PQ government Betrayal on Fracking !

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KenS
PQ government Betrayal on Fracking !

So there is a ban/moratorium on fracking, which the PQ was unequivocal about when they came to power.

But, oh, that was shale GAS. Now fracking for OIL, there is BIG money in that.

Anybody who watches has known that for a long time the PQ has been talking a different line about the proposal to frack for oil on Anicosti Island. So the reversal is not unexpected.

But they are even throwing in a HUGE subsidy. [Excuse me- "investment".] Because they want this so bad.

KenS

I've seen the governments rationalizations and talking points. Those are predictable and of no interest.

But what are people saying? This is still new, but there is nothing in the ROC media at all about how this has been received.

If this happened in the Maritimes, there would be plenty of howling within hours. And the Quebec opposition to fracking- at least before the PQ came to power- was more vocal still.

Unionist

The media claim that "everyone" in Anticosti (all 240 of them or so) is in favour of the project. The mayor is making what I think are pro forma noises about protecting the drinking water and waterways, but he's "confident" that the government will look after all that. They can hardly wait for the money to start rolling in.

CAQ says, "finally". Liberal leader Couillard says it's high risk (from a financial - not environmental - angle!), and that the PQ shouldn't put in this much money ($115 million) so early in the process, but should let private investment take more risk. He seems to have no problem with fracking, of course. And QS of course is condemning the whole thing, saying it proves (if proof were needed) that the PQ is in the service of the oil companies, and that it should instead be putting forward a credible plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Likewise with various environmental groups, such as "Non au pétrole au Québec" (here's their Facebook page).

In short - I have no clue whether any kind of movement will develop to stop this, especially in time for the elections. And if all the so-called "opposition" parties are essentially on the same neoliberal "develop or die" bandwagon, where are we heading? Do I sound pessimistic?

Haven't heard from any Aboriginal peoples yet. Maybe someone else has?

ETA: By the way, remember Daniel Breton? Very respected (deservedly) environmental and peace activist - founded Québec Kyoto, spurred the revival of the Green Party, then joined the NDP, ran for them in 2008, sat out 2011, then joined the PQ, won his seat in 2012, and was named Minister of Natural Resources... before being drummed out of his position by a slander campaign (we talked about it here)? He's now a parliamentary secretary (provincial) so some Minister, forget which. He has been under pressure by lots of people to resign on principle in protest against this abject betrayal by the Marois regime. He has said on his Facebook page that he'll comment on Anticosti at the beginning of the week, in order to do it with a cool head.

 

KenS

I dont think its a matter of opposition "developing". The numerous community based groups are already organized- even if they have not been heard from for a while.

There is no chance of this being stopped before the election. No drilling will even start, or probably be announced, before the election. So its not pessimistic to muse it cant be stopped before the election. That timeline is just not relevant.

 It will play out after the election, and the roiling will not be set back by the beginning of drilling, and then fracking. [There are typically months separation between the 2 with exploratory wells].

KenS

Has it come up publicly about the gas that will also come up, IF they get enough oil?

Its an island, so there is no economically feasible way to transport it. So guess what, it will be flared.

And the proponents are always comparing it with the Utica in Ohio. Even the "wet" parts of the Ohio Utica Shale have a lot of gas that comes with the oil.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

I dont think its a matter of opposition "developing". The numerous community based groups are already organized- even if they have not been heard from for a while.

You're right. Look, this announcement is exactly two days old. So far I've seen statements from QS and from Équiterre - that's about it. And no one is talking about it in terms of "fracking". The issue being raised is that Pauline Marois promised to steer Québec's economy away from dependence on oil - and now oil exploration is the ordre du jour. Somone has pinpointed the broken promise on [url=http://youtu.be/DSyOo4Ge-9A]Youtube[/url].

Quote:
There is no chance of this being stopped before the election. No drilling will even start, or probably be announced, before the election. So its not pessimistic to muse it cant be stopped before the election. That timeline is just not relevant.

I never mentioned "stopping it" before the election. The issue was "a movement developing" before the election, so that people can vote in full consciousness of where the PQ (and Liberals and CAQ) have decided to take us.

