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Energy

Bill Banning Oil and Gas Ads Won’t Pass, and Rightfully So

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9 minute read

From EnergyNow.ca

By Margareta Dovgal of Resource Works 

” it wouldn’t just ban “advertising” but would also punish anyone caught saying anything positive about fossil fuels in Canada.

Corporate producers could be jailed for two years or be hit with a $1-million fine. The penalties for smaller agencies and individuals could mean $500,000 fines and imprisonment for two years less a day. “

Resource Works Margareta Dovgal shakes her head at a private member’s bill in Parliament.

Jail for saying something positive about oil and gas?

Yes, really.

Fines or prison time are in a private member’s bill before the House of Commons, Bill C-372 from NDP MP Charlie Angus, an Act Respecting Fossil Fuel Advertising.

Only it wouldn’t just ban “advertising” but would also punish anyone caught saying anything positive about fossil fuels in Canada.

Corporate producers could be jailed for two years or be hit with a $1-million fine. The penalties for smaller agencies and individuals could mean $500,000 fines and imprisonment for two years less a day.

There are several prohibitions. Section 6 would prohibit promoting a fossil fuel, and Section 8 would, for one, prohibit promoting LNG as having less impact than other fossil fuels, and prohibit spreading the word on a positive impact, such as reducing net emissions or contributing to Indigenous economic reconciliation.

The legislation would prohibit companies and people from making comparisons between different types of fossil fuels — even if the comparisons were factually and scientifically accurate. To say that one fuel that has a lower emissions profile than another would be illegal if the bill passes.

Angus as an MP has generally supported First Nations needs and priorities, but his bill was quickly slammed by some First Nations leaders. No surprise, as Canada’s oil and gas sector employs 10,400 Indigenous people, better than 6% of the total workforce. And nearly 50 Indigenous communities are becoming owners of major oil and gas and energy projects.

Angus’s First Nations critics have included these:

  • Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council: “One of the most contemptible pieces of legislation since the introduction of the Indian Act in 1876. “Angus’ proposed fossil fuel advertising act would outlaw oil and gas advertising and the ‘promotion’ of fossil fuels, even by some private citizens. If passed, this would be the most egregious attack on civil liberties in recent Canadian history.

“Angus and his environmental supporters . . .   have shown themselves to be no fans of Indigenous peoples. These single-minded environmentalist organizations ignore the interests of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, except when they want to impose their will on them.”

  • Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance: “The NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay and his party want to shut down fossil fuel production, a move that would devastate the Canadian economy and undermine the greatest — and often the only — opportunity that many First Nations have for economic renewal.

“Even that is not enough. He wants to shut us up, telling us what to think and threatening us with jail and fines for not adhering to his strange, unrealistic and dangerous views of energy and environmental protection.”

And columnist Brian Lilley in The Toronto Sun called Angus’s bill “a joke” and “one of the craziest private member’s bills that I’ve ever read.”

Some commentators have seen the the bill as criminalizing dissent, rather than trying to get people on board with Angus’s cause in a constructive and meaningfully engaged way as you have to do in a democracy.

It all comes amid debate over environmental policy in Canada, and, following court rulings on some federal moves, over jurisdictional overreach.

Over the last two decades, environmental policy has been a more prominent part of federal politics. The federal government, particularly through Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change, has increased its presence and powers in matters environmental.

But there have been cases where the feds have tiptoed over the jurisdictional line, as the provinces have rights under the constitution to manage their own natural resources.

Angus’s misguided bill could also establish a dangerous precedent. How could Canadians talk democratically about any issue, adopt positions on it, and democratically resolve it, if the law banned them from advocating their positions?

Angus’s bill needs also to be treated with plain common sense: 80% of all of the energy we use in the world right now comes from fossil fuels. They are thus literally the foundation for the modern life and civilization that we have globally right now.

It’s a little bit bizarre, too, for MP Angus and his fans to say he’s merely doing for oil and gas what Canada has long done to restrict tobacco advertising.

Tobacco was a big industry in Canada, and continues to be one globally. Yes, tobacco has some serious health effects. But tobacco doesn’t keep the world’s economy running.

