BC and the Pipeline

BC and the Pipeline

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just agreed to spend 4.5 billion dollars on horse-and-buggy infrastructure! Oops, I mean a pipeline – almost as obsolete.

But don’t worry! We’ll reclaim the 4.5 billion dollars with economic boosts and job creation (primarily spill response jobs) by late 2086. Of course, long before then the tar sands will be obsolete and the oil (or the demand for oil) will likely be gone as well.

Hmm…I wonder why China is pushing other countries to produce oil for them, while they use their old oil-based manufacturing to construct green technologies. It seems weird that they would position themselves for the end of oil. And why are the Saudi’s dumping the market? Or why the desert oasis that is Dubai using their oil proceeds to create a completely separate economy? Surely we know better, so why would be doubt those genius forward-thinking Albertans?

I’m actually “ok” with the pipeline, just not buying it. The truth is, the plan was to twin this pipeline to an existing one. What I actually hate is that we subsidize natural gas for Alberta so they can use it to “melt” the tar and extract the beautiful bitumen and sell it at market-value. So just when you think that is freaking-wrong, we go ahead and subsidize it further by investing in the infrastructure the oil companies need, to ensure they’ll make a profit. As if oil companies need our help!! Screw the subsidies for foreign companies. I want subsidies to go towards investments that represent a sort of forward-thinking legacy interest that benefits future Canadians.

It has been sad watching two provinces square off. Of course, Rachel Notely of Alberta took a political and legal argument and (in a single press-conference) turned it into a temper-tantrum by banning BC wine as a response to BC seeking legal action to stop development until oil companies put in writing their specific plans of action to mitigate spill damage. In Notley’s defence, however, it is an election year and she needed to come off strong and particularly in the area of oil. Likewise, Trudeau’s hand was played when he was elected and proposed a balance between environmental and oil development concerns. Notley says BC is holding Canada hostage, and Trudeau had to act as the Federal Leader.
I am particularly angry at Notley for changing the dialogue to a spat. That type of politics is polarizing and could result in generations of tension between the two provinces.
What I also don’t like is that economists say oil is essential but only because it’s easy to calculate: This much oil produced at this cost and sold at this price equals this much money. It is far more difficult to calculate over generations the benefits to tourism and biodiversity that benefit from reduced chances of spills. Show me those numbers and calculate it for the next few hundred years and compare that to the immediate cash flow of oil. I bet the oil investment makes less sense.

It’s time we get off the tit of bigger countries and powerful companies. Nothing says “we’re an inferior state or a colony” like sending raw materials away only to buy back the finished product. And since we’re already doing that, subsidizing the companies from which we will eventually buy their product is just plain ludicrous.

Trudeau and Notley have failed to take measures to protect Canada’s future, and have instead focused on immediate cash flow and positioning for up coming elections. They actually come out looking strong. Horgan, in the meantime, takes a position (that also solidifies the left and “green” vote) that protects BC and Canada in the long run. And yet, he, comes out looking like the loser. That’s short-term politics for you. Every bit of this is embarrassing.

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