The federal environment minister says Alberta’s plan to battle climate change could affect whether or not the government approve a giant mine project in the province.
“In the context of Premier (Jason) Kenney, you know, the most recent actions are fighting the federal government on the issue of pricing pollution,” Wilkinson told reporters in Ottawa.
“I think what we’re looking for is concrete actions on climate change.”
Teck’s Frontier $20.6 billion project is currently awaiting federal approval to begin construction in northern Alberta and is expected to create around 7,000 jobs in the construction phase.
The project, a “truck and shovel” oil sands mine, “will consist of surface mining operations, a processing plant, tailings management facilities, water management facilities, and associated infrastructure and support facilities,” according to a statement on the company’s website. It’s expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day.
“Teck has also reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the broader Frontier project area.”
“With respect to (Frontier), we need to look at all the environmental impacts, we obviously need to look at the economic opportunities, and we need to ensure we’re taking both into account,” Wilkinson said.
“Certainly, one of those issues is how does this project fit with Canada’s commitments to achieving the reductions we are committing to (for) 2030, and the net zero commitment to 2050? I would just say again that it’s important that all provinces are working to help Canada to achieve its targets.”
Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.
The UCP government unveiled their industrial emitter plan, TIER (Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction system), in Bill 19, passed during the fall legislature session.
“Alberta recently announced its TIER industrial levy program, which has received notable support from stakeholders, including individuals such as Prof. Andrew Leach and Ed Whittingham. TIER would obviously apply to Teck Frontier. What’s more, Minister Wilkinson’s own government confirmed federal equivalency for TIER,” Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks said.
“In July 2019, the independent federal Joint Review Panel clearly recommended that Teck Frontier is in the public interest. Teck Frontier has followed the process the Liberal Government confirmed for them, so one would hope that Ottawa is not arbitrarily changing the rules at the 11th hour.”
TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the price on pollution for large emitters but repealing the price on other businesses and residents. The federal price on carbon for Albertans, excepting large emitters, came into effect January 1, 2020.
Under TIER, facilities can either reduce their emissions or; use credits from other facilities, use emissions offsets from non-regulated organizations, or pay into the TIER fund at $30 per tonne.
The Alberta government launched its challenge of federal carbon pricing in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.
The court’s decision has yet to be announced.
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Calgary mayor says Buffalo Declaration authors ‘need to calm down’
Calling the rhetoric of the Buffalo Declaration “overheated”, Nenshi said he wished politicians would focus on the need for job creation.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the authors of the Buffalo Doctrine need to “calm down.”
Nenshi said the type of rhetoric in the 6,000-word essay “doesn’t create jobs” – purportedly the number one priority for Calgary, the province, and all elected representatives of Alberta.
Nenshi said he was “one hundred per cent focused… on rebuilding the economy in Alberta and building up quality of life for Calgarians,” intimating that other politicians were not as similarly inclined – but should be.
Alberta CPC MPs Michelle Rempel Garner, Blake Richardson, Arnold Viersen, and Glen Motz, released a declaration Thursday about Alberta’s future in Confederation.
Calling the rhetoric “overheated”, Nenshi said he wished politicians would focus on the need for job creation.
Premier Jason Kenney refused to back the declaration when pointedly asked by reporters at a media scrum after Kenney announced $40 million in funding for Calgary’s Glenbow Museum on Friday February 21.
Admitting that he had not read the declaration “in detail”, the premier said the Declaration “underscored the depth of frustration” in the province.
The premier then went on to detail what his government was doing to address the concerns of Albertans – namely, with the government’s Fair Deal panel.
Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
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Kenney, Scheer won’t back Buffalo Declaration – Wall and Barnes come out in support
Barnes, who is also a member of the Fair Deal Panel, said the Buffalo Declaration echoes what he’s been hearing at the consultations around the province.
The Buffalo Declaration issued by four Alberta Conservative MPs caused quick public reaction soon after it was released, but while some prominent Westerners have come out in support, others have been less enthusiastic.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney gave a tepid response when asked about his reaction to the Buffalo Declaration at a Glenbow Museum funding announcement on the morning of February 21st. In fact, the premier didn’t mention it at all when asked about it.
“Our government was elected on a mandate to fight for Alberta – that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Kenney said…It’s exactly why we’re in court challenging the federal carbon tax, challenging the ‘no more pipelines law’ – Bill C-69. It’s why we launched the Fair Deal Panel, and it’s why we are prepared to go to Albertans with a number of ideas to maximize our autonomy as a province.”
Taking a different route, UCP MLA and Fair Deal Panel member Drew Barnes said the Buffalo Declaration echoes what he’s been hearing at the consultations around the province.
“We could lose it all if we don’t get equitable representation – the fact is our voice is so often not heard”, he told the Western Standard.
