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A lot of Jason Kenney's claims about the oil and gas industry are cherry-picked, misleading or wrong – CBC.ca

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If there’s one topic Jason Kenney loves to talk about, it’s the oil industry.

And understandably so.

Oil, of course, is a major driver of Alberta’s economy. Despite tens of thousands of layoffs in recent years, the industry remains a massive employer. Until royalties shrivelled in the wake of the latest downturn, it was a substantial source of direct revenue for the provincial treasury. Hopes of ever balancing Alberta’s budget remain pinned on those royalties bouncing back, to some degree, at some point in the future.

So it’s no wonder the Alberta premier makes oil such a frequent topic of conversation.

But some of Kenney’s recent comments about the size, scale and state of the industry have raised eyebrows among people who closely follow these things. And comparing the premier’s rhetoric to the available evidence doesn’t always result in a perfect match.

Kenney has made some strong claims that, when scrutinized, appear less than accurate. When traced to their source, some of the numbers he likes to cite seem exaggerated, cherry-picked or rounded up. Others look better, however, under the light of external evidence. And much of that evidence comes from one of Kenney’s frequent foils — the federal government.

In general terms, there’s little doubt about the overall point the premier so often makes: oil continues to be a major component of not just the provincial economy but Canada’s economy as well. And despite the headwinds the industry faces, it will likely remain that way for some time to come.

The devil comes in the details. 

Here are some recent examples.

Claim: ‘Canada’s largest industry — the energy sector’

Kenney made this claim, most recently, after the federal throne speech.

In a written statement issued to the media, the premier said the speech failed to recognize “the crisis facing Canada’s largest industry — the energy sector that supports 800,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.”

There’s a lot to unpack here.

First off, the language. “Energy” and “oil” are often used interchangeably in Alberta, but Kenney’s choice of words here is important. What, exactly, does he mean by “the energy sector,” and where is he getting these numbers from?

The premier’s issues manager, Matt Wolf, referred that question to Alberta’s energy ministry, who referred detailed questions to the Canadian Energy Centre (commonly known as the “war room“), which said it took its definition of “energy” from Natural Resources Canada.

“This includes oil and gas extraction and support activities, utilities, petroleum and coal products manufacturing and pipelines, warehousing and transportation support activities, renewables and utilities,” Mark Milke, the Canadian Energy Centre’s research director, said in an email.

Specifically, he cited this section of the Natural Resources Canada website, which indeed supports Kenney’s claim about jobs: “In 2018, Canada’s energy sector directly employed more than 282,000 people and indirectly supported over 550,500 jobs.”

Add that up, and you get 832,500 jobs — slightly more than the 800,000 figure Kenney cited.

But does that make the energy sector Canada’s largest industry?

It’s more difficult to see how the premier arrives at that conclusion, as other industries employ far more people. Nearly 1.6 million people worked in the manufacturing sector last year, according to Statistics Canada data. And more than 2.8 million people worked in wholesale and retail trade.


Of course, there’s more to an industry than the number of people it employs and, in terms of productivity, fossil fuels have made an outsized contribution to the national economy. Mining, oil and gas contributed more than $200 in value added to Canada’s GDP per hour worked, according to a 2016 paper by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe, making it by “far and away the most productive sector in the Canadian economy.”

When you add up all the direct and indirect economic activity of the “energy sector” as a whole, it represented 11.1 per cent of Canada’s total GDP in 2018, according to Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Fact Book.

So does this make it Canada’s largest industry?

It’s hard to say definitively. Not only are there different ways of defining the industry; there are also different ways of measuring and reporting GDP.

According to this data from Statistics Canada and its definitions, the “energy sector” accounted for 9.4 per cent of GDP in 2018, which was less than manufacturing (10.4 per cent) and real estate (12.6 per cent). And remember, the “energy sector” includes more than just fossil fuels. Taken alone, mining and oil and gas extraction were 8.1 per cent of GDP.

Crude oil, by itself, accounted for 2.8 per cent of national GDP, according to the Natural Resources Canada accounting.

A chart outlining contributions from the ‘energy sector’ to the national economy. (Natural Resources Canada)

In the past, Kenney has often referred to oil as Canada’s largest export industry, which is certainly borne out by international trade data.