As we talk about solutions to climate change, as we try to deal with over 100 years of putting fossil fuels into the mix to power our daily life, it’s undeniable that we have emitted (and still emit) a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But criminalizing merely talking about one of the key components of our energy system is a really bizarre approach to problem solving.

It also seems a weird move from a party, the NDP, that is committed to democracy and democratic rights. There was significant silence on the bill from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, although when two NDP MLAs in Alberta questioned the bill, he said, “We’re a large party and that’s a normal thing that happens.”

The office of Environment Minister Guilbeault: “We welcome the NDP’s bill to the House. Advertisement has a big role to play in public perception, and the industry is raking in record profits. We will carefully assess their bill and look forward to productive debates and discussions around this important issue.”

Fortunately, the chances of the law passing are slim to none, even if it goes to second reading.

In the end, Charlie Angus’s bill will die a quiet death in Parliament. And so it should.

Margareta Dovgal is Managing Director of Resource Works. Based in Vancouver, she holds a Master of Public Administration in Energy, Technology and Climate Policy from University College London. Beyond her regular advocacy on natural resources, environment, and economic policy, Margareta also leads our annual Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase. She can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Energy

Canada Has All the Elements to be a Winner in Global Energy — Now Let’s Do It

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Mike Rose is Chair, President and CEO of Tourmaline Oil Corp.

From EnergyNow.ca

By Mike Rose of Tourmaline Oil Corp.

There has never been a more urgent time to aggressively develop Canada’s massive resource wealth

There has never been a more urgent time to aggressively develop Canada’s massive resource wealth. An increasingly competitive world is organizing into new alliances that are threatening our traditional Western democracies.

Weaker or underperforming countries may be left behind economically and, in some cases, their sovereignty may be compromised. We cannot let either scenario happen to Canada.

Looking inward, our country has posted among the weakest economic growth of all G20 nations over the past decade — we are at real risk of delivering a materially diminished standard of living to our children and subsequent future generations.

Canada is blessed with one of the largest and most diverse natural resource endowments in the world. It’s not just oil and gas; it’s uranium, precious metals, rare earth elements, enormous renewable forests, a vast fertile agricultural land base and, of course, the single-largest freshwater reserve on the planet.

This is nothing new; Canada has been regarded as a resource-extraction economy for a long time, but over the past two decades we’ve been slowing down and finding reasons to not advance new projects. While looking ahead to an exciting new future economy is enticing, the majority of our easily accessible resource wealth remains largely untapped. Our Canadian resource sectors are the most capital-efficient, technologically advanced and environmentally responsible in the world. We’ve got the winning combination.

Canada has among the largest, lowest-cost natural gas reserves in the world — we’re already the fourth-largest producer. With consistent regulatory support, we can rapidly evolve into a leader in the growing global LNG business.

This country produces among the lowest-emission natural gas in the world and technology adaptation is widening the gap. A 10 bcf/day Canadian LNG industry targeted to displace coal-fired electrical generation in Asia would offset the vast majority of emissions from the entire domestic oil and gas industry. Contemplating a cap on the Canadian natural gas industry is actually damaging to the global environment, as growing demand will be met by jurisdictions with higher associated emissions.

As developed economies look at electrification to accelerate emissions reduction, nuclear power is becoming increasingly attractive. Canada is already one of the largest uranium producers in the world and has long possessed one of the most efficient and safest reactor designs. This is an advantage we created for ourselves several decades ago; it’s time to harvest this opportunity.

The rare earth elements required for a growing solar industry and battery requirements associated with electrification are abundant in certain regions in Canada — for example, a large new mining opportunity is emerging in Ontario. We should make that happen. One of the great outcomes of accelerating our multi-sector resource opportunity is that the economic benefits will be enjoyed across the country; all Canadians will share in it.

The Canadian agricultural industry has been long regarded as a world leader in efficiency, yield and technical innovation. Global food security and affordability are rapidly emerging issues, and Canada has a role to play here, as well. Not only could we make it more attractive for Canadian producers to grow output and explore novel new transportation corridors to feed more of the world, we have a large, well-established, globally competitive fertilizer industry.

There are many more future resource wealth opportunities we could be capitalizing on. The list is as long as the imagination of our well-educated and entrepreneurial resource sector workforce.

