Collaboration Amongst the US and Canadian Eco-Warrior Charities
The time has come to have a hard look at the joint “Declaration” and the seven (7) objectives of the 12 Canadian and 21 U.S. “Environmental and Conservation Leaders” to determine their success in meeting their objectives when they signed it back on June 2, 2009. We will examine each of the goals in order of their appearance in the original letter. Those will be done one at a time and added to this article every few days in order to keep each review down to a two- or three-minute read.
Before reviewing the goals, here is a quick look at the lead-in of the letter.
Eco-Warriors pontificating on North American Ingenuity:
“North American ingenuity can protect our deteriorating atmosphere, grow manufacturing jobs in harnessing wind and solar energy, improve our security by reducing our dependence on oil, minimize climate change’s drastic impact on human and natural communities, and protect our fragile natural areas such as the Arctic and the Boreal Forest.”
Ontarians were told by Premier McGuinty and his Energy Minister, the GEA (Green Energy Act) would focus on “harnessing wind and solar energy” and would create 50,000 jobs while only increasing electricity rates 1%. Coincidently the GEA was introduced in the Legislature February 23, 2009 and received third reading later that year. We know how that turned out as electricity rates climbed by over 100%! As the Fraser Institute pointed out: “Alas, those benefits also proved illusory: the government now admits the 50,000 jobs claim was not based on any formal analysis; that most of these green jobs would be temporary, and the estimate didn’t account for the jobs that would be killed by escalating electricity costs under the GEA.”
Now on the issue of reducing our dependence on oil it is worth noting that since the signing of the “Declaration”, Canadian domestic sale of petroleum was 1.66 million barrels per day in 2009 and in 2019 was 1.8 million barrels per day for an increase of 8.4%.
The two objectives to “grow manufacturing jobs” and “reducing our dependence on oil” fell flat so how did they do on their 7 objectives as posted in: Strathmere Group Part 5 of this series?
Declaration target # 1:
Show bold leadership on the world stage, especially leading up to the Copenhagen climate meeting, and within each country through addressing climate change head-on.
Well recent history disclosed the Copenhagen Summit failed to produce a binding agreement when it occurred in 2009. The conference produced the Copenhagen Accord agreed to by a few of the big players; China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa but the accord was not binding, didn’t set emissions reduction targets so in effect was a failure although the 21 U.S. ENGO no doubt saw it as a win.
Now if one fast forwards to the Paris Accord occurring shortly after the Trudeau led Liberal Party received their majority in Parliament in late 2015, Canada sent 383 people to the conference. That was more than the U.S., Australia and the UK together sent! PM Trudeau was amongst the 383 and at the Accord declared: “Canada is back, my good friends”. One should suspect some of those travelling to Paris on the taxpayer’s dime (Gerald Butts was one) were associated with the 12 Canadian ENGO who signed the declaration. No doubt they had spent time since 2009 lobbying various government bureaucrats and politicians since the Harper led government had backed off of any commitments at the Copenhagen Summit.
Needless to say, the 12 ENGO achieved their first “Declaration” albeit, later than planned!
Declaration target # 2:
Incorporate climate science into policy and permitting decisions affecting natural resource management in order to best ensure that wildlife and natural systems can survive in a warming world.
It is fundamental to ENGO they allude to; a desire to, “Incorporate climate science” in the never-ending diatribe they push in the “reports” and “studies” they churn out to spur politicians to adopt their beliefs. Examining the authors of the reports to seek their credentials on “climate science” is often a futile time-consumer and most reports fail to actually identify “authors”. Two reports caught my eye! The first is titled “Green Stimulus” by unknown authors at the Pembina Institute (founder of the Strathmere Group) dated March 30, 2020 at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It pushes a “Green Transformation Program” to “decarbonize” the oil and gas sector and hand out money to retrain the workers. The report pushes “renewables” as the answer to our electricity needs and suggests we improve our transmission system to the U.S. as they will reputedly want to buy that renewable energy. Had the author(s) bothered to research Ontario they would have discovered the generation of electricity from renewables is most often surplus to demand and exported at a cost to Ontarians of almost $2 billion annually.
The second report was prepared by six ENGO and five are Strathmere Group members including: Ecojustice, CAN/RAC, Equiterre, Environmental Defence and Pembina. It was issued May 2020 and titled, “A New Canadian Climate Accountability Act”. As its title implies; a new “Act” should be created to deal with GHG ie; emissions! The bulk of the contributors to the “report” were “expert” lawyers and nowhere in the report are hints of the costs. They want the legislation to set targets for 2030 and 2050 with five-year reviews aligned with the Paris Accord. The report mentions “carbon budget” 200 times but provides no estimate of costs. The only mention of “jobs” in the report suggests they will be created by “adaptation”!
