Goldboro LNG project site with defaced sign. Photo: Ken Summers

Alberta-based Pieridae Energy is looking for $925 million in government funding for its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Goldboro on Nova Scotia’s Eastern shore, and the federal government continues to meet with the company and — as far as we are allowed to know — also entertain the ask.

This, despite the fact that as Ecojustice noted in a May 10, 2021 letter to federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson, the Goldboro project “will produce over 3.7 megatons of CO2e [carbon dioxide equivalent] emissions per year, constituting a massive, dangerous and entirely unacceptable increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” making it an unlikely candidate for largesse from a federal government that recently announced a new climate target and introduced a new law to tackle emissions.

Take, for example, the Liberal government’s proposed Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. If passed, it will oblige the finance minister to manage financial risks related to climate change. In its 2021 federal budget, the federal government also pledged that starting in 2021-22, it would develop and apply a “climate lens” to ensure that climate considerations are part of all federal decision-making.

Pursuit of the Goldboro LNG project also seems to fly in the face of the findings of a new “landmark special report” from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which show that the use of natural gas will have to drop off dramatically starting in 2025 if the world is to limit temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius as stipulated in the Paris Agreement, and achieve global net zero emissions by 2050.

International Energy Agency shows natural gas production drops precipitously in 2025 on net zero emissions (NZE) pathway.

The IEA, which is anything but a radical, tree-hugging outfit (Henry Kissinger is behind its founding in 1974), warns that “many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage” are “not needed” and risk becoming “stranded assets.”

A 2021 United Nations Environment Programme report also warns that “expansion of natural gas infrastructure and usage is incompatible” with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, “without relying on future massive-scale deployment of unproven carbon removal technologies.”

All of this begs the question of whether Canadian government officials are actually entertaining Pieridae’s request for almost $1 billion in funding for its LNG project during a climate emergency, which would lock in fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come. (For perspective, the 2017 federal government’s Low Carbon Economy fund provided Nova Scotia with just $56.3 million over five years for programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.)

And this leads to another related question: Why are federal and provincial public servants meeting in great secrecy with Pieridae when public money and the climate are at stake?

Clear answers to these questions are not easy to find, but here is some of what we do know. (And if you’re looking for more background on the Goldboro LNG project, the Halifax Examiner has reported extensively on it hereherehere and here.)

Goldboro LNG project location from Pieridae 2013 submissions to Nova Scotia Environment

Lobbying politicians and public servants

One of the most intensely lobbied politicians by Pieridae is Central Nova Liberal MP Sean Fraser, who is also parliamentary secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, as well as former parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Luka Stevanovic, one of Pieridae’s three registered lobbyists in Ottawa, reports having met with Fraser five times in the past year, as he has with Cape Breton – Canso Liberal MP Mike Kelloway. The only person Stevanovic has targeted more often than these two Nova Scotia MPs is Neil MacIsaac, director of operations in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), with whom the lobbyist has met six times, twice in the company of DFO minister Bernadette Jordan.

The “subject matter details” for Stevanovic’s lobbying in Ottawa include:

Grant, Contribution or Other Financial Benefit: Securing federal support for the construction of Canada’s first LNG facility on the East Coast in Goldboro, Nova Scotia

Sean Fraser

In a telephone interview, the Examiner asked Fraser if he thought the Goldboro LNG project is compatible with Canada’s domestic and international climate commitments, and particularly his government’s proposed Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

Fraser, who said he was speaking for himself and not the government, replied that the Paris Agreement commitments Canada has made “ensure that climate plans of provincial governments accord with the goal of achieving net zero by 2050.”

“So on this particular project [Goldboro LNG], the question to me is: will it render the province of Nova Scotia’s climate plan unworkable?” said Fraser. He noted that because the Goldboro project would result in 3.7 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, it would require:

… the provincial government’s climate plan to achieve a concomitant reduction in emissions elsewhere, because we cannot compromise on net zero as a country, as a province, or frankly, as a planet. We need to carefully account for the emissions.

Said Fraser:

If in fact the project would have the impact of rendering the provincial government’s climate plan unworkable, the federal backstop under our Greenhouse Gas Sustainable Pollution Pricing Act would kick in in Nova Scotia.

So does that mean that federally imposed carbon pricing — often called a carbon tax — would kick in if the Goldboro LNG project went ahead and Nova Scotia were no longer able to meet its own carbon emissions targets?

