Tag Archives: Alberta

Oil, Tar and the Irony of Life


The question oil haunts us like a cancer cell. We try to avoid it but it keeps coming back. It seeps throughout the bowels of the earth. We know its just dead things. A reflection or the past, or maybe our future?

We know something must be done to combat global warming and our over consumption; but we are unable to escape it. We have grown accustomed to our large homes, cars and the devices I am using as I type. So what are we to do? Movies Avatar or the shows Firefly talked briefly about our consumption; how we used up the Earth’s resources. Will it happen? I don’t know. I have to believe that we are better than that. Albeit, there was World War 1&2, the Korean War, Slavery, weapons of mass destruction, but I am off topic.

The question is oil, specifically the Alberta tar sands, is a good one. Yes the 1.8 trillion, or more, barrels of oil waiting to be used. The bitumen, or tar for a better description, is waiting to be “plundered”. Don’t kid yourself. We, as a species, are not ready to change. I am not here to tell you oil is all bad or even good. Think about it for a minute, or longer. How do you tell someone that they should ignore the mounds of money waiting to be extracted? Still thinking? Exactly, you don’t. You see we all have to face the fact that we are unable to change. President George W. Bush was correct when he said “we are addicted to oil“. We can talk about the environment but do we realize how ubiquitous and how far oil has come into our life? It’s everywhere! From the car you drive to the container you use. The chair you sit on or the stuff in your food. Can we change? Or do we really want to make the hard choices? What will our children say about us? Or will we leave anything to say?

Our addiction is massive, but life must go on. Humanity is an interesting species. We will adapt. We will continue to extract the “black gold” until its no more. Don’t kid yourselves, there is no quick fix. We just need to be better stewards and live in balance with the planet. When all is said and done I am sure we will find something else to consume or we will learn to live. Let’s hope there is something left, hence the irony. We run, we consume, we waste the dead things of life. What is oil, tar sands or bitumen? Maybe its just a reflection or what we are and what we will become when balance runs amuck. What do you think?

By: @iammannyj

Progressive Conservatives beat the Wildrose easy in Alberta


Alberta votes to keep the right progressive. With the Federal Conservatives looking more like the Wildrose party and working to help the party, and not the Progressive Conservatives, has the relationship been strained?

Wildroses in Alberta – but the grass is not always greener on the other side


Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Caucus, (R to ...

Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Caucus, (R to L) Guy Boutilier, Heather Forsyth, Danielle Smith, Paul hinman, Rob Anderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an interesting twist of fate Alberta, long a stronghold for the Conservatives, is going through some family issues. Till death do us part is not the motto for conservatives today. Alberta is going through growing pains. With an influx of Canadians, of all stripes, change seems to be affecting the province as a whole. The Wildrose party has surged in popularity, but will it last? Cracks in the foundation are already apparent; with Wildrose members sounding both intolerant of immigrants and out of step with Canadian values. In some sense we can draw a comparison to the Republican Party in the United States. With forces split between what is seen as moderates, like Mitt Romney and The Tea Party elements of the Republicans. I sense that this is more of a protest vote; similar to the ADQ in Quebec. The Progressive Conservatives are holding true to the name “progressive”, but will the residents of Alberta give them another chance. With the election near Wildrose party members are under close scrutiny. Can the Wildrose Party grow into a sustainable political force? Or will they continue to bloom and show their true colours?

http://www.thestar.com/mobile/news/canada/politics/article/1164711–tim-harper-alberta-s-wildrose-leader-danielle-smith-s-bumpy-road-to-history

Local Canadian Terrorist – B.C. pipeline bombings raise fears from public at community meeting


DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — As members of the RCMP’s national terrorism unit continued to gather evidence at the sites of two gas pipeline bombings in northeastern B.C. this weekend, other officers met with about 200 frightened citizens at a public gathering.

“There is an ongoing amount of concern and definitely a certain level of fear that has been expressed from the public,” said Sgt. Tim Shields.

“This event was an opportunity for the RCMP to explain what is going on with the investigation and to provide a forum for the community to ask questions of the police and EnCana.”

