Ottawa, B.C. to push electrification of gas industry to cut carbon emissions


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen prior to making an announcement at BC Hydro Trades Training Centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August, 29, 2019. Photo by The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward

As part of an agreement announced Thursday, the two governments and BC Hydro are forming a committee to push projects that increase power transmission.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the agreement is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas industry, which produces about 18 per cent of the carbon pollution in the province.

“We’re taking another major step forward in the fight against climate change,” he said, adding that electrification will also create jobs.

B.C. Premier John Horgan joined Trudeau in making the announcement at a BC Hydro training centre in Surrey, saying the two governments are working to make the economy more environmentally sustainable.

Horgan said the agreement also takes advantage of BC Hydro’s ability to provide clean energy for industry in the province.

“Our governments are working collaboratively to electrify industries and reduce emissions as we put B.C. on a path to a cleaner, better future,” he said in a statement.

Environmental groups have criticized Horgan’s NDP government for its backing of the liquefied natural gas industry in B.C., arguing changes to the province’s tax structure and subsidies are helping a sector that increases carbon pollution.

The federal and provincial governments have boosted LNG Canada’s plans for a $40-billion project in Kitimat, which is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs and up to 950 permanent positions in the processing terminal on the coast of B.C.

Trudeau said Thursday’s agreement builds on that project.

The three-page agreement says $680 million in “near-term” electrification projects are being considered for possible funding.

B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the deal and the province’s financial commitment to it is a further subsidization of fossil fuel development, including for projects that have not yet been built.

“The NDP government is not only providing more subsidies for the growth of the fossil fuel sector but are also neglecting their responsibility to this province to be making the investments for an alternative future,” he said in a news release.

Weaver said he supports the electrification of industry, but it must go beyond providing help for the gas sector. MORE

Ecocide Law places Canadian politicians in jeopardy

“I began to realise that rights in isolation are not enough. If you have rights, there are corresponding duties and obligations – it’s like two sides of the coin. And what gives enforcement to your rights are the responsibilities that are put in place in criminal law.”— Polly Higgins

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Polly Higgins, Earth’s lawyer, focused on making Ecocide the fifth crime against peace under the jurisdiction of  the International Criminal Court by 2020. Her untimely death has energized her followers to realize this goal.

Polly’s Ecocide act gives primacy of jurisdiction over national governments’ law. It also removes the defence of intent. Whether the intent of an action is to avoid ecocide is irrelevant.  The test is whether the principal actor knew or should have known that their actions would result in Ecocide.

The Ecocide Act focuses on bringing those with principal responsibility for acts of Ecocide, be they corporate directors, politicians, financiers, insurers or individuals, to justice for the destruction of our Earth. 

Several Canadian politicians could find themselves charged under this law.

Here are some possible future headlines: 

The International Criminal Court  charges Justin Trudeau with Ecocide

Image result for justin trudeau The Alberta tar sands and Ecocide are virtually synonymous. Using public money, Justin Trudeau has heavily subsidized  tar sands producers, ignoring the IPCC’s call to reduce climate-destroying emissions; he has encouraged the rapid  exploitation and expansion of Canada’s largest sacrifice zone; he has allowed the development of vast, toxic tailings ponds, ignoring their environmental legacy and threat to humanity and future generations; he has used public resources to buy a pipeline to triple tar sands bitumen transportation to offshore markets.

Trudeau’s defense,  that he was always protecting Canadian jobs, would be dismissed as irrelevant.

The International Criminal Court  charges Andrew Scheer with Ecocide

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Andrew Scheer is vulnerable to charges because he argues that Trudeau’s efforts to develop and exploit the tar sands are not happening fast enough. As a cheerleader for tar sands development as the lynchpin of the Canadian economy, Scheer would find himself vulnerable.

The International Criminal Court  charges Jason Kenney  with Ecocide

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Jason Kenney’s boosterism of the Alberta tar sands puts him in legal jeopardy. His oil and gas subsidies, his removal of environmental safeguards, and the support for fracked natural gas with its huge environmental footprint and  its serious contamination of water, all can be cited as evidence of his willingness to prioritize Alberta’s economy over his duty to protect the public’s right to a healthy environment. 

