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Four things have happened in relatively quick succession in regards to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project (TMX) that Kinder Morgan proposed back in 2013 and it’s important to understand those before proceeding.
- On November 29, 2016 Canadian regulators approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.
- On May 29, 2018, the Canadian federal government acquired the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
- On August 30, 2018 the Federal Court of Appeals reversed the original decision of the court to approve the TMX pipeline.
- On August 31, 2018, the purchase of the TMX pipeline by the Canadian government from Kinder Morgan finally completed.
If the federal government wants to be able to restart work on the pipeline expansion project and be well placed to sell it to investors, the federal government of Canada must now enter into negotiations with the stakeholders who weren’t consulted in the original consultation process and gain their acceptance to allow the TMX pipeline expansion project to continue.
NOTE: On August 31, 2018 Alberta premier Rachel Notley pulled her province out of the federal government’s national carbon tax plan to register her displeasure with the Federal Court of Appeals and to put more pressure on the Justin Trudeau government to get the TMX pipeline completed.
How to Address Legitimate Safety Concerns of Vancouver and Burnaby Residents
It’s a huge undertaking to sail an oil tanker through English Bay and into Vancouver Harbour under the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, park it at Parkland Oil Refinery and fill that tanker with 250-thousand barrels of oil, tar sands ‘dilbit’ material, jet fuel, gasoline or naptha (all of them highly volatile or explosive liquids) and then sail out of Vancouver through a frenetic crowd of marine traffic including float planes landing and taking off every few minutes, ferries, pleasure boats, container ships and cruise ships.
Vancouver Harbour is far too congested for this dangerous practice to continue. There are almost half a million people living and working within a few miles of both sides of that very narrow waterway.
It may have been OK back in 1953 when the Trans Mountain Pipeline was originally built, but it’s definitely not OK now.
A Solution Hiding in Plain Sight
What could solve these very serious issues, is to continue the TMX pipeline route on to Deltaport (a major industrial port south of Vancouver) and relocate the existing Parkland Oil Refinery in Burnaby, BC to Deltaport, BC. The existing site in Burnaby would need to be remediated as it’s unsuitable for housing or businesses due to the steep terrain and continuous rail traffic along the water’s edge.
The Delta Superport (Deltaport)
The Deltaport facility in Delta, BC is already the site of a major rail terminus where thousands of rail cars offload 29 million of tonnes of coal every day for transport to ports around the Pacific Rim trading area and other large scale industries operate in Deltaport.
There are container ship facilities there and also some shipbuilding and ship repair businesses operate within the industrial zone. The Delta Superport site (Deltaport) was specifically chosen because it’s well away from major population centres in case of land or marine-based accident at the site.
Also, in the event of pipeline construction delays or oil spills along the Trans Mountain Pipeline corridor, railcars could haul Alberta’s oil and dilbit to the Delta Superport as they already travel from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Deltaport 365 days of the year.
For an extra $5 billion (for example) the federal government could continue the pipeline to Deltaport and assist Parkland Oil Refinery Ltd. to move their existing oil refinery to Deltaport, thereby neatly solving every safety issue.
If taxpayer revenue isn’t used to enhance the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of people, what is the point of collecting taxes in the first place? Surely Job Number One for any level of government is the safety of its citizens — especially when such large numbers of people could be adversely affected in the case of a major marine spill and/or fire in Vancouver Harbour.
Moving the Burnaby Oil Refinery to Deltaport Solves Every Safety Concern
Captains of oil tankers that leave port full of refined oil products (like gasoline, for one example) will be happy to find they won’t be ‘deking around’ a dizzying flow of float planes taking off and landing, small transit ferries packed full of commuters, pleasure boats, container ships and cruise ships — as they are forced to do when they arrive and leave through Vancouver Harbour and Burrard Inlet.
In fact, the only activity at Deltaport is the ten bulk carriers (coal) that leave port every day and (judging on personal observation, although not recently) the one container ship that leaves port every night.
As mentioned earlier in this blog post, way back in 1953 the Burnaby location was probably the best option for the region — but with the huge increase of marine traffic in Vancouver Harbour and English Bay since those days, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
If the federal government wants a solution that works for everyone this should be their Number One priority — and failing that — perhaps the proposal I’ve suggested should become a requirement for any potential purchaser of the TMX pipeline before their bid would be accepted.
It’s the responsible thing to do.
An hour wasted is an hour you never get back. And through no fault of their own, Canada’s premiers are wasting thousands of hours per year.
