Russian Invasion of Ukraine Sparks Anger

Russian Invasion

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has angered democratic countries around the world. As a result, will this brutal Russian evasion wake us up? By us, I mean our Canadian federal government. For example, will the promised sanctions include refusing to import Russian oil? What else will these sanctions include?

Is Self-Sufficiency not a Good Thing?

This Russian invasion is driving oil prices amongst other things. Why would we not want to be as self-sufficient as possible as a nation? The pipeline debate should resurface in spades. Hopefully, the debate will stop and the pipelines will prosper.

In short, Russia supplies a large portion of the world with oil, including Canada, even though we have our own oil. Our (self-inflicted) problem is that we don’t have pipelines to distribute the oil we have across our large country. We would rather accept oil from Russia than create pipelines to use our own oil efficiently and economically. Really?

The National Post described the dilemma well back in 2018. This opinion might be considered visionary today:

Opinion: The fact is that if we don’t provide it, someone else will — even if that someone is Vladimir Putin

Stewart Muir,  Special to Financial Post

photo credit: ANDREY RUDAKOV/BLOOMBERG

Is Crude Oil on Tankers Clean?

Russian crude oil comes into Canada and the USA on huge tankers along the St Lawrence River to the Great Lakes to the east as well as along the Pacific coast to the west. The tankers often sit around in our waters before they are loaded and unloaded too. How clean can that be? Why are eco-green fans not screaming about how potentially dirty this practice is? In summary, oil leaks polluting our waterways are acceptable, but pipelines are not?

Which Country is Next in Russian Invasion?

Will Putin stop at infiltrating Ukraine or will he push into other, former Soviet Bloc countries? Should Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine’s fellow non-NATO member Moldova be worried? NATO is an alliance of 30 North American and European countries created in 1949 after World War II. Unfortunately, Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO. Word is they did apply in 2008; reasons for the delay in their acceptance are controversial, to say the least.

Russian Invasion
photo credit

How to Help Ukraine

It will be interesting to see just how other countries respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Troops from around the world are deployed to protect neighbouring NATO members. Sanctions are a must to punish Putin and his communist/nationalist regime and their economy.

Above all, the people of Ukraine need help from across the pond. Our country has a huge contingency of Ukrainian immigrants that now call Canada home. Legitimate fundraising options to help Ukrainians stuck in Europe are popping up as the world reacts. Just be sure to check them out first. The Globe and Mail has compiled a recent list here in Canada.

Alberta Energy Sector Shares Concerns

Alberta energy sector

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was quite well written, explaining the importance of the Alberta energy sector for Canada in general.

