Why Is It Always Someone Else’s Fault?

When Jason Kenney convinced Albertans that our economy is solely dependent on fossil fuels (diversification is a luxury, remember) and government policy, not the global marketplace, drives our economy; he needed a scapegoat when our economy failed to grow. Cue Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau, although with the passage of time, even UCP supporters must realize it’s getting harder and harder to blame Rachel for any of this.     

If this strikes you as a stupid way to run a province, join the club.

Recently the Kenney government escalated the “blame someone else” rhetoric to something more dangerous. It characterized the federal government’s pending decision on Teck Resource’s application for the Frontier oilsands project as a litmus test for national unity.

Mr Kenney

If the feds reject the recommendation of a joint review panel* that the Frontier project be approved, Mr Kenney will argue this is proof the feds don’t care about Alberta (and the Wexiters will go berserk but that’s another post for another day).

Bargaining is a two-way street

Ironically, Mr Kenney has an opportunity to help the feds decide in Teck’s favour, but he won’t take it.

When asked about the feds’ pending decision, the federal Environment minister said the feds are looking for “concrete action on climate change” and hinted Alberta might want to reconsider its position on the federal carbon tax.

This did not sit well with the UCP government.

Apparently it’s okay for the UCP to “bargain” with the feds (the UCP promised to hold a referendum on removing equalization from the Constitution Act in Oct 2021 if there wasn’t substantial progress on TMX and Bill C-69 isn’t repealed—equalization isn’t remotely related to TMX or Bill C-69) but it’s not okay for the feds to “bargain” with the UCP by asking the province to do more to help Canada meet its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 in return for the feds approving a project that will generate an additional 4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

What makes the UCP government’s position even more irrational is the industry is prepared to help Canada meet its net zero GHG target by 2050—Cenovus, CNRL, and MEG made similar commitments and Suncor promised a 30% GHG reduction by 2030.**

Heaven forbid that Mr Kenney should step off his ideological perch to forge a sensible compromise.

Federal approval is not enough

To make this standoff even sillier, consider the fact that Teck’s CEO said Frontier will need 3 Ps to go ahead if it’s approved: pipelines, partners and prices. The TMX pipeline must be finished, not just started, Teck needs partners to share the risk of this $20.6 billion investment, and it needs oil prices to rise…a lot.

A quick peek at Teck’s most recent investor presentation is instructive here.

Teck is a huge mining company. Its key priorities are expanding the Quebrada Blanca copper mine in Chile, upgrading the supply chain for its steelmaking coal business, improving its innovation program and cutting costs. The Frontier project is not a key priority, it is merely one of many “future options”.

This is not surprising given that energy is Teck’s least profitable business unit. Gross profit by business unit in 2018 was: 62% coal, 22% copper, 18% zinc and minus 2% energy.

So when the Teck CEO says if Frontier is approved that’s no guarantee it’s moving ahead, he means it.    

But that’s not how Mr Kenney will paint the picture. Even if the feds approve Teck, Mr Kenney will find a way to blame them if Teck decides to forgo Frontier in favour of more profitable ventures elsewhere.

Mr Kenney has painted himself into a corner. He’s convinced Albertans that our economy will be driven by nothing but energy for a long time to come and that energy investment is driven by government policy and not global markets. Therefore, when his energy-centric government policies fail to produce the desired result because multi-national players would rather invest elsewhere, Kenney needs someone (other than himself) to blame for Alberta’s faltering economy.

Trot out Trudeau (again). And just in case Albertans are starting to understand that an economy that puts all its eggs in one basket is not sustainable in the 21st century, Mr Kenney will amp up the emotion but accusing Trudeau of sticking it to Alberta just for the fun of it.

The longer Albertans continue to believe Mr Kenney’s rhetoric, the harder it will be for us to move ahead.

*Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)

**ARC Podcast, Jan 24, 2020  

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55 Responses to Why Is It Always Someone Else’s Fault?

  1. Doug says:

    What is the point of an arm’s length regulator if the decision is to be political? Negotiating for a project approval would be pure banana republic as would adding climate change requirements after the review is complete. What’s next: elect some Liberals MP’s and more projects will be exempt from federal environmental review? That works for Quebec. The Feds have no choice but to approve or risk compromising the integrity of its entire regulatory regime. Kenney is absolutely correct on this matter.

