In my last piece, I wrote about why an LNG Plant is a good choice for our community. I do believe this is still the case, but thought it may do us all some good to explore why we need to export our energy in the first place. This is the part of the discussion avoided by supporters and opponents alike, so I thought I’d broach it.
The thought of this plant in our community brought out a significant amount of commentary, and shall we say, emotion.
There are lots of reasons why or why not, and frankly, the folks engaged have already made up their minds. Now, before we all get indignant and chuck more mud around, remember: I am an opinion writer. Deal with it.
Now, back to the topic at hand. Simply put; we are the reason we need to export our resources to Asia. The only reason. Our nation was famously stitched together by a ribbon of steel running from coast to coast.
On November 7, 1885 the last spike was driven in Craigellachie, British Columbia, and the dream of a united Canada was realized. In the years that followed, Canadians began the business of building a nation, with the exploitation of our natural resources playing a major role.
Mining, forestry, agriculture, and petroleum spawned secondary and tertiary industries, and millions of jobs. In the years following the Second World War, these industries paved the way for the comfortable, modern Canada we all enjoy today.
At some point, this all changed. Some blame NAFTA, some blame globalization in general, but our prowess in manufacturing Canadian products for Canadians began to erode. We offshored much of our industrial capacity; shipbuilding, steel production, defense industries, oil refining. You name it, we killed it.
Faster, cheaper and Not in my Backyard has become our mantra as a consumer society, and with it, our sovereignty is slowly eroding. We want, and have come to depend on, cheap imports; every business, every cause, every good intention is touched by our dirty little secret.
Today’s discussion around pipelines and resource exports is a prime example of the divide between where we are as a nation, and where we could be. It also highlights our detachment from the situation we have created for ourselves. The coal we export? It is used to make the steel we need for our infrastructure, our buildings and our cars. The natural gas we will export from Squamish?
It will be burned in power plants in China and beyond, and that electricity will be used to build our phones, computers, toys, and everything else with a Made in China sticker on the bottom.
As hard as it may be for us to believe, we are responsible for this, regardless of how much we detest it, or what cause we stand for. The hypocrisy we exhibit as a community, and to a larger extent, a nation, runs far deeper that the sitting behind a mac argument that surfaces in this debate. It is about us putting our choices out of sight, out of mind. It’s about us sitting in our glass house, blindly throwing stones, and picking a villain.
And guess what? That villain is you and me.
I can be reached on Twitter: @natedolha