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Spotted: Discussions flow from Keystone XL pipeline story

Categories: Canada, Community

 The Keystone XL pipeline project will extend TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone pipeline that carries oil from northern Alberta to refineries in the United States. (Courtesy TransCanada Corp.)Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement that he is "confident" TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline will be built sparked wide discussion and feedback from the CBC Community.

Our Point of View poll titled "Should the Alberta-Texas oil pipeline be built?" attracted more than 1,700 votes with a fairly even distribution of Yes and No choices.

The article also attracted over 580 comments, with several constructive discussions and interactions between members.

User Demonthenes posted fairly early on in the discussion, laying out a comprehensive list explaining why he/she believed the Keystone pipeline was a bad idea.

"Harper needs to understand a few things...
1. Canadian oil should be refined in Canada by Canadians.
2. Canadian oil should be available to all Canadians BEFORE supplying a foreign country from our surplus.
3. If a pipeline is such a great idea then build one to serve the eastern part of the country that still relies on foreign imports but doesn't see a drop of Canadian oil. That would provide just as many Canadian jobs and building a refinery would create even more.
4. American job creation is not part of his mandate. He was elected to serve Canadian needs not those of the US. While it is a good thing to trade with our friends to the south, why should they get our resources preferentially when many Canadians go without?
5. Canada needs a strategic plan for securing our own oil self-sufficiency for the future. The Americans are quite capable of taking care of their needs. It's time Harper looked to our energy security."

A stream of replies ensued, some taking issue with Demonthenes's points and others commending the post.

"This should be included in the news article," said Gallifrey. "All those are very salient, relevant points true to the situation."

"If it was profitable to build a pipeline east, as you describe, don't you think it would be there all ready. Just think Canadian shield," said DLHCC1.

Demonthenes then replied to several of the posts. In response to DLHCC1:

"Let's see, we built the Canadian railway and the Trans Canada highway and plan a route for a pipeline through the Rockies to the west coast... No I don't see any problem from an engineering standpoint since the Canadian Shield can be avoided to the south.

"As for profitability, a pipeline to the east will allow for gas/oil exports to Europe from Canadian ports while the western pipeline can access Asian markets. That creates and retains jobs in Canada while still allowing for trade in the US as well as diversifying our customer base and serving the energy needs of Canadians."

When BlueBirdMan replied:
"Dear Beaconsfield, Quebec. [Demontheses' listed location]
It is not Canadian oil - It is Alberta Oil.
You have no right to it. Try and take it and Alberta will separate. Do not under-estimate the passion that exists in the West over this issue. BC would join them in separating... It makes me sick when people outside of Alberta think they can talk as if it's their oil. You have no idea of the level of anger that exists in Western Canada when people say stuff like you say."

Demontheses responded with:

"Alberta is a province of Canada and therefore any natural resource within the boundaries of this nation may be termed 'Canadian.' While I grant you that the resource income and control of that resource is a provincial responsibility belonging solely to Alberta (no one argues that) it remains that access to that resource through sales should go to Canadians before foreigners ... Sauce for goose my friend."

Another productive discussion began with MikeWit's question:

"I am curious, why don't they build a refinery in Canada? I am sure that a refinery would really help out in Alberta with more jobs and the economic stability it brings. It seems Harper has missed the mark on this one."

NEdwards responded with:
"We already have refineries with ocean ports in eastern Canada that likely could handle this as they now process foreign oil. In fact the biggest in the country, and one of the biggest in North America, is in Saint John, NB. There was a plan to build another before the economic downturn.

"I guess, though, Steve thinks Canada's borders end in Quebec but extend south to Texas."

Nondescript Username then continued the thread with:
"The rationale is that the gulf coast has excess refining capacity, so (from a global perspective) it's more economic to ship it there and refine it close to the end customer than to build new capacity in Canada. However, globalism benefits relatively few stakeholders. Certainly, the best interests of your average Albertan are not a consideration in this decision."

These are just two of the many discussions that were inspired by the article. We thank and applaud those who take the time to talk about the issues and stories that matter to them. Most importantly, we thank them for replying with thoughtful points and respect for their fellow CBC Community members, even when they strongly disagree.

Remember, friends: flame wars only lead to scorched earth!

Tags: Community Reaction, Conservatives, energy

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