Politics of pipelines: holding back the economy
We have well-meaning people who oppose all pipelines on the principle they will contribute to increased greenhouse gasses.
They seem to think that if you don’t transport oil by pipeline it won’t get to market or it will somehow not get used. This is far from the truth and blocking pipelines damages the country and its economy.
There is a call to the federal government to supply or fund more rail cars so that more oil can be moved by train. To me, this is the most dangerous way to transport oil, but it will get to market, so if it is not moved through pipelines it will go by train.
We had a proposal for a pipeline to the east coast. The Irving in New
Brunswick was willing to spend a billion dollars to process diluted bitumen by building a coke processing system. This would have made Irving more competitive and allowed the company to stop importing some of their foreign oil that they now process.
Quebec and the then mayor of Montreal made sure this didn’t happen. So, who is benefiting from our oil today and who’s competing with Irving with Canadian oil? A refining company in Chicago is importing by pipeline from Alberta and shipping the finished product back to us.
They are also getting a $30 a barrel discount.
Canada has bragged about being a free trade advocate. The facts are we are great at selling and trading to other countries, but when it comes to trading within Canada our provinces are not free traders. Each premier is a trade dictator, who thinks his or her job is to protect his or her own turf and to heck with what happens in our neighbouring provinces.
Then we have the Indigenous peoples wanting to protect their turf as well and saying not on their land. It is no wonder this country has a hard time creating jobs and attracting investments.
If this country is going to prosper and grow we need an attitude adjustment. It is all very well to be concerned with your region, but not at the expense of your country. Tunnel vision on pipelines and a refusal to acknowledge Alberta is going to keep increasing production and will get its oil to market.
We have to decide how it’s transported. Oil has a small time frame in which we can market it. Putting roadblocks in place isn’t helping.