The Northern Gateway Pipeline approval was just quashed by the federal courts for failing to ‘adequately’ consult various groups involved with the project. The three year long consultation period has apparently not been enough and so a project that could create thousands of jobs and significantly boost our country’s economy, has been put on hold yet again.
Here’s a list of other key projects which are still in ‘consultation phase’ or after a long consultation, were ultimately killed:
- Energy East Pipeline launched the consultation process in mid 2013 – still not approved ($15.7 billion capital spending, 14,000 jobs, $2.75 billion annual GDP, $0.5 billion in annual tax revenue source)
- Trans Mountain Pipeline was announced May 2012 – under regulatory review since 2014 – still not approved ($6.8 billion capital cost, 15,000 jobs, $0.6 billion annual GDP, $2 billion in annual tax revenue source)
- Keystone XL Pipeline was proposed in 2008 and after 7 years of ‘consultation’ and millions spent in advocacy work, President Obama vetoed the project ($8 billion capital cost, 2,200 jobs, $1 billion annual GDP, $1 billion in annual tax revenue source)
- Northern Gateway first entered consultation phase in 2009, after receiving NEB and federal government approval in 2014, Federal Court of Appeal overruled that decision June 30, 2016 ($7.9 billion capital cost, 1,800 jobs, $10 billion annual GDP benefit, 0.1$ billion in annual tax revenue source)
If these pipelines were built one year after being proposed (more than enough time to consult stakeholders) Alberta and Canada’s economic situation would likely be not nearly as bad as is currently the case.
The numbers are staggering. Between the 4 mentioned pipelines, Canada has missed out on: $38.4 billion in capital spending, 33,000 shovel-ready jobs and a staggering $65 billion in GDP. The government of Canada has missed out on $8.2 billion in tax revenues.
That is the cost of this ongoing and overextended consultation. BOE Report contributor Adam Jones wrote an excellent article pointing out how the oil industry, and Canada, continues to suffer as it lends more and more concessions to the anti-pipeline advocates.
What is perhaps most amazing, is how pipeline projects, which have no monetary cost to Canada and create thousands of jobs, are debated far more than other government programs which could have dire consequences. For example, the Alberta NDP will be hammering through a near 50% minimum wage increase. Did that undergo extensive consultation? Of course not! But why was it put through? According to proponents, it’s critical that ‘everyone gets a living wage’ and immediately. This from the same people who oppose the aforementioned pipeline projects. Now of course there are more cons than pros with the minimum wage increase. But by the same argument, how about the 100,000 plus unemployed Albertans who are looking for any kind of work ? Do they too not deserve a ‘living wage’?
Environmental legislation is oftentimes hammered home at the stroke of a pen. For example, Justin Trudeau’s liberals banned oil tanker traffic on BC’s north coast in November 2015 without any consultation on economic impacts associated with that decision…which occurred only 7 days after Trudeau assumed office. Other such policies include carbon taxation, banning fracking in various provinces and Kathleen Wynne’s idea to ban Alberta natural gas (she later reversed course). All of these policies have negative effects on GDP, government revenues, and job creation, yet they face no consultation process, unlike pipelines and oil and gas infrastructure projects.
There is endless documentation on the merits of these projects, educational resources are readily available, and consultation and studies have occurred far more than what is necessary and infinitely more when compared with economic and environmental policies which are economic disasters.
At some point we have to stop the palaver and make the following statement: pipelines are the safest way to move the most environmentally-friendly and ethically produced oil on Earth and it will create thousands of jobs and massively improve our economy. It’s time to build the damn pipelines.