Oil and Water Part One: Asia exports off the table (for now)

April 25, 2012 38 Comments »
Oil and Water Part One: Asia exports off the table (for now)
Tanker in Vancouver harbour (photo: Dan Toulgoet)

Public opinion is too strong against oil tankers for even the federal majority government to take on

In this two-part post we'll analyze the politics of shipping oil from BC's coast.

Vancouver Sun columnist Craig Macinnes, who has struck a pragmatic tone on the idea of shipping oil piped in from Alberta off our coast in past articles, took a dimmer view of the federal government in a recent column titled Harper push for pipelines likely to backfire. Macinnes blasted Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver as being responsible for a "heavy-handed" "verbal barrage" against environmentalists. He says they're trying to "bulldoze opposition" and they "pound home" their point of view.

Besides making the Prime Minister sound like a big meanie (one of the perils of politics the PM is likely used to by now) Macinnes' language echoes that used by oil export opponents. They argue that the corporate executives and federal politicians just aren't in tune with BC's concerns about its natural environment, and would gladly risk a disastrous spill for financial profit. As activist David Suzuki claimed recently, he's being 'bullied' by Harper.

The truth as I see it is far less sinister. The federal government have taken it upon themselves to point out something that had been thus far underreported: that a public relations war has being waged to halt the transport of oil off our west coast to markets in Asia. They also underlined that this PR battle receives funding from American sources, and the vast majority of those grants are funneled through Tides Canada, based here in Vancouver.

Then the feds took further steps to, as they see it, level the playing field.

First, they are enforcing longstanding rules around political activity done by charitable non-profits. Eight million was set aside in the 2012 Budget to give Revenue Canada staff further resources to investigate any legal breaches by Tides Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and other ENGOs. The recent announcement by David Suzuki and Tzeporah Berman that they were leaving the boards of charities (Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace International respectively) was a tip-off that rules were being bent. Suzuki used his departure to blast the PM even though he'd actually resigned his position last year, long before the Conservatives raised concerns publicly.

Secondly, the federal government proposes to streamline the environmental hearing process by handing it over to provinces, instead of holding duplicate hearings using federal officials.

Lastly, Minister Joe Oliver stated last week that those addressing hearings will be vetted for their interests related to a project. Many opponents were piling on against these projects from outside the region and even outside Canada.

Whether it amount to "bulldozing" opposition, or being less forgiving of loopholes exploited by environmental activists depends upon your perspective. I can confidently say that no BCer wants to be bullied, nor does any person or organization want our rivers, valleys and beaches to be fouled by unforgiving black gunk.

Macinnes may be right that the feds are overplaying their hand. But an Angus Reid public opinion poll shows supremely high support from Canadians for having better checks and balances for environmental groups. Polled about Budget 2012, eighty per cent of respondents were in support of: "Requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, as well as their funding by foreign sources".

However, there are strong signals that the environmentalists have already won, and any plans to ship Alberta's oil to Asia are, so to speak, dead in the water.

Public opinion squarely against the ships

Recent opinion polls show that the public is split down the middle on the matter of pipelines. While many fear the potential for a spill, about half the public understands that there are risks in the movement of our resources over land and water. A poll by Mustel Group released last month shows that 50% of the public are comfortable with the Northern Gateway pipeline project. Perhaps that's because the public assumes that our economy and social benefits such as health care and education rely upon the income these resources generate. There are risks, of course, but they're offset by vital benefits.

But the biggest battle is not with the pipelines. A Justason Market Intelligence poll, also taken last month, finds that the public are overwhelmingly opposed to oil tankers on our west coast. Opposition to "oil supertankers" on BC's coast outstrips support three to one. "Supertanker" is an informal term used to describe the largest tankers. Most British Columbians don't know it is applied to very-large crude carriers (VLCC) and ULCCs with capacity over 250,000 deadweight tonnage, far too large to travel under the Lions Gate Bridge and into Port Metro Vancouver. However, large oil tankers frequently travel our coast shipping Alaskan oil to refineries in the lower 48 states. The public may not like it when asked, but the fact is these ships have already been in our midst for decades.

In a nutshell, the polls provide the reason why no one should fret about being bulldozed by the feds over oil shipments. It's simply too steep a hill to climb politically at this time, even with a majority government. This is not to say it won't happen, but as far as the PMO is concerned, they've done their part and it's time for others to pick up the slack. 

