The Tyee's petro-scribe, Andrew Nikiforuk, digests the indigestible aftermath of our federal election. Hint: it bodes no good.
Once again we have been reminded that Canada’s political parties behave like organizations “publicly and officially designed for the purpose of killing in all souls the sense of truth and of justice,” as Simone Weil characterized parties seven decades ago.
What they have left us are political divisions that have now painted the face of Canada red or blue.
And just as in the excited United States, the conservative blue largely spreads across oil-producing regions suffering from low prices, while the red occupies oil-importing provinces.
...The energy divisions in both countries tell a story of appalling leadership, the strength of propaganda and political inertia.
One-third of the blue nation not only doesn’t believe that climate change is an emergency, but remains in denial about the increasing volatility of oil and gas prices.
Low prices and overproduction of high cost bitumen and fracked oil and gas have eroded the economics of the fossil fuel industry, throwing some people in Alberta and Saskatchewan into cauldrons of resentment, stoked by the propaganda manufactured by “wildcat Christians” and the oil industry.
Darren Dochuk, an Edmonton-born history professor at the University of Notre Dame, brilliantly explained in his book Anointed with Oil that places like Texas, Saudi Arabia and Oklahoma have interpreted the extraction of fossil fuels as an act of divine providence. They are God’s people.Scheer Madness and Liberal Expedience.
...Andrew Scheer, a conservative Catholic, offered a rehashed version of Stephen Harper’s oil evangelism, based on deregulating the fossil fuel industry, demonizing environmentalists and promoting a Matthew Effect social agenda: let those who have more already earn even more.
Canada’s petroleum evangelicals now wrap themselves in the flag and demand that we drill more with fewer regulations, even though the market is oversupplied and the climate has reached a tipping point.
Conservation and reduced energy use are ignored.
...Only religious fervour allows people to blindly ignore the economics of supply and demand as well as the aging nature of the west’s hydrocarbon bounty. And it takes religious fervour for Alberta’s oil and gas cult to ignore the red elephant in the room — $260 billion worth of leaking wells, pipelines and old gas plants that need to be cleaned up.
...The province’s biblical ardour makes it hard for the rest of Canada to understand the incessant hand-wringing and complaining in a province that has failed to collect royalties that would have given citizens fair payment for oil and gas resources; failed to save for a rainy day; and failed to manage its resources wisely.
Albertans aren’t alone. Across Canada, about one-third of voters apparently believe that we can build pipelines and LNG plants and still somehow fight climate change. And not just Conservatives — this bunch includes federal Liberals and BC New Democrats.
The Liberals think they can twin an uneconomic bitumen pipeline largely for Chinese markets and somehow battle climate change. Conservatives may be anointed by oil but Liberals are anointed by rank dishonesty.
The Liberals (and the BC NDP) also think they can subsidize liquified natural gas plants and still claim they’re fighting climate change by supplying $680-million subsidies to electrify fracking operations in B.C.’s northeast.
...The reality of the physics is not comfortable.
We have used fossil fuels to support a global population that is at least eight times above any sustainable level.
In the last 150 years we have deployed hydrocarbons to construct a highly complex economic system that is consuming all life, respects no limits and is poised for collapse. It has one religious mantra: technology, the source of maniacal complexity, will save us.
...Greta Thunberg is right. We need a new kind of politics and a new way of thinking. And a new way of living. We won’t get there without co-operating and working together.
We will have to take steps back, not forward.
That’s the wisdom of a Swedish teenager. Children can always see what squabbling adults can’t.
But Canada will not be leading the way anytime soon.
Our pathetic politics reflects the inertia in the fossil fuel system, the moral poverty of the status quo and a popular denial about the scale of change required to prevent an unending emergency.
We are living the storm before the storm.
I was lucky to see nikiforuk lecture in regina last year—it was an amazingly cogent appraisal of the state of an industry that he’d been reporting on for decades, and he was neither demonizing nor exalting it, merely taking a hard look at the economic, environmental and political realities tied up with oil and his analysis was probably eye-opening for a lot of people in the crowd. (It was not a rosy picture from any of those three angles...)
I've read a number of his books, Anon, and I agree that he's about the least-biased voice reporting on oil politics and the bitumen issue.
It must drive the oil patch types to anger that he's a home boy, Wild Rose born and raised.
It's telling that he's rarely disputed by the usual commentariat. You probably will never read Rex Murphy attacking Nikiforuk for fear of what it might do to Murphy's credibility.
That was silly Mound : Rex Murphy has no credibility and never has .
Fair enough, Rumley. I'll try not to do that again.
Our parties are the product of their enviroment, FPTP which is extremely divisive.
