Chrystia Freeland is Canada’s minister of finance and deputy prime minister, but it’s on the global stage where she truly shines. The latest example came in a speech she delivered at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C., laying out her vision of the new world order that needs to unfold in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Freeland’s vision revolves around a renewed embrace of democratic alliances and shared economic interests, one that’s backstopped by the so-called “friendshoring” of key supply chains.
“In 1989, we cashed in the peace dividend,” she told the audience. “Today, it is time to buy some war insurance. As Robert Habeck, the German vice-chancellor and federal minister for economic affairs and climate action said last month: 'We must ensure we cannot again be ‘blackmailed.’”
Goldy Hyder, the CEO of the Business Council of Canada, described this as the “Freeland doctrine” and suggested the proof would be in the pipelines. “Can Canada expedite projects, as the prime minister has proposed, while providing regulatory predictability to attract the capital to build much-needed infrastructure?”
That might sound like a golden opportunity for Danielle Smith’s Alberta, which sounds more eager than ever to build as many pipelines in as many different directions as possible. But there’s a bucket of cold water heading Smith’s way here, and it will almost certainly cast an even deeper chill on relations between Alberta and Ottawa.
That’s because it’s highly unlikely Freeland is actually proposing we help Europe replace one source of fossil fuels with another, regardless of how “ethical” they might be. Yes, she has been supportive of East Coast LNG in the past, but the emphasis in her speech was very clearly on other forms of energy.
“Friendshoring can both defend liberal democracy and help to preserve the planet if one of our primary objectives is to speed up the green transition — together,” she said. “The Canada-Germany Hydrogen Alliance, announced in Newfoundland in August by Prime Minister Trudeau and Chancellor Scholz, is one example of this green friendshoring in action.”
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Instead, the “Freeland doctrine” revolves around an even more ambitious and aggressive embrace of cleaner energy — one that’s happening around the world as we speak. Canada can play an important role in that, whether it’s by exporting hydrogen from the East Coast, LNG from the West Coast or extracting the minerals and materials that will be needed to power the growing array of batteries in a decarbonizing world. But major new export pipelines for oil and gas, especially ones that would have to traverse Quebec and other parts of eastern Canada, are almost certainly a thing of the past, not the future.
That future is being rapidly rewritten, not just by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact it’s having on energy prices but also OPEC’s recent decision to cut oil production against the wishes of the United States and other energy importers. “In its support of Russia’s request for production cuts, OPEC casts itself in a role that will hasten its own demise,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, a professor in the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. “Anyone who can move away from oil will — national governments, businesses, cities, consumers. OPEC’s actions are simply a nail in a coffin that was already being built.”
That coffin is being built with renewable energy, which continues to get bigger and cheaper by the day. A recent report by analysts at Guggenheim Securities suggested utility-scale solar is now one-third less expensive than gas-fired power, while onshore wind is cheaper still. “Solar and wind now present a deflationary opportunity for electric supply costs,” the analysts said, which “supports the case for economic deployment of renewables across the U.S.” The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act, which will put $369 billion to work in clean energy and low-carbon technology through an array of incentives and tax credits, will massively accelerate that deployment.
It’s not just happening in the United States. For all of its noisy talk about oil and gas, the Alberta government has been curiously quiet about the success of its solar energy industry. Back in 2020, the Alberta Electric System Operator forecast it would take until 2041 for the province to reach 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity. Instead, it hit that mark earlier this year — 19 years ahead of schedule. An additional 1,200 megawatts of capacity are expected to come online in the next year, with a further 900 megawatts already approved by the regulator. Wind power is also booming, with 2,500 megawatts of capacity under development across southern Alberta.
You might think that Premier Smith, who has made a point of emphasizing the importance of rural Alberta in her government, would be thrilled by this development. But it’s far more likely she’ll see the ever-expanding reach of renewables and the role they play in the so-called “Freeland doctrine” as a direct threat to her interpretation of Alberta’s economic interests.
This will be further grist for her grievance mill, one she intends to operate 24/7 until the next provincial election. And the clash between her vision of Canada’s long-term prosperity and Freeland’s will almost certainly create another flashpoint between the quasi-separatists in Alberta and the realists in Ottawa.
But make no mistake: the rest of the world is moving forward faster than it ever has before. At some point, the rest of the country is going to stop waiting for Alberta to get the memo.
The "Freeland doctrine", aka
The "Freeland doctrine", aka Corporate Canada's agenda, is more likely to embrace energy diversification — more of everything — than a real transition. More oilsands exports, more LNG production and export facilities on the West Coast, and more renewables.