  2. Doug, fair point re: arm’s length regulator, however that disappeared in 2012 when Harper amended the NEB act. Prior to 2012 the NEB Act allowed the Board to issue a certificate “subject to the approval of the Governor in Council” which was considered a formality. After Harper changed the Act the Board was limited to issuing a recommendation, yes or no, to the Governor in Council (Cabinet) who made the final decision. The Harper amendment to applied to pipelines, but it’s my understanding that the language giving Cabinet the final say tracked through to other statutes as well (I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly research the origin of this language in the legislation governing the joint review panel so I’d ask reader to correct me if I’m mistaken).

  3. Bob Raynard says:

    “…Teck’s CEO said Frontier will need 3 Ps to go ahead if it’s approved: pipelines, partners and prices.”
    That line gave me a chill. Is this why the UCP took control of my pension, to invest it in ventures no one else is interested in?

    • Mike in Edmonton says:

      Bob, the short answer is “Yes.” I suggest you remove your pension funds from AIMCo before the money or the investment managers disappear.

  4. Arlene Holberton says:

    Sounds about right Bob Raynard. He has control of my pension too. As a senior, I would not invest in oil/gas, or pipelines as it would be too risky now and especially at this stage of my life.

    • Bob Raynard says:

      Arlene, I just scribbled off a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to not approve the mine. In my letter I made it clear my lack of support is because of the likelihood that the Alberta Government will squander my pension by investing in a project that is unable to attract any investors. I would encourage you to do the same:

      https://pm.gc.ca/en/connect/contact

      If you have the time, hand write a letter, either on loose leaf or in blue ink, to make it clear that you are not just sending something that has been cut and pasted.

      • Bob and Arlene, you raise a very important point, even the staunchest UCP supporter would have to admit they were taken aback when Kenney floated this trial balloon, especially when he confirmed the reason for making such a change would be to support the energy industry. I don’t know what century he lives in but it’s certainly not the 21st.

  5. Pam Bryan says:

    Yup, Bob and Arlene, it does not take long to put it together that may indeed be what will happen to the teacher’s pensions and any other he can get his hands on. He does not have mine yet, but if he actually somehow goes ahead and gets hold of CPP I’ll have no choice but to leave Alberta before it happens.

    • Bob Raynard says:

      Pam, do you remember the elder abuse commercials that were on TV a few years ago? They showed a variety of scenes depicting different forms of elder abuse. In one of them we saw a young man in his 20s, haranguing an elderly lady that we assume is his grandmother, until she resignedly reaches into her purse and gives him some money.

      That mental image has come back to me with Jason Kenney taking control of our pensions. I am now visualizing a bumper sticker with a picture of Kenney and the caption ‘The new face of elder abuse. Stealing widows’ pensions since 2019.’

    • Pam, my husband and I have had the same conversation. Ironic when you consider Kenney’s pitch that Trudeau is pushing Alberta out of Canada. In actual fact, it’s Kenney who is forcing Albertans to leave Alberta. How did we fall down this rabbit hole?

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Absolutely but that is the way Jason Kenney operates, he knows exactly what he is doing to get his way, but life not always accommodate dishonesty and sooner or later it will end.
        What I do not like is 64 MLAs that follow him blindly. They cannot all agree with this behaviour. I am just not going to take the famous ‘I was following orders’ kind of excuse. They should know better.

  6. jerrymacgp says:

    The federal Liberals can’t win on this. If they approve Frontier, they’ll have to deal with the wrath of environmentalists & voters in swing areas like B.C., Quebec & the GTA. If they don’t, it’ll be Alskatchewan’s wrath they’ll feel. However, in terms of potential votes they’ll lose in the next election, they can afford to lose every vote in Alberta, but they can’t afford to lose a single vote in Quebec, the GTA or BC, so my prediction is they’ll reject Frontier.

    Think about it: Mr Trudeau bought TMX, but got no credit for it; his government could approve Frontier, but won’t get any credit for it; he could even kiss Mr Kenney’s rear end at high noon on Stephen Ave in Calgary, and he still wouldn’t get any traction in Alberta. There’s a lot more for the Grits to lose by approving it than by rejecting it.

    • Doug says:

      Both TMX and Frontier are cases of “you broke it, you own it”. The Liberals need to rise above the electoral consequences. C69 only makes matters worse as it adds even more stakeholders and more discretion in terms of which projects are in scope.

