Editor, The Record:
I’d like to add my two cents to the current oil controversies. Enbridge is proposing to build a pipeline through British Columbia and the government of China wants to buy an Alberta oil company through its wholly owned petroleum subsidiary.
If we dispense with the rhetoric and look only at the facts of the pipeline proposal we’ll see the following:
1. China wants to buy Alberta’s petroleum products.
2. Alberta wants to sell those petroleum products to China.
3. There is a need to transport those petroleum products to China.
4. The least cost of transport option is a pipeline to the Pacific, and marine transport to China.
What we can safely assume is the pipeline is going to be built, whether through B.C. or through Washington State or Alaska. We can also be assured that there will be spills. Now we can decide what amount of financial reward will remain for the taxpayer after the worst-case spill scenario, what extent and duration of the spill. Back-up plans for clean up and remediation and back-up plans for the back-up plans also need to be examined.
If the pipeline is built through B.C., we will have some control of the safety issues surrounding the project; if the pipeline is built elsewhere, we’ll have none.
The pipeline proposal is a business deal, and should be decided on that level.
The China deal of buying a Canadian oil company with holdings in the gulf is something of a different matter. This is totalitarian government gaining a territorial foothold in Canada through the purchase of a Canadian company.
This is not a business deal. This is a political decision, like all decisions made by any totalitarian government; consequently, it can and will bring with it political (ie: Canadian/U.S, even British relationships), as well as sovereignty issues in the future. It we are wise, we’ll treat it as the great plague of the middle ages; avoid it at all cost, for it could come to haunt us.