|See: The day oil rained down on Burnaby|
Ever since I moved to BC, not far from the path of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, I’ve been asked:
“What do you think about that pipeline?”
My response, from the beginning, has been a very confident:
“Pipeline won’t get built.”
“But how can you be so sure?”, they ask.
”‘Cause people won’t let it.”
I sincerely hope that I will be right about this.
On March 23rd, 2018, two sitting Members of Parliment from two different political parties joined protesters at Kinder Morgan’s gates in non-violent civil disobedience.
They were both arrested.
I completely support their actions, and those of everyone putting themselves in harm’s way to help protect the land and water for future generations.
These people are true heroes, selflessly sacrificing their own time and freedom so others can enjoy the safety and comfort of not being poisoned by catastrophic spills.
The saddest part is that Canada’s federal government is not doing its job. It is not protecting Canadian interests.
They are protecting the interests of a multi-billion dollar oil company based in Texas.
A company that rose from the ashes of Enron, which famously imploded in a massive scandal.
It is commonly thought that the people of Alberta want the pipeline.
Albertans don’t want a pipeline.
Albertans want economic prosperity, and they’ve been led to believe that a pipeline will deliver this.
Spoiler alert: It will not.
When a country discovers it has oil, it has two options.
In a country with low levels of corruption, you end up with a situation like Norway, where they have amassed a wealth fund of over $1 trillion, to the benefit of all of their citizens.
In stark contrast, there is Venezuela, where dictatorship, greed, and corruption have left the industry (and practically the entire country) in ruins.
Canada, unfortunately, finds itself somewhere in the middle.
Although I’d say most of the country is not in ruins, vast swathes of Alberta are covered in toxic sludge called “tailings ponds” that keep getting bigger and bigger with no plan (or money) to clean them up.
See: The battle over when and how to clean up oilsands tailing ponds is escalating - Calgary Herald
The international oil companies that created this mess have high-tailed it out of here, and left us holding the bag.
See: Big Oil abandoning Canada’s oilsands in quest for cleaner crude - Financial Post
Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan is suggesting that extracting oil sands crude, diluting it, sending it through a pipeline, loading it onto tankers, shipping it to China, refining it in China, then shipping the refined products back to Canada via tanker ship is somehow a good idea.
Spoiler alert: It is not.
This idea will make lots of money for the pipeline owner (Kinder Morgan) and Chinese refiners.
Albertans (and all Canadians) stand to lose more and more money as the world price of crude continues to stagnate.
Big Oil interests have funded massive propaganda campaigns to convince people that a new pipeline will bring back the oil boom days.
Spoiler alert: It won’t.
Only significantly higher world oil prices would bring back a “boom” like that, and that doesn’t look likely to happen in the foreseeable future.
There is a huge opportunity for Alberta and Canada, however.
It’s not every day that an environmentalist proposes building more oil refineries, but recently this happened!
See: May says Green Party would support refineries, not pipelines - Globe and Mail
If we build the facilities to refine and process our own oil close to the source, we’ll generate jobs, prosperity, and we’ll have a lot more control over the environmental aspects.
In the meantime, I truly hope that these protests will help inform and educate, and perhaps lead Canada towards a better, prosperous, energy-independent, environmentally-friendly future.