The pipeline operator and police officers met with residents in a hall at the tiny nearby community of Tomslake.

Eric Kuenzl of Tomslake, B.C., was at the meeting at the school in the hamlet near the Alberta boundary.

He says people in the area aren’t venturing out unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“People are on edge. They’re scared,” Kuenzl told The Canadian Press. “They want answers. The meeting was designed to give direction. They ironed out a few things . . . as far as flying over with choppers and looking with infra-red to make sure there’s no other bombs.”

“That makes me feel a little safer.”

Kuenzl was critical, however, of officials locking children in the Tomslake school when news of the bombing came out.

He says the community sits in a low-lying area and the heavy gas from the pipeline could have killed youngsters locked in a school.

“They put all the kids inside and then they closed all the ducts and everything. It’s like building a giant coffin,” Kuenzl said.

“Why wouldn’t you just load them up in the bus and get ’em the hell out of here. I think I’d be safer on the roof of my house than I would be inside my house.”

Meanwhile, members of the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit and the RCMP National Post Blast Team continue their work at the blast sites.

“Personnel are continuing to conduct a thorough search of the blast area and the surrounding debris field,” said Shields.

“Essentially, these individuals are combing the area looking for any item that is out of place and could provide a clue to investigators. This can include anything from a footprint to a piece of the explosive that was used.”

It’s not yet clear what motivated two attacks on pipelines near Dawson Creek, the first last weekend and the second Wednesday night.

Police believe they’re linked to a letter sent to local media last week calling oil and gas companies “terrorists” that are “endangering our families.”

People living in and around Dawson Creek are quick to condemn the explosions, but they also say the region’s burgeoning oilpatch has had a sometimes uneasy relationship with its neighbours.

In both cases, the pipelines were owned by EnCana (TSX:ECA). The first pipeline did not rupture but the second explosion caused a small leak, one the company said was quickly contained.

The RCMP explosives unit was also at the site Friday, trying to find out what happened, said Shields.

“They will be in the process of recreating the blast in order to determine what type of material was used, how it was used and to gather evidence,” he said.

Terrorism expert John Thompson said the fact the bombings weren’t preceded by other incidents of protest and vandalism suggests they’re likely the work of one or two people working alone rather than organized environmental groups mounting a broader campaign.

“This also suggests that this is a small, amateurish effort by community activists,” said Thompson, president of the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute.

“It’s either somebody who is particularly torqued off by the oil and gas industry specifically, or someone who is self-actualized as a radical environmentalist with their own strange ideas about how to fight.”

The bombings have brought back memories of Wiebo Ludwig, an Alberta farmer who spent nearly two years in prison on charges related to oilpatch bombing and vandalism in the 1990s.

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Harper likely to proceed with full platform


STEVEN CHASE
October 15, 2008

CALGARY — On the surface, another minority government mandate would appear to frustrate Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s plans to enact all of his $8.67-billion in campaign platform promises. But with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s future in question after his party’s loss, Mr. Harper could have free rein if the Liberals abstain on Commons votes. The Tory Leader has already said he would interpret a win as a mandate to proceed with his full platform.

The Tories’ tough-on-crime plans will be the most controversial in the Commons.

Measures likely to proceed more easily Allocating another $400-million for key manufacturing sectors in Ontario and Quebec: $200-million each for the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

Slashing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment by $345-million a year.

Giving self-employed Canadians access to employment insurance parental-leave benefits.

Extending country-of-origin labeling to all consumer products instead of just food.

Sweetening the $100-a-month universal childcare benefit to index it to inflation and make it tax free for single parents who are the sole supporters of their children.

Allocating $500-million over four years for farms and farm towns.

Reaffirming the ban on bulk exports of water.

A question mark hangs over the Tory crime agenda Eliminating long guns from the firearms registry.

Eliminating the Criminal Code’s “faint hope” clause, which allows criminals to seek early release.

Allowing Canadian victims to sue the sponsors of terrorism, including states designated as sponsors of terrorism.

