Canada’s largest oil and gas lobby won’t let a crisis go to waste. As the global pandemic seized economies in 2020, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) went on the offensive, recording hundreds of meetings with government officials — more than any other year on record — data obtained by the Investigative Journalism Foundation and Canada’s National Observer reveal.

Led by CEO Lisa Baiton, CAPP is the fossil fuel industry’s chief lobby organization in Canada. It wields a multimillion-dollar budget and represents 41 oil and gas companies, big and small, involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Fossil fuels are the main driver of climate change.

From 2009 to 2019, CAPP’s in-house lobbyists averaged 117 meetings per year. That figure more than doubled to reach an all-time high of 269 meetings in 2020 — more meetings than business days in the year — underscoring Big Oil’s full-court press. Those 269 meetings happened on 149 unique days.

According to a letter CAPP sent then-Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan in March 2020, the lobby group’s priorities were primarily pandemic-related and aimed to convince Ottawa to defer or relax a raft of regulations ranging from methane emissions reporting to wildlife monitoring.

While progressives pounced on a chance to speed up the energy transition off fossil fuels and towards clean energy, CAPP “saw the crisis as an opportunity to push the kind of slash-and-burn deregulatory agenda that would just slow the pace of the transition,” said University of Victoria associate professor James Rowe.

After that letter was sent, CAPP kept its foot on the gas, with its lobbyists meeting more government officials in April 2020 than any other lobbying group, including HealthCareCan, the organization representing hospitals and health organizations across the country.

More recently, according to CAPP’s lobbying registration, the association has been seeking money for its members to explore for new sources of oil from programs like the Environmental Studies Research Fund or a reinstatement of the Atlantic Investment Tax Credit. CAPP also seeks to influence regulations like the clean electricity standard, obtain government support for getting oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to new markets and, above all, to be constantly in conversation with the federal government to ensure its priorities are heard.

Specifically, in response to the federal government’s fall economic statement, CAPP said it wanted government support for a multibillion-dollar carbon capture project, and was “encouraged” to see increased funding for the Impact Assessment Agency and Canada Energy Regulator to more quickly stickhandle projects through the regulatory process.

For a decade, Canada's biggest oil and gas lobby averaged 117 meetings with government officials each year. Then the pandemic hit — and in 2020, CAPP hit an all-time high of 269 — more meetings than business days in the year. #cdnpoli #CAPP

CAPP did not return multiple requests for comment.

Given that CAPP is one of the most active lobby groups in the country and the organization’s goals appear to be closely aligned with those set by the federal government, it’s clear their efforts pay off, Rowe said. “They're not dumb, they wouldn't be spending all of these resources if it wasn't effective at getting what they want.”

CAPP’s power and influence

CAPP directly employs 29 lobbyists at the federal level who frequently meet with government officials to shape policy, but it is impossible to know precisely what is discussed at each meeting. Lobbyists, most of whom are required to report their “oral and arranged communications” with government officials, typically submit boilerplate descriptions outlining a range of topics. They also don’t have to publicly report meetings initiated by government officials.

The money to hire this team of lobbyists comes from membership dues, with oilsands majors like Suncor, Cenovus, Canadian Natural Resources and Imperial Oil contributing the lion’s share.

Though it does not report its exact revenue, the association’s 2021 membership form shows dues are $3.99 per barrel of oil (equivalent) –– an industry term used by companies to combine oil and gas reserves into a single unit of measurement. Based on 2021 expected production statistics, CAPP would have had a core budget of about $16 million that year.

As an oil and gas lobby group, CAPP’s chief goal is to ensure the continued growth of its members. That means trying to influence government policy to ensure it doesn’t threaten increased fossil fuel production, which scientists say must not happen if the world is to prevent catastrophic global warming. To that end, it works to keep politicians on side.

Yet the data obtained by the IJF and CNO reveal CAPP’s top government targets are not high-profile politicians but, rather, the civil servants who influence the decisions made by politicians.

From 2008 to 2022, the top lobbied government officials were:

  1. Mike Beale, former assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada
  2. Jay Khosla, Privy Council Office assistant deputy minister
  3. Andrew Noseworthy, assistant deputy minister for clean technologies at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  4. John Moffet, assistant deputy minister at Environment and Climate Change Canada
  5. Mark Livingston, Export Development Canada regional vice-president

The PCO notes Khosla was previously an assistant deputy minister with Natural Resources Canada when he was lobbied. Since joining PCO in 2020 he has not met with CAPP.

