Energy policy is the NDP's Achilles heel

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socialdemocrati...

KenS gets this. There are both political and moral reasons for opposing Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway. The moral reasons are because you're destroying domestic jobs, not to mention the environment. The political reasons are that the NDP isn't going to win on a platform that says "Steven Harper has the right ideas for Canada's economy. Vote NDP anyway."

genstrike

NorthReport wrote:

GS,

The NDP if elected would do a better job than either the Liberals or or the Cons concerning protecting the environment or First Nations rights,, and if you haven't grasped that by now..... 

Except that you're saying that in order to get elected, the NDP has to basically adopt a policy of support for any resource development project that comes down the pipe - regardless of the environment or First Nations rights.

So, lets just call this X.  In this case, you've basically said the choices are:

1. The NDP doesn't support X.  They don't get elected, and X happens.

2. The NDP decided to support X.  They get elected and do X.

For someone who doesn't want X to happen, there's no winning move here.

socialdemocrati...

And if someone DOES want X to happen, there's no losing move. So why do you care about who you vote for?

NorthReport

This is what we have to deal with.

Mulcair’s pipe dream

http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/editorials/Editorial+Mulcair+pipe+d...

socialdemocrati...

"Returns" are for the people who own the companies. There's an assumption there that we're trying to avoid "costs". But wages are a cost. Frankly, that's a cost that companies should pay more, because it benefits more than just a few executives.

So giving oil companies a push to build refineries in Canada would only be a good thing in the long run. To create good-paying jobs, and to avoid the absurdity of shipping our oil somewhere else only to buy it back.

As for the East-West pipeline, it's not my position (or the NDP's position) that we should just go ahead and do it without any reviews, or input from first nations, or safety standards. A huge part of the sustainability argument is that the East-West pipeline would pump less oil and take more time to get up and running, compared to a Keystone pipeline that's only moments away from pushing us over the climate cliff.

But like you said, the NDP's problem here is more about public perception than economics.

KenS

test

Perkins

I think that the smartest thing for the NDP to do is to avoid taking a position on specific projects.  State clearly that an NDP government will restore the Environmental Assessment Act.  The party would also state that it puts its confidence in the public institutions that evaluate the projects and impose conditions to ensure that the projects are safe, beneficial, and do not "signficantly" harm the environment.

However, if the party wants to come totally out of left field on the tar sands file, it could back a nuclear power installation in northern Alberta to supply electricity and steam for bitumen extraction.  Such an installation would massively reduce GHG emissions from tar sands oil.  For those with a knee-jerk anti-nuclear power perspective, I would highly recommend reading George Monbiot, James Hansen and James Lovelock on the issue, and take a look at the documentary "Pandora's Promise."  I would also highly recommend watching the following lecture by Carleton University professor David Leblanc on a molten salt reactor for the tar sands (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BXg18fAIk#t=21).  By potentially embracing this nuclear project, the NDP could gain both energy and environmental credibility.

NorthReport

And I would highly recommend asking ourselves why the Germans are completely getting out of nuclear, and why the Jaspanese are not.

And then ask ourselves which of these 2 countries cares about its future, and which of these 2 countries doesn't.

And the problem with those countries that don't care about a future, is that they have the potential to take down neighbouring countries as well.

 

 

Aristotleded24

Absolutely we should not worry about environmental implications, and just take whatever jobs the energy sector wants to give us. [url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/partial-evacuation-of-north-da... could possibly go wrong?[/url]

Centrist

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
So giving oil companies a push to build refineries in Canada would only be a good thing in the long run. To create good-paying jobs, and to avoid the absurdity of shipping our oil somewhere else only to buy it back.

Problem is that the feds have absolutely no jurisdiction over provincial resources. It's ALL provincial jurisdiction so that's unfortunately a moot point.

Aristotleded24 wrote:
Absolutely we should not worry about environmental implications, and just take whatever jobs the energy sector wants to give us. [url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/partial-evacuation-of-north-da... could possibly go wrong?[/url]

What's the point? Are you aware that just after Kinder Morgan's recent application to the NEB for twinning of the Transmountain Pipeline through BC, that both Kinder Morgan and Imperial Oil announced a $270 million oil rail loading facility in Edmonton (Dec. 20) to provide an interim “strategic bridge” until the completion of TransMountain’s west coast expansion?

And that would permit another 250,000 barrels/day of bitumen to flow by rail to BC's west coast and Kinder Morgan's terminal in Port Moody situate in the Port of Vancouver?

Which represents about 50% of the volume that would flow through the Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline?

And without any, and I mean any, environment assessment/oversight?

And that CNOOC/Nexen has recently proposed the same oil by rail with CN to Prince Rupert?

And that both BC and AB, in their current inter-provincial discussions on proposed pipelines, have already both conceded at the outset that if pipelines are not approved, the much riskier rail option to BC's west coast will be the alternative?

It's a zero sum game. And the Cons will play this matter to the hilt in terms of pipelines over rail, to their benefit, in BC during the 2015 campaign and come out on top again. Unfortunately.

socialdemocrati...

Centrist wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
So giving oil companies a push to build refineries in Canada would only be a good thing in the long run. To create good-paying jobs, and to avoid the absurdity of shipping our oil somewhere else only to buy it back.

Problem is that the feds have absolutely no jurisdiction over provincial resources. It's ALL provincial jurisdiction so that's unfortunately a moot point.

Section 91(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867 wrote:

91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of this Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say, —

(2.) The Regulation of Trade and Commerce.

Don't believe every right-wing talking point you hear. The government has always used a combination of subsidies, regulations, and international trade negotiations to decide how our economy should function. It's, like, you know, the whole point of having a federal government, and not just a pile of independent provinces.

