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Save Taylor Swift. Stop deep-fake porn: Peter Menzies

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Photo by Michael Hicks, via Flickr

From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Peter Menzies

Tweak an existing law to ensure AI-generated porn that uses the images of real people is made illegal.

Hey there, Swifties.

Stop worrying about whether your girl can make it back from a tour performance in Tokyo in time to cheer on her boyfriend in Super Bowl LVIII.

Please shift your infatuation away from  your treasured superstar’s romantic attachment to Kansas City Chiefs’ dreamy Travis Kelce and his pending battle with the San Francisco 49ers. We all know Taylor Swift’ll be in Vegas for kickoff on Feb. 11. She’ll get there. Billionaires always find a way. And, hey, what modern woman wouldn’t take a 27-hour round trip flight to hang out with a guy ranked #1 on People’s sexiest men in sports list?

But right now, Swifties, Canada needs you to concentrate on something more important than celebrity canoodling. Your attention needs to be on what the nation’s self-styled feminist government should be doing to protect Swift (and all women) from being “deep-faked” into online porn stars.

Because that’s exactly what happened to the multiple Grammy Award-winner last week when someone used artificial intelligence to post deep-fakes (manipulated images of bodies and faces) of her that spread like a coronavirus across the internet. Swift’s face was digitally grafted onto the body of someone engaged in sexual acts/poses in a way that was convincing enough to fool some into believing that it was Swift herself. Before they were contained, the deep-fakes were viewed by millions. The BBC reported that one single “photo” had accumulated 47 million views.

For context, a 2019 study by Deeptrace Labs identified almost 15,000 deep-fakes on streaming and porn sites — twice as many as the previous year — and concluded that 96 per cent were recreations of celebrity women. Fair to assume the fakes have continued to multiply like bunnies in spring time.

In response to the Swift images, the platform formerly known as Twitter — X — temporarily blocked searches for “Taylor Swift” as it battled to eliminate the offending depictions which still found ways to show up elsewhere.

X said it was “actively removing” the deep-fakes while taking “appropriate actions” against those spreading them.

Meta said it has “strict policies that prohibit this kind of behavior” adding that it also takes “several steps to combat the spread of AI deepfakes.”

Google Deepmind launched an initiative last summer to improve detection of AI-generated images but critics say it, too, struggles to keep up.

While the creation of images to humiliate women goes back to the puerile pre-internet writing of “for a good time call” phone numbers on the walls of men’s washrooms, the use of technology to abuse women shows how difficult it is for governments to keep pace with change. The Americans are now pondering bipartisan legislation to stop this, the Brits are boasting that such outrageousness is already covered by their Online Safety Act and Canada so far ….  appears to be doing nothing.

Maybe that’s because it thinks that Section 162 of the Criminal Code, which bans the distribution or transmission of intimate images without permission of the person or people involved, has it covered.

To wit, “Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.”

Maybe Crown prosecutors are confident they can talk judges into interpreting that legislation in a fashion that brings deep-fakes into scope. It’s not like eminent justices haven’t previously pondered legislation — or the Charter for that matter— and then “read in” words that they think should be there.

Police in Winnipeg recently launched an investigation in December when AI-generated fake photos were spread. And a Quebec man was convicted recently when he used AI to create child porn — a first.

But anytime technology overrides the law, there’s a risk that the former turns the latter into an ass.

Which means there’s a real easy win here for the Justin Trudeau government which, when it comes to issues involving the internet, has so far behaved like a band of bumbling hillbillies.

The Online Streaming Act, in two versions, was far more contentious than necessary because those crafting it clearly had difficulty grasping the simple fact that the internet is neither broadcasting nor a cable network. And the Online News Act, which betrayed a complete misunderstanding of how the internet, global web giants and digital advertising work, remains in the running for Worst Legislation Ever, having cost the industry it was supposed to assist at least $100 million and helped it double down on its reputation for grubbiness.

Anticipated now in the spring after being first promised in 2019, the Online Harms Act has been rattling around the Department of Heritage consultations since 2019. Successive heritage ministers have failed to craft anything that’ll pass muster with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so the whole bundle is now with Justice Minister Arif Virani, who replaced David Lametti last summer.

The last thing Canada needs right now is for the PMO to jump on the rescue Taylor Swift bandwagon and use deep-fakes as one more excuse to create, as it originally envisioned, a Digital Safety czar with invasive ready, fire, aim powers to order take downs of anything they find harmful or hurtful. Given its recent legal defeats linked to what appears to be a chronic inability to understand the Constitution, that could only end in yet another humiliation.

So, here’s the easy win. Amend Section 162 of the Criminal Code so that the use of deep-fakes to turn women into online porn stars against their will is clearly in scope. It’ll take just a few words. It’ll involve updating existing legislation that isn’t the slightest bit contentious. Every party will support it. It’ll make you look good. Swifties will love you.

And, best of all, it’ll actually be the right thing to do.

Peter Menzies is a senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, past vice-chair of the CRTC and a former newspaper publisher.

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The end of Canada: The shift from democracy to totalitarian behavior in the ‘pandemic era’

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Ray McGinnis

It may be said that fascism comes on little cat feet. But in the 21st Century, autocratic forms of governance are unfolding with a twist. Democratic norms of tolerance, debate, proportionate responses to any infractions by citizens, and more, are disappearing in Canada.

Introduction

March 2024 marks the fourth anniversary of one of the most disastrous assaults on human rights in Canadian history. This assault was in synch with what unfolded in democracies across ‘the West.’

In her 2007 book, The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot, Dr. Naomi Wolf warned readers of ten steps repeatedly used by those seeking to closing down a democracy. Wolf describes the slide from democracy into a totalitarian state that follows a pattern that can be observed across nations for over a century. Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mussolini’s Italy, East Germany, Pinochet’s Chile, Czechoslovakia, Romania under Ceausescu, communist China, and North Korea are all examples cited in Wolf’s book.

Four years into the ‘pandemic,’ The End of America provides a lens for understanding the decline of democracy, not only in America, but across Western democracies. In this article, I discuss the ten steps studied in Dr. Wolf’s book to reflect on recent political developments in Canada. Most of these steps are on display in Canada in 2024.

