POLI 200 - Politics and Pipelines

Students in this course will learn how fundamental concepts of political science such as politics, ideology, government structures, constitutions, and Aboriginal rights intersect with the development of Canada's energy sector. We will examine how it is affected by politics on several levels: global, national, federal-provinical, provincial, and municipal.


Credits: 3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 3)


Total Weeks: 15


POLI 100 or POLI 101

OR permission of the Instructor.


Non-Course Prerequisites:





Course Content:
- Definition of common terms and the history of Canada’s petroleum industry from the nineteenth century to the present.
- Ideologies, and different policies among Canada’s political parties. Energy development and the federal election of 2015. How Canada is affected on a global scale: OPEC and the oil crises in 1970s and 2014. Our dependency on the US market, and how US politics affects Canada.
- The Canadian constitution and federal/provincial rights and responsibilities: Alberta and Newfoundland. Provincial: Alberta/BC; BC provincial government’s balance between environmental protection and energy development. An outline of Aboriginal rights in the twentieth century up to 1969.
- Petroleum and paychecks: how the petroleum industry affects the economy on a national, provincial, and municipal level. The provincial/municipal “Fair Share” agreements in British Columbia.
- The birth of environmentalism in British Columbia. Early controversies in the energy sector: the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline; Ludwig Wiebo, the EnCana bombings. Ezra Levant’s Ethical Oil.
- Canada’s parliamentary structure, and the role and power of the prime minister. The role of the Supreme Court and judicial review in Canada. Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014; How Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and “meaningful consultation" affect the petroleum industry.
- The rise of the environmental movement in Canada; history of major oil spills; differences between piping crude oil and DilBit; controversy around fracking and water usage. Alternative energy sources: what are the advantages and disadvantages of wind, geothermal, and nuclear power?
- Students will examine a variety of current case studies. Examples may be Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, the Pacific NorthWest LNG, the Kinder Morgan TransMountain expansion, or Keystone XL.

- First Nations politics: divisions and unity. Why are some nations signing deals while others are staunchly opposed?


Learning Outcomes:

- Define central petroleum terms
- Describe the history of Canada's energy development
- Identify Canadian political ideologies and match these with political parties
- Describe the different energy policies among Canada's political parties and analyse how they are articulated to the Canadian public
- Explain how Canada's constitution affects the relationship between the provinces and the federal government
- Explain the importance of the Supreme Court and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Describe the birth of environmentalism in Canada, and analyze early pipeline controversies
- Analyze the growth in Aboriginal political power, Section 35 in the Constitution Act of 1982, and the role of key Supreme Court rulings from the 1970s to present: Calder v. Attorney-General of British Columbia, R. v. Sparrow, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, and Tsilqot’in v. British Columbia.
Analyze how politics affect debates on four major pipeline projects: Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan expansion, EnCana's Northern Gateway, and the Pacific NorthWest LNG.
- Contrast and compare political arguments in texts on similar topics but with opposing, or different arguments
- Select suitable academic and primary sources for preparing a research essay
- Demonstrate an ability to compose a research essay using academic language and structure

- Demonstrate a willingness to listen in a courteous manner to opposing arguments, while still voicing individual ideas

- Become familiar with the web-based program, Desire2Learn.
- Master accessing, downloading, and uploading documents


Grading System: Letters


Passing Grade: D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work: 100


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.