October 19th, 2020

Landlocked and abandoned

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on December 17, 2019.

Blocking Prairie oil

is all about politics and control

Marco Navarro-Genie


In mocking response to those wishing to separate, some quip that Alberta would remain landlocked the day after it becomes independent. With a more respectful tone, Alberta’s premier used similar words in his recent “fair deal for Alberta” speech.

Those endorsing and those opposing Alberta’s separation from Canada would benefit from a clear statement of the problem to which separation presents as a solution.

Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only landlocked provinces in the country. Being landlocked means that a territory doesn’t have direct access to ocean waters.

But it’s not an unsolvable problem. One can obtain territorial corridors to access oceans. Or one can secure passage through neighbouring territory for exportable goods by building highways and railways, airways and waterways, transmission lines and pipelines.

Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s geographic problem needs to be distinguished from the political problem of having lawfully exportable goods blocked by other provinces from reaching tidal waters.

Obstructing Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s oil from reaching far-away markets builds walls against solutions to the geographic problem. Those walls are existential threats.

So the issue isn’t that Alberta and Saskatchewan are landlocked. Many territories in the world are landlocked but are prosperous because they don’t have obstructing neighbours.

For all the inequity and unfairness in policy that Alberta and Saskatchewan have been subjected to since they were carved out of the Northwest Territories and became provinces in 1905, being landlocked hasn’t been the principal problem.

The eco-green doom fuelling the blockage is an excuse. The alarmist doom is the means by which Laurentians seek to strangle Alberta’s economy.

While a federal tanker ban shuts out Prairie oil from British Columbia’s north coast, oil tankers filled with foreign oil enter the Bay of Fundy in the Atlantic and up the St. Lawrence River. There, with flow and tide, even a small spill could spoil thousands of kilometres of unique ecosystems along sensitive shores, parks and natural reserves.

Similarly, there’s no campaign (nor should there be) to stop the oil flowing out of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. No prime minister has ever visited those provinces to announce his/her desire that they keep their oil well beneath the ocean.

Blocking Prairie oil is not about the environment. And neither is it about safety. With all their risks, pipelines remain the safest mode of transport for oil, given the alternatives of trucks and trains. The people of Lac-MŽgantic, Que., understand this very well.

Blocking our oil goes beyond the faction currently running the federal government. Ottawa represents the dominant population of the country who have declared war on our principle resources under the ecological banner. That’s not likely to change.

The war against Prairie oil is 100 per cent political.

If you think I’m taking too much licence when I suggest that Laurentian Canadians mean to subjugate the West, let us be reminded of sentiments Justin Trudeau expressed in a radio interview in Quebec before he became prime minister, before he became better schooled in the political art of concealing what he means. He said that the country can best be run by federal Liberals from Quebec. He said Canada’s troubles at the time were because Albertans were running things. Power, therefore, needed to be wrestled away from Albertans.

Despite the words of the prime minister on election night that he wants to address regional concerns, Saskatchewan’s search for solutions was met with platitudes and climate slogans when its premier recently visited Ottawa.

One can only negotiate with those whose minds and spirits are open to negotiations.

Dismissing and reducing the blockage of Prairie oil to a geographic issue is a misapprehension of the problem. Blocking Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s oil is a political problem that will require political solutions, and political solutions require co-operation.

For Alberta and Saskatchewan, the future is at stake. Without that openness and co-operation from Ottawa, Quebec and British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan will have to find their own solutions.

Marco Navarro-GŽnie is president of Haultain Research Institute and a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Distributed by Troy Media.