Amending the Criminal Code to make pregnancy “an aggravating factor in sentencing if a woman is assaulted or killed,” but the Tories would not initiate or support legislation to regulate abortion.

Making registration and DNA sampling mandatory for sex offenders and dangerous offenders.

The Senate

Mr. Harper wants to limit terms to eight years and establish a new selection process, but Liberal senators could frustrate him until 2010 when retirements shrink their ranks.

Limiting Ottawa’s scope

The Tories will introduce measures to constrain Ottawa’s ability to intrude on provincial powers.

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The bigger story: Canadian Election is the lowest in history at only 59 percent


CLOSE TO 10 MILLION CANADIANS DID NOT BOTHER TO VOTE!!!

OTTAWA — Early figures indicate Canadians avoided the ballot box more than ever before on election day.

Just 58 per cent of eligible voters visited the polls — from a high of 69 per cent in Prince Edward Island to 48 per cent in Newfoundland, according to preliminary numbers.

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Alberta oilsands refineries could cause irreversible damage


 

Alberta Oil Sands

Alberta Oil Sands

The development of a pipeline network and refineries around the Great Lakes to process Alberta bitumen “could cause irreversible” environmental damage to the region, says a new report that traces the tendrils of Alberta’s oilsands developments across the continent.

 

There are currently 17 refinery projects either being “considered, planned, applied for, approved or developed” around the Great Lakes, according to the report, How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes, released Wednesday.

The report, commissioned by the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre program on water issues, warns that little is known about the environmental impact on the Great Lakes given the level of greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption that comes with the refining process.
There are currently 17 refinery projects either being ‘considered, planned, applied for, approved or developed’ around the Great Lakes, according to the report, How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes, released Wednesday.
There are currently 17 refinery projects either being ‘considered, planned, applied for, approved or developed’ around the Great Lakes, according to the report, How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes, released Wednesday.

“We are paying more attention at the oilsands end, but not where the oil gets to and what happens there,” said David Israelson, the report’s author. “The other big issue is climate change and this means exponential increase in greenhouse gas emissions before you put a drop in your car.”

Dubbing it a “pollution delivery system,” the report said the thousands-kilometres-long pipeline complex used to ferry Athabasca bitumen from source to refinery could bring “2.3 million tonnes” of greenhouse gas emissions to the centre of North America every year.

“It will also bring new, large-scale sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions – the building blocks of acid rain – as well as fine particulate matter, which is responsible for premature deaths,” said the report. “Pipeline and refinery expansion applications are being made and approved right now with little general awareness of the potential long-term damage to the Great Lakes environment.”

Bitumen is a tar-like heavy hydrocarbon that is removed from Alberta’s oilsands and upgraded into synthetic crude oil.

Environmental groups were quick to back the report’s findings. Justin Duncan, a lawyer with Ecojustice, said the federal government needs to revise its entire approach to oilsands

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Sandwich recall not linked to Maple Leaf Foods – Listeria


By The Canadian Press

TORONTO – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall of 16 varieties of sandwiches sparked by Listeria worries isn’t linked to Maple Leaf Foods.

The CFIA announced the recall of 16 types of Hygaard brand sandwiches that could be contaminated with the bacteria, though no illnesses have been reported.

CFIA spokesman Garfield Balsom says Alberta-based Hygaard Fine Foods notified the agency on Wednesday that environmental testing had detected Listeria.

The company issued the voluntary recall of the products, which have best-before dates ranging from Oct. 24 up to and including Nov. 16.

The products have been distributed across Canada except for Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and are sold in retail outlets and vending machines.

Listeria can cause the disease listeriosis, which can cause fever, headache, nausea and neck stiffness.

Elderly people and pregnant women, as well as people who have weakened immune systems, are particularly vulnerable.

A countrywide outbreak of listeriosis that has been linked to a massive Maple Leaf Foods recall has claimed the lives of 18 people.

Here is a list of recalled products, including product name, size and UPC. All best-before dates are from Oct. 24 up to and including Nov. 16.

