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Canada files court papers to keep Enbridge’s Line 5 open through Michigan

It carries about 87 million liters of oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario, traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.

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The Canadian government has filed a motion in US federal court to keep the Enbridge Line 5 open through Michigan, supplying vital oil and gas to eastern Canada.

It will now be up to a judge to see if the pipeline is still able to deliver after Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered it to be shut down by Wednesday.

Whitmer’s office notified Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. in November it was revoking an easement granted 67 years ago to extend a 6.4 km section of the pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac.

It carries about 87 million liters of oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, WI, and Sarnia, Ont., traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin.

There is an underwater section between the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It is divided into two pipes that are 50 cm in diameter. Enbridge maintains they’re in good condition and have never leaked.

“Line 5 is essential to our energy security. The Government of Canada has continuously advocated for and raised the importance of Line 5. We’ve worked in close collaboration with provinces, industry and labour and have raised Line 5 directly with the U.S. administration. It has been — and continues to be — a Team Canada approach. Line 5 does not just affect one province or one region — it supports our entire country,” said Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan in a Tuesday statement.

“Today, Canada filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The brief supports the continued mediation between Enbridge and the State of Michigan, underlines Line 5 is a critical energy and economic link between Canada and the United States, and conveys Canada’s belief the U.S. federal court is the proper jurisdiction to hear the case between Michigan and Enbridge.

“Under the federal court’s order, Enbridge and Michigan have entered into a mediation process and are meeting regularly. We remain confident this will lead to a solution. In filing this amicus brief, we worked with the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. We are continuing to work together to defend Line 5, leaving no stone upturned in defending Canada’s energy security and the workers who built this country.”

A shutdown would lead to fuel shortages and price increases across Ontario and Quebec, and further dependency on foreign supply to meet regional demands.

“We’re pleased that the federal government has listened to the concerns raised by a number of provincial governments and is working with the provinces to defend Canada’s energy security, economic prosperity and Canadian jobs. A shutdown of Line 5 would have significant consequences across Canada, as well as the United States,” said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a statement.

“Energy producers, and the hard-working Albertans and Canadians they employ, have dealt with a number of challenging years and the uncertainty with Line 5 is not helpful. But what is the most concerning to us in Alberta – as it should be for everyone – is the dangerous precedent that a shutdown of a safely operating pipeline would set for future oil and gas infrastructure projects.”

The latest moves come as a new report is released about the line’s economic impact in the US.

“From the dynamic risk of shutting down Line 5, we’re looking at a $120 million increase in transportation fuel cost alone just in Michigan,” said Chris Ventura, Midwest executive director for Consumer Energy Alliance.

He said the report estimates “$20.8 billion of loss in economic activity, $2.36 billion of loss labor earnings, whether that’s wages or salaries for people employed in these states, and over 33,000 jobs lost.”

The report says if Line 5 closes, gas prices will increase and local farmers will have to find an alternate way to get their fertilizers and feed stock.

“Detroit’s airport for example, over 54% of the jet fuel that they use to fill all of the jets is derived from Line 5, and when Line 5 is shut down one of the big questions is how is DTW going to replace that source of jet fuel,” said Ventura

“Airlines are going to be provided with limited options. One, they can raise ticket prices and two, they can actually reduce flights and cut routes out of DTW.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dennis Richter

    May 13, 2021 at 6:53 am

    Delay this shutdown until December 15th and then wish all a Very Merry Christmas 🎅

  2. Steven Ruthven

    May 12, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    The Canadian Brief to the Michigan court included references to harming the Alberta Energy Industry & loss of energy worker jobs. I think Prime Minister Trudeau is feeling pressure to preform, but does he have the acting skills to pull this one out of the toilet? Time will tell.

    Canada would have more of a bargaining chip if Energy East Pipeline had been constructed. Instead of interfered with, in 2016, by the very Liberal Gov now scrambling around & trying to save face.

    Looks good on you Justin, looks real good.

  3. Kelly Carter

    May 11, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    I find it stunning that our Federal government with 1 day to spare has suddenly decided that perhaps Line 5 may be important. Alberta has been raising the alarm for months to anyone who would bother to listen. All I have to say if it is shut down for once we can watch and say hey… We tried to warn you!

  4. Claudette Leece

    May 11, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Yes Left Coast, a little pain in the east, is just what the doctor ordered

  5. Left Coast

    May 11, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Wasn’t it Ralph Klein who said “Let those eastern b’stards freeze in the dark”?

    Ralph was an Albertan & a leader . . .

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News

Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

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

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

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

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Vancouver’s Stanley Park shut down at night because of fire threat

“The closure is being activated in an effort to reduce the fire risk to the park, which is extreme due to the current drought conditions and sustained heat events.”

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The risk of fire is so extreme in Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park, officials are to start closing it on a nightly basis.

“The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation will be temporarily closing all non-essential access to Stanley Park between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am beginning tonight,” said the board in a Friday statement.

“The closure is being activated in an effort to reduce the fire risk to the park, which is extreme due to the current drought conditions and sustained heat events.”

The board said park rangers will set up temporary overnight access control points at five locations.

“The current conditions in Stanley Park are extreme right now and given the size of the park, the risk of a fire breaking out overnight when fewer people may notice it or report it presents a significant threat to the wellbeing of the park, its trees, wildlife, and everyone who relies on the park and its ongoing health,” said Amit Gandha, Director of Park Operations.

“We have been in close contact with our partners at Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services as well as the Vancouver Police Department and they fully support this proactive measure to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire in the park.”

Vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and anyone who does not require access to the park will be turned around at access control points. 

Anyone requiring entry into the park during the closure, including the #19 bus, emergency services, patrons, and staff of park businesses, will be permitted to enter through the control points. Individuals who remain in the park after the closure begins will have unrestricted access to leave the park through the control points, said the board.

The access control points will be positioned at the following locations:

  • Traffic circle off Georgia St
  • The corner of Barclay and Park Lane
  • The corner of Beach Ave and Park Lane
  • The south exit of the Stanley Park Causeway
  • The north exit of the Stanley Park Causeway

The Causeway will remain open but access to the seawall will be closed.

The temporary closure will be in effect seven days a week beginning Friday, July 30 and will extend indefinitely until the fire risk has been significantly reduced.

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest urban park, with more than 400 hectares of naturalized West Coast forest. The park has approximately half a million trees – mostly cedar, fir, and hemlock – some of which are hundreds of years old.

Hundreds of wildfires are currently burning across BC.

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

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

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