I have serious disagreement with Todd Whitcomes Sept. 16 Eco-radicalization, a sensible option article, which proposes shutting down the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan oil export projects.
While I agree that we can have a healthy environment and a healthy economy, he disses increased exports of crude oil to Asia. If we learned nothing from the softwood lumber debacle, it is to not rely on a single market for any product if you can avoid it. For oil and gas, a major contributor to Canadian government revenues and Canadian jobs, the U.S. is our only market and U.S. demand for our oil and gas is falling due to huge success in the U.S. in producing more oil and gas. This leaves Canada vulnerable in even continuing present cash flows to governments to fund public programs. Furthermore, we are a price taker in the U.S. (a captive onshore market) and this is costing Canada a reported $50 million dollars a day as we cannot access offshore crude prices.
Mr. Whitecombe complains that our exported crude may be shipped to refineries that do not supply gasoline to us. Well, we dont get bread from exported wheat, houses from exported lumber, and may get no product back from the dozens of commodities and manufactured goods we export. However we get jobs and revenue for government. If we apply Mr. Whitcomes test to all our B.C. exports, I hope the last one leaving B.C. will turn off the lights - goodbye economy. What do we do if California and Florida apply this getting our products back - you can also kiss a lot of our fruit and vegetable imports goodbye.
Mr. Whitecombe, in saying that the owners of the crude, not you and me," benefit from its sale, ignores the fact that the crown owns the resource and allows its production by others in exchange for royalties, taxes, large numbers of jobs, and other benefits to us all.
Lastly, Mr. Whitecombe claims that selling crude to Asia will lead to increased levels of pollution. This thesis assumes that if Canadians refuse to sell crude oil to - for example - China, the Chinese will not buy similar crude from a competing supplier. This is a ridiculous assumption. China will replace our crude, and world GHGs will stay basically the same. The only major change by stopping our oil sands development is the transfer of thousands of Canadian jobs and huge government revenues (which pay for public services) to other producing countries.