Canadian tar sands pipeline controversy


This video from Canada says about itself:

17 December 2013

In northern Alberta, a boreal forest the size of Florida covers some of the most controversial sand in the world. This sand is saturated with oil, enough to make Canada the world’s second largest petroleum producer after Saudi Arabia. To get this oil to hungry markets in Asia, Enbridge Inc. proposes a dual pipeline route to ship 525,000 barrels of toxic diluted bitumen over two major mountain ranges, across nearly 800 fish bearing streams, including two of the greatest salmon-producing rivers in the world, to Kitimat, on British Columbia’s coast.

From there, Very Large Crude Carriers would ship the oil to Asia through the Great Bear Rain forest, prolonging the world’s reliance on a highly unsustainable fuel source.

Gateway is a story told through the eyes of impassioned Canadians who refuse to sacrifice the waters that sustain them for the sake of short term economic gain. The issue has forced a national debate around two very different philosophies on resource management, and reminded the pro-tar sands government that the national interest and the public interest are not necessarily one and the same. As the world comes to grips with the realities of peak oil and climate change, many Canadians are wondering not only if the benefits of Northern Gateway and other tar sands projects justify the risks, but if they have the right to say no to them at all.

This video from Canada says about itself:

HiMY SYeD — Emergency Protest March, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Decision, Downtown Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory, British Columbia, Canada, Tuesday November 29 2016.

By Roger Jordan in Canada:

Canadian elite applauds Liberals’ pipeline approval, demands Trudeau show more “steel”

3 December 2016

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government has given the go-ahead for two major pipeline projects, including the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to transport diluted bitumen (heavy oil) from Alberta’s tar sands to the British Columbia coast.

This 2014 video from Canada is called Lower Nicola Indian Band Presents to NEB Regarding Kinder Morgan‘s TransMountain Pipeline Expansion.

This video from Canada says about itself:

Elizabeth May begs National Energy board to let Kinder Morgan project “die here”

21 January 2016

Green Party leader Elizabeth May delivered scorching oral arguments to the National Energy Board panel reviewing Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Thurs. Jan. 21, 2016. She accused the Texas oil giant of offering “repetitive, useless garbage” as evidence and sympathized with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for having to deal with the NEB mess left behind by the previous government.

The Roger Jordan article continues:

Trudeau’s announcement has been universally hailed by big business, because it will decrease Canadian dependence on the US energy market and open up Asian markets for Canada’s oil industry.

In a bid to placate some of the Liberals’ environmentalist supporters, Trudeau confirmed that an alternate, long-troubled project to transport bitumen to Kitimat on BC’s north shore, the Northern Gateway pipeline, will not be allowed to proceed. This enabled Trudeau to announce his government will make a ban on oil tankers off the northern BC coast permanent.

The Liberals’ approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline has major economic and geopolitical implications for Canadian big business. The previous Stephen Harper-led Conservative government sought to establish Canada as an “energy superpower.” A key element in this strategy was securing access to tidewater for Alberta oil, rather than having it “locked-into” the Canada-US market. The Canadian ruling elite has been keen to take advantage of rapidly growing markets in Asia and the commodity price-boom of the first decade of this century. Harper even hoped that the growing conflict between the western powers and Russia, in which Canada has been playing a leading and provocative role, could open European markets to Canadian oil and liquid natural gas exports.

Harper’s strategy suffered a major blow with the 2014 oil price collapse, which led to the cancelling or delay of oil-projects worth tens of billions of dollars, the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs in Alberta and the rapid spread of poverty and economic insecurity in what had been Canada’s richest province. In addition, the vast growth of shale oil and natural gas production in the US in recent years undermined the market for Alberta’s high-cost tar sands oil south of the border.

But a significant impediment to building the pipelines needed to open up new markets for the rapidly expanding output of Alberta tar-sands oil was political: the Conservatives’ belligerent assertion of the interests of big business, packaged in aggressive Canadian nationalist and militarist terms, provoked widespread opposition among the population. As a result, despite the Conservatives’ repeated vows of support for the energy sector, not a single kilometer of new pipeline was built during Harper’s ten years in office.

This was one of the chief reasons why decisive sections of big business rallied behind the Liberals in the 2015 election. …

Big business lauds Trudeau for defying public opinion

The corporate media has rushed to praise Trudeau’s decision. Important as Trans Mountain is for the Canadian ruling elite’s economic and geopolitical ambitions, the media also views Trudeau’s support for the project in the face of widespread public opposition as a test for other “tough decisions” it insists must be implemented. These include the soon to be announced deployment of hundreds of troops to wage war in Africa under the fraudulent banner of peacekeeping, the implementation of an already unveiled program of privatizing public infrastructure that will funnel billions into the pockets of the super-rich through the adoption of user fees and tolls on everything from water-supply to roads and bridges, and the enforcement of further attacks on the working class including pension reform and public spending cuts.

Campbell Clark, the Globe and Mail’s chief political writer, summed it up in a column Wednesday. Trudeau’s Trans Mountain announcement, he asserted, “marks a turning point in his prime ministership. Until now, it was easy to doubt whether Mr. Trudeau had the steel to make decisions that offend.” But now, continued Clark, he has shown that he is ready to implement measures “he knows will anger many who supported him.”

