Good Sunday Morning!!
And so excellent to be looking forward to good Monday holiday morning! Happy Birthday to Queen Victoria, whose birthday May 24th gave us this holiday weekend ever since 1854.
Good news this weekend is the collapsing fortunes of Kitimat LNG. Not that Greens (both BC and federally) have not been saying this for years – LNG is not going to be a money-maker for BC. There is a glut of it globally. The Christy Clark fantasy of a bright economic future from fracking and smashing the hell out of this province never made sense, even economically, once the price collapsed. John Horgan drank the LNG Kool-Aid left behind in the premier’s office, boosting fossil fuel subsidies over 70% once he came to office. And of course, illogically committing to Site C, which was part of the fantasy – electricity for LNG production. Russ Francis (in Focus on Victoria) has written much revealing what the mainstream press has ignored. https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/issue-analysis/46/
But the news for Kitimat LNG just gets worse and worse.
Remember in March, Chevron, holder of a 50% interest in the project, decided to stop any funding into Kitimat LNG. More than a year before, it had put its stake in the project on the market. No buyers.
The other 50% owner, Australian fossil fuel developer, Woodside, is also walking away. Unless a buyer steps up, this project is done. (Please Justin Trudeau, don’t even think about buying more fossil fuel infrastructure that the market has rejected).
Here’s how the Globe and Mail described the financial hit to both companies:
“Chevron and Woodside previously disclosed a total of US$2.32-billion in writedowns related to asset devaluations from their investments in the Bish Cove joint venture.
“The site preparation at Bish Cove and other work, including constructing a new road along difficult terrain near Douglas Channel, turned out to be much more costly and complicated than originally anticipated.
“In February, 2020, Chevron booked a non-cash, after-tax impairment charge of US$1.6-billion while Woodside wrote down US$720-million. On Tuesday, Woodside said costs associated with exiting Kitimat LNG would result in a hit of US$40-million to US$60-million to its net profit after tax.”
Of the more than 20 LNG proposals that were being hyped just a few years ago, the last one standing is LNG Canada – which is of course, not owned by any Canadians. The ownership is LNG Canada is Royal Dutch Shell (via Shell Canada Energy), PETRONAS -the state-owned oil and gas Malaysian giant , Japan’s Mitsubishi, Korea Gas Corporation, and PetroChina. LNG Canada relies on the Coastal Gas Pipeline being completed, a project violating indigenous rights through Wet’suwet’en Territory. Money woes have been aggravating in the relationship between the two companies as this Globe story details.
Construction delays due to COVID outbreaks are driving up costs. Note that most of the promised construction jobs, touted by former Finance Minister Bill Morneau when he announced billions of dollars worth of federal concessions for LNG Canada’s Kitimat plant, are in China where the modular plant in being built.
For Kitimat LNG, the remaining owners who do bear consideration are the various First Nations who are disappointed to see their multinational “partners” walk away. https://financialpost.com/pmn/press-releases-pmn/business-wire-news-releases-pmn/first-nations-limited-partnership-incredibly-disappointed-by-woodside-petroleums-decision-to-join-chevron-canada-in-its-plan-to-exit-the-kitimat-lng-project
This is what happens when the high-rollers see the writing on the wall – “stranded assets” of “unburnable carbon.” It is like a game of musical chairs and inevitably it will be First Nations stuck with the last chair and all the mess. This would be a good time to really work at Just Transition for the workforce and for any indigenous interests with a stake in the climate bomb called “LNG.”
Meanwhile, I am sad to report that the NDP and Bloc MPs on the Environment Committee have allowed a travesty to take place. First, the NDP backed the Liberals to shut down debate on the so-called climate accountability act, C-12 after a very brief debate at Second Reading. On April 27th, they enforced a motion that only five hours’ more could go to debate on C-12, after months of the Liberals not bringing it forward for debate at all. But the environmental groups largely supported the NDP and Liberal move to shut down debate. The great call went out that we needed to “get the bill to committee” where witnesses could be heard.
This week was an abomination. Witnesses began on Monday, with Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson leading off three hours of a hearing on the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. We had more witnesses on Wednesday and Thursday and then – that’s it. No more witnesses. After exactly nine hours of study, including the minister, the hearings on C-12 are over. And, at 5:30 on Thursday, we were told, “get your amendments in by Friday at 5 pm.”
I had submitted a list of witnesses to the committee. They had all agreed to appear, including the director of the Sabin Centre for the Study of Climate Law from Columbia University Law School, the Minister of Climate from New Zealand, the Hon James Shaw, who brought in that country’s climate law last year, and a series of climate scientists. None of my witnesses were contacted or called. Seth Klein would also have testified, but was not called. One witness, Toby Heaps of Corporate Knights, was called to appear, but lacked an acceptable microphone for interpretation. Normally, an important bill would have more time for study, so Toby Heaps should have been able to get the right headset to appear next week. I tried to plead for more time and at least another day to hear witnesses, but to no avail. The committee in closed session had already voted to restrict evidence to only nine hours. For that to happen, it means both the NDP and Bloc members voted with the Liberals. I was given some time to ask questions from my friend, the Bloc environment critic Monique Pauzé and, quite unexpectedly, a good amount of time from Conservative Environment critic, Dan Albas.