-Super Donair, 251 grams, 0 65504 49522 6

-Mini Pizza Sub, 140 grams, 0 65504 49440 3

-Little John Sub, 387 grams, 0 65504 49446 5

-Hoagie, 238 grams, 0 65504 49424 3

-Mini Hoagie family pack, 822 grams, 0 65504 49764 0, 0 65504 49765 7

-Mini Pizza Sub, 156 grams, 0 65504 49466 3

-Mini Pizza sub family pack, 798 grams, 0 65504 49760 2, 0 65504 49623 0, 0 65504 49762 6

-Super Pizza Sub, 380 grams, 0 65504 49517 2

-Lumberjack Sub, 312 grams, 0 65504 49413 7

-Mini Sub, 133 grams, 0 65504 49430 4

-Salt and Pepper Dry Ribs, 164 grams, 0 65504 49455 8

-Super Sub, 165 grams, 0 65504 49458 8

-Mini Ham Sub Family Pack, 738 grams, 0 65504 49759 6, 0 65504 49763 3, 0 65504 49624 7

-Philly Steak Sub, 219 grams, 0 65504 49497 7

-Spicy Donair, 155 grams, 0 65504 49467 0

-Sausage and Egg Muffin, 165 grams, 0 65504 49418 2

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A list of all Canadian Political parties this election


Well in case you “really” need to know, some details on the parties asking for your votes in this upcoming election are below.

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Animal Alliance
The Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada was founded in 2005 and the current leader is Liz White. Their headquarters are in Toronto Ontario and currently hold no seats, nor historically have they ever won a seat in the House of Commons. “Animal Alliance of Canada is committed to the protection of all animals and the promotion of a harmonious relationship among people, animals and the environment.” View their official website at – www.animalalliance.ca


Bloc Quebecois

The Bloc Quebecois are a centre-left party that is devoted to the goal of sovereignty for Quebec. It only runs candidates in Quebec and does currently have seats in Parliament. Founded in 1991 the current party leader is Gilles Duceppe. The party headquarters are in Montreal Quebec. Visit their official website at www.blocquebecois.org


Canadian Action Party

Former federal defence minister Paul Hellyer founded the Canadian Action Party in 1997. The current party leader is Connie Fogal, and they have their headquarters in Vancouver British Columbia. CAP currently does not have any members of Parliament, nor have they had any elected in the past. The Canadian Action Party is a nationalist party and their website can be found at www.canadianactionparty.ca


Christian Heritage Party

Looking for Canada to be governed according to biblical teachings, the Christian Heritage Party of Canada was founded in 1987. The current leader of the party is Ron Gray, and the headquarters for the party is located in Ottawa Ontario. The CHP has not won any seats in Parliament in its history. Visit the CHP website at www.chp.ca

Communist Party of Canada

Even though the Communist Party of Canada has no seats in the federal Parliament, it has been able to influence through the courts Canada’s electoral laws, making them more democratic and inclusive. The Communist Party of Canada’s leader is Miguel Figueroa, and the party was founded in May 1921. Party headquarters are in Toronto Ontario and the official website can be found at www.communist-party.ca


Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada as it is known for official election purposes, prefers the party be called CPC-ML – Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). Founded in 1970, the party has no seats in the Canadian House of Commons and is headquartered in Montreal Quebec. Visit the official site at www.mlpc.ca


Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada is a creation of the merger of both the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The merger of the parties took place in December 2003 after the Conservative Party Agreement-in-Principle between the current Prime Minister Stephen Harper (then leader of the CA), and Peter MacKay (then leader of the Progressive Conservative Party). The party currently forms the government of Canada in a minority position. Party headquarters are in Ottawa Ontario, and the party’s official website is www.conservative.ca


First Peoples National Party

Advancing the issues of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, the First Peoples National Party of Canada, or FPNPC, was founded in 2005. The party nominates candidates in ridings with large Aboriginal populations, but have yet to win a seat in the House of Commons. The party headquarters are in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Visit the official website at www.fpnpoc.ca