.. I checked again.. yes, Canada's vast pretroleum reserves' are approx 171.0 billion barrels, of which 166.3 billion barrels are found in Alberta's tar sands and an additional 4.7 billion barrels in conventional, offshore, and tight oil formations. Canada accounts for 10% of the world's proven oil reserves.
As Canada has few refining resources to upgrade or refine Bitumen, it follows it is for export to somebody, somewhere.. China ? India ? US of A more likely.., the Koch Bros minus one brother. A straight shot southbound from Hardisty, Alberta towards the Gulf Coast, or branched off to Washington State or California refining.. so we (Canada) can buy it back as valuable refined fuel, solvents, kerosene.. whatever..
Do we believe an Asian entity is going to pay for Alberta diluted bitumen 'because we twinned a decrepid pipeline to Burnaby BC, that can only half fill supertankers so they can float through Second Narrows, transit The Salish Sea.. when they can buy higher grade Bitumen from Venezuela that gets a straight shot to the US Gulf Coast superports, unloading and/or loading simultaneously to newer faster supertankers, fully loaded, cheaper.. oh really ?
So Canada will continue to subsize Big Energy, also subsidize power and freshwater for free.. and in return collect minimal royalties.. aint that great eh ? But hey folks.. all that strange economics is gonna fuel.. uh, pay for lowering emissions.. Yes.. we are going to increase emissions to lower emissions.. might cost us all our freshwater resources, our species, their habitat.. but that's the price ya pay.. for the unicorn fantasy 'economics' of captured government.. and 'ethical oil' which is not oil, but black, brown sugar consistancy Bitumen pimped by the 'oil evangelists' - our 'public servants' that we elected - to get paid and pensioned and all expenses paid, on our dime. Multimillionaire Andrew Scheer, just like Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper, and the huge Scheer brood have been living the luxury dream on us for nigh on 15 years and spewing his holier than thou Catholic 'christianity' for even longer.. Why do we tolerate this ?????
Tizz blind faith that hides the greed of those that choose to deny climate warming.
It's much like Roman catholic confession where persons confess to indiscretions only ,and knowingly, to repeat the same the next day.
The bastards know they are on the wrong side of history but they cannot deny themselves of the pleasures of wealth and ownership.
They suffer as drug addicts do!
Yes , the religious characterisation is a good one.
Would it be too much to demand that Justin Trudeau or Bill Morneau defend the pipeline in a debate with Nikiforuk? Imagine something that a few fact checkers can get their teeth into. Which side do you imagine would prevail.
I suggest a sit down debate, Trudeau, Nikiforuk, Andrew Scheer, Andrew Leach from U of Alberta, Amy MacPherson moderator, CBC and CTV.. rush seating, the setting on the shores, in a big tent.. Great Bear Reseve, BC.. or in a long house.. Perhaps Michael Harris doing the play by play.. Its a scene from a dark tragicomedy Mound.. .. no canned music or video 'bumpers'.. just a ring of powwow drummers from Peace River or up to the north of the tar sands.. come and get it, your nonsense ideology trashed.. by people who actually know their shit. Watch Trudeau and Scheer get eaten alive, by Nikiforuk and Leach, right there beside 'tidewater' .. maybe a spirit bear might drop by for a snack or a wolverine or two and a puma. Trudeau can cut n run escape by canoe or run for it, Scheer.. who cares.. nothing tastier than a plump evangelical !!
And there's not even a snowball's chance that any senior Liberal would agree to such a debate, Sal.
Nikiforuk nails it when he points out that Tories find divinity in fossil fuels, their god's blessing, while Liberals fall back on dishonesty instead.
Justin will stand there and lie straight into our faces about this. He'll tell us his government "has done the science" when the Royal Society, prominent academics and even Environment Canada put the lie to his claim.
The whole TMX rests on a thick bed of constant lies. Apparently being rude enough to point that out brands one a Trudeau 'hater.'
I walked around downtown Vancouver yesterday. Very pleasant, though the wind was a tad cool in spots for the older folks like me. I often walk around Vancouver, lucky me. And yesterday I had lots of company, lots of kids!
I greatly admire the brave souls who walked in Edmonton last week. It ain't easy to be green in Kenney's dungeon of a province.
"Our pathetic politics reflects the inertia in the fossil fuel system, the moral poverty of the status quo and a popular denial about the scale of change required to prevent an unending emergency."
When the unending emergency becomes the new normal and the walkers and bloggers of today are finally joined by the masses... will it be too late?
NPoV, it may already be "too late." That thought is ever present. It's inevitable when the powers that be approach it as a political question, not a scientific challenge. For, while the climate crisis constitutes an existential threat, it never rises to the urgency of growing the economy. We tailor our responses to safeguard other priorities and that raises the prospects that we'll succeed at none.
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