One of CAPP’s most insidious actions is spending millions of dollars to undermine the science of climate change and to glorify Big Oil on TV, print, and online advertising over the years — everywhere from children’s classrooms to museum halls.
In addition to this, CAPP advocates for the expansion of the tar sands, and building massive oil pipelines like, Energy East and Kinder Morgan. Scientists have made it clear that in order to avoid more than 1.5°C of global warming, more than two thirds of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Building these projects would mean abandoning Canada’s global climate commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The bottom line is that tar sands expansion is incompatible with a livable climate. We need to move away from this sunset industry, not shackle ourselves to it.
CAPP has also spent decades delaying emissions regulations for the tar sands. Today, as governments have increasingly taken up calls for climate action, CAPP has doubled down its efforts to ensure new legislation is weak, and that Big Oil still benefits — recently going so far as to suggest that federal carbon tax revenues should be cycled back into Big Oil.
CAPP has spent years dismantling some of this country’s most important environmental protections. During the Harper era, these efforts paid off in a big way. The federal government granted CAPP’s wishes to have a series of environmental laws changed to advance “both economic growth and environmental performance.” These wishes came in the form of two omnibus budget bills C-38 and C-45, which devastated environmental legislation. This was the fallout:
The fisheries act was gutted.
This made it easier for Big Oil to push through pipelines, supertankers, strip mines, and other destructive projects across Canada. It’s no surprise CAPP went after the piece of legislation that was once the most common trigger for environmental assessments.
The Navigable Waters Act was watered down.
Protection for 99% of Canada’s lakes was lifted, removing important checks and balances for projects like the Energy East Pipeline, the Site C dam, and the PNW LNG project. Today, only three oceans, 62 rivers and 97 lakes receive federal oversight.
The Species at Risk Act was weakened.
These changes allow more political discretion in what should be a science-based process. CAPP sees the Species at Risk Act as merely an impediment to pipeline construction and tar sands expansion, but let’s not forget the the species on these lists are on the brink of being wiped off the planet because of a historical lack of science-based decision making and oversight.
The Environmental Assessment Act was repealed & replaced.
Thanks to CAPP’s advice, the government scrapped nearly 3,000 environmental reviews, speeding up the approval process for major oil and gas projects. Federal reviews now allow for more political discretion, and a bigger burden of environmental review has been downloaded to the provinces. Altogether the number of departments and agencies undertaking environmental reviews fell from 40 to just three, and funding to Environment Canada was slashed.
CAPP was in favour of the now-dead Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline which was subject to a legal challenge by eight First Nations. Today, CAPP supports projects like Kinder Morgan and Energy East, which are also vehemently opposed by numerous First Nations.
During the Harper-era push to dismantle critical environmental laws and regulations, CAPP also requested that the federal government rework First Nations’ land claims to strip Indigenous Peoples of their rights.
CAPP’s assault on Indigenous rights and environmental protections is part of a long history of colonization of Indigenous Peoples by governments and corporations. The Indigenous sovereignty movement “Idle No More” emerged in resistance to these relentless attacks.