Coal Industry Lobbying

Canada’s Coal Industry and The Power of Lobbying

Presenter: Barrie Webster

Background:  The Coal Industry in Canada – federal government figures

– AB and BC produce 85% of Canada’s coal

– main use of coal is generation of electricity (most thermal coal used domestically)

– coal a key ingredient in manufacturing of steel and cement

– Canada 4th largest exporter of steel-making coal (after Australia, the USA, and Russia)

– total Canadian production 62,000,000 tonnes in 2018

– in 2018, Canada posted regulations for phase-out of coal-fired electricity by 2030

Environment and Consultation be Damned

– legislation rammed through in Alberta during COVID-19 pandemic distraction (Nikiforuk)

– 1976 carefully considered Coal Policy killed

check map for land classification

Lobbying by Trade Association the only kind allowed

– Coal Association of Canada lobbied Alberta’s UCP government to sweep away 44-year-old regulations protecting 1.5 million ha of the Eastern Rockies vital for wildlife and drinking water across three prairie provinces downstream.

– Involvement of several former key government ministers and ministry officials – ethics questions

Economic advantages of coal development to Albertaand BC

(and removal of carefully considered Coal Policy of earlier Progressive Conservative government) (This information is from 2010.)

Benefit to PortFacilities (Prince Rupert and Vancouver)

– BC heavy industry employment benefits – coal stacker and loader currently being assembled in Victoria and Vancouver

Is this the shape of things to come? Environment? Climate change? The tourist industry? Employment opportunities?

– provincial parks being closed in resource rich areas where open pit mining anticipated

– wildlife habitat in planned open pit mine areas; aquatic life (e.g. fish) downstream

– drinking water downstream across three provinces

– jobs in the coal extraction industry


1. Are these employment opportunities real? For how long?

2. Is Alberta’s plan to allow exploitation of open pit coal a feasible one?

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