Alberta Politics - started May 7, 2015

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NorthReport

Too bad!

Edmontonians aren't buying what UCP is selling — literally

Jean may be more popular. But a voting block of metro Calgary UCP members could clinch Kenney's leadership.

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/paula-simons-edmontonians-arent...

NorthReport

Money alone won't buy you the United Conservative leadership — but it sure helps

 

The new party’s high entrance fee is keeping the competition light for Kenney and Jean

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/09/13/money-alone-wont-buy-you-the-united-conse...

NorthReport
NorthReport

Jason Kenney’s Populist Snake Oil

In bid to run Alberta’s Conservatives, ex-MP is promising the impossible on pipelines, equalization.

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/09/27/Jason-Kenney-Snake-Oil/

NorthReport

Alberta NDP takes aim at Jason Kenney in new law on gay-straight alliances

http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1507361-alberta-ndp-takes-aim-at-jas...

Aristotleded24
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

How the oil industry created a ‘deep state’ in Canada

quote:

Democracy depends on a wide range of institutions: political parties; courts, police, and media; non-partisan civil servants and arms-length regulators; and universities with experts who pursue truth wherever evidence may lead. A key feature of democracy is that these institutions are genuinely independent. They are not beholden to any private interest, and are instead loyal to the public interest and obedient to the rule of law.

But what happens when public institutions lose their independence? Even more, what happens when a whole series of democratic institutions falls under the sway of one private interest? This would occur, for example, when the governing party, the opposition party, the civil service, universities and regulators all follow the lead of the same private interest.

When several key democratic institutions are captured and held by the same private interest, a “deep state” forms. A deep state is an unofficial system of government that arises separately from, but is closely connected to, the official system. It is a public-private hybrid that operates outside public view. In a modern democracy like Canada, a deep state typically comprises leading owners and executives of major private interests and their allies, together with a selection of politicians and bureaucrats tied to the success of those private interests. A successful deep state captures and harnesses the institutions of democracy for its own use.

Very few private interests have the resources to establish a deep state. In Canada, one that does is the oil industry.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

 In Historic Step, Banking Giant Cuts Ties With Tar Sands

quote:

KEITH STEWART: So this is big just because BNP Paribas is such a large bank. Eighth largest bank in the world. Previously we've seen another major European Bank, ING, come out saying, they would not fund tar sands pipelines. We have here in Canada our largest credit union, Desjardins is looking at making the same step, although they haven't made a final decision yet.

But BNP Paribas went even further, they said, not only we're not going to fund those pipelines, which is one of the things Greenpeace has been really focused on because they are the things that enable the expansion of the tar sands. They've also said they're going to get out of fine funding companies that get more than 30% of their revenue from tar sands, from shale oil and gas and they're also not going to finance any arctic oil explorations. So those are big steps and this is a sign that I think the finance sector's recognizing that, getting behind renewable energy, getting out of fossil fuels is not just the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do.

Banks don't take these kinds of steps if they think they're going to lose a lot of money, I think BNP Paribas is looking, you know if we say here in Canada, they're looking to where the puck is going, not where it is right now. And they're saying, that's where the future is and that's something we've been saying to all the other banks. We, you know, Greenpeace we've written to I think about 27, 28 banks about this. We're in conversation with a number of them. And we're being listened to in a way that we wouldn't have been five years ago, where we would've been laughed off.

We're seeing projects being canceled, we're seeing skyrocketing investing in renewables, that's good news for the climate. And it's good news for the air that we breathe, for the water that we drink.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tailings ponds: The worst is yet to come

The sheer size and scope of Alberta's some 20 oil sands tailings ponds is unprecedented for any industry in the world. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, one of these ponds — the Mildred Lake Settling Basin — is the world's largest dam by volume of construction material. Since oilsands mining operations started in 1967, 1.3 trillion litres of fluid tailings has accumulated in these open ponds on the Northern Alberta landscape (Figure 1). This is enough toxic waste to fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Unlike tailings produced from conventional hard rock mining, the solids in oilsands tailings will take centuries to settle to the bottom of the ponds. As a result, it is impossible to dewater the waste for timely reclamation without significant intervention. This problem was recognized as early as 1973 by the Government of Alberta, which identified oilsands tailings as untreatable with existing technologies. The government recognized that the "continuous accumulation of liquid tailings" was not acceptable and that the ponds must be "restricted in their size, location and duration of use."

quote:

With tailings ponds continuing to grow on the landscape, the risk of failure poses an ever-increasing risk to communities, the environment, and taxpayers. Moreover, should the oilsands mining industry not survive accelerating global transitions toward decarbonized energy systems, Albertans must be protected from being left behind to foot the bill for enormous clean-up costs. However, less than 8 per cent of these costs is held as security by the province, leaving Albertan taxpayers exposed to a significant financial risk for tens of billions of dollars if major companies are no longer around when it's finally time to reclaim these sites.

Looking at these grim facts, it's worth asking: when will we as Albertans say enough is enough? Companies have kicked the can down the road on cleaning up their tailings for five decades now, but industry's own forecasts indicate that the worst is still yet to come.

Figure 1. Fluid tailing ponds volume growth since 1968

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I've been thinking about the problem of the tailings 'ponds' (lakes more like it) for some years now. What is alarming is the amount of fresh water which is rendered impotable by the tiniest amount of oil/gasoline. FN people trying to live off the land in the area report that if you catch a fish and fry it, it tastes like plastic. The problem is of gargantuan proportions. It is visible from space.

Even oil industry engineers admit that if you just leave it there, it will take about 200,000 years for nature to restore the ecosystem. 

On a very small scale, there is the example of decomissioning gas stations in urban areas. The underground gasoline tanks are prone to leaking, as they eventually corrode. Rendering the land usable again is very expensive. You have to dig down 200 feet, or until you hit the bedrock. Even then, the bedrock could be contaminated. You'd have to blast it and grind it and separate out the bad stuff.

The first thought is to incinerate it, but at such a high temperature that not one molecule hits the atmosphere. With any luck, it could break down into the pure elements which could be stored and shipped to those who could use them. Huge amounts of renewable energy would be needed to get the process started, however there is a lot of hydrogen in the waste which would contribute to the power needed, plus the energy from the huge amounts of heat which the process would inevitably entail. Carbon dioxide sequestration is a bit of a crock, but if you could reduce it to pure carbon (soot) it would be fairly harmless. 

The unit envisioned would be kind of like a huge underground refractory. Each element turns into gas at a different temperature. You might even be able to make useful stuff like fertilizer from the byproducts. Toxic elements like mercury could be separated out.

Suzuki says that geoengineering is a crock. However, we made this mess, and somehow we have to fix it. A project like this would be on a geoengineering scale. We owe it to the environment and the life which will live there long after we have gone.

If anyone has any better ideas, I would be all ears. Perhaps a "cold" system I would know nothing about. Or we can always wait 200,000 years.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..there is no tech fix in sight. there may never be.

 ..so first things first, the expansion needs to stop and since all political parties have been captured by the industry that leaves the population to do that work. thus activism thus the stopping of pipelines. we also need appropriate polluter pay policy.

NorthReport

Mainstreet Research confident in poll numbers ahead of Calgary election

A polling company that is predicting a Naheed Nenshi loss in Calgary’s mayoral race is so confident in its numbers, it released a scorecard on Sunday to compare competing polls.

Mainstreet Research polls for Postmedia sayBill Smith has a 13 per cent lead over Nenshi with 52 per cent of the decided vote. That’s in sharp contrast to polls from Forum Research and LRT on the Green that find Nenshi enjoys a strong lead. Mainstreet said there’s a lot of bias among some political commentators.

“Certainly I’ve seen a lot of behaviour from political scientists that I would say is quite shocking in this election campaign, and some of it quite frankly is quite appalling. Especially when we see professors who are accusing Postmedia reporters of making up quotes. That, to me, is beyond the pale,” said spokesperson David Valentin.

Valetin points to heavy advance poll turnout, which he says signals voters are demanding change. He believes when the results roll in on Monday night, it will be payback time.

“We’re going to be going through the case study and singling people out and showing what exactly it is they said and did. And I think anyone who comments to the media should expect that their comments are going to receive scrutiny after the fact. I think that’s fair,” he said.

Mainstreet accurately predicted the Alberta’s NDP’s majority election win in 2015, and at the same time, the collapse of the PC party.

 

http://www.660news.com/2017/10/15/mainstreet-research-expects-payback-am...

 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Mainstreet Research confident in poll numbers ahead of Calgary election

A polling company that is predicting a Naheed Nenshi loss in Calgary’s mayoral race is so confident in its numbers, it released a scorecard on Sunday to compare competing polls.

