Alberta Politics
Vancouver blogger Vivian Krause (Photo: Facebook/Vivian Krause).

What does the UCP do now that its favourite researcher says she never thought Canadian environmental groups were being used by U.S. interests?

Posted on May 22, 2021, 2:37 am
8 mins

What is the United Conservative Party’s position, pray, about Vancouver blogger Vivian Krause’s bombshell assertion she always understood the environmental conspiracy to landlock Alberta’s oilsands she promoted so energetically had nothing to do with the U.S. oil industry advancing its interests at Canada’s expense?

Wherever it came from, the notion big American corporations and foundations were bankrolling Canadian environmental charities to achieve a market advantage over their supposedly more ethical Canadian counterparts was at the heart of premier Jason Kenney’s successful crusade to unite the right, drive the Alberta NDP from power, and restore Conservative rule in Wild Rose Country.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Whatever the UCP’s favourite researcher has been saying – and there was vigorous public discussion about that yesterday – her statement the day before that she has never accused environmental organizations of being used by U.S. interests to landlock Canadian bitumen arrived with the force of a thunderclap.

“‘No evidence’: Researcher behind ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry backs off assertion,” said the headlines on the Edmonton Journal, Toronto Star, Global News, CTV and other websites, all of which published a short, early story by the Canadian Press.

If nothing else, this certainly suggests mainstream Alberta news media, mostly sympathetic to the UCP, had always assumed the conspiracy theory originated with Ms. Krause, whose work was championed by the UCP and fossil fuel industry groups like the powerful Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Nor have major media organizations ever made much effort to debunk the theory, unlike such independent commentators as energy reporter Markham Hislop and Sandy Garossino of the National Observer.

The headline in the Globe and Mail yesterday was more cautious and nuanced: “Critics say researcher behind allegations that prompted ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry backs off from one of her major claims.” 

But while that updated version of the Canadian Press story placed Ms. Krause’s assertion “she has never accused environmental groups of being used by U.S. interests to further that country’s oil industry” right at the top, the arguments of her critics are set out clearly and fairly too.

“I certainly can’t pin that on any environmental groups,” the author quoted Ms. Krause saying.

University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski (Photo: University of Calgary).

The story then cited a tweet by University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski, asking Ms. Krause: “Since you’ve seen no evidence of $ from commercial oil interests, do you think it was fair/reasonable for you to keep making inferences to that effect?”

Indeed, the record of many statements by Ms. Krause, and many more by Mr. Kenney, other UCP politicians and sympathetic media commentators, left many Albertans with the impression that was Ms. Krause’s view.

The notion Alberta was being unfairly targeted to support the U.S. interests was precisely the theory upon which Mr. Kenney’s socalled “Public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns” was based.

Even before Ms. Krause’s unexpected statement hit the headlines yesterday, the inquiry was in disarray.

Alberta Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan (Photo: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta).

On Wednesday, Commissioner Steve Allan requested and was granted a fourth deadline extension to complete the inquiry’s work. Its final report was originally due on July 2, 2020. He was most recently expected to report on May 31. Now he will have two more months to complete the report, and the government will have three months after that to decide what to do with it.

So Ms. Krause’s statement, a bombshell whether or not she thinks it should have been, leaves the impression the whole premise for the inquiry, and Jason Kenney’s War Room as well, is unravelling like a badly knitted sweater.

Only on Wednesday did Energy Minister Sonya Savage say, “Our government promised Albertans that we would fully investigate the widely reported foreign-funded campaign to land lock our resources and we are committed to fulfilling that promise.”

“We need to shine a spotlight on the foreign source of funds behind the campaign to landlock Canadian energy,” Premier Kenney said the same day.

Premier Jason Kenney’s issues manager, Matt Wolf (Photo: Facebook).

But while assailing the CP story yesterday, Matt Wolf, the premier’s issues manager, tweeted: “The Alberta Government has not alleged that this funding was somehow part of a (sic) active conspiracy between US environmental orgs and US energy producers to hamstring competitors in Canada for their own corporate benefit.”

So what is the government saying? As many of the government’s critics have asked, if foreign fossil fuel companies are welcome to lobby for projects and policies in Alberta, how can foreign environmentalists be prevented from advocating for causes in which they believe? 

Does Mr. Wolf’s tweet represent another Kenney Government flip-flop? It is sure to be taken that way by large numbers of Albertans, including many of the UCP’s most loyal supporters.

Or is it merely tacit acknowledgement that Mr. Allan has been unable to find any evidence of the conspiracy he was charged with uncovering? 

The whole inquiry enterprise, and to a significant extent the UCP’s “Energy War Room” as well, depends on the belief there really is a foreignfunded conspiracy. Otherwise, the inquiry is nothing more than an exercise in bullying and an assault on free speech.

If the UCP is now abandoning this pretence, the foundational narrative that brought Jason Kenney to power has all the substance of a puff of smoke.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the author of the Globe and Mail’s version of the Canadian Press story. My apologies to all. DJC

30 Comments to: What does the UCP do now that its favourite researcher says she never thought Canadian environmental groups were being used by U.S. interests?

  1. Dave

    May 22nd, 2021

    Just when Kenney thought things were looking up bit. None of his remaining MLA’s criticized him or asked for his resignation in public at least in the last few days and that embarrassing public inquiry has been put off. What a bad bit of luck for him, Ms. Krause has now started to change her tune.

