Category: Community Columns
Published: Monday, 01 February 2016 14:24
Written by Lindsay Curties
FEBRUARY 1, 2016
What a gorgeous weekend for the last week of January! I actually took a few hours off after church yesterday and went ice fishing on Buffalo Pound Lake with an old fishing buddy. The surface of the lake this time of the year looks like a good sized town with all of the ice fishing shacks and vehicles that appear before you as you come over the crest of the hill as you are going down to the lake. Obviously, other people had the same idea and for all of you that keep track of these things, we caught our limit of yellow perch and one walleye and told lots of stories about fishing trips past.
The new Federal Liberal government released its new rules on pipeline development in Canada this past week. The various Ministers involved with the unrolling of this new set of rules said they have clarified the process by which pipelines can be built in Canada. I hope they are right but my first glance at the new regulations says we have two new unknowns.
One will be quantifying what the new greenhouse gas emissions criteria will entail as there was no threshold of amounts allowed and secondly, what will be the price for crossing various jurisdictions. What I am talking about is the cost of crossing Aboriginal land and making peace with people like the Mayor of Montreal. Until these perimeters have been established, the new regulations are no different than the past ones. Somewhere in this process, there has to be a criteria that is called "national interest" and that criteria needs a champion in the government who adds up all of the benefits of pipelines at the same time others are bringing up the negatives.
If the old National Energy Board has been negligent in enforcing pipeline safety rules under its current guidelines, then those board members should be fired and we find new ones that will crack the whip and give Canadians the confidence that safety is being looked after. This is not a business where you cut corners just to increase shareholder value. Safe pipelines are much better than rolling railcars full of crude through the centers of most urban areas in Canada. We are doing that because that is where the rail lines are.
Past experience has shown that accidents will happen. Oil cars will derail and oil cars will burn and explode. The more oil you push down the rail pipeline, the more chance there is for this happening in a major urban area. Pipelines do not normally go through the middle of town. Mr. Trudeau and his government need to quickly establish the new perimeters and get on with business.
The longer we wait and the closer we get to another election, the more difficulty we as a country will get to defining what's in all of our interests. In my view,
developing long-term secure refining capacity in Canada is in our interests. Developing long-term employment opportunities for Canadians is in our interests. Substituting Canadian energy supplies from ones imported from foreign countries that are our friend one day and our enemy the next is in our interests. Let's get on with it.
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