The News Rundown
- The projected cost of the contentious Coastal GasLink pipeline spanning northern British Columbia has jumped 70 per cent to $11.2 billion in the wake of a freshly inked deal between operator TC Energy Corp. and LNG Canada, the group building a liquified natural gas terminal on the West Coast.
- Amid rising global demand for fossil fuels, TC Energy CEO Francois Poirier said a sheaf of revised agreements with LNG Canada "settles all outstanding disputes" and allows for "timely execution of our largest LNG-linked project."
- TC Energy expects "mechanical completion" — when all construction and testing is wrapped up and the tubes are ready to move the gas — by the end of 2023.
- The 670-kilometre pipeline, designed to carry natural gas across the province to the LNG Canada processing and export facility in Kitimat, is already about 70% complete, Poirier said.
- Until Thursday, the pipeline's cost estimate stood at $6.6 billion. Poirier said: "Capital costs have increased from the original cost estimates made in 2012, and the revised agreements incorporate a new cost estimate for the Coastal GasLink project of $11.2 billion."
- Details of the settlement are undisclosed, but it concerns costs stemming from causes as wide-ranging as COVID-19, the weather, project "scope" and "other events outside of Coastal GasLink LP's control," TC Energy said.
- The project has faced political and environmental obstacles over the past few years. A series of protests by members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation and other Indigenous and green groups has repeatedly stalled progress along parts of the pipeline, while a pair of fines from the B.C. government nabbed the company for non-compliance with environmental orders this year.
- TC Energy has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the route, and signed option deals earlier this year for potential sale of a 10 per cent stake to two Indigenous groups representing 16 of those communities.
- Poirier also alluded to the energy turmoil stirred up by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, saying global demand for LNG is projected to grow by 50 per cent to 75 billion cubic feet a day by 2030 from 50 billion currently.
- He said: "This growth is largely underpinned by heightened energy security concerns and the reorder and reorientation of the energy mix. This next wave of LNG demand is creating significant opportunities that align with our strategy. TC Energy's unparalleled asset footprint will play a critical role in securing global energy supply."
- As energy prices continue to climb, pipelines in Canada continue to struggle to get off the ground, and Coastal Gaslink may yet be beset with delays in the finish to construction. At a time when Canada is missing its opportunity to get more value from its natural resources, inflation and a deflated economy will continue to wreak havoc on its citizens.
- Last week in the UCP leadership race we talked about Danielle Smith’s campaign and her media technique that is drawing energy out of the campaign.
- The media lens on the leadership campaigns shows why that’s working for Smith and why we’re talking about our next story here today.
- Travis Toews has a policy on his website that is probably the most pro-Alberta out of any candidate.
- He straight up says that he will impose tariffs on goods and services from areas deemed hostile to Alberta.
- In particular the website says they will, “pass enabling legislation, so that when Ottawa attacks Alberta’s economy we have a potential suite of targeted levies on goods and contracts we can begin to apply and escalate as needed.”
- The plan is similar to what the Americans threatened to do to Canadian imports when the question of country of origin labelling came up.
- The idea behind the plan Toews is putting forward is that it’s strategic and targeted whereas a big nullification like what other candidates are suggesting, could be declared unconstitutional.
- Focusing around Alberta’s economic sectors, Toews also wants to expand Alberta’s presence in American and foreign trade negotiations directly.
- There are also other Canadian goals including working with Saskatchewan and Manitoba to expand the Port of Churchill to move resources to international markets.
- Other Toews plans include fighting for a fair equalization formula in 2024 and raising the cap of the Fiscal Stabilization Program that provides money to provinces should they see a drop in revenue.
- Toews also wants to “shift tax power from the federal government to provincial governments” meaning that the tax dollars stay here before being sent to Ottawa and then back.
- In many ways this story picks up where we left off last week because there are policies being discussed from the other campaigns, the mainstream media, just like federally and in the US, always focuses on the shiny object first.
- Rebecca Schulz has positioned herself as a candidate in the middle of the road saying that rather than nullifying laws, seeking out autonomy, or tariffing other parts of the country, she’d be able to negotiate with a hostile government because of the child care agreement she was a part of securing.
- Rajan Sawhney is running a moderate campaign that could, with the right media backing and messaging, win seats in Edmonton of all places.
- Todd Loewen and Leela Aheer who were kicked out of caucus and cabinet respectively have been bringing an aura of decorum to the race that many don’t see in modern politics in person or in the social media lens.
- Going back to our previous episode, I mentioned that the easiest way a politician can garner media attention is to say something extreme and then it sucks the atmosphere out of whatever other debate was going to be happening.
- We saw this at the UCP leadership debate this week and it has been on display at large in the leadership race, preventing the points we illustrated in this story from making their way to the surface.
- Albertans have until August 12th to decide if they want to become a UCP member and vote for the next Premier.
- We hope that what we have laid out here today has shown the angles not making their way to the surface.
- As if there wasn't enough to be worried about these days, a new 'climate activist group', as coined by local Victoria media, has popped up in downtown. Called the Tyre Extinguishers, this group has been previously active in the UK and France, and a week ago, they struck in Kitchener, Ontario; and on Thursday night they were in Victoria.