“It's a version of administrative capture,” said Rowe. “Politicians are coming in and out of office, and cabinets are getting shuffled all the time,” he explained, noting that ministers turn to senior bureaucrats for advice.

“Lobbying itself is kind of this hidden power, but there's a huge amount of hidden power in our unelected bureaucracy,” he said. “This isn't to make it some kind of conspiracy theory where they're all rubbing their hands and making nefarious deals, but they've got their own interests and relationships that can get established over the years.”

University of Alberta political science professor Laurie Adkin suggests some higher-profile ministers may be concerned about the optics of meeting so frequently with CAPP, so they send other officials. But beyond optics, she said CAPP is interested in influencing the details of policies, which is why it so frequently lobbies the bureaucracy.

“That's where the real meat of the matter is,” she said.

Adkin points to carbon pricing as just one example. The fossil fuel industry is prepared to accept carbon pricing but lobbies hard to influence the benchmarks and timelines used.

Oil and gas companies aren't fighting carbon pricing, University of Alberta professor Laurie Adkin says, but are working hard to influence the government's timelines for the policy. Photo by Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“That's where the industry always has enormous influence because they have expertise, they have data, they have personnel they can send in, and the government often relies rather heavily on the industry for that expertise and that data to produce the regulations,” she said.

Several of CAPP’s lobbyists have government connections stretching back years. CAPP’s director for Atlantic Canada, Paul Barnes, previously worked with the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board, the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore oil regulator. Claire Hafner, a government relations adviser with CAPP, was recently a legislative assistant and communications director for Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen, who sits on the natural resources committee. And another CAPP lobbyist is Paul Hartzheim, who was previously an economist with the National Energy Board (now called the Canada Energy Regulator).

CAPP’s agenda

CAPP’s goal is to ensure oil and gas production in Canada keeps expanding — especially between now and 2050, which is the window we have to limit global warming to 1.5 C, Rowe said. “Their efforts to facilitate expanded production are, so far, super successful.”

CAPP’s members are certainly benefiting: they received over $1 billion in wage subsidies during the pandemic, and the federal government is rolling out new subsidies to industry through a planned carbon capture tax credit that will cost the government $2.6 billion over the program’s first five years. Clean fuel standard regulations have been watered down, and Ottawa continues to throw billions of public dollars at the Trans Mountain pipeline to help Big Oil find new markets for its product.

Rowe says CAPP’s lobbying isn’t just limited to garnering support; it also aims to push off potential policies that would hurt its members’ bottom line, like a windfall tax some countries have adopted and Canada has dismissed.

Because it’s a registered lobbyist, CAPP is required to report some of its meetings with members of the federal government. It’s registered in provincial lobbying records, too, but not all provinces publicly report the extent of its lobbying.

“It's always difficult to trace a straight line between the access and the policy outcome,” Adkin says. “We're able to document the frequency with which they meet public officials and who they meet with, and very few details about what was discussed.”

The Investigative Journalism Foundation and Canada’s National Observer unpacked over a decade of lobbying data in an effort to better understand the influence. Going back to 2008, the IJF and CNO crunched over a thousand records to understand how often CAPP lobbies, what subjects it is most focused on and, critically, who CAPP lobbyists meet with. By taking a long view of the industry’s influence on government, important trends can be determined that reveal for the first time how influenced governments are by this powerful lobby group.

The data reveals CAPP lobbies most often on the subjects of energy, environment and taxation and finance. The data also shows the high-water mark for CAPP’s lobbying efforts was 2020, followed by 2012 and 2011.

Publicly available lobbying records do not cover the entirety of Stephen Harper’s time as prime minister, but of the records available, data reveals in-house CAPP lobbyists met with his government 879 times, compared to 897 times recorded by the Trudeau government as of June.

CAPPs priorities

CAPP is so successful as a lobbying organization, its influence has drawn the attention of climate observers outside the country. The U.K.-based Influence Map describes CAPP as a lobbying juggernaut that generally seeks to undermine most climate policy. Its lobbying “appears to weaken aspects of ambitious climate regulations at the federal and provincial level in Canada,” Influence Map says. A November report published by Influence Map analyzed the world’s most obstructive climate lobby groups and ranked CAPP fifth.