When speaking off the cuff, this could perhaps be accidentally shortened to just “industry.” But in written remarks like Kenney provided on this topic, it’s harder to see how the claim is justified.

Claim: ‘Even conservative estimates … show the global demand for oil increasing over the next 20 years’

Kenney made this claim in a recent tweet.

And on that point, Sara Hastings-Simon says the premier is simply wrong.

“That’s not what the estimates say,” said Hastings-Simon, who works as a senior researcher with the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines and a research fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

There is “obviously a lot of uncertainty” in the various models that estimate future oil demand, she said, and there is a wide range of educated guesses about when peak oil consumption will arrive.

“But if you look at the set of the most ‘conservative’ estimates — meaning, the closest the peak could be — there are estimates that the peak has already passed,” she said.

BP Energy, notably, came out with one of those estimates in mid-September. In one of three scenarios the company examined, which assumes more aggressive climate-change actions by governments around the world, 2019 marked the year the world consumed the most oil.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which Kenney has described as “the leading global think-tank on these issues,” has also come out with recent estimates which suggest peak oil could be coming soon, if it hasn’t already arrived.

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2019 outlined a future in which “oil demand growth is robust to 2025, but growth slows to a crawl thereafter.” This was under its “stated policies scenario,” which assumes “existing policy frameworks and today’s announced policy intentions” from governments around the world.

Under its “Sustainable Development Scenario,” which assumes an “unprecedented scale, scope and speed of changes in the energy landscape,” the IEA sees “a very different picture,” one in which “demand soon peaks” and drops to less than 67 million barrels per day in 2040. That’s down about 33 per cent from 2019 levels.

Kenney himself, seemed to contradict his own tweet. When he addressed the same topic in person at a press conference in late September, he selected more nuanced words.

WATCH | Kenney discusses future oil demand:

The Alberta premier talks about how much oil the world might need in the future. 0:56

“Every major expert in energy consumption projects that there will be substantial consumption and demand for oil and gas for decades to come,” Kenney told reporters.

You’ll note the different phrasing here: There’s quite a difference between decades of “substantial” consumption and decades of “increasing” consumption.

Kenney went on to acknowledge that the IEA’s “most bearish scenario” sees global oil demand shrinking substantially by 2040.

Claim: ‘The transportation sector is not where most oil is consumed’

Kenney made this claim in response to a question about how demand for Alberta oil might be affected by plans in places like California to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by as early as 2035.

“First of all, the transportation sector is not where most oil is consumed,” the premier said at the same press conference.

WATCH | Kenney discusses oil consumption:

The Alberta premier makes an assertion about how much oil is consumed for transportation purposes. 0:07

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says otherwise.

“The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of U.S. petroleum consumption,” the EIA says on its website.

To be precise, it estimates that transportation accounted for 68 per cent of end-use U.S. petroleum consumption in 2019.

In Canada, the numbers are similar. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says 65 per cent of oil is used for transportation, “including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.”

And globally, transportation accounted for the majority of liquid fuel consumption in 2018, according to data from BP Energy.

Overstating vs. underestimating

Some of these claims in the recent press conference could have been genuine mistakes. Kenney was speaking in an impromptu way, in response to a reporter’s question, at the tail end of a lengthy series of remarks. It’s harder to understand the numbers in his written statements the same way.

But even if Kenney is exaggerating some of these figures, a close look at the data makes clear the magnitude of the oil industry in Canada. And the general point the Alberta premier is trying to make is not out of line with what the federal government is doing with its own reports: both are highlighting the significant economic role the industry plays.

Natural Resources Canada isn’t the only federal organization pointing this out. Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Office released its latest economic and fiscal outlook, which included an economic damage report, of sorts, on the first half of 2020.

It blamed “the sharp contraction in the Canadian economy” on the public-health restrictions due to COVID-19 and “the record collapse in oil prices.”

Taken together, the PBO says the “pandemic and oil price shocks” are expected to have “a permanent impact on the Canadian economy,” pushing real GDP 3.6 per cent lower by the end of next year, and 1.6 per cent lower by the end of 2024, compared to its outlook from November 2019.

Oil may not be largest industry in the nation, but it’s big enough to drag down the national economy when it goes through tough times. It may not be the largest employer, but it’s the most productive. Demand for oil may not grow for much longer, but the world will almost certainly consume tens of millions of barrels daily for decades to come.

