Archive for the ‘canada’ category

Pipelines – Why?

January 25, 2017

President Trump has issued an executive order authorizing the completion of the Keystone XL- and Dakota Access pipelines. With a flourish and an “in your face” stare, President Trump reversed positions taken by President Obama. Should we care?

The XL pipeline is intended to bring Canadian tar sand oil to refineries on the US Gulf coast. The Dakota Access project in intended to relive dependency upon rail cars to bring North Dakota “fracked” shale oil to a variety of US refineries. Both projects were opposed by environmental groups and in the case of Dakota Access, native Americans protested the use of what they consider their land and in particularly disturbing their ancestral burial grounds.

President Trump campaigned on a jobs creation platform and said this executive order would create thousands of good paying jobs. Who can be against good paying jobs?

Authorizing the pipelines can best be described as a “non-issue issue”. To be sure concerns about the environment and native American rights are important and issues worthy of consideration. But keep in mind, there is no way importing oil is any better for the environment. And with proper planning (and maybe sharing a little of the oil’s value) with native Americans, all parties could have come to an understanding.

Overlooked so far in this discussion has been the demand for oil has dropped significantly in lock step with the decline of the world oil price. President Obama’s actions were symbolic at best. The builders of both projects were only mildly upset with President Obama’s actions. And yes, behind closed doors, they are only mildly pleased with President Trump’s reversal.

So, was President Trump’s executive order childish pay back? Was it theater? Or, could it have been part of a strategy to unleash US production and help depress world oil prices which would hurt Russia, Iran, and most of the Middle East?

The take away, IMO, completing XL and Dakota Access pipelines are like bullets that didn’t need to be used at this moment. Both represent legitimate global strategies aimed at hindering economic growth in unfriendly foreign powers. Shooting those bullets now, lessens if not negates, their strategic value.

And as for jobs, forget it. These two project represent modest temporary job increases which will not impact in any Rust Belt State. Hmmm.

What’s Gone Wrong in Canada?

November 2, 2014

The Canadian Government announced a ban on all visitors from the Ebola infected African countries. Not a period of restricted movement or even a quarantine, but an outright ban on entry to Canada. How could an otherwise more than rational Country undertake measure not justified by facts on the ground?

The rational provided, of course, focuses upon protecting Canadian citizens. Suspension of commonsense or fact based reasoning seems justified “to protect Canadian citizens”. Hmmm.

This reasoning is not just a Canadian phenomena. It is politicians’ reasoning and would be expected to happen in the US far more often than Canada. Politicians, however, can be found anywhere.

So why care?

The “protect the citizens” argument is worthy, but at what expense. The primary role of government is protecting its citizens but to what extents is a government justified in providing this protection? We normal hear about surrendering individual privacy rights but those coming from Ebola infected countries are not Canadian citizens and in theory do not have Canadian rights. So what else?

Governments have a duty to demonstrate “fact based” decisions as much as possible. This type of behavior should inspire further confidence in government decisions and encourage the population, in general, to adopt fact based reasoning for themselves. For Governments to shun fact based reasoning is to encourage citizens to respond to fear or to ignore genuine threats.

US Congressional demagogues have demonstrated all too frequently the worst of possible public image. Some members have predicted the invasion of ISIS via the Mexican border. Others now have suggested that travelers infected with Ebola will choose crossing the Mexico-US border as a way to avoid airport detection. What should we expect of the average citizen if their elected leaders think this way?

This Canadian decision may seem in the best interest of Canadian citizens but is quite the opposite. The decision sends the wrong message and in no way guarantees protections from Ebola.

I wonder where the Canadian scientific community was in making this decision?