To the Editor:
There are many of us who fail to understand why the people of Alberta advocate so strenuously for pipeline action.
Most recently, our Premier Notley has now added her voice to the demand that Canada’s Prime Minister begin work immediately on the stalled Trans Mountain Pipeline as only our federal government has the power to do. This article is an attempt to aid those in understanding the necessary facts.
Like it or not, Justin Trudeau bought the Trans Mountain Pipeline for the people of Canada in May 2018. With little immediate action available to take, selling it off was an appealing option for Kinder Morgan. Prior to that, the pipeline remained stalled by the Court of Appeal citing two factors, environmental impact and aboriginal consultation.
Having fulfilled the established compliancey requirements that defined due diligence, our courts moved the finish line for Kinder Morgan by introducing additional process. There are some who believe the court thought that by stalling the project long enough, Bill C-69 may come into force and deal the death blow to the project altogether.
Trudeau’s Bill C-69, which is now in the Senate, is engineered to effectively kill any future pipeline projects.
Fast forward to just seven short months later and we find ourselves watching scenes of truck convoys on TV as well as other demonstrations in all of our major towns and cities throughout the province. These events are happening for the very reason that the progress of our Canadian owned pipeline has not countered the negative economic impacts to the Oil and Gas industry.
Presently, approximately 200,000 oil related workers from Alberta to Newfoundland are out of work or are struggling in lower paying jobs to make ends meet. A stated $80 million dollars is lost each and every day until the pipeline is completed. These facts are on the credible news sources nearly every day for all to see.
Why has the oil and gas industry been hit so hard? In a world of globalization, we cannot get our oil to port for new markets. Consequently, Alberta oil goes for fire sale prices compared to the world price.
$80,000,000 a day would go a long way to aid our national economy, and the spiralling debt growing in both Alberta and federally. In lieu of a pipeline, we run tanker trucks on highways and rail cars on train tracks at a higher carbon impact in the least efficient manner, to move a fraction of our product as an outcome.
Despite these ballooning deficits, our Prime Minister says, “budgets balance themselves.”
Other barriers to consider are private interest groups and the source of their funds.
A study by independent Vancouver based researcher Vivian Krause found that US oil companies spent over $100 million to keep prices low for Canadian oil by paying protestors and creating other obstacles in order to make an uphill battle for any proposed new pipelines. “The Tar Sands Campaign Against The Overseas Export of Canadian Oil: Activism or Economic Sabotage?”
Even our Prime Minister Trudeau has said he was going to “phase out the oil sands” despite our resource having a lifespan of over 100 years. It’s common knowledge that oil will be required to make plastics for electric vehicles, for heating homes worldwide, for fueling airplanes, for making solar panels, for so many other things too numerous to mention for many years to come.
When the people and opposition leader in Alberta challenged this statement, Trudeau said he “misspoke” as reported by CTV and CBC News.
With this in mind, we also note that Trudeau killed the Canada East pipeline project by changing the requirements for downstream emissions near the end of the approval process. This made the project unaffordable to the investors and set a precedent that they could expect other sanctions from the Trudeau government to kill it. This leadership holds the mandate of getting the Trans Mountain Pipeline built.
In an ironic twist we continue to buy oil from Saudi Arabia despite sitting on our own reserves, “$20.9 billion from 2007 to 2017” according to Statistics Canada, see National Post Aug. 9, 2018. This despite the Saudi’s egregious human rights transgressions they commit “executing homosexuals, public floggings, beheadings, female subordination and other human rights abuses.” To further imbalance the equation, our Trudeau government just recently exempted carbon tax and other scrutiny from Saudi Oil that Canadian oil is still subjected to.
As much as we issue a call to arms today for the Trans Mountain pipeline, there were other more palatable options to consider at one time. Myself, along with the rest of Albertans and 30 of the 42 B.C. aboriginal bands much more preferred the Enbridge Northern Gateway route, see article dated April 10, 2017 in the Financial Post.
In this article many First Nations Chiefs share the sentiment that by Trudeau killing the Northern Gateway “it’s devastating to First Nations” and the $2 billion that Enbridge had set aside for them for “business and employment opportunities” would have gone a long way to improve their living conditions.
Note that a completed pipeline seeded to grass is a great grazing area for wildlife and has minimal impacts to the environment according to wildlife biologists. This pipeline was a privately funded project going from Alberta to Kitimat, BC, population 8,500. A significantly lower impact when compared to Trans Mountain where Vancouver’s population is 2,400,000 with a harbour at least 20 times busier.
Enbridge was even prepared to look at alternate ports such as Prince Rupert or others further north, see article dated April 26, 2016 in the National Post. There is a First Nation proposal now being discussed to bring a pipeline to Stewart, B.C. to bypass Trudeau’s moratorium.
Trudeau imposed the moratorium after he was elected in 2015, see article CBC News dated Nov. 13, 2015. The article explains his moratorium, which while in effect still leaves US tanker traffic unabated. Trudeau made a promise to kill Northern Gateway during his election campaign if he became elected, see CBC News article dated Oct. 21, 2015. This was a position that Notley said on May 6, 2015 she also supported, see Global News article dated May 6, 2015.
A significant concern in Alberta is the carbon tax imposed without warning by the Notley government shortly after election. This came at a time when 200,000 oil workers had lost their jobs and Albertans were nearly all opposed to it because of the fact that it hasn’t been proven that by taxing someone to bring their children to hockey practice or other activities and taxing school buses and grocery trucks will reduce climate change.
Notley protected these assertions with statements like Albertan’s can turn down their heat, turn off lights, use more fuel-efficient vehicles, drive less, and the like. The truth is, Albertan’s already adopted these tactics at least 10 years prior, there was little more to gain from such inane measures.
Meanwhile the Liberals in Ottawa are continuing their out of control spending, doing their best to land lock Alberta oil and causing our economy to run at 70 to 75 per cent that of the US. A decade ago under different leadership and Harper (an economist) in charge the Canadian economy was at 100 to 108 per cent that of the USA (for example $1 CDN bought $1.10 US on Nov 7, 2007). Trudeau himself has made many political blunders over the past 4 years such as:
. He has been found to have four breaches of the Conflict of Interest Act for accepting an unsanctioned trip for himself and his family paid for by the Aga Khan.
. He insulted us and especially the people and Prime Minister of India when he played ‘Mr. Dressup’ and he invited a terrorist for a meal on his trip to India as reported by CBC News.
. He also had a photo op with an ex husband of one of the infamous Kadar terrorist family women, following this encounter the individual was charged with 27 counts of sexual abuse as reported by CBC News.
. The issue that caused the most fury amongst Canadians was Trudeau’s payout of $10,500,000 to convicted terrorist Omar Kadar. Following this, Trudeau then ironically told a retired Veteran that the “Veterans want more than Ottawa can afford”.
In this short summary, I have endeavored to cite only news from more reputable sources such as the CBC, Global News, the Financial Post and the National Post, and avoided journalist opinions articles. Given Trudeau’s recent $600,000,000 package to the media and press as we go into the election year, we may not hear all sides of the important issues in the foreseeable future.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, my intention was to dispel some misinformation published by left- or right-wing news sources and the like, with the interest of promoting healthy educated debate.
George E Gour,
Public Works Consultant, Retired
January 23, 2019