Scrapping Keystone is OK with Me

Many of us tried to stop the whole idea of shipping tar sands bitumen to the US via the Keystone Pipeline and others before it really got off the ground here in Canada. We thought that shipping an unprocessed resource from Canada to the USA did nothing to create jobs here where the oil is produced.

You know the old question. Are we doomed to be tillers of wood and drawers of water while foreign owned corporations ship our raw materials out of the country for processing, creating high skilled, well paying jobs elsewhere?

 For a large part our concerns fell on deaf ears in Ottawa. Big Oil has a lot of clout here in Canada and our National Energy Board is not much more than a large industry rubber stamp.

Now it is the American's turn and they are having more success that we did here at home. They are raising quite a fuss about the pipelines. They just might block the whole idea and they have quite a few good reasons for doing so.

The American, National Wildlife Federations Says “The Keystone tar sands oil pipeline -- which would pump nearly one million barrels per day of dirty tar sands oil right through Nebraska and five other heartland states, putting the whooping crane at risk of a devastating oil spill.”

Many Americans call the State Department’s review of Keystone a sham suggesting “...the process...is a crime in progress.”

And the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, whoever they are, says Tar sands oil is amongst the dirtiest and carbon-intensive fuels on earth with a carbon emission three times that of regular oil.
  • The use of this tar sands oil could accelerate climate change at a time when we so desperately need to slow it down and return earth to a stable climate.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline will carry toxic tar sands oil 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada through the middle of the US heartland on its way to the Gulf. The pipeline would cross the massive Ogallala aquifer, which supplies drinking water in 8 US states, and irrigation for millions of acres of farmland that supply the nation’s food. 
  • We've already seen the damage the thick tar sands oil laden with volatile compounds can do from the spill in the Yellowstone River last month and the Kalamazoo River a year ago.
  • Tar sands oil is more abrasive and corrosive than conventional oil and current regulations and safety standards are not fit for the transport of this kind of oil. 
  • The first Keystone pipeline, developed with state-of-the-art technology, has already spilled 12 times in its first year in operation. 
  • Canadian towns near the tar sands production are already reeling from the impacts of this dirty fuel. They have lost valuable Boreal forests releasing stored carbon and it has destroyed vital habitat for endangered species along with other large populations of wildlife. Waters have been polluted, wildlife has died, and health problems are increasing.
  • We can not allow the foreign corporation TransCanada to jeopardize America's drinking water in the name of profits for private industry. 
  • The pipeline would keep our country addicted to this unsustainable and highly polluting fossil fuel even longer. 
  • Denying the permit will send a powerful signal that the United States is boldly taking action on climate change and clean energy by refusing to be tethered to the energy sources of the past. 

The Americans have never had much of a problem buying their oil from oppressive and dictatorial regimes as long as those countries were prepared to keep the US arms industry flush with orders for newer and better weapons but whooping cranes? That is another matter.

But, the big push in the US is starting to get under Big Oil’s skin. This week they are starting to push back saying if Keystone approval doesn’t come soon, they’ll simply ship this product to Asia opening up new big markets for Canadian oil.

Frankly, that is ok with me. I never was a fan of Keystone, and at least there is no free trade agreement with Asian countries which would demand that we continue shipping them oil at a fixed rate no matter what domestic demand in Canada happens to be.

Before we do that however, what I suggest that we do,  is something that should have been done years ago, assuming we had any leaders in Ottawa, with backbone. That is to start the long overdue process of building pipelines around the Great Lakes and into Eastern Canada. Dig up those pipelines and insert a sharp left turn east of Regina and ship our own oil east. We then could open up some of those mothballed refineries east of Montreal and end our dependence on foreign oil.