To that question, Fraser replied, “Yes, essentially, that’s true.”

But, he said, “It will depend heavily on the very specific details of the provincial government’s plan.”

Nova Scotia’s Sustainable Development Goals Act, passed in October 2019, but only opened for public consultation on May 27, 2021, commits to “a new Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth” and sets these targets for future greenhouse gas emissions:

  1. by 2020, at least 10 per cent below the levels that were emitted in 1990
  2. by 2030, at least 53 per cent below the levels that were emitted in 2005
  3. by 2050, at net zero, by balancing greenhouse gas emissions with greenhouse gas removals and other offsetting measures.

Fraser acknowledged that Pieridae has been saying that, “they can move the project forward on a net zero basis,” adding that the claim “remains to be tested and proven on the basis of science, facts, and evidence before anyone should accept it outright.”

“But if they can do what they’re saying they can do, then I think it’s worth continuing the conversation,” said Fraser. “But we need to be steadfast in defending the importance of achieving net zero. It’s obviously a global emergency.”

As for whether he thinks it wise to use public funding for a project like Goldboro LNG, given the International Energy Agency report warning that LNG facilities risk becoming “stranded assets,” Fraser replied, “I don’t even know what investment we’re talking about.”

He said there is the request for $925 million outlined in a Pieridae PowerPoint presentation. “But there’s not actually an application for funding that I’m aware of,” he added.

“My guiding principle is that I don’t like the idea of the federal government or really any level of government injecting cash for the purpose of expanding fossil fuel development,” Fraser said, before qualifying that:

On a project like this, if there are innovations that will help them achieve net zero that could be applied elsewhere in the energy sector, that would result in a net downward trend in emissions, then look, I’ll have that conversation. And I think if you’re looking for a straight grant, which, to be clear, the company hasn’t asked me for a straight grant of money, then I think you start to get into more questionable circumstances.

Fraser said he didn’t have the details about Pieridae’s specific proposal that is before the government, and suggested that information should come from Natural Resources Canada that has been hosting government meetings with Pieridae.

We’ll get to that, but first some background about the December meeting and Pieridae’s direct ask for government funding.

The big ask

On December 16, 2020, a Microsoft Teams meeting was held online — and on the quiet — with public servants from the federal government and the governments of Alberta and Nova Scotia, as well as Alfred Sorensen, CEO of Pieridae Energy.

During the meeting, Pieridae showcased the Goldboro LNG project in a PowerPoint presentation, which was headlined — apparently without a hint of irony — “Trade, Reconciliation, Net Zero GHG: Goldboro LNG, A Priority COVID 19 Relief Project.”

See related article: “Mik’maw opposition to the Goldboro LNG project is growing.”

The headline seems a bit, well, odd, for a project involving a great deal of new fossil fuel infrastructure from an energy company looking for public money to help pay for pipelines to transport natural gas from aging sour gas wells in Alberta to Nova Scotia, and an LNG plant in Goldboro.

Pieridae does claim it has a “commitment and a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” and it has also announced a “carbon capture and sequestration” and power production project at one of its gas facilities in Alberta, which it says “supports independent, third-party research” to achieve its net zero goals.

However, three leading climate scientists recently described “net zero” schemes involving “highly speculative technologies” as “fantasy” and “fairy tales” that are “driven by a need to protect business as usual, not the climate.”

Below that, at the very bottom of the title slide of the presentation, there is the catchy little slogan “Shovel worthy – shovel ready,” for the $13-billion project that had been seeking private sector financing for almost a decade, so far without success.But according to the presentation, time was now running out. Pieridae said it needed to make a final investment decision (FID) by June 2021, and pre-construction would have to start late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2021, both deadlines that have already passed.

At the heart of that private meeting in December was Pieridae’s big ask for public money. Sorensen was looking for funding to “move the project forward.” Specifically, Pieridae was “requesting a Government of Canada grant, repayable contribution or loan guarantee of CAD$925 million.”

Public (would have been) left in the dark

If the presentation hadn’t been leaked, the public would know nothing of this meeting.

Nor would we have known that the PowerPoint was covered by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). We only became aware of the NDA after five activists on two continents wrote an open letter on March 18 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seven federal ministers, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Keith Irving urging them not to give in to Pieridae’s request for financing. The signatories to the letter challenged several “questionable claims” made in the company’s presentation at the December meeting.