    One wonders what powerful forces got to her. I doubt this time it was Trudeau to blame. I somehow doubt he has much influence with her. Interestingly Kenney in one of his rare moments of support for Trudeau, actually sounded agreeable to the PM’s position on Quebec and the related constitutional issues that arose this week.

    Yes, Kenney might be hard to dislodge, but I suspect someone powerful and connected on the Conservative side has come to the conclusion that Kenney must go, if the UCP is to have any chance of being re-elected. Whoever he is, he is probably correct about that, so I expect there could be more friendly fire from somewhat surprising places over the next few weeks or months.

    Reply
  2. tom

    May 22nd, 2021

    “If the UCP is now abandoning this pretence, the foundational narrative that brought Jason Kenney to power has all the substance of a puff of smoke .”

    Could this many overweight white men be this lightweight?

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    May 22nd, 2021

    The UCP sure are good at trying to brainwash the public that there is some type of boogeyman out there, and gets flustered when there is no evidence, and wants an extension, which Albertans end up paying for. How many more extensions will the UCP need? The UCP doesn’t understand that oil is a commodity, and its price is under the control of market forces. There isn’t going to be any comeback to the $100 bbl, or more, for oil prices. Those days ended 7 years ago. Furthermore, the UCP still have to figure out how to deal with the very staggering cost of $260 billion to rectify the environmental damages done by the oil companies in Alberta, with those abandoned oil wells will be dealt with. This particular matter began with the Alberta PCs, close to 3 decades ago. The UCP also doesn’t get that the grade of oil in Alberta, is of a type that is least desired, because of the affiliated costs of extracting and refining the particular product. The UCP are quite a dysfunctional government.

    Reply
  4. Abs

    May 22nd, 2021

    Can you see the Emperor’s New Clothes? (Perish the thought.)

    Reply
  5. Sam Gunsch

    May 22nd, 2021

    To clear up all uncertainty about what evidence she has in hand, Krause could release the report she provided to the NDP back in 2019 summarizing her evidence, and according to her, that contains a legal opinion that there was a basis for lawsuits against the perpetrators of this anti-tarsands conspiracy. Krause made a big deal about challenging Notley directly as to why the NDP weren’t acting on the ‘legal’ opinion and evidence in that report in the couple months leading into the election. But no partisanship to benefit Kenney’s UCP election chances of course. Timing was just coincidental, I’m sure.

    NDP did have the GoA lawyers look at it. Saw nothing of consequence to justify suing any environmental organization or any Canadian or USA foundations making grants to enviros.

    But because the Inquiry can’t be FOIP’d, unless Krause releases that final report supposedly summarizing all her years of ‘research’ following the money, Kenney’s claim that Krause’s research was foundational to the inquiry can never be fully publicly examined.

    Regardless of how badly damaged Krause’s veracity in public opinion, if pressed, Kenney can always fall back on the story, that they have evidence, it just didn’t provide enough specifics to be the basis for lawsuits, and he can’t release anything that name groups, b/c legal rules, you know.

    But again, Krause could put everything out for public review herself. Could redact the lawyer’s names that provided an opinion to her. That’s been her only reason she’s used to deflect any challenges to her to release it.

    Total con artist propagandizing for tarsands industry and the Conservatives.

    Kenney just continued the BS that Harper started to protect the oilsands from climate critics.

    This backstory here: ‘Radicals working against oilsands, Ottawa says

    Environment groups ‘threaten to hijack’ system, natural resources minister says’

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/radicals-working-against-oilsands-ottawa-says-1.1148310

    Reply
  6. Geoffrey Pounder

    May 22nd, 2021

    What does NDP leader and former Premier Rachel Notley have to say?
    Desperate to outconservative the conservatives on pipelines, Notley’s NDP relentlessly attacked environmentalists and pipeline opponents. By the end of term, she had bought into Vivian Krause’s absurd fantasies:
    *
    1) Krause: “I have been working since July 2018 with Notley’s government to provide information and assist her team in taking the necessary steps to break the pipeline gridlock.”
    “Vivian Krause: Rachel Notley, the Rockefellers and Alberta’s landlocked oil” (Financial Post, April 12, 2019)
    https://financialpost.com/opinion/vivian-krause-rachel-notley-the-rockefellers-and-albertas-landlocked-oil
    *
    2) “Notley has already followed [Kenney’s] lead. In the past year she’s moved closer to Kenney in terms of fiercely attacking oilsands opponents, including the Trudeau government. Now Notley is also criticizing the U.S.-funded ‘tar sands’ campaign dedicated to landlocking Alberta oil by demonizing our industry.
    “‘I’m frustrated by it, of course,’ Notley says of the campaign. ‘Vivian Krause (the B.C. researcher) and people like her have done a good job of really laying bare the details of this and really showing us the degree to which this had been going on and building over time.'”
    “David Staples: Alberta needs Notley’s wisdom and Kenney’s fight to win oilsands campaign” (Edmonton Journal, 12-Apr-19)
    https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/david-staples-alberta-needs-notleys-wisdom-and-kenneys-fight-to-win-oilsands-campaign

    Reply
    • Geoffrey Pounder

      May 22nd, 2021

      Once Notley endorsed Vivian Krause wacky theories, it was no longer right-wing and no longer conspiracy theory. Notley took it mainstream.
      We no longer have a mainstream party in AB that champions science.
      We no longer have a progressive party in the NDP.
      Notley eliminated the progressive option. Taking away our last hope for real action on climate in AB.

