A message to all of us

Alberta is a beautiful place to live and raise a family.  It has so much – mountains, wide open prairies, and beautiful parklands. 

What it doesn’t have is jobs.  There are no jobs for Albertans, nor jobs it once shared with many qualified individual from other Canadian provinces.

Hours have turned into days, days into months, and months into years.  The evening news tells stories of rallies, hundreds of vehicles, people (just like you and me) who have travelled hundreds of miles because they need hope for the future.

When events are over all that is said is, “… hopefully Ottawa has heard us.”  Yet, did anyone bother to leave their desk to come shake a hand and welcome a weary traveller?

Considering pipeline and anti-oil and gas protests, are we taking the time to think things through?  I suppose for those outside looking in one may think – if you can’t get a job on the pipeline, get another job doing something else. 

But there are greater concerns that come without a pipeline and it’s not just the literal need for the jobs an approved pipeline would bring.

The world remains petroleum dependent.  In fact, despite the banter to shed our dependence, the global demand for oil and gas is growing – not slowing.  Hundreds of products are petroleum based.  It’s not just an oil and gas issue.  Without the products made with petroleum there will be significant impact to the daily lives of each and every one of us.

Global change (change made by the entire world and not just a few countries), if possible, will take years if not decades and cannot be accomplished by imposing taxes and levies on the people who are leading the change. 

If, as Canadians, we don’t produce it and move it ourselves, our neighbours will be happy to supply it – but they may not be as environmentally considerate as we are.  When we look at ourselves in the mirror we think we look good – but are we really?

Geography is not my strong suit; but, when I look at the world map, I see continents separated by vastness of water.  So, if there’s a tanker spill anywhere in the ocean, does it not still impact the waters of the ocean and waterways proximate to us Canadians?  

I think back to 2015 and recall a substantial undertaking on the West Coast, from Alaska to Seattle, to cleanup marine debris that had floated to that region as a result of the Japanese tsunami of 2011.

Newfoundland and Labrador have off-shore drilling operations.  Surprisingly, Canada doesn’t use any of that oil.  Instead, the eastern provinces rely on the Saudi Arabia, Africa, and Venezuela for its oil supply.  It’s loaded onto tankers and shipped to the east coast of Canada on the North Atlantic Ocean.  All the oil is received through all-but-one import facility located in New Brunswick.

The west coast of Canada has its own refineries to produce crude oil (as well as natural gas and electricity).  According to Canada’s National Energy Board website, “British Columbia produced 75.5 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d) of crude oil in 2017.  But, British Columbia is still dependent on Alberta for refined fuels (gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, etc.)

Alberta, the largest producer of crude oil in Canada, can’t get its product effectively to market without a pipeline because it is landlocked. 

Have you been listening to those newsy-bits, those sound bytes, tales of election collusion, North Korea missile testing, tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, South China Sea, conflict in Venezuela, Brexit, … if, and heaven forbid, world war 3 was upon us, how could we confidently get the gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating fuels, etc., needed from east to west if our borders were under lockdown or if we were invaded?

Perhaps a pipeline would hold value then.

Next time you hear about men and women joining together in a rally from the province of Alberta, the largest producer of crude oil in Canada, without the petroleum industry:

  • There’d be no jet fuel to fuel that airplane to take you on your sunny winter vacations
  • There’d be no diesel to fuel the diesel engines that produce the electricity to power the Cruise Liner you are booked to sail on
  • There’d be no diesel to fuel the trucks to bring the products that fill the shelves of Costco, Walmart, or your favorite grocery store
  • In the background of pipeline protests you wouldn’t see all the vehicles that brought the protesters to the protest site
  • Hundreds of products we need on a daily basis would be gone:
    • Ballpoint pens
    • Nail polish, lipstick, make-up
    • Antiseptics, petroleum jelly
    • Vitamin Capsules
    • Plastics (including your drinking bottle)
    • Toilet seats
    • Shampoo, deodorant
    • Detergents, soap
    • Clothing
    • Water pipes
    • Tires (even electric and hybrid vehicles need tires)
    • Eyeglasses

And so many more

Please consider Alberta.  Support Albertans to get the pipeline built, oil flowing and people working.  Then we can work together, from east to west, to share in the benefit and create innovative jobs only the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit can bring.

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