Alberta Politics - started May 7, 2015

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It's way past time for a minimum national price on carbon. Alberta can oppose that, even though it has its own minimum price for carbon, but it won't change the need for a national floor price. Nor does it give Alberta the righht to force pipelines through other provinces that don't want them. 

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Alberta’s NDP ices labour in Cold Lake

Last week, workers represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) at the Points West Living (PWL) senior centre in Cold Lake were set to strike. The employer had also served lockout notice.

PWL is one of the most profitable and fastest growing seniors care providers in Alberta. PWL receives public funding to provide seniors’ care. Worker pay is poor so turnover is high. AUPE has a website with more info about PWL.

Bad working conditions are the (intended) outcome of Alberta’s private-care system, set up by the former Conservative government. As former AUPE organizer Trevor Zimmerman explains it:

…the PCs created a funding system that incentivizes employers to reduce wages by not tying adequate strings to funding handed over for care. They do have to hire staff, but are not required to pay them with 100% of the funds given. They can use surplus funds generated by underpaying staff for fancy renovations, executive bonuses, or pure profit. This means most private care workers – especially the non-union ones – are getting screwed by this system. 

AUPE has a long-running campaign to organize workers in these facilities and improve wages and working conditions such that workers in private-sector operations are treated the same as workers in the public sector.

As the work stoppage approached, the government quietly appointed a Disputes Inquiry Board (DIB). A DIB is a process whereby pending work stoppages are placed in abeyance for a period of time and a mediator is appointed. If there is no settlement, there is a tedious process of recommendations and votes before a strike or lockout can commence. This DIB was requested by the employer

Basically a DIB is a delaying tactic—it puts off a work stoppage. Delay in a work stoppage typically benefits the employer more than the workers. It allows the employer additional time to procure scab labour, stockpile materials, target union supporters, and take other steps that minimize the effectiveness of the strike.


Indeed, if there was a serious safety threat, the government could use its powers under the Labour Relations Code to send the matter binding in arbitration (called a Public Emergency Tribunal). Interestingly, the NDP made no public announcement whatsoever about the DIB. Not surprisingly, AUPE was pissed off:

“The NDP government is allowing the employer to prepare scab labour, private security and put other provisions in place enabling the company to avoid dealing with this situation directly,” said AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey. “The province has rescued the employer and left residents and the workers who care for them in limbo.”

There are also many NDP activists in the labour movement who are quite upset at what they view as a betrayal. Not everyone is jumping on the government. For example, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) has been conspicuously quiet (at least in public) on the issue (AUPE is not part of the AFL).

The real question here is why did the government intervene, instead of letting the strike or lockout occur? A strike or lockout is how collective bargaining impasse is broken and restricting the right to strike (through senseless delay) runs contrary to the spirit (although probably not the strict interpretation) of the Supreme Court’s decision in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v Saskatchewan.

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Trilogy oil emulsion spill in Alberta reaches size of four football fields

Trilogy Energy says the pipeline leak it discovered late last week in north central Alberta has covered an area about three hectares in size with oil emulsion — a damage zone equivalent to roughly four football fields.

In an update posted to its website late Tuesday, the Calgary−based oil and gas producer says it still doesn’t know the volume of the Oct. 6 spill into a marshland about 15 kilometres from Fox Creek, a small town of nearly 2,000 people located northwest of Edmonton.

According to the statement, company president John Williams and other managers travelled to the remote scene Tuesday to meet with the cleanup team and assess the extent of the spill. The pipeline has been shut down and purged, and the source of the leak has been maintained.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the leak remains under investigation.

Staff on site at the spill include environmental and wildlife specialists working with representatives of the Alberta Energy Regulator, which last week, said the oil emulsion that leaked is about 50 per cent water and 50 per cent oil. Sampling and monitoring, recovery, waste management, wildlife and water control plans await approval from the AER, said the update, which also indicated that recovery and disposal of contaminated material has already begun....