      Why is it worse when the progressive party fails on climate?
      When Kenney denies the science, progressives reject his arguments and head in the opposite direction.
      When Notley denies the science and its implications, progressives accept her arguments, enable her climate sabotage, and follow her over the brink.
      With her pipeline hysteria, Notley led progressives astray to support oilsands and pipelines, downplay the science, and ignore IPCC warnings. Notley acolytes now embrace a denialist position.
      Something Jason Kenney cannot do.
      Notley’s brand of denialism lulls the public into a dangerous complacency and paralysis. “Progressive” denialism is more insidious than the blatant right-wing variety.

      The pre-2015 AB NDP was a force for good in opposition. The only voice of sanity on climate and energy. Notley has eliminated that option.
      Now we have zero oil industry critics in the AB Legislature. Banished to opposition benches, the NDP can say nothing about oilsands expansion, oil & gas pollution, and climate inaction — because they shilled for Big Oil in office.

      Denialism 2.0. Just as delusional as the old kind.
      “The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention” (The Narwhal, Sep 26, 2016)
      https://thenarwhal.ca/new-climate-denialism-time-intervention

      Reply
      • Bill Malcolm

        May 22nd, 2021

        An excellent summary of Notley’s stance that crystallizes all my feelings on the matter, which are nowhere near as organized as yours.

        I just know I was intellectually outraged by the sly and conniving Notley Alberta government TV ads on constant rotation here in the Maritimes. Shiny happy people, new hospitals for all Canadians, just a wonderful future to be had by all. That would be possible if we only built more pipelines to get Alberta “oil” to tidewater and supply the world, and then, ta da! with the vast amounts of money left over, why Alberta could then tackle this pesky environmental crisis head on. That was the Notley message to Canada. A non-sequitur of the first order. Sell more dilbit in order to sell less dilbit. Or something of equal intellectual dishonesty. A day late, many many billions of dollars short and vast plumes of CO2 needlessly generated when that’s the last thing we need at this stage of the world game.

        We all know kenney is totally out to lunch in every right wing sociopathic way possible, and that only his personal hide matters to him, and the hell with everyone else. His Covid stance has been a middle finger to regular citizens, and a first level sop to big business to keep the serfs’ noses to the grindstone. But as an outsider looking at the Alberta NDP, I see it as a one person show just as much as the UCP is. Who are the bright sparks on the NDP bench? Her backup go-to people? You never hear a word from them. The message is entirely Notley’s. And if she thinks oil is going to fly again in 2023 or whenever your next election is, she needs to have a radical rethink. Times have changed so that she must have actually noticed. The entire automobile industry is going electric worldwide, in essence whatever people think or whether they want it to. It has been decided, because the present way is not sustainable or close to it. I have been following the automotive industry for almost six decades as a hobby, and Albertans of all stripes are not going to roll back the sea change with loud thretening bleating and sticking their hands in the tarsands.

        Notley ruined the NDP by becoming a neoliberal in the manner of Blair doing the same to Labour in the UK, and from which copied performance Layton first started the NDP ideological slide so as to be a party that could in fact govern the country. Horgan next door is NDP in name only and a rabid fracking man wih his LNG pipe to fill to sell natural gas to precisely nobody at three times the world price, because the stuff is in eminent surplus almost everywhere. Money talks I guess, and social democracy as an governmental idea for this country is heavily diluted by their stances, and their influence on the federal NDP by the way of the existence of the intertwining of provincial and federal parties. Singh was hamstrung by Notley’s stance, and has never recovered, or even ever really got started. In fact the federal NDP is a spent force, leaving the bought and paid for neoliberal Liberals and especialy Tories to sell our country out from under us in the guise of free trade deals. under which our sovereignty in case of disputes is subsumed to oversight panels with more power than our own Supreme Court to decide what’s good for us.

        Yes, you rubbed a raw nerve with me and re-awoke memories! Well done, I appreciate it.

        Reply
        • ayeamaye

          May 23rd, 2021

          “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

          Rachel Notley is a true Albertan, bred and buttered. Last I looked Alberta is an oil producing region, the towers in downtown Calgary are a testament to oil. The NDP winning the 2015 election was nothing short of a miracle, and yes it was as much her doing as PC stumbling. Having said that,once in power you have to set aside ideology and start governing, something Jason kenney can’t seem to grasp.

          So yes, she embraced the oil industry…what else could she do? She brought in a made in Alberta carbon tax and set about shutting down coal fired power plants and for that she was met with vitriol. She brought farm labourers’ safety laws into the 20th century and was met with open rebellion from the farmers and ranchers.

          In short she tried her best with the hand she was dealt and certainly made some missteps but one thing I’m completely sure of her heart was always for the good of Alberta.

