No 2014 Posted by fw, July 23, 2017
“Humans have a virtually unlimited capacity for self-delusion, even when self-preservation is at stake. The scariest example is the simplistic, growth-oriented, market-based economic thinking that is all but running the world today.” William Rees, Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse, reposted here, July 17, 2017.
“I have very little time for any conversation that seeks to shut down or significantly limit our oil sands. The oil sands are massive job and wealth creators here in Alberta and quite frankly across and throughout Canada, and we need to protect the good jobs they create.” —Rachel Notley, NDP Premier of Alberta
The above Rachel Notley remark appeared in an article in yesterday’s World Socialist Web Site. The author, Janet Browning, lays out the evidence to confirm that Notley “…has a key role as a spokesperson for this industry, a key role as a defender of this industry. She’s really the only one who can deliver those messages to a national and international audience.” This “gushing” praise comes from the president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada.
What has Notley done to deserve this tribute? Here’s a summary —
Meanwhile, Alberta’s workers face pay cuts and contract concessions.
That’s the summary. Read the details in the repost below. Or check out the article on the World Socialist Web Site by clicking on the following linked title.
Notley pledges to oil CEOs to ensure pipelines are built
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley pledged to oil industry executives attending the 49th Annual Global Petroleum Show that her trade union-backed New Democratic Party (NDP) government will join forces with Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals to ensure that the pipelines they need to get tar sands oil to overseas markets are built.
Notley spoke to the high-profile Calgary gathering last month, the day after the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers* (CAPP) said tar sands production will grow to 3.7 million barrels per day by 2030, up from 2.4 million barrels per day last year. [*See Desperate oil industry lobby manipulates data to push bogus claim Canada needs more pipelines posted June 24, 2017]
Notley declares she has “little time” for opponents to oil sands and pipelines
Performing her assigned task as the representative of Alberta’s Big Oil companies and Canada’s financial elite, which has banked heavily on Canadian capitalism’s role as a major energy exporter, Notley declared, “I have very little time for any conversation that seeks to shut down or significantly limit our oil sands. The oil sands are massive job and wealth creators here in Alberta and quite frankly across and throughout Canada, and we need to protect the good jobs they create.”
Notley confident that Trudeau is on board with Trans Mountain pipeline
Notley went on to discuss the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would greatly increase the amount of untreated bitumen transported to the British Columbia coast for export to Asia. Trudeau, said Notley, has “indicated he is still very much committed to seeing the matter through, and I believe that is the case. I feel very confident we have the undivided and unequivocal support of the federal government on this matter.”
Meanwhile, BC’s new NDP minority government is committed to preventing Trans Mountain
Late last year the Trudeau government gave the Trans Mountain project federal approval, but it faces massive popular opposition, including from indigenous and environmental groups. To Notley’s dismay, BC’s new Green Party-supported, NDP minority government is publicly committed to doing “everything in its power” to prevent the pipeline expansion.
Trudeau government threatened to use military to ensure pipeline project proceeds
Notley’s declaration of solidarity with Trudeau amounts to an explicit commitment that her government will cheer on the ramming through of the Trans Mountain project over popular opposition, including by resorting to state repression. Last December, following protests against the Liberals’ approval of the project, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said that the federal government would deploy the military, if needed, to ensure the pipeline project proceeds.
Big Oil supporter Notley banned Alberta NDP staff from campaigning for BC NDP election campaign
Notley’s groveling to the major oil corporations illustrates the right-wing, pro-big business character of the NDP government she leads. Underscoring her loyalty to Big Oil and its pipeline projects, Notley banned Alberta NDP staffers from campaigning for the BC NDP in that province’s recent election.
Notley delivers “rock-bottom” taxes for rich and subsidies for oil, and austerity budgets for working people
Since coming to power in 2015, the NDP has offloaded the economic crisis, which costs tens of thousands of workers in oil and ancillary industries their jobs, onto the backs of working people.
Notley’s government has imposed a series of austerity budgets, starving critical public services like health and education of resources, while upholding the so-called “Alberta advantage”—rock-bottom taxes on big business, the rich and super-rich—and handing over subsidies to Big Oil as part of its climate change policy.