The reason the feds and Alberta can afford to turn their backs on B.C. is because the Keystone XL pipeline is sure to be revived. The revised proposal for the route is getting a warmer welcome, and as soon as Obama gets his second mandate Keystone XL is no longer a political liability for him. Some even suggest this is why these Titans of capitalism in the USA use their foundations to fund environmental opposition in Canada—they want to secure our oil before China gets it.

It's interesting to see that Premier Redford in Alberta, as one of her first acts after being re-elected, is already lining up support so she can get the oil moving down to the USA.

As every political soothsayer seems convinced that Adrian Dix will be the next Premier of British Columbia, what to do about the pipelines and the ports will likely be left to the NDP. The NDP like to pretend they're opposed to everything related to the energy sector, but the fact is they've been coy about whether they'll oppose the pipeline at all. As investment begins to flee British Columbia when the NDP govern (there are strong signs it is already leaving the province), it signals dark days ahead for BC's economy, especially if we can't also benefit from the oil patch.

So despite the political alarm bells being rung by Vancouver's mayor and his allies in the environmental movement, the battle to move oil from our coast to Asia is done, and the opponents have won.

- post by Mike. In part two of "Oil and Water", we'll explore what's driving the political opposition to tankers in Vancouver.



38 Comments

  1. Karla Sofen April 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm -

    The weakness I see in the opposition to the pipelines is that it is all pre-textual. The issue of money can’t be dismissed. Even the millions going to First Nations and Environmental groups is literally peanuts compared to the profits made by Canada’s competitors if they block the pipeline’s progress. When you look at the profits being made by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, Sudan – all dictatorships, it’s billions a day. A DAY. Giving a First Nation 25 million instead of the pipleline builders giving them 10 million is a no brainer for the Tribes. Canada’s competitors have deftly manipulated the Greens in Canada. There has not been a tanker spill in almost 14 years because Canada learned from the mistakes in the past. All the green effort should be to get piplelines built with the least possible impact and the highest safety, not making up issues of bear sanctuaries and wild salmon habitat. As @FairQuestions blogger Vivian Krouse has proven conclusively, many of our environmental leaders have sold out their credibility to aid Canada’s competition and ignored legitimate and real important environmental concerns in Canada in the process.

    • Mike Klassen
      Mike Klassen April 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm -

      Vivian’s work as you note has been exemplary and important to the national interest. However, she is supremely outgunned by well-paid PR firms, blogs funded by this charitable cash, and a public who perceive ENGOs to be on the side of the angels.

      • Karla Sofen April 27, 2012 at 9:55 am -

        I am shocked and impressed Mr. Klassen. Shocked at seeing direct honesty in media and impressed with your grasp of the true situation. You are right on the money. I’m blaming my iPad for misspelling Vivian Krause’s name. Her blog is must reading for actual decision makers. Looking forward to part two.

    • Steven Forth April 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm -

      How much money is spent in PR and lobbying by the oil industry compared to environmental concerns? Do you really think that the people of BC are so dimwitted we cannot see what is in our interest and what is not? This is a well planned effort by the CPC and its funders in the energy industry to ensure that the Canadian public pays the costs and carries the risks and that profits are kept private.

  2. R.Isaak April 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm -

    It’s all about the money, be it charitable dollars or oil & gas royalties. One source will go away eventually once a decision is made the other will pay for a multitude of government ventures.

    Warren Buffett (he of the more taxes for the rich ilk) owns the BNSF railbeds, they currently make a huge amount of their revenue transporting oil from Oklahoma to the gulf coast refineries. To approve Keystone would only devalue his rail portfolio and further devalue Canadian crude from Alberta. The US pays over 20% less for our bitumen then the Chinese are willing to pay.

    VLCC’s are moving up and down the west coast almost daily, many ending up transiting Juan De Fuca strait. We already have VLCC’s on our doorstep. Some of Cherry points crude comes from the ex-transmountain pipeline (Kinder Morgan now), however the majority of the just under 1/4 of a million barrels per day arrives from Alaska via VLCC. This is but a pittance of the total VLCC traffic off our coast, Cherry point is the 4th largest refiner on the West coast of the US. The other 3 larger ones are almost exclusively supplied via North Slope originated VLCC’s.