The International Criminal Court  charges John Horgan with Ecocide

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Allowing construction to continue on the Site C Dam and the flooding of rich farmland to provide cheap electricity to carbon intensive natural gas fracking operations cannot reconciled with Horgan’s duty to protect the environment.  John Horgan has offered subsidies and tax breaks to B.C.’s single largest carbon polluter, LNG Canada.  LNG development is notoriously carbon intensive. The LNG Canada project would emit 8.6 megatonnes of carbon per year in 2030, rising to 9.6 megatonnes in 2050. Fracking is associated with massive water use (the average frack uses between five million and 100 million litres of water), radioactive waste, earthquakes, dangerous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Health impacts were removed from the purview of the scientific panel tasked with reviewing fracking.  His support for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline development on Wet’suwet’en territory continues to ignore First Nations’ rights and their opposition.


Declare yourself an Earth Protector on the website here.

Premier Horgan walking a political tightrope on pipeline issue

“It has become quite clear the B.C. Greens will never take down this government.”

John Horgan
B.C. Premier John Horgan Photo BRENT BRAATEN, PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Absolutely no one should be surprised that Attorney General David Eby was quick to declare the B.C. government will appeal the decisive court ruling against it over who controls what can flow through an interprovincial pipeline.

But the lack of emotion attached to his pronouncement was telling, another indication perhaps of the B.C. NDP’s chief desire that this issue just goes away, even with that pending appeal.

The NDP continues to walk a political tightrope on the pipeline expansion issue as it tries to placate environmental anti-pipeline activists within the party while at the same time declaring support for the resource industry.

The party has long said it would use “every tool in the toolbox” to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but as I have noted here before, the toolbox turned out to be a very small one containing a rather weak and tepid “tool.”

That tool was this court case, considered a bit of a Hail Mary pass pretty much from the start. The government provided no legal evidence that a province could control what is a federally regulated entity, i.e. an inter-provincial pipeline.

Nevertheless, the NDP had to do something – anything – to make it look like it was trying to block the pipeline. Environment Minister George Heyman sheepishly admitted early on upon taking office that there was absolutely nothing “legally” the government could do to stop its construction.

Hence, the rather novel court argument about jurisdiction over something the government had to live with. As expected, the B.C. Court of Appeal made short work of it, giving the argument a 5-0 drubbing.

Nevertheless, the NDP has to exhaust its legal options no matter how dim the prospects of ultimate victory are. It may all be a waste of tax dollars, but it is political capital that the NDP is more concerned about.

And an appeal will allow B.C. Premier John Horgan to be able to say, “I did what I could” to stop the pipeline and that will be the end of things.

Some environmental groups will be upset, but they were upset with the decisions to finish the Site C dam and woo the LNG industry into this province and that opposition mattered little at the end of the day.

Some have mistakenly thought that launching the appeal was designed to keep the B.C. Green Party in check to ensure it continues keeping the NDP in power. That is a misread of the reality that has emerged about the relationship between the two parties (for all their criticism and complaining, it has become quite clear the B.C. Greens will never take down this government). MORE

 

B.C. Appeal Court’s Trans Mountain ruling may not be quite the slam-dunk Alberta thinks it is

 

An undated stock photo of work on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook ​

The unanimous ruling Friday by the British Columbia Court of Appeal that the B.C. government does not have the constitutional authority to control what goes inside the federally regulated Trans Mountain pipeline is being hailed as a great victory in Alberta.

Church bells didn’t actually ring on Friday, but the general tone of media coverage of the decision by five justices of the B.C. Court of Appeal was that it was “a great victory for Premier Jason Kenney” and a “humiliating court defeat” for B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Both of the passages in quotation marks were actually written in Postmedia’s Calgary Herald, which may be limbering up for the Toronto-based corporation’s hoped-for new role as part of Kenney’s partisan “war room” anti-environmentalism operation.

The first statement is obviously untrue, beyond the fact the ruling was the one longed for by Kenney and his new United Conservative Party government. Kenney literally had nothing to do with it.

As for the second statement, a better case can be made for that given the unanimity of the court’s decision, but it is unclear whether Horgan’s government ever expected to win this case, the outcome of which was confidently predicted by most legal scholars.

Remember, B.C. brought this forward as a reference case, to see if its argument for its right to regulate the contents of modes of transportation passing through the province’s territory would pass muster. So, by losing and being prepared to try again, it can be argued it wins politically by demonstrating its good intentions to the Green Party MLAs propping up its tenuous hold on the B.C. legislature in Victoria, and to voters who might next time be tempted to go Green. MORE

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

Below is an excerpt from the original Canadian Press article where each takeaway is accompanied by an analysis.

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Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain marine terminal, in Burnaby, B.C. Photograph By JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the province did not have the authority to restrict shipments of diluted bitumen through its borders. Here are five takeaways from the decision and its impacts:

1. Provinces cannot bring in legislation that interferes with the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines.

