Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

CIDA doles out corporate welfare to mining giants

In Oct 2010, Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, went down to defeat 140 to 134 because 13 Liberals, 4 Bloc, and 4 NDP skipped the vote. The bill sought only to limit Canadian tax dollars being spent to subsidize mining abuses committed by Canadian-registered companies abroad and only if they agreed to it.

A couple of months later in January 2011, Bev Oda, Minister of 'Not Kairos' and International Cooperation, acknowledged that Canadian tax dollars were subsidizing mining companies' CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects through CIDA - half a million to Barrick Gold, another half million to Rio Tinto, etc etc up to a total of $50-million for the year.

Today's G&M : CIDA funds seen to be subsidizing mining firms
This marks the first time that CIDA and mining firms are jointly funding aid projects abroad ...         The mining industry is welcoming the new trend in Canada’s foreign-aid policy. 
“There is a policy shift under way, and it’s one we’re encouraged by,” said Pierre Gratton, the president of the Canadian Mining Association.
while World Vision Canada, a CIDA partner with Barrick Gold in Peru, put it this way  (italics mine):
 “Anything we can do to encourage and advocate for better mining practices, and support the communities that they are displacing or affecting, we’re contributing to a better lifestyle and environment for them.” 
Yes, sadly, communities will be displaced but at least our taxes will be there to help polish the image of their new corporate landlords . 

It's particularly galling that multinational mining giant Rio Tinto ($US15 billion-plus earnings in 2011) is receiving Canadian corporate welfare after locking  800 Canadian workers out on New Years Day in Quebec for protesting having their union jobs replaced by contract workers. Additionally, a court injunction only permits 20 workers to demonstrate at any one time and only at a distance of 150 metres from the front gate.

Back to the G&M :
Federal officials said the policy shift at CIDA is co-ordinated with efforts by International Trade and Natural Resources to encourage the growth of Canadian firms abroad
Sure it is.
A couple of days ago, Rio Tinto took majority control of Canada's Ivanhoe Mines which owns 66% of Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, the rest being owned by the state of Mongolia. 
As it happens, Bev Oda was in Mongolia last August :
"looking to assist Mongolia to strengthen its democratic governance and economic growth"
 presumably with the help of China :
"In 2010, Rio Tinto said that it had held talks with its biggest shareholder, Chinalco, about the possibility of bringing in the Chinese state-owned company as a partner in Oyu Tolgoi"
Why are Canadian tax dollars subsidizing these massive multinational mining corps with corporate welfare again?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stephen Harper - 12 billion dollar man

The Jurist explains the math.

While Stephen 'Jets & Jails' Harper did not directly mention raising Canadians' OAS pension eligibility age from 65 to 67 in his SOTU speech from the Davos 1%-ers bunfest :
"We've already taken steps to limit the growth of our health care spending over that period. We must do the same for our retirement income system."
... Con house organ the National Post cranked out three  articles  this month stating the Cons are considering it.
PMO Office today: "Fact: If we do nothing, OAS will eventually become too expensive and unsustainable"

Fun fact : Steve's projected MP pension is +$5M if he retires in 2019.

In other not-quite-$12-billion Con news, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page estimates the Cons' plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 18% to 15% will cost $11.5 billion in government revenue next year. 

And Mound of Sound reminds us in comments that $12 billion is also the yearly amount slashed from government revenues by the Cons 2% cut to the GST. 
Monday Update : G&M : Research belies PM's warning on OAS
"Expert advice commissioned by the federal government contradicts Stephen Harper’s warnings that Canada can’t afford the looming bill for Old Age Security payments."
Seems the finance committee heard from six expert witnesses who said the OAS is in fine shape with no need to raise pension eligibility age so the committee's final report reflected this testimony but ... 
but there was a dissenting minority report from Cons on the committee advising a pension review so naturally Steve is going with that instead. 
Ideology uber alles. 
Apparently undaunted by this disclosure, Steve pressed on in the House today with his dire OAS frowny face. Wanker.

