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Demian Newman pens second open Letter to fellow Canadians

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We give a lot of credit to Demian Newman in his ongoing attempts to bring reasonable discussion to the pipeline debate. In this most recent opinion piece, he links to a lot of different sources of information to support his argument.  Take the time to read this article as well as the opposing POV written by Mike Sawyer, linked at the end of this story.

Read Demian’s first Open Letter by clicking this graphic: 

Here’s Demian’s second Open Letter:

Dear fellow Canadians,

In my original Open Letter, I had a very simple and basic premise; I do not believe shutting down Canada’s oil and gas industry will help the environment or climate change. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe it would have the adverse effect.

Over 200,000 people have read my opinion piece, and a lot have left very positive comments. But there have also been some opposing viewpoints. Which is good, because I wanted to start a conversation. With that in mind, I have summarized all the opposing comments below, with a response to each (minus the personal attacks…which I quickly dismissed).

Before we dive into all the comments concerned with my original letter, I would just like to summarize again; that Canada’s oil and gas industry putting up an OUT OF BUSINESS sign today, will not help Canada, or the planet, on any environmental level. Because, 1) you (and I), will not change our energy consumption. 2) that energy will simply be provided by another country, which does not have the same environmental regulations and standards to extract and sell their natural resources as Canada does.

If you’re protesting Canada’s industry because you’re fighting climate change, then I need to remind you that this is a worldwide issue, not a just a Canadian one. So, if that’s your intention, then you need to use your efforts to make worldwide change. Not just suffocate Canada’s industry.

If you’re already getting fired up that I’m not getting to the Q&A conversation, I promise I heard them all. But I don’t think a lot of people heard me before commenting on my first letter. And a lot of those voices were coming from a city that I absolutely love, but is obviously on a very different page regarding Canada’s oil and gas industry than me.

So, to my friends in Vancouver; I should’ve focused a bit more on the project which has been such a bone of contention for you – The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. And I’m not going dive that deep into this, as again, the basis of this letter was a conversation with everyone from my first letter. But I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up that your former Mayor, Greg Robertson was vehemently opposed to a Canadian pipeline (the TMX), but last June signed a $150M pipeline deal to get the ever-expanding Vancouver airport jet fuel – from the state of Washington.

This is the part where I’m left scratching my head again, as Mr. Robertson fights against a Canadian pipeline, saying “it’s not worth the risk. In fact, it’s not in Canada’s interest”. How is a pipeline from the state of Washington, instead of Canada, in Canada’s best interest?

I’d dive into the hypocrisy of Mr. Robertson blasting Canada’s oil and gas industry, by saying that the TMX would put “people and the environment are at risk”, but a pipeline direct to the Vancouver airport from the state of Washington, is apparently no issue. However, I will refrain, as I like to travel. And though commercial airline travel certainly isn’t the best for the environment, I do believe that Canada’s airlines/airports are doing everything to be a world leader in reducing their environmental footprint – because I’d expect nothing less of a Canadian industry.

To use an analogy, I didn’t have a chance to in my first letter; I do believe Canadians protesting Canada’s oil and gas industry would be the equivalent of Canadians boycotting Westjet and Air Canada, but still going on the same holidays – just using international airlines instead. This idea is obviously ridiculous, as no one could believe this would help the environment on any level.

But then there are protesters all over the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, but not one to be found fighting against the 4000 tankers bringing imported oil to Canada each year. Again, it’s head scratching.

I do think to understand why it’s happening, we need to have a cross-Canada conversation.

So, below are all the opposing opinions from my original letter (and I do apologize if I missed any, as I did try and summarize all of them). I’ve done this in a Q&A format, with the Opposing Comments (summarized) and then My Opinion. And it is only my opinion, and I’m sure someone else can give a much better reply, should they want to keep this conversation going…

Opposing Comments: 

I received a lot of similar comments, that there’s no point in investing in a dying industry with no future.

My Opinion:

If you’re referring to no future based on worldwide oil reserves? The math on “Proven Reserves” is pretty straight forward, and everything you look up has it at 50ish years. This is based on today’s technology, and when you consider how far technology has come in the past 10–15yrs the opinions get pretty varied on how long the 50 years extends into. As this technology makes producing the “Probable Reserves” and “Possible Reserves” more likely by the day.