 

quizzical

nnnmmn

quizzical

.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

..... And no one is talking about it in terms of "fracking". The issue being raised is that Pauline Marois promised to steer Québec's economy away from dependence on oil - and now oil exploration is the ordre du jour.

On thinking about it, I can see how the betrayal on fracking does not come up first. The news releases certainly avoid any mention. And you probably have to be already watching the Anticosti developments like a hawk to know that it IS about fracking. That would be true of all the fracktivists- but they are not by and large prepared at all times to hit the media.

And the media themselves- they see what they see. And they wouldnt be prepared in advance, or inclined to do immediate digging, to peel away the layers of obfuscation hiding that its about fracking.

That obscuring will not last long- at least not on the most obvious level of civil society [and media] being stunned.

As noted above- a betrayal itself does not come as a surprise to fractivists- even those who were catiously hopefully the government would not open the gates. But it is a surprise the PQ wanted it so bad, they would throw big money at it, because no oil company would go after it on their own.

What I also find sobering is that coming so close to the election, the PQ obviously thinks this is going to improve their chances. [They could have left the announcement until after the election.] The fact that there is an argument this can be a political winner- that's depressing.

KenS

I suppose I can see the case for the rational political calculation:

The environmentalists who are really pissed and noisy will not lead to significant numbers voting instead for the Liberals or CAQ- and the PQ get to pander to those who might otherwise for other 2 main parties.

[Which does not make it less depressing.]

lagatta

Yes, and while we (Québec solidaire) could pick up some votes over this, I don't think we really have the drawing capacity in all the regions as of now.

KenS

In my experience, fracktivists, and environmental activists in general, tend to be a pragmatic lot.

If that is also true in Quebec, the francophones and a lot of the anglophones, would have a history of voting PQ, despite strong reservations about doing that.

But there are tipping points. And the PQ is taking its chances they are hitting one of those.

So I think there is a lot of potential for the QS to pick up some new voters- and those will be distributed across the regions. While that would not come close to winning any seats in the regions, it means something. And it could be the added margin that puts some urban seat over the top for the QS.

I think this will become a pretty high profile issue for a lot of people, and it will not require an organized infrastructure for the QS to reach out to them.

lagatta

This has been a part of the QS programme and platform pretty much from the inception of the party. One point raised here is that while our stance on petroleum is fairly clear, there is little about "fracking" per se. http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/exploration-petroliere-sur-lile-danticost... It does mention "la fracturation" but that isn't the lead of the release.

You are right that most grassroots environmental activists are of the pragmatic variety, but it is also a deeply held conviction for many.

KenS

I see what you mean lagatta. From the release:

QS release wrote:

 Le Parti Québécois nous enfonce dans le pétrole et abandonne la lutte au changement climatique, critique vertement Amir Khadir, qui rappelle que le projet exigera le forage de 12 000 à 15 000 puits, suivi de fracturation hydraulique. Un vrai gâchis environnemental! »

There is nothing wrong with that.

But I think its not only my limited reading of French, or just an unintentional way the release is written: fracking comes across as afterthought. [This might correspond with the way the government might have put it, something like "hydraulic fracturing may be required". There is no doubt that it will take fracking to get that oil.]

There are a lot more people who are really outraged by fracking, than there are people outraged by the oil industry.

You need to be thinking the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. Catastrophe of a moment in Lac Megantic. Catastrophe for generations if this industry takes root in Anticosti.

[BTW: I dont know where they got that 12-15,000 wells figure. But thats got to be a huge exageration. Even if this takes off and keeps going, it would take years to be several hundred wells... which is catastrophe enough.]

lagatta

Yes, you were right about the communiqué. Fracking is not the main thrust of the protest.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I can't wait for the upcoming election as the population chooses between a right wing PLQ,a right wing CAQ and a right wing PQ with the left wing QS trailing in the distance.

The cards are stacked against the environment and society in general.

DaveW

Well, QC voters generally don't divide parties into those categories, and remain split about 35-35 between the 2 big parties, with QS back at 8 per cent ... 

Unionist

Unionist wrote:
By the way, remember Daniel Breton? [...] He has been under pressure by lots of people to resign on principle in protest against this abject betrayal by the Marois regime. He has said on his Facebook page that he'll comment on Anticosti at the beginning of the week, in order to do it with a cool head.