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Alberta’s Carbon Tax Doesn’t Equal ‘Social Licence’ for New Pipelines, Critics Say

Implement an economy-wide carbon tax, attain “social licence,” score a federal approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

That’s been the advertised logic of the Alberta NDP since the introduction of its Climate Leadership Plan a year ago. Nearly every mention of carbon pricing and associated policies — a 100 megatonne oilsands cap, coal-fired power phase-out and methane reduction target — has been accompanied by a commitment to “improve opportunities to get our traditional energy products to new markets.” 

Such a sentiment was reinforced with Premier Rachel Notley’s retort on Oct. 3 to the announcement of federally mandated carbon pricing: “Alberta will not be supporting this proposal absent serious concurrent progress on energy infrastructure.”

But for some, the Alberta NDP’s rhetoric represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the point of social licence, with the government assuming that moderate emissions reduction policies allows it to ignore serious concerns about Indigenous rights and international climate commitments.

“It’s a bizarre idea,” says Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and co-director of the Petrocultures Research Cluster at the University of Alberta.

“It’s like saying: ‘if I’m good to my neighbour then I can engage in some petty theft of the corner store.’ As opposed to saying: ‘Being good to my neighbour and the environment just means that I’ve learned how to start to do that on an ongoing basis.’ It doesn’t open up the possibility for something else.”

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A Bold Clean-Up Plan for Alberta’s Giant Oil Industry Pollution Liabilities

‘RAFT’ proposal would replace energy jobs with needed clean-up work. 


So here goes. 

RAFT is built on several premises. The first is that the time for fossil fuel extraction has ended in Alberta. The low fruit has been picked and nobody saved anything for the future.

The second is that climate change has become a clear and present danger. “We need to start making a real reduction in man-made emissions so our future generations have the same opportunities we once did” says the RAFT proposal.   

The best way to respond to this emergency — as well as increasing oil price volatility — is to wind down the industry and re-employ people in a massive environmental clean-up, RAFT proposes. While industry has a legal obligation to clean up its inactive wells and abandoned pipelines, it probably won’t spend the money unless government tackles some surprising legal obstacles.

Cleaning up has many economic benefits. It puts oil service companies back to work and would employ thousands throughout the province. The clean-up would last decades and fixing leaking wells would reduce methane pollution into the atmosphere.

The plan would slowly erase the large and ugly footprint the industry has left in rural Alberta. Current liabilities for the conventional sector, the plan notes, include 444,000 oil and gas wells (only 200,000 are actually pumping liquids), 430,000 kilometres of pipelines (the distance to the moon is 384,000 kilometres), 30,000 oil and gas facilities, 900 square kilometres of oil sands development, 220 square kilometres of tailing ponds and “a 11.2 million ton sulfur pile that dwarfs the great pyramids of Egypt.” (The sulphur is another waste stream from bitumen upgrading.)


Alberta MLA Sandra Jansen leaves PCs, joins NDP caucus

Nov 17, 2016


mark_alfred wrote:

That's a good start. In order to keep those spaces and expand the system, she will need to introduce pensions for child care workers like we have here in Manitoba. I hope that is on the agenda some time soon.

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Scientists just found 15 ways Alberta's oilsands sector can alter oceans

When Stephanie Green and a team of seven other scientists first began their latest research study more than two years ago in Vancouver, she said they were driven by curiosity.

Green, a Canadian, is a Banting post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University in California. She specializes in marine ecology and conservation science.

Most people knew that there was research underway on local impacts of Canada's oilsands industry, which sits in the middle of North America, hundreds of kilometres away from the coasts. But the team of eight scientists wanted to see how much scientific research had been completed on how the industry might affect the oceans.

By the end of their review, which involved scrutinizing 9,260 different research papers, the scientists concluded that there are a lot of things we don’t know about how Alberta's oilsands industry might alter the planet's oceans.


Ten of 15 oilsands impacts on oceans are 'certain'

The scientists found that at least 10 of these impacts are “certain” to happen from new coastal development, ocean shipping, climate change and the risk of spills of bitumen, the heavy oil found in natural deposits of sand and clay in northern Alberta's oilsands. The other impacts would be probable, according to the study, which underwent a rigorous peer review.

