Climate Change Entrapment In Alberta 

September 1st, 2015 | T. Norris 

climate alberta

When the Alberta NDP were elected on May 5, 2015, they pledged to form a new “Climate Leadership Advisory Panel”. Believe what you will about whether or not climate change even exists (the science is nowhere near proven), common sense says anything like this, particularly in a resource-based economy like Alberta’s, should be fair, well thought-out and balanced. Of course, this is Rachel Notley’s NDP and terms like the above are certainly not familiar to this government. When Linda McQuaig, an NDP candidate in Toronto (who has been described as a “star candidate” by leader Thomas Mulcair) made comments that Alberta’s oil sands will have to “stay in the ground”, Rachel Notley and her entire caucus went silent. They refused to denounce the comments made by McQuaig. One early line to come out of this “advisory panel” was that “leaving the oil in the ground” is a subject that will be discussed. Knowing all of this, it is even more unnerving that Notley and her government have shown no willingness to be open or transparent about this panel or their royalty review panel.

Let’s start by taking a look at the members of the advisory panel themselves. The panel is chaired by Andrew Leach, an energy and environmental economist who is also a professor at the University of Alberta. He’s a well-educated man and an excellent choice to be on this kind of panel. Beyond Leach, there is only climate alarmist after climate alarmist. Linda Coady, Gordon Lambert and Angela Adams have all spent time working for oil companies. If you look at this information alone, you’d believe that these are also excellent choices. Sadly, this information is extremely misleading. Both Coady and Lambert were “sustainability advisors” in their roles with oil companies. This is just a fancy way of saying “climate change advisors”. Coady is formerly the Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who has been well-known as a climate alarmist organization which has put out widely-published anti-oil sands campaigns in the past. Lambert is now the chair of the Board of Carbon Management Canada Research Institutes (CMC). On their website, the CMC describes its vision, saying, “CMC provides solutions for a low carbon world.” Among its “global collaborators” is the Pembina Institute, a foreign funded anti-oil group that has staged a number of protests against the Alberta oil sands. 

Angela Adams is a director with Unifor. Unifor is a massive labour union that has also staged a number of protests against the Alberta oil sands. A quick Twitter search of the keywords “Unifor” and “tarsands” brings you a list of the most recent tweets involving both terms. In my quick search, I found one tweet in which a BC Teachers Association executive applauds a Unifor executive on passing motions “to oppose transportation of Tar Sands oil”. In tweets directly from Unifor Locals, they express their opposition to major pipelines such as KinderMorgan’s Transmountain Pipeline and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline. Are you seeing a trend yet? The last member of the “advisory panel” is Stephanie Cairns. She is described in her bio on the government’s website as having worked “with Canada’s leading non-governmental organizations and think tanks in the fields of sustainable development, energy and climate change for thirty years”. Yup. You got it. This a woman who has made her living off opposing Alberta’s oil sands. This is the group chosen by Rachel Notley and her cabinet to decide the future of Alberta’s oil sands – a bunch of anti-oil organization executives. 

In mid-August, the government released a “Climate Change Leadership” survey to Albertans. The first question on this survey is fair enough. It asks the reader if he/she believes that climate change is an issue and how serious he/she believes it is. Answers range from “very concerned” to “not at all concerned”. The next page can been seen as nothing less than government propaganda, pushing the NDP’s views on the reader with paragraphs such as:

The world’s climate has changed at an unprecedented rate since the 1950s. Increasing concentration of greenhouse gases have warmed the atmosphere, diminishing snow and ice, warming oceans, raising sea levels, and causing more extreme weather, such as floods and droughts. We can also see its effects locally through impacts such as the spread of the mountain pine beetle... Scientific evidence tells us that – without significant action on a global scale – the consequences of climate change will be severe.”

Even ignoring the fact that the science behind “climate change” isn’t proven, it can’t be ignored that Alberta’s oil sands only emit a minuscule 0.15% of annual global pollution. This inconvenient fact isn’t mentioned anywhere in the doomsday propaganda on this second page. The writer goes on to say, “If we don’t take action on climate change locally, Alberta will find itself increasingly isolated and shut out of markets.” Reading all of the above, it is clear that the NDP is expecting to get a particular answer out of this survey – their desired answer.

Let’s move on to the next set of questions. 

Question 7 brings back memories of Rachel Notley’s support for a Quebec veto over Alberta pipelines, as it states that Enacting new climate change policies will do nothing to keep other governments from imposing policies on Alberta.”  The available answers range from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. It seems that this Climate Leadership Panel is more concerned with the demands of other governments than it is with the demands of residents of Alberta. 

Question 9 asks Albertans if they support joining Ontario and Quebec’s expensive “Cap and Trade System”. 

Question 10 is where the NDP first touches on the idea of introducing a carbon tax on “everyone, including me”. Interestingly enough, the NDP recently recruited long-time carbon tax proponent Bob Hawkesworth to run for the party in the upcoming Calgary – Foothills byelection. 

Question 11 asks Albertans if they support subsidizing “renewable energy projects”, while 12 asks if Alberta should charge industrial operators a fee for greenhouse gas emissions (a fancy way of asking, for the second time, if Albertans support a carbon tax). 

Question 14 is where this survey becomes outright entrapment. This question gives the reader a list of the five “initiatives” which were proposed in the previous questions on this page. There is no “none of the above” option, and the reader is forced to order these “initiatives” from 1-5 even if he/she agrees with none of them. 

On the fifth page of the survey, Albertans are asked if they support a “phase out of coal-generated electricity”, along with another question about subsidizing “green energy” such as wind and solar. Ontario’s government under Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has done this at a massive cost to taxpayers. The effects of this (skyrocketing electricity prices, for one) have further crushed Ontario’s manufacturing sector, sending many manufacturers south of the border to conduct their business. Question 19 is another case of entrapment, as Albertans are asked what they believe would be the biggest benefit of moving to a “greener energy policy”. There is no option to say “there is no benefit”. My favorite question within this survey is number 22, and I believe you, the reader of this article, deserve to see it in full:

Would you support action on climate change even if it means you pay more (e.g. fuels, transportation, electricity, products)?”

This question is simply asinine. After one full page of propaganda followed by headers of further propaganda on each page, the NDP now asks Albertans to pay more for everything whilst guilt-tripping Albertans into believing that there is no other choice to “save our planet”. Yes, the NDP is saying “give us more of your money, or the world will end”. 

The survey ends with a box to enter the first three digits of your postal code. In Ezra Levant’s video responding to this survey (he took it from Toronto), he noted that you do not actually need to live in Alberta to take this survey – you just need to know the first three digits of any Alberta postal code. There is also no limit to how many times you can take the survey – I took it twice. This leaves the survey completely open for foreign eco-groups, such as Tides, to fill this out as many times as they wish, and rig the results. It is particularly concerning, because the NDP says right on this website that the “statistics” taken from this survey will be used on the “Climate Leadership Advisory Panel”.

We knew this would be a rough four years in Alberta, but I don’t think anyone expected the government to dive this deep into their hidden agenda this quickly. After promising transparency and fairness in their affairs, this panel and survey are proof that the new NDP government in Alberta is dedicated to anything but transparency and fairness. They promised to be better than the PC’s, but are already acting worse than the PC’s. How can Albertans have any faith in a government that appears dead-set on taking drastic measures against our most important industry? The full effects of this NDP government won’t be seen for four years, but early signs point to a very, very bad situation for Alberta come the 2019 election. I suspect that many of the province’s current residents won’t stay around to find out. Hold on to your jobs and your wallets tightly, Alberta.