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Alberta

Notes from Flight 163, the oilsands shuttle from Toronto to Edmonton

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air canada

Shared with permission from author Stewart Muir

Stewart Muir is a Victoria-based writer who serves as executive director of the Resource Works Society.

On a recent Monday morning, I found myself on Air Canada Flight 163 from Toronto Pearson to Edmonton. As the plane loaded, I began to sense there was something not so regular about the passengers boarding the Airbus 320 for a regularly scheduled flight.

Unlike those I more typically see on my flights, nobody was in flip-flops or golf wear, or fussing with oversized or unnecessary luggage. This was a mix mostly without the easy-to-spot snowbirds, students, and first-time fliers.

The travellers this day were mostly middle-aged men, fit-looking and dressed Mark’s Work Wearhouse casual. There were some women too, and like the men they moved with familiar ease through the cabin lugging full but neatly packed backpacks or duffels. Many carried a preferred travel distraction in hand, ready for a few hours of Netflix or sudoku. I could hear the distinctive accents of the Maritimes and Quebec, and the more familiar central Canadian English, as they found their places the way transit riders enter a subway car.

It was rapidly apparent that I was witnessing a commuter routine, one not meaningfully different than the suit-filled shuttles carrying day-tripping lawyers, accountants, pharma reps, engineers and lobbyists from the same airport that morning to destinations like Ottawa, Montreal, Boston and New York.

In concentrated form, I was witnessing a typical, daily migration of the Canadian oil sands workforce, probably with some LNG and mining thrown in. They were heading to the workplace. Not for a day, but for stretches of a week or two.

Multiply this by dozens or scores, in airports across the country, usually less starkly evident than on this particular flight, and it was just a regular day in Canadian air travel as the massive energy employee base changed shift.

A few hours later, after we unloaded at the other end, I headed for the exit and my Uber. Not so most of my fellow passengers. They continued on their way to connecting flights – to destinations such as Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, and air services flying direct to some of the big oil sands projects – in time for shift change at the work camps where they were expected.

Statistics could not convey more forcefully than this how the oil & gas economy has a singular and powerful effect on the economy. The large paycheques drawing these men and women to their jobs in the West flowed directly back to their family bank accounts in the GTA and beyond, paying mortgages, grocery bills, taxes and hockey fees.

Flight 163, multiplied many times over, represents what the energy sector, at its most direct and tangible, does for the Canadian economy.

This is what I’m thinking about while surveying a nation that is now deep into an unprecedented social and economic crisis.

Over the coming days and weeks, things that we do will affect how deep and damaging this crisis becomes.

We are seeing Green New Deal advocates pursue the thesis that the coming economic catastrophe is the perfect moment to “transition off fossil fuels”. There are plenty of signs of this thought process – “Hey guess what guys, in one stroke we could meet the Paris Agreement by dropping emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels – not by 2030, but by 2021!”

To put this in perspective, consider that the Conference Board of Canada recently estimated that in one of the milder transition scenarios, meeting such targets will cost Canadians $2.2 trillion and require 14 per less use of residential energy, 47 per cent less car travel, eight times the subway use, and 54 per cent less domestic air travel.

Who’s ready to make this change overnight? We couldn’t do it if we wanted to. Think for just a moment about the costs and tradeoffs required, and the difficulty of accomplishing it in the midst of a global health crisis. Clearly it makes no sense at all. Yet Canada might be the only oil-exporting country where accelerating the transition is likely to receive serious acknowledgment in senior decision-making circles.

Even without such measures, Canada is already moving in the right direction: we are a global leader in clean energy, with 80 per cent of the population living in provinces where more than 90 per cent of electricity is drawn from non-fossil fuel sources. This alone makes us the envy of the world. The prevalence of clean electricity means that wherever it is used in industry, the resulting resource commodity exports can outcompete most other similar products in climate terms, with the bonus that they can allow importing countries to reduce their own emissions.

Mere inattention could do as much damage at this time as a wrong decision. Standing back and watching the domestic oil and gas industry topple will have an effect on citizen wellbeing far in excess of what the collapse of any other industry would bring.

We would be looking at the long-term impairment of Canadian living standards – that is to say a reduction in the value of our jobs, in our quality of life, in our educational opportunities, and in our ability to help other countries while continuing as a net positive influence on the world.

