4 Wednesday November 18 2015 The Northern Journal is an independent newspaper covering news and events in the western Arctic and northern Alberta. The Northern Journal is published weekly by Cascade Publishing Ltd. Printed at Star Press Inc. Wainwright AB. Publisher................................................................................. Don Jaque 867-872-3000 ext.21 donnorj.ca Editor..................................................................................... Craig Gilbert 867-872-3000 ext.24 newsnorj.ca Reporter....................................................................... 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The Man from Athabaska By Robert Service In a green Canada fossil fuel subsidies must fade to black The movement to reduce greenhouse gasses is gaining momentum in Canada now that the newFederalLiberalgovernmentisjoiningBrit- ishColumbiawhichhasbeenapplaudedforits carbon tax system and Ontario and Quebec both heavily subsidizing green technology but astheworldcomestogripswiththefrightening impacts of climate change going green can be lled with nancial pitfalls as well as promise. In the 1990s smog days were common in Ontariosurbancentres.In2002then-premier ErnieEvesaConservativeanddirectsuccessor to Mike Harris pledged to rid Canadas most populousprovinceofcoal-redelectricityplants by 2015. The last coal plant closed in Thunder Bay in April 2014 by which time the storyline hadswitchedfromensuringcleanerairbypro- ducinglessneparticulatematterandnitrogen dioxidetocoolingtheplanetbycurbinggreen- house gas emissions. All the same there were zerosmogdaysin2014downfromtwotheyear before 30 in 2012 and 53 in 2005. As smog days fade from collective memory in Ontario opposition grows to the intense subsidies Premier Kathleen Wynnes Liberals continue to provide for solar and wind genera- tion - 1 billion last year for wind alone. On- tario is painting green projects with red ink. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has an- nounced her intent to target her own prov- inces coal plants which still supply 38 per cent of the provinces energy as pledged in the partys election campaign last spring part of their climate change strategy. Ironically former Alberta Conservative environment and nance minister Robin Campbell started his job as head of the Coal Association of Canada last Monday. While Notleys plans are praiseworthy and long overdue after years of Tory heel-drag- gingherattentionmustalsobefocusedonthe over-abundantGHGemissionsoftheoilsands industry which she envisions as an interna- tionalshowpieceinordertopioneeradvanced extraction technology as existing projects are expanded and new ones start up. Resource extraction is what we do in Can- ada and in Alberta especially oil is what we know but there be dragons here. Just days away the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference represents Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus rst major interna- tional engagement one where he is likely to address his pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies. Environmental advocacy group Oil Change International and the Overseas Development Institute a UK think-tank have released a study showing that G20 countries still dole out US450 billion to the fossil fuel sector every year despite pledging in 2009 to work toward phasing out the incentives. In Canada several fossil fuel subsidy pro- grams are already under review and a special subsidyfortheoilsandsrandryinJanuarybut incentives to the liquid natural gas sector have ramped up. An average of 2.7 billion in subsi- diesndtheirwaytooilgasandcoaloperations everyyearinCanadaincluding604millionin royaltyreductionsbyAlbertaand981million throughtheCanadianDevelopmentExpensefor oilandgas.Another2.7billioninpublicnances is provided to fossil fuel extraction companies through Export Development Canada more than three-quarters of it internationally. More alarming is a caveat from the reports authors that estimates in this analysis could represent aslittleashalfthetrueamountofCanadianpub- lic nance for fossil fuel production. Oil companies justify the government hand- outsbyarguingtheirindustryiscapital-intensive requiring a lot of upfront cash for exploration anddevelopment.Thisbegsthequestionwhere is the sense in making it easier to extract fossil fuels when climate science shows we need to leave most of it - as much as three-quarters - in the ground to meet GHG reduction targets In Ottawa Conservative Opposition leader Rona Ambrose has been chiding Trudeau on his plan to run decits to pay for programs including massive investments in infrastruc- ture. She should note that pouring