One of the letter’s signatories, climate campaigner Andy Gheorghiu, was writing from Germany, where there is growing opposition to the Goldboro LNG project. Pieridae has an agreement with the formerly German and now Finnish company Uniper for the purchase of half the LNG from the proposed facility, although that has been extended several times. The most recent amendment expires in a month, on June 30, 2021, when the final investment decision is due.

Pieridae also has a “letter of interest” from the German government saying that the Goldboro project “can be considered eligible” for a loan guarantee of US $4.5 billion.

The day after the five activists published their letter, Pieridae general counsel Thomas Ciz wrote a cease and desist letter to them, as the Examiner reported on March 20. Ciz accused them of being “in receipt of confidential information, including a power-point presentation,” which he said was “unauthorized.” From that Examiner article:

Ciz writes that on August 6, 2020, a “multi-party no-disclosure agreement” was “executed by Pieridae Energy Limited and the governments of Canada, Alberta and Nova Scotia.” Such an agreement “imposes on the recipients of any Confidential Information of Pieridae an obligation to treat that information as confidential and to not disclose the Confidential Information to any third party without the Pieridae’s prior written consent.”

Ciz’s letter to the signatories continues:

You and the organizations which you represent and others have unlawfully used and disclosed that Confidential Information knowing, or which you reasonably ought to have known, was protected from any use and disclosure by unauthorized persons, and that you did so with the express purpose of causing economic damage to Pieridae.

Pieridae’s general counsel gave the activists until March 23, 2021 to comply with a list of “requests,” including to stop “using the confidential information of Pieridae for any purpose,” saying that the company was “taking legal advice” and would be “commencing proceedings to redress” their “unlawful actions. He warned them to, “Govern themselves accordingly.”

Nothing has come of those threats, and the Pieridae presentation was already circulating widely on the Internet and in the media.

But Ciz’s letter did reveal for the first time that public servants had signed a “multi-party non-disclosure agreement” with Pieridae.

Freedom of (very little) information

A Freedom of Information (FOIPOP) request for memos and briefing notes about the December meeting with Pieridae Energy and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines (DEM) resulted in just 17 pages being released, nine of which were withheld while “third parties” — presumably Pieridae — decide whether to give access.[1]

The documentation released was a December 15, 2020 email sent out on behalf of Glenn Hargrove, NRCAN “Assistant Deputy Minister, Trans Mountain Expansion Project.” The email subject line was “Goldboro LNG Main Table Meeting,” and it contained the three-page “Terms of Reference” (TOR) for the meeting, in English and in French.

The TOR provided a list of participants, with five from Pieridae including its CEO Alfred Sorensen, six from NRCAN, five from the Alberta government, and three from the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines — Deputy Minister Simon d’Entremont, Executive Director Petroleum Branch Kim Doane, and Manager Petroleum Operations Michael Bird.

The slim pickings released by the province under the freedom of information request shed precious little light on what was said at the meeting.

But there are still some interesting nuggets — or hints of nuggets — of interesting information in those Terms of Reference, once one has waded through three introductory paragraphs of remarkable claims from Pieridae about why their proposed Goldboro LNG plant is good for us. To wit:

The development of Canadian LNG for export from the east coast would result in economic and social benefits for multiple regions and populations of Canada, including for Indigenous communities. Globally, liquefied natural gas exported from Canada will help to displace coal-fired energy, reducing global emissions and supporting transitions to a low-carbon future.

These claims, which suggest natural gas is a “bridge” or “transiton fuel” to a low-carbon future, were concocted by the oil and gas industry. They have also been examined and found wanting by scientists and energy experts. As a result of the incompatibility of natural gas and climate commitments, there is growing backlash against natural gas, especially in rich nations, which has seen some LNG projects cancelled.

None of this made it into Pieridae’s Terms of Reference for the meeting.

However, the TOR do show that Pieridae initiated the Main Table meeting:

Pieridae Energy requested engagement with the Governments of Canada, Alberta and Nova Scotia to explore fiscal and policy measures that could help advance the Goldboro LNG project to a positive final investment decision (FID) in a timely manner.

The meeting “objectives” included to “ensure common understanding of the market opportunity and the status of the Goldboro LNG project.” This is a curious goal indeed, given that Pieridae had been trying in vain to attract private investors for this project for years (although the presentation suggested the problem was COVID-19). Regardless, one could ask what the “market opportunity” might comprise.

