The scenario seemed written for the screenplay of a political drama.
As the federal Liberal government continued to quell the SNC-Lavalin scandal last week, municipal, federal and national politicians and industrial stakeholders gathered in Moosomin, Sask. to protest federal policy quelling growth and development in Canada’s industrial sector.
Just hours before the event, which included a cry for re-opening the file on Canada’s pipeline development policies, almost 40 train cars carrying crude oil left the tracks near St. Lazare, Man. just 60 kilometers to the northeast early Saturday morning. Canadian National Railway spokespeople said a “partial spill” was contained by late Saturday afternoon.
Although no injuries or fires were involved in the crash, the incident is a reminder that current modes of oil transport may not be as safe and environmentally friendly as pipeline options that seem have been shoved aside by the federal government in the name of – ironically – safety and environmentalism.
The entire situation put an exclamation point on what many deem a necessity for the oil industry; the transport of oil and gas by pipeline. This was the main point of the rally, which was initiated by lobbying efforts of the Town of Moosomin and the Rural Municipality of Moosomin to reintroduce an Energy East pipeline project. The currently-suspended initiative would have seen TransCanada Pipeline build a 4600 kilometer line from Alberta to refineries and terminals in New Brunswick.
About 500 to 600 people attended the rally, where the line-up of speakers included Conservative Party and Official Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party Senator Denise Batters, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire was also present, along with Riding Mountain MLA Greg Nesbitt.
Notably absent was Manitoba Premier Brain Pallister. The rally could have been a chance for Pallister to fully establish where he stands in the battle between Canada’s resource and industry leaders and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s seemingly purposeful effort to decimate Western Canada’s – and, arguably, all of Canada’s – economic engine.
Meanwhile, Westman is prime oil and pipeline territory, and Manitoba’s northern mining industry has been hit with announcements of pending mine closures.
Nevertheless, the approximately 600 attendees at the rally provided rousing support for the oil, pipeline, agriculture and mining industries, which are seeing or may see further decline due to federal policies.
One can only assume what is motivating the federal government to develop legislation that cripples the country’s resource sector. They are either true believers in the environmental ethos that says oil development is nothing short of enhancing a pending disaster, or other players have their hand in the game. Many believe federal policies may be related to Liberal-friendly corporate entities who benefit from the current situation. After all, the bitumen will be moved with or without pipelines. Without them, it’s obvious rail is the main mode of transport to get resources across the country.
Plus, Canada continues to purchase a substantial amount of oil and gas products from Saudi Arabia. How much does this play a role in Trudeau’s administration of Canada’s own oil industry?
Canadians may never know what is behind the federal government’s seemingly anti-Canadian stance on the issue. Canadians are also yet to see just how much destruction the Liberal Party has caused and whether it can recover.