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CALGARY, AB Jul 26, 2015/ Troy Media/ – All the Canadian premiers got together recently to come up with a Canadian Energy Strategy document which . . . curiously . . . does not mention the Alberta oil sands. Excluding a major national resource widely acknowledged to be a driver of at least one third of the Canadian economy from a national energy strategy document has to be a new low in the world of politically correct energy discussions.
To add insult to injury, the premiers continued to pile on conditions for building pipelines to transport western Canadian oil, even though setting conditions are not within their constitutional purview.
It was also reported that Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard sees little value in the Energy East pipeline if his province is just a transit point for a pipeline intended to carry oil sands oil from Alberta to east coast refineries.
Really? I guess he’s decided to forget about the St. Lawrence Seaway. An engineering marvel, for the most part the Seaway simply provides a transit point – through Quebec – for goods in and out of Canada. Using the dirtiest marine diesel fuel by the way. In fact, the European Space Agency view from outer space shows distinctly more pollution in Montreal than in Alberta.
Couillard seems to have also decided to forget a report from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters which shows that Quebec manufacturers were the fourth largest group of Canadian suppliers to the oil sands, making some $272.9 million in 2009 with another $127.4 million in maintenance, repair and overhaul support.
In fact, according to a September 11, 2013 article in Alberta Oil Magazine, the Ontario and Quebec governments even “released an assessment of exactly how many people are employed in those two provinces as a result of the oil sands. The numbers are staggering. The oil and gas industry is expected to create roughly 900,000 jobs by 2035, about 126,000 of which will be in provinces outside of Alberta . . .”
So even without equalization payments, it seems there are significant benefits to all provinces in Canada thanks to Alberta’s oil sands development.
What is truly galling for Albertans, however, is to watch the federal government cater to Quebec by inking a multi-million dollar 10-year deal in support of the height of fossil fuel indulgence, the Formula-1 Montreal Fossil Fuel Grand Prix, while Couillard continues to dis Alberta.
Over 500,000 tourists from across Canada and around the world will jet into Montreal – raising its already high carbon footprint – to enjoy the thrills and spills of F-1 racing. One private company is even advertising it has a fleet of some 4,800 jets available to potential jet-setters.
One of the justifications for Ottawa supporting the Montreal Grand Prix with Canadian taxpayer money – including that of those hard-working oil sands employees – is the trickle down benefit, in terms of sales and employment, to the Quebec hospitality industry.
It is the height of eco-hypocrisy: place conditions which are not even within the legal authority of the provinces against a pipeline that employs millions and a highly regulated industry that generates billions while simultaneously holding out a begging hand for federal funding to prop up the Formula-1 Montreal Fossil Fuel Grand Prix.
If it is important to support the Grand Prix for employment in the Quebec hospitality industry, how much more important is it to support pipeline construction that will increase employment and manufacturing for all Canadians?
Not to mention producing the very fossil fuels the F-1 cars require?
Michelle Stirling is the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society.