Before the pandemic, CAPP outlined in 2019 what it called two climate-related “key opportunities” to the federal government that now dominate the country’s oil and gas strategy: carbon capture and LNG exports.

Taken together, CAPP’s pitch is essentially that Canada can continue growing its fossil fuel industry by cutting emissions from the production stage and exporting oil and gas overseas, where the emissions from burning fossil fuels are no longer Canada’s responsibility. This belief hinges on the argument that the world still relies on fossil fuels and will for years to come. But it ignores warnings from scientists that in order to prevent catastrophic global warming, fossil fuels must be phased out across the entire world.

“Either you have a sense of global citizenship and solidarity with other people or you don't, and the Liberals just can't have it both ways,” said Adkin.

Still, CAPP’s sales pitch was recently used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while touting climate progress. When asked about CAPP’s lobbying, Ian Cameron, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s director of communications, said the group’s lobbying efforts picked up as the federal government introduced more climate initiatives.

The prime minister of canada (a white man) sits in a white armchair, shown from the shin up, gesturing with both hands
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an appearance at the national climate conference 2030 in Focus: Getting the Next Decade Right on Net-Zero. Photo by Natasha Bulowski / Canada's National Observer

“​​As we continue to raise our ambition on climate action, stakeholders of all viewpoints correspondingly raise the level at which they reach out to the government,” he said. “Our priority remains fighting climate change while creating jobs and growing a strong economy that works for all Canadians,” said Cameron.

Cameron also pointed to the price on pollution and the plan to slash Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent by 2030 as examples of the government’s climate action.

The lobby group is at least partially responsible for “this wackadoodle situation” where the Canadian government is declaring steps to draw down domestic emissions while completely sidestepping the fact oil companies are planning to grow production over the next number of years, Rowe explained. “They're adhering to the letter of the Paris Agreement, but just completely pissing on the spirit of it.”

CAPP’s most high-profile win in the Justin Trudeau era was when industry convinced the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.

By now the story is well known, but the broad strokes are that the pipeline’s previous owner, Kinder Morgan, didn’t see a business case for an expansion when it was expected to cost $7.4 billion. Then CAPP president Tim McMillan publicly called for Ottawa’s support, and CAPP lobbying ratcheted up. The federal government bought the pipeline, and its costs have now soared to over $21 billion.

Workers prepare the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline across a golf course near a subdivision in Chilliwack, B.C., in late April 2022. Photo by Jesse Winter / Canada's National Observer

Before Trudeau’s time, in 2012, CAPP scored a big win for its members when Harper’s government gutted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. About 90 per cent of industrial projects that would have previously been subjected to environmental assessments were no longer under that scrutiny, and large pipeline projects, like Trans Mountain and Keystone XL, saw the responsibility for their environmental assessments transferred from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to the federal energy regulator, then called the National Energy Board (NEB). By transferring responsibility, the NEB could do its own “national interest” assessment, paving the way for Trudeau’s Trans Mountain purchase, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives explains.

The decision dovetailed with CAPP’s position at that time. In a letter obtained by Greenpeace through an access-to-information request, CAPP told Harper’s environment and natural resources ministers that existing legislation, like the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, was “outdated.”

“At the heart of most existing legislation is a philosophy of prohibiting harm; 'environmental' legislation is almost entirely focused on preventing bad things from happening rather than enabling responsible outcomes,” reads the letter signed by then-CAPP president Dave Collyer, Brenda Kenny, then-Canadian Energy Pipeline Association president, Timothy Egan, Canadian Gas Association CEO and Peter Boag, former president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute.

Rowe said there’s no way to know exactly how influential CAPP is on Parliament Hill, but when looking at over a decade of lobbying, there’s an unavoidable conclusion: CAPP tends to get what it asks for.

“They want to grow (oil and gas) production at the same time we should be sunsetting the industry, and that's insane to do that,” he said. “They're getting their way from the government.”

Updates and corrections

| Corrections policy
January 11, 2023, 11:35 am

This story has been updated to reflect that if government invites CAPP to a meeting, it does not have to be recorded.

January 11, 2023, 04:50 pm

This story has been updated to reflect Jay Khosla was lobbied when he was an assistant deputy minister at Natural Resources Canada.

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CAPP is doing its job, mainly to promote the interests of its majority foreign owned member companies. It's doing it well and has built a wealth of expertise and networks in government and industry alike, where it really counts for them.

