Monday, January 23, 2012

Harper and Keystone ... a Lower Churchill comparison...

Background info:

Harper felt pretty confident that the Keystone pipeline project, which would funnel oil from Canada right into the United States, would go ahead because of the benefits to both sides. Seemed like an obvious solution to the energy, economic, and employment needs for both countries but Obama, feeling the pressure from environmental lobbyists, said "NO"

Media reports agreed that Harper and the PMO were very disappointed with Obama's rejection of the idea and said "Canada will now look at diversifying its power exports into Asia and specifically China by constructing a pipeline across British Columbia to the coast where this oil could be shipped to China".

Points of Comparison:

  1. Hydro-electricity is considered to be a green project which should appeal to Obama and the environmental lobbyists... Alberta tar-sands oil is rejected by Obama because of the purported negative implications to the environment.
  2. The jobs created from getting both the hydro-electricity of Labrador and the oil to their market would be huge and the tax revenue would be massive for the Canadian coffers benefiting all for decades to come.   
  3. When confronted with an impediment to the selling and transporting of the oil to the United States the Harper response was to find an alternative and pursued finding an alternate market for the oil... the hydroelectric projects of Labrador have not received any federal marketing support for the sale of this electricity to the markets within Canada or in the US markets.
  4. The Harper government is very committed to investing in the infrastructure which would allow for new markets for the tar-sands oil by investing billions of dollars into a pipe-line... the people of NL have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get the Harper government to provide a loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls hydro development, which actually costs the government of Canada "zero dollars".
  5. When Obama balked on the Keystone project Harper was quick with an answer which involved transporting energy across another province in order for it to be sold to another market... the sensible route for Lower Churchill energy to get to market is across another province yet Harper and his government refuses to get involved in resolving this matter.
  6. While it is assumed that British Columbia's co-operation would result in a share of the profits from the oil revenues, the over-whelming proportion of the revenue would go to the provinces which are the actual oil producers... Newfoundland & Labrador cannot get its energy to the market across Quebec without selling it first at the border for dirt cheap prices and then allowing Quebec to re-sell this product for multiple times what they paid for it.
  7. The transporting of oil across BC to  the coast would require a new and innovative project with a pipeline being constructed across the Rockies... getting NL hydro-electricity to market would be more a matter of adding capacity to a route and a technology which already exists.      

  • The Harper government will expend large financial resources to help oil reach the marketplace but will not even get involved in helping NL hydro-electricity reach the market. Even though hydro-electricity is considered much friendlier to the environment it seems the tar-sands oil, considered to be a large scale source of greenhouse gas pollution gets the needed support.
  • The Harper government takes the action described above, which appears to be largely hypocritical, because of the provinces which are involved. In the case of the oil it is the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta,  and to a lesser degree Saskatchewan, which need to co-operate for the success of the project. In the case of NL hydro-electricity it is the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador which need to find a reasonable agreement as the basis for co-operation... yeah right???
  • The Harper government will  leverage its influence in the oil deal because it has a potential for a successful conclusion. The Harper government, and other governments before it,  do not try to bridge the hydro-electricity block because they know that Quebec cannot agree on a deal unless they get a disproportionate share of the benefit from the project.
  • The Harper government is abandoning the constitutional rights of the people of  Newfoundland & Labrador (British North America Act) to get its product across another province to the marketplace because it would pee-off a province which holds 75 federal electoral districts versus the 7 in NL.
  • The people of Alberta and Saskatchewan would not, nor should they, stand for BC blocking their ability to get their product to the marketplace. NL can be trusted to take a beating without inordinate backlash as exemplified by the Upper Churchill debacle. The province of PQ is known to kick  up a fuss when it doesn't get all it wants to the point of even being militant. (the Upper Churchill threat)
  • The Keystone project is not about Newfoundland and Labrador or its hydro-electricity issues, but it is very easy to draw comparisons which again verify what everybody already knows... it is impossible to  negotiate with Quebec and expect fair-play!          


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