Much has been written about predictive events leading up to the ‘pandemic.’ This is beyond the scope of this article. Though, it’s worth noting even USA Today fact-checkers concluded, it was true that Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the Trump administration, three years ahead of the ‘pandemic,’ that a “surprise infectious disease outbreak” would occur during Donald Trump’s term of office. Fauci made the statement on January 10, 2017, at an event organized by the Center for Global Health Science and Security in partnership with the Harvard Global Health Institute.[1] As well, Dr. Fauci was involved in running a lab in Montana that received a coronavirus strain from the lab in Wuhan, China, in 2018 before the ‘pandemic’ began.[2]

Step One: Invoke an External and Internal Threat

Step One, studied by Wolf details, how in the 20th Century and early 21st Century tyrannical leaders invoked an External and Internal Threat. This resulted in concentration of power and a compliant, anxious, often fearful population.

Fast forward to the 2020s. In the winter of 2019-2020 an external threat of the Covid-19 virus made the news, leading to lockdowns, social distancing, mask wearing, PCR tests and more. This was not only in Canada, but around the world.

External Threat

As in other nations, the Trudeau government and the mainstream media described an external threat to Canadians from the Covid-19 virus. It was coming from China, then Italy, landing in America and coming to Canada’s doorstep. The crisis of the ‘pandemic’ was accompanied with a sense of overwhelm. Canada was faced with a crisis of a magnitude beyond any the nation had faced before, or so we were told. The CBC ran this headline on March 17, 2020: “Ventilator manufacturer says Canada should have stockpiled machines after SARS.”[3] The article lamented government inability to think ahead and be prepared for the next pandemic. Days later, the CBC triggered anxiety by reporting “Hospitals scramble to secure more ventilators amid coronavirus outbreak.”[4] It appeared that the province of Ontario would run out of ventilators within 15 days. The assumption was that Covid-19 was a virus that killed those infected on a scale similar to the Ebola virus. Hospitals were pushing use of ventilators to stop the spread of the virus.

However, it soon became clear that the ventilators were the catalyst for a huge spike in the deaths of Covid patients in hospital. By April 9, 2020, Business Insider reported “80% of New York’s coronavirus patients who are put on ventilators ultimately die, and some doctors are trying to stop using them.”[5] While the CBC reported on April 17, 2020, that “Ventilators are being overused on COVID-19 patients, world-renowned critical care specialist says.”[6] The Italian specialist cited in the article, Luciano Gattinoni, is a professor in the department of anesthesiology and intensive care at the Medical University of Göttingen in Germany. He concluded that many COVID patients were being put on ventilators with the pressure set too high, causing damage, and typically death.

To address the external threat of the coronavirus, the nation went through a series of lockdowns. The number of lockdowns over the next few years varied across provinces and territories. But what was being learned as early as February 2022 was that the lockdowns were doing a lot of damage to society. And it was a bust as a mitigation strategy to prevent deaths from COVID. A National Post headline stated, “Lockdowns only reduced COVID deaths by 0.02 per cent, John’s Hopkins study finds.” The study concluded, “We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality.”[7]

It was known prior to the ‘pandemic’ that lockdowns would not work as a strategy to deal with a respiratory virus. Appearing at the National Citizens Inquiry in Red Deer, Alberta, was former head of Emergency Management Alberta, Lt. Col (ret) David Redman. He testified that in response to an emergency, the task of emergency managers is to reassure the public and to try to maintain a normal state of life. “Lockdowns did not save a single” life in Canada. But they created “massive collateral damage” to Canadian society. Redman said that Public Health Canada, their provincial counterparts, and politicians violated a first rule of emergency management. They “used fear” instead of trying to “control fear.” He was astonished that what had been learned from pandemic responses for over a century in Canada was completely discarded. Politicians and public health officials failed to “mitigate societal disruption,” failed to ensure “continuity and recovery of critical services,” and failed in “minimize adverse economic impact.” [8]

The Prime Minister also lobbied provincial and territorial leaders to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the ‘pandemic’ by mid-March 2020. His pitch to invoke a national emergency weeks into the ‘pandemic’ was roundly rejected at the time by the First Ministers.[9]

Internal Threat

In December 2020 a rollout of the ‘vaccine’ was prescribed to stop infection and transmission of the virus. The external threat of the virus was now domestic (internal), combined with the internal threat of the unvaccinated. It was alleged that the ‘unvaccinated’ were 99% responsible for the spread of the virus, and for a spike in hospital beds.

On September 9, 2021, the CBC reported that Joe Biden told the press, “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approval (sic). Over two-hundred million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us …. Listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breath, saying, ‘If only I’d gotten vaccinated. If only.”[10] Though the lead CBC story was from the United States, its message was aimed at unvaccinated Canadians. But was this true? Were these new vaccines a panacea? Were the unvaccinated plague spreaders? The media didn’t question these premises. A season of stigmatization was upon us. And lots of citizens joined in the sport.

The Public Health Agency of Canada released an epidemiological report that Global News ran a story about in July 2021. PHAC asserted “Since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 14, 2020, the majority (89.8 per cent) of cases being reported to PHAC were among those who were unvaccinated.”[11] This was a statistical sleight of hand since the rollout of the vaccine was graduated. Many citizens were still waiting for their first dose in the summer of 2021. In August 2021, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that the 25% of the population that were categorized as unvaccinated – 1.45 million people – were responsible for 84% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations. Henry said, “The science is clear.”[12]

On August 26, 2021, the Toronto Star ran a front-page story with the headline “When it comes to empathy for the unvaccinated, many of us aren’t feeling it.” The front page ran comments from those who weren’t feeling any empathy: “If an unvaccinated person catches it from someone who is vaccinated, boohoo, too bad.” “I have no empathy for the willfully unvaccinated. Let them die.” “I honestly don’t care if they die from COVID. Not even a little bit.”[13] Whether it was the intention to incite antipathy toward the unvaccinated or not, the Toronto Star was paving the way to make ‘the unvaccinated’ fair game.

Prime Minister Trudeau was explicit about who was responsible for spreading Covid in Canada, and spelled out consequences for travelers. “Canadians know that the way to get through this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated. So, unless people have a medical exception, they will not be able to board a plane or a train in Canada if they are unvaccinated. That is about protecting our young people. It’s about protecting Canadians. We are absolutely unequivocal on that because this is how we get through this pandemic.”[14]

Implicit in all the vilification of the unvaccinated was the depiction of those who were vaccinated as victims. If only the unvaccinated would step up and get their jabs, life could return to normal. Meanwhile, the unvaccinated were holding the vaccinated ‘hostage’. As well, the superior wisdom of Prime Minister Trudeau, and public health officers was being treated in the media as exempt from scrutiny. The higher wisdom of their strategies to combat the virus needed no explanation. The duty of every citizen was to simply comply with the mandates, to follow orders. The unvaccinated among us were meant to be understood as a danger to society and public safety.