On the eve of our Canadian Federal Election, I feel it is prudent to share with our fellow Canadians in the East how pivotal this election is for our Country. I recognize a strong disconnect between the regions and believe I have a responsibility to share our feelings, perceptions, and fears with the men and women of these provinces.  It is no secret that the election is decided before the first vote is counted in Manitoba. 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by your two provinces. Your votes decide our election. This is why I am appealing to you. The fate of Canada and our incredible province of Alberta rests in your hands.  We’ve had a rough couple years out here. Since 2015 unemployment has soared, the price of our most valued resource has plummeted, and our access to foreign and domestic markets has been blocked by federal Liberals. While this industry thrives south of the border in the US, Canada’s energy sector has been plunged into a ‘Legislated Recession’ thanks in part to the cancellation of 2 crucial pipelines and the poorly handled expansion of a third. These projects are crucial, allowing access to foreign and domestic markets and closing the gap between the price of Canada’s oil and the oil produced elsewhere in the world. The newly passed Bill C-69 makes new interprovincial projects nearly impossible to complete, and Bill C-48 restricts domestic tanker traffic on Canada’s West coast, while US tanker traffic navigates the same waters unimpeded. We’ve been put in a box, and the lid is slowly closing. Our Federal Liberal government is the architect of this disaster.  You may ask why this should matter to you? It is simply a matter of economics. According to the Alberta government and World Bank websites, Alberta’s economy accounts for 20% of our Nation’s GDP. In this province of 4.7 million, it means that 11% of Canada’s population produces 20% of our GDP. From 2000-2014, we contributed $200 Billion to equalization, all of it travelling East. On its own, Alberta is the 7th strongest economy on the planet. We’re the core of this country’s economic engine. We’re being told our money is OK, but the oil, our largest economic driver is not. Hell, we can’t even wear our T-shirts on Parliament Hill.  Alberta’s oil is Canada’s oil, and there are a few facts I would like to share with you about it. We are at the forefront of the sector’s clean technology and everyone in this country should be proud of this industry and the highest environmental standards in the world. During this election I’m sure you’ve heard about O&G subsidies and how everyone intends on stopping them, so I feel it is important to break that down. Last year, there were $1.4 Billion dollars given to clean tech by our government. O&G received 75% of that. Rightfully so. That money has been used to increase efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of production significantly.  A recent study showed that if every country around the world produced their resources to the same standard as Canada, the carbon intensity of production would drop 26% worldwide. Suncor, Canada’s largest producer, just announced a co-gen project that will reduce their carbon footprint by a further 30%, and we’ve championed cutting-edge carbon capture and storage technology. We would love to displace dirty foreign oil in the East, but we are told there is no social acceptability for a pipeline. We would love to know why there is social acceptability for Saudi tankers in your waters, but none for us? Last I checked, Saudi didn’t contribute to equalization.  The environment has been a big topic in this election, and there have been some strong assertions from the parties, some of which may be a little out of reach. 30% reduction in GHG, 60% reduction in GHG. The backbone of these reductions focuses on shutting Alberta’s economy down. There seems to be a huge target on Alberta’s back, and little red dots are starting to dance around the bullseye.  Canada contributes1.6% to the world’s total GHG emissions. China contributes 27.2%, US 14.6%. A 30-60% reduction in Canada equates to a 1.8-3.6% reduction in China and a 3.5-7 % reduction in the US. Al Gore once said that CO2 knows no borders, so rather than shut down the economic engine of our nation, why wouldn’t we export the clean energy and technology to the countries that need it the most, boosting our economy and helping everyone on this planet reach these targets? What we do as Canadians to reduce emissions means nothing on the grand world scale. It is these heavy emitting countries that could benefit from Canada’s LNG to replace coal, and clean tech to further drive down emissions. It’s a win-win-win for Canada, the environment, and our economy. The Conservatives have proposed this and it has been highly criticized as ‘not enough’. This is the most viable solution and environmental policy for everyone in this country, and it doesn’t include plunging the entire country into debt and recession. It is ironic that the one country (US) that pulled out of the Paris Agreement has made the most progress reaching that agreement’s targets. How? By doing exactly what the Conservatives have proposed to help us and other nations achieve: transitioning coal to significantly cleaner natural gas power generation.  -There is another sentiment out here that likely resonates with our fellow Canadians from Quebec. If you asked the average Albertan if they would support separation 2 years ago, you’d be laughed at. Today it is no laughing matter. At the time of the provincial election only a few months ago, it was estimated that 50% of Albertans were open to separation. A poll of 6000+ Albertans only a week ago yielded the same results. We’ve been beaten into submission by the federal Liberals, and we continue to get kicked. Terms like ‘Western Alienation’, ‘Republic of Alberta’ and ‘Wexit’ have become very common. All too often you see ‘Liberal on Oct 21, Separatist on Oct 22’. This movement is real. I mean, REAL. If another Liberal government is elected, even worse a Liberal minority with the Green or NDP propping it up, Alberta’s energy sector will just board up the windows and go elsewhere. It will be crippling for the entire nation. It is ALREADY crippling for Alberta. We can’t take any more of this. We are the victims of a current Legislated Recession and it will only get worse. Half of us want to leave now. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry.  Alberta separation would be a crushing blow to this country and its economy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Albertans are resilient, wholesome, hard-working people that have been happy to help our fellow Canadian citizens maintain a high standard of living. We’re only asking for reciprocation. We don’t want hand-outs, tax revenue, or power. We want the right and ability to do what we’ve been doing all along, without having fellow Canadians standing in our way. We’re a part of the solution, not the problem.  Fellow Canadians, please consider this when casting your ballot. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. There is a fragility in this nation that could be fractured with stroke of a pen, and the power rests firmly in the hands of your provinces. Vote wisely. Vote Canadian. 

Signed, Alberta

I was at a dinner party this past weekend where the topic of discussion turned (unfortunately) to the bitter and controversial political battle our country is embroiled in.  The guests and hosts of this evening are all good friends, so it was especially frustrating to see the discord amongst them when discussing our political leaders, parties, and platforms, including the Alberta energy sector.  Thank heavens our campaign only lasts 40 days!

The most disturbing comment (for me) was someone defending the SNC Lavalin issue as “that’s the way business is done.  To be competitive globally, Canadian companies have to do anything they can to get contracts.  Everyone does it”   Yet, conversely, when it was pointed out (as does the letter writer above) that Canada contributes very little to the world’s carbon emissions this same person said, “well, we have to set an example to the rest of the world.”

I am all about setting a good example, but think we should be consistent.  Ethical business practices, effective climate change solutions, and compassion for our fellow Canadians.  The reason this country is so wonderful is because of its diversity, not just in the people, but the assets and resources each province contributes to the nation. The Alberta energy sector appealing to the rest of Canada is a great example of why diversity is something to be proud of.

As I said before, get out and vote, but do your research first, especially regarding the importance of the  Alberta energy sector for the rest of Canada. 

Vote responsibly!

Alberta energy sector

Canada’s oil and pipeline dilemma, in pictures

Facebook and other forms of social media have been full of jokes, complaints, suggestions and comments regarding Canada’s oil and pipeline dilemma.  Here are a few that caught my eye…

The first set of pictures is about the controvery over the Canadian pipeline.  Quebec is so concerned with the potential danger of a pipeline running across Canada, yet their politicians were quite willing to dump tons of raw sewage into the St Lawrence river near Montreal last summer. I agree with Henry:

 

The next set bemoans the fact that we are importing foreign oil at exorbitant prices instead of benefiting from Canadian oil.  How does that make sense?

 

This last one is probably the most upsetting, another inconvenient truth as titled, showing how insignificant the CO2 emissions from the Canadian Oil Sands are compared to those produced by other countries around the world:

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All of these pictures make you wonder, don’t they?

 

 

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