A Speech Too Far

Mammon led them on

Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell

From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts

Were always downward bent, admiring more

The riches of Heavens pavement, trodden gold,

Then aught divine or holy else enjoyed

In vision beatific: by him first

Men also, and by his suggestion taught,

Ransacked the center, and with impious hands

Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth

For treasures better hid

John Milton, Paradise Lost

 

 

 

The following is a speech given by Kent Hehr on the occasion of his Governments pipeline approvals. I will endeavour to correct any errors in the transcript I am made aware of.

An analysis of that speech follows.

Hi, my name is Kent Hehr, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, Minister of Veterans Affairs. It’s a great honour and privilege and, actually very exciting for me to be chatting with you today. For today, our Prime minister and our Cabinet approved two major projects that will move Calgary and Alberta and, in fact, this country forward on the energy file. Our Government has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as line three, which will see our industry grow and prosper and allow us to move our oil in a safe and reasonable fashion and allow our energy to get to do(sic) markets. I can say this has not always been easy. For ten years we have relatively no action on this file. We tended to ignore our environmental responsibilities; consultations with our First Nations communities and that led to a lack of success by the former Government in achieving a clear consensus on moving this country forward. A country that needs to see both energy and the environment as two sides of same coin. The announce(sic) today shows our commitment to Alberta and our economy as well as our commitment to a world that demands action on climate change and we are doing both. Our Government is leading by putting a price on pollution. Already 80% of Canada lives in a jurisdiction that has a price on pollution. Setting this stage will allow for competitiveness, allow for innovation to prosper and allow our companies to do better in an ever increasing global economy that is demanding carbon reductions. We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see top of the line technologies put in as well as a tanker ban to protect our northern coastline to ensure its safety and its success to(sic) a clean environment. I also say we are revitalizing the National Energy Board which will see science and evidence(garbled) based policies; will see real consultation with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. This is real move forward by a Government who understands energy and the environment are two sides of the same coin. Very proud to have(sic), during the election, not only pounding the pavement to get your vote but to be in Ottawa pounding the table on behalf of things that matter to the City of Calgary, The Province of Alberta, and, in fact, to all of Canada. Thank you so much for giving me the great honour of representing you in Ottawa. Today is a day for us to celebrate the success of the way we move the new economy forward by seeing this as a way forward and a blueprint to our future success. Have a great evening.”

 

 

Where to begin. I am fairly sure the ever affable and earnest Mr Hehr did not write this speech. I say this on the strength of several devices used therein which smell of political hackery.

I have emphasized the statements which I wish to deal with.

 

We begin with a propaganda technique often termed “the big lie” : Our Government has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as line three, which will see our industry grow and prosper and allow us to move our oil in a safe and reasonable fashion’

What is being moved is not “oil” but dilbit. Further, pipelines are provably not ‘safe’ and therefore by no means ‘reasonable’. Pipelines leak. Dilbit is incompatible with life. The seriousness of the damage done is a function of the volume leaked and the location of the leak. Cleanups are never complete and also beg the following questions :

– who pays for the cleanup?

– do you think the material magically disappears or is it dumped elsewhere?

– do you think the material is processed somehow despite a prohibitive cost?

We actually have, at our disposal, an objective measure of pipeline safety, aside from the litany of leak reports. Imagine, if you will, that these pipelines were fully insured, including cleanup costs. I leave it to the insurance industry to determine pipeline “safety” and council anyone holding stock in any insurer willing to take the risk to sell immediately.

 

 

A country that needs to see both energy and the environment as two sides of same coin.’

This is a catchphrase which is repeated twice, whose origin must be the butt crack of a P.R. hack. It is ludicrous unless we view it in terms of a real heads OR tails coin. First the phrase is softened by the use of the word “energy” in lieu of “dilbit” or “oil”. So we could view this two-sided coin as oil OR the environment. Perhaps “heads I win tails you lose”.

 

 

Our Government is leading by putting a price on pollution’

No, they are not. A minor point, perhaps, They are putting a price on carbon. Carbon is not the only pollutant although it takes pre-eminence with respect to climate change.