    • Jerrymacgp: you’re right about there being no political upside for Trudeau on this, so why should he waste any political capital giving the nod to Alberta. The only downside I see with Trudeau turning it down is it will give Kenney another opportunity to ramp up his base. These people threw Trudeau’s $4.5 billion pipeline back in his face. Can you imagine what they’ll do with a tentative project that still needs a partner, a finished pipeline and oil prices to skyrocket. Facts don’t matter. Only emotion matters in this province.

  7. Doug says:

    Harper has been gone for more than 4 years so the Liberals wear this issue. Some may use climate change as sufficient a crisis to justify overturning regulatory decisions but using that power selectively reeks of political bias. If climate change is justification for stopping oilsands projects, it is also justification for limiting auto and aerospace production, turning down highway expansions and even limiting immigration. Asking the Alberta government to take action in return for approval is in effect asking for a bribe. All that said, I doubt Frontier will go ahead due to economics, but that is irrelevant from regulatory or political points of view. Kenney is right that turning down this project is an issue of national unity. The Liberals need to take the political hit to stop the country from descending into needlessly divisive constitutional debates. Sadly, the leadership at the federal level isn’t up to the challenge. Like him or not, Kenney is a far better brinksman that anyone at the federal level.

    • Bill Malcolm says:

      Or , as I regard him from the Nova Scotia perspective, kenney is a fifth columnist really only interested in his own glory, and if it takes ruining the country, so be it.

      As some of the commenters have pointed out, their pensions have been suborned by a petty little dictator as punishment for the crime of being government employees supplying services to the population, and not being “productive” roughnecks, oil field operators, or financial speculators “investing” in the “future” of Alberta — you know, the rugged individualists of Ayn Rand myth who never gather together to make a union to combat high-handed employers, but take it on the chin like a man, proud to scratch out
      a life of mere existence. And servitude, which is never stated, of course. It’s BS but it’s modern Con rightist thought, if one can even dignify it as thought rather than unthinking jingoism and sloganeering.

      But kenney of course has made his own non-productive career by sucking on the teat of public money and never having had a real job with a real boss and a schedule to meet – I’d bet his pink soft hands could be used in a skin cream commercial. The same goes for harper and Scheer. Useless people by their own definition.

      It takes all kinds of occupations to make a well-rounded society, except in the tiny minds of ideological dopes putting forth demented logic which removes their own shortcomings from the picture, while pushing agendas against selected sectors of society as useful tools to demonize, and thus to curry favour from other sectors. It’s divisive rather than constructive. Kenney simply cannot rationalize in his twisted mind his wonderful, ha ha, career as a “paid public servant” in bringing his socially regressive beliefs to “benefit” the province with that of the people he employs as public servants. So he is a ideological demagogue, no more, pushing a personal agenda that may or may not benefit citizens, depending on where the chips may fall.

      In fact, kenney has chosen to dun public servants by essentially calling them overpaid parasites on the Alberta body politic. If they are, well so is he. And in kenney’s cunning little brain which disregards CO2 output and climate change horrors already being visited upon us, the one horse approach to glory by pushing petro-extraction is the means to glorify himself at the expense of others. As a typical right wing sociopath of the modern age, he couldn’t care less about the consequences — instead he occupies his mind with how to outflank his opponents and critics by any means. He is not an honourable man with his province and Canada’s best interests at heart, far from it. He’s in it entirely for himself and has assembled a propaganda War Room to spread disinformation, and employed dough-heads to be non-thinking woof-woof apologists as cabinet ministers. He rules over these dopes by dangling monetary and position rewards to those who are loyal and dumb enough to suspend disbelief.

      You seem to be a “what aboutist”. That is the ability to conjoin things that are not really related or equal in magnitude by essentially asking, “but what about …?” and diverting thought from the focal point of a discussion. Stopping manufacturing by stating that such is equally as bad as digging up even more tarsands for a minimum four more million megatonnes of CO2 added to the world’s output each year is nonsense. As is restricting immigration in a world with exploding population, merely to keep one’s little patch of green all to oneself.