You get how this works, right? Steve says burgeoning OAS threatens social programs.
By setting up a false choice between working two more years or having social programs, he gets seniors' consent to up the age eligibility. This course of action is much easier than negotiating with unions or the provinces to get cuts .

Friday, January 27, 2012

Yo! 'Freedom 75' Harper supporters!

Corporate Tax Freedom Day now arrives on Feb 1 next week as corporate income tax has been slashed to 8% of all government revenue at a cost of $13 billion a year.

Notice that invisible hand of the marketplace giving the PotashCorp green piggie a surreptitious extra little push in the vid?
That's because Saskatchewan PotashCorp was the “leading cash hoarder” between 2000 and 2010, porking away over $5 billion for a rainy day that only ever rains on you. 
PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle of Chicago pulled down $11.6 million in benefits in 2010. While his base salary was only $1.17 million, he also aced a $2.06 million bonus for 2010, in addition to $3.7mil in stock options and $4.5 mil in pension benefits.

Speaking of pension benefits, who exactly does Steve have slated to make up all that lost corporate tax revenue?
Low income pensioners, apparently, according to his SOTU delivered from Davos, home of the .01%.

But wait a minute. Aren't Freedom 75 guys his main voter demographic? 
Damage control alert! Urgent update from PMO-bot quickly spreads across the media :
"The memo tells MPs to counter opposition attacks by pledging there will be substantial notice and an adjustment period so that any cuts don't impact benefits to those close to retirement. The talking points say other Canadians will have time to adjust."
Yeah. Time to adjust. Flashback to Steve in 2008 :
"I think there's probably some great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic," Harper told reporters as the S&P/TSX fell for the fifth straight day."
On CBC's The Current (9:40 mark) this morning - Privatizing Water - Elizabeth Brubaker of the water privatization lobby group Environment Probe said Canada needs at least $90B, maybe more, to invest in water and sewage utilities in Canada and only corporations have the money to do it. 

And why is that? Because we have starved government revenue for a decade by slashing corporate taxes.

Hope all you 'Freedom 75' Harper supporters are paying attention here.
Friday night update : Stephen Maher totally nails it.  Tories have put Canadians in a hole

Sunday am OAS quotes
Con MP Shelly Glover on CTV : "There are no changes that are going to be occurring with our seniors with regards to OAS at this point",  plus complaints about media bring it up
PMO Office : "Fact: If we do nothing, OAS will eventually become too expensive and unsustainable",  plus complaints about media bringing it up.

Hey, it was Steve who brought it up.
Confused? The Jurist explains.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Combined Defence Plan - So we're a "homeland" now?

Last night DefMin Peter Airshow MacKay announced a pending "Combined Defence Plan" between Canada and the US to "further integrate cross-border military co-operation" :
"This agreement provides a framework for the combined defence of Canada and the U.S. during peace, contingencies, and war," MacKay told the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, comprising senior military officers, government officials and diplomats from both nations. 
"The plan describes the authorities and means by which the two governments would approve homeland military operations in the event of a mutually agreed threat, and how our two militaries would collaborate and share information."
So we're a homeland now? With homeland military operations?
 Canada and the U.S. also will extend the Civil Assistance Plan, which allows for the deployment of troops and equipment from one country to the other in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack
In his speech, MacKay called for increased military involvement implementing the Beyond the Border strategy, saying the Canadian Forces and its American counterparts should be supporting civilian agencies monitoring the cross-border security.
Huh. So the increasing integration of Canadian and US economies under Steve and Barry's Beyond the Border deal requires military backup?
Gosh this is sounding more like Security and Prosperity Partnership leftovers reheated and served up again all the time.

