Pipeline politics and elections.
I am a Canadian by choice. Over fifty years ago I stood in front of a judge and swore allegiance to a country that I chose of my free will and I never regretted it. I spent my whole time as a Canadian in Alberta.
If other Canadians fear our heavy crude oil, flowing over their land I am not separating from Canada. There is danger in the solvents we use with the oil and people are simply scared. Perhaps the “war room” should check and educate people, if they have a solution.
Alberta was much smaller when I came (1967) and with the oil boom (liquid oil at the time) and new opportunities, the population increased while the economy changed. The young people from little rural centers migrated into growing cities and many new people from other parts of Canada moved in. My city, Calgary quadrupled in size completely disregarding the obvious signs that oil could not sustain us forever. Some folks tried to build other more sustainable economic developments but were crushed by governments who only pushed oil.
I remember Sprung Green Houses which supplied us with fresh vegetables winter and summer. Oil contaminated the soil underneath the greenhouses and leached into the produce. Another example was the windy ridge in Cowley. A German company offered to build wind energy generation free if only they could tie into the grid and the Provincial Government wouldn’t allow them to do it for years.
Now the big deal is “pipelines” and we have two fights on the go. One is fighting legislation for environmental protection, which most Canadians are demanding. We, supposedly want lax or no regulations but the voters say otherwise. The other fight is about forcing provinces to allow transport of bitumen through their territory, again against strong opposition.
People in other provinces are well aware of the economic benefits of the oil. I went to the trouble of listening to some. Most of us in Alberta prefer to say that other Canadians only wish to put us down and deny us prosperity. The person I talked with had another argument.
The way others see it is that what we are exporting now is not oil which you pump and sell but liquified tar which must be mined and converted into a liquid. They don’t understand why we are making such a great effort to convert the solid fuel instead of exploring and building cleaner energy sources when it’s obvious that we must do so anyway, eventually.
Now with the federal government approving the project, the only recourse of those opposed is to protest. Opposing unjust laws in a democracy is not a crime but often a duty. (Martin Luther King.) Some aboriginal nations and many young people consider disregarding nature unjust. The Alberta Premier is expecting the Federal government to use force to protect the oil companies prosperity against objections from native tribes, but will he feel the same if a whole lot of white kids show up with signs? It remains to be seen. They are not “a tiny minority of foreign founded job killing protesters,” they are our kids and grandkids. This is why Conservatives didn’t build the pipeline.
We have witnessed such a protest at Standing Rock in North Dakota two years ago. Aboriginal tribes from all over the Americas put their bodies on the line and stopped a pipeline development for a long time. Many others including a large group of veterans joined the protest supporting them. The main concern, pipelines leaking into the water. We are now at the stage in history when fresh water is a short commodity and the predicted water wars are around the corner.
While we are in the age of oil wars, water wars have begun and the new test humans face is not only for cheap energy but for life-sustaining water.
We are trying to get jobs by supporting pipelines and trying to sell our oil. If we win, it will give us a little more time but it is obvious that there is so much oil now that the prices are falling. A war may change it for a short while but many will die.
Today I see thirty million of my tax dollars invested in a “War Room” to fight against most of the world’s scientists. We will spend more fighting against two passed laws protecting the environment. Additional money will be spent to fight the Nursing Union in an effort to reduce their pay and break a signed contract. More money is removed from the budget by tax reductions to corporations who would fail if they paid taxes at the rate the rest of us pay. At the same time, we are fighting their fight against people like us who are losing homes and property to fires and floods and voting to stop the danger. I am told that we Albertans are in favor of leaving Canada to help international investors, but I am not.
I can’t afford to fly around as my Premier does and I don’t even own one expensive suit like he is wearing, but I object as loud as I can. I like to live in a Province that helps all its citizens achieve good comfortable lives by producing what people want to buy not by selling what I want to sell. I want safety, comfort, and security for me and those around me, by doing an honest day’s work.
In my humble opinion, the prosperity for all Albertans that will follow a pipeline is nothing but a pipe dream. Any gains we will make will be spent on fixing damages from floods and forest fires. Instead of paying lawyers and War Rooms, I would spend on greenhouses that produce food, on wind and solar farms and high-level energy research. For that, we need well educated, healthy population which comes from investing in education, health care, and infrastructure.