    Many agendas are at play here, the interests are varied and many may be spouting off without really asking the tough questions about the origin of funding. The days of madly investing in charitable trusts for the sole purpose of influencing the Canadian public are coming to an end, we should all be grateful that foreign interference is being identified and made to be somewhat accountable.

  3. Steven Forth April 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm -

    Part of the energy industry’s strategy is to divide and isolate risk. When there is a major oil spill in BC waters the tax payers of BC will likely have no recourse to the oil company, the pipeline company or even to the Alberta government. The corporate system has been carefully designed to limit recourse to the companies where the profits accumulate. Our only recourse will be to the shipping company, which will probably be operating under a flag of convenience. One assumes that our government will impose some stiff insurance requirements (one can hope anyway). But the insurance companies understand how to play this game and how to securitize and parse the potential liability so that we will find it very difficult to collect. The issue here is that the people collecting the rewards are not the people who are taking the risk. This kind of risk distribution is legal, considered to be a good management practice, and is destructive of any sort of responsible approach to business or governance.

  4. Steven Forth April 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm -

    Aside – I assume that supporters of ‘ethical oil’ are opposed to exporting it to a country with as spotty a record as that of China. Or perhaps ‘ethical oil; only applies to oil and not to bitumen.

  5. Chris Keam April 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm -

    Let’s export the reserves of the most energy dense and portable resource we have, so China has the energy to continuing building their renewable energy infrastructure, and mining the rare earth metals we’ll need to build the motors for the electric cars that will supposedly save us from having to take the bus. It’s so bass-ackwards it’s frightening to think the people touting such foolishness are given positions of power.

    As the March 10 special report in that left-wing rag The Economist pointed out, nuclear energy is ‘the dream that failed’, we have a long, long way to go before renewables can meet the demands of our lifestyles, and yet it seems like good public policy to leave our children with an empty fuel tank without some semblance of assurance that we won’t need those fossil fuels in decades to come? Foolishness of the highest order and a repudiation of the sensible values that indicate some level of evolution beyond that of a school child gorging themselves sick on ice cream.

    • Eric April 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm -

      The, we must hang on to the oil for future generations, argument is just so funny. It reminds me of those that bought Nortel stock at $25 but wouldn’t sell when it went over $100. They hung on for a $150 and got wiped out.

      • Chris Keam April 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm -

        What will replace oil and what’s the timeline for that switch? Once you start to do the math it becomes pretty clear that oil will continue to increase in value for some time.

        • eric April 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm -

          these oil sand deposits lie under 141,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi) of sparsely populated boreal forest and muskeg (peat bogs) and contain about 1.7 trillion barrels (270×109 m3) of bitumen in-place, comparable in magnitude to the world’s total proven reserves of conventional petroleum. Although the former CEO of Shell Canada, Clive Mather, estimated Canada’s reserves to be 2 trillion barrels (320 km3) or more.

          As of 2006, output of oil sands production had increased to 1.126 million barrels per day.

          The timeline? You can do the math Chris, as long as you have a calculator with lots of zeros.

          • eric April 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm -

            Even if production is cranked up to 5 million barrels a day, based on Clive Mather’s estimate the sands will be producing for over 4,000 years.

            And you want to leave it for whom?

          • Chris Keam April 27, 2012 at 7:28 am -

            “The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (“CAPP”) estimates that, at current production levels, oil sands reserves could sustain production of 3.0 million barrels/day for more than 150 years.”

          • Chris Keam April 27, 2012 at 7:30 am -
  6. Steven Forth April 26, 2012 at 8:01 am -

    If this is really about economic development, and not just a way to transfer as much money as possible into the pockets of oil companies while shoving the cost and risk onto the public, then we have to ask where the refineries are located and why. People are suggesting we trace the money. The big money in the US and China wants to keep control of the highest value added components and the ones that feed critical industries. I would look differently on these pipelines if there were a coherent plan to build next generation refineries in BC. But the lobbyists for the oil industry are deeply opposed to this.

    • Mike Klassen
      Mike Klassen April 26, 2012 at 9:56 am -

      There will be no refinery expansion in BC and to suggest it takes a very naive view of politics. Opponents will gear up just as loudly should there be any attempt to expand refining capacity on the west coast.