      There are far more important things in this world than Alberta’s navel-gazing antics on expanding “oil” production, but when kenney talks about nothing else, claims everything is unfair on Alberta, threatens Wexit because he isn’t getting his way, I regard him as a traitor within our country by distracting from the important issues of the day which need to be tackled. I have zero time for the man, his socially regressive beliefs, and his lies. No amount of rationalization or what about so-and-so like equalization and putative claims of unfairness in confederation for Alberta can disguise his uselessness as a so-called leader, and his need for personal glory at whatever expense it causes all the rest of us means he is the real parasite on our society. For my money, you can add in the raving loonies currently in charge of Saskatchewan and Ontario as well.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Thank you Bill – this is the best definition I have read of Jason Kenney
        Could not agree more
        Cheat and be proud of it is the UCP motto

      • Doug says:

        A few comments :
        -Alberta public servants are over paid relative to private sector and other province comparables. These are irrefutable facts supported by real data. Expecting future generations to shoulder debt to make payrolls today reeks of entitlement. The public sector offers predictable advancement, security, generous sick time and vacation policies, early retirement and secure pension income that people value. In return, wages should be somewhat (maybe 20%) lower than the private sector which can’t compete on any of these dimensions. That being said, downsizing and decomensating the public sector won’t close the deficit on its own, but is still a necessary step. Alberta will likely our use a PST, but only after public spending reverts oder to the mean
        -“whataboutism” is lazy and dismissive. Jen Gerson eloquently states how the climate change debate unfairly focuses on supply rather than demand (https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/why-so-many-albertans-are-giving-up-on-their-country/) :
        The oil sands are greenhouse gas intensive. They look ugly. They’ve been the subject of years of protests and exposés. They’re a scapegoat, a channel for all the guilt and anxiety that we Canadians feel about our greenhouse-gas intensive lifestyles. Shut down the oil sands and avoid the much harder questions about why they exist.
        -a person ‘s social values are personal and irrelevant to any discussion
        -equalization is broken. How can anyone defined a formula that somehow arrives at Alberta’ s fiscal capacity having increased vis a vis Quebec over the last 5 years given that Alberta’s GDP has shrunk while Quebec’s has risen?

      • Bill, I always enjoy hearing from Nova Scotia. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that Kenney is a useless leader. Unfortunately he, like Trump, has convinced a good chuck of the population that they’re victims and only he can save them. I don’t know how to get through to people who are thick as planks and only become concerned when Kenney’s cuts to public services affect them personally. Recently I went to ER. A man demanded to see a doctor immediately, no waiting for him because he was a personal friend of Jason Kenney’s you know. When he was told he had to wait his turn he blew a gasket. If he’s ticked off now, I can’t wait to see how he’ll react when Kenney’s $1.9 billion cut to the AHS budget rolls through.

    • Bob Raynard says:

      ” I doubt Frontier will go ahead due to economics”
      Now that Jason Kenney has commandeered my pension, I have a vested interest in this project being declined. It is way too easy to imagine Kenney using my retirement funds to try to make the economics work.

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. and the hits keep coming ..
        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-24/from-texas-to-tokyo-global-lng-poised-for-terrible-year

        .. and the hits..
        H/T to your fellow Indy Blogger, Richard Fantin over at Candian Trends (Progressive Bloggers)
        https://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2020/02/finally-government-publicly-gets-it-new.html

        Blth are ‘must reads’ – hopefully Trudeau & Kenney, the Big Energy Twins, are getting the synopsis from Stuart Butts & Morneau or The Alberta War Room respectively

        Somebody is going to have to man or woman up.. or else 10 War Rooms won’t keep Jason Kenney happy or healthy in Alberta. Never mind Remediation by the Nation whereby Canadian taxpayers (including Albertans) will be taxed to remediate over 100,000 non producing wells. Never mind that the buffalo will not ever roam the toxic tar sands ponds nor will fish swim. Or that every barrel of conventional or fracked oil or natural gas churns up approx 10 barrels of brine mixed with toxins and radioactive elements, all requiring ‘disposal’. This is not only the era of ‘peak oil’, its the era of ‘peak politics’ and ‘peak data theft’ ie the unrestricted & unaccountable collection of Your Private & Your Personal Data and Your Voting Record by political parties, its targeted usage, shocking sloppiness in collecting, sharing, selling it or keeping track of how many copies they have of it and where.

        Facts and reality don’t matter.. Jason Kenney is ‘infallible’ and his weaponized War Room too. To Kenney (and to all Conservatives) is came the realization that Ridings and Voters are just vote generating franchises & ideally as many as possible are ‘safe’. Akin to takeout pizza parlors to be ‘managed’ under strict Brand, portion control, flavor and flour recipes. The War Room as outsourced ‘Black contractors’ buffered, shielded from any taxpayer or independant, or police oversight. Jason Kenney now has his Progaganda Waffen Elite Corps @ 30,000,000.00 $ a year.

        Both links are stunning and beg the immediate repetition of one of my most threatening questions. Why can’t Justin Trudeau or Jason Kenney give Canadians an actual name of a country who can validate a consequential agreement to purchase expanded extraction of Alberta diluted Bitumen or LNG (or both, as many short term contracted purchases are based on such pricing ie Natural Gas @ 20% of Oil price) Better said, could they explain what country or region will purchase it aside from the USA.. over the next 15 or 20 years ?.. Instead of the stock grift, dogma, mantra.. ‘reduce our reliance on USA markets and supply our superior and ethical product energy products to broader markets, such as Asia at full price, while ensuring Energy Independance for Canadians, Growing the Economy, and Nation Building’

        Whew ! Whata mouthful ! Oh ‘and generating high paying jobs for Hard Working Canadians, Expanding the Middle Class.. and Gawd Save The Queen !!’

    • GoinFawr says:

      Doug, you wail about “whataboutism”, yet post the following:

      “Harper has been gone for more than 4 years so the Liberals wear this issue. Some may use climate change as sufficient a crisis to justify overturning regulatory decisions but using that power selectively reeks of political bias. If climate change is justification for stopping oilsands projects, it is also justification for limiting auto and aerospace production, turning down highway expansions and even limiting immigration.”

      This is irony, and the real kind, not “like rain on your wedding day”, is not lost on me.

      Harper and the crew worked hard to entrench their destructive legacy, and deliberately designed it to be as difficult, and as expensive, as possible to get out from under in any sort of timely fashion.

  8. Douglas says:

    I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to Frontier earlier but it is looming ever bigly with Kenney and his rig pig mafia with itchy trigger fingers ramping up the rhetoric.
    Interesting occurance last week on CBC Alberta Noon phone in. First off Jim Brown set the tone with a clip from a male red neck with a cold threat that if “they” don’t get their way on approval, they would take out the guns and attack Federal institutions which he claimed had been done before ( listen to the podcast). Just imagine how that tactic is going to lead to collegial decision making.
    Another interesting aspect was that most callers were not overly convinced this mine was a good idea. I expected there would be more support.

  9. Pingback: What Brexit and Ottawa’s decision on the Teck oilsands mine have in common: Jason Kenney’s stubborn intransigence - Alberta Politics

  10. diamondwalker says:

    .. ‘I don’t accept the premise of your question’
    ‘so here is my premise as I needn’t answer your question !’
    That is not atypical of Kenney’s dangerous process and his great internal glee at simply taking over conversation, discussion, interviews, press conferences, speeches etc.. the bullshit salad of words, invention, mistruth, twisted facts just keep sliding off the tilted game he plays and more more more keeps coming. You are discussing a skanky verbage machine that has refined flawed rhetoric to a keen edge.

    I don’t accept the ‘brinkmanship’ skills of Jason Kenney as an applicable talent whatsover.. Instead, as I’ve always noted, Jason Kenney is exceptionally glib, oily and tireless. There is zero lack of evidence regarding his flawed ideologies & pretzel logic. In short, he’s a lifelong political animal & simply not to be trusted.

    This Indy blog and its attentive and informed commenters don’t need a lecture from a commenter back east in the flatlands regarding the UCP ‘War Room’, but here’s a perspective. Jason has accomplished quite a scam as he entrenches himself in Alberta, where he can feel quite safe from political attack or recognition. Its exactly what Stephen Harper did. He did not locate in a ‘safe’ province for the climate, but for the easily exploited ‘political climate’. He exhibits zero concern for the Environment, its the political & power environment that excites him. People are essentially vote fodder to him. Sectors of society are not real people or children, they are ‘thralls’ to be organized. He’s on his own evangelical mission and deserves to be looked upon for signs of sociopathy, just like Donald Trump.. but where Trump is a braggart, Kenney is a conniver.

