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PM Trudeau, time to show us your cards – Canada's National Observer



Canada’s National Observer columnist Max Fawcett’s recent piece on the Trudeau Liberals’ discussion paper for a proposed oil and gas emissions cap drew some interesting comments from industry on the difficulty of meeting the government’s targets. Fawcett summarizes, “They can’t afford to reduce their emissions as quickly as the federal government would like — and might not be able to do it at all.”

Of course, that was clear right from the start when the federal government’s recent much-ballyhooed 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan assumed a 31 per cent reduction from 2005 levels for the oil and gas sector by 2030. That required a reduction of almost 45 per cent in just eight years from today (in pre-pandemic 2019, we were 19 per cent above the 2005 level).

Who would think that was possible? I’d suggest nobody, including the government. But to meet our PM’s latest COP26 promises, that’s the kind of number that was necessary for the arithmetic to work.

A close reading of the discussion paper on the oil and gas emissions cap also raises a fundamental question about the future of Canada’s refining industry, a subsector of oil and gas that doesn’t get much attention. Refining makes up 10 per cent of our national oil and gas sector’s GHG emissions, the paper points out. And it raises questions about whether the cap on emissions will apply to refining as well as actual oil and gas production.

If refineries are included, this could spark some companies to shut down a refinery to avoid dealing with the difficulties of having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oilsands production. So a refinery in Ontario or Quebec could be sacrificed to avoid dealing with oilsands emissions, a much harder venture. Suncor and Imperial Oil would be perfectly poised to do just that because they have large bitumen mining operations and also own refineries in Eastern Canada.

Shuttering refineries sounds bad, doesn’t it? Think of the job losses, you might say. But aren’t we supposed to be reducing our demand for gasoline and diesel as part of this whole green shift? No company that owns refineries is going to invest hundreds of millions or billions in a refinery only to be shuttered a few years later when demand peters out.

The way a company avoids those costs is to shut down a refinery before an investment is required and import the gasoline, diesel and other products it needs for sale and no longer produces.

There are precedents for exactly this — for example, in 2003, Petro-Canada shut down its Oakville operation to avoid investing for an impending low sulphur gasoline regulation. We’ve been closing our refineries in Eastern Canada for decades while increasing petroleum product imports, most recently, Imperial’s Dartmouth refinery in 2013 and before that, Shell’s Montreal refinery in 2010.

The government owes the public and industry an outlook on how fast demand for petroleum products like gasoline and diesel is going to disappear in this country because this drop in demand determines how soon refineries will start disappearing to avoid large investments with short lives, particularly in Eastern Canada where it’s easier to import than the Prairies.

All of this has implications for a very hot issue right now. And that’s Enbridge’s Line 5.

Opinion: Canada’s proposed cap on oil and gas emissions raises questions about the future of refineries and the Line 5 pipeline, writes Ross Belot for @NatObserver.

The state of Michigan wants to shut down Line 5 because it has safety concerns about the 69-year-old line and Canada is arguing the line must remain open. One reason we care about Line 5’s existence here in Canada is this 540,000 barrel-a-day pipeline feeds Canadian and U.S. light crude to refineries in Ontario and Quebec. If our GHG reduction plan necessitates closing refineries in Ontario and Quebec, the rationale for keeping Line 5 open completely shifts.

We’re arguing we need Line 5. But we haven’t ever said for how long. A recent expert report commissioned by Enbridge surprisingly says it would cost Canadian consumers only one American penny per gallon more if the import infrastructure was put in place and the pipeline was shut down.

That implies in the medium-term we could manage with imported products and reduce refining in Eastern Canada. Long term, we aren’t supposed to need those refineries you’d have to assume, given the green shift.

Our government owes industry and the public an answer on the expected decline in demand for petroleum products in Eastern Canada consistent with our COP26 commitment. We can only hope Michigan can force the answer. The Trudeau government, it seems, is too busy making up unattainable targets and can’t bother telling us what the coming transition is really going to do to our industries and the associated jobs.

Perhaps, the government really thinks not much is going to change, that this is all just a PR exercise.

You see, the Trudeau government has set its targets many years out and nothing has actually changed. A lot of sound and fury but no real progress. Now 2030 is drawing near, and the federal government has published more detailed plans with unrealistic targets. The oil and gas business is not going to see a 45 per cent reduction in emissions in the next eight years.

So, tell us, prime minister, when are the refineries in Eastern Canada going to start shutting down? Because that’s a real indicator that serious change is going to happen. Until you tell us what your government really expects, I don’t think we can believe what you say about the commitments you’ve made.

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Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News



Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia



OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators



OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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