Further, the TOR state that the “Main Table will meet every four months,” and will be chaired by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Petroleum Policy and Investment Office, Natural Resources Canada, or a designate. And:

A Working Group consisting of representation from all Main Table organisations will meet regularly and as required, in person or virtually, to inform the work of the Main Table.

That sounds like a lot of expensive, high-level public servant time in the service of Pieridae’s interests. Public Accounts show that all three Nova Scotian Main Table participants earn six-figure salaries.

Cone of silence

The Terms of Reference for the meeting also refer to the signing of the non-disclosure agreement:

Work under this Terms of Reference would be conducted according to the conditions outlined in the Multi-Party Non-Disclosure Agreement, signed on August 13 to 18, 2020 at Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Halifax.

The cone of silence that the NDA placed over that Main Table seems almost impenetrable.

Patricia Jreige, spokesperson for the NS Department of Energy and Mines, told the Examiner that a second Main Table meeting — and the most recent one — took place in February 2021, just two months after the first.

However, what happened there remains strictly under wraps. Jreige wrote:

The Department meets with companies as part of its regular course of business, to collect information on projects that may support economic development and push our climate change goals forward. Attendees and discussions through the Main Table process are covered under a non-disclosure agreement. Any additional requests or incentives would be discussions that are had through the Main Table process, and would be covered under the non-disclosure agreement.

The NDA defines the terms under which commercially confidential information may be shared with governments, and how to handle that information. This is done to allow for open dialogue between the governments and the proponent on the project. The Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines is a signatory to the non-disclosure agreement.

The Examiner also contacted Natural Resources Canada with several questions about the meetings and the project itself. In reply, the NRCAN spokesperson sent a statement, which began:

Goldboro LNG is an LNG facility which has been proposed to the Province of Nova Scotia. The related proposed pipeline work has yet to be filed with the CER [Canada Energy Regulator]. If and when it is filed, a fair and through assessment process will occur.

The CER is a regulatory agency that appears to promote as much as it regulates pipelines. At least that is what this statement on its website suggests: “The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works for you to keep energy moving safely and efficiently through our country’s pipelines and powerlines.”

As for how Pieridae made it to the “Main Table” with NRCAN, the spokesperson said:

The Main Table is a joint process between the federal government (represented by Natural Resources Canada), provincial governments of Alberta and Nova Scotia, and Pieridae Energy. It was initiated to coordinate government engagement on Pieridae Energy’s Goldboro project proposal.

Alfred Sorensen and NRCAN Minister Seamus O’Regan
Alfred Sorensen and NRCAN Minister Seamus O’Regan

Asked what was discussed at the meetings and why all the secrecy, the NRCAN spokesperson said:

As the matters considered are commercially sensitive, the discussions are undertaken under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) among the four parties. Meetings of the Main Table are scheduled as required, on agreement of the parties. The NDA defines the terms under which commercially confidential information may be shared with governments, and how to handle that information. This is done for project proposals across sectors as necessary, as it allows for open dialogue between the governments and proponents on the project, while protecting the confidentiality of sensitive information. This process enables frank conversations with proponents, giving governments accurate and detailed understanding of any given proposed project. That understanding is crucial in informing a decision on whether direct financial support for any given project would be a good use of public monies, and provides useful insights to government on how markets are functioning. Natural Resources Canada regularly engages industry representatives to discuss proposals, challenges and other factors affecting the natural resource sector in Canada. [emphasis added]

It is telling that the “open dialogue” and “frank conversations” — which could involve nearly a billion dollars of public funding — are “open” and “frank” only for the chosen few with seats at the Main Table. Other Canadians whose money is on that table and up for grabs are shut out of the discussions.

The NRCAN statement concluded:

The mandate of Natural Resources Canada to guide the responsible development of Canada’s natural resources differs from the independent regulatory oversight mandate of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) or other regulators. It is important to underscore that the engagements described above are independent of, and do not influence, the work of regulators.

It is intriguing that the spokesperson referred to the federal Impact Assessment Agency because the Goldboro LNG project was not subject to a federal evaluation. Rather, it went through only a provincial environmental assessment, which was approved in March 2014 by then-environment minister Randy Delorey.

