Orwell’s Animal Farm in the St Lawrence

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“All contracts are legal but some contracts are more legal than others”.

After ten years of industry exploration and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment the Government is for a third time changing the rules of the game and ripping up their written contractual promises. Legislation is to be presented by Quebec’s minority Government to add drilling to the existing moratorium on fracing. This even though no one would ask to drill a well if they couldn’t frac it.

To add insult to insult an independent committee has been summarily dismissed and ordered to hand over its studies.  The studies will be the subject to inquisition by a Commission headed by hand picked partisans.  These are people who call themselves environmentalists while saying crude oil is less risky in wilderness areas because it is viscous and less volatile than natural gas.  I certainly agree the benefits of oil and gas outweigh the impacts even in wilderness areas.  But the Orwellian logic of these people is for the birds.  (Sadly not for the birds of Exxon Valdez.)

Is this a repeat of Quebec history?  In the 1970’s the Government formed SOQUIP believing oil and gas exploration was easy.  As Mr. Parizeau said ‘the only thing SOQUIP found was the Fond de solidarité’.  Perhaps the Government should read my peer reviewed paper to realize finding the sweet spots in shale oil or shale gas is not so easy as they are telling the taxpaying public.

This Government, like SOQUIP, seems to like exploration unless it’s successful.  They give licenses and cash credits for exploration.  But if you are successful they give you a BAPE moratorium.  If you cooperate with that they give you a Strategic Review moratorium.  If you cooperate with that they replace the people at the BAPE and give you another BAPE moratorium.

To accomplish this they engage in Orwellian double speak.

  • Independent committees are partisan; partisan commissions are independent.
  • Industry in the wilderness is safe for the environment; industry on farmland is risky for the environment.
  • 1,000 barrel a day gas wells in Lotbiniere are failure; five barrel a day oil wells are success.
  • Projects won’t proceed because of low gas prices; a moratorium is needed to stop gas projects.
  • Contracts for exploration are legal; contracts for production are less legal

Could we all agree on the Norwegian model.  Norway encourages exploration because they want production and revenue and taxes. So they don’t change the rules as soon as you are successful?  It seems to be working.