11.15.2011 07:10 AM

In today’s Sun: Keystone Kops

Sometimes, we worry about our fellow Canadians.

Like now, for example. Just a few days ago, the Americans decided to make no decision about the so-called Keystone Pipeline. Their non-decision has effectively scuttled the pipeline for the time being and perhaps for a long time.

Some Canadians reacted to the Keystone un-decision like, well, Keystone Kops. As with the Vaudevillian troupe that bore that name, some folks ran around in circles, colliding into each other, colliding into walls, colliding into microphones.

One of them was newly minted federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. He was shocked. Shocked, I tell you.


  1. Warren says:

    Uh-huh. Leading with your chin is dumb politics, Gord. If you don’t see that, there’s nothing I can do to convince you.

  2. Andrew says:

    The Keystone delay is pure politics and wrong-headed at that. The anti-Keystone folks are against any oil sands development, not just a single pipeline. We (our goverments) can regulate the responsible development of our resources and we can regulate the safe transport of those products to the markets that are demanding them (notice the price of oil lately). Instead of working toward stronger regulations, the “antis” are protesting the obvious symbol. The demand for the product (oil) will win out in the long run because there are no products to replace it.

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      We have to start weaning ourselves off fossil fuels sometime Andrew, and encouraging greener alternatives……. this is a good place to start…….

      As well, I am against the proposed Enbridge pipeline project that will destroy swaths of virgin forest in BC, and allow dirty oil to be shipped via ultra large crude carriers to Asia. A spill in these Northern waters will make the Exxon Valdez disaster look like childs play.

      We do not need to fuel China’s lust for oil, By doing so we are only encouraging them to go down the same non sustainable path that we have followed, and continue to follow.

      • Andrew says:

        I’m all for weaning us off fossil fuels but you can’t tell me that there is a technology out there that can replace oil.

        Your language about Northern Gateway is classic greentwaddle…

        “destroying swaths of virgin forest”. Have you been to BC lately? Not much virgin forest I’m afraid. Pipelines don’t create “swaths”, they create corridors that can be managed.
        “dirty oil” I thought all oil was dirty as is coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, ethanol. Why focus on the oil sands? Maybe oil sands are so far away from you that it is easy for you to pick on. Telll me where you live and I bet I can focus on your unsustainable life-style.
        “a spill in these Northern waters will make the Exxon Valdez look like childs play” Wow! Did you find that in a drawer labeled “red herring”? Why don’t we make sure that any tanker that travels in Canadian waters have a Professional Pilot on board to ensure safe transit? Why don’t we only allow double hulled tankers in our waters.? Why aren’t you concerned about all the existing tanker traffic coming into Vancouver and the East Coast?

        China wants our oil because they need it and there is no other substitute. We can sell it to them and make a pant-load of money through well paying jobs, generate a tonne of tax revenue which will make our country prosperous and pay for our social programmes. We can do that responsibly by regulations.

        • Andrew says:

          Pipeline right-of-ways are not allowed to overgrow because you need to access the pipe for monitoring, maintenance and repair.

    • The Doctor says:

      In that light, TC’s decision to consider a new route for the pipeline could prove interesting. That could drive a wedge among the pipeline’s opponents, i.e., those who want to shut down all oil production vs. those who only have localized concerns re: the specific route in Nebraska.

  3. Mom says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to tell me why we can’t refine our own oil here and all of the spin-off jobs that entails. We also need to find a way to use what is left of our abundant resources sustainably and not be in such a rush to sell off as much as we can in as little time as possible!

    • Andrew says:

      Perhaps you are advocating that the taxpayers build multi-billion dollar refineries in Canada?

      • pomojen says:

        Or perhaps she is just asking. Christ. Can we do that here?

        • Andrew says:

          Mom can ask and I apologize for somehow implying that Mom can’t ask a question. However when will folks realize how much it costs to extract resources and then process them. The task is fraught with huge risk to the investor. If Canadians want their bitumen refined in Canada then they have to pony up the money(lots of it) and wait 5 to 6 years for it to be built.

    • The Realist says:

      “The cost of a new refinery – both to build and to operate (in worker-starved AB/SK) in western Canada isnt worth compared to filling existing gulf refineries with Alberta feedstock as their gulf sourced supplies declIne. ”

      Call me old-fashioned, I’m a big fan of labor shortages. I miss the golden days of 2006-2007 Alberta when I could slack off at work and still get my butt kissed by my boss.

      I’m certain that on a macro scale, that labor shortages aren’t a good thing, but from my point of view (as a working person) I don’t mind it at all 🙂

  4. david says:

    Perhaps the people of Nebraska just did not want the oil pipe to pass through their state. Why spoil the peacefull surroundings with an extended period of noise. Why not just run the people east along the TransCanada highway turn a sharp right at Winnipeg and the take the Lord Shelkirk Highway south to the border and jsut keep going south untile Texas. Build the pipe next to the InterState. Simple solution but do not forget the tolls near Chicago.

  5. mrburnsns says:

    I think there are a few things that are missing from this debate – the jobs created in construction along the route are minimal. Most workers would be contractors, and once the thing is built there would be very few permanent maintenance jobs and maybe a few bucks in property taxes. The initial environmental impact assessment was done by a contractor that had a clear conflict of interest. Why should Nebraska risk contaminating its aquifers for the benefit of Alberta and the Gulf states for virtually no benefit?

    TransCanada also didn’t do itself any favors by engaging in a well documented campaign of intimidation against landowners in its quest to obtain easements along the path of the pipeline. There is one sure way to unite Democrats, Republicans and Llibertarians in the U.S. West, and that is by messing with their land and risking their water supplies.

    • smelter rat says:

      Probably the most thoughtful post in this thread.

    • Andrew says:

      Construction jobs will be significant but they will be short lived. But high paying jobs (welders make a schwack of coin) in the middle of a recession wouldn’t be significant? Ask the motel and restaurant owners if it wouldn’t be significant. Those welders will move on because skilled labour is mobile. That is the new reality. Think of all the Alberta oil field workers who commute home to central BC and Nova Scotia right now. Their jobs in Alberta create wealth in every province in Canada. But they have to work where the jobs are. I do it. My family did it and most of my colleagues moved away from home to find work.

      BTW: There is probably more risk to the aquifer from leaking gas station storage tanks than from the pipeline itself. Maybe the environmentalist should focus on that. But then again maybe it isn’t about a pipeline but rather it’s about Big Bad Oil?

  6. The Realist says:

    I live in Alberta, and while I’m disappointed by the decision that Obama has made, I wonder if we can turn these lemons into lemonade:

    -Eastern Canada imports a lot of it’s oil from the Middle East.
    -The Chinese market might be one to consider.

    So why not build more pipeline and refining capacity for these two markets? More jobs could be created in Canada as a result.

    Perhaps my view is too simplistic, and that there may be logistical reasons and it might not be viable to do what I propose. But it’s something to consider.

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