"Cenovus CEO says future of energy is diversification, not transition" (Canadian Press, June 8, 2022)
After declaring a climate emergency, the Liberals bought the Trans Mtn pipeline and are pushing its white elephant "twin" through to completion, regardless of cost to taxpayers. At least $21.4 billion for TMX and rising. Also approved the Baie du Nord offshore oil project.
"Bloc Québécois MP blasts feds for Trans Mountain’s ‘cooked’ books"
Canada has committed to end only "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. (The term is narrowly used to refer to the domestic sale of fossil fuels at below cost.)
Since subsidies that lower production costs, increase producer profits, and make producers more competitive in global markets do not qualify as "inefficient" subsidies, Ottawa does not target them for elimination. Ottawa will continue to funnel billions of public dollars to the massively profitable, largely foreign-owned O&G industry.
The Liberals will talk up
The Liberals will talk up renewables while quietly building support fossil fuels. With far more public dollars flowing to fossil fuels. Tens of billions into carbon capture, SMRs, and blue hydrogen. Plus clean-up assistance. Canada's idea is to "green" (i.e., greenwash) its fossil fuels, not get off them.
"Canada leads G20 in financing fossil fuels, lags in renewables funding, report says" (CP, Oct 28, 2021)
The IPCC warns that the world must nearly halve GHG emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050 to keep warming below the danger limit of 1.5 C.
IEA's Net-Zero by 2050 report says no new investment in fossil fuels after 2021 to limit global warming to 1.5 C.
Doubling down on fossil fuels makes it extremely unlikely that Canada will meet its emissions targets.
The Liberals reject the IEA's conclusions and every IPCC report likewise. So does the O&G industry.
"Federal watchdog warns Canada's 2030 emissions target may not be achievable" (CBC, Apr 26, 2022)
There is no doubt that the
There is no doubt that the Liberals have been laggards but again, unfortunately, the democratic requirement for a degree of social license needed to back actions for major change is still the political reality. It's why China has an opportunity to lead, and has been.
The U.S. is our democratic model as they fight the same pitched battle with an even more entrenched and psychotic right wing. Canada's is a much smaller economy of course but the IRA has provided much sanction for us to move more quickly.
Your assumption that Liberals actually covertly share conservative nastiness, indifference, denialism, and fanaticism is a real stretch.
"the democratic requirement
"the democratic requirement for a degree of social license"
In recent elections, a majority of Canadian voters have voted for parties other than Conservative. In 2015, Trudeau handily won a majority government with a strong mandate from voters on climate action.
The Liberals boasted about climate leadership, but bought Canadians a pipeline.
Ms. Pargeter attempts to shift the responsibility for Liberal energy/climate policy from the Liberal Party and Corporate Canada to the electorate. Does not wash.
Climate leadership means making the case for climate action. The Liberals have been busy making the case for Trans Mtn and other pipelines.
With a first-term majority, the Liberals had a free hand to craft energy/climate policy and sell it to Canadians. Now they have an informal agreement with the NDP, still commanding a majority of seats in the House.
The federal Liberals and Conservatives serve the same masters: Corporate Canada.
The neo-Liberals serve Corporate Canada and the Big Banks, heavily invested in the oilsands. It is these entities that dictate the Liberals' energy/climate policies.
Corporate Canada is banking on fossil fuel expansion and climate action failure. The Liberal Party is Corporate Canada's front office.
The Liberals have proved far more effective than the Conservatives in delivering on Big Oil's and Corporate Canada's agenda. Trudeau & Co. have persuaded many Canadians that we can both act on climate and double down on fossil fuels. Trudeau and Notley moved the ball on the Trans Mountain pipeline down to the ten-yard line. Their signal achievement was to "push country-wide support for pipelines from 40 per cent to 70 per cent." Something Harper, Scheer, and Kenney could never dream of doing.
Acknowledge the science, but ignore its implications. Boast about climate leadership, but push fossil fuel expansion and pipelines. Sign int'l agreements, but fail to live up to them. Putting emissions targets out of reach.
The new denialism. Just as delusional as the old kind but more insidious. And far more dangerous.
"The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention" (The Narwhal)
The federal Liberals and Conservatives — as well as "progressive" provincial parties (AB and BC NDP) — are betting that the world will fail to take real action on climate change. The only scenario in which oilsands expansion makes sense.
As they see it, the path to renewable energy and a sustainable future runs through a massive spike in fossil-fuel combustion and emissions. Complete disconnect from the science.
Canada's energy future, based on fossil fuel expansion, was decided long before Trudeau came to power. Canada's plan to fail was worked out years ago.
Conservative nastiness? No, Trudeau delivers on Corporate Canada's agenda with a smile.
