Of Pipelines and Trade Wars
Tue, September 04, 2018 | Author: Rod Taylor | Volume 25 Issue 36
The collapse of sanity in Ottawa is becoming painfully clear to everyone except perhaps our myopic Prime Minister and those close to him in his pathetically loyal caucus.
The ongoing issues of both the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the fumbled renegotiation of NAFTA demonstrate the ineptitude of our current government.
When Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau announced last May that taxpayers would be picking up the tab for Kinder Morgan, it was an admission that their government had failed to quell the tide of dissent from environmentalist third parties and the First Nations groups conscripted by them to play the “meaningful consultation” card. The purchase of the project by the government did nothing to resolve the issues. It only guaranteed that the cost of the project will double or triple (my prediction), that it will take longer to complete (try using a stopwatch on any government project) and that the government now has a vested interest in something that should have been determined by practical business and environmental assessments . . . what they used to call “facts”.
When the the Federal Court of Appeals overturned the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline last week, shareholders did the only smart thing under the circumstances—they cut and ran! They voted to accept the government offer and sell their problems to Canadian taxpayers for $4.5 billion.
When I say problems, I don’t mean that the project was ill-conceived or should not go ahead. The problems facing any development project in Canada today—particularly an oil and gas project—go way beyond acquisition of capital, resolution of environmental concerns, dealing with engineering challenges and the management of a competent and cohesive workforce. The real challenges today are in the courts, the press and in the backrooms of special-interest groups determined to obstruct and delay. Those challenges were at work in the scuttling of Northern Gateway and Energy East; those who oppose energy-sector development of any sort have been hard at it in regard to the Kinder Morgan pipeline-twinning project and are now rejoicing that the Court of Appeals has ruled in their favour.
We support the project but have consistently said that the first step should have been the construction of an upgrader in Alberta to convert the oil-sands raw bitumen to synthetic oil before it is transported to tidewater. This would have created additional wealth in Canada, put more Canadians to work, achieved a higher level of environmental and workplace standards and reduced the risk of a damaging spill or leak. May this government—in spite of its ineptitude and self-interest—find the courage and wisdom to see the Trans Mountain pipeline project through to completion. We must not allow every energy project to be stymied by obstructionists.
The Energy East project should have been approved. Why are we buying conflict oil from the Middle East when we have so much in our own backyard? Canada, with all its wonderful resources, should be producing all its own energy needs.
The other ongoing disaster making headlines this week is the bungled trade negotiations with the US. The PM’s efforts to encumber a deal with feminist and environmentalist wallpaper did not score any points in Washington. So far, Canada’s participation in NAFTA talks has been ineffective at best and certainly annoying to the businessman now in the White House. Our PM seemed to think that snubbing the President of the US (refusing to take his call) would show his mettle; the smart money knew that President Trump would not be bullied by “tough talk” from a former drama teacher. The President, unlike his Canadian counterpart, places border security, jobs and economic growth ahead of the abstract dreams of a confused social architect.
The challenges of forging a new trade deal are significant: supply management is something the US President does not seem to understand; tariffs on cars and manufacturing could cripple some business on both sides of the border and likely hurt consumers with costly border delays and red tape. As a former employee in the lumber industry, I know that softwood lumber—always a sore point—was never part of the previous so-called “Free Trade” deal and the cycle of price swings and unfairly-imposed duties made the industry an investor’s minefield. However, we know that the negotiations require a mature and responsible approach, one that has so far been lacking in Ottawa.
We survey the landscape and groan for the damage inflicted by this government. Its failure on economics and trade is only exceeded by its failure on the “moral issues”: abortion, gender confusion and loss of freedoms.
Other Commentary by Rod Taylor:
- The PM’s Reign Fails the Just and the Unjust
- Venezuela: The Tragic Tatters of Socialism
- The PM’s Filthy Money
- New Year, New Challenges, Same Faithful God
- From the Stable to the Throne
- Justin and the Beanstalk: Free Trade, Fair Trade and Failed Trade
- “Following This Law Is Not Optional . . .”
- Remembering Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives to Protect Our Freedom
- Toronto Children’s Hospital is Sick
- Thanksgiving Victory! CHP vs. Hamilton
- Refugees or Economic Migrants?
- Of Pipelines and Trade Wars