Opinion and Other Writing

Ottawa should not indulge Saskatchewan’s fantasy in defying carbon tax

Saskatchewan, in trying to defy the federal carbon tax, has come up with a bold set of legal machinations. Bold, that is, in the way a child jumping their checker diagonally across the board in one giant leap and yelling “King me!” is bold. The federal government should have just ignored it. But on Wednesday Ottawa confirmed it would go along with the province’s fantasy role-playing game. It’s mind-boggling.

The day Alberta almost went dark

On Thursday, January 11th, Alberta set an all-time record for electricity use. Alberta’s hourly demand peaked at 12,384MW, beating the 12,193MW record set in December of 2022. There were no emergency alerts regarding the electricity market that day. No grid alerts were called, nor were panicked calls made for exports from Saskatchewan or B.C. You probably didn’t even know it had happened. Why? Because on Thursday afternoon, wind generation provided roughly 1,100MW through that challenging hour, and for much of Thursday. The day was a non-event.

The perils of promising a costless energy transition

Climate change is the environmental, political and societal challenge of our time. But we, as Canadians, have not always responded with our best efforts or grandest ideas. Too often, our discussions of climate change rely on half-truths, easy sound bites and other ways to avoid difficult conversations. Some of these cut against action on climate change: We tell ourselves that Canada’s a cold country, so climate change won’t affect us, or that we account for only 2 per cent of global emissions, so anything we do will not matter. We tell ourselves that the world will still use oil and gas, and perhaps even more of it in the future than today. But one of these sound bites instead gives comfort to those pushing for much more stringent policies here in Canada: the assurance that governments can provide a “just transition” away from fossil fuels, with nobody left behind.

Danielle Smith may be grandstanding, but Canada’s Clean Electricity Regulations do need a fix

Alberta is headed for rolling blackouts, kids doing homework by candlelight, and skyrocketing electricity prices, according to the Danielle Smith government’s new “Tell the Feds” campaign against Ottawa’s proposed Clean Electricity Regulations (CER). What’s more, according to the province’s independent electric system operator, Alberta is powerless to stop the slow-moving inevitability of widespread darkness 12 years from now, despite the operator’s track record of under-forecasting clean energy growth and its mandate to maintain reliability.

How the inspiration for Jason Kenney’s inquiry into un-Albertan activities came to be so (mis)understood

Vivian Krause, the erstwhile detective who inspired Premier Jason Kenney’s beleaguered inquiry into un-Albertan activities, was back in the news this week.
A series of Twitter posts seemed to cast doubt on what many have assumed was her narrative all along: that U.S. commercial interests were somehow behind the now-infamous Tar Sands Campaign to slow or halt development of Alberta’s oilsands.
And yet, Krause was emphatic that no such narrative was ever present in her work, as tempting as such a link might be.