- Their unique form of 'protest', again, as coined by local media, is to remove tire valve caps from SUVs after dark, and then put a lentil bean in before replacing the cap, so that the tires deflate. When the SUV owner gets to their vehicle in the morning, all of their tires will have deflated. This group claims to have deflated the tires on at least 34 SUVs in Downtown Victoria and nearby Oak Bay, one of the richest municipalities in Greater Victoria.
- After the tires are deflated, the group leaves a note on the vehicle which says, “Your gas guzzler kills[…] You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally. We are a worldwide direct action environmentalist group with the goal of eliminating SUVs from urban areas. We do this with one simple tactic: deflating the tires of these massive, unnecessary vehicles, causing inconvenience for their owners without endangering any lives in the process.”
- Of course, in the hot weather that we've been having this summer, deflated tires can ruin the tires completely, forcing a trip from a diesel guzzling tow truck, and then a replacement of one or more tires well before it's needed to replace them, which defeats the purpose completely. As for why there is a huge crusade against SUVs in particular, and not big trucks, or the cruise ship industry, your guess is as good as ours.
- A representative of the group, in an email to Capital Daily, said the action was about empowerment for people who otherwise feel powerless: "For any youth wrestling with climate grief, climate anger, climate anxiety, or climate depression, it's empowering to know that meaningful action is as simple as a lentil in your hand and the cool evening breeze in your hair as you locate the next death-mobile to disarm. No violence, no property damage—just direct and joyful action, and the radical power of inconvenience."
- Oak Bay police confirmed it was looking into the incidents. Deputy Chief Julie Chanin said: “[The charge would be] mischief to property, and members will canvass to see if residents have any video surveillance. So far, there is no reported damage, just the air loss.”
- This is the first time the group has carried out its actions in Victoria, though it’s not the first time groups on Vancouver Island have protested a lack of climate action by targeting vehicles—the more common tactic being blocking highways. Howard Breen, a member of Extinction Rebellion, told Capital Daily he is “arm-in-arm” with the Tyre Extinguishers. “The fact we have to resort to this tactic in order to be heard by our government breaks my heart. At this point, we have no other option.” He said this, possibly with crocodile tears in his eyes.
- Local media fell for the bait by giving this group attention, and now we're going to have to deal with the consequences. Likely they will show up in other cities as well, as they spread their dubious message. As for whether they will actually create change, the only change that will happen is that average people will turn away from environmentalism movements as their tactics are widely despised. And the local media calling them activist groups and protests, should be referring to them as criminals committing crimes.
- In the meantime, we will see if any more dangerous or criminal actions get taken by so-called activists who think they're sticking it to the man when all they're really doing is annoying everyone around them.
- The federal government’s policies during the dark times of the past few years have caught up to travellers at two of Canada’s busiest airports: Toronto and Montreal.
- The stories of lines, delays, and lost baggage have made their way onto social media with angry passengers saying online how bad their experiences have been.
- One passenger travelling from Florida tweeted, "Toronto's Pearson Airport is a special circle of hell. The worst airport experience ever.”
- This tweet was accompanied by a departures board showing upwards of two dozen delayed flights.
- The story of our airports has also made international news in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the BBC.
- For a brief time in the last week, Toronto Pearson had the most delays of any airport globally and Air Canada was the most delayed airline.
- The delays even held up country music star Brett Kissel.
- Though as the tweet mentioned it wasn’t just airline delays, there was also lost baggage and bags piling up in the baggage hall because people were not able to get there in a timely manner.
- The problem according to the airports is that when demand picked up in May, previously laid-off workers, including federal government employees, did not come back to work.
- Many might think that travel is surging beyond pre-pandemic levels, but we’re not actually there yet.
- That raises tons of questions about what is going to happen going forward.
- This is putting a negative mark on Canada when it comes to international tourism and even on tourism within the country for anyone who is considering moving through one of the plagued airports.
- It is at this time that we will remind our listeners that airports are federally regulated and at the end of the day it falls to the federal government to remedy this problem.
- Staffing problems aside, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says that Canadian restrictions were stronger than anywhere else in the world which makes our return to normal much more difficult.
- They say that the airlines sold more tickets than what the airport could handle.
- With this it’s also worth noting that the national mask mandate applies on flights within Canadian airspace, something else most countries have dropped.
- The focus has been put on the airlines and airports of course but as mentioned previously, if the federal government wanted to they could have stepped in sooner and ensured that air travel would be relatively hassle free in the country.
- But as we saw this past winter, the Trudeau government is totally content with using the pandemic as a political wedge even if there are unintended side effects in our airports that can be passed off to the airlines.
- The story at the end of the day is that not enough is being done to solve these problems at the airport.
Quote of the Week
"Toronto's Pearson Airport is a special circle of hell. The worst airport experience ever.” - A random air traveller from Florida, on our Canadian airport effectiveness
Word of the Week
Deflate - to let air or gas out of a tire or balloon, to cause someone to lose confidence, or to bring about a reduction in the economy
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Delays and Deflation
Teaser: The cost of Coastal Gaslink rises to $11.2B, Travis Toews highlights economic policy in the UCP leadership race, and a climate activist group deflates SUV tires in Victoria. Also, Toronto and Montreal airports are named the worst in the world for delays.
Recorded Date: July 30, 2022
Release Date: July 31, 2022
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes