Who Benefits From Opposition to Canadian Pipelines?

Coastal GasLink pipeline

Coastal GasLink Pipeline - CGL

Coastal Gaslink (CGL) and the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipelines currently under construction in Canada have more than a few things in common, one of those being the attention they have consistently received from various “environmental” opponents. Let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we?

Are Canadian pipelines "bad?"

We are constantly fed a narrative that oil and gas pipelines like CGL and TMX are “bad.” We see it both in the news and on social media of Indigenous Peoples recruiting others to join them and be a “warrior” in the fight against such pipelines. The call is being heard from young people hoping to do the “right thing” in their mind to take a stance against the oil and gas sector. Indigenous Peoples from Canada’s eastern provinces and in the United States, in many instances, come to “help” oppose these projects too.

So, are these Canadian pipelines really bad, as opponents claim? Don’t they supply natural gas, crude oil and refined oil, products we all use on a daily basis? Let’s take a look at how stopping the production of these products will affect us all.

Are you prepared to stop using oil and gas?

I am of the mindset that we have oil and gas resources here to use responsibly for the benefit of our people and the Canadian economy.  When we stop Canadian pipelines from being built, we are the ones who suffer the consequences that include higher prices at the pump and lost economic activity in the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

Relying on other global oil and gas producers is not a good option for us because most, if not all of those OPEC countries have much poorer performance on Environmental, Social and Governance indexes, and our country shouldn’t associate itself with supporting these producers. After all, in Canada, we protect the rights of all people regardless of their sexual preference, gender identity and ethnicity.

ENGOs love Indigenous Peoples

Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction - TMX

ENGOs appear to support Indigenous Peoples only when it benefits their narrative.

Remember when environmentalists brought world attention to the seal and whale hunts in the North? Something that Inuit people have done for centuries for their livelihood? It’s not as though Inuit people have the same opportunities to shop for groceries in gigantic supermarkets, given the outrageous costs of goods in the far north. And besides, seal hunting is an ancient Inuit tradition.

Remember the spikes that environmentalists put into trees - which has the potential to kill forestry workers by the way - again stopping those in the sector from earning a living while blinded to the sustainable forest management happening around them?

Protesting for a cause you believe in is one thing, but endangering the lives of people working in the sector is some different all together.

Remember the Alberta coal mine stopped by the federal government on environmental grounds even though Indigenous communities supported it?

The agreement these Indigenous peoples negotiated with the mining company involved included economic benefits and reclamation of land that was unusable in the first place and the government has done nothing about for roughly 50 years.

Remember the protests happening around Coastal GasLink when the 20 elected band councils along the pipeline’s route signed benefit agreements in support of the project?

Coastal Gas Link is playing out to be a huge part of Canada’s economic recovery. The Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are playing right into the stereotype that Indigenous Peoples cannot get along with one another. Failing to be able to negotiate in good faith has encouraged disruptions of trains, highways and ferries. Canadians are being divided on who they should support in this dispute, with the ENGOs, through social media and other online channels, encouraging this division.

But really, who benefits from blocking Canadian pipelines?

Canadian oil imports 2020

It isn’t free to live in Canada. We all need to pay for food, shelter and so on. So, who is paying the protestors that live in the pipeline blockades? Who would benefit if our oil and gas – via the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipeline – doesn’t reach global markets? Would Canada benefit, or would a small group of Indigenous Peoples opposing the pipeline? Or, perhaps countries without a carbon tax and weaker protections for human rights and the environment would be the sole winners?

Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world. Saudi Arabia is number two, a nation that is already supplying the Irvine Refinery in New Brunswick with billions of dollars worth of oil each and every year.

Let that sink in, and you’ll find the answer for who benefits from stopping our oil from getting to the world market. If only Indigenous Peoples could work together to support these pipelines, working as a united front to bring their communities out of poverty and into economic independence for generations to come. Wouldn’t that be something!?


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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