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VIEWS: Laxer opposes west-to-east pipeline proposals

Gordon Laxer

Former Council of Canadians Board member Gordon Laxer writes in the Montreal Gazette, “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 I’m not. …Why am I skeptical about TransCanada’s proposal to partially convert its natural-gas Mainline pipeline to an oil pipeline to Quebec and perhaps New Brunswick, and about Enbridge’s plan to reverse its Montreal-to-Sarnia, Ont., pipeline to once again bring western oil to Quebec?”

“Because it’s all about exports and corporate profits, and has nothing to do with energy or environmental security for eastern Canadians. Big — mainly foreign — Oil and the big pipeline corporations seized on sending Alberta oil east after they were blocked from shipping sands oil south through TransCanada’s planned Keystone XL line to Texas and west via the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the B.C. 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, won’t the west-to-east oil pipelines make eastern Canadians more energy-secure? 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 all other countries in the International Energy Agency do. ‘We don’t tell the companies to put the pipelines here or there,’ Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared last year.”

Laxer highlights, “Instead of supplying domestic conventional oil to eastern Canadians as part of a national eco-energy plan to transition Canada off fossil fuels, this is just another sands-exporting ploy. If it succeeds, it will sink Alberta and Canada even deeper into a ‘hewers of wood’ trap — which is also a carbon trap.”

He concludes, “Canadians in every region should demand that their provincial governments say no to allowing sands oil to pass through their province.”

For more, please read:
‘A west-to-east oil pipeline sounds like a good idea. It isn’t’ by Gordon Laxer’
NEWS: TransCanada CEO says we need to “get oil exported on the water”
NEWS: Harper government backs west-to-east pipeline proposals