The fossil fuel industry – “it is how we earn our living”

It’s hard to describe how important the energy industry is to Canada. Let me try.

Andy Calitz, the former CEO of LNG Canada who performed the herculean task of achieving a positive final investment decision (FID) for the project before moving on to his next challenge, provided a memorable image when he spoke at a small dinner of diplomats and academics I attended not long after the FID.

When the first shipload of liquefied natural gas departs from Kitimat in a few years’ time, he said, that cargo would be worth $100 million – a staggering sum. (I’ve run this figure past a couple of experienced heads in the energy field, and nobody has scoffed at it.)

In Vancouver, we go giddy each spring at the thought of cruise ship season, which last year saw 290 sailings out of the port. If, as is commonly said, one of those sailings means $1 million injected into the local economy, how does that compare with LNG?

Back of envelope math says that a single year of LNG Canada operations, with its promised traffic of one ship in and one ship out every day, will have the impact of one century of the Vancouver cruise industry. I’m not knocking the cruise industry, it’s important and we need it. But let that comparison sink in.

Here’s another one.

Back in 2017, I calculated that natural gas investments in British Columbia that year were on a scale that equated to building the behemoth Wynn hotel in Las Vegas (4,750 rooms over 215 acres) in the Vancouver area, along with a special SkyTrain extension to serve it. ( Natural gas is back: British Columbia drilling surge is behind $5+ billion in 2017 investment )

Never mind that no investor has ever come forward with such a bold plan for a new resort anywhere in Canada. And it’s actually pretty fortunate that we got the energy infrastructure rather than the casino, given the prospects for tourism in 2020.

Economist Patricia Mohr recently pointed out that Canada is “a trading nation and an ‘energy specialist’ — it is how we earn our living.” Crude oil, all by itself, generated net exports of $62 billion in 2019, up from $57.5 billion in 2018 — far above any other export category.

As Ms. Mohr stated, oil exports come in handy given that we habitually run large deficits in other areas including motor vehicles and parts, machinery, electronic equipment, and consumer goods.

During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s obvious we cannot go without lifesaving medical necessities. Unlike our abundant oil, producing them isn’t a great strength. Canada must import billions’ worth of these goods every year. If you isolate just three medical categories – vaccines, medical apparatus and breathing aids – the numbers show clearly that our own ability to manufacture these items is very limited, even as consumption grows year after year.


The current global crisis has already brought a plummeting Canadian dollar, which in turn makes the imported goods that we rely on more costly. Exports that we can sell for U.S. dollars will offset this, but only if we have products to sell and markets ready to buy them. We need to preserve the ability to produce more as more income is needed, while at the same time figuring in the unfortunate reality that many of the things we export are themselves falling in price, so that higher production volumes are required just to stay in place.

The resource economy actually turns out – despite its detractors – to be both flexible and durable as a source of national well-being. Markets for some of the commodities we produce can be expanded at will, something that cannot be said of iPhones, beach umbrellas or BMWs.

Right now in Russia, the government is starting to realize it might not have been such a good idea to enter into an oil price war with Saudi Arabia. More and more evidence suggests that for a winner to emerge will require not months but years of effort, and at the end of it the United States oil industry, resented deeply by both Russia and Saudi Arabia, could well come on top anyways.

The most chilling observation, as reported today by the Wall Street Journal, comes from Igor Sechin, head of Russia’s largest oil producer, state-controlled giant Rosneft: “If you give up your mar­ket share, you will never get it back.”

There’s a lesson in this for Canada. Those who see an “opportunity” to deliberately give up our oil market share, to encourage a fast pivot into an unknown energy future, are playing recklessly with how we as a country earn our living. If we ratchet down production by letting industry fail, and decide later that it was a mistake to do so, we will not easily be able to retrieve our market share. That’s a frightening thought. Worse still, killing off the industry will make Canadians more dependent on imported oil, which will have to be paid for using a weakened loonie.

Doing what’s necessary

In 2018, the federal government announced an export diversification strategy that would increase Canada’s overseas exports by 50 per cent by 2025. Even before the combined oil/pandemic crisis, it seemed an unlikely ambition.

“Investing in infrastructure to support trade” was one of the ways Ottawa deemed it could aid this ambitious goal, and credit is due for supporting projects such as the so-far-incomplete Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines.