So why can't climate scientists do the same? Use CAPP's well honed methodology to lobby government officials? Why must scientists find political lobbying distasteful when there are professionals they can retain to do it for them? Scientists can feed them data and research results, and the communications pros can craft it all into whatever form, bulleted points, conclusions, consequences of inaction, and the biggie, economic ramifications. One-off dire reports by hundreds of scientists have an impact, but that impact is defeated by time. What is needed is a constant stream of lobbying in between major reports.

Scientists shouldn't fear CAPP members and their political supporters, nor shy away from criticizing their recommended policies.

A genuine climate scientist has tonnes more cred than the average environmentalist, the latter of whom are not perceived as entirely evidence based when their activism gets edgy, manipulative with media and overtly political. There is supposed to be a federal scientific advisory panel giving advice to government, but they seem to be little league when compared to CAPP. Greenpeace, Stand and others cannot possibly fill the gap. Glaciologists, oceanographers, atmospheric modellers and hundreds of others can, and could become a powerful lobby group with a professional communications branch.

One obvious answer to your question, "why can't climate scientists do the same?" involves dollars and time.

Oil and gas executives, lobbyists, etc. aren't volunteers. Even in retirement, I would suggest.

Are you offering a stream of funding for scientist associations to form and staff a "white hat", public interest lobbying enterprise?

It already exists:

There is a Canadian branch named 'The Equation' that could receive more official funding. There is also a Science Advisory Board to advise the federal Ministry of Health on medical issues, and that model could be expanded to advise the environmental, natural resources, agricultural and public infrastructure branches of the federal government.

Small private donations will likely not fit the bill for adequately fulfilling pro-level advisory functions. It must be part of a change to the organization's annual budget structure, which are currently grant-based and subject to political interference. Public advisory boards are not lobbying organizations with vested commercial interests. They would in fact provide counter arguments against those interests based on observed results and evidence. They should form a stronger role in a democracy that is purposely neutral. They don't need to have exorbitant budgets and would never donate to any political entity.

Multiple universities need to be more involved in funding an independent national science advisory panel. I'd even say private donations should be limited to avoid undue influence on the board by one business type, biased group or individual. With multiple players you largely override the issue of kowtowing to individual private / corporate money influencing a single post secondary institution.

It may be too much to ask for regarding our current electoral system, but a truly democratic government would take all private money out of government altogether. That means that individual seats could receive a flat rate subsidy irrespective of party affiliation. Of course, that would work charmingly in a proportionate system but not so charmingly in our current highly partisan party structure where the winner takes all power irrespective of the majority / minority status it wins in parliament.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a total annual budget of $50 million (90% from individual donations). Of that, they spend less than 1/2 million on lobbying. That's in the States. How much money do you think the Canadian branch has? And you think it can go head to head with CAPP?

Of course existing organizations could be more involved. If they had the money. Ditto universities. You seem to believe that money is available for public interest lobbying, from somewhere, just waiting to be asked for.

The University of BC and Simon Fraser U are both major land developers. 'Univercity', SFU's Burnaby Mountain residential community, was developed fairly recently and it's development permits were valued in the billions over its multi-year build out period. UBC also has a huge land bank it is developing, in part with a conglomeration of high density private residential buildings. It has holdings in three major cities in the province.

No one is suggesting that money grows on trees or rocks, like moss. But it is completely feasible for major post secondary institutions like SFU and UBC to not just place a few fractions of a percentage point into a science advisory fund, but to pool said funds to underpin the efforts of a national advisory board with a professional communications department.

Moreover, the equivalent of the US 50 million bucks for a science organization is, more or less, five million bucks in Canada, with an economy 1/10th the size of the USA.

Statistics-based reporting is, I think, difficult and, personally, I appreciate when it is done well. In that spirit, I'd like to suggest one way of approaching it: don't manipulate the numbers in dubious ways.

For example.

The lede for this story is:

"In the decade before the pandemic, representatives of Canada's biggest oil and gas lobby averaged 117 meetings with government officials each year. In 2020, that number hit an all-time high of 269 — more meetings than there were business days in the year."

You're comparing apples (10 year average) to a single year's number (orange) even if the numbers are correct. A more honest final sentence might have been:

"In 2020, that number hit an all-time high of 269 — exceeding the previous high of X in 2xxx [which, of course, may not have occurred in the 10 year period mentioned]".

