Al­berta oil in­stead of Saudi? Yes please

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - COMMENT -

Last week, Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley an­nounced her gov­ern­ment’s pur­chase of rail cars to ship her province’s oil to buy­ers.

It was quite some­thing to watch an

NDP premier sign up for one of the more dan­ger­ous meth­ods of trans­port­ing oil.

But if Trudeau and his gov­ern­ment are go­ing to stand by and let four pipe­lines fall apart dur­ing their watch, then per­haps des­per­ate times call for des­per­ate mea­sures.

Mean­while, Cana­di­ans con­tinue to un­know­ingly pump mil­lions of dol­lars to Saudi Ara­bia ev­ery day.

The most re­cent ob­jec­tion to Saudi oil im­ports comes from con­ser­va­tive dig­i­tal ad­vo­cacy group On­tario

Proud, which has launched a new cam­paign called #StopSaudiOil.

“Ev­ery day, Canada spends $10 mil­lion on oil from Saudi Ara­bia. In the past ten years that equates to $20 bil­lion spent on Saudi crude. With­out the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture, Canada is reliant on for­eign oil, in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia,” says Jeff Ballin­gal, founder of On­tario Proud, in a press re­lease.

Canada could eas­ily re­place the Saudi oil with its own (and the Saudis would sim­ply ship more of their oil to China), but Canada’s trade re­la­tion­ship with the Saudis has grown in­creas­ingly prob­lem­atic.

Yes, we ship some $15 bil­lion in weapons — light ar­moured ve­hi­cles

(LAVs) — to the Saudis. Yes there are geopo­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions, they are more sta­ble than many of their neigh­bours in the Mid­dle East.

But how does it make sense to im­port for­eign oil, us­ing dirty pol­lut­ing tanker ships to get it here, to a coun­try that’s one of the top oil pro­duc­ers in the world? And to ship our oil to mar­ket, a few bar­rels at a time, by rail?

Par­tic­u­larly given grow­ing crit­i­cism about hu­man rights abuses in that na­tion, in­clud­ing the killing of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, crit­i­cisms that have been pub­licly ex­pressed by Trudeau and For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land.

Of course we need to mit­i­gate cli­mate change, and as we’ve re­peat­edly writ­ten in this space our cur­rent plans won’t meet re­duc­tion tar­gets. How­ever, our costly flir­ta­tion with wind and so­lar power have proven uni­corns won’t get us there.

We need prag­matic, mea­sur­able ac­tion on cli­mate change, but we also need oil for the time be­ing.

Mean­while, im­port­ing bil­lions of dol­lars of oil from Saudia Ara­bia serves nei­ther the cli­mate nor this coun­try.

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