The Harper government’s economic policies are selling us out, where we are quickly becoming a cheap resource colony for seemingly insatiable Asian economies, particularly China.
Is that what we want as British Columbians or Canadians?
The fact that no one seems to be objecting to LNG pipelines, terminals or tankers on our north coast is worrisome, both for being precedent setting and for ignoring the inherent risks. Building LNG terminals here means we are supporting “fracking,” which is proving to have dire consequences like earthquakes, polluted water and ruined lives.
As well, LNG is primarily methane gas which is the worst contributor to the greenhouse effect. There have been a number of LNG accidents that the industry is loath to discuss. Minimizing the scope of the risks regarding LNG transportation (any leak is extremely flammable and explosive) is doing a great disservice to our communities.
How about Canadian oil and gas for Canadians? We should not be exploiting the tars sands because of the damage to the planet, but since we cannot seem to stop that development at this point, we could at least use it for our own country’s needs. Would it not make more sense to build a refinery somewhere in Alberta (rather than the double jeopardy of a pipeline to a Kitimat refinery) and ship the refined petro products to markets across our own country? It could help to end our dependency on foreign oil and hopefully lower prices for consumers while we work on finding alternate energy sources.
If LNG pipelines are put in place it will be the “thin edge of the wedge” as far as future pipelines go. Enbridge, among others, could very well try to pony up to the LNG lines with the argument that First Nations, local communities and environmental concerns will have already been addressed. As much as we may need them, I don’t believe that many local long term jobs would be created because of the modern technology used in handling these fuels. As well, another set of problems would arise because of lack of infrastructure as many workers (thousands for a refinery) would have to be imported to the north for industrial construction, as there is already a skilled labour shortage here.
Have safety and liability issues fully been explored? Recent seismic reports in the Douglas Channel are not encouraging as far as any major industrial development goes. Enbridge has a dismal record regarding clean ups and say they are not responsible once the oil is loaded on ships. LNG and shipping companies have limited liability regarding their vessels in the US waters, what about in Canada? What are industries’ rights and responsibilities? What are ours?
Are we willing to take most of the risks for oil and gas companies and support the Chinese economy regardless of their human rights record and questionable market practices? If this kind of progress means shipping our finite natural resources to other countries as fast as we can, for the economic benefit of the few, I think we need to take a good look at what this really means to our communities and to Canada in the long term.