November 2014: Parkland Conference: People vs. Profiteers; Energy East wrong type of petroleum infrastructure; Immigration – and TFWP – must remain a federal responsibility; did you k...
People versus Profiteers: Demanding justice and equity
The Parkland Institute’s Annual Fall Conference will explore why, at a time of remarkable wealth production, the money seems to be skewing in very particular directions and away from many groups (full-time, part-time, casual workers; women and minorities; the abjectly poor and disabled outside altogether of labour markets, etc.) and towards a small minority; and what can and should be done about it.
WHEN: November 21 – 23, 2014
WHERE: University of Alberta
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS)
Energy East the wrong type of petroleum infrastructure
The recent application by TransCanada Pipelines to build a pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the Maritimes is another example of infrastructure projects that will impoverish Canada.
By allowing oil companies to ship low-value product, it will undermine the economic viability of upgrading here in Canada and potentially put Canadians out of work.
“The Energy East pipeline won’t bring Alberta oil to eastern refineries – instead it will channel that oil right past Canadian refineries on the way to foreign markets,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “The closest that Energy East will get to a Canadian refinery is the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, but even there, oil transported on the pipeline will not go to the refinery itself; instead it will be delivered to a new oil export terminal.”
Through research and advocacy, the Alberta Federation of Labour is engaged in a campaign to encourage the public, media and government to look more closely at the claims being made by proponents of the pipeline, including the current Premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick.
“Despite all the rhetoric and the spin, it’s clear that Energy East is not a ‘nation building’ project. Instead, it is yet another in a long line of projects aimed to perpetuating the ‘rip-it-and-ship-it’ approach that has characterized Canada’s resource sector for too long,” McGowan said.
Immigration – and TFWP – must remain a federal responsibility
Thousands of companies misusing the Temporary Foreign Worker program, uncovered by the Alberta Federation of Labour, prove that the program should remain a federal responsibility.
Documents obtained under freedom of information requests show that in 2013 there were more than 2,000 businesses nationwide whose workforces were more than 30 per cent TFWs – the majority of which were in Alberta. In the same year, more than 1,000 businesses had workforces that were more than 50 per cent TFWs. Again, the majority of these were in Alberta.
“If people are coming to Canada to work here, they should have the right to stay here. And that means immigration, not a ‘temporary’ status,” AFL president Gil McGowan said. “If someone is coming to Canada to work, whatever part of the country they move to first, they should have the right to move to other parts of the country if they so choose. That won’t happen if provincial governments are setting up their own separate ‘temporary’ programs.”
The list also raises serious concerns about the role being played by foreign state-owned corporations in the oil sands. More than half of the workers employed in Alberta by companies like Sinopec (a state-owned oil corporation from China) and Samjin (a subsidiary of Korea’s national oil company) are TFWs.
“The Government of Alberta has – pressured by business groups – floated the idea of taking over management of the TFW program from Ottawa. If that ever took place, it would be a disaster for Canadians and Immigrants alike,” McGowan said.
Did you know ...
- Over the past 40 years, the average Canadian on minimum wage has only seen their hourly pay increase by one penny.
- 86 per cent of Canadian families will see no benefit at all from income-splitting.
- Only 19 per cent of Alberta children 0-5 have access to a regulated child care space.
- Alberta is 2nd-last among Canadian provinces for number of regulated spaces per child. Only Saskatchewan has fewer regulated spaces per child.
• November 14-16: AFL Affiliate Political Campaign School
• December 6: Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
• December 10: PIA Open House
Energy East pipeline won’t help address needs in eastern Canada; it’s ALL about export to foreign markets
Proponents of pipeline seem to be deliberately misleading the public and the media
Edmonton – Earlier today, TransCanada Pipelines officially filed an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build the much-discussed Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick. In response, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, released the following statement:
“If, as many of its proponents are saying today, the Energy East pipeline would really create a significant number of long-term refining jobs in New Brunswick and reduce the reliance of eastern Canada on foreign oil, we would enthusiastically support the project. But, the truth is, this pipeline will do nothing of the sort. A thorough analysis of the TransCanada application shows that Energy East won’t bring Alberta oil to eastern refineries – instead it will channel that oil right past Canadian refineries on the way to foreign markets.
The closest that Energy East will get to a Canadian refinery is the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, but even there, oil transported on the pipeline will not go to the refinery itself; instead it will be delivered to a new oil export terminal being built by the Irvings next to the refinery. Even if Irving Oil wanted to take a portion of the oil out of the pipeline before loading it on ships for export, they couldn’t because the New Brunswick refinery is a ‘cracking refinery’, as opposed to a ‘coking refinery.’ That means that it couldn’t use the diluted bitumen coming down the pipeline as feedstock without investing literally billions of dollars in upgrades. To date, no such upgrades have been announced, so it’s clear that the vast majority of bitumen coming down the pipe will be destined for foreign, not domestic markets.
We raise these points in an effort to encourage the public and media to look more closely at the claims being made by proponents of the pipeline, including the Premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick. Despite all the rhetoric and the spin, it’s clear that Energy East is not a ‘nation building’ project. Instead, it is yet another in a long line of projects aimed to perpetuating the ‘rip-it-and-ship-it’ approach that has characterized Canada’s resource sector for too long. To put it another way, Energy East will only solidify our role as “hewers of wood, drawers of water…and diggers of bitumen.” When will our leaders start championing projects that actually keep good refining jobs in Canada, instead of exporting them to countries like the United States and China?”-30-
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail email@example.com