Andrew Coyne in the right-wing National Post was even more explicit. Under conditions of ongoing economic crisis and signs of growing class struggle in Canada and internationally, Coyne declared, “At stake in the coming battle over the Trans Mountain pipeline is not just the fate of the project or (Trudeau’s) own political fortunes, but how Canada is to be governed. It is a conflict we have been avoiding until now … Are decisions on resource use development to be made by democratically elected governments … within a framework of law defined by independent courts, or are we to be ruled in effect from the streets?”

The concern of Coyne and the many others who have written along similar lines is hardly with the likes of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who has indicated she is prepared to go to jail for engaging in acts of civil disobedience to stop Trans Mountain. … What troubles big business and its media mouthpieces is the prospect of growing social unrest. Although the public protests against Trans Mountain have largely been confined to British Columbia and remain under the control of pro-capitalist environmentalist and First Nations groups, the ruling class fears that the attacks to be implemented by the Liberals in the period immediately ahead and the ongoing economic crisis will trigger a working class upsurge. This is why Coyne goes on to urge Trudeau to worry less about his abilities to “listen, to conciliate, to empathize” and to focus more in the coming period on displaying “his father’s steel.”

This Green Party video from Canada says about itself:

Elizabeth May Testifies at Kinder Morgan Pipeline Hearings

22 January 2016

Also from Canada:

Canada’s Resources Minister threatens to use army against pipeline protests

By our reporter

3 December 2016

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told a business gathering in Edmonton, Alberta Thursday that the Liberal government is ready to use the military and police to suppress opposition to the expansion of Canada’s pipeline network.

Asked about the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota and the potential that anti-pipeline protests in Canada could disrupt pipeline expansion plans, Carr declared, “If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe.”

Carr’s comments were greeted with enthusiastic applause by the business and political leaders in attendance at the Alberta Enterprise Group event. Ric McIver, the interim leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, which ruled Alberta for 44 successive years ending in 2015, declared, “We can’t let the pipeline get held up by people that will never agree to any standard. The law of the jungle cannot prevail.”

Canada’s business elite and corporate media have hailed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for giving the official regulatory go-ahead Tuesday for the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which will bring diluted Alberta tar-sand bitumen to Vancouver, from whence it will be shipped overseas.

However, they are also insisting the Liberal government must take quick action to curtail popular opposition to the project and arrest those who resort to civil disobedience in an attempt to stop it.

On Wednesday, National Post columnist Kevin Libin headlined his comment on the Liberals’ Trans Mountain decision, “It doesn’t count as a pipeline approval unless Trudeau’s prepared to arrest (Elizabeth) May.” The leader of the Green Party, May is among a number of political, environmentalist and indigenous leaders who have threatened to commit acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Trans Mountain project from proceeding.

Carr’s comments are no idle threat. Canada’s ruling elite has systematically moved to criminalize social opposition over the past two decades, including with a battery of strikebreaking laws. In 2012, striking Quebec students and their supporters were the target of massive police repression and an “emergency” law that not only effectively outlawed the strike but any demonstration across Quebec that was not expressly approved by the authorities.

Carr’s reference in his remarks Thursday to “peaceful protests” being tolerated is particularly cynical. Governments routinely use court injunctions and emergency laws to “criminalize” protests, then set the police on the “unlawful” protesters.

Moreover, under Bill C-51, the draconian police-state law passed by the former Conservative government last year with Liberal support, the national-security apparatus have been given vast new powers to spy on and, under certain conditions, to “disrupt,” using illegal means, “threats” to Canada’s public and economic security.

The Canadian government has long engaged in mass surveillance of indigenous and activist environmental groups, particularly those opposing pipelines and other energy projects. In 2014, the Government Operations Centre (GOC), a division of Public Safety Canada, released a document in response to a Freedom of Information request that detailed 600 protests and events it had spied on over the preceding eight years.

When the Idle No More aboriginal protests erupted in 2013, the Canadian military conducted close surveillance of their activities on the pretext that they might disrupt military shipments or personnel. According to a National Post report, the surveillance ran through “virtually all of 2013.”

Last year, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association brought a complaint against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) charging that it had illegally spied on peaceful opponents of pipeline projects and shared the information with other government agencies and even oil companies. But the Security Review Committee, the federal agency supposedly charged with ensuring CSIS doesn’t violate Canadians’ rights, insisted that all discussion of the complaint be held in secret.

The RCMP has also systematically spied on pipeline opponents. In 2012, when a coalition of First Nations groups, organized in the Yinka Dene Alliance, was protesting Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, an RCMP unit was tasked with monitoring their actions.

Carr’s explicit threat to use the armed forces against political opposition must be taken as a serious warning by all workers and youth. While opponents of the Trans Mountain project may be the initial target of plans to deploy the military against those who get in the way of the plans of Canada’s capitalist establishment, they are ultimately aimed at the entire working class, which the Trudeau government and its big business masters rightly fear will increasingly resist their policies of austerity and war.

See also here.

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