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Frontier Teck pulls plug on Alberta mine

The company behind a massive controversial oil sands project in northern Alberta has pulled the plug in it.

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The company behind a massive controversial oil sands project in northern Alberta has pulled the plug in it.

Teck resources said they weren’t afraid to shy away from controversy but the battle over climate change in Canada, made the project untenable.

“We are also strong supporters of Canada’s action on carbon pricing and other climate policies such as legislated caps for oil sands emissions,” said Don Lindsay
President and Chief Executive Officer of Teck Resources Limited, in a statement released Sunday night.

“The promise of Canada’s potential will not be realized until governments can reach agreement around how climate policy considerations will be addressed in the context of future responsible energy sector development.

“Questions about the societal implications of energy development, climate change and Indigenous rights are critically important ones for Canada, its provinces and Indigenous governments to work through.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny said the move came as a shock.

“Today’s announcement by Teck to withdraw its application for approval of the Frontier project, only days before the federal cabinet was set to decide whether to approve or reject it, is a grave disappointment to Albertans. Alberta has lost the opportunity for 7,000 jobs and Canada has lost the opportunity for $70 billion of dollars in new tax and royalty revenue that could have funded our generous social services over the next four decades. The project would also have produced oil cleaner than half the barrels in North America, Kenney said in a statement.

“Teck’s decision is disappointing, but in light of the events of the last few weeks it is not surprising. It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority. The timing of the decision is not a coincidence. This was an economically viable project, as the company confirmed this week, for which the company was advocating earlier this week, so something clearly changed very recently.

“Weeks of federal indecision on the regulatory approval process and inaction in the face of illegal blockades have created more uncertainty for investors looking at Canada. Teck’s predicament shows that even when a company spends more than $1 billion over a decade to satisfy every regulatory requirement, a regulatory process that values politics over evidence and the erosion of the rule of law will be fatal to investor confidence.”

“The factors that led to the today’s decision further weaken national unity. The Government of Alberta agreed to every request and condition raised by the federal government for approving the Frontier project, including protecting bison and caribou habitat, regulation of oilsands emissions, and securing full Indigenous support. The Government of Alberta repeatedly asked what more we could do to smooth the approval process. We did our part, but the federal government’s inability to convey a clear or unified position let us, and Teck, down. 

“This news deepens our government’s resolve to use every tool available to fight for greater control and autonomy for Alberta within Canada, including reinforcing our constitutional right to develop our natural resources, ensuring a sustainable future for our oil and gas industries, and restoring Canada’s reputation as a reliable place to do business.”

After the decision was announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Kenney.

“Both the Prime Minister and the Premier agreed on the importance of Canada’s natural resource sector to our economy. They discussed their commitment to developing our natural resources sustainably and creating jobs,” said Trudeau’s office in a statement.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to working with Alberta and the resource sector to keep creating good jobs and to ensure clean, sustainable growth for Canadians.

“The Prime Minister and the Premier also briefly discussed the railway blockades and the impacts they are having across the country on Canadians and the economy, and they affirmed their desire for a quick and peaceful resolution.”

Former premier Rachel Notley said Kenney only has himself to blame.

“The heated rhetoric and constant conflict generated by Jason Kenney and the UCP is the primary reason for withdrawal of Teck’s application. Jason Kenney has acted only to inflame this debate. He intentionally reduced the Teck project to a political football.
Now that project has been spiked – and the Premier himself is the one to blame.”

mackay tweet
Andrew Scheer tweet

As a result of this decision, Teck will write down the $1.13 billion carrying value of the Frontier Project.

Sonya Savage tweet

The full Teck letter to the government can be read here.

Clark tweet

–More to come

The $20.6-billion Teck mega project in northern Alberta has already been approved by the non-political regulators, but the Liberal natural resources minister has said the federal government may delay approval of the project unless Alberta drops its opposition to Ottawa’s carbon tax. Adding fuel to the fire were several Eastern Liberal MPs lobbying to kill the project outright.

Reports of an aid package for the beleaguered province appear to confirm that the federal government is seriously considering nixing the mega project, which Teck says will create 7,000 jobs and significantly add to the provinces GDP.

In place of allowing the private investment project to go ahead, federal sources say that direct government spending on infrastructure projects and well cleanup is in the mix.

Teck itself issued a statement this week saying it also hoped it would become a net-zero emitter by 2050.

The project, a “truck and shovel” oil sands mine, “will consist of surface mining operations, a processing plant, tailings management facilities, water management facilities, and associated infrastructure and support facilities,” according to a statement on the company’s website. It’s expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day.

Teck has also reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the broader Frontier project area.

The federal government has said they would give an answer on the mine before the end of February.

Federal Environment Minister Johnathan Wilkinson has hinted approval would be based on how Alberta approaches climate change.

“With respect to (Frontier), we need to look at all the environmental impacts, we obviously need to look at the economic opportunities, and we need to ensure we’re taking both into account,” Wilkinson said.

Certainly, one of those issues is how does this project fit with Canada’s commitments to achieving the reductions we are committing to (for) 2030, and the net zero commitment to 2050? I would just say again that it’s important that all provinces are working to help Canada to achieve its targets.”

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

The UCP government unveiled their industrial emitter plan, TIER (Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction system), in Bill 19, passed during the fall legislature session.

TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the carbon tax on large emitters but repealing the tax on other businesses and residents. The federal price on carbon for Albertans, excepting large emitters, came into effect January 1, 2020.

Under TIER, facilities can either reduce their emissions or; use credits from other facilities, use emissions offsets from non-regulated organizations, or pay into the TIER fund at $30 per tonne.

The Alberta government launched its challenge of federal carbon tax in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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