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Broten NDP and Keystone XL "clarification"

cooperativist
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Joined: Mar 20 2013

Hey all,

I don't know about anyone else here, but I am completely effing stunned by the "clarification" from the Sask NDP that our side supports Keystone XL. I haven't lived in Saskatchewan for too long, so perhaps I am not understanding the internal or external pressures upon the NDP here to support it. I am from Alberta, where there's even less room to oppose tarsands projects of any kind, and even there, the Alberta NDP point-blank opposes the construction of Keystone XL.

I'm no energy economist, but the main thing with the clarification is that it ignores and even undermines the primary insight that environmentalists and progressive economists have been conveying to the public for years, which is that we will get the energy that we subsidize to make economically possible. So the transition to renewables will never come, it seems to me, precisely because with Keystone and similar projects we subsidize and consolidate the cheapness of dirty oil.

There is also an abundance of evidence out there to push back against the claims of jobs, jobs, jobs which to me should be able to be easily articulated from the comparably massive media platform that the NDP has, a platform that is denied to grassroots environmental and social justice activists.

On top of everything else, the clarification fails to be framed as anything other than a massive cave-in to Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party— as agreement rather than concurrence with qualifications. The email that I got today just seemed surprised that it was a big deal at all.

Yeah. So I don't get it. Any insight on why the NDP here would apparently fold its hand when they could've been really strong on this and clobbered the Sask Party with Keystone would be super appreciated.


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Joined: Mar 20 2013

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Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

cooperativist wrote:

Hey all,

I don't know about anyone else here, but I am completely effing stunned by the "clarification" from the Sask NDP that our side supports Keystone XL.

It would be useful to all of us if you could provide an online link to the "clarification" that you bring up - I know nothing about it.


felixr
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Joined: May 6 2012

Broten is Link 2.0


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

I think there are two schools of thought in the Saskatchewan NDP today. Those who think that the NDP need to go right to gain power and those who think they need to move left to gain power. Broten et al are in the former group. They threw Mulcair under the bus. I would love to be a fly on the wall in their next conversation.

 


Aristotleded24
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Joined: May 24 2005

How does the rank-and-file in Saskatchewan feel about this? I recall that Mason was somewhat offside with Mulcair's Dutch Disease remarks.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

The SK NDP just can't seem to get its act together. Not a very good start for the new leader.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Boom Boom wrote:

cooperativist wrote:

Hey all,

I don't know about anyone else here, but I am completely effing stunned by the "clarification" from the Sask NDP that our side supports Keystone XL.

It would be useful to all of us if you could provide an online link to the "clarification" that you bring up - I know nothing about it.

I mentioned it here, Boom Boom:

Cam Broten wrote:

"To clear the record ... I support the Keystone XL pipeline because of a triple bottom line assessment looking at environmental, economic and social reasons," Broten told reporters Wednesday at the legislature. [...]

"Mr. Mulcair will make his comments. My job first and foremost is to stand up for Saskatchewan's interests, to develop our resources in a sustainable and responsible manner, and that's the approach that I'll be taking and our caucus and party will be taking with me as leader."

The source was here.

 


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
Thanks, U. It's getting bloody hard to follow everything - especially on dialup.

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Speaking of being not ready to lead (I'm refering to a comment about Ryan Meili in another thread), it's a wonder Broten wasn't prepared for that trap. It's not as if the Sask Party hasn't been campaigning steady even before the convention,  using Mulcair as a foil to skewer the Sask NDP.

Not only was he offside, he was clearly caught not knowing what he was talking about.

And it's interesting that even regarding an article that has nothing to do with Quebec, the National Post peanut gallery inevitably turns to sovereignty.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Broten's views on pipelines reminds me of Roy's views on uranium.  The Saskatchewan NDP  has been choosing economics over the environment for a long time.


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011
cooperativist
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Joined: Mar 20 2013

Sorry, gang, I was assuming that some of you might be on the email list for the Sask NDP. Broten did sent out that clarification, but Cathy Sproule, House Leader and Nutana MLA, sent this out, writing as if she's confused that members of the party would be surprised:

 

We’ve also had a bit of attention this week for our long-standing position on the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m emailing to provide information in case you have questions about our position.

The caucus has had a consistent, public position on the XL pipeline ever since it received approval by the National Energy Board. Cam Broten has not changed this position.

As the former energy and resources critic, I issued a news release on this issue last spring (http://ndpcaucus.sk.ca/news?id=924) and I did many interviews in which I stated that the caucus supports the XL pipeline – you can listen to one of those interviews here: http://www.swiftcurrentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view....

