Pipe Dreams or Pipe Lying?

O Canada, our true patriot love is really being put to the test.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline Hearings have now started and my head already hurts. Canadians are getting bombarded with rhetoric that is divisive, dismissive and downright frightening. When Minister Oliver said: “We can’t let unlawful people oppose lawful development,” he’s really engaging in the lowest form of political doublespeak. “unlawful people”? Quick, hand me a copy of 1984.

I’m surprised no-one has been called a terrorist yet. For some reason our PM is very concerned about “foreign money” and influence (as if Canada hasn’t benefitted hugely from both). We definitely want foreign money in Canada, check out  "Invest in Canada" for more on that.

Enbridge has their lawyers at the ready. Environmentalists, many 1st Nations and others are clearly stating their opposition. Visions of all that riot gear used during the G20 protest keep coming to mind.

I like facts. I like solid data. I like history. I like hearing from the trenches. If our government and the oil industry has any respect for Canadians they should respond to this list of concerns immediately.

1. Safety

Why not immediately institute a program where industry workers who witness safety problems or violations in any and all areas of work are given a bonus and recognized for helping the company be more responsible. That sounds like a serious commitment to CSR. Quite the opposite is done when people with integrity are called “whistleblowers” and end up fired or demoted like this pipeline engineer. Stop demonizing those who are trying to protect the communities affected by the industry. Calling award winning author Andrew Nikiforuk a lunatic just because he writes a book that reveals the problems of the industry does not help the situation. If I could trust that you were doing absolutely everything to encourage a culture of safety and protection I may not be so interested in fighting you on building yet another pipeline.

2. Safety (yes, a second point is necessary!)

Do not obfuscate your own history of leaks and/or other pipeline failures. Indicate that you will be fully responsible for funding any and all situations where your pipeline has failed and caused damage to communities or resources (land and water). No socializing the losses. As my mother was fond of saying: “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”

3. Research

Show me that you care enough about Canada by spending as much money on researching, acknowledging, understanding, and reducing the damage extraction and production etc. causes, as you do, on a legal team. I suspect that there is more value in retaining 125 scientists as there is in paying 125 lawyers.

4. Job Creation

Outline clearly what kind of jobs will be created. How many are longterm permanent positions? How many shortterm permanent positions? Defend your numbers with facts. Compare this project to other projects of similar size and scope.

Canada may have oil resources equal to those of Saudi Arabia but we certainly cannot develop that resource in the same manner that they have. After all our oil is ethical and theirs isn’t…right?

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