On the Spaces Between Laughably Shallow Bluster and Wildly Divisive Rhetoric

Epic win or calculated chess move? Kinder Morgan halts Trans Mountain pipeline expansion amid B.C. opposition. While I want to be cautiously optimistic that this is a win, it’s clear by the reaction of both Notley and Trudeau that this gambit was successful and we are more beholden to a Texas company than we are to our own people. We are quite simply, a Petrostate.

And the really fucked up thing is that the oilsands were always cost prohibitive. Kinder Morgan blaming it on protesters is a very shrill tactic but probably had little to do with their decision: The fatal flaw of Alberta’s oil expansion. For those of us not in the LOOP:

The LOOP terminal is a speculator’s venture on steroids. Built with private capital, it is North America’s first oil port dedicated to the planet’s largest crude tankers, handling bi-directional oil flows. It’s designed to thrive on fierce global fights over not just oil supply and demand, but the multi-billion dollar bets corporate oil traders and hedge funds place, hoping to buy low and sell high—now, or two or five years from now.

Any VLCC from any country can now unload or load at LOOP. They can bring oil from the Persian Gulf, Nigeria, Russia, or Brazil. They can carry it—two million barrels at a time—to China, India, Indonesia, or Europe, at a shipping price lower than smaller tankers. And because the LOOP bi-directional pipeline can pump oil at a mind-bending 100,000 barrels per hour, supertankers can arrive with one load for refining and take off with another, by barely dropping anchor.

That will likely prove fatal to Alberta’s plans to expand unrefined bitumen exports either by the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline to the British Columbia coast, or the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

But that’s not going to stop the Feds, with corporate media’s help, from whipping up a frenzy of hyperbole: Globe editorial: Trans Mountain is now an economic and constitutional disaster. Putting aside this wildly divisive rhetoric that seems to suggest that this pipeline is tantamount to the Canadian identity (as a colonial project built on resource theft that’s probably accurate), what exactly has the B.C. NDP government done to “block” the Kinder Morgan pipeline?

So in essence, the B.C. NDP government’s “war” on the pipeline has amounted to asking for advice, seeking intervenor status in a court case affecting provincial interests, and promising to adhere to court rulings.

One can only imagine how Notley and Kenney might react if the B.C. government actually did something of substance to block a pipeline that will increase oil-tanker traffic by nearly seven times in Burrard Inlet.

What if the Horgan government introduced legislation giving Indigenous people shared jurisdiction over environmental protection on oil-spill prevention, clean-up, remediation, and compensation through a “Heavy Oil Regulatory Authority”?

Indeed, all this bluster over jurisdiction and national interest is laughably shallow if it doesn’t consider indigenous title:

But perhaps the most transparent example of where are priorities lie was contextualized by Andrea Reimer in this Facebook post:

Today the Trudeau government held an emergency cabinet meeting about how to force another oil pipeline through BC. To put the concept of emergency federal cabinet meetings in perspective: 2,946 Canadians died in 2016 from poisoned drugs and an estimated 4,000 have died in 2017. But there was no emergency federal cabinet meeting.

1.7 million Canadian families still don’t have a home that meets their basic needs. 35,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night. But that does not inspire an emergency cabinet meeting

A month ago the National Inquiry on #MMIWG requested an extension in order to guarantee they can hear from all who have suffered violence, or been affected by the abduction, torture and murder of indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, who want to speak. There’s been no emergency cabinet meeting

In 2017 1.3% of BC’s total land area burnt, tens of thousands were evacuated from dozens of communities and in cities bad air quality shut down outdoor life for several weeks. This was after a record BC flood season. No emergency federal cabinet meetings were called.

In the last census, 1.2 million Canadian children were identified as living in poverty, or about 1 in 5 of all Canadian children. There has been no emergency cabinet meeting to discuss this issue.

In March, DFO announced a potential full closure of salmon fisheries this year as a result of warm water and low returns. This would be devastating to indigenous communities and coastal economies. But no emergency federal cabinet meeting was called.

And since it’s #EqualPayDay2018 : women still make 30% less than men. In Ontario, Indigenous women face a 43% gap, racialized women a 38% gap and immigrant women a 34% gap. There have been no emergency federal cabinet meetings to address this.

Shame on Trudeau, and shame on Notley: Notley reveals Alberta has requested halting Pan-Canadian funding to B.C., as well as other economic pressure. Money for kids in care. Money for seniors in care homes. Money for hospitals. Money for people on disability and welfare. Money for family doctors. Money for inner city school lunches. Those are the types of things federal transfer payments fund. Rachel Notley wants that money taken away unless BC does the bidding of a private American oil industry corporation.

Hey, I’m all for nationalizing resource extraction but this is more of a Stockholm Syndrome, ‘too big to fail’ type of corporate bailout than, say, the Norway approach: Alberta prepared to buy Trans Mountain pipeline outright, Notley says. Really? I have this impregnable line of fortifications called the Maginot Line that you might want to buy, too.

With all this nonsense I sometimes forget what’s happening here in Vancouver: Urban planner Patrick Condon urged to run for Vancouver mayor

“But suddenly a new contender has emerged”: Shauna Sylvester wants to become mayor of Vancouver. Here’s what she needs to have happen. Hmm, that seems like a convenient media endorsement for a formerly unknown Vision insider.

But it’s not going to happen: Progressive unity with Vision Vancouver a tough deal, says antipoverty activist Jean Swanson.

CTV Vancouver fires news anchors Tamara Taggart, Mike Killeen. “I wonder if they had to read this on the air as breaking news?” -Sean Law.

Tweet of the day:

Who says we aren’t a world class city? All the Vancouver Actresses Linked to an Alleged Sex Cult.

Bonus: HAL’s voice sounds unsettling because it’s Canadian. “Let us build a pipeline, HAL”. “I’m afraid I can’t do that for you Justin”.

There are 4 comments

  1. No, not like Norway. That’s the point. The first result in Google defines Petrostate as: “a small oil-rich country in which institutions are weak and wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a few”. “Despite having a population of slightly over 5 million, little Norway possesses the world’s largest savings account. Established in the 1990s to manage the Norwegian state’s bulging “black gold” revenues, Norway’s wealth fund has surpassed the landmark of $1 trillion, which equals nearly $190,000 for each Norwegian”.

  2. By the definition that you have provided, Canada is not a Petrostate.

    “…a private American oil industry corporation.”

    Kinder Morgan is a publicly owned company with numerous Canadian shareholders.

  3. Actually you’re right. We’re not a petrostate, we’re worse, we’re a wannabe petrostate. We posture as one, but you’re right, oil and gas doesn’t really make up a huge % of our GDP. It’s something like 4%. Which is why it’s ok to leave it in the ground.

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