          Reply
          • Geoffrey Pounder

            May 24th, 2021

            Ayeamaye wrote: “Rachel Notley is a true Albertan, bred and buttered.”
            As am I. Being a “true” Albertan (as opposed to what?) is not license to ignore scientific realities.
            *
            Ayeamaye wrote: “you have to set aside ideology”
            Climate change and climate science are not ideologies.
            You cannot set aside the realities of climate change, global climate action, and shifting energy markets any more than you can set aside the fact that your house is burning while watching the hockey game on TV.
            *
            Ayeamaye wrote: “Last I looked Alberta is an oil producing region, the towers in downtown Calgary are a testament to oil.”
            Alberta’s “glorious” past, its declining present, not its future.
            Oil industry boosters are looking thru the rear view mirror.
            The world is changing. Either we change with it or get left behind.
            “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” (Gretzky)
            *
            AB’s oil industry is at the mercy of global oil markets. AB gets hammered every time the oil price crashes. Massive job losses. Huge holes in AB’s budget and loss of services.
            The road to prosperity does not lie in exporting increasing volumes of commodities that the world wants less and less. Export goods and services that the world wants more of.
            Building fossil fuel assets to be stranded within decades is folly. Doubling down on fossil fuels sets us up for massive economic dislocation: oil price crashes and job losses.
            Leaving our fate to global oil markets is folly. Get off the fossil fuel rollercoaster. Start building our sustainable future now — not decades from now.
            *
            “Governing” is steering the ship of state.
            Steering the ship of state onto the rocks is not good governance, regardless of political stripe.
            Policy that ignores the best-available science will inevitably collide with reality.
            Climate change calls for real solutions that work. Effective measures — not compromise. Planet Earth, CO2 molecules, and atmospheric physics do not negotiate. If our “climate leaders” fail to act on the best available science, we are lost.
            *
            With no hopes for re-election against a united Conservative party, the NDP had nothing to gain by shifting right. Stoking Albertans’ perennial resentment over pipelines and everything else under the sun only helped the UCP. Albertans who support neoliberal energy policies will just vote for the real thing.
            No one did more to fuel pipeline hysteria in this province than Notley. The same hysteria swept the NDP away in the 2019 election. No one forced that blunder on Notley.
            Facing off against a united conservative party, Notley was always a one-term premier — but her alliance with Big Oil did nothing to help the NDP. History will judge the Notley era as a setback to the progressive cause in Alberta.
            Notley was always a one-term premier. Her job was to stand up to Big Oil, reject petro-politics, put AB on the right track, and show Albertans what principled progressive govt looks like.
            *
            “If anything, [Notley] has out-Kenneyed Kenney. It is her own provincial base that will be her undoing. NDP supporters are not kind to leaders who talk progressivism on the campaign trail and then become corporate cheerleaders in office.” (Michael Harris)
            • ipolitics.ca/2018/05/24/to-avoid-a-political-divorce-singh-is-going-to-have-to-stand-up-to-notley/
            *
            Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour criticized the NDP govt on its failure to raise royalties:
            “At the heart of Mr. McGowan’s critique of the government’s announcement and the panel report that recommended it is the view it is both bad economics and bad politics. ‘Some people say the NDP have come face to face with reality. I say what happened can best be described as the government being captured by industry.’
            ‘I honestly think the government has made a profound political mistake. We don’t believe progressive governments have to become conservative to deal effectively with economic issues or to succeed politically. That’s a fallacy.
            ‘Virtually none of our concerns or suggestions are reflected in the royalty report. Those ideas were passed over in favour of a plan that could have been introduced by a PC or Wildrose government.'”
            “Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan assails Notley Government’s royalty ‘mistake’”
            https://albertapolitics.ca/2016/01/alberta-federation-of-labour-president-gil-mcgowan-assails-notley-governments-royalty-mistake/
            *
            David Climenhaga: “Indeed, the more [Notley] fights for the pipeline, the stronger Mr. Kenney seems to get because the file is seen, however wrongfully, by too many voters as a United Conservative Party strength.
            “Sounds as if the Trudeau Liberals are listening to their Natural Governing Party lizard brain, finally” (19-Feb-19)
            • albertapolitics.ca/2019/02/sounds-as-if-the-trudeau-liberals-are-listening-to-their-natural-governing-party-lizard-brain-finally/

      • Mike J Danysh

        May 23rd, 2021

        I had forgotten that Notley bought into this stupidity. Shows what happens in a place where businessmen control the narrative, and eventually control the government. Kevin Taft had words for that in 2017: “Oil’s Deep State,” Lorimer & Co. Publishers. Sadly, nothing has changed for the better.

        Reply
    • John Kolkman

      May 22nd, 2021

      Rachel Notley is the only political leader in the modern history of Alberta that has been willing to put in the hard work of defeating the Conservative hegemony in this province in 2015 and could do so again in 2023. You on the other hand have all the hallmarks of being a keyboard warrior with lots of bark but no bite.

      As David Climenhaga points out, Vivian Krause played no small part in helping Jason Kenney’s UCP defeat Rachel Notley’s NDP in the 2019 election. And you expect people to buy the proposition that Rachel Notley is somehow in Vivian Krause’s backpocket?

      Reply
      • Geoffrey Pounder

        May 23rd, 2021

        In Big Oil’s pocket, not Krause’s.
        Naomi Klein (06-Feb-18): “Alberta has a left-wing political party in power, one that has somehow convinced itself it can beat the right by being a better suck up to Big Oil.”
        No denying that Notley signed on to Krause’s conspiracy theories. Small wonder Notley’s acolytes are trying to rewrite history.