Step Two: Establish Secret Prisons

Step Two in the unwinding of democracy, The End of America points to the Establishment of Secret Prisons. In Canada, travelers at the border who did not test negative for COVID, or who didn’t have up-to-date vaccination were sent – in most cases – to quarantine hotels. The location of these hotels was made public. Those sent to these hotels had to pay steep prices for occupancy. Those who didn’t obey were sent fines of $6,500 which they either chose to pay, or had to fight in court. Coercive as these quarantine hotels were, they were not secret prisons. Though MP Randy Hillier warned that the Trudeau government was setting up ‘internment camps’ for the unvaccinated. The government argued this was the stuff of conspiracy and disinformation.[15] Of course, if there are secret prisons, no one knows about them.

Step Three: Develop a Paramilitary Force

A third step in the slide from democracy to totalitarian behavior is the Development of a Paramilitary Force. There were some reports at the time of the Freedom Convoy that the government was flying in soldiers of fortune to aid in the crackdown of the protesters. However, these stories were treated as disinformation. There have been reports in the news about the establishment of police stations run by the government of China in Canada.[16] While concerning, this is not a matter that falls under the third step Dr. Naomi Wolf describes in her book.

However, it’s worth noting that when the police cracked down on the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, a significant part of the police presence was from officers brought in from other municipalities. This didn’t make them a paramilitary police force. Yet, the cordial relationship between the protesters with Ottawa Police was replaced with officers who had an assignment to rough up the crowd. Text messages entered as evidence at the Public Order Emergency Commission indicated some RCMP officers were eager to get a chance to kick butt. Upon learning that several protesters were trampled by mounted horses, one officer texted to another that they thought this was “awesome.”

Step Four: Surveillance of Ordinary Citizens

Step Four in The End of America involves government Surveillance of Ordinary Citizens. News of widespread surveillance in America was popularized in 2013 when Edward Snowden disclosed the extent of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of ordinary citizens in the digital age. “Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls ‘a pattern of life’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them.”[17] Canadians who use these online platforms and technological devices are also swept up in the intelligence gathering.

Two years after the Freedom Convoy protests, the Trudeau government has now introduced Bill C-63 in parliament.[18] Bill C-63 is known as the Online Harms Bill. The bill is promoted as a way to stem child pornography. But there are already laws in the Criminal Code to address this problem. If passed, the bill will also provide for expanded government monitoring of posts on social media. It rewards citizens to be vigilant for signs of ‘hate speech.’ The Bill allows for the creation of protocols for individuals and groups to report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that online speech regarding them has occurred and is unfair. The Commission would be empowered to order fines of up to $50,000 to those alleged to be in violation of online hate speech. As an incentive, virtuous complainants are to be awarded up to $20,000 for alerting authorities about online harm. It’s also possible for complaints to be lodged anonymously.

A judge would make a ruling on the basis of mere “balance of probabilities” standards. This would be instead of the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s feared that protections for protected speech will be eroded, while the net for punishment will be enlarged.

Bill C-63 provides for an increase in maximum sentences for “advocating genocide” from five years in prison to life in prison. As a result, an individual may end up in prison for life based on his or her words alone. It will also empower judges to put prior restraints on people who they believe on reasonable grounds may commit speech crimes in the future. This may include house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor, and plausibly being sent to prison. In Bill C-63, section 810.012, under the caption “Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime,” it states “(1) A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay in information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit” a hate crime, as described in several sections of the bill.[19]

Step Five: Infiltration of Citizen Groups

In the march to subdue democracy, Step Five in The End of America involves Infiltration of Citizen Groups. I’ve had conversations with some key persons involved in the Freedom Convoy. They inferred that there may have been some people who attached themselves to the protests who were aligned with the government. Were some people posing as protesters trying to sabotage, disrupt, or discredit the protest. Were there protesters posting on social media that sought to undermine the protest? There were no actual incidents of violence in Ottawa. No protester was charged with physical assault. There was no looting or smashing of windows.

It is a separate matter that undercover police were checking in on what was unfolding during the protests. This has been made public in testimony at the Public Order Emergency Commission.

At a 2007 summit in Montebello, Quebec, David Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, told the CBC about police infiltrating summit protests. “[Our union] believes that the security force at Montebello were ordered to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and provoke incidents,” said Coles. Three Sûreté du Québec officers were dressed as protesters and arrested for disruptive behavior. When they were lying on the pavement, other protesters noticed the three infiltrators were all wearing police-issued boots.[20]

Step Six: Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens

Step Six in Naomi Wolf’s book concerns the Arbitrary Detention and Release of Citizens. During the Freedom Convoy, Tamara Lich became the most visible face of the protest. She was arrested on February 17, 2022, and accused of counselling to commit mischief. Initially denied bail, she was granted bail on March 7, 2022. There were a number of bail conditions, including a prohibition against contact with other protesters. On June 16, 2022, Lich appeared at a gala event hosted by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Lich was awarded the George Jonas Freedom Award. National Post columnist, Rex Murphy, was the keynote speaker who offered a tribute to Lich and the Freedom Convoy protesters.[21] At the gala, she appeared in a photo alongside fellow protester Tom Marazzo. In attendance at the event were several of Lich’s lawyers. Though the photo took only a few seconds, the photo was taken by police as a breach of her bail conditions. A Canada-wide warrant was issued for her arrest.[22]

In a National Post column, Rex Murphy pointed out the unequal application of the law in the case of Tamara Lich. Asked Murphy, “On the breaching of bail conditions, have the police or the courts, especially the courts, been quite as rigorous with those involved in gun-and-gang offences? Especially those whom having been released from jail, commit further offences while on bail? … When the police can catch a violation of bail conditions for Tamara Lich in Medicine Hat and move with perfect swiftness, and are still nowhere, months later, on an “organized violent attack” on an oil and gas site in British Columbia — does something seem out of proportion or uneven within our justice system?”[23]

The bail breach for appearing in a photo at the George Jonas Freedom Award gala in June 2022 was stayed by a judge in October 2023.[24]

Normally, when someone is arrested on a mischief related charge in Canada, the courts take about half a day to hear the case and issue a verdict. In the case of Tamara Lich, her trial began September 5, 2023. Nearly 50 days in court have been scheduled into late August 2024. The trial has no end in sight. It appears that should the charges against Tamara Lich be dismissed, the Crown will appeal.

