The Keystone Pipeline- A Tale of Two Countries

I believe in creating different energy sources so my family supports Canada by investing in Alberta tar sands. Most environmentalists would scold them for supporting  such a dirty energy but I know quite a few of my son's friends that have left Ontario to work in the tar sands of Alberta. So, we support Canadian jobs and the future of alternative energy. Today the U.S. State Department announced a decision to deny TransCanada's current application for a proposed Keystone XL pipeline.


My American friends were thrilled with the decision and after spending a lot of time researching media outlets such as Huffington Post etc. so was the rest of the US population. On the other side of the border on Canadian sites such as CBC and Yahoo Canada 90% were mocking the United States decision, and of course some were thrilled that Prime Minister Harper did not get his way.


"Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said after a speech in Toronto that the Canadian government strongly backs Keystone XL, but wouldn't go further until an official announcement from the U.S.

"It’s a challenging political hot potato south of the border, but obviously we were very disappointed with the decision in December [to delay approval]," Baird said."






Our two countries are similar in thoughts but when it comes down to the nitty gritty we both stand steadfast for what we believe in. So after reading all the comments I decided to do a parody with them and below we have two friends Sam, the American and Stephen, the Canadian discussing the pipeline decision.




Sam: "So I heard your pipeline got shot down Steve. That pipeline goes over a major source of fresh water for several different states. And from all of the photos I've seen, it's right out there in the open; not undergroun­d where it would be moderately safe. You might as well paint a great big target on it and say "Terrorist­s, please attack this."


Steve: "Sam, Canadian petroleum should be refined in Canada to produce employment solely for our country. We need jobs here, not Texas. As a Canadian, I agree Obama made an excellent decision. We will build a Canadian pipeline to a Canadian port, so its all over for the Greens in the U.S.A. and Robert Redford can stick his head up his butt! My hope is that we ship 100% of our oil through that pipeline or maybe build 2 or 3. We will have the oil, money and the will!


Sam: "You know Steve, the tar sands pipelines are already leaking in America. The first Keystone pipeline is only one year old, and has already leaked 14 times. Migrating ducks have been poisoned by tar sands oil that has permeated waterways. Whooping cranes, an extremely endangered species, migrate along the proposed route of the new Keystone pipeline. Oil and water don't mix. If we continue deep water offshore drilling in the Gulf and construct transconti­nental oil pipelines, we will destroy fragile wildlife and the economic activities that rely on healthy ecosystem."


Steve:  "Sam, it was still an idiotic move! A commodity the U.S normally goes to war over, but this pipeline apparently has seemed to cross some line? We'd rather sell our oil to you, but I guess we'll just have to refine our oil here and sell it to China!  I hope to dear God that this will be a watershed moment for Canada to finally move away from crumbling America and chart out its own economic course."


Sam:  "Don't you get it Stephen? The estimate of created jobs is inflated, and unsubstant­iated. Whatever jobs will dry up after installati­on therefore leaving only a handful of jobs left to monitor the line. What will be left is a very real terrorist target, very real pollution of ground water vital to 1.5 million people, and farmland jeopardize­d. What are we gonna do Stephen, we really don't have any ideas about future energy sources!"


Stephen: "Let’s imagine we care about jobs and support the pipeline and then pretend we care about unions too."


Sam: "They'll never go for it."


Stephen: "They voted for Bush."


Sam: "Good point!"


Stephen:  "Good for Obama, gutsy and unafraid of making an error in decision. Now let's keep the oil in Canada process it here and then sell the finished product. More jobs for all sectors of Canadian workers and we have all the benefits of our oil. 

First of all the media gives the impression this is a all-or-nothing issue, which is untrue. Canada already has a pipeline to the Gulf, this would just be another, bigger pipeline. This pipeline is for Amercian Oil Companies to ship crude oil to their refineries, with little benefit to Canada other than a small royalty fee paid to Alberta.  Maybe it is time to let the Americans freeze in the dark, as Albertans once said to eastern Canada."


Sam: "Yup, those evil Canadians will tear, shred, and mutilate this beautiful world no matter what we well-meaning Americans decide!"




Sam: "Honestly Stephen, tar sand oil is the dirtiest fuel produced in the world. The Canadians are planning on generating 400 million gallons of highly contaminat­ed water and sludge each day in order to get it out of the ground. The pipeline carrying the tar sand oil through the US would cross six states with many major rivers and aquifers. There is a history of large leaks and breaks with this acidic, dirty oil. If the Canadians want to sell this crap, they should build their own pipeline."


Stephen: "My wife has a big map of all of the pipelines in North America hanging behind her desk. There is already a keystone pipeline coming down from Canada along with 4 others. There is no reason that this pipeline has to take a different route than all of the others. Just run it along the same path as the others and there is no problem."


