Joe Oliver, Canada's new federal Minister of Finance, made quite a name for himself during his tenure as Minister of Natural Resources. With Oliver moving to the helm of the country's finances, perhaps it's time to take a look back over his notable career. Is Oliver's selective use (and misuse) of the facts restricted to the oilsands?
Enbridge's ad spend on the Kitimat vote so far is more than three times what the company would be allowed to spend in an electoral district during a provincial election. During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend -- but no such rules apply to the April 12 plebiscite.
Because Alberta oil is landlocked and therefore traditionally sold below world prices, it's been suggested that bringing it east will lower energy prices for us. It's probably more realistic to expect that Alberta crude will get more expensive as soon as a pipeline links it to us, and the world market.
We're producing so much oil sands crude that we've overwhelmed cross-border pipeline capacity. Now the industry is stuck in a Catch-22. Profit margins have dropped dramatically. To reassure investors, bitumen miners talk about dramatically expanding production. But the more we produce, the more we exacerbate the supply glut.
Maybe we do need the voices of artists after all. Artists do have a history of seeing things before they become the norm in our society. Or, perhaps they are brave enough not to hide from distressing truths. Look at Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi from 1970. That song feels so peppy and fun in tone but its message was ahead of its time.
If you're using the Neil Young kerfuffle as a moment to dig your trench a little deeper, remember: if we're going to make progress on energy issues in this country, we're all going to have to stick our heads up, stop seeing the people on the other side of the debate as enemies and find some common ground in the middle.
With your help, we'll produce and distribute a provocative film that will go beyond the issues, to the very DNA of change, and encourage constructive discussion across all points of view. It's the only way we're going to find the innovative solutions we so badly need. This is an amazing moment. KeystoneXL pipeline, Enbridge's proposed pipeline, and Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion, hang in the balance.
The basic argument goes like this: A barrel of oil sands crude currently trades at a lower price than other global oil benchmarks. That price gap means Canadians are losing money on every barrel sold. Access to world markets will fetch higher prices, elevating our collective prosperity. It's a persuasive story, tickling the part of the brain associated with loss aversion. No one wants to bleed money day after day. At the same time it paints a picture of one nation, our fortunes rising and falling in unity. It's good politics. But the reality is more complex.