Thursday, February 6, 2020

Is the divisive, coordinated, push (and potential rejection) for Teck Frontiers actually designed to justify a quid-pro-quo?

Something has felt off about the coordinated divisive and hyper-focused campaign by the fuckwad UCP and the Harper & Associates IDU aligned CPC on the approval, or rather the threats of what happens without approval, regarding the Teck Frontier project.
The idea that Albertans have come naturally to the point where approval of this one project defines a basis of whether Alberta is "rejected" by Canada or not is ridiculous. The messaging on this out of the Kenney Krew has been relentless.
Alberta's premier says if the mine doesn't move forward, it means Ottawa wants to phase out oilsands

Given Kenney's record with Alberta to date, this effort and focus is highly out of place. As I said in Alberta's Great Panderer, Kenney isn't here to fix Alberta. He is here to get these companies off the hook. For example one way was as I wrote about awhile ago, in him trying to beg the federal government for money which would be put towards "job creation" in the form of using taxpayer funded dollars to clean up abandoned wells which the Supreme Court has ordered oil companies must clean up on their own dime, before paying creditors.

To be expected, Kenney going to the federal government begging for money wasn't exactly popular amongst Canadians. The attempt failed to gain favour.
What Kenney received was a prime minister "willing to listen to our case," as he told reporters after the meeting. 
But no commitments, no promises, no assurances. Other than to carefully consider Kenney's pleas. 
On the extra aid money, Kenney wants $2.4 billion from the federal Fiscal Stabilization Program that is designed to help provinces deal with major drops in revenue from year to year. There's a per-capita cap on the payouts and Kenney wants the cap removed. 
According to Kenney, Trudeau didn't say no to more money but he didn't say yes, either. Kenney told reporters the prime minister is "open to changes" to the federal stabilization program.
Kenney's hyper focus on the approval of Teck Frontier, which as the CEO admits might not even be economically viable to build anyway, I find extremely suspicious and perhaps not exactly what it appears to be at face value.

Some time ago an article came out about an oil company that found the Kenney government quite useless in regards to getting their project online.
Outside court, Gardiner said Premier Jason Kenney is being hypocritical for criticizing the federal government for not fast-tracking pipeline projects because of indigenous concerns, but not acting on Prosper’s application. 
“It definitely puts it in jeopardy,” he said of the impact Romaine’s adjournment might have on Rigel. 
” We’ve already spent a lot of money getting it to this stage. At some point in time you gotta say do we keep spending money on a project we don’t know we’re ever going to get approved.”
It's extremely curious that the coordinated full might of the Kenney and Conservative industry apparatus is being leveraged for Frontier, and only Frontier, when projects within their own control go idle in dire financial straights.

But it becomes even more suspicious; today it comes out the Liberals may be preparing an aid package in the case that Teck doesn't get approved. There's a few interesting blips:
Canada is preparing an aid package for Alberta, heart of the country’s struggling oil industry, that would help dull the pain if it blocks an oil sands project that could create thousands of jobs, sources familiar with the matter said this week. 
Ottawa must decide by end-February if Teck Resources Ltd can build the C$20.6 billion ($15.7 billion) Frontier mine in northern Alberta despite climate and wildlife concerns.
The decision is a major test of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2019 election pledge to put Canada on the path to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 
Complicating the decision, unhappiness with the government’s energy and pipeline policy cost Trudeau’s Liberals all their Alberta seats in October 2019 elections. 
There will be a big fight inside cabinet over this,” said one source directly familiar the matter who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. 
Rejecting Teck without providing Alberta something in return would be political suicide,” the source added.
Interesting, isn't it? That it will be "political suicide". Well I suppose that yes, now, that the other side has been spewing hyperbolic nonsense about how Canada will be "rejecting" Alberta, phasing out the oilsands, etc, that yes, hmm, NOW it would be, wouldn't it? So what is Alberta's grand prize that Canadian taxpayers will have to part with because to do otherwise would be political suicide? You guessed it, money for abandoned wells. What a coincidence.
Options being considered in the aid package, to be featured in the upcoming budget, include a cash injection to help clean up thousands of inactive oil and gas wells abandoned by bankrupt companies, five sources with knowledge of the situation said. 
The move would help create jobs. But it would also require Alberta’s government “to close the loopholes” that have allowed companies to shed their responsibilities for the cleanup, one of the sources said. 
Also under discussion is expanding the federal fiscal stabilization program that helps provinces deal with economic downturns, a measure Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has demanded. Local infrastructure projects could also be in the mix, the source said.
The options being considered consist of getting the banks off the hook. Period. That's it. It's starting to smell a bit like a ploy. But there's another strange tidbit in here:
In Alberta, the project is considered essential for employment and growth. Teck says it would eventually create 7,000 jobs, although the company’s chief executive recently questioned whether it will ever be built.

