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Published: Wednesday 21 August, 2013

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For years, I was a voice in the wilderness calling for an oil pipeline to bring western oil to eastern Canada. Now that TransCanada and Enbridge each have plans to build one, I should be pleased. But Im not. oil security through the export of oil from Alberta, while Canada itself is the most oilinsecure country in the global north. Unlike all other member countries in the International Energy Agency, Canada has no strategic petroleum reserves to use when the next oilsupply crisis strikes. oil output, global oil production has not grown since 2005. It is not likely to in the future, either. Oil pipelines to the east, then, could finally bring Canada the energy security we need. If they were dedicated to serving Canadians first, they could catapult Canada from the most oilinsecure country to the head of the line.



Why, then, am I skeptical about TransCanadas proposal to partially convert its naturalgas Mainline pipeline to an oil pipeline to Quebec and perhaps New Brunswick, and about Enbridges plan to reverse its Mo balenciaga bag outlet ntrealtoSarnia, Ont., pipeline to bring western oil to Quebec?



Because its all about exports and corporate profits, and has nothing to do with energy or environmental security for eastern Canadians. coast. Shipping oil from Alberta 4,400 kilometres to the Atlantic Ocean sounds like a slow boat to China, but Big Oil is desperate to get oil to where oil prices are higher.



But whatever the motivation for building them, wont the westtoeast oil pipelines make eastern Canadians more energysecure? Not necessarily. That incidental benefit could quickly be dropped if and when Big Oil decides that exports are more lucrative than supplying Canadians with their own oil. The federal government has made it clear that it will not intervene to provide Canadians with energy security the way balenciaga bag outlet all other countries in the International Energy Agency do. We dont tell the companies to put the pipelines here or there, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared last year.



Instead of supplying domestic conventional oil to eastern Canadians as part of a national ecoenergy plan to transition Canada off fossil fuels, this is just another oilsandsexporting ploy. If it succeeds, it will sink Alberta and Canada even deeper into a hewers of wood trap which is also a carbon trap. Do we want to be an innovationbased economy or a resourcebased economy?



Canadians are the stewards of 1/14th of the worlds land mass, with only 1/200th of the worlds people. We spew 1/40th of the worlds greenhouse gases into the biosphere that we share with all humanity and other life forms. Do we want Canada to be branded even more deeply as the worlds carbon bad boy?



The only saving grace of the proposed westtoeast lines is that the six refineries east of the QuebecOntario border have limited capacity to handle the heavier oil from the oilsands. At least at first, most of the oil in the pipelines would be lighter, less environmentally damagin balenciaga bag outlet g crude oil. But there is no guarantee this would last.



We shouldnt expect environmentalists elsewhere to do all the heavy lifting in getting us to cap and then phase out dirty sands oil. Canadians in every region should demand that their governments say no to allowing sands oil to pass through their province.



Former federal international trade minister David Emerson warned about the danger of Alberta failing to diversify its economy. His 2011 report for the Alberta Premiers Council for Economic Strategy said that the creation of an affordable, environmentally friendly alternative to oil would be a great thing for the world, and warned: It could be economically devastating for Alberta if, when it happens, we are still heavily dependent on oil exports.



Unfortunately, the Alberta and Canadian governments seem to have no plans to avoid that coming trap. Instead, they deliberately mix up the interests of big, mainly foreign, oil corporations with those of Albertans and Canadians. But it is not in Albertans interests to get stuck being a fossilfuel belt that will soon be as much of a dead end as is the auto industrys rust belt.



Gordon Laxer is a political economist and the founding director and former head of the Parkland Institute for publicpolicy research at the University of Alberta. balenciaga bag outlet

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