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Canada Oil As An Election Issue

Updated on March 6, 2017
In January 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump approved the construction of the Keystone Xl and Dakota Access pipelines, stopped by the Obama administration because of concerns about the environment.
In January 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump approved the construction of the Keystone Xl and Dakota Access pipelines, stopped by the Obama administration because of concerns about the environment. | Source

2016 US Election and Oil

Oil is one of the issues that will determine the results of the 2016 US presidential election. Canada will be up there in the ticker tape because of the Keystone XL project that routes about half a million barrels of oil from Hardisty Alberta to U.S. markets.

Environment groups were elated when the sitting president Barack Obama stopped the extension of the project in November 2015. Oilmen and everyone who benefits from oil was not amused and will be voting for Donald Trump who says he supports TransCanada's Keystone XL project 100%.

Below, is a post prepared for Canada's federal election in 2015.

Drilling for oil in the Arctic, Alberta or anywhere else in the world, is an issue in the 19 October federal election in Canada because voters have a plethora of reasons for their choice. It might be that:

  • They don’t want to lose certain benefits.

  • They want to acquire new benefits.

  • They don’t want to go to war or maybe they want to see a Third World War.

  • They want to make more money or tax benefits that a particular party is promising.

  • They are worried about the future, the ideal world they want to live in.

The state of the environment is an important factor for voters worried about their children’s future. Will they wear protective masks in years to come, because air pollution from factories and vehicles will be unbearable? Will there be any birds or trees when they grow up? Will there be any polar bears or penguins?

Voters who want a better deal for the environment and the future are often drowned by two words: jobs and the economy.

Economy vs. Environment

The economy is not something tangible like the rain, rivers, oceans, grass, trees, birds, land, clouds, the rainbow, etc. They are constant, and are supposed to be enjoyed by all, generation after generation.

The economy is private. That is why the British, French, Spanish and other colonial powers in Africa, Asia, Australia and North America, planted signs PRIVATE PROPERTY, after they took the land through the barrel of the gun or deception.

Property and contract law require that transfer of land, houses or goods should be in writing and that parties should understand what they are signing. In Africa and elsewhere, native people put a thumb on a piece of paper or were given mirrors for their land.

That private property concept drives business, or what is known as the economy. It works on supply and demand, but it is a few companies that decide what we need. Investors or industrialists are not philanthropists. They don’t work for free. They are in it for the money. Profits are king and they have all kinds of strategies to maximise ‘the return on investments’.

This includes sending jobs ‘offshore’ to Africa, India, China etc. when workers in Europe and North America ask for a living wage. Voters forget that during elections because of immediacy. They sit up and listen when election promises include jobs because they don’t want to lose present ones or are hoping for more.

They are even willing to work in industries that will damage the environment till kingdom come. Businessmen and women do not worry about that because they don’t live in inner cities or any other areas where their activities destroyed the environment. They retreat to higher ground or their private islands.

Abandoned mine in Sierra Leone.
Abandoned mine in Sierra Leone. | Source

Canada-US Oil Production

The oil industry is one of the major election issues in the 2015 Canadian federal election, the Keystone XL oil pipeline in particular, which will transport crude oil from Hardisty in Alberta to Nebraska in the United States, if it is built.

Political parties want two voting blocks, environmentalists who oppose the construction of the pipeline and Trans Canada, the project manager that says Keystone XL is safe and has passed the necessary environmental assessment.

Jobs and the economy. That is what Trans Canada has been preaching in order to get Keystone XL, Phase Four of the Keystone Pipeline Project off the ground.

Phase 1, 11 and 111 are already up and running in the United States, but on 24 February 2015, President Obama vetoed a bill that would have given Keystone XL the green light. The U.S. Senate failed to override the Presidential veto.

Oil spills happen despite reassurances from oil companies that their infrastructure is safe. In August 2015, a pipeline owned by Nu Vista Energy leaked wastewater, oil and gas into the Hay Lake First Nations land in Alberta.


Save The Arctic

Canadian voters are going to the polls at the heels of Shell’s decision to abandon exploratory wells in the Arctic.

Royal Dutch Shell’s activities in the Chukchi Sea faced opposition from Greenpeace, Save The Arctic, Shell No and other environmentalists that felt that it will endanger the natural habitat of the polar bear and other species.

President Obama caught some flack when he allowed Royal Dutch Shell to go ahead with oil explorations. His administration explained that it had no choice because there was an existing 30 year lease, signed by the Bush administration. All President Obama could do was to approve Shell’s exploration with certain safety and environmental conditions.

Environmentalists that made the world aware that Royal Dutch Shell wanted to drill for oil in the Arctic, are still celebrating their victory because Shell, which also has petrol/gas stations in your neighbourhood, has backed down.

"Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future," said Marvin Odum, director of Shell Upstream Americas, in a press statement. "This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska."


It seems as if the Obama administration’s conditions of safety and the environment was one of the contributing factors to Shell’s decision to abandon the project. That is why the press statement mentioned ‘unpredictable federal regulatory environment.’

The biggest reason Shell did not acknowledge is the global opposition to polluting the Arctic for money. Alaska is already melting. Creatures like the walrus are no longer assured that there will be ice, where they do all sorts of things.

Canadian voters will not be voting for just a few years when the winning political party is in powers. It might take decisions that will affect them indefinitely, like the 30 year lease Bush signed on Shell's oil exploration in Alaska.


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