I particularly don’t like when governments work in secret. Governments feed us a lot of malarkey about why secrecy is essential. Here are some government plans developing in secret that everyone should know about.
In Ottawa, 400 delegates from Pacific Rim countries spent time this month negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the latest ‘free trade’ deal our government says we just have to have.
Last January, some of the sections of the draft agreement showed up on Wiki Leaks including a chapter on dealing with the environment. The contents have fired up our US cousins because the language appears to violate a US law requiring all trade deals signed by the US to apply the same terms and conditions to environmental issues as it has for commercial issues.
The leaked environment chapter has intentionally weak, unenforceable language on the environment, yet strong rules for protecting commercial interests. Why? Because a number of countries including Canada opposed strong language to protect the environment.
The Trans Pacific Partnership will force countries to guarantee the construction of energy export infrastructure. Essentially, Canadians are being told to accept that Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and EnergyEast pipelines are beyond the ability of either federal or provincial governments to stop.
There is another secret developing in Alberta. President Obama has said he won’t approve the Keystone XL if it means increasing carbon emissions, period.
As you’re aware, many critics have rightly pointed out that Canada has ZERO limits on Tar Sands emissions and have called for putting a price on carbon. Alberta has a tiny carbon fee. So what would happen if Alberta significantly increased its fee? Wouldn’t the US President have to approve the Keystone XL pipeline?
Sierra Club has learned Alberta is going to increase its carbon tax (probably) after the November US elections. There will be great fanfare and trips to Washington. People like me will be expected to heap praise…but hold off on the applause and hear the rest of the secret deal. In exchange for its cooperation, Big Oil will essentially be given a free pass. I’ve learned CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) negotiated a deal with the Alberta government that will essentially offset any new carbon-costs by reducing clean-up requirements associated with tailing ponds.
You and I are supposed to trust that our best interests are being looked after ion both scenarios. I hate secrets.
John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation