Reverse the Line 9 Pipeline and support refining jobs in Ontario.
May 28th, 2012 | By: Jamie Ellerton
If Canada has the third largest deposit of oil reserves in the world, why are we importing it from Nigeria, Venezuela and other OPEC tyrants?
Canada has so much oil that we could literally sustain ourselves for centuries. Yet, believe it or not, the bulk of oil and gasoline Canadians buy in Ontario and Quebec is imported — that means central Canadians have to buy a lot of their oil from dictators, human rights abusers, and countries with horrendous environmental practices.
That’s because the cross-country pipeline originally designed to ship oil from West to East — Enbridge’s “Line 9” — is currently shipping oil the wrong way: sending foreign imports from Quebec’s shipping ports to Southern Ontario refineries. For oil companies, that peculiar arrangement actually made sense back when oil sands oil turned out to be too expensive to compete with foreign oil.
But that doesn’t make sense anymore: Engineers figured out more efficient ways to produce oil sands oil as world oil prices climbed higher and higher and Canadian oil is, today, actually cheaper to buy than conflict oil sold by the Saudis and Hugo Chavez. Much cheaper: About $30 a barrel less than world oil prices. Even better, it’s ethical — from oil producers who provide women high-paying jobs, including top executive positions, instead of legislating them into black cloth sacks and making them slaves to their male masters, like our medieval Saudi competitors do.
The obvious benefits of sticking with homegrown, ethical oil right in here in Canada is why Enbridge has applied to the National Energy Board to have Line 9 reversed. It doesn’t just mean they’ll get to support Canadian industry and stand up for Canadian values like human rights, equality, democracy and peace. It would also be a huge boost for Canadian oil refineries, a sector that has struggled with stagnancy for years. There hasn’t been a new refinery built in Canada in decades; some of them have even begun shutting down. Reversing Line 9 would change that, supporting scores of jobs for Central Canadians, while supporting jobs for Canadians further west.
No wonder Canadians are so enthusiastic about the idea of shipping oil from Western Canada to Eastern Canada: a recent Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found a strong majority support sending Alberta oil to points east, and refining our oil here. What isn’t to like? Who wouldn’t choose Canadian oil, Canadian jobs and Canadian ethics over continuing to import conflict oil?
Actually, anti-oil sands extremists wouldn’t. Environmental Defence, the foreign-backed group that uses its charitable status to subsidize political attacks on politicians and Canadian jobs, has launched a campaign calling on its supporters to protest Enbridge’s proposed reversal of Line 9. They claim it’s too dangerous, because it crosses “countless sensitive ecosystems and farms.”
By opposing the reversal of Line 9, Environmental Defence and its allied anti-oil fanatics, show their truest, most militant colours. This, after all, isn’t about whether or not we move oil through a pipeline — there already is oil moving through Line 9, from east to west, crossing those same ecosystems and farms. The only thing that would change is the direction that the oil would flow — and the ethics behind the oil flowing through the pipe.
This is a choice between conflict oil moving one way, or ethical oil moving the other way. And given that choice, ED and its comrades would choose conflict oil. That’s not just appalling, it’s a sign of how warped and unhealthy their war against Canadian oil has become. These groups hate the Canadian oil industry and the Canadian jobs it supports so intensely that they are actually calling on supporters to demand that Ontario and Quebec stick with bloody and disastrous conflict oil over our own abundant supply of ethical, job-creating Canadian oil.
This certainly can’t be about “defending” the environment: That pipeline has been safely moving oil for years, while Venezuela’s heavy oil has a carbon footprint higher than that of Canada’s oil sands oil, and Nigeria’s oil industry has been responsible for some of the worst environmental destruction anywhere.
Oil is going to flow through Line 9 one way or the other. One direction means leaving Central Canada hooked on OPEC’s more expensive conflict oil. Reversing the flow of Line 9 back to the way it was built means supporting Canadian oil, Canadian jobs and Canadian values. Reasonable Canadians can see that reversing Line 9 makes perfect sense. Opposing it? Well that can only be senseless.