People who use "provincial rights" arguments are usually more interested in protecting corporate rights, via a federal government that's been stripped of any meaningful power. Ironically, those same people are seldom interested in the same provincial rights when it means showing respect for minorities.

janfromthebruce

Perkins wrote:

I think that the smartest thing for the NDP to do is to avoid taking a position on specific projects.  State clearly that an NDP government will restore the Environmental Assessment Act.  The party would also state that it puts its confidence in the public institutions that evaluate the projects and impose conditions to ensure that the projects are safe, beneficial, and do not "signficantly" harm the environment.

However, if the party wants to come totally out of left field on the tar sands file, it could back a nuclear power installation in northern Alberta to supply electricity and steam for bitumen extraction.  Such an installation would massively reduce GHG emissions from tar sands oil.  For those with a knee-jerk anti-nuclear power perspective, I would highly recommend reading George Monbiot, James Hansen and James Lovelock on the issue, and take a look at the documentary "Pandora's Promise."  I would also highly recommend watching the following lecture by Carleton University professor David Leblanc on a molten salt reactor for the tar sands (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BXg18fAIk#t=21).  By potentially embracing this nuclear project, the NDP could gain both energy and environmental credibility.

I agree. Nuclear burns clean. Not all reactors are the same. In Ontario about 50% of our power source comes from nuclear. And we have completely gotten rid of burning coal.

Aristotleded24

janfromthebruce wrote:

Perkins wrote:

I think that the smartest thing for the NDP to do is to avoid taking a position on specific projects.  State clearly that an NDP government will restore the Environmental Assessment Act.  The party would also state that it puts its confidence in the public institutions that evaluate the projects and impose conditions to ensure that the projects are safe, beneficial, and do not "signficantly" harm the environment.

However, if the party wants to come totally out of left field on the tar sands file, it could back a nuclear power installation in northern Alberta to supply electricity and steam for bitumen extraction.  Such an installation would massively reduce GHG emissions from tar sands oil.  For those with a knee-jerk anti-nuclear power perspective, I would highly recommend reading George Monbiot, James Hansen and James Lovelock on the issue, and take a look at the documentary "Pandora's Promise."  I would also highly recommend watching the following lecture by Carleton University professor David Leblanc on a molten salt reactor for the tar sands (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BXg18fAIk#t=21).  By potentially embracing this nuclear project, the NDP could gain both energy and environmental credibility.

I agree. Nuclear burns clean. Not all reactors are the same. In Ontario about 50% of our power source comes from nuclear. And we have completely gotten rid of burning coal.

That's a myth put out by the nuclear industry. There are several GHGs burned in the construction of the plants and the transport of uranium, the stuff is downright toxic for anyone who has to mine it, and the radiation from the nuclear waste is toxic for anything ranging from tens of thousands of years to several billion. And when something goes wrong, it goes very wrong. Just ask the people who live in Fukushima.

janfromthebruce

The backup system failed in Fukushima. It is not the same kind of reactors. Cnd use candu. And they are not near any oceans and will not be hit by tsunamis.

Centrist

janfromthebruce wrote:
I agree. Nuclear burns clean. Not all reactors are the same. In Ontario about 50% of our power source comes from nuclear. And we have completely gotten rid of burning coal.

In BC, even uranium mining has been banned and a uranium deposit in the West Kootenays has been a major political issue here in BC since the early 1980's.

When a proposal for a nuclear power facility in northern Alberta (in order to power the oil sands) was in the works a few years back... BCers of ALL political persuasions freaked out - IIRC 95% of BCers opposed same in a then published opinion poll. Anyone supporting nuclear power in BC would be signing their political death certificate. And that's even though the Hanford nuclear facility has been across the border in WA State for decades.

Visuals of 3 Mile Island and Japan's Fukushima incident, etc. etc. push very sensitive political buttons here in BC about/over nuclear power generation. Don't ever go there politically here in BC. It's politically taboo here.

PS. If BCers even ever found out that Saskatchewan uranium was shipped from our ports it would capture the MSMs attention and freak people out. Even I don't know the extent of SK uranium exports from BC ports. And I have tried to find out. Believe me.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

That's very interesting, Centrist. Here in Ontario, while there is plenty of outright oppostion to nuclear power generation, I think the majority opinion is that nuclear is an option that must be considered, given all the trade-offs. Why do you suppose the BC population have such a different view? Is there some historical reason?

Perkins

@NorthReport

I haven't got a clue what you're talking about.  Japan doesn't care about the future?  The fact that Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power will add an extra 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere between now and 2020 shows that Germany is serious about addressing climate change?

 

@Aristotleded24

I know the numbers from comparative life cycle assessments of electrical power.  Including all of the upstream GHGs from nuclear power, it still ends up being better, per kWh, than even solar power.  Uranium mine safety is a legitimate issue that should be addressed via rigorous enforcement of health and safety regs on mining companies, and via strong unions.  This is not a problem with the technology itself.

The waste issue is a joke.  The amount is tiny, and it can be stored safely.  It can even be recycled to generate even more electricity (see http://www.monbiot.com/2011/12/05/a-waste-of-waste/).  In contrast, the waste from coal-fired power plants goes into our lungs and food.  The soil across China is becoming heavily contaminated by heavy metails from coal plants.  Take a look at the findings from this recently published peer-reviewed study of contaminated teas from China:  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jt/2013/370460/, or read this news article about the study:  http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/01/many-teas-contain-enough-lead-to....

Aristotleded24

Monbiot has fallen to the mistaken mindest that the problems with climate change are technological. They aren't, they are instead social and political. Every new technology has impacts, and it was an application of Industrial Age technology which got us into this mess in the first place.