But, the reason I bothered to comment relates to a confusion that arose when I read the following:

"Though it does not report its exact revenue, the association’s 2021 membership form shows dues are $3.99 per barrel of oil (equivalent) –– an industry term used by companies to combine oil and gas reserves into a single unit of measurement. Based on 2021 expected production statistics, CAPP would have had a core budget of about $16 million that year."

A quick check of production numbers tells me that DAILY, Canadian production is over 5 mmbbl. So, if the membership fee was $3.99 per, there'd be a whole lot more moola in the cookie jar than $16 million (based on annual production numbers).

So, I had a look at the membership form (thanks for the link). Two things stand out. First, the fee is based on a single day's production, which makes the $16 million more acceptable. Second, the annual membership fee is "capped" at $2,925,000 (footnote 5).

What that tells me is that only a few companies primarily fund CAPP and that CAPP exists as a lobbying entity for those select major players (it's pretty easy to get strategic committee agreement on a simple goal of always increased production), with minor producers riding coattails and cheerleading.

Perhaps the most important point of the piece, to me, was alluded to in the quote:

"Lobbying itself is kind of this hidden power, but there's a huge amount of hidden power in our unelected bureaucracy..."

I think this is true, simply because ministers, as far as I know, don't write legislation nor do, or can, ministers develop or maintain expertise in every area of their responsibility. And governance is only growing more complex.

We've seen apparent bureaucratic capture by industry in other federal departments, such as DFO (if you're following the work of Alexandra Morton), and other levels of government (such as municipal planning departments). Of course, sometimes political parties are simply wholly-captured organs of industry (particularly (?) at provincial level).

Note: I'm not saying that all public servants are corrupt and/or captured.

So, please keep your fruits separate, and double-check that you're including necessary qualifying information.

"We've seen apparent bureaucratic capture by industry in other federal departments, such as DFO (if you're following the work of Alexandra Morton), and other levels of government (such as municipal planning departments). [...]"

I would take issue with the inference about municipal planning departments. They are too numerous at the national scale and are governed mainly on the policies and whims of local councils, sometimes regional authorities and rarely by provincial interjection (despite their Constitutional power to do so), though there are exceptions, like the amalgamation of the GTA. You will receive more than fierce criticism and dirty looks if you walked into the City of Burnaby Planning Dept. and uttered that comment with respect to their bad treatment by the smiling dudes from Trans Mountain, the very same who turned on staff and stabbed them in the back when called before the NEB hearings on TMX permits. Frankly, that was a rubber stamping kangaroo court that allowed TMX lawyers and staff to act in contempt against Burnaby.

Planners are usually an independent lot who are to a large extent really trying to create sustainable cities that offer enhancements to the common good and the well being of citizens. There are exceptions, of course, but planners are the ones who are legally tasked with upholding zoning bylaws and negotiating directly with developers who too often try to get away with an unbelievable amount of crap. Someone outta write a book.

They are also the ones who must bring high-minded climate policy talk down to the ground in buildable environments, or tell their bosses -- mayors, councillors and senior managers -- when they are out to lunch, spreading fairy dust or doing something illegal by lobbying on behalf of developer friends, without getting fired. They are often not successful; too many cities have lost courageous and extremely talented pros from several planning departments merely because they fell out of favour with the boss on principles and for daring to say No.

We attended a recent dinner party with seven of them, from Planning Assistants, Senior Planners and Urban Designers right up to two former Directors. The conversation was as deep as it was broad. The collective expertise was centuries long spread over at least five major cities and two provinces. The talent in that room was stratospheric, enough to manage a federal Planning Department (if there ever could be such a thing) and convert, I'm confident enough to say, all major Canadian cities to some of the must sustainable on Earth, if it wasn't for the shortcomings of politicos and their top managerial sock puppets.

That would have been an interesting dinner party.

Thanks for your comments.

The lower mainland is an interesting example. For some years, now, councils have been proposing to "green" the cities. Vancouver has had some success.

Vancouver planners, though, have been fixated on tall buildings. Who can tell if they are pulling developers or being pushed by developers; I tend to think it is symbiotic. (Some people just have a thing for height. Developers like it for profit potential.) With the latest plan for the west side, planners want to scatter more tall buildings throughout what is now low-rise construction. Another aesthetic concern, the planning department has, for years, been shaving more and more from view corridors so as to make the idea pretty much a joke. The North Shore mountains are becoming more and more invisible behind downtown. Of course, the entire lower mainland has become unaffordable.