Mainstreet Research polls for Postmedia sayBill Smith has a 13 per cent lead over Nenshi with 52 per cent of the decided vote. That’s in sharp contrast to polls from Forum Research and LRT on the Green that find Nenshi enjoys a strong lead. Mainstreet said there’s a lot of bias among some political commentators.

“Certainly I’ve seen a lot of behaviour from political scientists that I would say is quite shocking in this election campaign, and some of it quite frankly is quite appalling. Especially when we see professors who are accusing Postmedia reporters of making up quotes. That, to me, is beyond the pale,” said spokesperson David Valentin.

Valetin points to heavy advance poll turnout, which he says signals voters are demanding change. He believes when the results roll in on Monday night, it will be payback time.

“We’re going to be going through the case study and singling people out and showing what exactly it is they said and did. And I think anyone who comments to the media should expect that their comments are going to receive scrutiny after the fact. I think that’s fair,” he said.

Mainstreet accurately predicted the Alberta’s NDP’s majority election win in 2015, and at the same time, the collapse of the PC party.

 

http://www.660news.com/2017/10/15/mainstreet-research-expects-payback-am...

 

Ha ha. Looks like Nenshi squeaked through at 51%. As John Diefenbaker said, "polls are for dogs".

Mobo2000

Congrats to Nenshi.   Loving the pollster's war of words here as well.   Was never a fan of Mainstreet, glad to see them step in it a little bit on this one.  

NorthReport
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Alberta oilpatch pollution badly underestimated

New research suggests industry and government are badly underestimating Alberta’s emissions of one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

The difference between official estimates and the measured results suggests the province’s energy industry could have to double its planned methane emission cuts if Alberta is to meet its promised 45 per cent reduction.

“A lot of eyes are going to be really wide when they see the comparison,” said Carleton University’s Matt Johnson, author of the study published in Environmental Science and Technology. “If we thought it was bad, it’s worse.”

Currently, industry is only required to report how much methane is released during flaring and venting. So-called fugitive emissions from equipment such as leaky valves have only been estimated.

Johnson’s study is the first to use aerial flyovers of oil and gas fields to actually measure released methane, a greenhouse gas about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

quote:

Researchers were able to distinguish between industrial and agricultural methane emissions by tracking trace amounts of ethane — a gas released by oil and gas wells, but not by cattle.

“That allows us to attribute it,” Johnson said.

The total measurements were compared with methane releases reported by industry and methane emissions estimated in the most recent National Pollutant Release Inventory.

In Lloydminster, results from the airborne tests found the type of heavy oil recovery used in that area released 3.6 times more methane than previously thought.

That same heavy oil technique is widely used elsewhere in Alberta, including the Peace River, Cold Lake and Athabasca regions.

If methane emissions from those other regions are equally underreported, Johnson said, Alberta could be underestimating releases of the gas by as much as 50 per cent.

“To achieve the kind of reductions that both the province and the federal government are trying to get, they’re going to have to focus on those sites,” he said.

In Red Deer, Johnson’s measured results were roughly equal to the total of reported releases and estimates of fugitive releases.

But the study confirmed that fugitive emissions — which are currently unregulated — account for 94 per cent of released methane. That has major implications as governments consider new regulations on the gas, said Johnson.

“You can’t ignore those sources. Those leaks really are a big deal.”

The study also suggests a need for tougher and more expensive inspections and detection equipment for conventional oil and gas producers.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Alberta premier going on tour to stump for Trans Mountain pipeline project

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is to go on tour later this month to stump for the Trans Mountain pipeline, but is resisting opposition calls to wield a big stick against its opponents.

Notley is to speak in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton over the next three weeks on the importance of the pipeline expansion to the British Columbia coast through Burnaby.

quote:

Alberta has joined Kinder Morgan in urging the National Energy Board to cut the red tape and get the permits approved.

"We will continue to do the work that we can do in the appropriate forums to advocate for Alberta's position (and) for Kinder Morgan's position," Notley told the legislature.

The pipeline expansion has met fierce opposition in B.C. on the grounds it is an environmental hazard, perpetuates a greenhouse-gas economy and doesn't respect the rights of Indigenous people.

Nixon pushed Notley on how she feels about federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh opposing the project.

"Has the premier spoken to her federal leader and informed him he is wrong on his position on pipelines?" Nixon asked.

Yes, said Notley.

"I've told Mr. Singh that he is wrong, he is dead wrong, but just as important, he is irrelevant — and the reason he is irrelevant is because the decision has already been taken by the federal government."

Pipelines have become the focus of question period in the current Alberta legislature sitting.

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