The boring battle over bitumen.

It is really not our favourite topic. Bitumen is boring. The conundrum we are facing is that the Harper Conservatives are so bereft of any solutions to our country’s economic malaise that they are putting more and more reliance on selling the output of the Athabasca Tar Sands. As long as this was a minor activity and the problems with pollution were kept in Alberta, it was of merely academic interest. Now it is becoming a serious problem for all Canadians.

This came to mind this morning while contemplating a full-page color advertisement in the Toronto Star for TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline. What do these people think they are selling? The writers, reviewers and approvers of this advertisement do not seem to know the difference between hyperbole and lying. They certainly spend a great deal of money on whichever. And the full page picture of a blond lady seems to bear no relevance to the copy but what does that matter? It caught your eye did it not?

The headline “What is the Energy East Pipeline?” is neither catchy nor clever. It is just to lead you into misleading copy. The opening line about TransCanada planning to build a pipeline that will transport oil from Western to Eastern Canada does not only appear to be misleading but it promotes the big lie. It is not oil they want to send in that pipeline. They want to convert the old cross-Canada natural gas pipeline to push bitumen slurry to the East coast. The only new section is from Montreal to Saint John, New Brunswick.

While the tar sands companies and their pipeline pals like to call bitumen by other names, it is not oil. It is not heavy crude. It is not some made-up name such as ‘Dilbit.’ The ultimate objective of this pipeline is to ship bitumen slurry to Saint John, New Brunswick where the Irving interests will build a loading port to put the stuff on ocean-going tankers. Nobody wants the serious pollution concerns of refining that stuff into synthetic oil in Canada.

But how can Canadians hold up their heads before the world and ship this stuff to countries that do not care about the pollution?

Maybe that blonde lady in the color picture is a tourist checking out one of the old world cities before the black rain of pollution makes that part of the world uninhabitable.

What in God’s name are these people thinking?

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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