Oil, named after Ezra’s book, has relaunched with an expensive new look and some spiffy ethical oil pop-up campaign ads to greet you when you enter the site. You can choose either good or evil — you know, conflict oil = woman being stoned to death vs. ethical oil = woman becoming a mayor.

Velshi:

“When petroleum reserves were deposited around the world, it is unfortunate that they were all given to the world’s bastards. With the exception of Canada, most of them are with the world’s bastards. You need to recognize that when you are buying oil.”

Seems a bit hard on poor old Norway, given recent events, and aren’t we launching the Pan European Oil Sands Team, our tarsands PR blitz directed at the EU, from Britain these days?

Also confusing the matter is China’s recent investment in tarsands companiesSteve’s new bff — and Canadian tarsands companies’ own foreign gas and oil plants, inconveniently located in “the world’s bastards.”

I added the third panel above to one of Velshi’s pop-ups because, as Senior Suncor VP Mark Little explained last year:

“it’s much more expensive to produce a barrel of oil synthetic crude oil from oil sands than to produce a barrel of conventional oil or gas in either Syria or Libya”

— yes, that’s world bastard Syria PM Bashar al-Assad in the picture touring Suncor’s $1.2 billion Ebla Natural Gas Plant in Syria a year ago —

“So these foreign operations can help provide the near-term cash flow and return on capital needed to invest in long-term growth in the oil sands.”

Velshi, former American Enterprise Institute intern and communication director to John Baird and Jason Kenney, told the Globe and Mail that he, however, will not be accepting donations from “foreign operations”:

“I won’t take money from any foreign corporations, any governments.”

Pressed about Canadian corporate donations, he said he wouldn’t refuse any.

Two weeks ago on the site, Velshi was soliciting donations to help him cover the $261 fee he estimated it would cost him to launch an investigation into environmental groups lobbying government:

Help EthicalOil.Org Make an Access to Information Request

“Let’s shine a light on the professional lobbyists paid to lobby the government against ethical oil from Canada, its oil sands, and other liberal democracies. Lobbyists? Yes, that’s right. Opponents of ethical oil have hired professional lobbyists who are now registered with the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner of Canada to lobby senior government officials behind closed doors.”

Yes, Alykhan, that’s how lobbying works — you register as a lobbyist with the government.

Alykhan-VelshiThe Globe and Mail makes a small frowny face about whether Velshi is “violating the federal law that forbids former aides from lobbying for five years after leaving government” — as if none of us have noticed the revolving door between government, oil bidness corporations, and federal and Alberta government-funded energy “sciencey” front groups like the Canada School of Energy and Environment, headed by Steve’s former fraudster “mechanic” Bruce Carson, and the Suncor-sponsored National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

“Documents released last fall, obtained by Postmedia News, revealed at the time that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government had developed a major public relations partnership involving several federal departments, along with the industry and the Alberta government, to improve the image of the oilsands on the international stage and delay action to slash industrial pollution.”

Ethical snake oil.

Update: Brilliant post from Your Heart’s on the Left: Unethical Oil, with more alternative oil posters.