 

 

We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see top of the line technologies put in’

Here we have the misleading phrase “top of the line” which, by all the world’s evidence, is equivalent to saying “inadequate”. “We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see inadequate technologies put in”.

 

 

I also say we are revitalizing the National Energy Board which will see science and evidence(garbled) based policies; will see real consultation with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.’

Okay, you can accuse me of jumping to conclusions but I find this statement startling. I see it as an admission that science and evidence based policies and First Nations consultations were NOT a part of the pipeline decision since they were ante this ‘revitalization’. It’s like we have been allowed (inadvertently) to see behind the curtain.

That the pipeline decision was purportedly made on the basis of science and evidence stretches all credulity.

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Between a Rock and a Tar Pit

For those of you that think all of the dinosaurs are all in Alberta consider Saskatchewan’s Premier Wall who’s Government is now officially in climate change denial. It’s “misguided dogma” he insists. (http://www.desmog.ca/2016/05/19/saskatchewan-government-dubs-climate-change-misguided-dogma-throne-speech).

But wait let’s not forget the socialist paradise that is Alberta just yet. Rachel Notley has attacked the Leap Manifesto as being “thoughtless” “naive” and “tone deaf”. She presides over a province that is overmuch a “one industry town”. It got this way through many, many years of mismanagement by both federal and provincial Conservative and neoconservative Governments. As is often pointed out, they had every opportunity to follow Norway’s example and would not be in as dire a strait as they find themselves to be in today.

Notley is in a deep hole not of her digging and make no mistake, but for the collective wisdom of Alberta voters, things could actually be much worse.

BUT, the NDP Government touts it’s stance on climate change all the while pushing for pipelines. Notley, as premier of Alberta, finds she has no choice. Her political survival on the ground depends on feeding the one trick tarsands pony.

My question is : Is there any light between that stance and Wall’s climate change denial? At the very least it’s schizophrenia…. or at the very very least it’s “tone deaf”.

Screenshot from 2016-06-12 12:58:53

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Energy East “Nation Building” With a Dilbit Pipe?

This post comes into being as a result of a Twitter conversation I had with Kent Hehr and an interview he directed me to that Naheed Nenshi had on “The House”. I have some problems with the interview and with the Energy East Project in general.

I do find Nenshi extremely likeable and understand he is doing a job for his constituency and his province BUT.

He states that the NEB “has to go through its process” … “based on good science and good environmentalism”. Whether a Conservative dominated NEB will do this is, to me at least, in some doubt. He also seems to be under the impression that Trudeau has not come out in favour of Energy East when he, in fact, he has.

He then goes on to imply that, whereas Central Canada fills up on imported oil coming in on tankers down the Saint Lawrence, trans-shipping dilbit from the East Coast (for Nexxen? For the Kochs?) will some how mean we become more “energy independent”. The magical connection is left unstated. As if imported oil coming in on tankers down the Saint Lawrence will cease.

Mr Nenshi mis-represents Mayor Coderre’s concerns about there being “more people in Montreal than Saskatchewan”, when the context was with respect to the negative effects on the environment and how many people would, therefore, be effected. He then implies that Coderre is making it an East vs West thing. In fact Mr Nenshi manages to do just that (granted,with prompting from the interviewer).

Now here’s the thing. This pipeline is not an oil pipeline, it is a dilbit pipeline. It will be going through pipes not originally built to handle dilbit. Further, there is a virtual certainty of a spill. A virtual certainty of a number of spills. History supports this … to the hilt. The question then is only how much of a disister each will be, which will depend on where it happens and how long it takes to turn off the flow. From documents I have read the “monitoring” is inadequate and reaction times terribly long.

If the talk of self sufficiency held any water at all, we would not be sending dilbit through a cross country death funnel for, basically, other’s benefit and, instead, be processing it IN PLACE.

Something that never seems to be discussed is the true cost of our oil, the many billions of subsidies aside. No value is ascribed to the environmental damage. No thought (not really) is given to making the whole thing cleaner because it would just “cost too much” so lets have tailing ponds instead. “Ponds”.. doesn’t that sound nice? Like “Nation Building”. Who will pay for cleanups? What happens when the water supply for any given community gets compromised. Who will pay. The taxpayer will.