"The Rise and Fall of Trudeau's 'Grand Bargain' on Climate"
"Justin Trudeau's grand bargain with Big Oil exposed in Donald Gutstein's The Big Stall"
Which is worse? Climate sabotage on the right, or betrayal by the "progressive" parties?
I can tell you which is more effective.
@Tris Pargeter: "How Trudeau
@Tris Pargeter: "How Trudeau's Broken Promises Fuel the Growth of Canada's Right"
"The Liberal party plays on voters' desire for far-reaching transformation while guaranteeing the endurance of the status quo. The Liberals effectively act as a kind of shock absorber of discontent and anger towards the elite…
"So on climate, Trudeau was presented as this kind of river-paddling environmental Adonis. He promised that fossil fuel projects wouldn't go ahead without the permission of communities. But the Liberals create these public spectacles of their bold progressiveness while they quietly assure the corporate elite that their interests will be safeguarded. So at the same time Trudeau was going around the country and convincing people that he was this great climate hope, the Liberal party had for years been assuring big oil & gas interests that there would not be any fundamental change to the status quo.
"As early as 2013, Trudeau was telling the Calgary Petroleum Club that he differed with Harper not so much about the necessity of exporting huge amounts of tarsands internationally, but because he didn't think Harper's approach — which stoked divisions and an incredible amount of resistance that turned Canada into a climate pariah — was the most effective marketing approach.
"The Liberal climate plan essentially is a reworking of the business plan of Big Oil and the broader corporate lobby. …The plan is to support a carbon tax and to effectively make it a cover for expanded tarsands production and pipelines. That was a plan hatched by the Business Council of Canada back in 2006, 2007. For 20 years oil companies had resisted any kind of regulation or any kind of carbon tax and fought it seriously. But they started to realize that it would be a kind of concession that they would have to make in order to assure stability and their bottom line not being harmed. The climate bargain that Trudeau went on to strike with Alberta of a carbon tax plus expanded tarsands production was precisely the deal that Big Oil had wanted."
In his book, "The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada", Donald Gutstein details how neoliberal "progressive" politicians like Trudeau and Notley subverted the climate change agenda and enabled Big Oil's "predatory delay":
"The Rise and Fall of Trudeau's 'Grand Bargain' on Climate"
If any doubts remain about
If any doubts remain about the Liberals' energy agenda, today's Observer article should put them to rest:
"Mélanie Joly pushes LNG in Japan and South Korea" (National Observer, Oct 14th 2022)
"Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is set to become a major energy supplier for Japan and South Korea.
"On a visit to both countries this week, Joly said she found a growing appetite for liquefied natural gas from Canada beyond a looming megaproject.
"A major export terminal is set to open in 2025 in Kitimat, B.C., with Japanese and Korean companies holding a 20 per cent stake.
"'We will become a major supplier of key energy for them, starting in 2025,' Joly said in a Thursday interview from Seoul.
"'There is a lot of interest for all of us to go even further.'
"Joly said these types of projects will help Canada shore up energy security in the region, where China and Russia have been growing increasingly assertive.
"'Japan and Korea were already very close to Canada, but it is now in Canada's interest more than ever, that they be best of friends,' she said.
Confirmed by Minister
Confirmed by Minister Freeland today:
"Canada would back 'economically viable' new LNG terminals -Finance Minister' (Reuters, 14-Oct-22)
"Canada will look at supporting more liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals as long as they are economically feasible because they are needed to keep the world from burning coal again amid the current energy crunch, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday.
"LNG 'is an important transition fuel,' Freeland told reporters in Washington at the end of annual IMF and World Bank meetings. 'We will always be looking at economically viable LNG projects.'"
Will any of these things even
Will any of these things even get built in time to actually make any difference anyway? Isn't it possible this is more "friendshoring" during this unsettling war until renewables ramp up, which they are doing more rapidly than anyone predicted....
From a related article
From a related article referencing time scales and change in Alberta::
Alberta Electric System Operator forecast it would take until 2041 for the province to reach 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity. Instead, it hit that mark earlier this year — 19 years ahead of schedule. An additional 1,200 megawatts of capacity are expected to come online in the next year, with a further 900 megawatts already approved by the regulator. Wind power is also booming, with 2,500 megawatts of capacity under development across southern Alberta.
Mostly initiated by Notely's initiatives, i.e. "electricity supply auctions".
Just saying ...
First, I think there is
First, I think there is "social license" for considerably more action than the Liberals have ever shown signs of taking.