Perkins

@Aristotleded24

The last thing that Monbiot can be criticized for is not taking seriously the problems of corporate power, inequality and capitalism (e.g., http://www.monbiot.com/2013/11/11/why-politics-fails/).

I'm sorry but raw material extraction, manufacturing, and material and energy use for heating, transportation, residential construction, etc. take place in all developed economies.  An anti-nuclear socialist burning coal puts out the same amount of GHG emissions as an anti-nuclear capitalist. 

Aristotleded24

But nuclear technology doesn't address the issues Monbiot states in that article, and Monbiot has also not addressed the corporate entanglement in the nuclear industry, plus the fact that it's damn hard to find insurance and that nuclear cannot survive without massive public subsidies. And for all the theoretical talk about how to deal with nuclear waste safely, the fact is that governments have resorted to short sighted, quick fix methods of dealing with waste, such as a proposal to bury it in the Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario. To say nothing that the materials used in nuclear power are non-renewable, and that nuclear energy gives the illusion that we can still burn as much energy as we are, when we should as a society be looking at ways to reduce our overall energy use.

Geoff

Seems there is no one power source that will solve all our problems.  Perhaps the NDP should be the party that promotes the production of a full range of ethical energy (i.e. renewable energy) sources, including thermal, wind, solar and hydro, and 'fills the gaps' with non-ethical (non-renewable) energy sources. 

This strategy would only work if we were aggressive in pursuing the ethical energy option. Even if we started by investing a dollar into ethical energy for every dollar investe in oil, gas and nuclear, I think we would change the mix of energy production in Canada.(If that's not the cae, I'll stand corrected.)

If anyone wants to play with the dollar figures a bit in order to improve the mix, knock yourself out.  It's the principle I'm driving at here.  We need to seriously change the proportion of investment that goes into the ethical energy sector, even if we can't wean ouselves completely from traditional energy sources by next week.

janfromthebruce

One assumes that big corporate wind companies are ethical. Having seen that up close in Ontario, I could not agree with ethical particularly since many "unethical" oil companies are doing the windy thing in Ontario. And when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine there is a problem with having "energy" when we need it.

Don't assume that all companies are the same. I stand by Bruce Power in the Bruce. It provides good paying jobs and has the highest standards.

Policywonk

janfromthebruce wrote:

One assumes that big corporate wind companies are ethical. Having seen that up close in Ontario, I could not agree with ethical particularly since many "unethical" oil companies are doing the windy thing in Ontario. And when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine there is a problem with having "energy" when we need it.

Don't assume that all companies are the same. I stand by Bruce Power in the Bruce. It provides good paying jobs and has the highest standards.

Ah yes, the myth that wind and solar energy can't be stored. Also the main problem with nuclear, aside from waste disposal, is the cost. You can't have safe, cheap nuclear. Period. Better to spend the money on conservation and renewables. To say nothing of the economy that needs the energy being unsustainable.

 

janfromthebruce

The ethics of these corporate wind companies was just side stepped and many of their ties to big oil. Last I checked, they want to use natural gas as back up. So backed up by fracked gas. None of the energy is perfect. And I agree that we need a mixed system. I think that Monbiot has some ideas which should be explored. Last I checked, paying for solar and wind energy was way above nuclear but that seems to be okay.

Perhaps lots of industrial wind turbines should be built around the urban centres that need it. Thus there won't be energy loss of like 20% going down the line. In Toronto, you could start building them in Lake Ontario. Would require lots to replace nuclear, and I mean lots.

I am a NDPer. I think that perhaps one should gain some perspective of a progressive who lives in rural.

Policywonk

janfromthebruce wrote:

The ethics of these corporate wind companies was just side stepped and many of their ties to big oil. Last I checked, they want to use natural gas as back up. So backed up by fracked gas. None of the energy is perfect. And I agree that we need a mixed system. I think that Monbiot has some ideas which should be explored. Last I checked, paying for solar and wind energy was way above nuclear but that seems to be okay.

Perhaps lots of industrial wind turbines should be built around the urban centres that need it. Thus there won't be energy loss of like 20% going down the line. In Toronto, you could start building them in Lake Ontario. Would require lots to replace nuclear, and I mean lots.

I am a NDPer. I think that perhaps one should gain some perspective of a progressive who lives in rural.

Replacing nuclear is not the point. Using less energy is. We need to find a way to live sustainably, with less energy. The cost of nuclear is going up as solar is coming down precipitously, plus the potential for storage with both solar and wind is increasing. I agree about industrial wind turbines being build near urban centres.  Natural gas is not a useful back-up or bridging fuel.

Geoff

Capitalism is capitalism, so a private wind power company isn't that much different from an oil company or a nuclear power company;  I get that.  The 'ethical' reference (with thanks to Ezra Levant, bless his fracking heart) was to the energy source, not the corporations who run the companies.

However, the NDP champions public power, which differentiates us from the Liberals and the Conservatives.  We have to stop lining the pockets of private companies, and put an end to fiascos such as the gas plant payoffs.  We need to take back energy production from the corporate sector, and shifting our focus to 'ethical' energy may provide an opportunity to do so, if the Liberals don't give it away to their corporate buddies.

As I said earlier, we're not going to replace all traditional sources of energy right away, but we must redistribute our investments so that an increasing proportion of the money goes to all renewable sources, not just wind.  Wind is only one part of the solution, and if we have public control over how it's developed we can avoid the controversies that have been created by leaving citizens out of the process of locating the turbines.  Locating wind farms is no different from locating oil refineries and gas plants (except for the leaks and explosions, but let's not quibble over details)Wink.  If the public is included in the decision-making process, the problems are minimized.

