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Why Justin Trudeau should approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

by John Brian Shannon

Disclaimer: I have my own renewable energy website and I contribute renewable energy blog posts to another website — so I’m obviously a proponent of renewable energy.

However, back in the day I was an entrepreneur who learned about dealing with various levels of government, about operating within regulatory frameworks, and needing to budget carefully for future large scale projects.

With the foregoing in mind, I offer the following comment about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project proposal (the TMX expansion) that is planned to run from Edmonton, Alberta through to the Westridge oil refinery (Chevron) in Burnaby, BC:

  1. Unfortunately, there are still places where renewable energy won’t work in a cost-effective manner. Eventually, renewable energy technology will develop and become feasible everywhere on the planet. But we still need oil & gas in the meantime.
  2. The past 5 Canadian Prime Ministers and probably a similar number of British Columbia and Alberta Premiers gave tacit approval to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion which led the company to believe the twinning of the pipeline would be approved.

For the federal government or any province to pull the rug out from under a company that has been led along for two decades to believe their project would be approved — and which provides a valuable service for people who drive cars and trucks in British Columbia and Alberta — would be unthinkable and two-faced.

The TMX Expansion should be approved based on those points alone as both Conservative and Liberal federal governments have promised the project would be a ‘Go’ and KM proceeded on that basis.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE IF KINDER MORGAN WAS OPERATING IN A TPP COUNTRY: The various levels of government in Canada could be sued for not following through on their tacit approval in recent years — and Kinder Morgan and possibly Chevron would likely win a court judgement worth billions of dollars which Canadian taxpayers would be forced to pay. Not only that, but a TPP court could still order the pipeline built!

However, there is another option which I will cover below.


About the Westridge Refinery in Burnaby, BC

At present, one tanker per week leaves the Westridge refinery (Chevron) in Burnaby BC, sometimes carrying 50,000 or 100,000 barrels of oil, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or more exotic hydrocarbons like naptha, xylene, toulolene, and other volatile liquids. But once the 2nd pipeline is built, one tanker per day will leave the Westridge refinery.

All of these are explosive liquids and in an accident where fire occurs could easily destroy (yes, entirely destroy) the 2nd Narrows bridge or the Lions Gate bridge, which is why they run under those bridges at 4:00am to enhance their margin of safety. (Thankfully, there are no terrorists in our region)

Kinder Morgan TMX Expansion

FILE PHOTO: Two ships pass under the Lions Gate Bridge that links Vancouver with North Vancouver. Image courtesy of CBC.ca


Proposal to Enhance Shipping Safety in BC by Relocating the Westridge Refinery to Deltaport

I propose relocating the Westridge refinery in Burnaby BC to Deltaport BC, and that the federal government of Canada and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta offer significant investment, allowing public safety to be dramatically improved.

NOTE 1: I’ve spoken to Ray Lord who is highly respected within the petrochemicals industry and remains the chief spokesman for Chevron’s Westridge refinery and he seemed interested in my idea to move the refinery to Deltaport.


Instead of a 2nd Pipeline – Move the Oil by Rail to Deltaport

It’s magic that Deltaport is the terminus for CN Rail and by using the rail option to move petroleum it means the proposed 2nd pipeline would never be needed.

Public safety would be dramatically improved, Chevron would have two crude oil transportation modes to keep it running, and in the event of a spill it’s well documented that rail spills are orders of magnitude smaller than pipeline spills.

NOTE 2: Pipeline spill incidents average 1.2 million BARRELS of oil, while rail tanker spill incidents average 220,000 US GALLONS. A huge difference!

This option would allow 3 shifts at the relocated refinery instead of 2 as is the case now, and even allow the refinery to continue operations in the event of a failure along the existing pipeline route.

NOTE 3: KM would lose the ability to build the new pipeline but allow it to neatly step out of a public relations nightmare — and it might choose to become an investor in the new Deltaport facility and not lose a cent of profit in the process.

All for less than the cost of a potential legal action brought by Kinder Morgan and possibly Chevron too.


A Fund to Remediate Pipeline Oil Spills

A 6 cents per barrel of oil tax should be applied to all liquids that move through pipelines in Canada which should be held in a trust fund to deal with future pipeline spills. The fund could be invested and the returns would increase the total value of the fund.

NOTE 4: Railways don’t need such a tax as they can’t continue rail operations along that line until the spill is cleaned up, so they’re already highly motivated to clean up rail spills ASAP.


If Canada, British Columbia and Alberta kicked in funding to relocate the refinery:

  • No longer any need for the TMX Expansion
  • Thousands of jobs would be created to build the new Deltaport refinery
  • Public safety would increase by orders of magnitude in British Columbia
  • Chevron, environmental protesters, and Kinder Morgan would be happier

And all that government investment would eventually be recovered through taxes.