“A lot of people support Alberta and what we do here and we need to get the word out that our economy, our families, and communities are hurting. When people with a platform, MPs and MLAs, talk about that, it helps,” he said.
“For those that don’t believe in Albertans having the opportunity to live in the freest and the richest province and contribute to Canada and Albertans have the opportunity to live life to the fullest – we have to push back. We’re in a situation where we have unequal representation in the house and, senate and the Supreme Court – nothing moves unless it’s pushed and it’s our job to push.”
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer issued a statement acknowledging that four of his MPs had issued the declaration, but said that he will not comment on it because there was an ongoing leadership race to replace him. Instead of addressing the declaration directly, Scheer said that his party has long advocated for democratic reform to “ensure Western Canadians have an equal voice in Canadian politics…The frustration and anger in Western Canada is very real and should not be ignored.”
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said the four MPs deserved credit.
“There needs to be national attention to and action on the abiding unfairness in the confederation toward Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the west in general,” he wrote on social media.
“You and your colleagues deserve credit for this Michelle [Rempel-Garner]. There needs to be national attention to and action on the abiding unfairness in the confederation toward Alberta, Saskatchewan and the west in general.”
NDP leader Rachel Notley left no doubt what she thought.
“At the end of the day, as a born and raised Albertan, I love this province. I will not have my values mistakenly described by extremist MPs in the conservative party,” she said in a statement.
“I believe in Canada. My Alberta is proud to be part of the greatest nation on the planet. My Alberta will lead on tackling climate change and create a stronger, more diversified economy that sets our children up for the future. We will continue on the path to reconciliation. My Alberta will offer good wages and fair workplaces. My Alberta is capable of cutting child poverty in half and ensuring our most vulnerable are protected. My Alberta cares about those kinds of things.”
Deirdre is the Senior Reporter for Western Standard.
Trudeau says barricades must come down now
Saying Canadians have “run out of patience”, Justin Trudeau on Friday called for Indigenous protesters to remove their rail barricades immediately.
Enough is enough, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Saying Canadians have “run out of patience”, Trudeau on Friday called for Indigenous protesters to remove their rail barricades against the Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately.
“We have exhausted our capacity to engage… to resolve this. The onus has shifted to the Indigenous leadership,” Trudeau told a press conference in Ottawa Friday afternoon.
“All Canadian are paying the price. Some can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs.
“Canadians have been patient. The government has been patient.
“The barricades need to come down. The injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld.”
• What the Western Standard says
Trudeau noted the barricades have been up for two weeks and said his government has been in dialogue with the Indigenous groups since the start.
“Every attempt at dialogue has been made, but discussions have not been productive. We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table,” Trudeau said.
But Trudeau’s message was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from Indigenous leaders.
At a press conference in Tyendinga, Ont. near one of the rail blockades, Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk leaders repeated calls the barriers would stay until the RCMP have completely retreated from Wet’suwet’en territory.
Wet’suwet’en leaders stood by another condition that all work on the CGL pipeline stop in their land.
• In other developments, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was worried about more citizen vigilantism.
Last Thursday, CN Rail announced it was closing down operations in eastern Canada while Via Rail shuttered its entire network because of a Mohawk rail blockade near Brockville, Ont.
Tory leader Andrew Scheer said enough is enough and it’s time for Trudeau to call in the RCMP to clear the blockades.
“Quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous. Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to theWet’suwet’en people, are holding our economy hostage. Meanwhile our prime minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” Scheer said, referencing Trudeau’s jaunt to Africa.
“Do the right thing, Prime Minister Trudeau. We can’t allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs. I believe it’s time for the law to be enforced. Law enforcement should enforce the law. We have court orders, court injunctions, they need to be respected.”
The protests have been growing across Canada for two weeks since the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.
Last Thursday, the protesters at the main camp released a new video of RCMP action at the site.
The pipeline has the support of all First Nations along the route, but hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, through which 28% of the 670-km route passes, oppose it.
A group of unelected hereditary chiefs had set up a camp near Smithers and have kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.
The RCMP said they have found traps like felled trees and three stacks of tires along with flammables along the access road.
On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP arrested 14 protesters along the B.C. logging road.
International attention was drawn to the issue when a British newspaper reported RCMP were ready to shoot protesters when they broke up the camp. The RCMP denied the story.
On Dec. 31, the B.C. Supreme Court granted CGL an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation from blocking the pipeline route near Smithers, B.C.
But the situation has been further complicated after a Jan. 3 edict by the Unist’ot’en, a smaller group within the First Nation, that they intend to terminate an agreement that had granted the company access to the land.
The RCMP checkpoint had been set up at the 27-km mark of the forest service road “to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway.”
The $6.6 billion pipeline, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, would transport gas from near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the coast and supply Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas export terminal, called LNG Canada, which is under construction.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
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