Other forces are holding us back. The Canada Infrastructure Bank, for example, is forbidden from investing its $35 billion of capital in fossil fuel projects, even if those investments could lead to lower energy use and emissions in the oil & gas upstream.

Meanwhile, our national infrastructure minister seems physically incapable of uttering the phrase “energy infrastructure” let alone the p-word (pipelines). Even our minister of natural resources has been placed in the uncomfortable position of carrying out a mandate letter requiring him to making finding alternative employment for oil and gas workers and communities a central task.

Now is the time to save, not strangle, an oil and gas industry that is frantically signalling the need for intervention .

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Quebec lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez yesterday promised Bombardier : “Our government is taking the necessary steps to get you financial help as quickly as possible.” A stock analyst opined that the Canadian and Quebec governments were “likely to offer support if Bombardier gets close to the edge.” (See Globe and Mail story .)

If a single company controlled by a wealthy clan, making luxury jets for billionaires, is to be given this treatment, then there should be no hesitation all in backing the industry that convincingly represents the foundational strength of our entire nation.

Trudeau has always found it difficult to make strong gestures of support to the Canadian oil patch. This time, finding it within himself to say those words of support matters more than ever. There is a very serious risk that Canada’s long term prosperity in both an absolute and a relative sense will be impaired by what occurs in the coming hours, days and weeks. Ahead of us, economic success will only come through determination and political commitment to put people and jobs first.

Stewart Muir is a Victoria-based writer who serves as executive director of the Resource Works Society.

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Alberta

Alberta politician hosts sold-out conference on COVID jab harms with Drs. Trozzi, Bridle

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Calgary-Lougheed MLA Eric Bouchard                                                                                                  Alberta Politics / YouTube

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The ‘Injection of Truth’ event organized by MLA Eric Bouchard included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates, including Dr. Byram Bridle, Dr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne.

An event hosted by a newly elected member of Alberta’s legislative assembly, which featured prominent doctors and experts speaking out against COVID vaccines and mandates, sold out in Calgary this week

Dubbed “An Injection of Truth,” the event took place on June 18 in Calgary and was hosted by the Calgary-Lougheed Constituency Association of the United Conservative Party president Darrell Komick and MLA Eric Bouchard. 

The event was geared around the question, “What’s scientifically different today than 2020? And why are an excess number of Alberta’s children dying?”  

“Many doctors and medical experts are saying that the COVID mRNA shots that began use in 2021 in Alberta are unsafe and ineffective for children. An Injection of Truth Town Hall is hosting world-class experts to present the medical and scientific case for stopping COVID mRNA injections in children,” the event’s website noted.  

The “Injection of Truth” event included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates and the shots, including Dr. Byram BridleDr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne. 

Bridle, who has been reported on by LifeSiteNews extensively, is an Ontario virologist, vaccinologist, immunologist, and associate professor of viral immunology in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph. He is critical of the COVID shots and said at the event that all his concerns regarding the COVID shots have been “repeatedly proven correct by scientific data.”  

“COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children,” he said.  

He noted how research shows “multi-dosing with lipid nanoparticles” that the mRNA jabs use “is dangerous,” explaining how years ago this was the reason the use of lipid nanoparticles was “abandoned” by Big Pharma except for a “few” who “clung onto it.” 

“It was supposed to be a one-and-done technology, not 10 doses,” he said.  

Payne noted that when it comes to public health officials, it seems “they’re trying to pretend they never said these things” because the “lies are coming down from the very top.”  

Payne observed that he knows of not one healthy child who died from COVID, even though the government messaging was that kids as young as six months old should get the shot.  

He noted that when it comes to the COVID shots, they are not even “vaccines.” 

“To call these things vaccines, it’s just not the truth,” he said, referring to them as an experimental drug based on mRNA technology. 

Payne and four other Alberta doctors launched a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) mandatory workplace COVID jab policy in October 2021. 

Trozzi, who was stripped of his medical license by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for speaking out against the COVID shots and was a guest speaker at the LifeSiteNews 2023 general meeting, observed that the COVID crisis would have been over sooner if everyone just lived their normal lives. 

He said all that was needed was for the vulnerable to be isolated and that it was important kids were exposed to the virus to build immunity. He observed how mortality rates for kids were already on the rise before the COVID shots came out due to isolation causing damage to their immune systems. 