NorthReport

A24 is absolutely correct.

When the nuclear industry forces its executives and their families to live on nuclear sites, has cleaned up Fukishima to the satisfaction of its residents, the entire Japanese population, and the surrounding and/or possibly other affected countries, get back to us, but not before. Mankind overall is just too irresponsible to be fooling around with nuclear energy.

Aristotleded24 wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:

Perkins wrote:

I think that the smartest thing for the NDP to do is to avoid taking a position on specific projects.  State clearly that an NDP government will restore the Environmental Assessment Act.  The party would also state that it puts its confidence in the public institutions that evaluate the projects and impose conditions to ensure that the projects are safe, beneficial, and do not "signficantly" harm the environment.

However, if the party wants to come totally out of left field on the tar sands file, it could back a nuclear power installation in northern Alberta to supply electricity and steam for bitumen extraction.  Such an installation would massively reduce GHG emissions from tar sands oil.  For those with a knee-jerk anti-nuclear power perspective, I would highly recommend reading George Monbiot, James Hansen and James Lovelock on the issue, and take a look at the documentary "Pandora's Promise."  I would also highly recommend watching the following lecture by Carleton University professor David Leblanc on a molten salt reactor for the tar sands (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BXg18fAIk#t=21).  By potentially embracing this nuclear project, the NDP could gain both energy and environmental credibility.

I agree. Nuclear burns clean. Not all reactors are the same. In Ontario about 50% of our power source comes from nuclear. And we have completely gotten rid of burning coal.

That's a myth put out by the nuclear industry. There are several GHGs burned in the construction of the plants and the transport of uranium, the stuff is downright toxic for anyone who has to mine it, and the radiation from the nuclear waste is toxic for anything ranging from tens of thousands of years to several billion. And when something goes wrong, it goes very wrong. Just ask the people who live in Fukushima.

janfromthebruce

The nuclear industry is not monolithic and thus to suggest that what happen's in Japan is thus the same as in Cnd, or Ontario is quite a distortion. Nobody is telling anyone here to build nuclear in BC, for example. I don't have a problem with the nuclear industry in Ontario. And I think a mixed industry is best and that it worked best in Ontario when we had one public untility rather than it being broken up into 3 separate parts.

Perkins

@Policywonk

I agree that a focus on conservation is essential, especially relative to building codes.  However, this really isn't going to address the need for a large electricity supply over the long term.  There will likely be a shift from gas-powered cars to electrical ones, and the electricity has to come from somewhere.

This article does a good job addressing double standards (regarding costs, etc.) for claims commonly applied to nuclear power but not to other sources of electricity:  Seven Double Standards - Why don’t we judge other forms of energy generation by the standards we apply to nuclear power?

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/31/seven-double-standards/

Centrist

Michael Moriarity wrote:
That's very interesting, Centrist. Here in Ontario, while there is plenty of outright oppostion to nuclear power generation, I think the majority opinion is that nuclear is an option that must be considered, given all the trade-offs. Why do you suppose the BC population have such a different view? Is there some historical reason?

Just the political mindset out here in BC among all political persuasions. Nuclear has NEVER been mentioned as a power generation option out here in BC. It's always been basically hydro dams - now with some wind generation. Coal generation is also a taboo subject due to airshed and environmental concerns. Same with natural gas generation (even though BC Hydro's 1950's era natural gas thermal generating facility in Metro Vancouver's Burrard Inlet is only used intermittently during winter peak periods.)

And the nuclear imagery in most people's minds out here in BC consists of 3-Mile Island, Fukushima, radiation, radioactive waste, etc. Strikes a very emotional response akin to the proposal back in 2008 to construct a nuclear plant in northern Alberta. Was major headline news here in Metro Vancouver back then, which resulted in a public backlash by people of all political stripes out here.

That aside, from an economic perspective I am aware that nuclear generation plants also have a tendency to vastly overshoot their projected construction budgets with major $multi-billion$ cost over-runs and also incur major expensive operational down-times with refueling, etc. 

 

Centrist

DP

Centrist

Centrist wrote:
And Tom's statement to the Vancouver Sun last week was revealing:
"He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to the B.C. and Atlantic coasts to avoid dependence on the U.S. market."

Looks like there has now been some further clarification on the matter:

Confusion Over NDP’s Position On Kinder Morgan Pipeline Clarified

Jennifer Moreau / Burnaby Now 

January 2, 2014 01:58 PM

Is there a serious difference of opinion on the Kinder Morgan pipeline within the federal NDP?
That appeared to be the case on Dec. 23, when The Vancouver Sun ran an online article stating that party leader Thomas Mulcair would not oppose the pipeline expansion project, while Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart is adamantly against the project.

The article, by the Sun’s Ottawa correspondent Peter O’Neil, stated that, “Mulcair said he’s not going to oppose the Kinder Morgan project, which submitted its National Energy Board application last week. He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to the B.C. and Atlantic coasts to avoid dependence on the U.S. market.”

When the NOW contacted Stewart about the comments and the apparent rift in opinion, the Burnaby-Douglas MP said the party’s position had not changed and that the article was “poorly written.” In fact, O’Neil subsequently changed the online piece, which now reads: “Mulcair said he’s not going to repeat (B.C. NDP leader Adrian) Dix’s error by ruling out support for the Kinder Morgan project in advance of its assessment by the National Energy Board, which received the company’s application last week. He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to foreign markets.”

While Mulcair has said he’s not going to rule out support for the project in before the National Energy Board decides, Stewart is still adamantly opposed to the pipeline, based on feedback from his constituents, concerns about the environment and the loss of value-added jobs for Canada. 

