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A Voters Guide for Natural Resources in Canada

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
0 Comments| 6 days ago

Click to enlargeWith less than two weeks until the federal election, Canadian resource industry investors are keeping a keen eye on the race to see which party will form the next government.
And Stockhouse investors in metals & mining and the energy sector know that politics matter. It matters not just in regard to policy, but how government frames its vision of a sustainable future for all Canadians – both economically and environmentally.

Juggling the financial interests of two of the nations largest economic and employment engines with the need to build and maintain a clean economy has long been a challenge for parties of all political stripes.

Here are the hot-button issues the resource industry and Canadians, in general, face in the federal election on Monday, October 21st.

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Despite the controversy surrounding the federally-owned Trans Mountain Expansion Project in the last few years, the pipeline has largely been flying under the radar in this election campaign.
Just this past week Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said energy issues need to be a bigger focus for the federal leaders. These are the official party lines on the TMEP:

Leader Justin Trudeau closed some risky deals on the environment and the economy – cancel the Northern Gateway oil pipeline, approve the Trans Mountain expansion, create a national carbon tax, and obtain concessions from Alberta…including phasing out coal energy and capping oilsands emissions. In 2018, the Trudeau government bought Trans Mountain for a hefty $4.5 billion price tag. A second approval for pipeline expansion was given in June. Said Trudeau: “We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future.”

Leader Andrew Scheer supports the Trans Mountain expansion. A lot. But more is needed to encourage oil and gas projects, say Conservatives. This includes repealing the carbon tax and Bill C-69, which overhauled federal environmental assessments of major construction projects, and ending the ban on shipping oil on the BC north coast. Scheer said he would use federal powers to declare a major project in the national interest. Criticizing the Liberal approach, Scheer said: “Not a single inch of new pipeline has been laid.”

Leader Jagmeet Singh wants the Trans Mountain expansion abandoned, saying it will undermine efforts to fight climate change. The NDP also worry about ocean spill risks. Approval of the project ignores violations of indigenous rights, says the party. In criticizing Liberal approval of the project, Singh said: “While they’re great with symbolic gestures like voting for a climate change emergency, they do the opposite of helping the environment the very next day with the approval of this pipeline expansion.”

Green Leader Elizabeth May was arrested in Burnaby in 2018 for protesting the Trans Mountain expansion. “The commitment to build a pipeline in 2018, when we are in climate crisis, is a crime against future generations and I will not be part of it,” said May. The Greens promise to cancel the project. The party would also cut subsidies to fossil fuel industries of several billion dollars a year and would redirect the money toward a transition to renewable energy.

Carbon Tax – Climate Change


The Liberals set a minimum carbon price of $20 per tonne this year, increasing $10 a year to $50 by 2022, and imposed a carbon tax on businesses and individuals in provinces with no federally approved carbon price plan. In those provinces, Ottawa is handing back carbon tax rebates to most residents. The tax has faced unsuccessful court challenges from several provinces.

The Tories have called the Liberals’ carbon tax ineffective and have vowed to repeal it. The party would then leave it to the provinces to decide if they want to put a price on carbon. It promises to reduce carbon emissions by investing in green technology funded in part by polluters who fail to meet new standards, but haven’t explained how this would be more effective than a carbon tax.

The New Democrats are in favour of continuing with a carbon tax and the rebate program. However, Leader Jagmeet Singh wants to crack down heavy on heavy emitters. He said he wants those who produce the most emissions to “have the most burden” and vows to change the requirements slightly for industrial emitters.

Leader Elizabeth May supports the carbon tax, saying putting a price on carbon has been “one of the cornerstones of Green Party climate policy for many years.” But she said it alone is not sufficient to meet the emissions targets of the Paris Accord, a target she hopes to double.

In Closing

Heading into the 2019 campaign, neither of the four main parties are disputing the scientific consensus that human beings are responsible for climate change or that a warming planet earth will result in damaging impacts on the global population and other species. But the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, and Greens differ widely and wildly on how deeply Canada needs to cut greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs), how those emissions should be cut, and at what cost.


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