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Oilsands giant fined $10,000 for 'unprofessional conduct' over accident that killed two

Canadian Natural Resources has been fined $10,000 by Alberta’s professional engineering society — the maximum allowed — following an investigation into an accident at an oilsands site that killed two and injured five others in 2007.

In a report released Wednesday, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) says the company has admitted to unprofessional conduct on how it dealt with contract engineers, including supervision at the project site in Alberta nearly 10 years ago.

On April 24, 2007, workers were building a 20-metre high oil tank at the Horizon oilsands project north of Fort McMurray when cables holding up a roof support structure snapped due to high winds. The falling steel structure broke apart, with steel debris striking an electrical consultant, killing him. A scaffolder was crushed and died on the way to the hospital. Two other workers were seriously injured and three others suffered minor injuries.

The two who were killed were foreign workers from China, and among 13 employees trapped by the devastating tank collapse. The engineering association found that the steel cables supporting the roofing structure were inadequate and did not meet regulations....

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Alberta workers under the NDP, part one

The New Democrats were elected in Alberta nearly two years ago. What changes have the New Democrats brought forward on the labour front and what challenges lie ahead for Albertan workers and unions? To answer these questions,‘s Doug Nesbitt spoke with Bob Barnetson, Associate Professor of Labour Relations at Athabasca University in Alberta.

In part one of this interview, Barnetson surveys the state of health and safety and workers’ compensation reforms in Alberta, including Bill 6. In part two of the interview to be published next week, Barnetson talks about the challenges of union organizing in Alberta, the $15 minimum wage, and the politics of the province in a period of low oil prices....


Alberta begins issuing carbon tax rebates to families

Full rebates will go to an estimated 60 per cent of Albertans

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‘We’re running out of time’: Jane Fonda on the tar sands


Solidarity with Indigenous communities

“Trudeau has signalled that he is willing to work with Donald Trump to restart the KeystoneXL pipeline,” said Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation and a campaigner with Greenpeace Canada who opened the press conference Wednesday.

“The Trudeau government is not respecting Indigenous peoples' decisions for their land and peoples,” said Laboucan-Massimo, noting that recent approvals of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 are in contradiction to the government’s stated commitment to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Jane Fonda came here this week to show solidarity with Indigenous communities,” Laboucan-Massimo emphasized in her introduction.

“We wanted to show them [Fonda and other members of the delegation] some of the outstanding issues for our communities,” said Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“Everything’s still the same, they’re approving projects like they were before, and First Nations issues are not a concern to them,” Adam continued. “It’s all because of mismanagement. I believe the whole oil sands is being mismanaged by the provincial and federal governments . . . .They continue to push pipelines through and whatever concerns [we] have as a nation it doesn’t matter anymore because the almighty dollar counts more than human life.”

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“We are not an enemy of the workers, we share an enemy with the workers,” said Fonda, arguing that renewable energy developments and other sectors are more job-intensive than fossil fuels. “Powerful interests don’t want us to know that there are alternatives available now.”

“I want to say as clearly as possible that British Columbia is not Canada’s doormat to access Asian markets,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “We are staunchly opposed to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project, and for the last decade we opposed Enbridge’s Northern Gateway heavy oil pipeline proposal. And we were successful . . . at the end of the day it was First Nations' lawsuits that squashed that project, and now we’re fighting Kinder Morgan. The future in B.C. is going to be extremely litigious.”

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Alberta workers under the NDP, part two How has organized labour in Alberta responded to all these legislative changes? Is organized labour working lockstep with the New Democrats or is there a tension between the two?

Bob Barnetson: Overall what I’d say is that the Alberta Federation of Labour, which basically speaks for everybody but the building trades and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, has been highly supportive of the changes we’ve seen from a $15 minimum wage to health and safety reform, WCB reviews. There’s been quite an effort to be supportive of the New Democrat government. Whether they think the government is moving fast enough, that’s harder to gauge.

The test here is whether the New Democrats win a second term or not. Are workers better off after four years of New Democratic government, or not? And in what ways? That’s still a bit of an open question.

To their credit, the New Democrats have made some significant changes for some groups, particularly vulnerable groups: minimum wage earners, farm workers. And they’ve done it in a way that’s been politically costly to them. Employers have opposed minimum wage significantly, and particularly rural Alberta has opposed Bill 6. Good on them for doing that....