According to Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Tracy Barron, since Pieridae received environmental approval seven years ago, “The start date has been extended twice — once in 2015 and again in 2017. The first extension was requested July 22, 2015 and granted Aug. 6, 2015. The second was requested Sept. 22, 2017 and granted Oct. 24, 2017. The project commenced work on Feb. 27, 2018.”

However, the Goldboro LNG project has still not progressed past land-clearing at the Goldboro site.

2018 clearing for proposed Goldboro LNG. Photo: Alexander Bridge

Still no greenhouse gas management plan

And Pieridae still hasn’t fulfilled the condition of its Environmental Approval that it have a government-approved plan to offset its greenhouse gas emissions.

As the Examiner reported on April 13, 2021, the Nova Scotia Environmental Assessment Review panel noted that: “The Project would increase Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gases by approximately 18% (above 2010 emission levels),” and its marine component “would compromise a number of fisheries in its general area.” From the Examiner article:

The panel recommended that “in close consultation” with Nova Scotia Environment, Pieridae develop and commit to a greenhouse gas management plan, which “should include a mechanism to offset the 3,778,390 tCO2e [tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent] that the Project is predicted to emit per annum.”

[Pieridae director of external relations, James] Millar says that the offset mechanism was submitted to Nova Scotia Environment in 2016.

The Examiner asked Nova Scotia Environment about Pieridae’s greenhouse gas emissions management plan and offset mechanism, and received this reply from spokesperson Barbara MacLean: “Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change received a draft Greenhouse Gas management plan from the proponent in 2016, and followed up requesting further information. The department has not received an updated draft … The department has not approved a GHG management plan, nor has this condition of the Environmental Assessment been met.”

On May 26, the Examiner asked Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change if anything had changed since that April update. Spokesperson Tracy Barron replied that “nothing has changed.” Which means that Pieridae still hasn’t fulfilled the terms of its seven-year-old environmental approval.

Project “cannot lawfully proceed”

Meanwhile, environmental groups are now challenging the legality of that 2014 provincial approval.

As Jennifer Henderson reported for the Examiner on May 17, Ecojustice wrote to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada on behalf of seven environmental groups and requested a federal impact assessment for the Goldboro LNG project.” The letter argues that the decision not to undertake a federal assessment in 2012 when Pieridae was proposing the Goldboro LNG project was made behind “closed doors,” a decision justified because the project was “very similar in nature” to one proposed back in 2005 by Keltic Petrochemicals for a petrochemical and LNG importation facility in Goldboro. Ecojustice contends that this contravened the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.[2]

Thus, according to Ecojustice, the project is not legally permitted according to Canadian law:

The construction of a new liquefied natural gas facility, including the one proposed for Goldboro, is expressly designated as an activity under the Physical Activities Regulations. As a designated activity, Goldboro LNG cannot lawfully proceed without a federal impact assessment.

Because of this, Ecojustice says that any financial assistance to Pieridae for the project would contravene the Impact Assessment Act.

Ecojustice also argues that a federal assessment for the Goldboro LNG project is “essential” because there have been:

… substantial changes in climate science, advances in understanding the need to reduce methane emission, new GHG emissions reduction commitments and concern regarding the viability of economic benefits of LNG projects, all of which have changed significantly since the assessment of the Keltic Project.

The Examiner contacted Pieridae for reaction to the Ecojustice letter demanding a federal assessment for the Goldboro LNG project and an update on the Main Table meetings.

James Millar, director of external relations for Pieridae said, “We have the majority of our key permits necessary to proceed to construction.” He declined to reply to questions about the meetings.

A lobbying blitz

Given that it’s seeking federal funding, it’s no surprise that in addition to its “Main Table” meetings with public officials, Pieridae’s three lobbyists in Ottawa have been waging a lobbying blitz in the past year. They are Gordon Quaiattini who registered in March 2020, Luka Stevanovic who registered in May 2020, and Phil Von Finckenstein who registered in March 2020.

Since their registrations, the Pieridae lobbyists have had 27 meetings with 21 federal politicians and government officials.[3]

In an article in the Nova Scotia Advocate, Ken Summers of NOFRAC, the NS Fracking and Resource Action Coalition, writes that even before the lobbying began, “Sorensen had been discussing financial assistance with federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and other government officials.”

Summers told the Examiner in an interview that he is “concerned” that government officials meeting with Pieridae may be gullible and agree to the request for nearly $1 billion, and even if they do understand all the implications of the project, they might still succumb to pressure to fund the Goldboro LNG project.