Back in March 2008 when Dick Cheney and then Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day both happened to be in Israel, Doris announced from Tel Aviv a new Canada-Israel Declaration of Intent to cooperate on mutually agreed threats like border security, a Canada-Israel border pact. The deal had been leaked months before, when both Israel's Ministry of Public Security and the Israeli press referred to it as "cooperation on homeland security".

"Homeland security" is still not a phrase we normally associate with a sovereign Canada.

Meanwhile the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has recommended the "Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces consider re-establishing a military presence on the campuses of educational institutions."
The executive director of the DND-funded Conference of Defence Associations, Alain "we have to write a number of op-eds to the press" Pellerin says he believes the time is right to reinstate the Canadian Officers Training Corps program at universities :
"I think the military is very popular in the public eye," Pellerin said. "I think the universities wouldn't want to be out of step and say we don't want the COTC program."
You know, the one we haven't had since 1968.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beyond the Border War on Drugs

Seven months after Steve and Barry signed off on Beyond the Border last year, agreeing to improve cross-border investigations and share more info on Canadian travelers with Homeland Security, US AG Eric Holder explained to the Northern Border Summit that while Canada and the US already had an "excellent relationship" on  "cooperation in criminal investigations and prosecutions", " certain sentencing laws – and information sharing policies and practices – should be updated." 

Uh-oh, I wrote at the time, here comes Operation Doobiethe source of Steve's hardon for "spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers dollars on prison building, in order to impose a mandatory minimum term of six months in jail for anyone who grows more than six pot plants" - and this in a country that overwhelmingly supports decriminalization if not outright legalization.

Well, it would appear Operation Doobie has now entered the building.

There are a number of curious things about the Whitehouse National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, January 2012which I'll get to in a minute, but basically it calls for more info sharing from ISPs :
  "It is imperative that Canada and the United States work together to expedite the sharing of information from electronic communication service providers; and share information necessary to lay the foundation for intercepting internet and voice communications under their respective laws in a timely manner." (Pages 33-34)
Plus greater integration of Canada and US law enforcement agencies in Border Enforcement Security Task forces (BESTs) and the 15 Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs), including FBI, ICE, CBP, USCG, CBSA, RCMP, DEA, OPP, etc etc. Mention is made of the coordinating duties of the DEA and FBI offices located in Ottawa, Vancouver, and Toronto.

And more tech. Lots and lots more tech : thermal cameras, license plate readers, unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile and remote video surveillance systems.

Naturally this is reported in the US media as being about keeping Canadian marijuana out of the US, however small potatoes we might be compared to the US Mexico border :
"Agents seized about 9,470 pounds of marijuana along the northern border in fiscal 2011, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics, less than 1 percent of the roughly 2.4 million pounds seized along the southwestern border."

Ok, now for those curious bits ...

It really is all about pot.
"Marijuana is the most widely abused illicit drug in the United States and Canada. 
Marijuana and Ecstasy remain the most significant Canadian drug threats to the United States. While still responsible for significant social harm and public health and safety consequences at the individual and community levels, methamphetamine (meth) and heroin pose much lesser threats to each country, as evidenced by case reporting and limited northbound and southbound seizures." 
See now I would have thought meth and smack were a greater threat than pot but apparently that's just me.

However if I was trying to justify expanding internet spying or spending billions to further integrate Canadian law enforcement under DEA and Homeland Security, then I guess I'd pick a viable target like potheads over the junkies in the DTES.

In the report, various Canadian ethnic groups are held responsible for grows and labs - Vietnamese, Italian, Irish, Indian, eastern European, plus the Hell's Angels and FN border reservations - but then the report elsewhere undercuts its own message by noting that the prevalence of reported drug use - cannabis, cocaine or crack, speed, Ecstasy, hallucinogens (excluding salvia) or heroin - is down slightly in the US and down a whopping 14.5% in Canada from 2004 to 2009.