2. The court found B.C.’s legislation was aimed directly at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

3. B.C. still wants to take its chances before the Supreme Court of Canada.

4. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and former premier, Rachel Notley, are celebrating the decision as a win for the province.

5. It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project.

[B.C. Attorney General David] Eby did not directly answer a question about what else his government would do to oppose the pipeline, as he maintained B.C.’s legislation was about protecting its environment and that the Supreme Court of Canada would have the final say. But Peter McCartney, a climate campaigner with the Wilderness Committee, said there was plenty B.C. could do to halt or delay the project, including adding conditions to its provincial environmental certificate or ordering a public health and safety review of the project. SOURCE

Horgan bullish on Site C, LNG

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Premier John Horgan speaks with an attendee at the Northern Resource Forum on Wednesday.- BRENT BRAATEN, PHOTOGRAPHER

Horgan also noted that some of the things done by the current government might seem surprising to an industrialist/business crowd.

He was bullish on developing liquefied natural gas. After careful review, he supported Site C Dam construction which he described as a “very controversial but fundamental project.”

He also stressed that two sub-topics of government were actually keystone enablers of natural resource development.

He said all the investment a government could make in the burgeoning tech sector was tantamount to investment in mining, forestry, oil and gas, agriculture and so forth because contrary to mental image, the tech sector did not mean making better video games, but rather making better tools for the natural resource sectors to use.

That might mean software, but it also might mean the 18-storey all-wood skyscraper now standing on the campus of UBC in Vancouver. SOURCE

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Judy Wilson’s Message for Canadians: ‘The Land Defenders Are Doing This for Everybody’

RCMP raids in Wet’suwet’en territory can’t bring justice, reconciliation or a better future, Neskonlith chief says.

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Chief Judy Wilson: ‘We have to change to ensure that our young people have a future. That’s what the Indigenous land defenders are talking about when they say we need to protect the land and the water.’ Photo by Zoë Ducklow.

What are your thoughts on how governments are responding to the RCMP action in the Wet’suwet’en territory?

I was just reading Premier [John] Horgan’s response to the Unist’ot’en, and I think he was trying to stay on the middle ground. He mentioned the bands who signed these agreements [to allow the pipeline], but to me, the issue is clearly about the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs. They are the proper titleholders to their unceded territory, and they already made a decision. They said no pipelines in their territory.

Glavin: Pipeline protests – how politicians got it all wrong


Alex Spence, centre, who is originally from Haida Gwaii, beats a drum and sings during a march in support of pipeline protesters in northwestern British Columbia, in Vancouver, on Tuesday. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

There may be no right way to do fossil-fuel megaprojects at all anymore if we’re going to have a hope in hell of meeting our 2015 Paris Climate Accord commitments, but as far as the massive LNG Canada Kitimat plant and pipeline project goes – with the showdown this week on a remote British Columbia backroad that immediately escalated into protests and marches and sit-ins across the country – the politics, promises and planning seem to have gotten just about everything wrong.

It’s the aboriginal rights and title of the Wet’suewet’en people that are at stake here, and that’s the subject that the federal Liberal government, and B.C.’s NDP government, are trying to avoid.

You could start with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cheered LNG Canada’s announcement last October that the green light LNG got from B.C’s NDP government meant full steam ahead for its long-planned $40 billion project, which is to include a new pipeline from Dawson Creek in the Peace River country to a liquifaction plant and export facility at Kitimat on the B.C. coast. MORE

Nine Things You Need to Know about the Unist’ot’en Blockade

The RCMP moved Monday to break up a First Nations protest. Here’s how we got to this point.

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Heavily armed RCMP officers arrived Monday to shut down Indigenous checkpoints blocking a natural gas pipeline. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Where is the Unist’ot’en blockade and what’s it about?

The gated checkpoint is on a forest service road about 120 kilometres southwest of Smithers in Unist’ot’en territory at the Morice River Bridge. Two natural gas pipelines are to cross the bridge to serve the Kitimat LNG project. Unist’ot’en is a clan within the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claim title to the land, based on their pre-Confederation occupation and the fact that they’ve never signed a treaty. Their claim has not been proven in court.

The gated checkpoint is meant to control access to their traditional territory. A protocol for entry, based on principles of free, prior and informed consent, is publicly available. While the first checkpoint was built by the Unist’ot’en clan, all the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have affirmed that their consent is required prior to any development. MORE