Without getting pulled down on this, I hope we can agree that fossil fuels aren’t running out any time soon – but aren’t a “forever solution”. So, we do need to find energy from multiple sources.

Opposing Comments:

It’s not a dying industry, it’s a dead industry. It’s the Model-T to the horse and buggy, Netlfix to Blockbuster video, or the Internet to traditional media.

My opinion:

I’m sorry, but if fossil fuel energy was a dead industry – then it’d be dead. But absolutely every economist is saying that fossil fuel consumption will continue to increase worldwide each year. I don’t have to copy a link for this, as you can find Google results by the hundreds for factual data. And it’s not hopeful data, but factual based estimates which provide information that every country, Fortune 500 company, bank, etc is listening too, while investing for the future.

At the bottom there is a link to an Energy Minute video, which does a great job explaining that the decrease in oil used by Canada between now and 2040 is more than offset by the increase use from developing nations. I’ve also again added Chris Slubicki’s video link (below) to this, as there’s a big portion of his presentation that explains this (and everything) much better than I ever could.

Opposing Comments: 

A lot of people asked for proof that Canada is a world leader in oil and gas environmental standards.

My opinion:

The one thing I realized after my original letter, is that I’ve done a terrible job archiving everything I’ve read/watched/heard over the years, which drove the opinion for my first letter. So, if I could ask anyone for the stats on Canada versus the world on environmental standards in this industry, that’d be great. I know I’ve read hundreds of positive articles over the years (maybe more).

However, I have included the very public list of oil producing countries flaring gas in a link below (billions of cubic meters of gas which releases CO2 into the atmosphere). Canada ranks 22nd for the gas our industry emits (typically methane, ethane, butane, propane and hydrogen sulfide). I’m reading that as extremely positive, since we’re 7th in oil production over that time (2013-2017). Our 1.3 bcms pales in comparison to Russia (19.9) Iraq (17.8), Iran (17.7), or the USA (9.5). And don’t get me started on Nigeria who flared 7.6 bcms, which is more than 5 times the gas Canada flares, even though we produce almost twice as much oil.

I also included another link below of an interesting article this past month, where we have the least political corruption of any country involved in the oil and gas industry. Which is kind of funny, as I don’t think any Canadian would be surprised by that.

Opposing opinions:

Even though I didn’t mention the TMX pipeline in my original letter, I had numerous people say they were for Energy East and BC LNG, but dead-set against TMX – because of the certainty (as in absolute certainty) that there will be a tanker spill in the Vancouver harbor. And it could threaten the Orca population.

My opinion:

I agree. It might surprise people (but I really hope it doesn’t) that I also don’t want an oil tanker spill, nor do I want those tankers to endanger a single killer whale. And now that the feds bought TMX last summer (which is a whole other letter for another day), and EVERY CANADIAN is officially a pipeline company owner, I do think we should take these concerns seriously.

Current info will tell you that the TMX being built would increase tanker traffic off the coast of BC by 6.6.%. Certainly not a huge percentage. I also understand that any increase needs to be measured against its environmental impact.

The National Energy Board (NEB) just came out last Friday, that they want the creation of the marine mammal protection program in response to the TMX. So, it’s good to see the NEB doing its job as a 3rd party nonpartisan review board on international and inter-provincial aspects of the oil, gas industry – which certainly doesn’t need to be removed as per bill C-69 (again, another topic for another letter).

Also, for the spills, I did see the plans for the (I believe quadrupled) emergency response program for tanker issues, because of the 6.6% additional TMX tanker traffic. Which was followed up with how incredibly unlikely an event like this would be, as the tankers are handled with tug boats until they hit open water.

What is easily accessible on Google are the stats on tanker spills (below). Worldwide it’s been 2 large tanker spills (700+ tonnes) since 2010. I also believe that two is, two too many – which is why I believe the Canadian industry will add a ton of safeguards over and above worldwide standards (like they do with their pipelines).

Speaking of, there is still nowhere near the Canada wide education on pipelines and the Canadian environmental standards for safe construction and maintenance of them. As somehow a record of 99.9995% pipelines with zero issues in Canada isn’t good enough. Neither is the fact that Canadian pipelines rate of spills were 57 per cent lower than in Europe and 60 per cent lower than in the United States over the past decade.