The NDP is on record calling for a national energy strategy and criticizing the Conservatives for changing the rules, so cabinet members can now override decisions made by the National Energy Board. (That means if the board rejects Kinder Morgan’s project, the Conservatives could go ahead with the project anyway, as they now have the final say.)

Peter Julian, Burnaby-New Westminster MP and the NDP’s energy and natural resources critic, has also said the project “cannot be approved in the absence of a thorough, credible, complete environmental assessment.”

While the NDP appears opposed to the pipeline expansion, Mulcair’s cautionary approach raises more questions.
The NOW tried to contact Mulcair, to clarify where, exactly, he stands on the mega-oil project, but he was unavailable during the holidays.

http://prod-admin1.glacier.atex.cniweb.net:8080/preview/www/2.2551/2.275...

Aristotleded24

Centrist wrote:

Centrist wrote:
And Tom's statement to the Vancouver Sun last week was revealing:
"He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to the B.C. and Atlantic coasts to avoid dependence on the U.S. market."

Looks like there has now been some further clarification on the matter:

Confusion Over NDP’s Position On Kinder Morgan Pipeline Clarified

Jennifer Moreau / Burnaby Now 

January 2, 2014 01:58 PM

Is there a serious difference of opinion on the Kinder Morgan pipeline within the federal NDP?
That appeared to be the case on Dec. 23, when The Vancouver Sun ran an online article stating that party leader Thomas Mulcair would not oppose the pipeline expansion project, while Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart is adamantly against the project.

The article, by the Sun’s Ottawa correspondent Peter O’Neil, stated that, “Mulcair said he’s not going to oppose the Kinder Morgan project, which submitted its National Energy Board application last week. He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to the B.C. and Atlantic coasts to avoid dependence on the U.S. market.”

When the NOW contacted Stewart about the comments and the apparent rift in opinion, the Burnaby-Douglas MP said the party’s position had not changed and that the article was “poorly written.” In fact, O’Neil subsequently changed the online piece, which now reads: “Mulcair said he’s not going to repeat (B.C. NDP leader Adrian) Dix’s error by ruling out support for the Kinder Morgan project in advance of its assessment by the National Energy Board, which received the company’s application last week. He said the NDP recognizes the importance of getting Canadian oil and gas to foreign markets.”

While Mulcair has said he’s not going to rule out support for the project in before the National Energy Board decides, Stewart is still adamantly opposed to the pipeline, based on feedback from his constituents, concerns about the environment and the loss of value-added jobs for Canada. 

The NDP is on record calling for a national energy strategy and criticizing the Conservatives for changing the rules, so cabinet members can now override decisions made by the National Energy Board. (That means if the board rejects Kinder Morgan’s project, the Conservatives could go ahead with the project anyway, as they now have the final say.)

Peter Julian, Burnaby-New Westminster MP and the NDP’s energy and natural resources critic, has also said the project “cannot be approved in the absence of a thorough, credible, complete environmental assessment.”

While the NDP appears opposed to the pipeline expansion, Mulcair’s cautionary approach raises more questions.
The NOW tried to contact Mulcair, to clarify where, exactly, he stands on the mega-oil project, but he was unavailable during the holidays.

http://prod-admin1.glacier.atex.cniweb.net:8080/preview/www/2.2551/2.275...

In other words, a strategy of not outright stating your position on a certain development  so as not to give your opponents a direct target but hoping you can stack the deck behind the scenes so that you end up with the result you are after.

Centrist

Aristotleded24 wrote:
In other words, a strategy of not outright stating your position on a certain development  so as not to give your opponents a direct target but hoping you can stack the deck behind the scenes so that you end up with the result you are after.

Problem is - that was the previous position of Adrian Dix and the BC NDP. Then... when Adrian announced his opposition to Kinder Morgan here in BC on Earth Day during the May election, that position reflected upon the entire NDP "brand" here in BC. Can't simply go back and change same without more political fallout (which frankly may be more favourable FWIW). And apparently that position also remains that of the BC NDP to this day.

Add to the fact that BC NDP MPs ALL oppose the Kinder Morgan twinning (not just MPs Kennedy and Julian) AFAIK, the Cons also have all the targets that they need to perpetuate a similar BC Libs win. While the Cons are now toast in the City of Vancouver proper and likely in the neighbouring North Shore and neighbouring Richmond, they will play this same "NDP anti-jobs" political game that Crusty Crunch's BC Lieberals did during the May BC election campaign in the Metro Van suburbs and interior BC. 

In the end, the MSM here in BC is ruthless in pursuing which party/leader supports and opposes what - and that's DURING an election campaign. BC politics is def a blood sport.

 

Policywonk

Perkins wrote:

@Policywonk

I agree that a focus on conservation is essential, especially relative to building codes.  However, this really isn't going to address the need for a large electricity supply over the long term.  There will likely be a shift from gas-powered cars to electrical ones, and the electricity has to come from somewhere.

This article does a good job addressing double standards (regarding costs, etc.) for claims commonly applied to nuclear power but not to other sources of electricity:  Seven Double Standards - Why don’t we judge other forms of energy generation by the standards we apply to nuclear power?

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/31/seven-double-standards/

Monbiot neglects to mention that the cost trend for nuclear is up while the trend for solar and wind is down. Also the assumption is that a large energy supply is necessary or required, based on a number of other assumptions about social, economic and environmental changes. If the worst case scenario for climate change mid-term is chaos in a few decades, we need to use much less energy period. There is also the question of how thermal power plants (nuclear and coal-fired), will operate in a hotter world, with different precipitation patterns. There may be new technologies that may address the cooling concerns for nuclear, but that will add to the cost and time to develop and build them.

