All posts tagged Conservative Party

  • Peter Jones - December 19, 2013

    A real negative! National Energy Board approves Northern Gateway Pipeline

    We cannot let this approval go unchallenged.  Read on to understand the practical consequences of the approval, and how it can be resisted.

    After some months of review of the evidence, the National Energy Board (NEB) gave Enbridge the go-ahead to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline.  This pipeline will transport tar sands bitumen to a British Colombia port where it will be loaded on super tankers for discharge in the Orient.   The approval was subject to fulfilment of 209 conditions, none of which are complex.

    The NEB concluded that construction of the Northern Gateway is in the national Canadian interest. The NEB did not address longer term results and their consequences such as:

    1. the increase in Canada’s GHG emissions that will result from the exploitation of the tar sands;
    2. the contribution to world GHG levels when China,  Japan and probably India receive, refine and burn the bitumen to produce electricity;
    3. the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground if the world is to meet its target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade.

    Read more

  • Peter Jones - April 3, 2013

    The new “Two Solitudes”

    “We have been educated all our lives to the importance of the oil sands.”

    That’s the comment of a resident of a small Alberta town in the context of the Keystone XL pipeline debate.   Canadian environmentalists must recognize that these comments are typical of the strongly held views of a majority of the population in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

    The attitude of these residents has been supported by Conservative Cabinet Ministers who note that GreenHouse Gas emissions from the tar sands are small when compared with the carbon smog generated by the populous developing countries.  How easy it is for our Government to point the finger at China and India for their increasing GreenHouse Gas emissions. Read more

  • Peter Jones - March 14, 2013

    Josef Goebbels and Climate Change

    The Globe & Mail’s editorial pages featured comments by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, in which he extolled the success of his recent trip to the U.S. selling the tar sands. Oliver used that platform to attack the NDP leader, Tom Mulcair, who is Washington-bound this week.

    “A responsible politician would not travel to a foreign capital to score cheap political points”, Oliver stated.  “I call on Mr. Mulcair to make Americans aware of the reality – that Canadian measures to combat global warming are as good as, or better, than those taken in the United States.”

    Oliver used this privileged platform in the Globe & Mail to repeat the Conservative Government’s dubious claim that Canada is already halfway to its target of a 17 per cent reduction of GHG’s from 2005 levels by 2020.

    Josef Goebbels, the wartime Nazi information minister, was a master of propaganda.  One of the principles of propaganda that he identified was:

    Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.*

    So Goebbels considered that a lie could be as effective as the truth, provided the lie could be repeated without risk of exposure. Disagreement was to be expected, but propaganda can still be effective even when opponents issue a rebuttal. 

    One important element is the source of the propaganda.  Is the source generally respected?  For instance, shouldn’t we be able to rely upon statements by Oliver, a Cabinet Minister?  If the Globe & Mail publishes Oliver’s comments without any suggestion of criticism,  isn’t that a confirmation of their credibility?

    Another important element: did the target audience have a stake in the propaganda being true?  If so,  environmentalists, dubbed  “radicals” by the Federal Government,  who dispute Oliver’s “good as, or better” claim will carry little weight with Globe readers.

    Another of Goebbel’s principles was:

    Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat.*

    So it is that the Oliver’s comments emphasized that “tens of thousands of Canadian jobs are at stake” if the Keystone Pipeline is rejected. That emotional appeal will be remembered long after any argument over the percentage progress to Canada’s 2020 target is no longer an issue foremost in our political sphere.

    Still 4RG has confidence in the good sense of Canadian voters.  They are independent and truth seeking, far from being the diehard Nazis of World War II.  In due time they will recognize the folly of Canada’s fossil fuel favouritism.

    We recommend reading an article written by Clare Demerse of the Pembina Institute that exposes exaggeration and unreliability in Oliver’s commentary.  Go to “Fact-Checking Canada’s record on climate change and the Oil Sands.”

    *Source: Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob.



  • Peter Jones - March 1, 2013

    Proud of What?

    Alison Redford, the Premier of Alberta, has just returned from her Washington visit where she lobbied US politicians and administrators to approve the Keystone Pipeline. She also wrote a column for USA Today  under the caption: Keystone is responsible oil sands development.  In her column she stated:

    “I’m proud to say Alberta applauds and shares the President’s strong desire to address climate change and we’re already taking action.”