The proposed “Act” has happened with the introduction and passage of the “Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act” in the House of Commons by Johnathon Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. From all appearances the Act presented is almost a carbon copy (pun intended) of the one suggested by those ENGO in the aforementioned “report”! Interestingly a quote from the report stated: “The alternate path — which limits the global average temperature rise to “well below 2°C” – would transform the health of a child born today for the better, all the way through its life.” Wilkinson’s related quote on his ACT starts with how “science” says we must achieve “net-zero emissions” and goes on to say: “This achievement is necessary to ensure our kids and grandkids can live in a world with cleaner air and water and to ensure our businesses maintain and gain a competitive edge by producing the low-carbon products the world wants to buy, well into the future.”
Based on the foregoing it is apparent the Strathmere Group have been successful in the creation of the proposed Act. The Trudeau governments time in office running the country also saw them pass other acts such as Bill C-69 and Bill C-48. Those Acts are also aimed at containing and reducing Canada’s oil and gas sector along with the extraction of minerals in mining operations.
Once again, we should recognize the 12 Strathmere Group ENGO delivered on their second declaration!
Declaration target # 3:
Declare a moratorium on expansion of tar sands development and halt further approval of infrastructure that would lock us into using dirty liquid fuels from sources such as tar sands, oil shale and liquid coal.
As pointed out in “Declaration target # 2”, the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau didn’t pass a full moratorium on expansion of the oil sands (a deviation of “tar” per the Strathmere Group) development, however, what the Liberal Party did was pass two Acts to create a tsunami of difficulties for any company attempting an expansion! The “Acts” and their outcomes are defined as follows:
Bill C-69 is an Act: “to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.”
Critics of Bill C-69 argued; it would create more red tape in efforts to bring Canadian oil to market and Alberta’s Premier dubbed it the “No More Pipelines Bill.” Several Conservative premiers, provincial energy ministers, senators and MPs warned the legislation would repel energy investors and rob oil-rich regions like Alberta of the ability to benefit from their resources. The results emanating from Bill C-69 as noted by EnergyNow, had the effect of seeing capital expenditures in the oil and gas extraction sector in Canada fall from $76.1 billion in 2014 to $33.3 billion (a drop of 56.2%) in 2019. StatCan also reported in December 2020 noting: “Following a 52% drop in the second quarter, capital expenditures in the oil and gas extraction industries increased 11% to $4.5 billion in the third quarter. Year-to-date spending totaled $17.1 billion, a 34% decline over the first three quarters of 2019.” Bill C-69 was passed in June 2019. “
The second Act, Bill C-48 received Royal Assent June 21, 2019 and is defined as; “An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast”.
The Bill C-48 Act appears responsible for a couple of major events including Kinder Morgan’s abrupt exit from Canada at the taxpayer’s expense as they faced many illegal blockades (seemingly allowed by the RCMP, who are federally controlled) and were forced to cease construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline on numerous occasions. The Trudeau Liberals wound up purchasing Kinder Morgan’s Canadian assets for $4.5 billion. The cost to complete the pipeline expansion has (as of February 2020) increased from $7.4 billion to $12.6 billion meaning taxpayers are stuck with added taxpayer debt of $17.1 billion.
The second event that occurred was related to Enbridge’s plan for the Northern Gateway pipeline which the Trudeau led Liberals halted, prior to passage of Bill C-48! The Northern Gateway pipeline was on the radar screen of ENGO as they pushed the plan to ban tanker traffic on the northwest Pacific coast. The mandate letter dated November 12, 2015 from Trudeau to the Minister of Transport stated: “Formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, working in collaboration with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop an approach.”
Needless to say, the WWF, a Strathmere Group member where Gerald Butts previously resided as President and CEO were delighted! David Miller (former Mayor of Toronto), who succeeded Butts as President, published an article on November 23, 2015 shouting out: “The moratorium is something to celebrate, and puts a major hurdle in front of Enbridge’s plans for the region.” Miller also went on to state: “It’s now crucial that we push towards the next stage: a legislated ban on all oil tanker traffic in the region. “
Bill C-48 followed and even though the Senate’s transport committee voted in May 2019 to recommend the bill not move forward and presented a report to the Senate as a whole that asked them to endorse the recommendation that the bill be defeated”, it passed.
One should surmise the passage of Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 were successful at the goal of halting any significant expansion of the “tar sands” so, the Strathmere Group once again can brag about their success in meeting their third “declaration”!
Declaration target # 4:
Strengthen investments in renewable energy and in energy efficiency and conservation through creating new clean energy jobs and increasing prosperity through new technologies.
