A recent opinion piece from a handful of construction unions — Northern Gateway pipeline needed to enrich us all — was long on rhetoric about the Northern Gateway pipeline and short on facts.
According to the Alberta Federation of Labour, only 228 permanent jobs will be created from a pipeline opposed by 130 First Nations, most B.C. municipalities and half of British Columbians.
Beyond a paltry 36 months of short-term pipeline construction jobs, the Northern Gateway pipeline — and pending Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL projects — will ship unrefined bitumen to foreign markets, robbing Canadians of thousands of stable, long-term upgrading, refining and petrochemical jobs.
An Exxon Valdez-type tanker spill of raw bitumen would cost the fishing and tourism industry on the North Coast billions, wiping out the already meager benefit to British Columbia.
The Enbridge project, or any project that poses so much risk to the coast, that is opposed overwhelmingly by First Nations, that fails to create a meaningful number of long-term jobs for Canadians is not just divisive, it is foolish.
Instead of enriching foreign oil barons, the federal government should view our natural resources as a way to maximize benefit to Canadians over the long term. That means addressing First Nations’ concerns, taking the time to get our greenhouse gas emissions under control and creating stable, good-paying jobs for Canadians.
A responsibly managed value-added Canadian oil industry would not only mean additional revenue for social programs and infrastructure but would also allow Canada the opportunity to provide incentives to develop a lasting green energy industry for future generations of Canadians.