So while the Alberta premier may overstate the importance of the oil industry in Canada, it’s important to not underestimate it, either. At the same time, a realistic assessment of its future may foresee better days ahead while also expecting the best days have likely already come and gone.

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Canada reports 2,668 new cases of COVID-19, setting new daily record – Global News

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Canada added 2,668 new cases of the novel coroanvirus on Wednesday, setting a new record for highest single-day increase.

Health officials also reported 35 new fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll to 9,829.

The new infections come as health officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19, while Canada battles the second wave of the pandemic.

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In Ontario, 790 new cases of the respiratory illness were reported, and health officials said nine more people have died.

The new numbers bring the province’s total case count to 66,686 and push its death toll to 3,062.

However, 57,325 people have recovered after contracting the virus, while 4,746,972 people have been tested.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, 1,072 new cases of the coronavirus were reported, and health officials said 19 more people have died, bringing the total number of fatalities in the province to 6,074.

Since the pandemic began, 81,267 people have recovered after falling ill, while 2,861,156 tests for the virus have been administered. 

Manitoba added 135 new cases on Wednesday, and one more death.

The province, which has now reported 3,626 cases of the virus has conducted a total of 230,641 tests.

So far, 1,809 people have recovered in Manitoba.






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Fifty-seven new cases were detected in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of infections in the province to 2,496. 

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However, the death toll remained at 25 on Tuesday.

To date, 2,002 people have recovered from COVID-19 infections, while 238,013 people have been tested.

Health authorities in New Brunswick announced six new cases of the virus have been detected, for a total of 319 infections.

One more person has also died in the province, bringing the death toll to four.

Thus far, 223 people have recovered from COVID-19 in New Brunswick, while a total of 94,322 tests have been administered. 

No new cases or deaths were reported in Nova Scotia, meaning the province’s case load and death toll remained at 1,097 and 65 respectively.

Since the pandemic began, 1,027 people have recovered from the virus, and 106,979 tests have been completed.

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Prince Edward Island did not report any new coronavirus data on Wednesday, but the latest numbers released on Tuesday said a total of 64 cases have been confirmed in the province.

Of those infections, 61 are considered to be recovered.

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As of Tuesday, 42,377 tests had been administered on the Island. 

Newfoundland did not report any new cases or deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The province has seen 287 cases and four deaths so far.

Of those cases, 274 are considered resolved.

More than 49,500 tests have been conducted to date.


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Two hundred new infections were detected in British Columbia on Wednesday, setting a new provincial record for highest single-day increase.

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Health officials also said two more people had died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The province has now seen a total of 11,841 cases, and 256 fatalities.

Provincial health authorities also reported three epidemiologically linked cases, which means they have not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.

Since the pandemic began, 9,993 people have recovered from the virus in B.C., while 736,637 people have been tested.

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Alberta adds 406 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, 3 additional deaths

In Alberta, 406 new cases were identified, and health authorities said three more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 296.

Wednesday’s numbers mark a new daily high for the province, which has now seen 23,402 cases to date.

To date, 1,668,265 people have been tested for the respiratory illness.

Two new cases in the territories

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in the Northwest Territories, bringing the region’s total case load to eight.

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Five of those infections are considered to be resolved. To date, 6,000 people have been tested.

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Meanwhile, health authorities in the Yukon did not report any new cases of COVID-19.

Fifteen of the territory’s 17 cases are considered recovered and a total of 3,814 tests have been administered. 

Nunavut has not yet seen a confirmed case of the virus.

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Global cases top 41 million

The novel coronavirus pandemic hit another grave milestone on Wednesday, with the number of infections worldwide topping 41 million.

As of 8 p.m. ET, there were a total of 41,088,902 number of cases around the world, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.


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The virus, first detected in Wuhan, China late last year has claimed 1,128,701 lives to date.

The United States has been the hardest-hit by the pandemic, having reported more than 8.3 million cases.

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Over 221,000 people have died in the U.S. after testing positive for COVID-19.

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India has seen the second highest number of infections with 7,651,107 confirmed cases.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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$20 hamburgers and $2 bananas: The cost of food insecurity in Canada's North – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Remote Indigenous communities face a problem as the changing climate makes it more difficult to access traditional sources of food.