I understand that it should be 100%. But honestly, what is?

Opposing opinions:

Many in BC are upset as they are viewed as a mere obstacle for Alberta to get their oil to market. When Alberta gains all the benefit financially.

My opinion:

Federal and provincial governments will see $46.7 billion in additional taxes and royalties from construction and 20 years of operation. At the point, where a CANADIAN OWNED pipeline is making Canada billions, why as a Canadian who wants green energy vs fossil fuels, wouldn’t you demand your current government use that money to research and develop this green/clean tech. Seems like a win-win…with some compromises. But every reasonable solution requires compromise.

Opposing Comments:

The romance of the electric car saving everything. And there are a lot of Canadians with this idea.

My opinion:

I can’t underscore my confusion on how the electric car has been so romanticized.

I completely understand the low emission side of the argument. But I’m shocked at how many people stop there, as if the electric car is “an environmental mic drop moment”, and don’t look any further. I think the video on the Energy Minute website does a fantastic job of both the pros and cons of the electric car (link below). But I also couldn’t help but include a link regarding on of the concerns on the batteries (also below).

Opposing opinion:

Not super surprising that I received lots of anti Oilsands “tarsands” “dirtyoil” comments, where Fort Mac got slammed pretty hard.

My opinion:

I included a few examples in my original letter about Oilsands GHG emissions dropping 29% since 2000 and a barrel of oil from there being a smaller carbon footprint than that of a barrel from California. But it fell on deaf ears.

So, this part of my letter isn’t for those you oppose the Oilsands, but instead is for those companies working in Canada’s Oilsands. It’s time to spend millions on a cross-Canada public relations campaign for this industry. And don’t tell Canadians how many jobs it creates. Cause I’ve heard from Canadians – and they don’t care.

Its time promote the thousands of real stories, where Canadian oil and gas projects cost so much more because of the extra time and effort needed to do them in the safest and most environmentally responsible way possible. Show Canadians what Fort Mac was before; unusable farmland with oil literally bubbling up through the ground. Show them what I’ve seen, that the reclamation efforts after the oil is extracted and the area is returned to a lush green forested area, where people would be shocked that oil and gas wells used to be there.

Perhaps we also need to get Canadians angry, and show them how they’ve been manipulated by groups like The Rockefeller group (article below) to demonize the Canadian Oilsands for their financial benefit.

Opposing Comments:

Who cares if protesters are paid? Doesn’t mean they don’t believe in their cause.

My Opinion:

I feel really bad that there are Canadians who’ve spent an enormous amount of time and effort at these protests and rallies, thinking they were trying to benefit the world. When they were actually helping line the pockets of billionaires. It makes me angry.

I hope they all look into it. And it makes them angry.

Protesting a Canadian pipeline based on saving the environment, probably wasn’t funded by environment loving humanitarians. But instead funded by a corporation with this in their Corporate Guidance: From the very beginning, the campaign strategy was to land-lock the tar sands so their crude could not reach the international market where it could fetch a high price per barrel. This meant national and grassroots organizing to block all proposed pipelines (taken from the Vivian Krause interview link below).

Again, I’d be mad.

Last and my favorite Opposing Comments:

That I’m a millionaire lobbyist for Canada’s Oil and Gas industry.

My reality

I wish! That sounds fantastic!

But alas, I’m just your run of the mill sales guy.

I absolutely benefit financially from a booming oil and gas industry. And I was frustrated by this downturn hitting me financially, but not enough to type out these massive rants. These are 100% based on Canadians working together for an oil and gas industry we should all be proud of; as the best, safest, and most environmentally friendly in the world. As anything less would be un-Canadian.

Again, I’m Demian Newman. And I’m shocked so many people read my last rant. And even more so, if you made it through this epically long one.

