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Dan-in-Ottawa

Liberal energy inequality

This week the House of Commons is adjourned to allow for MPs to be back home in our ridings where we can meet with local citizens and other groups and organizations. 

The opportunity to hear concerns and challenges citizens have with our federal government is critically important to the work that we do as Members of Parliament.

This week I am hearing many concerns over the protests that occurred at the B.C. legislature over opposition to the construction of the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline.

I have also heard concerns over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project now that reports recently stated construction costs of the pipeline expansion are expected to cost $12.6 billion—a significant increase from the previous $7.4 billion announced by PM Trudeau when his Liberal government decided to purchase the pipeline.

There is also another energy related project that I suspect will soon become more well known. 

The Teck Frontier oilsands mine project potentially located north of Fort MacKay, Alta., is currently awaiting a federal approval from the Trudeau Liberal cabinet.

So what is the Teck Frontier project? 

It is a $20.6-billion project that will create roughly 7,000 jobs during construction and will generate $12 billion in tax revenues for Ottawa and $55 billion in tax and royalty revenues for Alberta over its 41-year life. 

The project has spent a decade in various stages of licensing and reviews and has been given conditional approval from the joint federal-provincial review panel which declared the project to be in the public interest.

However, that environmental review process works differently than the process that exists today.

Opponents of the projects point out that the mine will generate an estimated 4.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.

There are also concerns related to wetlands, forest impact, wildlife as well indigenous groups that support or oppose the project, to name a few.

If the Trudeau Liberal government approves the project, opponents question how the Prime Minister can meet his promise that Canada will be net zero on GHG emissions by 2050.

If the project is rejected by the Liberal cabinet, supporters of the project believe serious harm will occur to the relationship between Alberta and the federal government that could threaten national unity.

While some dismiss these concerns, it should also be recognized that major GHG emitting projects have not been treated equally by this Liberal government across Canada. 

One example in Quebec is a cement factory that was given an exemption from an environmental review.

This cement factory will emit between 1.8 and 2.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year and will be the largest GHG emitter in the entire province of Quebec.

Another example is from New Brunswick, where the Trudeau Liberal Government gave a 95% carbon tax exemption from dirty coal power.

The Belledune power plant, which burns a combination of coal and petroleum coke, emits up to 2.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually and was the second largest source of greenhouse gases in Atlantic Canada for 2016.

At that same time, the largest emission generator in Atlantic Canada was the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John. It is well known that refinery frequently receives oil offshore via tanker from countries that have no carbon taxes and little, if any, environmental policies
 
My question this week, do you think Canadian energy projects should be treated on an equal basis?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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