This pilot makes a lot of sense, and I would hazzard a guess that the majority of Canadians would agree with him. 

Helicopter pilot opens up about Jane Fonda’s oilsands tour: ‘she was being given so much misinformation’

“Yeah, we’re producing a hydrocarbon resource here, whether it’s oil or petrochemical stock for plastics, there is a byproduct that comes with that, there is pollution. But it’s the same with every industry,” he explained.

“To pick on Fort McMurray is ridiculous because, if you look at other oil-producing nations around the world like Venezuela, Russia, China, they have no environmental standards. But we’re a really easy whipping boy because you can come to Canada, be treated nice, talk to media. You aren’t arrested, you don’t disappear, we’re just too nice I think is the problem.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..judge for yourself if it's misinformation. or the poverty and repression indigenous folk just to nice. personally i think the pilot is an asshole.

Press conference with ACFN Chief and Jane Fonda regarding the Alberta Oil Sands



NorthReport wrote:

This pilot makes a lot of sense, and I would hazzard a guess that the majority of Canadians would agree with him. 

Helicopter pilot opens up about Jane Fonda’s oilsands tour: ‘she was being given so much misinformation’

“Yeah, we’re producing a hydrocarbon resource here, whether it’s oil or petrochemical stock for plastics, there is a byproduct that comes with that, there is pollution. But it’s the same with every industry,” he explained.

“To pick on Fort McMurray is ridiculous because, if you look at other oil-producing nations around the world like Venezuela, Russia, China, they have no environmental standards. But we’re a really easy whipping boy because you can come to Canada, be treated nice, talk to media. You aren’t arrested, you don’t disappear, we’re just too nice I think is the problem.”

These Hollywood types coming up here ripping into the oil sands don't do their cause any good. The truth of the matter is that Fonda conducted herself with poise and dignity and the guy who interrupted the interview came across as rude and boorish. Still, visiting a city just recovering from a devastating fire and then attacking the industry sustaining that city was bad PR taken as a whole.

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..i'm trying to understand what this carbon tax actually means. can anyone explain it?

Are the billionaire American Koch brothers playing climate politics in Alberta?


A closer look at Alberta’s carbon tax

Andrew Leach, a well-respected energy and environmental economist at the University of Alberta, crunched the numbers and released them on Twitter. Using comparative project economics and official energy statistics from the U.S. government, he determined that an in-situ oil sands project like Koch’s Muskwa SAGD would not be greatly affected by Alberta's new carbon tax.

Whether the price of oil sits below $51 per barrel or soars above $104, he found that the new tax would likely cost the project proponent roughly 20 cents a barrel — only 14 cents more than it would have cost had the carbon tax never kicked off on Jan. 1.

Leach was unavailable for an interview, but Joel Gehman, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta School of Business, said the numbers clearly show that the Koch project would be much more affected by the price of oil than it would be by the carbon tax.


When the price of oil is listed as $50.92 per barrel, Leach’s numbers show a return rate of 8.41 per cent per barrel before the NDP carbon tax, and 8.11 per cent after the carbon tax. Comparatively, when the price of oil is $104.98 per barrel, those numbers jump drastically to 20.01 per cent and 19.62 per cent, respectively.

That’s because Alberta’s carbon tax isn’t designed to have an impact on revenues, explained Trevor Tombe, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Calgary. It’s designed to subsidize carbon costs for facilities with low emissions.


Here is good article on the new leader of the Alberta PC's.

6 severely abnormal things new Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney says he believes

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Alberta’s budget: The good, the bad, and the elephant in the room

The Good

1. Post-secondary tuition freeze.

2. Increase to child care.

3. Substantial increase to home care funding.

4. Elimination of basic mandatory school fees.

The Bad

1. Cuts to acute care and ambulance services.

2. Increased public funding to private schools.

The Elephant

The elephant in the room remains the province’s shortage of revenue resulting from its anemic tax system. Aside from Greg Clark, leader of the Alberta Party, none of the parties in the legislature has talked seriously about addressing the issue.