    So Albertans and indeed all Canadians.. need to truly understand that Kenney’s War Room is a weaponized Ministry, paid for by taxpayer dollars. Just like Stephen Harper built a Black Ops political army inside the Government of Canada. Just as the current corrupt GOP Senate did quite recently to literally save themselves by saving Donald Trump’s corrupt presidency, Harper utilized an extreme partisan taxpayer paid secretive crew. Jason Kenney needs then same and has already ensured its in motion. One needs look no further than a secretive, unaccountable, Black Ops Alberta government faction to recognize there is ZERO Public Service meant to arrive from that War aroom. That is not purpose in any way, shale or form. The War Room has access to stunning levels of private, personal data from the Federal conservative party electoral database. Of course it does. It has untrackable access to and usage of any official databases. In tandem with that weaponized data, Jason is now officially Triple AAA ‘Big Brother’.. all seeing, all knowing (in his own mind), all doing..

    Three bitter year remain formthis political thug. And Trudeau is going to have to tell him.. like one must tell a petulant child.. “NO!” .. The taxpayer subsidizing planned fornTeck must be revealed in all aspects, and who (ie who are the Canadian Taxpayers) that would pay those subsidies. No federal (Canadian taxpayer) help on the ludicrous pretend game that Remediation of drilled wells will ever happen. And Jason can fess up re ‘equalization’ and his pretend ignorance on how it acually works.

    There’s a tiny perspective.. If Alberta ie Jason Kenney.. intends to screw Albertans via Jason’s Wet Dream.. Canada and all Canadians are going to have to watch him try.. and not enable him and his War Room in any way

    • Diamondwalker; good comments, especially re: the War Room. I checked the website to see what it’s up to this week. The lead story is “Canada gets jobs boost with forecasted oil and gas spending increase”. This is a misleading headline. The story is about a CAPP forecast of increased investment, there are NO new jobs and there may never be any new jobs given that energy companies have figured out how to use technology to do their work with fewer employees.
      Not surprisingly, all the other news outlets headlined the piece with variations on CAPP’s own press release ie. “CAPP forecasts $2B increase in investment”. The War Room was the only one I could find that headlined the story as a “jobs boost”, but then again the War Room is not a news outlet, is it.

  11. Alfredo Louro says:

    “What makes the UCP government’s position even more irrational is the industry is prepared to help Canada meet its net zero GHG target by 2050—Cenovus, CNRL, and MEG made similar commitments and Suncor promised a 30% GHG reduction by 2030.” True, but the big oilsands companies are not who Kenney is looking out for. It is the small conventional oil and gas companies in CAPP, that are really dying. The oilsands companies endorsed the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan. For the oilsands companies, decarbonisation is a way to stay competitive.

    • Alfredo, this is a very good point.
      Incidentally Teck announced it’s adopted a net zero by 2050 target as well. As you said decarbonisation is the way to stay competitive, which is why Kenney’s refusal to acknowledge decarbonisation as a legitimate policy objective is so damaging for Alberta’s future.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Alfredo you are absolutely right. Jason Kenney does not care about emissions or anything else. He has an opinion and it is what he believes or battle. That is the issue. It is his ego or destruction and whatever happens is not at important.

  12. It sounds as though some people believe the UCP is following a conservative platform. The bulk of the UCP is made up of former right wing Wildrose Party members. Their shining light comes directly from god and requires no input from the people of Alberta.

    Teck has literally removed mountains to get the coal between Jasper and Banff. I wrote about it two years ago and no one in the Canadian or Alberta media would publish it. Many of the newer photos were taken in the exact same co-ordinates as the original survey teams who mapped out the Rocky Mountains between 1890-1920. Mountains removed, fresh water rivers are gone, forests cleared and not replanted. That area is the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River where polluted coal ponds sits where mountains once stood. Search for destructive coal mining and mountain removal in Alberta if you have any interest in what Teck does.

    The main photo on their website shows hay fields with the mountains in the background. Teck doesn’t say each one of the hills in the foreground was a mountain.

    On a final note this oil sands open pit project will produce it’s first barrel within seven years of startup. It is WCS (Western Canadian Select) selling for US $29/ barrel and not WTI selling for US $50/barrel. WCS drops further when the differential is calculated.

    • Thanks for this Dennis. I seriously doubt Teck will proceed with Frontier. Given the poor performance of it’s energy business unit (minus 2% gross profit) and the stellar performance of the other business units, one wonders why Teck would continue with it, let along expand it. At the end of the day it’s all about shareholder value.

