Still boiling in oil

Dianne St. Jean

Issues surface as controversy of the pipeline heats up

Trudeau’s attempt at saving the Trans Mountain pipeline project (and his face) still may not be enough to convince Kinder Morgan to move ahead with it.

Still boiling in oil

Recently the federal government announced that it would cover Kinder Morgan’s delay costs; however, that does not include costs that come about as a result of protesters, only delays caused by the BC government while they, and the government of Alberta, and the feds duke it out.

And speaking of duking it out, BC has just filed a lawsuit alleging Alberta Law cutting off fuel supplies will cause irreparable harm. How ironic.

Kinder Morgan has sworn to a deadline of May 31, stating that they will abandon the project if there is not sufficient resolve to move ahead.

Part of the dispute pertains to jurisdiction – how much is provincial (which the BC government is basing a lot of their arguments on) and how much is federal.

It’s like a tug of war and it’s anybody’s guess as to who wins at this point.

Disputes causing division

Even First Nations people are divided on the issue. While Simpcw Chief Nathan Matthew and others are speaking up in its support, others, like Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation, are against it. But it’s not just about the oil. Chief Wilson’s main concern is the presence of the large worker camps.

Wilson gave a presentation to KM raising concerns for the Blue River/Clearwater area, stating that the camps are a “big threat to our women and girls.” Albeit, recently mayors and leaders of the Thompson-Nicola region sent a letter to Premier Horgan stating their support for the pipeline, so within regions there is dissent.

Whether or not this division has anything to do with it, there are recent reports that KM has increased its security along the pipelines around the Blue River and Clearwater area.


Still boiling in oil

So you don’t like oil, but…

While there are objections to the production and transportation of oil, especially crude, the reality is that until we have viable alternatives in place, we will continue to use it. We will drive cars and trucks, we will buy clothing and personal products that are petroleum based (approximately 6,000 everyday products are petroleum-based).

So, for now it appears that oil is going to stick around for a while (excuse the pun), and until we are all wearing 100% pure cotton or linen and walking everywhere (bicycle tires and other parts such as handles are petroleum based, as are the bike helmets and gloves), we have to stop lashing out angrily at each other and try to find some reasonable solutions in the meantime.


Is it really just a Canadian fight?

While the shut down of the KM pipeline is a very real possibility, and while Alberta is seemingly making a very real threat to turn the taps off to British Columbia, the BC government is looking at importing oil from Washington. 

Digging a lot deeper than just surface news, it appears that that is just what some American organizations are after.

Vivian Krause is an independent researcher out of Edmonton, AB who has been following the tracks of several groups in the United States who she says are promoting and funding anti-pipeline campaigns here in Canada, specifically against Canadian Crude.

“U.S. energy producers don’t want to see more exports from Canada, especially to outside markets,” she says. “And that can’t be done without a lock on Canadian oil.”

Krause has been tracing payments over the last decade or so from these organizations to at least 100 groups who have received so far approximately $40 million from them.

She wants to stress that she sees no role in the United States itself or the United States government, though some of these foundations, she adds, have close ties with the former administration. Rather it is philanthropic groups, especially the Rockefellers in New York and the Tide Campaign in Washington. Apparently there are about 14 groups in all.

The campaign against Canadian oil which is dubbed the “Tarsands Campaign” was started in 2008 and specifically designed to stigmatize Canadian oil as the ‘poster child’ of dirty fuels. And while there is no dispute that there are environmental impacts to oil production, Krause says that they are grossly exaggerating the impacts from Canadian oil, saying they have three to four times higher emissions, whereas the differences are much lower.

Says Krause, if these groups are really just interested in the environment, the way they are going about it is unacceptable since they are exporting.

 “The end goals [of wanting to protect the environment] are fine,” she says, “but not the means.”

Landlocking Canadian oil means keeping it out of overseas markets where it can reach a higher price per barrel, and the plan seems to be working.

The United States buys Canadian oil at a 40% reduction cost, then turns around and sells it at full price to other nations.

Krause invites others to do the research and come to their own conclusions.

In the meantime, while Canadians are pressed to scrap and bicker at each other, our neighbour to the south appears to be the real winner.


Canadians need to act for Canada’s interests

Concerns for the environment are legitimate, but so are the very real dangers of what will become of Canada if this economic crippling continues. According to a report from Scotiabank, just the delay of the new pipeline alone is estimated to cost our economy $10.7 billion this year.

So the question stands – are our sincere environmentalists and all those genuinely concerned for the future being used by outside sources to cause division so they can benefit?

Certainly Canadians are smarter than that. We have the brains and the money, if we really wanted, to resolve these issues, rather than just allowing our politicians to use them as an opportunity for grandstanding.