Transit-oriented development has come to mean forests of condo skyscrapers surrounding SkyTrain stations; not what I'd consider enlightened urban design. In Burnaby, Metrotown is a good example. Granted, the mall has been there now for decades, but I'm assuming the skyscraper condo construction continues apace. (I haven't been out there for 5 years.) Similarly Lougheed Mall; North Road into Coquitlam, I'm told, is coming to resemble Manhattan. Brentwood Mall is similar.

Canadian cities the most sustainable on the planet, did you say? Or "would be, if...?" I'm skeptical, either way. (I do know there are some urban designers and planners very interested in making cities more livable and ecologically sustainable.) A quick Google shows there are many competing lists of sustainable cities. San Francisco and Seattle are top 10 in one such list. In spite of ridiculous traffic jams. Like Vancouver -- exclude everything east of Boundary, south of the North Arm, and north of the first and second narrows -- if one ignores everything outside of the actual city boundaries, sure, the sustainability index goes up. But that's not a reasonable way to view a metropolitan area, in my view.

It's also difficult to rate cities without also rating lifestyles of the people residing in the cities. Canadians, and citizens of other rich, western nations, have huge ecological footprints. A true measure of sustainable living can't ignore everything related to our mass consumption.

You are laying the "forests of towers" at the feet of planners. That is incorrect. It's entirely attributable to a certain number of spineless and ignorant mayors and councillors who are deathly afraid of NIMBYs. Most senior planners are full of wise words about the Missing Middle, gentle density and so forth.

In Vancouver 80% of all residential land is consumed by only 30% of all housing. That's a roundabout definition of sprawl and the consequence of council majorities fear of voters occupying single family detached homes on large lots. That leaves only 20% of the remaining residential-zoned land to accommodate 70% of all other housing. That is unsustainable because Vancouver has ran out of land years ago, creating a shortage in land supply. In my view, that is a major contributor to Vancouver's housing affordability crisis. Infill on large, open lots is the only other way to accommodate Vancouver's 13% demographic growth rate.

Towers concentrated downtown and along rapid transit corridors was originally conceived in Metro Vancouver's first Livable Regions Strategic Plan (1990s). It was the result of planners seeing firsthand the urban land supply severely crimped by the mountains, the ocean and the protected watersheds and Agricultural Land Reserve. It worked marvellously as a land use measure. Metro Vancouver comprises ~2,800 km2 of area in total, but only ~800 km2 is urbanized. About 40% of the urbanized land is asphalt that feeds the sprawl that surrounds every town centre, like Brentwood. High density urbanism is efficacious, but indeed lacks urban design finesse.

Today's Metro and most senior municipal planners are perfectly aware of the two extremes of density and are keen to demonstrate the social and urban value of the huge gap of compact urban and architectural forms in between 50+ storey clusters and the one-storey houses on big lots from the town centre edges to the horizon. The latest Metro Plan update has it all. And Vancouver's last few council terms have been somewhat courageous and are allowing greater infill in the least dense zones on the West Side up until the last election, which saw a majority West Side council elected again, who will probably resort to the old habit of protecting their wealthy constituents from development, even modest projects.

For a half-century, downtown, major corridors like Central Broadway, rapid transit lines and swaths of East Vancouver have had to absorb way more than their fair share of growth and social housing. It's time to democratize planning areas and address sustainability at the same time, even with a biased council.

This amount of meetings, especially when you realize there has to have also been a ton of phone calls, phone messages, emails and so on and so forth, plus staff time spent preparing for the meetings, coming up with powerpoints and yadda yadda yadda, raises a new concern for me. Forget corruption and influence, that seems to be a done deal since forever in this case.

Now we're getting into territory of "Does the department ever have any time to get anything done?" Like, does the department have any staff time left to devise policy, oversee enforcement or whatever, when it seems like they've entirely reoriented their work time to fellating the oil lobbyists. Indeed, maybe that's part of the strategy--"OK, we know they have to keep a few real policies as a fig leaf. But if we can tie them up in meetings forever, they'll never have time to apply any of 'em to the real world!"

Maybe Jay Khosla is no loner lobbied by CAPP itself.

But he is still heavily lobbied by any oil and gas entity looking for funding, or for 'better treatment' of some other kind.