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NDP bill would turn off taps for CPP investments in oil and gas sector

Bill C-231 would prohibit CPP from investing in Canada’s oil and gas sector

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A private member bill currently in Parliament would see an end to the investment of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) funds in oil and gas companies, on the basis of environmental rights issues.

Bill C-231: “An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act (investments)” was originally introduced on February 26 by NDP MP Alistair MacGregor, of Vancouver Island.

It underwent its second reading on December 27.

The Bill describes the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) as, “a major pillar of Canada’s retirement income system and the Canada Pension Plan fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.”

It goes on to say, “… whereas Canada, having a long history as a defender of human rights and freedoms, is committed to promoting responsible business practices and holding to account those who violate human, labour and environmental rights,” CPP policy will be amended such that, “no investment may be made or held in an entity if there are reasons to believe that the entity has performed acts or carried out work contrary to ethical business practices…”

Conservative MP and Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre was less than impressed.

“Bill C-231, on the surface, appears to be a noble attempt to direct our pension funds exclusively towards the common good. But the old adage is that ‘the how is even more important than the what’, and the devil is in the details. Because the Honourable Member who proposes this Bill is afraid of the devil, he has avoided the details altogether,” said Poilievre.

“The amendment would create a new requirement… that the investment policy standards and procedures, taking into account the environmental, social and governance factors shall provide that no investment be made or held in an entity if there are reasons to believe that the entity has performed acts or carried out work contrary to ethical business practices, including the commission of human, labour or environmental rights violations,” Poilievre told the House.

“What is meant by all the terminology that the Member puts in, but does not define?” asked Poilievre, “We don’t know what is meant because the Member does not tell us.”

“Environmental violations. Well, this particular Member has written that it would be a violation to invest in oil and gas companies.”

This would ban the CPP from investing in Canada’s largest exporting industry.

The CPP Investment Board has said the 10 biggest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange would be banned from CPP under the Bill.

Ken Grafton is the Western Standards Ottawa Bureau Chief. He can be reached at kgrafton@westernstandardonline.com

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. UnLiberal

    December 31, 2020 at 8:22 am

    How about we do a trial run on Vancouver Island? Of course it will be the task of anyone to decide what is a violation of the various “rights” quoted! I wouldn’t think the trial would last through the winter when the Honourable member’s constituents realized that being unable to use fossil fuels can really suck!

  2. Charles Martell III

    December 30, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    No one of course has thought to think this through . . . .
    Without fossil fuels everything stops . . . no trucks bring food to the big cities, no plastics, no fabric for clothes, no medicine, no air travel & no gas to heat your home.

    So what happens in the Green Paradise?
    Millions in big cities are no longer able to feed themselves and die in the first few months . . .
    Dogs & Cats are now on the menu . . .
    Forests are cut down for wood to heat homes . . .
    after a year of this the country looks just like a 3rd world country . . .

    The Globe runs on fossil fuels . . . and will for the forseeable future . . .
    Windmills & Solar panels will never replace them . . . we have enough oil for over 100 years in Canada & enough Natural Gas for 200 years . . . by the time we use that up someone will have invented the “Dilithium Chrystal” . . . to power everything . . . but it won’t be the Government or the likes of our idiot Prime Minister & his Enviro-nazi friends.

  3. That's Dr. #SAND to you...

    December 30, 2020 at 6:43 am

    How about banning CPP investments in Ontario’s auto industry or quebec’s aerospace industry?
    Do airplanes use fossil fuels?

  4. ninetyninepct

    December 29, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    The hundreds of millions of dollars in the ensuing shortfall will be made up by seizure of the assets of all NDP members and supporters, both Federal and Provincial. Bank accounts, employment earnings, vehicles, pensions and real estate will all be confiscated as needed and given to real Canadians.

    I could easily see NDP MP Alistair MacGregor investing millions in solar power in the Arctic, hoping to put the profits back into the CPP. DUH. There is a reason he is an NDP.

  5. Charles Martell III

    December 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Something this foolish could only come from the NDP or Justin Trudope . . .

    They are probably all on board with investing in Solar & Wind Scams . . . that have short, Govt Subsidized lifespans and never make nickel one!

    • That's Dr. #SAND to you...

      December 30, 2020 at 6:44 am

      Thank the brain dead sponges that voted for them.
      The dumbest politician is of little danger until the idiots elect them.