Aside from its considerable preoccupation with pot, the report states that "Canadian-produced meth currently poses a limited threat to the United States" and "the vast majority of cocaine that crosses the U .S .–Canada border is northbound into Canada". 
Plus ""Vietnamese Transnational Crime Organizations, in some cases with ties to Canada, have moved their indoor marijuana grow activities to the United States in an effort to decrease transportation costs and limit the risk of seizure associated with smuggling marijuana across the Northern border."

So ... drug use down, meth no biggie, cocaine flows north, and pot grows moving stateside. 

So what, aside from the danger posed by people staring raptly at their hands while eating a shitload of cookie sandwiches, has any of this got to do with integrating the border again?

Back to the National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy :
"During the November 9-10, 2010 Cross Border Crime Forum Ministerial, the four co-chairs, the Attorneys General for the United States and Canada, the Minister for Public Safety and the Secretary of DHS ... officials underscored the importance of a shared vision for border security and highlighted progress made by the United States and Canada over the past year to safeguard the critical resources, infrastructure, and citizens of both nations, focusing on streamlining information sharing and enforcement efforts and enhancing the ability of both countries to identify and respond to a wide range of threats."
Safeguard the critical resources of both nations? Are we still talking about pot here?
Monday night update : Via Greenvie at Bread & Roses, a great piece comparing SOPA to the war on drugs :
Stonekettle Kitchen : SOPA, PIPA, Good Intentions and the Road to Hell

Friday, January 20, 2012

Foreign Special Interests and their Deep Pocket Puppet

A remix of the now-infamous video to include a few of those "foreign special interests" not mentioned in the original broadcast, as Ethical Oil pocket puppet Kathryn Marshall strives mightily - eight times! - to limit the phrase to describe only the environmental opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway tarsands project.

Original broadcast, including a more generous sprinkling of "deep pockets" and "puppets", here .
Or there's always Rick Mercer's version.

Harsha Walia : Enbridge's pipeline of distortions

Terry Glavin : China has our forests, Now we're sending our oilfields too.

*Brilliant post from Emma Pullman @ DeSmogBlog*:
Friends With Benefits: The Harper Government, EthicalOil.org and Sun Media Connection 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Harper's Angels

In 1973 the federal LeDain Commission called for the end of marijuana prohibition, and since then public opinion polls show a majority of Canadians of all ages and political stripes from right across the country agree.

How we doin' with that?

In 2010, nearly four decades later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police handed Canadian pot activist Marc Emery over to the entirely discredited US War on Drugs machine to serve a five year prison sentence in Mississippi for selling seeds through the mail in Canada.

According to StatsCan, over 75,000 Canadians were busted for pot last year (56,870 for simple possession plus another 18,256 for trafficking or distribution), a 14% increase over 2009.

Steve's new Safe Streets and Communities Act- Bill C10, aka the Minimum Sense on Marijuana Bill, will introduce mandaTory sentences for possession :
  • Six months mandatory jail time for growing six pot plants.
  • Nine months mandatory jail time for passing a joint harvested from just one plant grown in the privacy of your own home if you are a renter.
In BC, where support for ending the doobie prohibition is currently running at 73%, the main beneficiary of the Cons Dumb-on-Crime Agenda is the Hell's Angels with their estimated $6-billion annual organized crime drug industry.
They must be thrilled that Steve is going to chill amateur grower competition for them, driving up prices and profits. They should look into making him an honorary member.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet on strike!

Why this matters in Canada : Michael Geist :
Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and BoingBoing, will go dark tomorrow to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
My blog will join the protest by going dark tomorrow. While there is little that Canadians can do to influence U.S. legislation, there are many reasons why I think it is important for Canadians to participate.
First, the SOPA provisions are designed to have an extra-territorial effect that manifests itself particularly strongly in Canada. As I discussed in a column last year, SOPA treats all dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org domain as domestic domain names for U.S. law purposes. Moreover, it defines "domestic Internet protocol addresses" - the numeric strings that constitute the actual address of a website or Internet connection - as "an Internet Protocol address for which the corresponding Internet Protocol allocation entity is located within a judicial district of the United States." Yet IP addresses are allocated by regional organizations, not national ones. The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada, and 20 Caribbean nations. This bill treats all IP addresses in this region as domestic for U.S. law purposes. To put this is context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Enbridge vs the Great Bear Rainforest

Spoil. A beautiful and powerful documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest - extraordinarily footage from some of the world's best photographers hoping to show us what we have to lose if the Enbridge Gateway Project goes through. 