        Notley’s attempt to out-conservative the conservatives on pipelines was a gross miscalculation. The more Notley fought for pipelines, the more she fanned the flames of anger among Albertans. A pipeline project became the rallying flag for Albertans, whose sense of grievance against Ottawa burns eternal. Fuelling the right-wing rage machine. Notley’s push for pipelines won the NDP no electoral advantage. Pipeline boosters would not give Notley credit even if she built a billion pipelines.
        With her pipeline hysteria, Notley led progressives astray to support oilsands and pipelines, downplay the science, and ignore IPCC warnings. Disastrously, Notley led a sizable contingent of progressives to support Big Oil’s priorities: low royalties, new pipelines, and a “climate plan” that sabotages Canada’s climate efforts. None of these notions carried any sway among progressives before 2015.
        Notley provisionally supported Kenney’s “investment” in Keystone XL. As Premier, Notley threw billions of dollars at the fossil fuel industry, left royalties untouched, refused to investigate health concerns in the oilsands region, was silent on the industry’s gross under-reporting of emissions, and failed to fix Alberta’s Energy Regulator. Signing on to Krause’s conspiracy theories was just the cherry on the sundae.
        Kowtowing to Big Oil, adopting neoliberal energy policies, flouting science, defying the IPCC, misleading Canadians about our energy future… Is this the leadership Alberta needs in the 21st century?
        *
        JK wrote: “You on the other hand have all the hallmarks of being a keyboard warrior with lots of bark but no bite.”
        Shooting the messenger does not change the facts.
        Notley and her fellow oilsands supporters stand on the wrong side of history and science.
        John Kolkman, 01-Mar-19: “Most of the increased world oil demand will take place on the Asian continent which is what makes the Trans Mountain expansion so critical to Alberta’s economic future.”
        Another Notley acolyte betting on climate failure.

        Some call Notley “pragmatic”. Our house is on fire. “Pragmatic” is putting the fire out.
        Notley’s oil-soaked “pragmatism” foundered on delusion and denial. “The most aggressive climate plan in the country” (Notley) would boost AB’s emissions with no end in sight. Notley’s policies exclude the only rational sane responses to our global emergency — reduce emissions and stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.
        Oilsands expansion and new pipelines are not “pragmatic” politics — just plain lunacy. Doesn’t matter what your policies are on farm labor, GSAs, childcare, etc. If you’re not progressive on climate, you’re not progressive.

        Notley & Co. are betting that the world will fail to take real action on climate change. The only scenario in which oilsands expansion makes sense. Our “climate” leaders — Trudeau, Notley, and Horgan — are banking on failure. Their path to climate progress runs through a massive spike in fossil-fuel combustion and emissions. Complete disconnect from the science.
        NDP voters need to get off the fence. Heed reality or not. Act on the science or not. Meet our climate targets or not.
        No middle road. No compromise.

        Reply
        • John Kolkman

          May 24th, 2021

          Geoffrey, your uncompromising stance against fossil fuels is out of step with that of the vast majority of Albertans. That’s fine for a keyboard warrior but not for a politician like Notley who aspires to govern rather than be a voice in the wilderness.

          Reply
          • Geoffrey Pounder

            May 24th, 2021

            “Notley who aspires to govern”
            How did that work out? On which side of the Legislature is she sitting?

            Notley’s support for fossil fuels is out of step with that of the vast majority of climate scientists, the IPCC, the Int’l Energy Agency, shifting global energy markets, environmentalists, ordinary Canadians and Albertans concerned about their grandchildren’s future, the survival imperative, and common sense.
            That’s folly for a keyboard warrior, but reckless, irresponsible, and immoral for a politician like Notley who aspires to govern in the best interests of this and future generations rather than be a shill for the sunset oilsands industry. The 21st century demands leaders with foresight, vision, courage. Climate change calls for policies based on the best-available science.
            If you are not going to provide the leadership the province desperately needs, why did you run for public office?

            Notley’s NDP received a mandate for change in 2015. On the energy/climate front, Notley largely turned her back. Reneged on NDP platform promises of climate leadership; “a fair share” for Albertans on royalties; and opposition to new export pipelines like Keystone XL. (With “climate leaders” like Notley, Horgan, and Trudeau, we don’t need obstructionists or deniers.) Notley put Big Oil’s agenda ahead of the public interest.
            – Chief Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation: “The talk around our table is that the NDP government is just another platform of the previous Conservative government with a different logo. Nothing has changed.”
            – Former AB Liberal leader Kevin Taft: “Through her whole career and her whole party, up until they became government, [Notley and the NDP] were very effective critics, counterbalances to the oil industry. As soon as she stepped into office, as soon as she and her party became government, they’ve simply became instruments of the oil industry.”
            – Eriel Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation: “Current government leaders, Notley and Trudeau, were both elected on platforms of environmental reform, action on climate and the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples (including the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples UNDRIP). However, since taking office their election promises have fallen flat.”