However, Clark’s statement that "for far too long, we've relied on non-renewable resource revenue as our saviour, and this government is doing the same thing” is the closest Alberta has to a productive voice in the revenue conversation right now. Similar lines were spoken by Jim Prentice when he was premier, though his willingness to act on those words was limited. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made similar comments before the NDP formed government in 2015, and at the beginning of her term the government took some significant action, but it has not raised nearly enough revenue to solve the problem. Since those early days, the current government has even adopted the old PC government talking point that low tax revenues is an advantage.

The solution

As it stands, whenever government officials are asked a question about taxes in Alberta, they remind everyone about the so-called tax advantage. The first step toward a solution to the revenue problem is a public understanding the problem exists. The finance minister and the rest of the government caucus need to start answering questions about taxes in Alberta by pointing out how utterly inadequate our tax system is at raising revenue compared to every other tax system in the country. They also need to understand what is at stake and where we are headed if we don’t make big changes. When the public understands those key elements, political leaders will be able to begin talking about and building public support for solutions, which must include raising substantially more revenue through fair approaches to increased taxation.


i disagree with Mr French. Albertans right now would never accept a provincial sales tax. it's stupid even to think along those lines.



Sales taxes are one of  the most regressive forms of taxation. Imposing one would be a lose lose situation for the NDP. It would piss off its own base as well as everyone else. They have already retreated from their plan to get the oil industry to pay more taxes and royalties which is how they costed their platform if I am not mistaken. When you give one of the biggest industries in the province a free ride or net gain after subsidies it only leaves citizens to pick up the slack.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..just to point out that it's not french who is proposing a sales tax but clark from the alberta party. french points out there needs to be a discussion.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture alberta! what a fucking disaster. how can anyone want to keep dealing with these corporations in the name of jobs and revenue?

Ralph Klein's multibillion dollar liability is about to blow up in Alberta's face


Which brings us back to Redwater Energy and the government-owned ATB. The 2016 decision by Alberta’s chief justice “flies in the face of any conception of the polluter-pays principle,” says Nigel Bankes, University of Calgary Chair of Natural Resource Law.

“Any effort to restore the pre-eminence of the polluter pays principle will require statutory amendments [and] changes in regulatory practice. The most obvious candidate for amendment is the BIA itself but this may well prove to be an immovable object given the desire to protect the interests of secured creditors.”

Alberta needs a super-priority to prevent producers from escaping liability through bankruptcy, but the changes can only come federally. Because the Redwater decision has national implications, all Canadians need that super-priority to hold all polluters accountable for cleaning up mines and pulp mills in bankruptcy. Without it, polluters will simply walk away with their pockets stuffed full of money, leaving taxpayers burdened with the cost of cleanup.


Go Rachel Go!

Kenney PCs in Stasis

“The movement that we’ve seen is mainly beneficial for the NDP. The PCs have dropped to 33% support in Calgary (from 38%) and the NDP are up one point to 27% with the Wildrose following at 24%. The PCs have made ground outside the urban centres however where they are up to 30% from 27%. With the regional margin of error higher than the overall survey, we would want to confirm these results in a subsequent poll before coming to any definite conclusions.”

“As discussions continue surrounding a potential merger, we asked Albertans who they would prefer to see as leader of the merged party. 29% told us Brian Jean with a further 24% citing Mr. Kenney, the remainder are not sure or would prefer someone else. This is an increase in support for Mr. Kenney from last month. Wildrose Voters prefer Mr. Jean (42% support) while PC Voters prefer Mr. Kenney (36%). There is a significant gap between Mr. Jean and Mr. Kenney among Wildrose supporters but they are more or less evenly matched among Wildrose voters.”

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Alberta NDP act like Tories on Bill 7

Last week, Alberta’s Bill 7 was passed and came into effect. This Bill moves faculty and graduate student collective bargaining under the Labour Relations Code. This means bargaining impasse will (effective immediately) be resolved via strike-lockout. Overall, Bill 7 is sensible and necessary to respond to the evolving jurisprudence around freedom of association.