Enormous amounts of capital are required for these projects, and that global capital is most certainly available. These pools of capital will flow into Canada if we demonstrate a willingness to consistently support the Canadian resource sector at provincial and federal government levels.

Accelerating domestic multi-sector resource development provides solutions to many of the problems currently facing Canada. We’ll be playing to strengths that we have established and evolved over many decades. We are the most efficient and technologically advanced in the full spectrum of resource development. Adoption and innovative adaptation of the continuous march of technology advancements will only make us better.

To paraphrase: We can take advantage of what’s between our ears to do an even better job of developing what’s beneath our feet.

Mike Rose is Chair, President and CEO of Tourmaline Oil Corp.

In an ongoing monthly series presented by the Calgary Herald and Financial Post, Canadian business leaders share their thoughts on the country’s economic challenges and opportunities.

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Alberta

Canada’s advantage as the world’s demand for plastic continues to grow

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

‘The demand for plastics reflects how essential they are in our lives’

From the clothes on your back to the containers for household products to the pipes and insulation in your home, plastics are interwoven into the fabric of day-to-day life for most Canadians.

And that reliance is projected to grow both in Canada and around the world in the next three decades

The Global Plastics Outlook, published by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), forecasts the use of plastics globally will nearly triple by 2060, driven by economic and population growth.  

The use of plastics is projected to double in OECD countries like Canada, the United States and European nations, but the largest increases will take place in Asia and Africa. 

“The demand for plastics reflects how essential they are in our lives, whether it is packaging, textiles, building materials or medical equipment,” says Christa Seaman, vice-president, plastics with the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), which represents Canada’s plastics producers.  

She says as countries look to meet climate and sustainability goals, demand for plastic will grow. 

“Plastics in the market today demonstrate their value to our society. Plastics are used to make critical components for solar panels and wind turbines. But they also can play a role in reducing weight in transportation or in ensuring goods that are transported have less weight in their packaging or in their products.” 

Canada produces about $35 billion worth of plastic resin and plastic products per year, or over five per cent of Canadian manufacturing sales, according to a 2019 report published by the federal government.  

Seaman says Canadian plastic producers have competitive advantages that position them to grow as demand rises at home and abroad. In Alberta, a key opportunity is the abundant supply of natural gas used to make plastic resin.  

“As industry and consumer expectations shift for production to reduce emissions, Canada, and particularly Alberta, are extremely well placed to meet increased demand thanks to its supply of low-carbon feedstock. Going forward, production with less emissions is going to be important for companies,” Seaman says.  

“You can see that with Dow Chemical’s decision to spend $8.8 billion on a net zero facility in Alberta.” 

While modern life would not be possible without plastics, the CIAC says there needs to be better post-use management of plastic products including advanced recycling, or a so-called “circular economy” where plastics are seen as a resource or feedstock for new products, not a waste. 

Some companies have already started making significant investments to generate recyclable plastics.  

For example, Inter Pipeline Ltd.’s $4.3 billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex near Edmonton started operating in 2023. It produces a recyclable plastic called polypropylene from propane, with 65 per cent lower emissions than the global average thanks to the facility’s integrated design. 

Achieving a circular economy – where 90 per cent of post-consumer plastic waste is diverted or recycled – would benefit Canada’s economy, according to the CIAC.  

Deloitte study, commissioned by Environment & Climate Change Canada, estimated diverting or reusing 90 per cent of post-consumer plastic waste by 2030 will save $500 million annually while creating 42,000 direct and indirect jobs. It would also cut Canada’s annual CO2 emissions by 1.8 megatonnes.  

Right now, about 85 per cent of plastics end up in Canada’s landfills. To reach the 90 per cent diversion rate, Seaman says Canada must improve its infrastructure to collect and process the plastic waste currently being landfilled. 

But she also says the industry rather than municipalities need to take responsibility for recycling plastic waste.  

“This concept is referred to as extended producer responsibility. Municipalities have the responsibility for managing recycling within a waste management system. Given the competing costs and priorities, they don’t have the incentive to invest into recycling infrastructure when landfill space was the most cost-effective solution for them,” she says.  

“Putting that responsibility on the producers who put the products on the market makes the most sense…The industry is adapting, and we hope government policy will recognize this opportunity for Canada to meet our climate goals while growing our economy.” 

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