On February 18, 2022, police moved in to crush the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. One of the protesters was Christopher Deering, a Canadian Armed Forces decorated veteran who fought in the Afghan War. After being brutally beaten by police, Deering was made to stand in freezing sub-zero temperatures for two hours. In his testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission (Ottawa), Christopher Deering stated, I was “not able to sit or kneel, and denied my medication again … I had my information taken, I was then placed in a squad car. They read me with what I was being charged with, public obstruction and mischief.”

Deering sat in the squad car for another five minutes and the police officer came back and told him he wasn’t going to be charged after all. When he asked the officer why the sudden change, Deering was told, “No. You don’t need to know that.” Though he thought he was free to go, since the charge was dropped, Christopher Deering was placed in a paddy wagon.

For 25 minutes he was there by himself. Then, over the next several hours the paddy wagon filled up with other protesters. Then they drive us around for approximately half an hour to 40 minutes. It was very hard to tell because there’s no windows … in the paddy wagon, there’s no concept of time. They then drove us to a Public Works building that was 10.2 kilometres away from Parliament Hill. When they let us out of the paddy wagons, due to the cold, our cell phones died. No one had any money. We couldn’t go into the building to make a phone call. So, we were stranded.”[25]

In February 2022, Christopher Deering was one of many Freedom Convoy protesters arbitrarily detained, charged – then told charges were dropped – and then released in a remote location.

On February 15, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, spoke to the press. It was the occasion of the first anniversary of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. She said, “The practice of arbitrary detention puts all citizens at risk, especially those who travel, work or live abroad …. “A year ago today, Canada launched the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations as part of an international initiative promoting human rights, the rule of law, judicial independence and the rules-based international order. The declaration fosters a global common front against arbitrary arrest, detention and sentencing in diplomatic relations.”[26] The Canadian government was on the lookout for arbitrary detention of citizens in state-to-state relations. However, on the domestic front, the government was arbitrarily detaining and jailing Canadians. The common denominator seemed to be the uneven response of the courts, and the police, concerning those who dissent from official government policies.

Step Seven: Target Key Individuals

Step Seven involves the Targeting of Key Individuals. Government agencies in Canada have been targeting individuals in a variety of sectors whose public views are off-message. Punishing dissenters sends a message to other citizens to be obedient and follow orders.

Nurse: Amy Hamm

In November 2020, British Columbia nurse Amy Hamm learned she was under investigation from the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives. A “Professional Conduct Review” was begun in response to her “off-duty conduct.” Amy Hamm is a single mother of a baby and a toddler. She had posted a positive comment about J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author who questioned the safety of hormone blockers for children and youth.

On March 19, 2024, Hamm posted on X about her ordeal over the past three and a half years. Hamm wrote, “I refused to keep the investigation confidential. I refused to accept a suspension or to publicly say I had been transphobic (because I am not). I was accused of spreading “medical misinformation” but then that charge was dropped, with zero explanation or apology. (I demanded one but this demand went ignored). The BCCNM fought like hell to prevent me from having a single witness to testify in my defence. They didn’t want the public to know that they were persecuting me, and they also didn’t want me to even be able to defend myself. They spent days and days of the hearing attempting to disqualify every single witness I brought forth. It was as astounding as it was terrifying. I’ve received countless threats and have had plenty more anonymous, cowardly complainants try to have me fired for standing up for women and children …. I’ve been through more than 20 days of trial, which finally ended today, March 19, 2024. Now I wait for a verdict and hope for justice.”[27]

Hamm states that numerous anonymous complaints have been lodged against her asking that she be fired. This all because she is questioning the rush to give hormone blockers to children and youth, and to remove safe spaces for biologically born females to gather on their own. The pattern of intimidation and secrecy is emerging as widespread in Canada in 2024.

Doctor: Kulvinder Kaur Gill

Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill is a frontline physician in Ontario. She supports fully informed voluntary consent without coercion or restriction in making any medical decisions. In the summer of 2020, Dr. Gill was among the first physicians to speak on social media about the catastrophic and irreversible harms of lockdowns. Among her tweets, she stated “There is absolutely no medical or scientific reason for this prolonged, harmful and illogical lockdown.” As a consequence, Dr. Gill found herself in the crosshairs of an orchestrated vindictive online smear campaign. Members of the public were encouraged to lodge complaints to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO).

In March 2021, the CBC reported that the college ruled that Dr. Gill’s ‘pandemic-related’ tweets were “irresponsible.”[28] In an attempt to clear her name from manufactured defamation, she began legal proceedings against those responsible. However, in October 2022 there was a pre-trial procedural ruling against her resulting in an order to pay fines of $1.2M. Gill appealed the court procedural motion and ruling, and the cost order. This resulted in a February 2024 ruling which reduced her fines to $300K. Dr. Gill has until the end of March 2024 to pay these fines. In mid-March, she appeared on Dr. Jay Bhattacharya’s Illusion of Consensus podcast.

In a separate investigation, the CPSO alleged Dr. Gill was “sharing factually incorrect information about immunity and a variety of other things.” She recounts, “miraculously, in September 2023, all the charges were dropped.”[29] However, since Dr. Kulvinder Gill’s tweets went against the “accepted facts” promoted by public health, the fine of $300K remains.

Writing for the Brownstone Institute, Jeffrey Tucker summarized, “The Canadian medical associations, media, and government all seized on her simple posting on social media to make an example of her. They hounded her, smeared her, investigated her, and attempted to destroy her career and even life. She attempted a pushback and then they used every mechanism to bankrupt her and drive her to the brink of insanity.”[30]

Student: Josh Alexander

Josh Alexander was a student at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Pembroke, Ontario. At the age of 15, he spearheaded a walkout of his school to protest the mask mandates. At the age of 16, he disagreed with a math teacher in a classroom setting that there were 72 genders. Josh insisted there were two genders: one with an xy chromosome, and the other with an xx chromosome. In response to numbers of female classmates expressing their discomfort with finding persons with male genitalia in “Women’s” washrooms, he led a student protest against biologically born males being able to enter women’s washrooms.

Alexander told the Toronto Sun, “It was about male students using female washrooms, gender dysphoria and male breastfeeding. Everyone was sharing their opinions on it, any student who wanted to was participating, including the teacher. I said there were only two genders, and you were born either a male or a female, and that got me into trouble. And then I said that gender doesn’t trump biology.” For this, since November 2022 Josh Alexander has been indefinitely suspended and unable to graduate.[31]

An appeal was heard by a panel of three Renfrew County Catholic School Board trustees. In December 2023, the panel rejected the appeal. Josh’s lawyer, James Kitchen, stated the ruling is shrouded in secrecy due to a publication ban. “They have sealed the entire file as if it was a case of a national security concern, or some sort of criminal case … the public should not have access to.”[32] School board representatives have stated that Josh Alexander was being a bully for expressing the view that transgender females should not be allowed in women’s restrooms.