Canada’s premiers are important people. They hold the keys to multibillion dollar economies within Canada, are privy to some of Canada’s most secret security information, and they need to hopscotch around their region to hold meetings with CEO’s, other levels of government, attend events, sometimes need to get an overview of natural or man-made disasters, and to view proposed mega-projects like hydro-electric dams, major highway systems, pipelines, and railways, all over their particular province.
In the province of Alberta, premier Rachel Notley travels around the province in a convoy of Chevrolet Suburbans worth more than many Albertan homes. With weather-related travel issues, and the time it takes to get by car from the provincial capital of Edmonton to Alberta’s far-flung cities and mega-projects, you can be sure those Suburbans are getting ‘miled-out’ and replaced every 2-3 years.
It’s a ton of money invested in vehicles ($384,043.62 worth, plus annual maintenance and daily fuel) and it amounts to a lot of the premier’s time being wasted barrelling up and down highways.
We all know that much of Alberta’s business is conducted in Calgary and that the provincial capital is 281 kilometres away, in Edmonton.
It takes Rachel Notley and her convoy of Suburbans 3-hours to travel to Calgary (in good weather) sometimes 5-hours (in bad weather) And then there’s the trip home after the meetings, which of course, doubles the travel time. (Alberta premiers typically travel to Calgary about 3 times per week)
But not only that. During the Fort MacMurray fires the highways were closed. The roads were closed a few years ago in regards to the Calgary floods, and it occurs many times during the winter months along the Highway 2 corridor between Edmonton and Calgary that it gets closed due to icy conditions. Sometimes, quite suddenly — like when you’re halfway home from Calgary.
During busy months, half of premier Rachel Notley’s working hours (and whichever cabinet members are travelling with her) might be wasted sitting in the back of an SUV waiting to get to their destination.
It’s a colossal waste of time for every premier in Confederation. Time that could be better spent. Meaning more actual productivity per hour for all of Canada’s premiers. I’m pretty sure that Alberta’s premier spends 900 hours per year being transported by SUV, which is about average for Alberta premiers.
Imagine the wasted time for an Ontario premier — a province with a much higher population than Canada’s four Western provinces combined.
And I’m not ‘fobbed-off’ by claims that the time spent riding around in the back of a Suburban is productive time. If that were true, then why are premiers bothering to personally attend meetings in the first place? If phone calls and emails work so well, why leave the provincial capital? Ever?
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would’ve said faster horses.” — Henry Ford
A Better and Faster way to Travel
Canada’s Griffon helicopters, which are underutilized by the Canadian Army are the perfect answer to efficiently move Canada’s premiers around their home provinces, while saving thousands of hours of time and improving the security of premiers and their staff.
It’s a light helicopter that can carry 10 people and their gear, and it can travel long distances (for a helicopter) at 250 kilometres per hour. There isn’t anywhere in Alberta that the Griffon CH-146 couldn’t fly on one tank of fuel.
But with all of that going for it, it’s still a ‘boy among men’ when compared to other military helicopters, which is the only reason why it’s seen limited military use.
Let’s face it, it was built for Army commanders to tour the battlefield in the interests of creating a better battle plan for the following day, and to quickly zip in and out of combat zones with ammo and food for soldiers. A Black Hawk S-70A or Sea Stallion CH-53E battlewagon it’s not.
But for ferrying premiers and other government officials travelling with the premier, it could very easily handle that role. And, as an added bonus for the Army, the Canadian Army crews that fly them would be better able to meet their (required) number of flight hours per month. That’s reason enough right there to detail one of them to each Canadian premier.
Note: Out of the original order of 100 Griffons, the Canadian military has 20 Griffon helicopters that are parked — and not for safety reasons. They just don’t have missions. The helicopters were already paid-for, years ago. They sit unused because they have no missions to fly. And pilot skills deteriorate without a minimum of 30-hours of flight time per month.
Would Alberta taxpayers be getting better productivity out of their premier with 2-hours of travel time per day vs. the present 6-10 hours per day, on average? The answer seems blatantly obvious.
In short; Is it better for the premier of Alberta to sit in the back seat of a multi-vehicle motorcade of Suburbans for 900 hours per year, or to fly in helicopters for 300 hours per year? Thereby saving 600 hours per year for more productive use.
When Canada’s premiers are conducting business on behalf of the people where one deal could conceivably cost or save billions of dollars, isn’t it better to have premiers that arrive refreshed and ready to negotiate — rather than arriving frazzled, after a harrowing 5-hour drive on icy roads?
This is one case where the federal government should divert from its typical overly-cautious Canadian tendencies and actually make the arrangements to dramatically increase the productivity of every Canadian premier.
