Harper Breaks Promise To Regulate Oil And Gas Emissions

Harper says “it would be crazy economic policy” to regulate Big Oil.

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014

PM Stephen Harper says “it would be crazy economic policy” to regulate Big Oil. (Photo: Remy Steinegger via Wikimedia Commons)

PM Stephen Harper says “it would be crazy economic policy” to regulate Big Oil. (Photo: Remy Steinegger via Wikimedia Commons)

In 2010, Jim Prentice, then federal environment minister, assured Canadians that the Conservatives were committed to regulate Canada’s oil and gas industry.

He said: “For those of you who doubt that the government of Canada lacks either the willingness or the authority to protect our national interests as a ‘clean energy superpower,’ think again,” Prentice told Calgary business leaders.

Prentice, now Alberta premier, went on to promise that the Harper government “will implement the Copenhagen Accord.” The Accord requires Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2020.

There was in Prentice’s words a promise by the Harper Conservatives to protect the environment from the burgeoning Alberta tar sands. A promise to ensure that the oil and gas industry would clean up its act.

In Parliament today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke that promise. He said “it would be crazy economic policy” to regulate Big Oil.

NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie asked: “Will the prime minister confirm that he is, in fact, breaking his promise to regulate the oil and gas sector?”

Harper responded: “Frankly, Mr. Speaker, under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy, it would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector. We’re clearly not going to do that.”

(The English part of the exchange starts at about 58 seconds into the video)

Commitment “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”?

Nonsense. Environment Canada’s annual “emissions trend” report, released Monday, says Canada achieved no progress in emission reductions in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It reveals that Canada won’t meet the 2020 targets.

And, according to the Globe and Mail, “without new action, the country will fall short by a wide margin on its pledge to reduce GHGs by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020.”

The Globe adds: “Unlike the United States, the European Union and China, Canada has offered no new target for emissions reductions.”

But Harper’s madness in the House of Commons was not enough. In Lima, Peru, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was telling the ongoing United Nations climate summit: “Our record speaks for itself. We have shown that it is possible to protect the environment while supporting economic growth.”

Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Island and Green Party leader, witnessed Aglukkaq’s performance:

Today Minister Aglukkaq stepped out onto the world stage for her statement to the COP.

It was supposed to be a 3 minute address, but she broke the records of all the other ministers who went over their time limit, giving a speech of more than 8 minutes. At every minute mark over 3, there were bells and reminders her time was up. She kept speaking over the bells in a half-hearted attempt to tell the nations of the world that Canada was in the lead.


Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He's the founder and editor of these independent publications: The Canadian Progressive, a political blog dedicated to progressive Canadian journalism; The Zimbabwean Progressive, a political blog dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented Zimbabwean journalism; and Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the charitable public's interest. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad
  • Canada only contributes 2% of the worlds CO2 (about the same as South Africa) so we’re pretty insignificant compared to the *total global* CO2 additions to the atmosphere.

    But when measured *per capita* we’re one of the world’s worst CO2 offenders, right behind Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other desert kingdoms where the A/C goes full blast all year.

    As one of the top developed countries in the world, we should be setting a good example — not because we’re *that bad* but because we’re *that good*.

    We could easily become a renewable energy superpower, a smartgrid superpower and export billions of dollars of that to the world. (Everyone laughed at Switzerland when they said they were going to export expensive watches, now it’s the 2nd highest income per capita nation in the world!)

    If tiny Switzerland can become one of the best places to live on the planet, as measured by all indices everywhere, merely via good economic policies, then so can Canada!

    Whether Canada regulates it’s oil and gas emissions, is really a small matter in the grand scheme of things.

    What really matters is that we are not pursuing our chance to follow Switzerland’s (and Germany’s) lead in export-driven growth (not in watches or clocks, of course) in renewable energy, cleantech, and energy knowledge (smartgrid).

    Our energy policy could be so much more than it is.

    ‘Playing to not make a mistake’ is one way to play the policy game, ‘playing to score some goals’ is a completely different way to play the game.

    Cheers, JBS