Josh Alexander’s parents were both teachers in Ontario school boards. But on May 9, 2023, Josh Alexander said to a reporter, “I have been informed that both my mother and father have been put on leave and removed from the classroom. My parents are under attack simply for having raised me. They couldn’t get to me, so they’ve attacked my family. This morning, I found out that my mom has been put under investigation and removed from the classroom indefinitely.”[33]

Dr. Jordan Peterson interviewed Josh, and his brother Nick. They explained that their father was “suspended from his job” in the spring of 2023. “On paper the justification was because of his online action. At the time, the Alexander boys’ father had no social media (no Twitter, no Instagram). They put him on leave from his work for his online action, which was a blatant lie.” They added, weeks later “somebody … posted a pride flag” on their mothers’ kindergarten classroom door. “She took it off her door, and she was placed under investigation.” Jordan Peterson asked, “on what grounds?” Josh Alexander explained the school board judged that their mother’s action of taking a pride flag off her kindergarten classroom door was judged as “hateful,” and “that she was a danger to students.”[34] The incident was months away from any pride festivities. There was no memo to teachers indicating rainbow flags were to be placed on classroom doors.

Canadian Armed Forces Sniper: Brett Campbell

On March 7, 2024, former Canadian Armed Forces sniper Brett Campbell sued the CAF. Campbell was discharged for refusing to either “take it or fake it.” He recalls, it was explained to him that they were going to have a doctor “pretend to give it to me.” “I think the whole thing was to get you to go talk to the doctor, whether you got it or not. Just so that they would see, ‘oh, everyone’s going to get it. They’re complying with this. This is normal. It’s just like any other vaccine schedule.’”

Campbell spoke to several journalists. He said, “This psy-op, they’re playing with us. So, I don’t know how many people this happened with, we don’t know the real numbers of who got vaccinated.”[35]

Because he refused to fake taking the vaccine, Brett Campbell was kicked out of the military. However, he doesn’t regret his decision. He points to people like Kayla Pollock, who became a paraplegic after taking the jab.[36] Kayla was told by one doctor that the vaccine caused her plight. Pollock was also offered MAID – Medical Assistance in Dying – several times.

Amy Hamm, Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, Josh Alexander and Brett Campbell are just a few of the countless Canadian citizens’ who’ve been singled out for punishment in the public square.

Step Eight: Restrict the Press

Step Eight in the march to vanquish democracy is to Restrict the Press. Trusted News Initiative was established in Canada and numbers of other democratic countries. A June 2019 Trusted News Summit discussed a BBC news story from March 1, 2019, about “misleading and dangerous information” spread on social media by “anti-vaxxers.”[37] Citizens were warned about ‘misinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and ‘fake news.’ To help us separate the true from the false, we were encouraged to seek out analysis exclusively from the ‘fact-checkers,’ funded by the pharmaceutical industry or government. Few viewers of mainstream media coverage were noticing what news stories were being suppressed. These included the record number of serious post-vaccine side effects and deaths, exposure to the viewpoints of dissenting health professionals, and the efficacy of Ivermectin as an early treatment option for addressing COVID prior to hospitalization. [38] Elizabeth Woodworth wrote in her article “COVID-19 and the Shadowy ‘Trusted News Initiative,’” “the public has the constitutional right to full information to form and express its own conclusions and does not need a coordinated TNI to corral and contain it.”[39]

The mainstream media could have held power to account by covering a court challenge against the vaccine mandates launched by Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard. Both Harrison and Rickard were unvaccinated expat Brits who had family in the UK they wanted to visit. This included Harrison’s 88-year-old mother. Rickard’s father in Britain is suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s.

Into the void, it was left to independent reporter, Rupa Subramanya, who ran a story on August 2, 2022, on the US alternative media outlet The Free Press. The headline read: “Court Documents Reveal Canada’s Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis.” Subramanya described how just days before the vaccine travel mandate was put in place “transportation officials were frantically looking for a rationale for it. Then came up short.” The Canadian government had always insisted that its COVID policies were based on “the science” and the latest evidence. The director-general of COVID Recovery was Jennifer Little. Her government panel issued the vaccine travel mandate and called it “one of the strongest vaccination mandates for travellers in the world.”[40]

But during pre-trial discovery in the case there were a number of bombshells that should have been of interest to the Canadian public. Especially since it had only been five months since Freedom Convoy protesters were challenging the rationale for having the vaccine mandates. But the legacy media were silent. During discovery for the travel mandate trial, it was learned that none of the members of the COVID Recovery unit, “including Jennifer Little, the director-general, had any formal education in epidemiology, medicine or public health.” It turned out that the vaccine travel mandate did not originate from the COVID Recovery unit. Her unit had “discussions” with “very senior” people in the government about the vaccine travel mandate. Little was asked under cross examination by Harrison and Rickard’s lawyer who had given her unit the order to impose the travel mandate. She replied, “I’m not at liberty to disclose anything that is subject to cabinet confidence.”

The term “cabinet confidence” was in reference to the Prime Minister’s Liberal cabinet. It was comprised of cabinet ministers, one (or more?) of whom had given the directive to the COVID Recovery unit to announce. The COVID Recovery unit itself, issuing its consequential mandate to require vaccination to travel by air or rail, has no website.

It was learned during discovery that Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security for Transport Canada, Aaron McCrorie, was behind the eight ball. In late October 20021, he was emailing Dawn Lumley-Myllari with the Public Health Agency of Canada. McCrorie wrote in an email, “To the extent that updated data exist or that there is clearer evidence of the safety benefit of vaccination on the users or other stakeholders of the transportation system, it would be helpful to assist Transport Canada supporting its measures.”

As late as October 28, 2021, Lumley-Myllari was ignoring the questions Aaron McCrorie was asking now in a series of bulleted points. All she wrote back was to assure him that the Public Health Agency of Canada would be updating its “Public health considerations.” The vaccine travel mandates went into effect October 30, 2021.

Subramanya’s exposé was picked up in the London, UK, newspaper the Telegraph. A mid-August 2022 headline read “Justin Trudeau’s Tyranny has Finally been Exposed – by Two Brits!”[41] Less than five months after protesters gathered in Ottawa to demand the government furnish documentation to support the need for vaccine travel and cross-border mandates, senior public health officials testified under oath they didn’t have data to support the mandates. They didn’t even recommend them. But the Canadian media largely ignored the story.