Happy Birthday CBC

Today was the CBC's 75th anniversary and to celebrate the nut bar who sits as a Conservative Member of Parliament in Harper's Government filed the following petition Monday calling for the de-funding of the CBC.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to present a large number of petitions from Canadians from coast to coast. The petitioners call upon the government to de-fund the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They would particularly like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Government of Canada funds the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to the sum of $1.1 billion per year and that the vast amount of the Government of Canada funding gives the CBC an unfair advantage over its private sector competitors. The petitioners call upon Parliament to end the public funding of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville) generally out of touch with most people but I suspect that these guys do very little that isn't endorsed by Stevie himself. Now they have made their gun control move and are working to dismantle the Wheat Board, I suspect the Corporation is next on the hit list.


How about a little Transparency

A Secret Society?
Ok, I admit it, I find the Canadian Taxpayers Federation pretty annoying. Don’t believe for a moment that they, as they claim, speak for Canadian taxpayers. From where I sit they seem pretty much like a right wing lobby group.

They describe themselves as a non profit organization funded by Canadians. People like you and me. Somehow, I doubt it.

So where does their money come from? They describe themselves as a non-profit organization. What credible organization has no Annual General Meeting? They do have a Board of Directors although there isn’t any sense, judging from that list, that the organization is anything but a wing on the Conservative Party’s right flank.

They have a staff of 10 to 15 people who can afford suits and have offices, or at the very least a desk, in Ottawa, Toronto, Regina, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec and Halifax. Not cheap.

They are not a charity so no contribution tax credit if you donate to them.

Most groups offer a bit more transparency than the CTF. What do they have to hide I wonder. I have never, ever come across any person who admits to being a member. Pretty shady I figure.

What annoys me more than anything else is that Canadian media outlets are constantly parroting the organization’s rhetoric along with the that from the Frontier Institute for Public Policy and the Fraser Institute, taking their research as gospel truth. They take their media releases at face value and uncritically spew them back at us on the public airwaves. I know it is cheaper that paying for research or giving your reporters a little time to dig around themselves but dammit, it ain’t right. I for one would like to hear a bit more from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Enough of this secret society stuff.


Ten ways to recognize a booming economy, the Saskatchewan way

  1. Unless you are on a four-lane highway if there is any pavement at all, it is crumbling. 
  2. The Provincial Recreation Areas offer almost nothing in services and are maintained, if that is the word, in an appalling state.
  3. Small towns are getting more and more run down, and smaller every year. Abandoned houses prevail.
  4. The infrastructure is breaking down everywhere.
  5. The government’s twisted logic boasts about the fact that it raised the minimum income at which its citizens had to pay taxes thus taking 114,000 people off the tax rolls altogether.
  6. With rents increasing as much as 75% Low-income workers and students can’t afford housing and first time home buyers can afford to get into the market.
  7. A significant number of students take six and seven years to get a four-year degree because they can’t afford to go to university full time even thought they live at home. 
  8. Thirty Seven percent of your First Nations people live below the poverty line and 20% percent of children under six, live below the poverty line, the worst level in the country. 
  9. People can’t afford to travel so with no comparator, they actually think Saskatchewan is booming.
  10. Still too small for Ikea to even consider coming here


I have a Compromise

Canada's Favorite Rodent
Senator Nicole Eaton, a Harper appointed Conservative senator, is urging Canada to dump the beaver in favour of the polar bear as an official emblem of Canada.

Eaton, says the beaver is yesterday’s animal announcing that it is time to replace the a “19th-century has-been for a 21st-century hero. The polar bear,” she says, “with its strength, courage, resourcefulness, and dignity is perfect for the part.” She calls Canada iconic beaver “ the dentally defective rat” and suggests that it is a “nuisance that wreaks havoc on farmlands, roads, lakes, streams and tree plantations,”

I say, “Not so fast.” I like the beaver and even though I have spent more than one Canada Day trying to dismantle a beaver dam which often caused our Lake to rise and partially flood our dock, I prefer that to having a hungry, 600 kilogram bear lurking about the woods and around our cabin, gobbling up anyone who might linger on their way to the outhouse.

As a compromise, I suggest keeping the beaver and scrapping the senate.