The First World problem of pipeline building – by Kelly McParland (National Post – February 11, 2020)

It is possible, it appears, to build an oil pipeline in Canada.

Though not a 100 per cent, absolute dead certainty — Lord knows what schemes opponents may still have hidden away — this would appear to be the outcome of two recent court cases, one of which ruled that British Columbia can’t stop a pipeline from Alberta just because it makes some of them feel good, the second that Indigenous Canadians do not have an absolute veto over legislation affecting them, despite whatever impression the prime minister may have given, and no matter what the United Nations may think of the situation.

It is a big moment in Canadian history. Other countries have civil wars, coups d’etat, plagues of locusts and demented presidents. In Canada we devote vast resources to arguing over whether one pipelinethat goes to an ocean port can be joined by another pipeline going to the ocean port. Of all First World countries, Canada must have the most spare time to fight over First World problems.

For the forces that threw their weight against the project, there have been significant gains. A pipeline that was supposed to have oil flowing by the end of last year has been delayed by several years and billions of dollars added to the cost. Legislation has been passed making it infinitely more difficult to move ships and transmit crude in parts of the country where access is critical if it’s ever to reach the waterline.

The oil industry has been forced to accept that the old ways of doing business will no longer pass muster, and any future success will depend heavily on their ability to show real and effective consideration for environmental impact.

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