About 20 oil sands projects currently sit dormant despite receiving approval.
So lets go over this.

1) There are numerous oil sands projects already approved right now, that are not economically viable.

2) Teck Frontier is just yet another possibly unviable project.

3) Kenney is not approving projects that are in his power to approve, instead pushing the Federal government (supposedly) for approval of Frontier exclusively.

4) Due to the hyperbolic rhetoric of Kenney's Kohorts a rejection means Alberta now deserves some sort of compensation, apparently.

5) That compensation just happens to get the banks off the hook on the taxpayer dime using their rhetoric as an excuse around public perception.

Sound fishy to you?

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.


  1. Political suicide indeed. The Liberals could lose all their seats in Alberta.

  2. As a side note, I played way to much Roller Coaster Tycoon. So for me I can't help but call it "Teck Frontiers" (the first level in RCT is "Forest Frontiers".

    So fuck it, it's Teck Frontiers.

  3. Morneau said the reports of an aid package were "inaccurate" but when asked to clarify his followup was vague. I wonder if he's bluffing or hand-waving so as to provide some plausible deniability for the Reuters report?

    Best thing to do IMHO is kick the can down the road and make a non-decision decision to delay until after the spring budget at least. That way the hypothetical aid package is there and the Liberals can then go ahead and say no or a conditional maybe with strings attached.

    "Political suicide" would be torching more seats in the RoC to continually placate (in vain) the perpetually colicky baby of Confederation.

  4. .. I've commented in the recent past re 'Raising GHG emmissions to lower GHG emissions' - the current mantra - dogma of Justin Trudeau, former Min of Environment Ms McKenna, and obviously Mr Morneau and Stuart Butts. Jason Kenney and his 30 million $ per annum War Room simply lie about 'World Class' blah blah & the term 'methane escape' never crosses their lips, either..

    Basically twould seem its the Newfoundland & Labrador offshore oil assets & income Bank Account covering Alberta and BC and the Trans Mountain Pipeline debacle, but all in, its Canadian taxpayers doing so. Alberta just pitches in Tax Credits, not cold hard cash

    So what to expect from Teck.. who literally remove Albertan mountain tops to extract & export 'mettalurgical coal' for coking in the steel making industry.. presumably via Vancouver coal ports. Canada's 'steel industry' is ??? More operating at a loss, bleeding money 'through the 40 year life of the venture' ??

    Its a 10 or 12 minute read.. and I am seeking the most recent 'required by law' Quarterly Financial Report to Canadian taxpayers.. It was purchased 'for US with OUR money' by Trudeau et al.

    PS.. the world prices of LNG are shrinking daily, Oil prices are a fools game.. anything from Alberta or Ottawa on this matter ? Teck to be more of the same, insane ? Site C ?

    Half-wit Liberal partisans insult women of integrity and principles Ms Jane Philpott and Ms Wilson-Raybould for speaking out.. but missed the other Minister who suddenly bolted 'for more time with his family, Scott Brison.. He instead somehow in 24 hours changed his mind and took a new job with B of Montreal to supervise their investment portfolio with Lavalin SNC.. uh that included almost every major construction and management 'Nation Building' project Lavalin is involved in such as Site C or Trans Mountain or.. well the list seems endless

    This aint making the 'news' via Mainstream Media or our Governments or Public Servants - Federal or Provincial.. its at best, late Friday afternoon, obscure releases.. or over a long weekend as Australia burns, Ukraine gets tainted by Trump, or a passenger jet is shot down..