Here’s why: we have tens of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in our province, pumping oil and gas every day, some of which ends up at the local Co-op service station where I fill up the tank in my car. The proposed XL pipeline would add an additional 300 kilometres of pipeline in our province. If built, it will ease up the bottleneck our province is dealing with right now, which is driving down the value of the oil we are producing.

Whether more western Canadian oil is sent south, via the proposed XL pipeline, or east – as is advocated by our federal counterparts – the reality is this: as an energy producing province, we have an interest in ensuring that we maximize the return on our resources in order to benefit Saskatchewan people. But we also have an obligation to the next generations to secure a greener future. Cam Broten and all of the NDP MLAs are fully committed to that.

Our society is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. As New Democrats, we know that’s not sustainable and we are committed to bringing forward workable solutions to reduce this reliance.

Broadly, the position taken by our caucus is this:

  • The NDP have long supported pipelines because they are safer and more environmentally friendly than trains or trucks when it comes to transporting oil;
  • We want to ensure a stringent triple bottom-line (economic, social and environmental) assessment of all such projects – the best process to do that right now is that of the National Energy Board and we trust their work;
  • We want First Nations and Métis communities to be meaningfully consulted and listened to;
  • We think better regulation of the oil and gas industry is important in order to better protect the environment;
  • We think value-added opportunities and more high-quality jobs, including through more refining here in Canada, should be pursued; and
  • We need to do so much more to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change by working to transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • When our new Leader appointed me as the environment critic, he asked me to work with experts and party members to find ways for Saskatchewan to be a leader in addressing the global climate change crisis. I am excited about that work and I hope you will play a part in it.

This is the classic sort of explanation in which the individual positions are rational when taken in isolation and if you are missing the substance of the criticism, but can't be strung together like a coherent argument.

Here are some counterpoints:

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2007/09/26/the-neb-keystone-pipeline...

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/politics/economic-case-ag...

http://www.retrofitamillion.org/blog/5-arguments-against-keystone-xl-pip...

Anyway, I am wondering, where does the pressure come from internally to support Keystone? A more conservative membership? Unions representing workers in extraction industries? Broten and Sproule are both urban MLAs and environmentalism should play well here... maybe I need to take a look at a map to understand how ridings are divided up.


cooperativist
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Joined: Mar 20 2013

Sorry, gang, I was assuming that some of you might be on the email list for the Sask NDP. Broten did send out that clarification, but Cathy Sproule, House Leader and Nutana MLA, sent this out, writing as if she's confused that members of the party would be surprised:

 

We’ve also had a bit of attention this week for our long-standing position on the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m emailing to provide information in case you have questions about our position.

The caucus has had a consistent, public position on the XL pipeline ever since it received approval by the National Energy Board. Cam Broten has not changed this position.

As the former energy and resources critic, I issued a news release on this issue last spring (http://ndpcaucus.sk.ca/news?id=924) and I did many interviews in which I stated that the caucus supports the XL pipeline – you can listen to one of those interviews here: http://www.swiftcurrentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view....

Here’s why: we have tens of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in our province, pumping oil and gas every day, some of which ends up at the local Co-op service station where I fill up the tank in my car. The proposed XL pipeline would add an additional 300 kilometres of pipeline in our province. If built, it will ease up the bottleneck our province is dealing with right now, which is driving down the value of the oil we are producing.

Whether more western Canadian oil is sent south, via the proposed XL pipeline, or east – as is advocated by our federal counterparts – the reality is this: as an energy producing province, we have an interest in ensuring that we maximize the return on our resources in order to benefit Saskatchewan people. But we also have an obligation to the next generations to secure a greener future. Cam Broten and all of the NDP MLAs are fully committed to that.

Our society is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. As New Democrats, we know that’s not sustainable and we are committed to bringing forward workable solutions to reduce this reliance.

Broadly, the position taken by our caucus is this:

  • The NDP have long supported pipelines because they are safer and more environmentally friendly than trains or trucks when it comes to transporting oil;
  • We want to ensure a stringent triple bottom-line (economic, social and environmental) assessment of all such projects – the best process to do that right now is that of the National Energy Board and we trust their work;
  • We want First Nations and Métis communities to be meaningfully consulted and listened to;
  • We think better regulation of the oil and gas industry is important in order to better protect the environment;
  • We think value-added opportunities and more high-quality jobs, including through more refining here in Canada, should be pursued; and
  • We need to do so much more to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change by working to transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • When our new Leader appointed me as the environment critic, he asked me to work with experts and party members to find ways for Saskatchewan to be a leader in addressing the global climate change crisis. I am excited about that work and I hope you will play a part in it.

