|Gordon Gibson: The Nailer|
Gibson summarizes, in one short article, the crux of the national debate about our crude oil pipelines. Here’s some of the article:
There is a win-win-win response to all of this, if any national political party has the savvy to step up. The public opposition is really against pipelines to export bitumen and the response is simple: Refine the bitumen in Canada.
The politics are simple. Most Canadians think adding value in our own country to our own resources is a good thing. And it would add a lot – a lot – of jobs and taxes. Tick.
Refining bitumen onshore eliminates the widespread worry about tankers carrying the heavy substance running aground and fouling the seas. Refined products (such as gasoline and diesel) evaporate if spilled. Tick.
Some such refining capacity already exists in Quebec (using foreign oil), a plus for Energy East. More could be built in New Brunswick. Well-developed plans exist for a 150,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Sarnia, by the Bowman Centre. Labour groups have funded a study that says a new refinery in Alberta would be economic. In B.C., David Black’s huge plan for 500,000 bpd at Kitimat is well advanced and there are two other new proposals.
The markets and the business plans are there, as are the technology and the feedstock. The remaining piece is the finance. In each case, proponents say, all that’s required is a government guarantee of some of the debt. Equity financing looks feasible.
This could be a problem-solver and a nation-builder. And no new oil is added to the planet – just a displacement of foreign oil. Earth to Ottawa.
Gibson rightly raps Stephen Harper’s government for not having a viable energy policy, lacking leadership, and generally being AWOL.
Canada’s economy is vulnerable one, and the Harper government is ill-equipped to deal with such issues, due to its self-imposed view of the minor role the federal government should play in the affairs of its citizens (remember Harper’s dangerous inaction when the 2007-2008 economic meltdown happened?)
Canada needs solid, visionary and nation-building economic leadership in the energy sphere. We are not getting this from the tired, do-nothing Harper government.
It is time for nation-builders to take over in Ottawa.