An exception was the Toronto Sun. Brian Lilley reported that Dr. Celia Lourenco, the person who authorized the vaccines for use in Canada was not asked for her advice regarding the vaccine travel mandates. She is the director general of the Biologic and Radiopharmaceutical Drugs Directorate within Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch. No one in the prime minister’s office, the health minister’s office or the transportation minister’s office thought to contact her and ask for an opinion. No one thought to ask Dr. Lourenco if it would be useful to mandate vaccination for travel by air or rail. As the court challenge was a matter of public interest, a judge made pre-trial discovery testimony available. Brian Lilley’s article provided a link to the court records.[42]

Keith Wilson cross examined eleven senior officials with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The cross examination lasted for six weeks through May and June, 2022. This resulted in over fifteen thousand pages of evidence and transcripts from the discovery phase of this case. On a Viva Frei podcast in September 2022, Wilson detailed that during cross examination, Dr. Celia Lourenco “confirmed in her testimony that the final phase that has been used for every other vaccine in Canada was not completed by the pharmaceutical companies for the Covid-19 vaccine. (It) is going on now on the mass population. (Lourenco) was under oath, (stating) that the last phase is going on and Health Canada is collecting the data from the general population. And she admitted this.”

Dr. Lourenco was also asked by Wilson if she was familiar with the National Institutes of Health in America: “NIH.” This is the primary agency of the United States government that is responsible for biomedical and public health research. The NIH partnered with Moderna in 2020 to develop a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. When she was asked on the stand if she was familiar with the NIH, Dr. Lourenco said “No.” On June 6, 2022, she testified that she agreed both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could contract and spread Covid.[43]

Another official under cross examination was epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Waddell of the Emerging Sciences Group at PHAC. Waddell and her group are responsible for reviewing all “COVID-19 scientific literature being published on a regular basis.” She is responsible to ensure this literature is communicated in lay terms for use by interested government personnel. Waddell, whose team reviewed the scientific literature on the issue of in-flight transmission, confirmed during cross-examination on May 31 that the latest PHAC brief on that topic was produced on Nov. 25, 2021.

Wilson cited a Public Health Agency of Canada report titled “Recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada to Transport Canada on the Mitigation of COVID Spread in Air Travel.” In the report, Wilson learned that PHAC recommended to Transport Canada several mitigation strategies for travel. The first strategy was wearing masks. The agency also recommended social distancing in the departure and arrival lounges, and if the plane wasn’t full. Finally, PHAC also recommended to Transport Canada COVID-19 testing. Keith Wilson was surprised at what PHAC omitted. They didn’t recommend vaccination to Transport Canada as one of the strategies to mitigate COVID spread for travel. So, he said to Dr. Lisa Waddell under cross examination, “I put it to you that the Public Health Agency of Canada did not recommend to Transport Canada the vaccination of air travelers. Right?” And incredibly, Dr. Waddell said “Yes.”[44]

He asked Waddell, “Do you agree with me that requiring Canadians to be vaccinated to fly is not one of the identified strategies, correct?” Dr. Waddell confirmed, “There wasn’t a lot of evidence on that so, as a strategy as a whole, it has not been evaluated in the literature and therefore is not elaborated in the review.” The evidence obtained by the Public Health Agency of Canada did not support a requiring vaccination for all travellers as being epidemiologically sound advice.[45]

Waddell confirmed that she was author of a study for Public Health Agency of Canada which showed little transmission on airplanes. Wilson read from the PHAC report that “A meta-analysis of studies from January–June 2020 found the risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 in an airplane cabin was estimated to be 1 case for every 1.7 million travellers.” Waddell confirmed that this was the conclusion of the agency report.[46]

On July 13, 2022, Dr. Celia Lourenco appeared before a hearing of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. She told the board that the people at public health “expected there to be a lot of underreporting” of COVID-19 vaccine injuries. Dr. Lourenco described this underreporting as “a well-known fact,” since health-care professionals don’t always report serious adverse events. Patients don’t always speak to their physician, even if they’ve gone to emergency. Others don’t even have a doctor.[47]

Prior to the ‘pandemic,’ this type of story would have dominated front-page headlines for weeks. There would have been subsequent articles drilling into the scandal, exposing the disconnect between the punitive vaccine passport requirements and the absence of any recommendation for them from the Public Health Agency of Canada itself. But in the COVID era, suppression of important news stories that were off-message was now in fashion. Instead of holding government to account, now the mainstream media in Canada cheerlead government talking points to ensure narratives of those in power maintained their dominance.

Step Nine: Cast Criticism as “Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”

Step Nine is to Cast Criticism as ‘Espionage’ and Dissent as ‘Treason.’ During the Freedom Convoy, politicians and the media depicted the protesters as the worst of the worst. Ottawa city councillor, Diane Deans, referred to the protesters as “insurrectionist.”[48] She told the press on February 9, 2022, the protesters were “people that are trying to overthrow a democratically elected government of this country.” Former head of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, wrote an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail on February 7, 2022, that the protesters were guilty of “sedition.” The headline read, “It’s time to end the sedition in Ottawa by enforcing the rule of law and following the money.”[49]

Cabinet ministers and senior government bureaucrats testified before the Public Order Emergency Commission in the fall of 2022. They echoed inflammatory statements made by public officials at the time of the protests. National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Jody Thomas, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council Nathalie Drouin, were among those casting the protest in catastrophizing terms. Freeland wanted to avoid “a January 6th north.” Drouin charged that parents who were protesting were using their children “as human shields.” While Thomas vaguely ascribed “violence” by the protesters. Under cross examination, she clarified that the “violence” she was speaking of was the “noise” from “horn honking,” and “pollution” from diesel trucks with their engines on.[50]

On the two-year anniversary of the protests – February 14, 2024 – former Warrant Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces, Edward Cornell, was named as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit by twenty individuals and businesses. Defendants named in the legal proceeding commenced in the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa, include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and four other cabinet ministers, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Jody Thomas, former RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, a dozen financial institutions, police organisations and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. The lawsuit seeks $1,750,000 per plaintiff, including for the “malicious, reprehensible, and high-handed misconduct of the Defendants,” and for “injurious falsehoods” and “defamation.”[51]

Concurrently, lawyer Keith Wilson, represents Tamara Lich, Chris Barber, Tom Marazzo and 17 other protesters seeking $2 million each in damages. Wilson told Rebel News the basis for the lawsuit is Section 24 of the Charter. The section states, “Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court … to obtain a remedy ….” Wilson explained that the Charter is explicit that “if the government violates your rights as a citizen, you have the right to sue the government for damages, and the government has to pay you compensation.”

