Sunday, February 09, 2020

Andrew Nikiforuk - Canada Chooses Colonialism Again

The Trudeau government isn't exactly winning the hearts and minds contest with British Columbians.  Ditto for John Horgan's NDP.

The Tyee's Andrew Nikiforuk writes that Canada is once again lapsing into colonialism in its confrontations with BC's First Nations.

It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

— Albert Camus

Whenever Canada has a chance to depart from its brutal colonial past with First Nations, it automatically lapses into bad habits.

On Thursday, the RCMP and the Canadian state came to a moral crossroads on a snowy country road and looked briefly down a pathway to reconciliation. Then it said, “Fuck it.” 
A highly militarized police presence once again used force against Wet’suwet’en protestors blocking the construction of a $6.6-billion methane pipeline needed to feed a grossly uneconomic $40-billion liquefied natural gas project. 
In so doing the police made a mockery of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
It is not a complicated document. As criminologist Jeff Monaghan notes, the declaration expects “that conflicts like this will not be resolved violently or militarily but with negotiated solutions. The document directs us to do peaceful negotiated solutions that respect everyone’s rights, and equally.” 
That didn’t happen.
As reliable agents of the Canadian state and defenders of resource extraction, the RCMP let it be known that the Trudeau government puts highly subsidized methane projects ahead of reconciliation and UN declarations.

Let’s be clear: in Canada, low-priced natural gas matters more than unresolved land claims.

By implication the government also told the nation that it puts uneconomic LNG projects ahead of climate change, given that serious methane leaks from the shale gas industry are now accelerating that chaos
It, too, advances LNG ahead of the destruction of the arable lands and First Nations treaty rights in Peace River. 
But what about the 20 First Nations that have signed on to the project, you might ask?
Yes, they signed and the negotiations were colonial. It was sign or get nothing. Many nations signed under severe constraints. Nor were they presented with economic alternatives. 
As legal scholar and expert in Indigenous rights Dayna Scott has noted, Indigenous leaders are faced with a “false choice. They’re being asked to choose whether or not they want to sign a deal and get some benefits for their people for a pipeline that’s going to go through whether or not they agree to it.”

Now consider the position of Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale). He is not willing to settle for mutual benefit agreements or the modern equivalent of beads and trinkets:
“They wanted access to the land, and we said you’re not getting access, you’ll never get approval, not from the hereditary chiefs and not from our people.” A colonial mind, however, can’t fathom such arguments, because it still refuses to come to terms with the nation’s dirty past.

For the most part Canadians remain an arrogant mining people with little regard for the truths of our colonial history. Most still think we have nothing to acknowledge, let alone make amends for.
The farce of "reconciliation."
The Canadian state’s willingness to ignore reconciliation is even more galling when you consider its colonial defence of the preposterous economics of LNG and fracked gas in northern B.C. 
In Canada, LNG development has become an absurd Soviet engine that ignores costs and environmental damages
But being Canadian, it drapes itself with the plastic word “responsible.” 
“Responsible” subsidies for the foreign-funded LNG industry now include low royalties; nearly $1 billion worth of royalty credits; discounted electricity prices; reduced corporate income taxes; free water for fracking; reduced carbon taxes and the deferral of provincial sales taxes during construction. The Canadian government even invested $275 million in LNG Canada! 
These subsidies, however, still can’t make LNG economic. In 2018 the Canadian Energy Research Institute examined the economics of LNG. 
It concluded that Western Canada LNG would be $1 to $3 more expensive than the current spot price in Japan of $8 per million (BTU) and needed more subsidies and tax credits.

CERI then calculated what the LNG industry would need in terms of future prices to remain economically viable: a market price of $8.99 per million BTU or higher in Asia to break even. Or an oil price of approximately $80 or higher to break even under long-term LNG contracts.

Those conditions don’t exist and show no signs of coming into being.

A global LNG supply glut has collapsed prices in Asia to as low as $5.5 per million BTU in Japan and India. Analysts say the glut could last years. 
Meanwhile oil prices, which influence LNG pricing, remain in the doldrums. 
Unless the Canadian and B.C. governments are prepared to give away LNG, neither Coastal GasLink nor LNG Canada are economic at this point in time. 
These appalling economics explain why Chevron pulled out of the Kitimat LNG project last fall. At the same time, Chevron wrote off $11 billion in underperforming shale gas assets in Appalachia due to low prices and overproduction.
And let’s not strut like peacocks and talk about the rule of law as Horgan has done. 
In Alberta, oil and gas companies now break the law every day. They owe $172 million in taxes to rural municipalities and millions more to landowners for unpaid surface leases. 
Does Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrest the offending white collar criminals and charge them with breaking civil contracts? No. He actively excuses their behaviour. 
So there is one rule of law in Canada for insolvent resource extractors, and another law for First Nations, rural municipalities and landowners. 
Fortunately, the Wet’suwet’en respect laws that are thousands of years old. 
They plan on upholding them.