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Southern Albertan

There is more at stake here other than being landlocked. There is the matter of changing global oil economics and shipping, i.e.the price of bitumen being very low and increased production and flow probably decreasing the price even more yet, and, the extreme unhealthiness of tar sands bitumen. No wonder investment in the tar sands is dropping like flies with regard to economics. Again, two big factors are the American Shale Boom and the American deep water port, LOOP. Big Oil profit margins are much more lucrative with regard to these factors.
Perhaps, the fore should be, more, here:
“Why We Must Stop the Flow of Tar Sands Oil. This dirty, dangerous oil is almost impossible to clean and affects the health of people, is bad news for our country–and the planet.”
And then we wonder why Canadian folks, including many indigenous peoples, are not much interested in having bitumen spills in their backyard? As the article states, there are more spills than is reported, at least one per day. It would make one wonder about the politics of this not being reported by mainstream media, let alone the deafening silence from the industry. Who controls who? And, what monetary value could be placed on one thing….the health and well being of, us. The politics of landlocking, I believe, pales by comparison.
There is also the matter of Big Oil investing heavily in renewable tech, which is being said to be a burgeoning $trillion dollar industry, and since following the money trail could be said to not be a stupid thing. Our drive west of Fort Macleod yesterday, revealed a big increase in wind turbines in the area. There are many ways to diversify to other energies, and the Kenney UCP do not appear to be much interested in diversification. Instead, they concentrate on “disinformation” re: their braying about the carbon tax, i.e.Aberta’s carbon tax, not surprisingly, did not negatively affect Alberta’s economy after all the negative Kenney UCP carbon tax brewhaw. If anything is political around here, it is the Kenney UCP ‘disinformation’ vote getting, and the sad falling for it…..and them fighting the carbon tax in the courts and the $30 million ‘War Room’ and a failed UCP candidate heading it up for $195,000/year, all on the taxpayer’s dime.


@ Southern Alberta . . . the oil sands or ‘tar sands’ as you sheep call them have always being known for oozing into the waterways in Ft. Mac area, especially during heavy rains and snow melts long before the oilsands were developed. Did you ever canoe down the rivers there? Probably not! You can still see the oilsands ooze along banks in some areas.
Wildlife would get trapped in some of the tarpits that occurred naturally and die long before development.
You spew the same propaganda that the US billionaires’ funded protest machines have trained their sheep protestors to spew!
They have cost Canada hundreds of billion of dollars over the past 10 years and that means less programs for Canadians, less support for international programs and higher costs of living for the Canadian taxpayer!
I worked several sectors of the patch and recently, I had an oil spill of about 1 barrel of crude on an oil battery lease, where we loaded crude to take to the pipeline. That one barrel requires mounds of paperwork, including reports to provincial government, a vacuum truck and water truck to clean it up. They used the water truck power sprayer to help the vacuum truck suck it up. The oil and contaminated dirt were all hauled away and taken to a hazmat site for processing.
Then I was taken for an immediate drug test. All because a float gauge malfunctioned!
Don’t spread your uneducated garbage to me because I know how serious a small spill is taken in the patch!
I respect and support the idea of the ‘War Room’ and want them to sue the Rockefellers, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Hewlett and Parkards and the rest of the US billionaires that have shut down our access to tidewater and pipelines so they can make even more money! Greed, it is all about greed and no respect for sovereign countries!
You really need to do your research!!!


There are US and foreign tankers all along the BC coast that regularily go from Alaska to other US ports and back again. They were never stopped and protesters were advised to leave alone!
There is much more here to be revealed! The costs to the Canadian economy has been in the hundreds of billions over 10 years while people such as Bill Gates, a major shareholder of CN Rail and Warren Buffet, a trustee and major donor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and major investor in Vanguard who has investments in both CP and CN, and the Rockefellers and Hewlett and Packards all spend millions paying protesters to shut down pipelines and projects so they can make more money! They use non-profits such as Tides and New Ventures to spread their money!
Greed!!! This is what it is about, making more money for US billionaires!
Canada only emits 1.5% of the world GHG’s while China, the US and the EU combined, almost 60%!
It is all about making money because Canada, at best can only but back .5% and that includes shutting down major traffic in Toronto/Vancouver/ Montreal!
They have manipulated elections federally, provincially, municipally and bragged about it on their LeadNow website!


Marco Navarro-GŽnie is president of Haultain Research Institute and a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Distributed by Troy Media.

Succinctly sums of the bias contained in this op-ed.