Second, to the extent there isn't, this isn't really a product of democracy in action, but to rules in North American and much of the world which allow very rich people to pay for almost unlimited amounts of propaganda. If you want "social license" for things that people would go for if ExxonMobil weren't telling them a pack of lies, you might want to start by outlawing ExxonMobil from tellling people packs of lies. Breaking up media concentration would likely help too. We've had Royal Commissions telling us that would be a good idea since decades ago.
Yes to the outlawing Exxon
Yes to the outlawing Exxon from telling the pack of lies, which sounds quite a bit like what the article in here about the Competition Bureau versus the RBC is. I had no idea that "greenwashing" was in their sights but was quite cheered to see that it is.
Also agree that the Liberals had far more social license than they made use of. It's like do the big stuff first if you win a majority but then think of Obama and public health care....always easier said than done. But I would also argue that a lot has changed since 2015 when it comes to broad societal acceptance of climate change; it's only been quite recently (possibly since it's manifesting more severely as predicted) that it's been widely presented as a given.
But it's going straight into the weeds and missing the big picture to constantly rag on the Liberals in the current political reality peopled sufficiently with conservatives to win power when they would do NOTHING because they don't really "believe" it's a problem! And to ascribe rigidity and a closed mind to them that is identical to conservatives is simply not true.
"Social licence" is a cop-out
"Social licence" is a cop-out.
The far majority of Canadians want a faster transition.
They'll have to be coerced (not carrot-ed to death) to change their consumption patterns.
Everyone (in theory) wants to "do good" about global warming. Just not in their own "personal" lives ... or in their investments, either, for those who have them.
There's no need to allow the continued sale and import of "gas guzzlers," FI.
We didn't "need social license" to modify people's cigarette-smoking habits. We just made most of the places they were consumed off limits for consumption. We could do the same with any number of toxics, including toxic tail-pipe emissions (and toxic laundry product exhaust).
It's high time that Canada recognized that the US model isn't a model of democracy. Or human rights. It's a model of exceptionalism and "do as I say, not as I do" "leadership."
Liberals don't *covertly* share conservative faults. It's open enough, for anyone who wants to see it. The only thing the Liberals do is a marginally better job of lying.
And supporting the so-called "middle class", i.e., those in the top income quintile.
You agree, then, that Smith's
You agree, then, that Smith's position is nonsensical.
Along with the fact that ALL
Along with the fact that ALL of Smith's basic premises for governance are stupid, every last one of them, the current inquiry into the Emergencies Act will very much highlight that AND the basic "lawlessness" that conservatives are now courting. Not a good look.
AND the American Congressional Committee's Jan. 6th investigation has just subpoenaed Trump after carefully and methodically exposing the damning details in all their thuggish stupidity. The days of this dangerous nutbar right wing are finally starting to look numbered.
Smith's view should be be a
Smith's view should be be a highlighted display at the Drumheller Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, which shows the Alberta fossils. Goodness knows she and Kenney's views are becoming extinct. Too bad their ideologies keep them on a path of conflict vs get with the program
Not really fair to dinosaurs.
Not really fair to dinosaurs. They dominated the world for far more than 100 million years and were only taken out by a massive asteroid hitting the earth, not by being out-evolved or anything. Humans have been around for a couple million, dominated the globe for much less than that, and if we go down it seems likely we'll do it to ourselves--certainly our prospects of lasting as long as the dinosaurs seem a tad uncertain. Especially if there are Danielle Smith types in charge.
"Not really fair to dinosaurs
"Not really fair to dinosaurs." ;-)
When reading that I flashed on an image of a new dinosaur find in the far, far future embedded in a cliff in the Alberta Badlands. There rest the remnants of Danielle, Jason and Ralph, along with Curly, Larry and Moe.
The article says more about neutral economics than it does about overheated party politics. One Alberta wind power auction attained a record low of $34 / megawatt, about 1/3 of what BC Hydro charges its domestic customers. This competitive price is responding to consumer demand and is bound to expand to rapidly take market share from fossil fuels irrespective of Liberal sins and omissions and UCP Loony Tunes.
Alberta's had wind
Alberta's had wind installations since the early 2000s, at least.
Who paid 3.4 cents/kwh on? We're told on our Toronto Hydro bills that the company pays 9.8 cents; the actual electricity costs must be pass-through, without increase. However, that's only 1/4 of the cost to me (before taxes). The rest is for "services" that TorHydro is allowed to mark up somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10%, amounting to 75% of what it costs me. That, and the premiums paid to the "special" shareholders ... funny, that, given that TorHydro is an amalgamation of all the utilities publicly held by the various municipalities that were forcibly merged (over the profound objection of every municipality affected).
However, the amount that the big power users pay is very much lower.