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-n...

 

 

Centrist

Policywonk wrote:
Monbiot neglects to mention that the cost trend for nuclear is up while the trend for solar and wind is down.

Never mind nuclear. Both wind power, and solar especially, cannot meet base power loads (unlike nuclear) as they both provide "intermittent" power. And I was recently blown away by the "solar power" rates provided by ON IPPs to Ontario Hydro One - ~$230 MWh. Brutal!

In BC, RoR (Run of River) IPPs provide power to BC Hydro at an averaged rough price of ~$85 MWh and the BC NDP has been screaming in opposition at the top of its lungs - since the local spot market price from the Pacific Northwest regional grid has been obtained for as low as ~ $15 MWh. But ~$230 MWh in Ontario for solar? In BC, such a rate would result in a political blood bath and end of the BC Lieberals. Seriously!

An article on solar power costs in Ontario:

Blame Solar For Sky-High Ontario Power Bills

Financial Post

October 29, 2013 

On October 17, the Ontario Energy Board announced an increase in the Regulated Price Plan rates that apply to most residential and many small business consumers. The 0.5 cent/kWh rate increase will cost a typical Ontario homeowner an extra $57 per year.

If they’re wondering what’s driving this, they should look up into the sky or at their neighbour’s roof.

Solar energy – one of the key pillars of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) – is casting a dark cloud over Ontario electricity bills and is a big factor in recent and future bill increases. In 2013, solar projects caused electricity bills to be about $550-million higher than they would otherwise have been. For a typical homeowner, this works out to $47 per year.

Ontario will have an estimated 1,100 MW of solar installed by year-end and roughly 900 MW will be added in 2014. This addition will cause 2014 electricity bills to increase by another $435-million – equal to a typical homeowner increase of $37 per year. By the end of 2014, solar will be costing Ontarians $1.25-billion per year – while generating a paltry 2% of Ontario’s total electricity requirement.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4UXHjiClTSUJ:opinion.financialpost.com/2013/10/29/blame-solar-for-sky-high-ontario-power-bills/+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

Perkins

Regarding Centrist's point about the costs of solar power, the NDP should be careful about the design of specific subsidy proposals for renewable energy.  Harper and his friends in the right wing media would be delighted to use Ontario's "mixed" experience as a bludgeon against possible NDP proposals to subsidize renewables.  The party should perhaps stick to funding R&D, demonstration projects (we really need more geothermal energy projects in Canada), and nation-building projects such as the cross-Canada electricity grid (especially to help phase-out coal use in Alberta and Saskatchewan) and electrifying Canadian rail corridors.  Of course, eliminating all subsidies to the oil and gas sector should be part of the energy policy.

On another subject, I really think that anyone who claims that nuclear power should be phased out at the same time as coal and natural gas is not serious about climate change and the urgency of this issue.  Don't even think about phasing out nuclear power until coal and natural gas are gone.

NorthReport

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

This energy policy is nothing more than a LPC trap.

Hopefully the NDP is not that stupid as to fall for this energy nonsense.

Tom Mulcair

The NDP leader has won widespread plaudits for his work grilling the government in the House of Commons over the Senate expenses scandal, and tells Parliament-watchers to expect more questions in the same vein when the House resumes in 2014. But with the NDP consistently languishing in third place in the polls, Mulcair needs to find an issue that casts him as something other than the inquisitorial leader of the official Opposition. Energy policy, where the Liberals are closer to the Conservatives, provides Mulcair an obvious path to differentiate his party from the pack.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/12-mps-to-watch-in-2014-highlight-younge...

 

Aristotleded24

Centrist wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
In other words, a strategy of not outright stating your position on a certain development  so as not to give your opponents a direct target but hoping you can stack the deck behind the scenes so that you end up with the result you are after.

Problem is - that was the previous position of Adrian Dix and the BC NDP. Then... when Adrian announced his opposition to Kinder Morgan here in BC on Earth Day during the May election, that position reflected upon the entire NDP "brand" here in BC. Can't simply go back and change same without more political fallout (which frankly may be more favourable FWIW). And apparently that position also remains that of the BC NDP to this day.

Read for comprehension, because the approach matters. Dix stated his position outright and was attacked for it. Despite the fact that several NDP MPs have stated an identical position, Mulcair has not said anything so definitive, he's just droned on about proper environmental assessment, which I think is something most voters, for or against the project, can get behind. (Heck, even right-wing governments pay lip service to the importance of proper environmental assessment.) So Mulcair gets elected on that, sets in place the process for environmental review, the review recommends not going forward with the project, and Mulcair then has plausible deniability by saying, "this is what the review says, we'll go with it."

I'm not sure what your game is anyways. Are you suggesting that the NDP should abandon its principles over pipelines to get more votes? For one, such an abandonment will certainly lose voters to the Green Party, and most people who are voting Conservative because they want the pipelines are not going to change their votes anyways. An example of that is that here in Manitoba, the NDP in fact has been as tough on crime as any other government, and yet people still blast the "hug-a-thug" NDP and those for whom crime issues are the most important are still voting against the NDP.

Above all, I believe in democracy, and a democracy requires that people have choices. So you have the pipeline projects, and the Conservatives present the case that we should go ahead, and the NDP presents the case that we shouldn't. Now people can make a decision. I also firmly believe that if, on the basis of the projects that people vote for the Conservatives and the whole package deal which includes less government involvement in health care, no public housing strategy, no infrastructure strategy, no public transit strategy, cuts to vital government services, economic policies which benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else, allowing Senators to abuse their positions, less government transparency, and environmental destruction, well that's the choice the people made, and they will have to live with the consequences of said choice.

