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COMMENTARY · 26th October 2012
Walter McFarlane
If there is one word I hear, almost on a day to day basis, it is Enbridge. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is big news for Kitimat. It is putting our town on the map. It will bring jobs, devastation, money, death, economic benefits and most importantly: Bitumen.

You can tell where someone stands on the Enbridge Pipeline by how they refer to the dirt which produces the Bitumen. If they lean in favour of the pipeline, they call it the oil sands, a spin word created recently to describe the oil produced by the sands. People opposed to the pipeline call them the tar sands; I am told this is a historical word which refers to the tarry nature of the sands themselves.

Both words are inaccurate. They are called the Bituminous Sands.

Sitting through Council and paying attention to politics, it is easy to see that our Council as a whole is actually neutral. They are split right down the middle with three in opposition and three in favour. The only Councillor who appears to maintain his Neutrality is Edwin Empinado.

My problem with Enbridge is its ability to separate people. Only a handful of people in Kitimat support or oppose the pipeline openly. Others are afraid to express their opinions for fear of being attacked by the other side in any way, shape or form.

I know people who are in favour of the pipeline who have been attacked and I know people who are opposed to the pipeline who have been attacked as well. While I agree with discussion on this issue, I’m sickened by the personal attacks which come with it.

From watching the debates and discussions on Enbridge, I can tell you I am not in favour of the pipeline because the risk is not worth the reward. I have to point out: the average person is not going to see much of this reward.

I have three solutions which would tip my support towards the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline:

The following are my opinions. They are formed from my life experience, education and the discussions which I see taking place in the world around me. If they do not reflect yours, do not disparage. After all, you are just as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

1: Find an alternative energy source which does not rely on fossil fuels.

The world relies too much on a fuel which is quickly depleting. It is not going to matter where all the spill response clean-up supplies are if they cannot be mobilized to Kitimat, even from across the country.

An oil spill on the river late in the pipeline’s life could be devastating. If the price to truck in a cities worth of fresh drinking water from across the Province is too high, people are going to go thirsty.

An alternative fuel source which does not rely on fossil fuels would greatly increase my support of the Enbridge Pipeline. However, if this is the case, why have the pipeline in the first place.

2: Build a refinery in Alberta and ship out value added products.

So, by building China into a global super power by giving away a raw resource is really good for Canada’s economy. Gasoline is a limited resource. There is not much left of it in the world. Back in the 90’s oil was expected to run out by 2015 at the earliest. The world is oil starved and we’re going to give our supply to a single nation when we could be spreading it around the world.

On a side note, we should really look into how much gasoline is used in food production and transportation before we give away our ability to feed our families. A human being is said to go three days without water and three weeks without food. I don’t know how accurate those numbers are though.

3: Have enough money ready for everyone in British Columbia who did not want the pipeline to be able to move somewhere else in the case their area is affected by an oil spill AND be able to find them a job in the field of their choice.
My Choice Option.....
Comment by Larry Walker on 29th October 2012
If the pipeline is built....then I take option #3
Idiotic response
Comment by ocender on 28th October 2012
Wow,i find your op ed Walter is completely biased and idiotic.

Have money ready???Im sure you must have some well thought out dissention points.You've been writing on this topic for,like,ever and those are your ideas!

Wow,very insightful.Well,i guess you should tell the province to go with cap in hand to the Feds and beg for welfare to pay for the wise spending habits and the little treats BC residents ask for!

Good luck....