Threats to B.C. are just lies
Canada is at a crossroads. Either we want to take control of our own fate and become a leader of clean energy, protector of our pristine environment and coast, and a skilled work force, or we will be content to let foreign, multinational corporations extract our raw materials to be refined elsewhere, and permit our coasts to be destroyed by the coming major oil spill, and our citizens continue to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. In other words, an exploited Third World country.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley doesn’t care a whit about B.C.’s coast. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is mistaken if he believes there is, or could be, a safe, effective cleanup of a major oil spill, which is inevitable if the Trans Mountain pipeline is built and tanker traffic is increased five-fold or seven-fold.
All the threats from big money to scare the public are lies. Canada will do quite well if we refine and consume our own oil, develop clean-energy projects and add value to our resources before shipping them out.
What will we say to our children when they ask why we didn’t protect our pristine environment, or look to the future in an intelligent way?
Please wake up and smell the bitumen
Bahrain, which has the geographic capacity to build a supertanker port, has just found enough “sweet crude” to supply the world for the next 30 years. This should tell us that there is no market for low-grade tar bitumen at tidewater that supertankers cannot access.
There is a shortage of refineries that can process bitumen. Asia is not going to build them when better-quality crude is closer and cheaper. The demand for bitumen is down and will not recover.
The world will always need oil, but not in great quantities and not as fuel.
Let’s recognize the oilsands as a long-term asset that can bring prosperity for years to come. Create jobs building refineries for high quality, high-grade oil products, funding and building alternative energy sources, and cleaning up the abandoned tar pools.
Acting progressively, Alberta could become a world leader in “value added” oil products, developing refining methods to meet demand for years. Alberta has the resources,
Instead of trying to maximize tar mining while hoping for a market to materialize: Preserve it. Refine it. High-grade it.
(No shame in correcting mistakes by changing course.)
Alberta has missed the oil rush and is at the back end of the boom. Let’s move Canada (and Alberta) to a modern and progressive position in the refinement of raw materials.
Take forward-thinking attitudes toward this twilight industry and step boldly into the future as leaders.
Stop using the term ‘national interest’
Repetition of words and phrases turn them into clichés, commonplace expressions requiring minimal reflection. Words and phrases such as democracy, liberty and NIMBY no longer require definition, and instead are used to create moods and mindsets, and are easily weaponized.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have weaponized “national interest” in the Trans Mountain pipeline matter, implying opposition is unpatriotic.
Acceptance of a dirty product (oilsands), extracted with huge amounts of energy, creating high-carbon emissions and diluted with toxic chemicals, to create a product with uncertain cleanup properties, piped over land and rivers/streams, and pumped into tankers plying a Canadian coast under stress is in the “national interest.”
True, “national interest” created Canada, built railroads and highways, founded the CBC, established pensions and medicare, developed environmental protection policies, built colleges and universities, etc.
However, “national interest” also created the Indian Act, which disenfranchised First Peoples, took much of their land, forced children into residential schools, outlawed cultural practices and disproportionately imprisoned them, etc.
“National interest” also used Chinese slave labour to build a national railway, ranked potential immigrants as desirable to undesirable based on skin colour and “address;” disenfranchised Asians until after the Second World War; interned Germans, Ukrainians and Japanese in world wars; and rejected most Jewish refugee claims in the 1930s and 1940s.
Because of potential weaponization by all parties, we should dispense with the phrase “national interest.” Engage instead in evidence-based conversations on the issues, the actual product, carbon footprint, pollution, job numbers, risks and alternative solutions.
National interest is a low-carbon future
According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier John Horgan should compromise because this pipeline is “in the national interest.” Why is that? He doesn’t say.
I see the national interest as one where all of us move in a planned and purposeful way toward an economy that does not depend on oil and gas. In that worldview, giving oil companies breaks on environmental assessments or emissions rules, or buying pipelines so they can move their oil is against the national interest.
It is the interest of oil companies not to leave stranded assets. The national interest is to move forward into a low-carbon future in Canada and around the world.
Trudeau speaks out of both sides of his mouth. “Yes,” he says, “we will meet our Paris targets.”
Then he approves drilling in Nova Scotia, refuses to sign on to an Arctic heavy-oil treaty, permits Alberta oil to triple production of a very inefficient, high-GHG-emissions product, and approves a pipeline without ever reviewing its climate impacts or demonstrating that bitumen can be cleaned up. Meanwhile, we have never reduced our emissions targets as a country.
And how can he say he has consulted with First Nations when the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is standing at the watch tower, committing civil disobedience and getting arrested to make their voices heard?
Yes, let’s act in the national interest. Let’s all of us move toward a low-carbon future in right relations with First Peoples.
Wrong leaders being charged
How come they want to charge federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley?
I’d like to remind the judge that the politicians destroy Indigenous culture and now they want to destroy our coast that First Nations depend on. They also want to destroy nature, which will increase climate change.
I have respect for May, who cares about the future of our children and the generations after.