Tory MPs storm out of meeting on energy sharing

OTTAWA, July 11, 2007—Amid heated charges of a coverup, Tory MPs on Thursday abruptly shut down parliamentary hearings on a controversial plan to further integrate Canada and the U.S. 
The firestorm erupted within minutes of testimony by University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer that Canadians will be left “to freeze in the dark” if the government forges ahead with plans to integrate energy supplies across North America. Read more »

National Energy Strategy a fraud

I never thought I’d see the day when the words “national,” “energy” and “strategy” would be strung together and promoted by the Alberta government. For 30 years, Pierre Trudeau’s 1980 National Energy Program (NEP) had been recurrently trotted out by Alberta premiers and Calgary’s oilpatch, strung up, and ritualistically pummelled.

‘Transitioning off fossil fuels’ fall 2011 grad course

Int D 593 Grad Seminar in Political Sociology / Political Economy. Fall 2011 Thursdays 14:00 to 16:50
This fall’s course has been greatly revised to address pressing 21st century issues by looking at debates surrounding the Political Economy of transitioning off fossil fuels. We will focus on the triple challenges of: 1) the end of the age of cheap oil (peak oil) and the end of the ‘death distance’, 2) coming struggles over which groups will have access to a basic amount of energy in a powered-down future (energy security as a citizen’s right, ending ‘fuel poverty’ as the British call it) and 3) impending climate change disasters.

Yesterday’s fuel, yesterday’s deal

Suncor’s proposed buyout of Petro-Canada is being touted as a match made in Canada to create a national champion that will kick-start the oil sands. Paula Simons of the Edmonton Journal bet that Pierre Trudeau’s ghost was smirking somewhere to see his dream realized. Should advocates of Canadian energy security, domestic control and transitioning to a conserver society throw confetti at the corporate wedding?

Bitten by the deal that once fed us

John McCain’s visit to Canada on Friday was a preview of just how important the issue of renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement will be in this fall’s U.S. presidential election. The prospect of a Barack Obama presidency has sparked a lot of “will he or won’t he” worry in Canada.

Strategic petroleum reserves


When Cape Bretoners were hit with a furnace-oil shortage in December as the result of an early winter and late-arriving fuel tanker, it concentrated the mind: With icy winter now gripping Canada, isn’t it time to counter the threat of longer and more widespread oil shortages in the near future?

Tory MPs storm out of meeting on energy sharing

OTTAWA, July 11, 2007—Amid heated charges of a coverup, Tory MPs on Thursday abruptly shut down parliamentary hearings on a controversial plan to further integrate Canada and the U.S. 
The firestorm erupted within minutes of testimony by University of Alberta professor Gordon Laxer that Canadians will be left “to freeze in the dark” if the government forges ahead with plans to integrate energy supplies across North America.

Easterners could freeze in the dark

At a meeting of the House of Commons’ international trade committee earlier this month, Leon Benoit, the Conservative chairman, ordered me to stop my presentation as an invited witness. My remarks, he ruled, were not relevant. When his decision was successfully challenged by other members of the committee, Mr. Benoit adjourned the meeting and left the room. I was astonished.

Canada’s energy needs come first

The following is a presentation on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a 2005 accord by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to streamline economic and security rules across the continent, which Gordon Laxer attempted to make to the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade in Ottawa on May 10. When Laxer began to speak, committee chair Tory MP Leon Benoit, ordered Laxer to stop, saying his testimony was not relevant. Benoit abruptly adjourned the meeting and three Tory MPs on the committee stormed out of the room.

Canada’s energy insecurity

Today and tomorrow, a prominent right-wing think-tank based in Washington is the lead host to two closed-door meetings in Calgary. The meetings are to discuss ways to enhance American energy security by getting more Canadian oil and gas.

SPP’s prospects are iffy with Bush short on political capital and Harper in a minority government

For five years, critics have warned of a secretive process to integrate Canada and Mexico into a greater America. Call it the big idea, harmonization or annexation; call it the Waco SPP process. No matter. Most Canadians haven’t heard of it.

Canada-first energy strategy needed

“If we see oil drying up and we see the Alberta supply being threatened and the Canadian supply being threatened, we can do whatever is necessary to ensure that Canada receives its supplies first.” To show that this astonishing promise was not one of the premier’s famous offhand comments, two ministers echoed Klein’s remarks. “When we look at the long-term need for Alberta and Canada”, stated Energy Minister Greg Melchin, “those are first and paramount.”

The gassy elephant in our living room

Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Environment Minister, headed into this week’s meeting in Bonn as chair of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change with our international reputation in tatters. Having declared that Canada will not meet its international Kyoto commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the Conservatives tout a relaxed “made in Canada” policy, instead. It’s more like a policy made in corporate boardrooms in Calgary and Houston to divert attention from the gassy elephant sitting in the living room - Alberta’s tar sands.

Can Canada get a Mexican Exemption on oil sharing?

In his State of the Union address, President Bush laid out his government’s goals. The third goal was “to promote energy independence for our country”. Mexico, Canada’s other NAFTA partner, also has a policy of oil energy independence and Mexican public ownership. Canadians seem blissfully unaware that while our NAFTA partners are looking after their own energy security, Canada is the only NAFTA country, prevented from doing so by the energy exporting provisions in NAFTA.