      I don’t think those who love to suggest that Canada simply hoards our oil haven’t really thought that one through. With reserves only rivalled by Saudi Arabia, would we suggest that Arab countries simply keep that oil for themselves to build their economies?

      What about all those bikes and iPhones opponents depend upon? Most of the finished products or materials are all processed in China. Same for the buttons on your shirt — made of oil, and manufactured in Asia. Or shall we make them ourselves and carve them out of beetle kill wood instead?

      Oil tankers have been traveling in out of Burrard Inlet since 1952, taking the oil to the USA. No spills have fouled our beaches or crashed into Stanley Park in sixty years, and safety standards have only improved during that time.

      Just a few things to consider in this debate.

      • Steven Forth April 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm -

        I am not sure that you are right about this and it is worth putting to the test. There are whole new generations of refnery technology in development and small energy efficient refineries that produce cradle to cradle plastics are coming on line in Japan. This is technology that would be of great benefit to BC. We do not need to follow the US (or Chinese) models. And are you confident of your claim that there have been no spills because of tanker traffic. I have not researched this in BC but I did in Japan and tankers are generally leaking oil constantly and cause low-grade cumulative damage to fisheries and general ecosystem resilience. In any case, we need to redesign liability law so that oil companies and governments cannot shift liability to companies, like shipping companies, that can be allowed to go bankrupt and leave us to clean up the damage while others pocket the profit. I am not sure what point you are trying to make about iPhones and buttons. Yes, a lot of manufacturing is currently done in China. No, I don’t expect that to be the case in 20 years. And manufacturing buttons from local wood is a good idea.

      • Chris Keam April 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm -

        “No spills have fouled our beaches or crashed into Stanley Park in sixty years”

        Oops, you picked a bad week to use that example Mike. :-) Not hard to imagine how much worse it would be if a tanker ran aground in that area. 60 years is a blink of an eye. Most importantly, I would ask why we in the present have more right to exploit this resource than those who follow. Conserving this valuable resource for our children (without starving our current needs) just seems like a responsible, considerate move to me.

        http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Boat+fire+Stanley+Park+seawall+with+video/6519478/story.html

        • Steven Forth April 27, 2012 at 8:57 am -

          I am not convinced we need to perserve oil assets for the future as I think we will have many subsitutes available over the next 30-50 years. Oil prices are more likely to fluctuate wildly as we near and then pass peak oil, and not climb steadily. Of course Black-Scholes tells us that volatility increases the value of an option!

          My real concern is that the actual costs be captured and that real provisions be made for risks. Neither is close to happening with bitumen.

  7. Bobh April 26, 2012 at 8:49 am -

    All Kinder Morgan has to do is extend the larger pipeline to Sumas Washington, and then to the refinery at Cherry Point. The crude could then be shipped from the deep water docks there. But Washington would reap the financial benefits not BC.

  8. Richard April 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm -

    It is pretty clear that Canada is being totally played by the Chinese state-owed oil companies. I suspect there goal in investing in the oil sands is to create short-term oversupply of crude driving the prices down. There is a huge labour shortage making the building of the pipelines and new oil sands extraction projects really expense (and pretty much anything else we want to build from factories to rapid transit).

    They and other oil companies then make their money by controlling and limiting refinery capacity. It is even possible that the refinery in Burnaby will close down and we will be shipping crude over to China then shipping back the gas.

    This is really a lose-lose proposition for Canada. We will get low prices for the exported crude but will be paying high prices for gas.

    I really don’t think there is much of an economic case for Canada or even Alberta to massively expand oil sands extraction and build all this new pipeline capacity. Much better to extract less for a longer period of time and get more money per barrel.

  9. Karla Sofen April 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm -

    Oil is refined into many products and the refineries are multi-billion operations that must be close to the market. This is why the old west Texans drove their cattle across the country – they couldn’t eat all that beef in Texas, it’s worth more in large marketplace. Without access to world market Canada can only sell to USA – and they have to sell at a discount because of this. The pipelines open Canada to the world market. Every barrel China buys from Canada is a barrel they didn’t buy from brutal dictatorships. They will not stop buying oil if Canada can’t or won’t sell it to them. You may as well be telling the farmers in Saskatchewan to not sell their wheat and eat it all in Canada or make bread out of it before exporting it. The best way to address legitimate concerns is not to deny 17 trillion into the Canadian economy, but to figure out the best, safest, least impactful way to build it. Remember the pipeline will be the largest property taxpayer in every jurisdiction it crosses. With the pipelines, there will be no need to fight wars for oil. Canada can supply all the US needs and at fair market price. The difference Canada can make for the whole world is an opportunity we have an obligation to our fellow man not to miss.

