Opinion: Keystone XL Cancellation is Like Hitting a Brick Wall, Again

Keystone XL pipeline under construction

Doesn’t it feel like we are hitting a brick wall every time we try to help our desperate economy? Whether it’s COVID-19 or just bad government policies all together, Canadians seem to be going one step forward and then two steps back for economic recovery.

I’ve read in the news that some people are suggesting to others who have lost their jobs because of the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline to go look elsewhere for employment, preferably in the renewable sector.

That’s just too bad, because the natural resource sector has been a proven creator of jobs and economic activity even during the toughest of times. Such statements don’t reflect a pragmatic approach to the current scenario of economic hardship countless people are facing not only in Canada, but the U.S. as well.

Let's Be Proud of Our Energy Sector

Canadians should not be ashamed of our energy sector whatsoever, as we know our country has some of the highest environmental and ethical standards in comparison to other major oil and gas producing nations.

And as far as greener energy goes, the most recent BP Energy Outlook and IEA World Energy Outlook in 2020 both point towards continued use of oil and natural gas for decades to come, with renewables still accounting for less of the world’s total energy supply by 2040 than fossil fuels if global governments continue on with their current policies. The world needs more renewables in the future, yes, but also oil and gas as well.

Canada is a Top 10 Global Producer of Many Forms of energy

Many Canadians were counting on employment from the Keystone XL pipeline. Many indigenous communities were also involved in the pipeline in one form or another. It wasn’t just about an opportunity to have a good paying job in rural areas of the country where jobs are scarce. It was about livelihood, survival, community growth, self-resilience, and economic independence.

But most of all, the Keystone XL pipeline was giving thousands of Canadian families hope in an economy that has been hit hard by pandemic-induced restrictions full circle.

What was the real reason why the pipeline was axed? I can’t say for sure, but it happened. Now the United States will source more heavy oil from nations such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia via tankers that will travel across entire oceans to drop off their oil along the Gulf Coast, instead of via pipeline – a form of transportation that emits much less greenhouse gases then its counterparts such as rail and tanker and is proven to be much safer also.

Canadians Need to Wake Up

Moving forward, those of us affected by the decision to kill Keystone XL need to focus on the future.

Today, Canadians across the country struggle to support our oil and gas sector even though this industry props up municipalities and governments in various provinces with tax revenues - not to mention equalization payments to “have not” provinces that go towards financing school, hospitals and other critical infrastructure (and the jobs that go with).

It’s time that Canadians start recognizing what the oil and gas sector does for Canadian families across the country.

Canadians should also continue to be proud that our natural resource sectors are world-class on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics, and should show it to the world. That includes being proud of our record, and letting our biggest trade partner to the south know about it.

Maybe one day Biden and his team will realize that cancelling the Keystone XL will do nothing to help fight climate change or reduce global pollution. All his actions on January 21st will do is cede more future heavy oil market share to other global producers who don’t budge on many things our Canadian oil and gas producers care so much about, like the environment.

We can only hope that we don’t hit a brick wall like this on other pipelines such as the Trans Mountain Expansion, Line 3 or Line 5 ever again.


About the Author

Estella Petersen - Heavy Equipment Operator & Indigenous Woman in the Oil Sands

Estella Petersen is a heavy machinery operator in the oil sands out of Fort McMurray. Estella is from the Cowessess Reserve and is passionate about Canada and supporting Canadian natural resources.

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