Pondering Pipeline Possibilities

Gordon Laxer Energy East Position Evolves.

Published in the CJ Thu May 19, 2016 as Pondering Pipeline Possibilities

Gordon Laxer spoke at the Finlandia Hall Wednesday, hosted by Environment North and the Thunder Bay Environmental Coalition. He outlined the theory behind his latest book, After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians. Laxer is a PhD, the founding director and former head of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, political economist and professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, and a prominent public intellectual. He was a founding member of the Council of Canadians. He endorses Naomi Klein and the Leap Manifesto and offers a workable framework for a transition to a green economy.

Laxer’s position on the proposed Energy East pipeline has evolved since the publication of his book. In it he had indicated that he was supportive of EE for the sake of Canadian energy security and sovereignty. He qualified this stance by stating as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels, Energy East should ship conventional oil to Eastern Canadian consumers for another 15 years, (as opposed to rip and ship bitumen overseas).

Now he suggests that with the demand for oil falling off, a developing sustainable energy policy in Quebec, and the potential for domestic use of Newfoundland’s offshore oil (rather than exporting it), the west to east flow of conventional oil via Energy East may not be necessary.

Rather, he advocates a political strategy wherein citizens demand we cite, and invoke, ‘the 6- month notice’ provision under NAFTA wherein Canada would opt out of exporting Newfoundland’s oil, and use it to supply Atlantic Canada. A most sensible plan, as oil-rich Canada’s Eastern half, incredulously, imports most of its oil.