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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Expand the oilsands

Here is a debate I did today on expanding the oilsands. Mark Holland, the Liberal Natural Resources Critic who called for government intervention in the oilsands, bowed out of the debate mere minutes before we started. I don't blame him.

Posted by Ezra Levant on February 22, 2007 | Permalink


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While I'll agree with Ezra's first comment that Alberta at the very least isn't a dictatorship and is a good place to buy oil from, his second comment about Alberta oil sands being more environmentally friendly than other places is a bit of a stretch.

I'm not sure burning clean energy to get dirty oil sands is a good use of energy - or environmentally responsible. It also neglects to point out that, unlike Saudi crud, oil sands have to go through an upgrading process that releases even more greenhouse gas emissions. Never mind all the water used in the process, the destruction of boreal forest, draining of wetlands, and how we still don't know what the impacts are on the entire watershed.

As to the economic development point - no doubt it provides jobs for First Nations (and other Canadians). It also seems to be attracting a lot of Mexicans. I'm glad we can send money back to Mexico now too.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070223.wxrmexicans23/BNStory/Business/home

I think Pembina had the most pointed approach - there's nothing wrong with oil sands development, but that it should be measured and taken in a sustainable fashion as to ensure long-term economic development and environmental sustainability. After all, the oil isn't going anywhere and the longer the resource lasts, the more money there will be for Albertans. Remember prices will only continue to go up in the future.

I did enjoy Ezra's point though when he said Canada is a free market society and the market will decide when development will occur. He pointed out that Canadian's don't want a centrally controlled economy (couldn't agree more), but then right after that stated that they need a policy framework to move forward (aka government intervention).

I look forward to hearing the next interview with Holland.

Posted by: Chris Rickett | 2007-02-23 5:08:30 AM

Holland is a complete and utter imbecile.

He does not have the intellect, common sense, or debating skills of my 11 year old.

The first thing that comes to mind hearing him speak, this guy is actually a sitting MP?

But then I see where he is from and who voted for him, then shake my head once again and wonder if there is ever hope for this country.

Only if morons like this are kept from any positions of real power.

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-02-23 6:39:55 AM

Pembina is Liberal patronage created and driven
their agenda includes no support for the Harper Conservative Government whatever. As a not-for-profit corporation they are not subject to
due liligence or audit by the Auditor General nor the Competition Bureau. Ottawa Media report on former super flunky Eddie Goldenberg master dispenser of Chretien driven patronage who has some interesting things to say about "Koyoto" -Little
Eddie is now, guess what? a Lobbyist (Trans Canada Pipelines is one of his clients) waht a surprise!

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-02-23 8:14:08 AM

Actually Pembina seems to support oil sands development, but at a sustainable rate that ensures the resource lasts, infrastructure can be kept up and environmental issues are dealt with.

On the other hand, remember that it was the Liberals that gave the oil sands companies nice tax breaks. They've supported the rapid development of the oil sands with their tax policies and cash injections.

Seems that policy would conflict with what Pembina is saying.

As to Eddie, he's just another oil sponsored yes-man now. He's being paid to maintain the status-quo and get even more government subsidies for his employers.

Posted by: Chris Rickett | 2007-02-23 8:20:29 AM

What the bureaucrats at Pembina say they "support"
and what in fact they undertake is not straightforward, tinged with politics. Goldenberg
will be lucky not to be thrown out of Federal Government offices in Ottawa. The flunkies around Chretien especially Goldenberg were detested by the
Liberal Federal caucus for decades. No standing ovations for Chretien or Martin - MacLeod

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-02-23 8:30:53 AM

Ah, Little Eddie. The Guy who had a smile as big as himself when his Hero, Chretien, pulled his golf ball collection out at a very serious inquiry trying to find STOLEN MONEY, expose fraud artists. He wasn't there to give answers of course, HE KNEW NOTHING!
Yeh, Little Eddie is quite a piece of business.

It's time to evict him from confines of Federal offices. "Out,out damn spot"!

Posted by: Liz J | 2007-02-23 10:23:18 AM

Yes but now Eddie is being paid to defend the right of oil and gas industry to pollute and be subsidized by the government.

Posted by: Chris Rickett | 2007-02-25 6:15:03 AM

I listened only to the first three minutes and that was enough for me. Mr. Levant, I got to hand it to you, you sound like a classic ultra-conservative politician. You have that nice, pleasant voice, a la Stephen Harper, making you seem trustworthy and saying things like "we must help first nations", and "they shouldn't buy from dictatorships". Unfortunately, a lot people are unable to see through your act, (see:2000 & 2004 US elections, 2006 Canadian election). It's a classic formula to disguise your right-wing agenda with compassion. Afterall, if Hitler had come out and said "If I'm elected, I will murder 6 million jews and cause mass destruction across Europe". Or if Bush has said, "if elected, I will invade and completely ruin an innocent nation and also will not assist with the suffering of thousands of black americans when their city is ruined by a hurricane", they would not have been elected.
You fit right in with these guys Mr. Levant, and I wish you all the best in your future political endeavors, and only hope for your sake that your racist and greedy underbelly doesn't get exposed. Oh wait, you are the publisher of the most ridiculous publication in Canada. Might be too late.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-02-25 11:01:35 AM

I think the comparison to Hitler is a bit of stretch, but I think the point is simple - oil sands production is far from government intervention, it is in fact a creation of government intervention to make it economical. That's the essential problem.

I'm not against oil sands development, I'm just against the government picking up the tab for corporate profits and environmental degredation.

Posted by: Chris Rickett | 2007-02-25 2:39:50 PM

I wasn't really comparing Ezra and Hitler, afterall, Hitler was far more charismatic, intelligent and better looking, but I was merely pointing out the disguise these right wing politicians put on. Hitler was revered as a saviour, they didn't know that he wanted to murder that many people. George W seemed like a good Texan boy, people didn't know he was a war monger. Stephen Harper seemed nice to me at one point till I understood the evils of conservatism. Meanwhile, everyone knew from the beginning that Chavez hated the US (rightfully so) and planned to institute many socialist policies.

I completely agree with you Chris on governments picking up the tab. That's why oil industry in this country needs to be nationalized. I'd much rather have the money in the hands of the government, and therefore the people, than in the hands of greedy, evil oil execs. Norway is the ultimate example. That is why that country removed Canada from the top of the UN Human Development Index and has remained there for seven years. When the dust settles on global warming and oil is pushed by the wayside, probably fifteen to twenty years, countries like Norway and Sweden will be leading the world.

Posted by: Lefty_99 | 2007-02-25 3:19:11 PM

I hardly think nationalize the oil industry will solve our problems - there would be even less incentive to adopt more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies.

Just look at the government has done with the electricity market - built power plants and not sold power at its true cost, saddling taxpayers with large debts, environmental degredation and created dependence.

Get government money out of the energy industry and make the producers account for all of their costs (including pollution) in the final price.

Posted by: Chris Rickett | 2007-02-25 5:44:28 PM

"I'd much rather have the money in the hands of the government, and therefore the people, than in the hands of greedy, evil oil execs. "

Isn't Hugo Chavez an oil exec by virtue of his policies?

"When the dust settles on global warming ..."

Oh, I hope not. It's the dust and aerosols that are aiding in the cooling of the planet.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-02-25 6:11:02 PM

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