Wilson stressed that the reason this is laid out in the Charter is “to create accountability.” The consequences for governments that breach citizens Charter rights is to show “that the Charter rights mean something.” Wilson emphasized that the plaintiffs were launching this class action “to deter the government, and future governments, from stepping on Canadians’ rights.”[52]

Step Ten: Subvert the Rule of Law

Step Ten employed by totalitarian regimes is to Subvert the Rule of Law. On January 23, 2024, the Honourable Justice Richard Mosley completed his Judicial Review. He declared the Liberal cabinet’s invocation of the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022 was illegal. In his 191-page report – Reasons for Judgment – Mosley ruled the Trudeau government was in violation of sections 3 and 17 of the Emergencies Act, Part 1 of the Constitution Act of 1982, and several sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In his report, Mosley demonstrated that the Governor in Council (cabinet) was required by the Emergencies Act legislation to show that “the reasons for its decision” are “reasonable” and “demonstrate justification, transparency and intelligibility.” He pointed out that the Emergencies Act was intended to safeguard fundamental rights, even in emergency situations where temporary measures might be necessary.

Extensive evidence was brought to the court’s attention. This included the testimony of RCMP Superintendent Denis Beaudoin. He testified that RCMP officers gathered names of citizens whose bank accounts were to be seized and frozen and “did not apply a standard, such as reasonable grounds, before sharing information with the financial institutions.” It was all “ad hoc.”

Government lawyers attempted to dismiss the matter as moot because the Emergencies Act was revoked on Feb. 23, 2022. Justice Mosley rejected their argument. He concluded that “the Applicants have established that an adversarial context continues to exist and have built a record upon which meaningful judicial review of the decision to invoke the Act and issue the Proclamation … can occur”. The federal court ruled that the POEC inquiry was not a substitute for judicial review.

Mosley concluded, “If the Court declines to hear these cases, a precedent may be established that so long as the government can revoke the declaration of an emergency before a judicial review application can be heard, the courts will have no role in reviewing the legality of such a decision.”

Mosley found there were no “threats to the security of Canada,” within the meaning of the Emergencies Act. There was no “national emergency” within the meaning of the Emergencies Act. Banning attendance at Freedom Convoy protests violated freedom of expression. Violating freedom of expression by cracking down on the protesters with the police action that unfolded starting on February 18, 2022, was “not a reasonable limit.”[53]

In late February 2024, despite Justice Mosley’s Judicial Review, Attorney General Arif Virani refused to disclose to a parliamentary committee the basis for the government decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. Member of parliament, Matthew Green, objected to Virani constantly appealing to “solicitor-client privilege.” He observed, the government is obliged to provide the “highest level of transparency” to the Canadian people regarding its decision to declare a national emergency. “Being both the client and the solicitor, please explain to me and the public how you justify not providing basic information in the general public interest?” Green added, that people following this story in the news, “who heard you talk about your sacrosanct relationship with yourself will not be willing to accept the answers that you’ve provided here today.”[54]

Despite the Judicial Review by Justice Mosley, Freedom Convoy protester Jason Vandervier was found guilty of “mischief” on March 19, 2024. Justice Peter Wright found the beef farmer and truck driver from Niagara Falls guilty because the judge viewed the whole convoy as ‘mischief,’ ergo Vandervier was guilty. The beef farmer had parked his truck in late January 2022 on Wellington Street, near the Parliament buildings, at the direction of the police. Roxanne Halverson writes on her substack that Vandervier was “Ordered out of his truck by police, he was manhandled during the course of his arrest as he witnessed others being kicked, kneed and punched as they too were being arrested by police. He was charged with a number of criminal offences including mischief, and resisting arrest, a charge that was later dropped.”[55] Vandervier awaits sentencing in a few months. Wrights’ verdict sets a dangerous precedent for all Freedom Convoy protesters who still face charges.

Since before the Magna Carta, it’s been a cornerstone of Western justice that people are innocent until proven guilty. An accused person has the right to a fair trial, in a timely manner. Persons charged have a right to be released on bail, in some cases with conditions. Only in rare cases is bail refused: a flight risk or a past record of criminal violence. But at the Coutts, Alberta, blockade – in support of the Ottawa protests of 2022 – four men were arrested.[56] Initially the charges of mischief over $5000 expanded later to conspiracy to commit murder. After 723 days behind bars, Jerry Morin and Chris Lysak were suddenly released.[57] All the charges in the original indictment were dropped. They were released without condition after plea deals to minor arms offenses, like failure to securely lock and store a gun. Morin had been on-and-off in solitary confinement for about 74 days.

Remaining behind bars without bail are Tony Olienick and Chris Carbert. Olienick has been in solitary confinement for 80 plus days so far. And Carbert and Olienick are about 780 days now in prison without bail. They still await trial. Both Lysak and Morin have had charges of conspiracy to commit murder, mischief over $5000, and in one case ‘uttering threats against a police officer,’ all dropped. So what is the case the Crown has against Olienick and Carbert?

Conclusion: Step by Step

It may be said that fascism comes on little cat feet. But in the 21st Century, autocratic forms of governance are unfolding with a twist. Democratic norms of tolerance, debate, proportionate responses to any infractions by citizens, and more, are disappearing in Canada. We are not, strictly speaking, becoming a totalitarian state. At least not yet. We don’t have a dictator. While the Liberal Party of Canada amasses power through the Prime Minister’s Office, and shuts down debate on many important issues in parliament, we don’t have a single ruling political party. But with the Trusted News Initiative and government funded media, we do have a highly compromised media environment. One which has led to a massive betrayal in public trust given how the media reports often only one side of the story, enhancing government talking points.

We don’t have mandatory service in the military. But we have experienced in the ‘pandemic era’ quasi-mandatory population control practices. The consequences for those who didn’t get vaccinated included loss of employment, loss of employment insurance payments, and being marginalized from participation in the wider society on a host of fronts. This included restrictions on travel. Totalitarian behaviour was on display, for example, in the punitive treatment of Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill for not adhering to the “accepted facts” promoted by Public Health regarding lockdown policies. One has to ask what can stem the habit of meting out severe consequences for dissent in Canada? Or in the coming years will we see prohibitions on any form of public criticism of the government?

During the October Crisis of 1970, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was asked by a CBC reporter how far he would go to protect Canadians safely from the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec)? Pierre Trudeau replied, “Just watch me.” [58] In 2024, Canadians are watching Justin Trudeau to see how far he will go to “keep Canadians safe,” from the Covid-19 virus, climate change, misinformation and online harms, and the “unacceptable fringe minority.”