For an idea of the combined PR force we're up against here, check out DeSmogBlog and Deep Climate's posts on how Ethical Oil Kathryn Marshall's hubby, previously Harper's Manager of Strategic Planning, is generously hosting Ethical Oil, Dame Ezra, Joe Oliver, Jason Kenney, Pierre Poilievre, Kevin Falcon, a half dozen Alberta Wild Rose candidates and one Sun News IP  on his  GoNewClear server based in Texas. 

Click right hand bottom corner of vid for full screen. Really. It's worth it.

h/t Holly Stick

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Enbridge hearings hit with Snuffaluffagus hoax

Two Brazilians who have never even heard of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway tarsands-to-tankers pipeline appear to have been signed up as applicants to speak at the hearings. A Calgary Herald editor confirmed their applications were fake by simply pulling their names off the National Energy Board list, phoning them up in Brazil, and asking them.

And right about now I'm guessing you're remembering Kory Teneycke and the Snuffaluffagus hoax.

On Sept 3 2010, former Harper director of communications Kory Teneycke was striving to get his dream of a Fox News North up and running in Canada just as a Stop Fox News North petition from Avaaz was circulating.
"It is safe to assume many, if not most, are Americans" 
he wrote in an op ed slamming the petition that day, sounding eerily similar to Joe Oliver this week.
And not only that, he said, but they were fake names : Snuffaluffagus and Homer Simpson were signatories to the Avaaz petition along with real people who had not signed it, including Andrew Coyne, Paul Wells, and Kady O'Malley. 

Kady was immediately suspicious :
okay, this is weird. how did @KoryTeneycke get a list of *fake* (not fraudulent) sigs on a list that isn't available online?
Teneycke then revealed that he had been contacted with the list of fake names by the prankster who had added them. When Kady told him of her displeasure at being included, Teneycke said his "source" told him he had not added the journalists' names.

Avaaz was understandably livid at this first ever spamming of one of their petitions and filed a complaint with the RCMP and the Ottawa police to investigate the source behind the single IP address from which they had all apparently originated. Although police declined to investigate, Teneycke resigned from Sun TV the next day. for three months before returning as VP in January.

Flash forward to the The Calgary Herald yesterday, who were questioning environmental groups about the two fake Brazilian sign ups :
Unfortunately, after just one day of searching, finding two people who were signed up against their knowledge indicates that at least some people are not interested in acting ethically or hearing the science and the facts. They simply want to mess with the process and throw a wrench into the gears.
Well I certainly agree with that assessment although I don't see any particular advantage to the environmental groups to falsely add the names of people who are never going to testify. This isn't a petition.
No, I think it would more likely be perpetrated by someone seeking to undermine the very legitimacy of the public hearing process itself. Back to the Calgary Herald :
Clearly, the National Energy board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency have not done a very good job of ensuring the legitimacy of the process.
It's the Snuffaluffagus hoax all over again.
Update : Big City Lib! Go! Now!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Enbridge Joe Oliver and his 19 radical foreigners

Tonight on As It Happens, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver continued on with his rant published in today's G&M against the "foreign special interest groups" and "jet-setting celebrities" that use "a quintessential American approach" to "hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda."

"The system is broken," he wrote. "It is an urgent matter of Canada's national interest."

"Canada's national interest" here being the proposed Enbridge tarsands project and the Cons need to derail the shitstorm of protest coming down the pike at them by discrediting pipeline opponents as unpatriotic pawns of sneaky foreign astroturf experts.

