250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 4:29 am

What Does NDP Win Mean for BC?

Thursday, May 7, 2015 @ 3:40 AM

Prince George, B.C. – What impact, if any, will the Alberta’s NDP win have for B.C.?

The party is on the record as opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, yet at the same time supporting other energy projects.

SFU political scientist Patrick Smith says it will likely depend on where you live.

“My own sense is that Northern Gateway was not going to go forward anyway. There were just too many obstacles to it,” he says. “The irony is that that makes the likelihood of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain far higher.”

He adds with the majority of citizens live in the Lower Mainland, “where the ships carrying bitumen are going to be travelling – will mean more potential for more British Columbians to be affected should something happen.”

Then there’s the potential of value added jobs, something NDP leader Rachel Notley mentioned during her victory speech.

“One of the problems, whether it’s Northern Gateway or Trans Mountain, shipping oil in its rawest form, and we found this in Vancouver harbour last month, it’s rather difficult to capture if it does spill,” Smith says.

“Whereas if you refine it, it’s more likely to evaporate and other things. So it’s impact is less and you’ve created another industry.”

Will the win provide an electoral boost to the federal NDP?

“Possibly a few seats in and around Edmonton,” he says.

However Smith says people shouldn’t expect to see any radical changes in Alberta.

“I think we’re going to see a more moderate social democrat party,” he says. “She’s (Notley) committed to a couple of major energy projects which include the continuation of the tar sands and Trans Mountain. So it’s not like we’re going to have this rude green awakening in Alberta.”


Notley said no the Northern Gateway… we will see what happens with Trans Mountain… she will not lobby for Keystone XL (recently had 97% wear in only two years of service on its northern branch)… supports a Canada East line and supports more refining capacity in Alberta, so the export is a refined product with limited liability, rather than a tough sell on raw bitumen. She also promises to pass regulations that govern how discarded or decommissioned oil assets will be treated, reflecting the need to protect Alberta land owners from the liabilities.

Notley will also raise the corporate tax 20% from 10% up to 12%, and use this to fund more towards health care and education and a jobs plan.

The real change though, and I think the change that will have the most impact on BC and the rest of Canada, is the promise to pass legislation outlawing political donations from unions and corporations in Alberta politics. This is probably what gave Albertans the confidence to vote for the ndp. Seriously, and ndp party that does not accept union donations is more akin to a populaits party than the big scary socialist party that the pc tried to portray them as.

Will this spread to BC? We can only hope so. Will it spread across Canada? We can only hope so. To have a sovereign democracy we can accept nothing less. The sooner we get corporations and unions out of funding the political process the better. Free speech is one thing, but influencing the political parties directly should be the sole domain of citizens with the right to vote.

Refining the product close to the source is a good idea but since multiple products are produced multiple pipelines will be required for export.

So unions and corporations are out but it’s still okay to accept donations from special interest NGO’S? NGO’S which in many cases source funding cannot be traced, so what’s the point in blocking unions and corporations, oh right cherry picking.

“”multiple pipelines will be required for export. “”

They can ship multiple products in the same pipeline, they have a bladder like device that they can use to separate the products.

Does the political scientist think that if something evaporates it is gone?

Eagleone I sure hope not

Who is going to build said refinery? Probably the NDP, kind of like when our own NDP got into the pulp business with Skeena Celulose

I agree 100% with Eagleone’s above comments. BC also has to make corporations pay their fair share for using our resources and infrastructure. Royal Bank is an example. BC Liberals under Campbell gave banks a huge TX reduction. Then the banks ,ie, RBC lay off Canadians and out source Canadian jobs. Also, there are huge tax credits given to LNG companies which reduce the LNG revenues to BC to a trickle. A lot of concern about what the Clark Liberals are really doing to this province.

All I know is it will be interesting in Alberta.. Change of a long standing party. Who really knows the parties mandate until 3-4 yrs down the road.. Because as we have all seen from our last election..what the winning party says they will do and what they really do is very very different.

Will this huge swing of seats in Alberta raise a concern to Harper.. I don’t think so, the man is to arrogant.

Single pipeline for multiple products not efficient at higher volumes required.