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. i believe I need to inform myself per Dennis Cambly’s comment ! Heel, I believe all Canadians need to do so as well ! And understand where the coal goes..

      • Diamondwalker: you sent in a longer comment a few days ago and my computer crashed and for the life of me I can’t find it. I just wanted to let you know that it disappeared. Sorry.

  13. GoinFawr says:

    -Alberta public servants are over paid relative to private sector and other province comparables. These are irrefutable facts supported by real data. Expecting future generations to shoulder debt to make payrolls today reeks of entitlement. The public sector offers predictable advancement, security, generous sick time and vacation policies, early retirement and secure pension income that people value. In return, wages should be somewhat (maybe 20%) lower than the private sector which can’t compete on any of these dimensions”

    The only irrefutable fact about your vague screed of sweeping generalizations is that what you personally consider “overpaid” is entirely subjective, as is your “(maybe 20%)”. And since that is your personal, entirely subjective standard you should be arguing that the private sector ought to pay more, rather than the public sector less.

    After all, ” Expecting future generations to shoulder debt to make payrolls today reeks of entitlement” is just as attributable to private pensioners as public ones, but for whatever reason you wouldn’t dare, amirite?

    Doug, you need to start all over again.

  14. GoinFawr says:

    Doug,

    “Alberta public servants are over paid relative to private sector and other province comparables. These are irrefutable facts supported by real data. Expecting future generations to shoulder debt to make payrolls today reeks of entitlement. The public sector offers predictable advancement, security, generous sick time and vacation policies, early retirement and secure pension income that people value. In return, wages should be somewhat (maybe 20%) lower than the private sector which can’t compete on any of these dimensions”

    The only “irrefutable facts” contained in your vague screed of sweeping generalizations is that what you personally consider “overpaid” is entirely subjective, as is your “(maybe 20%)”. And since that is your personal, entirely subjective standard perhaps you should be arguing that the private sector ought to pay more, rather than the public sector less.

    After all, ” Expecting future generations to shoulder debt to make payrolls today reeks of entitlement” is just as attributable to private pensioners as public ones, but for whatever reason you wouldn’t dare, amirite?

    Doug, you need to start all over again.

    • GoinFawr says:

      ooo I heard me the first time… sorry about the dbl post Susan

      • No problem GoinFawr. you’ve made a very good point (twice). I’ve never understood why people attack the public sector for being “overpaid” but don’t bat an eyelash at statistics saying Albertans earn 20% more than their counterparts in the rest of Canada.
        What’s the rationale? Is it that we as tax payers pay public servants and therefore can pay them less than what we as shareholders pay their counterparts in the private sector? Every dime that goes into a private sector employee is a dime that doesn’t go into a dividend, but shareholders understand that quality employees create quality products and services and are worth every penny.
        As for all those benefits (predictable advancement, security, sick time, vacation, early retirement, pensions), tell that to the teachers and nurses who are being laid off or told to be thankful they have a job so they’d better not complain about deteriorating working conditions, no raises for years on end and abuse from their employer the premier and his caucus.

  15. GoinFawr says:

    Hey Doug, here’s the actual reason the private sector in Alberta is so underpaid:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jason-kenney-on-hot-seat-as-controversy-rages-over-temporary-foreign-workers-1.2625377

    and you can thank Mr.Harper and Mr.Kenney for that too, while you attack those you attack for making a decent living from their labours (envy much?)

    • Dwayne says:

      GoinFawr: Doug has no idea of what actually is the reason for Alberta’s fiscal mess. It’s not public servants either. Nor is it Alberta giving money to Quebec,
      or to Ottawa (which does not happen). It is the result of the Alberta PCs doing one very costly debacle after another for decades, and never being taken to account for it. Common sense, fiscal responsibility, and planning for the future was gone when Peter Lougheed stopped being premier of Alberta. The UCP are also not showing common sense, fiscal responsibility, and are not thinking about Alberta’s future. The sad thing is that Albertans, who are not in the higher class income margin, are told they have to shoulder the burden. Simple arithmetic tells you that low oil prices combined with senseless corporate tax cuts means less provincial revenue. That equals cuts. The UCP wants to enact Ralph Klein style cuts, which will make things even worse.

