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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.




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
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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  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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CLEMENT: No reason to toast federal tax on non-alcoholic beer

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong.




Sin-taxes, across all sectors, are fairly excessive in Canada. At almost every turn the government sinks its tax teeth into the process of you purchasing the products you like. This is true for cannabis products, alcohol, tobacco, vaping, gas, and annoyingly so, non-alcoholic beer. Yes, non-alcoholic beer in Canada is not exempt from federal excise taxes.

You read that right. The federal government also extends its sin-tax regime for non-alcoholic beer, at a rate of $2.82/hectolitre.

The application of excise taxes for non-alcoholic beer is problematic for a variety of reasons. The first, and most glaring, is that it is hypocritical given that the federal government has exempted non-alcoholic wine and spirits from the excise tax. Why apply it for beer, but not wine and spirits? Obviously, a more consistent approach would be to simply exempt all non-alcoholic beverages from the excise tax, because the purpose of the sin tax is to recover alcohol-related healthcare costs. That said, there are no alcohol-related healthcare costs at all from non-alcoholic beer, which immediately shows the lunacy of sin-taxing these products.

In addition to correcting hypocrisy, removing the excise tax for non-alcoholic beer would put federal policy in line with how the provinces treat these products. Provincial regulators, including Alberta, don’t require non-alcoholic beverages to be sold at licensed alcohol retail outlets, because they’ve accepted the obvious that these products don’t have alcohol in them and thus shouldn’t be strictly regulated. That is why in Alberta these products are often sold alongside carbonated water and pop. Removing the excise tax would be the federal government following the lead of the provinces in treating non-alcoholic beer differently than beer, because they are in fact different.

On the industry side, the federal excise tax acts as a barrier for product development in Canada, mostly because other beer producing jurisdictions (US,EU,UK) don’t tax non-alcoholic beer. Because of this the domestic industry in those jurisdictions has flourished, offering consumers more choice and at better prices. Their sane tax policy, coupled with increased consumer demand, is in large part why the non-alcoholic beer market is expected to grow to over $4 billion by 2025. These drinks aren’t just for hipsters, designated drivers and pregnant women anymore.

Lastly, and most importantly, is how non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of new products reducing harm for consumers. And while I don’t personally enjoy these drinks, I can see why someone would still want to enjoy a beer with their friends, or at a bar, without the alcohol that comes along with it.

From a harm reduction perspective, it makes perfect sense to have different tax strategies for products that vary in risk. The Trudeau government, at times, has championed harm reduction for illegal drugs but appears to have a blind spot when it comes to legal substances. This is an uncomfortable trend from Ottawa that is perfectly exemplified by the excise tax on non-alcoholic beer. Ottawa has kept the excise tax system for non-smokable THC cannabis products, like edibles and beverages, despite the fact they are significantly less harmful. They’ve sought to ban vape flavours, despite the fact that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, and flavours are an incredibly useful tool for adult smokers trying to quit.

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong. Hopefully, come Budget 2022, they can correct this mistake and remove the excise tax from these products entirely.

David Clement is a columnist for the Western Standard and the North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Center

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EXCLUSIVE: 2003 hearing ruled Chu’s accuser ‘not to be believed’

“I find her evidence not to be believed and I was not able to consider her evidence when deciding a sentence.”




The accuser at the centre of the embattled Calgary Coun. Sean Chu controversy told a hearing he sexually assaulted her while holding a gun to her head, according to documents obtained by the Western Standard.

But the presiding officer at the police disciplinary hearing, Insp. Debbie Middleton-Hope, said the then 16-year-old minor’s testimony was not credible and not to be believed.

The sentencing hearing took place Jan. 31, 2003 and lasted eight minutes.

Chu did admit to caressing the woman’s leg while in uniform at the King’s Head pub on Macleod Tr. after meeting her while conducting a walk-through patrol in August of 1997.

After his shift, Chu went home to change into civilian clothes before returning to the pub to meet the girl.

Middleton-Hope said in her statement that Chu provided investigators with intimate details of sexual contact the pair had when they returned to his home.

