Pol­i­tics of pipe­lines: hold­ing back the econ­omy

The Amherst News - - SPORTS / COMMUNITY - Wal­ter Jones Wal­ter Jones lives in Amherst. His col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News.

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.

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