Even Chevron liked my idea.

Canada’s Best Option to Deal With ISIS

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

File photo: Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter/bomber. Image courtesy of Canadian Press.

Oh, Canada; Don’t you know that under international law it’s illegal and considered an act of war, when military aircraft from one nation enter the airspace of another — without permission? Unless the host country has formally asked us to intervene inside their borders — or there is a UN mandate allowing it. Neither of which has occurred in the case of Syria as of November, 2015. File photo: Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter/bomber. Image courtesy of Canadian Press.

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.

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D’Oh Canada! Justin Trudeau: Statesman or Spendthrift?

by John Brian Shannon | November 9, 2015

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first official acts as the elected leader of the great and noble country of Canada, was to offer a free airplane flight home to the former Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau (2015)

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau (2015)

In any other country this sort of thing would be considered normal courtesy for a new Prime Minister to bestow upon the outgoing Prime Minister. But not in Canada. Noooo. Here, the wailing has just begun.

And before it’s all through, I’d expect the country to lose about 1000 extra trees and gallons of newspaper ink in order to properly cover the latest (purported) fiasco perpetrated by a Canadian Prime Minister.

Harrumph! “We caught you on the first day!” Or something to that effect.

It’s all so small-time

In a real country like, oh, (name any country) this so-called story wouldn’t have made the last page of any newspaper let alone the front page.

But here in Canada, some are now lining up to offer the new Prime Minister a lesson in spending ‘their’ money — as if they paid for the whole trip themselves.

And it is their money. Or a portion of it. The free ride home for former Prime Minister of Canada has cost each Canadian 1/3rd of a cent.

[According to unnamed sources, flying Stephen Harper to his home city of Calgary and returning the government aircraft to Ottawa cost $110,000 CAD. Divide that cost into 35,000,000 Canadians and you get 1/3rd of one cent, per capita. If you come up with a different math result, please advise. Wouldn’t it be exciting if I was wrong and it cost each Canadian 1/2 a cent per Prime Ministerial term? Woot! Free TimBit for you!]

Yes folks, that’s what it’s all about. Each Canadian citizen has paid one-third of one cent to fly the former PM home and return the empty jet to Ottawa

On the other hand, it has probably cost at least $1,000,000 for the ink, newsprint and internet use to publicize this (purported) scandalous waste of each taxpayers’ 1/3rd of a cent.

Aren’t we lucky this is a one-time only cost that we all bear at the end of each PM’s time in office?

If this sort of frivolous spending keeps up, each Canadian could conceivably be in for a whole cent over the course of 15 years — assuming we get a new PM every 5 years. Which has been known to occur.

But it’s the principle of the matter!

Slow news days raise our principles, don’t they?

The Americans must be dying with laughter

It reminds me of a Monty Python sketch called The Funniest Joke in the World where the British Army obtained the lines to the funniest joke in the world and broadcast the joke to the German soldiers across the WWII front — and the joke being so funny, would have the German soldiers dying of laughter in the German trenches. And according to the sketch, that is how the Brits won the Second World War. Jolly Good, mates!

It’s even funnier if you read the previous paragraph aloud in John Cleese’s highbrow British accent. Your kids will love you.

But is that any way to treat our American cousins? They read our newspapers… so it follows that stories like this could become injurious to their health.

So far, Canadians seem to be impervious to this new weapon.

And now for Something. Completely. Different!

The security of Canada’s military, economic, industrial, and social fabric was protected last week in dramatic fashion by the new Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau — a man of excellent pedigree, impeccable credentials and uncommon statesmanship.

Mr. Trudeau, recently elected to Canada’s highest office, had the foresight and courage to arrange a high level of transportation security for the one person in Canada most likely to know every single Canadian military, economic, and industrial secret of the past decade, the former Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper.

Mr. Trudeau performed this courageous act knowing full well that he’d be under fire for years to come from ‘extremist commentators’ within Canada. j/k

Due to Mr. Trudeau’s actions, Canada’s official secrets — all of which are known by the former Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper — have now been deemed safe by unnamed experts in Canadian security.

Mr. Harper has been further advised to call the 911 operator at least 30 minutes in advance of any surprise abduction or interrogation attempt by foreign enemies that may wish to gain access to Mr. Harper’s extensive knowledge of Canada’s official secrets. The former Prime Minister was keen to agree to the plan, saying that it had been his great privilege to serve the wonderful and generous citizens of Canada.

D’Oh Canada! We stand on guard for thee!

Unless it costs more than 1/3rd of a cent per capita.

Maybe the Americans would be kind enough to help us defray some of these costs. Things (like the costs of being a real country) are getting out of hand these days!