Pipeline protest misses the point

Letter writer takes issue with those opposed to the Northern Gateway project

There seems to be a group of people in the Okanagan who oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline for reasons no one is sure. I question their knowledge on this subject. They are very adept at scaring children and people with no exposure to the oil and gas industry.

While I do not have infinite expertise in the oil and gas business, I spent many years selling to and working with them.

The first point I make is the composition, of our Canadian commodity, the oil sands. Yes, it is tar mixed with sand that is upgraded to become fluid enough to pump. Please note the word upgraded to raw crude. This crude will be bought by the Asian countries (if we build that pipeline) as well as the Americans. The Americans may reduce buying our crude soon, as they have found large deposits of their own crude on their own land.

The second point is the economics of getting that crude to market. Presently we only have the U.S.A. as our main customer. Canadians also buy smaller amount of this crude, so guess who dictates the price for our greatest commodity (U.S.? ).

The owner of this newspaper chain, Black Press (Morning Star) proposes to build a refinery on B.C. land to upgrade this crude even further.

But who will buy his product?

The Asian countries won’t buy it in refined form, because they have their own refineries that operate at much lower costs. If we don’t meet their needs the Oil Producing Exporting Countries will.

Will B.C. residents pay for building a new refinery with a very poor market for its product?

I see a huge tax increase coming if the present provincial government does not start talking and negotiating in good faith with Alberta and the proposed pipeline. Crude oil is Canada’s greatest source of revenue.

Now here is the scary part. The crude oil commodity feeds the coffers of our federal government, and the Christy Clark government.

If she does not start talking to Alberta and Enbridge, she will really jeopardize our economy. Lots more jobs will disappear from the Okanagan.

And our social services will be in great danger.

We may see reduced education facilities, health facilities, even our CPP and OAP could be reduced substantially because we won’t build a pipeline across our land.

Even the NDP has no solution. Notice that the NDP has been very quiet about creating new jobs from the pipeline. We need to adopt a good business plan around this pipeline. We can’t spend our way out of a failing economy. It will be too late.

Cliff Wedgewood

Vernon