Canada leads G7 in oil and gas subsidies: new report

 

In spite of Canadians’ objection to fossil fuel subsidies, Justin Trudeau always backs the fossil fuel corporations while, at the same time, pretending he has a robust environmental policy. His priorities are clear; but are they yours? Tell your MP you want environmental protection for your family and future generations.

New research shows vast majority of Canadians support phaseout of government support for fossil fuel companies

Justin Trudeau G7
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flanked by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during 2017 G7 summit in Taormina, Italy. Photo: European Council President via Flickr

Canada provides more government support for oil and gas companies than any other G7 nation and is among the least transparent about fossil fuel subsidies, a new report reveals.

“Fossil fuel subsidies undermine carbon pricing, work against the achievement of Canada’s climate targets, encourage more fossil fuel exploration and production, and allocate scarce public resources away from other priorities like health care, education and renewable energy,” says the report, which ranks the progress of G7 countries in meeting their pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

Accompanied by a new Ekos poll, the research found a large majority of Canadians are strongly opposed to using public money to support oil and gas companies and want to see billions of dollars a year in subsidies phased out.

The exception was Alberta — the heart of Canada’s oil and gas industry — where people polled were concerned about the economic impacts of removing government support for oil and gas corporations.

Even so, 48 per cent of Albertans polled disagreed with public subsidies for oil and gas companiesMORE

Canada Revenue Agency writes off $133M owed by one taxpayer

“The whole issue of corporate taxation will be a stronger part of what we offer to Canadians, bolstered by the PBO [independent parliamentary budget officer] report. You will hear us repeating what was found in the PBO report. Whether that number is $10 billion or $15 billion or $20 billion or higher… And we will be talking about the fair tax system as a foundation for making the kind of investments that will make a difference in people’s lives.” –Peter Julian, NDP House Leader

Tax agency refuses to identify person or corporation getting writeoff


The Canada Revenue Agency, under National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, wrote off a large tax debt of $133 million last year but refuses to provide details. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

As the April 30 deadline approaches for filing income tax returns, there’s word of an unusually large tax writeoff by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Sometime in the first six months of 2018, the agency wrote off more than $133 million in taxes owed by one taxpayer. It’s not clear whether the recipient of the writeoff was a person or a corporation.

The amount was for unspecified excise taxes or excise duties; the CRA has offered no further details.

Etienne Biram also said the agency could not state whether the amount — $133,416,922.33, to be precise — has set a record for a single federal tax writeoff in Canada.

The massive writeoff is cited in a Sept. 14, 2018 internal CRA memo to explain a big jump in the total tax dollars declared uncollectible, compared with the total for the same period a year previous. CRA won’t say who got it.

MORE

Back to top Recycle, Reuse & Redos – A Trans Mountain update

Neb "Redo" press conference - (Photo: Kai Nagata, Dogwood BC)
Press conference with Indigenous leaders and environmental organizations following the release of the NEB’s reconsideration report, Feb. 22, 2019. (Photo: Kai Nagata/Dogwood BC)

There are a number of recent developments on the Trans Mountain file – from the reconsideration (“redo”) of the environmental assessment to unanswered questions about the federal government’s purchase price for the pipeline, and another (much quieter) NEB decision regarding rates for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline. And all of these events have made it increasingly clear that Trans Mountain is a bad deal for Canadians.

The “redo”

The National Energy Board’s (NEB) recent reconsideration report on the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) was, not surprisingly, a huge flop. But at least the report upholds one environmental value: the NEB recycled and reused the vast majority of its previous report, leaving 10 of the 14 chapters completely unchanged, aside from updating footnotes and changing “Aboriginal” to “Indigenous” throughout (because, reconciliation).

The “new” report (which recommended approving the project) did include one new chapter, one rewritten chapter, and minor changes to two chapters, following the 22-week NEB redo. Unfortunately, this did not ‘reduce’ the volume of the 689-page report.

The NEB’s reconsideration process was required after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the 2016 federal approval of TMX in August 2018. The court found that the NEB’s exclusion of marine shipping from the initial environmental assessment resulted in a report so deficient that it could not be considered a valid report for the Cabinet to rely on in its decision.