billions in cancelled fossil fuel subsidies back into pub- lic coffers would in a roundabout way help get Canada back in the black. Some of that infrastructure spending must be investments in green technologies aimed at retooling the economy based on a new energy source. Every country in the world has to do it. Germany which was Ontarios model for its green energy program moved away from both nuclear and fossil fuel energy genera- tion but realized after 14 years and half a tril- lion dollars that it has to rethink its subsidy programs for renewable electricity to make them affordable and effective. Subsidiesforgreenenergywillbeanessential catalyst to move wind and solar into the mass marketandmakethemaffordable.Thoseincen- tives often happen more at the provincial level but it will be important for the federal govern- menttoplayamajorroleaswendthebestway forwardasacountyinthenewworldeconomy. An average of 2.7 billion in subsidies nd their way to oil gasandcoaloperationsyearly including604millioninroyalty reductions by Alberta and 981millionviatheCanadian Development Expense Oh the wife she tried to tell me that twas nothing but the thrumming Of a wood-pecker a-rapping on the hollow of a tree And she thought that I was fooling when I said it was the drumming Of the mustering of legions and twas calling unto me Twas calling me to pull my freight and hop across the sea. And a-mending of my sh-nets sure I started up in wonder For I heard a savage roaring and twas coming from afar Oh the wife she tried to tell me that twas only summer thunder And she laughed a bit sarcastic when I told her it was War Twas the chariots of battle where the mighty armies are. Then down the lake came Half-breed Tom with russet sail a-ying And the word he said was War again so what was I to do Oh the dogs they took to howling and the missis took to crying As I ung my silver foxes in the little birch canoe Yes the old girl stood a-blubbing till an island hid the view. Says the factor Mike youre crazy They have soldier men a-plenty. Youre as grizzled as a badger and youre sixty year or so. But I havent missed a scrap says I since I was one and twenty. And shall I miss the biggest You can bet your whiskers -- no So I sold my furs and started... and thats eighteen months ago. For I joined the Foreign Legion and they put me for a starter In the trenches of the Argonne with the Boche a step away And the partner on my right hand was an apache from Montmartre On my left there was a millionaire from Pittsburg U. S. A. Poor fellow They collected him in bits the other day. But Im sprier than a chipmunk save a touch of the lumbago And they calls me Old Methoosalah and blagues me all the day. Im their exhibition sniper and they work me like a Dago And laugh to see me plug a Boche a half a mile away. Oh I hold the highest record in the regiment they say. And at night they gather round me and I tell them of my roaming In the Country of the Crepuscule beside the Frozen Sea Where the musk-ox runs unchallenged and the cariboo goes homing And they sit like little children just as quiet as can be Men of every crime and colour how they harken unto me And I tell them of the Furland of the tumpline and the paddle Of secret rivers loitering that no one will explore And I tell them of the ranges of the pack-strap and the saddle And they ll their pipes in silence and their eyes beseech for more While above the star-shells zzle and the high explosives roar. And I tell of lakes sh-haunted where the big bull moose are calling And forests still as sepulchres with never trail or track And valleys packed with purple gloom and mountain peaks appalling And I tell them of my cabin on the shore at Fond du Lac And I nd myself a-thinking Sure I wish that I was back. So I brag of bear and beaver while the batteries are roaring And the fellows on the ring steps are blazing at the foe And I yarn of fur and feather when the marmites are a-soaring And they listen to my stories seven poilus in a row Seven lean and lousy poilus with their cigarettes aglow. And I tell them when its over how Ill hike for Athabaska And those seven greasy poilus they are crazy to go too. And Ill give the wife the pickle-tub I promised and Ill ask her The price of mink and marten and the run of cariboo And Ill get my traps in order and Ill start to work anew. For Ive had my ll of ghting and Ive seen a nation scattered And an army swung to slaughter and a river red with gore And a city all a-smoulder and... as if it really mattered For the lake is yonder dreaming and my cabins on the shore And the dogs are leaping madly and the wife is singing gladly And Ill rest in Athabaska and Ill leave it nevermore.