Energy sector looking for aid and regulation delays as throne speech looms

Energy sector looking for aid and regulation delays as throne speech looms

Energy sector looking for aid and regulation delays as throne speech looms

OTTAWA — Canada’s fossil-fuel sector is looking to this month’s throne speech for signs the federal government is not throwing in the towel on oil and gas.

Meanwhile Canadian climate strikers are threatening mass protests if the same speech doesn’t show a plan to eliminate all greenhouse-gas emissions produced by human activities in Canada in less than a decade.

The two visions for the throne speech, expected Sept. 23, are at odds and both are ratcheting up the pressure on the Liberal government ahead of a cabinet retreat where the Liberals are expected to make the final policy decisions for the throne speech and the plans for economic recovery from the pandemic.

Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, is hoping the speech makes “a clear statement” that the oil patch will be part of the recovery, with promises of tax credits and a rethink of a new clean-fuel standard, scheduled to take effect in 2022.

The fuel standard requires companies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced when liquid and gaseous fuels are burned by cutting emissions throughout the supply chain, from extraction to consumption. The regulations start with 2.6 per cent cuts in 2022, rising to 13 per cent by 2030.

McMillan said the industry wants to be part of the “ambitious green agenda” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised but it needs help. And he says the fuel standard will be too hard for many companies to meet.

“In its current form, (it) will have the effect of shipping jobs and investment offshore and we’ll be importing a lot of the products that we probably do a better job of producing here in Canada,” he said.

The pandemic saw demand for fossil fuels plummet, which also sank prices, causing Canadian companies to cancel more than $8.6 billion in capital spending and lay off 19,000 people. Another 15,000 jobs are at risk by the end of 2021, McMillan said. He said clear signals on the fuel standard and tax credits could help the industry recover.

Bora Plumptre, a senior analyst at the Pembina Institute, which promotes a transition to clean energy, said many other countries are pursuing similar policies, including in Europe and China, as well as some U.S. states. He said scaling back the standard would also make it impossible to hit our Paris agreement targets to slash greenhouse-gas emissions and will also drive investments away from the renewable fuels industry in Canada.

Renewable fuels such as ethanol or biodiesel are one of the ways to meet the new standard — blending traditional diesel with biodiesel reduces overall emissions, for example.

Scott Lewis, an executive vice-president at the biomass diesel company World Energy, said Canada will lose investors and opportunities in biofuels if the government does not send a clear direction for what will be required here.

“We need a clear policy,” he said.

Lewis added that many investors are demanding fossil-fuel companies show climate plans before they give them any money, and efforts to meet the clean-fuel standard would be one way to convince investors to sign on.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, who is under a lot of pressure to deliver aid for the floundering oil industry in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, hinted earlier this week that the government is looking at making big investments to support the adoption of cleaner technology in the energy industry. That could include technologies to meet the clean-fuel standard.

His spokesman said the industry will have a big role to play in the post-pandemic world.

For climate activists, however, the oil and gas industry should play no part of it. Climate Strike Canada Friday issued updated demands of Ottawa on global warming, including eliminating all emissions from human activities by 2030.

Canada’s current promise is to cut emissions by about one-third by 2030, and to get to “net zero” by 2050. That would mean any emissions still produced are captured so they don’t end up trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Lilah Williamson, a B.C.-based member of a group called Sustainabiliteens and part of Climate Strike Canada, said Friday that the throne speech is Trudeau’s “last chance to be a leader” on climate change. A year ago, Trudeau joined hundreds of thousands of Canadians during a national climate strike march in the middle of the federal election campaign.

A similar strike is planned for Sept. 25, two days after the throne speech.

“It’s up to you whether we will be protesting or celebrating,” Williamson said of Trudeau.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

energy sector

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blank Unemployment Benefits form
Red Deer unemployment rate rises to 10.6 per cent

Red Deer’s unemployment rate rose slightly during the month of April. The… Continue reading

Red Deer teacher Jeremey Spink has been nominated as the NHL/NHLPA Most Valuable Teacher. He is one of 20 teachers in the running across North America for the award in February. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Last day to vote for Red Deer Teacher as NHL Most Valuable Teacher

Eastview Middle School teacher Jeremy Spink is one of three teachers in the running for the award

Starting Monday, golf courses across the province will be limited to their household or for those who live alone, their two close contacts. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Golf in Alberta limited to household or close contacts starting Monday

Golf courses will have new COVID-19 protocols to follow next week. Starting… Continue reading

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
MLA Ron Orr pleads with Central Albertans to follow COVID-19 rules

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr is changing his tune on COVID-19. Orr originally… Continue reading

People line up at a COVID-19 vaccination centre, Friday, April 23, 2021 in Deux-Montagnes, Que. Canada's two biggest provinces are continuing to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as they report lower hospitalization figures.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
COVID-19 rapid tests going to more businesses, Alberta truckers get shots in Montana

Ottawa has introduced new ways for small and medium businesses to get… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Rona Ambrose is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Thursday, May 18, 2017. New judges will have to commit to take training in sexual assault law, thanks to a new law that received royal assent last night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Judges’ sexual assault training bill receives royal assent after clearing the Senate

OTTAWA, Ohio — New judges will have to commit to take training… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

WASHINGTON — Justin Trudeau stopped well short Friday of endorsing efforts to… Continue reading

Workers perform ground preparations outside City Hall in Yellowknife on Monday, July 4, 2011. A recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife is mostly affecting children and youth, the territory’s chief public health officer says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most of Yellowknife’s COVID-19 cases are in children and youth: public health officer

YELLOWKNIFE — A health official in the Northwest Territories says a recent… Continue reading

Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
A year after jobs data leak, StatCan resumes sharing advance numbers with officials

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada has resumed its practice of giving key federal… Continue reading

jobs - T - 3-6-2020
Job search: 10 ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in 2021

In 2021 successful job hunting requires having a LinkedIn profile that’s current… Continue reading

Max Parrot of Canada competes in the men’s snowboard big air final at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Parrot has won the Comeback of the Year honour at the Laureus World Sports Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot wins Laureus World Sports Award for comeback

Parrot beat out former Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith

This Nov. 22, 2015 file photo shows Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Bieber’s world tour is facing another setback as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The Stratford, Ont.-raised pop singer is pushing dozens of tour dates including stops in three Canadian cities.	THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File
Justin Bieber postpones Canadian summer tour dates until 2022

52-date world tour will now kick off Feb. 18, 2022

Most Read