Week in Review
October 06, 2017
Welcome to Elizabeth May’s parliamentary week in review! This weekly e-newsletter recaps her work in Parliament when the House is in session. Using the links below, you can watch videos of Elizabeth’s interventions in the House, keep up with her media releases, and read articles she has written.
This newsletter covers Elizabeth’s work in the House from October 02, 2017 to October 06, 2017.
Elizabeth and her fellow Parliamentarians are returning to their ridings for the Thanksgiving break next week. The House resumes business on Monday, October 16th. Stay tuned for the next Week in Review on October 20th!
* If you are having trouble viewing this email, please view online at: https://elizabethmaymp.ca/category/news/week-in-review/
Key Moments in the House
Report from the Environment Commissioner
On Tuesday morning, Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, released her audit of the Government’s action on climate change. The report underscores much of what Elizabeth has been pushing for in the House since Day 1: inspiring words must be backed by strong, decisive action if Canada intends to provide a better planet for future generations.
Key statements from the report:
- In two important areas – reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to the impacts of climate change – the federal government has yet to do much of the hard work that is required to bring about this fundamental shift. “If Canada is to adapt to a changing climate, much stronger leadership is needed.”
- Environment and Climate Change Canada did not provide adequate leadership and guidance to other federal organizations to achieve adaptation objectives.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada did not provide adequate tools and resources to help other departments and agencies assess and adapt to climate change risks. During 2017, the Department began to make progress under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
- On a positive note, funds supporting the development of clean energy technology demonstration projects are going well
Current Issues: Pipelines
On Thursday, TransCanada cancelled its proposals to build the Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipelines. Though the environmental hazards alone ought to have been enough, it is clear that these projects hit a wall on economic terms as well. Transporting toxic diluted bitumen (dilbit) across pristine areas, and then exporting bitumen to offshore refineries, is a poor business model indeed.
TransCanada’s investors could not ignore the low global price of oil. Transnational oil companies are exiting the oil sands, selling their assets due to the high costs of extraction and production (e.g., StatOil, Conoco-Phillips, Royal Dutch Shell). Fossil fuel investment is becoming less viable while renewable energy investment increases exponentially. Governments need to step up with a plan to assist oil sands workers in transitioning into clean energy jobs.
Despite industry claiming that dilbit transported by pipeline was intended for east coast refineries, none of these refineries have, or plan to develop, the ability to refine dilbit. It was intended for export and would not have reduced imports of foreign oil. Oil from the oil sands should be refined in Canada and used for our domestic needs, while we actively transition to clean energy.
A tougher NEB review process is what put TransCanada on high alert. Imagine how much more an environmental process that leaves the NEB out altogether could do to protect Canada’s interests – ecologically and economically – for this generation and those who come after.
From October 2-13, 2017, no fewer than fifteen appellants – comprising First Nations, environmental groups, and municipal governments in BC and Alberta – will be making a solid challenge against Kinder Morgan in the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver. If successful, the permits allowing Kinder Morgan to build a pipeline from the oilsands of Alberta to Burnaby BC will be quashed. BC can then exercise its constitutional right to a provincial review. I am convinced the appellants have the law on their side.
Separate from issues of legality, the Kinder Morgan pipeline is identical to Energy East insofar as the toxic dilbit it too would transfer is intended for foreign refineries. Already Burnaby’s last refinery has had to cut its production and workforce by one-third because of the switch from crude to dilbit.
Kinder Morgan has a dizzying catalogue of environmental and safety violations, which I encourage you to look up. A recent example involves an underhanded attempt to prevent wild salmon from entering streams in order to build the expanded pipeline. Although the NEB has stayed construction on the pipeline until Kinder Morgan fulfills its mitigation efforts, NEB’s initial approval of the project was spurious to begin with. I have written at length about this process elsewhere from my position as an intervenor in these hearings.
We must ensure that future oil and gas projects undergo reliable and robust environmental assessments that take into account our emissions targets and Paris Agreement commitments. As I have tried to highlight here, the role of the National Energy Board in Canada’s environmental assessments should be a pressing concern for us all. They played no role whatsoever until the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was warped and weakened by the Conservative government in 2012.
That mistake must be reversed by the Trudeau administration. How disheartening that expert advice from two panels on the NEB and Environmental Assesment looks to be ignored by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. One only hopes that with ongoing pressure from the public, victories in our courts, and the stark realities of a rapidly depreciating fossil fuel market that Minister McKenna will right the course.
In the Media
(Janice Dickson, iPolitics, Sept. 29)
(Elizabeth May, National Observer, Oct. 2)
(Peter Mazereeuw, The Hill Times, Oct. 2)
- Environment Commissioner: Liberals are “nowhere near ready to adapt to impacts of climate change” (Oct. 04)
- Statement on World Teacher’s Day (Oct. 05)
- Energy East canceled due to low oil prices, poor business model (Oct. 05)
Read the governments’ responses to petitions Elizabeth has introduced here.
Engage in government consultations for key legislative items:
Deadline: October 25th
*If you would like to submit comments regarding food policy, e-mail [email protected]
Committee Briefs & Responses
Private Members’ Bills
Elizabeth May has introduced the following bills:
For a list of private members’ bills Elizabeth May has seconded, please visit elizabethmaymp.ca.
Saturday, September 30th
- Elizabeth at Orange Shirt Day in Victoria/Traditional territory of the Lkwungen, Wyomilth, and WS’ANEC’ people
Wednesday, October 4th
- Elizabeth participating in the Pinky Swear Campaign
- Elizabeth with Bridget Tolley at the Sisters in Spirit Vigil
Thursday, October 5th
Tuesday, October 10th
Wednesday, October 11th
Friday, October 13th
- Join Elizabeth at the University of Northern British Columbia’s Inspiring Women Among Us celebrations
- Join Elizabeth as she presents “What it’s like to be a lone Green woman in Canadian federal politics”
Wednesday, October 25th to Sunday, October 29th
- Join Elizabeth for the Canada C3 Expedition on Saturna Island, Salt Spring Island, Saanich, and Victoria
As always, the support of the Green Party of Canada has been invaluable in enabling Elizabeth to hold the government to account on such a large number of issues. For more information on their work, or to get involved, please visit: https://www.greenparty.ca/