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)
https://careersincoal.ca/facts-about-coal/ (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?