Links to articles I’ve mentioned above:

Worldwide future of oil (This is a brand-new website, which can only grow through donations. And both sides of this debate hopefully want a no-partisan website which has no agenda other than educating everyone on the facts of energy. So, I’ve donated in hopes they grow this site, and I hope you do as well):

https://energyminute.ca/video/83/oil-what-does-the-future-look-like

The electric car:

https://energyminute.ca/video/76/the-electric-car

Vivian Krause interviews:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/vivian-krause-tar-sands-campaign-canada-oil-1.4895487

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/corbella-vivian-krause-should-become-a-household-name-across-canada

Counties flaring gas:

http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/gasflaringreduction#7

Canadian’s being manipulated by groups like The Rockefeller group:

https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-the-great-american-conspiracy-to-sabotage-canadian-oilpatch

Creation of the marine mammal protection program:

https://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2019/1/neb-wants-trans-mountain-marine-protection-program/

Chris Slubicki Youtube video:

https://youtu.be/raMwTUjB224

Oil tanker stats:

https://www.itopf.org/news-events/news/article/2017-tanker-oil-spill-statistics-positive-downward-trend-continues/

Ranking Canada’s oil industry on corruption:

https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/canadian-oil-bashers-are-shooting-themselves-and-the-environment-in-the-foot

35,000 children in Congo’s mines (related to electric car, and all batteries):

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/12/phone-misery-children-congo-cobalt-mines-drc

Here is a link to a story that includes Demian’s first Open Letter, and a response from Mike Sawyer.  

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Alberta

A battle over beer … between curlers?

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Alberta’s Liquor Industry pushes back on Glenn Howard’s Ontario Beer ‘Facts’ in a new Social Media campaign.

Edmonton – Two Canadian curling stars are now battling off the rink in a war of ‘facts’ about provincial liquor laws that has broken out between Alberta and Ontario.

Brendan Bottcher, an Alberta curling champion, is starring in “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’”, a social media campaign that launched today to counter misinformation being spread in Ontario about Alberta’s liquor laws and stores.

Brendan Bottcher stars in Ontario Beer Fake Facts

The Beer Store, a consortium of brewers that is fighting a move by the Doug Ford provincial government to sell beer and liquor in corner stores, has argued Alberta’s privatized system isn’t good for customers and allows for easier access to alcohol for minors. The Beer Store’s campaign is called “Ontario Beer Facts” and features Ontario curling champion Glenn Howard.

Glenn Howard throws shade on Alberta’s beer and liquor industries

“[Howard]’s jealous. Our liquor stores are better and [so are] our curling teams,” Bottcher quips in one of the “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’” ads being launched today.

Alberta Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) produced the campaign in an attempt to set the record straight about Alberta’s thriving and socially responsible private liquor industry.

“In Alberta, our liquor industry is open for business – literally from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. We’re proud of the private liquor industry we’ve built here since 1993. Free enterprise doesn’t mean there is a free-for-all, Wild West system. But it does mean we have competitive prices and better service, hours and selection for our customers.”Ivonne Martinez, President of Alberta Liquor Stores Association

Oh, and on that whole thing about the price of beer in Alberta – Martinez had this to say.

“…And what about The Beer Store’s claim that a 24 pack of Coors Light is more expensive in Alberta than in Ontario? The Beer Store is owned by Labatts and Molson (National Brewers).  National Brewers, just like any manufacturer, sets the price for their products for each province. The price has nothing to do with the distribution model, the price is set by Molson themselves which set a higher price for their beer in Alberta…”

To view the Alberta campaign click here.

And to view the Ontario campaign click here.

Backgrounder About Alberta’s Liquor Industry:

  • The $3-billion industry contributes approximately $866-million annually to provincial revenues
  • 1,500+ private liquor stores operate in Alberta from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, including New Year’s Eve
  • Since the industry was privatized in 1993, it has created approximately 12,000 new jobs for Albertans
  • Alberta liquor stores offer more than 26,000 options, including 7,000 beer types; in Ontario, they sell less than 2,000 beer brands.

www.alsaweb.ca

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Alberta

Update 23: Northwest Alberta wildfires (June 20 at 4 p.m.)

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Hot, dry conditions with strong winds create challenges for firefighting.

June 20, 2019

As fires spread in Mackenzie County, approximately 200 additional people evacuated on Wednesday from the area north of Highway 697, south of the Peace River and west of Steep Hill Creek, also called Range Road 164.

More than 700 evacuees from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement can return home today. Additional information for residents is online at https://www.facebook.com/paddleprairie

Approximately 8,500 people are still under evacuation orders.