            The NDP’s progressive base would have supported strong climate action — a climate plan that actually reduced emissions; a just transition for oilsands workers; a plan to manage the decline of the fossil fuel industry instead of hitting the wall. A plan for getting off the oilsands roller-coaster instead of lining up for tickets to future oil price crashes.
            Rural Albertans and the denialist, pro-pipeline, fossil-fuel expansionist, neo-liberal, corporate right were never going to vote for Notley, anyway. Delusional to think otherwise.
            Notley’s about-face dealt a massive blow to the progressive movement in Alberta, without advancing the NDP’s electoral interests or securing a second term. A gross miscalculation.

    • Anne Wilson

      May 23rd, 2021

      Ugh, I read the Financial Post article. It’s loony. Krause says those things, sure, but that’s her opinion. I don’t think she was “working” with the Notley government in the way we normally think work is done. I won’t read the Staples article. He’s not credible

      Reply
  7. Just Me

    May 22nd, 2021

    Questionable credentials and decidedly partisan messaging that didn’t stand up to closer scrutiny, it was apparent to me from the beginning that Krause was running a drift. And it’s this grift that gave the UCP cover to spend millions (and likely billions) in response to the false narrative that there was this widespread conspiracy to takedown Alberta’s fossil fuel industry.

    The reality has come home so starkly even the fossil fuel industry cannot avoid their comeuppance.

    And how can you tell when Matt Wolf is lying? He’s breathing or eating.

    Reply
  8. ronmac

    May 22nd, 2021

    In the last little while she had been tweeting nice things about Greta Thunberg, admiring her courage and conviction, etc. Which must have caused her support base to gag. Maybe she was put off all the attacks on Greta by her supporters, many of which were downright nasty. She has a daughter roughly the same age so that hit close to home. Maybe she thought it was time to back away from this gang of crazies.

    Reply
  9. Bruce Turton

    May 22nd, 2021

    Never ceases to amaze me that Albertans of many political stripes refuse to see what is happening in the rest of the world. Canadian government has proposed that plastics be deemed “toxic”, much to the chagrin of Exxon, Dow, and a lot of others – including our local NDP who were/are thrilled with the new plastics industry they helped inaugurate a few years ago with great fanfare about the huge tower that was shipped to site in the province.
    The IEA has reported that all fossil fuels need to be left in the ground – not an organization prone to subvert fossil fuel interests over the past decades – more a cheerleader, though all too often wrong in their prognostications.
    And there is still the little thing about the API density/specific gravity rating of bitumen – rated at between 8 and 10, which is right in there with tar used for paving which rates at 9.
    And why is it that recent Alberta governments complain about what the federal Liberals do “to” us when that ‘champion of environmental concerns’ JT, et al, are giving us a tidewater pipeline (through the good graces of $$$’s from our own pockets)?
    Quite obvious that denial of a future for the next several generations following the profligacy of boomers (guilty) and their kids through continued excessive extraction of resources that generate climate disruption is still in all-out assault mode.

    Reply
    • ayeamaye

      May 23rd, 2021

      Please, enough of the “Bitumen” or the “Dilbit”. We are producing synthetic crude oil. Thus the multi billion dollar upgraders that are built. Delayed coking units, fluidizing cokers, hydrogen reactors, vacuum distillation towers, sulpur plants, hydrocrackers, gasifiers, cyclopacs, inclined plate separators, etc. etc. etc. Bitumen is what they dig out of the ground. Dilbit is an intermediate product used in the plants. Does anyone think they invested billions on these plants to produce and ship “DILBIT”. It is synthetic crude oil, just as good and just as dirty as regular oil ( ok a little dirtier) and alot cheaper than regular oil. The Americans loved it. The PC’s were just about giving it away.

      Reply
      • Geoffrey Pounder

        May 24th, 2021

        Most of the details in ayeamaye’ comment are incorrect:
        1) Upgraded bitumen or synthetic crude oil (SCO) — a light crude oil — accounted for 38% of total oilsands production in 2019.
        Non-upgraded bitumen (dilbit, diluted bitumen) accounted for 62%.
        SCO’s share has been falling over the years, while non-upgraded bitumen’s share has been rising.
        *
        “Products from the Oil Sands: Dilbit, Synbit and Synthetic Crude Explained”
        https://www.oilsandsmagazine.com/technical/product-streams
        “Oil sands facilities produce one of two products: either a heavy marketable diluted bitumen (commonly referred to as Dilbit), or a light synthetic crude oil. Dilbit is a heavy sour crude, while synthetic crude is a light sweet oil, produced only through bitumen upgrading. Both are sold to refineries for conversion into final products.”
        *
        “Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO) is a LIGHT sweet crude produced through the upgrading of bitumen. SCO is typically a blend of naphtha, distillate, and gas oil streams from the hydrotreater. The term ‘synthetic’ distinguishes upgraded bitumen from conventional crude, although the two streams are chemically identical.” (Oilsands Magazine)
        —————–
        2) The oilsands has been exporting increasing volumes of non-upgraded bitumen (dilbit) to U.S. heavy-oil refineries. Dilbit, not SCO, is the main crude product exported to U.S. heavy-oil refineries.
        “A majority of Alberta’s crude exports are sold as Dilbit, mostly originating from the province’s in-situ operators.
        “…As a general rule, most bitumen produced by mining is upgraded into light synthetic crude prior to being sold to refineries, while output from in-situ facilities is mostly diluted with condensate and sold directly to market without upgrading.” (Oilsands Magazine)
        *
        “Going forward, in-situ bitumen production is expected to dominate growth in the oil sands, adding to the volumes of diluted bitumen produced.
        “As a result, the fraction of Alberta bitumen upgraded into light synthetic crude has fallen from a high of about 60% in 2007 to about 35% in 2019.” (Oilsands Magazine)
        —————–
        3) SCO is not “a lot cheaper than regular oil”. As a light sweet crude that can be processed by any refinery, SCO sells at a considerable premium to heavy oil (including dilbit). SCO is sold at a slight discount from global WTI and Brent benchmarks.
        https://oilprice.com/oil-price-charts/
        *
        “…crudes produced in Western Canada trade in reference to the West Texas (WTI) benchmark. Both Western Canadian Select and Canadian Light trade at a discount to WTI. Some streams, such as Syncrude’s Sweet Premium Blend, will typically trade near-par with WTI, or even at a small premium.” (Oilsands Magazine)