Ray McGinnis is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Portions of the text in this article include excerpts from his forthcoming book, Unjustified: The Emergencies Act and the Inquiry that Got It Wrong.  This essay was originally published in the Journal Propaganda in Focus.

Watch Ray McGinnis on Leaders on the Frontier here. September 27, 2023 (70 minutes)

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Oil and gas in the global economy through 2050

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Ven Venkatachalam

The world will continue to rely on oil and gas for decades to come, according to the International Energy Agency

Recent global conflicts, which have been partly responsible for a global spike in energy prices, have cast their shadow on energy markets around the world. Added to this uncertainty is the ongoing debate among policymakers and public institutions in various jurisdictions about the role of traditional forms of energy in the global economy.

One widely quoted study influencing the debate is the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook, the most recent edition of which, World Energy Outlook 2023 (or WEO 2023), was released recently (IEA 2023).

In this CEC Fact Sheet, we examine projections for oil and natural gas production, demand, and investment drawn from the World Energy Outlook 2023 Extended Dataset, using the IEA’s modelled scenario STEPS, or the Stated Policies Scenario. The Extended Dataset provides more detailed data at the global, regional, and country level than that found in the main report.

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook and the various scenarios

Every year the IEA releases its annual energy outlook. The report looks at recent energy supply and demand, and projects the investment outlook for oil and gas over the next three decades. The World Energy Outlook makes use of a scenario approach to examine future energy trends. WEO 2023 models three scenarios: the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE), the Announced Pledges Scenario (APS), and the Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS).

STEPS appears to be the most plausible scenario because it is based on the world’s current trajectory, rather than the other scenarios set out in the WEO 2023, including the APS and the NZE. According to the IEA:

The Stated Policies Scenario is based on current policy settings and also considers the implications of industrial policies that support clean energy supply chains as well as measures related to energy and climate. (2023, p. 79; emphasis by author)

and

STEPS looks in detail at what [governments] are actually doing to reach their targets and objectives across the energy economy. Outcomes in the STEPS reflect a detailed sector-by-sector review of the policies and measures that are actually in place or that have been announced; aspirational energy or climate targets are not automatically assumed to be met. (2023, p. 92)

Key results

The key results of STEPS, drawn from the IEA’s Extended Dataset, indicate that the oil and gas industry is not going into decline over the next decade—neither worldwide generally, nor in Canada specifically. In fact, the demand for oil and gas in emerging and developing economies under STEPS will remain robust through 2050.

Oil and natural gas production projections under STEPS

World oil production is projected to increase from 94.8 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2022 to 97.2 mb/d in 2035, before falling slightly to 94.5 mb/d in 2050 (see Figure 1).

Source: IEA (2023b)

Canadian overall crude oil production is projected to increase from 5.8 mb/d in 2022 to 6.5 mb/d in 2035, before falling to 5.6 mb/d in 2050 (see Figure 2).

Source: IEA (2023b)

Canadian oil sands production is expected to increase from 3.6 mb/d in 2022 to 3.8 mb/d in 2035, and maintain the same production level till 2050 (see Figure 3).

Source: IEA (2023b)

World natural gas production is anticipated to increase from 4,138 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2022 to 4,173 bcm in 2050 (see Figure 4).

Source: IEA (2023b)

Canadian natural gas production is projected to decrease from 204 bcm in 2022 to 194 bcm in 2050 (see Figure 5).

Source: IEA (2023b)

Oil demand under STEPS

World demand for oil is projected to increase from 96.5 mb/d in 2022 to 97.4 mb/d by 2050 (see Tables 1A and 1B). Demand in Africa for oil is expected to increase from 4.0 mb/d in 2022 to 7.7 mb/d in 2050. Demand for oil in the Asia-Pacific is projected to increase from 32.9 mb/d in 2022 to 35.1 mb/d in 2050. Demand for oil from emerging and developing economies is anticipated to increase from 47.9 mb/d in 2022 to 59.3 mb/d in 2050.

Source: IEA (2023b)

 

Source: IEA (2023b)

Natural gas demand under STEPS

World demand for natural gas is expected to increase from 4,159 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2022 to 4,179 bcm in 2050 (see Figures 6 and 7). Demand in Africa for natural gas is projected to increase from 170 bcm in 2020 to 277 bcm in 2050. Demand in the Asia-Pacific for natural gas is anticipated to increase from 900 bcm in 2020 to 1,119 bcm in 2050.

Source: IEA (2023b)

 

Source: IEA (2023b)

Cumulative oil and gas investment expected to be over $21 trillion

Taking into account projected global demand, between 2023 and 2050 the cumulative global oil and gas investment (upstream, midstream, and downstream) under STEPS is expected to reach nearly U.S.$21.1 trillion (in $2022). Global oil investment alone is expected to be over U.S.$13.1 trillion and natural gas investment is predicted to be over $8.0 trillion (see Figure 8).

Between 2023 and 2050, total oil and gas investment in North America (Canada, the U.S., and Mexico) is expected to be nearly U.S.$5.6 trillion, split between oil at over $3.8 trillion and gas at nearly $1.8 trillion (see Figure 8). Oil and gas investment in the Asia Pacific, over the same period, is estimated at nearly $3.3 trillion, split between oil at over $1.4 trillion and gas at over $1.9 trillion.

Source: IEA (2023b)

Conclusion

The sector-by-sector measures that governments worldwide have put in place and the specific policy initiatives that support clean energy policy, i.e., the Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS), both show oil and gas continuing to play a major role in the global economy through 2050. Key data points on production and demand drawn from the IEA’s WEO 2023 Extended Dataset confirm this trend.

Positioning Canada as a secure and reliable oil and gas supplier can and must be part of the medium- to long-term solution to meeting the oil and gas demands of the U.S., Europe, Asia and other regions as part of a concerted move supporting energy security.

The need for stable energy, which is something that oil and natural gas provide, is critical to a global economy whose population is set to grow by another 2 billion people by 2050. Along with the increasing population comes rising incomes, and with them comes a heightened demand for oil and natural gas, particularly in many emerging and developing economies in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, where countries are seeing urbanization and industrialization grow rapidly.


References (as of February 11, 2024)

International Energy Agency (IEA), 2023(a), World Energy Outlook 2023 <http://tinyurl.com/4nv9xyfj>; International Energy Agency (IEA), 2023(b), World Energy Outlook 2023 Extended Dataset <http://tinyurl.com/3222553b>.

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