    • Steven Forth April 27, 2012 at 9:04 am -

      Wrong. That was true 30-50 years ago before modern supply chains and information systems. Today it makes more sense to process raw materials near point of origin and ship easier to transport products. The real questions are people’s skills, financing and market access. You need to analyze where in the value chain the value capture takes place. Look at Sinapore. If we had the political will and business leadership BC could develop next generation refineries that are net positive on environmental measures.

      • Karla Sofen April 27, 2012 at 10:17 am -

        What you are missing is the economics. Oil is a fungible product and anything that adds to your cost like transport and refining affects the bottom line. It’s not cost effective to operate as you believe we can and should. The producers won’t make back their investment or get full value if they drop money into things that don’t add value to the price of the product they are selling. Canadians can’t consume, nor can the North American market absorb expensive refined products. Who would try to overcome NIMBYs and spend billions to create a refinery and operate it at a loss in a place where no one can or will buy all the product you can manufacture? Canada’s existing refineries are far under capacity now. What we need is a pipeline to Sarnia, ON and then reversing the flow of the east to west pipelines so that all of Canada can be supplied by Canada and the rest can be sold on free market. This is economically possible and reasonable, but greens oppose this kind of thing too even though it could end tankers on the east coast. Canada can’t win. Dictators are still taking in billions a day instead; wars still being fought over middle-east oil. A great deal of real and tangible environmental progress can be made with a 17 trillion influx to the Canadian economy. Singapore does a lot of things right economically, but it’s a near police state compared to Canada. Not apples and oranges comparison. A kid can’t open a lemonade stand in Canada. If there was oil, you could break ground on a refinery in Singapore in a day. Sorry to cane you over this, but refining it all here is not feasible or even desirable let alone possible. Green efforts must be realistic and they will accomplish a great deal. Stay unreasonable and it’s going to be crammed down your throats and you’ll have accomplished nothing.

        • Steven Forth April 28, 2012 at 10:16 am -

          Yes, what you are missing is the economics. “Oil is a fungible product and anything that adds to your cost like transport and refining affects the bottom line.” Are you refering to refined petroleum products, crude oil, or bitumen? Refning adds value so that the economics of shipping the output are improved. In the past the need to respond to local demand meant that refineries needed to be close to the sources of demand. Additionally, both the inputs and outputs of next generation refineries are quite different from obsolete plants like Sarnia (Have you visited it? I have. Upgrading it will be a major investment, but one that I would support.) Many of the inputs will be bios, and many of the outputs are substrates for next generation plastics that will be used with other organics (woood fibre being one) to make new cradle to cradle materials.

          The reason we do not have next generation refineries in Canada, specifally BC, is that the Canadian energy industry, like the forest industry, is based on extraction and not processing. Our business culture, investment, tax and regulatory systems are geared towards this. Long-term this leads to economies with low innovation and productivity and with low resilience. Canada has an opportunity over the next 30-50 years to build an economy and culture based on diversity, creativity, local manufacturing and local processing. Or it can lock itself into a short-term play to milk the end of the oil age. Clearly Harper government and its investors are betting on the latter. It is doing this by pushing costs and risk to the public sector while priviatising profit and protecting certain companies from risk.

          Your comments on Singapore are misplaced. Sinapore does not have oil resources, it has smart people. And it invests in those people. Yes it has a repressive government and most of us would not want to live under its strictures. But that has nothing to do with its success in developing its value-added trade sector.

          Side point – one does not build a green economy by pushing off highly poluting industries into other jurisdictions. Those environmentalists that propose such strategies are not acting in the long term interests of a green, resilient economy. For the same reason, the mining and forest insdustries should be encouraged in BC (along with refineries) so that we can use them as a platform for innovation.

          • Karla Sofen April 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm -

            Sorry, but your reality is different from actual reality. A single coal plant in China creates more CO2 than all the oilsands projects combined. Canadian oil can displace all the Venezuelan crude oil the US imports. Venezula crude has higher carbon footprint than Canada oil. So does the crude from California. US Coal power plants dwarf Canada oilsands 100 times over in CO2 emissions. Where’s the protests over the real problems? That’s another reason to say the greens are creating pretextual issues and ignoring real issues.

