Transparency & accountability

BC’s Oil and Gas Commission: A captured regulator

Aug 14, 2019
In June 2015 “in an effort to expedite” the building of a pipeline by Alliance Pipeline Ltd., a company called Synergy Land Services submitted falsified documents to British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission. The documents were deliberately altered to suggest that archaeological work was done at two sites when in fact it had only been… View Article

Tailings dam collapses in the Americas: Lessons learned?

Aug 8, 2019
In fewer than five years, three major dam collapses have occurred in the Americas—the most recent of which killed more than 230 people, and likely killed up to 260; many of the dead have never been recovered from the toxic mining sludge in which they were buried. The disasters that unfolded in both British Columbia… View Article

How much is BC giving to natural gas companies?

Jun 24, 2019
All British Columbians have a stake in the pricing of natural resources. When trees are logged, when minerals are mined, when fossil fuels are drilled, the companies doing the extracting pay fees to the Province in recognition that the resources are publicly owned. It is therefore in everybody’s interest to know how the government prices… View Article

Memo to northeast BC: More fracking earthquakes ahead

Apr 30, 2019
Of the many “unknowns” flagged in a recent science panel report, few are as disturbing as the finding that no one can say how destructive an earthquake may one day be triggered during brute-force oil and gas industry fracking operations. The panel’s report—commissioned by Michelle Mungall, BC’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources—has landed… View Article

Deferred prosecution agreements or avoid jail and pay a fine

Apr 1, 2019
Deferred prosecution agreements—or DPAs—are much in the news these days thanks to now former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould’s momentous resignation from the federal cabinet. DPAs are a corporate get-out-of-jail-free card or, more precisely, an avoid-jail-and-pay-a-fine-instead card. They became a reality in Canada last year after being slipped into a 500-page federal omnibus budget bill and… View Article

How clean is a BC that subsidizes accelerated fossil fuel extraction?

Feb 25, 2019
When the provincial government unveiled its new climate plan late last year, Environment Minister George Heyman, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Premier John Horgan presented a happy, united front as ceremonies got underway at Vancouver’s main library. But the biggest smiles of the day may have been on the faces of senior executives at… View Article

False advertising by the Alberta government and oil lobby

Feb 20, 2019
As an Alberta-born and -raised earth scientist who has made a career studying fossil fuels and energy issues, I am dismayed at the bombardment of ‘fake news’ in print, online and TV ads from the Alberta government on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX). These ads are repeated hourly on several TV stations. One ad… View Article

Through the front door, then the back: How government methodically killed environmental oversight of major gas industry projects

Jan 23, 2019
Few regulations in British Columbia have died as quick and ignoble a death as a 2014 Order in Council exempting proposed natural gas plants from having to undergo environmental assessments. It was a change that fossil fuel companies drilling and fracking for natural gas in the northeast of the province had demanded for some time…. View Article

Pro rep leads to better public policy

Nov 8, 2018
Debunking the claims of proportional representation naysayers This post is part of a series explaining the benefits of proportional representation and debunking myths from the ‘No’ side of BC’s 2018 electoral reform referendum. More from the series is available at policynote.ca/pr4bc. Over the last few months, I’ve spent quite a lot of time debating and… View Article