25 November 2014

Pipelines in every direction

Our new premier, Jim Prentice, claims he is committed to making Alberta an environmental leader. That's on Sundays, just after church. The rest of the week his commitments lie elsewhere. He made that plain in a speech to the Economic Club last week when he declared his goal is to see pipelines built in every possible direction. The Northern Gateway gushing oil west, Keystone gushing oil south and Energy East gushing oil to the Maritimes apparently isn't enough. "One of the alternatives that has been discussed and is said to be technically feasible," said Mr. Prentice, "is exporting Alberta's crude via existing port facilities in Alaska."

Squaring environmental leadership with tar sands oil spewing out of the province north, south, east and west is an exercise in intellectual gymnastics that only a conservative would attempt. But environmental leadership is tough for politicos. It means taking on the fossil fuel industries, among the most powerful forces in our society. And when oil, including the dreadful tar sands, is a major creator of profits, taxes and jobs, it is so much easier to just go with the crude.

Going green can also be a major creator of profits, taxes and jobs, but that bird is still in the bush in this country, so politicians opt for the bird in the hand. It will mean global temperatures advancing ever upwards and that will mean a brutal cost for society, including the economy, to be paid by our children and grandchildren.

But our children and grandchildren won't be voting in the next election, so for Mr. Prentice and his federal colleagues it's full speed ahead with pipelines in every direction. And for the environment? Theoretical leadership.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that only Cons supporters, Bill, would fail to see the irony. Pierre Trudeau would have built pipelines carrying Albertan oil/gas out of Alberta, at taxpayers expense, in the seventies. And those pipelines would have been built quickly because environmental concerns then were not so important. And Harper would have avoided the angst that he is now facing in regard to all the pipelines he wants built.

    Instead, Albertans, in their wisdom, elected a bunch of Reformacons, including Harper, who dumped all over PET's NEP. Albertans apparently would rather sell Alberta's oil to the Americans at a double discount to the Brent price than to the "eastern bastards" whom they apparently would rather let "freeze in the dark".

    As the international oil price keeps slumping, some say to perhaps $60/barrel, one wonders how many Albertans can recall that Ontario and the other provinces west of it paid higher than international oil prices for well over a decade under Diefenbaker to help Albertans survive the global collapse in oil prices in the seventies? Wonder how many of them recall the "Borden Line"?

    Seems things that go around, come around, don't they?

    I have always laughed when people suggest that Prentice would be able to solve Alberta's pipeline problem. Prentice's problem is Sunday comes around once a week when he has to pretend that he is all for making Alberta an environmental leader too.