Whistler is one of the most important tourism partners the government of B.C. has.
So the fact that it has taken a stand against the $5.5 billion Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project should be noted and considered by our provincial lawmakers.
The B.C. Liberal government of Christy Clark has still not taken a stand on the pipeline — instead publicly supporting a natural gas pipeline — as if that will take the mind of B.C. residents off the proposed 1,172-kilometres of dual pipelines that would run from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat on the B.C. coast.
Of course, this point is hardly important in the long run as B.C. forfeited its opportunity to say no to Enbridge's Gateway project, having signed a pact years ago giving the federal government control over projects that cross provincial borders.
Shockingly, the federal Conservative government has already come out in favour of the pipeline project even though it is yet to get the results of a National Energy Board review panel. The hearings are expected to last until April 2013 in communities affected by the pipeline. The review is supposed to assess Canada's need for the project and decide whether it is in the national interest. There are about 4,000 interveners set to take part. The release of the Environmental Assessment Report should be in the fall of 2013 and the final decision at the end of 2013.
The project would involve two pipelines, one carrying oilsands crude west and the other transporting imported condensate, a solvent similar to kerosene, used to dilute oilsands bitumen in order for it to be pumped through pipelines. I feel I should point out that according to an article in the Tyee.ca, ("Market for Enbridge's Gateway Pipeline," Jan. 31, 2012) there are no long-term shipper agreements signed with Enbridge. This is "unprecedented" said Pembina's senior oil sands policy analyst, Nathan Lemphers in the Tyee report.
This got me thinking about the company behind this. A visit to Enbridge's website section on "historical overview" shows a picture from the past with three men starring through a pipe big enough for a toddler to run through. Yes, this is a company that builds pipe. It doesn't develop resources; its reason for being is to sell as much pipe as possible.
The reality is it just wants to get that pipeline contract. The fact that the product it is carrying will likely have to be sold at a discount to Asian markets is irrelevant to it.
(Discounted you ask? Asia doesn't have the capacity to refine the thick, heavy oilsand bitumen we produce, so it will have to pay to send it to the Gulf of Mexico coast of the U.S.— the only place that has. If that's the deal its likely Canada will have to absorb that extra cost Asian markets are facing.)