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government as well as all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under former Premier Jason Kenney being no exception. 

The mRNA shots themselves have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children. 

As for AHS, it still is promoting the COVID shots for babies as young as six months old, as recently reported by LifeSiteNews.   

The full event has now been posted to YouTube and is available for all to watch freely.  

Conversation about COVID jabs ‘should have happened four years ago,’ says politician   

MLA Eric Bouchard spoke with LifeSiteNews about the “Injection of Truth” event, saying that open discussion about the COVID injections is a conversation that “should have happened” four years ago.

He noted that the speakers invited to the event all “presented their own data, factual peer-reviewed data,” and that “they were all canceled” in some way for simply asking questions. 

Bouchard said that his event had the full support of his local constituency board. 

“They voted 22-1 to championing the Town Hall,” he said, which was attended by UPC president Rod Smith.  

Bouchard noted that he did have pushback from the “mainstream media” over the event, but the decision to host the conference never wavered.

Bouchard said that despite being invited to the event as well as a press conference, members of the mainstream media failed to show up, which he says shows how one-sided they were and still are in relation to asking hard questions about COVID jabs and mandates. 

Bouchard became a first-time UCP MLA in 2023 after an election that saw UCP leader Danielle Smith elected as premier of the province on a pro-freedom and pro-business platform. Smith’s election followed the resignation of Premier Jason Kenney, who suffered low approval ratings after implementing a number of COVID-related mandates, including lockdowns.

Ironically, Bouchard is now the MLA representing the same riding Kenney represented until stepping down as party leader. Bouchard is a former restaurant owner who was forced to close in part because of the Kenney-mandated COVID lockdowns.

Bouchard, as reported by LifeSiteNews earlier this year, has praised the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy protesters for standing up for what “was right.”

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime.  

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Alberta

Alberta parents want balance—not bias—in the classroom

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From the Fraser Institute

By Tegan Hill and Paige MacPherson

74 per cent of parents in Alberta believe teachers should present both sides of controversial issues (e.g. sexuality/gender, climate change) or avoid them entirely.

With the Alberta government set to test its new draft social studies curriculum in September, a new poll reveals a clear consensus: Alberta parents of K-12 children want schools to provide balance—not bias—in the classroom. And when it comes to controversial material in schools, they want to make their own choices for their children.

Specifically, the poll (conducted by Leger and commissioned by the Fraser Institute) found that 88 per cent of Alberta parents (with kids in public and independent schools) believe teachers and the provincial curriculum should focus on facts—not teacher interpretations of those facts, which may include opinions. Only 10 per cent of Alberta parents disagreed.

Moreover, despite ongoing debates in the media and among activists about K-12 school policies, curriculum development, controversial issues in the classroom and parental involvement, according to the poll, the vast majority of parents agree on how schools should handle these issues.

For example, 74 per cent of parents in Alberta believe teachers should present both sides of controversial issues (e.g. sexuality/gender, climate change) or avoid them entirely.

An overwhelming majority of Alberta parents (86 per cent) believe schools should provide advance notice when controversial topics will be discussed in class or during formal school activities. This isn’t surprising—many parents may want to discuss these issues with their children in advance.

In fact, when controversial topics arise, about three quarters (73 per cent) of Alberta parents believe parents should have the right to remove their children from those lessons without consequence to their children’s grades. Of the minority who do not believe parents should have this right, most said “children need to learn about all topics/viewpoints, regardless of their parents’ bias.”

And almost nine in 10 Alberta parents (89 per cent) believe classroom materials and conversations about potentially controversial topics should always be age appropriate.

These polling results should help inform provincial and school-level policies around parental information, consent, school curricula and teacher curriculum guides. For instance, given that parents overwhelmingly favour facts in classrooms, curriculum guides should require the teaching of specific details (e.g. the key players, dates and context of specific historical events). Currently, teachers are allowed to interpret events based on their opinions, which means students may hear completely different interpretations depending on the particular teacher.

While the preferences of parents with kids in K-12 schools are often presented as contentious in media and politics, polling data shows a clear consensus. Parents overwhelmingly value balance, not bias. They want their kids taught age-appropriate facts rather than opinions. And they expect prior notice before anything controversial happens in their kids’ schools. According to most parents in Alberta, none of these opinions are controversial.

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