In this day and age, it’s great to ‘work hard’ but it’s more important to ‘work smart’. And working smart means adding 600-hours of productive time to each premier’s schedule annually.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I urge you to direct the Canadian Army to park one Griffon helicopter and crew beside each provincial legislature for the official use of Canada’s premiers (and whichever officials are required to accompany them on provincial business) in the interests of increasing the productivity and personal security of all of Canada’s premiers.
This would be the low-hanging fruit, Mr. Prime Minister, on the path to making Canada all that it can and should be.
by John Brian Shannon | November 18, 2015
It’s a fact of international law that military aircraft from one nation entering the airspace of another nation (without permission) is illegal and considered an act of war.
It’s also illegal for aircraft (or ships) from ‘Country A’ to enter ‘Country B’ and kill people there — even if the people they kill are members of a heinous terror organization.
This is a matter of international law. There’s no ambiguity, it’s not up for discussion, and it’s not under debate by legal scholars anywhere. No constitutional lawyers anywhere dispute this part of sovereignty law.
(For the record; Some countries don’t respond militarily to illegal incursions into their air, sea, or land space — while others respond aggressively. It’s the aggrieved nation’s right to respond in any way it deems appropriate)
Two exceptions are allowed under international law
If a country or a coalition of countries, have a mandate from the United Nations (via a UN Security Council or General Assembly resolution) then they may enter and engage hostile combatants under the conditions set within the UN resolution.
The other exception is when the host country has formally requested that a country, or a coalition, intervene inside their borders.
International laws apply equally to every nation. They aren’t like an à la carte dinner menu where you can simply choose which laws you wish to follow
No matter how evil some terror groups are, countries that break international law are just as guilty of breaking laws as those terror groups
If some countries in the West send their fighter-bomber jets into Syria; a) uninvited by the host government, or; b) with no UN mandate to do so — they are just as guilty of breaching international law as ISIS, perhaps moreso — as nation states know full well the responsibilities of international law and they know that they are bound by those laws. Any protestations by government spokespersons are doublespeak.
ISIS is not a country. Having pretensions at being a country, is not the same thing as being a country
ISIS is a terror group, and although bound by the criminal and civil laws of whatever countries they operate in, they’re not a country and are therefore not bound by the same laws that nation states must uphold.
My point is, if we in the West are saying that we’re a great moral force in the world, then we better start acting like it.
Historically, Canada is renown as a nation that abides by the rule of law
In no way should Canada be invading the sovereign airspace of any nation with our fighter aircraft, no matter the pretext.
In fact, our constitutional document refers to ‘Peace, Order and Good government’ as the justification for supporting the idea of a federal government in the first place. So…
Either Canada is a nation that respects international law, or it isn’t
If we abide by international law, then we are setting a good example and we should expect to be treated accordingly by other nations. And if occasion arises when our good example is not reciprocated by other nations, then we can claim full legal recourse with support from other law-abiding nations.
If we don’t abide by international law, but instead rely on the law of the jungle — then we must realize that we will be treated accordingly by the UN, by other institutions and by other nation states.
One way or another, we’ll get what we deserve
Therefore, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems on the right side of international law when he indicated that Canada’s CF-18’s would stop flying into Syrian airspace to bomb civilians — only some of whom may be ISIS members.
Until then, Canada continues to break international law by flying into Syrian airspace and bombing civilians
Let’s not forget that ISIS members are civilians who have joined a terror organization — they’re not members of the Syrian Army and Canada isn’t at war with Syria — therefore, we have no legal right to be there regardless of how evil the ISIS entity is. The anger we feel at their horrific terror attacks doesn’t entitle us to become lawbreakers.
We’re supposed to be the country of ‘Peace, Order and Good Government’ – not a country of ‘Anger, Revenge and International Scofflaws’
The sooner Canada returns to conformance with international law the better; For the reputation of this country, for the example that this country sets to the world, and for this country’s future security.
Canada’s best way forward for dealing with ISIS, is to operate within Iraq, a country which has formally asked for our assistance
Canada can contribute to operations on the ground and in the air in the fight against ISIS within Iraq. We’ve been asked to be there, and we should therefore, show up and contribute our best effort.
If Canada, claims that it is part of a great and moral fight in the world, then let us start by being moral
And in this case, that means getting out of Syrian air, sea, and land space, ASAP — and fulfilling our mandate to be enablers of Peace, Order and Good Government by assisting the government and people of Iraq to our best ability.
- Scope of Canada’s military training mission in Iraq could expand (The Globe and Mail)
- Paris attacks: UN passes resolution urging action against Isis (Financial Times) [But not Article 7. – Ed.]