            You are misinformed on many levels about how product is refined and transported, economics, law – the whole laundry list of actual issues. Ignorant greens are willing to promote themselves to expert. You don’t know what you don’t know and what you know for sure is even more erroneous.

            It’s sad that the environment movement cannot organize to accomplish actual goals and focuses on the usual canards to the exclusion of reason, logic, and evidence. So much progress is within reach. The greens never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  10. Glissando Remmy April 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm -

    Thought of The Night… Redivivus

    “A Pseudo-Mayor and a Pseudo-Council for a Pseudo-Cause in a Pseudo-Jurisdiction.”

    Not wasting local resources, time and money should be the concern of the Pseudo-Gregor and that of the Pseudo-Vision!

    Trying to act cool, for the media, has cost this city too much already.
    Robby & comp. have as much klout on this matter as a Chicken Little would have on the egg production line.
    So my question is, why do they waste city resources, time and money for an out of jurisdiction cause?
    Only to beat it on, and on, and on?
    Perhaps… to get some more media attention?

    The only beaches and waterfront they need to concentrate on preserving, is that in front of David Suzuki’s West Side shack. Let him agitate the fishermen and the mermaids from here on, if he wants, now that he’s become an ‘advocate turned independent politician’ LOL!

    We all now who the main Hollyhock money man is, what he stands for, how and where he gets his money from, and for what purposes. I think someone needs to tell this Mayor to start doing his job. His real one.

    And if you need more insight on this, here:

    LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
    “(municipalities and regional districts) hold the authority to plan and regulate land use within
    their respective boundaries, which may extend over foreshore and nearshore areas. They do this through official community plans, zoning, development permits, subdivision authority, building permits, and a variety of regulatory
    bylaws that affect land development.”

    FIRST NATIONS
    “have authorities similar to provincial and local governments over upland and aquatic lands within Indian Reserves. Outside Reserves, traditional rights to marine resources are the subject of ongoing Treaty negotiations for many of the First Nations along BC’s coast. The provincial and federal governments have a duty to consult with First Nations on any shoreline tenure applications to ensure that they do not significantly affect aboriginal or treaty rights.”

    PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
    “owns most of the foreshore (the area between the low water level and the natural boundary) with a few exceptions, as well as the beds of inland seas such as the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait and Johnstone Strait. The Integrated Land Management Bureau (under the Ministry of Forests and Range)
    administers these aquatic lands and issues permits, licences or leases for a wide range of uses – private and public moorage, wharves, marinas, aquaculture, and log storage to name a few. The Province also establishes regional
    coastal zone plans where these are needed.”

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
    “has jurisdiction over offshore waters – from the low water mark out to 12 nautical miles
    along the outer coast. The federal Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for managing and protecting fish populations and fish habitat under the Fisheries Act, including shoreline “riparian” habitats, as well as for
    maintaining maritime safety through the Coast Guard. Transport Canada is responsible for preserving the public right of navigation under the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Port Authorities are also established under federal
    legislation to manage major harbours and facilities that are federal Crown lands, such as Victoria, metro Vancouver, Port Alberni, Prince Rupert and Nanaimo harbours.”

    So now that the Canuck’s profile lifting season (oh, how Robertson would have liked another hamper full of local goodies bet, with any American mayor) is over, can all the Vision pseudo-politicians, go back to making sure our garbage is collected on time, property taxes are not deferred for decades by our local house-millionaires, and maybe, try to approve one or two highrises… say, in Kits?

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • Steven Forth April 27, 2012 at 8:55 am -

      As far as I understand you, probably not far, I agree. Municipal politicians should focus on municipal issues. And I look forward to many 4-10 story buildings along 4th and Broadway and would like to see some deepening of commercial use down side streets.

      • Heather Tailors April 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm -

        “Municipal politicians should focus on municipal issues.”
        Exactly, what I think GR is saying… and also everyone else in Vancouver, less the Vision agitators.

        • Steven Forth April 28, 2012 at 10:25 am -

          Seems to me that many people, GR included, think that City Hall can do something about national immigration, investment and trade policy. Hence the weird suggestions on how to manage people from abroad buying Vancouver real estate.