This “declaration” went on to state: “energy security is best achieved through investment in the cleanest available energy and through ending our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Needless to say, Ontario ratepayers are well aware this particular “declaration” had already started to unfold prior to the signing of the joint letter in Washington on June 2, 2009. Gerald Butts, one of the signatures on the joint declaration as the CEO of the WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund) was instrumental in the creation of the GEGEA (Green Energy and Green Economy Act) in Ontario. The Act received third reading and royal ascent on May 14, 2009 almost a month before the “joint declaration” was signed. An excellent article by Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post from five years ago noted: “Prior to the 2007 election, Butts was a McGuinty insider. After the election, he became McGuinty’s principal adviser. As one of his biographical notes describes it, Butts “was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.”
What followed was spelled out in the Ontario Auditor General’s press release of December 2015 disclosing the cost of renewable contracts under the GEGEA was $37 billion to the end of 2014 and would cost another $133 billion up to the end of the contracts. To add fuel to the fire Ontario’s Liberal Party, under Kathleen Wynne, on January 1, 2017 launched their “cap & trade” program joining Quebec and BC. The foregoing may have occurred because PM Justin Trudeau had announced in early October 2016, he would impose a price on carbon beginning in 2018 if any provinces didn’t have one. At that time Gerald Butts was his Principal Secretary and viewed as his puppet master. Again, as we in Ontario know, when the Ford government was elected, he cancelled Wynne’s “cap & trade” program!
In early 2017 the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was issued and recommended a carbon tax starting at $10/ton on January 1, 2018 increasing by $10 each year to a maximum of $50 per ton. The Framework only loosely focused on achieving “net-zero” targeting only “new buildings”. Suddenly on December 11, 2020 with the country in a Covid-19 lockdown Trudeau and his new Environment Minister, Jonathon Wilkinson announced the carbon tax would be expanded to $170 ton to wean us all off of “fossil fuels”. The pretext was it was being done so Canada could meet its Paris Agreement targets.
The impact of raising the tax to that level was spelled out in a Fraser Institute report which noted: “In this study, we present an analysis using a large empirical model of the Canadian economy that indicates that the tax will have substantial negative impacts, including a 1.8% decline in Gross Domestic Product and the net loss of about 184,000 jobs, even after taking account of jobs created by new government spending and household rebates of the carbon charges. The drop in GDP works out to about $1,540 in current dollars per employed person.” The report forecasted the carbon tax of $170/ton would create additional debt of $22 billion and noted almost 50% of the job losses (78.000) would be in Ontario.
To top things off when Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland tabled her budget on April 19, 2021 it was full of spending plans aimed at supporting renewable energy and ending fossil fuel use. The budget contained $17 billion in spending plans and tax relief measures including $5 billion for the “Net Zero Accelerator” additional to the $3 billion previously committed! The $8 billion seems aimed at large emitting companies like those in the steel and cement business. Another $4.4 billion was earmarked to “retrofit” residential buildings. Also included were generous tax breaks (50% for 10 years) for companies manufacturing electric vehicles, (NB: They and the Ontario government handed Ford $590 million of our tax dollars a year ago for EV manufacturing at their Oakville plant), solar panels and presumably the world’s largest wind turbine blades at 107 metres long to a Quebec company who just received $25 million!
The Trudeau led government also on June 29, 2021 announced they were speeding up the goal to have every light duty vehicle sold by 2035 to be “zero emissions” vehicles rather than 2040. The Minister of Transport, Alghabra has already handed out $600 million of our tax dollars as rebates to those purchasing EV and now wants more!
It seems pretty clear the Strathmere Group, with the leadership of Gerald Butts in respect to this particular declaration, will brag they have been successful at achieving it. It was done with great pain to taxpayers, ratepayers, Canadian families and our business community with an emphasis on small and medium sized companies who due to the financial effects of escalating costs lost their competitiveness or moved to a more welcoming community.
What they actually accomplished was neither the creation of “clean energy jobs” or increased “prosperity”!
Declaration target # 5
Declare a moratorium on industrial fishing and development in the Arctic Ocean until there is a comprehensive scientific analysis incorporating the newest information on climate change impacts and until there is a system for integrated, precautionary ecosystem-based management of industrial activities.
Declaration target # 6
Work cooperatively with all Arctic countries and Peoples to curb all sources of pollution of the Arctic, including from land-based sources
Both of those “Declarations” committed to by the “Strathmere Group” and their 21 US cousins back in June 2009 were focused on the Arctic; ocean and lands so, we will look at them together.
Back in June 2019 when Jonathon Wilkinson was Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard he tabled Bill C-68 declared as the “modernized Fisheries Act and it passed Parliament June 20, 2019. Needless to say, he was pleased and made the statement: “Our government is working hard to protect fish and fish habitat from coast-to-coast-to-coast, and the modernized Fisheries Act will do just that.” Wilkinson was also quoted stating: “It raises the bar in making sure that decision-making is based on science and evidence.”