Policywonk

Centrist wrote:

Policywonk wrote:
Monbiot neglects to mention that the cost trend for nuclear is up while the trend for solar and wind is down.

Never mind nuclear. Both wind power, and solar especially, cannot meet base power loads (unlike nuclear) as they both provide "intermittent" power. And I was recently blown away by the "solar power" rates provided by ON IPPs to Ontario Hydro One - ~$230 MWh. Brutal!

In BC, RoR (Run of River) IPPs provide power to BC Hydro at an averaged rough price of ~$85 MWh and the BC NDP has been screaming in opposition at the top of its lungs - since the local spot market price from the Pacific Northwest regional grid has been obtained for as low as ~ $15 MWh. But ~$230 MWh in Ontario for solar? In BC, such a rate would result in a political blood bath and end of the BC Lieberals. Seriously!

An article on solar power costs in Ontario:

Blame Solar For Sky-High Ontario Power Bills

Financial Post

October 29, 2013 

On October 17, the Ontario Energy Board announced an increase in the Regulated Price Plan rates that apply to most residential and many small business consumers. The 0.5 cent/kWh rate increase will cost a typical Ontario homeowner an extra $57 per year.

If they’re wondering what’s driving this, they should look up into the sky or at their neighbour’s roof.

Solar energy – one of the key pillars of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) – is casting a dark cloud over Ontario electricity bills and is a big factor in recent and future bill increases. In 2013, solar projects caused electricity bills to be about $550-million higher than they would otherwise have been. For a typical homeowner, this works out to $47 per year.

Ontario will have an estimated 1,100 MW of solar installed by year-end and roughly 900 MW will be added in 2014. This addition will cause 2014 electricity bills to increase by another $435-million – equal to a typical homeowner increase of $37 per year. By the end of 2014, solar will be costing Ontarians $1.25-billion per year – while generating a paltry 2% of Ontario’s total electricity requirement.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4UXHjiClTSUJ:opinion.financialpost.com/2013/10/29/blame-solar-for-sky-high-ontario-power-bills/+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

You are referring to IPPs and the Ontario approach, which is a textbook example of how not to set up a feed-in tariff system. I'm talking about these graphs:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/06/2717791/cost-pv-cells-solar-...

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/05/nuclear-prices-market-graph/

http://cleantechnica.com/solar-power/

Policywonk

Perkins wrote:

Regarding Centrist's point about the costs of solar power, the NDP should be careful about the design of specific subsidy proposals for renewable energy.  Harper and his friends in the right wing media would be delighted to use Ontario's "mixed" experience as a bludgeon against possible NDP proposals to subsidize renewables.  The party should perhaps stick to funding R&D, demonstration projects (we really need more geothermal energy projects in Canada), and nation-building projects such as the cross-Canada electricity grid (especially to help phase-out coal use in Alberta and Saskatchewan) and electrifying Canadian rail corridors.  Of course, eliminating all subsidies to the oil and gas sector should be part of the energy policy.

On another subject, I really think that anyone who claims that nuclear power should be phased out at the same time as coal and natural gas is not serious about climate change and the urgency of this issue.  Don't even think about phasing out nuclear power until coal and natural gas are gone.

There's phasing out nuclear and not building new nuclear, which is becoming prohibitively expensive. And subsidizing renewables versus not subsidizing non-renewables.

Policywonk

Centrist wrote:

Policywonk wrote:
Monbiot neglects to mention that the cost trend for nuclear is up while the trend for solar and wind is down.

Never mind nuclear. Both wind power, and solar especially, cannot meet base power loads (unlike nuclear) as they both provide "intermittent" power. And I was recently blown away by the "solar power" rates provided by ON IPPs to Ontario Hydro One - ~$230 MWh. Brutal!

In BC, RoR (Run of River) IPPs provide power to BC Hydro at an averaged rough price of ~$85 MWh and the BC NDP has been screaming in opposition at the top of its lungs - since the local spot market price from the Pacific Northwest regional grid has been obtained for as low as ~ $15 MWh. But ~$230 MWh in Ontario for solar? In BC, such a rate would result in a political blood bath and end of the BC Lieberals. Seriously!

An article on solar power costs in Ontario:

Blame Solar For Sky-High Ontario Power Bills

Financial Post

October 29, 2013 

On October 17, the Ontario Energy Board announced an increase in the Regulated Price Plan rates that apply to most residential and many small business consumers. The 0.5 cent/kWh rate increase will cost a typical Ontario homeowner an extra $57 per year.

If they’re wondering what’s driving this, they should look up into the sky or at their neighbour’s roof.

Solar energy – one of the key pillars of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA) – is casting a dark cloud over Ontario electricity bills and is a big factor in recent and future bill increases. In 2013, solar projects caused electricity bills to be about $550-million higher than they would otherwise have been. For a typical homeowner, this works out to $47 per year.

Ontario will have an estimated 1,100 MW of solar installed by year-end and roughly 900 MW will be added in 2014. This addition will cause 2014 electricity bills to increase by another $435-million – equal to a typical homeowner increase of $37 per year. By the end of 2014, solar will be costing Ontarians $1.25-billion per year – while generating a paltry 2% of Ontario’s total electricity requirement.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4UXHjiClTSUJ:opinion.financialpost.com/2013/10/29/blame-solar-for-sky-high-ontario-power-bills/+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/the-decline-of-base-load-is-solar-about-...

http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article...

I don't think solar could provide much base-load power in Ontario or any part of Canada most of the year (which would likely make it uneconomic), but the need for conventional base-load power seems to be diminishing, and not just in areas with high solar insolation.