The court’s ruling also held that constitutionally-required consultation with affected First Nations – a separate process from the NEB review – was “well below the standard” set by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Unsurprisingly, the NEB once again recommended approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion project, suggesting 156 conditions (one less than the 157 it suggested last time), and 16 non-binding recommendations.

As expected, the Board found that the project would likely cause “significant adverse environmental effects” on the endangered southern resident killer whales, and the Indigenous cultural use associated with them. They also found that greenhouse gas emissions from project-related marine vessels would be significant, and that a worst-case oil spill would be significant (duh). MORE

Opposition MPs accuse Liberals of shutting SNC-Lavalin investigation down

Liberal MPs wrote letter saying it’s time to end SNC-Lavalin probe


The Commons justice committee’s five Liberals wrote chair Anthony Housefather, shown here March 13, on Monday night, saying any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The opposition is accusing the Liberals of shutting down the investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair following a rocky day at the justice committee.

The House of Commons committee is looking into allegations the Prime Minister’s Office and other officials inappropriately pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general at the time, to allow Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal prosecution on bribery charges providing it met certain conditions in a remediation agreement.

Tuesday’s meeting was held behind closed doors, although opposition MPs pushed for it to be on the record.

After about two hours, members of the Conservative and NDP parties emerged and said the Liberals — who hold the majority — voted in favour of a motion to “consider the meetings on this topic to be concluded.”

“They want Canadians to believe that everything that needs to come out has been said,” said NDP MP Tracey Ramsey.

Wilson-Raybould testified for nearly four hours during her appearance in front of the committee last month, but has hinted she has more to say.

Opposition MPs had been pushing for Wilson-Raybould to return to the committee to talk about why she later resigned from cabinet.

“It’s now time for the justice committee to do its work,” said Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault.

On Monday night, the committee’s five Liberals  wrote to chair Anthony Housefather, saying their work is done and any further examination of the SNC-Lavalin affair should be left to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.  MORE

RELATED:

Opposition MPs briefly storm out of committee meeting as Liberals end SNC-Lavalin investigation

Ottawa gets sealing order on court document that undercuts ‘reconciliation agenda,’ says NDP MP

Case addressed reopening of residential school abuse compensation cases if new evidence surfaces


NDP MP Charlie Angus rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday February 21, 2019 in Ottawa.(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

A British Columbia judge has sealed a document filed by Ottawa in a court case over the residential school compensation process that an NDP MP says would ‘blow apart’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reconciliation agenda.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown issued an order on March 6 sealing a “request for direction (RFD)” filed by Ottawa laying out their legal arguments against the reopening of residential school abuse compensation cases if new evidence surfaced.

Ottawa asked for the document to be sealed.

Sealed court documents are not available to the public. Sealing orders are generally seen in civil cases on matters involving national security or specific types of commercial information. They are also commonly used during criminal investigations for wiretap, search warrants and production orders.  MORE

SNC-Lavalin announced confidential deal with feds, four days after Trudeau’s first throne speech in 2015

File photo of a light rail construction site at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa in 2017. SNC-Lavalin was a lead partner for Stage 1 of the city’s LRT project, which has been repeatedly delayed. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Four days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals opened their first session of Parliament with a throne speech in 2015, the federal government entered into a new confidential deal with SNC-Lavalin.

The Quebec construction and engineering giant touted the deal in December of that year, noting that it would allow it to continue scoring lucrative public contracts with the federal government. But to this day, the details and content of this deal remain a secret.

The agreement is different from the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould has testified she was improperly pressured into pursuing by the prime minister, his senior officials and the country’s top public servant.

Both agreements are meant to address the fraud and corruption charges hanging over the Montreal-based engineering firm. But while Wilson-Raybould’s replacement, David Lametti, is still considering offering a DPA, the administrative agreement was long ago successfully enacted. It remains on the books, more than three years later.

SNC-Lavalin also entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Commissioner of Canada Elections in 2016, in relation to a political contributions scheme that broke federal election financing laws.