“The process is worse than opaque,” he said, “and the industry is pretty powerful.”

Summers added:

This is a major, major project and no private investor has come forward yet. Even with the [potential] German government money as a lure, they’ve not been able to come up with a private investor. And so they turn to the Canadian taxpayer to have the only all-government-capital-funded-LNG project in the world, outside Qatar. And that’s just insane with all the commitments we have. Here we have a government that’s had 27 visits that we know of in a year from [Pieridae] lobbyists. I would estimate that many more are not registered… And nobody asks us what we think, and they [Pieridae and its lobbyists] get to go in over and over and over and over again.

“And that,” said Summers, “is scary.”

[1] The Examiner filed an access to information request in March with the federal government, for documentation relating to all the lobbying and meetings with Pieridae, and its request for financing for the Goldboro LNG project. On April 1, the Office of the Information Commissioner replied, saying that in addition to the first 30 days, the government required an extra 90 days to process the request, meaning there are unlikely to be any results until mid-July.

[2] The letter from Ecojustice – and the request for a federal impact assessment for the Goldboro LNG project – is on behalf of their clients: Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Council of Canadians, New Brunswick Anti- Shale Gas Alliance, Environnement Vert Plus, Citizens’ Oil & Gas Council and Greenpeace Canada.

[3] The list of 21 federal politicians and officials who have met with Pieridae lobbyists since March 2020, in order of frequency of meetings, is:

  1. Neil MacIsaac, Director of Operations at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO): 6 times
  2. Sean Fraser, Liberal MP, Central Nova: 5 times
  3. Mike Kelloway, Liberal MP, Cape Breton-Canso: 5 times
  4. Jason Rondeau, Policy Advisor, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO): 3 times
  5. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of the DFO: 2 times
  6. Hilary Travis, Senior Policy Advisor, NRCAN: 2 times
  7. Jay Khosla, Assistant Deputy Minister, NRCAN and Privy Council Office: 2 times
  8. Paul Halucha, Assistant Secretary to Cabinet, Privy Council Office: 2 times
  9. Paul Moen, Chief of Staff, NRCAN: 2 times
  10. Bianca Hossain, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED): 1 time
  11. Bud Sambasivam, Senior Policy Advisor, Finance Canada (FIN): 1 time
  12. Deliah Berard, Regional Assistant, Atlantic and Quebec, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC): 1 time
  13. Geoff Regan, Liberal MP, Halifax West: 1 time
  14. Geordie Summers-Lubar, Special Assistant, Communications and Regional Desk, NRCAN: 1 time
  15. Jordano Nudo, Policy Advisor, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC): 1 time
  16. Katherine O’Halloran, Senior Advisor, Prime Ministers’ Office: 1 time
  17. Malcolm McEachern, Policy Advisor, FIN: 1 time
  18. Paul Hershaw, Senior Advisor, Infrastructure Canada (INFC): 1 time
  19. Peter Boehm, Senator, Senate of Canada: 1 time
  20. Sean Casey, Liberal MP, Charlottetown: 1 time
  21. Victoria Dempster, Policy Advisor, (ISED): 1 time

Joan Baxter is an award-winning Nova Scotian journalist and author of seven books, including "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest." Website:; Twitter @joan_baxter

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  1. nobody’s whose work i look to on this story more than joan’s, this is incredibly thorough coverage.

  2. Even without the GHG issue this project has always come across as a high scale grift…it’s never added up and the math just keeps getting worse as time goes on. If it was viable investors would have been in right from the start… but where’s are they? Smart investors know the signs of a grift but the people behind this are banking on multiple governments not being smart investors (history shows this is a somewhat viable strategy) to finish the grift. You get the loans you pay yourself and a few of your friends out a big chunk for many years while the workers work as little as possible to build the thing and then when the finances don’t work or the loan money is used up you walk away, light a match and the company dissolves into dust and the government gets almost nothing back and the infrastructure is left to rot… while you sit on a beach somewhere sunny and forget about the people of Guysborough county. If that match gets lit now at least the forest growing back on the site will suck up some carbon and the grifters can get jobs with a green energy company and do some good for the world for once.

    The smart money for climate and return on investment is to just give equal loan amounts directly to GHG emissions reducing projects and forget this and the entire fantastical notion of ‘transition fuels’.