July 29, 2016

Oil from Husky Energy pipeline spill into North Saskatchewan River.  Photo: Shelley Essaunce

By Daniel Cayley-Daoust and Emma Lui, published in the Regina Leader-Post, July 29, 2016

As we write this, more than 200,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with diluents is flowing uncontrollably down the North Saskatchewan River. It has already forced three cities to close their drinking water intakes and is impacting First Nations in Treaty 6 territory. Prince Albert plans to restrict water use for up to two months and has been forced to draw water from the South Saskatchewan river 30 kilometres away — a river that is already over-extracted.

July 28, 2016

Oil from Husky Energy pipeline spill into North Saskatchewan River.  Photo: Shelley Essaunce

There are many parallels between last week’s heavy oil spill from a Husky Energy pipeline in Saskatchewan and the Enbridge pipeline rupture in Kalamazoo Michigan almost exactly six years ago.

Both ruptures occurred while control room staff were restarting the flow in the pipelines.

In both cases, “anomalies” were indicated by computers systems monitoring the pipelines.

In both cases, the companies failed to interpret the “anomalies” as leaks.

In both cases, significant periods of time elapsed before the companies were made aware of the leaks by members of the public seeing the oil floating down river.  17 hours for Enbridge, 14 hours for Husky.

In both cases, diluents had been added to the pipeline to facilitate pumping.

In both cases, emergency responses were inadequate to deal with the quantity spilled and the conditions on the rivers the spills flowed into.

July 25, 2016

The Peterborough Council of Canadians chapter supported a public letter sent this weekend to local MP Maryam Monsef by End Immigration Detention Peterborough in solidarity with immigrant detainees on hunger strikes at jails in Lindsay [about 45 kilometres west of Peterborough] and Toronto. 

The letter to Minister Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions) asked her to  declare a clear position on the controversial practice of indefinitely detaining migrants in Canada as well as that she meet with the hunger-striking detainees within the next 45 days.

July 25, 2016

No TPP protest

U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Canada, against the backdrop of Brexit and the U.S. presidential campaign, had many opinion leaders trying to dismiss concerns about free trade.

Now, we’re told, people who are against free trade are isolationists who want to entrench themselves in the past, in a parochial nostalgia for the nation-state. The ideology of free trade opponents can only lead to an inward-looking mentality that fosters wars and destroys the economy.

So say the free traders who have been fostering wars and destroying the economy.

But is it that easy: a fight between free trade, on the one hand, and isolationism on the other? 

This false binary construct leaves little room for a third choice: the progressive concept of “fair trade” and the aspiration to build economies and trading relationships that are based on social and ecological justice, on the primacy of democratic rights over the profits of transnational corporations, and on the free movement of people rather than capital.

July 24, 2016

Above: Enbridge’s ruptured Line 6 in Kalamazoo, MI, that spilled 3.3 million litres of diluted bitumen in the Kalamazoo river in 2010. Four years later, Enbridge was still cleaning up bitumen and had already spent well over $1 billion.

On Thursday July 21st, a Husky Energy owned pipeline spilled between 200,000 and 250,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with diluents in the North Saskatchewan River near Lloydminster and Maidstone, Saskatchewan. An official from the petroleum and natural gas branch of the province’s economy ministry said that the pipeline was built in 1997 and was carrying heavy oil from Husky’s Heavy Oil operations in the region to it’s terminal and upgrader in Lloydminster. The faulty pipeline was located on Husky’s Saskatchewan Gathering System.