About those radical foreign special interest groups.
Carol Off noted that 4,522 individuals had registered to make their allotted ten minute submissions to the hearing.
Yup, said Oliver : "thousands of people repeating repeating the same the same studied lines." 

Well, said Off, most of them appeared to live along the proposed pipeline route, and in looking though their requests to appear before the hearing listed on the Natural Resources website, "19 of the 4500 people were registered in the United States."

A regular juggernaut of 19 jet-setting hi-jacking celebrity furriners, each speaking their allotted 10 minutes in their radical 'quintessential American approach' . 
How will Canada's national interest ever survive three hours of it?

And yet, continued Off, "on that list, the foreigners appear to be mostly oil companies."

Well that's different, explained Oliver. They're bringing tens of billions of dollars to "diversify our markets to Asia" .

But "the concern here is that foreign influences do not have Canada's best interests in mind," pursued Off. "How is it that you can trust the foreign oil companies who are intervening to have Canada's best interests in mind?"

Because they're bringing their own money, repeated Oliver.

Here's the show. Complete transcript below. 
Well done, Carol Off.

"Canada's economic development is being hindered by radical environmental groups financed from the US.
That was the thrust of an open letter published today written by Canada's Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver.
In the letter Mr Oliver called for a revamp of how environmental reviews are done, namely that they be protected from interference by environmental lobby groups. This comes just one day before the public hearing into Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway project. if approved the pipeline will run from the Alberta oil sands to the coastal town of Kitimat, BC.

We reached Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, on his cell phone in Toronto."

Carol Off : Mr Oliver, who are these radical groups you mention in your letter?

Oliver : Well I'm not going to name names but there are, as people know, a number of groups who are opposed to the development of hydro carbons - they even oppose hydro-electricity development. I don't know where they think we're going to get the energy to maintain our current level of civilization but that's where they're coming from and they're trying to game the system.

Carol Off : Why can't you tell us who they are?

Oliver : Well because I don't think we need to get into that level of specificity. The point is they're there, some of them are being financed by, er, by groups, and we think that these decisions which are so important for the Canadian economy, for Canadian jobs, should be made by Canadians in Canada.

Carol Off : If you can't tell us who the people are that you're concerned about - the radical groups - can you tell us what their sources of money are?

Oliver : Well we know for example the Tides group is one but there are others that are providing, er, that are providing funding, and that information I think is available or will be available.

Carol Off : And do they have less money or more money than the oil companies who are lobbying to have the project go through.

Oliver : The issue is what they're using the money for and how much money is being used.

Carol Off : There are 4,522 individuals who are registered to make oral statements, according to your website - they will get about 10 minutes to do that - and 216 registered intervenors. How many of these are under the influence of these radical groups?

Oliver : Well I don't know precisely but it's uh ... and I don't want to get into that particular project which is under regulatory review ... but this is not an unknown tactic where a particular organization will send many of its members in to repeat the same message. In a court environment that wouldn't happen; the court would take a count of the numbers but they would wanna hear from people who have something new, different, and relevant to say ... rather than just you know thousands of people repeating repeating the same the same studied lines.

Carol Off : Well, these kinds of hearings, especially something this large, often attract hundreds and even thousands of people who have something to say, and just looking at the website, on your Ministry of Natural Resources website, it shows that most of these people appear to be Canadians who live along the pipeline route. In fact we found 19 of the 4500 people were registered in the United States.

Oliver : Well the issue ... and some from you know Venezuela and so on ... but um the issue is whether people who are participating - and that's something that the panelists will look at - but just as a broad statement, yeah, the issue is whether panelists have something new, different, and relevant to say or whether they're just simply parrotting a message. You know what these letters are, and we receive them and I imagine CBC sometimes receives them as well, where people are basically have been given a line and they just add their name to essentially the same letter. When we receive that, we take account of the numbers but understand that the hundreds, the thousands of letters relating to a particular issue represent a particular perspective. It's relevant to know how many people have that perspective but we don't have to take each letter and question each person if they're merely using a form to sign a letter. I think everyone understands that and it's the same kind of issue in respect to an oral presentation.