  16. GoinFawr says:

    “How can anyone defined (sic) a formula that somehow arrives at Alberta’ s fiscal capacity having increased vis a vis Quebec over the last 5 years given that Alberta’s GDP has shrunk while Quebec’s has risen?” citation requ’d, non?

    I mean, I’m not defending anything or anyone here or anything but,(Shrugs) maybe the “formula” included the 4.5 billion spent purchasing a pipeline? Nah.

  17. carlosbeca says:

    wow like Goinfawr I do doubles – this is crazy – I am sorry Susan

  18. Carlos Beca says:

    The disgrace just does not stop – one more for the collection and we still have 3 more years to go.

    https://medicinehatnews.com/commentary/opinions/2020/02/01/laying-it-out-where-do-we-turn-for-justice-now/

    • Carlos, this is such an amazing story and indicative of the state of the rule of law in Alberta. I found the writer’s last sentence particularly chilling. He said if Albertans don’t find a way out of this tribalism and hold their government to account “what’s to stop the government from doing literally anything it wants?” Certainly not the Ministry of Justice.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        This was not reported other than the ‘Medicine Hat News’ and the Alberta Politics blog.
        The UCP has full control on the little minds of journalists in the Sun and The Edmonton Journal which is now another voice of the extreme right wing.
        The latest is the resurrection of Baird, most likely pushed by Harper to not allow the moderate Conservatives from taking over the federal party. They push a little more every time to try to reach Harper’s dream which is obviously something similar to Orban in Hungary who he celebrates with gusto.
        I agree the journalist suggestion and we are definitely running the risk of being in the hands of these goons and loosing our democratic freedoms because these people do not believe in democracy.

  19. Dwayne says:

    Susan: As I’ve been quite busy, I could not respond earlier. Thanks for another great blog. The blame game is what Jason Kenney and his ilk do best. Ralph Klein was the same way, even blaming Don Getty, or the federal government for the fiscal pickle he created. Oil prices have really plummeted, going below $50.00 per barrel. This new oilsands mine (project) is going to be meaningless. There is no way oil booms are returning. Who is Jason Kenney going to use as a scapegoat for that? With oil prices slumping again, it will be a double whammy on Alberta’s finances, with Jason Kenney’s nearly $5 billion in corporate tax cuts. Wait till the spring budget hits. Ouch! I was cleaning house, and I found a Journal newspaper. It was from around 2008/9. It showed oil prices at around $38.00 a barrel. At that time, the Alberta PCs knew oil prices had to be over twice that much to be able to keep Alberta afloat. That was then, this is now. Now, how will the UCP keep things going, with very low oil prices? Who will he blame?

    • Dwayne, just to pick up on your point about Kenney’s government and its focus on blame and victimhood, it’s interesting to watch Kenney’s reaction when things go right for Alberta as a result of something the federal Liberals have done. For example, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the federal government’s consultation with the indigenous peoples was properly carried out (the second time) in the TMX case. You would think Kenney would acknowledge the federal Liberal’s efforts in this regard, but nope, he’s happy to give press conferences touting the FCA decision but he’s curiously silent when it comes to giving credit where credit is due. Such is life under an extremely partisan government.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I was reading this evening that some economist thinks oil can once again go below $30.00 per barrel. If that happens, who will Jason Kenney blame if this Teck project is not economically viable?

  20. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Jason Nixon talks about what Alberta “has went” through. Meanwhile, the other Jason “promotes” Canada by telling Americans they’d have to be bonkers to invest in this country.

    “Why would anyone invest in Canada? It’s a very dangerous path to go down.”

    https://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/alberta-wont-trade-teck-frontier-mine-for-federal-aid-package-environment-minister

    What a pair of Jasons. Jason One pines after the total annihilation of our economy. And now he’s trying to sabotage the economy of the entire country? How long will Canada put up with this garbage? Keep badmouthing Canada to the world, and I don’t think it will be very long. Something is dangerous, alright, and it’s not Canada.

  21. Pete Strassel says:

    What’s really telling is the lack of leadership my local MLA, Doug Schweitzer, continues to show on these files. He styled himself as a “progressive conservative” but he’s clearly just into corrupt practices (i.e. giving his firm a $900 million contract) and under the thumb of Jason Kenney. He needs to simply go.

  22. Jacques Requier says:

    I like your soapbox Susan. It makes a lot of sense to me. You’ve put into words what I really feel.
    Thanks.

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