Green Party of Canada

The largest of the federally registered political parties without seats in the House of Commons, the Green Party of Canada was founded in 1983 around a green platform. The current party leader is Elizabeth May, and the party headquarters are in Ottawa Ontario. The Greens ran candidates in every riding in the last two federal elections. The official site for the Green Party can be found at www.greenparty.ca


Liberal Party of Canada

Canada’s oldest continuously running federal political party is the Liberal Party of Canada. Founded July 1, 1867, the Liberal Party has often been the party to lead Canada. This centre-left party has its headquarters in Ottawa Ontario, and is currently the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament. Current party leader is Stephane Dion, and the official website can be found at www.liberal.ca


Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party of Canada was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Embrun Ontario. Adhering to libertarian tenets the party has yet to win any seats in the House of Commons. The party leader is Jean-Serge Brisson and the official website is www.libertarian.ca


Marijuana Party

With a goal to end the prohibition of cannabis, Marc-Boris St-Maurice founded the Marijuana Party of Canada in 2000. The current party leader is Blair T. Longley, and the party headquarters are in Osoyoos British Columbia. The Marijuana Party does not have seats in the House of Commons but has been instrumental in changing Canada’s electoral laws. The party website is www.marijuanaparty.com


The New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party, which was founded on June 17, 1961, currently holds seats in the House of Commons and forms the governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The federal NDP are a centre-left party lead by Jack Layton, and the party headquarters are in Ottawa Ontario. Visit the federal NDP website at www.ndp.ca


Progressive Canadian Party

Members of the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada who opposed the party merger with the Canadian Alliance founded the Progressive Canadian Party in March 2004. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, or PC Party, currently has no seats in Parliament and is lead by Sinclair Stevens. The party headquarters are in Toronto Ontario. The PC Party official website is www.progressivecanadian.org

Tar sand investments now a dead duck?


As one Canadian newspaper put it. Ducks in Alberta died a crude death. One of the species of ducks that died on a pond filled with crude oil polluted water.

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Stupid to the last drop – Alberta oil thirst leading to disaster


The author of a new book on the future of Canada’s oil industry says Alberta is destroying itself in its rush to extract every drop of fossil fuel from the oilsands.William Marsden, a Montreal journalist and author of “Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn’t Seem to Care).

Read an excerpt from ‘Stupid to the Last Drop’

He says Alberta is giving up control of its oil assets to foreign investors and private business, with little effort to ensure its economic or environmental future is protected.

“This is really crazy what’s happening in Alberta today. We have a province that is actually destroying itself in the effort to get every last drop of oil and gas out,” Marsden says.

“We’re shipping it to the United States — 60 per cent of our production — at a time when Canada looks, and the whole world looks, like we’re beginning to run out of oil. And we will need these reserves in the long-term.”

He said experts estimate there are about one trillion barrels of oil in the world today. Those are being used up at a rate of about 30 or 31 billion per year, and rising. At that speed, the reserves will dry up in about 65 years unless additional reserves are discovered, Marsden says.

He predicts the approach of a transition period, where the world will shift towards using new types of fuel as global supplies begin to run out.

To prepare for that, Marsden suggests Canada needs to begin stockpiling fuel in order to guarantee a successful transition through that period. At the moment, however, that isn’t happening.

“We’ve basically given it over to private industry, most of which is foreign, so the vast majority of the profits are going to private industry,” Marsden said.

“So we won’t even have the kind of treasury that we will need as we enter into this new age to smooth over this transition.”

He said Canadians don’t seem to realize how dire the situation really is and many believe there is no reason to question the status quo.

“It’s almost sort of the politics of our age where we continue to think that it’s business as usual,” Marsden said.

“I mean, Canadians are looking at Alberta and thinking to themselves, we have vast reserves there, there’s no problem. In fact, we don’t have vast reserves. We’re running out of conventional oil and gas. Within 10 years Canadians could see a fairly serious deficit in gas which is going to affect millions of homes and industries.”

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