[Marxism] FW: First Nations chiefs on Kinder Morgan blackmail

Richard Fidler rfidler at ncf.ca
Mon Apr 16 12:35:55 MDT 2018

First Nations leaders pledge to block pipeline expansion as Kinder Morgan
blackmail exposes Trudeau's bluff on climate change strategy


At the 2015 Paris COP 21 climate conference Justin Trudeau pledged his
newly-elected government would help "to limit global average temperature rise to
well below 2 degrees Celsius as well as pursue efforts to limit the increase to
1.5 degrees."[1]

The strategy adopted was two-pronged and contradictory on its face: implementing
gradual carbon price increases through carbon taxes or cap-and-trade mechanisms
while building more pipeline capacity to boost exports of fossil-fuel resources,
especially the products of Alberta's tar sands.

As environmentalists noted, the approach was inherently futile. Carbon taxes -
contingent on provincial government consent - assumed higher costs would induce
businesses to introduce less climate-destroying technology and practices. And
provincial consent was dependent on the federal commitment to pipeline
development, which inevitably would promote further fossil fuel exploration and

>From the outset, Ottawa has faced opposition to carbon taxes from some
provinces, which fear such market-based mechanisms will discourage private
business investment. And mass popular opposition accompanied by the global
downturn in resource prices has already led to TransCanada's cancellation of its
$15.7 billion Energy East project and Ottawa's nixing of Enbridge's Northern
Gateway pipeline. Although Trump has now reversed Obama's stop to Keystone XL,
its future is still in doubt in the face of opposition from US environmental

That leaves Kinder Morgan's plan to duplicate its existing Trans Mountain
pipeline. It entails a $7.4 billion duplication of an existing pipeline from
Alberta, with a three-fold increase in capacity, that would carry tar sands
bitumen to a refinery in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. From there tanker
traffic to hoped-for Asian markets would increase from a current five boats per
month to an estimated 34 threading their way through coastal tidal straits. The
plan has become the linchpin of the Trudeau government's hope to win support for
its approach from an Alberta government eager to get its petroleum to tidewater,
and which has hinged its carbon tax on completion of the Trans Mountain

The economic prospects behind the Kinder Morgan project are suspect, given the
declining prospects globally for new fossil-fuel export markets.[3] More
importantly, it has facing mounting protests from environmental and First
Nations activists. In recent weeks, dozens of demonstrators at the Burnaby
refinery have been arrested on trespassing charges. The newly-elected minority
NDP government, dependent on support from the Green party, which opposes Kinder
Morgan, has joined in legal challenges to the project. This has brought the B.C.
government into conflict with Alberta's, likewise held by the New Democratic

However, both governments have been boosting fossil-fuel exports.

B.C. premier John Horgan says he will limit the province's carbon tax rules
applying to a $40 billion Shell Canada-led LNG project in Kitimat. He prepared
the way for that project when he recently gave the go-ahead to completion of the
$10.7 billion Site C dam in northern B.C., which the NDP had campaigned against
prior to its election last year. The dam will provide electricity to the Kitimat

Alberta premier Rachel Notley has been negotiating with Ottawa to exempt
tar-sands projects from federal climate reviews. B.C.'s support of the Kitimat
LNG project while opposing Trans Mountain as environmentally unsafe is
"hypocrisy," she notes, because it will be processing shale gas extracted in

Meanwhile, the OECD warned in December that "without a drastic decrease in the
emissions intensity of the oilsands industry, the projected increase in oil
production may seriously risk the achievement of Canada's climate mitigation
targets." The report noted that Canada has the fourth largest greenhouse gas
emissions of the OECD's 35 developed national economies. As for carbon taxes, it
said, Canada's regime "is far below that of other OECD member countries."

Then, on April 8 Texas-based Kinder Morgan announced it was suspending
"non-essential" spending on the Trans Mountain project and would cancel it
altogether if by May 31 it was not "guaranteed" the project could proceed
despite the B.C. opposition.


More information about the Marxism mailing list