Co-incidentally Bill C-48 sponsored by Marc Garneau, MP for Westmount Quebec and, Minister of Transport, also received 3rd reading the following day on June 21, 2019. The latter Bill was an Act regulating vessels transporting crude oil from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast. The Bill killed any hopes of either the Northern Gateway Pipeline or the “Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor, which would run from the oil sands across Indigenous lands to BC’s northern coast, along with Indigenous peoples’ hopes for a better economic future” from proceeding!
It seems odd while these two Liberal Ministers are so concerned about the fossil fuel sector and its potential damage to the eco-system, they basically ignored the continued dumping of raw sewage by cities along the St. Lawrence River like Longueuil, Montreal and Quebec City! Collectively those three cities reported dumping about 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River!
Apparently marine life in the St. Lawrence River is not important but “potential” oil spills off of BC’s north coast will protect marine life as will no commercial fishing in part of the Arctic Ocean!
Many of us recall the happenstance related to the Newfoundland cod stock collapse and it is interesting to know one of the causes was “foreign overfishing”! An extensive report from 2002 noted: “Canadian media and government public relations people often cite foreign overfishing as the primary cause of the “fishing out” of the north Atlantic cod stocks. Many nations took fish off the coast of Newfoundland, including Spain, Portugal, other countries of the European Community (EC), the former Soviet Union, Japan, and Korea.” The report also noted: “There can be little doubt that foreign overfishing was a contributing factor in the cod stock collapse, and that the capitalist dynamics that were at work in Canada were all too similar for the foreign vessels and companies. But all of the blame cannot be put there, no matter how easy it is to do.” Bad management by the Ministry is also cited as a cause in the report reflecting the moratorium placed on them on July 2, 1992 by the Honourable John Crosbie that has never been lifted since being imposed!
From all appearances commercial fishing to any great extent has never occurred in the Arctic Ocean and Bill C-68 will presumably preserve that observation for Canada’s commercial fishing fleet.
Along with the passing of Bill C-68 back on October 3, 2018 a legally binding international agreement was signed by Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, China, Iceland, Japan, Korea, the European Union and Denmark. The agreement will reputedly protect the Central Arctic Ocean from “unregulated fishing”. The agreement was reported as becoming law on June 18, 2021 so that particular section of the Arctic Ocean (three million square kilometres) will presumably be regulated.
Should one wonder why China was included it’s not because they fish, commercially, in the Arctic Ocean but perhaps because according to an article penned in August 2020 noted: “Estimates of the total size of China’s global fishing fleet vary widely. By some calculations, China has anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 fishing boats, accounting for nearly half of the world’s fishing activity.“ The article went on to state: “China is not only the world’s biggest seafood exporter, the country’s population also accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide.“
One should wonder, why would China agree to sign the agreement?
In response to the foregoing question, one should note Canada has been extremely slow in building infrastructure to support our northern territories so without roads, railways or ports any developments of new mines, etc. are extremely costly so little development has taken place. Suddenly back on August 13, 2019 Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced a project: “$21.5 million to complete preparatory work necessary for the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port Project. The proposed 230 kilometre all-season road would be the first road to connect Nunavut to the rest of Canada.“ That particular project, co-incidentally, was seen as the means to cash in on opening of the Arctic which was something China had attempted to accomplish back in 2011 via a Chinese company (MMG Limited) whose principal shareholder was the Chinese government. At that time MMG backed away as the cost of the roads and port made it too costly! As noted in an article in the Walrus on January 4, 2021, “The vast mineral deposits of zinc and copper near Izok Lake, in the Northwest Territories, lay glittering but ultimately untouchable“ until Garneau’s pledge. Shortly after than pledge by Garneau, Mr. G. Gao, CEO of MMG in a press release said; “On behalf of MMG, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Canadian government for their support and funding,”.
The Walrus article goes on to note “CHINA’S GROWING INTEREST in the Canadian Arctic, one of the least defended regions on earth, has been a calculated move. In 2013, despite not being one of the eight Arctic nations, China gained official observer status at the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum, and later declared itself a “near-Arctic state”—a phrase that seems to ignore the 5,000 kilometres between its northernmost point and the Arctic Circle. “
It seems ironic Garneau’s Bill C-48 designed to halt Canadian fossil fuel exports was passed just two months earlier before he turned around and catered to Chinese interests.
It seems apparent the Strathmere Group partially attained their aim for Declaration # 5 but not in its entirety so it is only a “passing grade”.
Based on the foregoing happenings (so well reported by the Walrus), the current Liberal government, by catering to the whims of the CCP looks likely to allow the creation of mining projects for those minerals desired by China. That being the case one should expect, at the least, a modicum of pollution to occur in the Arctic meaning Declaration # 6 will be destined to fall into the Strathmere Groups first fail category.
NB: The final Declaration # 7 and the associated appraisal of it will be posted in the next few days.