Dodge cau­tions some pipe­line protesters may die fight­ing it

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - GOR­DON KENT gkent@post­media.com twit­ter.com/ GKen­tYEG

The gov­ern­ment must en­force rules al­low­ing con­struc­tion of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion even though op­po­nents might die fight­ing it, for­mer Bank of Canada gov­er­nor David Dodge says.

“There are some peo­ple that are go­ing to die in protest­ing con­struc­tion of this pipe­line. We have to un­der­stand that,” he said at an event Wed­nes­day in Ed­mon­ton put on by law firm Ben­nett Jones.

“Nev­er­the­less, we have to be will­ing to en­force the law once it’s there,” he said.

“… It’s go­ing to take some for­ti­tude to stand up.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment agreed in May to buy the ex­ist­ing pipe­line and the ex­pan­sion project from Kinder Mor­gan for $4.5 bil­lion af­ter the com­pany halted work be­cause of un­cer­tainty over when the devel­op­ment will be com­pleted.

More than 200 peo­ple have been ar­rested dur­ing demon­stra­tions out­side Kinder Mor­gan’s Burn­aby, B.C., work site.

Dodge wrote in a spring eco­nomic out­look he pre­sented at the event that the im­pact of trans­porta­tion bot­tle­necks on Cana­dian oil prices costs the econ­omy about $10 bil­lion a year.

He ar­gued “NIMBY ob­struc­tion,” bol­stered by growing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment in project re­views, al­lows In­dige­nous peo­ples, lo­cal groups and oth­ers to de­lay in­vest­ment in projects even when they meet world-class en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards.

While he wouldn’t spec­u­late in an in­ter­view how fa­tal­i­ties might oc­cur dur­ing the Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion, he said he’s wor­ried about what will hap­pen among the ex­trem­ist mi­nor­ity among the pipe­line foes.

“We have seen it other places, that equiv­a­lent of re­li­gious zeal lead­ing to flout­ing of the law in a way that could lead to death … In­evitably, when you get that fa­nati­cism, if you will, you’re go­ing to have trou­ble,” he said.

“Are we col­lec­tively as a so­ci­ety will­ing to al­low the fa­nat­ics to ob­struct the gen­eral will of the pop­u­la­tion? That then turns out to be a real test of whether we ac­tu­ally do be­lieve in the rule of law.”

Reg­u­la­tory un­cer­tainty is one of the big­gest is­sues fac­ing Canada’s en­ergy in­dus­try at a time when the coun­try should be ex­port­ing oil and gas and us­ing some of the profits to help tran­si­tion away from fos­sil fu­els to fight cli­mate change, Dodge said.

“We have to un­der­stand this is a re­source where the long-term vi­a­bil­ity isn’t there, not be­cause we’re run­ning out of muck in the ground, but be­cause we ac­tu­ally, col­lec­tively, as the globe, are go­ing to have to stop us­ing as much of this stuff.”

David Dodge

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