Yeah, well, right, so here's Daniel Breton's brilliant comment. Not surprised it took him 5 days to squeeze this out:

Daniel Breton, on Facebook wrote:
Le gouvernement a repris le contrôle sur les droits qui ont été usurpés au peuple du Québec sur l’île d’Anticosti. Il s'agit là de l’application du "Maîtres chez nous-21e siècle".

Comme l'a fait René Lévesque avec le projet "Maîtres chez nous", le gouvernement présentera au peuple du Québec son projet car c'est au peuple du Québec et à lui seul de décider de l'avenir de ce dit projet.

Je ferai une présentation en début de semaine prochaine afin de situer beaucoup plus en détails les tenants et aboutissants écologiques, économiques et sociaux de ce dossier fort complexe.

Everyone with a guilty conscience these days invokes the spirit of René Lévesque. I'm done with Daniel Breton, until he remembers where he came from.

 

KenS

What an incredible joke: focusing on the non-extistant "nationalist dimension". They act as if they have reappropriated ownership from the rapacious outsiders ripping off Quebec again.

Here's the way it works. Licences for exploration are essentially given away [and the PQ is no different on that, it may have even been an earlier PQ govt that gave the Anticosti licences away]. The reason they are given away is because that is what it costs to get anyone to pay for the preliminary survey work. This is the way the industry works. A significant amount is only paid for exploration licences when there is almost certainly an economically viable resource there [it being ony a question of how much]. 

The big companies pay the bigger bucks for the quality licences. The really small juniors of the junior companies pick up the free licences like Anticosti, and spend the little bucks [not at all pocket change for them] on the early work. If the work shows promise- or just the herd mentality of the industry is moving in the direction of the potential resources [as in this case because it is shale OIL]- the little junior starts looking for the big boy[s] to buy them out.

So the rapacious ripper offer of the people of Quebec is a small company in Halifax- home of industry titans bumper to bumper. 

And the only reason the PQ government is "liberating the peoples resource" is because they desperately wanted development to go ahead- whoever owns it didn't matter- but there was only one mid sized French company willing to pony in for only part of the costs.

KenS

Its really too bad about Daniel Breton. I wasnt expecting him to come through, but I had hoped he would expose this charade.

It's pretty obvious the Premeirs office wrote that crap for him.

The last lines tell us the next act: "Je ferai une présentation en début de semaine prochaine afin de situer beaucoup plus en détails les tenants et aboutissants écologiques, économiques et sociaux de ce dossier fort complexe."

Translation: the government is going to take until early next week to fully package their talking points. And they will use lackey Daniel Breton to present them.

PrairieDemocrat15

Does anyone know how Lone Pine Resources chapter 11 NAFTA case against Quebec's shale gas moratorium is progressing? I read a while back that the company went bankrupt; are they still pursuing their lawsuit?

KenS

I did not know about the bankruptcy, but the recent news was that the case was proceeding.

Here is a recent summary of Lone Pines troubles and bankruptcy process.

Does not say anything about the legal case. But that COULD proceed if the law firm wants to work only for the possibility of a big payout. I dont know anything about corporate ambulance chasers likelihhod to do that, but there is no longer any Lone Pine investor or debt holder with a pratical interest in putting time into this [putting money in is out of the question]. At this point, any money possibly earned from the suit, above the lawyers huge cut, would go to the debt holders.

KenS

There is a farcical postscript to this Anticosti oil deal.

The PQ crows about 'repatriating the resources'- supposedly taking [part of] it back. 

Who they bought it from was a two bit little oil and gas junior company in Halifax.

The smaller share of what Corridor Resources now owns is worth more than when they owned all of it- thanks to the real money the government is pumping in.

And as a bonus they got $15 million in cash. Does not sound like a lot.

But it has a significant impact here in the Maritimes: cash starved Corridor has re-started it's dormant gas fracking program in New Brunswick.

So Corridor could not find the necessary big pockets investor for developing Anticosti Island, and they had no money to continue their existing development here. Mme. Marois solved both problems for them.