By Robert Bradley Jr.
“[Canada is] heading down this same dark cul-de-sac that we have seen the European head. And we see energy and climate policy at the national level in our nation that just is not grounded in the reality of the situation that we’re facing.” – Premier Scott Moe, Saskatchewan
The biography of Moe touts his commitment
to advancing the economic interests of Saskatchewan through strengthening Saskatchewan’s high-quality agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and energy industries that meet the needs of growing markets around the globe with world-leading efficiency and sustainability.
He supports mineral energies, the density and reliability of which outcompetes dilute, intermittent wind and solar, as well as grid-scale batteries.
Excerpts from Moe’s speech, “To hell with that,” Moe says regarding federal policies seeking to shut down coal and natural gas power generation, and limit fertilizer usage,” reported at PipelineOnline.CA, follow:
Mr. Speaker, we saw, as we led into this fall, the release of a white paper, which was this government putting forward the opportunities that we have in this province and ultimately where some of the challenges are. Nine federal policies we had identified. … the cost is $111 billion.
And there’ll be some discussion about whether that number should be lower or higher. I would say likely higher because we see moving goalposts by the federal government. It made all sorts of commitments that . . . Oh the carbon tax was supported by the members opposite. It’s going to be $50 a tonne. It isn’t going to be too bad. We’ll never go above that until we go to $170 a tonne, Mr. Speaker. That’s called a moving goalpost.
You’re seeing it time and time and time again. You’re seeing it with the clean fuel standard. You’re seeing it with a fossil fuel phase-out now. Not a coal phase-out by 2030, but now a fossil fuel phase-out by 2035, which is going to make for an awfully cold house in Saskatoon on January 1st, 2036, when the Queen Elizabeth natural gas plant shuts down, Mr. Speaker. And the same will happen in North Battleford and across this province.
So, Mr. Speaker, these are moving goalposts that ultimately are going to push that $111 billion cost higher. And most certainly if done, these types of environmentally, solely environmentally focused policies have pushed those electricity costs, those energy costs higher in other areas of the world, and we shouldn’t think for a minute that the same isn’t going to happen here.
And one needs to look no further than the European Union, Mr. Speaker, and the conglomerate of European countries where there is a very cautionary tale unfolding for, I would say, the rest of the world to observe. And it’s on full display for the world to observe. The energy costs in the European Union over the last number of years, due to enacting these solely environmental-focused policies, have been skyrocketing…. We see now a warning about brownouts, blackouts, and they’re already advising there’s going to be energy rationing as we find our way through these winter months.
Recently in this nation we had the chancellor of Germany, Mr. Olaf Scholz. He was in Canada and what he was trying to do was secure an LNG [liquefied natural gas] supply from Canada to Germany. What we provided to the chancellor of Germany, to Mr. Scholz, was in five years we’re going to provide you some hydrogen from a plant that isn’t built yet.
Nor is the wind farm built to power that hydrogen production, but we’re going to have this all together in five years and we’ll send it to you then. That’s going to add up to a pretty cold winter in Germany this year, so that answer wasn’t sufficient to provide Germany with some of the most sustainable LNG that you can find on earth produced here in Canada.
So he went to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Speaker. I was talking with my counterpart in the Emirates just a couple of days ago, and they were able to secure an MOU and secure a supply of LNG for Germany out of the Emirates about 10 days after the chancellor was here in Canada, Mr. Speaker. And that’s disappointing. Now that’s disappointing. I would say it should be disappointing for all Canadians.
What we see happening in Germany is they are actually nationalizing their refineries. The opposition party when they were government are familiar with nationalizing industries here in the province. They’re rapidly building LNG plants wherever they can, which they haven’t done for a number of years.
They’ve been shuttering their coal-fired plants, but they’re restarting those because they aren’t able to restart the nuclear plants that some countries have been phasing out. And in Germany specifically, $60 billion is being provided over the next few months just to transition their residents through what is an electricity and energy crisis, Mr. Speaker — $60 billion over the next few months.
And I would say that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is most certainly the immediate cause of this crisis that we’re seeing, this energy security crisis that the European Union has put themselves in. But I would say that that invasion, that Russian invasion of Ukraine, is only part of the explanation. Europe has put itself in a very precarious position by the policies that they have been enacting for a number of years prior to this invasion.
And there’s one observer that did note this a number of months ago. When you do your very best to discourage oil and gas production within the borders of your country, when you shut down coal-fired power plants and you don’t really have a realistic plan in place on how you’re going to replace that energy, when your plan is to purchase it from a country like Russia, that isn’t a realistic plan if you want true energy security.
When you fail to diversify your energy supplies within the confines of your border or your allied countries, when you put all your faith in renewables and renewables alone, which do have severe limitations when it comes to baseload power, when you do all of that you better have one good backup plan, Mr. Speaker. You better have a strong backup plan.
And in Europe, across the European Union, I would say — possibly with the exception of France with over 80 per cent of their power coming from nuclear power — they didn’t have a very good backup plan, Mr. Speaker. And now they’re dealing with the consequences of those very decisions.
And I would say wherever we are, whether you’re in government or opposition or business or whatever your role is in your community and your family, you can ignore reality for a period of time, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring that reality.
The consequences of having an energy policy that does not prioritize energy security and subsequently food security, well they’re now on full display in the European Union for the rest of the world to observe. And we should know in this nation, and we do know in this province that we can’t be too complacent.
We can’t be too complacent for a minute. We’re heading down this same dark cul-de-sac that we have seen the European head. And we see energy and climate policy at the national level in our nation that just is not grounded in the reality of the situation that we’re facing….
There was an article from Pipeline (Online) done by another esteemed reporter, Brian Zinchuk, entitled “Saskatchewan First Act introduced to literally keep the lights on in this province, and allow farmers to keep using nitrogen fertilizer.”
Mr. Speaker, it goes on and begins, and just a first couple of sentences go like this, and I quote:
Thou shalt not use coal for power generation post-2030, the federal government hath said. And it’s moving to do the same with natural gas by 2035. It also wants to limit farmers’ fertilizer usage, all in the name of climate change policies.
On Nov. 1, the province of Saskatchewan [has] said, [and I quote] “To hell with that,” but in a much more sophisticated, legal manner.
Mr. Speaker, more seriously with all of the chaos and uncertainty that we are seeing around the world, much of that centred in the Ukraine area, in that Eastern Europe area, Mr. Speaker, and what we’re seeing and how that’s impacting uncertainty in the rest of the world, including here in our province of Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker, it’s absolutely necessary for us to — as a province that can provide the food, fuel, and fertilizer that the world so desperately needs — to provide energy security, to provide food security.
It is incumbent on us to identify where our challenges are, Mr. Speaker, to put forward that conversation to our federal government and to other Canadians that energy security is important. We produce some of the most sustainable food, fuel, and fertilizer right here in the province of Saskatchewan. We’re proud of what we produce. We’re also proud of Saskatchewan residents as to how we produce that, how we produce that from an environmental perspective, from an ethical perspective, from a labour perspective, Mr. Speaker. We are very proud….
We need to come together as Canadians, Mr. Speaker. We need to come together as Canadians to be a strong and vibrant nation so that we can be proud of one another and what we do and provide, ultimately, the products that we do as Canadians to the world….
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November 16, 2022