        Reply
        • Geoffrey Pounder

          May 24th, 2021

          P.S. “In 2019, about half of Alberta’s light synthetic crude oil (upgraded bitumen) was exported to the US. In contrast almost 95% of the province’s heavy diluted bitumen is sold to US refineries. As heavy oil production from the oil sands continues to increase through the next decade, volumes of heavy oil exports to the US are also expected to rise.” (Oilsands Magazine)

          Reply
  10. GregH

    May 22nd, 2021

    Maybe Mr Allen will bite the bullet and come out with an honest report that summarizes all the pro-oil and anti-oil narratives and explain how this whole political mess was a construct with no evidence behind it? Still won’t be worth $3.5 million, but we might look back on this episode and say, “He did the right thing”.

    Reply
  11. Mike J Danysh

    May 23rd, 2021

    “I never said that.” “Yes you did.” “No I didn’t.” “Did too.” “Didn’t!” Did!!” “Did NOT!!!”

    Makes me wonder what’s changed this year, from June 2019 when Krause was quoted by Pipeline News magazine. Jason Kenney leaned HARD on the whole conspiracy theory in his run-up to the 2019 election. Now Matt Wolf is saying he didn’t? (Repeat opening argument, in voices suitable to 8-year old boys in a playground spat.)

    As usual, I doubt this will have much effect on Kenney’s Old Base, those who are left. If he finds a New Base, it may be more significant. Honestly, I can’t guess which way this will go. The only thing I’m sure of is, most guys whose paycheque comes from the oilpatch will shrug it off and go back to work.

    What else can they do? They gotta eat, and there just aren’t enough jobs elsewhere to absorb the roughly 170,000 people in the patch. (See the report here: https://centreforfuturework.ca/2021/01/18/employment-transitions-and-the-phase-out-of-fossil-fuels/ .) Kenney’s jobs transition plan is unlikely to be enough.

    Albertans have such a poor sense of history that Kenney can probably get away with this about-face by simply acting like it never happened. At least, until the G7 begin to consciously wean themselves off fossil fuels.

    Canada and the other G7 countries have reaffirmed their commitment to reaching “net-zero carbon” by 2050—which means we have to burn less stuff. The Kingdom of Oilberduh is in trouble, and the peasants will be revolting soon. By 2030, global action to curb carbon pollution will be hurting us here. The next government, whatever its label, will have to either prop up the oil industry AGAIN—or cut them loose. We’re in for a wild ride.

    Reply
  12. Bob Raynard

    May 23rd, 2021

    This whole public inquiry fiasco is destined to become a case study in a political science class of what can go wrong with unfettered populism. Right wing columnists and commentators, too lazy to examine Ms. Krause’s blog claims carefully, convince the old guys in small town coffee shops, and laid off oil workers in a bar, that there is a conspiracy. Mr. Kenney picks up on the outrage, and promises to do something about it, in the form of a war room and a public inquiry. It then goes over really well when Kenney speaks to groups conservative enough to be motivated to come out to his revival meetings. Jason, who (then anyway), believed Albertans were all the pick-up driving stereotypes he has in his head, made it part of his election platform. At that point he was pretty much obligated to proceed with this political embarrassment.

    In retrospect he really would have been better off to simply promise to look into forming a war room and a public inquiry, so he could weasel out if it later. I would argue that he had already locked up the vote of people who would be influenced by promises of a war room and inquiry, even before he made the promise.

    I am really surprised no one posted this link already:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/steve-allan-donna-kennedy-glans-inquiry-regrets-1.6036780

    Reply
    • Abs

      May 23rd, 2021

      He’s almost a bit player in this whole charade, the puppet to the puppeteer. He is a well-paid puppet, though.

      Reply
  13. Simon Renouf

    May 23rd, 2021

    Of course Kenney and his proxies argued that ENGOs were financed by US “big oil” You only have to go back 3 months to find this column by Postmedia’s sportswriter/politics guru Dave Staples:

    ‘Tar sands’ campaign makes its biggest kill just as Alberta inquiry into it bogs down: February 5, 2021

    “It came as a major shock then when we found out, mainly through the work of meticulous Vancouver researcher Vivian Krause, that many of the green activists were actually paid by wealthy American funds dedicated to land locking Alberta oil.

    Krause, whose work has been praised by the NDP’s Rachel Notley, now estimates that 10 U.S. foundations have spent $750 million targeting Canadian pipelines and promoting conservation lands since 2000.

    The real story, evidently, is Goliath vs Goliath.

    Krause is fine with major donors like the Rockefeller family of New York spending millions in Canada or the U.S. on environmental protection, but objects to the secrecy and denials about the tar sands campaign donations and the lies spread about the oilsands, such as the oilsands producing vastly more emissions and using up vastly more land than it actually does.

    There are also questions about the motives of the U.S. foundations, and whether one of their goals is to target Canadian energy companies in favour of U.S. energy.”

    Reply
    • Keith McClary

      May 23rd, 2021

      “such as the oilsands producing vastly more emissions … than it actually does.”

      Who is doing that? Can you give an example?

      Reply
      • Geoffrey Pounder

        May 24th, 2021

        “the lies spread about the oilsands, such as the oilsands producing vastly more emissions”
        That line is from David Staples’ article in The Edmonton Journal.
        *
        As numerous studies based on actual air measurements attest, Canada’s oil & gas industry grossly under-estimates its emissions — of all types. The industry’s emission stats are fiction.
        A 2019 study, published in Nature, stated that CNRL’s Horizon and Jackpine mines averaged 37% higher emissions than reported.
        “Oilsands CO2 emissions may be far higher than companies report, scientists say”
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/oilsands-carbon-emissions-study-1.5106809
        *
        “Measured Canadian oil sands CO2 emissions are higher than estimates made using internationally recommended methods” (Nature Communications, 23 April 2019)
        “The results indicate that CO2 emission intensities for OS facilities are 13–123% larger than those estimated using publically available data. This leads to 64% higher annual GHG emissions from surface mining operations, and 30% higher overall OS GHG emissions (17 Mt) compared to that reported by industry.”
        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09714-9
        *
        Methane, VOC, and SOA emissions as measured by airborne instruments are far higher than the oil & gas industry’s reported estimates. Every one of these studies reports actual emissions higher than reported.
        *
        “Methane emissions from oil and gas operations around Red Deer, Alta., in November, 2016, were 15 times higher than the levels that they reported to the provincial govt, says a study in the journal, Elementa.”
        “Accuracy of methane leak reporting in Alberta clouds scope for new regulations” (Globe and Mail, Mar 22, 2018)
        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/accuracy-of-methane-leak-reporting-in-alberta-clouds-scope-for-new-regulations/article38317582/
        *
        “New research suggests industry and govt are badly underestimating AB’s emissions of one of the most potent GHGs.
        “AB could be underestimating releases of methane by as much as 50%.
        “Currently, industry is only required to report how much methane is released during flaring and venting. Fugitive emissions from equipment such as leaky valves have only been estimated.
        “But fugitive emissions —currently unregulated — account for 94% of released methane.”
        ‘If we thought it was bad, it’s worse:’ Alberta methane releases underestimated” (CBC, Oct 17, 2017)
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-methane-releases-underestimated-1.4358059
        *
        Chan et al., “Eight-Year Estimates of Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Western Canada Are Nearly Twice Those Reported in Inventories”, Environ. Sci. Technol., Nov 10, 2020
        https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.0c04117
        *
        Dave Risk heads the FluxLab at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia: “I know without a doubt that scientists in Canada and abroad have known probably for 20 years… that emissions were underestimated.”
        “FluxLab’s latest paper, which involved measurements at 6,500 sites, found that Cda’s methane emissions are about one-and-a-half times the official estimate.
        “Another report just last year, by the govt’s own scientists, found that methane emissions are about double the official estimate. That study relied on measuring methane in the atmosphere across the country.”
        “Canada’s methane emissions are likely undercounted, and that makes them harder to cut” (CBC, Apr 15, 2021)
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/methane-emissions-undercounted-1.5987246
        *
        “Alberta’s oilsands industry is a huge source of harmful air pollution, study says” (CBC, May 25, 2016)
        “Alberta’s oilsands industry is one of the biggest sources in North America of harmful air pollutants called secondary organic aerosols (SOAs), a new Environment Canada study has found.
        “…That would make Alberta’s oilsands either the largest or second largest source of SOAs in Canada, and one of the top 10 in all of North America.
        “…What surprised us…was the magnitude.”
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/oilsands-soas-1.3599074
        *
        “Scientists invent more accurate way to measure oilsands pollution” (CBC, April 24, 2017)
        “Federal govt scientists say they have devised an accurate way to directly measure air pollutants (VOCs) from oilsands mines and suggest industry estimates for certain harmful emissions have been much too low.
        “The amount of overall VOCs measured on the flights wound up being two to 4.5 times higher than figures companies reported to Environment Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory.”
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-oilsands-pollution-testing-1.4083701

        Reply
        • Keith McClary

          May 26th, 2021

          OK. I misunderstood that you were quoting that part. (Thanks for the links.)

          Their claims about reduced CO2 emissions per barrel are also misleading.
          1) Much of the emissions come from upgrading and refining. AB is exporting proportionately more unrefined bitumen, so emissions in AB are lower (But the Americans know that the refining emissions will occur in Texas and count as US emissions.).
          2) Their claimed CO2 emissions are per-barrel, but they don’t tell us that it is not per-barrel of bitumen, it is per-barrel of “dilbit” (bitumen diluted 30% with condensate), which explains why their per-barrel numbers much lower.

          Reply

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