The two most contentious parts of Bill 7 have to do with transition periods. Bill 7 creates a five-year ban on workers selecting a different (or no) union. In contrast, Bill 7 moves workers from arbitration to strike-lockout immediately (and, indeed, a bit retroactively).


The Minister’s suggestion that the consultation period was the transition period (just, apparently, a secret transition period) is the kind of sophistry unions are used to from Tory governments. Compounding the growing sense that we’d slipped into some kind of alternate universe was ND MLA David Shepherd efforts to do some damage control later that day:

Now, the fact is that nobody will lose the right to use binding arbitration if Bill 7 is passed. In fact, it remains available on a voluntary basis, with agreement from both parties, under section 93 of the Labour Relations Code. (p.830)

This statement is either deeply naïve or completely disingenuous. Labour relations are about power and money. If an employer suddenly (by act of government) finds itself in a better position to grind wages, is it really gonna agree to binding arbitration and give away that advantage?

So what is the real reason for this double-cross?

Shepherd helps us out here when he explained the rapid shift to strike-lockout is about saving the government money: “Indeed, I think it’s a fiscally responsible thing to do… .” (p. 830) and “it will allow the faculty, the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and the institutions to come to more prudent agreements ” (p. 831). “More prudent” is neoliberal code for “lower wages”. Still later, Shepherd noted:

Indeed, given our current economic climate I think it makes sense that we try to find labour negotiation models that are going to ensure that we use public dollars responsibly. We know that compulsory arbitration in the past has at times tended to result in higher wage increases. That’s something that’s not sustainable, and we certainly recognize that it is not the direction to be going in for the province right now (p. 831)

Shepherd is, of course, wrong about arbitration giving unions unsustainable wage increases (my association, for example, have taken zeros in four or five of the last 10 years because that is what we would have gotten at arbitration).

Setting aside, you know, facts, basically what is going on here is the NDs are in a fiscal bind and most expeditious way to minimize the wage bill in PSE was to give employers a hammer in the short-term by moving to strike-lockout while unions are unprepared.

This is exactly the kind of move the Tories would have made, although the Tories would have at least had the good political sense to lie about it. That the NDs have done this under the guise of protecting workers’ associational rights is particularly galling.


Sound like the Wildrose President is a Jason Kenney plant


Who does Callaway think he is?

Sound like the Wildrose President is a Jason Kenney plant!

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No Sure Plans, Funding for $51 Billion Cleanup and Rehabilitation of Oilsands Tailings Ponds

The future of Alberta’s sprawling tailings ponds is in serious crisis.

As of right now, there is no clear understanding if or how oilsands companies are going to clean up the 1.2 trillion litres of toxic petrochemical waste covering over 220 square kilometres in the province’s northeast.

On Monday, Environmental Defence and the U.S.’s Natural Resources Defense Council published a report that pegged potential costs for cleanup and reclamation at a staggering $51.3 billion: $44.5 billion for cleanup, with an additional $6.8 billion for rehabilitation and monitoring.

That amount exceeds the $41.3 billion in royalties collected by the province of Alberta between 1970 and 2016.

“Increasingly, as an Albertan, I am concerned that these will become public liabilities,” Martin Olszynski, law professor at the University of Calgary and expert in environmental law, tells DeSmog Canada.

“In my view, at this point, it’s more likely than not that they will become public liabilities.”

The two organizations behind the new research called on the Alberta government to reject any new tailings ponds applications and require existing tailings be cleaned up faster than they're produced....

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Alberta Failing on Risk From Leaking Oil and Gas Wells, Says Expert

The author of a unpublished report on leaking abandoned oil and gas wells in Alberta’s cities and towns says the province’s regulator doesn’t have the expertise to deal with the growing public health and safety issues in a timely manner.

“The expertise to assess the health risk of abandoned wells really doesn’t exist in house,” charged Monique Dube, former chief environmental scientist with the Alberta Energy Regulator and one of the authors of a report on the toxicity of abandoned wells in Alberta.

A report for Natural Resources Canada has described methane leakage from active or abandoned wells as “ a serious threat to the environment and public safety” with the risk of “irreversible contamination of freshwater aquifers, accumulation of explosive gases within and around residences and other structures and contribution to greenhouse gases.”

