So reads the headline on the front section of the Friday, February 10th edition of the Globe and Mail. “The provincial budget, released a day after census data showing hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to energy rich Alberta, accentuates the widening gulf between the West and the rest of Canada, a sign of how uneven a playing field has become.”
Alberta Provincial royalties will increase a third within three years, mainly attributable to the doubling of tar sands revenues.
It is no secret what country the Federal Government regards as a desirable market for our energy exports to go. China! Where Mr. Harper is now concluding a trade mission aimed at securing large increases in this aspect of Canada-China trade.
This optimistic news is repeated in a “Report on Business” article: “Alberta bets energy rush won’t stop.” The Alberta Government forecasts increased sales of tar sands bitumen at increased prices, although it prudently acknowledges that a dip in world energy prices may negatively affect on revenues from oil exploitation.
Nowhere in these optimistic statements is there any recognition that the exploitation of the tar sands will result in significantly higher GHG emissions. Apparently this increase in GHG is not a concern of the Alberta Government.
This is the same Government that with Federal Government approval rushed through the Maxim Power deal, which sanctioned construction of an electricity generating plant fired by fossil fuels (more GHG emissions!) to come into operation in 2015. Mark Jaccard, a Professor of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, noted:
“All of this raises an interesting conundrum for Canadians. What do you do when your government knowingly permits investments that prevent it from meeting its promises? Do you simply stand by and watch the construction of a coal plant that contributes great harm to the planet? Or is the only remaining ethical option to use every legal avenue and perhaps even peaceful civil disobedience to try to stop the plant?”
Meanwhile Ontario attempts to meet its commitments to phase out coal fired generating plants to reduce its share of Canadian GHG emissions