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  • MLA report October 19

    Hello Chestermere! First of all–Happy Diwali!  May many lights illuminate and bring joy and prosperity to your homes.  This week will bring many changes for us in our little city.  We will have a new Mayor and council and trustees by the time you are reading this.  I would like to congratulate all of the candidates, and I would like to wish our new group the very best as they step into their new positions, and take on their civic duties.  Public service is very rewarding, and extremely difficult and complex.  I would like to take a moment and thank the former Mayor and council for their dedication to our city.  I have known this group of people for many years, long before I had the privilege of being a public servant, and I am honoured to have worked with them as a citizen and as a politician. From the days of Dr. Leonard Pallesen, Bill Porter, Dave Mikkelsen and the amazing Elaine Peake I have been so blessed to know many councils in my life here in Chestermere since I moved here in 1979.  It is so humbling to have seen so may changes over the years, so much growth, so many new families, so many seniors moving to be here with their children and grandchildren, and many of us who have come and gone over the years.  I look forward to working with this new council and to seeing what they will bring to our beautiful city.  
    Ok.  It is time to discuss pipelines.
    From the TransCanada.com website:

    As a result of its decision not to proceed with the proposed projects, TransCanada is reviewing its approximate $1.3 billion carrying value, including allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) capitalized since inception and expects an estimated $1 billion after-tax non-cash charge will be recorded in the company’s fourth quarter results. TransCanada stopped capitalizing AFUDC on the project effective August 23, 2017, as disclosed on September 7, 2017. In light of the project’s inability to reach a regulatory decision, no recoveries of costs from third parties are expected.

    The TransCanada Energy East pipeline project was conceived in 2011 with the notion to reuse and build new pipeline over 4500 km.  A large part of this pipeline already exists and would have been converted from a natural gas pipeline with the reversal of line 9. It would connect to Montreal and New Brunswick to bring our bitumen to be refined in the east.  The original schedule for approval was supposed to happen by the end of 2014, with the hope of a functioning pipeline for 2018.  At that time the price of oil was high, and so were the hopes of many Canadians for the prosperity this project would bring to our country.  This was a project of sovereignty, and one that would help us become competitive in the global market.  So here are some of the reasons we are given as for the failure of this project.  
    Let’s talk about carbon emissions first.  The question is should Trans Canada be responsible for the emissions of the production of oil, when their responsibility is the transportation of oil?  That is what Ottawa carbon policy required of Trans Canada.  That they were responsible for emission in the production process or refining.  I’m not sure that makes any sense or that it is a reasonable request. It’s funny how the carbon emissions generated by cars sold by Ontario auto manufacturers or cement from Quebec cement plants aren’t their responsibility.  
     Even the Premier thought this was not a great idea, but of course we do not see her standing up for Alberta, or for Canada’s prosperity for that matter.  In fact she stated in this October 13 quote from The Canadian Press:
    “she will focus on working with the Prime Minister to advance projects that have already been given the green light”

    Wasn’t it the Premier of Alberta who hired anti pipeline eco-activists to work in the Oilsand Advisory group? The same people who are now working to stop projects like Trans Mountain. Whose party, the NDP in BC and federally, is trying to stop this project. Alberta Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi, Federal Infrastructure Minister, claimed (Global Edmonton, October 5, 2017 and repeatedly after) that it was a “business decision due to market conditions”. We will get to that but let’s talk about the social groups involved in derailing the pipelines, like Mayor Coderre of Montreal who as Charles Adler puts it ” danced on the graves of Alberta jobs”. He was proud of the work he had done to stop Energy East.  This is the same Mayor who put 8 billion litres of waste into the St. Lawrence river last year without even blinking.  We see Mr. Coderre, Federal NDP leadership candidates (you know, the Premier’s party), protestors taking over NEB meetings, and various other groups fighting against Canadian prosperity.  This prosperity has led to 9 billion in annual equalization payments that give our neighbours in Quebec $7 a day-day care, and lower tuitions on Universities.  1 year at McGill University is 1 semester here in Alberta. 

    Let’s talk about regulations.  Environmental assessments are necessary, and Canadians are proud of their strict regulations and responsible resource development.  In fact, we are the best in the world and should be proud of our product and how it is produced.  Energy East would have been able to carry 1.1 million barrels a day in a pipeline that already exists along with some new pipeline.  One of the biggest issues is not tough regulations but that those regulations change in the middle of a project. In other words the rules change while the project is being assessed.  Can you imagine if you were doing a test in Math, and all of a sudden you had to be able to do it in a different language with no prior knowledge? Good luck! Success was never the mandate for our provincial or federal governments for Energy East because they kept moving the environmental goal posts.  Where was the transparency for the companies who take on all the risk?   Not one cent of taxpayers’ money was involved. Did you know that the 1 billion dollars that TransCanada spent was largely spent on trying to get regulatory approval?  They have been given the run around and now the project has been politicized and TransCanada will move on to other jurisdictions where they can be successful.
    Last, I would like to talk about the point that is the most frustrating.  We keep hearing that it’s the price of oil that is the issue (a business decision based on market conditions), that the world is not producing at the same levels, or that we are going to phase out the oil sands.  What I have a hard time understanding then is why are governments patting themselves on the back for allowing Trans Mountain and Keystone XL to continue?  Somehow they are alive and well, and that social license bought us these pipelines.   We are being told that oil prices are an issue and were the barrier to Energy East being built.  I mean seriously, unless there is some special price on the oil in those two other pipelines that is different than the price of oil that was going to be transported in Energy East, I do not get it.  How can one fail due to oil prices and other ones succeed? The cost of over 600,000 barrels/day of foreign oil imports (over 20 million dollars/day!) will keep leaving our country instead of being spent here. How is that good for the country? I am truly disappointed in our Alberta Liberal MPs who seem to have forgotten who they are supposed to represent.
    I would like to take a moment and shift gears to the leadership race.  Many of you received personal calls from us this past week to make sure that you had registered for the leadership vote for the United Conservative Party on October 28th.  It was lovely to speak with so many of you and I would like to thank the volunteers that spent their entire weekends and many days calling and fixing issues.  Thank you for your patience and for chatting with us.  As you know, I am supporting Brian Jean.  He is competent, kind and a fierce advocate for this province.  As always we love to hear from you.