In addition repair and clean up of leaking wells can be prohibitively expensive, which explains why the issue has become an explosive one throughout western Canada and even Quebec....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..the destructive elements of the tarsands project knows no bounds. and other than brute force (stop pipelines) to slow it down even will continue rolling along ever expanding the damage.   

Ten things to know about Indigenous people and resource extraction in Alberta

In February, the government of Alberta signed a ten-year framework agreement with the Métis Nation of Alberta, emphasizing a relationship based on recognition, respect, and cooperation. In March, Alberta and the Blackfoot Confederacy signed a protocol agreement on how they will work together on economic development and other areas of concern to both parties. These agreements, of course, are only two of many instances of Indigenous people in the mainstream media recently.


These events and contestations are all happening roughly a year after the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. As a result of decades of work by Indigenous political leaders, lawyers, educators, and activists, Indigenous rights and issues seem to be gaining increasing recognition in provincial and federal politics, economics, and the courts.

In Alberta, where resource extraction is a factor in many areas of political, economic, and everyday community relations, it is important to understand how Indigenous rights and issues interact with the oil industry and the provincial government, especially given the power and influence the industry has in the province.

In this article, we discuss 10 key facts that all Albertans should be aware of as we work to understand and evaluate these ongoing events.....


My hunch is the PC Party will agree to merge but Wildrose will not this weekend


Guess I was wrong about the right-wing merger. That's the difference between the right and the left, as the right know the importance of power and aim to win at any cost. Too bad Rachel!

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this idea is solid, worth exploring and can be a way forward for alberta. if there was a party to advocate for this, help educate/rally folks around it then this could be a way out of the expanding and massive ecological disaster fermenting in alberta. imho. 

A Bold Clean-Up Plan for Alberta’s Giant Oil Industry Pollution Liabilities


Both men come from the oil town of Grand Prairie and know what they are talking about. O’Neil has working in the patch since he was 14 and Boychuk, a roofer by trade, has been researching the troubled state of oil and gas royalties for more than decade.

Like most Albertans they have seen the province swing from bust to boom to bust again with nary a change in policy.  

Neither wanted to be the centre of this story. They just want some important ideas and facts the media have mostly ignored to get a public airing.

So here goes. 

RAFT is built on several premises. The first is that the time for fossil fuel extraction has ended in Alberta. The low fruit has been picked and nobody saved anything for the future.

The second is that climate change has become a clear and present danger. “We need to start making a real reduction in man-made emissions so our future generations have the same opportunities we once did” says the RAFT proposal.   

The best way to respond to this emergency — as well as increasing oil price volatility — is to wind down the industry and re-employ people in a massive environmental clean-up, RAFT proposes. While industry has a legal obligation to clean up its inactive wells and abandoned pipelines, it probably won’t spend the money unless government tackles some surprising legal obstacles.

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Is Rachel Notley's NDP doomed? Not so fast

No wonder Alberta’s newly united conservatives are feeling so triumphant these days.

Their big gamble — to convince the right-wing Wildrose Party (the official opposition) to merge with the remnants of the formerly mighty Progressive Conservatives — was accomplished almost without a hitch last month.

More than 95 per cent of those who cast ballots voted to come together under a new banner, the United Conservative Party — though in fact, only about half the membership of the two old parties bothered to vote.

The merger takes Alberta conservatives a giant step closer to their goal of defeating Premier Rachel Notley's NDP government, and the prospect is intoxicating to the right, which has little but disdain for the NDP.

The UCP will reverse many of Notley’s policies, returning the province to its natural governing conservative party. And the NDP government, an aberration, will be consigned to history.

Or so goes the thinking.....


NDP moves to end secret Klein-era scheme to offload corporate losses on the public


So what does Notley have to do to get her oil to tidewater and get the NDP re-elected in Alberta?


Good riddance!

Start a petition to recall him



Attacking Ralph Klein - that's a real Alberta sacred cow!

Enron and the power boys played Ralph Klein's government as suckers

David Climenhaga

August 10, 2016




This clown is one of the biggest right-wing dicks in Canada, and now is the time to believe in karma!

