I hope everyone had a good long weekend. The rain held off until last night and so I was able to finally take my new boat out for a couple of days fishing on Lake Diefenbaker. The fishing wasn’t bad but the relaxation out on the water was fantastic.
Speaking of good things, over a year ago in this column you heard me chastising our media-loving Premier and others for their obsession with the Keystone XL Pipeline and its environmental problems in Nebraska instead of finding made-in-Canada solutions for moving our oil. TransCanada Pipelines is now working on a proposal which will move 1.1 million barrels of western Canadian oil a day to eastern Canada. Hooray! Even our Premier has now jumped on this bandwagon saying what a good thing it is for Saskatchewan to have this outlet for our oil – an outlet which will actually take Saskatchewan oil which Keystone wouldn’t – and allow that oil to get to premium markets rather than being heavily discounted and have American refiners fatten their wallets on the differential.
This option should have been explored from the get-go when pipeline capacity became an issue but of course, Mr. Wall and others would not have been able to go down to Washington, DC, New York, etc. on the taxpayers’ dollars and try and tell the Americans what to do with their business. Of course, they were roundly ignored but Mr. Wall got to have lots of media attention here at home.
The other part of the PC Party’s position on this matter has been for our federal and provincial governments to get off of their “no involvement in business” mantra and work with the industry to increase refining capacity in western Canada. Alberta, Saskatchewan and the federal government were responsible for partnering with Husky to build an upgrader and yes, it cost some money to do so. Surely it is in the best interests of everyone in western Canada to keep the jobs, the value-added dollars and the economic activity surrounding upgrading and refining of petroleum products in western Canada and in Canada as a whole.
This is the very argument that Mr. Wall has used when giving hundreds of millions of tax credits dollars to the potash industry to increase mine size in Saskatchewan. The refined petroleum products marketplace is far more stable and lucrative because of the amount of taxation dollars attached to it than the potash business is. I do not believe you will see a free-for-all in the marketing of gasoline, diesel fuel and other products like you may see in the marketing of bulk potash. We all know how the price of gasoline works. Companies put the price up the same amount no matter what gas station you patronize because “they can”.
Just this last week I read an article about how new port facilities need to be constructed on the American gulf coast so that tanker loads of American crude can be exported for the first time in decades. If the Americans have enough oil to start exporting crude, why would we want to find ways to sell them our heavily-discounted oil supplies and leave all of the profits with American refiners?
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.