We were played; But we should own the game

By Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal Oct 13, 2017

MAKE no mistake about it, we were played, big time, by TransCanada Pipelines (TCP) and Big Oil producers over the Energy Ease pipeline proposal. And while Energy East is now cancelled, we, the little people, should still try to understand what happened. For it’s never over when the game is for big profits.

When they told us that the re-purposing of the existing mainline gas pipeline was to supply Eastern Canada with domestic oil from Alberta our tendency was to approve the conversion from natural gas. But then we discovered that the ‘oil’ was actually dilbit (diluted bitumen), and that the Eastern Canada refineries really didn’t have the capacity or the massive capital needed to refine dilbit. By their ‘tidewater marketing scheme’ TCP really wanted to export it.

Read moreWe were played; But we should own the game

NOMA Hears One Side of the Story (Again!)

First published in the Chronicle Journal May 7 2016
By Peter Lang
On April 28, uninvited and without the $450 delegate fee, I was allowed to observe TransCanada Pipeline’s presentation to NOMA’s annual general meeting. It must have been the 1,000 signatures on our petition to reject the proposed Energy East pipeline… And, as with TCP’s address to City Council last August, the corporation was spared any contrary public input.

In his address, TCP’s Stefan Baranski first implicated us in the global demand for oil by asking, “How many of you drove here today?” He then followed with projections to show that increasing demand — after which he declared — “We have the oil!”

We know that. It’s what we should do with it now that we begin to understand climate change, the science behind it, and in light of Canada’s commitments to the Paris Summit last December.

Read moreNOMA Hears One Side of the Story (Again!)

Want to fix the climate? Fix the corruption of expertise first

Firs published in the Chronicle Journal Monday April 25, 2016
by Jason MacLean

After the US Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizen United, the corrupting influence of money in politics was supposed to be an exceptionally American problem. But it turns out that it’s very much a Canadian problem, too. Worse still, the corruption of money in politics is trumped by the corruption of expertise. Worst of all, the corruption of expertise is at the root of every important public policy issue, including climate change.

Read moreWant to fix the climate? Fix the corruption of expertise first

Don’t discount environmental groups

First Posted:Chronicle Journal Saturday, May 9, 2015

By Julee Boan and Faisal Moola

Managing publicly-owned forests is complicated. Goals for forestry, hydroelectric development, mining, tourism, hunting, recreation, conservation and other forest uses are not always compatible and trade-offs must be made. It is fair to say that our organizations – the David Suzuki Foundation and Ontario Nature – don’t always agree with claims made by some members of the forestry industry that their logging is sustainable.
At last week’s annual meeting, the Northern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) passed a resolution (Support for Northern Forestry Operations) sending our organizations a clear message: Keep your mouths shut and your opinions to yourselves.

Read moreDon’t discount environmental groups

BILL C-51: Most people know what Harper is up to

First Published in the Chronicle Journal Freda Davies

Saturday, March 28, 2015
What do we do with Harper’s fear-mongering?
According to polls — about as trustworthy as spring ice on the Kam River — most people in Canada think terrorists are behind every tree and lamp-post, and they approve of the Harper government’s latest draconian measure, Bill C-51, to remove all the leashes and let the spies loose to do whatever it is spies like to do. Tragically, the Liberals have gobbled Harper’s bait, abandoning their most treasured accomplishment, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Read moreBILL C-51: Most people know what Harper is up to

The terrorists we know by Peter Lang

First published in the Chronicle Journal
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I suppose that Stephen Harper must believe that if he plays the terrorist card he will win a majority of votes in the upcoming election — but I think he’s wrong. This time I believe voters will see through Bill C-51 and its overblown scare tactics. In truth, I’m more concerned about the terrorists we know.

Read moreThe terrorists we know by Peter Lang

We’re all ‘Under the Dome’

By JASON MACLEAN

First published Monday, March 23, 2015
in the Chronicle Journal Column, SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS

Have you watched Under the Dome yet? I’m not talking about the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. I’m talking about the documentary released last month about China’s cataclysmic air pollution that generated more than 200 million views on Chinese websites within days of its release before the government ordered that it be removed from the Internet (you can watch it with English subtitles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6X2uwlQGQM).

The TED Talk-style documentary was made by Chai Jing, a former investigative journalist for China Central Television, a state network.

Read moreWe’re all ‘Under the Dome’

Don’t frack with the facts, Prime Minister

By now you’ve probably heard about the historic Lima Accord — nearly 200 countries have agreed to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of oil, gas and coal. Of course, it’s just a pledge at this point, with the final agreement to be reached next year in Paris. And even if a final agreement is reached, it won’t be legally binding. The Lima Accord doesn’t actually obligate countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by any particular amount, or at all. Rather, countries are encouraged to submit by March 2015 their plans — “Intended Nationally Determined Amounts” — setting out how much they will cut after the year 2020, and what domestic laws they will pass to achieve the cuts. If countries miss the March 2015 deadline, they get an extension until June 2015. And if they miss the June 2015 deadline, well, no one really cares.

Read moreDon’t frack with the facts, Prime Minister

Resolute does not need our help

I attended Resolute Forest Product’s Boreal Forum held on November 25th. According to Resolute, we were invited for “a community discussion on the future of the Ontario boreal forest and the role it will play in the future prosperity of Northern Ontario”. I believed I was attending an event designed to hear the voices of northern citizens, like me. I was seriously misled.

Read moreResolute does not need our help

Is the Canadian oil game rigged?

“TransCanada plans to spend big, but project uncertainty looms,” read a recent headline in The Globe and Mail.

The newspaper went on to describe TransCanada as a “Calgary-based pipeline and power giant” and explained to those of us who choose to think about sunnier topics than the politics of oil pipelines that the projects in doubt include TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL and Energy East pipelines.

But TransCanada apparently intends to do more than just spend big. According to documents prepared for TransCanada by Edelman, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, Edelman is advising TransCanada to “add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission

Read moreIs the Canadian oil game rigged?