National

Canada needs 'cohesive policy' on energy: Senator

MONTREAL — Canadians are among the largest per capita energy users in the world, yet the country has no national vision for its energy future, says a federal senator leading a two-year study into the issue. But coming up with one could prove difficult.

"There doesn't seem to be a cohesive policy, and there's no leadership," Senator David Angus, chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, said Tuesday.

That's why the committee began looking into energy issues in 2009, hoping to draw up guidelines for a "road map" for Canada's energy future.

The panel was in Montreal this week to meet the CEOs of Hydro-Quebec and Gaz Metro, as well as representatives of the shale-gas industry, and to hold public hearings on Tuesday. The group plans to visit all regions of the country before presenting a report to the House of Commons in June.... Read more »

Alberta parks legislation on hold indefinitely

Controversial Alberta parks legislation put on hold until this spring has now been quietly postponed again, indefinitely.

Environmentalists and legal experts have criticized Bill 29, the Alberta Parks Act, for taking away formal legal protections for Alberta parks. They also said it concentrated too much power in the office of the minister.

When the bill was on the verge of being passed in November, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Cindy Ady suspended debate, saying she would review the concerns and introduce the legislation again this spring, with amendments.

"I have continued to listen to the views of Albertans," Ady wrote in an update posted to her department's website on Friday.

"While I had planned to bring park legislation back this spring, I will spend the time needed to address the main concerns raised by Albertans before moving forward with new legislation."... Read more »

Open-pit oilsands mine decision is a real-time truth test of government promises

Politicians are known the world over for talking out of both sides of their mouths. They often make grand proclamations to win votes, to silence criticism, to placate opposition. Lately in the face of serious criticism from scientists, the federal government has tried to appear tough on the oilsands. But Canadians have yet to see action. The pending decision on whether or not to approve a new open-pit oilsands mine in Alberta provides Canadians with a real-time truth test of government promises.... Read more »

Canada lobbied U.S. over TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline

Canada’s ambassador to the United States wrote to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall, asking it to disregard greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta oil extraction as it decides whether to support a proposed massive Canadian pipeline to Texas.

As well, one Alberta bureaucrat warned the EPA its greenhouse gas policies could place at risk “the longstanding energy trading relationship between our two jurisdictions.”

The letters, including one from Canadian ambassador Gary Doer to the EPA’s most senior official and copied to Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, reveal an officially polite but tough disagreement over jurisdictional authority and greenhouse gas emissions.

PDF: Click here to read the letters.... Read more »

'Ethical oil' claim misleads

There's nothing ethical about Canada's "ethical oil."

A 2009 Industry Canada report found that 54 per cent of Canada's loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2002 is due to the oil sands boom replacing good, stable employment with short-term construction work in the tar sands and low-wage service sector jobs elsewhere in the economy.

What is ethical about turning the Canadian currency into a booming petrodollar, giving Canada the "Dutch Disease?"

Canada has lost one-third of its post-war gains in value-added (manufactured) exports since 1999/2000, Canadian Auto Workers senior economist Jim Stanford told the Institute for Competiveness and Productivity in 2008.

"The tar sands destroy more jobs than they create," says University of Alberta political economist Gordon Laxer. "They account for about 40 per cent of the increase in the value of the Canadian dollar."... Read more »

            

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