Or it will be ignored/denied like the Athabasca.

I wonder if there is a centimeter of pipe that’s even insured. What insurance company would be that crazy? Why should we be that crazy?

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Kevin O’Leary : In Which the CBC Soils Itself

Well, as everyone is aware Kevin O’Leary pledged to invest $1M in the oil industry in exchange for Premier Notley of Alberta stepping down.

CBC’s PnPCBC picked it up like a bottom feeder after rotten meat. It was said that “Rosie was rough on him”. Rough!? How are you rough on something that is NOT REAL? Any living organism not floating in a Petri dish can tell you that Ms Notley is not going to step down if the oil industry gets $1M. Rough!? You are merely giving credence to a nullity.

Kevin O’Leary knows he will never have to shell out the $1M. He got the propaganda pulpit he was looking for and it didn’t cost him even one, dearly departed, red cent. It didn’t even cause him shame. He has none. They licked his boots.

$1M is not even a spit in the ocean. It may buy you a modest house in Vancouver. While O’Leary may well be a skinflint, the fact that it was not $10M or even $100M (who cares if he’s got it or not) just shows his lack of imagination. It’s all Monopoly money anyway.

Perhaps if the CBC had have handled it in another way. They could have put him on “As It Happens”, say, next to a guy trying to get his house declared a nation so he can join the UN. Even that would have been a startling contrast because the guy while, evidently, insane would nonetheless be sincere. O’Leary on the other hand (I won’t venture an opinion on his sanity) cannot spell “sincere”.

I pledge $1000 to the Ottawa Humane Society if the CBC cuts PnCBC from it’s schedule.

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Justin Trudeau : Just a Little Bit Pregnant

So, now we have l’affaire nanny or as someone somewhere, I’m sure, has by now called it Nannygate.

In response supporters will point out that this is a distraction from the flurry of 40 some odd appointments made by Harper before he left. It should, however, be obvious that someone Lib or Con would be fitted for the nosebag in any event.

The fear, well founded in my view, is that there will be CPC sleeper agents in place.

There are a myriad of other counter examples to the nanny chez Trudeau, be they drivers, cooks etc.

Again, in my view these are all of a piece. It may all be some kind of “tradition” or something established through usage but it all reeks of the kind of feeling of entitlement evinced by certain Senators.

I have no objection to the PM having publicly supported childcare as a Canadian, NOT as PM. All Canadians should be able to avail themselves of it. Alternately, he is well able to afford the very best on his own.

To say that the nanny is something that is “wrong” to a lesser degree than some “other” is like arguing that someone is only a bit pregnant.

And just how pregnant is too pregnant?

 

 

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So You Voted Liberal : Behind Door Number Two

Insanity : “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So What’s Behind Door Number Two?

Well first there’s the TPP!
Yes, you get the glory of the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Think of it as a combination of a Corporate Rights Charter and a giant omnibus bill with lots of goodies YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW ABOUT. What is known about the deal is through leaks. It will effect Health Care, Internet, Environment etc…..even sovereignty. Much of it is about IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), their extension and ultimately cost to you. Conflicts will be settled by an outside body not subject to Canadian law or the will of Canadians. Remember the “soft wood lumber” kerfuffle? They had an outside body too. Canada won it’s case more than once until it just had to fold and give in.
Globalization has been a bad deal for workers because unions are not globalized along with business.
Workers compete in a race to the bottom with slave labour in places like China and Pakistan.
Name a trade deal of late that has not contributed to job loss.

P.S. Your hockey sticks are made in Mexico.

It may well be that the Liberals will “promise” to renegotiate the deal. Remember how Chretien promised he would re-open NAFTA. Good times!
The Liberals will, no doubt, have CPC backing on the TPP. It was their “baby”.