Carol Off : So the letters and oil statements are just simply that - they make a statement or sign a letter - but the intervenors are obviously more important where they can actually cross-question, and on that list the foreigners appear to be mostly oil companies.

Oliver : Well I was talking about foreign money supporting Canadian intervention. The distinction here which is fundamental is that there are a number of foreign companies who are supplying capital to finance this project. This is the largest industrial project in the entire world. We don't have enough capital in Canada to finance it therefore we have welcomed foreign investment from the US, France, England, China, and other countries - companies who see the economic prospects for the development of our resources and are investing tens of billions of dollars to advance the creation of infrastructure which will help us in our in our historic choice here to diversify our markets to Asia.

Carol Off : But I guess the question is .. the concern here is that foreign influences do not have Canada's best interests in mind. How is it that you can trust the foreign oil companies who are intervening to have Canada's best interests in mind?

Oliver : Because they're investing in Canada and their financial success is tied to the success of the projects which are Canadian projects which will generate employment and economic activity for Canada.

Carol Off : But not necessarily tied to the protection of the Canadian environment and to Aboriginal rights.

Oliver : Those issues have to be dealt with by objective regulatory review which will hear the interests of the Aboriginal communities and of environmental groups. I have no problem and neither does the government have any problem with Canadian environmental groups presenting their case because at the end of the day we want these projects to be safe for the environment and safe for Canada.

Carol Off : Mr Oliver, thank you for your time.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Steve frets about foreign influence on Enbridge pipeline

"Stephen Harper is warning about the possibility that hearings into Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline will be "hijacked" by foreign interests. The Prime Minister is threatening to prevent foreign environmental interests from delaying the approval of a pipeline that would take bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to the West Coast for shipment to Asian markets."
Ok then, let's have a look at some of those 'foreign interests' which have applied for intervenor status at the Enbridge hearings due to start in two days, courtesy of the National Energy Board's  Regulatory Document Index:
Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Process 
Registration for Intervenor Status
  • BP CANADA, subsidiary of BP (formerly British Petroleum) of Gulf Oil disaster fame
  • EXXON MOBIL OIL,  Fairfax, Virginia 

"Ten companies have contributed $10 million each to help Enbridge finance the regulatory approval process, Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway said in October.  
China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. also known as Sinopec, was previously the only company that had publicly stated its participation."
G&M : Oil giants back Gateway pipe :
"Gateway’s financial backers include Chinese state-owned energy company Sinopec. Market sources have said they believe China National Petroleum Corp. also holds an interest in Gateway. Sinochem Group, another Chinese energy firm, is also believed to support Gateway."

According to StatsCan in October last year, much of our tarsands is already "hijacked by foreign interests".

Oil and gas extraction and support activities - 2009 
  • Assets - 35.9% under foreign control
  • Operating revenues - 51.1% under foreign control 
  • Operating profits : 41.3% under foreign control
"American-controlled enterprises continued to dominate the shares of assets, revenues and profits under foreign-control. These enterprises increased their share of both revenues and profits to 59.1% and 58.3% respectively." 
"In the oil and gas extraction industry, foreign-controlled enterprises increased their share of revenues to 51.1%. This occurred as revenues declined nearly twice as fast in 2009 for domestic enterprises as they did for foreign enterprises."
I thought this was kinda cute from Ethical Oil's Kathryn Marshall though :
Canadians have much at stake in the construction of the pipeline and “must take a stand against foreigners and their lobbying groups interfering in our decision.”
Okey dokey then. Really looking forward to her defence of China as a foreign 'ethical oil' majority financial backer of the pipeline.

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