A Letter to my Member of Parliament • May 29, 2017

In this letter to my Member of Parliament, Liberal Joyce Murray, I call for an open and resolutely candid public discussion about the emissions implications of continued expansion of oil sands production to 2040.

On November 29, 2016, the Government of Canada announced its decision approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.  The economic rationale supporting the pipeline decision is the expected near-doubling of Alberta’s oil sands production between 2014 and 2040. That expansion promises economic growth, employment, strong exports, and revenues for governments. But growing bitumen production is also the largest and fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in the Canadian economy. The Liberal Government has committed to make deep cuts in Canada’s total emission by 2030.

The question is whether we can achieve a 30% cut in Canada’s total emissions by 2030, down to 523 Mt (as promised in Paris in December 2015) if emissions from expanding oil sands production keep rising. This is the fundamental question.

In this May 29, 2017 letter, I question the adequacy of the pipeline approval process during the past eighteen months. I examine each stage of the process. I show how the impact of increasing oil sands emissions on our ability to meet the 2030 reduction target was completely excluded from each stage the government’s inquiry process. No public review ever answered the fundamental question. I also focus on events since the November 29 pipeline announcement – and in particular on the Pan Canadian Framework, a document released by the government on December 9, 2016.