Keystone Protest - Too little, too late

I notice with interest the kerfuffle in the USA and Canada about the Keystone pipeline. After some considerable length of time, people are finally starting to think about this project. It is nice to see people taking notice but in truth, it is to little to late.

The truth is that Keystone is just one of many pipeline projects which will soon be pumping our natural resources south to be processed and to feed the hungry American market.  

The controversy over these pipelines isn't new. In June of 2007 I wrote the following letter to the editor about the issue for my employer at the time. 

Too bad no one paid any attention back then when it was still stoppable.

As the Multinationals get rich shipping Western Canada's raw materials south to feed the American market, Canada still imports a majority of the oil it uses from off shore, mainly the North Sea and the Middle East. There is no talk of building east-west pipelines to supply eastern Canada with western crude.

Is anyone in Ottawa paying attention?
Leader Post readers may have seen a notice placed by the National Energy Board (NEB) about an application filed by Enbridge Pipelines dealing with their “Southern Lights Project.” As we read through our morning paper, the NEB notice is the sort of thing most of us skim over, but we would benefit from taking a closer look.

The application, in part, asks that a pipeline which now moves crude oil south into the United States be converted to transport ‘diluent’ north to Alberta. Diluent is basically a thinner used to dilute heavy oil and reduce its viscosity for easier transportation.

Coincidentally, in the same edition of the newspaper, Enbridge announced it is holding an open house in Grand Coulee to explain their Alberta Clipper Project: A new pipeline designed to transport an increased capacity to the USA.

Using names like Alberta Clipper and Southern Lights, Enbridge makes these projects sound like some grand adventure instead of what they really are. These projects and similar ones by several pipeline companies are part of a grand scheme to move massive amounts of our unrefined natural resources south of the border for processing.

The diluent, produced in the USA, will be pumped from American refineries to Alberta, where it will be used to dilute bitumen, which has been extracted from the Alberta Oil Sands. When the huge new Alberta Oil Sands expansion projects are up and running, millions of barrels per day of diluted but unprocessed bitumen will be pumped south to the United States where it will be refined. This new source of oil will create thousands of jobs in the U.S., as refineries are expanded to deal with this new source of product. As well, several billions of dollars in building and upgrading facilities to handle the bitumen will be spent in the U.S. instead of in our own country.”

In the meantime, the multi national oil companies have mothballed a large number of refineries in Eastern Canada. These refineries could be upgraded and brought back on line if Canada insisted.

If Canadian citizens don’t speak out, all of the new jobs – other than a few short term jobs created during the construction and conversion stage – will be created in the United States, instead of here at home.

Although Canada produces more oil than it needs, if we continue to export to the United States in this way, Canada will continue to be an importer of crude oil and petroleum products. As demand increases, we will be buying our own resources back from the USA in the form of gasoline, if they choose to sell it to us.

The NEB doesn’t care, our Governments don’t seem to care but Canadians should. We are speaking out and challenging the National Energy Board policy. We urge you to do the same.


A few Short Political Notes

Parliament is back this week which never has a positive affect on my blood pressure but what the heck...It gives me something to write about.

I see my friend, and newly elected MP Mike Sullivan (York South-Weston) got his picture in the Globe & Mail this morning. Mike is, quite appropriately, the first person on the left. He and about 50 other newbies were attending an orientation seminar on The Hill. I have a lot of time for Mike and think we'll hear more from him in the coming months.

The Blue Meanies are loaded for bear and the New Democrats have their hands full.  Say good bye to the Long Gun Registry, a majority of wheat and barley farmers will see their wishes ignored as the government winds down the wheat board, stand by to get "tough on crime" and of course the government will most likely interfere once again in the collective bargaining process and order the Air Canada flight attendants back to work, should they exercise their right to strike.

There should be a few interesting debates about spending too. The Chief of Defense Staff thinks it is OK to spend $1.5 million using government jets for travel. He thinks he is much too important to travel on commercial aircraft. In fact he got quite uppity about it all.

Much of it was travelling to and from hockey and football games where we would take part in tributes to the armed forces. This is all part of selling the conflicts we, to an increasing degree, getting involved in since Canada, under this Harper Government, has moved from our long tradition of peacekeeping into a much more aggressive role. I understand the Chief of Defense Staff was in his role as a shill for government policy but, not at that price.

The PM will be working on strengthening his ties with Israel this week as Canada takes a strong position against the recognition of Palestine as a state by the United Nations. This time Harper isn't just parroting the American position but following his own blind support for the Israeli government. It all strikes me as odd. Once again it puts us out of step with most progressive nations. So stand by for Canada's currency to take another hit at the UN.