Sam: "Did you know that Rail transport is set to make a killing by picking up the slack of the "stalled” XL pipeline.  Over 20,000 new crude oil tanker cars have already been ordered to beef up volumes heading south and west. The added benefit is that the bitumen will not have to be diluted in order to ship it this way, and other successful Canadian railroad companies like CN and CP will profit. Those vehemently opposed to the pipeline have no idea that the safest way to transport crude, a pipeline, will now be supplemented by a less safe method."


Stephen:  "We have many thousands of US citizens working in our Alberta oil patches. More Americans than there are Albertans working in there.  On the other hand they show up as employed in the Canadian stats making our Prime Minister Harper (a Redford look alike) look like a winner to the public. Honestly we could load up a fleet of buses and move all these people back into the US and see if their attitudes change."



Sam: ­ "We can't seem to control Canada anymore than we should have been able to control the Sioux."


Stephen: "Ahh Sam, let's bring the buffalo back and then we can all walk and talk as we burn buffalo dung for heat in the winter."




Sam: "I will ask you one thing Stephen and maybe you know the answer! How in the hell did the Hoover Dam ever get built?"


                                 The  End





"On Tuesday, an independen­t federal panel in Canada will begin its review of a proposed western pipeline that would carry the oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. From British Columbia, the oil would be shipped on tankers to oil-hungry China."


CBC News January 18th, 2012


Linda Seccaspina 2012 

Photo by Linda Seccaspina 






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Comment by Linda Seccaspina on January 19, 2012 at 8:08pm

I agree Matt.. big time

Comment by Matt Paust on January 19, 2012 at 7:14pm

No guarantee we'd get any of the oil.  It would be sold on the open market.

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on January 19, 2012 at 2:14pm

Creekend.. I am sure you would get issues with that too. Dont the penguins have a union?

Werner: always a joy when you come to my page and have said it well. I had an argument about this yesterday and this is why I did this  blog. Its okay to go to war to fight for oil and okay to hire rail-lines to haul the stuff which is scary but this is not okay. I posted two views here as I felt that is was important to show both sides.

I was just shocked to see the Canadian views versus the American.

Our energy is running out. Why did ONtario Hydro almost double their rates two years ago?

Comment by Werner on January 19, 2012 at 1:38pm

I have a problem with people clamoring that we have dirty oil and want the tar sands shut down now.

First of all I haven't heard of any viable alternate solution from the opponents.

Second can anyone imagine the economic collapse not just in Canada but the repercussion across the world.

Third what are the current alternatives?

There is wood, not a good solution, given that, with our climate our forests would be depleted in a manner of a few years, wood burning is also more polluting. Same thing with coal

Electric power, I'm fortunate from this point of view to live in a province with plenty of hydro electric power, having said that the construction of hydro stations and power lines still requires a lot of "not green" energy. Other provinces and States have to rely on gas or coal fired plants that have well documented issues with pollution, from the extraction of the combustible to the exhaust of the burned product.Then there is nuclear power, that is a whole different scary issue, given the nuclear disasters most recently in Japan and Chernobyl a few years earlier, not to mention the sensitive issue of disposing permanently of used fuel rods.

While the push from some people to give up and get rid of motor vehicles might have some merit, it is currently unrealistic, given that there are no viable alternatives, electric power in vehicles is only in its infancy at this point and I have some concerns about the manufacturing and eventual disposition of batteries for instance, from an ecological point of view.

Having said all that, I'm all for reducing pollution in a realistic ways and our reliance on limited resources, but this is an ongoing process and will take years to achieve, until we realize that the processes bring with them their own issues, such as the health concerns expressed by people living near wind farms, for instance. But destroying our economy for little or no impact on a worldwide problem makes no sense to me, but that's just my opinion.

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on January 19, 2012 at 10:21am

Thanks Steve: I appreciate the commenting. I realize this is not my norm of writing but I just had to do it so I appreciate the read.

Comment by Steve Yaver on January 19, 2012 at 10:18am

nice job telling both sides. My feelings are that Canada should be exploring greener energy alternatives rather than exploiting the land for more dirty fuel, but I do get the jobs issue, among other reasons why Canada is pursuing this. Here in the U.S., we can talk all we want about green jobs but I don't think coal miners in West Virginia will be getting jobs in solar panel plants because those plants won't be going to West Virginia. There's definitely a lot to think about on both sides. In the end it really was just politics though.  If Boehner doesn't force Obama's hand so quickly as a chit in the payroll tax battle, this could have turned out very differently.

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on January 19, 2012 at 9:33am

Good greedy bugger photo Creekend hahaha

Marsha: I have a feeling this proposal will be back.

Comment by Marsha Shearer on January 19, 2012 at 9:02am

Sam's my guy.  The risks were way too big.  Pres. Obama did the right thing - and for the right reason - the protection of water and land and ultimately every breathing thing.  And here's a thought: Clearly Canada is going to ship this gunk to refineries in China.  So why not ship it to refineriers here...Ta Da...No pipeline!  At any rate, The president has now earned the right to wear his Sierra Club baseball cap!!


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