Over the last few years, thousands of activists have mobilized against the development of pipeline infrastructure across Canada.
Those activists have had a fairly consistent mantra: that the use and shipment of oil are bad for the environment, and that the lack of consultations with opposing indigenous groups is immoral.
That loud and consistent voice has had a serious effect. It has forced the Canadian government to spend more than $10 billion dollars on a massive nation-building project that should have been free.
Today, I’d like to make the argument that the Liberal government continuously has failed to make the argument that pipelines are necessary for Canada in response to the waves of activists.
Pipelines are the safest way to ensure a stable Canadian economy, in an environmentally conscious manner, while also meeting the plethora of other very important national security goals Canadians wish to see accomplished.
A stable economy
For decades, Canada has used the wealth of Alberta to enrich and support the development of some of the largest nation-building projects we all know and love.
Since the late 1960’s Alberta has contributed hundreds of billions of dollars to other Canadian provinces, namely Quebec through equalization payments.
That massive amount of taxable revenue has been used to bolster the Canadian economy and allows us to have the luxuries we currently enjoy.
At this moment though, lacking pipelines are costing the Canadian economy $46.6 billion, which roughly equates to $13.9 billion in taxes alone.
Just got out of a meeting with senior energy industry leaders.
Latest estimate is that today’s record price discount on our oil & gas represents an annualized loss of $46.6 billion to the Canadian economy, and $13.9 billion to Canadian governments.
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) October 13, 2018
That could be a lot of new hospital beds or a reduction in taxes for the middle class, and therefore a debt reduction for many Canadians who never recovered post-recession.
How is the Canadian economy losing so much?
Due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure, Canadian crude can only be transferred by way of pipeline to the United States, allowing them to request massive discounts, and the remainder of the oil is transferred through dangerous rail and by trucks.
It really is important to stress how terrible and truly damaging this is.
For every $1 increase in the price discount for Western Canadian heavy oil over the course of a year will cost the Alberta treasury about $210 million.
“Every $1 increase in the price discount for Western Canadian heavy oil over the course of a yr will cost the Alberta treasury about $210 million…the price differential will cost all producers up to $100 million a day in lost revenues at current levels.” https://t.co/RaWTIEDSRD
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) October 13, 2018
The price differential for this week reached $52 a barrel as the United States continued to reach its own state of energy independence while Canada’s pipeline problems grew.
Why can’t we keep using rail and trucks?
Outside of them reaching near capacity, they are far more expensive,m costing nearly three times more than pipelines, and are noticeably dirtier.
According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), the world is going to remain oil-dependent for a very long time.
Even with the number of electric vehicles on the road rising from less than 2 million today to 300 million by 2040, global oil demand would barely budge, according to the agency’s “New Policies Scenario,” which incorporates existing legislation and announced policy commitments on emissions and climate change.
This time frame is extremely important to point out. We will in effect continue to produce a certain amount of oil, and can choose to do it in the safest way possible or take a discount along with more pollution.
Pipelines are in the interests of Canadian nation-building
The time frame also points to a far more important aspect: the long-term national goals of Canada.
As a nation, most Canadians hate two things, having to bow down to our American neighbours on issues we care about and disagree on, and allowing dictatorships to thrive through dirty oil.
By developing pipeline infrastructure, Canada could become the bastion of the most humanely produced oil in the world, beating out nations like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Russia while also finally removing the gargantuan discounts which the US receives from us daily.
It could do this while increasing the living standards of Canadians everywhere.
The choice is fairly simple.
Over the next few years, Canada could become poorer and less capable of taking on the drastic economic and environmental changes that could be coming. Or, it could be a far more wealthy, stable, and technologically advanced nation dealing with those same potential problems.
Where would you like Canada to be?