Category: Community Columns
Published: Wednesday, 18 November 2015 15:21
Written by Lindsay Curties
Monday Morning Commentary November 16, 2015
This is my first opportunity to comment since the swearing in of the new Federal Liberal government. Congratulations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on appointing what appears to be a highly-qualified and gender-balanced cabinet. Congratulations also to the Honourable Ralph Goodale for once again being appointed to cabinet and Saskatchewan's representative around the cabinet table.
With the Prime Minister's commitment to bringing thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada in the next few months and the recent events which unfolded in Paris, France, means Mr. Goodale has his work cut out for him regarding national security. Ralph Goodale has shown a steady hand in whatever cabinet portfolio he has held in the past and I am sure he will dedicate himself to ensuring that his new role as Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will ensure the safety of Canadians.
This will be a huge task making sure that there are no terrorists and their sympathizers mixed in with the honest refugees fleeing a horrible situation in the Middle East. Living in the safety of Saskatchewan with our high standards of living and endless opportunities, it is hard for us to imagine that life could be anything but. If an event happened in Saskatchewan like the one that transpired in Paris a few short days ago, I believe the trauma would last for generations. It is a heavy responsibility for Mr. Goodale and others to make sure that it doesn't happen and that we as Canadians remain an open and welcoming society.
Last Friday night while driving home from the Minot airport, I could not believe the amount of natural gas that is being flared into the atmosphere in both North Dakota and Saskatchewan. I know I have mentioned this before in past commentaries but it appears to me to be a tremendous waste of a valuable natural resource. Our Premier is off to a conference on climate change where he will be promoting Saskatchewan's C02 capture process at the Boundary Dam Power Station. At the same time, we are flaring natural gas all over southern Saskatchewan that in some cases has large quantities of sulphur dioxide in it.
I was recently told by one individual who is in the business that we are flaring enough gas to heat the city of Regina for a year. There is probably much more than that being wasted. If there is over-supply in the marketplace today and oil companies don't want to put in place the infrastructure to collect this resource, than why not make it available to local citizens, communities and industries who are close by.
I am told there are ways to generate electricity in small amounts which could then be used locally or sold back into the grid so that SaskPower doesn't have to buy electricity outside the province or burn more dirty coal. Natural gas has been used for decades to pump water for irrigation in many parts of North America. Conversely, it could be used to pump water which has built up with all of the wet years in southeast Saskatchewan. I guess the point that I am trying to make is that we have a resource that is being wasted. Is that waste occurring simply because it helps the bottom line of oil companies? Is that waste occurring because our government has no imagination and would rather concentrate on mega-projects? Or is that waste occurring because all of us have become complacent in a booming economy?
I think it is time we all turned our attention to using our resources in a prudent manner and ensuring that they are around for future generations and not simply being flared into our skies.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.