POLI 200 - Politics and Pipelines

This course examines how fundamental concepts of political science such as ideology, government structures, constitutions, Aboriginal rights and politics at the global, national, federal-provincial, provincial, and municipal levels intersect with the development of Canada's energy sector.


Credits: 3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours: 45)


Total Weeks: 15


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