So should we.


rumleyfips said...

I send them some money every once and a while: guess I'll have to do it again. Funding for the Supreme Court is the way I see forward.

Trailblazer said...

Like Alberta, the revenue from natural resources will come from income taxes and sales taxes.
The resource itself is being given away, again.
We should keep an open eye for any dilution of environmental regulation that could come.


The Disaffected Lib said...

It really is a Ponzi scheme. They're borrowing from the future to create the illusion of bountiful wealth today. Governments keep the value of natural capital lavished on the fossil fuel industry, often at no charge, because that allows them to minimize the real value of their subsidies. It's why Canadian governments admit only about $3 billion in energy subsidies annually while the IMF, that incorporates all of the giveaways, environmental costs and uncollected remediation levies, comes in at around $46 billion a year.

Eventually the energy giants will launder their environmental liabilities through empty shell companies, leaving the public stiffed with the remediation costs.

I fault Trudeau for this but it's a failure he inherited rather than created. The problems were kicked down the road by his predecessors and he'll do the same for those who will follow. As the bills soar, some quarter trillion right now and growing, it takes increasingly more courage to deal with it and there's no surplus of vision or courage in politics today.

Hugh said...

"$6.6-billion methane pipeline needed to feed a grossly uneconomic $40-billion liquefied natural gas project."

And down south there's the government-owned $16 billion TMX pipeline project which will enable lots more diluted bitumen to be shipped out of Vancouver harbour.

The Disaffected Lib said...

That's 16 billion "and counting" Hugh.

the salamander said...

.. I spent much of yesterday, informing myself via credible reference material
As the long day unfolded, I realized many things. One being I am more informed and up to date re the facts than Jim Carr, Minister Morneau, Justin Trudeau, Jason Kenney, John Horgan. I put intense focus on TMC, Teck and Coastal Gaslink and the relationships with both Provincial and Federal Governments. I started as usual at 4:30 AM and wrapped up this morning at 1:30 PM

End result ? I realize John Hargan needs to resign re collusion with Big Business to groom and assault First Nations to essentially extinguish First Nation clear title to their never ceded lands and jurisdiction. The key word is 'certainty' as requested by Big Business in order to do what Harper's wet dream was and remains. The aspect of corrupt captured or sold out politics and Governance is staring Canadians in the eye. The RCMP is doing their bidding without a murmur from OUR Prime Minister. This is in regard to Coastal GasLink

Further, it is very clear Trudeau and Morneau are systemically lying to Canadians re the Trans Mountain Pipeline.. TMC is a handy short name, so will use it. At the top of a useful flow chart identifying the financial structure sits Canada (though without any use or application of the term 'Canadian Taxpayers' who fund the entire enterprise) Lower on the chart one sees CDEV. Throughout the enterprises financial structure are funds. Revenues and Expenses among many other financial aspects. Morneau is clearly caught playing with huge deceptive words, terms and slippery accounting to misrepresent reality to Canadians.
Suumary ? Trans Mountain Pipeline is bleeding taxpayer money & that is a fact revealed in the CDEV financial reports. It will operate at a loss for its entire life. Expenses exceed Revenues and subsidies. There are no Profits that will pay for an Environmental Plan to lower GHG emissions. CDEV also manages another entity. Hibernia assets and profits from Newfoundland / Labrador and monies are shifted from that account to cover TMC's massive loan interest.

Teck ? Likely more of the same. We really do not know. Canadians are fed hot air, not useful facts. We are fed talking points. Jim Carr among others is talking out his ass, just as Ms McKenna did. Stuart Butts needs to come clean and remove himself from OUR government. Trudeau needs to consider resigning now. The Conservative jackals can easily fabricate their horseshit salad, if an aging house painter like me can figure this out, they can weaponize the same facts and information and apply it

I sent you links yesterday that set the table for my understanding.. The current operations of the RCMP may be despicable, dangerous, toxic.. and I now realize the silence of Trudeau is eloquent. We are now 15 plus years down this conspiracy of collusion to eliminate First Nations title. Its atrocity, colonial theft and corrupt politics.. its greed and deceit

Anonymous said...

Until I'm given 100 acres and 2 cows as a birthrite I don't give a flying fuck about those wagon burners.