The company agreed that “certain former senior executives” helped funnel $83,534 to the Liberal Party, another $13,552 to Liberal riding associations and $12,529 to 2006 party leadership hopefuls, along with $3,137 to the Conservative Party of Canada and $5,050 to Tory candidates and ridings. MORE

 

Howard Levitt: Trudeau’s ‘sunny ways’ brand can’t survive allegations of full-scale criminality

Make no mistake: interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter


Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet this week.Justin Tang /THE CANADIAN PRESS

People naturally react more adversely to the misconduct they don’t expect than any bad behaviour they do. That is why the SNC-Lavalin scandal could be the downfall of the Trudeau government: Canadians expected sunny ways from this prime minister and his office — not alleged criminal deception.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weathered scandals before. They did little real damage. Taking advantage of a billionaire’s private island, prancing around India in native garb while partying with a former Sikh terrorist, even allegations that he once sexually harassed a young reporter at a keg party didn’t ruin his reputation. After all, he was already viewed as callow, intellectually lightweight and entitled. All those mistakes were consistent with Canadians’ existing view of him.

But they were also led to believe he was open and accountable, which makes suggestions someone in the Prime Minister’s Office may have breached the Criminal Code quite another matter. And make no mistake: allegations of interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter. And it increasingly appears that he or a member of his staff did just that. SOURCE

Norman’s defence accuses Trudeau PMO of attempting to direct prosecution

The prosecution should not be discussing trial strategy with the (PMO’s) right hand person’ – Mainville


Suspended Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and his lawyer Christine Mainville leave court following a hearing on access to documents in Ottawa, Friday November 23, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A pretrial hearing in the breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman took a sudden political turn Monday when the defence alleged that prosecutors have been talking trial strategy with the bureaucratic department that supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office and the federal cabinet.

The federal government is fighting defence requests for the release of un-redacted notes from meetings between officials at the Privy Council Office (PCO) and Crown lawyers.

In an email sent to Norman’s lawyers on Friday, one of the lead prosecutors, Barbara Mercier, said the documents being sought by the defence are being censored because they deal with “trial strategy” and censoring them is entirely appropriate.

That prompted defence counsel Christine Mainville to accuse the Prime Minister’s Office of trying to direct the case.

She also said the Crown should not be discussing strategy with PCO because the PCO instigated the investigation into an alleged leak of cabinet secrets Norman has been accused of orchestrating. MORE

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – The Pied Piper Strikes Again!


Source: ‘A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors’ (NRCan, November 2018).

Without any adequate consultation with Canadians,
including First Nations, the Government of Canada is
unilaterally moving ahead with the development and
deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors
all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging
on indigenous lands and rights.

These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high
level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the
low & intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning
wastes (radioactive rubble from dismantling shut-down
reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)

Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying
to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to
EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement
of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment
Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government
officials behind closed doors without any public process,
debate, oversight or discussion. MORE

RELATED:

Cost to US taxpayers to clean up nuclear waste jumps $100 billion in a year

BC Hydro awarded $90 million in Site C dam contracts without asking for bids, documents reveal

Documents obtained by The Narwhal reveal numbered companies and BC Liberal donors are among 38 companies awarded lucrative contracts without a competitive tender process — a practice that could be in violation of a western Canada trade agreement

Image result for BC Hydro awarded $90 million in Site C dam contracts without asking for bids, documents reveal

BC Hydro granted by far the largest Site C dam direct award contract to a construction company belonging to McLeod Lake Indian Band, the Treaty 8 member that has spoken out widely in support of the project, according to documents The Narwhal obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Duz Cho Construction, a Chetwynd-based company with roots in the oil patch and mining industry, received a $29.5 million direct contract for “site preparation” work in 2016 on the Peace River’s south bank, according to the documents.

The contract was among 38 Site C project direct award contracts worth close to $90 million that BC Hydro granted from March 2016 to October 2018, including contracts to numbered companies, the documents show.

“I don’t know what they’re trying to gain by this except continue to make themselves look like this secret club.”

Numbered companies receiving public money should have their ownership clearly identified, Travis said, noting that transparency is especially important in light of the unfolding expenditure scandal at the B.C. Legislature.

“You have no idea who it is, who owns the company. The idea of hiding behind a numbered company automatically causes the public to believe there’s something fishy. A government, particularly in today’s day and age, needs to go out of its way to avoid the public thinking that something is fishy.” MORE