But, I am shaken by this. It feels like “Verdict First! Evidence Never!”
Who was called as a witness and who was left out? Environmental groups were heard, some law groups, Canadian Labour Congress and some Quebec unions, Chamber of Commerce, Cattlemen’s association, Pulse growers, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Some excellent testimony. Some awful. Who was not called? Climate scientists. Young people. Not one indigenous witness.
This hell-bent for leather approach does not bode well for the possibility of strong amendments. That process, called “clause by clause”, is scheduled for a four hour block on Wednesday afternoon. Thanks to my amazing team, we got our amendments in on time. Through the grueling process involving legislative drafters and English-French translation, just under the wire before Friday at 5 pm Ottawa time, we got in 37 amendments. But I am not allowed to vote on my own amendments and unless the NDP, Bloc and Liberals vote for my amendments, they will all be defeated. The ones that really matter are for a first deadline year of 2025, not as currently drafted, 2030. It matters that we include carbon budgets. And the process should be guided by independent expert advice. All of these elements are integral to the successful Climate Accountability law in the UK, France and New Zealand, among others. Only Canada has proposed such useless legislation for climate. A climate accountability act with no accountability.
Wish me luck for Wednesday. (by the way, you can watch on parlvu).
To close with something lovely for a holiday weekend, I am so happy to share in the PS – the poem Lorna Crozier wrote for me and read for our tenth anniversary party (10 years as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands). Also my dear friend Dorothy Field shared a wrenching poem she wrote about the situation in Israel and Palestine, and I include a link to a very important blog from Paul Manly.
Since last week’s newsletter in which I focused on the accelerating crisis, we have a cease-fire. But we must not stop pressing for justice and peace for Israel and Palestine. All those dear innocent children, regardless of their citizenship, religion or history need a real peace.
Love to you all this long weekend,
- Paul’s blog:
- Lorna Crozier’s amazing gift of a poem for me
WOMAN WHO HOLDS THE MOON IN HER HANDS
(a poem on the occasion of Elizabeth May’s 10th anniversary as my Member of Parliament)
I am a woman of rivers,
a woman of old-growth forests,
I am salmon woman, otter woman,
woman of eel grass and clams.
I have learned from water
how to fall without breaking,
I have learned from cedar
how to read the sky,
I have learned from the sea
how to hold the moon in all her phases
without causing harm.
I am a woman of moss,
a woman of cherry blossoms.
I am vegetable woman, deer woman,
woman of prayer and longing.
I have learned from moss
how to live on stone,
I have learned from blossoms
how to open into beauty, how to open
into brevity, I have learned from prayer
how to speak to mystery and wonder.
Things I do not see, I hear,
things I do not know
I seek. The tongues of snakes
carry the taste of me
into their dark nests underground,
yet they do not consume me. This
is what I have learned from them.
I am a woman of breasts, of limbs,
of words. I inhale the breath of all
who go before me and those who live close by,
the small breath of the field mouse, the blow of the whale,
the thousand exhalations of leaves as they fall.
I learn from water
how to flow over and around.
I learn from redwood
how to stay rooted to the earth
without bending down.
My name is Winged One,
my name is Lightning,
my name is Mountain Caribou,
my name is The Owl
Who Cannot Find a Home.
Look for me and I will find you.
I will ask. “What brought you here?”
I will ask, “What gifts do you bring
for the herring, the hawk, the wolf?”
I will ask, “What of yourself
will you give away to save
the songbird and the bear?”
If your answers please me,
I will summon the messengers
who ride the rain and the wind,
I will rub your feet with fat
for the journey ahead,
I will walk with you in beauty
into the rising sun. I will walk with you
in beauty into your last day on earth.
- Poem by Dorothy Field (my dear friend Dotter)
Did it rain last night? Is it raining still?
The rain unseen against a pearly sky, invisible
against the bright new leaves of the plum
and the Garry oak’s runnelled bark.
The Hebrew word rimon means both pomegranate
and grenade, their similarity of shape.
If I can’t see the rain, is it really raining?
But the deck is wet, the ground saturated, dark.
Lazarus seeds, what Israeli soldiers call rubber bullets
because you can scrape them off and reload.
If they don’t maim the first time, they may the second.
And truth? The sharp splinters of rain
against the shadowed trunk of the Douglas fir?
Rain I can see.
Israeli officials call bombing operations over Gaza
Mowing the Lawn.
When Palestinian protestors throw tear gas cans
back at the IDF they call it The Right of Return.
See it, don’t see it, the rain sluices down.
The only revenge is making peace.
Final quote: Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan