Stephen Harper’s $82 Million for Energy Projects

First off, this money is touted as a Clean Energy fund, when in fact it is merely an energy fund. A whopping 34% of the money is going to tar sands research and another 9% to the development of biomass alternatives for Canada’s north. I don’t need to mention there is nothing clean about the tar sands, and the conversion and burning of biomass fuels still heats the environment, the exact opposite of what needs to be done right now.

Here are a few notes I took on the use of the $82 million.

$28.6 million is going to fund research for tar sand extraction and other non-renewables ($1.86 million for each of the 15 companies).

The phrase “climate change” is only used once, where half a million dollars (less than 1%) is being thrown at Calgary-based carbon-offset non-profit where oil companies can go to ask to be absolved of their sins after the fact.

The remaining $52 million is going to a dog’s breakfast of 39 small companies involved in energy in one way or another. That gives each of them an average of $1.3 million to play with, in a one-time shot.

Well, I’m not impressed. I’m not even going to discuss the second largest lump-sum in the list ($5 million) on a joint Canada-Israel “unconventional oil and gas resources” initiative. Can we say, fracking?

Hand out a small candy to many people, lest a big candy to one or two people offend everyone else. If I were prime minister who wanted to garner as many votes as possible, this is the strategy I’d use. After all, from this day forward, he can say he is supporting damn near every energy option in Canada.

I won’t deny that minor improvements to existing or prospective energy technologies won’t come out of this. But we’re talking about trying to spit-polish a turd here. Lots of very real dirty energy exists in this country and it all needs to be stopped or replaced with something not just cleaner, but actually cleaning, as we have a huge cancerous legacy to take care of.

Where has he done the most good? At the end of the day, when we face flood, heat, fire, and drought from our government’s firm “business as usual” stance on fossil fuels and climate change, $82 million will not even pay for the caskets. No, the place where the most good has been done is Stephen Harper’s image, plain and simple.