12/09/2014 12:47 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST

Quebecers, Don't Let TransCanada's Sweet Words Fool You Into Supporting the Pipeline

In a newspaper article in Le Devoir of November 20, 2014, the spokesman for TransCanada, Mr. Duboyce, painted a rosy picture of his company's proposed oil pipeline, along with glowing words which must be in accordance with Edelman's strategic plan for public relations. He is courting Quebecers' favorable opinion with so many rosy empty words that one would believe he is watching an opera where Don Juan is wooing a beautiful young women, promising her the mirage of eternal love!

First, he asserts that pipelines are the safest mean for the transportation of large volumes of petrolium. Perhaps. However, the explosion of a TransCanada gas pipeline in Brookdale, Manitoba, in April, 2002 created some spectacular fireworks. The NEB (National Energy Board) has noted an increase in the number and severity of pipelines incidents during the last decade. Incidentally, a worldwide census of petrolium related incidents (by various modes of transportation) will bring somber second thoughts to the reader when we are reminded that one litre of oil will pollute one million litres of water.

Mr. Duboyce pursue his seductive affirmations about pipeline security: "Our remarkable safety record is the result of our commitment to base our activities on total planning processes" (my translation). Wonderful words! On the other hand, Mr. Evan Vokes, a former TransCanada employee, brought some questionable practices to the attention of its managers about pipeline safety. According to his allegations, TransCanada did not conform to NEB's guidelines about welding, thereby weakening the welds. Since the company didn't redress the situation, he filed a complaint to the NEB on may 2, 2012. Is it a coincidence if he was fired six days later? Is Mr. Vokes an incompetent troublemaker? Or is he a courageous engineer who had the guts to demand that his company should respect sound practices which would not jeopardize safety?

Mr. Duboyce's glossy pitch that its pipeline would be profitable for Quebecers sounds like an argument that has been boosted with steroids. It is a standard approach of a Don Juan who is trying to seduce public opinion in la belle province. However, everything is not rosy perfect in the obsolete economic model of the promoters of fossil fuels. For example, GazMétro and its partners are publicly complaining about TransCanada's project since it would unjustly reduce the availability of natural gas to its clients.

Would the spokesmen for TransCanada be able to give a logical explanation as to how mere transshipment of petroleum using automated pumping systems would create jobs or any worthwhile economic activity in our province? To be reduced to the status of mere handlers of raw materials will constantly put us at the mercy of fluctuating prices on the world markets for the next two generations. Since a few weeks, prices of raw materials are in a nosedive. Quebecers deserve better than to be hewers of wood and drawers of water! This is why we must transform raw materials with secondary manufacturing processes if we want to have a thriving economy. As a matter of fact, wouldn't it be better to forge ahead with the new green energies? I believe that sustainable development, based on non-fossil fuel energies, is the only way to insure a sound future for our grandchildren.

Mr. Duboyce, TransCanada and Edelman are feverishly courting Quebecers. When they speak about safety, profits and bountiful jobs, they are trying to convince us with sickly sweet words just as Don Juan is promising the beautiful heiress, eternal love and unfaltering faithfulness. These words are veneer-thick make-up which mask the truth, while underneath the only thing that really counts is the selfish self-interest of the company. On final analysis, the fable of Jean de la Fontaine describes the situation perfectly; "Tout flatteur vit au depend de celui qui l'écoute," or the profits of flatterers depends on those who are gullible enough to listen to them.


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