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Energy

WITTEVRONGEL: The oil and gas industry is helping rein in Alberta’s deficit. Can it also help lower GHGs?

“If we want to have a chance of hitting this ambitious target, we need to shift the narrative from blaming the oil and gas industry to embracing it as an integral part of the solution.”

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Alberta’s expected deficit will be less than half what was projected in February, largely thanks to the rebound of the oil and gas industry. Expanded oilsands production, improved oil prices, and increased oil and gas investment have resulted in higher than anticipated resource revenues. In fact, the province’s revised royalty estimates are now triple the original sums.

While the oil and gas industry steps in and once again saves Alberta, the forecasted resource revenue is being called too high to be sustainable. In addition, the serendipitous rebound occurs as we emerge from Canada’s “infernal summer,” with many calling for decisive action on climate change.

Given the federal government’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, we must consider how and where the oil and gas industry fits into that. While some are more than happy to see the entire sector go up in flames, others have a more nuanced vision of the future. With its technology, resources, and infrastructure, the industry is actually uniquely situated to not only play its part in a low-emission future, but to lead.

Capturing carbon

While the Canadian oil and gas sector contributes only about 0.3% of overall global GHG emissions, and work is well underway to develop more renewable energy sources for consumption, there are other high-emitting industries like steel and cement that lack viable options for reducing emissions. Therefore, without some form of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), net-zero seems unrealistic. 

CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide and, if not used on site, often transporting it (by pipeline) to be used elsewhere or injected into geological formations for permanent storage so it does not re-enter the atmosphere. The oil and gas industry, with its expertise, pipelines, and other infrastructure, is best positioned to lead in this area. In fact, the same formations we extract oil and gas out of can store CO2, deep in the ground.

In recent years, some of the world’s largest and most advanced carbon capture projects have been developed in Alberta. With a promised federal investment tax credit for CCUS slotted to take effect in 2022, this is an opportune time to expand and grow CCUS potential.

In addition, the much-vilified Alberta oilsands are in close proximity to Canada’s Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, offering a world-class opportunity for permanent carbon storage. 

CCUS fits into the broader circular economy model for mitigating emissions. The four Rs of the circular carbon economy—reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove—were endorsed at the G20 Energy Ministers meeting in 2020 as being “a holistic, integrated, inclusive, and pragmatic approach to managing emissions.” As such, CCUS has a part to play in a resilient, sustainable system.

Reducing net GHG emissions to zero by 2050 is going to be a challenge. If we want to have a chance of hitting this ambitious target, we need to shift the narrative from blaming the oil and gas industry to embracing it as an integral part of the solution. 

Guest Column by Krystle Wittevrongel, Public Policy Analyst at the Montreal Economic Institute www.iedm.org

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Energy

Deal sees Alberta becoming half owner of the Sturgeon Refinery

North West Refining will be paid $425 million to forego future tolling revenue and for its 50% equity stake. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which owns the other 50% of the refinery, will also be paid $400 million.

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The Alberta government now owns 50% of the troubled Sturgeon Refinery.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said yesterday the move should free up $2 billion for provincial coffers.

“We are taking action to get a better deal for taxpayers and reducing long-term costs. This agreement provides more economic certainty which will benefit Albertans today and into the future. We look forward to our renewed arrangement with the refinery’s operator, the North West Redwater Partnership, in the years to come,” Savage said in a release.

Under the deal, the government is transferred a 50% ownership interest in the refinery previously held by North West Refining.

The government made the switch after reviewing contracts the Sturgeon Refinery signed with former premier Ed Stelmach’s government in 2011.

The Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Lacey, wasn’t happy with the deal.

“The government is just trying to dig themselves out of bad contracts they signed in the past. We expect our government to run schools, hospitals and keep our taxes low, they should not be involved in the energy business,” Lacey told the Western Standard.

“Alberta needs our government to support our energy sector, yes, but it should not be directly involved in the industry. Let the politicians run the government and business people run businesses.”

With the deal, North West Refining will be paid $425 million to forego future tolling revenue and for its 50% equity stake. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which owns the other 50% of the refinery, will also be paid $400 million.

“This process will not cost taxpayers any additional funds than the government would otherwise be obligated to pay as a toll payer,” said a government release.

“Through the agreement, the government is able to capture the value of processing bitumen as both a toll payer and facility owner.

“This plan improves the government’s net present value for the refinery by approximately $2 billion over the life of the project. Net present value is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over a period of time.”

The government said the agreement also frees up $1 billion in cash flow over the next five years because additional cash flow is a result of the restructuring.

The agreement includes a 10-year extension of the processing agreement to 2058.

“With this optimization, the government has an equal vote in the control of the refinery to which it is the majority toll payer. Canadian Natural will provide operational leadership to North West Redwater Partnership,” said the government.

The Sturgeon Refinery is designed to process approximately 79,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands into higher-value products like low-carbon, low-sulphur diesel, vacuum gas oil, diluent and natural gas liquids.

It was set to originally cost $5.4 billion but was completed last year at a cost of close to $11 billion.

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

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Energy

WAGNER: The partnership rooted in faith that built the oil sands

“Ernest Manning’s enthusiasm for the development of the oil sands helped to attract Pew’s investment, and their shared Christian commitment cemented a partnership that proved beneficial for the entire province.”

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The two men most responsible for the commercial development of Alberta’s oil sands were Ernest Manning and J. Howard Pew. Ernest Manning, of course, was Alberta’s premier for 25 years, and Pew was a long-time president of Sun Oil (later known as Sunoco), a company co-founded by his father Joseph Newton Pew in 1886. These two men had a common spiritual bond that contributed to their successful relationship, facilitating their cooperation on the development of the oil sands.

The opening of Alberta’s oil sands is one of the events covered in Darren Dochuk’s 2019 book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America. Dochuk is a history professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, but he was born and raised in Edmonton. He is no stranger to Alberta and its history.

Beginning in the 1920s, attempts were made to commercially extract usable products from the oil sands, but they were mostly unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Manning saw the potential they held and continued to search for an investor. Pew was interested and saw the oil sands as a resource that could help provide North American energy security. Sun Oil Vice-President Clarence Thayer shared Pew’s perspective.

As Dochuk writes, “Impelled by Thayer and his own obsession with the oil sands, in 1962 Pew committed a quarter of a billion dollars to the creation of Great Canadian Oil Sands.” 

Dochuk adds, “Pew and Manning would manage this investment together over the coming years, as business partners and fellow believers.”

That “fellow believers” bit is important. Manning was known across much of Canada as the radio evangelist for Back to the Bible Hour, and he was also recognized in American evangelical circles. For instance, Manning spoke on behalf of evangelist Billy Graham and wrote for Graham’s periodical. Pew was also heavily involved in conservative evangelical causes, and was even known for a time as “God’s bankroller” due to his financial support of those causes. Pew was as conservative in politics as he was in religion, and prominently supported Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, which was a watershed moment for the conservative movement to take decisive control over the Republican Party. 

Construction of the Great Canadian Oil Sands (GCOS) processing plant began in 1964. A ceremony was held on July 2 of that year to inaugurate the construction. At the climax of this event, Dochuk writes, Ernest Manning “praised the project as the finest example of free enterprise from which Alberta and the entire Dominion would profit.”

Even as construction got underway, negotiations over the project continued between the Alberta government and Sun Oil. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye. Manning, of course, wanted to ensure Albertans would receive maximum benefit for the development of their resources. Pew, on the other hand, wanted to maximize the profitability for Sun Oil.

Dochuk writes, “While Manning and Pew had become good friends by this point, conflicting interests still required ironing out. Enter Billy Graham. With their mutual ally serving as mediator, Pew and Manning began exchanging letters at a fairer clip. Soon the correspondence assumed a comity strengthened by talk about the Bible.”

Manning and Pew’s relationship deepened further, and their wives became good friends as well. The GCOS plant officially opened in 1967, with both Manning and Pew presiding over the ceremony.

The following year Manning retired as premier and was replaced by Harry Strom, a devoted evangelical just like his two Social Credit predecessors. As Dochuk notes, “One of Strom’s first trips after becoming premier was to Washington, DC, to hear Manning keynote Richard Nixon’s Presidential Prayer Breakfast, an event assisted by Billy Graham and J. Howard Pew.”

Since the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947, Americans have played a key role in in the development of Alberta’s oil resources. It was J. Howard Pew – and not a Canadian investor – who decided to risk millions on opening up the oil sands. All Albertans have benefited from his risky venture through the economic prosperity that resulted, as well as the royalties paid to the provincial government. Those royalties pay for health care, education and other services. 

Ernest Manning’s enthusiasm for the development of the oil sands helped to attract Pew’s investment, and their shared Christian commitment cemented a partnership that proved beneficial for the entire province.

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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