That issue, which is detailed in a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch, is exacerbated by the fact that many communities have a lack of alternatives that are both affordable and nutritious.

“It’s difficult for our people to access healthy foods,” Vern Cheechoo said Wednesday at a press conference that coincided with the report’s release.

Cheechoo works for the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents eight Cree First Nations in northern Ontario. None of the eight are connected to the province’s road network. As is the case in many northern Indigenous communities, supplies can only be brought in by ice road when the waterways are frozen over, by boat when they aren’t, or by airplane anytime.

All of these options involve significant costs, meaning retail prices in fly-in reserves rarely resemble anything seen in southern, road-connected communities.

Lorraine Netro of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation – based in Old Crow, Yukon, the only fly-in settlement in the territory – told the press conference that she recently paid $20 for one hamburger patty and $7 for three bananas.

“When we want to purchase basic staples like flour and sugar and tea, those costs are extremely high,” she said.

Most fly-in communities face high rates of poverty and low rates of employment, making the high grocery prices even less affordable. Although there are programs designed to bring food to children, seniors and others most at need, they do not necessarily provide enough food for a full, healthy diet.

“Some of these students go to school and that’s the only time they have a meal to eat,” Cheechoo said, noting that even this has not been possible this year in communities where schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUBSIDY PROGRAM PANNED

Northern grocery items are not subject to any special price regulations, but they are partially subsidized through the federal government’s Nutrition North Canada (NNC) initiative. Introduced in 2011, NNC was a replacement for a previous program known as “Food Mail,” covering fewer foods in an attempt to encourage healthier eating.

Meat, milk, eggs, bread, fruit and frozen vegetables are among the basic products subsidized under NNC. Rice, canned vegetables and soup, unsweetened juice and tea are some of the items that were covered by Food Mail but not NNC.

The program has achieved some success in keeping northern food prices from rising even higher. The federal government told Human Rights Watch that the price of a “nutritious diet” in NNC-eligible communities fell by 1.03 per cent between 2011 and 2019, while the consumer cost of similar items in the rest of Canada increased by 10.5 per cent.

Still, the program is largely disliked in the North. A search for “Nutrition North” on Twitter brings up a steady diet of criticism, interspersed with images of groceries being sold at prices that would shock many Canadians. More than 4,000 accounts retweeted one tweet from September that showed a 383-gram vegetable tray retailing for $70.

In 2016, a government report found that NNC was “not having a big enough effect on the price of food.” Modifications were made to the program in 2019, including high subsidy rates for milk, baby food and formula, and frozen fruits and vegetables.

In its report, Human Rights Watch noted another concern about NNC: that retailers essentially face “no repercussions” if they abuse the program. Although retailers are required to convert the NNC money they receive into savings for their customers, the only punishment the government has at its disposal is to kick companies out of the program for repeated misbehavior. Since most NNC participants are the only grocery stores in their communities, this would leave residents of those communities with no access at all to subsidized groceries.

“The federal government has few means of ensuring retailer compliance and lacks effective grievance mechanisms for communities,” the report states.

According to Human Rights Watch, NNC cost the federal government approximately $80 million in 2018-19. A one-time increase of $25 million was announced in April as part of the government’s COVID-19 relief package for northern communities.

However, there are a lot of steps between the government announcing funding and shoppers seeing savings at the supermarket – and many northerners feel far more is needed to steer their communities back toward healthy eating.

“[NNC] is attempting to provide funding, but it’s just a drop in the bucket,” Cheechoo said.

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Coronavirus victims: Remembering the Canadians who have died – CTV News

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The first person in Canada contracted COVID-19 in January, but it wasn’t until March that the first Canadian died from the disease.

The numbers have grown in Canada and around the world since then, each death an anonymous statistic announced in a growing daily tally.

While the loss is real for those who have lost loved ones to the disease, it is harder to fathom for Canadians not directly touched by the tragedy.

However, each statistic represents a Canadian with their own story.

These are some of the victims’ stories, as told to CTV News by family members and loved ones.

Did one of your loved ones die of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus? Help us share your memories of them, along with a favourite photo of them, to paint a fuller picture of some of the Canadian lives lost as a result of the pandemic.

Please email us the name, age, hometown, and date of death of your loved one at dotcom@bellmedia.ca, along with your name, location and contact information.

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