This is the classic sort of explanation in which the individual positions are rational when taken in isolation and if you are missing the substance of the criticism, but can't be strung together like a coherent argument.

Here are some counterpoints:

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2007/09/26/the-neb-keystone-pipeline...

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/politics/economic-case-ag...

http://www.retrofitamillion.org/blog/5-arguments-against-keystone-xl-pip...

Anyway, I am wondering, where does the pressure come from internally to support Keystone? A more conservative membership? Unions representing workers in extraction industries? Broten and Sproule are both urban MLAs and environmentalism should play well here... maybe I need to take a look at a map to understand how ridings are divided up.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Quote:

We want to ensure a stringent triple bottom-line (economic, social and environmental) assessment of all such projects – the best process to do that right now is that of the National Energy Board and we trust their work;

In BC we don't believe that for a minute.


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

How is shipping away raw bitumen ensuring a social bottom line?

And I am pissed about Broten supporting the pipeline but not as pissed as the way he threw Mulcair under the bus.

The Tories and the press have been using it against him ever since Broten came out with this statement.


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

cooperativist wrote:

Anyway, I am wondering, where does the pressure come from internally to support Keystone? A more conservative membership? Unions representing workers in extraction industries? Broten and Sproule are both urban MLAs and environmentalism should play well here... maybe I need to take a look at a map to understand how ridings are divided up.

Sadly, its not specific to the Sask NDP, or really about the oil and gas industry per se.

Someone said the ANDP has taken a somewhat critical stance on Keystone. I'm skeptical. I'd like to see that spelled out.

Sections are always unlikely to stand in the way of local industries- often not even wanting to cross ones that only MIGHT get established.


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

And provincial NDPs that are governments or governments in waiting have always thrown the federal party and leader under the bus if there is a conflict.


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

Well they should stop doing it. It is nice to see Mason and the ANDP standing behind the federal leader in the most hostile political environment in Canada. I think they deserve praise.


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

So the ANDP has been equally crtical of Keystone as Mulcair has been?

I mean something beyond equivocal 'we support what the federal leader has been doing'.


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011
cooperativist
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Joined: Mar 20 2013

Well, I pretty much explained all of the above in a letter to MLAs Sproule, Wotherspoon and Broten today. Some of your responses helped me compose my reply to their clarification, so thanks. I'll let you know about the reply that I get.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

knownothing wrote:

Well they should stop doing it.

I think in this case what Broten did was both wrong and stupid, but I am sure there are situations in which any provincial party is going to disagree with the federal party. I'd hate so see a situation where they simply took their marching orders from Ottawa.


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

True, but the federal party has much more credibility than the SNDP at this time.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

In BC it is the other way around with Dix having far more credibility than Mulcair.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

knownothing wrote:

True, but the federal party has much more credibility than the SNDP at this time.

Doesn't matter. They still don't speak for me on provincial matters. And I wouldn't want them to, for instance, just decide that signing an HST deal was a good thing. And again, I think Broten made an ass of himself in this instance.

 


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

Mulcair has made it clear that he isn't going to interfere in provincial jurisdiction.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

knownothing wrote:

Mulcair has made it clear that he isn't going to interfere in provincial jurisdiction.

I'm not talking about interfering in jurisdiction (though avoiding that is easier said than done). I'm just saying that  federal interests are not always the same as provincial ones, and there are certain to be disagreements. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Though really, you'd think the provincial and federal wings would have had this conversation before now - like last spring when Mulcair made his initial comments on this issue. And that is a mutual responsibility.

 

 

 

 


knownothing
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Joined: Mar 24 2011

From what I can tell Mulcair is a decentralized federalist in the mould of PET. This should make it easy and clear for the provincial wings.

 

But like you said, they should get on the same page, this should have been dealt with long ago.


Lou Arab
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Joined: Jul 25 2001

knownothing wrote:

I think there are two schools of thought in the Saskatchewan NDP today. Those who think that the NDP need to go right to gain power and those who think they need to move left to gain power. Broten et al are in the former group.

Well, I don't know how far left you have to be to oppose Keystone, before he died, Peter Lougheed himself spoke against the pipeline. His position was remarkably similar to what the ANDP are saying today.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Broten's views on pipelines reminds me of Roy's views on uranium.  The Saskatchewan NDP  has been choosing economics over the environment for a long time.

"The NDP" and every other provincial government in Canada since approxiimately Gerald Bouey and Trudeau through Mulroney and Chretien and ongoing today.

It used to be Yugoslavia. Today it's Serbia vs Croatia vs Bosnia and so on. Multinationals don't like dealing with strong federal governments, and Canada hasn't had one of those in decades.


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