    She used “proud” in connection with Alberta’s record.  Go to the on line version of her comments and see if proud is a word you would have used. Read more

  • Peter Jones - January 30, 2013

    Discussions with Friends about Climategate

    At a recent reunion of members of a legal institution, a colleague and I started talking about the success of the Canadian Federal Conservative Party (Fed Cons).  He supports the Fed Cons particularly because of their record in “managing the economy”.

    I could not support the Fed Cons since, despite their earlier statements, they have not taken sufficiently strong measures to address the consequences of climate change.  The more time that passes before such measures are taken the greater the cost and the less the chances of successful containment of the risks.

    My colleague questioned whether scientific opinion supported such measures.  He believed that there was less than unanimity on certain important climate change issues. My response:  global warming is a fact, caused by the emissions of Carbon Dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. Any continuing differences of opinion relate to the time frame and/or magnitude of the consequences, the reconciling of the conclusion of global warming with other scientific data and/or the areas of the world most at risk.

    Referring to Climategate, my colleague expressed another concern:  Why did climate scientists falsify information?  I explained that they did not falsify information in the report in question:  errors in presentation were not errors of fact, and did not invalidate the conclusions reached.  I had hoped that with this concession we could then focus on where science stood three years later in the light of more recent information.

    My colleague re-stated his concern in stronger words.  In his view the authors of the report had lied.  They deliberately presented certain conclusions in the way they did knowing the many readers of the report would be mislead!

    In several short minutes the thrust of our discussion had shifted from global warming to the ethics of certain scientists. We had reached the “agree to disagree” impasse –and so we both turned to other topics.

    I have since reflected on this very brief discussion in the light of my experience as litigation counsel. A tactic used by defence counsel defending an individual charged with committing a criminal offence is to attack the credibility of a prosecution witnesses on an issue that is only indirectly related to the proof against the individual. The hope is that by shaking the Court’s faith in the credibility of the witness counsel has raised enough “doubt” as to the witness’s reliability that the Court will not accept the witnesses evidence.  Often that is enough to lead the Court to dismiss the charge.

    So it is with Climategate – in the Court of Public Opinion the Climategate Criticism has led many to dismiss the conclusions of scientists as untrustworthy.

    You are encouraged to read our basic comments
    on scientific issues connected with Climate Change
    prepared by Steering Committee Member, Guy Hanchet.Or if you are interested in the science of global warming
    go to this Canadian Website – the TyeeAnd check out this blog: Climate Conversations with Club Members


  • Peter Jones - February 25, 2012

    Tar sands again!

    Jean Charest, the Premier of Quebec, summed up Canada’s economy nicely: “Oil, gas and potash — and others. That’s the financial situation of the country. ”  Others could be a reference to Ontario’s manufacturing industry, which these days appears to be an also-ran.

    Perhaps the less than positive economic news in Ontario will impact the Bye-election in Toronto-Danforth. As Bye-elections often go against the party in power, a Conservative loss there is no evidence the Conservatives will be at risk in the next Federal election.

    There is an issue that could wake up the Ontario electorate.  The projected emissions from the Alberta tar sands are well in excess of the reductions that will result from weaning electricity generation from coal. Most of these reductions will occur in Ontario. How can that sacrifice be regarded as “symmetrical federalism” when contrasted with the economic benefits that flow to Alberta from exploitation of the tar sands?

    The Globe & Mail commented on this reality in August 2011, referring to a report from Environment Canada entitled “Canada’s Emissions Trends”.  As the Globe stated:” The report . . . was released quietly in July.” (Underlining added).

    The Globe also commented:

    “Environmental groups, however, say the rise in oil sands emissions poses numerous problems. . . .  should Alberta, for example, be allowed to use up the country’s carbon allowance while other areas achieve reductions? ….”

    For Our Grandchildren has also taken note of this inequity.  “The Federal Government should acknowledge the sacrifice of Ontario taxpayers: closing Ontario coal fired electricity generating plants is the trade-off for Alberta’s increased tar sands emissions.”

    There has been no storm of complaints from Ontario voters about this unfairness.  The reality is that climate change is – for the time being at least – off Canada’s political agenda.