Then there’s C-51!
A truly cringeworthy piece of legislation, frowned upon by such as the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) , Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), the arts community , many academics and others. It, effectively, establishes a “Secret Police”. The security establishment will, according to Liberal promises, be subject to oversight. Oversight is not some kind of fairy dust that makes everything all right. Such a body would be subject to resistance (from the Security Establishment), manipulation (From both the political and security ends) and “capture”. Capture occurs when an oversight body becomes part of the club. You have only to look at financial regulators in the U.S. for a definitive example. An oversight body would be cleared for secrets that it’s political masters would not be privy to. This would draw it closer to the Security end (SEE ALSO: Manipulation). It remains to be seen if you can even oversee a secret police organization. Are they telling you everything or just what they want you to know?
And while greater powers are given remember that the RCMP, CSEC and CSIS all have overstepped their mandates. CSIS interfered with the mails and committed break and enter. CSEC spied on Canadian communications and also participated in industrial espionage (e.g. Brazil). The RCMP committed arson and sabotage. They interfered with a federal election (2008) and illegally destroyed data. I believe the motto is “Destroy data illegally today and it will be legal yesterday”. And this is only, remember, stuff that we KNOW about. How much of the iceberg is below the water line?
The Liberals also promise to modify C-51. They will have to anyway, as parts are illegal under the Charter. BUT, in the history of the world, such legislation/law NEVER contracts but ALWAYS expands. If it is not repealed in its entirety, that is the future.
The Liberals will, no doubt, have CPC backing on C-51. It was their “baby”.

We Love Us Some Pipeline!
The oil fed deathmarch will continue. Young Lochinvar supports oil pipelines and is a staunch supporter of KXL …. the CPC will be there with bells on.

What About Proportional Representation?
You’re funny. Maybe you should consider a career in comedy.

This is your democracy Canada. Enjoy it.

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C-51 The View From Here … and there … and

So the Liberals have managed to simultaneously poop their pants and generally betray us all by backing this horrendous piece of “legislation” and in so doing attack the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the legacy of Justin Trudeau’s father no less. They did this despite the public uproar. They did this despite the advice of scholars, representatives of the law and of business. I hope they suffer mightily for it.

Why did they do it? The following pretty well represents what passes as logic in the Liberal camp. I apologise if I appear to be picking on a particular denizen of Twitterville. I use him/her only as a handy exemplar.

Screenshot from 2015-05-08 21:48:18

Argument 1: The Conservatives would have “made hay” if the Liberals voted against accusing them of being “soft on terror”. Name calling apparently being stronger than convictions held.

Argument 2: It would have passed anyway and besides it will not survive a Charter challenge. Liberals thereby appear to misapprehend their purpose in a parliamentary system of Government. What use are they if they perceive themselves to be of no use?

Argument 3: The bill is “flawed” but we will fix it later. And, besides, it’s needed. Where to begin? First is this assumption without argument that C-51 is “needed. How so? We have lots of laws on the books, including even a previous “terror law” that more than adequately deal with this threat. A threat, I might add, that is minuscule. Examples abound how more people are killed by toddlers or their own furniture. As to “repairing” the atrocity? Once this Pandora’s Box is open it will expand and it will do so no matter WHO forms the next government. This is Canada’s Patriot Act and has the potential of being every bit the horror show we see to the south of us….. and we proceed with little or no oversight. Who “oversees” secret police anyway? Secret courts making secret decisions? No danger there eh? CSE(C), CSIS and the RCMP have all broken the law as it stands, so let’s give them more power?

The Liberals are in my own opinion, and you have every right to yours, beyond redemption.

So what to do?

Well the NDP and Greens have been very vocal in their opposition to C-51 and good on them for that. A tip of the hat to the BQ for voting against. While the NDP voted against they reportedly would not commit to repeal. One argument was that it would be too difficult to disentangle from other legislation. Elisabeth May insists “Repealing is totally possible” and given her reputation, I “totally” believe that. There are Twitterati that insist that the NDP is now, 2 months later, committed to repeal. After all,  IT’S ON TWITTER!! …. but where is it written,  unambiguously, in black and white?

I invite you to search the NDP site for the word “repeal” … good luck with that.

So be as partisan as you like but be please at least try to stay awake.

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