ORDER FROM THE MESS: Interests of Canadians not a Tory priority

Throughout the JRP hearings the potential economic benefits for Canada and northern B.C. of the Gateway pipeline were largely unheard.

Last week during the Joint Review Panel hearings we heard personal accounts of growing up on the land. Fishing, hunting and hiking have been part of peoples lives here for generations.

The environmental case over the pipeline was mentioned again and again, the connection people have to the land here clearly trumps any sort of promised economic stimulus by the company.

However, with all the opposition coming out there was only one voice that was in support of the pipeline. Noting that the economic benefit cannot be ignored in a boom-bust region of the country.

But, throughout the hearings the potential negative impacts of the so-called economic benefits, for not only the northwest but for Canada were largely unheard.

Really at the end of the day what is the Northern Gateway Pipeline really doing to our economy?

I’ll agree on one point, for a short time the northwest possibly will see economic growth. The construction of a pipeline is a huge undertaking and of course land will need to be cleared and local knowledge will be needed to successfully navigate through the dense bush to find the right on way for construction.

But, we all know that there are very few pipelines in B.C. and even fewer people who know how to build them, so really we wont be seeing much of the economic stimulus.

In reality we are digging up a raw material sending it through a pipeline on to a tanker and shipping it to China.

The Chinese will then upgrade the raw material and run their own cars off it, maybe even sell some of that refined petroleum back to us. Fact of the matter is we are exporting more jobs than we are creating with this project. Hence, the Alberta Federation of Labors’ strong opposed to this project.

With the second largest resource of oil on the planet at the moment we should be more careful to whom we give our raw materials to. Especially when you have the majority of the population still importing 30 per cent of its oil in the east.

Harper’s Conservative Government would rather aid a Chinese economy before securing one for his own country. In ancient Rome this would be considered treason. However, now it’s considered corporate business.

But, this wouldn’t be the first time the Conservatives have handed everything over due to foreign, corporate pressures.

If you remember the Avro Arrow project, Northern Gateway has some underlining similarities.

In 1958, after years of research and development, not to mention economic stimulus not only to Malton where the supersonic plane was built, but also to all of Canada, Canadian engineers produced a plane that could fly to the stratosphere.

It was one of Canada’s proudest moments. However, once elected in 1957, none other than John Diefenbaker’s Conservative Government of the day quickly shattered the project. Due to the overwhelming pressure from the U.S. to scrap the project and adopt American air defense systems, the Avro Arrow, without completing sufficient reviews of the project by the government, suddenly shut down the project and turned all information over to the Americans.

Canadian interests were once again moved to the back pages.

In the aftermath almost 30,000 Canadian jobs were lost, or better yet given away. 35 of those highly skilled individuals eventually became primary engineers to NASA’s space programs. The ‘brain drain’ to the U.S. had begun.

Northern Gateway is repeating this claim. Not only are we selling off Canadian resources for a fraction of the price, we’re sending Canadian jobs among with it.

I say continue to develop refining methods here. One refining plant could equal 5,000 jobs. Construct a management plan for our resources; keep it Canadian.

We have the resources that the world is desperately going to need in the next 30 years. Make sure we have enough for everyone.

But if we’re just going to continue building pipelines and shipping raw materials to foreign interests than another Canadian innovations has already begun to be picked apart by the Conservatives.

Once again the real interests of Canadians are torn apart by political pressure, the only difference is you can’t put a devastated ecosystem into a museum.

Canadians will live with it to the end of their days.