          And I would expect the mayor of Vancouver to have a position on increasing tanker traffic in the city’s littoral.

          • Mira April 28, 2012 at 10:45 am -

            Steven
            “Municipal politicians should focus on municipal issues.”
            I think Heather quoted you not GR. As for GR I don’t remember him ever suggesting other than City Hall doing their real job, which is , taking care of the city- strees, parks, traffic, garbage, sewage, water, construction… nothing to do with national immigration and trade policy… or global warming!
            What are you talking about? You make no sense. BTW “people from abroad” let’s call them “from mainland China” are not buying… that is called speculating and cleaning out our inventory at x1.5 value with “worthless paper” so that the x1 value may be getting some. The bonus? It will all be well hidden in BC. Thanks a lot, but no thanks!

  11. gman April 27, 2012 at 10:26 am -

    I wonder if this is what the real agenda is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CZ-4gnNz0vc

    • Steven Forth April 28, 2012 at 10:30 am -

      I am confused gman, who do you think the “you” is in this video? And how did they get Europe, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and even China buy into the same approach? Perhaps aliens?

      • gman April 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm -

        Are you having an Alinsky moment Steven?The video is about as simple to understand as it gets,but judging from your previous comments its no wonder its over your head.You have no idea how the oil industry works and I would suggest you reread Karla Sofens comments you might learn something .I have no idea what your nonsensical reply even means other than an attempt at some cheap shot,maybe you could try again but this time try to relate it to subject your referring too.

        • Steven Forth April 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm -

          So in a simple declarative sentence, who is responsible for the policies described in the video you linked to?

  12. Terry M April 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm -

    Reply to Karla Sofen 28 April 1:28pm …
    Karla, if you didn’t know Steven is a great supporter of the Hollyhock community, Vision Vancouver and the pubescent mayor.
    They are in the middle of an environmental campaign disguised in public outrage who are imploring the local politicians to take a stand. Bullshit. Another self appointed movement typical to that of a communist regime who again acts on your behalf. Ther was no money in Tankers for their causes and US sponsors, therefore they are no good. LOL

  13. Steven Forth April 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm -

    To Karla Sofen
    (I think we have reached the limit of the Reply function.)
    “A single coal plant in China creates more CO2 than all the oilsands projects combined.” I am sure you are aware this statement is false. Which is too bad as you are absolutely right that coal consumption in China and the US is a huge issue and that we may be better off using oil from bitumen in poer generation than relying on coal. Clean coal is about as clean as ethical oil is ethical. However, I happen to live in Vancouver not China or the US.

    You did not bother to respond to my actual points, so I will simply note that I have do considerable work with the energy industry and have built financial models of energy distribution systems. The energy industry is not structured in Canada’s interests, though Alberta is diong a good job of growing a local industry and that may change over time. There are good economic reasons for many new refineries to be built and the jurisdictions where they are built will have a long-term economic advantage. If Vancouver limits itself to being a distribution hub and service economy and to managing low value extractive processes it will have a difficult future.

    Assuming that a person who is opposed to the current pipeline proposals is against economic development is as dumb as assuming that a person who would like to see more refineries in Vancouver is against the ecology.

    • Karla Sofen May 1, 2012 at 8:59 am -

      Who will buy these products if we can’t get them out of Canada cost-effectively? I assume you’ll be against pipelines to move refined products too. Okay, we’ve converted to economy to creating products that cost more than the market cost and we can’t get them anywhere.

      Who will invest in changing Canada when a kid can’t even open a lemonade stand? There is a reason all those old west Texans didn’t eat all their cattle themselves. There is a reason the farmers in Saskatchewan don’t bake bread with all that wheat or that Canadians don’t eat it all for dirt cheap.

      And you are wrong about the coal plant in China. There really is one big one that puts out more real pollution and more CO2 than all the oilsands development projects combined. That you don’t know about it is not surprising. You don’t know what you don’t know.

      There is no existing clean coal plant anywhere in the world. It’s an idea that likewise is not cost effective or even proven to work. It’s a shiny object to distract you.

      This is all completely pointless anyway. Are you familiar with confirmation bias and disconfirmation bias? I can’t overcome this. The Kool-Aid you’ve been drinking is far too powerful for logic, facts, and evidence to overcome.