His political days are numbered and next election if he dares to run which he won't, but if he did, his constituents would do him in.

'Fildepockets' falls — and the UCP leadership race gets dirty

iPolitics Insights

Jason Kenney’s going to have to find another attack dog




NorthReport wrote:
So what does Notley have to do to get her oil to tidewater and get the NDP re-elected in Alberta?

Getting oil to tidewater is not something that is within her control. Time is actually on her side. Here's why:

1) It appears as though the worst of the recession is behind Alberta and the economy is picking up. This always helps an incumbent government. What she needs to do in this area is to agressively push on diversifying Alberta's economy and making it a leader in green energy. The greater proportion of the economy that is not dependent on oil the better.

2) Infrastructure. There are a number of porjects the budgets have committed to build, but these things take time. How much easier is it going to be for incumbent NDP MLAs to run in front of schools, hospitals, LRTs, and roads that are currently under construction or nearly opened?

3) Once the UCP finds its leader, it's all downhill for them. They have to come up with a platform other than "we hate the NDP." There is also the possibility of wounds opening up from different factions within. Plus that gives the NDP a large amount of time to pre-emptively brand the party.

Interestingly enough, if you look at the polls according to Wikipedia, the most recent UCP poll has that party down 9% from the standing of the Wildrose and PCs combined from the one before it, and the UCP hasn't even done anything.


That's for the future but presently Notley hasn't got a chance if she can't get her oil to tidewater.


Alberta's conservatives are doing everything they can to stop the NDP from saving $2 billion

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..this podcast is about 20 min long 

Alberta's first NDP government: Successes, failures and contradictions

In this conversation Joel French, executive director of the non-partisan advocacy group Public Interest Alberta, discusses Premier Rachel Notley's realpolitik approach to Kinder Morgan, considers levels of enthusiasm for federal NDP leadership candidates in the province and reflects on the successes, failures and contradictions of Alberta's first NDP government.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Bankruptcy for profit in Alberta's oilpatch

Sulphur waste from the catalyst used to sweeten sour gas lay spilled on the floor at Lexin Resource Limited’s natural gas plant southeast of Calgary throughout 2015.

Careless disposal of such waste can result in severe soil acidification and groundwater contamination.

Despite generating tens of millions in annual revenue that year, Lexin left the spill uncleaned, stopped paying royalties to at least 17 freeholders and stopped making lease payments to Albertans who had Lexin wells and pipelines on their property.

A whistleblower came forward

In February 2016, an Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) inspector noted the spilled catalyst had not yet been cleaned up. A month later, Lexin stopped reporting its oil and gas production to regulators and stopped sending millions of dollars in royalties to the provinces.

That spring, whistleblowing petroleum engineer Allan MacRae notified the AER of concerns over safety at Lexin. Among them were failure to pay surface lease rentals and resulting loss of access to sour gas wells; infrequent anti-corrosion chemical injection of sour gas pipeline gathering systems; and major cost skimping on sour gas plant maintenance.

"If true, I regard this matter as very high risk, given that the Mazeppa plant and gathering system collects and processes sour gas... and is close to highly-populated areas, including the City of Calgary,” he wrote in May, 2016, to the AER.

The AER eventually ordered Lexin to remove the spilled catalyst by the end of June.

Instead, Lexin laid off all but six staff, informed the regulator that the sour gas leak monitoring system at the plant was no longer working and warned "that if there was an incident or emergency at any of its facilities, the regulator should handle it because the company cannot respond."

'Not a safe way to run anything'

“We were basically security guards, but we were only one man per shift,” one of the few remaining employees was quoted as saying in a CBC News report. “That is not a safe way to run anything.” Unpaid water bills meant the plant no longer had potable water.

And the spilled spent catalyst remained on the gas plant floor.

What followed was more than six months of reckless disregard for public safety and the public interest that would scarcely seem plausible as a sinister movie plot.

Unfortunately, this was not an overzealous film script. Without dramatic changes to the province’s energy policy, the Lexin saga is Alberta’s future.

The events provide a glimpse into the emerging crisis of unfunded oilfield liabilities in Alberta and a stark illustration of what two eminent economists have called, the “economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit."...


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