Notley’s fake “Climate Action Plan” will allow a 42% carbon emissions increases
Alberta’s tar sands industry currently emits about 70 megatons of greenhouse gases annually. Under Notley’s Climate Action Plan, industry emissions will be allowed to rise to 100 megatons, a 42 percent increase in carbon emissions, without any consequences for the heavy tar sands emitters. Upgrades of existing tar sands facilities started after 2015 will be subject to a separate 10-megaton cap.
Notley’s trip to Washington to discuss Keystone XL plans won praise from the voice of the elites, The Globe and Mail
Earlier this year, Notley traveled to Washington to establish working relations with the new Trump administration and lobby for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Globe and Mail, the mouthpiece of Canada’s financial elite, took notice of her role, describing Notley as a crucial member of “Team Canada.”
Notley has become the “spokesperson” for the oil industry
The corporate elite and its media outlets were no less enthused by her performance at the Global Petroleum Show. Notley’s speech “encapsulates the shift in the government’s view of the industry,” gushed Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. “She has probably realized the premier of Alberta has a key role as a spokesperson for this industry, a key role as a defender of this industry. She’s really the only one who can deliver those messages to a national and international audience.”
Alberta industry representatives are adamant that pipelines be built to tidewater, because the rise of the US shale oil industry has dramatically cut into projected US sales and because concerns about pipeline capacity are deterring the investments they claim are needed to seize the opportunities presented by growing demand for oil in Asia.
CAPP President Tim McMillan complained last month, “We’re seeing increased capital moving south of the border to the US, as Canada’s competitive position is deteriorating relative to our largest customer, trading partner, and now competitor for energy markets.”
“It is imperative,” added the petroleum producer association head, “that Canada gets its products to market, that Canada becomes a secure, reliable supplier of choice in growing markets around the world.”
In their insatiable drive to boost corporate profits, the major oil corporations have a loyal handmaiden in Alberta’s NDP government.
Oil industry is celebrating the departure of prominent environmentalist from Alberta’s NDP government
During the Global Petroleum Show, the NDP government revealed that environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, a former Greenpeace director, would be leaving the government-appointed Oil Sands Advisory Group, a body established to recommend penalties on emissions exceeding the 100-megaton cap imposed under Notley’s climate change policy. Industry spokesmen and right-wing opposition politicians had been clamoring for Berman to be removed from the panel, citing her comparison of the oil industry to the fiery fictional wasteland of Mordor and her support for the BC NDP’s stance on blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
Notley’s NDP government stacked its so-called “Advisory Group” with oil industry elites
From the outset, the NDP stacked the Advisory Group with representatives of Big Oil and the financial elite. The group’s “industry caucus” includes executives of six tar sands companies, while the “community caucus” is led by Melody Lepine, director of government and industry relations at the Mikisew Cree First Nation, which itself has lucrative relations with the oil industry.
Canadian bourgeoisie has bought off two First Nations’ groups to serve as “political cover”
Suncor Energy, one of the biggest oil sands producers, has equity partnerships with the Fort McKay and Mikisew First Nations. This is part of the Canadian bourgeoisie’s strategy of cultivating a native elite that can be used to give political cover for environmentally destructive resource development projects and to suppress opposition among the largely impoverished indigenous population.
Advisory Group’s report helps oil companies avoid penalties
As would be expected, the nonbinding consensus report that the Advisory Group recently produced is tailored to the needs of the oil producers. It recommends emissions above the government’s cap be legal, as long as fines are paid to the province, and advances proposals for the government to help the oil companies avoid reaching that point.
Meanwhile, Alberta’s workers face pay cuts and contract concessions
While the NDP bends over backwards to meet the needs of Big Oil, the province’s workers confront demands for pay cuts and other givebacks. 300 workers at Evraz Canada’s Calgary plant, which makes well casing and tubing for the oil and gas industry, voted unanimously in favor of strike action last month to oppose company demands for sweeping contract concessions, including cuts to pensions, survivor benefits and wages.
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