The following communities issued mandatory evacuation orders this week:

  • Beaver First Nation – Boyer River (No. 164) and Child Lake (No. 164A)
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation – Bushe River (No. 207)
  • Mackenzie County
    • The Rocky Lane and High Level area north of the Peace River, south of Highway 58, west of Range Road 150
    • The Hamlet of La Crete
    • Range Road 164 to Range Road 150, south of the Peace River, north of Highway 697
  • Peerless Trout First Nation – Trout Lake community and high-risk persons in the surrounding area.

The following communities remain on evacuation alert and should be ready to leave quickly if the situation changes:

  • High Level
  • Mackenzie County
    • Area west of Range Road 164, south of the Peace River to Township Road 1010, and the Machesis Lake campground
  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D

Current situation

  • Chuckegg Creek wildfire, southwest of High Level, is about 330,000 hectares.
  • Jackpot Creek wildfire, north of Lutose, is about 77,500 hectares.
  • McMillan Wildfire Complex located in the Slave Lake Forest area, is more than 276,800 hectares.
  • Check Alberta Emergency Alerts for more detailed and frequently updated information.
  • People driving in fire-affected areas should carry enough fuel, as it may not be readily available.

Visit alberta.ca/emergency for detailed and frequently updated information.

Air quality

  • Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility at times.
  • Parts of northwestern Alberta are under special air quality statements.
  • Visit FireSmoke Canada for information and resources about smoke from wildland fires.

Financial supports

  • Evacuees should check alberta.ca/emergency for updates on evacuation payment eligibility.
  • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you:
    • were living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • were forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
    • were forced to leave your residence (primary, working or vacationing) due to a mandatory evacuation order.
  • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 and $500 for each dependent child under 18 living in the same home when the evacuation order was given.
  • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smartphone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
  • If you need help applying, contact Alberta Supports to find the nearest centre: Toll-free: 1-877-644-9992 (Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) In-person: Find an Alberta Supports Centre.
  • More than 11,700 individuals have received evacuee support totalling close to $11.9 million.

Reception and call centres

  • All evacuees need to register with an evacuation reception centre even if you have found alternate accommodations.
  • Reception centres may assist evacuees in person and/or by phone.
  • Mackenzie County evacuees must register at Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie County Office, 4511 46 Avenue, 780-927-3718.
  • Evacuees from Trout Lake and high-risk persons in the surrounding area of Peerless Trout First Nation must register their location with Jennifer Auger, 780-649-6553jennifer.auger@ptfn.net. If you evacuated to Edmonton, register at Edmonton Super 8 Hotel, 16818 118 Avenue.
  • The Government of Alberta contact centre is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Call 310-4455.

Insurance information

  • Most home and tenant insurance policies provide coverage for living expenses during an evacuation.
  • Evacuees should retain all of their receipts for food, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer.
  • Albertans can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information about insurance coverage is available online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Re-entry information

Evacuees can find tips on re-entry by visiting https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx. Information includes making sure all your utilities are working, cleaning up and how to deal with door-to-door salespeople offering services and insurance.

Justice and legal matters

  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. Please call 780-427-3109 (to call toll-free, first dial 310-0000) for information.

Boil water advisory

  • A boil water advisory is in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation).

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour help line at 1-877-303-2642, the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322, or Health Link at 811.

Donations and volunteers

  • Check the Mackenzie County Facebook page for an up-to-date list of donations needed and drop-off locations.
  • There have been reports that local residents in High Level are being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents. Do not share your personal information with them or donate money.
  • When asked for donations (either over the phone, through an email, or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
  • If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization including its fundraising practices, call Service Alberta: 1-877-427-4088.

Canada Post

  • Mail and parcel delivery in certain communities has been affected by the wildfires.
  • Canada Post has contingency measures in place to serve residents of these communities.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Other income and social supports

  • Evacuees who receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped or Income Support benefits by cheque should contact their worker to make arrangements to receive it.
  • Call Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday if you:
    • need information on other social supports
    • are a contracted service provider, family member or individual needing assistance through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program
  • Evacuees in need of financial assistance for immediate needs can apply for an Income Support program emergency needs allowance. This benefit may cover your accommodation, clothing and other urgent needs. Please call 1-877-644-9992 for more information.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, call 1-800-638-0715
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card call 780-427-1432 or toll-free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  
  • If driver’s licences, identification cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information – Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Related information

Backgrounder: Previous updates

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june, 2019

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