I wish the NDP AB well. I’m not all tinkled pink with the Liberals here, I just see our NDP as a worse alternative. This lady seems to have something on the ball, and if she can show how to govern with a fair balance of all interests, maybe, just maybe the BC NDP will look for a leader with similar capabilities. It never hurts to have a kinder gentler government, provided they understand that without economic activity, there is no money for healthcare, welfare, education, the environment – and if they can get a bigger share of the pie without shutting down the province – all for it.

Eagle, I’m not sure why you claim that abandoned wells are the resposibilty of landowners. There is a fund that requires all companies to pay into it. Prior to that it fell on the government. They got tired of bankrupt company wells being dumped on them. The cost involved will likely spell the end for many junior producers.

agree with ski51’s comments . an honest government with a fair balance for all interests would be nice for a change . will be interesting to see if the AB NDP can improve their balance , won’t be easy with the red neck oil patch crowd .

Dow my understanding is that the Alberta Surface Rights Board, that was wholly appointed by the conservatives, has ruled that in any bankruptcy any contract with land owners is null and void, the land owners go to the back of the line for compensation, and that discarded oil assets fall into a black hole left for the land owners to deal with… With the new owners being the secured creditors having no responsibility to the landowners in royalties or otherwise.

Prentice being a banksters himself he catered to his true constituency. Probably Prentice will be back at the bank by months end seeing he quit his seat for the bank not two hours after being elected… He is not useful to the bank as a mere MLA.

My understanding is that the landowner issue is the core of the wildrose support and reason for its existence.

Eagle, that is not the case. Your tunnel vision dosen’t serve you well. Do some research before you puke out your bankster lines. Very tedious to read. There are landowner rights issues but not on bankrupt wells.

David Black could build it ( the refinery of Alberta’s dreams ) Slinky . He’s put together a consortium that wanted to build it at Duboes , just north of kitimat . He still might . He threatened to build it and use rail cars if he didn’t get the northern gate way pipe . Maybe he could take his 25 billion to Fort Mac and he can make a Matterhorn out of the petcoke . Cause no one is ever going to buy it . The petcoke that is .

Dow you are just being goofy and you don’t read very well. I didn’t specify wells, I said assets. Wells are only part of the equation.

As per wells, most ‘profitable’ companies can just pay the low lease rates indefinitely to avoid the well ever having to be reclaimed and avoid it ever going to the government well recovery fund… a fund that in and of itself is only funded at $15 million a year, when it would take $250 million a year to keep pace with discarded wells in Alberta. Alberta has thousands of unclaimed wells.

Bill 2 in Alberta passed in 2012 removes the right of land owners to an independent review by the environment ministry and puts all the power in the energy regulator… huge power to appropriate land with no notice to the land owner. This was Harper inspired as part of his omnibus bill to do the same thing at the federal level. Bill 2 is probably the most draconian legislation in North America when it comes to land owner rights.

Then we have a change to section 36 of the Surface Rights Act, which is recent under Prentice and part of the recent election debate. Heck Prentice was talking about it only two weeks ago making promises to amend this if the land owners would just come back to the fold.

Section 36 of the Surface Rights Act

Alberta Surface Rights Board (Board) has completely changed a long standing practice of guaranteeing annual surface lease payments, by the Alberta government, as legislated under section 36 of the Surface Rights Act.

I could list more than a dozen companies that have used this new change to the act by the Alberta Surface Rights Board to screw land owners out of their payments and stick them with the environmental liabilities.

Prentice was a banker from CIBC making a good half million a year salary before becoming Alberta premier and CIBC is the secured creditor in a lot of these cases. A bankster is not to strong a term to apply to this practice of putting a banker into government to change laws for the benefit of the bank at the expense of everyone else’s legal rights.

Now as a result of the ASRB decisions the big players with deep enough pockets to fund their liabilities are spinning off their less profitable assets to juniors that fall into default as a way of walking away from their assets. No different than Enbridge fronting Northern Gateway as a separate legal entity for liability reasons. Its the new way of doing business in the oil and gas industry.

Fact almost all the land used by the oil and gas industry in Alberta is on private land, and not land owned by the oil and gas industry.

Farmers fume over surface rights board compensation refusal

Posted Apr. 23rd, 2015 by Barbara Duckworth

TROCHU, Alta. — Alberta landowners are considering a court challenge to recover lease payments from the government when an energy company goes bankrupt.

Four hundred people gathered in Trochu April 9 at a Alberta Surface Rights Groups meeting to discuss a challenge, which includes setting up a $30,000 legal fund to argue a case in which a Vulcan area farmer is owed more than $112,000. 

“It is a huge issue because there are thousands of these wells and there’s probably 50 or 60 companies that have gone bankrupt in the last five or six months,” said Daryl Bennett, who represents the Action Surface Rights Association in southern Alberta. 

Compensation is paid to cover the right of entry, loss of use and potential damages when a landowner and energy company sign an agreement. The compensation agreement is reviewed every five years, and more landowners are discovering that no money is forthcoming because of company insolvency. 

“You are not supposed to make a profit on what the oil companies are paying you. It is supposed to be compensation for your loss,” Bennett said.

“If these landowners are not being paid for their losses, they are being forced to subsidize industry, and they are being force to subsidize the government.” 

Landowners with oil and gas wells on their property who have appeared before the Alberta Surface Rights Board in the last couple years seeking compensation were turned down because the company was insolvent. Provincial legislation says the government pays when that happens. 

However, lawyer Keith Wilson of Edmonton, who specializes in agriculture and land use cases, said the board has said it cannot act because of provisions in the federal bankruptcy act. 

“Section 36 of the Surface Rights Act says if the company does not pay or refuses to pay, you make a claim and the government will chase the company,” he said. 

“The reason they are not paying you is they are saying there is a problem with the federal bankruptcy act.”

He said Alberta is unique in the way it deals with energy companies and private landowners. It allows companies the right of access to subsurface resources but guarantees landowners a long list of rights, including guaranteed compensation. 

Bennett shares the opinion of Wilson and lawyer Shaun Fluker of the University of Calgary, which is that the government is backing away from its obligations because of financial constraints. The money would have to come out of general revenue. 

A farmer often does not know who holds the lease, and if the company is bankrupt he does not know who is responsible for payments. 

Fluker said the landowners have a strong case and could result in a long list of claims. The rurface rights board should also be required to explain why it refused payments. 

“Regulatory agencies have an obligation to give an explanation on a decision like this,” he said at the Trochu meeting.

“The board, at the very least, has to explain how it come to this conclusion.”

Alberta property rights advocate Lee Cutforth raised the issue with the province in his 2014 annual report.

“A recurring and persistent series of concerns has been expressed over the past year with respect to various applications of the Surface Rights Act,” said the report.

It said the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act interferes with orders for payment to landowners under Section 36 of the Surface Rights Act when the operator has filed for bankruptcy. Under these laws, the board apparently cannot remedy the situation without statutory changes.

Consultant Graham Gilchrist, formerly with the Alberta Farmer’s Advocate office, said these cases are growing. Firms are reneging on their fees to the orphan well fund and are not notifying landowners about upcoming compensation reviews. Landowners who question what is happening are rebuffed. 

“The companies say go away, we are not doing anything, we won’t do anything unless you force us,” Gilchrist said. 

He said the government can intervene and make regulatory change. 

The orphan fund is fully funded by the oil and gas industry through a levy administered by the Alberta Energy Regulator. The fees cover the costs of an abandoned well facility, pipeline abandonment and reclamation liability. However, the province has had to add money to the fund to cover the cost of a growing number of orphan wells. 

The latest government figures from 2011 indicate 150,000 well sites have been abandoned. Of those, 100,000 were reclaimed while the remainder were sealed but no reclamation was done. 

Karen Sinclair-Santos, counsel for the surface rights board said there are different avenues for landowners when a company is in receivership or bankrupt. Each case is heard individually under section 36 of the Surface Rights Act.

If a company fails to make its lease or compensation payments the board may take away its access to the site and if payments are not made, all rights to the site are terminated. The board also may direct the minister of environment and sustainable re-source development to pay the money out of general revenue. 

There have been some cases since 2012 where payments were not made because of provisions under the federal bankruptcy act.

“There are a few decisions of the board, not very many, where section 69 of the bankruptcy act prevents the board from proceeding with a stay of enforcement,” she said.

Comments for this article are closed.