“I find Const. Chu to be forthright in his description of the details and I find his evidence to be believed,” said Middleton-Hope, a long-serving, well-respected Calgary policewoman, now retired.

The woman, in turn, denied Chu had caressed her leg.

“… her evidence was directed on an aggressive, physical struggle at which time a gun was held to her head,” said Middleton-Hope.

But Middleton-Hope said she found the woman’s testimony “inconsistent.”

“Under cross-examination (the woman) had difficulty in recalling pertinent details,” said Middleton-Hope.

“I find her evidence not to be believed and I was not able to consider her evidence when deciding a sentence.”

Middleton-Hope also addressed the age of the woman, who was 16 at the time.

“I have no evidence before me Const. Chu was aware of this fact. Several witnesses said [the girl] appeared to be 19 to 21 years old,” she ruled.

The accuser also testified she had an interaction with Chu two years previous after an altercation at school. Chu wasn’t the investigating officer, but did speak to the girl on the phone.

“…and [received] a Christmas card from her as a result of that phone call,” Middleton-Hope said.

“No evidence was presented that Constable Chu was aware of her age from this verbal contact.

“I believe Constable Chu to be sincere when he indicates he was unsuspecting of [the accusers] exact age.”

Middletin-Hope then ordered Chu have a letter of reprimand on his file for discreditable conduct for caressing the accuser’s leg while on duty.

Chu was also ordered to undergo six months of ethics training.

Middleton-Hope noted performance reviews in his 10-year police career described Chu as “hard working” and “highly motivated.”

For the third time, Chu was elected on October 18 to be the councillor for Ward 4. He won by 100 votes, winning the advance poll, but losing on election day. Documents over the case had been leaked to the media just days before the election in what Chu called a “political assassination.”

There have been a chorus of demands from other politicians for Chu to resign and a byelection called. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, incoming Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek and most of the incoming council have demanded Chu resign.

Chu said he would be happy to meet with Mayor-Elect Gondek to discuss the situation.

Dueling protests — one for Chu and one against — are planned in front of city hall on Sunday.

Chu has vowed to not resign and wants to clear his name.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm,” Chu told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes” in the 1997 incident.

“She then said she wanted to go home and I drove her straight there.”

Chu denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

“If there had been a gun involved there would have been charges,” said Chu.

Documents obtained by the Western Standard and other media indicate that the woman claimed the whole process was a “cover-up.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

Now Chu said he is looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called the false reporting.

“I have always told the truth. My reputation is important to me and now my family is hurting,” said Chu.

Chu said he wouldn’t comment on remarks made by Gondek that she will try and remove him from council.

“I will continue to tell the truth at council and will be a fiscal hawk,” he said.

“The most important thing is I told the truth and the truth will prevail.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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TV news mistakes leads to censure

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.




A St. John’s TV station breached newsroom ethics when it put out a report containing mistakes, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The TV station was censured for garbling a handful of facts in a local story.

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.

Correct information “could have been easily verified by the reporter prior to airing the news segment,” wrote the Council.

NTV on its flagship suppertime newscast last April 26 broadcast a story on a local parole case that misstated the year of the crime, the date the killer was convicted, and the number of years the murderer served in the penitentiary.

“This whole story was riddled with inconsistencies,” complained one viewer.

“He was charged and convicted in 2003. They reported 2002.

“These facts were not factual. There were four mistakes in the story.”

NTV management apologized and acknowledged errors were made as the story was “rushed to air” but denied any breach of newsroom ethics.

“Although we do not believe our coverage of this story was in breach of any industry guidelines or codes, we understand every individual may view news material or programming from a different perspective,” wrote station managers.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code Of Ethics states, “It shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy.”

A similar Code Of Journalistic Ethics by the Radio Television Digital News Association states: “We are committed to journalism in the public interest that is accurate and reliable.”

“There was no deliberate attempt by NTV to change the narrative of this story which focused on the revocation of the parole of the convicted murderer,” wrote the Standards Council.

“It is understandable that in a rush to get the story to air, incorrect pieces of information were used.”

“Journalists should strive to verify facts and put them in context. These inaccuracies constitute breaches.”

There are no fines for breaching TV codes. The station must announce the violation on its newscast.

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