Policywonk
felixr

The NDP has become the anti-development party. There isn't a project they won't say no to. The projects they propose as alternatives are castles in the sky, much more complex, no more safe, way more convoluted, bureaucratic, and with poorer business cases- HOWEVER, they do have the threads in common of a) diverting Western Canada's resources eastward and b) standing side by side with some union or other than represents .0001% of the population and .001 % of the workforce. Mulcair's NDP is heading for complete electoral disaster with its current economic policies. No amount of "messaging" will spare the NDP from the fact that it is blowing against the political, economic, and social winds of its time and is going to get hammered for doing so.

Stockholm

That's total bullshit. The NDP opposes Northern Gateway (along with virtual all civil society in BC) and prefers an east-west pipeline over Keystone XL. Period. Those are both pretty popular positions. There are tons of other projects the NDP favours such as the new hydro developments in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and many other.

If you ask Canadians, what do you prefer? - a pipeline to the US that sends oil and jobs south or a pipeline to the east that keeps us more self-sufficient in energy and allows us to create refining jobs inside Canada - what do you think people opt for? Overwhelmingly its east-west.

All that being said, by 2015 Obama will have either killed Keystone XL or it will already be undereway, so I'm not sure it'll be an issue by fall 2015.

Centrist

Again, the pipeline debates are now becoming convoluted on many tangents. We have the BC and AB govt's setting up an oil task force that have mutually agreed that if pipelines are not going to the west coast, then oil by rail will actually occur and be its successor.

I will again reiterate that just after Kinder Morgan's recent application to the NEB for the twinning of the Transmountain Pipeline through BC, that both Kinder Morgan and Imperial Oil announced a $270 million oil rail loading facility in Edmonton (Dec. 20) to provide an interim “strategic bridge” until the completion of TransMountain’s west coast expansion.

And that would permit another 250,000 barrels/day of bitumen to flow by rail to BC's west coast and Kinder Morgan's terminal in Port Moody situate in the Port of Vancouver.

Which represents about 50% of the volume that would flow through the Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.

And that oil by rail will through through BC's Fraser Canyon, which includes the Fraser River - BC's major salmon bearing river. Look at how narrow that canyon is and the potential for a catastrophic spill:

And CN has had a major rail derailment in that canyon as recently as 2006, which resulted in the train plunging 1,000 feet down an embankment.

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/old-brakes-to-blame-for-fatal-lillooet-train-crash-1.402945

And now we get into that pipeline v. rail debate to the westcoast and here's Ernie Crey's (BC FN Sto:lo Tribal Council) recent take:

Kinder Morgan is getting the basics right. No more chatting-up politicians & regulators to get what they want & ignoring the Indians.

More alarming than laying some pipe is the prospect of transporting oil by rail through the rugged & unforgiving Fraser Canyon.

Half of BC's FN people live in the vast Fraser River Watershed. We rely on the annual sockeye runs for food. Rail cars with oil spook me.

I ask folks to Google photos of the Fraser Canyon, especially between Hope & Lytton. You will see rail lines on either side of the river.

All I am saying is if the choice is pipe or rail, I'd opt for pipe baby.

Our choice is not between the best option vs. the worst option. In life, it's often between the worst choice vs. the least worst choice.

When it comes to moving oil, we should think of the latin phrase, "aribus teneo lupum" (I hold a wolf by the ears).

Some other food for thought as opinions begin to take shape and reshape.

 

 

Unionist

felixr wrote:
No amount of "messaging" will spare the NDP from the fact that it is blowing against the political, economic, and social winds of its time and is going to get hammered for doing so.

That's so sad. It makes me want to get hammered too.

Cheers!

 

Aristotleded24

For one, I don't necessarily buy that being "anti-development" will be as hurtful for Mulcair in the West as the press would have you believe. For one, Jack actually took a harder line on tarsands development by insisting on a moratorium, and NDP support in Alberta increased every year under his watch, and Albertans generally knew where he stood. Secondly, you're criticizing "diverting the West's resources eastward," but does it really make that much more sense to rip resources out of the ground as fast as possible so they can be shipped to the US, China, or other places? Even the Alberta NDP and the Parkland Institute in Edmonton favour more value-added processing in Canada and Alberta rather than shipping everything away. Ripping resources out of a country and shipping them away as fast as possible has a negative impact on society economically and politically, and I don't want to see that replicated. To complicate things even more is that Eastern Canada imports a great deal of its oil as it is, so why not send some of the resources eastwards, which gives the east the benefit of having a stable energy source and the west the benefit of consistent markets? Third, the First Nations are becoming an even greater percentage of the population in Western Canada, and they are not going to stand by and let anyone rip the resources out of their traditional lands without their consultation.

KenS

You seem to be making the erroneous leap that because there are more efficient and economic ways for getting oil to tidewater, the West- East pipeline will never be built.

That's hogwash.

Because it is trumped by the reality that there is a strictly economic [profits] argument for all the major proposals, and the more expensive rail options.

The West-East is hyped with all sorts of pie in the sky about refining the product in the East, and shipping it to Europe or India. Those are all just possibilities- that might happen, if it is to be built. None of those will be the real business case for building it. Truth is, the business case is making it doable even if the oil goes to the less lucrative markets of the US refineries on the Gulf [even if Keystone is built].

West - East is feasible because it is building a constellation of strange bedfellows to neutralize the level of opposition encountered by Keystone and Northern Gateway.

KenS

More practical politics:

Even without anything in particualr to go on, there is no compelling reason to acquiesce to pipelines because rail transport is worse.

Fight pipelines. And figure out how to fight rail transport.

And I doubt we are far from the latter. [There is the little detail that it is insane.]

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